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How Long Does it Take You to Get the Message?

The Narcissism of Resistance

A friend of mine visited the other day and brought sugary snacks into our house again, leaving them around the house for our kids, even after Steve has asked her not to in the past. When I pulled her up on it (while smiling and laughing) – she began telling me that the reason she is rebellious about sugar is because her mother never let her have it when she was a child. She said that when she left home and had her own money she would say to herself, “Now I can eat as much sugar as I like!”

I responded by saying “Yes I think a lot of us keep rebelling against what our parents taught us as kids . . . that is until we grow up!”

After her initial (mock) shocked reaction she took it okay (: But there really is a lot in my response …

When I was at school everyone told me I should study graphic design, but being young and ‘in ego’ I thought I was above creating art under another person’s direction and instead wanted to create fine art and sing in a band. However, many years later – when things were very tough for Steve and I financially (while our kids were still small), I had to swallow my pride and face facts that really the people who told me that had been right and I had been very narcissistic to ignore that advice; graphic design was indeed a smart career choice for me. I started teaching myself from home, and finding jobs I could do to pay the bills, but that really was tough and I wished I had learned those skills while I still had my parents around to support me.

“Being Yourself” (if you are a healthy human) Means Taking on Feedback

I wonder what good advice you might internally still be resisting – just because when you first heard it you didn’t like being told what to do and thought you knew better?

Not all the advice other people give will set us on the path to happiness – but as hard as advice from other people is to hear – it is usually only people who care about us that put themselves in the uncomfortable position of offering us feedback on the areas of our life that may need attention.

“I don’t have to listen to what they say,” are words you should be very cautious about saying. Modifying our behavior from the feedback other people give us (which will be mostly non verbal) is something all humans are wired to do. It is a mutual dance (the feedback and behavior modification loops of two people talking together) that makes face to face conversations so complete and satisfying when we do manage to ‘get in sync’ with each other.

By the time a person uses words to mention a problem they have with you (instead of a frown or other non verbal signs of disapproval) you should be aware that their complaint has probably been bothering them for sometime and is possibly jeopardising the rapport in your relationship. If you just laugh it off as unimportant or decide you want to argue – you may find that person begins to have much less time and energy for you.

If someone is giving us negative feedback because they care about you, as much as it hurts, it really is wise if we can overcome the narcissism of resistance and put a big red flag up in our mind and say to ourself, “This is something I should face and give a lot of thought to”.

Embarrassment is a terrible feeling but it is great for changing behaviour. The work is done if we can only let ourselves feel embarrassed for long enough to know that we will not do that thing again.

However, if someone is trying to pick a fight or is criticising you to excuse their own bad behaviour, that is a completely different matter.

When NOT to Listen

It is important to pay attention to requests people make of you that involve you modifying your behaviour. It is also vital however that you start being able to spot it when someones criticism is really not about you at all.

Can you spot it when criticism that is directed at you is unjust, and someone is in fact trying to make you a scape-goat for their own faults or crimes?

It all comes down to trust. If you trust a person, why resist the perspective they are offering? It is hard to see ourselves as others do and while other people’s advice may hurt our pride, in reality it may come purely from their love and concern for us. Conversely why listen to criticism from people who have proven themselves untrustworthy? In this situation the red flag may be that you need to look beneath their words to see why it is they are trying to deflect criticism onto you and what it is they are trying to hide by doing so.

I wonder how long have you been reading my free articles and I wonder if you have decided yet if you can trust my advice? Or maybe you think you have it all figured out and that the problems you are facing are 100% your partners fault? I wonder if you think there is anything you could change that might improve the success of all of the relationships in your life?

I have spent years researching and putting together the new habits I share in my ebooks and so if you have been resisting, I urge you today to reconsider. What better skills could you possibly choose to decide to become and expert at?

The Love Safety Net Workbook has been put together from over 5 years of research and feedback. If you take on the exercises in it step by step and decide to stop resisting change – I know that all of the relationships in your life will improve for the better, whether you save your marriage or not.

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 86 Comments

  1. Resistance. My husband resists sex. 3 Years now with not even a hug , Kiss or touch. This is not due to Porn. I love touch and sex. I am playful and affectionate. Once he decides to do something he sticks to it or he has to admit he was wrong. This hurts us both. I asked him to talk to the doctor about his Lack of desire and he informed me it didn’t bother him. I asked , what about me and he shrugged his shoulders.
    Your material suggest holding him accountable or getting friends involved. This is risky when the subject is so delicate and someone just may offer to help me personally.

    I am angry at this point and just forget it. We are room mates only. We do sleep together but the only touch is if he has cold feet he puts them on me.
    No, I do not think he is having an affair. He is either in the yard, or playing golf in the neighborhood. He is the KING of the golf course. Club Champ. He has other classic symptoms like no empathy, self centered, and shifts blame , he has NEVER said he was sorry except when were dating and he would break up and try to come back. Now that we are married well what else can I do? 5 years of marriage 3 without sex.
    I married my mother the extream narcisistist. I realize it was the all out determination to have one love me. It hasn’t worked. Now what. Councelors say leave. You dont

    1. Hi Carol, I say only leave if you want to leave – not because other people tell you to or that you think it will be an easy answer. I also suggest that you follow the steps we offer so that you do not escalate the fighting if you do leave.

      As for your problem I would let your husband know that if he does not talk to his doctor about it you will – because you are concerned that he has a problem and that even though he isn’t worried about it – you are concerned about him. Don’t act like you want something from him but instead like a proud child that you really believe is embarrassed inside. This may not be the truth but if you can make out that he is coming across as deficient or weak rather than tough and cold he will probably get worried about that. Also a rumour of him being impotent spread round the golf club might affect his standing there and make him see the foolishness of his stance. You need to play that one carefully – let it slip to the right person (the gossip) like you didn’t mean to say it and as if it is a problem and a secret he is embarrassed about.

      I hope this helps!

  2. Hi Kim,
    Very good article. I can see how many times in the past I too have been narcissistic in my responses to the feedback from others. Having adult children and getting their take on me has been especially painful! But, many times there is some truth to it. Sometimes there is some influence from the narcissists in the family mixed in. Being able to step back and evaluate is essential. Like the scientific method, ask a question… Test the hypothesis…

    I just want to say thank you for all you and Steve are doing to help us out there in N. land!! For the first time in my life I am not confused by my husband’s behavior or the other n. in th family. I have a guide. I have a road map! My eyes are tired from all the reading, all the books you recommended, all the web articles, but it is a glorious tired. It is working. I can say with much experience in failing that THIS IS WORKING!

    Too much has happened to write here in this post but in a nutshell 34 years of misery married to a very smart military Col narcissist, a restraining order, an affair, 5 kids, our marriage was doomed from day one. Things are getting better every day. I now know what to do and how to handle situations better and as I said without getting too emotional THIS IS WORKING! :). Hugs to you both.


  3. Hi, Kim,

    I had to laugh when I read your article. Yesterday I received a call from a friend who works for the city concerning our old truck. The transmission went out early in the summer and we parked it by the street so we could easily drive it to a repair shop (the forward gears are fine – the reverse is broken) when we found a suitable rebuilt transmission. Well, in the intervening two months, my mom died, I was hospitalized (I’m fine now), and my husband was laid off (he has a new job now). We were a bit preoccupied.
    My friend told me that they were receiving complaints about the truck because it just didn’t look right for the neighborhood for it to sit there.
    At first, I was angry, although I didn’t express it. It seemed like such a petty thing in comparison to everything else that had happened this summer, but when I thought about it, it made sense.
    Our little town only has one real industry left – tourism. And we live on Main Street. How our house looks could affect the possible revenue of the merchants downtown.
    Of course, this brings up all kinds of complicated arguments about private property, etc., but in the end, I remembered that we had chosen to live here in part because it was so charming.
    We moved the truck.
    I am very grateful to have a friend who was willing to give me a call before the city got really huffy.

  4. It’s funny, my n and vilolent mum used to say the same thing as you do.
    We have a saying in my country “advisers are never people who face consequences”.
    Especially when all they are planning is to make sure you do not bulge or do anything to contradict them.

    Your friend likes sugar? why not?

    1. Hi mmm … I am not sure what I said that is the same as your mother? I have no problem about my friend eating sugar – but I don’t like her bringing into my house and leaving it around for our kids – and neither does Steve.

  5. I struggle with knowing when the “advice” is real and when I am being used as a scapegoat for his issues.This is a really difficult boundary for me to manage, especially without becoming emotional. Then sometimes he tries to make me seem like the abusive and controlling partner, when he is the one always looking for dominance.

    1. Hi Ashley – Good comment and yes that is the tough one but comes with time and introspection. Like I mentioned in the article it really comes down to trust. Codependence is all about trusting people we had no reason to!

