9 minute read
Are you feeling sorry for the narcissist in your life? Do you excuse their behaviour because of this? Or perhaps you feel like you ‘ought’ to feel sorry for them?
My bet is that if you are a target of narcissistic abuse, at some point you have wrestled with these questions. If so, this article is for you.
If you are also busy researching about narcissism, you may have come across articles on why you should feel sorry for the narcissist.
How completely unhelpful and frankly absurd!
The major arguments for feeling sorry for the narcissist are:
- A cause of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is childhood abuse hence the narcissist is a victim
- NPD is an illness, therefore the narcissist cannot be held responsible for their symptoms
- The narcissist leads a stunted emotional life that no one would envy
Let’s check out the validity of these views, and why your care and compassion would be far better invested in yourself at this time. Feeling sorry for the perpetrator of your abuse, is only going to hold you back in setting yourself free.
Getting clear on why there is no excuse for narcissistic abuse will help you cut the ties that bind. Get your scissors out gorgeous one. No more feeling sorry for the narcissist, here’s why.
Devil’s advocate arguments: Feeling sorry for the narcissist
A) NPD evolves from abuse
A popular argument for feeling sorry for the narcissist is that they are the way they are because they suffered abuse as children.
During childhood a series of developmental phases occur for healthy maturation. Successful progress through phases, hinges on the relationship with primary caregivers, which is in most instances, the mother.
Determining the health of the relationship relates to whether the child’s emotional and physical needs are adequately met by the mother. When they are not, developmental progress is impaired. NPD may be a potential outcome of this damage, amongst other possible outcomes.
In feeling sorry for the narcissist, the crux of the assertion lies in the disruption borne: the child was not adequately cared for, rather was neglected, rejected and/or abandoned by its mother.
This emotional and/or physical abuse stunts the growth of the individual leaving them scarred.
The narcissist as a child when vulnerable, helpless, and dependent on the care, love and attention of their mother was deeply betrayed.
The depth of this pain, through a cause beyond their control, is indeed a tragedy and places them fairly in the role of victim.
B) Narcissists are ill, they cannot help what they do
NPD is classified as a type of mental illness, a personality disorder.
By definition mental illness refers to significant changes to thought, emotion and/or behaviour, which cause the individual distress and difficulties in daily life.
The case on this front, is that to hold an individual responsible for symptoms of illness is morally wrong as they cannot help being unwell. Consequently, two things follow:
- Since NPD is an illness, narcissists cannot help their cognitive and behavioural symptoms. So, narcissists should not be held responsible for their behaviours.
Because they do not choose to be unwell, nor to be wrought with these destructive symptoms, one should rightly feel sorry for those afflicted with the disorder. No one would elect to carry the burden of NPD, and those who have won the lottery on the NPD front are truly poor long-suffering creatures of misfortune.
- To hold NPD’d individuals responsible for their behaviours, as anything other than symptoms of an illness, is injurious and unfair for the narcissist.
Indeed some articles promote that to do so, is being discriminatory towards NPD and marginalising the narc for what they cannot help.
C) The difficulties faced being a narcissist
Highly destructive relationships that for many extend to abuse (as you well know gorgeous one) are a hallmark of NPD.
At the malignant end of the narcissistic spectrum we’re talking possible psychological, emotional, sexual, and/or physical abuse.
The cycle of narcissistic abuse from idealise, devalue to discard, and need for constant supply precludes capacity for long term, meaningful, and intimate relationships.
The drive for power and control pursued through manipulation, coupled with an absence of compassion, and arguably thus love, shackles the narcissist in a lonely & unsatisfying existence. They will never feel the connection that others enjoy.
This lack of internal emotional richness and inability to truly belong, causes a deep emptiness.
This picture of the emotionally barren landscape is apparently reason to make you, and the angels weep for the poor narc.
On top of this internal wasteland and following on from the view that they are ill and can’t help what they do, we should further feel sorry for the narc because of the increasing bad press they are copping.
Circulation of knowledge informing the abused about NPD is maligning the unfortunate narcissist and exacerbating their loneliness even further.
The pickle with these arguments
D) On abuse
So here’s the thing.
The original narcissistic injury of significant childhood disruptions through emotional and/or physical abuse is not ok.
Abuse, in any form, at any age, for any person, is never ok.
That this happens to children who are entirely vulnerable and dependent on those who cause the damage, and are helpless in a situation where they have no control, is quite simply heartbreaking.
There are few (really only those with some Cluster B personality disorders…just saying…) who would not feel a deep aching compassion and sadness for those starved of motherly love.
Yet, this is a separate issue to whether you should ‘feel sorry for the narcissist’ now. Please do not conflate the ideas as they are being presented!
They are no longer the vulnerable, dependent, and helpless child.
They are now, grown adults who are perpetuating the cycle of abuse by inflicting it on you.
If in agreement that abuse is not ok for the narcissist, indeed, never ok under any circumstances, then this surely applies to the narcissist in their treatment of you right now.
