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You are not alone …

 

Narcissism and Codependence are patterns of behaviour passed on from generation to generation. If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, these bad relationship habits may seem like normal and healthy behaviour to you and you won’t see the damage they may be causing yourself and your family.

 

Are you living in a narcissistic/codependent marriage or family? Welcome to my blog which is packed full of resources and loving a friendly folk. On this post you can share a little of your story and offer support and encouragement to other visitors.

This blog is moderated and all comments viewed before approval to protect all participants from abuse or criticism.

There are a few golden rules to make sure your posts are approved anywhere on this blog and so please read these carefully …

  • Do not make posts if you are feeling emotional and looking for someone to talk to to help you feel better – An important step in our program is learning to self soothe. This means learning to help yourself feel better when you are upset without needing help from anyone else. We recognise that this may be a significant change of habit and will require some work, so if you need help please check out our audio library here – Back to Calm – for emotional support. Changing this one habit is very important and may be truly life changing for you.
  • Do not make posts if you are angry or distressed. If you are angry make a short note of what upset you (to consider later) and for now take a walk, have a bath or do something that will help you relax and feel better. If you are experiencing emotional distress and are having trouble self soothing – please check out the audio products here – Back to Calm for emotional support. If you are not safe and require assistance please calm down as much as possible and call for help from your local police and/or emergency services
  • Do not suggest other contributors leave/divorce their partner. Leaving is not the easy answer people pretend it to be and if not managed correctly may escalate the conflict and potential for family violence. We strongly respect this decision to be very personal and up to the individual.
  • Before giving advice please become familiar with the steps in our program. Put simply this blog is a place for people using our program to support and encourage each other.
  • Do not use sarcasm or insult or criticise other people’s comments (or your posts will NOT be approved).
  • Do not post here if your only intention is to promote other websites, books or products.
  • Do not provide your last name, address, email address or any other identifying information about yourself or anyone else.
  • For ease of reading, if your post is long please use paragraph breaks.
  • Steve and I are real people and deserve courtesy too! If you feel the need to criticise either of us or question our methods or approach, please do so by contacting us privately at our personal email addresses (which can easily be found by searching for our names in Google).
  • Don’t take it personally if we don’t get back to you. We respond to as many posts as possible, but this depends purely on our schedule and availability. If you do receive an answer – you might try asking again a few days later!

I look forward to hearing your story!

Kim Cooper
http://www.TheNCMarriage.com

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 534 Comments

  1. Hey Kim, just thought I’d get the ball rolling with a post to make sure the comments are working on your new blog. I’m looking forward to sharing my story soon. Steve

    1. Isn’t the internet fabulous; we can now get answers to questions that would have once tortured poor souls for centuries.

      Having struggled to understand the harsh, capricious, and hurtful behaviour of my affair partner, I googled various facets of our interaction ( I no longer consider it a relationship). To my surprise and eventual relief, I established that she had all the hallmarks of a narcissist. Maybe not full-on NPD, but certainly significant narcissistic tendencies.

      In the initial stages, I was smart, sexy, intriguing; the person she always wanted to be with. We chatted day and night – often 8 or 9 hours a day. It was so intense for months. This idealization made me feel incredible- this sexy, intelligent and desirable woman was attracted to me; infatuated with me.

      Of course, it was more a mental image of me that she had created to justify her obsession. Clearly, she could never be attracted to an average Joe. So, any Joe, including me, must be amazing ( at least in the initial phase).

      Within days, I was presented with sexy revealing selfies. At the time it was amazing; now, I see it as narcissistic exhibitionism.

      All the while she ran hot and cold. Always doubting herself, but returning always to continue the praise. I saw this as quirky and interesting. Whether conscious or not, this was part of her narcissistic manipulation and conditioning.

      Eventually, she would disappear for long periods, but return whenever she needed narcissistic supply. Upon reflection, all of these “revisits” were entirely self centred. The new job, the new piano, the new merc convertible! I was blind to all this- completely infatuated with her – until I stumbled upon descriptions of narcissism on the net.

      Now I see the truth and can put the following in context:

      1. She’d had multiple affairs and was proud about it.
      2. Every guy in the supermarket was trying to pick her up.
      3. She had sex with many of her CEOs.
      4. All the guys at work were after her.
      5. Always bragging about work, taking pride in “balling out under performers” who worked for her and taking pride allocating the jobs to others to complete.
      6. She was the best at everything – everyone was in awe of her. Management were only interested in her views, she had “established” herself as the leader of project management in her company – a massive organization with thousands of project professionals.
      7. Her job involved managing a portfolio of projects. Hence, she was adept at evaluating return on investment. She applied the same thinking to the selection of affair partners. I was told in no uncertain terms that she had lots of options and chose me because of the “possibilities” I offered and because no one had ever touched her the way I did.
      8. All my fantasies quickly became hers.
      9. Having learnt I enjoyed watch a particular lady on a webcam site, she signed up and performed for me. It was amazing !
      10. She was obsessed with brands, appearing to have the best. Kids in best schools, living in the best suburb, driving the flashiest car. Kids dressed accordingly and provided with the best material possessions. Always the smartest and best at everything.
      11. Obsessed with idealised concept of love, describing herself as a hopeless romantic. Curiously, infatuated by baz luhrman’s great gatsby.
      12. She was always the victim of neglect, insensitivity, and disinterest on the part of her husband. He was always characterised as inferior and controlling; someone that struggled with his wife’s freedom!
      13. She was a master of the “silent treatment”, ignoring the simplest question or message. Even questions that sought an update on issues she had raised, including how she resolved the choice of schools for her disabled daughter – something she told me she was struggling with on one of her revisits. When I asked what she decided, silence was her stern reply.
      14. Every time she revisited she was gone in a flash. My responses, generally ignored and then described as an inundation of messages. All communication was on her terms and solely about her.
      15. A week before her birthday she was back to ensure I wished her happy birthday. My birthday passed without a word. I suspect she didn’t actually know when was.
      14. She constantly promised, but never delivered. Let’s have lunch; I wish I was bike riding with you in the morning.
      15. Our last interaction was her telling me she had bought the latest merc convertible. Apparently, inspired by my older Bmw convertible. Her last statements so revealing – hubby resented the freedom the car provided – read, opportunity to conduct affairs. She took great delight in his unease. Then one final remark before I was permanently discarded with no explanation or closure – “wife earns double the husband and hasn’t had her own car for 15 years.”

      It’s interesting to note that she was raised by a succession of nannies as are her kids. Her mother by her accounts was distant and focused on her career. Her father, an alcoholic. Her brother, a druggy and under achiever – someone she had nothing to do with. Whether any of this is true, I will never know.

      It’s been a struggle to process, but I now understand what happened. Some other sucker will be on the pedestal as I type – being bombarded with night after night of text conversation. His demise will not be far away.

      Looking back, I see she had a well established mode of operating. Which she continues to apply. Potential partners are selected on a chat site, quickly moved to email while she continued to evaluate other potential candidates on the chat site ( selected candidates are blocked to prevent them seeing her pursuit of other candidates). Once you made the grade, you were moved to whatsapp. Previous sources of supply that have been discarded are blocked on whatsapp just prior to the new source being elevated.

      Some partners were pursued at work! I can only imagine what sort of reputation she has amongst peers. But, it highlights how she considers social and workplace norms as not applying to her.

      I now see how I was simply one of a long list of extra marital dalliances she has conducted over her 15 year marriage.

      It’s quite sad really. In essence she is a wonderful charming person with so much to offer. But her behaviour is so destructive ( her poor husband and kids). She pursues a love she will never attain. And when her looks and sexy go, she is likely to be a lonely lost soul with no friends or meaningful relationships.

      At least I am free!! Thank goodness !

      I realise that my story is very different to those of people married to or in a primary relationship with a narcissist. Mine was simply an affair. I haven’t seen many accounts of what it’s like to have an affair with a narcissist, so I thought I’d share my experience.

      I won’t go into my background or the reasons why I sought an affair. I will say I was pretty low at the time, and the narcissist love-bombing simply overwhelmed me and made me feel alive. While the love-bombing enmeshed me with my narcissist, it also made me believe in myself – this endures. This is the one and only positive from my encounter with a female narcissist.

      1. Hi Bing and welcome, your story is different than most people who find us but thank you for sharing. I am glad that you have come out of this encounter believing in yourself! A good thing to consider might be the fairy tale ideal you had that helped you fall into her trap. I am sure there is a beautiful woman out there for you – but one who is real more than ideal!

        1. That is so true, when it’s too good to be true, it isn’t real.

          I am a very fact based person who tends to be very logical in my approach to things. The lack of closure has been the most difficult thing to deal with.

          The overwhelming thing that comes out of this for me is how our education systems prepare kids for all sorts of things, but not relationships. The ability to recognise and respond things like narcissistic love bombing should be an integral part of our education system.

          I just wish I’d known about it, before I was confronted by it.

          I guess you live and learn!!

          Thanks again

    2. I have been married toa true N for 20 years. It took me 10 years to figure out he was an N. I found Kims website 10 yrs ago and it was so helpful. I made a conscious choice to stay with my N. 10 years later, here I am. I need help and support again. Glad for this support.

  2. Dear Kim and Steve, Finally after a quarter of a century, I have a name to the face of the emotional torture I knew every day and all day long. Because of the information you freely share, I am learning to work through the anger and anxiety (though I must admit is consuming) and am being able to implement self soothing and some self preservation techs. Thank you for sharing so intimately your personal story. Your testimony is one of HOPE – and Sanity! ~blessings~ laura

  3. Well with your help and insight I was able to recognise and put a name to the pure evil, sadly no one in the health service wishes to tackle this issue, they know it and know of it but are too scared to openly discuss it. And here is where people can truly get empowered to overcome the struggle with evil. Excellent work Kim.

  4. I have just put a name to what I lived with in a 30 year marriage. My husband was always looking for someone to as he says “stroke his big ego”. This past year he found someone else unknown to me and left his entire family of 30 years 4 months before our only daughter’s wedding. After 15 months of pain and counseling we (the kids and I) are finally working through it. My former husband is now realizing what he has done to his family and is trying to reach out to the kids. He has moved to another state to live with the twice divorced 15 year younger mother of 5 year old twins. From all looks of things he may be going to be her 3rd hubby. Thank you so much for helping me cope, I wanted to try and work on our marriage(which I never knew was in trouble as we never argued and loved all the same things) but he had other plans, I found out there has been a long list of affairs I never knew about. He hide behind being a deacon of the church, wonderful husband and father until one day he finally snapped.

  5. Kim, I just celebrated my 3rd anniversary last night with the love of my life, Margie. I would not have done so without you helping Margie to help me be less of an overbearing jackass at times.

    On one side of the coin, my poor wife of 3 years has been a rock, seen us thru so much and put up with unbelievable BS.

    On the other side, my brutal business side kept us still standing thru it all. If not for my narcissistic side that refused to quit, … Well, you can guess.

    But now all that is over, and your advice has helped Margie help me understand why almost 50 years (going back to my mother) of bad relationships have come and gone.

    Thanks for helping me celebrate my 3rd year with Margie…

    1. Hi Chris,

      I am happy to have stumbled on your experience. I was wondering what triggered the change in your perspective and made you realize what you were doing? I’m hoping your insight might provide guidance and hope for my marriage.

      Thanks!

      1. Hi Lily and welcome. I think that the real perspective changer was when I discovered what an influence I could have on my children’s behaviour when I learned to respond differently to them testing me. This made me see that I didn’t have to take responsibility for what Steve was doing – but I could learn to deal with it in ways that were much more productive for us both.

  6. I am struggling in a long term relationship. Things have gotten progressively worse over three years and I do not know what to do anymore. Everything seems to be my fault. Never his, even though the majority of hurtful acts are his. I am getting very disheartened and down about myself. I am tormeted by his lack of respect for any of my feelings. He is right, I am wrong. Is there any hope?

  7. I think your approach is more helpful than any professional or well-meaning friend. It is upsetting to hear responses when people get very emotional to hearing about the kind of treatment you are enduring. Its like a double whammy emiotionally. You have to be very wise in conversations and have long and short term goals. It is simply impossible to please these people simply bowing to the demands. Its a very frustrating experience that does have some answers. Thank you for shining some light on what loving people do to solve problems.

  8. I grew up in a very dysfunctional and co-dependant family where there was much violence resulting in my having problems for deep seated anxiety.

    When I had discovered my husband’s infidelity, I was very dismayed, having sought counseling that that offered little help, as it was suggested to leave my husband.

    My husband turned on me and tried to have me committed to a psychiatric hospital for serious delusional behavior when I did challenge him for his infidelity along with with the evidence ( which I had photographed and late showed to the psychiatrist).

    With the information of this website along with the E-books. The help that I had received from an understanding Psychiatrist, along with hard work in relearning the complexity of relationships.

    I had learn’t what my part of the problem was in the breakdown of our marriage, Kim’s and Steve’s advice is sound and in many ways through their guidance on how not to accept the blame for another’s problems or their behavior,

    To learn be assertive, to refuse to be bullied and not wait until I became angry about any situation that I was unhappy about, but to seek a resolution for my concerns at the time as they arose.

    My husband has denied his infidelities, even though they were glaringly obvious, such as waving a pkt of paper hankies in face and stating that he did not have them.

    We lived in a remote country area where we lived in isolation, and my husband often went to the major city for his work.

    At first I was going with him, until at one stage I suddenly was not wanted in in the city with him,there were numerous excuses popping up as to why. he also was going to the city more often for longer periods at a time.

    Because of what had happened, the emotional abuse that I was subjected to, along with such a feeling of loneliness I had a nervous break down

    Now we are living near the big city with a changed lifestyle. My husband had to play his part, however with the new skills that I have learnt along with being on medication for anxiety our relationship has improved.

    I no longer become upset when my husband becomes angry or tries to blame me for any problem. I ask what is the problem/issue and keep asking why he thinks that I am the problem with a ready solution to suggest to him when it is not my fault.

    Having an understanding of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder which we both have to some degree has certainly helped

  9. Hi everyone,
    I have endured almost years of cruel treatment, emotional taunts, at times physical and always mental abuse and only last year I was told that this wasn’t my fault. This was so liberating after thinking all that time that I was hopeless and had to depend on my husband to survive. He is a classic example of this disorder although he doesn’t think so!! Of course. I have since surrounded myself with great friends who only now tell me they thought my husband was narcissistic. I am back working and my husband has had to work elsewhere after his redundancy. My three young kids and I feel free and we have a relaxed happy home until the weekend when he returns. I just need to find a way to be civil when he returns…

  10. Hi Lizbet,

    I’d like to comment, if you don’t mind. It’s hard to be definite without knowing more about your story, but what I can tell you is that most, if not all of the partners of people with NPD/NPD tendencies on this site have dealt with this issue of nothing being their fault/lack of respect – it’s a key part of this ‘illness’. So try not to take it personally (easier said than done, of course) or to lose heart.

    A wise commenter once said to me (based on Kim’s work) that when her partner gets angry and acts disrespectfully instead of getting upset she tries to find out what may be behind the anger/rudeness. It’s likely that it has little to do with you, he may be hiding purchases or his eye might be straying. I don’t tell you that to worry you, just so you can put it in perspective and try not to let it affect your self-esteem or make you crazy.

    The best way to help him is to be as mature and confident as possible.

    Of course when you’re in the midst of it it’s so hard to see straight and get past the hurt. But if you can, good things will happen, either for the relationship or for you (hopefully both). I’m finally beginning to fully realise that. Thanks to Kim :).

    Try to focus on the good things. If there’s nothing good in your relationship, maybe there are good things you can recall to do with your friends or family. Once you feel better you’re in a better position to try to sort through the issues.

    It’s really, really hard at first and goes against everything you feel, but I think it’s the only way if you want to turn things around.

    I wish you, and everyone on this site, all the very best.

  11. Hi Kim and Steve, I was so thankful in coming across your website when I was lookin for help in understanding my Husbands condition. It was such a relief to find someone help me stay with my husband whom I really do love. And there is so much to love about him. He just thinks different ,or differently than me. Yes and some would say he has an evil side. I have purchased your book which is helping but I still haven’t grasped how to make him acknowledge he has a problem… ….???? As far as he is concerned its me and his infidelity is really no issue I just make a big deal about it. I don’t I just ask why as I am trying to give him love and support I just don’t get it back in return… What am I doing wrong?

    1. His pride won’t come down until has no where else to turn. Keep working through the steps and especially the Limiting abuse exercises in the Love Safety Net Workbook.

  12. Mine is not a happy one,I fell in love when I was 13tn and we were bolth living under a very abuisive household.we had been on again off again for years untill I was 24. Every break up was in here eyes my fault,she said I was jealous ,underachiever ,or what evere escuess she could use to render here actions as justifieable.and I always moved on knowing shed be back! Well 20 years later she was back promised she had changed! I loved here with all my heart and soul ,but with adult hood and knolegde that relations and love comes responsability for the. Other person feelings and well being.our actions what we say and how we exspress them can build a wonderfull relation,or rip someone who realy is a good loving person apart. I wish I would have found kim and steve before the end.

  13. Hello Kim and Steve,
    I am your personal fan since 2010 when I actually stumbled across your website, while I was searching NPD.
    I must confess I had little idea about this disorder though I am a health professional. I was googling this term after suggestion made by my lawyer who hinted this possibility after hearing my story.
    My marriage of 10 yes has always been a source of misery to me, other than our 3 beautiful children and a constant positive belief that things will change for better, I have been torturing myself from being sad, miserable,angry, resentful and cold.
    I was known to be a sweet and intelligent career girl before I had arranged cum 1 date marriage with my husband.
    I was naive and unaware of the complexities of human interaction in intimate relationships, very kind and feeling kind of girl most people appreciated, till I married my husband.
    He lied about me, back bit and slandered me , openly held discussion with my relatives( uncles and parents about how bad I was, all in my absence and without personally ever discussed any of his concerns with me.
    Simple and positive minded, and with all the love in my heart, I was all set to mould myself to his likeness, constantly longing for his approval I soon lost myself.
    Despite all the changes I made in myself he was still mean and self centred, I craved for his love and attention, more so as in our culture there is no concept of dating/ premarital relations, so he was all I had with whom I could fulfill my romantic desires.
    We had fights on trivial issues, blown out of proportion, I was shocked at the end of most of them realizing how casually he could lie about something I had full knowledge of and could prove easily, for him winning an argument was all about white lies which even he knew were lies, but he would confidently fight with me without a tinge of remorse or conscience in waging a baseless fight based on lies!
    I was shocked and grieved and angry with outbursts at his unjust selfcentred nature.
    Money was always an issue, he wanted to save by not offering to pay bills or bring in grocery, I always spent for the family kitchen, kids clothes, home furnishings, kids books and toys, utility bills, you name it.
    I did all this to earn peace for the house praying he will get sense some day, his money was for his investments his savings and god knows what.
    I patiently cooperated with his selfishness taking up all the chores, cooking and care of 3 kids, sidetracking my own career only to hear from him that I am money minded!
    Those kind of comments gave me anger and I got into tantrums where he called the police and booked me in a false case, which was resolved to my favour in the end.
    At that time I had to leave my breast feeding baby home for 5 months as the police charged me for his falsified complains.
    My lawyer solved my confusion by giving me insight about this disorder and that is when I first downloaded your book!
    It was god sent, your book Back from the looking glass was amazing and solved all my puzzles with him.
    I have now learnt to self soothe and protect my own interests instead of becoming overly emotional and as you call it” Dance to his tunes”
    I am able to control ugly situations by sensing when they are going to occur, and control my own anger and frustrations at any perceived injustice done by him.
    I walk away self soothe and continue to carry on my responsibilities as a parent.
    He has been thriving on my services and money but still passes comments like I should not sit in his car( which I rarely do, though I still pay for car insurance , fuel whenever I use his car) I don’t have a car of my own but he still can’t see or understand this from my or the kids perspective!
    I have also caught him with pirn and Internet girlfriends from various countries who he befriends saying he is single.
    If I confront him, he pays a damn to it and creates a scene where he starts accusing me of imaginary male friends and associates me with my cousins who may be 20 yrs younger to me!
    Unbelievable how I have wasted myself nurturing him!
    He is going to Saudi for work for next two years when I hope to get some relief and devote my time to myself my kids and my career!
    I have learnt to have no expectations from him in case if I have to stay, no normal expectations of love, caring or even friendship or companionship can develop with him!
    That is my biggest void in my life, that I dreamed about my prince charming but got a knight in shining armor, who is incapable to fulfill any of my hums. Desires of love and connection with my life partner!
    Thanks to you Kim, at least I can now survive and understand what’s happening without destroying myself by his manipulations!

  14. A guy I know and love, asked what happened to me. I thought, I have not changed. He blamed me for everything….was disrespectful. He rejected me for his assumptions… I was a stranger to him. He wanted to play the victim and love/hated me. He hid behind his daughters…letting them take the blame for his nonability to be with me. He had oppositional defiant disorder. He runs from love and I do too. How can two people who run from love make a relationship work? I love him very much. Think about him constantly. He no longer has contact with me. How to make a guy run? Chase after him! He was the same as my ex…who ran from me after 3 months of marriage..but we stayed married 15 years and he did not talk to me…we did not fight…we were stangers too….I got sicker in the marriage. No hugs/kisses/hardly any sex..no conversations. He told his coworkers something bad about me because after our divorce…a coworker of his looked at me as if I was garbage. He must have told them twisted tales. I am sure they didn’t know I almost died from my health issues. I just want to date/marry and live happily ever after but the guys I pick are mysterious/hard to be with and have many walls. I read that if you don’t have good boundaries you may put up walls to protect yourself. How can I be in a normal relationship if I choose guys who are hard to be with and most likely will reject me? They are perfectionists. I am not perfect and I tell them my flaws..cut myself down….which may also be their flaws. They don’t want me to be myself and try to control me and I don’t want to be controlled. Is there any hope for me to have a happy relationship that works?

  15. I have been with my boyfriend for 9 years, during which time he has broken up with me probably at least 20 times, always claiming it is my fault. If I treated him better, he would not do this. He is always telling me what I didn’t do, should have done, or did do. He pays some of my bills and is always using this to manipulate me by telling me when he is angry that he won’t pay them. Always telling me who would do this for you, who would give you what I have given you, someone else would have left you. He is moody and I have to watch my words so as not to trigger him. I am tired of this behavior. I have been reading your articles and hope they will help me break this cycle of abuse. I certainly feel that I deserve better than this.

  16. I cried tears of relief when I saw there is a name for the behavior I have been dealing with for 31 years. Going through the cycle of happiness, moodiness, being ignored and blamed. At 50 I am tired of coping with the constant hurt, anger I am going through. When he feels fine again, I must just forget and forgive and carry on and love him, as if nothing happened. Which I really try and do. I feel I am going crazy, my kids and I are always walking on egg shells not to trigger this moody behavior from him. He is a successful business man and provider. Intelligent, perfectionist, capable and successful. My soul is tired and lonely. I don’t know how to cope anymore. He refuses over his dead body to get marriage counselling as there is ‘nothing wrong’.

  17. 1st, thank U for this blog.
    Married 9 1/2 years.
    I’ve been trying to stay married inside this very dysfunctional family. I’m 54. I witness this back n forth behaviour as my husband reads about arrogance, listens to good sermons regarding humbleness and owning up to change ones behaviour, however he’s never quite been able to take control of himself and commit to the necessary steps for transformation.
    He’s been reading this book about The CrazyMakers in Your Life. It discusses arrogance, control freaks and more. He asked me what is a narcissist the other day. The book is eye opening, I’ve read it. I’ll have 2 find your info on narcissism on your site n forward it to him.
    I’ve read these other blogs about infidelity. He has the emails from match sites, but he hasn’t bit on it. He does know infidelity would hold me up in court during a divorce. I recently threatened divorce moved out, got a job, but job was temporary, he needed me at our thriving business, so I’m back and unfortunately his bad behaviour is too. He volunteered to go to a family violence group therapy, its 1 day a week, it seems pretty good, however 1 day a week isn’t often enough. Tonite is the 6th night and he’s deep in his narcissim, we have had an argumentative night he also had a friend stop by our shop who left his wife n daughters for a younger woman and she has already left him. He has nothing left, he lives in an apt. and his daughters want nothing to do with him. His wife has remarried a man with 2 sons, can you imagine what his daughters are going through? In my case the only noticeable one to hurt here is me, my husband has 2 daughters who don’t live with us and if I stay in this will probably be using up any savings as they will probably never get on there own 2 feet and I’m without retirement with a situation such as that.
    The blame is strong the arrogance is strong. The book talks about the afflicted discussing the wrong personality use with you, however that just being a ploy to get you to believe he’s looking at it all the while just using it to give you a false sense of assurance and trying to give you false hope. I’m on the fence the entire marriage on divorce and I wonder how this will all end for me. The assets are all mine. I have a lot to lose.

  18. I’d like to share my story and seek advice. I married in 95 and had 2 kids. There were early signs of things going wrong that I ignored such as my husband spending all the household money and wracking up debts and treating me with callousness esp when sick. Five years ago he cheated on me and left me. He stripped me bare financially and wracked up 1000s of debts with the mistress. He broke up with her several times and begged me to have him back but I saw no change in his behavior and said no. He divorced me and moved in with her. Last year she threw him out having discovered his many affairs. She also wrote to me telling me that before his affair with her he had already cheated on me for 5 years before that with a family friend. She provided the emails to prove it. During all of these years I recognized that we are a typical narcissist codependent combination. He is begging me to have him back. He is being very supportive to me and is making a big effort to reconnect with the kids. But he is still in a heap of debt and our communication is difficult. Although he has put me thru sheer hell I do still love him and the kids want him to come home so badly. But there are massive walls between us and I don’t know how to broach them. I still feel like he lies and I don’t trust him at all. Yet I believe him when he says he desperately wants to change. He says leaving me was the biggest mistake of his life. Everyone I know thinks I am a total idiot for considering having him back. I don’t really know what to do and would appreciate anyone’s comments

  19. My Story: I have been married for 19 years and we have two children, 11 and 7. I came from a loving, supportive family environment, and my husband sadly came from a dysfunctional, selfish family environment. When we met, he was a successful pastor who presented strength and maturity, and we shared a deep common faith which was the cornerstone of our marriage.

    For the first 17 years of our marriage, I was told (by my husband) and believed that the problems in our marriage were all my fault – I “didn’t respect my husband enough”, I “didn’t know and practice the best communication techniques”, I “gained too much weight”, I “wasn’t a good parent”, etc. My husband refused (and still does refuse) any type of marriage counseling, and consistently tells me “If you would just fix a, b and c, then our marriage would be better.” (Like many other NPD’s, he happens to be a counselor himself, so he believes he has all the answers.)

    Two years ago I discovered Kim & Steve’s information on NPD, and like others, I sighed a huge sigh of relief that FINALLY someone knows what I am talking about!! I had gone to counseling on my own, and sought advice from pastors, friends, etc. …. most said they didn’t know what to do, but a lot recommended that I leave my husband, and I knew in my heart that was not the right thing to do. (After all, I consider NPD a sickness, and I vowed to remain faithful to him “in sickness and in health”.)

    I believe that my husband’s NPD behavior comes from his lack of training as a child in appropriate human relationships. As Kim & Steve describe, I believe he has “gaps” in his “training” …. where he simply didn’t learn appropriate human responses such as empathy. I believe that deep down in his heart, he wants to do the right thing, and sadly due to his high level of insecurity, believes he IS doing the right thing, but is completely blind to the truth of reality.

    Sadly, he continues his negative behavior of extreme control, berating, treating others as if they are (all) beneath him, and the kids and I walk on eggshells day by day. Of course, like typical NPD’s, he also continues to present his polished, “perfect” self to the outside world, and even to us at times …. but we know it masks the true fragile scared self.

    I have tried to implement Kim & Steve’s plan of calmness, strength, boundaries, and patience …. and I have found that it definitely has results! However, the daily grind is exhausting, and I find that, in typical NPD fashion, my husband has a roller coaster of emotions … and so, sometimes it “works”, and other times he is just completely irrational when he is in a “tirade”.

    Like someone else who has already posted, my husband is getting ready to leave on a work assignment for two years, and I must admit that on many levels the kids and I are looking forward to some relief from the stressful home environment.

    I want to be strong and support my husband, and help him heal from all the damaged emotions and “holes” of his childhood. Yet at the same time, I am compleletly and utterly exhausted after living for 19 years in what I sometimes refer to as “hell” because that is how it feels at times. As Kim & Steve refer to it, it is “crazy making”, and I am tired of being made to feel crazy!!

    I am fortunate to be surrounded by a very strong support system of people who love me, and who tell me constantly that I am doing all the right things, that I am not the problem, etc. However, I know as with all relationships, it is a two way street, and there are certainly areas of my life I need to work on (for instance, it is true that I have gained weight …. and I want to lose the weight and become healthy again …. but for myself, and not because he is insisting I do).

    Kim & Steve – your e-mails, blogs, articles, and videos have been a great source of encouragement to me on this journey. Please continue doing what you are doing. I am hopeful that someday my husband will have a breakthrough, like Steve did.

  20. HI kim,
    we got divorced and have two kids. I always use to think my x is brainwashed/hypnotized for all the things. but in the divorce process she projected me as a very bad/irresponsible/abusive/control freak. by reading your blog I see some tendencies of narcissism in her. I love my kids but life put me in a situation that I feel very dejected/dispirited. I have earned around 1million in last 12 yrs and spent 95% of that to my family only. In the end I am in debts and she kicked me out of the house n her life and kids. At the end, my goal is kids should not suffer as far as possible. Please let me know your programs or suggestions to subscribe.

    thanks,

  21. Hubby and I will be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary this month. Being married to a narcissist, I, too, have quite a story to tell. However, right now I am wondering if someone with a narcissistic personality ever really feels remorse for things he did in the past. Any insight would be greatly appreciate.

  22. Dear Kim and Steve, Thank you for your work and for having the courage to share it. I love the fact that ya’ll believe and show through your actions that clear eyed truth combined with a little faith, hope, and REAL love can work miraculous change in personalities and relationships.
    When I first saw the light about narcissism and co-dependence–mostly my own–my first inclination was to declare I could go it on my own. There’s so much advice out there about walking away from “toxic” relationships. Since my toxic people included my mother, father, and sisters, and children, that solution didn’t feel all that good! I understand that it is sometimes necessary to cut yourself off, but I really did not want to be motherless, fatherless, sisterless, childless,etc!
    Thanks for giving us tools that actually make it possible to redeem some relationships instead of throwing them on the trash heap.
    The biggest thing I realized was that my co-dependence was actually a huge manifestation of pride and narcissism! go figure! I know I will never have the “take care of me” and infantile relationships I have craved all my life–but those are fantasies–and unhealthy ones at that! I am still on the journey, but for the first time in my life I am looking forward to the trip! all my best to you and yours.

  23. It was on this website that I learned about the codependent/narcissist combination and how deadly it is to a relationship. For this I thank Kim Cooper from the bottom of my heart. This opened my eyes wide and I began to look at my own codependency which I am now understanding fed his narcissistic tendencies. We had been together for 14 years and when he abruptly left me for another woman last January he told me that I had not been appealing to him for several years and he was just now getting the courage to tell the truth and leave. Through counseling, reading, and web searches I have come to believe that what really happened is that I lost my appeal when he became bored and he thought that I was no longer meeting his narcissistic needs. He was ready to move onto the next “prey.” Which he has. In the later years of our relationship I have learned that he frequently lied about EVERYTHING and chronically cheated with other women. His verbal abuse to me was escalating, his negative response to just about anything was intensifying, his moodiness and irritability over the smallest thing or nothing was increasing. I could do nothing to please him (or so it seemed). I walked on eggshells wondering when the next “blow” would hit (he was NEVER physically abusive – just emotionally). Now he has gone. I’m not good enough. It has broken my heart and left me very wounded. I am learning how I contributed to the dysfunction with my own codependency and I am getting healthier by the day. I am convinced that had I not contributed to the dysfunction with my own codependency that I would have left years ago and that our relationship would have been short-lived. I would have left after the ardor of the initial love wore off and his hurtful, mean behavior emerged. However, my codependency kept me trying harder and harder to meet his needs. This of course was detrimental to me, to him, and to our relationship.

    I continue to romanticize our relationship in my mind. I remember with great fondness and warmth how wonderful our early days together were. He was loving, considerate, attentive, sensitive, generous. I thought he was genuine in his words and actions. I thought he was authentic. I thought we were soul mates. He told me we were!! We had great fun together and had plans for a life time of togetherness and friendship. What I know now is that these behaviors are a mask for the true hurting person that he is underneath the mask.

    He will never get the help he needs to address the core of pain that he has. His behavior pattern is to simply seek relief when he does have the pain with self-serving behaviors that make him feel important and grand. The pain is then masked…for a while. And when the pain returns, there are simply more self-serving, egotistical behaviors to make the pain go away again. He does not see that deep inside is a little boy who is deeply hurt and that by facing the pain and the issues associated with it will he understand himself. Right now he cannot make that choice. Because when the pain is masked he is on top of the world. He is on top of the world right now with his new love partner, his latest prey.

    I still love him. I miss him. My hopes and dreams have been destroyed. However, I also know that I am better without him and that I never want another relationship like that again. In the long run, he did me a favor.

  24. Sharon, I understand a bit what you are going through. I’ve dealt with 2 affairs, and now that those are over, he’s begging for another chance. I know EVERYONE around you (and me) wants to caution us not to get back into that type of relationship. (You are NOT a total idiot…I hate it when “friends” or family treat us like that!) I understand you still love him and would like to see if things could work. If I were you, I would take things VERY slow. That’s what I’m doing right now…trying to go with my heart and maybe give us another chance (I love him/want him back), but still think with my head (It will take time to trust again, I need to SEE efforts over time…not just hear the words). Best of luck to you.

  25. I have been married for almost 15 years and have 3 children. The first few years were really good. After we had kids, the distance gradually grew. He buried himself in his career, and I devoted myself to the children. I noticed some narcissistic personality traits in him from time to time, and his parents and my parents pointed them out on occasion. I didn’t think much of it, I appreciated the fact that he was self-assured and confident, and didn’t see the arrogance that I now notice. Around our 10 year anniversary, I discovered he had an emotional affair with an 18 year old (he was in his mid 30′s at that time). I was shocked and devastated, as there were no signs that he was unhappy in our marriage, we weren’t fighting, etc. I figured the financial pressures and pressure of finding a new job/career drove him off the deep end. He didn’t really seem too sorry for the emotional affair, and the embarassment it brought to him, me and our small town (gossip!!). At that time, he indicated that once we had kids, and my focus/attention switched from him to my twin babies, that is when he started distancing himself from me. I recognized that as a red flag/narcissistic sign right then! He went to 2 or 3 counseling sessions, but refused to really work on our issues, just wanted us to NOT talk aobut anything serious. For the kids sake, and for financial reasons we stayed together. I started to recognize the emotional/verbal abuse and would call him out if I felt he was being abusive towards me. We were ok and things SEEMED to be getting better, and then 6 months ago, again after NO fighting or ANY word from him that our marriage was in crisis, I found out he wanted a divorce. Within a few weeks, I found out he was having an emotional and sexual affair with his much younger married coworker. They broke up right around the time I discovered the affair. He admitted everything and asked for my forgivness and asked me to take him back. This was a big change from the 1st affair, where he didn’t seem very sorry. A few days later we found out his mistress had gotten pregnant, had an abortion (my husband & I are pro-life, so this was very heartbreaking). He lost it after that, and was very mean and verbally/emotionally abusive to me. I filed for divorce the following week, even though I grew up in a religion that frowned on divorce. Ever since then, it has been an emotional roller coaster for both of us. He begs me for a chance for reconciliation one week, then says he wants a divorce the next week. Then the cycle repeats. It’s been SO emotionally stressful the past 6 months, and I am so ready to be done with it. My counselor, and one family member and 1 friend (and Steve & Kim Cooper) are almost the only ones who seem to think our marriage has a chance to survive. Everyone else (pastors, family, coworkers, friends) see to think that my husband is a liar/cheater who will NEVER change, and I should just divorce him and not look back. With 3 children, and finally being financially free (just got out of $60,000 USD debt)…it’s not that easy. PLUS…I DO love him! The past month has been better, and I do see changes in him. He was going through a big depression for a few months, and I didn’t feel right just abandoning him. I believe that if he’s genuine, we could build a good/strong marriage. He seems committed at this point to try. I think I’m ready. I really appreciate Steve & Kim’s books, website, email notes/stories…they have been such an encouragement, when everyone else seems to give up hope. Along with them, and a book I read (“Love Must be Tough”~Dobson), I feel I have the tools to help me stand up for myself, and NOT be a doormat anymore. I know I’m not perfect. I know I didn’t deserve the treatment I’ve put up with for several years, but I also am not ready to give up on hope that our marraige can be restored. I am praying for a miracle in our family, and that we can spare our precious 3 children from the divorce process & aftermath. I have our divorce on hold at the moment, and am just taking things slow…I need to continue to SEE the changes my husband is making. They are much slower than I’d have liked, but from what I remember Kim saying in some of her materials…I shouldn’t expect a miracle overnight. I am pleased with the changes in him (and in me!) so far. I have learned to finally forgive my husband, and that has helped take down the wall between us. Any advice would be appreciated to those who have been in a similar situation. Thank you to Kim, Steve and others out there who are willing to share their story and encourage others!

  26. Take care of your children and yourself. Children grow up and have many of the behaviors of their parents. I would suggest that you find help for your husband to change and hold him accountable for his actions and not let him move in with you until you see significant long term like a year improvement that is consisitent or he will just repeat those unhealthy habits and your children will pick them up if you make it too easy for him. Pray and ask God for help to know what he wants you to do!

  27. I am a man and have cried and anguished, broken hearted over the wife I have had to leave with my 2 children from a previous marriage. I did this to save us from further persecution by this lady who has such a sad early life in a dysfunctional family and also suffered unmentionable further trauma at the hands of others afterwards. I cherished her and was so happy to have her as my wife. unfortunately she had developed a controlling and toxic manner which slowly seeped into our everyday life. Everything we said or did became a target of her correction or disapproval. The children could not get anything right and their most normal growing up behaviour became that of disrespectful and deliberate in her eyes to that of trying to come between us. It did not help that their own birth mother was also bi polar and very intrusive and high maintenance from the childrens point of view – requiring them to demonstrate daily on the phone that they loved her etc. It put our marriage under strain and didnt help at all. However I began to feel like I was in the middle and always trying to find a middle ground for everyone, minimising aggravation. This was seen as a weakness by my wife and also that I sided with my ex or the children when objecting to her trying to be over strict with them.
    This situation festered for 4 years until we became like two camps, me and my children and her and her daughter. The house became full of egg shells. No one visited anymore. The internet became a battle zone. My girls went on whenever they could to escape. It got to the stage where my oldest daughter 17 became obsessed with it and her already heightened need for attention was played out on facebook and twitter. She was eventually caught communicating with an older guy in who was typing obscenities to her and she was responding by simply typing smilies etc in embarresment. My wife banned her from all electronics for the whole of the summer including phone and ipod. My point here is that in any normal family my daughter was the victim and not the perpetrator. However she was made to feel like she had commited the biggest crime and was severely punished. i later found out she had a new page where she had used twitter a few times whilst banned and my wife took this as the ultimate betrayal and it just got worse and worse
    It had now become an entrenched relationship. 2 years ago I begged her to go to counselling which she has always to this day flatly refused. I went on my own and discovered about controlling personality and since have also discovered toxic personality disorder. It all fits. Refusal to admit any wrongdoing. Absence of normal empathy. Lack of ability to be objective. Absolute requirement for respect in its distorted form. She says respect should be given because of her cooking and cleaning and being a provider. I always said respect is earned not demanded by your children. If you are not fair with them and they see a difference in the way you treat one child against another respect will greatly diminish. Also, children see one parents treatment of another and lose respect that way too. I admit to feeling bullied by my wife in many respects. Submitting to her authority over most issues in the home and to do with the childrens disciplene against my better judgement – result of which is a slow resentment of having to give away any semblance of control I ever had. Its like being slowly stripped bare.
    I lost my self esteem, purpose, and as things progressed began to lose the ability to remember anything short term. Simple things like dates, childrens school subjects, times of activities, what I ate the night before, peoples names etc. I have learned this is because of stress. I also over a period began to tell white lies to protect my children and myself. With the kids it was whether they had done homework, tidied their room properly, what time they got in etc. I was accused of having an affair when a girl from work who I got on very well with was made redundant and she was very upset and kept ringing me at home. Like many calls, whenever she rang my wife always asked who it was quite loudly when I was speaking – as if to let the person on the phone know she was asking – just embarrassing and not quite normal. I have never so much as kissed another woman but was told that this pretty much constituted an affair anyway with the way I got on so well with this other woman. Anyway, this then started a habit of me putting my phone on silent and taking any calls out of her earshot to avoid all the suspicion. I have ever since had my phone on silent and locked to stop the wife looking at my phone and records on it – I felt violated.
    I eventually left 6 months ago amid an awful 3-4 weeks of angst and arguing and the children not coming downstairs for about the last 6 weeks. My wife had already refused to cook for them, wash for them or anything other for them. I was doing it by then and eating separately with the girls while my wife ate with her daughter.
    I went to her friends and made a big mistake as the friend had offered to mediate. I told her quite a lot and begged for her to help but within what I told her I included a version of an event which was not accurate and this was used by my wife when she found out as a typical lie which I was full of so demonstrated that even to her friend I was a liar. I left the home for 5 days with the children to see some friends near the end of our time there and did not contact my wife. this was seen as me being totally uncaring as she was by this stage suicidal and depressed. I was in a bad place too and did not think she was as she made out and in fact thought she was making out she was very ill to make us all behave well for her and do what she wanted. It was a very toxic and awful situation. She was drinking heavily and behaving very irrationally throwing furniture around and begging for me to stop it all – ie tell the children to be absolutely as she wanted them to be and for me to back her up in the way she wanted things. Absolutely impossible! How could that possibly work when I knew she was being so unkind and harsh and totally unreasonable in her expectations of how people should behave and act daily, hourly, min utely?
    So, we left. I have been around to the house for a few weekends and evenings to demonstrate against hope that I still love her deeply and care about how she sees life. We had a truth day 2 weekends ago where I finally told her I thought she was a controller and had issues which a counsellor would have been able to help her and us as a family with but by the end of our chat she summed up that there was nothing new here and she blamed all on my 17 year old, me and my ex wife for ruining the marriage!
    I have been through the ringer and am totally devastated by all of this. My 13 year old is pulling her hair out and is bald on top. I struggle daily at work to remember even the simplest information and facts. My 17 year old is still tracked by my wife on the internet for whether her skirts are too short, where she has been or going, how she stands, how she looks etc etc.
    I have just written a text yesterday to say I can not communicate anymore with her as it is destroying me.
    She does not realise it but she has to have control. Even now, a damning control of me and my children and what she feels is right and wrong. All this while her own daughter of 17 is being sent out to clubs till all hours with alcohol and cigarettes supplied in her bag as she goes? Her child has OCD since an early age and I was never welcome when she finally got to see a counsellor. I think this was because I would have suggested a link to a controlling mum and upset the apple cart.
    I hope I can stay with my non contact as I became severely codependent to this woman who I love. It has nearly killed me – I mean like I feel sostressed I might have a stroke or heart attack and my wider family have been so concerned about my health. I owe it to my girls to be sain for them and be there as a dependent and stable dad who can laugh and be relaxed again and shake off this horrible feeling of having to worry about anything around me being wrong, going wrong, or my children stepping out of line by asking for a drink of squash when they come in from school and being accused of being greedy – the list is endless and terribly sad.

    I hope some of what I have written may help some others to see that what they may be in is similar and others like me have the same struggle. Its far from over but I will endure for me and my children. We deserve peace. Love is a strage thing. It can be like a vice, gripping you tight. You can not stop that inner bond for the one who stirred you so long ago and I am sure inside that person they love you just as much – except they are damaged beyond their own understanding and it is the hardest of things because they will only ever change if they recognise their own shortcomings. The chances of that happening are so slim because of the very nature of their damaged socialisation and proud controlling outlook on life.

    1. You cannot wait for her to have that realization. You need to start taking the steps we offer to learn how to stand up for yourself and your kids. I know that type of confrontation scares you – but we are here and offer the steps you need to gain that strength.

