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#whyistayedIn the Dark

Its funny, I have been discovering more about narcissism and trying to really see my situation for over a year now, and I still seem to feel like I know hardly anything about what I’m up against and how much I am losing. And its not because I am leaving (though he doesn’t know that), its because of him, and his behavior. Spending 12 years thinking we were a team has left me totally vulnerable to his destruction of my life.

My credit sucks because he cant manage money AT ALL, and blames me for it. Granted, his isn’t much better, but he doesn’t “forget” to make his credit card payments. And he doesn’t have $35 lab bills (for tests while I was pregnant) in collections. He even sort of laughed and told me all the medical debt is in my name so I’m pretty much screwed there if we split.

I am looking at friends differently because I don’t know what hes been telling them about me. People I really liked, that now think I’m a horrible person and my husband is awesome, just because hes lied to them about me. That breaks my heart, honestly. And he doesn’t know I know some of what hes been telling them, and still wants to go out with them as a couple. How am I supposed to deal with that? It SO uncomfortable.

Argh, I feel like I’m whining here sometimes. I am not a baby, I’m a strong woman, if I don’t like things I should just tell him whats what and make things better, or leave. But its not that freaking simple, and I guess I have society’s voice in my head as well, because that’s what they say to all victims. Right now, I couldn’t leave even if I had the income I need, unless I am sure I will get custody, full custody, of my 1 year old. He doesn’t take care of her, sure he plays with her, but he puts her to bed with a full diaper, doesn’t feed her anything but a bottle unless hes eating too. Doesn’t wake up at night when/ if she cries, and never has. Never bothers with the monitor either, so he might have a chance of hearing her if she needs him. I cant leave her in that situation. I just cant. She has to be at least 2, and then what? What do I do to not be terrified when he has my kids? I think hes a decent Dad, but how do I really know? I thought he was a good man too, turns out I was super wrong on that one, and when were talking about my kids… I just don’t know what the right answer is there.


And now, hes trying even harder to make me crazy. I know it. Like he never told me we were supposed to be going to dinner at his mothers last night, not until I asked him what he wanted for dinner, and even then he danced around it like I should know we were going over there and why didn’t I know. I was gone working the other night and he took the kids out to dinner with their cousins and my brother and sister in-law and didn’t mention it, even when I asked him how the night was and if they had a good evening. I found that out from my Sister in Law. And then the other night I found out he had been lying to me about our neighbor being police for over a year and he laughed and said he just told our nephew that when he was house-sitting to keep him in line. And looked at me like I was nuts for ever thinking that was true. Well, you said it multiple times, without mentioning it was a lie, and you told me, just me, when the nephew wasn’t even around. So, yeah, I believed you! Hes trying to gaslight me for sure. And honestly, he’s done this for years, I just didn’t realize it, makes me wonder how much of what I think of myself has been poisoned by him and I haven’t even discovered it yet.

narcissisticmaskYesterday he got mad at me (again) for not making enough money last month. Even though I made more than he keeps telling me we need me to make. Its crap. And then he barely talked to me for the rest of the day. We spent most of the day around his family, and they suck too. Well, his mother and sister. His brother isn’t so bad, and his wife is probably my best friend right now, but its not like we can really talk with all of them around. She doesn’t get along with my husband and has been at the receiving end of my mother in laws bullshit gossip and “tattling” on her to my husband. He is my MIL’s favorite and she lets him treat her like crap as well.

That’s why I stayed…

So yeah, I look at my life, and I am amazed I stay, and have stayed, in this situation. I’m amazed I didn’t see it before I was in so deep. I’m sick that I let stupid things like a car payment and a house keep us together when we were dating because I wasn’t happy then either. I should have just left, but I wasn’t naive enough to think that relationships are all happiness all the time. I really thought we just needed to work on things and then we would get better and be fine again. I thought I was too introverted and not communicating well with him. He just didn’t understand me, and sometimes I didn’t understand me either so it wasn’t surprising. He had just never been around a real relationship, his parents were divorced so he didn’t know how to handle conflict, we would get past this and everything would be OK. That’s why I stayed.

