Emotionally unhook yourself & starve the narcissist of supply: Here’s how

7 minute read

Why is it important to starve the narcissist? Because whilst you are still feeding the narc with supply through your reactions, you necessarily remain in the cycle of abuse. Therefore, breaking the cycle of abuse starts with emotionally unhooking. When you starve the narcissist, your journey to freedom begins.

Those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), feed their self-beliefs by hoarding the attention and admiration from those who surround them. This is known as narcissistic supply and is arguably a form of addiction. This is what narcs live for. Quite literally, everything they do, is to secure supply.

Ideally, supply for the narcissist is positive, where adoration confirms views on their entitlement, grandiosity, and superiority to all those around them.

This isn’t all that makes them tick though. They are also almost equally happy with negative attention. So long as the spotlight is on them, they are being fed, and you my dear, are the feast.

To the non-narc, this is befuddling, and one of the hardest things to understand. How could anyone get a high from making others miserable? From harming those they apparently ‘love’?

Things start to fall into place when we comprehend that whilst adulation is the narc’s juice, so is their need to wield power and control over others. Hence, it makes sense that in the absence of worship, being able to command negative attention via emotional reactions is similarly fulfilling as a form of supply.

In this way, you are still their focus of attention, and they are proving to themselves that they DO in fact have power over you. After all, you probably wouldn’t bother to engage in negative and harmful situations when the person involved is inconsequential to you, right?

emotionally unhook and start the narcissist of supply

Consider just a slice of narcissistic manipulation: gaslighting, triangulation, isolation, devaluation, denial, projection, smear campaigns, control, invalidation, word salads, generalisations, twisting the truth, refusing to take accountability, threats, moving the goal posts, expecting perfection…the list goes on.

These tactics are all designed to provoke a negative emotional reaction in you (that’s right, not necessarily from you – it is sufficient for you to internalise the negativity only), thereby confirming for the narcissist that they retain power and control over you. Sadly, the more you do react to bait and provide them with supply, the more their hunger grows.

This sounds all very much doom and gloom, BUT, it is raising your awareness of what drives their behaviour, and offers insight as to how you begin to reclaim your power.

Here are some practical steps you can take to begin short-circuiting the cycle of abuse by refusing to continue feeding the narc.

Be kind and gentle with yourself as you begin to apply these, know that you have been programmed to think and behave solely focusing on meeting the needs of the narc in your life.

Unhooking from these patterns will take effort and time, but you CAN take these steps to starve the narcissist and kick-start your recovery journey even while they are still in your life. These actions will bring you closer to where you want to be: narc free and full of joy.

1. Educate yourself

In the first instance, make it your personal mission to become your own expert on NPD and associated manipulation tactics.

janko-ferlic-174927-unsplashRead as much as you can – books, articles, blog posts; listen to podcasts; join support groups; check out YouTube. Whatever you can get your hands on, to educate yourself, do it now. Check out the page Recommended Wisdom on the site for recommended literature that is guaranteed to gift you with many eureka moments!

Becoming conversant with the ploys used to undermine you, will make it that much easier for you to identify when it is being applied to you. It also reminds you that IT ISN’T YOU! It is them, and a diagnosable Cluster B personality disorder: NPD. Other than validating the abuse, and that it isn’t you, this information teaches you about the elements of predictability in their behaviour. Arm yourself and get ready for the next step.

2. Observe like a curious scientist

This phase is about beginning to neutralise your naturally highly emotive reactions, and hence shift the bonds of power the abuser has over you. Having started with increasing knowledge that it is not you, you’ve already begun. The second action to complement the internal transformation is to practice adopting the stance of ‘observing like a curious scientist’ the behaviours of your narcissist.

When engaging with them and you begin to notice you are feeling that agitated, anxious, frightened, unsafe inner state, you can be sure that they are applying one of the manipulation tactics you’ve educated yourself on.

So now is the time for you to pause, and begin observing. Ask yourself which of the tactics it might be, and watch them go at it.

Practicing this reinforces that you are copping narcissistic abuse, and it is NOT YOU.

Significantly, your refusal to continue owning and accepting what is being to dealt to you gets under way. This gradually undermines the enmeshment with the narc and your emotional reactivity when under attack.

3. Starve the narcissist

Remaining under attack is not an option. It is time for you to disentangle, starve the narcissist, and protect yourself, starting now.

Having prepared yourself with steps 1 & 2, now is the time to stop one behaviour and start a new one.

STOP explaining yourself. Time to shine the light of the curious scientist on yourself. How many times a day do you find yourself justifying every little thing to your abuser? How do you feel when you do this? Is it a programmed reaction where you don’t even think about it being necessary to explain yourself, or does it come from a reflective, mindful place where you think they deserve an explanation?

If you are reading this, automatic justifications are likely to be the primary form of communication from you to your abuser because you have been programmed that this is what is expected from you.

Relating this way whether the narc is your partner, parent, colleague, or friend, leaves you feeling very small and worthless. This is because, when you are in this cycle, you are giving away your power. You are agreeing you owe them whatever it is they are brainwashing you into handing over. It is essentially, A-grade supply for your narc.

START using non-defensive statements. This is similar to stopping the endless explanations, in that your mindset must be in that same place of seeking to unhook and disengage with the games.

Where chronic justifying is a largely pre-emptive strike, just in case the narc may react badly to any given situation (you know, the whole walking on eggshells thing), non-defensive statements are about what to do when actually under attack* and the manipulations are coming thick and fast at you.

Some examples of non-defensive statements are:

  • I’m sorry you don’t approve of ‘xyz’.
  • You are absolutely entitled to your opinions.
  • I accept that your perception is that I am ‘xyz’- this one isn’t about agreeing with them, it is about stating that you are no longer getting into the word salad hell anymore.
  • I’m sorry you are angry/hurt etc.
  • I hear you feel angry/hurt etc.
  • I hear what you are saying.
  • That is interesting.
  • I see.

It’s a good idea to practice these in regular interactions to counter the programming and ease your comfort with using them when needed with your narc.

If you are also codependent, these are also likely to generally be useful in relationships other than with your narc, acknowledging that these patterns of relating may be particularly challenging for you to break.

Whilst tricky, whether codependent or not, YOU CAN DO IT. Focus on your goals: reclaiming your power, freedom, and a life of joy. Hold these in your heart, mind, and soul. Use them as a mantra to empower you as you take these vital steps in unhooking from your narc.

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Warning! When you starve the narcissist, supply is being withheld from them. The narc will NOT like your inner transformations. The change in you will make them unhappy as you will starve the narcissist from their drug. Thing is, your life, is not about making them happy. It is about making you happy. To get to that place, you must take steps to protect yourself and move towards freedom.

You are strong. You are courageous. You are so very worthy. YOU CAN DO IT.

Please do leave a comment below with your insights on how to emotionally unhook and starve the narcissist, and any advice to those who are in the process of educating themselves on narcissistic abuse. Sharing and encouraging others is so very necessary to help all of us on our journey of recovery.

*Note – none of these suggestions are advocated for if at any time you feel unsafe whether that be physically, sexually, mentally, emotionally, or psychologically. Your safety must be your primary focus. Please reach out to authorities and support services in your local area for immediate assistance.

With gratitude,

Maggie x

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88 thoughts

    1. Thank you agoodlittlegirl. I’m sorry you have experienced so many narcissists in your life. Unfortunately, this pattern is common when the abuse starts from birth as you say. It sounds like you have now broken free from these cycles – it is so wonderful!

      1. Overcoming years of programming is no easy feat! Boundaries are definitely something I need to mindfully practice as well. Hurrah for getting to this point for us both!

