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howtolivewithanarcissist

How to Live With a Narcissist

How to Live with a Narcissist-

Turns out, its not as easy as I thought. Also, once you stop dancing to the narcissists manipulations, they don’t necessarily give up, they just start whining about how you don’t love them anymore, and aren’t trying to make your relationship work. In addition, once you stop freaking out when the narcissist threatens to leave you, they start trying to make YOU leave, i.e. kick you out. I quote, “you just need to leave for a couple days and then you’ll realize that I love you”. Really?! Ugh, I don’t think so. He really thinks that once I am without him I will shrivel up into a ball of neediness and come begging him to take me back. I cant tell him the only reason I’m still here is because I cant afford my own place, yet. I cant tell him that once I’m gone there is NO coming back. I don’t care what, he will never be with me again.

So, I don’t think I will be able to make it to January 2016. And, I don’t want to either. New date, either March 15, or whatever day kid 1 is out of school. Either 4 or 6 months from now, its done! I cant keep living like this. And I can’t tell if hes trying to get rid of me (that’s seriously what it seems like) or if he’s just trying to scare me into compliance. Either way, its crap and I cant keep dealing with it!

In the meantime, I was doing some scouting around yesterday and found this post by Dr Sam Vaknin about things to do if you expect to live with a narcissist. Its pretty intense, basically your treating them like a mentally unstable person, because that is exactly what they are! Its pretty eye opening.

I remember the first time I watched some of Dr Sam Vaknins youTube videos, I was horrified and could not believe that was really what was going on in my relationship. I thought “hes not that bad, he cant possibly be a narcissist!” Guess what, he has become that bad, and I’m sure he will only get worse as time goes on. (Word of caution, Vaknin is himself a self proclaimed Narcissist, so sometimes he is hard to listen to and makes me want to punch him though the screen, but he is a good source of information).

I am not sure how many of his “tips” I can actually follow. I already almost feel like I’m selling my soul just living as I am, but what I’m doing isn’t working, so unless I want this to all blow up in my face, I need to step it up until I am ready to get out, on my own terms. Top tips on How to Live With a Narcissist I plan to implement:

  • Don’t disagree or contradict with the narcissist.
  • Complement the narcissist dramatically on the superficial things that matter most to him.
  • Never mention myself, make sure all statements are about him and don’t require any intimacy (this will actually protect me as well).
  • Listen to all the narcissists stories and encourage him to talk about himself. Dismiss it all internally as false, but pretend to be endlessly fascinated.
  • Begin to keep separate finances from the narcissist (secretly of course) and look for my emotional support elsewhere. (Facebook groups are excellent for this, though you may want to create a new profile to be sure he doesn’t find out, as are and real life friends you can mange to keep and trust).
  • Act as though I am already a single mom, take out the trash myself, take care of the kids myself, keep the housecleaning up myself. Don’t expect him to help at all and if he does, praise him exorbitantly.
  • Lastly, practice self care. Its vital for me to maintain my own sense of self during this time. I know this will probably be one of the hardest things I have ever done, But I will get through it!

Some of these things are really going to suck. Particularly, the endless praise part, I suck at lying and will sound so phony to myself, but I’m sure he will buy it because he’s that vain. And I need to start making lists and following through. I need to gather the things I need to move out. I have to start looking for a place to live and figuring out what I’ll be able to afford, and where I want to be geographically. I need to meet with a lawyer and start getting my paperwork in order. There’s a lot left to do…

– How to Live with a Narcissist, by Samantha Matthews.

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81 thoughts on “How to Live with a Narcissist

  1. Liv says:

    i always found avoidance worked best. Staying out of the line of fire. Not talking unless absolutely necessary. Good luck. Sounds like you need it.

  2. Anon says:

    I love reading your posts. Its the only time in my life that I dont feel alone xx

    1. Samantha Matthews says:

      <3 No one can understand us like someone else whos been there. HUGS

      1. Janice Cook says:

        I only lived with one of these men for 10 years. All I can say is, take what is yours and get out as soon as you can. He WILL NEVER LOVE YOU. Your marriage will never be a mutually satisfying relationship. He is a spoiled child who will never grow up and be an adult. He sought you out because you are a kind, compassionate, empathetic, rational person, who wanted to please him so he would be happy. You have served him well and as soon as you leave, you can expect him to move on to his next victim.
        He is not rational, he will lie about you and try to manipulate your friends to abandon you. After you leave, never put yourself in his presence without someone else there, and I’m not talking about your kids. Get a journal and write absolutely everything down on a daily basis. This can be used in court if needed.
        You are a strong person, look what you have lived through. You can do this.

  3. Katherine says:

    I have been married to a narcissist for over 40 years, and it seems to be getting worse as he ages! Some days I don’t think I can take anymore, but I do love him, and by God’s grace, I am able to remain his wife. He is also disabled, so I know I am here to take care of him. It is just really hard sometimes…
    Thanks for the post!

    1. Terry Davis says:

      I’ve been doing this for 42 yrs! My therapists tell me his reality is not mine and to disconnect. I try but i still feel very lonely. I’m too old to move forward. I spend alot of time weeping. He’s duped me into submission. Now i hate him for it. I go to prayer 3 times a day just to stay positive. AND yes, they do get worse as they age!!!

      1. Samantha Matthews says:

        You are NOT too old to move forward. If you are alive, then you are not done on this earth yet and you still have a purpose, though you may not know what it is yet. Ask God to show you your path to healing, you might not be able to totally shed the narc from your life right now, but there is a lot you can do to help yourself get better. You have already started! You are reading this! <3

  4. Tray says:

    Oh my goodness, what an eye opener, I have started to ignore this man, moved into my own room over 7 years ago, he still acts as if I am the problem, even starting to count the food and ration the portions I eat.
    Can carry on and on, his family are the only one’s that ever achieved anything, he rips other people’s families apart, but do not, ever, ever speak about him or his family.
    After 14 years I still don’t know anything about him or his family……this is very scary, I want to leave but it is hard, but to save my sanity, I will have to find the courage eventually.

