Proof the narcissist abuses you intentionally and will never change

8 minute read

OK, here’s the deal. If you’ve clicked on this article, there is a high chance you are in a relationship with an abusive narcissist AND, you are holding out hope that one day they will change.

You may be scanning the web seeking evidence that your narcissist isn’t as awful as that little voice inside you sometimes begs you to accept.

If you could just find the right magical solution they will change and be the amazing person you know they can be. You just know this can happen, because surely they don’t mean it when they do the horrendous things they do? Surely no one would. And they must be completely unaware of what they are doing…does this sound familiar?

Well the plain, horrific truth is, they do mean it. Their actions are entirely calculated. The narcissist abuses you intentionally.

Whilst many say that people never change. I don’t believe this is true. People can. They do all the time. There are however necessary conditions for this to happen. These are awareness of the behaviour they want to change, and the will to make it happen. This is how I define intentionality.

Equally, intentionality also applies to identifying what I call acts of evil. One who is aware of what causes harm and intentionally chooses to make this happen, in my book cannot be excused. And one who repeatedly chooses to cause harm is at the very least, comfortable with their actions. They have in essence, no intention of changing.

This article is a big, fat reality check that the narcissist acts from a place of intentionality. They make deliberate choices to cause harm to feed off your pain. The raw truth of these facts are evidenced in their own actions.

Stop making excuses for the narc now.

In the words of Maya Angelou: ‘When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time’.

Submission 1 – Breaking you down

Let’s start off with a reminder of what makes the narcissist tick…controlling and dominating you as a form of supply. These driving forces underpin the need to devalue & diminish you.

All sorts of mind warping strategies are used to make this happen: gaslighting, projection, smear campaigns, threats, exploitation, twisting of the truth or outright lying, circular nonsensical arguments, shaming etc. ad infinitum…

Why? To have power over you and to feel ‘more than’, by making you feel ‘less than’. This is central to their needs. Feeding on others is all about reinforcing their beliefs that they are superior  which necessitates that all others are, of course, inferior.

harmGiven you are a fabulous human being (why else would they have chosen you for supply if you were not!), this means that they need to break you down to feel superior. They do this, systemically through their abuse. Pause for a second and reflect on how you are feeling. Small? Worthless? Unloved/unlovable? Deeply flawed? Crazy? So, fair to say it’s working right?

The other motivation for breaking you down is that they need you to buy into their ‘more than’/’less than’ dynamic. When you do, this fortifies your dependence on them and consequently their power over you.

At this point you may be thinking ‘yeah maybe this isn’t right, but maybe my narc can’t help it, or doesn’t mean it, I need to allow for these possibilities’…let’s move on to the incontrovertible proof.

Submission 2 – Hiding the truth

Exhibit A – Isolation

A popular method of control is to isolate victims. This can be from human, physical, emotional, psychological, or mental resources. This is a classic tactic used as the less external resources you have available to you, the more you are dependent on the narc to get by.

There are also other reasons, particularly regarding isolating you from other people. The narcissist fears that people who care about you will notice the detrimental impact the relationship has on you.

They also fear that others will validate the reality of the situation which undermines the ardent work the narcissist has been doing in convincing you that it is all in your mind.

Furthermore, they fear others who are concerned will influence you by saying ‘what’s going on is not ok’, and you may just flee.

The fear here is all about being caught out. Either by you saying no more & walking away, or by others calling them on their behaviour.

Exhibit B – The two faces

Similarly, the narcissist will show different faces, one for when in public and the secret one kept just for you.

The secret face is the one stripped of the mask, the real person. This person uses you as supply, feeding off the process of you losing yourself, getting a payoff each time your heart and soul breaks a little further.

This is the person you can no longer pretend is simply misguided, or unaware of their behaviour. This is the person you are trying to excuse but can do no longer.

In contrast, the person they become in public is the one you are holding out they can become consistently, eradicating the monster who abuses you.

This is the one who keeps you feeling hopeful because they show you they can be good right? This is the one you fell for when you were being idealised and worshipped at the very beginning. Charming, witty, generous, attentive, kind, full of smiles and laughter – rainbows, lollypops, and unicorns are everywhere when this person is around.

narcissist will never change

Well, this person is still the one of the ‘secret face’ who abuses you for kicks. They’ve just popped on their mask. They do this because it is the perfect cover for what really lies underneath. This way, your truth is harder to believe if you dare share their secret.

Exhibits A & B unequivocally demonstrate the narc knows that they are abusing you, and that they are aware that by normal standards of behaviour, this is unacceptable. Hence the duplicitousness of hiding their own behaviour from outsiders.

They know what they are doing is wrong. They know is it causing you harm. Yet, they are choosing to do it anyway. In addition to ensuring they can continue to do so into the foreseeable future by establishing conditions that protect the truth from being surfaced and being caught out.

Submission 3 – The body does not lie

The narcissist is clearly a master of control, of both you when suffering their manipulation and devaluation, and to a certain extent of themselves. Established above is their ability to pick and choose which persona they share with whom and when. There are a few things within themselves that are however beyond their control. One of these is the powerful truth of physical tells.

Exhibit C – Joy at the pain of others

I refer to evil once more. Many argue that there is no such thing as evil, and that all people are essentially good. I will admit to having held and defended this belief the majority of my life until the devil looked me in the eye.

Those at the malignant end of the narcissistic spectrum and individuals with Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD) will show you what they are physically. That lack of congruence between words, actions, and behaviours, also extends to body language.

Two distinct signs are:

  1. Occasionally when hitting the bullseye and causing you deep harm, you will catch them smiling. They may even let a laugh of delight slip out. Yes, these reactions are from pleasure at your pain.
  2. The same applies when harm occurs to others. When involved in gossip, smear campaigns or hearing of the genuine misfortune of others, you will notice the narc is strangely animated, excited. The pain of others quite literally lights them up.

