How you know you’re not the narcissist: your proof

8 minute read

‘How do I know I’m not the narcissist???’ I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this frantic question. But let me tell you. Asking yourself this is a testament to the fact that the narcissist is inside your head, and the abuse is working.

It’s also clear evidence that you are simply not a narcissist.

Reading these few words isn’t going to convince you though, right?

I’m guessing that for you to be asking yourself this, your journey of recovery has progressed to the point where you’ve done a heap of reading on narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

You’re at the stage where you have a solid handle on the disorder, its symptoms, and the manipulation strategies used in narcissistic abuse.

This must be the case or you wouldn’t be worried that you are narcissistic, as the phenomenon and associated behaviours wouldn’t mean all that much to you right now.

With all the information you’ve gathered, and more importantly because of the narcissist’s brainwashing about who and what you are, the question niggles at you…you are scanning yourself, your behaviours, things you’ve done and haven’t done that could just be classified as narcissistic…and here you are slap bang in the middle of freakoutsville.

Freakoutsville, how do I know I'm not the narcissist?

This article assumes these two things: 1) that you are pretty clear on NPD (for terminology refreshers check out the Glossary), and 2) the thought of being a narc scares the crap out of you.

Here is your big dose of logic that YOU ARE NOT THE NARC!

Reasons you ask “How do I know I’m not the narcissist?”

Disempowerment

The methods the narcissist uses to erode your understanding and belief in who you are, are all focused on breaking your spirit, and to maintain power and control over you. They do this for several reasons.

The first is to feed their addiction which is to secure external confirmation of their beliefs. This drives the need for constant reinforcement from you (and all that surround them) that they are superior, special, omnipotent, and entitled to all they desire in this world. This is the ‘supply’ the narcissist needs to survive.

The second key reason is to ensure your disempowerment. After all, so long as you feel this way, you believe you are trapped in the relationship with them.

It also means that your resistance to satisfying their addiction by meeting all their demands, is low to nil. Supplying the narc becomes your priority, as it is and always will be theirs.

Enter gaslighting which we will consider for now to be all the manipulations employed to achieve your disempowerment. These are the tools used to brainwash you into believing you cannot trust your understanding of reality, or your mental health.

When you are in this space you have essentially lost all trust in yourself. You are fully disempowered.

This is precisely where they want you. Doubting all you know of yourself and reality is the foundation needed for the narc to get away with pretty much anything.

Brainwashing

During devaluation, brainwashing tactics come at you hard and fast. Let’s zoom in on a few to see how the narc plants the seed in your mind that you are the narcissist (and waters in well, with lots of fertiliser for vigorous growth).

1.Projection: Denial underpins all narcissist defence mechanisms to protect the false self from confronting any truth about reality. The narcissist unable to accept that they have any flaws, uses projection as a defence mechanism to attribute what is unacceptable in themselves, onto you.

This of course means that narcissistic traits are regularly cited as your defects. Examples of  your listed shortcomings might include ‘you’re so selfish’, ‘you think everything should be about you’, ‘you’re so manipulative’ etc.

2. Blaming you: Similarly, the narcissist cannot accept any responsibility for any negative behaviours. A preferred ‘go to’ when attempts are made to hold the narc to account is to blame you for the issues raised.

In this scenario, you will get a dose of projection (i.e.: a diatribe about your narcissistic traits) being the cause of their behaviour. For instance, ‘you made me look elsewhere at other men/women. If you weren’t so abusive/controlling/focused on yourself, I wouldn’t have needed to’.

3. The ‘poor me’ routine, used:

a) with you to reinforce doubts as to who is the abusive party and triggering both your empathy for them, and fear of retribution if you do not amp up your supply; and

b) in smear campaigns with others, also used to obtain sympathy for them as the ‘injured party’ and to garner support that you just might be the narcissist.

clarity on how do I know I'm not the narcissist

You get the idea.

It’s becoming a little clearer now isn’t it?

But still you ask, yes but ‘How do I know I’m not the narcissist? I mean 100% know.’

Test of intentionality

So, here’s the thing.

Believe it or not, asking yourself ‘how do I know I’m not the narcissist’ signifies the fog of brainwashing is lifting. Of necessity, this comes hand in hand with the realisation that the person you’re in a relationship (or were in) with is abusive and potentially has NPD.

You are now able to recognise what is what. You are a victim of narcissistic abuse. And you rightly hold the narc responsible for abusing you.

You have been through hell. Pure and simple. It may come slowly, but eventually you will also most likely feel the need to share your story with those you trust as part of your healing journey.

The power of narcissistic abuse is tenacious. You reflect on these things and come full circle…doubt creeps in once again. ‘Hang on a minute’ you think, ‘aren’t I doing exactly the same things as the narc? Projecting, blaming, and seeking sympathy from loved ones?’…’who’s to say that they are wrong and I am right, what’s the difference here??’…aaaaaargh, ‘how do I know I’m not the narcissist?’