  1. Thank you for listing the non defensive responses. I have the hardest time keeping my cool in the middle of the word salad hell, as it is maddening to have to keep defending myself etc. I hope to be able to transition out of this mess as quietly as I can.

    1. It is extremely challenging to keep cool when your buttons are being pushed isn’t it! Being aware of the ploys being used to agitate an emotional response definitely helps. Couple this with desire to transition out and there is no doubt you can do this. Best wishes to you Broken Wings, soon to be Wings Made for Soaring Heights x

    2. I learned to say, “I will think about that” as my go too. I knew before I had the conversation with my narc how it would go and I would be stressed through the roof before we talked. This helped me immensely because then when I entered the conversation I had a plan and would not be sucked into his agenda.

      1. Dear Toni – YES! This is is a great tip, another one is ‘I’ll get back to you on that’ – same sort of thing. This is such a great buffer to allow time to diffuse and respond rather than react. Doing this when learning to implement boundaries with anyone is also really helpful. In Reacting vs. responding: Overcoming legacy of abuse and narcissism Thanks for sharing your wisdom Toni – bring on all you feel like sharing! Light & love to you, Maggie x

    3. Word salad…. good terminology – I am just starting to fully understand the pervasive ways my “husband” has manipulated me in all areas of my life to become powerless and small. This website, a ton of books and CODa meetings are all helping me to stand 💪🏻

      1. Dear Denise, thank you for sharing. Here’s the thing. This ‘husband’ has failed. He may have influenced you to feel powerless and small, but there is NOTHING powerless and small about you. You are grabbing every resource available to do what you want to be doing. Which is stand. And gorgeous one, standing is precisely what you are doing. You are making it happen despite the very real obstacles that arise from being abused. No need for him to step aside. You are claiming the power and beauty within you. As this rises, as you rise, he fades. Both physically and metaphorically. Do it gorgeous one. Stand. I’m so excited for where you are heading. Light and love to you Denise, dear warrior. Maggie x

  2. I recently broke up and am still in touch with my ex. As i was doing my research over his heartless behaviour i came across NPD. Even though we weren’t together he was using me as a supply but now i feel educated enough to cut him out of my life completely.

    1. Hiya shewroteherheart – go you! I hope you are feeling the freedom and joy come back into your life following your decision. Best wishes to you and may you go from strength to strength – have no doubt you will x

  3. Excellent article! I’ve done an ENORMOUS amount of research on these individuals as I am currently involved with one. At this time I’m not ready for NO CONTACT, therefore I have employed the comments suggested in this article. I do NOT engage him in his negativity and projections. I ALWAYS call him out on every narcissistic trait he shows and I ALWAYS take the gray rock approach. I do not compliment, show admiration, apologies are never forthcoming from me, and I love you never leaves my lips! I have found that the leas I physically (see him) engage him, or verbally engage him is working! I show absolutely NO emotions whatsoever. The problem I’m seeing is he still texts, calls, etc. I see his spewing of fake charm and love for what it is and I steadfastly remain calm, neutral and completely blank of any emotion. Thanks for the great read.

    1. Grace, well done! You must feel really proud of yourself to be taking such steps in protecting yourself from the negativity and sucking you dry. Really great points too on being savvy to the love bombing trying to hoover you back in. You sound super strong and determined to get yourself free, kudos. Thanks for your kind words, and for sharing your insights on what’s working for you with everyone – sharing knowledge is so very helpful for all of us on this same journey. High five to you lovely x

  4. I have been in a 3 year hell with my ex-husband. His behavior is so irrational it has made me feel crazy. I truly thought that the word narcissist was just a politically correct phrase for Asshole. But, I happened across some of your articles and I have been educating myself about NPD and narcissistic abuse and recovery and it has given me great peace to learn that the things I am experiencing are explainable. Some of the articles I’ve read have paralleled my story in a chilling way. The problem is that we share 3 amazing children who adore their Dad. And the more I try no contact the more he drags the kids into everything and tries to contact me through the kids and it is upsetting to my kids. They get upset with me for not communicating with their Dad. I have tried to take every power from him but now he uses the kids to hurt me by denying me my time with them or by using the “Savior” technique when they are in trouble to turn them against me. I am trying to hold my ground but I am tired of everything being a fight. And I mean EVERYTHING! I do not give him an emotional response or any response most days but that just makes him spiral and things get more extreme. I need advice on how to co-parent with my narcissist without being the victim anymore. I’m tired of being his emotional punching bag. And by tired…I mean…MY SOUL IS TIRED!!!

    1. Dearest Anon – you are gorgeous! Love it – ‘narcissist as politically correct term for a*hole’ – not sure you’re off track there ;). I hear you Anon, learning more about the patterns of the disorder as experienced by others and ourselves is chilling because of the almost cookie cut behaviors, yet also reassuring as this is the hallmark of diagnosable disorders. I’m definitely hearing that you have come a powerfully long way in your journey, taking stock of what’s happening and taking charge of your life – kudos to you. That takes HUGE guts. Particularly when sharing children and navigating the interlinked relationships involved – this is so courageous and you are clearly claiming your strength & needs. I also hear you when you talk about soul exhaustion – I’ve used this term and heard others use the very same words many times. This is precisely what narcs do: they need to suck your soul dry in order to survive. I’d love to chat with you to brainstorm strategies together to move away from that emotional punching bag feeling – please email me if you would like to pursue this. You’ve got this Anon – at times it’s a seemingly impossible journey, but you are nevertheless charging down that path x

      1. The thing I struggle the most with is that my ex-husband now uses the kids to hurt me or control me because I have taken every other power away. He knows exactly how to hurt me. I am trying really hard not to give him a reaction and rarely do I give him a response of any kind, because regardless of the topic he will try to put little jabs in to try and escalate things. He has my kids saying to me now, “you need to communicate with Dad.” My go to response is, “I do communicate with Dad, He just doesn’t like my opinion. Agreeing and communicating are two totally different things.”
        I can say that 3 years later this little to no contact or communication has helped the situation. In the beginning he would text me 40-50 times a day until he had me mad and crying for days at a time. Then it was weekly, then bi-weekly, then monthly, now it’s usually around a child’s birthday or holiday. He seems to spiral at any holiday. He has had me in a court battle that won’t end. I’m so done! He owes me thousands of dollars that I’m too tired to fight for. He has now taken me to court for the 5th time in 3 years to drop his child support and make me pay him child support claiming that his income has dropped below mine. I’m in a waiting pattern the Judge has up to 60 days to make her decision. He has the money and has continued to pay a lawyer to fight. I gave up on paying the lawyer a year ago as it was costing more in legal fees to maintain my support than I was actually getting in support. I find myself wishing that time sharing kids will go by faster. Then that makes me sad because I’m wishing away their childhood because I’m struggling to cope. My biggest sadness is feeling like half of my Motherhood was robbed from me, as we share 50/50 custody. When my kids are with their Dad I struggle to cope. I want the pain to stop. I’m so tired. I keep busy, and put a smile on my face but I feel like I’m screaming on the inside.

      2. Dear Anon, I can hear your exhaustion. I am sorry you are facing this extremely difficult situation. You are 100% on the money is saying that he is using your children to control and manipulate you. It’s evident in your description that he very much needs your negative reactions to feel OK. This isn’t OK. I’m glad that reducing contact, and using grey rock techniques have been helpful in navigating his attempts to provoke you. All of the defending and protecting yourself is sucking you dry of your energy hence the exhaustion. Given the court battle, and difficulties in share custody are a reality, it’s important to be implementing strategies that replenish your energy stores. I am planning on introducing online coaching functionality post a pilot phase to supplement and reach a broader audience than I currently do with face to face coaching – would you like to have a session to brainstorm strategies, of course at no cost as it will be assisting me with the testing? If you are interested, please email me at narcwise@gmail.com. Very best, most juicily full of energy wishes to you Anon, Maggie

    2. I have moved all non-emergency contact to be done via email or using the Our Family Wizard app. Luckily I was suggested that early by another friend. It greatly cuts down on the interactions required.