    1. Tammy says:

      I think we may be with the same guy!! Lol! Been with my guy 14 years too… thrown out and sucked back in twice now… going on a third time now. Getting tired of going through a broken heart and complete and udder devestation… Feel so trapped… and weak for not having the strength to leave and face the emptiness I know I’ll face… ughhhh… it is pure agony here though! I’m getting close to saying enough is enough though… I can feel it coming over me… I am close to giving up this unwinnable fight… finally!

      1. Janice Cook says:

        I feel your pain, even after 23 years. The agony and confusion, why couldn’t I fix things. I thought I was dealing with a rational person, and that wasn’t at all true. You can’t figure out how to make it work, honestly, my dear, you just have to leave and protect yourself. There is no other solution. A relationship with a narcissist will never go well or end well for you. You can move on and be happy. In time you will look back and see that leaving him was the best choice you made in the relationship….for you and for your children. My 30 year old daughter now sees her father for the person he is. Selfish, addicted to drugs, uses her and others, doesn’t make good on his promises, always sick (hungover), blames everyone else for his woes. And when we were together he worked, paid the bills and was responsible but was an asshole psychopath narcissist. This is a personality disorder, and this is your future with him as you grow old and have to take care of him. Get away now while you have the chance to make a life for yourself. I guarantee he thinks you are a stupid clueless patsey, that’s just how his mind works, and he will milk you for all you have and turn your kids against you, too. Get a restraining order, take your kids far away from him and have no contact if possible. I wish I had done that part. Now it’s behind me, I never have to see him, I am happily married to a kind, sweet, happy man who truly loves me and who I will love forever. There is life after suffering. Take care.

        1. Marge says:

          Wow. We all need a support group. 15 months ago eft my hubby of 38 yrs. He wasn’t always a narcissist but gradually became one. I think pot and booze was the main culprit. He became was so cruel to me esp when he got RA. Same thing with my grown daughter. She knows now. I’m too old to start over and too scared anyway but I am happy. It took him cheating on me to finally leave and see who he really had become. A liar and a cheat and a truly toxic person. He damaged me but I am healing. Thank goodness I live in a different state and have money and have nothing to do with him. He has tried to make hate me. I tried so hard and he didn’t deserve my love or loyalty and I will never let anyone treat me like that again. xoxo

  5. Meredith says:

    thank you so much for writing this
    I have recently escaped from a 20 year relationship with a narcissist and the divorce process is gruelling
    I want to save even one person from the hell I’ve experienced
    I hope others find your site and seek help

  6. J.M says:

    14 months ago I was taken back when my wife told me she was not happy & she didnt feel she was in Love with me. Been married 14years with 2 wonderful children. Were in our mid to late 30’s. I pursued her & no matter what I did it was wrong. Being told in front of Other’s “you don’t get it” ” Its not you, Its me” “Your not listening” “I got married to young” “You dont deserve me I know i treat you like sh••” Being demoralized in front of her New Friends. In front of Family she was perfect, Wife I knew but once car door shut I was afraid to breath” I thought if I became vulnerable for my wife she would find her spark/connection again . Your supposed to trust your Spouse, right? After her affair I forgave her & Professed my Love to her. Told me i was just Insecure. (Ouch). She is portraying her insecurities as mine. I know my wife’s needs & do my best to keep those filled. She continued to do what she wanted at night with the bar scene while I took care of kids. She has filed for Seperation but I soon realized she was going for Divorce. She tells others I am divorcing her… ???? I have my faults but I’m a Devoted, committed, Loyal husband who only see’s the Good in his wife. I Never once viewed her faults as bad. They defined her & I always excepted them with an open mind & heart. It’s So Stressful I’m ready to lose myself (Unless I already did) but I can’t give up. I just can’t. I Cannot tell her as I realized as of yesterday she is a narcissist. Noway! I couldnt even think what she would say let alone .. Idk. I didn’t even know the meaning of narcissist. She is re-writing our history & accusing me of accusations that are just totally opposite of my Character . Was looking at quotes when I stumbled on one that Showed Everything about my Life. I’m not blind. I just Love my Wife. I still Believe in a marriage that could be fulfilling. How can she stop resenting everything about me? I didn’t want to learn during my 1st marriage so I could be the Perfect Husband for another Marriage! I wanted to Grow Together with my Wife now. Please don’t just tell me to move on. There will be no closure in this, she has been & still is my Everything. If a person can (It happens) change dramatic can they go back? Can she forgive herself? I can’t reason with her. Thank You so much for taking the time to read this & sorry for long post. Hard to write in a short way what matters most in this world for me. Sincerely J.M

    1. Laura says:

      If you can’t be yourself with her, it means that it is not a healthy relationship. That’s not Love. You are depending on her emotionally.
      I taken to Long to understand My husband is a narcissist. I loose to much… My friends, Myself esteem, my ideals… I started therapy and one day I realised that I didn’t knew who I am or where I am going. Now I’m fighting to end this relationship. It’s hard, but I realized that I never loved myself enough, so I’m not able to love him… I was depending on him emotionally. Now I just want to be me and live, and take care of my children.
      I hope you find yourself, and value yourself.

    2. Anon says:

      If she is a narc there is only ONE way to save your marriage.. Deny yourself and make everything bout her and MAKE SURE she knows that u know SHE DOES NO WRONG AND IS PERFECT IN EVERY WAY..
      forgiveness ??? Thats not necessary when u are perfect..
      Forgiveness is only for us lowly sinners..
      I AM NOT BEING SARCASTIC..
      if u stay U WILL lose yourself and your kids will grow up fu*ked up to the max.. I know cuz my dad is a na4c and my mom divorced him after 45 years of marriage..
      Til then it never occurred to me to ask WHY me and my brother were so fu*ked up.. I ALWAYS BLAMED MYSELF even tho i was a thief and a whore by the time i was 10.. and my bro was addicted to heroin by the time he was 14.. The 1st drug he tried was LSD when he was 12 !!!!!!!!!!! And this was in the 1980s !!!!!!!!

      If u told her she is a narc she will probably ask whats wrong with that.. She wont deny that she is one..

      U basically have 2 choices..
      Give up your fantasy or ur soul.. Cuz if u stay and she is a narcissist SHE WILL DEVOUR YOUR SOUL

    3. Kim says:

      I feel as you. I have a strong faith and love to picture him as I see him. It’s painful to endure and it’s painful to leave. It’s very unsettling when everyone now looks at me as if I have a problem. I have searched some of the whys of why I want to remarry this man.
      I do get some benefit and I am constantly praying that he will stop dead in his tracts and begin to be open to looking deeper inside of him. I’m not dumb either. Trying to take some time to determine if I wa t to sign up for this and have my own children deal with this.