  6. Carol,

    To echo Kim – Acting like you want something doesn’t work. Neediness doesn’t work. Both push our spouses away, despite “logic” saying if someone cared about you they would want to make you feel better when you ask them for something (particularily when it supposed to be a positive thing 🙂 Have you ever tried play-acting in your mind as if he needs the attention/affection, and you are generously giving a moment or two of your time/effort? Share a very brief playful gesture or banter, and then totally disengage … for hours or even a day. While I have not had as long a periods of being ignored/disconnected/disengaged as you are describing, I have had shorter ones and find them terribly unsettling. They can surreptitously wear my self-confidence as much as the verbal jabs and put-downs. I am making progress on all of these.

    Medically/physiologically – If your husband is having spontaneous erections in the early morning it is not a primary impotence issue. Also look into medication side effects with his physician (antidepressants and some high blood pressure meds are notorious)… many can reduce both interest and potential. Stress/anxiety, lack of sleep and alcohol can also dampen both as well. For me my husband’s level of overall disengagement and his disrupted sleep are the best marker for how worried/stressed/preoccupied he is … and trying to reach out to directly ask him about it, or to “help” him usually backfires.

    Just wanted to let you know there are others who share your experiences.

  7. Kim – Another excellent article. Thank you so much, and keep them coming! I love the pic of you and Steve in this article! 🙂

  8. I have been reading information on big “N” and didn’t really know what it meant. For several months now I have been and still reading Kim and steve articles on there website, it just just out at me. I call it a sign from the divine. I have come to realize that I am living with a “N”, I don’t like labelling anything or anyone in life but I am in bad situation and everything changed. After 35 years of marriage and the economic downfall as my husband puts it has changed our marriage. But you know to think about the red flags were always there, I was in deniel and I thought I could fix him and forgive.My husband had a good paying job but he decided that he was going to quit his job of 25 years as a welder fitter, he told me that he was laid off. Come to find he lied. Before this happened I was at my mother’s hospital bed in another province when I heard that he was leaving for work in another province, I flew home and said what is going on. He was so abusive with words about me, blame, no empathy to my feelings or emotions, shallow,lies, blame and the list goes on. I broke down, where did he go all of sudden after 37 year of knowing him, I thought I knew him. He told me it took him 30 years and the courage to stand up to me. I said, I am confused. Then the red flag went up, what has he done? See he gave up his pension, benefits, retirement at the age of 55 years we would of been on easy street but he took that all away without telling me. Then I asked why, he said i don’t need to tell you anything. Again where did he go? He has now been out west at a different province for the past three years, no intimacy, no social life , no sex, family has fallen apart, he has become very belittling, he has become a stranger. He also has been very secretive, I am a single person I may say, I am now in the process to taken care of my well-being. He says he loves me but what is love to him now and excuse to cover up what he has done.

    Not happy

  9. Hi, I had people trying to talk me into suicide…cut me down 10 different time for an hour each time with 100 helpful advise. They thought it was for my own good that they attack me. I don’t defend myself and listened. I finally said. I don’t think our relationship is working and didn’t visit them any more. They thought I had no other friends. I have gone through 10 years of hell. Each person telling me what is wrong with me and attacking me…many didn’t even know me. I think people enjoy kicking a person who is “down”. I was rejected by 99% of the people. I did not smile eventually and was not friendly…just stared. This was the best I could be. I did not fit into society any more…they attacked me. I isolate myself now to avoid attacks. Someone asked what happened to you. I said…I got sick. I also got passive…no energy to attack back or fight back. I just listened. I gave them their chance to explain. They don’t know about my life…so their advise was not helpful. They assumed many things. I felt like Jesus being attacked/mocked etc.. I didn’t want to be a victim…just wanted people to accept me as I was. This was the best I could be.
    I loved a bipolar person…he did not accept me also since I was not 100% identical with his opinions/ideas. I could have told him off once…but didn’t out of fear. I froze could not say much.
    I do believe we can learn from others and that many adults are adultchildren…Maybe they didn’t rebel as a teen…but are now rebelling..can’t skip that phase in life…but they do need to not get stuck and grow up even more. Do only what is good in life and best. To stay stuck as a “teen” is not helpful. To be blasted by everyone hurts feelings and a person may not know how to “grow up” faster even with advise from others. To me it is brain issues from Celiac..may make a person grandiose/narcissistic. Not eating gluten/dairy/soy/sugar and taking vitamins/good oils and LDN may help personality fast. Best wishes.

  10. In recent developments, my husband accuses me of flirting with my son-in-law when no such grounds exist. I have remained faithful to this man throughout twenty-eight years of marriage, despite his infidelity, crushes, etc.

    My husband states, “You are behaving like a school girl flirting with your son-in-law.” “You are showing deference to him instead of me.” When I defend my honor and say something such as, “That is a disgusting accusation.” My husband responds in an accusatory tone, “I know it’s disgusting.” And INSISTS his perception is that I am most definitely flirting with my son-in-law. No amount of persuasive argument and denial will have him agree that I am innocent of his unfounded, ridiculous and heinous accusations. Only after much insistence that I am innocent, will he with an attitude of unbelief that I am innocent and with resignation that I refuse to admit wrong doing, will he say “OK.” But “My perception is that you are behaving as a school girl flirting with our daughter’s husband.” It’s as if his perception is the ultimate authority on truth. Yet others’ perception is flawed and they are not witnessing accurately with their own eyes when he is in an intimidating, menacing, verbally abusive rage.

    He tries to convince me to unsee what I have seen, and to see what I have not seen. He is so manipulative that all he needs to do is put a shadow of a doubt in another’s mind so they begin to doubt what they actually witnessed.

  11. Hi, Oppositional defiant disorder is often in narcissistic people…proud…withhold what you want..manipulate. I was married for 15 only 10X maybe in that time. He was like a roommate…free rent…little help. He didn’t talk to me or hug/hold/kiss. He said he got a cold if he kissed me. He ran from my love 3 months after we were married. We are divorced since I was sick and getting sicker.
    I loved a new person who maybe similar to my ex husband…but worse maybe in health of the brain/body. It was like love addiction. He paid more attention to me even though he also had many walls than my ex did in 15 years. He was worse as a narcissist/bipolar. I could hardly talk. He censured me, say “enough”, abandoned me. I could not be myself. Neither got to know who I really was except the second knew more…but then rejected me since I didn’t match him exactly in my ideas. I used to pick people who were happy to date…but now I choose narcissitic perfectionists…a mystery to figure out their personality.

  12. “Also a rumour of him being impotent spread round the golf club might affect his standing there and make him see the foolishness of his stance.”

    OMG! How can a person learn to trust a spouse when that spouse is spreading rumors about them behind their back, and particulaly one which is so personal and demeaning as this? This advice sounds like something that a narcissist would do to manipulate somebody.

    1. Hi Jason – Yes maybe – but manipulating who and for what reason? Narcissists manipulate and control people to protect their fantasy double lives and that is not what I am suggesting Carol do. Her husband is playing a cold and heartless game and he will not stop unless there are consequences. My rule is generally one warning then action. So perhaps she should first say “If you don’t care how this is affecting me and you do not want to get help from our doctor, I do not know what else I can do but start asking other people you know for their advice about this.

  13. To Ruth – I am very familiar with a husband who believes that his own flawed perception is, in fact, an absolute measure of truth. When they are very blaming and perceive you to have bad motives for your behaviors and constantly cast you in a bad light, it is very hard to be confident and accepting of yourself. Please hold on to knowing that just because he says something doesn’t make it true. Be your own best friend and grow strong in knowing and then valuing yourself.

  14. Had a 100% narcistic love and dito son. After a battle of 4 years I threw them both out of my life. I believe in the possibility that a narcissist can change, but in these cases I didn’t feel there was hope, she kept on breaking my heart and using terror first in an utmost subtile seductive manner, later in a agressive manner as I started more and more to see the reality and confronted her(how was it possible it took me so many years to open my eyes) my son kept on acting superior without any emotion, except when I said something that didn’t please him, then he was the dramaqueen trying to make me feel guilty. I became aware of their mecanism and I became aware of mine, how I gave them permission to use me, how I made myself smaller towards them than I was. This helped me a lot to evaluate their selfishness and shamelessness more objectively. It broke my heart but I came to the point to understand, after a long hesitation and many doubts, that I had no chance at all this would get any better, so I did free myself. I don’t think they do even care. So it still hurts, but I feel this decission is the only chance for me to heal with time and find finally peace. I was not aware I got so deep in it, I even defended them though people warned me many a times I was mentally abused, I even did break up with a good friend to resist the truth, one could say I suffered from the Stockhome syndrom. I forced myself to think I was strong enough to cope with the situation and strangly enough I’m a pretty strong personnality, not week at all, but I thought that I was the wise guy here, I saw myself as loving… So now, all this is over. I’m lucky I still have good faithful friends left, for me this is the start of a new life though I still feel shocked in the realisation people can be so unsensitive, so shameless and in a way so unwise, though I believe they are in a way not aware of it. I still miss them, but I don’t want to go back and anyway, they wouldn’t make this possible, I became too resistant, I made my point clear. I hope now I can find a woman with real heart, not faking it.