Feeling sorry for the narcissist for what they sustained then, is completely understandable and the inevitable place an empath and compassionate person will go. Which is fine, so long as you can separate this from the fact of who they are now: a person who imposes on others the very same harm they experienced in the past.
The pain of then, is no excuse for the pain they willingly inflict on others now.
E) On illness
Allow me to be quibbly for a moment…
Is the term, and therefore the concept of illness apt for NPD? And if it isn’t, doesn’t this argument crumble?
For illness to fit, the individual must experience distress as a result of their disorder.
This may well be the case for some who have a few narcissistic traits. For those who are diagnosable with NPD or at the higher end of the spectrum, particularly malignant narcissists, is this the case?
The anguish experienced is not felt by the ‘ill’ one, but rather by those that surround them.
How many individuals with NPD seek help to change their behaviours and alleviate ‘said distress’?
The answer to this question is, the number of narcs who have:
- Awareness and ownership of flaws
- Willingness to change and improve these imperfections
- Openness to constructive criticism
- A modicum of humility
So, this is where using ‘illness’ as the grand forgiver of all evils fails.
Overriding ‘symptoms’ of the ‘illness’ are superiority, grandiosity and entitlement. Feeling beyond reproach, ‘better than’ all others, is simply not congruent with the concept of distress needed to meet the requirements of ‘illness’.
F) On ‘being able to help it’
Oh the ludicrousness of the narcissist being helpless to control their behaviours because they are a victim of illness!
To be wiped clean of any responsibility of their behaviours, requires that they have no intentionality in how they treat others.
I’ve written on these topics in Proof the narcissist abuses you intentionally and they will never change – check it out.
Everything the narcissist does is designed to secure supply. To gain power and control over others and feed their belief that they are superior. Every. Thing. They. Do.
All the manipulating through gaslighting, isolating you, conducting intricate smear campaigns, triangulating you, threatening you and so on…
Do you really believe any of these happen outside the scope of their free will? That they truly couldn’t help it? In fact, in accordance with the definition of illness, that doing these things causes them distress?
Every single one of these acts is backed by awareness of what they are doing and the personal choice to make it happen. Cruelty is rarely accidental. And narcissistic abuse is always intentional.
Let me ask you this…
Remember the abuse the narcissist went through as a child?
How can it be that not all who have endured similar histories end up like the abusive narcissist? Indeed, why is it that some actively pursue a life of compassion and of helping others because of these very same hurts?
Because they made the choice, that’s why.
They give others the gift of care, because that is precisely what they intend on doing with the lessons they have learned in life.
Stop feeling sorry for the narcissist!
Let me be clear about my intention. My goal is not really about damning the narcissist, it is to support you realign any misguided good intentions that may be working against you. It’s about helping you de-fog your mind so you can reclaim your freedom.
At the outset, the probability of your being an empath or at the very least a super compassionate person was noted because of the high proportion targeted by narcissists.
If this is you, reclaiming your freedom can be hard won. You’re finding your way through a maze of such intricate complexity, including cutting the ties of trauma bonding, and the addiction to the relationship (read Why is it so hard to leave an abusive relationship with a narcissist? & Why narcissistic abuse and trauma bonding is so powerful for codependents for more on these topics).
And then there is the gorgeousness of who you are as an empath. Because of your innate capacity to care, empathise and have compassion for all beings, you may just be doing you in. Holding yourself back.
I have no doubt that you have felt sorry for the narcissist. Quite naturally. And that when they play the ‘poor me’ card to manipulate you it has been highly effective.
I’ll also wager that in waking and beginning to question the reality you are enduring, there is a ping pong championship from hell going on inside you with ‘but maybe I should feel sorry for the narc’ being the ball.
The quandary you face as an empath of stopping feeling sorry for the narcissist can be quite agonising. And a stumbling block in setting yourself free.
So, let’s make it simple.
Stop feeling sorry for the narcissist. There is no need to.
Instead, redirect all that care, empathy, and compassion back into you. There is a need there. You need you. So be there for you, set yourself free now.
As always, please share your insights, tips and thoughts on ‘feeling sorry for the narcissist’. Sharing and encouraging others is so very necessary to help all of us on our journey of recovery – so thank you!
- Hotchkiss, S. (2005). Key concepts in the theory and treatment of narcissistic phenomena. Clinical Social Work Journal, 33(2), 127-144.
- Vitek, J.A. (2000). Aggression and differentiation of self in narcissistic subtypes (Doctoral dissertation). The Wright Institute Graduate School of Psychology. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations. (Order No. 9970787)
- Zosky, D. M. (2001). The role of projective identification with domestically violent males (Doctoral dissertation). Loyola University Chicago. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations. (Order No. 3001640)
Thank you for this. I am learning every day, trying everyday to cut myself loose. Ever so often I fall back in the trap of feeling sorry for the narc. I’ve become codependent without even realising there was a term for this.Why is it so difficult to finally leave? But, I WILL leave, I am almost there.