      Of course he always tries to engage. My simple, go-to response: “I need to think about that. Perhaps you can email your position so I can take time to consider it and respond later.” It’s passive aggressive, gray rock at its finest.

      Dealing w kids is much harder. I’ve started this approach, “I wish your dad had not discussed that with you. I understand that’s his perspective and mine is different from his. I am more interested in the relationship between yourself and i than discussing the past.”

      If he’s using the savior, try this: “I’m glad your dad is willing to help you. I am also here for you, but I have confidence you could have figured out a solution on your own. What might you have done?”

      Canned, rehearsed, responses like this are helpful.

      Keep fighting the good fight. Good luck.

      1. Fabulous! Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom and practical tips. I have no doubt these will be really helpful to our community. Rehearsing responses is such a good thing to do, this way we feel (and are) prepared and makes navigating any emotional responses so much easier. All the best CJ and hope to hear from you again soon with more advice 🙂

    3. To Anon, I know what you feel. I have a child who sees her dad. its only once a week but its been awful. I have been absolutely occupied with just surviving and have found my recovery really tough, but thank god for the internet and sites and articles like this. I don’t know wether it will ever end with my ex. I’m lucky as a friend has done handovers for the last 6 months and that’s given me a break, but the thing is, he still says things to my daughter and it drives me mad because I don’t want her to have to deal wwith it, or to influenced by it. He seems to have got a really strong hold on her, just from his little contact and all the manipulations he puts on to her. Its horrible, I hate how her has played the ‘poor me’ game with her, making out like I’m the difficult one and if “Mummy would agree then we could all spend time together” etc etc. I hate how it makes my daughter feel sorry for him and how disgusting it is of him to ask her to “ask Mummy if she’ll come with us, come on a trip/holiday together”etc. I hate feeling helpless about this. its not me I’m worried about, its our daughter, the way she’s being brought into the riduculousness. I know I’m never going back to him and hes not going to get anything out of it from me becos I’m getting my life back together now. but I wish things could be normal, for my daughter, she’s only 6 and its always been like this. Ive got no support. my parents I’m NC with whilst he has kept in touch with them and takes my daughter to see them against my wishes. I’m exhausted from my yearning to be able to protect my daughter and my helplessness to do so completely. I’ve lost so much from them. I’ve been to hell and I feel sad to see that i’ve lost 11 yrs of my life since I met him, and it wasn’t easy b4 that either due to family dysfunction/emotional abuse. Thanks for writing. It helps me knowing there are others out there experiencing similar. helps to feel less alone at times. good luck to you. remind yourself that without you things would be worse for your kids, but I know, leaving your kids with a man like this is really, really hard. Maggie’s right though, you have to use the time you have to care for you. that’s something I’m less able to do as I have more time with my daughter. be totally dedicated to your recovery. u never know what’s going to happen. if your kids end up coming back to you ful time for some reason, or for more time…you wana be at your best and be able to make the most of it xx

      1. Hi Sarah Jayne – Thank you for reaching out to Anon xxx Supporting each other is so invaluable. The battle can feel so lonely at times. Knowing there are people out there who get it, and care is gold. I’m sorry that you are also experiencing your own battles with your ex. Despite this, you sound clear and strong. Well done to you. I can also hear how focused you are on your daughter, she is lucky to have you. With gratitude, Maggie x

    1. Hi someone. Such a great question. To be sure a diagnosis by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist would take place. In reality, because of the nature of the disorder, help (and therefore diagnosis) is rarely sought. Why seek help when an individual believes they are superior to all others and any issues that occur in life are entirely the fault of others? Again, in reality, diagnoses really only happen when things go really wrong and they are caught in some way, for instance in the justice system, or in settings such as couples or family therapy. But if the question is about verifying whether someone you know is a narcissist, the most important questions to ask are – ‘what do you think? and what do you feel in relation to this person?’. Cause if you feel the impacts of abuse, the label doesn’t matter in any way. The only priority, is taking care of you. I’ve built a glossary you can check out as well that includes definitions, these might help as well. All the best to you Someone x

  5. Thank you for your reply – mine left me after I walked out 2 weeks ago – but now I feel so guilty for even thinking this might be the cause of our weird 13 year relationship…thanks again

    1. Well done for looking after you. This is a wonderful stand you’ve taken for yourself, and so full of courage. Kudos. Guilt is really common when leaving the narc in our lives. Unfortunately this is one of the effects of the abuse and how we have been programmed. There’s lots to ‘de-program’ but you can do it, and removing yourself from what wasn’t working for you is the first step to giving yourself the space you need to start healing. Again well done Someone. You will rock this x

  6. Any suggestions on a narcissistic mother-in-law??? EXTREMELY controlling, does not respect boundaries and is constantly talking badly about people. I am to the point of NO CONTACT with her as I am Extremely uncomfortable around her and never know what is going to set her off. The only problem is my kids still want to be around her as she is their grandma, but I dont want them to have to deal with any of the mind games she tries to pull!!! 🙁

    1. Hi Someone, this is tricky. Can you try going Low Contact (LC) with her, and having a discussion where you explicitly state very clear boundaries in relation to your children? I hear you when you say that she doesn’t respect boundaries, so it may be that if she refuses to once you have laid out that these are the conditions for future engagement with your children, you consider going No Contact. When communicating with her whilst LC perhaps going grey rock and limiting information provision is the way to go, and are either telling her flat out you don’t wish to hear negative talk about others or refusing to engage when she does – perhaps leaving the room, or ending the call etc.? Have you already tried these? Maggie x

      1. Thank you so much for the reply, it really means a lot, for awhile I thought I was the one that was crazy, but your information really really puts it in perspective that it is NOT me or it is NOT my husband! I just truly do not understand how someone can act like this, I am having such a hard time with this because I never grew up in a situation like this. As for me I no longer have ANY contact with my mother in law. We have moved 3 hours away from her, which you can imagine what a HUGE heal that was (UGHH), so I would say we are going LC with her. It’s just my husband still has to talk to her, and I have just realized that he grew up doing a mixture of the gray rock method and lying to deal with the emotional abuse from his mother, which sadly has carried into our relationship, it took me 12 years to realize all of this!!! He is finally realizing that how he grew up is NOT ok, but now he doesn’t really know how to interact with his mom the healthy way. Would you just suggest to set VERY clear boundaries and if she cannot respect that than no contact?