  15. I agree totally with Jason., I was shocked that you would advise someone to do that Kim Where is the respect and trust? If she doesn’t want to continue in a marriage without sex, affection or empathy (who would?) and he won’t do anything about it, hanging around complaining and spreading rumours isn’t going to solve it. She just demeans herself. Carol needs to tell him clearly (and without drama) that she finds the situation unbearable and won’t endure it anymore.
    Love yourself more than this fictitious and damaging ‘marriage’ Carol, and say goodbye. He might even find the balls to be honest with himself after losing you.

    1. Hi Annie – I believe that you earn people’s respect from standing up for yourself and not being a pushover, not from threatening to divorce a person (and teach them a lesson) just because they won’t give you what you want. Also asking him to change ‘or else’ is leaving all of the power in this situation in his hands – and from how it sounds to me there is a power imbalance in that direction already.

      I should also let you know that there is a rule on this blog about not telling people they should leave. There are a hundred other sites people can go to for that advice if they want it and here we have a policy that leaving is no one else’s business to be suggesting, if someone decides to leave or stay is totally up to their own heart and conscience. I approved your post anyway but I hope in future you can respect that policy (-:

  16. Hi Ruth,
    You don’t need to argue about this. This is your husband’s problem, he is jealous of his son-in-law and can’t stand to see you taking pleasure in someone else’s company, innocent as it maybe. You know you’re not guilty of anything and that is all that matters. When he brings this subject up again, tell him to “Stop it” he is talking utter nonsense and you won’t be discussing this subject any more and you’ve got better things to do with your time then leave the room. Don’t argue back and forth with him anymore, it is pointless and causing you a lot of personal anguish and you will never win against this type of crazymaking argument. In additional to Kim’s books and articles I highly recommend to you a book by Patrica Evans called “The Verbally Abusive Relationship”. This will explain your husband’s behaviour in a way you will understand, it will empower you as it has me.

  17. After ten years of being with a person who is loving, caring, generous, spontaneous and “successful” BUT is narcissistic, bi-polar and has ODD traits, I have finally come to the realisation that I need to work On myself.

    We had planned a dream European cruise and pre booked and paid for it 12 months ago. Two weeks prior N. decides he cannot go. I was stunned and saw this as an opportunity to begin to address a few of our issues.

    I am drafting a carefully worded email to show him where my line in the sand is drawn and what ever comes out of this will be the best, hopefully for us both, but if not then I know I will need to move on.

    I did not want to sit at home to be miserable and saw chance to be away – after all it was not me who decided not to go – was a good opportunity to reflect and Self soothe.

    This is the second time we have planned an o/s trip and he has backed out at the last minute. This time I decided to go anyway and he cannot understand why.

    He becomes emotional (cries) reflecting over his relationship with his father, a child who died and how difficult it s being in small business. His business is failing at a time when he wants to retire. He cannot keep staff and when I see the way he treats them I understand why they leave. He is so smooth with customers and its hard to understand how one person can act in such opposing ways.

    Keep up the good work Kim and Steve .. It’s encouraging and inspiring. Thank you

  18. This man has been in three marriages, a broken engagement and been to counsellors (at least six) he admits to, as well as a psychiatrist, all of whom do not understand him, according to N. There is something HE is not getting when he blames me for our relationship troubles, which I know I am contributing to by not drawing my line in the sand and refusing to take the emotional and psychological abuse. He can be so charming and smooth but turns into a monster when he lets his demons get to him and in turn tries to blame, then control others for his own failings.

  19. Hey Kim!
    Another great article. Being co-dependent I spent too much time thinking about what others thought of me and how I could ‘so called’ be accepted.

    As you mentioned, being able to desipher(sp), or ‘sort this from that’ has been very enlightening.

    Also as you mention about the trust you have with the person has a great deal of input into the equation. Not to mention the abuse that comes with the trust issue.

    It takes ‘humility’ to accept feedback, whether positive or negative. Not only do we feel embarrassed, we also feel some shame for some of our actions and behaviors. Which is good for our emotional intelligence.

    I have been narcissistic within my relationship with my husband in order to be able to with stand certain aspects of ‘his’ narcissism. Shameful to admit, and at the same time, very true. Same goes with some of my family members and some co-workers.

    Everything you write or post is so enlightening and continueing my personal growth.

    Much appreciation!

  20. Hey Kim!

    #25, I totally understood what you previously posted for that poster. Don’t know why there was a misdirection from that. Probably because it was from a ‘male’ perspective. And I appreciate that. I also wonder what a ‘woman’ should do in such a circumstance!?! It has to start somewhere.

  21. HAHA Kim!

    I don’t sllow sugar in my house either except for special occassions like birthdays or a holiday dessert.

  22. Knowing the warning signs and behaviours that can flag up ‘maybe it’s NPD’, as a result of getting to understand what made my husband and his mother tick, I picked up on similar behaviour from a business manager who had been employed to run a charity I’d supported then recently returned to as a trustee.
    I asked for a financial update to bring me up to speed, delays, excuses, not feeling well, too busy is what I got in response. I asked again, a bit more directly and I was given a few bits and pieces. It didn’t take me long to spot there was something amiss with the money side of the charity so I pointed out my concerns to the other trustees who then admitted to having worries but had been too nervous to ask. My response was to go back to the manager and say gently but clearly we had to have the information and if there was a problem we’d all rally and sort it.
    That set of rages, a whole series of very unpleasant emails to me, complaints about me to the other members of the board. He kept saying it was fine, I was a pessimist, didn’t know what I was talking about. Doing his best to scare me off, undermine me.
    I gave him a time period to get himself in a calmer frame of mind and told the others on the board I wasn’t prepared to deal with person’s stuff having just spent 5 years getting my own life on an even keel.
    When the deadline came and he was still refusing to hand over the financial info, I resigned and walked away from it. No more rescuing for me!
    It shocked the others into launching an investigation having sent the manager on ‘gardening leave’. Turns out my fears were founded and it was in a real mess. So bad, the charity has had to fold. Also turns out this man has a history and a trail of disasters, sackings, lost the family home in a business venture. He’d been going off to play golf when we told his wife he was working and he used up all the equity.
    His wife worked for the charity too,knew all about his ways, but hid it fro the trustees. She knew all about my experience but had refused to acknowledge he was repeating history or that he had some similar behaviours to my husband. She had even helped him to get the job, passing on company info so when he applied he was ‘in the know’. Now neither of them have work. Her codependance and denial has cost her dearly. Will she ever have a wake up call, get the message?

  23. This blog is getting more narcissistic,no pun intended-or maybe the pun is intended. Kim you seem to be confusing not being co dependent and a healthy person with curing a narcissist. You are easily forgiven for this because you live with and are married to a narcissist. Narcissism is a personality disorder which means the only way to cure it would be to change the persons personality ! Changing your thinking will not change a narcissist ONE BIT because they don’t pay any attention to you anyway,and even a narcissist changing his or her thinking will not cure them of narcissism. People who “love” narcissists or get involved with them are probably all needy for love,attention,and acceptance (acceptance is the truest and maybe the only form of TRUE love). Narcissists don’t accept anyone but themselves and only externally(which is why they “need” to destroy you completely as a person and make you a part of them to get your love).But there is no such thing as you being a part of them or the fantasy love that those of us who have been abused and need love often imagine. So to be with a narcissist means you either become their victim forver or you become a narcissist like them-even if you only “follow” them and don’t “purposely” victimize anyone yourself (you will victimize anyone you are involved with-friends,children,family members)you just won’t know it-just like a narcissist !(the narcissists parasitic purpose is fulfilled-to get love by creating a copy of itself to justify it’s own existence and it’s own worthiness of love).

    1. Hi John – That has not been our experience and we have received over a thousand testimonials to date from other couples who have had positive results from using our steps and exercises. The psychiatric community is changing it’s ideas on this too and no longer saying NPD cannot be cured. Changing how you respond to someone that you live with can and often does work as a positive example and catalyst for change. And still if that change doesn’t happen the person using our steps will usually find themselves in a much better situation to make decisions from.

      The most interesting part of this journey for me has been seeing my own narcissism more and more as time goes on, and Steve also has in the past year or two had to face his own codependence.

      Don’t get me wrong – narcissism in someone else is a tough nut to crack and I still have a person (or two) in my life I find it hard to deal with when they are in ego. The trick I have found with these people lately has been to internally thank them and see them as my teachers – rather than me getting sucked into trying to rescue or change them. An arrogant person in your life can be a wonderful reminder to watch you own humility and keep your feet on the ground.