Individuals who receive a pay-off from the misery of others are unlike the rest of us. They will not give up the behaviours, because they like being that way. It is in fact, what they live for.

Submission 3 – In their own words

No intention of changing will ever eventuate. This would be completely contrary to all the beliefs and behaviours that make them an individual with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. They consider themselves to be superior, omnipotent, special, gifted, and are arrogant and entitled.

Using their own words, they will tell you all this about themselves.

Firstly, listen to the underlying premise of all their devaluation strategies: “in order to be good enough for me, you need to change xyz…”.

Then, listen more broadly, this same view applies to everyone that surrounds them. Nobody is good enough. All must change to be worthy of the narcissist in their unhumble opinion.

Finally, again, if you happen to be with a malignant narcissist or an individual with APD, they will just come right out and say it. “I like who and what I am. I know I get off on causing pain. I will never change”. True. Believe it or not, I’ve heard these very words.

Why continue to try and disprove what they proudly own?

‘Nuff said.

You may still be dismissing the psychological theory of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or their very own testament to their truth when they tell you what they are. In a way you kind of need to because of the brainwashing that has occurred. Denial is a necessary survival defence mechanism.

But isolating you, the public vs. private personalities, and the glee written on their body from your pain are unequivocal evidence the narc is fully aware they are destroying you.

Can you really continue to forgive, excuse & defend a person who is aware they are causing you damage, and deliberately chooses to do so?

These truths can’t be ignored*.

You must accept that the narcissistic abuses you intentionally, and will not stop. You must let go of any residual denial that things just might work out if you stay with the narcissist.

Step out of survival mode and into recovery. It’s time to turn all this gorgeous hope, energy, commitment, unconditional love, and optimism on someone who deserves it: you.

Shatter the narcissistic bonds now and start feeding your own soul (check out Why is it so hard to leave an abusive relationship with a narcissist? for more info on trauma bonding). Do this for you. Freedom & joy are waiting for you, but you must release yourself first by walking away.

javier-garcia-186629-unsplash

Please share your insights or questions below on breaking through denial and seeing the narc for what they really are. Sharing and encouraging others is so very necessary to help all of us on our journey of recovery.

With gratitude,

Maggie x

bir4d

*For those hungry for more jolting facts to help you move out of denial, I highly recommend Dr Martha Stout’s book The Sociopath Next Door.

In this book you will learn to recognise who to stay away from. Dr Stout explains why malignant narcissists and those with Antisocial Personality Disorder are the way they are.

She also provides clear details about the characteristics and warning signs of these dangerous people so recognising those who get their kicks from causing pain, is easy. This is a significant achievement given they are so gifted at hiding their truth!

The language is easy to read, and it is both fascinating and so practical – a bit of a ‘how to protect yourself guide’. This book helped me heaps and is one that has had a major impact in my own journey.

(Note – if using link/s provided to purchase, you’ll receive free shipping and title heavily discounted. You’ll also be supporting my work in providing you free resources on this site, by earning a very small commission, at no extra cost to you – thank you 😊)

Bibliography

  • Bancroft, L. (2003). Why does he do that? Inside the minds of angry and controlling men. New York, US: Berkley Books.
  • Dutton, D., & Painter, S. (1993). Emotional attachments in abusive relationships: A test of traumatic bonding theory. Violence and Victims. 8(2), 105-20.
  • Reid, J., Haskell, R.A., Dillahunt-Aspillaga, C., Thor, J. (2013). Contemporary review of empirical and clinical studies of trauma bonding in violent or exploitative relationships. International Journal of Psychology Research, 8(1), 37-73.
  • Stout, M. (2005). The sociopath next door. New York, US: Harmony Books.

 

66 thoughts

  1. You just wrote my life. Every single bit of this is factual & shaking my awareness. God help me be strong again. My family has said “ Lee, this is not right”.
    Thank you

    1. Dear Lee, I have no doubt God is hearing you & you will find your strength – it’s there waiting for you. I’d love to hear how you are going as you break free. You’ve got this. X Maggie

      1. Maggie…great info. This is also me. Unfortunately. I am also looking for strength and COURAGE. Your words are so helpful.

      2. Dear Gail, thank you so very much. I’m so sorry you are also in this awful situation. I strongly believe those looking for answers are already strong and courageous. You will without a doubt get to where you want to be. Are there any topics that would be helpful for you in building your strength further? All the very best to you Gail. Maggie.

      3. Dear Maggie,
        I’m still here in our house with my four teenage girls, one who has been diagnosed with autism. Please help me get out as I have noted some harsh words now directed to my girls. I am such a failure I don’t even know if I can save myself to save them!!! I need someone to throw me a line I used to be so strong. This will be hard especially since the Freud phase is still wrapped around my girls. They think he is the next best thing to chocolate! And I do wanted a normal family since I grew up with an abusive alcoholic father
        PS now my narc husband is drinking!
        Help me please “Mouse”

      4. Dear Mouse, a.k.a. Brave One.
        You are clearly strong, you just need to remember you are. Start retraining you internal dialogue if you can – every time you call yourself Mouse, counter this with ‘I am strong, I am a survivor, my power belongs to me and I will reclaim this’. Any time you hear yourself use any negative self talk, counter it immediately with the truth.
        You are doing the very best you can in very difficult circumstances, and it sounds like you are taking responsibility for the challenges faced by your family, which in reality are entirely your husbands. Specifically: it is his responsibility if he is drinking, and it is his responsibility if he is not being kind to your girls. Is this what’s happening?
        There is nothing you can do to change your husband’s choices regarding behaviour as they are entirely within his purview of responsibility. You are responsible for how you respond to his choices on these fronts, and in protecting yourself and keeping your girls safe. What do you think you need to do?
        I believe you already know what’s right for you. Maybe you need to bring this to the fore and stop silencing whatever it is you know you need to do? If you’d like to email me to bounce ideas, please do, the address is narcwise@gmail.com. Sending you big, fat reminders of who you are Brave One. And light & love. Maggie x

    2. Thanks for sharing!! Unfortunately, this was my life for 7 torturous years!!

      July 29, 2018 was my awakening. I had already left my narcissist spouse but up until that very moment that I finally snapped the puzzle down into place, I continued to allow her to lie, manipulate, and control my mind. Then I finally realized…wait! ACTIONS….NOT WORDS!