  28. To Julia. I have been attempting reconciliation for 5 years. 6 days after divorcing me and telling the magistrate that there was no hope for reconciliation he came to me in tears begging to come back. I couldn’t do it and he again moved in with his mistress. Now he is alone and he begs and while I see great improvements in some behaviors he does continue to lie and break promises and then make me feel either like it is my fault or that I’m over reacting. My counsellor always said to me that I should have him back not when I can trust him but when I can trust myself to maintain firm boundaries without getting angry. I am not there and I know it but I know she is right. It is about my ability to deal with his stuff without losing myself. Not sure if that helps you at all

  29. I’ve worked through all of your materials over the last three years and they saved not only my marriage but also my sanity. It did what two years of professional marriage counseling could not do.

    I always knew that there must be a way that I could change myself and, therefore, change my marriage, even without the help of my partner. My partner was very uncooperative in the counseling process, which is probably why it couldn’t work! Only your information was able to help me take control of myself, my own behavior, and my responses to my partner’s bad behavior and learn better ways of dealing with abuse and anger. Thank you so much!!

  30. Kim and Steve
    Just a note to let u both know that ur site and emails have and do make a possative impact on those who look foward to your emails of insite. I have become a better person more aware and in control of my emotions and self relient to sooth my own emotions. Im greatfull for this tool youve tought me, it keeps me grounded, knowing i can make changes in me to improve my relationships, this is a tool ive always known towork but u reminded me to use. Throught my adult life ive have a saying ive taught my kids ” If you dont like something, you must look inside your self to see what you can do to make it better”. Well this is what you teach so eliquently.

    Thanks again i look forward to your emails. Greatfully J9 🙂 Its me J9

    Message-Id:6ZMSTYQJ_

  31. After 14 years of declining health and feeling like nothing was working because of me, this last year of my life has been eye opening to an almost earth shattering extent. Once he crossed the line of being physically dangerous, it flipped a switch in me; into survival mode where I am finally able to put focus back on me and my needs. He had already betrayed every other form of trust in a relationship (more than once); once he gave me cause to be physically afraid of him the danger and reality of it all just came welling up. I met someone I didn’t know yet it was a person I’d been with for 14 years! Maybe even more scary is that I think he met someone he didn’t know that night too. I am on the road to recovery of myself. I will do what I can within reasonable and healthy limits to help or be there for him but not to the detriment of my own well being anymore. I admit it is hard at times to not slip right back into the old familiar ways and patterns but I know now that my very survival depends on it. Thank you for your work & sharing with us! And for providing a place to share and learn. All the best to you & Steve! <3

  32. I had never heard of narcissism or narcissistic personality disorder until I started googling to find out why the heck I always ended up in relationships with men who took advantage of my kind nature.
    Now I realise why my mother is so horrible too: narcissism.
    Nobody understands how I feel, or why I don’t just leave (them). It’s always out of one frying pan, into another fire: I just seem to attract narcissists

  33. I found this site after a marriage counselor told me she believed my husband has NPD. We’ve been married nearly 15 years and it’s been grueling for the most part. Shortly after getting married, I left and stayed with a friend when I became frightened by his temper. We sought marriage counseling and although he was quick to want to end it, I stupidly believed he “got it.” Soon I realized he had been viewing online pornography and after I angrily confronted him, he said he was “just curious” and minimized the whole thing. Still believing he cared about my feelings and our marriage, I thought he was done with it. A couple years later, I learned he was again looking at Internet pornography. After confronting him calmly, he became enraged and denied everything… accusing me of all kinds of nonsense and blaming me. Once I presented the proof, he had no choice but to acknowledge it but continued to place blame on me. We went to another marriage counselor, but I soon my husband found reasons not to continue going. It seemed the counselor also believed everything my husband told him and outside of getting into confrontation in his office, I didn’t feel we were making any real progress. A couple years ago, we sought out counseling again when we moved out of the US on a job assignment and the pressures were great for both of us. My husband was terminated and it has been about a year and a half he has not had a job and our finances are nearly depleted. The counselor continued to offer me phone support although I was unable to pay, and indicated she felt my husband had NPD. I found this site while searching for more information online. This past year and a half has been extremely difficult. I have felt trapped financially and beaten down emotionally. The free information on this site has helped me enough to keep a measure of peace in the home (not escalate), but I wish I could afford to purchase the materials and gain more strength and wisdom in how to cope. Reading the personal stories here is both encouraging and heartbreaking. Being married to someone with NPD feels so isolating at times. Thank you, Kim and Steve, for your sincerity and support via this site.

    1. Hi Rhonda – Please contact me direct and I will send you free copies of our e-books. If anyone else reading would like to help contribute to us providing books for people who cannot afford them, I would love to hear from you too!

      You can contact me at kimcooper66@gmail.com

  34. I’m glad to read that there are some men posting here. In all of the email we receive, it is evident that many men are also suffering from the issues arising from narcissism. We aim to keep this forum safe for anyone to comment and share their story. Steve.

  35. My story is perhaps a tad unusual. I thought i was really funny, but my wife didn’t agree. I was amusing myself and a few friends as we drifted further apart. We are still friends up to a point, and help each other when we can, but have separate homes. A case of two strongly established personalities who, though initially attracted to each other, found our personalities didn’t mesh enough to remain together.ni am looking for someone else, but she is not. Mild nascissism?

  36. I love your very informative web site.I too am familiar with NPD. my husband is in the Navy and he shows some signs of having NPD. He is away at sea so its not as evident as when he is home. I have to keep my guard up at times, and be assertive.

  37. Hi I’m going through a separation/divorcing my narcissistic ex of 15 years and although it’s all well and good to be feeling so free and happy and finally no anxiety etc. it’s taken alot of patience to ensure things remain calm due to the fact we have children that he is using as his ‘spies’. The other thing is realizing that I have to do something about my behavioural ie to change my co depency that would feed his narcissism so I don’t fall into the same type of relationship in the future. We need to work hard to also accept our role in the unhappy relationship otherwise we wont learn anything from these experiences and end up in the same situation. If we don’t learn from these expereiences it would be a waste. I believe we attracted these type of people into our life to force us to fix our own issues And they attracted us to force them into fixing theirs. Unfortunately sometimes it’s not that simple. Life with narcissists is extremely complicated and I have a lot of respect for anyone who is able to somehow manage to improve their relationship with a narcissist as it takes alot of guts and relentless effort.

  38. Having been separated from what I label my passive aggressive husband for 3 years reading through the above entires is an eye opener to the past. Thankfully with a lot of good therapy and a desire to learn about myself via books and even angel readings I came to understand how I ended up in this kind of relationship….co-dependents tend to match up with these types of poeple….why? To learn….we are in fact attracted to this type of person in a twisted kind of way as there is something familiar about them….something that is similar to our parents….a feeling of coming home….all of the information is there at the beginning but we see that person through rose-coloured glasses. In my case early abandonment issues resulted in me connecting in my life with a man who would trigger that again in my life….why? In order to go back to childhod and integrate that very painful charge….and for him he was smothered in expectations by his mother….controlled….so I triggered her and once again to take him back to his past to resolve all of this..I controlled to stay safe in my world and he took space to make himself feel he could preserve himself….we did some therapy together but it was really about him wanting to think he needed to help me….that all the problems were mine….these types of people tend to place limitations on their own growth…underachieve in order to avoid conflict and power struggles…..over the years he wanted to live in the country….he was part of this Ramtha organization out of Washington whereby this was encouraged….that the world was falling apart….but in reality I now see this as something that would support his “false ego”(that part of us that we created in order to survive our early childhood where parts of ourelves weren’t accepted)….so if he lived in the country and off the land no one could expect anything of him….he would feel free….his false ego wants to think he needs no one and can do everything himself…as a result he shut out experiences and prefered being more anti-social….emotional connections are where his problem lies as it connects him to the past where he didn’t have two loving parents….and yet I would never have seen this when I first met him…he was very lovng and caring and very romantic and we had so much fun together….and I bought in to all as my false ego needed to over help and over fix things due to my abandonment issue….but over the years I enabled him….I felt bad for his early life and wanted to comfort him….like a mother…and hence the transferrence issue was there…..these types of poeple usually have grown up in the shame/blame/punishment enviornment and as a result they inflict that on their partners when the old triggers present themselves….they can’t possibly be at fault….a death to their psyche. During his 13 years with what I would label a cult he had wanted us to sell our house…buy some land and start building an underground shelter….during this time my blood pressure was climbing and I was experiencing gall bladder problems…all reactions to the stress….and we also had our daughter….I managed to maintain a sense of normality about me but at the same time felt sad that I wasn’t being loved the way I should be….I took care of everything except working outside the home….he began drinking with the guys….a habit that started at the Ramtha retreats where drinking copious amounts of red wine was encouraged….after he left all of that behind after 13 years it was like he was always looking for something to make him happy…he began golfing intensely with a group of guys and going on trips….I alwasy felt I could never not be around the home…in essence I was a single parent…and that is one area he has commended me on becasue his own mother wasn’t great in that area….eventually I asked him to leave 3 years ago after I had enough of the drinking and staying out every night and vegging in front of tv on weekends….it was only after I asked him to leave that I began to experience what I found out was anxiety…and that led to me unearthing my abandonment issue…I had phone therapy initially as I couldn’t even leave the house….I thankfully had supportive friends although I must admit I allowed those who couldn’d be there for me to drift away….realizing that many of them are emotionally stuck in their lives and don’t like drama. He went behind my back and went to see our daughter who was away at university to tell her….I got to her first as I found out where he was and it was so painful telling her about it on the phone…and in her own way she said “I just knew it”…because her dad never appeared where she was in school….the two of us walked a precarious road that first summer she came home…but we have a wonderful relationship still as we always did….my husband or whatever I call him is still living in denial and tries to tell me he has a great relationship with his aging mother….and after a run-in just the other night I sent him numerous text messages saying a lot of what I have wanted to say for years…he simply wrote back saying “I’m glad you have me all figured out”….sarcastic of course….but it did help me to feel a sense of completion/closure…I’m not the compliant wife he remembers….I took some computer classes last fall…I had spent a year and a half as a caregiver to the elderly but have now branched out to temp work in offices…I feel more connected to myself as I look behind all the doors of my life…I still have some bouts of anxiety but have my ativan in the cupboard for those moments…..I volunteer in a hopsice a couple of times a month….so wonderful to be around others who are willing to be vulnerable and real. So I guess the end of all of this is realizing we all have a story in our life…the end result is the same I have discovered….we all want unconditional love and believe that other person should somehow have known better than our parents….but the goal is to become whole within yourself…it’s okay to have needs as long as they aren’t overboard….we don’t want to harangue another person within an inch of their life…but at the same time I have learned both people should be willing to meet each other half way….it’s not just one’s person’s fault for the collapse of the marriage and it’s simply the 5 year old in the one won’t own up…the pain is too great for them because then they have to acknowledge that and take responsibility for it. My spiritual growth has grown as my emotional health has increased….I attend bible study now and then and have found people of strong faith around me….people who have actually always been there but I just didn’t see them….I loved the line in the movie “Beastly”…find someone who can see better than you….that really sums it up….and as one friend said “don’t feel bad about moving past him on the road of life”….because part of me didn’t like to think I was growing past him as I value our marriage and family of over 30 years….there are a lot of moments shared and it’s hard to let go of that….but what came to me just today was “I’m just so sick and tired of the story of us”. And I wondered where have I heard that line before and poof it popped into my head….from the movie “the Wedding Date”…..but it is true that after you begin to reclaim yourself you see the other more clearly as you aren’t so caught up in your own issues…..and the other night I saw a part of my husband that irritated me…I thought I just don’t need anyone around me anymore that doesn’t bring harmony into my life….during the past 2 years he lost his job also…due to the fact that he had conflict with his female boss…no surprise there….he reacted because that’s his core issue presenting itself yet again…and so now I think he’s just starting to find some consulting but I think he doesn’t want a full time job so he doesn’t have to support me….very disrespectful and an easy out….I started the divorce process a few years ago when he wanted to divorce me online …the idea of not spending money on that….but after a spell of reclaiming myself I asked myself how did I end up carrying this….once agan his passive aggressive nature was there again….so I stopped the process and he’s done nothing since. He thinks he can avoid the pain by doing it under cloak of cover…and to think we can somehow be friends…that he can show up for the icing on the cake moments….only this past year he wanted to know if the 3 of us could get together for a boxing day dinner….I finally agreed but it was a wrong move for me and for my daughter who saw me in a different light than she had before…so I won’t repeat that mistake again…and nor will I be manipulated again into something….although the other night he drove off with my bike in his truck as he felt I wasn’t using it and someone living at his house could use it…he said he would return it when I wanted it so once I got my boundaries back I texted him and told him I wanted that bike back in a week. I told him he had crossed my boundaries the other night…so I know I have to keep working on boundaries with him…these types are masters of disguise….and when that doesn’t work they will threaten. Their little 5 year ols inside are very rebellious…so I do like the statement that one woman mentioned about not being around that person until you can maintain your boundaries without getting angry….I should emblazon that on every wall in my house….and each day I go to a work site I tell myself to keep my boundaries in place….nice people can have them crossed so easily. For me it’s now having to realize that my grown daughter and I can be a family without him….her relationship will be what it is with him…if he doens’t want to grow and model something better for himself, for her I can’t have that energy around me….whether we ever get divorced one day who knows….but for now I just know I am healtheir and happier when he’s not around…and that’s just a thought happening this week…3 years later….so it’s a process….be kind to yourself….be gentle with yourself…delve into your first 5 years of life….you will find your answers there and even a reputable angel reader can help you with that.

  39. Something I forgot to mention about is that after you try with all your might to figure things out and well “control” things and try to solve the puzzle in the end you realize you have control over nothing…that is where that phrase “let go and Let God” comes in….a phrase that so many of us have heard but which takes time to also be able to take in….something I’m just reaching more fully this past week…and on a spiritual plane we all came into this world to learn something….my lesson was to learn about rejectin and hence acceptance of others and for my husband it was to learn that about his issues of expectations but in the end that he will need people….that what we push against the most is where our greatest life lesson lives…so in the end I learned a valuable lesson from my husband…and I am slowly reclaiming myself…but it’s remembering everyone needs to go at their own pace in this struggle….I went to a support group for separated/divorced people and the leader responded to people who asked how soon they could start dating again…I was amazed but that’s also part of the desire to have someone else “soothe” our little self inside…this man said his rule of thumb was for every 5 years of marriage you need a year of recovery…so after 25 years of marraige I part way there…another two to go and I can actually see that and understand it…and certainly there were moments when I wanted something outside myself to soothe me….those were the moments I called my therapist and no doubt cried like a baby to her…I needed to be heard….yet another early wound for me…and many baby boomers…to be seen and not heard….but in my early life due to my hospital stay as a very young infant I stopped talking for two years….the doctors said it was trauma…but I now think how could my parents have left me like that….so as I say you can look back and find patterns in your life as to why you do and say what you do….but at the same time if that other person won’t meet you half way or think they need to change or in my husband’s case feel marriage doesn’t make him feel free then there isn’t much that change….so I now trying to live my life according to God’s law of Adjustment that a friend informed me of through her church….when we finally stop trying to control the other and leave it up to God then God can get to work on what erros within that person or situation can be changed…but it’s remembering that those changes happen in a time that we may not find acceptable….so live your life….run your own race.

    1. Hi Janet, If you can try and remember to use paragraph breaks you may find that more people read and respond to your posts here. I am interested in your story but my eyes are not as good as they used to be!

  40. My husband has all the traits but I have finally found that kind words back and showing him there are consequences for his actions have given us both a great marriage. We have only been married for 4 months but it wasn’t until I made him feel true love from me that he calmed down.
    I would argue back, verbal abuse back, ignore and scream back and it got us no where.
    I have learnt that instead of batteling him I have stepped back and showed him love, forgiveness and acceptance.
    I realized at some point him acting like a man in some situations I was trying to change him and turn him more like me, a natural comforting, nuturing woman then I realised I need him to still be a man.
    Everything we do to each other and for each other must be in true love, if it is anything less we will fail.
    God bless everyone, remember even Jesus got spat on, stonned, beaten and hung on a cross and treated so badly by others and yet he still loved them all, forgiveness means to really let go, to say goodbye forever to past hurts, it’s a tough one but will set you free. Today you are brand new, re write it all over again, you have another chance everyday.

  41. i have been with a man for 4 yrs and since i have cleared my head of alcohol i see that he really doesnt know how to love..i have a 14 & 12 yr old boys that he does NOt like and hes rude and volital towards them. i have had my right eye socket broke by him 3 yrs ago an just this march 312 2012 he raised his hand to hit me again but i moved. i have tried to make this tokeep stabilitymy boys but i cant hardly stand being in the same house…im not sure how i even feel anymore

    1. Hi Mary, I hope that you are safe now and that the advice we offer can help you understand some of what you have been through and help you to heal.

  42. It it amazes me to read the stories. This has been my life for years. I have been such an idiot. When I met him. I was a single mother of 2 yiyg kids. He prestende to be this sweet guy who would never hurt a fly… oh what a lie. He isolated me from my family, took all my money. was a very successful man in his career but always broke. taking from me. little by litle he drove a wedge between me and my kids. I caught him soliciting hookers on the internet and he was obsessed with porn. He drove me into the pits of he;ll telling me it was my fault the he cheated. He called me horrible names all the time and convinced me it was my fault. I have just recently gotten away from him and I am so thankful. I tried to make it work, I cahnged, I ran interference, I sat on the edge of my seat everyday and walked on eggshells and still I was under constant attack. He stood over me every morning before I woke bitcheing about the day and he met me at the door every night bitching about the day. There was nothing but negative comments. I got to where I spent hours in the bed pretending to be asleep so he would not talk to me and I became severely depressed. BUT my GOD reached down and delivered me from this evil man and I have been set free. If you think he can be cured from his evil cheating mean stealing manipulitive abusive ways, then you can have him. There is not a program out there for this man!

    1. Hi Becky, I am glad that you got away from him and you are safe now. It is not always so easy to do. Narcissism cured refers to our story, we are not trying to pretend we can or want to cure everyone of their narcissism. I do not think you or anyone else has any obligation to help a person with this disorder. Cured to me is if you are free and in a place where you feel free and can heal.

  43. So I ahve given him to God.. I have forgiven him.. I have turned away from his wicked ways and I have released him to Jesus. I am FREEEEEEEE!!!!!

  44. What it come down to in the end, is do you want to
    stay in a releation ship without real love, they do
    not care. I feel in my relationship, i,m only here for a while,( 4 years now )even if we are very close and i,m the only real person in his life. He has a huge fantasy world,much of his time is used on internet dating.And he often fall “in love ” with a picture from foreign ladies, he has a hang up for girls from Ukraina.They are often not real,just pictures of young beatiful girls, that only want to make money from old “stupid”man.He is a very smart man,i do not understand. It is just a game he says.About other women, it is about feed the ego, if you play it right , he will not leave you.They are afraid of being left.And also he do not care if he is unfaitful to you, it does not mean anything to him. I have been true all his cycles now, depression,high up,cold and warm,manipulation( not work on me any more )fake ilness for sympathy, but it is realy all his bad feeling inside , that is so strong that he is not able to keep his fake image outside.It help a lot to educate your self about how this disorder works.It makes you able to survive in the relation ship, but a normal person can not realy understand his world.And if he act normal i have learn, very bad things will come soon after.Like he will go on holiday without me.My man is a nice narsisst,even is it is all about him. I have asked if he is able to control that, he do not know, he have never tried.The strange thing is that closer i come to him, moore he treat me bad.I often feel sorry for him,but why should i, he do not care.I’m afraid of leaving him,cause maybe the next girl will get what i did not, but then i also think , it is not so, cause he is not able to have close relation ship not with me not with anybody. He will always treat you like a princess in the first, when he got you he loose interest, and start to treat you bad.I also think when he is showing feeling and understanding it is learn behavour, not real.Why do i waste my time, cause he is also very funny, smart, we have a lot of fun, laughing, same interest and we are never bored together.He is very smart and i learn a lot from him all the time, he have inspired me a got my creative side out.It is about free your mind from , not care what other people think. My friends say i’m stupid,but i have a few good friends i thrust and talk about all the bad and crazy thing, they lisson and do not judge, to keep me healty i need that, i ‘m lucky that have good friends and supporting family.If not i would have broken down.
    But i think for me to be happy, i have to leave, i do not think he realy change and that he one day will love me even if i’, very good playing with.
    To give myself a change to be loved back, i have to leave…. but i will not happend cause i’m hooked by his manipulation. The end he will decide,when he find a another women that is better than me.I need a push to leave first….

  45. Dear Steve and Kim
    I came across your website when I was trying to make sense of what was going on within my marriage. It seems like a long time ago now. Bit by bit, the pieces of the puzzle came together and it wasn’t quite what I had expected! I was fairly sure my husband had NPD, having been raised by an NPD mother, but to discover I was codependent was the biggest shock of all.
    That was the turning point. I had all but given up on the marriage. Once I could work on changing my own perception, it all started to change. Now, whilst we do not have the perfect marriage, we have a much better relationship that we have had in 36 years. Plus I have my self respect back.
    I’m very glad I came across your website and that you have shared your experiences that have shown others there alternatives, so thank you.

  46. I have been with my N for 4 years and I have educated myself so much starting with this site and also others about 3 years ago. About 3 years now, a year into our relationship, I knew something was off about this person I was with. Somehow, I managed to stay with him and I have realized that the whole last 4 years with him have been a heartache in every way, shape and form. I feel like I have lost 4 years of my life and I stayed because the N’s program us to stay until we are pushed to our absolute limit and I have reached that point, but it is not easy to leave either.

    1. Hi Laura,

      I wonder if you have worked through the steps and exercises in Back From the Looking Glass and The Love Safety Net Workbook? There is much more in our books that what is offered on our sites.

  47. I read all the posts and it is reasuring that what others are experiencing is similar to what I am.
    I come from a bit of a different position. I am older, 65 and was a narcissist much of my life. I wasn’t raised that way but became that way to excuse my irresponsible behavior in caring for my family of 5 children. I am not proud of that and over the years have owned up to my shortcomings and because of the the loving hearts of my children and even ex wife, they have forgiven me.

    I was in a second marriage for 20 years, to a good woman who put up with my selfishness and arrogance thinking I would change. Instead, she changed and lost the zest for life and finally we decided to seperate and then divorce. We are still friends and still have love and respect for each other.

    II was then single for 10 years, had a number of girlfriends but was not willing to commit nor did I find one that I felt could love me and call me on my crap without throwing us away. In addition, I wanted to recommit to my spiritual past and change my life.

    In that 10 year period, I hit bottom, I guess you would say. I realized that no one could make me happy but I had to accept who I was and who I Ihad become with total honesty and humility and change those things that I had hidden and become the person that I was really capable of being. That with admiting my errors and even asking forgiveness to parties involved.

    I became real, honest, humble and willing to show oters my underbelly, if you will. I was ready to find the woman who also had come thru the bath of fire and was ready to forget the illusions and was ready for a real, honest, loving marriage. So I met a woman on the internet that seemed to possess the qualities that would make for a good marriage mate and I was attracted to her and her to me, supposedly. We started talking in June, met for a 3 hour period to be sure that psyically there was that “chemistry” and decided to continue our relationship and take it to the next step. She came to my place to see how I lived and we had both agreed that we weren’t going to draw this thing out, that if she liked things here we would get married while she was here and work the rest of it out, including her moving here as we could. We did all that and got married on Friday am, after her arrival on Wed. WeI put her back on a plane on Mon am and spent a few days with her in Nov, where she met some of my family and I hers and then in Jan, meeting more of my family and finally moved her somewhat reluctantly to my home in Feb.

    This took constant reasurrence that it would be ok. She was still tied to her previous life witha mother, sisters, an immature son who had lived with her for 8 years, a hellish upbringing with abuse in the family and her daughter having commited suicide 3 1/2 years previously. I saw the sweet side of her and felt that when we finally got together, our love would cover a multitude of inadequices and we would be fine. I guess I should say also that she had previously dated several millionares and almost married one at the time of her daughters death.

    She also works for a millionare as a housekeeper and a Nanny and so that seems to further he worthiness of being all knowing and deserving of the finest of things.

    Anyway, as you can see her expectations were certainly different than mine. I am not a millionare and will never be but we could have apretty good life if we were willing to do things ourselves and live within a budget.

    Unfortunately, I have married a narcissistic. Pay backs are unpleasant, to say the least. She had in her minds eye the life that she was deserving of and felt because I was nice that I could be cajoled and verbally abused enough to be wwilling to do whatever she needed. While at the same time being used to dealing with her immature sib, and having the leverage of kicking him out if he didn’t do as she requested, proved to be an irrational expectation on her part. I am the type of person, at this time in my life, that will give people that he loves all that he has and is capable of if approached with kindness and appreciation. Bludgening does not get it. Constantly being told what to do as if I was her son and demeaned and degraded because I had not accomplished more in my life. Even though, I am apretty successful self-employed businessman, own my home with a few acres and have horses etc. A pretty good lifestyle. By no means a millionare.

    Never the less, things went sideways and she didn’t always get her way, would throw a fit and go to the I don’t love you, I hate you, I wish I had never met you and do you realize how repulsive you are and then pack up her vehicle and head back to her house, with her job waiting, hher son and family still in place and she didn’t want to be married anymore. After 3 months, she came back with some reservations, became more verbally abusive, called family, church friends, degrading me and even ex-girlfriends trying to get negative scoop and then took off again after three months and does not want to work on anything or try anything, counseling etc. but concludes we are done.

    Sorry to go on so long, I will finish shorthy. The relegion we belong to adheres to the bibical rules that only adultery or psyical abuse or being unwilling to financially support my wife are grounds for seperation and divorce. So that lealeaves us in a mess, married, estranged with no real hopes of reconciliation and us not even being willing to talk.

    We have been seperated now for eight months and we don’t even talk. She is right about everything and a victim in any thing that negativly impacts he annd throws a fit if she doesn’t get her way. Does not admit any responsibility in anything, nor posesses even the slightest bit of humility. She is gifted and I should feel really lucky to have been able to capture her and marry her.

    Anyway, it looks pretty hopeless until she hits bottom and realizes that she too has faults and is not necessarily worthy of the finest of all things and be allowed to be an unappreciative, spoiled brat.

    I have left the situation up to God, as it is hard to clap with one hand, her there and me here and us being unable to even talk. I am returning to my life without any expectation of change and if an when she hits the wall and gets a reality check, I am willing to look at things then, sort it out and see where we can go from there.

    Moral- Narcissists can change, although it might take a lot of time and life experience and reflection and hitting the bottom.

    I

  48. Let’s have more success how-tos and specifics on how you were able to turn things around. We’re all familiar with the devastating NPD behaviors and, although venting feels good, repeating the details does little good.

  49. Hi Everyone….I would like to say something to everyone of us that were married to are involved with a Narcissistic person. You can never fix the problems by dealing with the problems. Even if you have hard core evidence of what they have done…they turn it on you, and find a reason and say “It’s because….and then blame you.” They will try to call you insane, and will try to turn your family, friends, and children against you.

    Here’s the best answer I’ve found, which I’m certain goes along with Kim’s answers….believe in God, and turn it over to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is like our mother and God is like our father. There’s one Bible scripture that says, “God will straighten out the crooked path and make it all straight for you.” That is all I could depend on. My ex was probably addicted to prostitution, and he also was doing some fraud, and many other things…hiding it from me. I raised the kids, and did believe him when he said it was my fault. However, the Holy Spirit is the door..but he works by invitation only. So just try it and see…invite the Holy Spirit into any situation in your life, and that opens the door for God to do his work. God doesn’t like Narcissistics…Satan was one, and God is also for you and against them. I tried it, and then do nothing yourself. Just do your every day normal activities, and do not REACT. Even when I stopped reacting to the Big N….he also tried to say “She’s insane…she reacts to nothing.” So…still do not hear them. Rely on God and the path he gave through the Holy Spirit. Christ said, “I’m sending you a comforter, a teacher and a helper.” For all problems. All of them!!! So, please try this, and you will see things change for your benefit. And you will see the Narcissitic one suffer their consequences. If God is with you, and you do not react…then whatever the N. does goes out toward you. But it hits up against God…not you. So God sends it right back to them, and it will blast them. And guess what? The only effort you used is 1) inviting the Holy Spirit in 2) NOT REACTING….and God takes care of the rest.

    I hope this helps…and then after it does help…guess what it does? Grows your faith, makes you confident, and know God. What is better than that!!!!!

    1. Hi Jackie, If your house is on fire you need to call the fire department and not just pray and wait for God to put the fire out. In the same way we believe it is very important that you learn to defend yourself. This is a virtue and it is called valor. You are correct that a person with narcissistic tendencies will try and turn things against you if you complain or try and lay blame and this is why we present many more effective options than simply complaining. Learning how to not get drawn into arguments and not use negative emotions to try and change your partners behavior is very important but this is NOT the same as not reacting. It is normal and healthy to get angry when we are disrespected and insulted and it is important that you know how to show disapproval without being sucked into a fight or feeling you need your partner to help you feel better and be back on your feet. I recommend that you make the small investment necessary to have a look at the steps we offer in our books. I am certain you will find that they do not conflict with your faith.

  50. I feel very blessed to have come across this website. I too am married to a man with npd. In the begining I didn’t think I would be able to stay with my husband due to fear and hopelessness, things would get better and the get so much worse. Every website on npd was so negitive saying things would never get better my only option was to leave but I couldn’t I loved him and knew deep down he felt the same but do to his upbringing (his father is also a narcissit) he couldn’t help his behavior. I started talking to him about npd and gave him examples of that behavior and eventually he was able to spot it in himself. He has grown so much and is a completely different man than I first got with. I thank God for Km and Steve and showing people that divorce is not the only option for people in relationships with npd.

  51. I’m the narcissist. Thank God for a wife who has stood beside me, prayed for me and was willing to risk sharing this with me. Such a bummer to have to accept this dreadful label. At first I thrashed and struggled against it, as an animal desperately trying to free itself from a snare. I blamed others, justified my actions and tried to defend myself. Finally, I gave up, cried out to God and told Him I was willing to go through anything if He would restore my marriage. Only then did I began to see this in myself. Only then did the blinders begin to come off my eyes. Now I’m on the long and frightening journey to healing. Step one: listen through ears that are not focused on defending myself, but hearing what my wife is really saying from a heart wounded by the very person who should be protecting and caring for her. Thanks Steve and Kim. Most of all, thanks to my extraordinary wife and to a merciful God.

  52. I really feel that I was close to death. I had reached a point where I was begging God to give me the strength to kill myself as twisted as that sounds. Our life had been wonderful and he was wonderful. Sure, looking back now I can see that there were signs all along. But, it’s not like I knew what they truly meant then. Then it seemed almost as if overnight I went to bed relatively happy and woke up to a pure nightmare. I felt like I also all of a sudden was in bed with a complete stranger. I also felt like I had become a stranger to myself too. I had allowed him to beat me down so badly and so quickly which was even more confusing because typically by nature I had always been the stronger personality even the more dominant one. Never in a million years did I think anyone would have ever been able to reduce me to the puddle of despair I had become. One day as I was actually looking over the stash of various pills I had trying to decide if I had “enough” I feel the wet nose of the one person that had been battling it out right alongside me. It was as if he was saying please don’t leave me to deal with this nightmare on my own. I’m just a puppy you know I am surely just as dead if you do. Then it was like something snapped in me and I said to myself… What the *ef* am I doing??! How did I let this happen??? How did I get here?? This is NOT NORMAL!! He is NOT NORMAL!! There is nothing wrong with me… there is SOMETHING WRONG with him!! THERE HAS TO BE!!

    Then I went to work online looking for answers… I knew… I felt something in me telling me to just keep looking and I will find it. I just started searching via whatever I think of that might lead me somewhere. I think I started with something even as simple as “Adults that call people names.” The names and hurtful things he would say… I would hear him speak that way to everyone. Like a school yard bully, not an adult, not normal. Eventually a click of link here and then it would lead me to a click there and then over here and onto this other link until I landed on a site http://www.narcissism101.com/. I remember scrolling down the page… Narcissism, what’s this about? Narcissist, I think I know what that means. Then I scrolled down to “Symptoms.” The first one, “has a grandiose sense of self-importance.” It was like hearing the heavens part and all of a sudden I felt my back begin to straighten and almost immediately I felt life start to flow again. Ironically a word that he had shortly before picked up and used in whatever content he could was “grandiose.” He had thrown it around so much and so overdone that people were starting to actually crack jokes about it. However, it was that word that jumped out at me on the page because he had been saying and it is why I kept reading. I read down the rest of the symptoms, one after the other.. check, check, check. I finally had my answer! Well, part of it anyway. I at least had confirmation that it wasn’t me..

    Now that I had him figured out I was able to at least find my footing again. I at least was able to learn and study what I was up against. But, what I spent months and months looking for was .. okay, how do I fix him and fix this mess. Site after site after site basically all said.. you can’t, give up and get out and get away. I had refused to believe that now that I had it figured it out that it was now the end of the road, get out move on, count your losses. Then one day I believe I landed on one of Kim and Steve’s YouTube videos. It is the one where Steve talks about how while he was off doing as he pleased Kim was at home, “doing her homework”…just like I had been doing. It was the first ray of hope that I had. Because even though this monster had taken over him there was still a guy in there somewhere that was at one time completely wonderful and had swept me off my feet. I almost felt like it was him too, that guy..that I had to rescue too. Unfortunately though by the time I had gotten this far it was basically too late. So much distance had grown between us and the communication was broken so badly I did not know how to find a way to get him on board and we did split almost exactly a year ago. However, I still have kept learning everything I can and have used it to help others. Sadly though I will admit I still battle it out with him and guess I keep holding on to hope. As a matter of fact I had plans to purchase your book and was waiting until my paycheck the next day. Then in an uproar & narcissistic rampage he packs up, moves out suddenly and disconnected all the utilities and internet. I had been working three jobs from home all dependent on the internet and he knew because he also worked for the internet company that it would likely take me two weeks to get an account set up and connected in my name. I lost all three of my jobs. What provoked this uproar? I had spent a week giving my attention to my oldest and dearest of friends that was dying and it made him jealous. My friend passed the day after he left. So, I have spent the last year rebuilding me and my life and my finances from scratch. In away ya, it sucks that I have gone through what I have but, in a way I have also gained an invaluable education on people that I have used to help a few others. I still hope to purchase your book soon just can’t just yet. But, I look forward to it and I still have not given up on him I will admit. Not until I can say I have tried everything, which is following your guide in your book. Just not in budget quite just yet.

  53. To add to my story, about a year and half ago I received an email from a friend of mine that I had not actually spoken to or heard from in a long time. Her email was so sad and in such a state of hopelessness and despair. It was if I could’ve written it myself two years prior. By this point I was already a year in my “self-education.” It took me just not even halfway through her email before I knew exactly what she was going through and exactly what she was dealing with. I told her that I knew at the time that she cannot even fathom that I could know what she was going through but, if she just trust me she will learn that I did and furthermore if she just at least gave me the chance and did as I asked her too I would help her find the answers. But, I warned her it isn’t going to be the answer you hope for but, she will at least have one and I told her if she started “doing her homework” she will find life in herself again. She would call me and say.. “this happened and I said this to him and you know how he responded…” I would cut her off and say.. “Let me guess.. he said this and then he did this and blamed it on that.. yadda yadda.” She would say.. “Oh My God.. how did you know!!??” I would just tell her to just keep trusting me and eventually she will figure that out on her own. Then I would say.. “Okay, when he comes back for round two.. instead of u saying this or that.. instead I want you to do this and then that and then when he says this.. you respond by saying that & then this.. and then he will do that.” She would call me back later just giggling… Oh MY GOD.. you nailed everything he said and did.. just like how you predicted. I told her…. Because I simply already know and have done my homework. Are you ready to do yours? Within a year she went from complete hopelessness sending me “goodbye texts” because she was just going to die to sending me text showing off her brand new condo and her new job, her new life.. Where I had told her was her “library” was your site. I think it is so wonderful what you have done. You aren’t just some degree wall hanging therapist who says they know what is what because it’s what their textbooks said in college. You are someone who is just as real her, as real as I was and am. As real as anyone that is looking for guidance and what better resource than from someone who has already been down the same road. Thank you.

  54. Janet B., thank you for sharing. I can relate to many of your experiences. The best part of this for me is seeing that I am not crazy. I haven’t “labeled” my husband; npd IS a reality.

    I also see that my co-dependency helps to fuel this dysfunctional relationship, and if there is to be change, it starts with me. I cannot continue to be who I am, and hope that my husband will magically change who he is.

    Thank you to all who have shared. It helps to see that I am not alone. Thank you, Kim and Steve, for being an example and helping others.

  55. The last few months my ex has been pleading to come back and putting in some good effort to being helpful. But I have continued to suffer from high anxiety and that big pit in my stomach that tells me something is not right. Two days ago I found out why. His ex girlfriend/ mistress was delighted to send me texts about all the lovely times they have been having lately. When I asked him about it first he lied, then he said it meant nothing, then he said it was because I keep pushing him away. There is truth in that. Because I have an intuition about something not right I push him away. Then he feels he can justify messing with other women. So it ends up being a catch 22. I am so very very tired of our saga. The thing that I cannot work out is when you should try harder and when you should walk away. If it wasn’t for my kids who live their dad being around I believe I could walk away at this point. But they are still young. Do I owe it to them to try harder? I don’t know how to make a decision. I also have this very bitchy ex girlfriend of his tormenting me and cyber stalking me. I just want peace in my life. How to stop the merry go round?

    1. Hi Sharon, They are great questions and only you can decide if you have it in you to try and turn things around. Either way Back From the Looking Glass will really help you get off that merry go round.

      PS. If you do decide to let him come home next time you talk to him try and get him to tell you something he doesn’t like about his mistress in some kind of detail. You might ask him why he loves you more than her and then keep plying him for details. If you can get him to tell you in a text message would be even better, because then instead of you even needing to tell her you can simply forward his text to her. Then when she is mad as a cut snake with him – home might feel like a really warm and safe place to be! But please don’t do this without reading the steps in Back From the Looking Glass first. You really need to know what you are in for before you take this on!

  56. Hi Everyone,

    I have been living with N for three years now. Our relationship has been very up and down emotionally. I didn’t realize until I came across this website that there was a name for his behavior, but when I read the list of NPD traits it fit him completely. That in itself was a relief! I wasn’t crazy! So I’ve read some of the ebooks, got myself some meditation tapes, and started speaking up for myself and doing things for myself. I even put a list of “comebacks” together to help me remember when I’m in the heat of things.

    I’m learning to speak up for myself, to say what I want and need. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been worth the anxiety! I do see improvement! And I’ve only been working at it for about a month.

    He is my third relationship. And all of them have been NPD. I am now 55 years old and I decided I’m not going through this again! If I left I would only attract another NPD, which is the last thing I want! So I decided to work on myself.

    Unfortunately, I raised two beautiful daughters in NPD environment and they have had to suffer through relationships similar to mine. My oldest has been lucky enough to find a wonderful non NPD man after suffering through 10 years of her first marriage with an NPD. My youngest daughter is now probably in the last stages of her marriage ( with two children). I hate to see them suffer……

    I will share this website with my daughter when the time is right.

    Thank you to Kim and Steve for sharing your story in hopes of helping many others that are going through similar circumstances. I know I have a long road to still go, but now I have the tools I need to help me along the way….. Have a great day!

  57. My story is so like so many others. I too met a man and fell in love almost immediately. There were some ‘issues’ Iknew he was emotionally vulnerable, but me being a compassionate and unbeknown to myself very codependent individual, thought I could help him. The then lack of insight into my own emotional needs blinded me and I had no idea how much torment I was about to allow be unleashed on me.

    I can totally relate to Kay’s experience of the shock of waking up one day to find a monster a stranger next to me. I was so confused and I did what so many do I sucked in the guilt and the blame. I think what is so frightening is the rapid toxicity of this disorder I felt like I was drowning, suffocating and I felt paralysed. Deep down I knew there was something wrong with him, but I also knew I was protecting him but in protecting him I was potentially anihillating myself. It was that that was so scary.

    Thank god my instinct for survival is strong and I managed God knows how, to come across an article on NPD and from there I found Kim and Steve. For the first time in ages I felt I had broken the surface and could breath. It was marvellous and for this I cant theank you enough.

    I have bought the ebooks which are fantastic so practical and read the blogs avidly as well as other peoples postings. I have also joined a codependency group . For me the most benficial peice of advice has been the self soothing and the snip with the scissors.

    I dont feel so despairing and I have found my feet. We, my partner and I are still together and much to everyones surprise he is seeing a psychologist. I thought everything had got better, however he had a relapse and has gone into blaming me again mode and this time his moody sulky withdrawal lasted for alot longer.

    But although I was initially very upset I am not so despairing or paralysed. And I put that down to the strength I have drawn from the support and advice I get from here. I cant say whether we will survive this episode, we are talking but not excessively as I am aware he sometimes uses these times to try and draw me in, so I put a limit on the time we spend talking and just get on with my stuff.

    I try to use use the advice and support from here and my group as part of my daily practice and if I forget and get sucked in I try to forgive myself. It still feels hard at times, but I feel Im moving forward and more importantly Im developing as a person.

    God bless and best wishes

    1. Hi Geraldine – The setbacks can be devastating and I think are why many people think this is incurable. Now is the time that you need to review your workbook exercises and see which area you have dome the least work on. That is the area that may now bring near miraculous results.

  58. Hi everyone, I am a narcissistic and ashamed of it. I am grateful for having found Kim and Steve’s website.

    I have lost the only relationship where I was not been abused due to my own behaviour and have no hope for any future relationship. I want to change and feel in despair at times and confused from past rejection at mercy of other narcissistic people that abused me. I recently investigated in the bible which seems to offer much support but hope I can change.

  59. Even after reading all of Kim’s materials and web site, I’m scared I will be working on my marriage for the rest of my life instead of actually having a marriage or a life. Because the wounds are so many and so deep, can love or feelings or affection ever come back? I’m doubting…

    1. It is a lot of work Renee, but in my situation I had little choice. Also I found that as I became stronger it made it easier for me to forgive.

  60. I was so relieved to finally find someone who would not immediately counsel me to end my 11 year marriage.

    As a child of divorce, I was unmotivated to get married, and diagnosed with aspergers, dated rarely. My husband on his best days is like the Chevy Chase character in Christmas Vacation – grandiose visions of how things ought to be. He sells it well, and sometimes he pulls it off and it is magnificent. He does not handle disappointment well which is a natural by-product, and suffers deep depression.

    He has gradually cut himself off from friends and family because no one lives up to his standards. I continue to disappoint him because I am too independent and don’t prioritize him first enough. Quick to blame anyone but himself for his unhappiness or switch to martyr when backed into a corner of plain facts. He thrives on baiting arguments and hates that I resist engaging in them.

    I am lucky because I grew up impervious to peer pressure and socialization. This drives him crazy because he can’t “get at me” – so he results to blaming me for everything, trying to elicit sympathy, and that he loves me and will do anything for me – why don’t I match his efforts? I told him in gentle words that he needs to find other sources of happiness in addition to me because I can’t be his only source. When he drinks it is awful, but never physical, just relentlessly verbal.

    I am easy-going and happy with simple things, whereas he constantly disqualifies “quality time” and shuns my efforts to express closeness. He subscribes to more traditional occasional fathering instead of sharing the duties, then accuses me of spending too much time with our 7 year old son (not with him).

    He has amazing rebound abilities, and is incredibly intelligent and caring. He is a great dad and husband and friend when he is not suffering. His recent revelation shows a depth that is wonderful but not consistant: “I have always been the star (a national champion athlete and favored son) and now I’m just a stage hand” recognizing that my strength is now prevailing and our roles in life have switched. He feels very sorry for himself, in spite of my encouragement that he can find/star in new things.

    He historically made his ex-wife and girlfriends so miserable they asked for a divorce, which in his mind, made it their fault. I have no intention of divorcing him, but am rather tempted to push him towards fulfilling his overtures of flirting so that I can get a break from ego stroking, but this is no solution, and he will be absolutely miserable.

    He controls the money, but has acquiesed when I press him for an inventory of our accounts, balances or require some out of the ordinary expenditure.

    As I read your materials Kim, it is not the strength and independence I need to develop, it is waiting for him to see that no matter what he does, at the end of the day I am still there for him willing to start a fresh slate the next morning. But we are in a circular situation, and he has really worked a complex web of illusions he adopts at will. One day I feel like he’s made headway and self awareness, then the next day he’s back to the denial and blame games. I remain as constant as I can, telling him I am not looking for apologies.

    I am continuing to read when I can, and hope that there is something in your words that will help us to make it over this hump we keep running up against.

    Thanks again for your encouragement and support.

  61. I don’t know where to start. I’m stressed right now and was just yelled at for taking a time out for a completely unrelated issue and yet related b/c he broke my back and the disability and the blended family. WTHeck! This has always been more than very difficult. I’m so tired.