I thought I would learn how to be a better housekeeper, and he would be less stressed when we had more money. I thought there was hope and this was all just a bump in the road. And I had never been in a “real” relationship before, so I didn’t know how far from normal we really were. That’s why I stayed. I didn’t know that the extremes he was going to were dangerous. I didn’t know that the fact that I could never really talk to him but could have hours long conversations with my guy friends/co-workers about religion and politics and relationships, was a huge red flag. I somehow always just thought it was my shortcoming. That’s why I stayed.

narcissistAnd, that’s why now, as a mother of two, having lost the last 12 years of my life, and matured and ran my own business and gone to college, I see now what is real and whats wrong. I’m not naive anymore. He didn’t know how much stronger then him I am, or I think he might have thought twice about staying with me as well, because I’m not going to just roll over and play the sad little abandoned narcissistic supply. I’m not going to make myself pathetic so hes disgusted and leaves me. I have an almost 6 year old daughter, and I am not going to have her think that’s what happens when you marry someone, you just abandon yourself. Somehow, someday I need her and her sister to know why I stayed, and why I left, and that marriage is NOT forever. I also have a business to build and a psyche to restore and I just cant play that game, it would end up hurting me more than helping me. (Plus, its not like I’ve really kept myself up, I have inadvertently done the “make myself gross” thing and it only makes him more mad and able to insult me and hurt me more, so F that, Ill be strong and a bitch and make him hate me). I may not have a lot of resources right now, but I have this blog, and I have the smarts to own my own business, and work full time, and I have other ways to make money as well.

As I Mean To Go On

I read a lot and one of the phrases that I came across once said “begin as you mean to go on”. And that’s always resonated with me, stuck with me, and you know what? Its becoming my motto these days. This is my new beginning, whether he knows it or not. This is my fresh start, and I don’t intend to spend the rest of my life pretending to be something I’m not just to make someone else do what I want them to do. I can manage my narcissistic husband and still be myself. Shit, I can manage him and REGAIN myself, though maybe without him knowing. Yes, it may cost me more money to get rid of him, I understand that. But I know a wonderful lawyer, shes actually one of the best in the state. And I have no problem doing whatever I need to, to be rid of him.

And now, thinking on it more, I don’t need to make myself disgusting to him, I don’t need to cheat on him, I just need to leave him, and let everyone know that I left HIM. His pride will not allow him to take me back after that. Something SO simple, and yet, so powerful, its almost funny. I mean, that’s what he really cares about, how people see us, so I can totally use that in my favor. Worst comes to worst, I have evidence of his rages and hateful behavior, I’m not above a little reputation destruction myself. (though I’m not stupid, I don’t want him to lose his job or anything, I have my girls to think of, and he needs to be able to make money).

So, being as I am who I am, its time to stop being so discouraged, and start really making my plan to leave him. I have the papers for separation all printed, and I know where to start as far as gathering documents and making my getaway bag. Its time to stop living in despair and start making real steps to freedom. Time to stop dreaming and visualizing, and start actually walking this road. There are many more resources available than I ever knew, even for a middle class, decently educated woman such as myself. I am not condemned to living in poverty just because I will soon be a single mother. And I think my goal of being out of here in January 2016 is well attainable, with a savings account, and a decent income, and setting him up financially to be able to take care of the girls and himself without bothering me (that might be wishful thinking, as I’m sure hes more than capable of f*ing up his finances again as soon as my income is out of the house, but whatever).(Also, not talking about leaving him all our resources, but of paying down this car loan we have so he can afford it and I’m not worrying about him breaking down on the side of the road with the girls on his way to snowboard, etc. He likes to tell me he’s the one supporting the family, but the reality is, he cant pay for his life without me anymore than I can pay for my life without him at this point).

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41 thoughts on “Thats Why I Stayed

  1. j says:

    Holy s%×! I don’t think I could of found your blog at a better time. Finally, something I can relate to; while I try to figure out my own marriage and what I got myself into (12years married/3kids).

  2. Jessica says:


    I’m 19 years old and have been with the man that I love dearly for almost two years. On April 22 I moved out the house we lived in together and left him and his son. Yesterday was the day I found out that a narcissist disorder even existed. I woke up the morning of April 22 to his phone alarm because he accidentally left it in the living room while he slept in our room with his son. I turned the alarm off and went to go walk into the room to wake him up when suddenly I turned around because I had been planning for 3 days to look through his phone and it was the perfect time to do it. Ive been very very sick and I knew something was going on. Needless to say he’s been cheating on me not with just one person but more than 20 ever since we have been together.

    He’s said things to me to hurt me and when I would bring it up he would make me feel crazy because he would have no clue of what I’m talking about. He would tell me mean things and get in my head to the point where I was so miserable that I couldn’t sleep at night. When we argued everything was always turned around on me and it was my fault and of course he is never wrong.

    I don’t want to go into detail of everything he has done because it’s a waste of my time, but I wanted to write you because the past few blogs you have been writing you talk about leaving… but then your still with him and might not leave until 2016. My advice to you is to get out NOW. Don’t wait around and let him get in your head and you children’s.