      First 2 weeks….I felt so empowered by my knowledge and clarity….I was living off PURE adrenaline! Now that has subsided and now when my past pops into my head….almost constantly…it feels so unreal?? How did this happen to me??

      Last.week I was diagnosed with PTSD and some of my friends are telling me I need to just let go and move on. It’s hard when I can’t sleep bc I’m don’t want to relive my past in my dreams and I’m scared of my own shadow.

      1. Dear Shanna, such a powerful point – actions not words! Congratulations on setting yourself free from the harmful relationship you have endured. This is monumental. Underneath all the detoxing that is happening for you, your empowerment is still there. And with every bit of poison that leaves your mind, body, heart and soul, you get closer and closer to sitting firmly in your empowerment from now on. I’m sorry to hear of your PTSD, and simultaneously think it is a good thing that you have received this diagnosis as the inference is that you are getting help. This is a blessing. I am sure your friends mean well in telling you to let go and move on, but PTSD doesn’t quite work that way. You are hurt, and now you are healing. This is your journey, and whatever you need to do it to walk your journey is what needs to happen. Full stop. Avoiding, minimising, ignoring, dismissing, suppressing – all of this is precisely what causes PTSD in the first instance when we have suffered a trauma. The only way out now, is through. Doing this with professional support is ideal. You’ve got this dear Shanna. Light and love to you. Maggie x

  2. Im divorcing my narc after 35 years of marriage.just found out that he has a 24 year old child with a past girl friend.while i was still trying to deal with the matter of this child i found his car parked at the house of a girl friend.he has been served with divorce papers and he says i must give him a chance hes going to change.im done.

    1. Oh Cheryl! I cannot imagine what it must be like to discover such secrets, particularly ones that have been kept hidden for such a very long time. I’m so sorry you have been betrayed so deeply. You sound resolute and full of strength about what you need to do to begin healing – well done. Look after yourself, and best healing wishes to you Cheryl. Maggie x

  3. For the record i’m not in a relationship, but my dtr has been married to this thing for 20 yrs and he became the worst withing the last 10 yrs, he was described as what he’s worth for…zero! He doesn’t respect/love anybody instead, he pretends to be mr wonderful…his 6, 9, & 18 y/o kids have gone through hell as well as his wife and guess who else.

    1. Hi Anonymous. I’m sorry to hear this. I wish for your daughter, her children and for you, peace from this situation. Very best wishes to you all, Maggie

      1. Dear Jaima, all the very best to you and your family in breaking free. Sending you strength, light and love in making it happen. Look after you. Maggie x

  4. In the last year I left my husband of 12 years. With the help of another survivor, from another country, whom I met on the internet. I believe without her I would have been dead. I didn’t see what was happening. I was so ‘brainwashed’ to the point I believed I was the one with the personality issues and he was the most amazing person in the world to love someone so broken. I experienced gaslighting with him taking things and hiding them, telling me I didn’t appreciate the gifts because I lost them. But all of a sudden those things would show back up. Oh the events of this nightmare I could share…
    It wasn’t until the day he asked me, “You do know I was your stalker, right? You can’t believe all those times we ran into each other were mere coincidence.” Followed by him smiling as he watched my world crumble around me. The laughter when I would cry. The smirks when he saw pain. All of it above is so true. Sad case is that I fell for all the tricks of his trade because of my foster mother within my childhood. She and my husband, a mirror reflection of each other. Both emotionally, mentally, psychologically and physically abusive. He studies psychology and she was obsessed with the DSM. To top it all off, it is rumored that my husband has remarried already without first divorcing me and flaunting this on FB. The very caring person within me feels for his new family, for she has no idea what kind of person she has married her and her children into. I see all the same tactics he used on me being used on her. He even gave her a wedding band set that is very similar to mine. Long story short, I wish I knew of this site while I lived in the domestic abuse shelter. I kept asking, “but why?” and “I think he’s sick.” and “I don’t want to make him the bad guy.” The guilt. The shame. The embarrassment. I’m so happy to be on my journey of healing and recovery. Thank you for this post and sorry this is so long.

    1. Dear Christina, thank you so much for sharing. My heart did one of those flips of pain & sadness reading your words. Whilst I understand the disorder, wrapping my head around the cruelty still breaks my brain (& heart) regularly. You have borne great cruelty. I’m also hearing you’ve been blighted with narcissists throughout life – the unfairness of this makes me want to scream. Unfortunately, I know this is often the way. I wish it hadn’t been that way for you. I’m deeply sorry for all you have endured.
      I’m so happy you’re on your journey of healing and recovery also! With all you’ve been through the consolation is knowing that what is coming your way through recovery will be nothing short of transformational. I hope to hear from you on your journey. I wish you the biggest, juiciest joy Christina – Maggie x

    2. There with you in spirit RIGHT NOW. Trying to leave. Thank you for your comment – guilt, shame, fear, the whole stinking cesspool of it. Deep gratitude to know I’m not alone.