  7. Phyllis Curtner-Starr says:

    Take anything that is important to you out of the house. He will take it,.just to hurt you. Be very careful, my ex narc filed for a (false) restraining order and I was kicked out of the house. Remember they lie about everything, and listen to what he accuses you of because that is what he is doing. God bless you and I pray everything goes well for you

  8. Edwina says:

    Thank you for the article. I think what is missing here, is after you decide to leave, the anxiousness you feel. He has nothing to lose, I’ve had two attempts on my life, because if he can’t have me no one else will. I have to be strong for my daughters, but I am so fearful. I know he wants to hurt me, any possible way. I check doors, windows…I am paranoid. He made me out to be crazy. I have no friends, not even my parents are supportive during my ordeal, ‘because I chose that life’…that’s what they say. I have met a wonderful man, but still I have trust issues, I cry all the time. Some days I really feel that I would be better off dead, and then I remember I am all that my children have.

    1. Samantha Matthews says:

      You need to find a good therapist to talk to. It won’t fix your safety issues, but your still dealing with all the emotional damage the narcissist has inflicted on you! Crying all the time isn’t how it should be, you deserve better and can have better. Healing is a long journey, but you can do it! Even if you have to be vigilant about your safety, you can still reclaim yourself from what he has done and is doing to you. I am praying for you and all of us! <3

      1. Noenie says:

        Indeed, vigilance for my safety, a sigarette with 2 holes punctured through the filter and the part close to the filter on the tobacco-side filled with arsenic! As financially dipendent on him, a disintoxication therapy is denied for the cost of that. He nearly fried my brain. Then he complained so much being a victim of me mistreating him to authorities, that when he left for 2 days and nights without letting me know where and took other carkeys of his other car (I have nothing), instructed the police and medics I am insane, tried to have me forcefully restrained in psych ward where the psychs understood that no problem can be found in me….starting to look for alternative place to live, how to have an income and where to go with my loved animals….

    2. Nans says:

      Edwina, it doesn’t help thinking they are the most powerful…by doing this we underestimate our strength and capabilities. They are human too, maybe without a conscience but let us not put them on a pedestal. I am going through the exact same situation, I have started therapy but it’s very difficult, as a therapist is there to deal with your behaviour not his…so all you can learn is how to respond, but you cannot control your husband’s harmful behaviour!
      Another thing I am doing to help myself is ‘Yoga’, this helps us to react calmly to any situation…mind control techniques are important to be able to respond to a narc. Please put yourself together for your children are watching you breakdown and they should not end up being vulnerable adults as the world is full of people who prey on other’s vulnerabilities.

  9. Compassionate friend says:

    If you are a woman of faith, or are a woman not opposed to faith, do check out http://cryingoutforjustice.com/ . Great help in understanding the wickedness of the narc, his tactics, his allies, and some churches/authorities who stand with him and victimize the victim all over again. Website run by people with heart and soul who have come out of DV and abuse and are quite experienced.

  10. Sorry but I refuse to do these things. This only encourages the behavior. I stopped giving in to his tantrums years ago. And you know what? He eventually stopped throwing them because he saw they didn’t work. He also stopped physically abusing me after 8 years, because that didn’t work anymore either. These people are bullies and children and that’s what they need to be treated like. I ignore tantrums, regardless of who is throwing them. If you cannot get away from your narcissist, then ignore him. If you’re afraid he will hurt you, call the police. But stop giving in to him. It’s not worth it to sell your soul just to be treated like a human being every once in a while by someone who is barely one themselves. And it doesn’t fix the problem.

    1. Janice Cook says:

      This is what “the verbally abusive relationship” book by Patricia Evans says. Look right at them as if they are a 2 year old and say ” stop doing that, I don’t like it”. Sounds so empowering, right?

      1. Lol. Some of the advice these “experts” give, I don’t get.

        1. I’m serious. I hadn’t read it before I stood up to him and said “get out, and don’t expect to come back until you have changed your behavior”. To my surprise, he packed his bag and left. Some advise I got from friends was to make him leave so you and your kids can stay in the house and not be homeless. I ended up getting the house in the divorce also. I did not leave, it worked out well.
          I did have a job and I worked from home, so I was able to make the payment. I was lucky.

          Of course he didn’t change and I didn’t let him come back, but I remember being shocked at his response to me standing up to him. Then I read the book I mentioned above when I was going to a counselor and it explained him to a T. It was like there are a bunch of people who are exactly alike. They all learn the same manipulation, transferring blame, changing the subject, rude comments disguised as jokes, blanket response that you are too sensitive, don’t have a sense of humor, and you know the rest……..blankety blank blank. It’s all there in the book and she explains that if you decide to stay with this jerk, it will be hard,but you can maintain some semblance of sanity if you respond to them with firm commands about what behaviors you will not tolerate just as if you were talking to a spoiled child. I didn’t try it, so I can’t attest to its effectiveness, but since the rest of the book was so spot on, I figured she knew what she was talking about.

          1. I was always told not to treat them like children because that is dehumanizing. I thought that was funny. If they will act like children, they will be treated like children and if they don’t like it, they can go.

    2. Dawn Wokson says:

      I agree completely with your comment.I call my narc husband on his crap and he doesn’t do it as much as he used to.I have also taken self defense training.I have made my own life,have my own hobbies.If women cant leave and fears for her life,get training, carry a flashlight taser,they look just like a flashlight,pepper spray.And NEVER believe his BS.We are all loving, wonderful, beautiful people,never let him take that away from you

  11. Cassie LaVoy says:

    How are you doing? Have you left? I can relate to so much of what you wrote. God bless and keep you safe

  12. Marsha says:

    My marriage went from good to hell overnight! Caught him having an affair and found out there has been several! I’m blind I guess! Once I caught him things have been hell, he blames me for everything he’s done and has treated me cold cruel and bitter ever since. We went to marriage counseling and the counselors diagnosed him as textbook narcissist. Had never heard the term before so have done a lot of research on it, everything I read it was like I was reading about my life in my marriage. The emotional abuse and I’m enduring horrible and I don’t understand why I still love him! Still want my marriage to work trying to figure out how to deal with him in the right way, but from what I’m reading have to leave yourself behind to keep him up on a pedestal! All the information and the personal experiences have really helped me and then very interesting it’s hard to understand that people can be that way and not care. I’m going to try and put some of these things into practice and see if they help, I hope i can hang in there. I’m a woman of strong faith that’s the only reason I’m still here.