  24. Hi, I was very interested to read Ellen’s comments. I to am married to a military man, a former major on the British army, boarding school from the age of nine and a very dominating mother. I have read your books and am putting your advice into practice. I have finally accepted my codependency issues and your articals have been a revelation in helping me work through my own issues. This in turn is showing amazing results in my relationship with my husband. Things can still be very tought at times but the good times are more frequent and the bad times getting further apart. He can still be veryp cruel verbally but I am beginning to recognise that it is usury when he is feeling particularlyp insecure. His insecurity is often to do with things that are nothing to do with me but he needs to use me as a scapegoat. What’s I have learned about my own codependency has enabled me to react calmly and support him. We still have a very long journey ahead and I often get my responses wrong but we are making progress and I no
    W feel very positive and confident that we Can make it. Your recent articals about filling the parenting gap has been a revelation. It’s not easy but it is working.
    I check my emails every day for your next articals … They are a lifeline! Sometimes tough to accept ones one shortcomings but it is paying dividends!
    Thank you so much for sharing you experiences,
    Love to you both, Jane

  25. Just to let some people out there know there is hope!
    I realise in September, 2012, how much energy and time I am saving by not having the old verbal/emotional catastrophe going on in my marriage. ‘Verbal’ is one of my “love-languages” by the way, and so it really constantly hurt living with a chronically critical, verbal ‘N’ person.

    Now he knows to keep his mouth shut. Correspondingly, I refuse to hold back my words like I did for so long, until I almost cracked from anger and inner fury! It became so bad, I was like a Mount Vesuvius ready to explode, at any moment.

    Strange how opposites are so often attracted, his verbosity was my lack, in being unable to fight back! Now he “respects” in me, that I am no longer verbally passive, it was what he distrusted in me, walking on egg-shells around him, as no-one in his family held back, I suspect. His family were mostly pretty explosive, I think, except his mother, who was a bit like me. I knew by his response early on, he thought he had married his mother!

    So these days, I mostly do not let rip, but I also no longer hold back, to let him know I am human and have feelings, and am not afraid of him, as he was once a very angry young man.

    A few years ago, after 20+ years, my heart was in little pieces. The love is still there, but not the passion, which he effectively killed off.

    I adored him which he did not understand, as he knew he was often terrible to me. I have however very slowly recovered to live again, because he behaves himself verbally and gives me “a long leash” to be myself and stopped his compulsive controlling.
    I survived ‘cos I realised it was okay to be myself. Not passively, but actively, choosing to like/love myself, by learning how to be kind to myself, as he allowed me do so.

    Occasionally though, there are small reversals, as in any normal family. The blaming and anger, & “she is the bad guy”, but it doesn’t last long and soon passes, and I am so relieved for that!

    When this happened recently, I had to fight a backlash from a “verbal attack” in that I found myself awake at night, feeling oppressed by “the demons”, making me feel rotten about myself, again. I believe in the positive and negative spirit realm. They are there alright, “hanging around” to have another “go” at my inner weaknesses, and they usually use our loved ones to get to us, our kids, pets or partners, those who are familiar with the real us.

    The down-side for me though, has been my health.
    Living on-edge for so many years in the past, has literally exhausted me, as I eventually developed chronic-fatigue, and all sorts of physical allergies/asthma ( which are often emotionally triggered), aligned with working with cleaning agents. I believe the auto-immune system breaks down with constant emotional stress, the nervous system can’t stand the tension, eventually.
    I can’t prove this scientifically, but I think it will be some day, as more research is gradually being done on the brain, and other organs.

    Now, as I live in a largely calm household, I am mostly quite well though the grief from loss of love, aged me. I am physically and emotionally quite well, but living with a narcissistic controller for 30 odd years, almost cost me my mental, emotional and physical health, in the long run. So, there is a cost to living life on the edge, as we all know with other sorts of life-styles. Living at all, can be dangerous!

    We are still together, but that “old life” is now uncommon, from his side as much as mine, as we both hate the tension in the air, and when he regresses, or I regress, we both now know we have lost our peace, together. He will now, say sorry, which he never did, once.
    I need it more than him perhaps, as words are not his love-language, but I still say it to him. In fact, he thinks words are cheap, That is the sort of household he grew up in, whereas I, the opposite, where words were as important as hugs and kisses.

    Recently, we had an argument about how he wants me to kiss him goodbye and hello when he leaves for work, morning and night or whenever, and how that means a lot to him. I never knew that, because I was the one who in the past was hurt if we had been fighting and he walked out the door in a crabby mood without a kiss, or saying goodbye. I would be upset all day, somtimes.

    How the tables have turned! I am so glad, because after my Dad died tragically many years ago and I married, I always thought when the man-of-the-house left without a kiss, what if that was the last time I saw him alive, like Dad! Loss does that to you.

    Now he feels happier himself, when he kisses me goodbye or hello, which I think means he is not taking me for granted!
    Ain’t that sweet!

  26. Dear Kim,
    I am very recently married and things could not be going worse. My husband and I have been through a very rocky 7 years together with a LOT of therapy. We have 2 children together and 1 on the way. This has been a very difficult pregnancy and I should be on bed rest. Things seemed to be going so well after children, his defeating his alcohol addiction and therapy we decided to get married in July of this year.
    Now that I am unable to do as much for him, our household and our children, he has started to treat me and our children like we are such burdens in his life that he has no other choice but to escape us by playing an interactive on line game for hours and hours a day, everyday. Neglecting household chores, the children and me. He spends money we do not have on this game while we do without. He spanks our very young children for doing things that they would not be able to do if they had the right adult supervision.
    I have tried talking things out with him but that only leads to disaster and my heart hurting worse because then I’ve given him the opportunity to tell me how much of a nag I am and how my behavior is the problem. Then he hits below the belt and asks if this is really how i feel, why did I marry him in the first place? I can’t began to tell you how deeply this question hurts me. I am left feeling all alone and completely trapped in this circumstance.
    All I’m looking for is reciprocity from my marriage. You seem to be able to offer some answers on how I can change my circumstance without destroying what is already broken. I am desperate for help but do not have the answers or the financial resources I seem to need to help myself. I do on the other hand have the love, willingness, desire to and understanding that I’m the only person I am capable of changing.
    Can you please help me?

    Sincerely, Wendi

    P.S. My abandonment issues and his emotional and physical infidelity seem to be 2 of my biggest obstacles.

    1. Hi Wendy – All of our e-book downloads will cost you less than 2 therapy sessions. It is going to take a lot of work to get things back in order in your life – but our steps to a peaceful home special as well as 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence would be a great place to start. You will be offered a chance to purchase these specials when you subscribe to our site. The steps are simple but not easy – but as you probably know by now there are no easy answers to the problems you now face.

      Hang in there!

  27. Wanted to address Carol from the top: My husband has a brain disease, and on of it’s symptoms is Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. This has several symptoms in a syndrome that accompanies it called Geshwind’s Syndrome (think Van Gogh if you will, or Dostoevsky) basically hyper-graphhia, or writing too much, religious obsession or just obsessiveness, in my husband’s case about stuff like homeschooling, diet, anti-medical stuff, art, etc., and hypo-sexuality. In our marriage most sex is initiated by me, and he was pretty obedient about doing it as a religious belief that we are not our own but belong to each other (Christian faith), but he’s never initiated it. I wonder if some of the sexless marriages here aren’t just evil narcissism, although that is part of it, but actually a medical/brain condition as well. He also doesn’t make much hormones as a result of his disease, and a lack of testosterone is a big problem. He also tends to have mini-absence seizures during sex, but that is something we’ve only lately seen. Hope it helps. It is miserable being or feeling undesired, I know all too well….and those who criticized Kim’s advice about spreading a rumor, you ain’t felt it if you don’t understand that piece of brilliant management 🙂 MB

  28. Hey John!
    In using Kim & Steve’s materials, ebooks and other information, taking a closer look at myself and my behaviors, changing them, has brought about change within my narcissistic husband. Therefore the home environment is more peaceful. As humans we change nearly day by day from external and internal influences. This is also true for a narcissist, whether it be for the worse or the better. My husbands changed personality has for the most part changed for the better. Still work in progress, as I suspect since we grow, mature and learn as time goes by.

  29. Hey Wendy!
    You are not alone concerning your circumstances. Kim & Steve’s material, information and ebooks has helped not only my own issues(co-dependency) yet my narcissistic husbands behaviors.

    As for the cost of the ebooks Kim has suggested, for me it is actually less than a 1/4 of 1 counseling session here where I live. Check out their homepage and products, 1 counseling session here can range between $200-$300.

    Hope to hear from you again.