    I understand you have probably put a lot of money into the house, a lot of bills to pay, and want a good life for your children and to make sure they are safe but your second guessing yourself. You are putting it off just like I’ve been doing. I put so much money into the house and him, but I promise you that things will be just fine. You might struggle some, cry a lot, and need someone to talk to for support but GOD does amazing things. God is a jealous God but a different jealous.

    Think about it.. Someone with a narcissist disorder is very controlling, demanding, jealous, care about themselves, feed off your energy, want your time, you to feel low about yourself, they care about THEMSELF, they think they are superior, and GODLY. That everyone should worship them and give them attention because they are better than everyone else, special and Godly.

    To my understanding and experience they aren’t going to change and have feelings. They may act like it but thats so they can control you again. God doesn’t want you to be with someone like this because he wants you. God is there when you need him even though you may not realize it at the time, he understands your feelings, and will give you unconditional love. Love that you always have wanted. He will help you get through this situation and bring blessings to your life even though we done deserve it.

    Don’t be scared your husband will take everything from you. He will try everything in his power too but he can’t. They are so oblivious to their flaws and think they are always right which almost makes it impossible for them to get what they want. He’s going to fight for whats your but you fight as hard back.

    The biggest thing is to remember you’re not alone, you’re not crazy and you’re beautiful inside and out. Those thoughts in your head telling you bad things are seeds from your husband playing mind games with you. Follow that big and caring heart that I know you have. It has been 12 year for you and only 2 for me so I know its harder but you are a very STRONG WOMAN.

    -Believe in yourself

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Why I Stayed…

    My best advice to any of you who live with or are married to a Narcissist. RUN as fast as you can! If you have children it is far more complicated. Domestic Violence is only the tip of the iceberg – NARCISSISM is not recognized in the Florida courts. I wish my wounds were only physical. They were a few times, I’ve been to the ER because of him. But if you are sitting on the fence today, hoping it will get better, read on…

    1992 – Met Mr. N at work. I was 30, he was 40. He was so sweet and kind. He even came into the office to find homes for some baby kittens he found born on the property (he was the landscape manager of an exclusive community in Naples, Florida). I felt sorry for him, he was separated from his wife and 2 daughters (14 and 18). I remember him showing me a picture of his old house and saying he would never have one again. But this was my sick thinking… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdIev12fCPs

    DON’T DO IT – You cannot save him, this is only a ploy…

    1993 – We rented an apartment together, The woman I lived with gave me 2 weeks to move out – her fiance was moving in. I had a 10 year old son. So, it only made sense for us to find a place together. Before this, he had been staying at his mom’s house (she was not living there) and at my house. I was doing all his laundry and cooking for him. He would sit at the counter and watch me do dishes, but NEVER help. Just days after we moved in together, he asked me seriously, “Do you think this is really going to work?” I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed my eyes out. I totally don’t get it, why would you sign a lease and move everything and then ask something like that?

    WARNING! I was so blind.

    1996 – I became Mrs. N after living with him for 3 years. I kept after him about marriage, repaired all his financial and tax problems, and helped him do the paperwork to finalize his divorce. He actually handed me his checkbook in the early days of dating and I managed all the finances. If you feel like you are the mommy or the only responsible adult – you might be! THINK AGAIN!

    1996 – Married in April. On our honeymoon he told me my soul now belonged to him. No, I said. He had been on good behavior (so I thought) for 3 years! I desperately wanted more children, and he agreed. I got pregnant immediately and miscarried 10 weeks later in June. Just before my 35th birthday. I was devastated. He was… ??? While I was on my hands and knees rocking and sobbing with horrible cramps, he was eating Chinese in the dining room with his 18 year old daughter. While I was up all night, crying and flushing all the blood down the toilet, he was snoring. It is true, they are not capable of empathy. In the next month he left me at a restaurant and walked home (a few miles) because I was sad??? He thought I should just get over it, but claimed he was sad too. What happened next is so evil, I think it defines Narcissism… One night in August, my 14 year old son was spending the night at a friend’s house. I slept in my son’s bed, I was having a very hard time dealing with everything. What happened next is so disturbing that I buried it in my mind for almost 12 years. He decided it had been long enough without sex (almost 6 weeks) and he raped me. Violently. I did not report it. I will spare you further details. I think in order to survive, my mind suppressed this memory. That is the only logical reason I can come up with.

    1998 – I was pregnant again, 7 1/2 months. It was just after Father’s Day in June. My 16 year old son had again been staying with a friend. He hated Mr. N. Anyway, Mr. N. was very angry that MY son did not give him a Father’s Day card. He threatened to go find him and beat him up. (Note: Neither of HIS daughters acknowledged Father’s Day.) I was horrified. I picked up my son, and we walked on the beach along the Gulf of Mexico. I warned him and brought him back to his friend’s house. Then I went to the hospital with contractions. My OB met me there and it was not true labor yet. He was concerned about my situation. It was the first night I spent in the Women’s Shelter…

    It’s all I can write for now. I will come back later.