How do I know I'm not the narcissist

The big tell gorgeous one, is your intention contrasted with theirs.

Quick recap. The narc’s intent in projecting, blaming, and using the ‘poor me routine’ is to disempower you, and brainwash you into questioning reality, and your mental health.

Now consider where you are coming from.

You believe you have suffered narcissistic abuse, and the responsibility for this is entirely the narc’s, because these are facts.

You share your story because you need to be heard after being silenced for so long. It is also how you receive the validation you desperately need to begin recovering from the annihilation you’ve suffered.

You are speaking your truth, the reality, in order to heal.

BIG difference. HUGE.

Test of logic

Still not sold? OK here we go.

You know you’re not the narc because…

1. Asking yourself ‘How do I know I’m not the narcissist’ means you are concerned you might be. Ummmm, YEESSSS!!! I hear you say frustratedly…maybe a little crossly…

My point lies in the word ‘concerned’. Feeling this way necessarily means that for you, the idea of feeling entitled to cause pain by controlling, demeaning, and manipulating others with the end goal of stripping them of all power and sense of worth, is well, abhorrent.

2. Furthermore, your concern indicates understanding of a) how awful the behaviour is, and b) the impact that it has on victims. For you to comprehend these concepts, indeed, to feel them, you must have empathy. As you know, the true narcissist is void of empathy.

3. Your repulsion at the possibility of behaving as a narcissist, of course means that you do not want to be this way. It is therefore fair to consider that the disgust would be a massive motivation to change.

growth and self-reflectionFor growth to occur, certain conditions must be met in addition to the will to change. The first of these involves giving honest critical thought to your actions and behaviours. The second is the identification and ownership of the undesirable behaviours you wish to transform. Let’s call this self-reflection. Pursuing an answer to the question ‘How do I know I’m not the narcissist?’ is an act of self-reflection (which by the way, you are doing right now…).

In living a life where a false-self has taken over, the narcissist functions through denial. Both reality and the true self have been set aside. The narc is thus incapable of many aspects required for critical self-reflection and consequently growth. It is antithetical to the narcissistic modus operandi on multiple levels. A belief system that clings to the conviction of being superior over all others, simply does not allow for these possibilities.

By definition, individuals with NPD are incapable of considering they are anything less than superior to all others; feel no sense of personal responsibility; and have no empathy for others. These traits render the need for self-reflection redundant. There is no need after all to review or change, what is already perfect.

4. In conducting your self-reflection, you will come across behaviours and actions that make you uncomfy, things you won’t be fully proud of in your time with the narcissist. Things you may compare to narcissistic traits, for example rage, jealousy, aggressiveness etc.

Gorgeous one. Pause.

Think of what you have been through. Hell. Can anyone go through hell and not react? No. They can’t.

You can accept you are not perfect right? Your ego does allow for this. So forgive yourself now for your humanity, and how you have navigated surviving hell.

BOOM – you are not the narcissist. No way. No how.

Remembering who you are

Rest easy. Shoosh that voice that keeps asking the question. You know you’re not the narc. Stop giving the narcissist any more of your time or energy by engaging with this ludicrous idea they planted in your mind.

remember who you are: gorgeousUse your precious time and energy on you instead, and in  progressing your recovery. From now on, every time you hear that voice sneaking back in, promise me you will meet it with remembering who you are.

Start now! Read these out loud:

  • ‘I care about others. I am empathic. I am compassionate. These are my gifts.’*
  • ‘I am open and embrace growth. I evolve without fear knowing my heart is good and kind’.
  • ‘I am strong, resourceful and capable of surviving any situation’.
  • ‘I trust in who I am, everything I need lies within me.’

Yeah baby! You are indeed gorgeous.

Please share your insights or questions below. Have you tackled this question? What are your tips for others in holding fast to self-truth? Sharing and encouraging others is so very necessary to help all of us on our journey of recovery – so thank you!

With gratitude,

Maggie x

bir4d

*I’ve just finished reading Psychopath Free by Jackson Mackenzie – what a magnificent book! It’s super helpful as an intro as to how all cluster B disorders destroy those they are in relationships with. Mackenzie walks through the emotional process of waking up to abuse, and what to expect through recovery.

This is a fairly typical book outline for this topic. Mackenzie’s book has extra specialness. A clear mission surfaces about celebrating the empath, the dreamer, and the gifts these offer the world. Sadly, these are the very qualities often targeted by narcs. So I just know that this book will speak to many of you out there and remind you to protect and treasure what makes you so very wonderful.

Also, Mackenzie at times writes like a poet (a humorous one!) which makes reading this challenging topic for victims a softer experience than the more common clinical/dry style found in similar titles. Loved it.