      2. Dear Someone – I hear you. Unfortunately, the feeling crazy is all part of their game. Hurrah for claiming that you are not! Yes I also really struggle with the concept that some do behave this way, I often find myself thinking – ‘surely if they just realised what they were doing they would stop!’ – WRONG. And again, sadly thinking this way is also part of the effects of narcissistic abuse. Huge congrats on making it through the move, this is such a great step. I wonder whether things will start to shift a little naturally with the physical separation added to the LC? It sounds like your husband is working through some hard stuff and wading through through it all, which is fantastic. As is, the fact that you guys are also working through things together. Another hurrah! Only you will know when/if no contact is the way to go. My litmus test for this is asking yourself whether interactions are mostly harmful to you/your husband/your children and then deciding what you will do if the answer is yes. If unsure, then very definitely, I agree that strong, clear boundaries must be put in place. If these are violated, then consequences must immediately be carried out so that she understands you are serious. E.g.: ‘Sure you can see the kids, please be here to pick them up by 5pm’ – if no show by then, no hang out time with kiddies. Sounds rough, but it is about communicating that your lines are firm, and can no longer be crossed. Arguments, manipulations etc. will ensue – do not engage, remember grey rock. This is difficult when emotions are triggered – ask yourself what will cost me and my family the least emotionally, mentally, psychologically in response to this right now. Most often the answer will be to state your point in a limited way, and engage no further. Negotiating your point of view needs to be removed from the table. I currently coach face to face and will be integrating an online offering shortly. During the testing phase, I will be looking for people willing to provide me with feedback to make sure it’s all working well technology wise, of course the sessions during testing would be at no cost. If you are interested in participating, send me an email at narcwise@gmail.com 🙂 All the best Someone, Maggie x

  7. This is the most concisely written article I have read on the abusive narc and the idealization phase and the flip to the devaluation phase which is where I am with my narc husband. But the MOST tremendous shift for me is now understanding how I have spent the last ten years attempting to speak rationally to the irrational narc and that reacting with my hurt and defending myself was just feeding the vampire. I will now focus on using the tools of ignoring/responding rather than reacting to move toward recovery and freedom for my spirit and a healthier reality for my teenage sons.
    THANK YOU!

    1. Oh Elizabeth, I am so delighted to hear such positivity! It sounds like you’ve been through a great deal and are taking strong and definite steps to take care of you and your sons. This brings me joy. I have a piece on responding vs. reacting which may be of interest although sounds like you are on a very clear path. Keep in touch, I would love to hear of journey, and I’m sure others would too – hearing of healing and recovery is so very inspiring. Also, thank you so very much for your very kind words, I really appreciate them 🙂 All the best to you and your boys, Maggie x

  8. My husband’s mother is this way and it’s tough but he’s finally starting to break those chains. He finally sees what she’s doing so it’s become easier. She even told me that nothing and no one would ever come between her and him and she put it in a letter to me and her handwriting. She told him he wasn’t allowed to read the letter but I told him he needed to and after he read it and he realized what she was doing. He starting to break those chains and she doesn’t like it she know she’s losing control and it’s killing her. She has to be in control and she has to be the one who tells everybody what to do but she’s not able to do that anymore and she’s losing control, literally. She cries and pouts but nothing works anymore.

    1. Hi Cowgirrl, wow. I feel for you & your husband. It must be really challenging. What absolute nonsense to infer you are coming between her & your husband. The only one coming between her & your husband is her own controlling self! What a testament to the both of you that her threats are just not working, & clearly never will because you both see the manipulations for what they are. Well done, & kudos to you both! Thank you for sharing Cowgirrl :). Please do share any tips you have for the letting go phase, these are so helpful for many on this journey. Very best to you, Maggie x

  9. Love the article, I’m glad that I stumbled upon it. I’ve been trying to educate myself about NPD, I live with a husband of 20 years. We have 2 wonderful teenage children, and I’m worried that my kids will lose respect from their father. I’m pretty positive he is NPD, and it took me too long to realize that. He is very insecure and jealous of anyone who is being nice to me, or if I’m being nice and communicative with others. I recently realised that when his insecurity hits, (usually when we are with friends or large group of people) he shows aggression toward me and accuses me of being extremely flirtatious. I would try to communicate and defend myself, but no use. He cuts all communications with me, moves out of our bedroom. No contact at all. Now I’m trying to ignore his behavior completely, I’m not even trying to conect and it feels good. I had to educate my kids about it too. They suspected his condition before I even realized. How sad is that. I wonder if I should even tell him that his behavior is very narcissistic, should I even go that road. I’m very confused on how to manage this marriage, since divorcing could be impossible.

    1. Dear A girl, thank you for sharing your story. This sounds like a tricky situation, particularly noting that there is suggestion of feeling perhaps a little stuck in the marriage. It’s really positive that you are educating yourself on what may be going on and this is helping you. I believe the more we learn, the more options we feel we have even when very real constraints may exist. High five to you. It also sounds like this is proving fruitful and you are beginning to detach to protect yourself.
      I’m reaching out at the moment to members in the Narc Wise community who are looking to brainstorm strategies to navigate circumstances with the narcissist in their lives. I’m introducing online coaching functionality through the site post a pilot phase to supplement and reach a broader audience than I currently do with face to face coaching. If you are interested in participating in this (of course at no cost to you other than your investment in yourself and feedback for me on the pilot!) please email me at narcwise@gmail.com. All the very best to you A girl, take care of you, Maggie x

    2. Hi
      I too was married 20 years to an insecure and troubled “little boy”. Our family life was chaotic and he dominated everything. I was feeling sucked dry but lost and like you, what could I do? So i buried my head in the sand.
      My teenager daughter asked me one day “mum, why are you with him?” and I woke up. My husband was “kind” and “caring” “adored me” and was not that “type of guy”. But he suddenly started being secretive about his phone and seemed happier than his usual morose self. So one day I checked his phone (is never done it before ever) and there it all was. My “soulmate” was going on dates and visiting prostitutes and even contacting them afterwards via text. His buddy knew all about it. So I packed his bags and asked him to leave. He was so embarrassed by me confrontating him that he took off. I am in a very badly paid job but you know, i’m better off now without him. He had been draining us financially for years!
      So dear Lady. Trust your instincts and ask yourself Do I really want to live my life this way? Oh and check the phone or his email. Porn, dating websites, whores. Then you’ll know. I wish you well. It’s hard but 6 months on. I know it’s worth it.

  10. Wow. Forty five years to finally understand I am not crazy. I believe my mom and sister are codependant NPD. I switch between relief and anger/frustration that they have been able to treat me this way for so long. No more. I’ve had 3 therapists in the past ask me why I continued to let these people in my life. (None said a thing about NPD) “But they’re my family.” It was finally my kids asking questions about how my family interacts with me to lead me to figure this out so I can be better example for them.
    Fortunately my ex husband is starting to really see them for who they are. It wasn’t always that way. (He is the alternate golden child when my sis isn’t available while I remain the scapegoat for everyone) He is now very supportive of me and kids going LC. (We might need NC, we’ll see)
    It’s almost comical how I can predict interactions. Confusion-anger-blame-feigned apology-health related guilt trip. (I’m a nurse, this has been very successful for her in the past).
    These articles are so helpful to understand techniques to use when you must interact with people who are NPD.

    1. Hiya TK! So great to hear from you. How wonderful and intuitive are your children to have sussed out that how you are being treated is just not right. This is such a testament to who they are, but also who you are and how you have raised them. To have lived through narcissistic abuse and raised children who are so clear on what love should look like is pretty amazing. Kudos to you. Also high five for taking steps to protect yourself and your family. Why put up with it if it is sucking you dry right?
      Yeah, therapists are not supposed to diagnose people they have not had the chance to assess – still your need for validation is extremely important especially against a backdrop of continual invalidation.
      I guess the ability to predict their behaviour is a plus – if only it was predicting loving behaviour huh? May I ask what the health related guilt trips are about? Is this all about how you make them sick etc. or something else? I’m intrigued and would love to know more. Thanks for your kind words also TK 🙂 Maggie

      1. Mom has a heart problem, Dad diabetes with complications, sis has some new GI issues. My mom thinks if she adds something health related it will add an extra incentive for me to engage with her. I’ve caught her exaggerating symptoms. But yet she doesn’t want my help or opinion. It’s solely added for manipulation. “See how sick I/we are (or might be). You owe me attention because of it.”
        Anytime advice has been given or asked for it’s almost always dismissed and rejected, especially if it’s not what they want to hear. It’s amazing how much they know despite not having any medical degrees.
        This is one area my kids (13,15) started asking questions about a couple years ago.
        Why does she ask you questions but then say you’re wrong? Why does she believe the doctor but not you when you say the same thing?