    1. You urgently need the steps in Back From the Looking Glass to set 100% no abuse boundaries (with teeth). If for any reason you cannot purchase it please contact us today.

  62. Hi Kim
    Thanks for your response. I read back from the looking glass yesterday. It was very helpful.
    He’s too devious to put anything in writing. I’ve tried to get him to respond to texts and emails but he never will. That way he can always deny what he says to either one of us. And he can blame the other one for exaggerating.

  63. I’m glad Renee asked the question of is it worth it and if you followed all of Kim’s approach, will life get easier and the marriage more stable? Kim, you say you had no choice. But I do have a choice. I am financially independent and have a good job and my own house. I don’t need him other than to fulfill my emotional desire to have my family together for my kids, and of course because my codependency makes me feel I must have him to be happy. But I do have a choice. Given this, is it crazy to attempt to salvage a relationship with him given there is so much hurt and pain to get through? I know that there is not a single member of my family or friends who would support me to have him back.

  64. I have been with a man for 48 years, when we were dating I should of seen all the red flags my gosh he was so controlling and demanding. I think I took this simce I was so young that he showed he really cared about me. No matter how many friends and family told me to look at this situation I was so attracted to him that all I wanted was be with him. I got married after dating him four years and you would think I would seen that he was not going to be a good life partner no all I wanted was him because he was hard to get. He did things that a normal person would of said good bye but no I stayed for more punchinshment. After we were married he came home out of the military and wanted to hang in bars all the time. I had to deal with that for many years then he moved out amd wamted his freedo, with living with a friend and enjoy being with womemn. We have been in counciling for so mamy times durimg the years now he won’t go cause he has given up trying to make it better, he said its all my fault and I am hard to live with. He does not look at any of his faults and will never omit he starts all the problems and fights. I have tried to leave him several times but when it gets close he wants back. I thought as we get older he would mellow but not him he is worse then ever. He has rules mow he doesn’t want to ride in the same car or go out to dinner or take a trip with me he said he fears a problem when we are out amd he is stuck with me. This mam wants his freedom and live free he pays hardly anything towards bills and continues to use me to take care of everything. He does nothing around the house to improve it and doesn’t care. I would like to give up on this cause I am so tired of his womanizing, his pormo, his arragont actions and to watch him use people to get what he wants is almost to hard to bare. These people have no clue what he wants out of them. He bends over backwards for everyone he needs to use to get what he wants. He is a good grandpa but he is not a good father to our son only the daughter. The son is too much like him and so he doesn’t like him for that reason. He hates for me to ask him questions and has to have a P.O. Box for his mail and a lock on his cell he is so sneaky in everything he does. I have caught him in so many lies he has to be the biggest liar in the world. He persues women all the time I have proof on that and show the adult kids so they know what their Dad is all about. He is verbally abusive and is a total control freaks. He does not like to share anything with me especially friends he wants them to think I have the problem not him. I have told him I am wise to all his issues and he ignores all what I say. He is not responsible in paying bills and would of had us in trouble if I didn’t stay strong to handel the money. He hides all that he does and tells me the last momemt if he is going or doing anything. He likes old womem he has gotton a home out of one of them already. It’s amazing how he works to get what he wants. I know he is using me and as long as I keep paying he will stay here. I have asked him if he is so miserable to move on but he won’t start divorce proceddings cause he knows that it takes money to do so. He wants me to do it. I can see no light at the end of the tunnel with him and I just try to do my own thing and let him get away with murder. I need to get disconnect from the codependency cause I still want to be around him after all the bad things he does to me daily. Thank goodness I am a care taker type and I know how to take care of myself. I listen to a hynotist every other day, I do yoga and breathing excersises everyday. I listen to soothing music amd I walk. I pray allot to make me feeling better and hope for guidance. I have told my oldest granddaughter what to look for in a realtionship she is 21 amd shows how toxic this type of relationship is and not to fall into a trap. I continue to work full time (27 years with my company) he works when he feels like it for all the 44 years and is semi retired. He has not been much of a provider at all. He likes to play then work.

  65. I have read some of your work and some of the blogs. It sounds familiar in my marriage which has ended and I devastated. The thing that has me questioning is that we both seem to exhibit the characteristics you describe as Narcissistic. The wife has labelled me this (and others in the past)and I have asked professionals and friends. They do not see me this way, but then the books say that a NPD suffer can be someone different in public.

    Some of what I read here seems to blame the other person heavily for their behaviour and seldom looks at any causal factor the victim may be doing. For instance, I have come to realise I never set firm boundaries that you suggest. I permitted my feelings, wishes, need for a hug or terms of endearment to be overlooked because her needs were more important. She was always busy doing things which were good in themself, but many times came across as seeking attention and affirmation. The disregard for my desire or wish to be heard and acknowledged (included what I said earlier)led to me becoming quietly resentful. This made me less likely to reach out and make her feel important because I wanted her to reach out first. I went from being hurt to resenting her manipulation then to being embittered towards her. We ended up in a spiral. The blame game was subtle but now I look at our selfishness and see nothing but the fall of humanity. When she said it was over I fell apart and saw what I had become which was horrible. Now, I see in her the same bitterness I had and wonder how long it has been there.

    The craziest thing is that I have said to my ex wife that I love her, but it was rejected. I would do things for her but they were rejected. My kids feel like they are being controlled by her and fear her sudden change from happy to anger now that I have been forced out of the home. They question her love for them as they questioned mine a year or so ago. The pain in us both goes back and is deep. I do not want this to end for marriage is for “better or worse, richer or poorer in sickness and in health”

    We have had worse and we have/are both sick, but I see good coming out of this. Healing. I see that running from a problem never fixes it. All that happens is that we carry it to the next place we go.

    So, the question remains in my mind,
    How do I determine if I have NPD or Co-depenancy both or something else?

  66. Forgive me, I meant to say “My wife…” and certainly not “THE wife”
    I meant no disrespect to her or any woman. It was simple a mistake I did not pick up when spell checking.

  67. Hi, tonights episode with the “Histrionic Narcissist” is where we ring up the person we’ve known for many years (the one we feel we can target) and even though we know ahead of time that they will be in a meeting and we’ll find perverted power in the disturbance, we start a conversation that we can quickly railroad into our abuse of that person and thier part in our own percieved downfall whilst seeking whatever reaction may catapult us to centre of attention whilst side stepping and/or ignoring any responsibility for our actions past, present or future. Our reason for doing it yet again? One of those reasons is we are seeking attention of the opposite sex in the very near future once again and some-one needs to be accountable. Some-one that we can say kept us from our fairytale existance of having all we ever wanted (without reason or accountability). In other words we are seeking our next affair, we don’t wish to be viewed as a slut and want the option of having some-one else accountable. We also practice ungarded sex, inflicting another twice now with transmittable diseases.

  68. Kim, In the beginning when you began your journey with Steve as you describe in Back From The Looking Glass, did you need to sort of disassociate or detach yourself from Steve? Sort of like letting him know this was not acceptable and to enable your own personal growth? If so, how did he react? It sounds posetively yet some more detail would be appreciated. And, as embarrassed as I feel to ask, what about physical intimacy?

    1. Yes definitely. I told him that I wasn’t going to leave him but that I was also not going to let him drag our family into the gutter! There are numerous tools through our e-books and audio products to help with this including; Magic scissors, learning scripts to disengage from non productive conversations, self soothing, emotionally intelligent goal setting, and scripts to counter put downs and abuse. These new skills we teach are all about disassociating from negative behaviour that once I would get trapped in with Steve. Then on the other hand the you will also find exercises (particularly in the Love Safety Net Workbook), to start forming healthier connections and associations on better levels.

  69. I’ve been married to a narcissistic, borderline personality disorder spouse for four years. Its been an incredibly difficult journey as its challenging to know what to expect and also how to make sense of the continual disconnects that take place between what HE hears, interprets and what I’m actually doing.
    its literally shadow boxing with his past demons from childhood, his prior marriage, his challenges with his children, within the workplace, etal.
    Anything can set him off and once ignited, I’m on the sidelines praying what to do. I merely want the person i thought i was marrying…just power-packed with self awareness, a love for God and for our union.
    Desiring him to know I’m in our marriage for keeps and the drama has to cease.

    Everything is possible!

    1. The disconnect may not be about him interpreting things wrong as much as it is about him confabulating to hide his own private agenda (and misdeeds). Everything is indeed possible but you really need to walk into this with your eyes wide open!

  70. My husband and i felt quite glad that Louis could finish up his web research through the entire precious recommendations he made out of your web site. It is now and again perplexing to just always be giving for free procedures that other people may have been making money from. And we all consider we now have the writer to give thanks to for this. The most important illustrations you have made, the straightforward blog menu, the friendships you will make it possible to instill – it’s many extraordinary, and it’s letting our son in addition to the family reason why the subject is amusing, and that is exceedingly serious. Thank you for all the pieces!

  71. Hello Kim and Steve-

    My husband and I have only been married for 2 years and it was a match made in heaven or so I thought. Little by little his self centered and demeaning ways started to come out. I couldnt understand what was wrong, he blamed everything on me and I knew I was giving ou marriage every ounce of me, putting myself and my needs last. Thank you for giving us hope we were actually going to start counseling next week and after reading what the both of you said I canceled the appointment. The both of you have given me hope and i want to thank you. i will keep you posted.

  72. Hey Nikki, I too have tossed counseling out the window. As Kim & Steve stated it doesn’t work posetively unless the therapist is well equipped in NPD, and any of ours around here are blantly NOT. Neither are our government authorities, shelters or other programs that are suppose to help individuals in our situations.

    Thanx so much Kim & Steve for the awesome enlightenment!

  73. Dear Kim and Steve, thank you for presenting the possibility that I might be able to save my marriage from the ravages of my codependency, and his who-knows-what. I am stepping back from my obsession in trying to figure out his degree of narcissism, but in the meantime of course anything I can do to save my marriage is centered on me, because I’m the one analyzing my behavior and problems and they are all about codependency. is it possible for a codependent to marry a perfectly normal person? Perhaps, but if so, then how come I’m so good at dancing my half of this tango? The hurt has been overwhelming, getting over his affair is heartwrenching, and all I can do is cope one day at a time. thank you for all that you do.

    1. Hi Ann – you need to stay strong and take the steps we outline in back From The Looking Glass now – one at a time.

  74. Kim and I know how tough it can be. We know many of the steps we outline in our books are not easy. However, the products and services we have to offer are laid out in a fashion that means you can start making progress in your relationship(s) immediately, because many of the steps can be implemented the day you read the books. Resolving the conflict with your loved one(s) will be one of your biggest achievements in life 🙂

  75. My ex of five years Was a classic narcissist. After five years together nothing I did was ever good enough. She was diagnosed with bipolar but after reading about narcissists she had most of the traits. She wanted to remain friends but instead decided to disappear, change her number, and ignore me. Just when you think they cannot hurt you more, they do. I’ve decided she did me a favor.

    1. Yes I agree! As painful as it can be – sometimes if they are the ones that decide to do the rejecting it can be a big relief in the end. I have had that experience with a family member and ex boyfriend. Just be ready in case she does show up again when all her other options run out. If you have truly had enough in that case you will need a backup plan – like you can say “Great to see you I have missed you so much and this is really an answer to all my prayers because this week I need to find 2 thousand dollars to pay for an operation I need urgently that is going to leave me an invalid for weeks. I was wondering who was going to help me find the money and feed me once they pull all my teeth out and now look at what luck I have had because you’re back!” I know this might sound dishonest and sneaky – but when it’s over sometimes it really is over and it doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan in mind!

  76. Hilarious that you ask how mother’s day went! Now perhaps this is a question to which you know the answer but my narcissistic husband seems to be completely incapable of living through any 24 hour period attached to family celebration. Christmas, Easter, Birthdays, anniversaries….he will always, always have some sort of emotional crisis and lose his temper.

    So yesterday I wake up. All going well until my husband is late going to his mothers. He tries blaming me. i point out it’s not my fault the children have gone out. He blames the children.i point out it’s not their fault, the oldest is only 9. He blames the neighbours for not answering his texts. I point out they aren’t obliged to stand by their phone answering his texcts….. The bottom line is he storms off leaving the children lost. Later he claims the reason he stormed off was because he was “worried about them” and so was leaving the problem to me…..because he felt I was responsible for loosing them….. I point out that this cannot be true: if you are worried about children you don’t abandon them (still lost somewhere in our neighbourhood) to the mother just because you “blame her” for getting them lost. He tries using this lie several times but I never let him off the hook. His loss of temper had nothing to do with being worried or he wouldn’t have left them lost. He finally admits he was just angry and that saying he was “worried” was a lie to cover up for his anger.

    But now of course he’s ashamed. He’s furious that he’s been caught out lying. Now he is manufacturing all sorts of reasons for braking up our marriage: he tells meI am depressed, lazy, (fat), I don’t want to be happy, I make him miserable, he could be happy if he could escape my misery….. But mainly he is not responsible for losing his temper and lying on Mother’s Day. No, if he was married to a woman who was more reasonable, tidied up more, went down the guym more, read less, spent less money, ate less and was nicer to him…..he would of course be happy. I am simply holding him back now. Every morning after he is held to account after one of his losses of temper he tries to manufacture an argument and says he wants a divorce. He knows I don’t want to get divorced. he has also told me in no uncertain terms that he will “impoverish me” systematically and deliberately if we do get divorced.

    I despair.

    1. Hi Anna, I don’t know how long you have been with us – but I hope we can help get you two find a better place of loving each other soon!

  77. I just want to thank you, Kim & Steve, for sharing your story & heart. I have been reading your materials and they are truly helping me navigate through my marriage at a very vulnerable time. Your insights have helped me glean through advice of well-meaning friends, and are giving me strength and confidence in how to handle some things. I have a question. Kim, you mentioned when talking to others regarding a spouse’s issues, not to mention NPD. Although my husband and I have seen a few marriage counselors over the past 15 years, the last one we saw told me after we moved out of the area, that she believed he had NPD. I have not shared this with my husband (he wouldn’t accept it, anyway). Anyway, after another discovery of pornography use I have drawn a line in the sand and we have reached out to our pastor who is working to help hold my husband accountable, etc. My question is as others (pastor, accountability group leaders, new counselor, etc.)come alongside us in this… should I ever say anything about the NPD? Guess I’m concerned about his expert ability to manipulate people.

  78. Just recieved your email asking, “How was your Mother’s Day?” I married a charming chameleon-narcisist 27 years ago and have been divorced from him for 2 years. He has two children. I had hoped that I could maintain a relationship with them. They are my only children.

    They call him the “Master Manipulator,” yet have no sympathy and compassion for me. Living with a lying, selfish, malipulating spouse caused me to be irritable, angry, and touchy. I responded angrily to his abuse. I have told them things that he did so that they could understand why I behaved the way that I did. I have apologized for my behavior. They are angry at me for telling them what he did! If he had not abused me, I would not have anything to tell them! I wish they were capable of being angry at him for his behavior. They justify his behavior.

    One of them asked me to drive three hours one way to meet with him to discuss the direction of our relationship. During the same phone call, he told me that I am “like someone walking down the street with the same name.” When I told him later how much that hurt me, he said “I don’t remember what context that was said in and I didn’t mean to hurt you. You are latching onto one statement.” He went on to say, “If I felt that way, why would I ask you to meet with me?” Talk about confabulation! I have realised that he is likely a narcissist as well.

    I kept trying to explain myself so that they could understand my behavior and forgive me. They are not capable of compassion for the abuse I have endured or forgiving me for being anxious and irritable.

    Long story-short, they have severed our relationship and abandoned me. This is my first Mother’s Day without them. I feel kinda strange and lonely.

    I think their abandonment is for the best, but I don’t like it. I did not deserve the abuse thier father gave me and I do deserve thier compassion. However, I’m not going to get their understanding and compassion. Trying to get them to understand is not working and it is time for me to move on.

    Even though this is for the best, I don’t like it and am still stuggling with it.

    Thanks for all you do.

    1. Hi Sandy,

      I am so sorry to hear how you are feeling. Sometimes sharing to much can actually push people away. I wonder if there is something a little more casual you can invite them to join you to do sometime soon? Maybe an art gallery opening or flower show etc. that happens to be close to where they live and that you would like to attend whether they accept or not. Since you and their father have parted it may be better not to talk about him or the past too much for now. I also wonder if there are any mothers in your neighbourhood who could use some help with anything? There are plenty of kids out there that need a little extra love and care!

  79. Having a hard time. I can see results of your advise when applied to my not yet permanent relationship. I decided since he swears he loves me and I do care for him I would stick around. But days like these just make me want to run for the hills. He calls to say happy mother’s day. Then calls later to tell me to look up some info on a female friend of his who has not responded to his calls in several months. Uh! Now let me add that his call to me is a call and hang up which signals me to call him back. But he spends precious long distance minutes to call this friend and he can’t even call me right here in town. So , i told him i was not concerned and would not do it. Then when i was calmer i called back and told him that he had one heck of an ego expecting me to use my time to call his friend when he wont’ even use his to call me. So he goes off on a rant about I just wanted to check on her blah blah oh for get it . So now he is angry. I know this usually is the drama that blows through before each major breakthrough in Mr, Narcissist behavior change. It is a challenging process.

    1. Hey Jewel – It certainly is! You did well to wait until you were calm to call him – but remember sometimes calming down can take days! I hope that you have something nice to do for yourself now. Use your magic scissors and give yourself some love and time!

  80. my husband of 18 years is extremely possessive & manipulative. He yells and blows up at the smallest of things at the kids & I and is always saying that I don’t love him enough and show him enough that I appreciate him. He is always sulking or mad that I’m not intimate enough with him. We have separated for 6 months but got back together. He is always saying that he is not like other men. That he would never cheat on me and that i am the only one for him. Frankly sometimes i wish he would find someone else because i am so tired of walking on egg shells and being this thorn in his side. I have even told him if he is not happy that maybe he should find another partner that is more suitable.

    1. Hi Kerry, As tempting as I am sure that is – my guess is that he is actually very scared of rejection and you trying to leave will only make it worse. I highly recommend that you check out our ebook Back From the Looking Glass. It has steps to help you learn to stand up to him but also steps at the end that you can take if you do want him to leave …

  81. Kim,
    Yes, I agree that I “shared” too much as evidenced by their severing our ties. It is classic “shoot the messenger,” overlook the message. I felt justified since I was trying to be understood. However, that has damaged the relationship past repair.

    Both of his sons are likely narcissists as well and talking to them is (excuse my language), same shit, different day in terms of a lack of honesty, confabulation, and putting blame on me for “misunderstanding” what they say. I really can’t take any more of the pain and confusion.

    Despite this, I wish things were different. I love his sons and want to be accepted by them. Being abandoned and having the relationship severed is very painful.

    Thank you for your suggestions. I have been mothering a few folks and will continue to do so.

    Sandy

  82. Firstly, I want to say I am so glad you are here. I have your Ebook and although I have not been able to restore my relationship, it has helped me realise the own ‘gaps’ in my life, which I am working on slowly. It takes courage to look at oneself and make changes, doesnt it …

    I met my partner when I was 30 – I will be 49 this year. We were together for 13 years and have been seperated and living apart for the past 5 years. However we have been on and off for those 5 years, doing the crazy dance, hurting each other and ourselves. I dont really need to tell my story … it seems to be the same for everyone but in different degrees.

    I know it is about setting boundaries but I dont seem to be very good at it, when I am dealing with him. I have heard the term “Idealise, Devalue and Discard”. It seems to be a narcistic pattern. It happens to me all the time. I fear that when he discards me, he is off being Mr Single Man. He is so charming to other women…. Then after a couple of weeks or a couple of months, he contacts me and wants to try again. He says all the things I want to hear but it never lasts. I love him dearly and so wanted to restore things … but I dont think it will happen – too much water under the bridge.

    I am in the Discard phase now, it is a horrible place to be. I dont know how to set boundaries on this, except to let it go now.

    Eckhart Tolle, the philospher said, that unless you are in jail or ill, when you are in a difficult situation, you have 3 choices – you can do something to change it, remove yourself or accept your situation fully. We have tried so many things, he still does the same things and getting worse and I cannot accept it. So my choice is to remove myself. The trouble is I always believe him when he sucks me in again. I have heard it is called ‘hoovering’.

    I was wondering if you have heard of these terms and what your opinion or advice is.

    Thanks guys x

    1. Hi Angie – No I haven’t heard those terms. I wonder where he goes when he runs away from you? I don’t mean that you should obsess about it – I just think it is good if you know. It is hard to give you advice as I am not sure which of the steps of ours you have worked through and which you are strong at and which you are not?

  83. This website and emails has helped me survive going through a domestic violence program that was court ordered. Without going into detail there was no actual violence. The program used cognitive behavioral therapy run by a master’s degree therapist that accused me of being narcissistic which led me to evaluate myself and i found a lot of information here which convinced me that i was not the one with the problem but indeed the therapist was the one that was truly narcissistic. When I challenged his contention with the fact that i was better than some at some things and not as good as some in other things and that i truly liked myself was comfortable in my own skin, he backed off his contention. As things progressed in the therapy he truly showed his narcissistic tendencies by in group sessions when he was challenged he would lash back at the person challenging him in the group scenario and tell them they were wrong in front of the group. He had to show his superiority and we had to cow tow to him so he would sign off completion of the course so that legal issues could be resolved. I thank Kim for the website and the encouraging emails, in my newly chosen profession of drug and alcohol counselor I intend to use and refer this site. Thanks again 🙂

  84. He doesn’t ever think he is wrong about anything and will lie and manipulate to prove a point. He should have been a polititian. I really do not have much respect for him anymore as I have woken up to his rubbish but I cannot see anyway of getting away as one i do not have the energy (he drains every ounce from me) and he would insist on having the kids half/half and i couldn’t leave the kids with him. If they have to live with him then I will too. We get by and sometimes he can be great. My youngest is 13 so in about 8 years when the kids have their own home and if my husband is still so unhappy with me I will leave

  85. He has a motorbike and lots of money. He goes on all the rides to pubs & social gatherings and likes to eat out. He has a big house with a bar He likes to cook and has people over for meals. He can be very charming to others.He excludes me a lot or just keeps his activities secret. He does all the passive aggressive behaviours. Its become very covert. He seems to need people (esp women) clucking round him. He has lots of friends and I know he constantly talks to others about me. Some of them look right through me like Im nothing or dont even exist. Some dont though.

    He dumped (discarded) me on New Years Day (we had been doing counselling for the THIRD time – at his request, at the time)Two weeks later he told me he was taking a woman out (wouldnt tell me who but said he had known her for 18years. Two weeks after that he contacted me and said he loved me and only took her out as a ‘friend’ and in a group. We spent the weekend together but when I questioned him about who his ‘friend’ was, he flew into a rage and dumped me again, then went straight back to her. Two weeks later he was telling me he loved me again and he wasnt going to see her anymore. Admitted to sleeping with her, but didnt apologise for lying to me and saying they were ‘just friends’. Found out it was someone I knew, a friend I guess.

    Last week I questioned him about not telling me about a woman who has visited him (another ‘friend’). I asked him if he could tell me about his social activities with other women and also asked him if he had had contact with the woman he was seeing. He flew into a rage and ‘discarded’ me again. This happened last Sunday.

    Yesterday, the other woman contacted me to say she was sorry for what had happened, That he had told her he wasnt seeing me. She said that she is the least of my worries and that there have been ‘many others’, from what she has “heard”.

    So I guess in my heart I know what he does but he is so convincing when he ‘hoovers’ me and I find it so hard to believe that he lies, cheats and decieves me.

    We have been doing this on/off thing for 5 years now and we have done It All … all the behaviours, all the abuse, all the scenarios. I wait for the next bomb to drop – it is usually worse than the last.

    By steps do you mean your workbook? I have been doing some of the Gap Work. It has been challenging but enlightening. I know I am emotionally immature when I deal with him, as is he with me. I have limited abuse (buts thats another story) Attachment has been difficult because he is threatened by it. He has read your ebook by the way and subscribed to your site and said he wanted to do the work. That was 2 years ago. He didnt look at it again. He still gets your emails but he doesnt look at them either. Said he doesnt know how to work the computer … i suggested doing that for his gapwork – he said he cant do it.

    He is financially secure, I am on a benefit and renting a little old house with my 17yr old son. However,I know I have come a long way in trying to learn about this disorder and the damage the dynamics cause in relationships.

    I have a lot of self-soothing skills now – your site made me aware that I needed to take care of myself. I use every available resource to heal and overcome the effects of abuse. At the moment, I am attending a free self-esteem course, run by our local community counselling service. I have studied at nightschool for two years and gained my Teaching Cert to teach English to Speakers of Other Languages. I have had a few relieving jobs – I enjoy it very much. I suffer from anxiety & depression but have learned some breathing and meditative exercises. I have had counselling for myself and have participated in group programmes. I like to garden and read in bed with my 3 cats. My son is studying at tertiary, so I am grateful for that. I am learning to live in the ‘now’ and stop choosing unhappiness by listening too much to my ‘chattering’ mind.

    I have the support of my family and a few close girlfriends. Yesterday, some of us went down to the river and wrote all our negative thoughts & feelings on rocks and threw them into the river. After that, we made a Love, Light, Peace rock and threw that in to wash away the negative stuff. It was fun!

    After all this knowledge and becoming stronger,I just dont know why I keep allowing him to suck me in … its like a crazy rollercoaster ride. I must point out that it is always him who makes contact first. I try not to txt him when he discards me, I stay away from where he goes and I get on with my own life. I have not had another sexual partner or even a date with anyone. I dont feel attracted to other men 🙁

    Anyway, sorry to prattle on. Its hard to ‘sort this from that’ lol. I just wondered if you had heard of those phases of idealisation, then devalued and then eventually being discarded – then back to the beginning again. Its nuts. I dont know why I fall for it 🙁

  86. I just read “We are here right now” on my emails. So thought i would try this out. I just left my partner an hour ago for the second time in a month. The bottom line is he does not respect me and admits it and yet says he loves me. Huh! I cannot talk with him on issues without him becoming defensive. Of what Im not sure as there is never an attack. He has called me damaged goods, of which i can assure you i am not. And I can find no intimacy with him. He avoids it at all costs. I dont think he knows how to be that vulnerable and open with someone. All I would hear is how he likes the look of me. And wanted to bed me. Is about the guts of it. It was very subtle stuff that went on. His actions did not meet his words and I am guttered. I deserve better. I tried for 8 months but he is just emotionally unavailable. He gave no gifts and he belittled me and judged so many other people in front of me. I feel I have become weak being with him and I pray I can get some support so I dont go back to him. Last time I did. Thanks for listening to my rant. The subtle stuff is so hard to deal with. More overt stuff I can see……

  87. My story isn’t that much different or varies far from Kim’s as described in Back From The Looking Glass.

    The twist that is different is that my husband,N, and I were childhood sweethearts 36 yrs ago, had our 1st daughter 35 yrs ago(still born at 6mos), I broke it off with him for the same and more reasons that I’m seeking Kim & Steve’s help now, his mother sent him to live with his father many states away, he would come back for visits and always looked me up before doing anything else even though we were not involved. Then 26 yrs ago after his 1st official divorce he came looking for me again and I fell for it that time, got pregnant again, then he said he was getting married and I bowed out, had our 2nd daughter @ 5 1/2 mos(passed within an hr of birth). Many, Many times throughout those 36 yrs I was told he would come back and ask alot of people about me and my whereabouts(I had moved away).

    In the middle there I was involved with my living daughters father, she is now 28 yrs old with a family of her own. My now husband had married, had 2 children, divorced, etc…, his son just had his 3rd child with his current fiance, his daughter joined the Army(which is all my fault), got married and just recently had her 1st child and lives many states away.

    Currently, 8 yrs ago my husband/childhood sweetheart/deceased daughters father, came looking me up again. It appeared that he grew up, was sincere, genuine, and matured surviving 2 divorces, multiple broken engagements and relationships. He rushed for us to get married. His living children were 17 yrs old(son), and 14 yrs old(daughter). My living daughter was 20 yrs old.

    About 3 yrs into this time around for us, marriage, his tendencies came raging out. No more subtle control, manipulation and so on. Of course, after I had given up every part of my life, career, relocated, etc…. So much more to it than what I’ve written, yet you get the idea.

  88. I’ll add that I had always stood up for myself within reason(which he never liked and he had outside influences fueling his tendencies as time went by) and once I began seeing through his manipulation, his true intentions, his alternate agenda and I wasn’t going to be disrespected or treated that way, nor for my side of the family, things escalated. I fell into his game and dance and became less mature myself. If I had Kim & Steve’s information, guidance and steps just those few years ago.

  89. I’ve been reading the different blogs and they tell so many stories, some with similar themes, people in different places along the way in their lives.
    Without the help and support of others, friends, family, websites, books, I would have found live more difficult. What I would say to everyone out there, don’t forget the resource you carry around with you, yourself.
    If you are willing to look inside yourself for the skills, knowledge and experience you have, are willing to change that part of you that enables others to get to you, accept that you can block it, you can hand it backhand not take responsibilty for others, believe me, there is life after NPD for the wives, husbands, partners, children who have lived alongside it.

  90. Hi Kim and Steve,

    First of all, thanks for this website, it is great information. I wish I’d had this information during my marriage, and all the years I’ve endured abuse from my family of origin.

    I am single, and I hope it’s ok to post about other relationships at the moment.

    I had a mother who was clearly narcissistic, and is now passed. It was a very difficult relationship because inspite of being in therapy, nobody explained to me that she was narcissistic. Very, very charming in public, and very “proper”, and very witty, sometimes not so nice, but nobody seemed to notice because she was so subtle about it and used humor to mask her aggression. To this day, her old friends who sometimes invite me over comment how wonderful she was, and I have to bite my tongue.

    Anyway, I have little contact with my remaining family. I have two sisters, my father has also passed away. But when I do have to have contact with my sisters, it is very difficult and they seem to have nothing but criticism and contempt for me, and the way I handle things. If I happen to disagree with them, a conversation can very quickly escalate to a full-out “fight”, where I cannot get a word in, and all kinds of extreme comments are made about me – I’m a “difficult sister, impossible to have a relationship with”, etc….. and usually they stomp off, threaten to end the relationship once and for all, or hang up if we’re on the phone. There have been other outrageous behaviors, that I won’t go into here.

    Due to a shared inherited responsibility concerning a grandmother’s literary estate, I must sometimes be in touch with them.

    I am wondering how to manage my interactions with them, if there is any possibility of finding a way to engage with them that wouldn’t lead to so many unpleasant discussions. I don’t think that there is any realistic possibility of talking to them about getting help, so I want to figure out what to do for myself. Any suggestions would be helpful.

    Thanks again so much for your insights!

    1. Hi Leigh – You may find that you developing the skills to deal with your sisters
      helps you in numerous other ways. I hope that is the case because it probably
      will be a fair bit of hard work and very challenging at times.

      The thing is with people who have grown up with narcissistic abuse in the family
      is that they have been expected to take sides. And this side taking, as hostile as it
      may seem, is really the only way that weaker family members learn to feel safe.

      I am not saying that you need to take sides – but hopefully it might help you
      understand your sisters fear of disagreement.

      So the long version is that our Love Safety Net Workbook exercises will certainly
      help you build rapport and limit the abuse.

      The shorter version is that I suggest you choose your battles very wisely and only
      on subjects of practical importance and on these be prepared.

      Don’t bring these up without building rapport first and then try and have some
      external evidence or device you can offer to present your differing opinion.
      This might be a book, a short movie (on DVD) or a brochure, or it may even be
      another expert type of person you can introduce them to.

      You need to also think of appropriate comeback lines for when people say how
      wonderful your mother was, perhaps something as sly and witty as she was.
      Practice these comeback lines in advance and soon these situations will
      intimidate you less and you may find others find the courage to share more
      honestly.

      This is not an easy journey but it is one that will increase your confidence
      and self respect considerably.

      You do not need to take sides to be protected – but you do need to be well prepared
      in how you will sell your point of view without making yourself such an easy scapegoat
      for your sisters own insecurities.

      And if these shared responsibilities include matters of your inheritance you may be
      protecting more than your own sanity.

  91. A sad and funny thought at the same time. My husbands children grew up once they got away from him. They recognize this.

  92. Thanks Kim….

    I have been wondering which of your ebooks would be most helpful to me. I will look into the one you suggested.

    Believe me, I avoid the vast majority of “delicate” topics with my sisters, but it is astonishing how the smallest thing can set them off, and I am then left in shock at their reaction to something which seems very minor, in all honesty. At the moment, I am limiting my interactions to them to practical matters….

    There has been an enormous amount of scapegoating in my family, with guess who being the scapegoat, and I am not interested in this role any more. It feels like that will be the end of our relationships, because my sisters cannot abide it when I let them know they need to speak to me more respectfully. So be it.

    My inheritance is not at stake – there are cousins involved as well, and it would be hard for me to be cut out without a lawsuit, which I doubt anyone is interested in. There is not much money in any case involved, it is more a matter of “status” and reputation, as my grandmother was quite a successful author. We have decisions to make regarding ongoing relationships with publishers, etc….. That is unfortunately when we must be in touch.

    Thanks for the tips on comebacks with my mother’s friends – I will start to think about that. I am definitely tired of hearing how charming/lovely/talented/funny etc…. she was, when in fact, behind closed doors, she was capable of being nearly monstrous.

    Your reply has given me alot to consider, I appreciate your feedback enormously. Why haven’t I received such good advice from my many therapists?

    1. Hi Leigh – yes it is good that you understand scape-goating! Maybe you can plan that you meetings with your sisters are in company whenever possible. The workbook exercises will help a lot. You may not feel like building attachment and rapport but without it you really have zero leverage.

  93. I am coming to the realisation that I have been in a npd relationship for just over 2 1/2 years; I being the codependent. The beginning was amazing and after 6 months or so, I started to see the emotional distancing. I was enjoying the “wows” of the new relationship that I compromised and accepted the behavior that I observed. It was never bad, but my partner wanted to spend every waking hour with me. Since this was the opposite of my failed marriage, I welcomed the attention and felt “loved”. Still in all, I thought it was a bit strange and sometimes just wanted a night to read a book by myself or just spend some time alone. Trick is, after a while, my healthy relationship expectations morphed into codependent behaviors.

    During my separation at the end of my marriage, I actually embraced the healthy time alone. So when I started in this new relationship, my initial warning signals were accurate; I just didn’t pay attention to them. Now into the relationship 7 months, I found the reverse happening and I had difficult time being alone and wondering why he no longer wanted to spend time with me.

    Also, the conversation lapsed once he bought a cellphone which we didn’t have the first 8 months of our time together. Now, there is not a day/night that goes by where he does not have fone in hand. Our time together is interrupted continually by calls and texts. Even after I have made my thoughts known, he continues to disrespect my requests for reduced time on fone.

    We used to share a lot and have meaningful conversations; now, when I ask questions to stir up conversation, it reminds him of how his mother hounds him with questions so now he shares less and less with me. He doesnt just NOT share his life with me, I feel he hides things from me. His friends tell me things just in conversation (no prompting on my part) that I find amazing; even more so, he shares with his friends things that I would think he would have shared with me; especially since we are now engaged.

    I don’t think this is the type of marital relationship I want; one in secret. I have worked so hard on my codependent behaviors, not prying, not questioning; respecting and employing boundaries of my own. I didn’t want to admit the NPD tendencies, but some of them are so spot on that I cannot ignore them. I also realise that I cannot change him; I can only change myself and my faith is what is making me strong. I have tried to respect and honor him, but only God can have the final word on this one.

    Much of the time presently, I feel very sad and lonely at the realisation of arriving back at this familiar place. This is reminiscent of my marriage dynamic in some respects. My ex husband kept separate friends, and never the twain shall meet. He left me without a word one day when I returned home from work; he was gone. End of story. When I look back at the signs, they are similar; a detachment and lack of interest of anything I was involved in.

    Like I said, at the beginning of my current relationship, he couldn’t spend enough timn with me. I now think he was using me, my friends, money, personality for his own excitement. I feel he is jealous of me and any attempt to spend time with other friends. I can expect retaliation of some sort to follow.

    In the mean time, I am willing to stay in the relationship and work hard on myself to see if there is any change in our dynamic. Anyway I look at it, I will be a better person for it.

    Thanks Kim and Steve for your books. I study them and along with the Bible, I am becoming a stronger person with more Peace.

    Any suggestions you may add I would totally welcome. I struggle with staying, working on myself, hoping for a better dynamic….with….leaving now not wanting to enter into another marriage which could potentially end in disaster. I am going in with eyes wide open, but get hooked by the “hope” that things will change and be different this time around.

    1. Hi Jacquie,

      There is nothing codependent about prying! Quite the opposite, codependence will keep you in the dark and not want you to rock the boat. I say you need to get cold hard evidence from one irrefutable source of exactly who he is talking to and what is going on behind your back. Don’t obsess just do your research carefully and discretely and find out. After you do take enough time to calm down and plan your strategy before you confront him. Don’t expect that simply exposing him or the fact he has hurt you will change things. You need a solid strategy of how this will end. After that the game is up to him; you can leave him an option out but not one that leaves you in the dark again!

  94. The thing I am struggling with is how my narcissist becomes so illogical. Right now, he has totally rejected me, the payoff of having me in his life must have worn thin. The sad part being he is now ill, frail, & handicapped; he had a rude awakening staying in motel for a week. He is angry that I used money from our joint account to pay bills giving him less time in motel. He finally agreed to go to care facility this weekend, because graduation took up all motel rooms in the city. Since, he hit me I can’t be his primary care giver any more.

  95. And as far as Mother’s day goes, he totally ignored how I finished raising his last child from previous marriage.

  96. Learning to cope has been the hardest. Just this weekend, for mothers day gift he took me and our two kids as well as his girlfriend and her son to the zoo. He proceeded to try and flirt with me behind her back although he claims she is only a “friend”. I am hanging in there and read those rights you have in the book but it has only stirred anger recently. I can’t get him to leave nor keep him from inviting her over (she just comes on over sometimes). I’ve also looked into why he gets angry/abusive and have noticed A) when me and his girlfriend seem to want his time at the same time – he will start a fight when he is ready to leave and go see her. and 2) He can’t control his thoughts: If I go to the store or my mom’s (with one of the kids of course!) and not back by time he thinks I should get back, he gets all these negative thoughts going through his head and starts believing them over the truth; then another “baloney” fight, as I call it, begins. Thanks for your Workbooks; not much time to read them often enough due to work and the family “duties” but when I do read them it helps me a lot in ways of coping and most of all – helps me to keep my life in order so I can be strong/confident. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Dawn – I wonder if you also have Back From the Looking Glass? First things first you need to get her out of your house and not go on outtings with her ever – Even though it is illogical I know you will probably feel that you are being rude, but if she has the nerve to show up at your place you need to say something like “You have some nerve to show your face around me and my kids – have a little self respect and go find your own husband!”

  97. I’ll try the short version of my story – Husband’s mom died 6mths into our marriage. He bacame workaholic so he didn’t have to deal with it. He was a thru and thru mama’s boy, oldest of 2. He told me to go find my own friends since he was never around. I did. Played softball 3-4 nights a week. He found entertainment per the computer and phone. I was oblivious to what he was truly doing while up all hours of the night and leaving to “walk around Walmart”. He apparently asked me to pull back from softball and spend more time with him by saying “I don’t care about your softball drama. Stop talking to me about it. It has consumed your life.” I didn’t get the hint. So he got further involved in his “entertainment”. I finally discovered a small piece of what was going on. I was hurt, devastated, angry and confronted him about it and was told I had no right to invade his privacy and I needed to get over it. I changed myself that day, feeling like I obviously wasn’t doing something right for him to be having these intimate converstaions with ohter women and spending most of his time talking with them. That’s when I changed into the codependent person I still am today…hoping I can do enough for him to want to change himself. He continued entertainment and I became obsessed “spying”. never confronted again, just made snide remarks and forced him to lie to my face when I knew exactly what he was doing. Basically, set myself up every time for hurt and disappointment. I sought out several friends for advice or just to listen. Unfortunately confided in a man who reacted exaclty how I wanted, told me it was wrong, he would never do those things, didn’t understand it. Vulernability and weakness exposed and all it took was him getting me in an alone situation and a little bit of bantering back and forth and I turned into what I thought my husband was seeking out. I continued my relationship in secret, yet right under my husband’s nose b/c this guy was a friend of his also. My husband continued his entertainment, too. At one point I felt like a hypocrit and I cold turkey stopped spying on my husband, not my own thing. Said my husband was who he was and i can’t hcange him so I need to stop hurting myself by spying on him and being right most of the time. I never ended my realtionship, trying to remain friends with the guy, but never went back for more. Always came up with excuses when asked.

    Anyway, in my attempting to keep this guy as afriend, we conitued explicit conversations and that is what my husband found on my phone one night. and that is when it started…he was hurt, devistated, furious, you name it. It has been a year since he discovered this about me and it has been total hell! I have tried to explain my side, there is no explainination. He won’t even let me talk. No matter what i say it isn’t how he thinks it was so he won’t listen. I have to watch what i say and how I say it. I have to wait for permission to be close with him. He holds or daughter over my head as a pawn. He wants full custody even though he works a PT job on weekends and some during the week. He says it to hurt me. I’ve been beaten, threatened, kicked out of the house, chased out, had cell phone taken from me, locks changed on doors, you name it. Yet I contiue to stay.

    He has every bit of NPD and it has become so apprent thru this time. I have tried to tell him how I felt when I saw things that he was doing and saying, “you are comparing apple to oranges. What I did isn’t the same.” We can’t even talk about how he hurt me, so I need to stop trying to bring it up. He has no empathy whatsoever. He wants reasons about things from me, I give them and they are “hogwash”. The reasons aren’t enough or aren’t right. If he wants to talk, I have to stay up all hours of the night to discuss this subject that there isn’t anything else to say. If I doze off, he snaps hisfingers to wake me. He gets mad if there’s no odd in the house, yet he want tell me want he wants, “Figure it out.” He gets mad, kicks me out, tells me not to come home, move out, yet “invites” me back within 24 hours to “see our daughter”. Then he plays nice for a few days and then the cycle begins again. He even asks me to scratch his back, rub his feet, etc. after a fight. When I say i don’t want to talk, “I don’t care.” If I’m tired, “I don’t care.” If I don’t want to have sex, “You had enough energy for him.”

    I jsut desperately want him to see things from my side and to see his abusive ways. He has seen 1 counselor and she retired so he hasn’t been to another. I told him we NEED to go to a counselor together and he says he will go, but only after i disclose everything else that happened to him and give him the real reason of why I crossed the line. I have. It still isn’t enough for him.

    It amazes me how well he treats everyone else in his life. He is such a “great guy”. Yeah, he is, just don’t ever marry him.

    I believe he can be a different man if only he can see what he’s doing. I feel frozen with fear…how will he react if I leave (with our daughter)? How will my life be if I stay? Right now it’s full of anxiety of when the hammer will drop again…

  98. CORRECTION: He gets mad if there’s no FOOD in the house, yet he WON’T tell me WHAT he wants, “figure it out.”

    1. Hi Tanya – As you know you are in a very dangerous situation. You need the steps in Back From the Looking Glass Immediately. If you need help with the purchase please contact me.

  99. My thoughts used to be that God was bigger than my husband’s issues (as well as mine) and that He would heal our marriage. Unfortunately, I didn’t deal with things correctly (i.e. taking care of myself and my emotional state). As everyone on this site knows, it can be very difficult to do in the midst of an ugly relationship. I know that God is bigger than my problems, and He will get me through, NO MATTER what.

    My husband and I are separated and 8 months into the divorce process – unfortunately with no changes on my husband’s part. BUT, I am much healthier as I have been feeding myself with the knowledge of what NP disorder is, how not to take on responsibility of the abusive actions of others, and truly healings and forgiving. My marriage may not be intact, but God is big enough to get me through all of this. I need to take the action step, allow God to heal me, and then use me to help others.

    It amazes me how narcisism is such a prolific problem and affects so many people. I will no longer be a victim, nor will I just be a survivor, I will be an overcomer.

    Thanks, Kim and Steve, for all you do

  100. Hi Kim,
    I read your materials and I guess I am just not doing them right. Whenever I don’t react he gets worse….when I do react it’s emotionally draining. My question for Steve is what do you need to feel in order for you to respect the boundaries set by Kim?

  101. Hi FEEFEE,
    The answer is pretty simple. Kim cornered me. She made sure I had nowhere to hide or run. I had no choice but to go along with Kim’s plan, and respect her authority. It was what I needed, and now we share responsibilities and planning, as two adults should, with respect and good-hearted negotiations.
    Steve.