  30. Making the distinction you talk about is sometimes difficult when you are the type that reflexively thinks it’s you doing something wrong before considering it might be the other person’s issue. This article is really helpful and good timing. After 50 yrs of having a close relationship with one of my 4 sisters (no fights, ever!) she has begun to get impatient with me, and critical. I told her that I’ve noticed it and asked why she was having a problem with me – what is it that I’m doing? She came at me like gang busters. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing at first. She said, “you’re negative”, I can’t get into those conversations anymore”. She also said, “you think there’s something wrong with everyone but you”. She’s right about the negativity. I wasn’t always this way. I’ve been talking to her a lot about my problems at home and I know it’s hard for her to listen to it over a long period of time. I took that comment to heart and now am keeping things to myself. The second comment, however, is not true. What is true is that I don’t deal very well with all the dysfunction I’m surrounded by in my family. I mistakenly have tried to talk to people about things, pointing things out, hoping that they will consider them and modify their attitudes or behavior. I’ve been really ineffective at giving feedback in a helpful way. But frankly, they are poster children for projection. So even if I said it differently, they would still think badly about me, or worse, shift the blame to me. Bottom line is, when you are an abused woman, your friends and family stop wanting to be around you. Because you’re not the fun, attentive person you used to be.

  31. My N husband who I believe may be ADHD and ODD had an affair then after the affair he stopped having sex with me for 5 years and I was going to divorce him Seriously not a threat and he begged me for a second chance He still isn’t physically into sex and acts like its a chore and he isnt excited about it I think because we plan it. I decided to change that and make it more spontaneous and I have to initiate it and it worked Much better. I am starting with changing me a fabulous book you all need to read is “How to hug a porcupine Dealing with toxic and difficult to love personalities” by Dr John Lewis Lund He really gets it. It opened my eyes to how critical I had become and how I had returned toxic for toxic I am working on me as Kim has said we need to do. I have given him 2 years to see if my changes will influence him to change and since I like physical affection and I am not going to go outside the marraige I am going to be more assertive as to what I want by seducing him. No more criticism of anyone or anything that is my goal. If he rejects it I am not going to take it personally. And I am not going to shut down but try again. Looking for the positive and praising it. I will give love freely because I am a loving person I will give respect because that is the right thing to do Trust though has to be earned but I will not treat him as if I dont trust him but I will remember who I am dealing with. Forgive the past and never bring it up again. Don’t bring up the issues it is a waste of time. Be happy enrich your life be confident have strong boundaries and when he crosses them firmly and lovingly state that you dont deserve to be treated like that and he should never ever treat you like that again then walk away. State that what he said was mean or didnt ring true in your mind. But dont engage further. Listen to him and restate what he says sometimes when they hear what they have said they take it back sometimes not just let them talk try to understand there may be some truth in it. thank him for his concern and say you will think on it. If you can agree with any part do it. Agree with thine adversary quickly lest he exteme thee to be his enemy. N’s need love too.

  32. Wow! I had no idea how comoforting it can be to hear from some of you on this blog. I have not done this type of communication before.
    Married now for six years to my second NPD husband (The first marriage lasted 20 years with two sons)I have a better sense form allof you (and of course from Kim and Steve)just what it is I am dealing with. The coldness, remoteness, etc. has been so baffling.

    One person told me that he was putting my injail and not telling me when he would let me out! Even for the most minor of his “perceived” offenses!!!

    Understanding is helping me live each day better. As are some of your comments in these blogs too. Thank you to everyone willing to share and to comfort another on this mutual journey.

  33. Was it about following your heart or following your ego? I bet you had a wonderful time when you were young and learned a lot from it. If many great artists or inventors would have lissened to ‘common sense’ the world would look grey and pale. So I think this is a quite a strange blog article with strange examples. And Kim, you also followed your heart by not listening to the people who advised you to leave Steve?
    I listened to mine when I decided to leave my narcissistic husband, whether people said I should or shouldn’t do that. But I didn’t listen to my husband anymore, and I think that that is the advice: don’t listen to your narcissistic spouses because they are not acting in your best interest.

    1. Hi Lou, Yes I followed my heart when I was young but also my ego too. The truth is I could have learned graphic design and still done all the other things I did too. I hurt myself badly by being proud and egotistical when I was a teenager and I hurt a lot of other people too. I forgive myself now sure – and I do not regret the things I learned. I do wish someone had taught me sooner however that ego is our true enemy in life.

  34. MaryAnn,

    there is plenty of research that stress; like you have been dealing with; does in fact affect your health.

    Years ago I even was told by my Family Practitioner that I was going to have to except my husband as he was and stay or leave because the stress was literally going to kill me.

    Here is an interesting video to watch about it It’s called HeartMath

    We really have to Nourish ourselves both emotionally and physically. Kim and Steve have some good tips for that.

    Glad to hear things are turning around for you and your relationship! :0)

  35. Jason,

    You are right about trust. Kim talks about how people with NPD do not trust and how you have to build that.

    People with NPD will not trust you if you are a doormat and do not set boundaries either.

    Kim also talks about how people with NPD are skilled at lying, manipulating and scapegoating and the need for consequences and accountability.

    As a codependent partner we don’t require this of them and that has to change if you want change in your relationship.

    Kim’s advice was in that vein.Like Kim says in her response. It has everything to do with your intention. Are you doing it to hurt your partner or help your partner?

    “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein

    Here is a new way of thinking…

  36. Kim ,
    In your Sept response you said a rumor around the golf course might do my sex resistance good. You refered to impotence. He is perfectly capable of erection or at least he was 3 years ago. He is just withholding it. He does not touch me therefore I do not touch him. He said he didn’t need it. I think it is most like the person who does not eat. A control issue.

  37. MPRS,

    Thanks for the response, This is clearly a decision he has made not a medical issue as he did it once when we were dating. WHen we broke up and I started dating someone else it clearly returned and he said he was sorry for withholding and admitted it was a decision he made and could not reverse it until he relized he wanted me back. He withholds some other things also. Will not discuss future finances . Never does anything wrong, complans about everything.
    I was always affectionate until he told me he didn’t care. I quit touching him after he quit touching me. So as I said, I am angry. I do not show the anger. It is presented as if nothing bothers me. . As if we are room mates. The only time I show anger is when the critizism piles so high I cannnot take it any more. At that time I tell him my former REAL ROOM MATE did not critize me and I did not have to cook for her and he is welcome to leave. Then he gets a little nicer for a time.

    To drop rumors around the golf course as suggested seems to be a set up for endangering myself.

  38. Jason,
    I too am concerned greatly about dropping rumors around the golf course. There are no medical issues just plain obstinance.

  39. Hey Everyone!
    I could use some feedback on the following:

    My husband told me a week and a half ago that he will not give me gas to participate in a program for quitting smoking although he loaths my smoking(also part because with my back I can’t make the drive there and back in 1 day so I have to stay overnight at a motel). And then he begins to tell me which Dr’s he approves of me seeing(and they are the same Dr’s that took out my left arm from a breast cancer biaupsy(sp) on my left breast when I’ve already gone through 3 on my right with BETTER results from where I returned to for Dr.s). Oh well. Just venting, because when he did that he was complaining alot about different things-left for work(which I never have any quality time with him-work-alcoholic)(he has savings-refuses to pay off med. bills). So today is my appt. and I can’t go. Just venting! So I mentioned changing my Power of Atty for Health Care. Guess that’s my next step/action.

    With all of his complaining at that time of my Dr.’s appt. I distracted myself with trying to get thing more organized within the home, took off both rings I wear(wedding ring and daughters ring due to the cleaning I was going to try to do), and now for some reason my wedding ring has DISAPPEARED. And am still on the hunt for my wedding ring.

    I’ve been alittle perplexed with an idea I have in my head and was wondering your thoughts about this. My wedding ring is no where to be found, and my husband has put little or rather minimal effort into helping me find it. Granted he has been working alot and when not working likes to lay around the house. He’s been working alot of overtime and understand his need for relaxation especially with the higher demands placed at work.

    So, is it my narcissism or co-dependence thinking he could be helping me further to find my ring? AND is it either of the two that I accept responsibility for taking off my ring to fall clean after his outbursts of not letting me go to the Dr and telling me what Dr I can/should see, that I also place some blame or rather influence as to why I had taken off the ring to fall clean because he said ‘I never do anything for him’?

    The past 3 months have been pretty hard on me. Does anyone have any ideas?