      2. Ah, yes. The psychosomatic narcissist who uses illness, whether real or imagined, to manipulate others. Wowsers, and you have three of them! AND you’re a nurse so they must figure this is the perfect recipe for endless attention! I love your comment ‘it’s amazing how much they know despite not having any medical degrees’ – so true. I have members in my family who are just the same – know more than all medical professionals, lawyers, essentially anyone trained in a particular area who also has the facts of a situation to make an informed opinion/decision. But what would the professionals know right! Your kids are smart as whips. I’m sorry your narcs are so disrespectful of you as a person, as a family member and as a trained professional. If they don’t want to hear your views, perhaps they shouldn’t expose you to the health issue downloads? I know, I know, logic will never prevail for these peeps…All the best TK! Stay strong!

  11. Hi, I’ve been reading your articles and all very good. But now I am wondering if I’m exhibiting some narc qualities myself… is this what is intended? Self doubt? The reason I wonder is because when my elusive “boyfriend” pulls one of his stunts – insults, denial, lying, ignoring me, choosing other people first etc., I lose my temper wanting him to leave me alone and end the painful situations. Inevitably he claims I’m silly and he won’t fight with me, yet I feel he starts it. Finally the last straw recently I came at him with everything I had…trying to hurt him with personal insults to get him to go away. He has gone way.
    He hasn’t responded to a couple messages I sent…one where I actually apologized. I feel crazy and I don’t want to turn into him!

    This is the second guy I dated like this and wondering how to get better….but I think I found it in your boundaries article. Thank you

    1. Hi Someone! Self-doubt is unfortunately something most victims go through with narcissistic abuse. It is a result of gaslighting, and many of the other tactics used, precisely to have you question reality, and most of all, yourself. It is such great news that you are now free from what you describe as it does indeed sound like a painful situation. Re losing your temper – push anyone to the limit and there will always be a tipping point. You had the grace to apologise. This means that you reflected on your actions, felt remorse for them, and took responsibility for your behaviour. A narcissist would not do these things. I think you’re safe in not being what you fear ;). Also, wanting to avoid pain is actually a very healthy way to be, this is an excellent sign. I wish you all the best in continuing to pursue a life that gives you joy! Maggie x

      1. Thank you Maggie. I feel good and bad that it’s over, I guess that’s normal. Now onto learning on setting up boundaries!

  12. I recently ended a relationship with a narc. He has put me through so much the last 2 years and I finally was brave enough to walk away. I hadn’t spoken to him in over a month and he showed up at my door with a ring (too small for me I might add) and proposed to me. Because I have been able to educate myself, I was able to see this as a ploy to get me back. I politely said no and asked him to leave. Thankfully my son was home at the time so he didn’t cause a scene. But now he has begun a smear campaign against me. I am trying my best to let it all go but it is hard! Is there any advice for how to handle this?

    1. Hi Christina, thanks for sharing.
      First of all, well done to you refusing the silly sized ring, and of course, more importantly a life of misery – what strength! What clarity!
      Oh the smear campaign is awful isn’t it? I’m sorry you are experiencing this on top of the wounds you must be healing from sharing your life with the narc.
      Unfortunately, I don’t think that there is anything you can do other than what you are doing. Reacting is precisely what the narc is hoping for. Sadly, because reactions necessarily are likely to be emotive/defensive, those listening to the poison tend to question the defender rather than the poisoner which doesn’t help in putting a stop to things.
      So my advice, is to a) accept that it is happening, and that you cannot stop it; b) accept that some may turn against you as a result, and you may lose people – this is actually a positive, weeding out the negative is fundamental to living your best life (even though I know it hurts!) and c) look forward to knowing that whoever stands by your side, are gold – these are the people you want in a life of freedom & joy.
      In short, do nothing but focus on feeding the self-respect you’ve already got going on, knowing that those who cannot also respect you by not participating in the smear campaign are simply not worthy of you. Really happy to chat more, don’t hesitate to email me narcwise@gmail.com. Maggie x

  13. 20 years of my life living in a deep gray cloud of guilt and worthlessness. Not a way to live. I need out. Easier said than done. The past week I have been reading and realizing what he is. I feel duped. I feel like an idiot. This mess is no way to live. I don’t even know who I am anymore.

    1. Hey LostTraveler,
      First up, let me say, I can hear how lost you feel. I’m so sorry this is the space you’re in, and all the experiences that have led you to feeling this way. It’s just not ok, and you deserve so much more.
      The good news is, although you feel lost, these steps you are taking right now are leading you out. Out of the mess. And back to finding you again. This is wonderful – thank yourself for this.
      It’s a hard road as you say. No two ways about it. But you CAN do whatever it is you need to do to look after you starting right now. The steps you’re taking to clear the fog are evidence of this. If you’d like to reach out, even have a one-on-one coaching session (at no cost right now, while I’m undertaking a testing phase using different online technology), get in touch: narcwise@gmail.com. Sending you all the strength you need to take care of you right now – Maggie x

  14. My most dangerous point in the relationship is when I started to not be the ‘good wife’. I didn’t know about all these steps back then. However, I instinctively started to pull away and start looking at what was really going down. I personally would never ( again ) do this portion of separating from my abuser unless already out of a live in situation with that person. Once I stopped feeding the abuser, and used very similar rebuttals as mentioned above, the abuser started accusing me of mockery and or humiliation. At the end of that horrific 12 year relationship, my life had actually not only been verbally threatened but also physically threatened. The one thing I know for sure now, is that no matter what, personal safety is more important than ‘butting heads’ with a spouse who is a narcissist, especially while living together.

    1. Dear His Stepford Wife. Absolutely, I couldn’t agree with you more. I’m glad you’ve underscored this point, and that you found your way to safety. Well done. Maggie x

      To all readers, to reiterate the points made in the article & His Stepford Wife: No suggestions are advocated for if at any time you feel unsafe whether that be physically, sexually, mentally, emotionally, or psychologically. Your safety must be your primary focus. Please reach out to authorities and support services in your local area for immediate assistance. This applies to ALL articles on Narc Wise, and any advice received from any source. You must trust your instincts, present danger, and knowledge of any given parties or the situation at hand to make decisions that protect your safety at all times. Maggie x

  15. My narcissistic boyfriend of just over one year walked out of my life 3 months ago. The wreckage in his wake is unbelievable, my mind, body and sole feels shredded. I am doing the research necessary to find the ability to become whole again and I now realize the extent of the trauma. My problem is this, when I met him he had a 91 yr old mother that he lived with and took care of, or so he said. I had just lost my mother 3 months earlier, she was the love of my life, I took care of her for 13 years and she died in my arms. I was spiraling without her. I took on the responsibility of transitioning his mother into a nursing home and have taken care of her everyday since. He is so disconnected from his mother it breaks my heart. How do I cut him out of my life without harming his mother? She calls me 5 times a day to see if I’ve eaten, slept and tells me I am her whole life and she doesn’t know what she would do without me. I run into him occasionally at the nursing home and his hatred for me is choking. How do I disconnect his supply in the situation I’ve just described? The whole thing is just tragic.