  102. Im still not sure what boundaries to set in my situation (as posted above May 14th at 6.17am, Kim’s reply at 6.25 and my looong reply at 8.20am.

    I don’t think there are any … ???

  103. Hey Angie! I would suggest that you get out your Magic Scissors and reread Kims ebook Back From The Looking Glass. It sounds like you are doing alot more thinking of him than you are about loving yourself. Also that co-dependence is driving your thoughts and feelings towards ‘Needing’ him in order for you to feel whole(10 steps to overcoming co-dependence). Steve replied to FEEFEE stating how he opened up to Kims ideas and plan.

    I told my husband that I had my own rollercoaster to tend to and certainly didn’t need or want to tend to his. I also told him that he couldn’t pick and choose what day or week or month he wanted to be married to me. As Kim was watchful of who Steve had interactions with, I too was watchful and when some progress was made I told him that since he is having difficulty/lying about us and all to others and then telling me different, he now would need to have those conversations in my presence(hopefully this will be temporary and I can trust him in the future). I often refer back to Kim and Steve’s ebook Back From The Looking Glass along with the Wookbooks to help keep me strong and stay consistant.

    I was also in the situation were health care, food, basic personal needs were denied me. And as Kim stated in her ebooks I used an authority figure to get and keep these necessary things.

    Do you have these books?

  104. Also, I have noticed a pattern in my husband that is linked with the seasons. This helps me be prepared and protect myself.

  105. Hey FEEFEE! It is stressed in Kim and Steve’s ebooks that you remain consistant. I’m guessing he is escalating because you are not ‘reacting’ how he wants to get you to. Remember the ‘Dance’? Kim’s ‘Hard time’ line really works for me. Followed by her lead line for productive and truthful communication. Stay calm, strong and be consistant. (3 yr old’s temper tantrum)

  106. thankyou Darlyn … I dont have Back From the Looking Glass but I do have the Ebook and am working on my own gap work. I know i am a ‘recovering’ co-dependent and I do get on with my own life when he ‘discards’ me, but the problem is, I always believe him when he wamts me to try again. I guess he tires of his other sources of supply or isnt getting enough attention from them at the time. Sometimes I think he sees me as his ‘woolly jumper’ to put on when things are chilly and to discard when he is feeling warm and fine ..

    I do think I am taking care of myself better these days and not obsessing about what he is doing, but I have done some ‘prying’ and dont like what I have found out … but I am seeing things as they are and it is better than being in the dark.

    Hopefully I will get the other books soon … I am living on a shoe string at the moment. Thankyou for your advice.

    Love and Light to you 🙂

  107. Kim & Steve – While trying to implement your advice of boundary-setting, remaining calm but firm, not engaging in dysfuctional communication, etc. ….. one of the hardest things I struggle with is: how to implement these concepts in front of our children (ages 7 & 11) when my NPD spouse is in one of his “rages” or nonsensical blaming cycles (whether directed at me or the children).

    I don’t know how to respond. It seems that whatever I try to do (remove the children from the room, remain calm but don’t speak, try to logically respond with the truth/reality, etc.) … he will not “accept” it. I don’t want to model “being a doormat” to my children, but I also don’t want to engage my NPD spouse in an explosive argument (which, as I’m sure many people reading this blog know, you cannot “argue” logically with someone when they are in this state) in front of our children.

    Unfortunately, my husband is a controlling “master manipulator”, and things have gotten so bad in our 19 year marriage that he will not spend time alone with me (and will avoid doing so at all costs, because he probably knows I will confront him) …. so trying to “wait until later” to address the issue with him privately is not really an option. (In other words, he uses the kids presence as his opportunity to “explode” … knowing that it limits my response options.)

    And what do you say to the kids? Do you tell kids that age “daddy’s response was inappropriate”? How much do you share with them about the state of your marriage? I know having security at that age is so important, and you don’t want to shatter their world — but you also don’t want to let them think that this abusive behavior is normal or acceptable! Help!

    I would love it if you could write a book …. or at least an entire blog post/article …. about how to deal with children and the parental relationship in these NPD situations. Thanks!

  108. I have been with my guy almost 5 years and I want to be with him another 20 at least. The last 3 years have been really hard and I was always looking up ways to make him happier. He’s normally fun to be around and very outgoing but he has a hard side too. Iv’e always had such lousy self esteem and know it doesnt help our relationship but I am always willing to learn more. He definitely has the npd traits and I seriously believe his parents are the reason.
    He was an only child for 19 years. His mom is very controlling to him and his dad. He’s in his 30’s and he still hides things so he “doesnt have to hear her”. The dad is same way except he tried to work where he he’s gone a lot. she’ll call nonstop if my guy doesnt call her and throws guilt trips on him. he was still living with them when we got together so they are our main battle.
    I love my guy and think he could be so much better if he could realize not all females are like her. I do my best to not boss him and to show him he is the Man of our home. He goes off on rages over the silliest things but hasnt gotten violent. He closes himself off instead wanting to be alone for hours. He is fine afterward like nothing happened. He does not see anything wrong with how he acts but has apologized a couple of times, so I really think he can change a little. I really Love him and will not leave him, so just want to learn how to handle the stress better.
    We are both in our 30’s and the rest of our life would be almost perfect if we could figure out how to work through our issues.

  109. Hey Day by Day! In Kim & Steve’s ebook Back From The Looking Glass and The Love Safety Net workbooks, Kim mentions one of her lines she used in such situations, which I have as well. Being consistant with it has helped me. Do you remember what it is? It’ll work well in front of the children showing them you are not a doormat or bug. ‘I don’t know how to deal with you when you are like this, ____________’. I also add in or change it up like; ‘I’m not going to deal with or put up with your disrespecting manners’, or ‘I will not give or show respect to anyone who does not give or show me respect.’ Then, you and the children can carry on with what you are doing, or leave the room with them. Do not engage in any conversation with him until/unless he is civil and respectful. Your children will view you with respect. I’ve found that this will escalate the moment for a short time until my message/boundary gets across to him. Only you know your situation intimately. BE CAUTIOUS IF YOU NOTICE SIGNS OF ANY THREAT OF DANGER

  110. Hey Angie! Back From The Looking Glass is an ebook of Kim & Steve’s.

    I’m wondering that since the two of you live seperately that he feels his needs are mostly being met, so no worries for him.

    I also wonder that if you become ‘less’, and then ‘lesser’ available to/for him – And – you become ‘less’, and ‘lesser’ attracted to him And more attracted to yourself if he will be able to decide what he wants in life. Here’s a link from Kim: http://www.narcissismdailymirror.com/2011/01/narcissism-and-perfect-affair.html

    Keep in mind that something that may work for one may not work for all. Like ‘One Size Fits All’.

    Work the steps and strategies as Kim & Steve have outlined. In time you’ll know where your future is leading you and where you can lead your future.

  111. I am surprised, reading the comments & realizing very few if any are from men? The “Histrionic Narcissist” in my relationship is a woman.

  112. Hey Tony! I forget what the percentages or ratios are that Kim mentioned. And hopefully without stereotyping genders I think women may be prone to research or seek help concerning some issues.

    1. Hey Darlyn, Thanks for getting in and helping people out – I am getting a new blog post written about dealing with narcissism in teenagers that I should have out in a few days!

  113. Daryln – Yes, thank you for the reminders re: good one-liner responses to give when he is “out of control”. I have tried those, and sometimes they work, and I agree that helps answer the question of how to model an appropriate response in front of the children.

    But in all the materials I have read from Kim & Steve I have not read very much at all about how their own children responded (and have since responded) to all the tension that was in their home all those years. Even though Kim & Steve now have reconciled and have a healthy marriage, have there been residual long-term effects on the kids? Do the kids ever talk about how they felt during those years? (That is something I would be particularly interested in …. hearing from the kids’ perspective “If only my mom (or dad) had ….”) And, looking back, would Kim have done anything different at the time, specifically as it relates to the children, in her own communication with them (and how much she shared with them and/or held back from them)?

    I am so concerned about my kids, and I’ll take any advice I can get! I don’t plan on leaving my husband (he is not physically abusive – it is more manipulative abuse). I would be interested to know if Steve has any thoughts on this issue specifically (as it relates to the children, and what he was thinking at the time with his own relationship with his kids). My husband likes to be the “sugar daddy” to the kids (showering them with gifts and special treats …. but then criticizing me for my parenting and/or discipline …. so mommy is always the “bad guy”)

  114. Hi Steve and Wendy

    Thank you so much for the emails and for helping others in my situation. For years I have been trying to put an understanding as to why my husband acts the way he does. I have been in counselling on my own and he refuses to go, unfortunately it seems like our marriage is over but the information you rpovide me I am sure will help me with my own healing. I realize I am codependent and I have allowed this to happen to me, please help.

    Susanne

  115. I’ve been beat trying to find my way through the masks of these personality issues. What a relief and a Godsend. Thank the Lord and thank you too. I really couldn’t afford it so very much thank you and the internet. How could my wife and I get counsel, we are ready.

  116. Well after reading a large portion of these blogs, I realise that I don’t need to tell my story. You have all pretty much lived it. I really do not want to continue on in my marriage of 20 years but at this stage I have no choice since he does and (of course)I’m not in a position to leave.
    Just wondering if anyone has had any success with finding out what caused your partner’s narcissism and working through it from that angle. From what I read, it is caused by them being treated like a god (in my hubby’s case his mum and two older sisters) and also having something traumatic happen to you which freezes you at a certain age. I’ve always felt that once our kids have hit 5 that they are more mature than their father.
    And I believe that the traumatic event could be as simple as starting Catholic Primary School at age 4 in England. They were extremely strict. My husband (if he were a child today would be diagnosed with ADHD – specifically Oppositional Defiance)which would have meant that he would have got into even more trouble than most. He was caned for not knowing his times tables. My theory is that he had known nothing but unconditional love from 3 very loving and caring females for the 1st four years of his life where he was the centre of their universe. Then suddenly he is sent to school where he is disciplined for the first time in his life, unfairly punished, punished for being ADHD and not treated with the love and adoration that had been the only thing he had known.
    I seems receptive to accepting that he is a narcissist (when he wants to talk me around from leaving him) – does anyone think that dealing with these issues will help?
    Otherwise, I am just going to give up. I always believed him in the past and was hopeful and trusting that he would never cheat on me again but now I realise that he will only do it again and again. Also for the benefit of my children, we are all so much happier when he is not around. That is where I am at. I have never wanted a divorce before, believing that marriage has to be worked on at all costs – but at what cost? The emotional stability of my children? My health? My work? Take care, Mandy

  117. Wow, I’ve read for two hours, is there something in the water? I could have written any one of these stories.
    My initial response to discovering her latest affair was absolute numbness, anger, loss, all still in the middle of the manipulation. Not allowing for a reasonable explanation for her infidelities, lies, projections, alcoholism, and downright meanness, I used to write it all off as something I could deny was happening to me! And I did deny it. She always seemed to shrug it off the next day. All was well in Mudville again. The denial is all will give her as my contribution to our relationship ills. It is at least as big as her contributions but in a different way.
    After a year of not denying it anymore, I’m getting a little more of a handle on what it was was that just happened to me over the past 10 years. What a fool I was. Now I have to figure out what it is I need to do for myself, to heal and not repeat the same behaviors that found me in that relationship being regarded or disregarded as it was, as I was.
    I am not giving up hope on her seeing the light some day, but not anytime soon if our latest conversations are any indication. I am still the reason she was so miserable, in her eyes. She can twist the truth so well. Sometimes I even believe her.. for a moment. Then I start defending myself. That doesn’t soothe the savage beast though. Makes things worse. There has to be a better way.
    Kim and Steve’s site has really opened my eyes to a lot of personality issues we both have and feed off of that keep us at odds.

  118. Mandy, it sounds like you and I are in somewhat similar situations. My husband’s childhood was a mix of “you can do anything because our family is so talented” with, at the same time, lots of neglect and selfishness (in his case, from his mother), which left him deep down with a tremendous sense of insecurity (while still projecting a grandiose sense of selfworth to others) … the classic narcissist.

    I have attempted to talk to him about his traumatic childhood experiences from time to time, and in his case he goes through stages where he obsesses about one particular event, talks about it for days, cries, and then it is never to be mentioned again. It may be a helpful process for him, but it is frustrating for me, as he will “force” me to listen to him going on and on about it (sometimes for hours), but at the same time, won’t allow me to ask any questions, process it *with* him, or include me in any way. He is very controlling in the process, and I am just there as a sounding board that is not allowed to speak, and it makes me feel like a non-person.

    Anyway, I digress. Like you, I always believed you work at marriage no matter how tough it gets, and I am not planning on leaving. However, I ask the same question as you, “At what cost?” What damage am I doing to my children, and is it worth it for them to remain in this dysfunctional environment?

    Like you, I am not in a financial position to leave, but more than that, I worry about the effect on my kids in a divorced situation. Which is worse for them?

    Like you, my children and I are so much happier (or we seem to be) when he is not around [have you seen the scene in the movie “The Tree of Life” when the mom and kids dance around the house after the husband/father leaves on a business trip?] …. there is such a sense of relief and peace. Yet, if we were to divorce, I’m sure it would be a 50/50 custody split, which I can’t bear the thought of for our kids sake. And, like you, my husband has absolutely no intention of leaving himself, and does not want a divorce (he likes having the appearance of a “normal family”).

    It definitely makes me feel trapped, and I feel like I am living a charade. All this leads me back to my original post: what about the effect of all this on the kids?

  119. I should add: “Is it worth it for the children to remain in this dysfunctional environment …. WITH A SPOUSE WHO REFUSES TO CHANGE AND WILL CONTINUE THE SAME NEGATIVE PATTERN OF BEHAVIOR”?

    We have been married for 19 years, and he absolutely refuses *any* type of counseling or outside help, and continues to insist that the *entire* problem is my fault (where as I am willing to admit that we *both* have issues). It’s been 19 years of banging my head against the wall, while, at the same time, over the course of past two years, trying to implement Kim & Steve’s strategies …. which have helped me change, but have not changed his behavior one bit. How can that be good for the children?

  120. It’s been 6 years of draining out of my soul experience. The beginning was mainly physical, along with mental, and verbal. Seems no matter how hard I try nothing works. I can admit when I did something wrong. But, I dont’ understand how someone can say awful, hateful words and wake up the next morning like it never happened. When I call her on it, it’s “oh, well” then days and days of name calling and silent treatment, then feeling alone and neglected. I want to change my ways to become a stronger person, I can’t take another draining moment.

  121. Dear Day By Day, and all others who share this pathetic misery!

    I have been reading this website for several years now, finding relevant advise in Kim’s and Steven’s comments, and consolation in the knowledge that I am not alone – this problem is more common than I ever thought! Thank you, Kim and Steve, for doing it.

    I could, and will at some point, relate to each of those posts – the problem of dealing with narcissistic spouse has become a daily bread to
    me. I am asking myself if life will ever be normal, seeing that this has been my reality for 21 years, with exception of the first year or two, when problems did not transpire so clearly… I have discovered the “N’ name through reading “The Idiot’s guide to dealing with difficult people” – that was about 6 years ago. I started reading, investigating, testing the relationship, found this website and discovered it is much better than any, as it is more humane and “hands on” than most of the material I have found. And so I started dealing with the issues of my relationship – the ignoring, the abandonment, manipulation, self-centerdness,the “imperial” aspects of my partners behaviour, controlling, megalomania, rationalizing, lack of communication, workaholism, obsessions and fears that make it disffunctional, and much more. At first my attempt were clumsy, and lead to a lot of fighting and screaming, which was not worse than the previous state of affairs, as his behaviour was often bizarre beyond any explanation, (that caused me a lot of grief or depression over the years). There is much good to say about my partner ( he is a very able man), but I could not get over the fact that we never, NOT ONCE in 21 years had a discussion about our relationship, not once did he respond to my requests of resolving a problem in private, going for a walk to have a discussion etc. Nor did we ever discuss our children ( that means our daughter and 4 other children of the extended family). He simply did not have a need to hear that there may be something to discuss. Flat denial or refusal. So my first attempts at self-empowering were clumsy – I even went as far as calling him a narcissist, and did it loudly. Then I smartened up, and worked on my self-control. It took me probably 2-3 years to learn to see his tricks and attempts at keeping me off balance, and what worked perfectly for him over the years – suddenly stopped serving him. I stopped crying, blowing up, or asking “how can you possibly do it to me if you claim you love me?!” He can, or could, this is WHY he loved me… Now, back to the point: this was all happening in front of the children ( we have one living at home, the rest were visiting or living with us periodically). I thing I acquired a reputation of an half-insane wacko, as the tricks were played on me in such a way that only MY bad reactions were visible, and it took me a long time to undo it. This man’s manipulative abilities are unbelievable, but he is a devout father, and a very attractive company, a do-gooder to most of the world and all those who are not his spouse.
    Day-by-Day, my daughter is 18 now, still at home. This family circus erupted about 6 years ago, so basically she grew up witnessing the conflict,(as I said, no room was given to me to resolve problems in any other way), and my progress through it. It was also her progress, as through watching me she discovered that she was entitled to opposing her father’s wishes and maintaining her own mind. She is a strong, beautiful person (inside and outside), very talented, rather quiet, socially withdrawn, a bit passive and indecisive as to her own direction, but she has a good head screwed tightly to her shoulders, and my honesty (although not so outspoken). She has developed the ability to watch, draw conclusions and remain quiet, I think she has potential to be a good mediator. She loves her father, although she knows very well who he is. The chances are she will be drawn to a relationship with a egotist (just as I was), and I am afraid of this, but I think she knows enough to be able to handle it.

    I remained in the relationship because it was easier than breaking everything apart, not to preserve the family or to change him, or to make it better. I learned to cope with him, and to control myself when he still tries to push my buttons, manipulate, get his way by smarts or bullying, put me down, control etc. He will not change, but he calmed down a bit, most of the time, and left me alone to my own doings. I hope you understand that his problem is not only the narcissistic behaviour or controlling, patriarchal attitude. There is much more, absolutely bizarre stuff like workaholism, obsessions, fears, persecution mania, emotional disability or (at times)sadistic tendencies but I don’t want to tackle it tonight. We managed to settle down only 3 years ago, before that we were rambling around the country following his ideas (brilliant at getting us into trouble, brilliant at getting us out, no discussion allowed). We bought a property in a beautiful, albeit remote part of the country, built a house that is the first and the only family dwelling. My business is home-based,but it requires tonns of equipment and materials – try to imagine moving it around. Economically I am not self-sufficient, and would never be able to re-create what I have now. I guess I could have left him at the top of upsetting times,driven by adrenaline, but that would mean leaving everything to him (child including, he would not let her go), and reducing myself to 3 part-time seasonal jobs and costly court suit… I don’t even own the car I drive. So I ended up cutting him off COMPLETELY (I mean it) – we communicate only on the subject of finances, and work (his, not mine, politely most of the time). I could never convince him that my interests are valid and important as much as his – so I stopped trying, and do what interests me without him, leaving him to take care of his stuff by himself. I have my own life now, just as he always had his. I developed activities and groups of friends, and don’t suffer anymore when he is disregarding them, or putting me down for every successful thing I do. So he stopped – it only worked when it worked. But in order to achieve it I had to GENUINLY lose interest in what he does to me. Did he change? I don’t know, and at this point I do not insist on knowing. Now we inhabit the same property, but work on separate projects and don’t get into each-others’ way. We share minimal information only when we absolutely must. This is all I can do.

    It is very hard to call it a family life – and I don’t. So in a way I did not manage to follow Kim’s recommendations, but at least something remained intact – and this is the place where my child can come back to when she comes back from the travels she is planning, and maybe some day inherit it. It is a roof for me and my business, which gives me a sense of self-worth and identity, not to mention income. It is the garden that my partner tends so obsessively that he has no time for family, astonished at the fact that no one else wants to share his obsession. I believe at this point I am a much happier person than him, and much, much happier now than 6 years ago.

  122. Angie, I feel like you are me! 5 years of the cycle. I will tell you that the thing that helped me the most with boundaries was dating (when my ex husband moved in with the other woman). I dated a man who showed me what a normal relationship feels like ie that you feel loved and secure. Of course this did not last because my ex kept cycling back and it became too confusing for our kids and hence to be fair I had to stop dating. But what I learned was that when a relationship is healthy then you feel loved and secure, you feel heard and validated, you don’t go into self doubt every day due to other persons blame. Now that I have truly experienced the difference between healthy and dysfunctional relationship, I am able to hold better boundaries with ex. Yes I am still in cycle – but mostly it stays in idealising phase because he realizes that I don’t allow myself to be devalued anymore. This makes him angry but then leads to his apologies. Not sure if these are genuine or just manipulative.
    My bottom line to you Angie is go out and date and find out what it feels like to be respected. It is amazing!

  123. Kim I have a question for you. My ex is currently raging at me because he has no money due to debts, and govt has taken a lot off him for child support debt. He expects me now to help him out financially. When he left me 5 years ago and stripped me financially I swore I would never give him money again and I have stuck to it. I have been trying to help him get debt management plan and he has been receptive. But since child support issue he has gone into desperation. I am financially secure now and can help him out but should I? It feels like I am letting him off the hook from responsibility. Yet he has no one else to turn to, he has burned all bridges with friends, his family are poor. It’s only me. I am worried what he will do in his desperate state (self harm? Prey on another woman?). I feel like I should give him some money out of compassion but then I am crossing a boundary I have stuck to for a long time. What to do?

    1. That is a tough one Sharon – I would only help him with conditions attached. So for instance you could say I will give you X dollars a week if you get a debt management plan in place and give me evidence that you are sticking to it. If he will not do this I would not help him as in the end he really needs to learn to help himself.

  124. Hey Argo! One of the things that stood out for me in your post was your statement ‘He can, or could, this is WHY he loved me.’ One time I asked my husband WHY is/was he being and doing what he was and his response was ‘BECAUSE I CAN!’ At first I thought he was talking about his ability to or his freedom to. After receiving Kim and Steve’s ebooks the light switched turned on. It was those two reasons and the NPD. After using their steps and stategies, my pending divorce(and court hearing) have been postponed(by my husbands request and my silent wish) for the purpose to attempt reconciliation. We’ll see what happens in the coming 6 months. What works for one may not work for another.

  125. Hey Kim! I’ve found that interacting this way and with others in this situation helps remind me and reinforce within me the steps, strategies and insight you and Steve have outlined in your ebooks. I think we all can admit how easy it has been for us to fall into the ‘Dance’ loosing ourselves, our own maturity, and our own ‘Gap’ work. HaHa – ‘Class is now in session-practice and participation required-now, who will tell me the 4 pillars of a stable and happy home?’

  126. I had a great Mother’s Day. I took it upon myself to make the arrangements judging on how the past Mother’s Days have gone. I picked an afternoon movie with the family where everyone would be together and entertained. Everyone enjoyed the day greatly and there was nothing to clean up after. I will be planning more holidays to keep harmony in the family!

  127. Darlene,
    I haven’t read the books by Kim and Steve, and I know I should, as a participant of this website. And I will, just no time now to get around to doing it.
    I a glad your partner is attempting the reconciliation, especially if this is also your wish. He must see the value in improvement of the relationship, and I hope it goes well.

    Now,as to the comment about the NPD partner doing nasty button-pushing and challenging stuff to us “because they can”:

    To my honest, idealistic self – a mature relationship is about mutual support, cooperation and sharing at every level. By “sharing” I understand an exchange of information, also on emotional level, openness about the goal and motivation.

    Unfortunately, “maturity” is the key word here. I am not an early childhood specialist, but I have read about the necessity of diligent parenting,which, if neglected, leads to development of the narcissistic tendencies in adolescents. Now, in his button-pushing my partner shows the signs of development arrested somewhere at the age of, according to some, 6. I believe his mother didn’t do the job when she was supposed to, so at the age of 64 he displays behaviour somewhere between “watch ME, watch ME!” and “please, set the limits, because I am lost without it!” On top of that, he does not take any authority, and everything I say that I consider beneficial, he treats (angrily) like a “lecture”. So he asks (always indirectly) for help, or advise, but having received and followed it, he puts me down, disregards me or plain throws some kind of fit that is not on the subject. Shortly speaking, whenever I can help him with some shortcoming, I get penalized. Mind you, I expect better from a man who is considerably older than myself, and am resenting having to set limits on my 64-6 year old partner, especially when I get punished each time I do it.
    I know now that his mother, and consequently his family, are the product of the post-war times when everything was supposed to be sweet and
    smooth, everybody had a little house, mothers stayed at home and fathers earned the living. This dream not having come through led to his mother self-medicating with valium/alcohol combination, unable to take care of the 5 kids, not working, not parenting and dysfunctional. A combination of doting on her kids, neglect, and trying to make them meet her excessive expectations at the same time did the job. My over-protective, possessive, controlling, perfectionist, very angry and very insecure partner is, actually, looking for a mother to fill the gap in his 6 year old thinking!

    I am tired of it, and do a lot of self-soothing, indeed. Sometimes though I lose the point. So much effort put into keeping my head above the surface and trying to prove myself to myself when it actually should not be necessary… spending a lifetime trying to fix someone’s life so he does not spoil mine completely…
    It is me who would like to leave this relationship. He wouldn’t want to divorce, although we never had any direct conversation about it. I think it is because I have proved to be strong enough to stand up to him and not go crazy in the process, and he needs it.I no longer feel a need of “dancing my part of his tango” – it serves him, meanwhile I have to do a lot of self-soothing… There is no appreciation or reciprocation, and one would like to have some of it in a relationship. Otherwise, why do we form them?

    In our times almost every activity requires some kind of certificate, diploma or license. It is a pity that parenthood, the most important thing we do, does not have to be preceded by some kind of certificate of maturity…
    My self-sooting for tonight: the wolves are singing in the forest, so I step outside and stand quietly listening to them. It is a privilege!

  128. Hey Argo! Right now the only thing I have to say is that we have alot in common. And right now I could use and need to calm my resentment for todays events. I will comment later. Hugs to you!

  129. Hello Argo & Darlyn – I certainly have a lot in common with both of you. I feel we are in the same place in many ways. Argo, here are some things from your post that resonated with me about my spouse’s behavior:

    “ignoring, abandonment, manipulation, self-centerdness,the “imperial” aspects of my partners behaviour [gradiosity], controlling, megalomania, lack of communication, workaholism, obsessions and fears that make it disffunctional, and much more”

    and the effect of his mother:

    “A combination of doting on her kids, neglect, self-medicating, and trying to make them meet her excessive expectations at the same time did the job. My over-protective, possessive, controlling, perfectionist, very angry and very insecure partner is, actually, looking for a mother to fill the gap in his 6 year old thinking!”

    and all the while at the same time:

    “He is a devout father, has a good job, and is a do-gooder to most of the world and all those who are not his spouse” … MY SITUATION EXACTLY(even the quirky obsessions and fears – he definitely has those too)!

    And sadly, like you, Argo:

    “I could never convince him that my interests are valid and important as much as his – so I stopped trying, and do what interests me without him, leaving him to take care of his stuff by himself. I have my own life now, just as he always had his. We inhabit the same property, but work on separate projects and don’t get into each-others’ way. We share minimal information only when we absolutely must. It is very hard to call it a family life – and I don’t. I believe at this point I am a much happier person than him, and much, much happier now than 6 years ago.”

    For me, I have described it to close friends and family, “Basically, it is like we divorced 8 years ago (having been married for 19) but just not legally” I hate even saying that, because divorce is not something I ever wanted, and I still daily try to implement Kim’s suggestions of being kind (so he knows that home is a “safe” place) … but still stay firm on my boundaries that I will not tolerate his “bad behavior”.

    Coming to the place where I could admit privately to friends and family that the relationship was broken was a big step for me. I still struggle with the “public charade” that I feel we live (with those in our broader social circle, since we are still legally married), by “pretending to be married” as I call it.

    But again, I go back to my original question “What is best for the kids?” If this bizarre “married, but not really married, but pretending to be married” thing provides the best stability for my kids, then I am going to stick it out … but then they still, unfortunately, have to deal with his fits of rage, those bizarre obsessions, his controlling behavior, etc. Yet, on the flip side, if we officially divorced (my secret wish sometimes for my own selfish reasons, just to truly move on with my life), like I said, I’m sure the kids would be in a 50/50 custody situation (which would be HORRIBLE for them) AND I would not be there to observe and/or protect them from his behavior and help them process it! I could not live with that anguish for their sake.

    So, I resolve to not only continue to live under the same roof (although I have also “moved on” and created a positive life and support system on my own) …. but I still try to DAY BY DAY (thus my blog name) implement the steps of Kim’s books (Argo, you must read the practical advice in her books!) because my long term overall goal truly is still reconciliation (especially for the sake of the kids – he will always be their father – but wouldn’t it be nice to have a happy ending like Kim & Steve?). BUT, EVEN IF HE WILL NEVER EVER CHANGE …. at least I am trying to be as healthy as I can possibly be myself, and create as stable and positive a home environment as I can for the kids.

    I am still interested in any specific tips from Kim on how much to tell the children (ages 7 & 11) about my strategies, etc. as I try to implement them, because it has to be wildly confusing for them.

    PS Darlyn – I could also certainly relate to you “needing to calm your resentment from the day’s events” before you posted …. day by day, my friend, day by day! Hang in there!

  130. Hey Argo and Day by Day!
    So Argo, are you the fly I’ve been trying to catch in my house? Or perhaps the mouse nesting behind my fridge? I couldn’t have wrote what you did to match more perfectly. In many of Kim & Steve’s material they mention the ‘child’ of the narcissist and sadly most of them have had that same experience. As well as or close to for the co-dependent.

    And with the behaviors, tendencies, attitude and intellect of the narcissist I’m sure not many of our stories will vary widely.

    “On top of that, he does not take any authority, and everything I say that I consider beneficial, he treats (angrily) like a “lecture”. So he asks (always indirectly) for help, or advise, but having received and followed it, he puts me down, disregards me or plain throws some kind of fit that is not on the subject.”

    This to me sounds like the distractional temper-tantrum resulting from his ‘false pride’ because you had a/the resolution that worked and he did not. In Kim & Steve’s ebook ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ different scenerio’s of this behavior is described and how Kim challenged, and encouraged I’ll add, Steve(as if his parent) to problem solve a resolution of his own on his own. It is referred to as ‘Gap work’, where each of us have strengths and weaknesses, recognizing them and developing/working on our weaknesses. I’m sure she helped with hints like; ‘what if you try……’, or ‘I wonder if this……’ and let him do the rest. I know it was mentioned as her saying ‘I bet you can tackle that with no problem’ and left the rest up to him.

    “he treats (angrily) like a “lecture”.”

    With this I remember you mentioning that he was sent to a catholic school away from his home. Could this be a reflex reaction from that experience?

    AND numerous comments had been made about ‘Maturity’. You are soooo right. Not only how it relates for the narcissist, for the co-dependent as well, and I will add how the narcissist will draw in the other person(co-dependent or not) to the/their immaturity or immature behavior.

    I couldn’t agree more with everything you wrote.

    “I am tired of it, and do a lot of self-soothing, indeed. Sometimes though I lose the point. So much effort put into keeping my head above the surface and trying to prove myself to myself when it actually should not be necessary… spending a lifetime trying to fix someone’s life so he does not spoil mine completely…
    It is me who would like to leave this relationship. He wouldn’t want to divorce, although we never had any direct conversation about it. I think it is because I have proved to be strong enough to stand up to him and not go crazy in the process, and he needs it.I no longer feel a need of “dancing my part of his tango” – it serves him, meanwhile I have to do a lot of self-soothing… There is no appreciation or reciprocation, and one would like to have some of it in a relationship.”

    I too am the only person to ‘ever’ stand up to my husband, in any and all avenues, and I feel confident that he got/gets off on it, he felt a ‘high’ from it, probably not too short of an orgasm. So why feed his ego!?! It’s really only hurting us in the long run. Make use of the 1 liners consistantly and back them up with assertive action, Walk Away from the moment. Take the time out. If they are a reachable narcissist they will catch on sooner than later.(As well as being the only person to always and consistantly given and shown him unconditional, sincere, and genuine love and compassion)

    I am familiar with the emptiness you describe. It is a tool the narcissist uses to demean, devalue, strip us of our self-esteem/worth/value. They withdraw or hold back from us any form of affection or posetive interaction. I truly feel not only is this because that is what happened in their child years and they know no better, but it is used as punishment, control, manipulation – so one would think that they know better – right!?! They are just being bullies, insulting and beating us down with their intimidating ways. This is true for some. Or is it because that is what they desperately need and taught that it’s wrongful. This too is mentioned in Kim & Steve’s ebook Back From The Looking Glass.

    We are dealing with adult children. Very scared adult children that long for our embrace and the security they have only dreamed of ever being able to have and too affraid to ask for because they become vulnerable. They do not need to bully or intimidate us into showing or giving them care, concern, love. Do they know this? Have we told them this in no uncertain terms?

    I think there are narcissists that are reachable and those that are not. Sort of like being pregnant, you either are or your not, then there’s that questionable stage where you wait to find out.

    “BUT, EVEN IF HE WILL NEVER EVER CHANGE …. at least I am trying to be as healthy as I can possibly be myself, and create as stable and positive a home environment as I can for the kids.”

    Did you see the movie ‘Field of Dreams’? If you build it, they will come.

    If I was in your situation with children at home, I would not go into gory details. If you maintain your path alone and stand firm and consistant with your boundaries and healthy living for yourself and them, you really don’t need to say anything to them. They’re smarter than you think. They’ll know what he has been doing and what you are trying to accomplish without you ‘possibly’ bashing him. If anything, maybe that you are trying to help him learn better about and from his temper and that there are other ways of handling things and that there are other ideas and views out there in the world to be considered when making a decision or opinion.

    I’ll more later after I’ve read this novel. LOL

    Hugs to all!

  131. Movies on the brain now. Has anyone seen or remember the movie ‘The Color Purple’ with Whoopie Goldberg and Danny Glover?

  132. Hey Argo! Have you thought of possibly Alzheimers for what your husband may currently be experiencing? If he has always had the NPD or it’s tendencies, Alzheimers may intensify this I think.

  133. And Argo, I’m envious of your outdoor concert. I’d light a fire to go along with it. And some hot or cold tea depending on the weather with a nice lounge chair of some sort.

  134. Darlene, Day-By-Day and all the others!

    I am grateful to you for all the response, advise and support. There was a time when I thought that mine was a special, isolated case, and nobody in the world would understand what I say. How good it is to know I am not alone (well, this is a very selfish statement, come to think of it…LOL!). There is so much to say, but I have time for only some of it tonight.

    As to children: My daughter was about 13 when for the first time I started standing up for myself ( and her) in a open way. My partner is actually very good with kids (the smaller the better)and cares for them immensely, but he is overprotective, controlling, overpowering, willfull and does not think he has to share anything about parenthood with me. She has been training in a local karate club, at some point a necessity of competing came, and she failed miserably, several times. She is excellent technically speaking, but fighting or competing is just not in her nature. Mind you, her father is a highly competitive dude and likes to win (or hates to lose), did not see that this trait was lacking in his progeny, and started pushing too hard ( “your teacher believes in you, he needs a successful student of his to compete, he is a good teacher and you should try to please him”). That did it. I explained to them at the dinner table that she is not obliged to please, compete or win. It is her body and her mind that is at stake, and those are not meant to please anybody if she does not have a wish to compete. She was grateful for the support, and never competed again. The same applied when her hormones kicked in and she refused to train on certain days of the month. She was cajoled, pushed or called a wimp, and did not know what to do about it. Fortunately, I managed to keep the channels open, so she told me about it. A simple question asked, again, at the dinner table, solved the problem “Honey, how do YOU feel about training when you have your period?” “I DON’T have periods!” ” Damn right. You don’t”. OK, back to the subject.

    I have seen several narcissists in action and believe they are incredibly attractive as parents – funny, involved, impressive, at times able to bring themselves to the level of the children they deal with. They always have something to share with them, and excellent ways of getting their attention, and if they teach the right thing, that cannot be bad to the kids. The bad thing is that on their background the spouses fade into oblivion, suffer occassional abuse and retreat into taking only a supportive, invisible role, slowly loosing the respect of the kids. I think the Ns make a conscious effort to remove us from the family scene as means of getting all the attention for themselves, but they will accept the benefits coming from you, like cleaning, cooking, driving, and occassional scapegoating.

    In my one- sided relationship with lack of co-parenting I assumed the expected role of the house mouse that occasionally takes a reasonable stand and curbs too much of the foolishness, but how long are you able to stay in this role and not go completely down on your self esteem? I would probably stay there,(I always insisted on being allowed to perform my profession as a stay at home mom, and that saved my sanity), if not the fact that something happened about 6 or 7 years ago. We decided to settle down where we are now, and he really had to start to perform. No more excuses for loosing jobs and having to move around every 6 months. I kicked and screamed my way through it, contributed what I could and saved pennies for down-payment. He set up his own construction company, became a good carpenter, and his natural managerial qualities became very useful. He started being a successful businessman in a small community. Unfortunately, along with this a lid came off the pot. His megalomania (visible at times in the past) hit he ceiling. His arrogance, abrasiveness, impatience, harshness, self-absorption, put-downs hit me probably 20 times every day in most absurd ways. To me he became a sadistic monster, and I lost my cool. I started self medicating a bit, and that did not improve the situation. My resistance became loud, and it was hard on the child. I discovered the term “NPD”, brought books from the library and for sure left them around the house, also some print-outs from the more reasonable websites. His behaviour continued throughout the process of building our house and after, so my dream turned into a nightmare. For years now I have been disappearing into my studio after supper, tired, disgusted and sometimes scared of his behaviour. My daughter is quietly supportive of me, but does not take sides, she is also supportive of him. She developed into a quiet, thoughtful, intelligent young person, did not do at school as well as she could. At some point she confessed “Mom, this stuff that you read, you know, those websites, it is all true, he is all of that”. So she knows, and she handles him better than I ever did, is excellent at setting boundaries and saying “No”. Also to me, ha!

    In my case all the “gory details” presented themselves to my kid without me having to tell her. His own 3 children know it, too, although we never talk about it. They have a better relationship with him than with me, as they have known him forever, also share many of his characteristics. I backed off that side of the family, maintaining only the necessary contact. My older daughter from the first marriage has her own problem with self-absorption, controlling and anxieties. She, too has a good relationship with my partner, to my disadvantage. Guess who her father is…

    It is true that what we grow up with we accept as normal. I was not aware of any problems in my family, except I remember my mother as very depressed and passive, and my father as very succesful professionally, a do-gooder in his professional field, but absent as a father. In a way I was lucky to have left my home to emigrate, and not being able to go back home for 17 years. Going back was a shock. It was like stepping back into my old shoes and discovering why they hurt my feet. I confronted my sister about what she remembers. She married the same type of man, currently going through a divorce, fortunately no children. We were not aware of anything,(well,not of much). Our mother took it upon herself to protect us from the knowledge of the problems in the family. Presented my father as a great guy on a pedestal, and removed herself into unappreciated greyness. She died in February (age 89). So I am glad my daughter knows, and knows how to handle it. We talk sometimes (very gently) about the consequences of dealing with a narcissistic parent, as I think she is a perfect material for a co-dependent. At least she knows.

  135. Darlyn

    No psychiatrist, me, but something is happening in this department. He was always very scattered and forgetful, and made efforts to cope with this (making lists of things to do and trying not to lose them). This is getting progressively worse, and is, I believe, partially a cause of his anger. He even admits that he has become forgetful.I also know that his memory can be excellent, and somewhat selective. At times it seems like he forgets, but he learned to use it to his advantage. After this scary period of megalomaniac outbursts (things have quieted down a bit now)I believe that his NPD is a result of something much more serious that bothers him, that he is trying to hide from me. Finally, for years I did not have a glimpse… Alzheimer, or something like this might have diminish his ability to keep the lid down. He does not think much of any medical professionals, and chances of him seeking help are nil.

  136. Hey Argo! You first wrote addressing me as Darlene(no worries, it happens alot) and this last one as Darlyn. I’m the same person, just so you know.

  137. Hey, Argo & Daryln (and others posting) – It sure does help to know that others are going through almost the exact same thing. Thank you for your comments and support, and most of all for sharing your stories.

    For years and years I was too scared to tell anyone how intensely crazy things were at home – I was embarrassed and ashamed. Then out of desperation, I started sharing with a few close family members and friends – but no one knew what to say or do.

    Everyone suggested counseling, of course, but my experience (and I think Kim & Steve would both agree based on what they have written) is that counseling just doesn’t “work” for a narcissist (even if you are actually able to get them to go, which you won’t!).

    Even the counselors I went to alone offered very little hope. They all said “He’ll never change”; one said ‘divorce him’; one said ‘accept that this is your lot in life’ and the third said ‘He’ll probably leave you eventually, so be prepared’ (which I disagree with – he has no intention of leaving and I don’t think he ever will; deep down he is too insecure; it is me that wishes I could escape this insanity).

    All these options of leaving/divorce, etc certainly didn’t take into account the affect on the children, not to mention that your narcissist will just go find another victim to feed off of (and it might even be your children!)

    Finally about 2 1/2 years ago, a friend shared with me the term “narcissist” and “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”, and a lightbulb went on for me. When I came across Steve & Kim’s website and materials, I felt like a huge weight was lifted from me. FINALLY, SOMEONE understood!!!

    And now, thanks to this blog, we are learning that Kim & Steve are not alone …. NPD is far more widespread than we realize. I just wish more ministers, counselors, and the general public were aware of these principles.

    In my case, things have definitely gotten better since I have been trying to implement these steps. I think the reason they haven’t been totally successful yet (resulting in the kind of relationship that Kim & Steve have today) is because I am still weak in my own maturity and “gap work” (Kim was much stronger than I am!)

    Instead of responding with calmness, I ofen find myself having my own knee-jerk reaction in the heat of the moment (which always backfires – since you never want to engage an N in an argument when they are spiraling – it only intensifies things and goes nowhere). [People have said I should have become a lawyer, because I will do anything to prove my point, and that doesn’t mix well with an N’s ego!]

    I have all the right response tools in my mind, and I believe in them wholeheartedly … but humbling myself and finding the strength to implement them is another thing, and what I am currently working on. Whenever I do find that strength and do implement them, it works like magic and it is amazing to see the result!!

    Thank you again Steve & Kim – you are changing lives all over the world by sacrificing of your time, energy and resources in sharing your story. You are helping us survive!

  138. Hey, Argo – What you said about your relationship with your spouse regarding parenting sounds very similar to mine.

    My NPD spouse is very “loving” and engaging with the children – taking time to teach them new skills, willing to work with them on discipline issues, making up games with them, etc. – so to the outside world he is a “great dad”.

    *However*, he only does these things on his own time table [which the general public usually doesn’t see]. For example, he might tell the kids he will take them to the park in “5-10 minutes” and then actually do it 3 hours later – not an exaggeration (and during those hours the kids are coming to me and saying “when is daddy going to take us to the park?!?”, and, I know if I offer to take them to the park myself, he will unjustifiably explode and make the day miserable for all of us); or he might promise them he will be there for a special event of theirs, and then not come because it didn’t work in his schedule. He is only home a few hours every week, and if he has not had a chance to catch up on his Facebook page yet (he doesn’t have internet access at work or where he stays overnight during the week), that will be his priority, even over greeting the kids. (Not my personal definition of a “good dad”!!)

    He is also extremely controlling and powerful over the kids if they cross him or disrespect him in any way(he raises his voice/yells a lot and commands them around). He has these idiosyncricies where he will “make” us stand in a certain place/direction, or say something a certain way, or repeat something multiple times, “so that he can hear us” (again, extremely controlling).

    In this whole process, like you, I as the mother am completely disregarded by him. He wants to do all activities with the children alone (i.e. without me, not as a family), and I have overheard him saying divisive things to the children about me (or blatantly lying to them about something I said or did).

    I guess those are some of the situations on which I want to get Kim & Steve’s input/advice.

    If you’re in the house, say, and your husband is working with the children on an activity in another part of the house and he has asked you to not distract them, and you happen to overhear him say something about you that is not true …. do you confront your NPD spouse in the moment in front of your children? Do you talk to your children privately and calmly later (and what do you say?)? Do you attempt to address the issue with your NPD spouse privately later (although he avoids direct conversation with me at almost all costs)? Do you do nothing?!?

    How do you “right the wrongs” with your kids, without being disrespectful to your spouse to them (and shattering their image of their dad)?

    For instance, if you see him being overly controlling and domineering to your kids – do you step in in the moment and say they do not deserve that disrespect? Do you tell your kids later that his behavior was inappropriate? How do you do that without being divisive yourself?