Dear Ann – it is a huge challenge you are tackling to break those trauma bonds, and overcome codependency. You can do it! The fact that you are on your learning journey is evidence that you are already well on your way. I have a few articles that may be helpful that touch on the very things you have raised. They are: Why is it so hard to leave and abusive relationship with a narcissist?, Why narcissistic abuse and trauma bonding is so powerful for codependents, and Emotionally unhook yourself & starve the narcissist of supply: Here’s how. You’ve got this Ann. Sending you light and love, Maggie x
I’ve been in a relationship with a narc for almost 2 years now. I broke up with him in February, but because we live together and I couldn’t find an apartment (and had no money if I did), we ended up staying together. He never “came for me” – never asked what went wrong, never begged forgiveness, apologized or in any way acknowledged that something was wrong and that he was in any way responsible for my unhappiness. The two things he said were, “I don’t see that there’s a problem between us” and “It’s not my job to make you happy.” He never did anything, never changed anything. Since then, I’m noticing a pattern of “managing down expectations” and abuse through silence and ignoring. We can’t even have a normal conversation about the weather or the weekend. After reading more and more on narcissistic abuse, I am aware that I need to leave, but something stops me. What? What could possibly stop someone who knows they’re being abused DELIBERATELY and that there is no hope -NONE- for anything to EVER be any different? Guilt. You see, I am co-dependent – big time rescuer, fixer, you name it. I pay for almost everything. If I up and leave, he will be homeless within the month, hungry, won’t be able to see his children, will be without almost everything that I’ve provided for the last almost 2 years. I believe that “I’m not the kind of person who hurts other people like that.” But…but…he’s hurt me endlessly, crossed boundaries of basic respect, taken every gift and appropriated every resource available for himself, rarely expressing gratitude, rather, demonstrating an attitude of entitlement. I’ve saved his ass over and over all this time, and you’d think he would fall on his knees every day asking what he could do to make my life better, happier, whatever. Not bleeding likely. What if I save my money this month, take what little he gives me – not even half the rent – and absolutely GHOST before the next rent is due? Is that shitty? Yes. Is this my very LIFE? Yes, I’m beginning to believe it is…. And then there’s the fear. What will he do? Terror… But every day is another journey through anxiety that borders on panic. It’s like a hungry beast has chased me to the edge of a cliff and there’s nothing to do but leap. To fly? Or to fall? In any case, to rescue myself and clean up the mess, love myself, because there is no fixing him enough that he will ever be able to, make a new life. That’s NOT what love does (something I say all the time), but it sure as hell is what SELF-LOVE does. Question: Why am I not angry?
Dear Kelleygurl116, I feel for you big time. The anguish. In my bones. It might help if you check out these articles: Why narcissistic abuse and trauma bonding is so powerful for codependents and Why is it so hard to leave and abusive relationship with a narcissist? If you would like to bounce ideas on bringing your self-love to life, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We can brainstorm. When you say ‘Why am I not angry?’ what are you referring to? Do you mean you feel no anger towards this person or about the relationship? Thinking of you, Maggie x
When I say, “Why am I not angry?” I mean, why am I not angry at how I’ve been treated? Why not rage? Why do I continue to feel compassion, pity, responsibility – although not love. Not anymore.
I have decided, although terrified by the uncertainty, to leave. I’ve already moved out the things that won’t be missed, and I’m going to take my clothes and a few personal belongings and GHOST. Most of the stuff at the apartment reminds me of him, and they’re only THINGS. Even though I have nowhere to go right now, I trust myself enough to know that I will find a place, even if it means going deeper into debt. I’m leaving within the week with the help of my best friend, who despises him and who has been my rock through all of this. I’ve already blocked him from email, and when I go, I will end his gym membership (which I pay for), separate his phone account from mine and get a new number, and block him on Social media. Warn all my close friends and distance from the rest so that there are no “flying monkeys”.
I don’t know what’s going to happen and that is frightening. Do you believe in the existence of a “higher power” that watches over fools like me? Although I know it’s an illusion, many times I feel very much alone in all of this. I am grateful for the information and compassion you’ve shared. Thank you….
And I will take you up on the email once I’m away – my self-love is in tatters.
Dear Kelleygurl116, I thought that might be what you meant when you asked that question. I suspect the answer is because that is who you are: a gorgeously compassionate, open & kind hearted person. An empath. Can you generally see the hurt behind the ugliness that people do? I suspect yes. Question is though is there really hurt behind the ugliness you are receiving from this person? And even if there is, does it excuse the abuse? Because you are leaving, it would seem you do already know that it doesn’t excuse it, so that’s a huge positive.