      1. Dear Kelley, you definitely are NOT alone. I sent you my email in another message, but you could also join us on Facebook to connect with the Narc Wise community where we support one another going through narcissistic abuse and/or codependency. Maggie x

  5. I read this article and for the most part this is my life. I’ve been with my husband for almost 18 years, married 15, I’ve put up with a lot from him over the years and the second I told him how I really feel he within the last month and a half went from I love you to fighting with me to let’s be roommates to let’s work it out to I don’t love you anymore. He destroyed me, I filed for divorce. We have 2 kids and both of them are fine with it while I’m falling apart. I asked my oldest why they are ok with this and he replied, “because he doesn’t deserve you or us for that matter, he only spends time with us when it serves a purpose for him.” I pray every night for strength and I can’t wait til the day I can say I’m good when someone asks me, how are you doing.

    1. Dear Anonymous, I’m so glad you found your voice. Being fearful of using your voice, of sharing your identity with another is such a telling sign. Well done to you. I hope you continue to use your voice each and every day. Including sharing when you are not doing so great when someone asks you how you are doing. Reach out! Genuine people will want the honour of you sharing with them how you feel. Those who don’t want to know (and move straight to discarding you in a matter of weeks after almost two decades!) are not able to have a healthy relationship with you or with anyone.
      I know you are going through an intensely painful time right now. At times, I have felt that my falling apart would kill me. But I now truly believe that when we fall apart, it is the first step in making the space needed for everything to fall into place. I believe this is the path you are now walking. I wish you courage and strength dear Anonymous (although I know you have these already, you just need to remember you have them). Be well, look after you. Maggie x

      1. “Genuine people will want the honour of you sharing with them how you feel.” – added to my “Basic Relationship Requirements” manifesto. Thank you.

      2. Dear Kelley – I believe we are in sync! I’m writing a manifesto on what love looks like which sounds very much like what you are working on. Please do share your ideas & thoughts! I will be posting on this on Facebook shortly and your contributions would be magic 🙂 Sending you light and love Kelley, Maggie x

  6. Excellent articles. I was “discarded ” a year ago. Fortunately, I had a counselor who recognized my husband as a borderline. I’m still fighting cognitive dissonance and the trauma bond. He was so sneaky … covert. And he managed to abandon me and my son, wreak financial havoc and still look like a victim. It’s been exhausting and frustrating. I’m so grateful for sites like this where the abused can connect and receive validation

    1. Dear mskathybwells12, how maddening! The talent of the ‘faux victim’ is so very vile. And how painful. I’m sorry this is what you have endured. The cognitive dissonance and trauma bonding are so tricky – it is wonderful you have a counselor supporting you in working through your hurts. It certainly takes a great deal of fighting to resolve, but the effort is so very worth it.
      It sounds like the ‘discardee’ has done a vanishing act of epic proportions. I hope this means at the very least that the vanishing is allowing you and your son to rebuild in peace. Also, thank you for your kind words. Sending you huge freedom & joy mskathybwells12, Maggie x

      1. Thank you for the supportive comments and well wishes. I guess I was a classic case. He warned me several times if my behavior didn’t change… every time I submitted to his increasing demands he would change the “game.” I was a very vulnerable person when I met him. My first husband of 26 years had just passed away. My children are awesome. They have been so supportive. All but my son are grown and gone, and they saw through this man. He complained about famiy constantly, vilified his own, then turned life long friends. It’s crazy. I’m out of the fog and praying for others walking this road. But I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons in a short time. Thanks again.

      2. You are so very welcome. Thank you for sharing. Take care of you mskathybwells12. Hope to hear from you again. Maggie x

  7. My husband walked out 9mths ago, I later found out he’d been having an affair and is with this woman now. I really didn’t realise what an abusive relationship it was until after he left and my sister suggested i visit a DV counsellor. Everything you’ve written is familiar. We are now working out a parenting plan but he is turning on the “Mr nice guy ” face and pretending he’s been an amazing dad (when he’s been just about non-existant in our daughter’s life)- it’s so frustrating when i know this is not really him. I feel so free, and aware of his tricks now, but still unable to avoid all the influence he has.

    1. Dear Nic, I’m so glad you reached out for domestic violence support. It’s the strangest feeling isn’t it when you start to wake to the truth of what you’ve experienced? It’s wonderful that you are walking this path, and that you do feel the freedom that comes from recognising what was unacceptable, and will always be unacceptable from this point forward from anyone you allow into your life. I’m really hoping that as the truth of who he is continues to be exposed to others, the influence he has on your life dissipates. Sending you the very best wishes Nic. Look after you. Maggie x

  8. Great read. I feel we are connected through our experiences because no one will ever get what we as narcissistic abuse survivors went through and more importantly how it has shaped the stronger, smarter and self loving people we are today. Hope to help others as well!

    1. Hiya Christine – thank you! I just jumped on your site and have started reading your work. I have such respect for survivors who share their personal truth to help others – kudos to you. You are a warrior woman. Very inspiring. I love what I’ve read so far (will get super stuck in and read more!). Maggie x
      Dear Narc Wise community of gorgeous ones, check out Christine’s wisdom here: https://stopnarcissisticabuse.com/

      1. Right on! I’ll share yours too. And thank you for what you are doing I feel as though being able to pull myself out of the seemingly never ending cycle of narc abuse it’s a duty I have to help others too. Love what you’re doing and words of inspiration are very refreshing to the narc abuse community!

  9. This is for “mouse.” If your daughters and you are unsafe then you need to reach for help. There are domestic violence hotlines throughout the cities in the US. Most are now aware and trained in covert abuse and/or can point you to trauma specialists. Praying for you. Don t be afraid … be of good courage.