    Darlyn – I’ve appreciated your advice – but I’ll still take some more! 🙂

  139. One more thing – I know people don’t want to reveal their identities, but I thought it would be very interesting to see where most of the people on this blog are from.

    I am from California in the USA.

  140. I have a pride issue myself. I believe your story, but I am so upset and heartbroken, I’m having trouble forgiving him enough to start the exercises. I don’t really want to, and I know that’s my pride talking.

  141. Hey Argo, Day by Day and other readers!
    (Thanx for the tip on addressing the other readers, Argo)

    I started writing a novel again early this morning. In it I described in short what it was like during my childhood with my narcissistic father and the marital relationship between him and my mother. I so dreaded doing that, it became draining so I put it away. I can also write what my step children have shared with me/what I observed of their experience. Not right now, as I have things to attend to, later today.

    Kim & Steve have a video on their YouTube channel titled ‘Why your relationship instincts might be wrong’. For me, it further reinforces and proves the trickle down effect of generations.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/kimandSteveCooper

    TaTa For now!

  142. Kim and Steve – will you please talk more about what the solid strategy should be once you confront someone with signs of NPD with knowledge/evidence of infidelity. (porn/prostitute/emotional affairs). I really related to Jacquie’s post and her sentiment of somehow blaming herself for not avoiding the situation. I keep making a mistake , talking to my husband about my feelings, to try to connect to him. Of course this doesn’t do anything to improve the situation. But I am so mad, I am having a really hard time with the attachment gestures (smiles/photos/considerations).

    What solid strategies are there? I am so mad.

    1. You may not want to smile and be warm to your husband if he is having an affair or is interested in other women. However if you want to win him back there will need to be some reminders to him of what he loved about you and why he would rather be at home. For Steve this was him seeing me spending lots of time being warm and loving playing with our children. He started to long to be part of that. The solid strategy you are looking for is in our ebooks – Back From the Looking Glass (for the steps) and The Love Safety Net Workbook (for the exercises) to change your daily habits. The limiting abuse exercises are particularly crucial. You may also want to listen in to our online radio show here: http://www.globaltalkradio.com/shows/lovesafetynet/program4.php

  143. I am learning so much about my relationship as a codependent and the narcissist I am partnered with. I am also learning how to set boundaries which is new for me. It is a huge challenge since my partner has a very “strong” personality, but I do think I am starting to see some changes. Rather than arguing, I am learning that my actions are speaking louder than my words; or arguing words.

    It has been very difficult when his behavior is very cold towards me, but I am learning the art of self soothing along with prayer and this seems to be helping me to lessen my codependent grip on my partner. I think he is seeing the change and is wondering what’s going on with me. While I’m sure he likes the change, I think the shift is somewhat disarming and he doesn’t know how to act or think. This is why I am sometimes seeing anger coming at me thru aloofness and downright shunning of any affection. He knows that I like affection so this in my estimation is his way to retaliate when he is not getting his way. He is seeing that his controlling behavior is not working so well and I’m sure this is a bit scary for him. In the mean time, it’s no longer about him…can you imagine? This has been my epiphanny; I am learning to self-soothe and to appreciate myself and have some self-respect. It is present more days than not which is a huge shift for me.

    Today is a good day; I am not angry and he is sensing this. I have complimented him and said kind words. And, most importantly, I am learning to remain in my serenity and not let his moodiness affect how my day goes. Sometimes when I say “no” it is not well-received and he broods, but I think mostly that he’s not used to me saying “no”, so when I do, it is puzzling. I am not nasty when I say “no”, I simply say that I am not able to do what he’s demanded of me. No explanation needed; no means no. He is figuring it out; how to accomplish what he wants and needs without my help. I was addicted to being needed, but now that that has lessened, he is feeling the shift. I don’t know what’s harder, being needed or needing to be needed. It’s all sick if you ask me. It’s nice to be appreciated, but to be needed is clearly not healthy. My identity is in God and He supplies all that I need. As this shift has started to take place, I am happier and I believe that my partner is learning how to live for himself and no longer take me for granted. Perhaps he is learning to respect me now that I am showing some self-respect. I am no longer participating in conversation that is demeaning to others; I simply have nothing to contribute so our conversations have been very quiet or at least a bit more uplifting. Looking forward to more film clips from Kim and Steve. Thank God for your counsel Kim and Steve; it flies in the face of traditional counsel and makes a lot more sense.

  144. While I have been involved with Kim and Steve for a long time, I have not not kept up with this new blog. Just started skimming this section, but wanted to echo to Day by Day … my experience with “good public dad,” but these interactions happen only on his own time schedule is so true … also on his own agenda – not necessarily with where the kids are developmentally or relating to their interests. My children are still young and will do what dad wants regardless.

    Also – I too have had a very hard time not getting caught into defending myself in an arguement … getting better slowly, but have really come to recognize it is a losing position. My mother in law (now almost 80) has finally connected to me with a lot of honesty about her own marriage … and tries to coach me in broken English “in one ear, out other … you understand.”

    I frequently do push back if my husband is directly putting me down or insulting me (or others) in front of our children. I tell him that is not acceptable and that is not the role model he wants to be … if I walk away quickly it is best.

    Still working at all of this, and possibly making progress. I will share more when I can.

  145. Hey Jacquie!

    I am so happy for you! You lifted my spirits. I feel that the more we examine ourselves(self awareness/reflection), put our ‘healthy’ boundaries in place, remain consistant, that we truly can have an impact on the future of our society and world. If only more people, and our government entities, would recognize these dreadful disorders in it’s ‘full’ context and do something about it to help those of us struggling . One by One, we can change the world.

  146. Hey Day by Day, Argo and other readers!

    For me to address what ‘stands out’ to me in the posts(I went back to 5/15 since there is still questions) I need to seperate the individual items. So I hope you can bear with me(I have new medication for my disability-thank you husband).

    First, a little history since we have been on the subject of how this disorder affects generations.

    My father was a narcissist/my mother more co-dependent because of her love and admiration for my father and at the same time covertly A NARCISSIST. Not a good combination by any means. I emotionally left my family when I was 15 yrs old, kept my distance the best I could physically(not being around the home), and left permantly at 17 yrs old. Since sociology, culture and ‘time’ come into play, my mother was born in 1930/my father in 1931 – both in this state – both in the great depression. Both had parents that had little regard for the future of their children or much of any care and concern as described to me. They were workhands, a byproduct of what was expected from society and the times. I knew at 10-12yrs old that that was a sick environment and I wanted no part of it. Some much yelling, screaming, destain. And it never got any better with time – to this day. My father was an ‘unreachable’ and yet my mother was determined to ‘make’ him love her or make him pay, when she should have divorced him for everyones sake. NOW I bet you get how she was co-dependent and narcissistic at the same time.

    (wipeing brow(sp)) DBD, HOW DO YOU DO THOSE SMILEY FACE THINGS? LOL

    DBD, you’ve asked several times in different ways about how to respond when your husband is in his moment. With that you need to continue with Kim and Steve’s ebook and your gut for the sake of your children, yourself, everyone concerned. Read back, the answers are right in front of you. What do you want for your children? Back From The Looking Glass is based on parental guidelines because we are dealing with ‘adult’ children. You need to adapt it to your own personal situation. If you need 1(one) liners I can help with that. But do you really want to use them? I am a ‘humble’ fighter. I do not tolerate injustice. And I pretty much ‘speak my mind’ on these issues.

    Don’t get me wrong, my husband had me beat down so low and bad I had thoughts of ending it(suicide). Nope, not for this gal. I have grandchildren.

    Most always things/issues get worse/escalate in these situations when there is ‘Change’ involved. There really isn’t a way around it when you’re doing it. Stay on course, be consistant and calm. Meditation and deep breaths.

    BRB

  147. Hey Kimberly!
    I think that not only may it be your ‘pride talking’, add to that the co-dependence aspect of expecting him to help you feel better with the anger, hurt, betrayal, deceit…… Of course we want an apology and the recant that ‘he’ll never come close to that again’. Will it last with words even though words are a form of action? It’s still ‘lip service’ until they can get a grip themselves. In the meantime we need to get our own grip. I try to let myself feel what I am feeling and distiguish between the different emotions. That in it’s self can be therapeutic.

    Do you remember the ‘Magic Scissors’? How do you calm yourself, self-sooth what you are experiencing so you can rise above it and ‘BE’ the better person than what you are feeling right now for your future?

    Some times my ‘Magic Scissors’ just don’t have enough ‘magic’ for what I’m experiencing, so, I had a thought of Tinkerbell. Pixie dust! Just enough for that needed serenity.

    Also, do you regularily re-read Kim & Steve’s ebook ‘Back From The Looking Glass’? All in all because I can’t directly change my husband or transform him into ‘the healthy adult’ I think or want him to be I can still ‘Take Care Of Myself’ to be the person I want to be. Now and in my future. With that as Kim & Steve have proven, if he is reachable, he will follow your lead and you’ll be the most attractive person he’ll ever know.

    As for the attachment, because you are feeling what you are, completely understandable, there are things you can do that also benefit you FIRST. Get a pedicure/manicure/new hair style or just do it up different/go tanning(I’m not a fan of that but some are)/different eye shadow/go to the gym or just walk-get healthier(in the process you’ll be more ‘tone’ and have a healthier heart) etc….he will notice the difference and bring the ‘Attachment/Attention’ back to you. He’ll notice that you are taking care of ‘you’ which will attract him.

    These things are for ‘YOU’ First. If I get into the idea that I have to ‘Make myself completely over’ so I get tossed a bone, I’m damaging myself. This is more about attracting them with your self-esteem/confidence/value/worth/respect/ dignity/integrity.

    Kim has mentioned additional reading material in her articles and emails that help us ‘get’ how the male gender thoughts differs from our own. You can research them on line.

    Good Luck! I hope this helps!

  148. Kimberly! I copied and pasted a reply to you Kim in case you missed it.

    Kim Cooper Says:
    May 22nd, 2012 at 10:38 pm
    You may not want to smile and be warm to your husband if he is having an affair or is interested in other women. However if you want to win him back there will need to be some reminders to him of what he loved about you and why he would rather be at home. For Steve this was him seeing me spending lots of time being warm and loving playing with our children. He started to long to be part of that. The solid strategy you are looking for is in our ebooks – Back From the Looking Glass (for the steps) and The Love Safety Net Workbook (for the exercises) to change your daily habits. The limiting abuse exercises are particularly crucial. You may also want to listen in to our online radio show here: http://www.globaltalkradio.com/shows/lovesafetynet/program4.php

  149. I thought I would share something that has been beneficial for my situation. Using the words that describe the emotion that my husband appears to be feeling. It seems as though some men don’t have a clue as to what they may, or may not, be feeling. This I have found to help break the ice even with using a 1 liner response. It opens up communication or at the very least, gets them thinking of what they themselves are experiencing.

    Just a thought because it just happened and it cut short his attitude.

  150. Thanks for the tip, Daryln, of describing the emotion it seems your N spouse may be feeling, even in a short one liner. I will definitely use that!

  151. Long Time Reader – Thanks so much for sharing and relating! I am going to use your one liner (when he is behaving badly in front of the children): “This is not the role model I know you want to be” …. I love it!

    And Darlyn – Thanks too for your continued tips and advice! Much appreciated!

  152. DBD, If you do decide to approach a situation where he is talking negatively about you to the children you can always walk in/up and say “Is that what you got out of what I was saying/doing?” Bow your head, shake it, and walk away. If he has a retorte, simply state you have read and have a copy of the dictionary and thesaurus. And still walk away.

    Just a thought. Hugs!

  153. Today I feel like a piece of elastic stretched beyond belief and I find it so easy to slip into my resentments towards my partner who despite his expressed wish we stay together, slides so quickly back into his pathological selfishness. My unconditional love cupboard is skinny thin and I regress into a state of wishfull thinking and fantasies of my rescuer.

  154. Thanx Kim! That is an ‘encouragement’ for my continued success regardless of my marital outcome. There’s no way I could be able to come this far without you, Steve, your beyond wonderful ebooks and material. Not to mention the support you and Steve provide. I also wish to Thank the remainder of your family as I know they too helped contribute with their own sacrifices to helping others.

  155. Hi Kim and Steve I am new here and like so many others it was a relief to have a name for what was happening in my relationship. Your website and videos gave me the information I needed to begin to realize that it’s not my fault at all if “i can’t do anything right” in his eyes and that it’s not personal although the attacks from him feel very personal.

  156. If you are making some head way with the narcissist in your life, Avoid the ‘rubbing it in their face’ reflex. I just caught myself starting to do that. It took some restraining! I had to remind/remember what the long-term goal was. And walk outside.

  157. I posted on May 14th at 6.17am, Kim’s reply at 6.25 my reply at 8.20am, and again on th 15th. My question was, how do I set boundaries when I suspect there are other women? The woman he was seeing messaged me today and said he has been seeing her the whole time he has been seeing me. She did not know either. He has even taken her away on weekend trips. Hes been telling me he loves me dearly and im his other half and that he has not had contact with that woman at all. He went away on a bike trip and sent constant txts about wanting to be with me and wanted go back to counselling, but today I found out he was txting her too.

    I just rang him and he said he hasnt seen her for months, but she said he was with her last week, so even now he is still lying. Even this week he has been sending me txts telling me how he will never love anyone like he loves me. Even asked me out for a drink last night, Im glad I didnt go. Imagine how I would have felt if I got sucked in by him again & spent the night with him. I just got her messages today…

    So, there are no boundaries to set for that is there? I feel numb but I’m glad I know he truth. I feel foolish for believing him and for being deceived for so long, however I know I am not a fool, I just trusted and loved someone who didnt deserve it.

    I have wasted nearly 20 years on this man, and I’m sure there have been many others now. He used to say I was jealous and insecure and crazy and making up ‘conspiracy theories’. Why would he say he wants to be with me and go back to counselling when he was seeing her? Whats the point? Why didnt he just leave me alone to get on with my life? I just dont understand how someone can lie so honestly. He is so convincing.

    She doesnt want to be with him anymore, neither do I. I think about the he shit I put up with all these years, forgiving and trying all the things I have learned about this disorder. What was it all for? He was always blaming me for all our problems. He doesnt even seem to think he has done anything wrong, playing with peoples hearts and using them. He did not apologise – just hung up. I am used to that.

    Anyway, I will try not to grieve for something that was never there and move on with my life. I hope it doesnt hit me in a couple of days and I sink into depression.

    I would like to buy Back From the Looking Glass. How much is it? I live in NZ and dont have a credit card.

  158. Hey Angie! In your post from May 14th you mentioned that you had been reading 1(one) of Kim & Steve’s ebooks. Which 1(one) do you have?

    Near the top of this page, on the right hand side are links you can click on to view a list of their ebooks and materials. Click on any of them; Get More Help With….

    Also, could this woman be texting or say these things just to hurt you, or him, or try to seperate the two of further? It’s a game I’ve seen some women play.

  159. This one I’m having trouble with. Why is it wrongful for wanting some acknowledgement and comfort from your narcissistic partner due to your 80+ yr old, last surviving parent, hospitalization and then death? Because if it doesn’t pertain to them, it doesn’t exist. That stinks!

    1. Hey Darlyn, Thanks for holding the fort here for me! Your answers have been great. I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting acknowledgement and comfort and I am sorry to hear that your partner is not there for you. It is easy for our program to achieve the result of limiting most of the abuse in your relationship without having necessarily brought your partners defense structure down or having turned your relationship around. That may be where you are now and I hope to find time to do a new post here soon about bringing it across the line. It is hard work living with a show off – no matter how good at it they are – and sooner or later the showoff in them needs to go!

  160. Hey Kim! From the title of this blog I was only sharing my story and adding in what I’ve done, learned, and thoughts and ideas. The credit goes to you, Steve and your family, for without your sharing and the research and materials that you, Steve and your family have provided the cycle continues whereas we really can change the world in a matter of speaking.

    I was wondering if my co-dependence was speaking to me. I didn’t really think so, Thanx for the reaffirmation. My relationship has already improved, and I am grateful. Now begins the warmer summer months where too easily my narcissistic partners tendencies and behaviors are more prevalant. And with that I too did some back pedaling as it caught me off guard. And again, you are right. My relationship/marriage may not have the ‘happily ever after’ results we’d all like to have. I know I’m in a much better place personally from putting your material to work in my life.

    I do wish more professionals would get off their high horse and see how valuable this material truly is. I think I’ll mention it to the women shelters and such nearby.

    Have a great Memorial Day(don’t know if you celebrate it)!

  161. Yes, I think Kim’s point that implementing these steps may limit the abuse, but it won’t necessarily bring your spouse to the humble place of actually contributing his half to the relationship (that’s a choice that he alone will have to make). That is a stark, sad reality that I think we all need to accept. The point is, as Darlyn said, we can certainly choose to improve ourselves, and have a much happier and more fulfilled lives ourselves (thanks to all these wonderful tools Kim has provided). But letting go of that “happily ever after” (and a spouse that truly cares for you from his heart) sure is a tough pill to swallow.

  162. Darlyn (and for everyone else reading)-

    Your posting – “If you are making some head way with the narcissist in your life, Avoid the ‘rubbing it in their face’ reflex.”

    Absolutely – sometimes I retort back to my husband’s criticisms, with a flaw or fault of his. It just makes the interactions spiral down, and lowers me. Someone said to me recently, which has made for another good one-liner – “don’t let him make you hate him.” My husband has a lot a good qualities, I typically don’t regret marrying him, but he also has another caustic side.

    Through this and similar sites I have come to realize that his other side is essentially a spoiled child. For my own sanity, and to not raise 3 more boys with the same traits, I need to learn to push back effectively.

    I totally empathise with feeling hurt by the lack of support around your aging/failing parent. Both of my parents now have dementia, my mom is more impaired, yet my husband continues to use insults about her to get at me. When I step away from the immediate fight back/rage I recognize how afraid he is of aging, of loosing his rational mind and control, and how there is typically something stressing him out when he starts jabbing at me.

    I need to find my comforters around the grief/loss of my parents elsewhere, and although not fair that is just how it is. Some days it is horrid, but I have learned what I can do at those times, and am getting better about seeking those supports out rather than pushing at him, or waiting for him to be there. Once in a while he will make a caring remark, so that I know he does see how sad I am about them, but for whatever reason, he isn’t capable of giving more. I too can’t be everything for him he wishes I could be.

    Kim and everyone – A useful book resource recommendation – fairly clinical, but written for an easy read. The high conflict couple. A dialectical behavioral therapy guide to finding peace, intimacy and validation, by A. Fruzzetti PhD. I have found this to have useful recommendations even when needing to work through it unilaterally.

  163. Hey Long Time Reader!
    Thanx so much for your comment. I found it reaffirming not only for personal injury, for the steps Kim & Steve have provided us with.

  164. Hi, again. I’m still recovering from the
    Meningitis (compliments of one her
    affairs) when after having abused me & asked my assistance she then said can you fix my mobile phone, it’s frozen. So
    I freed it for her, only to find that the screen revealed every second call had been to another new guy. She quickly took the phone from me & sheepishly changed subjects.

  165. Hi Kim,

    I have never been formally diagnosed but am confident that I was a narcissist and I think I’m now co-dependent (I’m not sure if that’s possible but based on what I’ve read this seems to fit with my personality change).

    My partner spent over two years trying everything he could think of to help me to realise what I was doing wrong (which as you may guess I constantly denied and really struggled to accept). I am in a much better place than I use to be. However, this has destroyed my partner and he is struggling to move past everything I have done.

    One of the things that helped me to be honest was telling my partner memories of things I have done in the past (both during and before I knew him) which I’m not proud of (e.g. being two-faced, flirting with other men, lying to make myself look good). He’s now asked me not to tell him anymore examples for a while because it really hurts him and constantly brings to the surface how hurtful/deceiful my actions have been.

    I would appreciate your advice about how we can handle this tricky situation. I want to be honest and build his trust whilst not continuously hurting him and causing more damage to our already fragile relationship.

    I would also like to know if you have any advice about how to help my partner to work through the pain, anger and frustration I have caused him.

    Thank you for your ebooks and emails – they have helped me to help myself and have given me the strength and confidence to keep trying to be better.

    S

    1. Hi Sarah, Congratulations on tackling your ego. It is not a jump for the feint of heart! I would suggest that you let your partner control the information flow. That is that you tell him you will answer all of his questions honestly but that you will not say more than what he asks. This will help him feel he has more power and control in dealing with these issues which have probably left him feeling pretty powerless. Trust is something which takes time to build. You might also both work through the exercises in The Love Safety Net Workbook and you could also give him 10 Steps to overcome codependence. It is very practical and many people tell me it helped them the most out of all our books.

  166. When I last posted I was feeling very pushed and Iguess quite low. My exasperation was more with myself as Ihad begun to be hard on myself for feeling so weak and vulnerable.

    On Kims advise I went back to the gap work and focussed on my Bill of Rights and building connections in a loving way with my partner. The latter I find so hard to do because it can feel forced and fake.

    However I had the opportunity to spend some time away just prior to my partners birthday. It gave me time to clear my head and recharge my batteries. I found it easier to feel loving towards him again and so for his birthday I gave him a card with a photo of a special place we both loved and a message inside expressing my sadness that things were tough between us at present but also a reiteration of my love for him. I also mended an ornament of his that I had broken by accident, but I knew added to his antipathy towards me.

    I left these and some sea shells I had collected from the beach the weekend before, on the table for him to see whilst I was at work.

    When I came in from work he had bought me a bunch of flowers and cooked me dinner. But most amasingly he also wrote me a note mirroring much of what I had said in my card to him. We had a really lovely evening the first we had had for about 2 months.

    It was almost miraculous, just as you said Kim.

    Thanks again and loads of love and goodwill to all on the site thank you too.

  167. Thanks Darlyn for your help!! This sight is such a blessing. I’m thankful to have found it. I pray often, I speak my mind and I’m trying to learn NOT TO REACT. I pray I can master that one. We have all been through so much and I pray for each one of you to trust God and believe how much He wants to bless you. We have been seperated a year and a half now and my spouse is now wanting to go to church with me. I’m thankful, but still don’t trust him and probably never will. I pray he one day knows the love of Jesus and that he will accept Him as his Lord & Savoir. It has to be about God…it can’t be about us!

  168. Dear Sarah,

    What has helped me to forgive my partner is when he has given me a heartfelt unconditional ‘I am so sorry’, which at this stage is rare, but he is getting better at it.

    I however have to be in a place to see that his behaviour isnt personal to me. In the past and sometimes still now when I am not in that place to hear the genuiness of his apology, becuase I am so wrapped up in feeling personally attacked and sorry for myself, wishing for my real hero to enter stage right, miss the opportunity for amends and then continue to add to the misery. Giving him the perfect excuse for his bad behaviour.

    I guess for all of us it is a tale of two people with extreme vulnerabilities, searching for ways of relieving our pain.Since I have had a glimpse of this more compassionate view point and learnt better to self sooth my windows for hearing amends being made are much bigger.

    I wish you all the best.

  169. Hey geraldine!
    Thanx for the insight of how we may overlook subtle apologies. As Kim & Steve describe things in their ebook, I too would rather ‘see’ the apology in action. Like; ‘I don’t want to hear that you’ll change(as an apology), I want to see and be able to live within that change’.

    In Kim & Steve’s ebook ‘Back From The Looking Glass’, (well, in all of their ebooks and other material) they mention if forgiveness doesn’t seem to be working for you that ‘acceptance’ of the ‘past’ be more manageable as to allow yourself to hold a ‘better past’ as it will lead to a better and healthier future.

    I am unable to forgive some of my husbands indiscretions so Kim & Steve’s ‘acceptance’ information is working well for me.

  170. After study just a few of the weblog posts on your web site now, and I really like your method of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site listing and shall be checking again soon. Pls try my web page as effectively and let me know what you think.

  171. Forgiveness is a powerful thing. I forgave ex for the big affair that led to separation. It took me 4 years to truly find my peace. And then I found out about the affairs that came before that one. I went into such a depression again but this time it didn’t last long. In the end I feel only compassion for him as he is a truly sad and empty person longing for love. Im just not sure I can anymore. Forguveness is one thing reconciliation is quite another.
    On money matters he has been raging at me for weeks and at child support agency but I have stood my ground. The interesting thing is that the stronger I am at standing up to him the more he begs me to have him back. Even tho he gets so angry with me when he doesn’t get his way. When we were still together I was afraid of his anger and always gave in. Now I have really found the power of boundaries.

  172. Hi Steve & Kim.

    I’ve had a look at some of you articles and videos – and keen to read more!
    I’ve just come out of a destructive and abusive relationship and am working on looking hard at the role I played and why I put up with so much destructive behaviour for so long, and what I need to do to become ‘mature’.
    I’m recognising I have serious co-dependancy issues and look forward to reading 10 steps to overcome co dependence and working through The Love Saftey Net Workbook.

    B

  173. Hey Kim & Steve!
    As you know I was called away from home these past few days(3 hrs away). Leaving my narcissistic husband unattended(we all know what that does and can mean).

    With the information you provide us/me and the use of your ebooks, so much information and guidance you offer, I was able to conquer my co-dependence and do what I needed to do without anxiety/panic, worry, the annoying phone calls and so much more that you describe. I was at peace.

    Upon my return I found that my husband, was respectfully and honorably my husband in my absence. Can anyone imagine the joy, true happiness, security all else I was/am feeling? Yes, I was apprehensive, scared/fearful and expecting the worse(I do have things/instruments in place so I do know the truth).

    I can’t Thank you enough for what you have instilled within me. And the added benefit is that it seems to be saving my disfunctional narcissistic/co-dependent marriage. You helped me get more of my ‘backbone’ back.

    Not to mention that all those sweet, wonderful, meaningful, devoted/committed and secret(s) about his true feelings over these past 36yrs he has told me, is true.

    On to the next step in your 13 steps towards a peaceful home.

  174. Hi Steve and Kim:

    I had the opportunity of viewing your youtube video regarding narcissism. One suggestion about this blog or question rather, is there a way to turn off this side tool because it tends to block the view of what someone tries typing in the blog box.?

    Anyway, I am finding myself in a rather unusual situation and it’s more of a work related matter where one of my bosses appears to exhibit the signs of narcissm but I was unsure at first. I have been working for her for approximately a year now and because the recession was very long this time, it did take some time for me to find work so it’s pretty limited in trying to leave the situation. Things have not improved that much but I have found certain ways to get some ideas across that have allowed some changes to the way we handle specific processes at work.
    we still have a long way to go but I feel sometimes like this boss goes into these attack phases and I slowly began to realize that it was not just one person that she has attacked.

    Now with these HIPPA laws to protect employees from being notified about their conditions, sometimes I feel that it is necessary to let other employees know about the condition in order to better understand what is going on because it does bring the morale down in the department.

    Several people have been ready to walk out on the job and many others already have. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of work that she is giving all of us even though I do appreciate having found work after the long and tough search in the long recession.

    I hhave come for advice on how to handle the situation because she is overly critical, seems to assume things about people without getting to know them, and she might be taking advantage of p-eople for her own personal gain or sometimes it feels that way.

    For instance, if one were to fall ill in the workplace and needed to go to the emergency right away, then she would expect them to give 2 weeks notice for taking a day off. Now that seems very odd because most illnesses and family passings are not planned?

    She seems to put people on the spot. I have tried to speak with HR to inquire about how to handle a certain situation because this is probably the 2nd time that I have seen something like this in a work related environment.

    Now I would like to stay on for a bit longer until I can find another opportunity elsewhere but what can I do to survive this situation since it would affect my work to a specific degree?

    Sincerely.

    Doreen

  175. I simply want to mention I am just newbie to blogging and seriously loved your web site. More than likely I’m want to bookmark your blog . You absolutely have remarkable stories. With thanks for revealing your website.

  176. Oh and the reason I wanted to get up there to his work soon is I’m on leave from my work at the moment which affords me this window of opportunity.

  177. Hi Kim and Steve,
    First I’d like to say that I really appreciate what you are doing. I have been living with a narcissistic partner for seven years now and I have been using your materials for the past two years and have begun to see some positive changes. It is frustrating though. It always feels like two steps forward and one step back. It is certainly not steady improvement. I’d really appreciate any advice you can give about effectively setting boundaries. There are things that I would like to confront him about, but I know he wouldn’t take any notice. I sometimes feel like my only real choices are to leave or put up with the abusive behaviour….neither of which I want to do.

    1. Follow the exercises in the chapter on Limiting abuse in The Love Safety Net Workbook to the letter! You cannot be wishy washy at all about following through on these. It will feel wrong but that is only because this will be new to you. You need to be stronger than him for him to ever really trust you.

  178. Hi Kim and Steve,

    There is so much I want to share with you and others…where do I begin! This is my 4th marriage and I have had many unhealthy relationships outside of being married. A battered child, sexual abuse, neglact of my basic God given needs of love, acceptance, nurturing left me a very broken drug addicted alcoholic. Ihave been cleabn for a number of years, in and out of therapy to address the deep issues of brokenness did help, but it did not prevent me from ending up with yet another abusive man! I really don’t want another divorce. I left for while, demanding he attend a batterers group (he doesn’t abuse me physically), he has been seeing the same therapist for 2 years. this therpasit use to be mine but I sensed that something was not right, that she did not have the skills I needed. I took info into her about complex post traumatic disorder and had to tell her that this is what was going on. I had to take a book in by Lundy Bancroft on domestic violence and read out of it to describe to her by a professional what my husband was doing to me and that the response from me was that of a battered woman. She was conducting EMDR for my CPTSD but dictated what I was to work on when I told her it wasnt’ working for me she did not listen to me and insisted I do what she wanted me to do. Some of the worse fights my husbnad and I got into was after his sessions with her. I sensed that she had colluded with him, whiich she did! She informed me in front of him that when the fighting began I was not to leave, but to stay and work it out because I ran all my life! to tell an abused woman in front of her abuser that she wasn;t to leave co-signs the abuse! This was 2 years ago. The final straw was when we were preparing to go on a trip and I shared my fears with this therapist that last time we went to this place I was abused by him and that I didn’t like going out into public because of the wahy women dressed and my husband had a hard time keeping his eyes off the cleavage women show now adays. She tuned around and accused me of wearing short sirts and showing cleavage myself. I tole my husband about this and he replied “no you don’t! you dont’ even own a short skirt”. the next evening after a seesions with this woman he came home and accused me of wearing short skirts and showing cleavage in public! I share this to show the power/influence this woman has on my hus band and the level of incomptence. My husbands father was a horribley abusive narrcasists. the stories told about what the father did to the family is horrendous. My husband admits to having similar traits, but he is not seeing what he has done to me. this therapists has not helped him to understand DV and how the cycle effects a womans moods and level of trust……she has labeled me borderline personality disordered rather than place the full weight of his abuse and its effects on his shoulders. I am at a lose as to how to handle this situation. He states that “he will not give her up” as if there is an affair going on. This man has annilated my character from the begiining of our marriage. I discover porn on his computer, confronted him and he denied it, seeing that I was not goin got by the lies he turned into this monsterous person that threw in my face all the painful things that I had sharded while we were dating. the abortion, the multiple marriages and boyfriends, accusing me of things that I now realize was about him, not me….this has been a nightmare for me, its effected my health tremendously, i have lost my self, I was suicidal, I once worked as a therapist myself and I am now a shadow of who I was. Your website has offered me some hope. Now I know that the nioghtmare I have lived is not becasue of my past as he and his crazy therpaist wants to say, but its because my husband is a narcisist as his father was! thank you so much for all the hard work you are doing….its given me clarity that I so desperately needed! Of all the info I have read over the course of the last 2 years, yours has offered me a clear understanding of what has happened to me and to this marriage. again, thank you and may God richly bless you both….Lauralee

  179. hey there and thank you for your information – I have definitely picked up anything new from right here. I did however expertise some technical points using this website, as I experienced to reload the web site many times previous to I could get it to load correctly. I had been wondering if your web hosting is OK? Not that I’m complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your placement in google and could damage your high quality score if ads and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to my email and can look out for much more of your respective intriguing content. Ensure that you update this again very soon..

  180. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  181. Thanks for your reply Kim. I do re-read your material and deepen my understanding of it. But sometimes I do not know what to do for the best in a specific situation. In general he is getting better at controlling his flashes of rage and I no longer feel physically scared of him. From you I have learned how important it is not to cower and to remain calm yet fully present. The other day however he regressed a bit and threw a cooking pan on the floor, breaking it. I feel he should face the consequences and pay for it. But I very much doubt I will be successful if I say that to him. Meanwhile we need that size pot, so I will end up replacing it. I feel I have to choose my battles and take it slow, but it does make me angry.

  182. Met a guy, we hit it off at once. We are both in our 50’s but like to be 12 years old. No eye rolling or anything. He went through hoops for me for a month and a halve, then I became a convience. I said see me on the weekends when we have time or no go. I make no assumptions, demands or do I have an agenda. He calls and gets all tangled up with himself.

    i was married before for 18 years to a control freak. So I tell the bf to always do what you want not what you think I want you to do. I have learned at least this doesn’t cause resentments.

  183. Hi, I’m Annmarie. I just found out that my fiance and spouse of 13yrs with 2 kids may have NPD. I found out he was unfaithful in February 2012 with a girl next door then I found out just yesterday that it’s many women on different levels and goes back many years. I feel I must leave him to gain sanity, but i really don’t want to.I want so much to help him. I’m only hanging on by a straw here and have mention NPD before but not in detail.
    However, your instruction is that i should not confront him until I get in touch with you, but like I said I’m hanging to thread. Please help me urgently. Awaiting your response. Thanks in advance

  184. Hey lauralee!
    Kim & Steve have so much information and material available. I don’t know how much you’ve read of theirs, there are links on the right hand side upper top of this page that can direct you to more. Their ebook ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ along with ‘The Love Safety Net’ workbooks goes into detail about what you(and most all of us here) are experiencing. Even the part of your therapist. I think it would be worthwhile for you if you get a copy(s). Also the ’10 Steps To Overcome Co-dependence’.

    Click on the Narcissistic Personality Disorder in Your Marriage link above for another great article/blog.

  185. Hey Sarah!
    About the cooking pot, if I was in this situation I would not replace it. And if a meal was that contingent on having that size pot I would tell my husband it’s ‘sandwich’ night because the pot was broken(without placing blame, just stating).

    Kim & Steves information and materials(articles, blogs, videos, etc…) are so valuable. When I began reading their ebooks it tied everything together for me. It was like I was missing something, a puzzle piece so to speak, that it was hard for me to put it all together. If you don’t already have them I encourage you to get them. You’ll be amazed with the detail they have. If you’re like me the light bulb will lite up and you’ll have an ‘Aha’ moment. It definately brought me a sense of freedom after reading them.

  186. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable info to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

  187. I only wish I had know this earlier. I am headed for divorce and have 3 boys at home. I am 99.9% sure my soon to be ex has this behavior problem. Its her action always contradict her words. I don’t even know what the truth was any more. I so wanted to believe her, but after 4 months of my own therapy much research I know I can’t. I don’t even believe she knows what love is. It is like she does everything just because she knows it will hurt me or doesn’t care if she does. Do I hate her NO. But I also can never look at her the same. I am probably better off. And now it is just about protecting my boys.

  188. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for magnificent information I was looking for this info for my mission.

  189. We are a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme in our community. Your site offered us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our whole community will be thankful to you.

  190. I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You’re amazing! Thanks!

  191. Hey Jan!
    Do you have Kim & Steve’s ebook ‘Back From The Looking Glass’? There are workbooks also that go along with it titled ‘The Love Safety Net Workbooks’. These will help you define or figure out what may be happening not only with your husband, with his family. That is where the ‘magic scissors’ practice is introduced, along with much more worthwhile information.

    You mentioned that he, your husband, has an illness without mentioning what it is. Could it be bi-polar, ADHD, Alzheimers, etc…. I’m listing those that interfer with brain functioning unknowingly unless diagnosis and treated.

    Also, Kim & Steve have a homepage here with tons of more information and material listings:

    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  192. Hi

    Firstly thanks to Steve and Kim for their comments over the past couple of days.

    Steve suggested I share my story so:

    I first met my ex partner two years ago. When we met we had a huge spark – the first thing we first said to each other was ‘wow’. On our first date, if I am honest though, I thought he was quite angry but he was gorgeous, beautiful eyes, amazing physique, lovely speaking voice, a very sexy man…..He was going through a divorce and was very angry at his ex wife. She had left him for another man and it seems had been frequently unfaithful to him. He, to this day, says he was completely faithful to her – after recent events I am not so sure if that is true or not. The way he described his relationship with his ex was as if she was completely at fault. The alarm bells didn’t ring unfortunately….

    When I accepted an offer to sing on a cruise for two weeks, my ex was deeply unhappy about me going. He started to pick fights to the point of us nearly splitting up. When on the cruise, I stupidly sent him an email saying that I’d heard more from my ex than him, he then sent me endless nasty emails. I decided I couldn’t continue the relationship because I was so confused by the endless email onslaught. In the car on the way home from the cruise, he laughed and sneered at me when I was so upset. I had apologised for sending the email about my ex but he just wouldn’t let it drop.

    We split up for 3 days but I missed him and wanted to see him again so pursuaded him to see me again. For a while things were fine.

    As time went on I met his children – both of them understandably struggling with the divorce and the pressure of trying to support both parents – both Mother and Father used their children as sounding posts during the divorce. Complaining bitterly and putting the children in a really difficult emotional position. Neither of them put the children first at all. As far as I could see the parents’ issues were to them, far more important than the children.

    I tried really hard to support both children and went about being there for them and for my ex completely. Doing everything for him without question, even when he didn’t want me to – I thought at the time that I was showing love… I realise now that this wasn’t the case. (My Mother and I had a terrible time when I was a teenaager, she was verbally and physically abusive to me and made me feel like a failure. She and my father had an appalling relationship, he was serially unfaithful and she rushed around trying to make everything perfect for him and the rows they had were awful). The more I did for my ex, the more he seemed to disrespect me. He would frequently fly of the handle, would spend hours complaining about his ex wife and her behaviour but if I ever offered an opinion on how to perhaps resolve issues, he would go ballistic.

    After I had an operation, we had a row in the car as I was coming round from anaesthetic. He had been told that his daugther was showing signs of depression. I made the mistake of saying that I agreed with the Doctors and he just launched at me, how I didn’t know what I was talking about at all. Following the surgery he started to be really difficult because I couldn’t be intimate, this became the new problem that he focussed on in the relationship… I couldn’t do anything right.

    On the day of an important audition, he reduced me to gut wrenching tears before I went because he was angry that I had agreed to do an audition for a company which was 200 miles from the area he lived. After reducing me to tears he then became all sweetness and light… I remember feeling really confused. He could change from Jekyll to Hyde in the blink of an eye. The same happened the following week when I had a recall for the same company.

    The pressures of the relationship began to take their toll on me so in January 2011 I decided I had to leave. I know I really hurt him when I did this and also hurt his daughter. I was so confused, I couldn’t cope with his ex and their constant rows, I couldn’t cope with his demands for intimacy, I didn’t like who I was becoming in the relationship – constantly seeking his approval, trying desperately to please him, desperate for him to see how much I loved him but he just couldn’t see it. He flew off the handle frequently, he seemed to want to argue about everything. He had to prove he was right about everything. This time I was going to stay away, but I couldn’t…. I knew the relationship was destroying me and my confidence but couldn’t help myself. Two weeks later we got back together and for about 3 weeks things were great. That is until I had to go away to sing.

    When he came to see me he would demand intimacy and if he didn’t get it would go ballistic. Each time he reduced me to tears he would laugh at me.

    We split again and he sent endless nasty texts and emails while we were apart. But again I couldn’t stay away…. We got back together last August and went on holiday. The holiday was awful – I made one comment to him about crushing a bottle which I was going to use for a walk and he commpletely lost it with me. Walked round the house screaming and shouting at me. Laughed at me while I was sat sobbing on the floor. I told him I was going to go home and he wouldn’t let me. He wouldn’t let me get the train. Screamed and shouted at me in the car, how it was all my fault that we were in a mess again. How I was always picking at him. I remember feeling like I was going mad. He dropped me home after a horrendous journey. I vowed that was it and wouldn’t go back but again I couldn’t stay away….

    Then there were the other women… We had a month apart and we decided to try again. Within weeks I got an email from a woman who I didn’t know on Facebook telling me that he had been seeing someone else for at least a year and that he was a player. I know we had split up endlessly but I was gutted to hear about someone else. Then it turns out it wasn’t just one woman. There were at least two who I now know about. He insisted that he wanted me and that we should keep seeing each other. He was secretive with his phone, spent hours up in his bedroom. In November he started telling me that he had never looked at other women when he was married for 17 years but was always looking when he was with me.
    He informed me he no longer wanted children with me, didn’t want to move in with me but wanted to continue a relationship with me. He used to talk to me as if I was no better than a rabid dog.

    From January until March he sometimes wanted me and sometimes didn’t, endlessly demanded intimacy when I had no idea if he was seeing others. He was lying all the time and once did actually admit to doing so – said he had only recently learnt how to lie… When I saw him he would say ‘I love you, there is no one else, please trust me.’ In March, while I was away singing again, I found a profile of him on the internet site we had first me on. When I asked him about it, he said he had done it to get reaction from me but after a week of insulting emails told me he thought we should be friends. I cut contact with him because I couldn’t keep going through the endless push and pull with him. I couldn’t cope with the Jekyll and Hyde – something which had been going on for well over a year – gorgeous, loving, kind one minute, screaming and shouting at me the next. Nothing I did was right.

    He contacted me a few times but I didn’t reply. After six weeks he sent me messages saying he missed me and would like to see me. I wasn’t sure, but knew I still loved him so met up with him. The first dinner was lovely. We agreed to meet again in a month. Text messages became more and more frequent. I explained to him what I missed, why I loved him, apologised for the things that were my fault in the relationship and really hoped we were working towards starting again in a healthy way. I have been having therapy since January due to the confusion I have felt in the relationship and after learning a lot about myself felt there were things I needed to apologise for. Communication became more frequent and he asked to see me again. He told me how much he loved me, missed me but was concerned that we would argue again because I am apparently a hard woman. He said he was frightened of me – this really confused me – why was he frightened of me? While I was away for a week on holiday, he sent me endless emails, initially lovely then if he didn’t get the response he wanted would degenerate into nastiness – one email saying how he had bumped into ‘the’ girl at work and dared look into her eyes and had nearly collapsed. I didn’t respond to the email because I was angry and wanted to wait until I calmed down – this was only 4 weeks ago.

    Two weeks ago he said that no one he had dated rated up to me at all, that he loved me, that he wanted to move forward with me, just wanted to date me. He came round to see me but I wasn’t in. He sex texted me. I then discovered he has been seeing someone since April so tried to cut contact with him again. He kept sending me texts saying he loved me, cared about her but couldn’t move forward with her. Asked to meet me, so I after deliberating seriously, did. Again, the same comments, I love you, want you, miss you terribly but can’t let her go. I told him that he needed to let me go and move on, I couldn’t date him while he was dating her. He said he knew he wanted me. A week last Saturday, I asked him to stop contacting me as I was so anxious that the situation was making me ill. In the end he said he couldn’t forget – again making out the relationship demise was all my fault. A week last Monday he told me he was in love with someone else and had been for a while and had only seen me because I had confused him because I loved him. If this is true, why send me endless emails a month ago, chasing me, trying to get reaction out of me…

    I know I have issues with codependency and am trying to work through them in therapy. My therapist has said that my ex just can’t see me for who I am and that his behaviour and treatment of me mirror how my Mother treated me. I am learning to self sooth and am trying really hard not to contact him. I have changed my number and blocked him on email so he can’t contact me. The issue is whether I can stop myself from contacting him. I am going to read the material again from Steve and Kim and hopefully break the cycle. He is with someone else now but my therapist, friends and people that know him believe he will contact me again. I need to be strong enough if he does.

  193. Ik read and reread the books back from the lookig glass and the 10 steps codependence. I don’t have the workbook yet. But I would love to get an advice about the situation now, How to break through our vicious cycle, which I see here other people also have. This is a new relationship and we are both in love.

    I broke up, He is begging and I come back, full of good intentions. Then he asks me too much, I want to set my boundaries. He is angry and doesn’t want contact anymore. I don’t want contact then either and after a few days he wants me back and sends an sms with a pretext. I take him back. Also I have been the one that starts to contact again. It is really ridiculous how fast this cycle goes again and again.

    Now we are at the point that he doesnt want contact. I know now a little more about Narcisme and don’t want to say I quit. So I called him next day, he took the phone, but he is still angry.