I wonder though whether you could take all that natural compassion you focus outward naturally, and refocus inwardly for a while. You need you. This will be the beginning of rebuilding self-love. And answering things like why don’t I feel rage might be answered with ‘because this is who I am, and I am beautiful’ – alternatively, it might also bring on the rage. Either way, these are both super positive, because what matters most, you, is once more being cared for and acknowledged with compassion. Both reactions are evidence of you knowing your worth and feeling self-love.
In answer to your question. Yes. Unequivocally yes, I do believe in a higher power that watches over us. I know the feeling of aloneness and rebuilding from nothing. And that higher power held my hand on the journey, without a doubt. Dear Kelleygurl116 that trusting yourself to get through this, no matter what, that is your higher power. Your strength, your grace, your beauty is also your higher power. You’ve got this. You sound like a force to me. Step aside world because you are coming to claim what’s rightfully yours. Freedom & joy, and whatever else your heart desires. Light & love to you. Maggie x
For me..the thing that kept me with him for so long was the fear of what he would do. He’d threatened me on so many occasions when I kicked him out, snarling in my face “go on, see what will happen”. I’d also told him things I wish I hadn’t and was afraid he’d go and tell everyone my secrets. He’d also trained me into expecting punishment..we’d argue, he’d seem okay, we’d make love, everything would be fine and 2 days later he’d break something of mine or punish me financially..a couple of times when I asked why he’d done it he’d explain it was because of the argument 2/3 days ago (which I thought was forgotten about). This keeps you walking on eggshells. And I finally realised that I couldn’t trust ANYTHING about him. Whilst he was smiling at me, making love to me, laughing with me and being romantic..he was silently fuming and planning revenge. So it became clear even if he was being nice, I couldn’t relax. This I think was to train me out of pointing out his bad behaviour, to stop bringing things up with him. To basically ” just let me abuse you and do whatever I want and keep quiet “. Its a sad existence. Finally my desire to be free of him was greater than my fear of what he would do if I finally ended it. So the last time I got him to leave I went no contact. Fortunately for me he was the type that if I didn’t call him, he wouldn’t call me. His ego wouldn’t let him. He knew our pattern, that if I asked him to leave, 3 days later I’d have calmed down..rationalized the madness, begun romantascising the relationship (remember all the love bombing) and think ” he’s not that bad really”..he’d come over, never apologise, kiss me and the cycle would start again. Look up trauma bonding and cognitive dissonance. That’ll help. Also there’s something else you might need to accept and that is you may have had a narcissistic parent. You’re trying to resolve with him what is unresolved from childhood. After identifying him as a narc..I realised I’m co-dependent (so read “codependent no more”).. The next question is how does someone become co-dep..I.e why is it that I have such low standards, weak boundaries and his treatment of me feels familiar..then read ” complex PTSD from surviving to thriving”. Good luck..you will come out of this. My mind and emotions have never been in a better place after this. Things that were unresolved patterns for over 30 years were healed. Do your healing journey. You mention kids so also look at “co-parenting with a narc”. Love and light..
Dear Anon, thank you for sharing your wisdom with others here at Narc Wise. Such great points, and suggested next steps. No doubt Kelleygurl116 & Zarah are grateful for your voice, as I am. Light & love to you Anon. Maggie x
Thank you so much for your kind words and support! I DO see the hurt behind hurtful behavior in others. Normal people don’t hurt others unless they’re in excruciating pain. Do I have to be responsible for it? No. I have to be safe from it. Right now, whatever isn’t for my highest good, or that takes away from my healing and recovery is being shelved, hopefully politely and compassionately. My friends understand and are helping.
So – update. Today is day 5 of No Contact. I ended up ghosting on July 1, in a panic, with the help of my best friend and her boyfriend. I was terrified that he would come home in the middle of it and make a scene. He didn’t. I didn’t leave a note. My absence was the last word.
I blocked him (and his friends and family) )on every available platform – text, calls, social media, etc., and had a private PO Box in place the same day I left. I took my personal belongings and clothes and not much else, but did take all the cash he had in the house, about $300. The following day, I separated his phone account from mine. He has til the 12th to figure out how to pay it going forward. I also ended his gym membership. The day after that (Tuesday), I messaged the landlord that I had moved out, for reasons of “personal safety” and that as far as I knew, the narc would be keeping the apartment. His response was so loving and kind and I am endlessly grateful to him for that.
Since I’ve been gone, nearly broke, homeless in middle age, I’ve been managing the feelings of anxiety that arise periodically. Amazingly, there hasn’t been any emotional BS around him, only fear and anxiety. This comes up at odd times – when the usual afternoon text used to come, or when I go into a store, or worry that he may show up randomly where I am, although I’ve done everything possible to prevent that – excluding the chaos factor – and I WILL NOT go anywhere he potentially might be. I’m working on eliminating these mental bad habits (since I’ve taken every step possible to be safe, fear is an illusion) and remembering what used to give me joy. At some point in all of this, I got past the guilt of ghosting and leaving him with nothing but ashes. What’s more important to me is that I was true to my word TO MYSELF. Once I made the decision, no matter the panic or guilt or grief, I BURNED IT TO THE GROUND. I provided him with a better life than any he’d had before and he befouled it rather than learning how to maintain it. I took his money, but it was a drop in the bucket to what I’d laid out on his behalf over the last year and a half. The guilt, believe it or not, was actually helpful in the context of making certain that I COULDN’T go back.