    But please, I beg you, for YOUR sanity, if you can get out DO IT!

    Not tomorrow, NOW! It will not get better. A Shelter can help you make a plan.

    1. So many things about your story brought about a lot of traumatic memories for me.
      1. Mommy role

      2. Me doing all the housework while he sits, watches or waits at the table for me to bring him his food. Then he would criticize it.

      3.Raping me when I was pregnant. He would come home from his 3rd shift job, roll me over when I was fast asleep force me to have sex with him. If I resisted he would pin my wrists down and force my legs open. AND THIS WAS WHEN I WAS PREGNANT! Things got so bad that I begged my gynecologist to write a note to him telling him that I was on bedrest from sexual activity until the birth of our son. I too had repressed this.

      4. Making me do sexual things with him that I was VERY uncomfortable doing. Most was excruciatingly painful.

      5. I was demanded to fill out his job application for a job that he as now and has been at for over 15 years and did I get a thank you ever? NO!

      6. I was the one who filled out all of the paperwork on each and every house we have ever had and then he was the one who made us lose it because he didn’t like taking “orders” from me. then I’d blamed anyway.

      7. I was forced to file for bankruptcy, sign and add my good credited name to car loans, which I never got to drive and he eventually couldn’t afford and it was repossessed.

      The list goes on and on…

      I have been used and abused and taken for granted. Now I am (actually for 15 years I have been given the silent treatment) because I have refused to have sex with him because of his mistreatment! And still to this day, he still just doesn’t get it the reason why I don’t want to is because it’s not fair for him to be comfortable in this marriage taking and taking while I give, be treated and talked to unkindly and is expected to continue to have sex with him too!? I DON’T THINK SO, MISTER! It’s been almost 2 years since we’ve had sex, I have begged and pleaded to make him understand why but his ego is so out of this world that he refuses to “get it.” NOW he treats me even worse than before! But, you’d think if a man loved his wife enough he would change or understand that in order to get what he wants (sex) he has to at least kiss ass too. He shouldn’t get to have his cake and eat it too! but this guy!?? What is his problem!?? :-/

      But he likes to claim that he’s the victim!

    2. Jackie says:

      Ingot the checkbook and fixed the credit too. All of our current financial troubles are my fault.

  4. sam says:

    Thanks for having the courage I don’t. I’ve even started alienating friends and family (which he is very supportive of) because I want a fresh start. Not sure when, because I want to be able to make it on my own. My daughter is 5 and talks about how mean daddy is. One day…

  5. Pam says:

    Thank you for this timely, well written post.
    I can certainly relate to all you have said, and now, having finally planned and executed my departure at the beginning of the year I am left looking back and wondering how I could have thrown away 20 years of my life.
    What I have to show is three wonderful children, who, unfortunately are in shared custody right now.
    I am also now able to nurture a currently long distance relationship with a man who was my first love. Having woken from a dark sleep, been gas lighted, lied to and manipulated, meeting Alan again helped to show me my own worth again, a worth that had all but disintegrated.
    Your strength and courage will see you through as you move forward.
    All the best x

  6. Jessie says:

    Your blog is like reading about my own life ! I want to encourage you to stay on track with your plan and stay strong. You are training for a marathon!
    I stayed for 23 years before I learned about NPD and made the plan to leave. It took 11/2 years of planning. Four years after filing for divorce I still have a parenting battle over our 16 year old son. The court has been terrible, the attorneys even worse and law enforcement no help. The narc has controlled them all. I was not surprised, however, I prayed my children would see the difference. They have not. My two older children won’t speak to me and my youngest I only see 4 hours per month, according to the parenting plan the court ordered. It is horrible and tragic, however, my life is so much better even with that chaos.
    I still have my elected position after 16 years, got my Master’s Degree in Clinical Social during the divorce and have things I never was allowed to have like a dog and chickens and lambs!! I finally have a home that is peaceful!
    My family and friends have been incredible support. You need to have a circle of support as well.
    Once the narc was out of my home, I knew I could have no contact with him or I would never move forward. He would always drag me down. It makes him crazy that I will not engage in his crazy any more.
    I have not regretted my decision or my planning even once. It takes time to be strong enough to make your move. You are a talented wonderful woman and I applaud your decisions.
    Don’t second guess your self….you are right and doing what you need to do.
    Stay strong and God bless!