(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 😊)

 

51 thoughts

  1. Wow, makes sence. Have had screwed over 50 yrs but all i knew. They all deny or take responsibility for their ampathy.

    1. Dear someone, they certainly do deny everything! Let this moment now, be the turning point for you – no more being screwed over! Look after you someone x

  2. This is good to read. I have recently been told that I don’t live in the real world, that I do absolutely nothing, that things I like are just hobbies and are not real life, that I say ‘ I love you’ too much and it spoils it for him when I say it for real, that if it were not for him I would be homeless, that he has to do everything, because I can’t do anything, that I have no life. He ripped everything about me to pieces and expected me to be all jolly and happy and got even more angry when I was crying. this episode ( just the tip of the iceberg) has left me feeling traumatised and has given me nightmares ( that I am sleeping on the streets in a sleeping bag) and I am doubting myself, not sure what is real life or not real life. Am I some kind of hideous misfit ? He says I am miserable and can’t take a joke and beacause I have breasts I do not understand ‘banter’ And there is never ever any apology from him either, never has been. Its been 23 years. I can’t walk away, I have lovely kids and 2 beautiful dogs, I would lose them all.
    Thank you, I shall read this again and again til it sinks in. I do realise that the only thing I can change is myself and can fill the empty shell that I feel I have become, in time. Its not pleasant and quite sad that someone can make you feel like THE worst person in the whole world.

    1. Dear Helen,
      What do you think? Do you think you are a hideous misfit? What do you believe of yourself? The answers to these questions are by far, the most important ones. And not the answers you would give in your sadness and pain, from the place of hurt you hold because of your husband, but the answers you would give from your place of either anger or deep peace. This is where your truth lies. You are not an empty shell, you’ve just lost that connection with your truth. Find your truth once more and you will be free from the words of others being able to make you feel like the worst person in the whole world.
      P.S. My hot tips for you on your truth hunting journey are: a) saying “I love you” too much, is not a thing; and b) neither is attributing good humour to the absence of gender specific anatomical parts. Maggie x

      1. Thank you very much dear Maggie, esp for your hot tips 🙂 it will not be time wasted working out the answers, I may know them already. Your writings have helped me make a small start already.
        Thanks again and all the best xxx

    2. This sounds exactly like my husband. Now I realize he stripped me of anything I enjoyed. Made my own jobs impossible to keep per his needing me. Then discounted my worth because of my not being employed. Yet I worked for him, for pennies. Took all control of financial during my demise and predicted it all because he was manipulating me into it himself. He caught me at my most vulnerable point, the death of my brother and 2 weeks later my dog.
      I’m 25 years in and the past 12 have been a nightmare. I realize now that he manipulated me into relocation even made me believe it was my idea. That was the beginning of his mask falling off.
      I’m still with him trying to get my own financial in order to which I know he will destroy when I leave.
      This article is a great source of reassuring me that I’m recovering and regaining control. I hope it works for you too! Good luck!

      1. Dear Patricia, thank you for sharing your story and for reaching out to offer support & encouragement in the Narc Wise community. It’s people like you that make a difference 🙂 I’m so sorry for what you have endured. And for the losses of your brother & your beloved dog.
        You sound very much like a woman on a mission, proactively working towards freeing yourself & rebuilding the life you so deserve to have. This is so very exciting. Sending you all the courage & strength you might need on this journey (although pretty sure you have those things covered!). Light & love to you dear Patricia, Maggie x

  3. I left my narc nearly two years ago. He is in prison now, so I am technically “safe”, but I still live in constant fear and questioning of my own morality. As I read this article, I found myself needing to re-read certain sentences to solidify their existence to myself! Thank you!! I will keep this article close, and read repeatedly until every word ingrains itself. I finally feel like my eyes are open, and I am not the enemy. Thank you thank YOU!!!

    1. Dear Cassia – do not fear your morality! I tend to think for those of us who care about our morality, we can rest easy knowing conscience will always make sure we do our best in living to the standards we value. Sure we will stuff up, but we will grow from mistakes trusting that our inner compass will show us the way. Rest easy lovely, trust in you. Maggie x