I know he’s going to smear me to “Ms. Next” and anyone else who will listen, but I don’t concern myself with that. In true kelleygurl fashion, it’s as important as I SAY it is.
The next step is to get a new place to live, far away from him and close to my family and those that love me. A nest, a safe haven, where I can finally fall apart and put myself back together in the arms of my higher power, who loves me unconditionally and who will hold me and guide me every step of the way.
Thank you, peace and blessings to you!
Dear Kelleygurl116, Wow. Like I said, you are a force. Without a doubt. You are one mighty, and vividly alive woman. CONGRATULATIONS and the most massive well done to you Kelleygurl116. What you have brought into being, specifically your physical, mental and emotional freedom, is wonderful and so exciting. At some point in this part of your journey, I hope you take the time to feel pride in what the transformation you are making happen in your life.
I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story with us all. You will for sure not only inspire me, but all others who read this.
I’m introducing a section on the site for others to start contributing articles/stories. I would love for you to write one for Narc Wise. If you are interested, later on, whenever, let me know (email me at email@example.com). Once again, CONGRATULATIONS! Take care of your gorgeous self, Maggie x
Go u, Kelly! I have had to escape like this, twice. It’s so scary but so worth getting yourself back, free as you were meant to be. Welcome to life after death.
Dear Ashlyn Barnard – I cannot tell you how much I love this! ‘Welcome to life after death’. Brilliant. Thank you for your generous spirit in shouting out for a fellow warrior. Light & love to you, Maggie x
So after I left my narc ex husband 3 years ago and I’m still not rid of him. New things start to happen all the time and I don’t have the heart to “not care”
Just recently his sisters (also our daughters godmother) husband died. Of course the narc used this tragic event to get to me, saying things like “why would you care” “I knew you wouldn’t even try to go to the funeral” and he keeps on going like this is his sadness when I’m doing my best to be there for his sister since we have always been very close. She didn’t invite me to the funeral or even y’all to me about what happened, my guess cause she knows the tension when I’m in the same room with the narc and who would want that on their husbands funeral right!? She’s not a big fan of her brother either to be honest…
My question is though, when he’s throwing the “you don’t give a shit about my sister or that her husband died” comments or even worse when he’s saying he’s upset, he’s even crying over it and looking for my support…what do I do? I just want him away from me! I’m devastated over my ex sister in laws husbands death and I’m even turning the funeral down, i don’t need my ex husbands crap too…cause by the looks of it, it looks like I don’t care but I do…how to respond?
Dearest Zarah. There is nothing fair about narcissistic abuse. Not a damned thing. Equally, there is nothing logical, rational, reasonable, measured, considerate or reflective of you as a person about it either.
I say these things because part of the recovery journey is coming to grips with these facts. And releasing the struggle for it to be otherwise. Letting go of responding and engaging with the hope that you just might effect enough of an impact on them that they will get it. Get something at least. They won’t. With the pathological narcissist (if this is what you are dealing with), all this sweet energy of yours is futile.
I’m with you. You do not need this crap. On top of the loss you are grieving. And on top of the decision made out of respect and humility for your sister-in-law, to stay away from the funeral.
For me, as the reader of your message, I ask you these things:
– Do you need anyone other than you to affirm your motivations for not attending the funeral? It would be nice, but in the face of reality where that is not happening, does it change the fact of your intention as you know it? At all? (Allow me to restate, there is no fairness here. None. There is you, your strength, and your self-belief. Gorgeous one, this is all you need).
– You state that you just want him away from you. What is more important to you? This. Or ‘supporting’ him when this from the sounds of things means setting yourself aside on many levels in order to meet his needs, at the cost of your own?
– The previous question was one of extremes. So I ask you – can you envisage a scenario where you take care of your needs, and ‘support him’ in a way that doesn’t cause you harm, because you want to?
Your answers determine how you respond.
If at all.
Recovery demands so much of us. Overhauling everything. Patterns of behaviour, networks, living situations, jobs, geographical location…sometimes even our own name. Nothing fair about any of it.