  13. Marsha says:

    The hardest thing in the most frustrating is that no one who knows who he really is, they think he’s this great amazing man who wouldn’t hurt a fly or do anything bad. No one sees who you really is cold callous and cruel and abusing his wife, a cheat and a liar and it frustrates me that no one can see that! They think its just me telling stories they look at me like I have the problem and I don’t its him; it makes me want to scream! It makes me feel like I’m going crazy!

    1. Zondra says:

      I can so relate to you. I would love to have someone to talk to. Because like you he would make me out to be the mean one the one with the problem.

  14. Zondra says:

    I knowingly married a narcissist thinking I could change him. I was so wrong and now I am completely alienated from my friends and family. He has everyone at church believing he is this great guy. He sings wonderfully and everyone loves him and he shows everyone what a loving husband he is but in private he cuts everyone down, makes fun of people and talks mean to me and will not make love to me. I am terrified of talking to others in our small group because they believe he is so charming and loving, I want to talk to someone but the only people I know are the people he knows and they all believe he is this wonderful amazing guy. I used to be a strong woman and I have a very good job I have had for 10years. I now work from home which keeps me from meeting anyone. When I mention going back to an office setting he strongly encourages me not to. He has been married twice before and cheated both times. My loneliness of my first marriage of 23 years ending is divorce brought me to him. I know I should have listen to my family and stayed cleared but his attention and gifts were much needed in my grief at the time. I just need the strength to speak up and tell someone this misery I am living.

  15. Ann says:

    I am married to a narcissist for so many yrs and still with him. I always remember its like getting arrested. Anything i say will be used against me. I played along and through social media i get help. I do it for my daughter. …

    1. Dawn Wokson says:

      the only problem with staying for the kids is this.our daughters grow up and marry men like this.My daughter is so messed up I dont think she will ever get her life straight

  16. Chrissie says:

    I need help!? I think this is my partner and his Mum is even worse! They have people believing that I’m going crazy including my own family. I’m not crazy! Please tell me I’m not crazy!

    1. Samantha Matthews says:

      You’re NOT crazy. My narc tried to start that behavior with turning my family against me too, and that ended up being my breaking point. You have to find a way to separate your mind and sense of self from what he’s telling you and its not going to be easy. Get away from him as much as you can, find other friends, even if only online, you can talk to and connect with. That will help stabilize your self perception. Learn as much as you can about Narcissism as well, because there is a ton of misinformation in the general population and most (like probably 99%) of people have no idea how bad it really is to try and live with. Knowledge is power!

    2. Dawn Wokson says:

      never believe that.My husband tried the same thing with me when my Thyroid gave out and I almost died.He also told me I was faking it,yea,right,I went down to 98 lbs could hardly function,but right,I did it just to inconvenience him

  17. Boy2 says:

    Thanks everyone
    My wife loves her her father and he is a narcissist. I love my wife and I support her. He is moving into my house. Or else he is homeless. I’m learning through people like you to deal with this. Thanks so much. And Please pray for me and my Family.
    Thanks
    Boy2

    1. Janice Cook says:

      I hope she can set boundaries with him, because if she can’t you will have to eventually and it will be a stressor on your marriage. Homelessness is his fault, he needs to fix it and it needs to be clear that his stay with you has an expiration date. If not, he will be a permanent fixture whether you like it or not. I’m so sorry, I’m anxious for you.

  18. mom2 says:

    WOW! Everything written here sounds so familiar.. It’s like I am reading my own story. I have been with a narcissist for 10 years. He goes through cycles where he is loving, and, then BAM…he turns into a mean spirited and cold monster. We have a son together, and; I have a daughter from a previous relationship. He is very involved with the kids and he pays all the bills in the house. He is very successful financially, and he uses that as power. I work part time, but; I mostly take care of the house and children. He doesn’t appreciate anything I do, and, if I speak up about his behavior, then it becomes my fault. He lies…about EVERYTHING, even trivial non important things. He boasts to anyone who will listen about his success, past and present. He buys expensive things so he can flaunt them. Everyone thinks he is so great! He hates closeness and dependency, and, he says he doesn’t need anyone. He’s proud of saying that! I used to try and do everything he said, and, correct everything he said I was doing wrong. But, nothing was ever good enough. I should work out because he does, I have to respect him even though he doesn’t respect me..the list goes on and on. I have gotten to the point where I don’t care. The countless lies, the evidence of him cheating that he always had an explanation for…I’m over it. He actually told me once that I had “demons on me”, and, he could see them. I used to believe his lies that it was me. He talks bad about me to his family, and, whether they believe it or not…I don’t care. My son loves both of his parents, and, he is a good father. I don’t want to take that away from my son, so, I stay. I have just learned to keep my distance and ignore him. I do things outside of the home, stay positive for my son ( my daughter is in college now), and live my life. I don’t talk to him, text him or call him. I don’t cry or plead anymore, I do nothing. I sleep upstairs and he sleeps downstairs. I used to hate when he would do that… Now I prefer it. I see him for who he is.

    1. Patricia says:

      You are an incredibly strong woman, and many of those who are victimized and crushed by N’s would do well to heed your advice and example. It is imperative to seperate yourself emotionally from the N, detach yourself from his behaviors, and view him as an observer would, without affect. Sounds to me like you’ve ‘nailed it’. I hope you continue to have friends for the emotional support each of us require, BUT you would be wise to also assure financial independence for yourself by keeping seperate investments and a secret bank account, to protect yourself from the potentially inevitable total ‘discard’ in the future.
      Overall, it really is no way to live your life, but your determination to raise your son with the N seems to give you the motivation to carry on. I sincerely wish for you all the endurance you’ll need!