  7. Bonnie says:

    17 years. 2 kids.
    The kids and I are going through hell and we’ll keep going until we come out on the other side.
    He had multiple private conversations with other women. 4-5 girlfriends in town.
    He manipulated every decision I made. He belittled us, nothing was ever good enough. Hateful. Selfish. His money, controlled finances from day one. Never paid bills, but always “broke”.
    I believed we work working on us as he said, even we were separated. Friends&family would tell me they saw him dating someone. I’d caught him out in lies so many times. Confronting him on those lies was a nightmare. He told me I was crazy, wouldn’t let go of the past, didn’t respect/trust him, the insults (c#nt, wh#re), physically abusing me &blaming me for starting it, I never earned enough, etc. He played the victim when I confronted him, threatened suicide.
    His phone was off limits. He deleted every text/facebook message & began using the hangouts app to hide his shady behavior. Screen lock.
    l couldn’t see it clearly until I was on the outside looking back. That condescending arrogance I confused for confidence now disgusts me.
    His friends have been told lies & think I’m the nightmare. The way they defend him …”leave him alone!…do you want him to kill himself? That’ll be on you!” I didn’t contact him. I left HIM. He’s playing them, manipulating them. I’ve heard all those suicidal threats before. Seventeen years of it.
    They introduced him to one of his girlfriends because he said he was single&lonely. We were still married & he’d told me he was in counseling, to give him a month to show me he’d changed.
    Of course they believe him. I believed the lies too.
    I left him and filed for divorce. Do you know how angry he gets now that he can’t control me, now that I see him for who he is?
    A friend asked me what would I do if it were my daughter in that kind of relationship. That was an eye opener.
    Healing is hard. Staying is harder. It would have killed me.

  8. Annie says:

    15 years (no kids, sadly, now its too late) and I am still trying to leave. I got a 2nd master’s so I could make more $ (to leave) and got pushed out 2 years into job. While some of it was my fault, I am 100% certain the stress in my marriage (and resulting health issues) was a contributing factor. The constant fights, the badgering, manipulating, controlling, crazy making lifestyle. I am so confused and feel like a toxic codependent who has to raise a 44 year old adult male infant. I have the strength, just not the money. Help help help

  9. taby says:

    Your blog describes my 25 yr marriage. Only thing different is the fact that I don’t have children. Gather up facts & evidence & store it in a safety deposit box…let only the friend that has witnessed his behavior, know about it. Once you have enough evidence & money for an attorney, get out. It will ruin your child’s mental health. They will grow up thinking this type of behavior is Normal. This is where they will be comfortable relationship wise…trust me. Go to a women’s abuse shelter for free counseling or call the women’s abuse hotline. If you ever want to talk to someone who truly understands…look me up on pinterest under Tabykatt. There you will find a link to my FB page as well as a board devoted to abuse,gaslighting, narcissistic abuse, etc. You can message me there or in FB. I hope you are doing ok. You are not complaining…just venting..You are allowed..never feel guilty for that.

  10. Donna Johnson says:

    my life for 30 years…. So sad….

    1. Kyle says:

      Sometimes I feel terrible about being a man and feeling this exact same way…a double standard does exist, even if not on this ‘board.’ My heart goes out to all of you.

      I have a daughter who I get half-time and it just absolutely has killed me. She’s the only thing that makes me smile; then she is stripped away from me two times a week, every week. Eventually it will go to a full week without seeing her and that scares me even more. My sister thinks that eventually I will get my daughter full-time, as when she grows older, she won’t want to deal with that anymore.

      I hope for this, but I have zero optimism that it will ever happen…

      I compromised on every single value and moral I ever had to try and hope that it would get better, that love would exist, that I would have support and the “team” I always wanted would exist.

  11. Goldie says:

    It’s amazing how many men that are like that are out there. I left my narcissist of 23 years (married for 6 of them) a year and a half ago. He had to be away for me to leave to make it easier, emotionally and to pack. I still felt so guilty. I felt bad for blind siding him, even though he had been blind siding me for years. For about a year before I left I learned about gaslighting and observed him for a while. I could eventually see how he would go through all the manipulation tactics as we fought. When I left it was mainly because of the treatment. I still thought he was basically an honest guy, it was just that he didn’t get it. He then said he finally got it and asked for a second chance. Since I had no plans to date others for a while and he asked nicely I agreed to a long distance separation where we stayed monogamous (ha) and worked on ourselves. After his last visit, 6 months ago, the manipulation was in full force. I also think I saw it more clearly after spending time apart. I realized how simple conversations with him were so convoluted and I can’t believe I dealt with that the whole time we were together. No wonder I was so exhausted with him. I thought it was me throughout most of the relationship. I spent so much of my time trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Even though I wasted an extra year after leaving him, I know I needed that to reinforce that I will never go back to him or try to stay friends with him. I also realized how much of what he says is a lie. He tried to play with my emotions after I tried to cut it off I had to go no contact. Now, after 6 months of healing, the hardest part is realizing the last 24 years of my life have been a lie.
    I hope you are still on the road to leaving and wish you the best!