    2. I agree, I was thinking the same way, blaming myself and being upset with myself over the way I have acted, but I was only doing what I was manipulated to do, my husband was is disability, as a caring mother and wife I didn’t work because the stress of taking care of others was in its self a lot for me to handle, thank you so much for saying “forgive myself for the way I was acting,” my children are now adults and I got a job as recommended by husband, but I did work and take care of household, this I have always done, once I got a job, he drove me to work calling names the whole way, he was as frustrated and I was also at how our lifestyle had become, only caring about drugs, sleeping with and trying to sleep with girls of all age, I am longer with him, a night of fighting and not getting sleep for work and then next morning he left to “pick up” someone else, I had to get a ride to work and stayed somewhere else, that only made things worse he changed the locks, … anyway, I’m pouring my heart out and for some reason I feel bad about it, so thank you so much, every one has feelings, everyone will take sides, he has a lot of friends, as for me I tend to not be so social, living in the same small one horse town as him, I was feeling alone, and not good enuff, I’m older now trying to not beat myself up, I have had friends that committed suicide, most recently my neighbor, the same age, the same school, the same situation, married young, husband was verbally abusive, and I never saw but physical abusive, although she was the one that took care of her family, he moved a girl in not even a month after her death! She tried to convenience everyone that she was best friends with her, even telling everyone that their adult children liked her better, her husband tried to convenience people that he slept with her sister at the funeral! I can’t believe people like have so much control over others, my the Lord bless her soul, and finally be happily ever after from the evil in others , so I know that I am not that evil, I will try my best to not become so bitter, but it is only normal to have feels about these things. My eyes are open, I just didn’t know how to deal with these things, believing the truth for some reason is the difficult part, I want to believe the good in everything, so thats where the dilution lies in me, but that is only normal it’s hard for my to believe that people are like that, I am responsible for staying in a situation like that for so long, I’m doing my best to move on, reading this helps so much, after 23yrs of that, I struggle for some reason feeling gulity, it’s been two yrs now I will never forget, so I’m trying to show my grown children the person I am and not what others say I am, so the guilt comes from a lot, putting my kids through all of that,we all struggle at times thank you for sharing and letting me share my story

      1. Dear Anonymous, you have been through so very much and I’m sure that what you have shared is only a snippet of your story. There are many layers of loss that are being grieved. Give yourself the space you need to do this. Be kind to you. Be gentle with you. Including when the feelings of guilt come up. Terribly, these feelings are very much part of the abuse. But they will eventually leave you as work through all your hurt. Be grateful to yourself that you have begun the journey. And you have dear Anonymous, you very much have. If you haven’t got support, it may be worth reaching out locally for a counsellor or therapist who can help you work through your pain. Do whatever it takes to make your healing easier for you. You’ve got this. Light, love and healing to you. Maggie x

    1. Oh hon, I hope they are tears of relief or validation. I just felt a pang of hurt & sadness reading your words. I’m so sorry for the place you are in right now. Look after you Sarah, Maggie x

    2. Made me cry too. I think it’s because the words rang true in my heart, where so few have, and my soul hungered for someone to not only believe in me, but to champion me as well. Thank you, Maggie.

      1. Dear Tracy, I am so very glad you’ve found some comfort in my words. Equally, yours mean so much to me. What you describe is precisely what drives me. Thank you. Sending you big joy Tracy, Maggie x

  4. Dear Maggie,

    Thank you soooo much for this article. I must admit I was keep asking myself and blaming if I somehow I am not the narc. The worst of all is that I keep wondering that my husband would be a narc. But I had been to hell, I was thinking about suicide and all of that because he was telling me I destroy my kids, I am mean and aggresive. It’s hell to live thinking that you destroy your kids, that you do harm when all you want is to be good and offer all you find good in yourself.

    But, with God help I think, only with His help, I succeded to stand up from my bathroom floor and to promise myself that I will NEVER be down there again!

    Two months ago, I discover that narcissism is a disorder and what it means. Reading about it was like a waking up but reading about what the person in relationship with a narc is passing through is a revelation.

    I must admit I still can’t belive that this is happening to me, most of all because we have 3 kids and I have no ideea how can I protect them and what is best for them.

    But, in the same way that happend until now, I hope that time and God will gove me the proper answers. Thank you SO MUCH!
    God bless you!

    1. Dear Cris,
      Let me thank YOU so much. Your words “I succeded to stand up from my bathroom floor and to promise myself that I will NEVER be down there again” gave me goosebumps.
      You say that you don’t know how to protect your children or what is best for them or what the proper answers are, but I don’t believe you.
      I do believe that you are all you need, and that all the answers to work through your challenges are right there inside you.
      The goosebumps were from hearing your massive strength roaring through your words of pain.
      I suspect you are only coming to grips now with all the strength and courage and goodness you have inside you. (Of course you are! You’ve been told you are the opposite for too long it seems). So let me join your own sweet self who is telling you from deep within that you are strong, courageous and good – and say I agree. You’ve got this. You’ve got you and your children.
      God bless you also Cris. You are inspiring. Maggie x

  5. I was told over and over that I was the Narc. I didn’t even know what one was! I just thought it was an egotistical person. She told me I needed to go to counseling so I did. After 2 sessions the counselor told me “Bryan, I have worked with many Narcs and you are NOT a Narc! Just the fact that you are here questioning yourself shows that you aren’.t What you need is couples counseling!” So that’s what we did. At the end of it all my counselor said “Bryan she is broken! She treats you horribly! She has no ability to rationally deal with conflict resolution! It’s either fight or flee! There are people out there that don’t act like this! It doesn’t have to be this hard!” My counselor was actually feeling pain for me. I thought she was going to cry! This is when I started hitting the web and realized that my love was a Covert Narc! The break up has been the hardest thing of my life! I truly loved the good side of her but the bad was BAD! The trauma bonding is real and getting off the drug and PTSD has been tough. No contact and run is the only answer!