    I want to stop the cycle, but I don’t know where is the right point to break it. I am strong enough now, specially because I understand more, to do what I have to do.

    What do I have to do at this point? Take contact and which way, now or after a few days/weeks?
    Or don’t take contact?

    I don’t really care to get the wrong advice. I just have to start somewhere. If I dont get advice here. I will make a scheme and I will do it with trial and error. But I think some people have an idea about what might work. (I want to make something good out of this relation)

  194. Hey Jan!
    I don’t have much time at the moment and wanted to respond as well.

    I suggest you keep a closer/keener eye open concerning your husbands activities in and out of the house. Also that you do something about protecting them(from him). I find it suspicious that the things you described in your last post were your belongings, things for you, or things you purchased. As if they were inconspicuous or covert attacks towards you for whatever imaginary(or not)reasoning behind them.

    In reading Kim & Steve’s material you’ll note how deceptive N’s can be, hide things from us, and how their ‘followers'(including family or paramours) can attack us either directly or indirectly. My N uncle drove my deceased aunt insane with such things as you described. To the point she took her own life.

    Also in Kim & Steve’s material you’ll notice how they describe that we will often minimize, or make excuses for the N’s behaviors. Blowing it off as some other reason other than the NPD or N traits. Beings that your husband has not been diagnosised(sp) with any other mental disability, you may want to realistically take a closer examination of your situation and keep re-reading the material you have.

    Just throwing ideas out there. Does your husband spray for weeds or insects near the foundations or in close proximity to where your flowers were?

    I’ll write more later.

  195. Hey Jan!
    Also, as with how your husband was ‘directing’ you in how to plant the flowers, I was wondering if this may come from his religous beliefs? My neighbors husband does this as well, and part is due to his religous belief. My father did this also and it was NOT due to his religous beliefs.

  196. Well, I guess I figured it out.
    The cycle we are in is: (See my previous post)
    1. Hhe asks me something,
    2. I say no,
    3. He is angry,
    4. I give up and give him what he wants, sometimes he apologizes, some times not,
    but immediately :
    1. he asks for something, always too much.

    1. This time he asks 600 euro.
    2. I said, I can give you 300 euro after 3 weeks and I will do my best to make it 500. I read the books and I say to him: I would be so happy and proud if you could make 100 euro too.
    3. He is angry and says that he cannot make 100 euro. I have to prove him that I love him etc. He doen’t want to have contact with me anymore.

    This is were we are now. And I think this is the point where I can break the cycle.

    I asked in my last post what shall I do. I think now: never mind what I do, take contact or not. I cannot giveup my boundaries again and I have to be consequent.

    I decide to make contact after 3-4 days. Just to tell hem that I care. (I don’t expect yet that he will agree with me about the money.)

    I think that when I had decided to not take contact two things could happen.

    a. He calls me with never mind what. This is the dangerous point for me. I could fall for him. And give him all that he wants.

    b. He doesn’t take contact anymore. We’ll I didn’t want to take contact. Than that is clear.

    —-
    Well does this make sense?

    1. Hi Anna,

      Giving him money doesn’t prove you love him and you need to be clear about that.
      To break the cycle you need to say before you get back with him that you are
      looking for a man who can stand on his own 2 feet financially and you want to see
      if that is him. You can say that you will support him while he gets on his feet
      to earn his own income by providing him with a place to live etc. but that you
      will not hand him money as you don’t believe this is going to help him.
      I think this is the boundary you need to set and stick to it. After that
      do not ever give in to his requests. If he gets angry and threatens you
      then get away from him or call the police. You will soon find out if he wants
      your support to stand on his own feet or if he is just a parasite. If he is the second
      your new stance will make him decide to leave of his own accord.

  197. Last year my daughter was visiting me and told me about Kim. I got on the website and purchased the online version of Back From the Looking Glass with the workbook. She has been in two marriages that fit the profile of the NPD and I thought the information would be helpful for both of us. I find many of these traits within myself, but have been a Christian for many years and so have overcome or subdued the worst characteristics. I also had very decent parents who taught good values. Now my son and daughter-in-law are visiting and helping me remodel my home for the market. My son believes that his wife has been unfaithful and thinks he has proof as he was recording her over a three week period when she was alone before following him here. It is highly possible this could have happened but I do not find the recordings to be compelling evidence and prefer to give her the benefit of the doubt.

    In the midst of a big fight two days ago, I intervened telling them that, while I completely understand his desperation to know the truth, that she has been supportive of him in every way and deserves the benefit of the doubt. Yesterday morning he got up and told her he had destroyed her debit card and drivers license during the night. She had slept on the couch because of his abusive behavior. There are two young children being harmed by this awful behavior. Today I told them both that they each have the same two choices, to forgive and work toward healing or to decide the situation is unbearable and leave each other. I also made it clear that there is no third option of abuse. My son has been emotionally abusive for years, but during this past week it has escalated to physical abuse. I am extremely angry and upset with him.

    In the midst of this I remembered that I had Kim’s book and had my daughter-in-law look up the website. We are both convinced that this is the root cause of the problems. Although we are still grasping at straws, it is comforting to have one straw to hold onto in the form of Kim’s personal quest for healing. I do have a of question. First of all, is there any evidence about nurture, versus nature in this condition? I am concerned about the same traits beginning in my 10 year old grandson. He will hit his sister or make rude comments to adults and say we deserved it.

    1. Hi Kati, Welcome and sorry I only have a minute. I am not sure about nature vs. nurture I think it can be a bit of both. You may be interested in checking out my article on this blog about teenagers – it may help you with your grandson. Please get your daughter in-law following the steps in Back From the Looking Glass. Your son should also know that him recording her movements without her knowledge is against the law in most places. Hang in there!

  198. Hey Anna!
    Sorry for overlooking your post previously. Follow Kim’s suggestion/advise. Also re-read ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ and ’10 Steps To Overcome Co-Dependence’. You’re so right, ‘The Love Safety Net Workbooks’ has supportive information and exercises to accompany the two other mentioned ebooks. They contain the 4 pillars for a peaceful home. Attachment, Limiting Abuse, Emotional Intelligence and Developmental Gap Work. Two which come to mind for your currect circumstance; Limiting Abuse, him guilting you into submission is abuse plus his nasty comments – Developmental Gap Work, which helps you to identify areas in both of you(I find it also helps me in setting good boundaries) that need growth or improvement. As Kim has pointed out part of his Gap work is to stand on his own two feet instead of leaching off of you. You’ve already compromised by asking that he earn 100 euro.
    Another pillar in the workbooks, the 1st one actually, is Attachment. This one helps or gives ideas and suggestions on building an attachment between the two of you that will/could maintain the relationship. Especially with boundaries in place that he certainly will resist and test you on them.
    Don’t give up, stay strong and consistant. Come here and post as often as you like.
    Also, as you stand firm with your boundaries, limiting abuse, standing up for yourself – he will find that attractive and builds the Attachment. Unless as Kim mentioned, he’s just a parasite.

  199. Hey Jan!
    Do some research on-line concerning adult ADHD. Also, if you know of others with ADHD or borderline, compare behaviors and such. And if you know of anything about his childhood behaviors use those to help form an idea or opinion. Research on-line about other possible mental illness’s or disorders. Tests can have a false positive or negative, so perhaps a second opinion maybe worthwhile.

    My husband has ADHD and at times will use that to excuse his behaviors. Unfortunately for him I know different/better.

    I truly believe that if you want change you’ll need to make a serious commitment for that change. I notice in your posts that you are second guessing yourself often, and/or offering excuses or minimizing for him, also that you are awaiting information from Dr’s. If your not going to let him drive you insane then standing up for yourself and putting some boundaries in place won’t harm anything. You could keep a closer eye on him and when he says something reply with; ‘I’m concerned for your health and I don’t want anything bad to happen to you’, or ‘Until we hear from the Dr’s I feel safer for you and us by doing this’,or ‘I’m concerned for you and if the Dr’s asks me a question to help them I want to have the correct answer’.

    Same for things like ‘your just mental'(that’s ‘just’ your idea/opinion or I won’t tolerate your put downs or name calling), or ‘the fish pond'(1 liner about how that didn’t happen in his absence or if the pump has a bubbling/fountain type effect the lid could cause it to do as he suggested and the lid is not a good idea), or ‘the flowers wilting and dying'(do you know anything about why the flowers are dying or did you spray something close to the flowers), or ‘the torn/ripped skirts'(did you wash my skirts or do you know how this happened). Express the 1 liners as of out of concern for him.

    I wonder if he is still bringing up what happened to his cloths if he is consciously or unconsciously lashing out with the skirt issue or things that are for you or you purchase.

    Diabetes, from what I know and from my diabetic cousin, does not affect a persons behavior as you described his. Research on-line the medications he is taking and what the effects or side effects of them are.

    Your husband sounds more and more like my neighbors husband. Covertly doing things. Does anything in ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ resemble these things in your husband?

  200. Hey SJ!
    How are you doing today? I re-read Kim & Steve’s materials often. It helps alot. Do you use reaffirmations? What materials of Kim & Steve’s do you have.

    If you need support you can write here. AND go back through and read what others have posted.

  201. Hey Everyone!
    If your looking for ideas or information from others you can read other comments/post on Kim and Steve’s other blogs that are listed above on the right hand side under Recent Posts. Plus they have updated their homepage. You can find that here; http://www.narcissismcured.com

  202. Thanks Kim! I will look for the article and I will also look up the laws in the state where the recording took place.

  203. Hey JustMe!
    I’m sorry if I may have seemed as though I had jumped to a conclusion. I’m understanding it now as you are uncertain. I guess most of us have what you’d call a ‘know’ if our partner has NPD or NPD ‘traits'(borderline as I referred to it previously).

    I’ll reply later to your recent comment as I have something to write for myself at the moment. Stay strong and consistant.

  204. So, I feel a little bit liberated. If that’s the proper definition for what I’m feeling.

    I had to call the police last eve. AND they actually listened to me this time. THANX KIM & STEVE for your guidance in getting them to listen to the victim and giving me the strength to hold him accountable for his actions. I always tried to protect him in the past.

    Without TMI lets just say my N husband was told to leave, cool down and whatever. I have the proper documentation for any future reference. Just wait til he gets the bill.

    It is liberating. What I’m feeling. For lack of a better term, ‘What a high’ I’m feeling. Hope that’s not a bad or inproper feeling to my own ego.

  205. Hi Darlyn

    Thanks for your response. If I’m honest I’m still reeling from the events of the past 8 weeks. I suppose I will never understand why he chased me for 6 weeks then coldly told me he was in love with someone else. I miss seeing him and his family but understand I have to let go. I am better than I was last week and certainly feel less like I’m losing my mind…. The Jekyll and Hide I was seeing was so difficult to deal with. I had no idea if I was coming or going. I have no idea if he will try and contact me again, but if he does it will have to be in person as I changed my number and blocked him on email.
    I really felt I was being pushed over the edge. My therapist was concerned I was going to have a nervous breakdown.
    I have Back from the Looking Glass, 10 steps to overcoming Codepence and some self soothing audio files. Do you recommend anything else?

  206. Hey SJ!
    For me, I’ve found that in this situation it is more hurtful or painful trying to figure out the ‘why’. It was acturlly causing me more harm than good. I needed to concentrate on myself instead of consuming or obsessing about him. It also helps when we start replacing old memories or events with new ones.

    From what you have described I would guess that he is ‘unreachable’ concerning his NPD or traits. So it may be in your best interest to stay on the course you are.

    Oh yes! The crazy making mind games and near if not breakdown mode. You are not alone.

    Kim & Steve may have some recommendations for your situation. I’m still in my relationship, marriage. And their material is working for me for most of the most part. My husband just had a set back due to his birthday, he realizes it now. He just needed to go cool off. I have the same as you along with ‘The Love Sefety Net Workbooks’, ‘Emotional Stupidity’ and ‘The Little Book Of Empathy’.

    Kim is right when she says that chances are you will end up in another unhealthy relationship without addressing things or issues within ourselves.

    Nice to hear from you. Keep in touch!

  207. Hey JustMe!
    Another thought that may be possible is Dementia. We all have just plain and simple personality quirks as far as the ‘name’ thing goes. And people with NPD or traits can have varying levels or degrees. Some maybe reachable and others not. Do you think his family may be ‘playing along’ with his ‘name’ thing for his sake? There are also varying forms of Narcissism, one that comes to mind with your belongings and such is a covert Narcissist. Like passive-agressive personalities.

    And you’re right! The 1st thing Kim suggests is self soothing and calm. This is very important. Even with the crazy making mind games.

    My neighbors husbands has not been diagnosed with an illness. It’s just too evident in his behaviors and way of thinking. He has some misogynist traits.

    I too am wondering what is being said to family members. I have ‘corrected’ my husband in the past and even called him out on some. And as Kim & Steve point out, confronting family members is a touchy idea(‘Emotional Stupidity’ and I’ve definately done that, wish I hadn’t). They describe other ways of ‘asking’ them for help out of concern. That never would have worked with my in-laws or his other family members.

    My husband just had a birthday and it went to his head/ego so he just needed to take a break and cool off/calm down some.

    It is nice ‘writing’ with you and bouncing ideas back and forth. Brainstorming. I ran across a site that is only bashing and blaming, and found that it is not the site for me and actually fuels unwanted blaming in myself so I steer clear from there. I want to be healthy and happy too, not carry around resentment(bad for the heart-literally).

  208. Hi everyone, been reading Kim & Steve’s material off & on for about a year now. Crazy insightful & it is helping to open my eyes to a lot of things. Without them I would have thought I was truly just about equal to garbage & thought myself crazy. How unfortunate but encouraging it is to know there are others out there experiencing the same things. I’m so thankful. Took me a while to catch on to a basic understanding here. The material is basically teaching us how to cure our own codependency – not to directly try to cure their.narcissism! That should be like icing on the cake, but not the cake itself … Wow… Ive been so focused on trying to change my husband that I was totally missIng the point! How I could have been so blind to their message is amazing to me now… Hoping to be able to share encouraging progress in the near future now that my blinders are starting to come off! God bless you Kim & Steve & all subscribers

  209. Hey JustMe!
    Where I live I can call my husbands Dr. and merely explain my concerns. Leaving the rest up to him(Dr.)

    Misogynist is someone who hates women in general. That’s doesn’t sound like your husband. My father didn’t mind women in general, just the one he was with at the time.

    I wouldn’t want to leave my husband alone while up in a tree of that size. And my husband does not have the ailments your does. So if it was me, I would stick around. In the shadows so to speak, for safety sake.

    Over time we all get to know our partners ‘buttons’ or hot spots(it’s in ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ and the ‘Love Safety Net Work Books’). And if yours is ‘stroppy’ and he wasn’t wanting you to oversee the tree trimming, he may have just been trying to push your button so you wouldn’t be around. Maybe he knows he’s fragile and doesn’t like it. Some people just don’t like getting older(if you know what I mean). Good response to the name calling I’ll add. Keep it up with just that and maybe the end will be near concerning that.

    How did you like the work book? I consider the material I have as scripture. And some times I fall down. LOL

    Darlyn

  210. I have worked hard through therapy and introspection to overcome my own narcissism. Because of this I am not the same person I used to be. Through self discovery I have discovered how an emotionally abusive childhood enabled certain patterns of behaviour in me. The problem now lies in the relationship I am in, which I feel unable to leave. On the surface, my partner is amicable, unassuming, gentle and kind. When we’re alone together he does everything to please me. He cooks, cleans, and treats me like a precious princess. However, this makes me feel patronised, and as if I’m somehow fragile. Before I met him I was feisty, independent, had a wide circle of friends and strong opinions of my own. In the two years that we’ve been together, I feel a shadow of my former self. I have lost touch with my friends. He had nothing to do with this. It just seemed that my personality was disappearing to such an extent that I no longer felt the need to see them, and gradually became more and more reclusive. I felt somehow as if I was sinking, and can’t consciously say how or why this began. He works as an archaeologist and this is all he talks about, either when we are alone or when we are in company. I feel drained by it. I have been working hard studying as a mature student and am now nearly a qualified psychotherapist. The work has been demanding and challenging, and I have down well to get where I am. However, this is constantly downplayed, and almost dismissed. If I insist on talking about it he will say things like “You’ve done really well. I couldn’t do what you do” but it is said without any real interest or enthusiasm.

    It would be fair to say that I feel overshadowed by him, even though he comes across as being more submissive than domineering. It really is difficult to explain. On a subliminal level there are things going on, but I am too close to the situation to see any patterns. My head tells me to leave before I lose myself totally, but for some reason I hang on.

    He gets intermittent bouts of depression which cripple him emotionally and during these times he is clingy and demanding and almost like a lost child. I have often felt as if I have been his carer during these times. He is very pessimistic during these times and his mood seems to affect mine. When he is high, he is driven, ambitious, energetic and talks constantly, without a break. It is very wearing. He has been diagnosed with a form of bipolar, although there seems to be more going on here. I know other people with bipolar who are not like him. There seem to be issues with his personality. It’s difficult for me to articulate, but something is very off. It’s as if everything centres around HIS perspective.

    He has no friends, only acquaintances. I have always been a people person and yet now it is as if his lifestyle has rubbed off on me. We don’t live together and I know it was through my choices that I lost touch with my friends, but I was not like this before I met him. Something has affected me and caused a change in me, and I don’t know what.

    When we talk he looks right at me, and doesn’t look away from time to time as people usually do in a conversation. I have told him that this makes me feel intimidated, and I deliberately avoid meeting his eyes when we speak. Although he knows that this isn’t normal, he still does this. This is at odds with his unassuming manner. He will also talk non stop about things that bore me, and doesn’t seem to notice when I am bored. It wears me out. When he does this I feel as if all my personality is being sucked away from me.

    I used to be so outgoing, so independent, so carefree. Now I am a shadow of my former self.

    There is no actual discernible abuse, no put downs, no dominance. He is actually very non confrontational and will actually shake with anxiety in a wide range of situations. He has difficulty with assertiveness in public situations. I am a strong character and can’t understand why such an unassuming man has managed to squeeze my personality out of me.

    What is happening here?

    1. Hi Jane, I will have to think more about this — but for now I would suggest you look at the chapter on Limiting abuse in The Love Safety Net Workbook and do the exercise “Building Your Response Repertoire” and use this exercise particularly when it comes to dealing with situations where he is boring you. I have to run now but I will think about it.

  211. Hi Darlyn

    Thanks for your support. How are things with you?

    It’s been 2.5 weeks since I had any contact with my ex. I am using the material I have from Kim and Steve and managing to calm myself. Regardless of all the verbal abuse, the manipulation, his tantrums, the lies, him wanting me, not wanting me I miss him…. It hurts so much at times that I really have to work hard to find calm but I do eventually.

    I miss his children and his sister too and every day wonder if I have made the right decision to cut contact with them but now he is seeing someone else I didn’t think it was right for me to still be in contact. Plus I need to heal….

    Keep strong everyone.

  212. Hey SJ!
    Keep strong yourself. Re-read your material, especially the ’10 Steps To Overcome Co-dependence’. It wouldn’t really matter right now if you were with him and his children or not. I, you, and many others have things to mature from.

    Do you have any other hobbies? I need a walking partner. Someone that can relate to these sort of things and be able to carrying on conversation with ‘not’ about these things so much. Just someone understanding if I happen to drift off. Like Kim & Steve’s other blog.

    I’m going to the store now, but will check back in, in about 30 min.

    Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  213. Thanks Kin. I have heard of covert narcissism and wonder if this fits him. Something is very “off” and I can’t look at our dynamics objectively. I’m too close to the situation. The situations where he talks constantly are really wearing for me, and this has gone on since the beginning of our relationship. I just feel that I don’t have anything to contribute to our conversations, and so obviously he isn’t hearing me, which is very invalidating.

  214. So, I guess I may not be having the good luck that I thought. That hurts, don’t expect him to make me feel better as a co-dependent. Just nice knowing the truth about the situation and that he was pulling the wool over my eyes. What a disappointment.

  215. Hi Darlyn

    Are you ok? I hope your managing to keep strong.

    Sorry for the slow response to your last post. I turned my phone off, the internet off and the TV and spent last night just calming myself and being with me – I usually avoid just being on my own by chatting on the phone with friends etc so made myself just be with me…. Today has been better but I know the feelings come in waves.

    I think we live some distance apart and in different time zones so walking is probably not an option…. Good idea though!!

    Hang in there. X

  216. Hey SJ!
    I was speaking ‘in a manner of speaking’. Hoping to give you some ideas. I went for a walk last eve with an old friend of mine that I used to work with. She seems to be doing well. Wish I wasn’t feeling so hurt. Oh well.

    Write later.

  217. Hey Kim! And everyone else!
    I’m looking for suggestions concerning a double rule or standard that my husband holds for us. This one is about buying gifts/giving money as gifts and in general to his kids or my kid(s). I’m not allowed to give money and he placed a $20.00 limit towards my daughter & her family but he is allowed and there is no limit.
    It’s really about the principle for me. I’m expected to accept his children as my own and take care of them(which I have and do) whereas he rejects mine stating ‘They’re not mine’. Any suggestions?
    Also 3 weeks ago he left my daughter some paper plates and upon returning home I mentioned we needed paper plates, he stated ‘you had paper plates’. Incinuating that ‘I’ gave ‘my’ daughter the $3.00 paper plates and it was wrong of me.

  218. I should add that he controls the money, I do not have monies of my own, and am awaiting a SSDI hearing this next week. If approved, this will help with my dilema. Also, when I was able to work, unknown to me how things would be turning out, my checks were put into the joint account and of course, he was just as controlling thinking that it was all his money and ‘because he was my husband'(his words) he had the control of many things. He’s exploited me finanacially(one of many).

    1. Hi Darlyn,

      I don’t know what a SSDI hearing is – but I am glad to hear you are tackling this. As for these rules he makes about money – what happens if you break them? Personally I would not accept his authority in this way but instead say “I will be the judge of that” when he makes those kind of statements and if he has a tantrum about it get the police to come and talk to him. A joint account is good if you are not working! You make your own decisions about what is fair in how you use it and don’t accept his rules about money. Sooner or later there needs to be a stand off with your husband and you need to bring his game down. You have helped me so much by helping answer people here I am happy to offer you personal mentoring ‘on the house’. If you contact Steve and let him know I offered he will send the questions out to you so we can get started. You understand our concepts very well – it’s time you turn the power balance in your family on it’s head and bring down your husbands false pride!

  219. Hello everyone. I have been away for several weeks traveling and am just checking back in.

    Darlyn: I am so very sorry for your recent developments. STAY STRONG!! Don’t excuse his behavior because it was his birthday …. if it was bad enough that you had to call the police …he owes YOU an apology, not some grief over $3 plates! I would encourage you to take some time to calm down, and then lovingly and clearly state your case about the discrepancy with the gift giving limits (would be curious to know if he asks you to be the one to select and purchase the gifts? Might give you some leverage when talking to him about it). The key for you right now I think is to wait, since it sounds like emotions are high right now, and it is a policy that doesn’t need to be decided today. Just my two cents.

    Jan/”Just Me”: Pleased to meet you! Have you considered Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)? The obsession with names and words makes me think of that. What is extremely disconcerting to me is his family’s behavior … joining him in the “game” and basically intentionally provoking you. That makes me think it is more NPD (selfishly intentional) than OCD (uncontrolably nonintentional). I’m no doctor, and I certainly don’t have all the answers …. just something to consider in the process.

    I went for many years, like you, trying to “diagnose” my husband’s odd behavior … and once I found Kim & Steve’s site, I felt like things clicked and I finally “found” it. While I think everyone is unique and no two situations are alike, it was helpful to discover what I feel is my husband’s primary state: narcissistic …. but I do feel he has other things, like OCD, mixed in with it as well.

    SJ: I just want to encourage you to stick to your guns. From everything you have described, your ex boyfriend is a situation you want to walk away from …. and for good! Do NOT allow yourself to be sucked back into his ridiculous cycles of on/off, etc.!!! Focus on self soothing and getting yourself healthy, and take a LONG time before entering into another relationship until you feel very confident and strong in yourself. For those of us that are already married, our stories and situations are different …. but for you, while you still have a choice, I encourage you to avoid his negative patterns at all costs!

    Thank you, one and all, for your continued encouragement, support and advice! This is a tough situation we find ourselves in …. and it is so helpful to know there are others out there trying to do the right thing!!

  220. Jan/”Just Me” – One more thing – I wouldn’t discount the Misogynist concept so quickly, and would be interested to learn more about your husband’s treatment of women in general (specifically his mother and sisters). Even though he is outwardly showing signs of affection towards women by giving them flowers, he is covertly directly disrecting you in multiple ways. Again, just something to think about.

  221. Jan/”Just Me” – This is a “way out there” idea – what if you came up with your own word, and used it is often as you could – laughing every time you did? Do a lot of self-soothing before they arrive – make sure you are in a very calm and strong state of mind – and then just be lighthearted about it. If someone questions you about why you are using that word, you can just say matter of factly reply, “What? I’m not allowed to have my own ‘pet’ word too?”. The key is to be confident and positive and not let them “get your goat”, so to speak. Perhaps it will make them realize how ridiculous they sound.

    The thing you want to remember is that Narcissists feed off of vulnerable people. The stronger you can become (while still being positive and likeable) the less they will feed off of you! (And by the way, I’m sure you already realize this – but if your husband is in fact a Narcissist, there is a good chance that there are other Narcissists in his family as well.)

    To me, forcing you to sit and listen to him describe the minute details of the women he meets – their facial features, expressions, etc. -as well as not really acknowledging your presence while with other women, is very disrespectful, and a boundary needs to be set there. Have you read “Boundaries in Marriage” by Henry Cloud & John Townsend?

    Hope that helps a little.

  222. Can you be a narcissist and a codependent in the same relationship? Your advice on emotional intelligence was helpful. The more I am in control and responsible and self contained the less fuel there is to trigger his narcissism or codependency. I am not sure what sides of the coin we were on in the relationship.

    1. Sure you can – most people with any kind of self awareness will realise they are a bit of both.

  223. Jan…………my mom said the word ” amazing” but that word had another meaning to her “Bullshit”.when his family is involved they are being told another story. Keep family visit to a limit- find an unlawful to sit with

  224. Hi All

    Thanks Day by Day for your words of encouragement. I am finding every day tough but am slowly getting stronger. I am spending time with friends, calming myself but am still very confused and hurt by what he did 3 weeks ago. I know I will never understand how he could love me on the Thursday and be in love with someone else on the Monday but trying to understand something which is incomprehensible is futile. I don’t think I will hear from him again unless he comes round to my house which I doubt. Cutting contact with 4 people I love is so hard as a codependent but I am trying.

    Daryln how are you?

    Keep and strong everyone. Thanks again to Kim and Steve.

  225. Hey Day by Day!
    Nice to hear from you again. I was wondering how you were doing.

    Thanx very much for your suggestions and support. Kim & Steve are right as usual, LOL, writing these things on paper, leaving them alone, sometimes for days(yes, right again Kim & Steve), then addressing them when emotions are low is very important in maintaining a persons ‘power’ so to speak instead of giving it away in the heat of the moment. I’d like to ‘think’ I’ve mastered this skill. Also when I return to that paper I try to write down the emotions I felt with it to help me better identify my emotions instead of it consisting of just anger and the expectations of co-dependency. Much more constructive as Kim & Steve point out.

    It is also key not to let too much time laps before readdressing an issue. Otherwise he will think he ‘got one over on me’ or that he ‘beat me with his game’. He likes to think that if enough time passes that I’ll forget about it and dismiss it and with that dismissing myself as well(thinking less of myself, unworthy). Although I like ‘never’ forget, my memory’s very good. It just lingers in the back ground and can pop up later with ‘You mean like when this_______ happened?’. Right now he is very resistant to growth and maturity, or he’s been playing me these past 3-4 months.

    I have also gotton better at not letting him distract the original concern/topic or rather bringing it back to the original concern when he throws something else into the mix. I even went as far as to say ‘You know, I have a 6 yr old granddaughter that tries to weasel around issues doing the same thing’.

    Also, I am ‘not’ trying to ‘convince’ him of things. I’m not letting him distort or convince me either(like I’m crazy and/or he is somehow better than I am). I have a recorder I use to relisten to conversations for my own confirmation. It is also a great learning tool for me to see my end/reaction of situations. And he does know I record. It is not illegal here.

    I can’t take any more of the ‘on and off again’ routine we’ve had in the past. I think we may still be moving forward and these can be mere ripples in the water. Although he is still convinced that his delusions are truth even though I have hard evidence they are not. Or he is denying them to save face. The spoilt child has returned.

    I found out just this past Tuesday, by catching him lying by observing his body language as well as his words, that he is having outside relations from work. He knows he was caught and is now doing his pouting routine.

  226. I would also like to add that I’ve just noticed that he has removed my post-it’s from the refrigerator door.

    And, I have NO access to monies. He closed the joint acct atleast 4 yrs ago. With the current series of events I am even more so at his mercy. Last week he used his line ‘Because I can’ again. First time in several months.

  227. Hey Maria!

    What I’ve observed from my narcissistic husband is that he also is co-dependent. He doesn’t want it to be known that he ‘Needs’ some nurturing so it comes out in demands due to what he was lacking from childhood. Which as Kim & Steve point out hinders a persons maturity level. And with holding them accountable they will often lash out further and have some even more promiscuous behaviors.

  228. Hey SJ!
    Thanx for your concern/support. I can use it probably more often than not, that I realise anyway.

    It truly is difficult cutting ties with others along with a narcissist. It does add to the grieving. I wonder if it might be helpful for you to look at it as you taking better care of your health/yourself. Like that poisonious cocktail or cigarette or fat-fatty fast food/meat. Having one can and most likely lead to another. Maybe that view will help. Kim & Steve mention the need to cut ties with acquaintances due to the toxic effect it has on us(directly or indirectly).

    Beings that you are out of that relationship I wonder if maybe you should forget about the ‘why’ and the ‘how’ for now. I’m sure you’ll have to address it in the future to avoid being in the same or similar type of relationship. As Kim & Steve mention, we’ll notice maturity in others we associate with when we become mature(more) ourselves.

    Take care. Hope to hear from you again.

  229. Hey JustMe!
    I had the idea of OCD as Day by Day had. In all honesty I think he is doing it intentionally because it annoys you. To push your buttons, to get a reaction. Like the TV guide comment he made and then his daughter made over the phone to you. It seems they are certainly intentionally trying to annoy you.

    Speaking of that, I didn’t know when you spoke of his family doing so that you meant his children. Meaning that you have a Blended family. That does throw awhole other mix into the equation. With that they are trying to keep you exculded from there being a ‘whole’ blended family. Speaking from experience here. Some people are more adapt in welcoming persons in this situation whereas other fight it in an attempt to retain some form of authority or superiority. I’ll write more of that later.

    So, something like this isn’t really crossing a boundary right? It’s pure annoyance? What has worked for me in such situations is to ignore it and quite frankly get over it. It usually lessens. And why should you ‘feel’ bad because of this, how you feel concerning this? Because they say so? It sounds typical of this type of blended family to ‘rub your face in it’. I think I have a comeback for this that has worked for me to a degree. It didn’t bring any of us closer mind you although it did lessen it. I’ll have to think about it.

    And as Day by Day suggests with the flowers is him indirectly disrespecting you and showing you of lesser concern. Like taking you for granted, or putting you in your place so to speak. Same with the conversations with other women over the table. Granted, visitors get attention, although I don’t believe that it should out weigh the attention towards your spouse. And I’m wondering if this may be a part of your co-dependence.?. As well as his ‘supply’ as a narcissist.?. It seems to me that he is having his ‘fantasy’ affair as Kim & Steve mention.

    And the issue with his grandson – Kim & Steve point out that there is favoritism like this within NPD.

    I wouldn’t be addressing the Dr as ‘asking’ for advice. I’d be addressing it as a ‘concern’. You notice these behaviors that seem more than very strange, and am concerned about them as you think it has some aspect concerning his health – whether physically or mentally.

    Will write more later.

  230. Darylyn / Just Me / SJ – Just a quick note to all of you to say “Hang In There!!” Thinking of you today!! Remember your own dignity and worth today – know how special you are. Breathe, take time to feel the wind against your face, enjoy a walk – know that there are people “with you” in trying to make sense of this “crazy making”!!

  231. Hi

    I’m having surgery today so know that over the next few weeks I am going go need all the tools in my tool box to sooth myself. I will try and get out as much as I can and will keep using the materials I have.

    My ex used to deliberately do/say things to get a reaction, he used to push and push until he got one then blame me for the argument. He even admitted to doing this a few times. I used to try hard not to react but hadn’t really worked out how to stay calm and walk away. I did walk away in the first year we were together and it would infuriate him. He would throw tantrums around the house, then blame me for his behaviour… For about a year I refused to argue with him around his children. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stick to that.

    It’s so enlightening reading all your posts and seeing very clearly how my ex used to do similar things to what you’re all describing. It helps me to see what was going on. He used to be so convinced that his delusions were the truth. The arguments we had used to be totally nonsensical…. And the cruel way he said things was soul destroying. I once started recording an argument and as soon as he realised I was, he flipped back into my lovely ex as if butter wouldn’t melt.

    Keep calm and strong. I am very impressed at the way you are all handling things.

  232. “Soul Destroying” – aptly put, SJ! I like how Kim described it in her recent blog post: “the wilderness”. Hang in there, everyone, and STAY STRONG!! Look for the light and cheer in every day, and try to focus on those things.

  233. Hey everyone –

    Hang in there and remember your magic scissors and action NOT words. Comeback lines are great if you are able to practice them and deliver them in the moment and with one sentence (or look) deflect a put down or non productive conversation – but trying to hold a person with NPD accountable with words will always be a losing battle and only break rapport and play into their game.

    This is laid out in the personal Bill of rights exercise in The Love Safety Net Workbook. One warning and then action. That is the rule. If you cannot find a real boundary to set just drop it and let it go.

    Choosing your battles like this is very important. And Just me – I agree with Darlyn that you use the word ‘concerned’ with his doctor. You might also have a word with his children and say that the you fear that the way he is becoming fixated on words is a sign of dementia and that if these symptoms continue the doctor has said they may need to find the money to put him in a home. You may choose to say that with a ‘cheeky’ twinkle in your eye or in dead seriousness – that will be up to you!

    As painful as their nasty games are you really need to rise above them and remember how beautiful life really is. It is in trying times like the ones you describe that I like to listen to Chopin’s Nocturnes (or just let it play in my head) or dream of roses. Lifting your thoughts to beauty or divinity may help you rise above their insensitivity.

    Imagine the times of war when people watched everything they loved and held sacred destroyed all around them. There were many beautiful classical pieces of music that were still composed in these times. If these composers could lift their minds above the brutality of war to find beauty in music, I know that you can also lift your mind above the brutality of their games.

    It is about protecting your soul.

  234. Hey SJ!
    I hope all goes well with your surgery and wishing you a speedy recovery. If possible do check in here and let us know how you are doing.

  235. Hey JustMe!
    Before you record arguements or conversations please find out if it is legal where you live.

  236. Hi Darlyn

    Surgery went well thank you. Bit woozy so sorry for any typos.

    I got tearful a couple of times today as my friend mildly snapped at me and realised how raw I am not just from my ex but from the way my Mum treated me. The tears were almost those of a hurt child and were out of proportion to the mild snaps. I know it takes time to heal though and am hoping to move forward in a calmer way.

    Amazing people in my ward today – a real inspiration.

    Keep calm strong everyone. Xx

  237. Hi, I have just returned to Austrlia from visiting my son and his baby overseas and so excited to see my partner ,but he is already not talking to me. He shouted at me that everything I said today was critical of him , that I ignored him, that I was spoilt ,and that while I was away he was happy. This is the man that says he loves and misses me terribly, but actually he wants total control of my thoughts and life, and punishes me when I am happy ,as he is jealous. Please help, how to respond?
    Regards Frances

    1. Hang in there Frances. I wish there were just one thing you could do to turn this around – but in my experience there isn’t. There are a number of different angles you need to work on all at once and this is where our steps to a peaceful home package will help you. Building trust and rapport is something that takes time – especially if you have been away.

  238. Hey SJ!
    Glad to hear the surgery went well.

    It’s sad to hear that you felt the need to cry, and at the same time it’s good to hear that you are recognizing where it is or maybe stemming from and the varying emotions associated with it. I see it as a part of the Emotional Intelligence Kim & Steve are offering us. Did you watch Kim & Steve’s video titled; ‘Why you can’t trust your relationship instincts’?

    Keep in touch and re-reading the material. Hugs

  239. Hey Frances!
    Once you start reading Kim & Steve’s material it will all make sense to you and most likely bring a sense of relief and freedom. It did for me and so many others so don’t despair, you are not alone.

    Here is the link for Kim & Steve’s updated homepage;

    http://www.narcissismcured.com

    Also near the top of this page/blog on the right hand side you will see links for other blog pages of Kim & Steve’s. If you have the time read through the others comments, there is alot of information in those as well.

    Hope to hear from you again.

  240. Hey JustMe!
    I’m so glad to hear how you changed things around for yourself during your family get together. I smiled and clapped my hands for you(silly, I know). Your husband may not be overusing words in front of his daughter in front of you because she is doing her fair share of it. As Kim mentioned, I think you would be weakening your position if you mentioned anything pertaining to this. I would keep up with what you did, moving forward. The change in you may very well lead to a change in them. It will be noticed by them regardless. Keep this, what Kim wrote, in mind;

    ‘You cannot make him stop by talking to him about it – so don’t even try. It is good if you can avoid things that are not effective as this weakens your overall status. As he and his family see you get stronger and happier – playing this game will only make them look stupid – so my guess is that they will stop. As this change starts happening your husband will have to start looking at his own insecurity instead of picking on you and so you may need to be ready to guide him kindly to start working on his gap work (see the last chapter of the workbook) if he ends up facing any kind of crises.’

    Hope to hear from you.

  241. Hey JustMe!
    I’m glad you felt some self growth and empowerment reaching above this adversity. I have to mention that consistency is key and ‘most’ importantly for ‘our own health, growth, and maturity’. It is a nice little secret isn’t it? Not to be used as artilery though. For if that is the purpose, we are ‘missing the mark’ of Kim & Steve’s work.

    As much as I love Kim(and I do-HUGS)(you mentioned ‘credit goes to Kim’-and it does) for everything she has accomplished and is helping all of us, I ‘have’ to recognize Steve for his input in resolving to have a healthier and more peaceful home. And this is mentioned in the material, recogizing/acknowleging the others efforts and achievements. He has been more than forthcoming with information that is vital for both the co-dependent and the narcissist. So I always include him as I know(and read) he also puts his efforts into helping all of us and Kim. With that being said – Thank you Steve, not only for your own and our mistakes and hang ups, for the growth you have showed us as it too relates to our co-dependence as it is likely someone with NPD is also co-dependent as well(PS I’m not boosting your ego, for you already know with humility that you are speaking from being human and allowing yourself to be vulnerable- a hug for you too).

    Quoting; “Actually Kim I think the family might be ‘set’ to deal with me this way – I think they are trying to let me know that I can’t mess with their dad and that I have issues of jealousy, though I always thought I was quite balanced – it’s not even that – I have felt feelings of anger because I felt he was trying to make me jealous and I couldn’t see the point. I think I know now, his insecurity.”

    And there you may have it, his insecurity as well as perhaps his families(his supply AND theirs, also them trying to prove themselves as if being human isn’t enough(humility & vulnerability) and the difficulties of having a healthy, marital blended family, and the inability to accept changes. Unless he and they are just blantantly cruel with sure signs of flagerant disrespect.

    I’ve been on the computer and awake for some time now and I’m hoping I’m still making sense. I will catch up later as I am exhausted.

  242. I am not really sure where to begin. I spent 6 years with someone I thought was a completely different person that who he really is. I should have ran in the beginning. All the signs pointed to him being one of the most selfish people I have ever met. To this day, for some odd reason I feel sorry for him. I have a child now with a man who has never truly explained to me why he has to lie about the color of the sky. I have to deal on a regular basis with him and his girlfriend that he cheated on me with. I don’t know what I should do. I am working on trying to find myself, become a better person, but I feel myself obsessed with their relationship. More so now because my 10 month old son has to go to them every other week. Yes, some how due to his experience in law and master of deceit he has managed to get week on week off custody. I feel as though my world has been ripped out from under me. I think he loves the best way he knows how. He loves our son, but at his leisure and convenience. He continues to lie to me and his girlfriend on a regular basis about seeing me outside of our normal arrangements. I have beat my head against the wall trying to explain to him that lying is not the answer. For the sake of our son he needs to tell the truth. I don’t know how I can ever trust him. More so than anything I don’t know how I am going to keep my son from following in his footsteps/lifestyle. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely
    Tiff

    1. Hey Tiff – The exercises in the Love Safety Net Workbook will really help you and will also help you teach your son healthy ways of relating. Even though your relationship is over it will help give you answers and find closure and the exercises will help you build stronger attachment in your relationships in the future.

  243. Hi Kim and Steve,
    I’m in a three year relationship that appears to be dissolving. He had become increasingly violent during his tantrums and the last time I felt it necessary to call the police. They came and did nothing as he had not actually hit me, just mock-hit me and then violently kicked a cooler of water I was sitting beside. The police said I could file assult charges but I chose not to. I explained in front of my partner that I loved him but just wanted this behavior to stop. He constantly accuses me of cheating and I never, ever have.
    He’s gone now and refuses to speak to me. He’s moved into one of his rental houses and is coming to get the rest of his things at the end of the week.
    I felt justified in calling the police. I felt like I needed to put a stop to that behavior. I don’t regret it, but it’s hard now without him here and being alone.
    I know we can’t keep letting things like this happen to us. We do need to draw the line somewhere. It’s often hard to discern just where to draw it because the abusive behavior sneaks up you kind of slowly while you really are not aware of what is going on.
    In the past I would have broken into a million pieces, but now, I’m determined to have a good life with or without him. While we were apart for all those years I did not date, but I will now at some point. It’s quite depressing giving up the life we were going to build together, but it seems necessary at this time. I thank everyone here for their stories and inspiration and not just telling me to leave. I feel like I did the best I could.

    1. Hi Anita,

      You have done the right thing and congratulations for not breaking apart over this! Only time will tell now what he will do. In the meantime you need to stay strong and keep working on taking care of the new strong you!

  244. When I found your books a couple of years ago, I was in the middle of a bad relationship with a narcissist and your books helped me so much to understand what was going on. My ex and I have been on and off for just over 3 years now, and he has recently decided again, that he wants to call it quits … again.

    I have experienced all of the same narcissistic insults, abuse, anger, lies, swearing, criticisms, disrespect around money, and weirdo arguments from my, now, ex-partner. But he always came back and I always let him, despite his drug use, jail time and multi-texting other women because I felt as though I loved him.

    Finally, I have come to realise that this relationship is actually not about him, that its really all about me.

    He was sent into my life to mirror what it was in myself that I had denied and repressed, and needed to forgive, love and accept. I have worked really hard on forgiveness and loving and accepting myself, as well learning all the lessons this relationship has taught me about myself eg learning to set boundaries and what I needed to face within myself eg blaming others for my emotions.

    I am now at peace in the knowledge that, had he allowed it, I would have been willing to work through my own codependent, and his narcissistic tendencies, using the tools shown in your workbooks, to reach a level of mutual healing and respect. As you and Steve have shown is possible.

    Although he has decided to “let go of me”, I am content with knowing that he led me to my greatest lessons in life, and my return to self, and for that I am now grateful (but was not grateful at the worst times!). When I miss him now, I love and accept the part of me that still misses him and I send him love and light. And let go.

    But thank you, Kim and Steve, for sharing your story. Its truly an inspiration to see what can occur when love is allowed to blossom, under the right conditions such as building rapport while maintaining boundaries. I think your work is extremely important especially for helping partners of narcissists understand the craziness that is going on and provide tools to assist. Much love and light! Thank you!

    1. Hi Tabetha,

      I am so sorry that it didn’t work out for you – but also glad we could help you find that mirror. There is so much love all around you – I am sure that it is going to start flowing into your life now that you have seen what needed correcting in yourself!

  245. Dear Kim, thanks for allowing me to post. My husband and I have been separated 2 years now. He had driven me to my wits end. He left me alone with 5 children, and financially in ruins. Essentially, I had a mental, nervous collapse due to anxiety and stress of my situation, leaving the courts to turn over custody of our small children to him. (I am allowed one 2-hour visit per week with a supervisor and its incredibly humiliating and shameful its come to this) I am not unstable nor crazy but he’s told family and friends, I “lost it”. Now, I am realizing my codependency and my role in our fighting by reacting immaturely. He filed for divorce a year ago, but has yet to proceed with finalizing. I feel I have made a terrible mistake and I want my family back together. I love him. He is not contacting me at all anymore, only the littlest about the children, and I’m afraid it is truly over. I’m at a loss, and miss my kids so much its heartbreaking every day.