    2. Lonelywife says:

      After reading your post its amazing how you live the life i live. And after getting professional opinion i was told that the reason a husband with so much power and that attitude is mostly around to keep properties and use the children as their pawn to make them the good one in the marriage. That is my biggest worry that the children will grow and think a behavior like his is normal and they can fall for similar unhappy relationships in their future. I have always believed that kids cant be a reason to remain in an unhappy marriage because as you stay he is looking for his happiness elsewhere and you are not lookimg for your own happiness your loosing out on true love.

  19. Saurabh says:

    How can we seek emotional and physical support elsewhere in a conservative society where we have committed in a marriage and have kids whose life and development depends on us.

    1. mom2 says:

      In my experience, it has helped me to emotionally withdraw from “him”. It takes time and getting to the point where you have had enough of the nonsense

      , but; now I don’t care one way or the other whether he’s here or not, what his mood is, or what he says. It is very liberating, indeed! I got to this point by prayer and asking for strength and peace. You are correct in saying that our kids life and development depends on us. That is why I have chosen to totally withdraw from the “N”. I’m not angry with him, and; if he is being “friendly” or feels like conversating, I will minimally indulge. But, I am aware that he is liable to turn at any time, at which point I simply go on with my business and “IGNORE!” My son is only 8, and; he needs me to be present and healthy…both emotionally and physically. If I continued to let the “N” consume my thoughts, actions and feelings, I couldn’t be the mother I needed to be, nor the person that I should be. It is simply a matter of survival…you and your kids deserve it. DISENGAGE and WITHDRAW emotionally!

      1. Sarah Whiteman says:

        Thank you for your comment. I am realizing that I am married to an N. I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to realize it. He was in a bad accident and has a brain injury. I feel an obligation to stay but I’m having a hard time withdrawing. In some twisted way I feel like I need his company. I am going to work on this personally. I have taken up running and that is something Im doing for myself and it feels great. Married for 15 years and learning how to cope.

        1. Samantha Matthews says:

          The Brain injury may be adding to his narcissism, regardless, you should not stay out of guilt or obligation. If he is acting in an abusive manner, than you have every right to protect yourself, even if his abuse isnt physical. You are not required to sacrifice yourself for the sake of the marriage.

  20. tia says:

    I’m currently sitting in an airport alone. My narc husband his two kids and a friend are here somewhere too.

    We just got married. Its not even been a year.

    I can relate to everything said in the main post. I separated from the group. I couldn’t take anymore. He’s laughing with them and verbally/emotionally playing games with me on the side.

    Earlier he left the hotel with kids after leaving our room telling me he didnt want things to go this way, I was looking for a fight, and more.

    I dont know what to do. I changed everything, loving his kids, working through their crazy schedules, letting him take odd hours at work to try a new job. I closed my bank account, I moved in with him and he just tells me I’m not much of a partner and that I hold everything I do over his head.

    I dont even think I can explain well how he twists things.

    Sitting in this airport alone now and I’m breaking apart.

    1. Greer says:

      I am in a similar situation. Been married for only 9 months, it all started within a month of marriage. You’re not alone!!!!! I’m breaking apart too. I’ve managed to convince him after 9 months to go to couples therapy with me. I don’t have hope in the process though as I think he’ll lie/manipulate/not cooperate. After that, I’m thinking of leaving. It’s heartbreaking and I feel utterly devastated and that my life has been ripped to shreds by this whole experience. The thought of the future seems bleak and hopeless to me, inside or outside of the marriage

  21. Tanya says:

    You said to take care of the house work… Even to the point of picking up his things and putting them away? That’s what he wants me to do! Take care of everything while he only goes to work and gym. While I sit at home as the slave.

    1. mom2 says:

      In my case, he pays all of the bills in the house, the kids tuitions, and my car. I don’t work, so; I do the cleaning and cooking. He will help out with laundry sometimes and do his dishes (sometimes). But, I do most of it. Don’t get into a pissing contest with him. Narcs get off on any kind of attention…good and bad. Don’t stomp around the house, appear angry or hostile. Just go about as normal and DISENGAGE. Then, when you are alone, call a friend to vent or just leave the house and get out and do something, even if it’s just walking around window shopping
      at the mall. Get your own life seperate of his…that is the only way you will survive if you decide to stay in this situation.

      1. Samantha Matthews says:

        I FULLY agree! It is VITAL to reconnect to yourself and the things that make you happy. Otherwise, you will drown in their disfunction. <3

  22. Deborah Dickson says:

    I am leaving a NARC after 30 years. I am terrified but have no choice. I can relate!

  23. Amy says:

    I think my husband is a narcissist. I love him to death but he has become an abusive husband and father. I have no friends, family or money and to top it off we have a 5 year old and I have two cats. I’ be become scared of him and he laughs like it’s a joke. I’m afraid he may kill me or seriously hurt our son some day. He has our son believing that I start all of our fights.
    I don’t know what to do. I have never felt so alone in my life. I’m confused, walking on eggshells, exhausted and I haven’ t been the mom I could have been for our son.
    We’ve been married 7 years. And now he’ s starting to reveal more and more stuff about himself that if I knew prior to our marriage I at least would NEVER had a child with him! Everything he told me or led me to believe a5 the beginning is total opposite now. Of course everything is all me though. And he never believes anything I say any more.
    I have no one to talk to or turn to. I’ll end up dead if this keeps up and I’m scared for my son as well. This Sucks!!!

  24. Tenne says:

    Omg I thought I was crazy or going crazy.

  25. Janice Cook says:

    The best thing that a counselor told me was this: “You assumed you were dealing with a rational person, who would respond rationally to you. He is not rational. There is nothing you can do to get a rational response from him.”. He blames you for everything and getting you to question your own sanity is one of his tactics. It’s only one of the many lies that you cannot believe.

    1. Kathy says:

      Wow! I can’t believe it’s taken me 34 years to figure out this is the answer. This is exactly what my life has been like. Wow!