  10. Thank You for this website. I am still struggling with accepting that it was all a crock of s***, and he didn’t love me at all, and was successful at making me think I’m crazy. I am still in therapy, the events experienced in our 2 year relationship have scarred me forever. I never remember those traumatic times, I just think of the fake good ones. I wish there was a group (u know how there’s NA and AA? ) for support. So grateful I found this site and these amazing reads. Thank you

    1. Dear Anonymous, it’s so hard isn’t it! Remembering the fake good memories is part of the trauma bonding. You will get there. You will get to a place where you can see with more clarity all that took place. The fact of acknowledging your pain and scars now is part of that process of de-fogging. The most important thing is focusing on remembering & reclaiming you. I strongly believe once this happens, we see the behaviours and people that are hurtful in a different light – we naturally no longer accept/excuse them or are unable to see them for what they are. They no longer have a place in our lives. Hey – I don’t know if this is at all relevant for you, but there is a 12 step program for codependency – CoDA 🙂 Thank you Anonymous for taking the time to share your kind words with me. You are the reason I keep tapping away. Thank you for the big smile you’ve given for today. Sending you buckets of freedom & joy Anonymous. Maggie x

  11. This article is everything!! You wrote what I lived. Thank you for your words & strength. I recently got divorced from 6 month marriage / 6 year relationship with a narc. Sending everyone so much love and strength. J

    1. Dear J, thank you for sending your wishes of love and strength to all fighting the same battle. Here’s to all the survivors! And also to you dear J, as well as all the freedom & joy that I know is coming your way. Maggie x

    1. Dear Tricia, thank you. I’m so glad. Look after you. Sending you light, love, joy & freedom, Maggie x

  12. I lived this life of roller coaster emotional hell for 27 years. I thought I was much smarter than ever being trapped in an abusive relationship, but he was really good with his mind games. I divorced him once after 14 years of marriage to only allow him into talking me back into marrying him again. The second marriage lasted 10 years before ending in divorce. We were together a year before marrying for the first time, and we stayed very close during our two year in between marriage span. However, I finally hit an all time low and could not keep going on being ignored and being cheated on over and over again. I can name four of his affairs by name and I know there have been many more that I can’t name. I felt so unloved and unworthy for so long, but with the help of a couple of great friends at work I found myself again. I stayed for so many years, because I felt I made this commitment and I just had to keep working harder to make him love me like he should. I also stayed, because I felt our children deserved to live in a whole family and not a divorced home. Now, I look back and think how brain washed I was. I know to some people I look like a complete fool and to others I look like a lunatic that has made all of the badness up, but I know now that all of the hell has a name. All of the hell I endured is because of a narcissist, and it was not just in my mind.Thank you for sharing so that others can know the truth.

    1. Dear Anonymous. Firstly, my apologies for not having seen this comment until now!
      This is the thing with narcissistic abuse – it isn’t about our strength, our smarts, or anything else about us that finds us in an abusive relationship. It is the effect of THEIR abuse and their disorder which causes an abusive relationship. And, as you say, it is the brainwashing they use which convinces us that we are trapped and deserves nothing more.
      We must remember that it IS our strength, smarts and all the other wonderful stuff within us that finally helps us break free, rather than any internal lacking which causes the situation in the first place.
      It can happen to ANYONE. Similarly, ANY individual who feels trapped must believe that they too can break the cycle. Just as you have dear Anonymous.
      You have clearly been through hell as you put it. Over an extended period of time. Yet YOU have risen, and reclaimed your life. Kudos gorgeous one. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring others to do the same. With gratitude, and sending you much joy, Maggie x

  13. I stumbled onto your site (and have been reading articles). And I really appreciate what you write .The one big question I can’t seem to answer is “why can’t I label it abuse”? The police have, my therapist has, my lawyer (and mediator during a custody battle) have, and my friends and family have . I have a BA in sociology specializing in deviant behavior and am in intelligence. I am smart and trained to bad behaviour .but I can’t apply this to my (sort of) ex .Logically o can see he’s a bad person. But I can’t label it as abusive. And I can’t help but think what is wrong with me? Why can’t I just say that’s what it is?