    1. Dear Bryan – hurrah! There is such hope, joy and life in your message – it is so uplifting! Of course, I fully hear you and feel you on the devastatingly difficult challenges that do exist in breaking free. You hit the nail on the head: the trauma bonding, the ‘getting dry’, and the PTSD are HARD. Yet, the hardness of healing these wounds ain’t nothing compared to remaining exposed to the poison. Good for you Bryan, I’m sending you buckets of joy and freedom, take care of you! Maggie x

  6. I couldn’t understand why there was absolutely no emotion in how my sons (her former stepsons) and I were being devalued and discarded so easily after almost 6 years of marriage, and how she can call me a monster for none of us wanting her to remain a part of our lives after walking out on us, and trying to take their home away in the divorce. we were making love in Paris every day less than 30 days before she told me that she doesn’t love me, isn’t in love with me, and hasn’t loved me in a very long time. i learned about codependency and what a covert narcissist is and it all made perfect sense. i went no contact for two months and then had a momentary lapse in judgment and during the ensuing period of time she told me that I was the narcissist. i’m so glad I found your blog post.

    1. Dear Trevor, I’m so glad you found in the post too, the sense that I think this means you know who you are once more: not a narc. I’m sorry for all you’ve been through, your heart must be quite sore at the moment. Perhaps awakening to the reality of what you have you experienced may help with healing your heart. I’d love to hear how you are going, and send you light and love on your journey to joy and freedom. Maggie x

  7. Its been since Nov 13, 2017, when after 6 years of insanity, he raged, pushed me so hard in was knocked unconscious. Of course all the devaluing and blaming preceded that and was nonstop for 2 years. I didn’t go to the ER until the following day. He was arrested and the case is still pending. His plea is not guilty and thru a friend swears he will go to a jury trial and get this dismissed. He’s truly insane. The county in which this occurred is super tough on dom v. I have pics and text messages saved and even a solid terrorist threat sent via text that I have not disclosed to the DA as I almost feel sorry for him. I feel if I stay quite (as usual) I’m not doing myself any favors and boy oh boy…I deserve to be favored. He’s higher than thou and above the law…along with making me out to be the crazy one? NO. I am not crazy. I’m a caring loving woman who thought my love could save this (sometimes) gentle man. He gave me a concussion and walked away…not even knowing whether or not I was DEAD. I’ve never had a man put hands on me and THAT crap will never happen to me again. I’m angry and lashing out at many of my friends. I’m just so angry at my decision to stick by this monster, walking in faith that he wanted to change…In seeking EMDR therapy due to the PTSD aspect of this trauma. I will be fine. Better than fine. I’m now aware. And that’s all one can hope for – – preventing the bad decisions in losing sense of self. Damn I’m BLESSED for that!

    1. Dear Sue, thank you for sharing your story.
      I am so sorry for what you have been through, it is such a relief to know you are now safe from this man now. My goodness woman, the power and strength behind the words in your message are so inspiring. I hear you with the rage you are carrying (you can read more about this in Why is it so hard to leave an abusive relationship with a narcissist? if you you’re interested). Right now, your rage is your friend, it is your truth coming up and out, when this has been squished down for too long. I’m glad you are seeking therapy support and you are investing in you to work through these experiences and the PTSD. Enough has been given to this man, time to reclaim all your freedom & joy.
      I completely agree with you: You are a caring and loving woman. You are not crazy. You are fine. You are aware. And you are blessed.
      Look after you with all you’ve got. Sending you light & love, Maggie x

  8. Thank you thank you and thank you this is beautifully executed , informative relatable and conforting. I am greatful for your insight.

    1. Dear J. Thank you for taking the time to share with me your very generous words. To know that my words have helped makes my soul sing. On the other hand, Honey, I am so sorry that you needed to hear words of comfort because this means you find yourself in this heart rending situation. May I also say, just clapping eyes on your very few words, tells me louder than any megaphone would, you are not narcissistic. Despite your pain, you took the time to share your gratitude and kind words with me. These are not, nor ever will be, the actions of a narc. J, I send you all the good stuff that would support you in finding all that you long for. Love and light to you, Maggie x

  9. Thank you thank you THANK YOU!!!
    I’m a 58yo male that is being used by a 34yo female narc.
    Everything I’ve read (and been a ton over last two months) narc was males, and along with her I was scared I was the narc.
    I NOW!! Realize I am not and need to break ties move on, (easy said than done). Again thank you for opening my eyes, and my heart.
    I’ve read this article 3 times. Everytime I have doubt I read it again.
    Thank you