    1. Hi Darlyn, Hopefully the rings shows up – looking for something you have lost can be very stressful. It is great that you have decided to stop smoking. That will be a huge show of strength on your part! I would choose a way to do that where you are not reliant on your husband and he cannot sabotage it. Day 3 is the hardest. I wonder if you have a budget for vitamins and suppliments? There is good advice for what you need to help you through the withdrawals at the site here you will also find a Wellness audio recording to help with overcoming addictions at

      Stopping smoking will make you stronger and give him less to complain about – and so you cannot expect that he will help you with this. You need to make a plan and stick to it and take this on yourself. Making sure your day is full of lots of alternatives besides having a cigarette will help too. I have a checklist where I have all the things I can do everyday that are good for me and that I love written on it. I wrote them on an A4 page and then had it laminated so that I can tick the boxes of put next to them off as I do them – but then wipe off the ticks and start over again the next day. When I feel like having a snack at my computer I look at my list instead and have a bunch of other stuff to choose from. Steve and I both stopped smoking years ago now as I know you can do it too!

  40. Hey carol!
    Withholding affection is a very common tactic of a narcissist. Have you looked at Kim & Steve’s homepage?

    At the top right hand side of this blog page there is a link ‘Narcissism/Codependent symptom checklist’ that may give you some answers.

    Here is the link for their homepage:

    Hope to hear from you again.

  41. What do you do when society itself, or a large section of it seems to be “narcissistic” or in denial? We are different ethnic/colour backgrounds. This is a non issue between ourselves and our families. We are both born and brought up Christians although not regular churchgoers. We live in a (supposed) super free society where everyone is free to do as they please so long as nobody is being hurt. Men are encouraged to partner with other men and women, other women, if thats what they want. Society and the opinion makers seem to want us all to tolerate same sex marriage etc. Yet there seems to be a massive unspoken resistance/perplexity/discomfort among many people to mixed couples where the male is of a non-white, non-western background, particularly if they perceive the male in any way connected with a certain part of the world or religion. A mere perception is enough to set them off. I find the least tolerant are white men with Asian spouses, as well as their spouses, some of these men aren’t even born here! Just the other day in church I had one such a man come and “joke” about “seven virgins” which was clearly a “Mandingoan” racial/crude comment. I’m sick of hearing this sort of comment/”joke” and you don’t expect it from people at church. Hes never met me before and knows nothing about me. I had nothing to do with 9-11, it was not even in this country or even this hemisphere and I am not even from anywhere near a country where that religion is practiced by the majority. I sometimes feel like becoming a hermit to avoid this. And its not always jokes. Sometimes its more hostile. They are trying to make me feel bad for no fault of my own and many in society seem to agree. There is no criticism of this sort if behaviour. The overall impression is that society agrees. This seems to be confirmed if you read some blog spots or listen to talkback radio. My partner doesn’t know because the “jokes/comments/attacks/stares” are not in her presence. I’m sick of the hypocrisy/racism in this sort of behavior. If they have a problem with certain religions or cultural origins, why don’t they restrict their comments to people if those religions or countries? Why do they target me when Im not a part of it? The media/politicians have some role in this. How do you take on society? What do you think Kim? If I marry my partner I seem set for a life of (periodic) torment. Part of me is defiant and not give in to this nonsense, part of me wants to just give up.

    1. Hi Dllum, I really feel for you. The racism in the world right now towards people of Indian or middle Eastern descent, quite frankly shocks me. You cannot fight all of society – but what you can do is work on some humorous come back lines that make people who make these comments stop and think – while also keeping your own dignity and self respect. If you can’t think of any ask a friend who has a good sense of humour and work on it. Once you are armed with a few comeback lines to respond with it will be easier to stand your ground. Even saying something like “I guess that was meant to be funny hey?” in a slightly bored tone of voice will probably stop them making any kind of similar comment again. The important thing is that you need to plan this in advance and practice because when the time comes you will be to emotional to think of a good comeback on the spot.

  42. Thanks for the advice about the links and home page. I will look at it.
    Interesting …today I got up, looked out the window at how beautiful the day was. I opened the blinds and said wow ….I sat down on the bed and decided I would just hug my husband after such a long period of no touch. I do this periodically. He held his arms out and NEVER closed in to hug back. The last time I did that about 3 months ago he did the same thing.
    I just ignored the fact and enjoyed the day without him. He played golf. He is determined no to touch, DETERMINED ! It is sick not to hug a person when they hug you.

    1. Hey Carol – I am glad that you didn’t let him get you down. Great work!

      It sounds like he has painted himself into a pretty tight corner to act like such a stubborn proud child. I hope you get onto our program and it helps you.

      I wonder if you have seen the Super Nanny? The kids are so proud and stubborn and the fight that ensues is usually nearly like a war – but in the end there are hugs and tears and the kids are so glad that mum learned to be stronger than their pride.

      The advice I have given you has caused quite an uproar here but I didn’t mean you should do what I suggested being malicious. I just do not think you should allow the proud and stubborn child in him destroy both of your lives. Steve fought me tooth and nail when I decided I was going to stand up to his pride – but he thanks me nearly every week now that I did and that I cared enough to not let him get sucked into that dry empty life.

      Your husband pretends everything is okay but I am sure you can guess just how unhappy he truly is inside. If he drops his pride and says he is sorry and cries and let’s you know how scared and lost he really is I wonder would you forgive him and help him face whatever demons have hold of his mind? Or would you rub his face in what he has done and make him pay for hurting you?

      Once you know in your heart that the answer is genuinely the first; this will give you the courage and moral conviction that you are well within your rights to do what you must to tame that devil in him. Like taming a horse, it is only cruel if once tamed you plan on mistreating them. In your husbands case he is not even wild and needing taming – instead he is stuck in a hell of his own making. He is not the hero he pretends to be in front of his mates at the club – but how can he tell them that? And when he gets home he has so little of anything genuine left about himself he doesn’t know what to do when he is not playing at that act. I have seen it a thousand times before and I truly pity him as much as I feel for you.

      If you find the courage to help him break free and get back in touch with his true feelings and find a new more real and satisfying life you will have saved him and not just yourself.

      As they say all’s fair in love and war!

  43. Hi there I was refered to this site by a friend, I can’t find any of your university qualifications or credentials. Then I read this blog??? Giving advice to someone (to spread a rumour about their husband is cruel and reckless). It’s also classed as slander in the courts of law. Are you that narcissistic to believe that you or others are above the law.

    Would you spread this vicious rumour about your own husband demeaning him and your relationship in the process and putting your childrens fathers reputation at jeopardy and drawing so much unwanted attention to your family, if this was you in this situation?
    I THINK NOT!!!!!

    In my eyes the advice you gave was to make a husbands wife not only go behind her husbands back and start a rumour but for her to lower herself to standards, in which she does not normally do, is vindictive and something a narcissist would do to get what they wanted!

    I personally would NEVER, no matter the circumstances, start a vicious rumour on my partner of 9 years.

    I would consult a professional before taking your bullying advice as then I know I am paying for the degree, they so hard worked for and I would never pay for a cd or an ebook off of your site and furthermore I will be detering people from taking your unqualified / deluded advice…

    You seem like a know it all and all I can say is that you must struggle maintaining friendships away from the computer. Do you take advantage of friends for your own gain? Your ego is so ridiculous.

    I truly think its time you come down off your pedistool and let the real professionals do their jobs.

    1. Hi Loulou,

      Wow I really have upset you! No we don’t have mental health qualifications you can read our story on the home page of our site.

      I can be a bit of a know it all – yes (lol) and I have had my share of failed friendships and relationships – that is what our story is all about. These days I am very lucky to be part of a family and community that loves me and who mostly tolerate my weaknesses as I try to tolerate theirs. The steps I learned to turn this around are what I offer here.

      I wonder if you are always so nasty when you disagree with someone or if you are hurting about something? Maybe you can’t afford our books and that is making you mad? Why did your friend send you here I wonder – if you just don’t like me I can wear that but if you angry because you need some assistance you didn’t find here – well there are a lot of very well educated and kind people here who I am sure can help you even if I can’t. We also have payment options for our ebooks and also have people who sometimes help cover our costs in us giving them away if you truly cannot afford them.

      If you have access to professionals who you find helpful and you can afford – go for it. My credentials are that I am an author and have received over a thousand testimonials now saying our advice helps.

      As for the advice I gave Carol – no that is not against the law. It is not slander either as it is simply letting the truth come out with his friends at the golf club who he acts a big shot around. He is ignoring how his withholding sex is hurting her and has left her in a corner with ho easy way out. It is one thing to say you don’t love someone and you want a divorce but quite another to deny someone love, affection and a sex life but pretend that everything is fine and they are the problem if they complain. That is cruel and the consequence of his friends doubting his virility is a fairly minor consequence compared to what he is doing to her. Many women would tell Carol that she should throw him out on the street and divorce him and somehow I don’t think you would have a problem with me saying that.

      How far have we come down what kind of a crazy road for people to think it is more mean and vindictive to let a man’s friends doubt his sexual prowess than it is to divorce him?

      As for letting the professionals do their job – last I heard none of them have much of an idea how to handle this problem and most admit that. Many professionals come to us for help and advice too.