  26. Bobbie says:

    I am sooo happy I stumbled on this article!! I felt so alone and confused. I can relate with MOM2. I have lived with him for15 years but things didn’t get bad until the last 2 years. We’ve had a few go rounds but nothing like what’s going on now. I was a dynamic, attractive, confident go getter. I always had the world by the ass. Now I know I am seriously broken. How did someone like me get here? My mantra is “I’m sorry we know it’s my fault”. I am numb and feel like a robot. He informed me yesterday that he no longer wants me to cook or do his laundry, etc because we are done. This is because I tried for the 2000th time to call him out on how he talks to me. He minimizes my feelings and talks about how hurt he is. He says horrible things and said yesterday that he wonders what happened to the person he met? When I try to talk about my feelings and how his words hurt he says ” It’s only words get over it put on your big girl panties. But I’m held accountable if I speak in the wrong tone? No kids and now I understand this won’t get better.so there is nothing keeping me here. It’s hard to throw away 15 years and some pretty good times before all this. But after reading what everyone has written I get it.Thank you all for sharing..

    1. Bobbie , I’ve had the same exact thing said to me about don’t do my cooking or my laundry because “we’re done “. How do these men come up with the same exact things to say to their spouses . This is really a bizarre personality disorder ! Are you planning on leaving him still ?

      1. Bobbie says:

        Since I wrote this he started to build a new room on the back of the opposite side of the house for him to live in so we could live in the same house. He apparently found out I was looking for a place to live on the other side of the county. All of a sudden we are in “honeymoon” mode. While researching I found out my credit is a mess. He has credit cards in my name that were paid late, etc. Now until I can fix my credit I’m stuck here. and I’m sure he knows it. I stopped all cards and he was really “put off” with that but surprisingly didn’t say anything. But as I’m sure you know I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop…Have you left your guy?

  27. Mariah says:

    I have lived with a narcissist for the last five years and just last week I felt enough was enough and I walked out. I have two daughters to take care of and they need me sober…..not as crazy as I was feeling. The man is totally irresponsible. Misuses money, sleeps out of the house drinking and sees nothing wrong with it, does not help around the house nor with the kids and only sleeps on the couch when in the house and hold the remote and his phone in hand and goes quiet, lies about anything and everything including money all the time, he can’t hold onto a job and he is always going from one job and employer to the next, he will even take loans in my name and fail to pay and am the one to pay, he will take money meant for a certain project and drink it all, wrong friends, lack of goals and ambition in life, just loves to party with his bachelor friends, blames his behaviour on others, never says sorry without a but it was not my fault,….I can go on and on. Living with him has been like walking on egg shells because anything I say may be turned against me anytime. When I talk of his absence, lack of support with the kids, his drinking and smocking, his financial irresponsibility etc, he calls me a nag and a noisy woman. I saw the red flags while dating but I was too naive to accept he had a problem. I thought he would change after marriage but I was wrong. When I look back I can see things very clearly, I saw the signs but I ignored them. The guy is a smooth talker, committed easily and introduced me to his family very fast. Before I knew it he had moved into my house and I was taking care of him like my husband. His family moved fast to meet my family and we were customarily married within no time. I think teh family knew he was a problematic person and to them it was an achievement for them to have him get a wife. I think I was been used to tell the community around them that, even if he has been a problematic son, he is here with a wife. I also think they expected him to change after he found a wife or they wanted to offload their burden on me……..am still digesting this.

    I have found my self after five long years of emotional abuse, manipulation and frustrations. He had no time for me but he had all the time to himself. He would go out having fun with the boys and abandon me for days and only returned when I think he had a need for me. I felt like a servant, no appreciation at all, never saw anything good in me unless he wanted money to fund his drinking behaviour. I have caught him cheating severally and I was not able to trust him any more. He could never allow me to be out with friends until late unless he was there, he always accused me of cheating which I have never done, I couldn’t go to the gym unless he okeyed……its been hell but am finally out. I have had enough of feeling like I was going crazy. All I want now is to heal and take care of my 2 girls. I was blind but now I see.

  28. The Fiance says:

    I am living this life…. I am ashamed to admit, I went in with eyes open (sort of). I suspected something but he was so wonderful, funny, handsome, thoughtful, always wanting to “take care” of me. Being a single working mom, it was nice not having to take care of everything for once.

    I discovered the term NPD 3 months into our relationship. I researched it extensively and realized quickly that the toxic Narcissistic personality type is one I typically attract and am attracted too!! We dated for two years, occasional bumpy ride, but more often really great. I thought I could help him with his NPD and we could be happy. (I know… I feel the rolling of your eyes) He made so many promises. Now… that we are engaged and living together. Now that I sold my house, moved an hour from family and friends. (god I sound stupid)

    His rage has appeared on a few occasions now, I often thought about breaking up before we moved in, but… was afraid of his reaction. In fact the night I rehearsed and was fully prepared, was the night he surprised me with dinner and had my kids there, and asked me to marry him.

    So here I am, wondering why most weekends I think things are going well, he chooses to pick a fight, why any time I’m to get ready for company, have friends over, or go visit my kids… he finds a reason to fight.

    This last weekend was…. I don’t even know what to call it. Thursday night I came home to roses for no reason. He doesn’t do roses.. Next night I came home to a romantic dinner, with wine and music… I instinctively got nervous. And then during dinner he brought up every topic that we have every disagreed on or have polar opposite views on. I just sat in silence and let him rant. Saturday night he wanted to go out to dinner. But insisted we take an Uber because he “just had a weird feeling we would need it” I told him I didn’t need to drink, I could drive if he wants. No, he insisted we call for a ride and again a few times that he’s ” not sure why, just a gut feeling we will need it”.

    Great night, great dinner. We’re laughing, He’s drinking 6-7 drinks to my 3 glass of wine. What he did next… was the one thing he knows I hate and has had me in tears over before. He would unexpectedly sexually grope or grab me in public. It would start subtle hand on my bottom walking to dinner table, and goosing me while walking upstairs etc. So at the end of a seemingly perfect night and weekend, without a word he just reached across the dinner table in a public restaurant and literally “honked” my breast in front of everyone. Of course, I reacted in anger and said “don’t you F’ing every do that again’.

    That was it. He stands up from the table and tells me to get up, we are leaving . Says he was just being playful, and he’s tired of trying to have fun with me. I’m too serious. I tried to reason with him to stay, He was pissed. I followed him outside as he told me he was “over my shit” and cursed me out in front of the restaurant while waiting for our “Uber ride”. I was so hurt and confused. I slept in our guest room for two nights crying and then of course got a two page email claiming he is trying to be patient with me due to my menopause, but I’ve changed so much since we moved in together.