    1. Dear Jerry of the open eyes and heart :),
      I’m so sorry you feel you are being used. And by someone you are intimately involved with. Not only this, but with someone who has sought to convince you you are someone other than who you are. How terribly heartbreaking.
      I’m so very glad that you have made the decision to find a happier situation for yourself having realised what isn’t working for you.
      No! Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not gender specific! NPD tends to be present a little more in males than females, and I suspect that more female writers are out there on the topic, which probably explains the skew you see. It must be disheartening to read so much content framed in this way! You keep looking after your heart Jerry. You’ve got this. Sending you light & love, Maggie x

  10. I was told how I feel. I was called selfish and “it’s all about you.” I was gas lit, love bombed and manipulated for my entire marriage. Reading this has given me some much needed insight because I did question myself. I was beaten or punched whenever she drank and was blamed for it. Clothes were destroyed, glasses broke etc. I became enraged and ended up isolating because of the daily fighting. When I sought help for us, I couldn’t tell the truth or I was disloyal to her. I was blamed for everything she did and it was beginning to drive me crazy. Daily projections made me question my own sanity. I remember telling her ,”you’re breaking my spirit.” The response was always,”stop making it always about you.” The last straw was making me choose between her and my children from my previous marriage. She had me believe that I couldn’t love her if they were a part of our life. Thank God my children forgave me for not seeing them for 10 months. The price I’m paying now? She had me arrested for threatening her. Through counseling I’m realizing that when someone devalues you, crushes your spirit, tells you who you are and manipulates your very being that who wouldn’t lash out with threats? Who wouldn’t become enraged? I’ve also learned that is exactly what the narc wants is a negative reaction so they can blame you and make you look and feel crazy. My advice? If you’re in a relationship with a narc get out safely while you still have an ounce of self respect, self worth and sanity. They will drive you to do things that you don’t believe you were capable of doing.

    1. Dear Anonymous, there is so much anguish in your words. I’m so sorry for your pain. I could be way off base, but your words tell me you are feeling such shame.

      This isn’t something that seems to be spoken of much in the narcissistic abuse community, I think some may get confused that this is some form of victim blaming rather than a very real, powerful and destructive symptom of being abused leading to not much talk on this front.
      It’s an area we should all start speaking more on. Brene Brown said “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive”. We must find our voices! I wrote about shame in Why is it so hard to leave an abusive relationship with a narcissist?.

      Obviously speaking your truth is what you are doing withing counselling which is wonderful. My little rant here about the impact of shame and how to conquer it is really to say a) I get it – I get the yuck feelings that may be swirling inside now and the challenges of coming to grips with things you wouldn’t ordinarily do, nor are necessarily proud of – you & I are not alone in feeling this way, it is a product of what has been endured; and c) trust that you are now on the path to setting yourself free, you are doing the work, you will get there.
      You have been through hell dear Anonymous from what you describe. And you survived. When in survival mode, not one single one of us acts from a place of groundedness nor safety. We do what we do to get by. And you did. There is gratitude to be found for yourself in that. Sending you huge healing light and love. Maggie x

    2. “that is exactly what the narc wants is a negative reaction so they can blame you and make you look and feel crazy.” That is so true! Know that you are not alone. We have all had to get this education the hard way. But also know that this knowledge will eventually set you free and keep you from making the same mistake again!

      1. Good for you Bryan, thank you for your words of encouragement & wisdom – I have no doubt they are appreciated 🙂 Maggie x

  11. I’m at a point where I know I want away from my narc, but have always had the weakness of worrying more about others than myself and being overly receptive to his needs. I found this after yet another argument where everything turned back around on me and how I don’t care about his needs and everything is my fault. What I hate most about narc abuse is that, in the moment, everything they say to you makes sense and you feel how they want you to feel; then you walk away and see it’s bull but still have that doubt in yourself. Reading things like this helps me keep my feet on the ground and reassure myself I’m not crazy.

    1. Dear ChelseaHunnieBee, I’m glad you have found reassurance here. You sound like you are a very grounded person anyway! What insight: “in the moment, everything they say to you makes sense and you feel how they want you to feel; then you walk away and see it’s bull but still have that doubt in yourself” – this encapsulates narcissistic abuse so very well. I have no doubt you will get to wherever you want to be, including being away from your narc as you say. Maybe you could switch for a while and be more receptive to your needs than others and see what happens? Big light & love to you ChelseaHunnieBee, Maggie x

  12. Ok so I get all this and I get I’m not a narcissist. But I am convinced that if my ex read this he will say the exact same thing, that he’s the victim and that I’m doing all these things described. He would truly believe that I am the narcissist. So again, how do I know I’m not the one in denial of a horrible personality?