    1. Dear Erin, welcome to Narc Wise. Thank you for sharing your questions. They are really important. You are not alone in feeling this way. This is part of the effect of the abuse at work.
      Have you read this article: Why is it so hard to leave and abusive relationship with a narcissist? It might be helpful.
      Firstly, let’s get this straight: there is nothing wrong with you. Feeling this way is, as I said, a reaction to the abuse. We ALL feel this way at some point on our journey.
      I wonder whether any of this resonates for you…
      I note you mention this is in relation to your sort-of ex. I’m assuming this means that you are still involved in some way (whether physically, emotionally, both, or as ‘friends’). If this is the case, in any of these scenarios, you really are still all in. By this I mean that your heart and your mind are still hanging on to what might be. You still hold hope that they will change, and the abuse will stop.
      Additionally, if they are abusive, whether you are holding them at arms’ length or not, it doesn’t matter. Your emotions are still being toyed with, right? This IS the abuse. Irrespective of whether you are in the love bombing (a.k.a. hooking), devaluation, or discard phases the manipulation is happening.
      With the history you put forward (i.e.: interactions with police, therapists, lawyers, courts of law and mediators) – a great deal has already passed between the two of you. Furthermore, a person doesn’t engage these authorities/professionals for fun. It happens because you have suffered. Big time. And intervention for your safety is necessary. Erin does this resonate?
      What I’m getting at are two key things: 1) the abuse has been significant in causing you harm; and 2) despite this, you are still emotionally hooked to this person. Again, let me reiterate that this is NOT YOU, it is the effects of the abuse specifically, trauma bonding and Stockholm Syndrome. You could also call it brainwashing, and addiction.
      Now to answer your question with what I suspect may be happening for you if the wild raft of assumptions that I’ve made do ring true for you…
      Deep down, you DO know it is abuse. BUT, owning this, the label, the guts of the truth of it, means these things (which, at some level you also know, thus your struggle):
      1. By continuing sort-of with your ex, having accepted the label of his treatment of you as abuse (in addition to accepting that this will never change based on what has occurred to date), you are making an informed choice as to what you accept as being OK for you from now on. And this isn’t OK with you.
      2. All along, irrespective of the label, the actions, the behaviours, the decisions, the betrayals, during ALL of this, none of it has been OK with you. Not really.
      3. Point 2 causes any of us to feel shame. Because we know it isn’t OK. Because a quiet voice inside us is saying to our own selves: ‘please hear me, please don’t turn away from me’. Yet we do. We stay because of the tactics used to dangle the carrot, the promise of change and the abuse stopping. But it won’t. And also because we so need it to work. Because we wholeheartedly believe we love them.
      Points 1 & 2 are cognitive dissonance in action. You are struggling with two mutually exclusive concepts – you know that you cannot concurrently be abused & be OK. Equally, you know the promise of an emotionally healthy and loving relationship isn’t going to happen.
      SO – to finally confront the truth means you are at a crossroads on your journey. You know you must make a choice to either: a) continue with this person knowingly aware of the abuse, or b) cut things off.
      Both are hugely painful and difficult options. Neither of them appeal in any way. Resistance is huge. Understandably so.
      The differences between the options are, in a) the shame in turning away from yourself and your turth will cripple you; who knows to what extent the abuse will continue to escalate & what damage will be caused; the suffering will not end. In option b) the withdrawal will also feel crippling for a time BUT you will heal and you will get through it. Suffering WILL end.
      In option a) there is no hope. In option b) hope, freedom & joy is waiting for you.
      Big apologies if I am way off track. And if any of my response is a little too confronting or harsh in any way. I write this way because hard logic has at times been the only thing that has saved me so I hope that this also works for some others who also may feel lost in the haze created from abuse as I have been.
      But dear Erin know that my heart goes out to you hence my missive to you. You are not alone.
      I honestly think that the shame we sit with as a result of the actions and behaviours of another (the rightful owner of said shame), is the hardest scar to heal. But it can be done. First though, we must let go. Despite the very real addiction.
      Sending you all you need. Light. Love. Courage. Strength. And most of all, freedom & all the joy in the world. Maggie x

      1. Thank you very much for your reply. You hit the nail on the head with your points. I found myself saying “yes” to most of the questions you asked. (And nothing was too harsh). I just wanted to say Thank you very much. I have been having a difficult time trying to disentangle. I want to but I keep getting sucked back in, and when I do I become mad at myself for being sucked in (such a crappy cycle). So thank you for your site, and taking the time to respond.

      2. Dear Erin, it is indeed a tricky cycle. I do get it. You will disentangle. I have no doubt that you are working through a process at this very moment, and will do whatever it is that you want to, when it works for you. Light & love to you. Maggie x

    1. Dear Nizar, it is indeed a blessing that you have the knowledge you have, you are surviving and hopefully soon thriving! Take care of you Nizar. Maggie x

  14. I honestly can’t believe there is still the stupid notion circulating, even by duped professionals, that narcs really have an “inferiority complex.” How convenient for people to think so, and how counter intuitive to everything that defines the narcissist. No, they REALLY DO think they’re all that. It’s not a pretense, a scared victim’s game, they REALLY ARE damn sure they’re a god and as so it’s only divine justice to destroy anyone who doesn’t submit and serve them in THEIR world. Someone suffering from inferiority wouldn’t rise to that. The narcs I’ve had unfortunate experience with have always had a codependent parent lurking in the background, a complete blind idiot who raised them to believe in their special superiority, how they’re never wrong, forever owed. We’re mere mortals who exist to glorify them and support their divine right to rule us, use us and destroy us. There is no “inferiority” at play in that, in the cold-blooded dismemberment of people’s lives, the ruthless arrogance, the ego-maniacal, obscenely twisted selfishness. NPD’s are demons with a god complex, not suffering victims.

  15. I couldn’t have described the last 7 years better than this article. The exception with my story, the Narc dumped me right after throwing me into the wall in front of our then 2 year old son. That was a year ago and it has taken me this long to see that it wasn’t me. See, I am part of the 15% of the population that is overly sensitive, not just emotionally but physically as well. So this process has literally tore me apart. Everything that has been done to me, that I let happen, fell on me emotionally. I carry so much inside of me that I can’t even put it into words, not just my pain but others I love as well. I turned to pills to cope with my post par tum depression, and it was during this time, at my lowest, that he dumped me and kicked me out of our house. It was 5 months later that I turned to other drugs to help me function and get out of bed everyday to function for my child. The emptiness has been constant and indescribable. Not to mention how alone I am. No friends, distanced from family, of course I turned to something, who wouldn’t? It wasn’t until I read this article that most of my questions have been answered. For the first time I felt like someone was telling me that I didn’t do anything wrong, that I am in this position bc he put me here. Thank you, honestly thank you. I felt like I couldn’t let go until I knew why I am so worthless to him, why he hates me so much? But I realize it’s not me, it’s him. See he’s a veteran, a sniper, glorified as a hero. But he also has 2 ex wives and, counting me, 3 baby mama’s (none of whom he married). Obviously it’s not me yet all of our mutual friends chose him. Everyone we know just loves him and I’m the crazy one, which I am not, I’m just trying to co-parent the best I can.
    That brings me to my next major concern? How to I make sure my now 3 year old son does not turn out like his daddy? His daddy sees him almost every day, of course when he wants to, but none the less is in his life. Advice please. So far our son is the best of both of us and very smart. He is sensitive like me more so than his daddy.