    Thank you for this site, it’s a comfort.

    1. Bobbie says:

      WOW… My heart goes out to you.. I’ve had something similar but not that bad. GET OUT..It will never change. We think we can change them , but it will never happen. I’m 15 years in and it is getting worse as time goes on…

      1. The Fiancé says:

        Bobbie. So sorry for you as well. I unfortunately rely financially on him. I feel stuck and that’s just how he wants it. I work but don’t make enough to support myself completely. I’ve started putting away a little money each month in secret and I’m starting a small side business in secret as well. He would be furious if he knew. I just wish we could be happy. Seems he is always looking for something to complain about. Any opportunity to create drama. I’ve starting ignoring him sometimes and it works occasionally. Time will tell I guess.

  29. Jan says:

    So close to home, it hurts. My relationship of 14 years is a narcissist – and all this time I’ve wondered what was wrong with me! The pain is too much!
    My kids have grown up in this environment and it kills me.

    Has a narcissist ever changed?

    1. Kim says:

      I hear you ladies. I’m so sorry you have endured year of this. You know, the crazy making thing is they can be utterly hurtful one day and Prince Charming the next. I think that is what keeps me so stupidly hopeful. I’m an intelligent women, I know what part I play in all this, I just don’t know how to get out. He has pressured me to quit my job, and although I have not given in and still work, we have taken on such financial responsibilities that he has me financially dependent on him now. Which I know he wants. It’s such a scary place to be.

      1. Tammy says:

        the financial dependancy issue will drive you crazy! Its enough to make this once shy, reserved woman consider prostitution… especially since already feel like one! 🙁

        1. Kim says:

          I know the feeling. I often think about that and really wish I could get me act together and live on my own. I’m trying to save as much as I can, little by little. It seems so slow going and often needed for something else down the road. Right now I’m in a false comfort. Things between my Narc and I have been relatively drama free for a good stretch now. (about 2 weeks). We have a very busy and social weekend coming up with his best friends and another night with his boss from work. This is when it seems to fall apart. I’m literally holding my breath.

    2. Kim says:

      Unfortunately. They do not change. They are not capable. It’s a roller coaster ride at best. You just don’t know when you’ll be told to exit the ride.

  30. Dealing with narcissists will never be easy. I guess what “deal” with means instead of “fix”. I found this one helpful article to understand them which suggests ways to deal with them and the 2 different types of narcissists: vulnerable narcissist and grandiose narcissist.

    Here’s the article: http://www.psychalive.org/narcissistic-relationships/

  31. I’ve finally made the realization that my relationship is going nowhere and I have to end it. Pretending and faking is killing me. I had a breakdown at work recently where mr narc had to save me. I know it’s false. How on earth do I get the strength to fake it? I’m such an open and honest, genuine person. How do I make a plan to leave and keep it secret? I keep hoping that we can come to an agreement. A mutual understanding.

    1. Samantha Matthews says:

      Don’t count on it. I’m so sorry, but hoping for the best will only get you screwed when he brings his worst.

      I totally understand, I feel the same way. I struggled with having this blog for a YEAR until our therapist (in a private session) told me to go ahead and keep it secret, that I shouldn’t tell him. (Looking back, I cant believe I even THOUGHT about it, just another example of how well he blinded me to the truth). Basically, I got permission. And sadly, that’s how we have been programed! We feel like we need permission to do EVERYTHING. That’s what he expects so that’s how we conform to avoid the drama.

      So, if my input means anything, You have the right to keep things private. You have the right to make your own money. You have the right to know your financials. You have the right to SAVE your own money. You have the right to live life on your terms. You have the right to make nice and make him think you love him (or at least don’t hate his guts). You have the right to do whatever you need to do to survive. You are a grown woman with thoughts and hopes and dreams and thankfully you live in America, so YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE YOUR OWN PERSON.

      Thats not to say its going to be easy, I freaking HATE lying about so much of my life to SO MANY PEOPLE. Thankfully, I have all of you guys so my percentages are pretty good, FAR more people know the truth than a lie. And I have the support of my family who know the truth and dont judge me for my choices. I am SUPER fortunate. Dont keep it all inside though, find a support group, in real life, on facebook, whatever. Go to therapy, find a good friend you can confide in. Dont isolate yourself. Stay strong, you can do it! <3

      1. Thank you so much. It’s amazing how much I bounce around one minute I feel bad for him the other minute I want to tell him where to go. I can do this. I have to do this.

        1. Kim says:

          I heard a quote yesterday that I thought was incredibly poignant. It reminded me of all the women I have read about on this site and is perhaps a good reminder to us all that we are far more capable than the Narcs in our lives would have us to believe.

          “There is nothing more powerful than a woman… who has made up her mind.”

          I really love this and found it empowering.

          1. Well I feel pretty broken right now. It’s not a great feeling. I feel trapped. I know what needs to happen but I’m scared. Scared he’ll use our daughter against me.

  32. Shirley reinartz says:

    I’ve been there. I am there. Been to Hell and Back. Yes, look at them as if they were mentally ill. They have a mental disorder. Helped a lot to grasp that truth. Now that I’m back from Hell I’m not scared anymore. I did all those things on the list in the article. They don’t help. Now I point out the N’s shortcomings, praise and brag on myself loudly, kindly disagree, use unarguable logic, hold the N accountable, bring up N’s tasks to be done repeatedly, talk about the eventual divorce, how N will be happier and have less stress, tell the ugly truth to ppl N wants to impress, tell the N I told those ppl and I don’t care what anyone thinks of me! Because I am back from the hell misery I was put thru!! I do & say all these things very politely and never lose my cool anymore. Not worth it. I’m over buying into the drama. N in turn is more pleasant because N has no other choice. If N has an N Rage I open all windows so neighbors can hear/record it/ walk outside and say come on let’s discuss outside. Say I’ll call the cops cause I feel unsafe. Rage fizzles out pretty quick. Having said that: it’s the best way to COPE for me. It’s exhausting being around N. I keep to myself but chat pleasantly if it’s a nice chat. Minute it goes South I exit. N on a good day is difficult, on a bad day its nightmarish. My wish is all of us in this holding pattern stay sane and safe and get out asap. Also speak up& tell everybody. Keep it short & sweet but to the point. I’ll be checking back for more of your great articles!