    1. Dear Zara, I sooooo get it. This is why I wrote the article. I call what you are doing the narc spin. The never ending circling through of repeating thoughts. Ruminating. You conclude a point, then find yourself unpicking it immediately afterwards, only to work your way back to the original conclusion and so it continues. Ad infinitum through the same loop, over & over again.
      I will make a few observations & ask you a few questions. In the hope they may slow the spin until you find your way to peace and it halts altogether.
      1. You start your message clearly stating you are not a narcissist. Presumably you look inside, reflect on who you are and subsequently assuredly state that this is a fact. You are not that person. You are not a narc.
      It is not until you think of what your ex might say about you, that your assurance flags. Why should you take his opinion, word, interpretation as any more valuable than is your own? Who knows you better – you? Or him? And who’s view of who you is more important to you? (The answer on this last point gorgeous one, must be yours).
      2. Placing weight on what he might be doing or thinking etc. is a dangerous practice. Your recovery has everything to do with cutting the tie with what he might be doing or thinking and reconnecting with just what you are doing and thinking. And only this.
      3. A general observation is this: Victims of abuse will pursue information and seek to raise their own understanding of what has happened to them in order to heal. This is a proactive action taken to address the very real harm they have experienced, to heal and rebuild their lives. It is such a deep seated need, that the pursuit can become all consuming, such is the magnitude of the hurt.
      4. “Victims” on the other hand, those in denial, do not. Blaming others for harm that they in fact are responsible for is not accompanied with genuine soul searching – the two concepts are diametrically opposed. They are mutually exclusive. (As an aside, to be clear because I can almost hear you thinking ‘so what’s the difference between me saying he hurt me, and him saying I hurt him?’…blaming is not the same thing as rightly holding another individual accountable for their actions. The former IS rooted in denial, the latter in acceptance, boundaries and strength. One on make believe, and one on reality).
      5. We are all at some point in denial about elements of ourselves that are less than flattering. And yes, denial is absolutely integral to the functioning of the disorder that is NPD but there are many other markers as well. So, I ask you:
      – Do you believe you are better and more special than all those who surround you?
      – Do you believe that you are entitled to anything you desire, and that everyone’s undivided attention & focus should be relentlessly on you?
      – Do you need to be in control at all times in addition to confirming constantly that you hold the upper hand in terms of power in all circumstances?
      – Do you need to be right in all circumstances? Do you get a kick out of making sure others know they are wrong in all circumstances that disagree with your own view?
      – If someone gave you a horrible personality diagnosis, would you consider it an impossibility because you are beyond reproach and dismiss it altogether (as well as dismiss the smarts of the person diagnosing you)?
      – When confronted with people who need help & kindness, do you walk away without any emotion refusing to offer them help, unless there is something in it for you?
      Dear Zara. Only you know the answers to these questions. Only you. Similarly, the only person who actually cares about the answers, is you. By this I mean, that a narc would not.
      I promise you the spin will slow and eventually stop if you continue on your journey. You’ve got this.
      Sending you much peace, clarity, calm, light & love. Maggie x

      1. Dear Maggie, thank you! This clarified a lot! My narc is my daughters dad so naturally I can’t cut contact completely. I left him three years ago and the divorce was final last year. I met someone else and married him as soon as my divorce was final but the narc ex doesn’t know cause I am afraid of his attacks, they frikkin hurt! I am afraid he will use our daughter (6 y/o) and turn her against me as she’s too young to understand what’s going on and that her hero dad is nothing but a douche!

        Last night I went to his place to pick her up, as we were leaving he started to walk with us. I asked why and he said we could have a drink. I said I need to do laundry and pack as me and my daughter are soon going on a trip to croatia. He said he wouldn’t stay long. He drank all the alcohol making margaritas, when I was out of ingredients he went to buy new (he’s an alcoholic but he’s denying it since he has no problem at all to not drink on a daily basis) I ignored him and did what I had to do and also of course giving my all focus to my daughter. As I was folding my clean clothes I told her that when I was done it’s brushing time and her dad said “yeah I should’ve left a long time ago” now this is how I knew he’s gotten nothing in his “narc veins” this evening. He wanted me to worship him and beg him to stay and tell him what a good Time we’ve had. I simply said “yeah so why didn’t you” he was shocked and said I didn’t kick him out and I replied that you can leave without being kicked out. He was furious and took his shoes on, ignored when I asked about tomorrow cause he was supposed to drive us, he slammed my door and left. One last try I opened the door after him and calmly asked again about tomorrow, he ignored me (the silent treatment is his thing and always have been) I said that we’ll be fine on our own and wouldn’t need him to drive us. It took literally 5 mins till he started calling and I didn’t pick up, in 5 mins he called 22 times (I have screenshots of this) in between I texted and said I’m done doing this and asked him to stop. The usual gaslighting started “yeah but what about you?” “Like you’ve never done that” “you’re insane” “all I did was….and then you….” “making a hen out of a feather” etc, I ignored said I would talk when he would be quiet and listen since I never get to finish my sentences. He turned again and begged me please to answer the phone and he promised to listen, HE would feel awful if we didn’t solve this misunderstanding, HE wouldn’t be able to sleep etc. I didn’t pick up. He said he would come back to my place, I said he wasn’t welcome back and that he should go back home, he said he was on his way, I said he should turn back home and he said I had to answer the phone. This was over iMessage and I have the screenshots of all the 22 calls and our messages. I also recorded the phone call when I finally had to answer since I didn’t want him back there and to bother my neighbors. I am now sure of what he is and what he does and this story is NOTHING compared to other things he’s done. I am also aware of how I t act to what he does and for the first time in my 10 year relationship with him I didn’t end up crying myself to sleep, I laughed, smiled and felt so relieved! Thank you for that! But now I don’t know how to get rid of him….