What do you need to do dear Zarah in your life to reclaim your peace, freedom & joy? I pray not much. Even if it’s big. You’ve got this. I know you do. Sending you buckets of light & love. Maggie x
Unfortunately I have no idea what I need to do to get peace and quiet from him. The more I try to ignore him, the worse he gets. I owe him a large amount of money to be able to buy my apartment back when we got divorced and I’m pretty sure going no contact would make him demand it all back at once, forcing me to sell my home. The lines for renting are long here and I wouldn’t have a chance to buy a new apartment as it is. I agreed to borrow the money cause he swore it was to help me and our daughter get a permanent place to stay as we’ve been staying with friends and in short term rentals for two years, he said it would never ever affect our relation nor would our relation ever affect the loan and ofc this was way before I even knew what a narc was and I thought maybe he turned around. He already tried to control me several times using this loan as a threat and knowing what I know now I would never have taken it. More than that I’m also afraid that he will manage to turn my daughter against me as she is my all and everything and I honestly don’t know what I’d do if I lost her to him. He ruined his two adult kids already (one just turned 30 and living with anxiety and depression and the other one is just about to turn 25 and he’s messed up too) i don’t want to be the one to ask for full custody cause I’m afraid it will make me look like the bad guy. Also to win a custody trial I would have to bring up everything he’s done to me (to him it’s just small things that I should get over ofc) as pushing me so I fell, ripping my phone out of my hands so hard I bruised cause I was gonna call the police when he got violent, he threw my phone twice to break it, the threw our daughters formula bottle at me so hard it splashed formula all over our living room (thank god he missed me) and when I tried to get away from him and I fell, he grabbed me and then sat on me so I couldn’t leave. He said I had a panic attack and he tried to calm me and I believed him for a while…but when I think about it, I tried to GET AWAY FROM HIM! Why would he even try to calm med down? The one person I’m trying to get away from. And also I’m not sure holding someone pinned to the floor as they try to leave an uncomfortable situation is the right way to ease panic…last but not least…no wonder I panicked in the first place… if I would have known what I know now I would have gone no contact back then already and turned him in and ask for restraining order against him for me and my daughter.
I have a recording where he admits pushing me and throwing the bottle in my direction and I also have a picture of the bruises he caused on my arm when taking my phone. I’m not sure any of this would even help in a court trial for custody as he’s very manipulative and would probably talk himself out of it and I’m also afraid that it’s too old news and nobody would care now as every other week care for our daughter “has worked so great so far…”
Back to the point though…there’s a lot I could lose and it’s scares the poop out of me but also I’m not sure how much more if this I can take…a part of me hopes he will screw up really bad as in beating me up for real, cause that would be my way out…that’s a pretty depressing thought right there. I’m so scared of who he is and how he’s screwing up everyone around him (I may be his main supply but he’s ruling in his kingdom and nobody else in his family has a say And he lost all his friends already but that’s their fault of course) that I don’t even want him anywhere near my baby girl but I can’t do anything about that…even if I won custody he would still have visiting rights and I wouldn’t be able to move anywhere far away from him with her…I’m trapped
Dear Zarah. Your safety, and the safety of your child, must be your first priority. I hear you saying you feel stuck because of the loan. I urge you to reach out for help. If at any time you are in imminent danger call emergency services immediately. Additionally, there are national Domestic Violence services in most countries (and underground ones in others), to assist you in getting help. I don’t know where you are located but here are a few of the numbers: US 1800 799 7233; UK 0808 2000 247; Australia 1800 737 732 – if none of these locations are relevant for you, please google and find the right number. These services will help you set yourself free if this is what you want to do. Including the financial component. Unfortunately, financial constraints are a common obstacle in narcissistic abuse hence their ability to advise and support you. I remain of the belief that you can reclaim your freedom & joy, and that you’ve got this. Take good care of yourself and your girl Zarah. Maggie x
Remember that EVERYTHING that comes out of his mouth is crap..a mind game..a manipulation tactic. He’s guilt tripping you. Don’t respond. Just tell him “believe whatever you like..I know the truth”. Don’t talk to him. Its completely pointless. Don’t waste your breath! And it is a waste of breath trust me.
I live in Sweden and the system here is a bit crooked. People who don’t know this sad excuse of a man would say he’s a nice guy, a good father and especially since he helped me out with that amount of money when I wanted to leave him. He’s so manipulative and I must admit that if I was an outsider of my story and had no idea what’s been going on behind closed doors, I’d say he’s a good person who did this for me.
I won’t be able to pay him back anytime soon but I’m working on it. I’m mostly scared that my daughter would choose to stay with him cause she can’t see what he’s doing as she’s too young. The court here would take in consideration what she has to say too and I would just look like the angry ex wife trying to get even. I gave my best years to this monster, sacrificed everything as I left my hometown, family and friends behind. I didn’t want anything when I moved out, I took my bag of clothes and left. No money or personal belongings, not even things my family gave us. I just wanted to have my freedom and that is the only thing he can’t give me. 10 years later I’m still stuck, just a 5 min walk away from his house, using the same supermarket, post office and local restaurants. My friends and family are doing what they can to support me but they’re so far away…I remarried last year but he lives in the states so yeah except from phone calls to my dear ones and the fun ladies I work with (I’m a preschool teacher) I’m all alone…i don’t know how to do this on my own…I’ve called a place called family rights but they just offered to have like a couples council thing and I’m really not interested in that. I only want him to leave me alone!