    1. Dear Tina, my apologies for the delay in responding to you, I’ve not seen this message until now. This does sound like a tricky situation. But it also sounds like you and his mother have a separate special relationship between the two of you, right? Are you and he No Contact other than running to him at times at the nursing home? If so, do you know of the grey rock method? Providing no interaction with him when you do bump into him would be the way to go (including body language/reactions as this would be of value supply wise as well – so if you need to, simply walking away when you see him come close). If you are no contact, your relationship with his mother shouldn’t be any of his business really. Focus on protecting yourself when you do bump into him by not giving any more of yourself as supply. Let me know if you’ve not heard of grey rock. Look after you. Sending you light & love, Maggie x

  16. I have truly enjoyed your article. I have been fiercely searching articles to try to determine if my husband has a narcissistic personality. We have been married 40 years this September. I always knew something was going on but he also radiated as a great loving person. I will say he is a very loving person and acts totally different when around others. He did have a horrible childhood and I justified his actions because of that. I just always wanted the ones I love to be happy, not truly realizing how bad it was effecting myself. Things started really escalating when I confirmed to him that I knew he was being unfaithful. He admitted it but later stated it never happened. He stated that was what I wanted to hear so he just decided to let me believe it and just sat back and laughed. Now about 9 years later he is always bringing up finances and trying to make it look like I just blow money (when it is really him), trying to find fault with me. I am a Christian and have been so torn the last few years on if I should walk out or stay. I wish I could find a support group near me. I could write a book, thank you for the article and allowing me to vent a little.

    1. Dear Hurting Nana, I’m so sorry for your hurt and I pray you find your way to what it is you want to do. When you say you are a Christian hence are torn, does this mean that you feel obliged to stay because of your faith? If so, does this also mean that were it not for being a Christian you would leave?
      Hurting Nana, there are 12 step groups that may be of help. They are of course not directly related to support for narcissistic abuse, but the codependency (CoDA) and Al-Anon groups may be worth checking out? I’ve recently been receiving many requests on this front, and have been thinking about setting up a closed group for this purpose via the Facebook page – would this be of interest to you? Sending you the clarity you are looking for to help you on your journey to freedom & joy Hurting Nana. Maggie x

  17. I really need to do this, but find it so very hard. I love him so much, but I suspect he still sees other women besides me. Even his ex wife. She tried to warn me you see…but I believed she was crazy just like he told me she was.

    1. Dear Faith, I’m sorry for what you are going through. Where you’re at is so very difficult. Although there is much written on how the negative aspects of personality disorder’d individuals are, we don’t often read about the challenges faced in terms of loving them. I hear you love him. But is he loving you dear lady if he is indeed breaking your heart piece by piece? And are you loving you if you accept this as being OK with you? Please accept my questions as coming from a place without judgement. I have faced a similar quandary as the one you are in now. I urge your love for yourself to be greater than all else at this time. You need you right now. If you would like to chat, please don’t hesitate to email me (maggie@narcwise.com). If you do want to detach, I have full confidence in you that you will get there. You are not alone. Sending you all the love, strength and light you might need. Maggie x

  18. Very informative and i will try to apply your suggestions, hoping for a better environment for our kids… My husband is a narc, now i sometimes question myself also if he is or am i the one who’s NPD… Btw, we’ve been married for 18 years, i tried leaving this marriage, but i cant sacrifice being with my children especially my youngest, one and only daughter… She needs to be protected from any harm in thjs world

    1. Dear FilipinaLife, if you are questioning who is the narc read How you know you’re not the narcissist: your proof. It is evident from your message that you are not through the commitment, care and empathy you have for your children. If you were, you would only be thinking of you. I wish you all the very best FilipinaLife – take care of you and follow your path to freedom and joy, Maggie x

  19. It taken me 2.5 yrs to see him for the person he is
    This time last year I decided to move to the city centre a smaller place and for my daughters social life also for myself as I have Me, diabetic and thyroid problems.
    I have always been a strong independent woman and never had to rely on a man,
    My move date was last October,he moved before me into the place next door,he’s now had to move behind my building he owns his own home but left it idle while renting,it came out of the blue I didn’t know he was thinking of moving
    I have been extremely ill for the past few months and now I realise he’s been destroying me from beginning
    Got a whole social club against me within a fortnight and the crazy thing was some are family to me and also friends of 40 yrs
    Since primary school all for him
    I should explain he lost his wife 7 yrs ago so I think they were very protecting of him
    I just walked away while he continued to go to the club,smearing me from the start
    I was so thankful to read it above as it’s totally how things went with the relationship so thanks .
    8 weeks ago he’s called me a cripple with a diseased body,funnily enough he’s 22 stone with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp,my nan and Mum were stunning I’m a lil bit more like my dad but some people say I look like liz Hurley,so I think it gave him greater pleasure to destroy me
    I not fed the rat for 2 weeks,I’m trying to get my head round the fact he’s was an empty vessel and I actually felt very much like dying,of frustration,stress,sadness,anger,misery,I couldn’t take my medication?i had actually started to self neglect.
    Today his van was parked outside my apartment but I’m 3 edgehill floor and he has got a homeless guy actually looking out for me sleeping next to my building,
    But I’m not playing his game
    I’m keeping quiet and out of the way until I’m stonger,I feel like a gazelle on the tundra with a lion

    1. Dear Reet, it sounds like you are going through so very much. Are you getting any support? I wonder whether it might be helpful to reach out to local DV services and then pursue support for your safety and wellbeing? The health and security of you and your daughter are paramount. With all you describe these sound compromised. I could be misunderstanding, however if this is what’s happening for you, focusing on ensuring your health and safety are addressed, is a priority. By hooking into support services, once you feel confident these are no longer in jeopardy you can begin healing from all you’ve been through in the relationship. Sending you strength, light and love Reet. Take care of yourself. Maggie x

  20. It took me 33 years of marriage to finally figure out I was not crazy. All the broken promises and one last week of the silent treatment and feeling worthless made me realize this charming, masked man did not deserve me. I deserve to be happy. Unfortunately, due to chronic migraines, I have not worked and must depend on him for everything. No last discussion that I felt I deserved, he is in the process of getting me an apartment. Surprised? Not me. I will be free. I’m strong and know I will get him out of my life for good. My 3 adult kids are taking his side, but I know someday the truth will all come out! Thank you for a very insightful article!

    1. Dear Annie, you do indeed deserve every happiness. Although you weren’t treated as you should have been regarding the new apartment – HURRAH! As you say, you will be free. This is the beginning of so many wonderful things for you Annie, I feel it in my bones. With your strength, and having the physical and internal space to fully unhook from anything and anyone that is negative for you, your life will be yours once more. It may also prove to help with the migraines, as this is a common symptom of C-PTSD sufferers. I am sending you so much light & love, on this journey you are embarking on. Time to do you. Maggie x

  21. I keep coming back to your article over and over again because it is the best advice I have found on how to deal with my narcissistic husband. You have given me some hope.
    My relationship has been a chaotic mess for ten years (except for his excessive love-bombing at the start). The discovery that my husband has NPD has been wonderful but hideous at the same time. On the one hand, thank goodness that I’m not going mad and that none of this misery is my fault. On the other hand, how terrible that I have been completely and utterly duped by this man who has never truly loved me.
    I like to think that I’m a smart woman, but I have really struggled to articulate the chaos and anguish that I have experienced with this man. Not one person has taken me seriously. All I am told is, “Every relationship has its problems”. The result is that I have been covering up for him for years and trying to paint the perfect happy family portrait that everyone else wants to see.
    I know now that bullying, gaslighting and the terrifying fury of narcissistic rage are not normal relationship problems.
    I am excited about a life without him. One where I can see my family without feeling guilty, where I can read a book again and not feel obliged to sit next to him on the couch every night because he needs attention. One where I don’t have to hide my disdain at the amount of alcohol he drinks for the fear that he’ll punch the wall.
    I’m not sure when this new life will start (we have two small children), but my first tactic will be taken from your article and who knows? Maybe, just maybe he’ll leave me.