    1. Dear Stacey,
      I am sorry. For every bit of the hurt you have felt. And that there was cause to feel it in the first place.
      It is so wonderful to hear you say that you are now on the journey out of that place where you weren’t only taking the hurt heaped on you by this person, but also ceasing the hurt you have been heaping on yourself as a result. So very wonderful.
      Know that this is very much the beginning of you leaving the hurt behind. I also believe that this will lessen the overall depth of hurt you have come to know as part of just living by being a sensitive. This is your opportunity to put things in place to protect that very precious gift you have. I think you know all this though.
      Your message isn’t really about this, it is about your son.
      The first thing I must point out is again, what you already know. You say he is also a sensitive. With this being the case, protecting this quality whilst equipping him to navigate the world knowing it can be hard is probably more the issue. So ask yourself – looking back on your life, your experiences, what do you wish you had known that would have made the reality of this world a bit easier for you? Give him this. And even if we flip the coin and look at the possibility of him at the other end of the spectrum, the answer is the same. Boundaries. Kindness. Compassion. Reality (admittedly in each case this will be differently applied). Instilling the values of equality; identifying with own emotions and expressing these; identifying with the emotions of others and their situation (more relevant at the narcissistic end of the spectrum); of altruism; and of accountability and honesty being the badges of warriors (which they are).
      But gorgeous one, I return to my point. You know all this. You know stuff that is never said. Never intimated. Because you have a gift. Trust in that. Trust in you. I do. And your boy does.
      Dearest Stacey, light, love, courage, firm belief in your inner compass, and strength in continuing on your journey…I am sending this all to you at this moment. You have all this. A thousand times over, you have this. Maggie x

  16. I live also with Narcisist already 10 years, know him for 12.
    From the very beginning there was this something in my intuition that was making me feel unsure. He wasn’t lovebombing me. He wasn’t playing in love or catching me stars, but i knew he is finding me very interesting. He was telling then he is God. And i was taking this as a joke. We were talking in some chat and sometimes i should leave for some reson without warning. Then he was angry saying it is not polite and punishing with no talking for a day or two. But because i didnt care then, he was coming back after me. Time passed, we met, eventually fell in Love. His biggest dream was to find The Love. All his previous relationships were finishing with pain for the girls because he was just getting bored and were throwing them away after being sure that they beg him to stay. Didn’t know back then it is a model of behavior.
    We married and everything was going smooth, util i started to question and critisize his strange behavior. Home he was grumpy always and outside- always looking cool and happy. He wanted people to like him, to be their favorite. He might be down to the bottom, but if the phone rang that moment he would laugh and say he is fine. Never had real friends to share some more deep thought. He was banning his friends if he didnt like something, the smallest thing that they didn’t do as he wanted. He was doing the same to his mother before having me. So, every time we were fighting, i never got a real discussion. It was ” you are crazy”. He tried to show everyone i was crazy. I don’t care really. All this in a very humorous way as he thinks. He uses sarcasm to everyone in a negative way. But never negative sarcasm on himself. Then when you say ” funny is when both people laugh” he blames me that everyone else understands his humor, only i dont.
    Our wedding was miserable- all the time he was the entertainer of the others, he wanted to look funny and cool and i didnt have sense it was about us. It was about him and people.
    He never said “Sorry ” first. Never. And i have seen him laugh when someone is in pain. Or talk nonsenses. When i asked “Why?”, he answers ” because lets not make the drama, this person needs to cheer up”. But he has also learned how to behave in some situations faking empathy. No empathy to anyone in real. Yes, principles that he will help someone, give help to a stranger without expecting respect, but until then. He has helped me in various life situations that were very important- health of a relative etc. He has helped his relatives. But with money. No emotional help.
    When i started to discover he is either psychopath or Narc, he was saying ” These are bs”.
    Meanwhile we had a child. He never took real care for it except the financial. And he in a way was envy that i give all my attention to the kid.
    I never saw him cry for anything or feeling moved. Even not at funerals. Nothing.
    There was only one time when i’ve got really crazy after all the garbage he has made to me and i told him incredible things for himself, also threw at him a thing he has given me as gift. Only then there was something like human emotion of pain- he got drunk and started howling like in pain. Only once.
    He has said not about me but in a conversation what is better and when you are more respected- when you are loved or when you make others afraid ” I don’t want people to love me but to be afraid of me”.
    With the time things get worse- after the kid he has taken me for given, so his interest is over. It is won war. Ignoring, not taking enough care for us, stopping even sex.
    I always tried to excuse him, that he had abusive father, that he didnt have the fathers role model etc.
    I tried with good and bad to show him he makes mistakes. Irresponsible with the money, irresponsible for the emotional growth of the kid. And now i know he isnt going to change. He denies to have any problem. The only problem is that i am crazy. But it doesn’t work with me, i am a bit of a hard brick to break. I feel some guilt in some situations when i haven’t controlled my anger and pushed the situations, but i dont feel guilt for anything he thinks its my fault (everything is my fault of course in his words).
    The hardest part of the story. I live in a foreign country. I left my life be guided by him and wasn’t working for few years. Our kid is 5 . Now i know that there is coming a moment when we both have to run away. No happiness expected in this relationship,except sporadic emotional and maybe as i forsee it at some point physical violence. But my kid doesn’t want even to imagine not living without dad. Not living in the country where the kid thinks it belongs. Here are its friends, school, life, toys, room. My 5 years old wants dad. No matter what, no matter that saw how this dad broke one of my belongings so that he can revenge.
    I am feeling like trapped. Because i can’t even breath anymore this person but the kid is very very sensitive and doesn’t want to hear that we have to move to my home country, knowing that there will not be dad and he may see the kid even just once per year or something. Cant break the child’s heart and dont know what to do.
    But my husband situation is getting worse, because he suffered recently something more- reminds something between depression and addiction to one site but he doesn’t feel unhappy. Neither happy.
    What choices i have?