      2. Dear Zara, I am glad the message helped. I am grateful for you reaching out. The spin is such a nightmare. As is the situation you describe with your ex. I understand there are additional challenges faced in sharing a child with an individual where in other circumstances the decision to go No Contact might be less complicated. Despite this, how wonderful is it that you can now see their behaviour for what it is! This is a monumental step, well done. It is a milestone in recovery. I’m understanding that you can’t altogether get rid of him? Implementing very firm boundaries & following through on them, and refusing to get sucked into the games (i.e.: reacting to all the poking & prodding at your vulnerabilities that is currently happening) might be worth practising. I know it is easier said than done. With practice though it will empower you, and also send a very clear message of what will and won’t be tolerated. But you must, must, must follow through on every single boundary set, without fail. Remember that the pathological narcissist abuses based on violating boundaries & sniffing out how to get this done – as you know they will use EVERY trick in the book to make it happen, which is why holding fast to your boundaries is the only way. The more you follow through on them, the more they will understand you are no longer a source of supply, and the more you will feel empowered making the practice easier & more natural. Sending you light & love Zara. Maggie x

  13. You know this because you are preocupied of beeing a narcisist, better saying of NOT beeing one. A narcisist would always think that even his behaviour is called a narcisist one it doesn’t matter. He/she is a powerful person and we, the others are weak because we have emotions!!!!

    So the one who accept having emotions is NOT a narcisist.

  14. Thank you Maggie, you helped open my eyes, 3 months ago. Since then, I had read books and I still learn how to establish boundaries. I hope I convinced my husband that he needs help unless we will have no future together. He said he will begin therapy. I have also learnt that in the future I have to be aware of this type of persons because somehow I am attracted to ths type of personslity and this is a schema for me.

    Thank you!

    1. Dear Cristina – thank your own sweet self! What a monumental journey you’ve been on in just 3 months. I salute you. You’ve raised your level of awareness, identified areas of personal growth you want to pursue, and established boundaries. This is such a remarkable amount of movement in just 3 months. You sound like you have reclaimed and are sitting proudly in your power. What an inspiration you are. You are backing yourself. Love it. You cannot go wrong on this path. I am backing you too. Maggie x

  15. Itripped upon this and will save it in a file.
    I was married to one for 31 years.
    He did whatever he wanted, I was a SAHM.

    I was made to feel for years as an outsider from he and his family.
    If his friends crossed the line or boundaries, I was overreacting, too sensitive, etc.
    For years I was hurt, eventually I stopped caring, focused on theneeds of our two daughters .

    My mother and father are narcs, I married one, and my oldest daughter is one .

    I question myself all the time, am I being selfish, am I self absorbed, etc. eetc.
    I’ve been separated for 3 and divorced for 2, and I still feel guilty if I treat myself.

    My oldest daughter is an overt and my wasband a covert.

    I am trying to learn how to not be drawn to a narc, especially since that is what my normal is.

    I will soon be 58 and hope to never stop learning orworking on .myself.

    M.

    1. Dear Mel, thank you for sharing some of your story. There are many more layers behind all this. How can there not be when this is all that has surrounded you since birth? I salute you gorgeous woman, for the stand you are taking for your self. No more. From this point, no more. I hear you, it is hard to unlearn all that has been learnt, particularly so when there is no real point of comparison of non-narcness to refer to. (Frankly, doesn’t cover it. It is strength and courage at it’s grittiest).
      Still, despite the ‘hardness’, you’ve got this.
      You will not be drawn to a narc again, and you will continue to heal your self, because you CAN trust your self. Innately, you know what works for you, and what doesn’t. Throw in a dose of raw self-checking when some of the behaviours you may have adopted to survive are not working in your favour, and you’ve got this. You KNOW the way. Your way. I can’t wait for your flourishing dear Mel. My goodness you’ve earned it. Light and love to you. Maggie x

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