    1. Dear Better than this. Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry for what you have experienced, yet equally excited at what is about to unfurl for you.
      Maybe he will leave you. And maybe, he won’t. My money is on you. On you seizing the life you are seeking that looks decidedly different from the one that has you sharing it with someone who leaves you feeling disappointed, hurt, confused, duped, secretive, and repelled. As I write to you at this moment, you have convinced me with your words that you are already treading a path towards a a life of joy and freedom.

      And dear Better than this, you note you have struggled to articulate the chaos, yet your words ‘The discovery that my husband has NPD has been wonderful but hideous at the same time. On the one hand, thank goodness that I’m not going mad and that none of this misery is my fault. On the other hand, how terrible that I have been completely and utterly duped by this man who has never truly loved me.’ are so very on point, and succinctly describe that which is unknowable to those who have not experienced it also.
      You are indeed a smart woman. Despite what you have endured with the gaslighting, brainwashing, programming AND positive reinforcement for your husband’s behaviour from those you have reached out to…despite all this, you have not relinquished the truth. Your truth. Bullying, gaslighting, and narcissistic rage are NOT the problems that arise in emotionally healthy relationships.
      Hold your truth close gorgeous one: the knowledge you have, and the vision of where you want to be with your book on the couch, safely content with your two small children. Keep holding it close. Fiercely so. I don’t really need to encourage you to do so, you are already in the process of committing to it.
      Not sure if this is the case? I ask you, can you let it go? Can you let you go? Dear Better than that, who is your money on? Light & love to you. Maggie x

      1. Thank you for your encouraging words. It’s uplifting for me to speak to someone who understands NPD.
        My money is also on me. I have already left him in my mind (in truth I had done this long before NPD unlocked so many answers) but it is going to take me time to prepare. I need legal advice and I need time to save money. He will never leave me so I have to find an alternative place to live and I need paperwork; he will not accept this unless it is final.
        Reading some of the other responses above, I’m dreading what he’ll do and how he’ll behave.
        I have only just learned about NPD and I am still having ”lightbulb moments” almost hourly, when scenarios from the past ten years are all starting to make sense. I’m hoping that by understanding this disorder, it will give me, and others, the knowledge and freedom to allow us to cope in the interim while we plan our exit.
        I just need to get over the shock and anxiety that those “lightbulb moments” are giving me. My stomach is in pieces.
        I also need to work out how to explain this to people when the time comes. My friends and family continually tell me that he, “clearly adores me” because of the over-the-top affection he displays when they’re around for their benefit.
        He is a text book narcissist and he knows all the tricks.
        It’s daunting but I promise to forge ahead.

      2. Dear Better than this. How wonderful. I am so pleased you agree you are the ONLY bet.
        Gorgeous one, allow me to ask…do you really need to figure out how to explain to people? I ask this as it sounds a little like justifying. I could be completely wrong, but that need to justify is entirely a result of the abuse. You never need to explain or justify to anyone a decision made to protect yourself from harm. Never.
        Preparing a statement that you are comfortable is probably a good idea just so you feel ready for the eventuality of questions – but your decisions and reasoning are your own, and for you to decide who/when it serves you to impart them.
        I’m harping on this a bit because this is an adjustment more broadly to be made for your healing. Your mind, your body, your spirit, your life, your choices are yours. Nobody else’s. No approval is needed from any other quarter other than your own.
        Also, any negative judgements from those in an uninformed position, are they really valid in any way? Stay close to those who only have your best interests at heart. Stay close to those precious ones.
        And dear Better than that, may I suggest exploring Domestic Violence support services near you. They can help you plan to leave, including the legal advice referrals and ‘waiting things out’ may not be necessary.
        It is daunting. But you’ve got this. Reach out for any genuine helping hand you find. You don’t need to do this alone. I am sending you all the positivity, strength, and belief in you that you might need along the way. Light & love to you. Good things are coming. Maggie x

  22. I asked for a divorce about a year ago after 13 years. I still loved him very much but it felt like I was watching my life pass me by. I was neglected emotionally and physically. It was never obvious attacks or verbal abuse because he knew I wouldn’t tolerate that. Still not realizing exactly what was happening. He pursued me for a few months, promising me the things I had begged for for years, but my faith in him was gone. His actions never followed his words. We still kept in touch, and about 8 months into the separation, he began to feel sick, shortness of breath, etc., He went to the doctor and had some tests and was told it was just upper respiratory and tried inhalers. Finally, he asked me to take him to the ER in May with a severe headache. Eight hours later, he was have brain surgery to remove a tumor which we now know metastasized from Stage IV lung cancer. Needless to say, because I never stopped loving him, (and I’m human), I was devastated. He had surgery 30 minutes after we were told because all doctors were available right then. I left the room to call his family who didn’t even know we were at the hospital, and when I walked back in, heard him on the phone with someone telling them he was having surgery. As he was hanging up, I heard a woman say, ” I love you”. When I asked who it was, he said it was a customer. (I know). We own a business, but I told him what I’d heard and asked if he was seeing someone. He said yes, for 4 months. Which was only 4 months after we separated. And during that time, he took me to church, and to dinner, telling me he wanted our marriage back. Needless to say, I was shocked and he started to cry telling me that “i” was the one who wanted a divorce. And he kept telling me he didn’t. So at the time, my goal was to calm him down because he was going into brain surgery in 30 minutes and I knew he shouldn’t be upset. After surgery, he said he wanted to come home. That she was “just someone to go to dinner with.” I thought this may be our chance to have the marriage I’d always wanted. Still unaware of his NPD. I would’ve never known what was going on without a lot of reading!

    Long story short, he still had his apartment in town for a few months, which I thought was a blessing in disguise, because he couldn’t drive, and I was able to drop him off on my way to work, and pick him up for treatments, and he could rest while I went back to work. Then I’d pick him up after work to go home. Long story short – he was meaner, and more cruel than ever, not trying to hide it. Usually, it wasn’t so easy to spot. BUT I tolerated it, thinking he just had major surgery, and was going thru brain and chest radiation, etc. Then, I showed up unannounced and found someone else in his bed. Amazing that that’s what it took for my “ah-ha” moment. But, I’m thankful for it. Had it happened any other way, I would certainly have found some way to blame myself or feel guilt. I see so clearly now all the manipulations and gas-lighting that I never realized was happening. Needless to say, we are not together. I went no-contact. But he texts longs texts about how he’s dying and never meant to hurt me, and that he was just mad because he thought I only came back because he got sick (another manipulation), and he needs me and doesn’t want to live whatever time he has left without me, etc, etc, etc. And I’ve responded a few times.

    So although there is no doubt that IT WAS NEVER ME (I’m an empath – and good at it! lol) And I call him out on EVERY single thing he does to gas-light, twist, manipulate now, what is difficult is that his time IS short. We don’t know yet how long. And I still love, what I now know, is the “possibilities” I saw in him, it’s hard to say no to someone you loved and cared for (and still do even though they are not good for you), when you know their time is ticking away….