  44. Hi once again Kim,
    Firstly, thank you for your opinion on my message,
    secondly, everyone is entitled to their own opinions, i said my piece and you have in replied your piece,we may not agree on a lot that each other has conveyed but this is a blog and and each to their own minds, i actually dont know you personally and i am adult enough to appologise if i affended you personally thus it was your words i did not agree with.
    But as i said previousely,each to their own!
    Have a nice evening…(-:

    1. Thanks Loulou – I hope you have a nice evening too and find the help that you need if you decide to join in here. We may not be health professionals but we are very dedicated to what we do.

  45. Hey loulou,

    Kim didn’t need to approve your post, she was gracious to do so, but I would be mindful of whose turf you are on here. If Kim had asked me, I would have advised her to ‘delete’ instead of ‘approve’ your post.

    It may surprise you to know that many people have Kim’s back here, because we cherish her and love her for the work she does on this blog. Not just online, her friends here in the real world are true and dear friends too.

    If you’d like to join the world of nastiness, there are several blogs out there that will gladly publish your posts like the one you wrote above. Kim protects a special space here, so feel free to make your point, but save the tongue-lashing for someone else, OK? We don’t do that kind of thing here.


  46. Hey Kim!
    Thanx for the suggestions and support. I will definately look into them. And I do still feel that I should change my POA for Health Care.

    As for the ring, I think I may have vacuumed it up as I heard that kind of noise and thought it was only a walnut I may have dropped as that is the spot where I have them on the table and the spot I heard the noise(walnuts are my snack to help reduce my cholesterol). I asked my husband to take the vacuum apart and re-look through the bag for me in case in my anxiety I overlooked it being in there(thinking 4 eyes are better than 2). Anyway he took it apart somewhat and I took it apart futher AND he never re-looked through the bag. And now it is all at the dump site as trash has already been picked up from last week so no chance in going there to look. I’m hoping it is still somewhere around the house. It has given me a very depressed and devastated feelings thinking it may be gone forever. I swear I have turned the house upside down and inside out, even places I don’t think it may be, just praying to find it.

    P.S. I have reduced my cholesterol from 4.3 down to 2.5 in less than a yr by merely change of diet(no more of my husbands unhealthy foods or cravings/likings), it has also cut the grocery bill down(wish I could get a pat on the back from him for cutting costs atleast-LOL)

  47. Hey loulou!

    Kim also gives suggestions of how to get a point across without doing the harm that you thought she was suggesting. As she is not cruel or wish others harm. Which is how I read what she wrote regardless that the word impotent was involved. I think there was a misunderstanding.

    I wonder how much of Kim & Steve’s material you have read. Not meaning just the ebooks either.

    Wishing you well.

  48. Dear Kim, I loved your comment: “How far have we come down what kind of a crazy road for people to think it is more mean and vindictive to let a man’s friends doubt his sexual prowess than it is to divorce him?”
    After experiencing a lot of loss and trauma in my former divorce (my former NPD husband divorced me- saying he loved me but couldn’t live with me) I am in this next marriage with a faith that tells me to stay put. But, the poor quality of our life together is what I battle.
    Today a post you made helped me once again have hope. IF there is ANY CHANCE that my husband can come to see his lack/withholding of affection as a major problem to us and the qualtiy of our life together; then it will come by my holding fast to taking care of myself no matter what he does or doesn’t do. I still battle the negative dialouge in my head directed at him that I do not speak out loud. But, now I work at formulating my future oral responses; with the TRUTH; intending to respond more appropriately whenever and however I can interject it.

    I have not been able to bring myself to greet him verbally yet; knowing I do not yet have control over the dripping sarcasm I tend to add to my tone of voice. But, I have begun greeting him and saying good-night, etc. inside my head. Practicing saying it with the right intentions. It is a start , but I have a long way to go to overcome my hurt and resentment.
    Thanks you for all your tips and blogs.

    1. Hang in there JoAnn – If you put your arrows away and give yourself time to heal your own hurt hopefully things can then start to improve to a point where he has to wake up to what he is doing too.

  49. Hi Kim,

    I am grateful for your website and I am doing my best to work my way thru the Love Safety Net Workbook, but I am really stuck in a dilemma. I have discussed this with a counsellor, and the direction she suggested has fallen on deaf ears.

    So, I am asking your take on this situation…even though it sounds pretty petty compared to other more radical issues, still it is causing me heartache and a dilemma; even to the point of re-evaluating my relationship as it is now.

    Understanding my codependent part of this relationship, I am learning and practicing boundary setting. It is difficult, and sometimes I just give up. Here is where I am asking for your advice.

    I have been in a relationship and am now engaged for over a year now. Our first year together, my fiance did not have a phone of his own so he used mine on occasion. We were together over a year before he decided to get a cell phone of his own.

    We both went thru our individual divorces and we got to spend time with his children whom he hadn’t seen since they live far away from us. He got a cell phone has texting capabilities. Since then, he texts all the time…and I mean all the time.

    I spoke to him about this months ago, telling him that when he comes to visit me that this is “Our” time or “my” time. …But still, he continues to text; even when we are having dinner together. I kknow that somnetimes calls need to be taken immediately, but sometimes they are just chatter and I become increasingly angry; especially when my requests are not even considered. He comes here after a Bible study or other evening meeting, and proceeds to start texting when he is in the car, and then for most of the time he is here to visit me. I feel invisible, disrespected and very angry. I have expressed this to him, but still no change in his disrespectful behavior.

    I have told him that he has to go home if he wants to spend the evening texting and not visiting me and paying attention to me or valuing me or us, but I am not forceful enought to enforce my request. Since he doesn’t drive currently, I drive him home. He texts in the car almost as soon as we get in.

    What’s more important is that this is a small sample of his attitude and disrespect of my requests. I understand how important it is to him to be able to communicate with his kids, but truth be told, they occupy a larger space in his heart than I do and I don’t foresee that changing.

    I am not able or willing to take a back seat, especially if we are to be husband and wife.

    So, I await your reply and advice on how to proceed. I know the decision is mine to make and my codependence has kept me accepting this bad behavior in fear of losing him. Trouble is, I don’t really have him anyway.

    Wait to hear from you, thanks again Kim.


    Hopeful for Change

    1. Hi hopeful for Change,

      I really feel for you. I am one of the last people on the planet without a mobile phone I think and I must admit people texting a lot in my company does annoy me. I have 3 teenage kids however so I have had to adjust to it somewhat.

      I think a big part of the problem here is lack of attachment. He is attached now to whoever he is texting and not you.

      I would arrange a weekend away somewhere and make sure it is out of mobile range. In Australia that isn’t too difficult – but I am not sure where you live. Don’t let him in on the secret that this is why you have planned the holiday. You might even organise his kids to come too – like on a camping trip for instance. Getting some face to face conversation back may help build your attachment again. At the end of the weekend if you rapport is good you might mention how nice it has been to be together without his phone and you hope that can continue sometimes.

      Making an issue of the phone before you rebuild your attachment will probably just push him away.

  50. Well Loulou, it appears to me that you missed my point. This is not an open forum where we all get to say whatever we think. This is a place where Kim helps people for free with advice that you can’t pay for anywhere else. This place is where we set boundaries with people who seek to attack the character and/or motivations of others. Your ‘opinion’ that Kim is egotistical and probably doesn’t have any friends was sheer hatefulness. You’re welcome to disagree, but if in you feel it necessary to attack another’s character you need to take it somewhere else. Steve.

  51. Carol (and Kim)

    Responding to this comment of Kim’s

    “Your husband pretends everything is okay but I am sure you can guess just how unhappy he truly is inside. If he drops his pride and says he is sorry and cries and let’s you know how scared and lost he really is I wonder would you forgive him and help him face whatever demons have hold of his mind? Or would you rub his face in what he has done and make him pay for hurting you?

    Once you know in your heart that the answer is genuinely the first; this will give you the courage and moral conviction that you are well within your rights to do what you must to tame that devil in him. Like taming a horse, it is only cruel if once tamed you plan on mistreating them. In your husbands case he is not even wild and needing taming – instead he is stuck in a hell of his own making.”

    This is so appropriate for me now … I am struggling with appreciating the good in my husband, when a real part of me is so angered by every arrogant comment and every demeaning jab at me – they echo hundreds of past comments and put downs. Part of me wants to _make_ him understand my perspective (this strategy has never gotten me anywhere.)

    This is always a difficult time of year as he builds things up for a large conference he has developed essentially by himself. My intellectual side knows he is anxious every year about potential failure, he is concern that the next “big growth step” forward will not succeed. My emotional side can understand his hidden, unspoken fear that he isn’t really as good as he presents himself, and that he will “be exposed” as a fraud.