Dear Zarah, I hear you. Unfortunately, it is common for those with NPD (and some with Anti-Social personality Disorder) to charm outsiders into believing it impossible that they could be abusive behind closed doors. Fortunately though, this is well-known by professionals who are appropriately trained in this area, and domestic violence support services. I also hear the frustration of having reached out and not having secured the help you need with the attempt at the family rights place – especially when I have no doubt it would have taken a great deal to find the energy to try. This is disappointing. I am still confident that you can find some actual, genuine help. I’ve done a bit of a google for you and found The National Women’s Helpline – 020-50 50 50. It might be worth contacting them. And I would urge you to ask when you are reaching out to any place, that if you don’t get what is helpful for you, for the relevant service to refer you to who can. Of course, I understand that all this takes dogged determination and energy. It shouldn’t have to. And you shouldn’t be in the situation you are in, in the first place. Despite the effort, you are 100% worth it. Take care of you. Maggie x
Thank you so so much! I Will gather some more courage and strength and I will call them. I went on their website and it looks like they can at least help to guide me to some place that can help me… Maggie, I’ve read so many of your articles and you refer to us readers as the gorgeous one, I’d like to tell you that you’re the gorgeous one. You dedicate time and effort to help people all over the world, people like me, a lost soul who didn’t know where to start. I just want to say thank you! Thank you for taking your time to help me in this struggle! ❤️
Dear Gorgeous One – you are more than welcome. Thank you for your very kind words. I am grateful. You can do this Zarah. You can do anything you set your mind to. I’m excited for you. There are many wonders coming your way. Light & love to you. Maggie x
Thank you for putting things into perspective for me!! I am in the process of divorcing my narc and feel guilty everyday. I can’t take the “woe is me” comments anymore!
Dear Cindy, relinquish the guilt you feel which really is nothing but programming from the narcissist designed to keep you under control! I know you are, otherwise you would not have left this message. Well done gorgeous one. No more woe for your false creature. Time to invest in yourself instead. Light & love to you Cindy. Maggie x
Thank you for your article. it really helped me. I have been struggling to let go of this person who gradually sucked the life and confidence out of me for a year and a half while at the same time going through a horrible custody battle and divorce with a sociopath.(five years and counting) I have been in therapy to learn how I have come to choose these men. The last relationship with the narc really did me in because I gave him everything. He eventually started to try to change me (told me to wear makeup/dye my hair etc.) so that no one would look at me. He told me I had no real friends when I have many. He would feel the engine of my car accusing me of going places I didn’t He had me take care of his slack to care for his ill father who is a stroke victim. He had me pay for much more than he did. He never took me out on a real date. He lived another life I didn’t know about. The list goes on and on.. Finally after real verbal abuse he physically threw me down and broke my nose. He showed very little remorse. I told him not to contact me and found out that he already had someone else ready on the side. I have never felt so violated in my life. I have been upset with myself for missing him. I have nightmares. I have been in therapy for PTSD. I just hope it gets better. It has been four months. I was also very close with his daughter and that cutting of ties has been hard.
Dear butterfly43, welcome to Narc Wise gorgeous one. I’m sorry for what you’ve endured, and so very glad to hear that you have set yourself free. From both of them. I know that at the moment you are free physically of them, and yet there is still much within you that you are working on to free yourself entirely from the damage caused.
The answer is YES, it does get better. Hold on. Work through it. It may take a while, but you will eventually begin to notice the symptoms, thoughts and emotions easing. There has to be much within you that needs to be processed from the marriage and the relationship, and if you have a pattern of choosing people like this, there will be further processing also happening possibly from childhood.
The good news is that it is happening; you have support in working through it; and you will be healing wounds that will mean you won’t be choosing people like this any more. butterfly43 this is indeed, magnificent news. Trust your process, and be gentle with yourself knowing it will take time and will be a bumpy ride before it starts to smooth out. You’ve got this. Much light & love to you butterfly43. Maggie x
Thank you so much for your reply. I recognize a lot of the reasons I chose these men. I was raised by a very successful father who was extremely narcissistic and I always tolerated this behavior because I thought it was the norm. He was different though. He was never physically abusive. I have unfortunately experienced this with my past two relationships. This has been very traumatic. I think the most damaging thing though is the discarding. He never came to me again. Instead he called up this woman who he had lined up. I was replaced so easily and I gave him my heart and soul. I honestly loved him so much but I realize now I loved who I thought he was…He was the only man involved with my children since my divorce. I don’t let men in very easily and don’t have relationships just because I don’t want to be alone. But he was one of those people who I guess I thought I could “fix”. He knew that I was in a down point of my life and he preyed on that. He left me at the height of it and left me with no remorse. He made my situation so much worse because he put me down daily and had me doubting myself. My self esteem is still so low. He started criticizing everything about my body. I was in the best shape of my life when I met him. I just can’t believe I let him do me this way. What books can I read to help me with processing?