    1. Nena says:

      As I lay here and read all these comments, it’s no surprise how well I can relate to it all! I’m not married, but I have been in an on again, off again relationship with a narcissistic man. I have left him many times( I lost count) and returned every single time to the same treatment! He seems to change, but it is only for a short while. Until he feels he has me back in his control! Then all the ugliness returns! I’ve felt degraded in so many ways! He’s humiliated me in more ways than one! (some things are hard to endure and talk about!) I have lost my self-esteem, my confidence, my sense of security! My life has become his, even happens when we are not speaking! He makes me out to be this horrible and ungrateful person! All his friends believe him. Wow, just manipulating my every thought! For six years, I have felt confused and in a daze. The most recent situation I was in the middle of, he starts being so mean to me, but I naturally don’t think anything of it, since I have become accustomed to this sneaky abuse! He flips the script and leaves me sitting at a restaurant, right after we finished having breakfast. He drives off! Not before he claims how I’m so mean to him, and I must not love him anymore, aaugh, all the regular nonsense! So eventually, I leave, deciding I’ve had enough! Within days he starts seeing another woman! I’m sad, hurt, devastated beyond words! Why am I sad?? Makes me wonder if I am the one with the problem! He comes back and I take him back! (again!) I just recently found this sight on Pinterest, by accident! Or maybe not by accident, I just know I’m learning so much, and it feels so good to know, I’m not alone, not the only one going through this..

    2. connie nilson says:

      I have been married ten years to a narcissistic man – these people – mostly men of great insecurity – are all over the place why is it they are not more obvious – we have no children of ours my daughter refuses to have him around anywhere she is she is a very smart and strong person – I am 70 he is 85 my health is good his not so good – I trouble withhow I would feel leaving him with his health not so good – although he can do most everything he sets his mind to I call it mind over matter I work taking care of ur animals inside nd outside – no children to fight over thank you GOD! my daughter says he knows what he is doing he just wants t be that way he gets his own way on the way to a power trip – I told the counselor we are seeing that i just wanted him tos top calling me names and always fight and to try to remember the golden rule – he said he would do these things but she says he can’t he is not young anymore why cant they realize that we will leave them and then it wont be so great s it is when we are around (if that is what I call it) I’m retired but work part time to be around more positive people – a lot of the time he is okay so it t
      roubles me to leave him in these latter years

  12. b says:

    Question for everyone….is it beneficial to start being a bitch before you leave? Do you think that will make it easier for him to let you go? I’m being serious. I need to find the best way to do this. Sometimes I think it will be easier I make him miserable even though it’s against my nature.

    1. A says:

      It will solve nothing ,but giving them a dose of their own medicine makes me feel better. I no longer cry or plead to get anything from him. I have found my inner strength. I am stronger and wiser than I have ever been. He does not see this until he disrespects me , lies or starts name calling.I have learned to curse like a sailor and will call him on his BS anytime anywhere. He has NOT ruined my life .I will not give him this power. He has wasted my time and energy.
      Seeing the look on his face when I respond powerfully to his sarcastic hurtful gaslighting is priceless. It hurts me to be mean and disrespectful but the alternative is let him control me, abuse me until I curl into pitiful ball of pain.

    2. lj says:

      NO DON’T will just make him crazier trying to get you back in line and give him more ammo to use against you… get a plan and make it happen. Run to family, or a church in another town and throw the damned phone out the window on the highway. There are always people to help to someone in need at a church. Even if you don’t know what you need. Or a hospital! I just learned that one. Check yourself in to the ER for anything. with insurance, you are there for 3 days, that is the start of the detox period. the first time I left was almost 6 years ago. made the mistake of talking to his family and then him and went back. After 3 weeks I knew it was a mistake and so I turned it all back on him for 5 years, did not believe his bs promises and remind him how horrible I am when he told me he loved me, asked if he would hire himself with his track record and long list of excuses. That was a whopper, I thought that poor hurt psyche would just melt into the floor like the wicked witch did, but amazingly, he was able to act as though I hadn’t said a thing. I ran away several times in the heat of a fight. Not a good thing to do. That first time, the twins were 5 and they wish we would have stayed at Nana’s. lost years passing up good opportunities along the way with job and housing and family support thinking I could handle it. Just made myself old and my kids have horrible memories. I can’t forgive myself for that one, I pray they will someday I am now in my own place (10 days) and my cold dead hands will have to be broken off of the door jam to get me to leave here.