    But I am also human, and I am so hurt and angry at easily 10 years of these cycles of nastiness. Things are a lot better than the nadir which was 3-4 years ago, but in some ways the distance between us seems worse now because I am stronger and I am recognizing that although he is “achieving” all the things he always talked about, I have seen the ugly side, have witnessed the prejudices, the haughtiness and the disregard for others (while honestly trying to build systems which are good for many.) I dislike that person.

    It would be much easier if he could ever acknowledge he was sorry for something he did, or wished he hadn’t said something he said. We all make mistakes. I know he can’t. I know the tiny glimmers of acknowledgement are all he can give right now. He could be a lot happier, with a perspective of “appreciation” rather than “needs improvement.”

    I have forgiven things I never thought I would forgive because I trust in the person underneath the facade he shows to the outside (although the facade could never admit to the things I have forgiven.) I hope it is not my foolish arrogance in thinking I am correct in my trust/belief.

    Each day is a new start, and we keep trying. I’m trying hard not to let my anger stay around to affect my later interactions and behaviors. Even if this means doing a little over-compensating. If you aren’t given warmth back, walk away and come back later – again and again and again. Consciously or unconsciously punishing doesn’t work. Loving the person and at the same time trying to figure out how to limit and reshape inappropriate behavior – it is still an exhausting struggle for me.

    Hope these thougts help.

    1. Hey Maria – You hang in there = my heart goes out to you and I hope that your faith pays off. It may be failure that brings your husband happiness in the end rather than success.

  52. OK. Let me say I must be doing something wrong.
    I have forgiven 70 x 70. I have firmly stuck to the forgive and forget. I have believed Love Never Fails. I have turned the other cheek. All biblical. I believe he is an awesome person. I have been with him 12 years 5 of it marriage. He broke up with me about 3 times a year while dating.Each time of break up was shorter until finally he married me. Unfortunately it became a challenge to SEE if he would actually marry me. I should have resisted that but instead I was proud of him and his accomplishments. I only got a proposal after I refused to go back because I thought I had found “the one”. I have become a person who is not needy . A self sufficient person which has only led to ROOM MATES. NOW WHAT. I should not have to ask for his love or ask for him to close a hug.. If I try to be sweet he runs. If I am angry he warms up. I HATE being angry ! I would like for him tom care about my needs. Why else do you marry?
    I truly want my marriage to work as a marriage not room mates. I do not understand the using friends deal. I can’t call the cops as there is nothing there to call for. There is no porn. Just distance and lack of affection and criticism and the threat of him leaving if I try to talk to him. So I don’t.
    The only thing we talk about is food and weather. He ask ,”what for dinner?”. I ask,” What is the weather going to be like tomorrow?”
    I am lonely here. It is easier to live alone than with someone who make you feel lonely.
    Many times I have watched the Super Nanny.

    1. Hey Carol – I really feel for your lonliness and I hope we can help. From what you have said here you probably need to be working through the exercises in The Love Safety Net Workbook more than Back From the Looking Glass. I also would suspect that you husband has some kind of double life and maybe you need to cautiously investigate that a bit further.

  53. Hey carol!

    Kim & Steve have a video/movie titled something towards ‘The Perfect Affair’. And the affair is with yourself, loving yourself. I took it also as due to the tactics of a narcissistic partner who distances from their partner(most all of them do, sort of like abandoning you before you can abandon them feelings-to protect themselves from you seeing the hurt, emptiness and pain they feel inside – and there are others with NPD that can not feel anything).

    Kim & Steve explain how building rapore and attachment with our partner is the beginning of the our journey. And it has worked wonders for my marriage. Do you and your husband go on outings or anyplace with one another? Do you converse about things you hear from the news, or an article you’ve read, or family members, or a movie that is coming out, or his golf games, or your hobbies, or discuss the grocery list for the week or shopping needs, vehicle maintenance?

    When my husband and I regress or back track some I feel so very alone and lonely also. We are on different schedules which makes things a bit more difficult for me.

    Have you looked at Kim & Steve’s ebooks yet? ‘The Love Safety Net Workbooks’ sound like they would help you some with strategies on crossing this divide in your marriage.

    Hope to hear from you again.

  54. I’m thinking of carol in posting this on this blog page.

    So this is somewhat of an internal funny for me. My N husband is now feeling very under the weather with whatever cold or flu it may be. And he needs me to take care of him. To which, I always have in the past regardless of his narcissism, and regardless that even though I told him what my needs were due to illness or surgeries in the past(he fell short of even after being explained to him), It’s still funny for me. He relied on me being able to take care of myself, even after surgeries, and he can’t take of himself with a cold/flu.

    Instead of taking care of him COMPLETELY this time around, I’m going to place a boundary of what I am willing to do for this 51 yr old child so he can learn to take care of himself(and how I felt with his neglect) in hopes it will be another step forward in our journey.

  55. I have read some of the books. I got lost when she said call the police.Also was lost when she mentione tell the friends. I am terribly afraid of talking to friends about the lack sex. I think each situation is different and can’t be cure by a book but ideas can be obtained. Obviously Kim has been successful at home.
    I am having a hard time seeing my husband as a child because he is so controling.
    We talk like room mates would. We have never had a vacation. We do go out to eat.
    He watched TV in one room and me in another. He gets the main room of course.

  56. Kim,

    Things are mostly ok and overall better. There are waves of being blamed, then feeling like I am all of the problem, crazy, etc., but it is easier to regroup and keep going.

    For everyone else –

    From my perspective, I need to talk to others about what goes on. I need the reality check and the people around me who reinforce my own value and worth. I don’t think I could weather through this if I wasn’t fairly open/honest (I am selective.) I’m still not sure if that has harmed how others see me and what they think of me, but it is the best I can do. Many people around you probably already see some of the same things in your partner – hearing the validation of your experience helps to then be strong enough to respond differently.

    I wish I could give back more to this community …

  57. I sure need to chime in to this conversation. I recently visited my daughter after a fight with my husband. As long as I took her advice and did what she wanted, all was fine. Once my husband wanted to talk to me, my daughter seemed ok with it until I did do what she wanted me to do at the time she wanted me to do it. I sent her a text instead of calling. Since I am a “student” of you Kim, so I see the good parts of her argument, but she goes that extra step by calling me a liar and insisting that I face her and listen to her go on and on about how terrible I am. I have tried just giving her positive feedback that I hear what she is saying but there are other factors that she either doesn’t know about or doesn’t need to know about. I’m not given the freedom to choose my path. If I don’t do what she says then I’m (as the old saying goes) out of her will. I try not to argue but rather respond with what she does that has been good or helpful to me but she just won’t quit. Her hatefullness is full blown and what was said that she is very frustrated with me and she wants the best for me..all of this I respect and acknowledge but to me she goes just a step too far and she says really mean – hateful words that I can not stand to listen to from my child. Can you suggest how I need to respond to her??? She now has some of my personal belongings in addition to credit cards, checks, pictures that she refuses to return. She wants a face to face so she can beat me down with her words. help!!!
    and I have a word of thanks for you. I’ve read your Back from the Looking Glass and it helped me see my husbands behavior in a different light and we are actually working on our marriage of 13 years. will be looking for any ideas. thanks. Pauline

    1. Hi Pauline and welcome! I wish there was an easy answer – but I am afraid it isn’t that simple. You definitely do need to start standing up to your daughter but somewhat like a game of chess it will take a strategic approach. The exercises in The Love Safety Net Workbook are a great follow on from Back From the Looking Glass and will help with your daughter as much as your husband. You getting stronger is going to rock the boat in your family for a little while – but it will definitely improve things for all of you in the long run.

  58. Hey carol!
    After you work through the other ebooks of Kim & Steve’s that you have, you may wish to consider the one titled ‘Reconnect’.

    Hope to hear from you again.

  59. I TOO THOUGTH MAYBE THERE WAS A DOUBLE LIFE.I CAN’T SEEM TO FIND IT. Nothing on the computer, nothing on the phone, no unusual time away. HE plays golf with the same ole people here in the back yard aand rarely leaves home at all. If there is a double life I have no idea where. He doesn’t go anywhere to follow except the store.

    He refuses to go anywhere too. Going somewhere is eating out.

    1. Hi Carol – I know a lot of the steps in Back from the Looking Glass don’t apply in your situation – but please still work on the ones that do – such as you getting stronger and building a support network. Also the exercises in The Love safety Net Workbook will be excellent for you too. You getting involved in more activities in your community is going to help too. Changing this dynamic is going to take time but where are you going to be in 2 years otherwise? Sometimes I think things have gone so slow for us – until I look back and then I can’t believe how far we have come!

  60. I come to realise that my anger issues are so rooted that I only wish I could still see the people I was angry at and try to sort it out.
    I am getting into Christianity at the moment and it is doing small miracles for me and I am deeply impressed that I decided to reconcile with some people and forgive others. At time I feel weak and not got the discipline yet to be strong enough but I know now I am not alone.

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