    From the time i discovered he has these narcisistic/ psychopathic characteristics, i am not feeling emotionally vurnarable, but he knows this and started in an argument to break my things (already 2) or threaten to leave us without money (haven’t made it yet). In order to be financially independant i am looking for job. But each job i see, he says ” no, you will make one day your own company, you will not become a shoe seller, not become a call center girl etc, do what you are strong at and make money like this”. But at the same time doesn’t help with the kid so that i can find a full time job.

    1. Dear Erika D., If I’m understanding right, you are looking to leave and building a pathway to make that happen for you, starting with finding employment. Do not listen to him and his ‘advice’ if these are more about keeping the status in quo place, rather than about your best interests. Stay focused on your truth, and what you want to make happen. If you need support in doing this, or in feeling safe, or in mapping out a safety plan to leave the relationship (as I said, if this is what you want to be doing), then reach out for help from your local or national Domestic Violence support networks. I’m not sure what country you are in, but you will be able to find assistance googling. Once you have the hotline call them, explain your situation and they will provide you with services to assist you. I’m happy to source contacts for you if you need a hand, just let me know where you are. You’ve got this. But you must have you to make whatever it is you need to happen, happen. You’ve got this gorgeous one. Light & love to you Erika D.

      1. What i would like to clear up in my head is what to do with our kid. How to break its heart. The kid is very very sensitive, but not happy anymore and suffering from our constant fights. He is trying to belitteling me in front of her, calling me names and saying he will stop only if i dont talk. This is so toxic for a kid- you can’t grow in such a cold and enemy environment. On the other site kid will really get giant shock if we move to another country. But it’s impossible to stay in this one, because even if i find job, it wont be possible to cover all the expenses and rent home. We have been going on vacations to my parents for 2 months and at the end of the first month my kid starts already missing it’s dad and cry so deep from its little heart, non stop talks about him, wants to get back to her friends, to her home, to everything that it feels ” my place and my family”. Which is heartbreaking. I am afraid and uncertain what will cause smaller trauma effect. My husband even denies to give a visit to a psychologist or therapist or psychiatrician. And he should. Because there is something very wrong in his behavior these last 5-6 months. He left his job, he stays all day closed and locked in a small room. In the bed 24 hours. Cut off his phone for friends, doesn’t talk with anyone, doesn’t want to work anymore. Stays as zombie watching one site for 20 hours per day. In a room without any sun. Staying awake in the night and sleeping all day until the sun falls. He has left his outlook become as a person who lives on the street. Doesn’t make absolutelly anything, doesnt move, doesn’t go out for 5 months. With an empty look in his eyes. Like there are just two holes. And being “on the fence” every time someone wants to tell him something.
        I was trying to find out what these symptoms show. First thought it is depression. But it is not. Because he doesn’t feel bad, he likes how he feels. Maybe he just got crazy?
        Any clue what this could be? It is first time he has these symptoms and it is kind of scary.

      2. Dear Erica D. I hear that your biggest concern is your daughter and how to care for her in these difficult circumstances. I also hear you express concern for your husband and the behaviour which does sound like some help would be beneficial. I understand that you are saying he isn’t willing to seek any help and considers that he is happy with his situation. Gorgeous one, in these circumstances, you could still reach out to your national Domestic Violence hotline and seek assistance. If you are uncomfortable in doing this, seeking local specialised support from a qualified family therapist who also has a clinical background would be a great way to go. I agree with you that careful consideration as to how to support your daughter in this situation is critical and getting the advice from someone who can work with you directly on this will ensure that all the specifics of what is happening and challenges faced by individuals are being taken into account. If your husband doesn’t want to participate in this which from what you describe he isn’t likely to, you and your daughter can still do so. And who knows, it may eventually result in your husband securing the help he needs. I wish you every luck in this Erica D. Look after yourself, and your precious girl. Light & love to you. Maggie x

  17. J.D.B.
    Nov.10,2018
    Thank you for your articles and enlightenment. I too only recently realized I was married to a narcissistic man for 36 years. I thought I was 1 of a few who have lived through such a bazaar situation. But through extensive reading,research and counseling I have realized that narcissistic abuse is so widespread in our society.Every case is different but on the other hand we all share so many symptoms from abuse and it helps to know we are not alone and we are not crazy for feeling the way we do. In my case some of the abuse was so subtle it took time for me to see what it was doing to me. I was reduced to a shell of a person.Now after going no contact apart from negotiating the separation for 8 months I have taken back my power.My husband had been living an extensive double life for so many years. The lies and deception were monumental but because I was fortunate to find out about this I am able to move forward. I would never have chosen to knowingly live with a person like him. My standards are much higher than that. I am writing to let everyone who has suffered this ordeal know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We all deserve to thrive in our world!

    1. Dear J.D.B. – what a beautiful message! It is very uplifting. Thank you for sharing your words and for taking the time to give others a big, juicy shout out. It sounds like you have come a verrrry long way in 8 months and have a positive mindset happening to resolutely commit to thriving in this world 🙂 Kudos gorgeous one. I am quite sure that nothing will stop you, and am very excited for what is coming your way. Light & love to you J.D.B. keep on rocking it. Maggie x

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.