    1. Hi Susan,

      This is going to take time – but the first step needs to be you contacting him about you wanting to work towards you having equal time with the kids. You need to work very hard now on your own emotional regulation skills as outlined in our books and get yourself as strong, respectable and and happy as possible to have your best chance at making this a reality. This will mean that you need some other goals in life beside getting your family back so you have something to turn to when your emotional resilience is tested.

      There are a lot of kind people here who will help keep you on track and help you stay strong. Stick around and I am sure some other people will say hi!

  246. Thanks, Kim, for encouraging me to write. You are so right – people who have not encountered NPD really cannot understand the excruciating experiences our partners put us through. I have just been through a very rough 3 months uncovering my husband’s affair (he works in the Middle East and Asia), and having him here in the same town visiting his 2 children for 5 weeks – but I moved him out of my home when I discovered his affair (the other woman claims on Facebook that she is engaged – when he’s still married???). During the 5 weeks he was here, he told me he had been fired from his high-paying job, then allowed to re-apply and was re-hired at a much lower salary. I’m not sure if any of his story is true. He stayed in a hotel during his time home, and expressed his concerns that the costs were a hardship – but I did not offer for him to stay at our home, nor did I offer him money. Three weeks ago he said he was leaving to go back to this job, and I do not know where he is. We were married less than a year (2nd for each) when I uncovered his affair, but he had started to withdraw last summer when I stood up to his abusive behaviors. I am slowly facing a new life, and waiting for that silver lining to come out for me. It’s been remarkably hard, and now I have decisions to make regarding trying to find him, and working my way through a divorce that I didn’t want. Your materials have helped enormously – thanks so much. (Please ignore my last post – I was trying to write from my phone and it wasn’t working very well.)

    1. Hi Marcia, Good work setting boundaries with him. Be careful that his story about being fired and rehired is not him scamming you out of what you are entitled to when you divorce. It may pay to call his work and check on this story and if it is true let them know that they may be subject to an investigation if the court deems this was done to help him avoid paying you (or his children) what you are entitled to.

  247. Hi, I had a relationship with a narcissist end very badly not too long ago. This was before I knew about narcissism, of course. I had been verbally and mentally abused for a while by this time. I was blatantly lied to (yet again) and I’d had enough. So I went over to my girlfriend’s house to collect my things. However, she responded with denial and shouting. I stood my ground calmly and called her out as a liar and poked giant holes in her pathetic defenses. The problem was my calmness faded when my girlfriend simply resorted to folding her arms and nastily repeating, “You’re an idiot.you’re an idiot. you’re an idiot..” over and over again in my face. I cursed at her and left the room so I wouldn’t be tempted to strike her. but she followed me with more of the same and eventually she resorted to violence.

    Now I am much stronger than she so I wasn’t hurt at all, just incredibly freaked out. And no I never struck back. The problem is I’m afraid I’m too much like Marty McFly with his “chicken” thing. I don’t take well to being insulted to my face, especially when I feel I am completely undeserving. My question is : How should I have responded to the situation that could have kept it from getting out of control? I was handling it ok I thought until the avalanche of insults hurt my already battered psyche.

    1. Hi Cris, Calling someone a liar is not a great way to de escalate a fight! Better would have been you saying I don’t want to talk about this now while things are so emotional – I will call you in a few days when things have calmed down. Then when you have had time to calm down completely make a plan what to do. There is a chapter in our workbook about strategies for dealing with abuse.

  248. Jumping in…I’ve been married FIVE times–each time to a new brand of narcissist. I grew up desperately trying to please my narcissist mother and I’ve continued the unhealthy relationship(s) throughout my life. My current marriage of three years is loveless. I have lost any desire to put up with the dishonesty, selfishness, and such a phony, unreasonable personality. I’ve tried to be unselfish and put in all I could, but it’s never enough and it’s always costly to me and/or my children. At this point, I’ve quit putting anything into the relationship other than what it takes to get through a day. But what’s the point in leaving if I’m doomed to repeat it? After each relationship, and even before leaving, I’ve sought counseling hoping to break the cycle and learn to trust my judgement again, yet here I am in the same situation. Should I simply accept the one I’m in, though it’s loveless, it isn’t physically unsafe, or put my children through even more change? We have no children together, but each have four. I love the children, but it is impossible to parent well with him. Who’s gone through it? Have you broken the cycle or is it worth staying even without any love? For most it seems that though the relationship is unhealthy, there is a love worth saving. We don’t have any partnership, friendship, physical or emotional intimacy, etc. Is it possible to change that? I don’t even want to, but I don’t want to go through another divorce. Advice? Thanks all.

    1. Hi Angela, Only you can decide if you want to put the work in and try and make your relationship work. That said you working through the steps in the Love Safety Net Workbook will be easier with someone around to practice them on and if there is no love between you – well I guess you have nothing to lose. The thing is that the skills you will learn will help all of your relationships and also your future relationship if you do end up deciding to part. They will also help you set a positive example for your kids!

  249. Angela – I would echo what Kim said.

    I am in a loveless marriage now – married for 19 years but for the last 8 years there has been no relationship – no intimacy whatsoever (it is as if we are divorced but living under the same roof). I have chosen to stay because I believe in Kim’s philosophy: “escaping” from the narcissist doesn’t really change anything – they will find someone else to feed off of (so you are not helping them), and you will not, as Kim has so aptly pointed out, have someone to practice your new skills on!

    The skills that Kim presents are life skills that everyone will benefit from working on – and for me, choosing to stay and work on those skills while remaining under the same roof with my husband is by far the best thing for our children.

    Do I slip sometimes and fall back into old patterns (of nagging him, or of trying to verbally reason/argue with him – something that NEVER works with a narcissist!)? Absolutely – and it is at those times that I question my wisdom and whether it truly is the best for our kids – but in the end I have to come back to all the studies that show that kids need consistency and security. While I wish that my kids never had to hear an argument, or deal with his narcissistic and OCD tendencies, I still believe that I’m doing the best that I can, and as Kim already said – it provides a great opportunity for us to model a positive example to our kids, should we choose to make the right choices ourselves, etc.

    Another thing I often think of is that by remaining together under the same roof, I am at least here to monitor most of his interactions with the children – something that is very important to me, since his behavior can be so erratic and nonsensical sometimes (whereas in a divorce or separation situation, he would have extended time alone with them without me).

    And of course the long term goal is to reconcile the relationship …. to consistently demonstrate love and attachment, while not allowing abusive behavior. Were I to give up and simply walk away, there would be zero chance of reconcilation – at least this way I can still hope. The key is to remain strong enough to not be sucked back into their traps of control and manipulation. Hope that helps.

  250. Hello Kim!
    Thank you for your work that fills in holes and gaps that counseling left behind. I’m still married after 18 years of marriage, and around $15000USD, 3 pastors, 4 counselors, and 4 states traveled to find help for our marriage.
    It’s not tough to find counseling. It’s tough to find true help when NPD is an issue.

    We even went to the National Institute of Marriage -which was terrific, and very much “self-soothing” was taught. They believe even one person changing can save a marriage (in theory). They taught me, among other things, to not abandon myself, my wants, needs, emotional safety to falsely trade for placating hubs or faux “peace”.

    Since then, the past 18 months I’ve had a friend really hold my feet to the fire on owning my own “stuff”, standing on my own, letting go of ego, setting great boundaries, etc. Four times hubs said he wanted out/ was leaving, etc. and never followed through.

    The marriage finally improved greatly from October through April.
    However, this past May something triggered him again and we are right back to drama and I need to follow through with all I learned and am adding to my support the Love Safety Net Workbook and other resources I purchased, but have not fully looked through yet. In the past few months I briefly read “Don’t go to traditional counselors” with an NPD or something to that effect. I disregarded it and found yet another pastor who sided with me until he met with hubs.
    Then I was the one getting called “critical”, “self-righteous”, etc. by the pastor.

    While this downturn is incredibly discouraging, I am no longer going to counseling sessions, and let him know I would not be going (ever) again. I am also creating a boundary around not seeing his family as they are antagonistic and toxic to me. I am convinced this time is a great opportunity to reconsider my own emotional needs and wants and have them legitimately met in friends and extended family.

    My personal favorite phrase over the past 18 months has been to be who I am in truth, kindness and authenticity and let the chips fall (meaning, let others respond as they need to- without reading my worth by their reaction to me.)

    I believe my story will be one of freedom. How it plays out is a choice I make daily – choosing my personal freedom, and teaching my son how to live freely as well. Maybe my marriage is the gift to help me get there. 😉

    Thank you for sharing your story, your lessons, and truths to help us through times that feel like we were tossed into the dryer with the sheets and towels. 😉

  251. My Story: My husband starting to really change about 3 years ago, and the biggest change happened two years ago with it all coming to a head last summer. He lost his mother about 4 years ago, and his father had already been diagnosed with alzheimer’s. Eventually, we had to watch him every other night and we had 5 young children. His other sibling’s kids were older or the youngest were the same age as my oldest ones. I also teach. I was getting my master’s and my family lives away. The RV industry tanked and he started doing all sorts of side jobs. He was never home and I just got dumped on and blamed, silently and passive aggressively at first. And he started to side jobs repeatedly for a friend of his. It got to be that he was there every day. And his wife started coaching with my husband and then they talked and she would make not good comments about me and her husband constantly gave him beer to drink. I found out later that it was whiskey for a long time. My husband became very mean to me. His wife finally had a huge fight with me at the softball park and said horrible things to me. I went to my husband and he took her side! Was mad at me! Said he wasn’t taking a side, but it was extremely obvious. There is so much much more. However, since there was no sex with the woman or the one half his age that I caught him texting for a month constantly, he thinks that he has done nothing wrong. I am a baby, he drinks because of me, and basically blames me for everything. In looking up if I really was being emotionally abused, it led me here about a year ago. I cried when I read all this because it sounded sooo much like him, and the fact that most thought it couldn’t be cured and everything everyone said….I just was in shock. Plus I kept going back to how he was before, and he wasn’t like this then… He quit marriage counseling, and said it was a waste. He blames me for his drinking, for the way he talks, and can make me cry and not care at all. He feels bad sometimes if he does something similiar to the kids, but not me. My children are suffering, we all are. However, this just “wasn’t my husband”. One of my friends, said “its like he’s brainwashed” which shocked me as it was. I really truly think that the “friends” that he was always at (and still is but not as bad since I finally put my foot down, which mad him very mad)really did brainwash him in a way, even though they didn’t set out to do that. The husband kept him drunk most of the time, and the wife stoked her own ego and put me down constantly. And wanted his attention. She got two husbands and I got none. Since I was overwhelmed being nearly a single parent and teaching… and even getting my master’s at first… I couldn’t do all the womanly duties that he thought I should have been doing and even had her fill in for some of them like bringing her into my house to clean it while I was at training for the job he said I had to take!!!!!!!! Anyway, I just can’t believe how he can flip things on me, even with people close to me…although some are starting to see it. He says I am just a baby, they are just friends, and I should “get over it”, they have been friends longer than we have been married (18 years and dated 6)and that I am just “annoying” and “try to hard” and so he just wants to be away from me, and I drive him to drink. He will cuss me out and has threatened to hit me, but never did. He says he never would, but… I told him to quit cussing at me and using the “f” word or I would slap him one night. He then told me that if I did, he would knock my “f-ing teeth down my f-ing throat” and so I slapped him. He left us that night for 3 days and wouldn’t tell us where he was…found out later that he was at a friend of mine’s house that is a girl, but she told him to come there so he didn’t go to the other couple’s house, but I still didn’t like that. He finally asked to see us(kids is who he really wanted to see) at a 4th of July party and was drunk and so it created quite a scene when he refused to come home and the kids had to be taken to the suburban just to run back out to him. How humiliating and embarrassing for him to insist on making that private moment of seeing your daddy after he left and then saying he still isn’t coming home so public!!! And he blamed me for all of that, too. To make a long story short…something still was missing from the puzzle as he just wasn’t like this before, not like this anyway, when I noticed one of the commenters mentioned that depression in men can mimic NPD, the light bulb clicked. Plus paired with all the drinking… he used to be a lot more loving and nice when he drank and now he is mean and volatile, and he drinks A LOT more. One of the few apologies that he gave me that I felt was sincere, and not sarcastic or blaming, was after someone told him about a huge fight we had at that couples house that he didn’t remember. He told me about the whiskey and said he would know longer drink it and wouldn’t get drunk anymore. I finally thought it was a break through and the answer. But he kept drinking and getting drunk, but would say he wasn’t. At least he was just a mean and twisted. I don’t know if he really ever did stay away from whiskey, but it already turned him into a mean drunk. He says all of our problems are money and that any other woman would be thrilled he was out trying to make money… He admits he is depressed or could be..Will these same strategies work with that, or is it entirely different? I mean it is really like NPD, now, but I think it is caused by depression and drinking. It just kills me though as I thought we would always be together and I can see how it is already damaging the kids. I have tried to be stronger and set limits, but that infuriates him as he says I am just pushing to get my way and trying to “control him”… but somehow I feel like it is a midlife toddler thing and that he needs to have some limits and throw his tantrum and then may get over it…but I don’t know. I really do feel that if he got a great job somewhere away from these friends, that we would slowly not have problems anymore, well not like these. Maybe even instantaneously. The kids have even said that if we moved away from them our problems would be gone. I said that you can’t run from problems, but that I had to agree that in this case, they were probably right EXCEPT that it couldn’t be us making him move… he would then just resent us. He would have to want to move for whatever reason…not likely, or they would have to move… Sorry, this has been so long. I just don’t really know where to go since he says that he has no problems, that its just me. If I would just “shut up and go away” then everything would be just fine. I just don’t know if the same thing applies to depression and drunkeness that mimics NPD…. Signed, Missing the Husband I knew

  252. well, my story is that I lived wtih the guy,had a baby, and everything was just fine, then after 3 years, we married.
    6 months after we married, the rows started! over things which before we got married never used to bother him!
    He would never physically hurt me, just verbal abuse! then there was the silences -particlarly after we had been anywhere and had to come home because i was making eyes at every man in the room! It did not matter whether it was a family gathering or a function at his place of work!
    This obviously decreased our social circle over time!
    Obviously this pattern of behaviour was picked up by our son and then later by our daughter! They too would be the victims and then with their father’s encouragement, they would turn on me too!
    That is until the children saw him with another lady, namely with freinds/acquiantances of mine! Then with women outside our social circle!
    Things finally came to a head when our daughter saw him in a park while on a school outing kissing another woman!! He did not see her, but i was called to the school and was told by the teacher who had also seen them!! obviously, this rocked our daughter’s world, and she became frightened and began to challenge what her father told her to do! Then our son also came to me and told me that he had seen his father with another lady! I went cold and felt betrayed and both of my children were frightened that we would divorce! I assured them both that I would talk to their father and try to sort this whole thing out! So, I did! Or at least I tried to!
    He accused me of having hired a private detective and that I did not trust him! So, I simply told him that it must be true then!judging from his reaction – but that it was not a private detective who had told me! My son who had entered the room stood up to his father, and said that he had seen him!
    From that day to this, his son has had nothing but contempt for him! This happened 20 years ago!
    Since then I have tried to manage my marriage, my children as best as I can with dealing with all of the traits shown and explained on your website. A career I never was allowed to have! When I was able to work as a temp, he would show up and demand the keys to my car! He had his own vehicle, but got a kick out of humiliating me in public! Eventually with such behaviour as this I could not get assignments and this pleased him! So it has continued for the past thirty years! His infidelties, and lies about money, even loss of temper when things are not going right for him!
    I do not humour him when he is in such throes of spite, nor do I accept that this is acceptable behavour either.
    Recently, he was caught by his sister at a function with another woman, and my daughter was at this same function! Now his family know what he has been doing! They had no idea of what he was capable of!!
    Obvioulsy this has caused him to heap all of the blame on myself -until I reminded him that I have not spoken to them since he pronounced that I was not to see them many years ago!
    I am now at a loss to know what to do! I have recently been truly and seriously ill, and am in the throes of early recovery from what was thought to be a brain tumour!
    Luckily,it was treatable and so far my recovery has been good, and non-symptomatic,the doctors are confident that i will not need any further treatment and that I shall be free of such tumours again!
    During the time while I was ill, he has been at his most cruel and vile worst.
    Now, I beleive that he is angry that I did not die!
    I have followed and read all of the articles that you have sent to me and without your website and reading the articles and the strength of my freinds, not my family, because they would not have beleived his behaviour as he treats me like a queen in front of them, i do not beleive that I would have come through my ordeal.

    This is why I have written my story here! To say thank you for your website! You have given me the support and the beleif that I can survive the treatment of my husband and become a stronger person.

  253. Hey Margaret!
    I’m sorry to hear of your illness and wish you a speedy recovery.

    It is nice and a blessing that your children could see your husbands’ true colors and the person he is. Unfortunate that it is that a distance has had to come between them. Perhaps for the best.

    I’m not sure what information and material you have of Kim & Steve’s, here is a link for their updated homepage if you do not have it;

    http://www.narcissismcured.com

    On the upper right hand side of this page/blog under ‘Recent Posts'(although they need to add more space in that column as this one no longer displays) you will see other blog pages that you may find some comfort in reading.

    Hope to hear from you again.

  254. Hi Kim and Steve. First, I’d like to thank you for being brave enough to share your story, to give your own advice from your experiences, and to help others in need. After I discovered your eBooks I felt like my eyes have finally really opened, and I was able to see people clearly and to identify them as narcissists from their behaviour.

    I have been in a serious relationship for 6 years, and we always planned on getting married (we’re still in our early 20s). Our relationship was great for the first 3 years, then it got rocky and a lot of bad things have happened in the last 3 years of our relationship. Our relationship became long-distance, which made things harder on us, and that is when he became over-protectice, controlling, and started trusting me less. It got really tough because he was getting mad over every tiny thing, and making me feel guilty for coming home later than they time he desired.

    It was the worst time of my life. I was studying at the time, so I knew it took a toll on my grades as well. I then noticed I was being codependent, by allowing him to treat me that way. I started to defend myself more, and try to stand up for myself. It was really difficult, because he doesn’t like to lose an argument. Slowly, I felt like I was getting my power back. He was so sad that I was far from him that he even blackmailed me to move back to where he is, which really hurt me. I finally realized that he was bluffing when he would threaten me or blackmail me, and I started to show him I wasn’t scared if he did something… and that’s when he really broke down and started apologizing for everything. It took me a long time to forgive him but we eventually worked things out.

    Now, this isn’t a happy ending, at least not yet. Our relationship is still a work in progress. He still has issues, and I still have trouble fully trusting him. He has cheated several times, though he hasn’t in almost a year now. But it has been really complicated. Many times I wanted to leave him, and tried to, but he would beg me not to. He has been very good to me lately, although every time he gets upset he behaves immaturely and sometimes hurts me with his actions. I don’t really know if we will be able to solve everything, but I do know if I continue to read your eBooks and blog posts, that it could help us in the right direction.

    Thank you for everything. I hope that my relationship can become strong and happy again like yours and Steve’s. Best of luck to you too.

  255. Hello Everyone!
    I swear that it feels as though I turn around or blink my eyes and so many more comments appear. It is so comforting to know we are not alone and still unfortunate that generations of both the co-dependent and narcissist plague us today. We can change this although(how I feel about it anyway) for future generations by being proactive as Kim & Steve have been.

    What I have found to be most beneficial along with reading Kim & Steve’s articles, others comments and extensive review of their homepage, is their ebook ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ along with the ‘Love Safety Net Workbooks’ and the ’10 Steps To Overcome Co-Dependence’, just to start. Then I moved onto ‘Emotional Stupidity'(boy was I emotionally stupid), and to compliment was ‘The Little Book of Empathy’.

    Everything became so much clearer, understandable, I’m not crazy, I’m not alone and the ‘Aha moment’ hit me. I finally had something positive to work with to help ‘me’ as in turn it helped those around me as well.

    I still stumble and fall, and sometimes I get hard on myself for this. Why just the other day I read cover to cover the first 3 ebooks I listed above, all in that one day. Even though I try to re-read sections each day, it amazed me some of the things that escaped my brain the day before or whatnot for whatever reason.

    It’s unfortunate that we are benefiting from Kim & Steve’s experiences and in the same token how lucky can we be to share and learn from real people.

    I hope everyone will continue to share as you never know which comment or shared information can help the next person.

  256. Hi All,

    I have a friend of close to five years and we both thought it was odd that we were drawn to each other more after a fight. We couldn’t figure it out. After researching it alone, I found out that I was co-dependent (which I already knew) and he a narcissict. I already knew I was co-dependent and had invested alot to become free from it. I am in bi-weekly counseling for past family issues and have been for a few years, so when the dynamics of my friends and I friendship felt sort of weird I knew something was wrong.

    My friend isn’t aware that I use skills with him to diffuse his bad behaviors. He has plenty. My question is I dont think he is aware of his disorder and I want to approach him about it but I’m not sure how can anyone offer me any suggestions?

    Thank you

  257. Things have come a long way since I signed up to Kim and steve’s site. I was looking for help, support, answers, anything to make sense of the crazy mess my life and marriage was in. Weary of the abuse, angry with the emotional affairs and no longer prepared to be my husband’s dumping ground for his own stuff, I was all prepared to get out.
    Well, I’m still here, but on my terms. Some of my friends are surprised that I didn’t walk out, those who knew about the situation that is. Some had no idea that my husband was anything but charming. he was to them, but they didn’t get to see the other side. Our grown up kids have a better understanding of their dad now. He was in serious danger of losing them, but rather than mudsling and namecall, it seemed to make more sense for me to be the mediator. They can see his critism and cruel tongue came from his mother and he’d never been supported. He still doesn’t get ‘good enough’ or that his kids’ achievements are their own, not a reflection on his glory, or there to fill his needs, but they accept that’s who he is.
    Everyone’s story will be different, each person is in a different place. I never thought I’d still be here and ok, but I am.
    Sharing experiences, using some of the guidance, coming up with some of my own solutions, have all got me through.

  258. I am on vacation without my fiance. Spending time at band camp with my daughter.
    Doing some serious soul searching while away from him.
    I love him completely. There is absolutely no one else I’d rather spend the rest of my life with.
    I feel that I am living with Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde however. Gaslighting, turning tables, mockery, anger, lies, infidelity as of recently. I am at my whit’s end. I do not want to leave him. I don’t know if I can stay. I am not a masochist. I don’t know how to spend the rest of our lives together knowing that this will be my life with him.
    The lies get to me the most. I don’t know how to live with someone that I can’t trust. I don’t know how to live without him either though.
    I hope the time I am taking apart from him will provide me with some clear direction and insight.

  259. Hi guys. I’ve been applying what I can gather of the NPD coping skills in my marriage for a long time. My husband has a brain disease that exacerbates all these NPD symptoms: extremism/hyper-religiosity from temporal lobe epilepsy becomes control and abuse, spiritual and physical and emotional, rumination from a lack of blood flow to the temporal lobe becomes stone-walling and inward-focused rage and passive-aggressive comments, especially paired with the above extremism into an insistance on male domination/female submission etc. Here’s my question, what is disease and what is NPD and what is outright sin, and how do I provide the attachment or even medical care/help and maintain boundaries? I’m looking at having to homeschool my five kids and one on the way, bedrest pregnancy, and insist on boundaries at the same time I’m somewhat dependent in a physical sense (adrenal fatigue for which I’m treated with medication and trying to handle with food allergy diet, trying to learn GAPS, etc.) Other question way more practical, can someone instruct me on how to get the PDF’s of Through the Looking Glass off my desktop so I can read them? I’ve been feeling so helpless as very little computer skills (of course my husband is in IT :)) Anyway, thanks, MB

  260. i am writing about my mother and I. We have a codependant relationship. We also both have tempers. My mother takes psychiatric meds but I cannot stand to live together as we do because she has no boundaries, respect or cooperation. She also screams at me at the top of her lungs.
    When she takes Haldol she is much calmer but will not do it.
    It is my house we live in, however I’m thinking of moving in with a friend, as things just escalate and get out of control here.
    My mother is a narcissist and my upbringing was pretty dysfunctional since she was either sleeping or carrying on and being erratic and unreasonable.
    I cannot control her or my responses to her horrible behavior anymore. I love my house, but is it worth the price?

  261. Is there anything on how to approach getting back together? If I try to talk to him , then he sees me as weak. He wanted to get back together and as soon as I wanted to he ran again. I love him , two kids together and 35 yrs but never married. Seems he only wants me when I don’t want him. Right now I’m in a terrible emotional state and don’t know how to approach him without driving him away.

  262. For several years, I’ve been in relationship with a Surgeon. I don’t think I need to say more.

  263. Hey margaret!
    Do you have a printer connected to your computer? If so, make sure it is turned on – has plenty of paper loaded in it – and is ready to print the ebook. Then double Left click on the icon for Through The Looking Glass on your desktop, this will open up the file location and display it, next you will see a small sort of like task bar at or near the bottom center of the page, left click the ‘Printer’ symbol – it should start printing automatically.

    Hope this helps. I will check in later to see if it worked.

  264. Hey margaret!
    If that does not work, depending on your operating system you can use a print function found in a/the ‘File’ tab or a ‘Print(er)’ symbol located somewhere on your screen.

  265. I’ jaI am having a problem with a sidebar that showsshows up on my screen- preventing me from
    seeing part of the left side of the screen
    it is the quick facebook likes, tweets, and and etc. not sure now how to post a
    comment since this sidebar is so annoying.

  266. Well my friend stopped talking to me yesterday after he tried to be nice to me but I blew it by not answering the phone in time and not calling him right back. Insane. I’m at work but I’m going to take a short break and go for coffee.

  267. It’s all weird. He seem to be getting comfortable with me. Then when I do something he doesn’t like it seems he wants me to go away. Im glad my mind is in tack. I don’t know if under his anger he is hiding something or what. I do believe he is feeding from someone else and he want feel alone if I left the friendship. I think what is keeping him around me are the skills I have learned to deal with him. I don’t know. I don’t let him off the hook. Yet its the complexity of NPD that catches me off guard.

  268. OK I am going to try and explain and hope this makes sense. I am living with a man that has NPD for three years now and I am having a really hard time with the fact that he relies on me to do pretty much everything in and around our home as well as financially. I have been reading the information written by Kim and Steve and have learned a lot and can see a degree of codependency in me. However I have a hard time thinking that wanting my partner to care about our home and family is wrong, as far as codependancy is concerned, I don’t need or want a hero. I don’t think that having to accept his bad behavior due to his NPD is right. I feel as if I am manipulating him if I try to “Teach him” how to behave. Why should I have to deal with this? It makes me want to leave him. he is so disruptive in my live. Kim I read the part about “it” not being fair and that we need to deal with that fact but I am about sick of turning the other cheek and having to listen to him accuse me and constantly disrupting the peace in our home.

    1. Hi Stephanie, I hear that you are angry but I am not sure you fully understand our program. I never suggest that you should just put up with being exploited. You might want to check out the chapter on Limiting Abuse in The Love Safety Net Workbook. What I do suggest is not repeating methods that do not work. Asking a person who isn’t listening to change is one of those. One warning and then action – that is the rule. If you don’t feel it is worth the effort and you want to leave well do so – just be careful how you plan that so that one way or another the problem doesn’t follow you .

  269. ok. After refusing to speak to me since yesterday, my friend finally calls me. He says something negative about women and I let him know that he couldn’t put all women in the same boat. What I say that for. He lets me know he isn’t talking about me and that he values me. Yeah, right. Somehow the conversation goes elsewhere and we tried to return to his original comment but never arrived because I couldn’t remember what he said then he said he never said anything. Boy o boy. I stood my ground when I told him he is lying. I told him he was dishonest and he whimpered away. Thankfully, I spent time talking with a few good male friends who were available at the same time. We didn’t talk about him but about relationships in general. I felt good. As time went on I started to feel sorry for my friend. He has to do so much work to hide his insecurities.

  270. I can’t imagine what life was like for my friend as a child. I have never met his mom face to face but I have heard her over the phone say some pretty critical things. My friend has told me she has said some things to him that literally cut right through him and I believe she gives him looks of disapproval because he make expressions with his mouth when he doesnt approval of your decision. His family has some issues. His brother was once an alcoholic but I really think his mom is the main culprit of the family. My friend is 57 years old. His behavior is that of a little boy. When he says no, he sounds like a two year old. it’s kind of sickening to say the least. He is the choir director of a small church and his dad is a pastor, not of the same church. I know his dad had stopped going to church for a few years before he dust himself off and went and got his degree and started a church. They all pulled themselves together but the affects of their problems are lingering.

  271. So Kim, is it ever worth extending an olive branch one final time, or is that just an opportunity for him to hurt me- again? You’ve said that is something each of us must decide for ourselves. I want to set boundaries, but I do love him and suspect he is suffering in his hidden life. My friends and family would be incredulous if I were to reach out to him again – any thoughts?

  272. My husband bitches about everything and we are not allowed to defend ourselves. If we do he says our son is talking back to adults and I am being a nagging hateful bitch. We get blamed for everything even if we aren’t involved. Idk what to do anymore I have been put into a mental institution, put on more pills then I can name or remember. He has physically hurt me and I have done the same. I’m not allowed to get a job and couldn’t even if I wanted too. Our 13 year old son who has ADHD and Asperger’s feels like he does everything wrong and has to defend himself and me. All I want to do is die so I won’t bother his life anymore. And let my mom and stepfather raise caleb seeing how they think I’m a horrible mom and a not raising him right. What am I supposed to do?

    1. Hi Sharon, I am sorry to hear that you feel so hopeless. I remember that place and I really feel for you. Coincidentally I have an Aspergers son too. The steps we offer in Back From the Looking Glass and The Love Safety Net Workbook will take time and some effort for you to implement, but they will help you out of the corner you are now in. Your son needs you and you are not a bad mother – you just need some help learning to regulate your emotions, set boundaries and limit your husbands abusive behavior. It will be a bit like climbing out of a deep ravine – but one step at a time we can help lead the way. Please know that you are not alone.

  273. One weird thing I’ve learned about narcissists is that suspicious ones can have a tendency not to believe anything you say, but they are completely trusting of anything they find. Meaning, that untrusting partners who go to the extreme of rifling through your things might not believe your denials to the absurd accusations they launch at you. But they invariably completely believe anything they discover through their underhanded methods. For instance, when I was in high school, my girlfriend’s narcissistic mom would accuse us of all sorts of awful things. Yet the only time she would believe we were innocent of the stupid things she would accuse us of was when she would steal our love letters to each other and find out that we did nothing wrong. Very sad, indeed instead of just trusting our word. However, I started using that to my advantage by planting fake letters for her to find, all of which were completely believed without question since someone with such a massive ego is more likely to rejoice in how clever they are than believe that they are easily duped.

  274. Hey Beth!
    Do you have Kim & Steve’s ebooks ‘Back From The Looking Glass’, ‘The Love Safety Net Workbooks’ (listed as ’13 Steps Towards a Peaceful Home package) and ’10 Steps To Overcome Co-dependence’?These are what I started with and are tremendously helpful.

    One of the ‘Key’ ingredients/Steps in all of this is how Kim & Steve teach us the importance of ‘self soothing’ and calm. This helps teach us to respond Not react. Also the enlightenment that we are NOT crazy, we are not imagining all these things(gaslighting).

  275. Hey Linda!
    What materials of Kim & Steve’s do you have? I think you’ll find alot of the answers you are looking for in their ebook ‘Back From The Looking Glass'(listed ’13 Steps Towards A Peaceful Home’ package).

  276. Hey Helen!
    What you have described is explained in detail in Kim & Steve’s ebook ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ (listed as ’13 Steps Towards A Peaceful Home’ package). I also think you would benefit greatly from ’10 Steps To Overcome Co-dependence’ as I think you are fearful and hurting, willing to do just about anything AND that will put you at a lessor advantage and do ‘You’ more harm than good. These ebooks go into detail about Emotional Intelligence which is extremely important as with self soothing.

  277. Hey Wendy!
    Have you read Kim & Steve’s blog page titled ‘Because I love you, I am going to learn to say No’? It is a supplement of the ebooks and other information Kim & Steve offer us, as with the rest of their blog pages. Here is the link; http://narcissismcured.com/blog/because-i-love-you/

    At the top of this blog page on the right hand side you will see a column that under ‘Recent Posts’ will list other blog pages Kim & Steve have. Also, here is the link for their updated homepage; http://www.narcissismcured.com

    Until I had the ‘Recipe’, so to speak, found in their ebooks I have previously mentioned, these other helpful ingredients made very little sense to me. So I would encourage anyone to get that ‘Recipe’ to put all these ingredients together to make a whole.

  278. Hey Sharon!
    You are not alone and you are not a bad mom. Dealing with NPD in ‘anyone’ close to us is a struggle. I wonder if your parents may fit into this as well. That could explain any co-dependent tendencies you may have.

    I would encourage you to start with the basics that Kim has mentioned. Hope to hear from you again.

  279. Hey Marcia!
    I do not know the history behind your situation. So I guess it is pretty extensive. Some bridges are not worth burning and I’m wondering if Co-dependence is leading these thoughts or feelings you’re having.

    What materials of Kim & Steve’s do you have?

  280. Hey JustMe!
    How are you? My husband and I have differing opinions of colors and that one is not a big deal for us. I was wondering with your husbands diabetes if his vision could be becoming impaired, as that is common for persons with diabetes. So for me I would check the goldfish out for concern of his health.

  281. Hey Cris!
    That’s one way of handling it. It really doesn’t address the main issue of concern though. Even if your girlfriend has a strong mind about her now, in the future co-dependency can strike her and she can find herself involved with others with NPD and not have the skills to deal with either the NPD or co-dependency.

  282. Hey, Darlyn.
    I was married in March of last year to an NPD. Our first 6 months under the same roof was rocky, and ended with my husband exhibiting abusive behavior – verbal, emotional, physical.
    I found Kim and Steve’s Back from the Looking Glass, Love Safety Net workbook, 10 steps to overcoming Codependence and Emotional Stupidity last summer as I was trying to figure this mess of a marriage out-and I reference most of them every day. I’ve also read Christian Carter’s materials thoroughly. There’s no question I was severely codependent, but I am emotionally pretty solid, and don’t struggle with that. I have worked hard,changed my codependent behaviors, and drawn clear boundaries with my husband and other people in my life. The self-soothing has helped me tremendously-I didn’t realize how much I needed to work on this. I have a great support system around me. My frustration is that when I started putting Kim and Steve’s work into play in my marriage, instead of helping, my husband said it was all false, and completely withdrew. He had accepted a job overseas and left in October. Before we had been married 9 months, he began an affair with a woman twenty years his junior. She now claims to be engaged – we are not divorced. He came home at Christmas and we had a wonderful time with our blended families (2nd marriage for each, 3 boys), but I had not yet discovered his affair. When he returned to work in January, his communication got less and less until I put the pieces together and confronted him. He then disappeared for 3 weeks. When he resurfaced, he acted as though nothing were wrong when he was coming home in May. (I wonder, if he could have pulled it off, if he wanted to have one life in the States, and another overseas?) I asked if he was coming home to work on our marriage. He said some very unkind things and that he wasn’t going to work it out, so I moved his possessions into a storage unit. He stayed in a hotel for 5 weeks here, and at the end of that time told me he had lost his job, but was allowed to re-apply and was returning at a much lower salary. There’s a lot more to this part of the story; he wanted to stay in my home so he didn’t have the expense of the hotel – I politely refused. He also wanted me to continue keeping his mail, sending him prescriptions, take care of his car and bills. I said no, and told him not to use my address any longer. I e-mailed his boss to find out if he really does have a job, but have not received any reply.
    My husband has the classic signs of NPD – not able to handle money, anger, alcoholic, takes prescription drugs pretty regularly, doesn’t attach or build family, is sarcastic and controlling of everyone around him. He is in some serious debt, which is not mine. I believe my biggest problem is that I was all-in to this marriage, and I am struggling with the idea that it is completely over-I can probably file for abandonment. With his debt, it’s possible that he’ll never return to the States. He has two teen-age sons living with their mother (his ex) here in the same town. She is very enabling. Thanks for reading this far.

  283. My relationship ended almost 4 years ago now. I found the site by accident and started realizing what narcissistic behavior looked like. He moved in with the mistress he was having an affair with. We were together 15 years. I am good friends with his mom, his family, and some of his friends. I’ve continued my relationships with all of them and even after all this time has passed, I still hear and get a taste of the behavior. I can feel very low at times because I go back to feeling like I did then, because I hear that my relationships with these people ‘block’ him/her from them. It sometimes takes a lot of strength in caring about myself, and not being concerned about what others think, to NOT modify who I am. I’m generally a kind, warm hearted person. So if you’re reading this and you have similar issues of not knowing how to fit, not knowing how to handle the ‘who gets the friends’, how am I supposed to be now….I can only share what I do. I have great relationships because of who I am, and I didn’t get that way because of him, it was always there. I am myself, and if the people who were connected to me thru him still invite me to things, still contact me, still want to be friends, I make our new version of our relationship not be about him. I don’t bring him up, I don’t ask questions, I don’t say derogatory things-don’t want to make them feel awkward or think that I am using them, there are plenty of other things to talk about. I try to give myself the respect that I didn’t receive then, and that includes how I handle dating, my work life, everything. And what I have found is that people always liked me for me, not because of him and my relationship to him. I’m not in control of how all these others that he has little affinity for/with are with me. I figure for the 3 or so times a year that I may be invited to an event that he might attend, we should be able to work it out like adults if it makes his new girl feel uncomfortable. And the stuff I hear thru the grapevine…well if he feels blocked or if they want that to be their ‘story’, then don’t they have another 360 days out of the year to create their own relationship with these people? blaming me is making an excuse to not be with them. Taking charge of my own life, making my own happy moments, and appreciating what I have in my life now is what gives me confidence and gives me reward. And yes, there are still a lot of times where I get teary, not because I want that life back, just because there were good times and moments to cherish, and I know that he and I can’t sit down and talk like that anymore, be the friends that we were before we were anything else. And the hurt that one feels when life drastically changes because of a relationship….yeah, that can bring on some tears too…but I don’t blame him because it’s not productive. I take note of what I do have and not of what I don’t.

  284. Hey JustMe!
    How I understand that part described in BFTLG is what Kim describes in her other blog page titled ‘Daddy Love’ and the examples she’d given such as a clergy, a DV officer and family support workers in your community(in the beginning of Chapt. 2) that will aid/help you constructively and educating them of NPD. NOT to gang up on someone or recruit others to/by use of intimidating, insulting, bullying tactics. Which is what a narcissist will do.

    In my opinion this is NOT what your husband has done for you. It’s a passive-agressive way to intimidate you, insult you, annoy you, rub in your face, Put You In Your Place(blended family outsider), bullying sort of thing. And as Kim points out, it is not living in the ‘present’ on his part other than he’ll continue with this, his, promiscuity and is to be expected/accepted as a mans attribute and his right(entitlement). Disregarding your values and feelings, not to mention disregarding you as his wife, with value and respect. His covert/overt emotional fantasy affairs.

    His comment of ‘You didn’t marry a milksop, you married a tough guy’ is his way of telling you off – go to H _ _ _ – get F _ _ _. He’ll do what ever he feels like doing and has little or no respect or regard for you as his wife or valued person. And with his children playing in the game as well they are telling you the same thing. You are the outsider to their family.

    What is your relationship like with his son, daughter and son-in-law? I mean your relationship solely, not with your husband.

    I think you mentioned one time that if you do not wish to go with your husband when he goes to visit them he comments with ‘What are they going to think of that then?’. And he will not go. Do you remember reading where the narcissistic partner will either treat you very well in public in front of others or ignore you wanting to give others the impression of what a great husband/father or person they are- then in private they are haughty and down right cruel, mean, insulting, sacastic and such?

    How you described you approaching him with his flirtatious mannerism and then rubbing it in, not letting up – I don’t feel was an accusation. It was an observation. It’s a reality, a truth. If he feels it as an accusation then I’m guessing he knows what he’s doing and that it is promiscuous as that of a womanizer, a flirt.

    I like how you handled the trowel incident. It wasn’t mean – it was direct, and a boundary you set for you working in the garden not under his command and control. “clapping” Now, did you read step 6 in Chapt. 2? Beware of the sheep that approached you later asking your opinion. It takes more time than this for the boundaries to become truly effective and respected.

  285. Hey JustMe!
    That is scary. I wonder if when your husband had looked at the fish the last time if he slipped trying to see them as they were hiding then also and that is when it happened. Intentional or not, like the mat, and he didn’t want to say anything. I remember you mentioning that he is fearful of being in a home for the disable or elderly. I guess I’m still concerned with his eye sight and mental capacity. Was anyone else near the fish that could have slipped as well and caused the damage?

  286. Hey JustMe!
    It does not sound that you need the outside help as Kim & Steve describe in the beginning of Chapt. 2. However, I do think you need a support system, like what we’re doing, to bounce things off of or around a bit. You can use Step 1 in Chapt. 2 modifying it for friends and family – AND in doing that you will need to build trust and connection(Chapt. 2, Step 10 and Attachment; ‘Love Safety Net Workbooks’) with them for them to take you seriously and not a nagging nut case(his daughter comes to mind). Also, Kim describes how she approached a female friend of her and Steve’s and how that worked out for them.

    In my opinion, he did speak directly with his family about your observation as well as with the TV guide situation. Intentionally. And I believe for the purpose(s) I have already mentioned and you have observed for yourself.

    So, a ‘milksop’ is a man who is sort of dominated by a woman(‘You’re whipped’ or ‘She’s got your n _ _ _ in a sling’, ‘wrapped around her finger’) or allows himself to feel compassion, empathy and other emotions towards those close and in general(without a ‘manly mans man’ ego). And the ‘tough-guy’ is the ‘manly mans man’ ego.

    Little does he know that there is a healthy and happy medium between both of these. And that is what you will need to re-parent(Chapt 2, Step 11 Fill-In Parenting).

    You’ve discovered one of your Developmental Gap Works; your communication and conversational skills. You need to strengthen them. And I’m guessing with that too/also you will become stronger and more confident individually and setting boundaries, building Attachment, building your repertoire and being respected will come easier for you.

    When your husband is seeking attention from other women it is called ‘Supply'(Glossary of Terms after the introduction and before Chapt. 1)(yes for ego and to stroke his ego). When he is blatantly ignoring your presense and/or continued remarks about them/women he is flaunting a ‘fantasy affair’ type scenerio. He’s holding them ‘up here’ and you ‘down here'(sort of disrespecting and devaluing you-putting you in your place again with this action). OR – he knows it annoys you and that’s what the ‘tough-guy’ does(same with the TV guide, sort of pornographic and that’s what all men and the ‘tough-guy’ likes and flaunts). Regardless if he would or would not ‘act’ on having a physical affair, it’s up to you to determine if this behavior fits in your definition of ‘Any’ form of affair and what he’s getting out of it/from it. It doesn’t have to be a sexual thing). If this is not more isolated or concentrated toward women(his detail) then maybe his brain is that of an accountants detailed mind or a master craftmans or master problem solver or master salesman.

    If he or others bring up the word ‘Accusation’ in the future, I would state it was/is an ‘Observation’. Maybe like ‘I NOTICED ________’, and if needed back it up with ‘Not judging, just stating/saying’. Also note the differing definitions of the two, and the intent behind those definitions that seperate them. Also that there may be a sense of guilt that they are taking it off to being accusatory OR how dare you question my authority or knowledge(figuratively speaking) is another possibility.

    If that’s all he remembers or mentions as to why you turned his proposal down in the past, refresh his memory of his unattractive and undesired behaviors. UNLESS that will open a can of worms you are not prepared for yet, then don’t do it.

    Does his son-in-law or son behave this way concerning other women within their intimate relationships? Does his daughter condone this behavior from her husband(and pornography or things of the like)? Does his son also do this and get away with it from his partner? I have an idea about this but you’ll have to remind me later so I can write it.

    With what you just mentioned of him being quite distant and the other things is why I am concerned about his mental health or that his medication may have something to do with it. Or, it’s really nothing-he’s only thinking, Or he is holding things back concerning his own concern for his health and fear of a home. I believe Kim & Steve make mention of this distance as how it pertains to NPD. You know him best.

    The ‘family outsider’ I mentioned has a bit to do with the Blended Family part I mentioned previously and I think that would be too much to address now other than how it may be affecting current events.