  13. D says:

    This is exactly where I am at now. How could I have been fooled for the past 11yrs. Married with 2 kids.
    For him thats how he does things, ie binge drinking on holiday with his family and I must just learn to accept with it. The separation I feel during these periods are silencing…….

  14. Dana Riddle says:

    I too am tying to figure out how to get out. I have a 3 year old that he keeps from me when he is home & a special needs 8 year old whom doesn’t care for, but he threatens to take them both. I’m scared of what he will do to them in his neglect & desire to destroy me. I do not remotely have any “bag” ready & I am a horrible pretender. He is discussing divorce already & I don’t know that I can pull off staying long enough to get prepared. Can you tell me in detail the steps that you have taken to get ready?

    Please don’t email me, but send through pinterest or messenger on FB. He sees my emails.

  15. Jasmine Jordan says:

    So, I’m confused. You are the wife of a narcissist, yet you stay? Doesn’t he drive you insane because of his narcissist tendencies? I probably would have not of been able to withstand it, to be honest. I am a strong woman, yet I can only stay strong for so long. You go, stay strong. I can never be this strong. ♥

  16. Tammy Carr says:

    Just a tidbit of knowledge—Women can be narcissist also. My son was living with a gal that fit all of the characteristics listed in your blog. 6 times going back to her after she convinced him that he was the only man she truly loved, blah, blah, blah. He has been away from her since right before Christmas, and I pray it continues, she knows exactly what to say to get him back, but so far he has resisted.

  17. sharlacr says:

    He did know how strong you were when he met you. Or at least how strong you were capable of being. I am in the same situation now. 16 years. 3 grown children and two of them are his from a previous marriage. I’m finally finishing my education…at 43. Sigh. My narcissist confessed to me recently that he has always known the kind of life I have wanted to live but he didn’t want to work that hard, so he did things and said things to hold me back. Ugh. I’ve never fantasized about going to prison until then. I also just read your hovering article, and I am relieved, for one, to know I’m not alone in my indecision. I am a strong independent woman too but I keep making this one terrible choice over and over again: staying, coming back, staying. I feel like I should be able to just say ‘buhbye. There are no kids at home anymore. I’ve spent the last seven years cleaning up our credit. No debts. No reason to tell myself anymore I have to stay. So why am I still here? Why am I am bout to move 300 miles about way from my family, my therapist, to start a phd with this man? Beats me. It really beats me. I am glad you write in public. I’m grateful that you’re honest, and I am glad I bookmarked your blog!! Hang in there.

  18. Ann says:

    When you figure out how to leave, please share. I’m stuck. Several kids, low-paying job and trying to finish grad school. My original plan was to leave after I graduate, but things have gotten so bad that I can hardly stand to come home at the end of the day. I fantasize about leaving, but I love my kids too much not to be here as a buffer for them.

  19. dadboss says:

    Wow. I am going through almost the exact situation except that it’s my wife who is the narcissist, and she’s actually the one who’s left me. I know for a fact that she has complained about me to all of her besties about how I couldn’t manage our finances which lead to our bankruptcy – but the truth is that I did just fine, it was her out of control spending that lead us down the rabbit hole. I’m actually good friends with two of her besties (which really makes her mad – because then she’s not sure what “we” talk about). We are actually completing divorce paperwork and a joint parenting plan – because quite frankly we’re both sick of each other and just want to be left alone and at least “get along” for our son – yet I don’t trust her at all – especially since I know that she’s been having an affair for the last 5 months (and had multiple affairs over the last 5 years). Thank you for your thoughts and for sharing your situation. I never even considered that she could have NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) – but I have been reading a lot of different articles and pieces like yours that has quickly clued me in

  20. Rita says:

    Wow i could relate to this article so much…..thank u

  21. Trae says:

    Yes this all is all too familiar. 8 years but thankfully no kids together! I have known that the relationship is over for at least 3 years but we are still together. It is unbelievable to me that I continue to allow myself to be manipulated by this man. I will get out of this relationship and I will shine on the other side!

    1. Netsay says:

      I just woke up from the same nightmare.. 8 years no kids. After rereading my journal should left in 2012 a few months after we started living together. However still involved with him. I moved in my own place. Glad to know im not crazy. Unless a person is or has been throught this they dont understand why its so hard to be done. Just havent went no contact yet… I know it has to be done.