    1. Dear Bretly, my word you have been through hell. How horrific. Thank you for sharing your story. I can’t imagine how hard this must have been/still must be for you with many layers of complex grief and pain. The reality of illness, and death, in going No Contact is for many, a hard thing to come to grips with. Especially when as you say, there was love. (Having said this, equally for many it is also something they are at peace with). I pray you are making caring for you your priority dear Bretly. As an empath, don’t lose sight of the importance of not ‘pouring from an empty cup’. As a survivor, don’t lose sight of all your truths that have been so hard won. Sending you such healing, protective light & love. Maggie x

  23. But I’m starting to wonder if I’m the narcissist in the relationship. August 5th 2017, out of the clear blue, he decided we needed to “take a break”. We lived together. How were we going to take a break? He left and took some things with him but didn’t completely get all of his things out until the end of December-early January. I didn’t get my key back until February. During those months, there were times where we didn’t speak because he was off doing something else but we never stopped seeing each other, never stopped saying ‘I love you’ and of course, never stopped sleeping with each other. To this day, I have no idea if he actually slept with anyone else despite his consistent confirmation that he didn’t. There were other girls, this I know for a fact, although I’ll never actually know how many. There were so many lies, I don’t know if he ever told me the truth. That was by far, the darkest time in my life. I’ve never been so low, never felt pain like that, never been so confused and all I wanted was for him to come back and love me like I loved him. And then I found out I was pregnant this past April. I’m due December 21st 2018. We’ve been back together for some time now, however, I’m not sure exactly when that happened. The lies continue to surface but I’m honestly so confused that I don’t know if I’m dealing with a narcissist or if I’m just an angry, delusional, untrusting, emotional pregnant woman. I’ve read countless blogs, watched videos on youtube, even talked to his sister. She sees him controlling me, she knows he lies and has since he was a young boy, but is he narcissistic? He admits he can cut his emotions off in the blink of an eye (and it’s true because I’ve seen him do it). He can go from the most loving, kindest person towards me to the coldest, and most hurtful, hateful person I’ve ever met. It’s like he’s 2 people, Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It’s scary at times how he’s able to just flip the switch and turn into someone I don’t know (although I’ve seen this person multiple times over the last 14 months). But is it the anger he harbors towards his Mom for things she’s done in the past? I know I feel like something is ‘off’, something just isn’t right, when he gets angry at me for getting upset at him for criticizing me yet again. I know I feel like I can’t talk to him about anything because he’ll just get pissed off and say I’m being too sensitive. I know I feel like no matter what I do, I can’t win.

    1. Dear Courtney. Let’s for a moment set aside the concept of NPD. I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions.
      1. Why are you researching blogs, videos and talking to his sister? What is causing this search?
      2. You say you feel confused, why?
      3. You also seem to be negating your truth by leaning towards attributing your confusion to being an angry, delusional, untrusting, and emotional person. So what is the truth you are seeking to dismiss? By this I mean, what if you are not an angry, delusional, unstrusting and emotional person who is trying to convince themselves to take full ownership of the behaviours of the two people in your relationship? What is left when all this is stripped bare. What is your truth? How do you feel when there are no excuses for your partner, no denial, and no cognitive dissonance?
      3. Regarding excuses. You describe a switch flipping and this person becoming the coldest, most hurtful, hateful person you’ve ever met. Even if he harbours anger towards his mother, would this set of circumstances make it OK for you to receive this kind of treatment?

      I’m hoping that these questions might start you reconnecting with how you feel. Not how you are being told you are, or are not allowed to feel. But how YOU feel. And your experience of your reality. Because this is the central truth.

      Whether a person is able to be diagnosed or labelled any which way at the end of the day is irrelevant. If you are being abused, then THIS label remains the same. And gorgeous one, if this is what’s happening, and only you will know, then no excuses, no denial, no taking responsibility for their behaviour, no cognitive dissonance, no swallowing your truth because they don’t want to hear it, NONE OF IT, will ever make abuse OK. And gorgeous one, both you and your baby must be OK. I’m sending you everything you might need Courtney to reclaim your freedom & joy. As well as of course, much light & love. Maggie x

  24. Ah I am having such a problem not reacting, well I am actually pretty good at it but now he goes to real extremes now that I quit playing into his tantrums and rages al the time. I know he knows that I will eventually leave and I am over the behavior (I’d like to believe that is enough for him to change but I am starting to realize that he probably never will, which breaks my heart because I wanted my kids to have a great dad). I feel stuck at the moment because I am pregnant (almost due!) and have a 2 year old and he knows this and uses it. His newest thing is refusing to go to work unless I do something he wants and if I don’t it’s my fault that he won’t work he says. He literally laid on the floor this morning and texted his boss about not coming in, he knows we really need money and are reliant partially on his income and uses this. He also demands I wake up at 5am with him and wants our two year old to as well and if we don’t do what he says he will quit his job (which he probably would, there have been times like when I was pregnant with our first baby that he only brings home about $400 a month and I had to hustle selling things on ebay just to pay bills) before him I no joke had about 5 grand in my account at all times. He also threatens to bang pots and pans around in the morning because “if he has to be up everyone has to be up” today he turned on all the lights and woke up our baby intentionally. As a side note, I already have to wake up at 5am to get him out of bed or he won’t. I could go on forever with stories of crazy stuff he does he’s broken so many items I can’t count at this point (not to mention who winds up paying for replacing these things…humm?), funny most the time the things that get broken are mine and not his… I would totally leave but feel so stuck until I am able to go back to work and make more income. Right now it’s just not plausible….for the first time I see how people get stuck with abusive a**holes :/ It’s super hard to be really aware of what is happening and not be able just to walk out the door. Like a lot of stories I’ve read his abusive behavior slowly progressed to this and just gets worse. I’ve starting saving money but oh my god it’s hard and frustrating to stay with someone who intentionally tries to make you upset on a daily or even hourly basis. I am worried he will start using our daughter a way to control me next, well he already has, when he had to watch her when she was small he would text me saying he was leaving because she was crying too much and I had to come home. Then I would call his sister and she would start to head over and all of sudden he was fine and just “exaggerating” (this led to me getting a sitter all the time). Every time I have to do work and need him to watch her, all of sudden he is sick or so tired or some other emergency/drama in his life comes up. He makes it near to impossible for me to get any work done, sometimes even on the way to an airport or a shoot he will explode because we took a wrong turn or maybe there is traffic or something else and will threaten not to take me or watch her (I am a photographer). If I have a client call, amazingly right before he finds something to explode about so I will be out of sorts on my call…but I digress….I know if I stick it out just a few more months I can live totally financially back on my own but thinking about 4 more months of this is extremely hard to deal with and I am just getting more grey hair monthly arg, it sucks depending on someone when you really don’t want to. It’s helpful to read other people’s stories, they remind me that I can and should leave. “Dear god how did I wind up with such an abusive person?” is all I can think somedays.

    1. Dear Diane, what a situation. Gorgeous one, can you see in the telling of your story how the behaviour appears to be escalating with greater measures of control amping up? I’m assuming at some level, if not overtly, that you can which is likely to be precipitating you’re wanting to leave. Based on this, it may be that the longer it is something you work towards, the more tricky it might become to make happen. I urge you to place the safety and well being of you and your babies as your ONLY focus. You say it sucks to depend on someone you don’t want to, but dear Diane in what way is he supporting you?
      My questions for you aren’t meant to cause angst, please forgive me if they do. I’m hoping they may cut through some of the fog caused by abuse that may be making it harder to set yourself free. I believe in you. It seems evident to me from your words that rather than depending on him, you are carrying him. He knows this. And the reason must surely be because you are a hugely capable human being…hence why I believe that when you want to set yourself free, irrespective of the challenges that must be surmounted (which dear one, will be there no matter at what point in time you decide to do it) you will make it happen. You’ve got this. Take care of your precious self and babies. Light & love to you. Maggie x

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