    It’s up to you if you wish to read Kim & Steve’s material in private. I think I remember Kim or Steve writing about how they left some information out and Steve took notice to it and he realized some of his NPD because of that. I’ve read the material right in front of my husband and when he would ask me what I was reading I said it was about NPD. He didn’t say anything, although I did notice an almost immediate switch in him about certain things. As if his ‘false pride’ had been discovered and it’s all going to fall down around him. I also tell him about this blog and others of Kim & Steve’s(not in detail, holding anonymity). Although where you are at right now your husband may use that as artilery for him and his family.

    You need to adapt and modify Kim & Steve’s material to/for your own situation.

    Keep up with ‘Good Face’, ‘Magic Scissors’, ‘Self-soothing’, ‘Attachment’, Responding NOT Reacting, polite and clear ‘Boundaries’ when they come up, ‘Building your Repertorie’ and of course ‘Kindness’.

    Will write more later.

  287. I learned about your website after the break up of a love relationship. Although, it wasn’t sexual in nature. I fell in love with my best male friend. ( I hope this goes through since I don’t know what website you want).I didn’t think it was mutual so I wanted to tell him since I didn’t think he and I could remain friends since my feelings for him were so strong, and became suddenly sexual. When I told him this his response was, “You think you love me because I did a lot for you.” This hurt and I knew he was uncomfortable with how I felt, even though I told him the reason for my sharing. He felt he and I still could be friends. I wasn’t sure. I also had a big emotional outburst since he left town and I told him I wanted to go with him and asked him how much the gas would be since we were going to the same place and both seeing the same doctor.
    When I learned he had gone there without me and didn’t tell me, I flipped. I was yelling at him, even cursing him, which is something I never did with any man, except my dad who was abusive in all ways. This was the start of the end of our friendship. After that point he was abusive towards me, blamed me for everything, started fights with me, a nd then go for periods of being nice agin.etc. etc. When he did and said things that hurt me I would cry for days and then I’d yell. Obviously I had no skills at all in how to handle his abuse. After learning from you and Steve, boy, I would’ve done things a lot differently. He remained abusive for several years and I had to go back to therapy since I knew I still had serious issues with men and my family I hadn’t yet dealt with. Therapy helped a lot to get out old anger inside of me I didn’t even know was there. I’ll try to shorten this. I spent the next four years trying to have my old friend back, the kind loving and caring guy he once was. He made the statement to me: “It will never be good between us again.” but, he’d talk to me on the phone and he laid out rules or he called them requests for our friendship. 1) I should never expect more from him than what he had to offer me. 2) that I shouldn’t bad mouth him to his friends or our common doctors, health helpers and I forgot the third. (I never would think of ‘bad-mouthing him” at all to these people. I only spoke about him to my therapist and a couple of close friends)
    He said if wouldn’t always be this way that if we got along on the phone we’d see one another again. but, he also in the next breathe said real low, “Maybe in two years, maybe never.” I didn’t even pay attention to the last part of his remark since I thought I’d be the “good girl” and do what he asked. When he said hurtful things, I’d respond but not yell, but, it still hurt. He never told me what his limits were. Our phone relationship got really good and he said, “It’s just like it used to be with us, good.” Then he did a strange thing. He stopped totally saying anything about himself and he’d call me at midnight every night and ask about me and my life and say, “Just checking in.” When I spoke he’d come up with answers to my life’s problems, etc. But, I suddenly got a very eerie feeling because he’d say not one word about himself and he used to share a lot with me. One time when he stopped calling me for ten days, I again lost it. I again yelled at him and cursed. Looking back I see what a mess I had made, yet, I got so dependent on his calls that I felt intense abandonment feelings and thought he’d ended our friendship. He wrote me that he had the flu and I felt so dumb. He never said my cursing bothered him and I felt he was made of stone. When he suddenly stopped all phone calls and instead started to e-mail me, we also had a good e-mail relationship. He said we get along well this way. We resolve our differences a lot better. All this time I was trying to win him back never realizing that he was slowly pulling out of the friendship. When I asked him why he had suddenly stopped calling me, he wouldn’t answer but thanked me for not asking him this question. An on-line crisis counselor said, he wanted to end the friendship but didn’t have the ‘intestinal fortitude.’ All this time I actually believed he’d come back into my life since he was always there and I’d leave him phone messages. He also told a good friend of mine he’d always be in my life and I could always count on him and I believed this. I never thought he was a liar. At the end of 2010 he suddenly announced to me, “I want nothing more to do with you, not see you, or e-mail you. I’m ending our friendship and I’ve wanted to do this for a long time.” I was heartbroken and I attended two grief groups and yet, I couldn’t stop my obsession over him. I still e-mailed him and called him a lot and then he sent me health articles which he always does with people he knows and I’d respond to them with my ideas and feedback. He wouldn’t answer. He even tried to help me to find a way to get medicine from a Doctor in Mexico since we had both been there and I saw this doctor when there. Now it’s illegal to send medicine from Mexico. He tried to help me for a short while and then again disappeared. This was after he ended our friendship. With all this back and forth with him i still thought he’d come back into my life. Bottom line is he hasn’t said one word to me in two years, nor seen me in 4 years and I still sometimes yearn for him but I’m a lot better and this only happens when I’m ill or some nights. (I have chronic health problems) and I remember what a strong support he was with people who are ill. I’ve told him in so many ways how much he meant to me and all his great qualities which I miss. I even explained some of my outbursts to him from the past and shared some of my therapy with him and big mistake tried to analyze him and share what my therapist told him and shared about your web-site with him being the narcissist and me being the co dependent. Nothing worked and I doubt anything will. Your website has helped me enormously to see what I did wrong, but knew no better. And I’ve resigned myself that he’s gone forever and nothing I can do can change this. I feel sad about it all but he never went for therapy and when I shared some of my abuse history he said, I can’t deal with people with your problems,but I have friends who work in mental institutions who can. This set me off since I was in a hospital, psyche, in my twenties, like almost 45 years ago. he told me, I ruined the friendship and I ‘ranted and raved every day the whole last year before he ended with me.” Yet he also was constantly telling me how good our friendship was again and yes, I did lose it a few times, but not that often. No amount of my trying to teach him anything I learned to help him to understand himself or me or our friendship did a thing. So Kim, your saying that analyzing a man will make it worse certainly is true. I thought the opposite. I thought he’d want to learn from what I learned. I’ve apologized often for my behavior, especially the cursing which he finally admitted that he felt, “alienated” when I did this. I felt terrible since I didn’t think he was even affected, since he never said a word about it, I told him how sorry I was that I did this and I never again did it with him. He never seems to think he did a thing wrong to hurt me, that it was all me. I see how much he was a narcissist and I was a co=dependent and that we also changed roles. He’s gone forever and it still saddens me since the first five years were so great, but, it’s been over that good stuff between us for a long time. I’m so glad you have this site as I continue to learn more and more about myself and about my patterns. Some people don’t want to change or look at themselves. Keep up your wonderful help.

  288. Daryln – As always, great responses to everyone. Thanks for taking the time to help us all out!

  289. Just Me – Your case with your husband greatly intrigues me, because my husband also has bizarre mental/verbal things that he seems to get fixated on – and I just can’t tell if they are intentional or not. Most of the time, I think not, but I can’t help but wonder.

    In your case, the coincidences just seem too much – his attention to detail, yet not commenting about the broken item, yet making a specific comment about the goldfish, and the fact that you sensed he was intentionally trying to get you to go out there is significant. I agree with you that something seems to be going on …. but what exactly? What a mystery.

    In my case, my husband also has incredible attention to detail – a possible photographic memory as you say. He is incredibly visual, and everything must be “just so” and he notices everything that is “off”.

    He also will “stare off into space” and seem incredibly focused on something – “lost in thought” (I’ve heard this can be a sign of pornographic use – Kim may have a comment here?)

    Like your husband, he also seems to have some kind of auditory fixation …. everything must be said a certain way. If he is interupted at any point of his speech, he must begin again at the very beginning and repeat everything exactly word for word.

    He even insists for certain conversations that the children and I stand in certain places “so that he can concentrate” …. it is extremely controlling, and every ounce of me rises up in defiance …. yet at the same time when I analyze it I do believe some of it is some type of mental condition with his brain (similar to OCD, perhaps?) where his brain does not “function properly”? unless certain things are in alignment (?) It is so strange and bizarre and is probably outside the realm of NPD …. but I “feel your pain” in trying to figure it out!!

    Back to the NPD …. I agree with Darlyn that you handled the gardening situation well. Kudos!

    And I would add that I think in most NPD situations, it is NOT helpful to discuss NPD with your NPD spouse. It only tends to exaserbate their denial, I think. Until you have more information and are better equipped yourself with more specific response tools, etc. I believe you are wise to keep these discussions from your husband (especially since he already is kind of accusing you of being somewhat paranoid to begin with).

    Hang in there!!

  290. Whew – these are challenging days for me. Hubby is home for 2 weeks before leaving on a job assignment for two years overseas – lots of mixed emotions for me.

    Because we have had a loveless marriage for the last 8 years of our 19 year marriage, I can’t help but feel some sense of looking forward to his departure and the freedom from the chaos and “crazy making” of our home life. I am looking forward to parenting our two children (ages 11 and 7) with love and support from a very healthy and positive extended family and a great support system of friends.

    At the same time, there is a sense of sadness and grief that we have not made more progress in our marriage before his departure (and that the kids are basically being raised without a father figure, which isn’t healthy for them). With two years completely apart, I can’t help but think there will be nothing left to build on when he returns.

    Not sure how much I will be able to be on this site during these days – but love reading other’s stories when I can. It sure helps a lot to know that I am not alone.

    Still trying!

  291. Some of our most destructive fights were over children. I’ve raised a wonderful, competent 19-year-old, but whenI had a thought about my husband’s two boys, 14 and 11, my husband would say I had no standing. Good luck, Day-by-Day, with such a long separation – your husband may begin a completely new life. What type of work does he do?

  292. My husband wants to go to a separate church than the rest of our family. He has given a few reasons but the main one is that he feels he has no friends at the church we go to. He has such a hard time with this. I know from reading that most narcisists are charming, my husband can be but he is very dogmatic and he repells people when they don’t agree with him, then he criticizes them behind their backs. He informed me a couple of weeks ago that he did not feel connected to me and that, though he loves me and considers me his best friend, he finds me unsafe to love. Before I found you I said to him that he is not connected to anyone and that I am not just his best friend but his only friend. We have a 13 yr old son who feels sorry for him and will go with him part of the time. I have two grown daughters that also go to our church with their families so his decision will split my family. There are a lot more details that make this significant for my family that I won’t go into here. What should be my position? I want to do the right thing.

  293. What my husband’s disorder has shown me (he is a classic narcissist) is the codependancy in my own life. It has also shown my weakness in my own self value. I ran across a term online which is such an appropriate description of a narcissist and that is they are emotional vampires, sucking out every shred of self worth and decency a person may have…..but it does not have to continue! I love the advice of self soothing, I now realize that I have always wanted him to make me feel better after he has dealt with me with contempt. I can take care of me and my children so much easier by not allowing his opinion of me to hurt and not taking on the blame he so happily places on me. I don’t know if there is too much water under the bridge at this point for me to continue my 24 yr marriage to this man….I love him but am no longer in love with him. I start a job August 1st that can support me and my son so he knows that I don’t need him that way. Our finances are a mess because of his secret spending and hiding. We are letting our house go back to the bank and are declaring bancruptcy. As awful as all that sounds we at least will have a financial clean slate and if I choose to go on without him I will not be encumbered with his debt. Most of the steps you have outlined in your book I have taken over the years so any dramatic impact has been severely limited. I know he doesn’t want a divorce….why should he, he has an emotional punching bag and a cash cow. But I really hate him for thinking he is better than me and he has started really making it obvious that he is looking at other women. He also says really inappropriate things to our 13 yr old son about girls my sons age….I get so disgusted! Anywho, the main point of writing all of this out is for my own self discovery, what I can do to make my life more bearable and even…should I dare to hope….happy?

  294. Hey DaybyDay!
    Just quickly, his military background may explain some of his behaviors. As well as anything you may be familiar with from his upbringing. It doesn’t excuse them. Getting him to recognize them and mature from them for civilian life can be another story.

  295. Hi this is my first time blogging about my relationship.I am 26 year old mother of 2beautiful children 6yr old boy and 2 yr old girl.I’ve been married for almost 3 yrs now and it’s been a real struggle for me.I’ve dealt and still dealing with mental,and physical abuse. Right now as we speak my relationship is good not much arguing i even got a foot rub last nite, trying to stay positive ,but know in a couple of week I will be ready to leave him.This is the third time me and the kids tried to live with him and Ive learned so much from the previous times we’ve lived together. I’ve made plans to leave the next time abuse occurs and tired of taking him back.Can’t have my kids in that kind of environment.Me and the kids are very active in church so that’s keeping me strong and my families support.I have a girlfriend that is supportive cause she is having problems in her marriage.My sister who is also my best friend do not deal with him at all so family functions are a no go. Im just tired of the drama. he gets made at me cause i dont put him first but it hard to when he’s hurt me so bad. what shuld i do

  296. Daryln – Yes, a dysfunctional childhood, added to experience in the military, makes for a toxic mix.

    Sadly, I met him between those two things: at the time I met him, he was a mature adult who seemed to have overcome his childhood trauma … in fact, he was a full time pastor and seemingly a very loving man when I met him (But isn’t that the case with most naricissists? Don’t most of them have that suave, clean cut, charming personality to the “outside” world?). He pastored during our two years of dating and our first 8 years of marriage before deciding to enter the military, so the military was not something on either of our agendas at the time we met, dated, and married.

    Now that the military has magnified the nuances of the negative side of his personality, I can, in hindsight, see that there were warning signs all along the way …. I just didn’t see them at the time!

  297. Hi Kim, Thanks for keeping in touch. The last time I wrote I told you “my NPD is gone and I am OK for now”. He was a neighbor, friend and employee-51 yrs old. He had been excellent help when I needed it after surgeries in 2005. Two years ago he needed a job and I needed help with errands and shopping, etc so I hired him again. I knew he was on bipolar meds, and had all the symptoms of NPD, but thought I could deal with it!!
    However, by Feb this year, his behavior had gotten so bad, I couldn’t take it any longer and fired him. Two days later he put a $4,040 bill for ‘Companionship’ hours in my mailbox. A week later, I received a Summons for Small Claims Court!

    We had been friends and gone places together for years, so that put me in a ‘tizzy’. I am 89 years old and had never been sued before. His claim waas denied at the Hearing and again last week at an Appeals Trial.The night before the trial I notified the police and they provided a bodyguard for me. That made me feel good.

    At the moment I am in Limbo, wondering if he will appeal again. I have the evidence and he has nothing, so am not worried no matter what he does. I think inside there really is a good guy and wish I could help him, but for the moment think I should keep my distance. His step father wants to help and his mother has also been a victim of his rages. Should I ask them to come see the evidence I have aquired? Thanks for reading my story. Any suggestions from anybody?
    Kay

  298. What is difficult for me is when I finally make a stand on how I feel and what I think he shifts it. It is like trying to nail down one of those slimy kids toys. He is a master at manipulating the conversation but I couldn’t hold back today when picking up our son from camp. He has said that I am always defensive so I piped up and said if he didn’t hold me in contempt he would never have to hear me defend myself! He quit talking for a while after that. He prides himself on being logical but he doesn’t realize that the main problem with our 24 yr relationship is that I have had my dukes up trying to defend myself against someone whom I have always felt defenseless with. I will never learn to spar like he can….this makes him feel very superior. But I can let him know that I don’t like his disrespect. One of those things that seems to raise such anger in me is his looking at other women and the inappropriate comments he makes to our son. It creeps me out and I just want to scream at him. He has been unfaithful in the past so it tears at me for some reason….anyone got any answers, the scissors are just not sharp enough for this one! I think it speaks to my not feeling good enough even for him!

  299. Hello this is the first time I have ever written on any type of blog. I feel compelled after ready about NPD. My boyfriend and I have been in a tumultuous relationship for over four years. I am writting in an attempt to find out if anyone can relate to my situation and give me input or suggestions.
    My boyfriend constantly is angry and frustrated with pretty much everything I do. He puts my intelligence down by laughing if I answer one of his quiz questions incorrectly. He loves to play this game where he quizzes me about current events and politics. If I don’t know the answer or I am wrong, he laughs then gets a discussed look on his face and tells me that instead of watching law and order I should study so that I’m not like all the other idiots in this world.
    The question I have is can a person with this type of personality disorder change their perception of you? For instance whenever we argue he brings up two things from the past. He brings up a incident when I danced with another man (this was before my bf and I started dating). He says I looked like a slut. The other incident is when I made a comment about sleeping with an ex of mine(again my bf and I had not started dating). He claims that these two incidents are what prevent him from marrying me. He claims he cannot trust me and that he still thinks of what a slut I looked like.
    I love this man and to hear him say these things to me is beyond hurtful.
    I need to know if based on anyone else’s experience if this will ever get better. If he can learn to respect and cherish me. Oh by the way I am a very respectable women. I have bachelor’s degree and own a successful business. The last thing I am is a ‘slut’.
    Please help. Thank you for your input!

  300. Hey Debbie!
    If I was in your position concerning your son feeling sorry for his father and going to church with him, is sort of like how Kim & Steve describe it in ‘Back From The Looking Glass’. Don’t involve children with the process or steps you are taking and tell them;

    ‘I’m trying to find your father some help. It isn’t, shouldn’t be, and you should not feel obligated to do this. Doing so may actually hinder the help I’m getting for him’

    Your son may develope co-dependency by doing what he is, and I don’t think you want this. Your son may also go along with the comments your husband is making to keep peace with him or accepted by him. If you can sort of guide your son how to ‘sort this from that’ like ‘right vs wrong’ maybe that will help.

    I would not change my church because my husband ‘Needs’ a different church. You are not splitting your family and I wouldn’t take the responsibility(accountability) for your husbands actions. Offer him to join you, whether he does or not enjoy the service for what it is. A gift for you from up above.

    Build your repertoire with one line statements as Kim & Steve describe it in ‘The Love Safety Net Workbook’ in the Limiting Abuse section. When my husband tries/tried to shift conversations I would say; ‘That sounds important to you, lets discuss that when we’re finished with the 1st conversation’ or ‘How does that relate to what we were talking about?’ or ‘I see you’re trying to disorient me/conversation, there will be no resolve until you face this/it, so it will come up again at some point.’ I’ve also called him on his projection, stonewalling, scapegoating or gaslighting. I’ve also told him that he can’t run from himself and that he’s not going to win because I am onto him and his games. As Kim and Steve put it, we have to become strong than them and impliment our Boundaries With Teeth.

    It has helped me a great deal when I began demonstrating that I do not think more of my husband than I do myself. I’ll stand tall with shoulders back. I’ve told him that I will not show or give respect to someone who does not show or give me respect. Sort of like putting him in his place, knocking that chip off his shoulder or taking a sledge hammer to that pedestal of his.

    As for looking at other women, I don’t remember reading about that in Kim & Steve’s material. I’ve used the line ‘I’m right here.’ letting him know that I noticed and I find it disrespectful. You can use body language as Kim & Steve describe; look over the top of your glass shaking your head (add a look of disgust or how untastful it is), roll your eyes with one hand on your hip turning you head and shaking it.

    Add color to you Magic Scissors, it helped me. And maybe to the balloons. REMEMBER to self-sooth and calm, write it down and leave it for a day or two and move onto something nurturing for yourself like Kim & Steve explain.

    You need to work on your co-dependency. Do you have Kim & Steve’s ebook ’10 Steps To Overcome Co-dependency’?

    You need to keep your money seperate from him whether you leave or stay. Follow Kim & Steve’s Step 8 in Chapt 2 of ‘Back From The Looking Glass’. Do not dish out monies to him. Have you researched the laws in your area of who is responsible for debts incurred between married persons?

  301. Hey DaybyDay!
    Please let us know how you are doing and handling your current situation.

    I agree, if I was in your shoes I would be concerned of my husband beginning another life. That may not be your case. And as you stated, maybe the absence will be beneficial in how you raise and spend time with your children.

  302. Hey Kay!
    I really don’t have any suggestions for your situation other than to ask; How important is it that you show his mom and step-father the evidence you have acquired? If you are on good terms with them and they wish to help their son then I would just ask them if they wanted to see your information if it is related to his disorders – not the Small Claims information.

    Leave it at that, meaning to let his family handle his care and such. You do not need to involve yourself and possibly risk health issues.

  303. Hey O von!
    Do you have any of Kim & Steve’s materials? I would start with ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ with ‘The Love Safety Net Workbooks’ (listed under ’13 Steps Towards a Peaceful Home’ package). Also possible is their ’10 Steps To Overcome Co-dependence’.

    Let us hear from you.

  304. Hey Jennifer!

    Do you have any of Kim & Steve’s materials? I would start with ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ with ‘The Love Safety Net Workbooks’ (listed under ’13 Steps Towards a Peaceful Home’ package) and ’10 Steps To Overcome Co-dependence’.

    Have you spoken with a Crisis line or shelter for DV victims or the police?

    Let us hear from you.

  305. Hey JustMe!
    That’s a powerful self talk empowering statement; ‘Never tire of resisting’. That will definately help me in the Boundaries and Limiting Abuse.

    Fishpond; I would stay far far away from it and not say anything to him. If it comes up that he is going to take a look at it mention that you would like to go with him and get some fresh air in doing so(Attachment). While there if he mentions it act so very surprised and say ‘How did that happen?’, ‘Did you notice this before?’, How do you think this happened?’ Knowing him should help you to decifer from his responses what could or did happen. Then remember it for future reference.

    If it was me, I would be keepiing a closer eye on him and things he is doing. That way I know for certain and it will help my sanity and any comeback or one liners I may ‘Need’ in my defense, being able to describe what and how in some detail will deflate him attempting to pull wool over my eyes and he’ll know he can’t fool me.

    A woman in/at a rock garden wearing high heels is pretty unusual so the daughters response was a likely possibility. If the son and son-in-law do not behave that way then they may be doing so to be accepted by him or have something in common sort of thing to bounce back and forth about. Or they’ve been put up to it, by whomever, it could be your husband or their sister/wife.

    Maybe you’ll have to sort of ‘butt in line’ during a conversation and start with ‘Well here’s athought __________’ or ‘That’s interesting/I’ve always been interested in that/know more about that’ or ‘I’ve learn that ___________’ or ‘I heard mention of __________’.

  306. Hi All,

    I have not purchased any of Kim and Steve’s material but I am so looking forward to doing so in a couple of days. In all of my life I have never encounter a friend like this. I have to always check myself after I have spent time with him. This morning I found myself questioning whether or not he is worth the investment.

  307. This person really have some mental issues. He never, ever, ever says anything good about me. He shows no emphathy about a few things i tell him. Whenever I ask him questions he goes off on the deep end. He wore me out with his overreaction to a comment I made last night and he is still on the same tandrum about it today.

  308. Darlyn – Yes, he may very well start a “new life” …. but in his case, I don’t think so.

    He has not been involved in any affairs that I know of, although he has struggled from time to time with some pornography.

    If he truly wanted to start a new life, he could have done so long ago. He doesn’t want to give up the kids (he loves the privilege of parenting without the responsibility) and I think his spiritual convictions (what’s left of them) keep him from leaving me. His job in the military keeps him away from home most of the time, and I think he realizes I am the best caregiver for the children. However, once they are adults, who knows what will happen.

    You mentioned separating finances (and Kim suggests that as well). Unfortunately (well, actually fortunately – I am incredibly blessed to be able to do it!!) I am a stay-at-home mom with no income of my own right now (when he went into the military I was making twice as much as him, but once we had children I stopped working). I do have a master’s degree and I could obtain employment, but my husband’s salary is amply sufficient for our family, and I feel strongly it is best to provide my consistency to the kids since his schedule and behavior is so erratic. I do put any birthday or other money I receive into a separate account, so I do have a tiny stockpile of savings … but certainly not enough to live on.

    I do have an extremely supportive family (and even friends) that would house and feed us if we ever needed to leave (if there was physical abuse, etc). At times I have thought about voluntarily leaving, just to sort of jolt him into reality, but I don’t think that is best for the kids either (none of my family lives close by, so it would mean moving). I have thought about “kicking him out” – changing the locks on the house and telling him that until he wants to take on the responsiblity of a husband, honor his marriage vows, and take on the responsibility of parenting, that he is not welcome here — but again, it is his income that pays for everything.

    We do live in a “community property” state – meaning that everything we own (we only own the house and two cars – we are “upside down” on the house and the cars are both on their last legs) we own equally in half …. but that also means that any debt he incurs we share equally.

    I oversee the finances now, and I am very thrifty. I had to take his credit card away for about 6-8 months to dig us out of the debt he incurred. Once we were stable again, I gave him the credit card back (he needed it one day to take care of something I actually asked him to do) and that was a big mistake. Since then he has hidden the card. He will need (?) a credit card as he goes overseas, but that is just a recipe for disaster.

    I feel like these two years are a great opportunity for me to work on my own gap work, be free from the stress of daily living with him, have freedom to parent the children with strong values and consistency, etc. I am just not sure how much to still be working on the attachment side of things – or rather to let him know I am serious that if he doesn’t change some of his behaviors (blatant disrespect for me in front of the children – taking responibility for parenting and/or helping at home) than I am ready to take some serious action.

    In other words, if I focus on continuing the attachment while he is gone, I feel like he will interpret that as everything is still status quo – that when he returns after two years, I will still accept his behaviors as they were before.

    Whereas if I focus on putting my foot down and using these two years as a sort of forced time of separation from each other, there is the chance that he may decide he likes the single life (and the times when he is able to talk to the children he may feed them more negativity about me).

    The two years is definitely an opportunity – I just need to sort out how to best use that opportunity.

  309. Hey Linda!
    Just really quickly because I am leaving town and no access to a computer. GET Kim & Steve’s material. You’ll be amazed by it. The ‘Aha’ moment will happen and you’ll have the tools and steps to take dealing with your situation.

  310. Hey DaybyDay!
    I’m leaving town with no access to a computer so real quickly without coming across condesending to you, “clap, clap, clapping” for you. I’m clapping for myself too as I don’t have to use my ‘Magic Scissors’ due to the strength Kim & Steve have help instill within me. Things are rough right now and it amazes me that I don’t need them.

    I will catch up with you later.

    PS I live in a community property state as well and there are some debts a spouse can incure that is NOT the other spouses debt(FYI).

  311. Hi Kim,

    Which material would you recommend I start with in order to deal with my NPD friend? I want to tell him about his disorder but don’t know of a good approach.

  312. Wow. I had no idea there were so many people out there hurting like this. The more I read the more tears just flow.
    What do I do? I have been so taken out. I have messed up big time but am trying to divorce her and rebuild and am paying for it every step of the way. Worse, our boys are paying for it. She uses them as pawns and disparages them from me. How do you divorce a NCP without permanently damaging the children? How do you wake up people to who have bought her lies about me to discredit me? What do you do in court when her entire objective is to discredit me as a dad. I’m a great dad. I feel invisible sometimes.

    1. Hi Ryan,

      Divorce is not easy. I would suggest that you read the Steps in Back From the Looking Glass. Even though they are aimed more for people who want to stay or haven’t left yet I know they will give you a lot of new strategies. Because you share children you have a lifelong relationship with your wife whether you like it of not and so it is very important that you still work on improving that relationship. Since you want to divorce that will be extra hard as I am sure she will be feeling rejected – but maybe you can slowly start building trust in other ways. This will not be easy I know – but vital for your own sanity and for your boys.

  313. Hi Darlyn,

    Thank you so much for your advice! Because I didn’t get an answer right away and I needed to tell my son what was happening, I did exactly what you suggested! I told him we needed to help Dad not seperate from our family and that he didn’t need to feel sorry for him but to encourage him to come back and the best way to do that was to stay strong and to stay at our church. We have gone to 10 different churches in 24 years all because he found something he didn’t like about them. We moved our children away from good friends and family in order to soothe him! My life and the lives of my children have been turned upside down so many times because he doesn’t like someone or something. I am standing my ground. One of the things he is using to entice my son away is a youth group (our church doesn’t have one)that “his” church has. So I talked to one of our pastors and told him that I would like to start one. I have the outline submitted to him and I am going to launch it right after school begins. I am excited, I am hoping it is a good plan and that it attracts kids my son’s age.

    It seems once you get your bearings on how to do this, even though I am sure I have already made mistakes, it gets clearer and clearer what you need to do and every time you do it, you get stronger and stronger.

    I really appreciate all of the stories on here, I don’t feel so alone and isolated anymore. There is a name to what this is and it is very predictable. Now that I have started this, there have been changes, he is trying to keep me off balance but he is the one that can’t figure out why he feels that way all of a sudden…..!

  314. My husband and I are in counselling, I found Kim and Steve’s information after we had made the counselling appointment and if we are not to confront our spouse with our own diagnosis of narcissism, I can’t all of a sudden cancel without explanation. Plus I think, if a healthy male comments on his behavoir he might pick up some things. I am also interested in strengthening myself and if I decide to end this unhappy relationship, the counselor can help me. We started doing our “homework” the counselor gave us tonight and one idea that was given was writing out how we feel. I suggested we do this and he responded very negatively to this. At first I was very offended that we read all of this stuff and he refused to do even part of it or just consider it. He behaved as if I ordered him to do it. After considering what the heck happened (like I always seem to be doing) then it dawned on me…..he isn’t afraid to let me know how he feels….he fears what I will say. I can see how counselling will not help him….he has such great fear. This is a huge task, I am so wore out sometimes that I don’t know if I have anymore strength to deal with all of this. I am discouraged.

  315. Hey Linda!
    You’ve mentioned that you are not sure if ‘your friend’ is worth the effort. That is a call or judgement only you can make. And in Kim & Steve’s material they do not recommend approaching the person ‘until’ or ‘unless’ you are in a safe place and strong enough to handle the repercusions that come with that dealing with someone who has NPD or the traits of NPD. As a matter of fact, they don’t recommend it at all.

    Either way I think your best bet is to start with Kim & Steve’s ’13 Steps Towards A Peaceful Home’ package which includes the ‘Back From The Looking Glass’ and ‘The Love Safety Net Workbooks’ ebooks. That is what they usually suggest as a starter.

    Hope to hear from you again.

  316. Hey Ryan!
    Kim & Steve are the best! I would like to encourage you to get as much support and information concerning this.

    My heart goes out to you and your family. We need to make ‘mature’ decisions.

    Have you read Kim & Steve’s other blog pages? It will help with self-soothing which we all need to do in such situations. If not for ourselves, for those loved ones in our life.

  317. Hey Debbie!
    I really don’t know what to add since you have made an appt with a counselor. And I do not want to interfer or mix material.

    Just know you can comment here any time.

  318. Hey DaybyDay!
    Do you remember Argo? Man, I was thinking of her a week ago as I was having some alone time.

  319. Hey JustMe!
    I didn’t know you were having lunch at the rock garden. Silly me. Here that would describe something like a nursery.

    Hope you are doing well.

  320. Hey Kim & Everyone!

    Please help!

    I need some suggestions. My husband 22 yr old daughter is in town visiting for the month mostly due to her brothers wedding. She as well has the NPD traits and ADD, my husband has the NPD traits and ADHD as his son is the same.

    What ideas are there for handling interaction with them daily. The daughter and husband I think are of the worst of the 3, especially when together. And we know how numbers effects the intensity of NPD traits. Also during the wedding and reception where the ‘supply’ will be much greater with ex-family members contributing. The daughter is the premadona, Paris Hilton, too far above the clouds on the pedastal which my husband help create. My husband has the ‘power or strength in numbers’ fierce attacks.

    Since we have been experiencing a set back in our growth and since the daughter and wedding were not an issue previously, I’m at somewhat of a loss. Also there is a family reunion coming at my husbands sisters house and she was blantly and admittedly trying to fix my husband back up with his ex by inviting her to family functions and such. Any suggestions.

    My thought was to run and not participate in any of the activities. I don’t know if that is what I should do.

    Any helpful thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Darlyn, Email me and I will happily give you some personal support – but whatever you do don’t hide! You need to get your hair done and your clothes picked out and ready to be the class act that I am sure you are! With all those peacocks vying for attention things are bound to get ugly and so I would be charting your own safe havens and shelters. For instance can you man the kitchen or be in charge of something that the non peacocks will appreciate being taken care of even if they don’t openly appreciate you? One of my mum’s sisters is the worst NPD on the planet and at get togethers with her my mother always played with us kids in the pool because she knew her sister would never mess up her hair to come swim, but someone needed to be supervising us. There is always work to be done at these kind of gatherings and so in a similar way I usually find something to keep myself occupied. For me organizing the music is always a good choice – but it could be anything that keeps you busy and useful but mainly out of ‘their’ lime light. Manners are also SO important especially when others have forgotten theirs. This is a great time to remember just the kind of nasty comments and situations that often come your way but this time be prepared. If you mention the situation we might also help you come up with ideas here. Amongst all of this I also think there needs to be something special for you to look forward to that you can give yourself no matter what they do, that way you can walk away and do something else you enjoy for awhile if you need to if others are fighting or someone is trying to provoke you. That’s all I can think of for now – but email me if you want more help because you have been very helpful to everyone here Darlyn and we really appreciate you!

  321. Hey Kim!
    There is nothing I can do at the reunion or wedding as a safe haven. For the reunion it is at his sisters house(for 36 yrs she has never approved of me, she doesn’t even know me, has never spent ANY time with me), and the wedding would make me look more like a servant. My husbands step-mother will be at the wedding and her and I are both sort of like the outsiders/outcasts(she has the same amount of time invested with my husband father that I do with my husband) and they view her as a nut job and not family either. So it’s sort of like a lose/lose unless you have other ideas.

    I have always been polite and used good manners with proper etique(they do not obviously) and for that I am chastised because I don’t ‘fit in’ then(like the fact that I don’t LIE or manupulate or try to avoid being held accountable with truth or have ‘higher’ morals, and I’m not family yet is ex is).

    I am good at engaging in idle conversation. Although that won’t last all night. Do you think I should use my magic scissors and/when I leave earlier than my husband? I don’t like knowing he’ll hook up with someone.

    1. Hi Darlyn,

      I will need a bit more specifics about the kind of things they say to put you down and make you feel uncomfortable so we can help you plan better comeback lines to be ready. I will see if I can find a movie I like about that for the blog today too. Personally I wouldn’t worry about looking like a servant. If people think that about you helping that is their problem not yours. I wonder if all of the help will be outside catering e.g. who is handling the food service? If it is not staff but family I would think there would always be something you could offer to do to help out?

  322. Hey JustMe!
    As with you, give ‘Good Face’, rise above, brush them off, don’t hide, join conversations, ignore the lies told about you and prove them wrong with your actions and words other wise forget about what they think of you, don’t contribute to their supply. If insults come your way a reply would be ‘Whatever’ or perhaps ‘I know you are but what am I’. Body language could be an audible Hmm with your mouth closed and slightly closed eyes with a smile and slight shake of your head – or – an audible Hmm with your mouth open then close it with a slight smile(smirkishly?) and a blink roll of an eye with slight shake of your head. Both showing your confident disagreement and that you really don’t care what they think. As you said ‘that suits me just fine’ feeling. Of course I have resentments of the lies told to them and created by them, so confidently brush them off and present yourself in a way that disproves the lies.

    Why don’t you drive for a change!?! Just get to the car first at the driver side or in the drivers seat and say ‘I think I’ll drive today, it’ll make me feel good’ or ‘I think I’ll drive today, it’ll be a nice change(or ‘just something different’.

    If it’s more like a Sunday drive site seeing why don’t you point something out like how you like what they’ve done with their lawn/landscaping or house lights/lamps, shrubs, trees, etc… Sort of dismissing his ‘value’ or point of taking that particular route. Basically, your ignoring his purpose of taking that route.

    Hope to hear from you again.

  323. 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.

  324. Hi. My story is complex. I am new to this information as I have always tried to tackle my relationship prblems from a spiritual perspective, mostly, although over the years I have had a lot of counselling and have read a lot of self help books including psychology. Talking about my problems has never helped, and trying to be more aware and find answers has so far been a twenty year long journey with little result other than more different mistakes and more pain. Looking back, my marriage was a narcisstic/codependant union and so is my present relationship. I am not sure if either are/were full-blown, or just full of traits, but either way they have been painful and largely dysfunctional. I was twenty-two when I married and very aware that I was a very fearful, anxious individual who was quite lost and looking to be saved by a ‘stronger’ person. I also had pride and went a long way to talking the talk and making tha marriage sound great to my husband and myself and anyone else who would listen. I would say that I am codependant, but it does seem as though the flip side is narcissism and vice versa. I recognise some traits from both in myself, although i would say i have predominantly been codependant. I was prepared to lie to myself to talk up a marriage as being so successful when almost straight away I realized that the young man I had married before we even got to know each other properly, had married me, not to take care of me as I had imagined, but to gain a traditional wife who would take care of him while he continued to live a batchelor life. As far as I am aware, there was no infidelity, but there was much dysfunction on both sides. I see now that we were both emotionally immature and needy. I would work flat out to please him and whatever I did it was never enough to make him feel ‘pleased’!All I wanted was his approval, not because I loved him, but because I needed approval from someone to function and feel safe enough to grow and leave the home to try new things. But the approval never came because he was waiting to get enough attention from me that he would feel he was special enough or that he had got someone who would give him what he lacked. Even though I tried to do this, of course it would never have been enough. Sexually, I was completely frigid. I just wasn’t in touch with my sexuality at this time, had no interest. I was really like a child who was still waiting for things to be put right before I grew up. He would explode in temper a lot and try to manipulate me into meeting his needs on all levels by blowing hot and cold. Of course I wanted us to get on, and on a friendship level as long as I did enough of the things which he had expected he would be getting from me when he married me, things would poodle along. Three months into the marriage with this virtual stranger who really had felt familiar and comfortable because we were culturally from the same background more than anything else, I was pregnant and immediately very sick. During this time he neglected me and I was so weak that I was sleeping day and night unable to move, which he seemed to have no feeling for. My mother eventually found me and i was rushed to hospital. I saw that he had no empathy, but I just put up with it. This marriage had to work. I felt I couldn’t survive on my own. To cut a long story short, I went on to have another two children with this person and my children became the object of my affection. My husband became for me someone who I did things for to keep them happy, sort of on auto-pilot, including sex. I became a robot meting my family’s needs. He shouted and I gave him whatever and then the children joined in as they got older. It was like nanny 911 without the intervention. Finally, I had a breakdown and I knew that I had to leave and take the children with me. This i did, but I felt sorry for him and guilty and let him into my home to see the children and did not make the bounderies that I needed, just felt resentful underneath. I rarely got the breaks from the children that I needed, becauase he came to my home instead of taking them away so I could rest. He saw nothing wrong with this and I never told him staight. Eventually over time, I got further enough away from the person who continually put me down to realize that it wasn’t normal when i saw him and he tried it again. I had to get the police on my 11 yr old son who was being violent in his father’s absence, taking over form him only with even less maturity. I learned to stop shouting and to be an example of calmness to the children. For years they screamed and shouted every day in their squabbles, lashing out at each other and me as they had seen in the past. My children put me down and ordered me around for another ten years! During this time, as they got old enough one by one to get some perspective on it all, we learned, the blind leading the blind, to respect ourselves and each other. Things improved very slowly, but I never stopped looking for answers and my behaviour and bounderies improved over the years. However I had very little confidence and was very wary of and unskilled at talking to other adults, extremely shy, which was isolating. My parents didn’t have a clue what to do, but they never shouted and were consistantly loving and supportive to me and my children. One could say too accomodating and indulging – too soft! Neeeding to be needed etc, but that is another story. One day i shut the door on my children’s father altogether saying that the children were old enough to contact him without me being a go between so there was no need for us to have to speak again. This put a stop to all the subtle manipulating that had gone on over the years under the guise of contact for the children’s sake. He would often try to get me to do things for the children the way he wanted it even though he was bearly invovlved himself. My parents and I are quiet introverts and just had never known anything like all this and had no idea how to handle any of it. My children are now grown up and I am in a relationship with a woman, having found my sexuality fifteen years ago, but had my hands full with my children and could not wish that on anyone at the time. Somehow, my kids have grown into decent adults who understand that i stood by them after making a lot of mistakes. I would never have abandoned them. Now i am with a woman and ofcourse, I never understood or addressed so many issues when i was married, so here a lot of them are again. This time I intend to stay and make my personal growth and bounderies healthy. It may not be possible to stay, but if there is a way, i will find it because I have genuinely grown mature enough to love now and I would love to make it work this time. The trouble is, she does not want anything to do with my grown up children and feels abandoned when i go to see them.She used to take it out on me, but we are learning to handle this better and dare i say it, things seem to be changing for the better. To a certain extent we have both learned from past mistakes and neither of us want to give up and we are perhaps at our age finally beginning to grow up and I do mean beginning. At age 46, it is not before time. I am a work in progress and always will be, but if there really is genuine progress then i will know I am on the right track. I’ve just realised that I have practically written a book and i don’t even know if this is the right place to post it. I know I have no choice but to continue to learn how to be responsible for my reactions and keep working at the material I have stumbled across. I am so happy that I have found the work you are doing. I have always known that there must be a way through and of course there have been triumphs along the way, but nothing so clear as the work you do, so thank you so much. I am in kindergarten right now and looking forward to learning to self soothe and grow – and graduate!

  325. Hey Kate!
    You’re definately in the right place. And Kim & Steve’s material sounds to be very useful for you as it has been for all of us.

    Check around this entire blog page. Kim and Steve have so much information, materials, resources, other blog pages, etc… There are links listed on the right hand side.

    Have you checked out their updated homepage?

    Hope to hear from you again!
    Darlyn

  326. Please can you help me understand how my ex husband, I was his second wife is now very happily married for the 3rd time to a 14 year younger lady who is a psychoanalyst and have been together for one year. I had the most awful time with him and porn, fantasy sex and verbally, mentally abusing me and this woman thinks he is God what did I do wrong and what is she doing thats right. It hurts to think I tried so hard to please him in everyway and yet nothing was ever good enough. I am a spiritual person and could not carry out the sexual fantasies and enjoy the porn with him. I want to close this door now and forever but just need an answer so that I can move on. He has nothing to do with me as in his mind I was of no use to him and never helped him get to where he is today, infact I could never reason with him or make him admit I helped him. I know this might sound childish but if you can give me an answer I would be happy to let go and move on quietly. I don’t bother them at all and just live one day at a time with Gods strength helping me along the way. He works away from home on oil rigs 35/35 and enjoys being away but does look forward to being home. I certainly wish them lots of love and happiness its just me that has unanswered questions which I will never answer thats why I am asking you.
    Many thanks
    Kind regards
    Marion

    1. Hi Marion, A year is not long for a marriage and you have no idea what goes on behind closed doors or what she is prepared to put up with!

  327. Hey JustMe & DaybyDay!

    How are is everyone doing? I’ve just gotton back from out of town and catching up on emails and such.

    Hope to hear from you.

  328. Hi there, I’ve been slowly building boundaries for the past couple of years and trying to implement some of the very useful advice in Kim’s materials. One thing that I’m sort of stuck on is how to initiate a conversation about his behaviour after the fact….after the heat of the moment has passed. He just refuses to engage….though I havent tried in quite a while. Please do not advise me to work through the steps in Kim’s books as I have been doing that for some time.

    Thanks

    1. Hi Sarah – A very important principle of our work is action and not words. Scripts like we teach in the Love Safety Net Workbook are great to practice so in the heat of the moment you can limit the abuse (or save face if they are trying to embarrass you in front of other people), but to use words to try and change their behaviour by bringing up the matter later really won’t work. This is only going to get them defensive, be seen as nagging and break rapport. Instead there needs to be one warning and then action. You need to set the boundaries – not leave the matter in their hands to oblige. This can require some creative thinking but you will get a lot of ideas in our books.

  329. Hey Sarah!

    Not sure if you are looking for suggestions or not. I’ve used the beginning of a statement after a few days cool off of ‘To revisit …….’ or ‘In thinking about ……..’, or if it’s a push/push sort of thing ‘I’m not comfortable with …… so this is where I stand……’. If there is a rebuke or retort ‘This is still where I stand.’.

    Hope that’s helpful.

  330. Hi Kim,
    Thanks for your reply, I really appreciate it. One thing I have struggled with is what should the warning be? ” If you talk to me like that again, I will leave?”. Last night when he was being really threatening and unreasonable, I said for the first time: “I feel scared when you’re like this” which did seem to help a little. I just triedto stay really honest and present, but really gentle and non-threatening myself. It is a really long road and sometimes I lose hope.