  33. Survicor says:

    I really feel bad for all of you, it is really sad. I divorced my N in December last year. I took him back 3 times and knew in my gut it was wrong, the last time I felt sorry for him. he had been cheating with a woman for 7 years. He tried his best to destroy me. My health was declining and he left both times like I was nothing, which I am not. His girlfriend was so happy to tell me they had been fooling around for 7 years, I can’t say I feel sorry for her anymore, but I know the pain she is enduring. He fooled me the entire 20 years we were together. Now since I have no contact, he can’t come on my property the fog in my mind is clear I see all that he was doing. He is truly a monster, I wanted to have me and his girlfriend so he could go back and forth. He lies and manipulates so well. Now he is cheating on his girlfriend, she has no idea what she has on her hands. He does not love, feel anything at all for anyone. He plays the victim and lies all the time. It took a year and a half to finalize the divorce because he would not sign the papers. I have had no contact with him, it feels so good, just being around him takes all of my energy, Thank God i don’t have children with him. I did get all that I wanted. He is a pathetic coward of a human man. I am at peace and so excited about my life. I can’t change the past but I thank God for the lessons this taught me because she doesn’t realize how strong you are until strong is the only choice you have. I am no longer a victim, I am a survivor of a narcissist. I want to share my story to help others. It was very painful, some days my whole body ached, I called out to God to stop the pain because I thought I loved him and my heart was in pain. I gave my all to someone who took and gave nothing. As T. D Jakes says if he can walk out of your life he is not tied to your destiny. God has a wonderful plan for my life. Once he was gone my whole world changed, blessings came my way. His time in my life was up. It’s ok our lives are bigger than this situation. I’m excited about what God has in store for me. I am at peace. Stay strong this too shall pass. God Bless you all:)

  34. narcvictim says:

    So, in other words it’s actually really short this: “Suck up or shut up.” (compliment them, always make them believe they are right, even when you know they are wrong, or remain silent).

  35. Ann says:

    I can most honestly say that the toxin in my relationship has, for a very long time, ALWAYS come from the same person – and it was not me.
    Weeks, months, years.
    A very angry person, who loves himself the most
    Who “loves” others while they are a means to an end – but only for that long
    Dripping toxin, maming, mutilating, killing…slowly but definately surely

    To an extent you deal with it
    To a greater extent you cannot deal with all of it
    You hide it, you keep up appearances, you don’t tell

    You convince yourself that those days when he did not scream and yell, but only because you did not cross or confront him, are enough for you
    You are willing to accept that this is all you will be getting from this relationship
    You actually pursuade yourself for a moment thinking you’re happy
    But only for a moment

    You pray, and then you stop praying
    And then you start praying again

    At some stage, slowly, surely, steadily, over time I have now too become part of the toxin in a toxic relationship
    How utterly and devastatingly sad
    This may be the saddest part for me – to think that I am making someone else feel as bad as I do
    It cannot be right

    Will i ever be able to see clearly all the mistakes I am making?
    So that I can stop making them?
    I am not saying I want to stop making these mistakes to save my relationship
    I want to stop because I do not want to hurt people
    And to stop setting an example to my children to make the same horrible mistakes that take over your whole life and steal your joy
    Will i ever be able to overcome my now deeply entrenched issues? (psychological, emotional I dont even know)
    What else is there?

    Anger, blame, disappointment, broken trust, sorrow, regret resentment, hate, an utter sense of loss – for a life never really lived

    Never what i want
    Always what you want, or are willing to allow me – to an extent

    When all I wanted was this boy whom I – for years and from a very young age – loved, admired, adored, was infatuated with, and placed above all others
    That was my own fault

    How could i not see what I would have to deal with every day
    A man who took me out, only to leave me stranded without a cent or a friend, when another, more available and experienced, throws herself at him
    No need to even explain me away I just knew I had to go, find some other means home from a fellow learner and complete stranger

    And although i longed to be your girlfriend i adored you so much that I was willing to take what ever you could spare me
    That was also my own fault and I cannot blame you for my weakness

    Through all the years I made a very specific personal choice – I would not be promiscuous, save my future husband the anguish of it all
    I did not get the same rather common courtesy
    What I got was a man who needs more hands to count all of his willing partners, some because they were quite frankly whores, and others – like me – who genuinely did not know of his absence of compassion for girls like us who wanted to share something special

    Exposed to emotional and verbal abuse throughout, apparently I am now also an abuser

    Co-depentness, blaming him for my feelings of being unhappy unsatisfied unworthy disappointed wanting more, wanting less, blaming him for the bad company he keeps, making it very obvious that I dont want to be there when I am dragged along, seeing him become more like the company he keeps – as if his brain cells are losing function so that he can fit in with the rest of them
    A special lingo between them – irritating the shit out of me
    How many bad deals can one person make?
    How many times will I be cursed at while i try to do damage control – and succeed – to not even get a sincere apology or heartfelt thanks

    For how long will I be guilty for what my children go through because of me
    I shouldve picked a better father for them
    I could have

    I would have never guessed this was what was to become of me

  36. Laura says:

    I’m stuck with a narcissist for 16 years now, he makes half as much as I do and does nothing to compensate. He does no chores around the house and he’s just so mean. Wants dinner every night, but won’t help with any shopping. Tells me recently that he doesn’t need me here just for laundry because he doesn’t ever get dinner. I’ve been taken for granted and just flat out used. I’m a child of an alcoholic mother, so I tend to stay way past the point of when I should leave or get out. We have two kids and I’m determined to leave, finances are the only reason I’m still here. I really want help. I was always considered so strong from my family and friends, but I am just so weak to put up with my husband for this long, he’s the only one who makes me feel this way. He does me wrong, but in the end, I end up feeling bad. Im so depressed and just sad anymore, he’s drained me. I really want help, but this is his town and everybody just loves him to death, he’s actually very well liked in the community. A good friend of his is also a divorce attorney and I know I’m screwed there. I don’t want to lose my kids. He won’t be able to support them, but the odds are against me. My parents and family are all gone and he knows I have nowhere to go, so I have to continue to work twice as many hours and do all the house stuff. There’s no hope for me.

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