Dear butterfly43, you are very aware of where you are at, and why. You’re already a long way down the path in terms of breaking repetitive cycles. Of course you are hurting dear butterfly43 from this past relationship. As you say, it was traumatic. There is nothing so confusing as believing you love someone and discovering they don’t quite exist. You will get through this. You will grieve, and you will come out the other end. Check out this page for books that will help: https://narcwise.com/category/your-wisdom/. I highly recommend all of them. Take care of you butterfly43, Maggie x
I have started reading articles regarding narcissist because of a relationship I have, but it is different from all the ones I have read about. It is my child. How can I deal with this? I love my son, but hate his behavior and the way he treats my husband and myself. We are the victims of any situation that affects him, and he is starting to do the same with his children. How do we deal with this? Any input is appreciated.
Dear Kathi, welcome to Narc Wise. I’m sorry for the situation in you are in. The impact in families of what you describe is so very damaging, and very much felt by all who are in a similar situation. You are not alone. The information on Narc Wise is for all people who suffer harm in abusive relationships, very much also including family systems. Are you looking for advice relating to how your son’s behaviour impacts on his children? Or as it relates to you & your husband? Light & love to you. Maggie x
I thought I was the only one to suffer this abuse. My ex husband was a narcissist. I left him after 4 years, but he used the court system and my children to keep up the abuse for many years. He died almost 3 years ago and for the first time, I felt safe.
Along with his abuse, my brother married a girl whose parents are wealthy. She is a textbook narcissistic sociopath. She saw me as her perfect victim because I wear my heart on my sleeve & was a single Mom trying to get my life back. She convinced my own mother to hate me based on her lies. She spent everyday at my parents home to continue the abuse instead of going home to her husband. She even went as far as criminal behavior to try and hurt me. (Insert her promiscuous behavior and subsequent STD).
I remarried and burned the bridge. Sadly, her children are abused by her behaviors. Our paths crossed again when her teenage son commit suicide. I let my guard down, tried to be compassionate, but she started where she left off. My mom is naive to the abuse and again allowed her to push me away. My father was dying and I was going to stay with him at his home since I’m a hospice RN. My mom called me and said, “No, Beth’s going to stay tonight”. My Dad suffered immensely that night. He should have been given morphine, but she never gave it to him. (She’s not a medical professional). He suffered prior to his death so a narcissist could be the center of attention. My Dad died the next day. I will never forgive her for that.
Dear Mmaryw, how very horrendous, and terribly sad. I am so sorry for all you’ve endured, as well as for the loss of your father, and of your nephew. These are tragedies. As is also the loss of your mother. Although a different type of loss, still very much devastating, and to be grieved. I truly hope that you have found peace in your marriage, and in your heart, mind & soul now. Thank you for sharing your story of survival here on Narc Wise. You must indeed be a mighty spirit. You have conquered much. Light & love to you Mmaryw. Maggie x
God bless you for this wonderful read. I have noticed that so many people who go for narcissists are highly articulate and intelligent empaths. I am wondering if it is possible that I am an empath. I smell a con job a mile away, except with him. I AM very compassionate and insanely giving, even to strangers, but yet I also am told I am intelligent by my friends. Can empaths be feisty wordsmiths who have the ability to be sarcastic and blunt// or doesn’t the word empath seem to conjure up thoughts of a sweet demure person?
Hi, my first narc relationship left me pregnant and alone and my second one which I was married to and together for 20 years left me and my 4 kids (3 his) for his secretary. He’s done all the things written in these articles on the website. The kids see him as being dead for 2 years except my youngest who is 8. But I disagree with the narc “illness” or something they can control because my oldest daughter(21y/o) who has been loved and cared for by me all of her life started changing in her preteen years. Now is a full on narcissist. I have no idea what happened to my kind loving child. She is more of a somatic or overt narc like her father where my ex husband is more of a covert narcissist. Because of this I am worried that my other children may get this as well. I think more research needs to be done regarding this personality. I tend to disagree with it not being genetic but most people probably wouldn’t want to admit to that. Or like me worried that I would get the blame. My 21 y/o fathers mother was and is a narc and he grew up in an environment where his mother did not have food in the house there was abuse drugs and this was told to me years later by his own sister (my daughters aunt). I could see my oldest being this sort of parent in the future because of this disease. How do I handle it when I can’t break contact because she is my daughter? She has no empathy at all. I pray that anyone that has children with a narcissist does not experience what I have. It is like living an ongoing nightmare. Would love to know if anyone else has experienced this with their children?
Thanks a lot for this! That’s exactly as I still feel, a fast ping pong in my mind, sometimes from one minute to the other ‘I feel sorry’ ‘I’d like to report him’, ‘I feel sorry’, ‘I’d like to report him’. Just only for all this stress, I shouldn’t feel sorry anymore for him, but only for me! Hopefully soon there 🙂
Thank you for this fantastic article. It was just what I needed.