  22. Natasha says:

    I pray you finally divorced this creep. I was married to the king of narcs and be prepared it can only get worse. Even though I have totally excluded him from my life, he finds any and every opportunity to still beat me down after 20 yrs (we have a almost 16 yr old son together). He practically ruined me mentally, physically, financially and emotionally but thank God I did escape and I’m getting stronger everyday. He (and all his “supporters)” will have to answer for what they’ve done but at least I have some peace. God bless and good luck!

  23. Jan says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this… 20 years so blind so so blind, I forgave over and over again. I was so brutally nieve, no more… I amean at a point in my life I am tired of pretending, learning how to stop reacting… but I am so confused…. working on boundaries and trying not to beat myself up for not knowing wtf is best for me… I am so financially screwed, Almost 1 year ago I realized that I am living with a stranger, onine porn, cheating, the lies, shit he has said behind my back all came out 1 year ago and I am getting stronger less nieve everyday… bUT it has taken a lot of self work, the counselor we went to he had her believing I was crazy… I found out that he was cheating on me for 20 years, and she felt I was showing to much anger… she didn’t validate me, she made me feel more broken only way I started to get help was youtube sam vakin and Richard grannon… still learning but no longer in the fog alone… thank you for explaining your stages

  24. Ms Deby says:

    Where ever you are please listen. You do not have to plan how you are going to leave. You can not plan that right either..As in everything you have done before it will not be right. It will be all your fault as in everything else. No one knew the pain I endured and to this very day still don’t. After 35 totally faithful years, The “Words” he used to beat me so low I had a stroke, lost 18 months memory even lost 45 pounds in one month while he conveniently convinced my entire family that too was my fault. All the while he was the one planning just when it would apparently appear to be only for him to walk out the door. He took with him my world. My entire family. Everyone. I was a mother a wife and a friend but after all is said and done I am a pathetic excuse for a wife, a mother, I am not qualified or allowed to be a grandmother. The only thing he could not take was my faith and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. He must have a reason for me to be even typing these words because the stroke affected my ability to write the words with my right hand. They all go on living. I am disabled, broke and broken.
    So Sweetheart before those abusive words beats you so far down that it affects your physical health because it has already beat you down verbally, emotionally, mentally and psychologically. Leaving you unwanted, un-needed and unloved.. Go. Please go for the sake of your sanity. I pray you have already gone. May God be with you.

  25. janedoe says:

    Wow! These people who have endured! God bless them have to be living MY nightmare ALL 40 years of it! From the physical abuse, and subsiquanct daily emotional abuse. The hospitalizations, broken bones, furniture and light fixtures and most importantly our children having to call 911 because “Daddy just beat mommy up and broke her arm”! I endured surgery to repair my arm. While hospitalized i wondered “should I stay with this man, the father of my two children? Do I want my children to come from a broken home? (In my family there was no such thing! ) Now after this much time that I’ve stayed with the kids gone I wonder why I stayed… The abuse is still there, verbal yes, physical no, because now he knows I’m in much better physical shape than him… I often wonder how he would feel now… being physically and emotionally threatened .. like he made me feel.. for all those years…

  26. janedoe says:

    RUN!!! Run as fast as you can! No excuse is worth the emotional or physical abuse! No one should have to be exposed to the abuse of a narcissist!

  27. Theproblem says:

    We met when I was 5 and always thought his name calling was the result of the childish crush. Finally giving in 30 years later and having a child, I realized it was an obsession and putting me down made me feel like I deserved it for being a “bitch” all these years. 4 years after leaving, I still have to run to the websites to remind me how to stay strong during “coparenting” conversations. I get texts, phone calls, emails from his friends and family explaining why I am hurting him and our child. All the while having my child taught to say her mom is his mistress, watching him play perfect dad while bad mouthing me and not paying child support, getting a girl 21 years younger than him pregnant and teaching our child that calling her teen stepmom a genius (sarcastically) is just funny. I feel guilt that I cannot protect his next victims especially his children but providing the stability of me means staying as far from his life as I can. Luckily I have the support of other women that have been victimized by him. I am also thankful he truly believes I am too stupid to know what he is doing so I can see the truth comes out if I don’t give in. Thank you for your word to remind me that I am not crazy in the middle of the gaslighting!

  28. Jackie says:

    I know I found this late. I’m wondering if you ever left.

    1. Samantha Matthews says:

      I left one year and 8 months ago. 🙂 Happier than I have been in years! I am still dealing with him and issues regarding the kids, but I have a new man in my life who gives me amazing support and I no longer have to talk to the narc every day or see him hardly ever. I of course still worry about the kids but some normal is better for them than none at all. Also, my Narc remarried (two months after our divorce was final and five month after we split, LOL!) and his new wife is lovely (poor thing…) so I have some hope she buffers some of his issues from the kids.

  29. Andrea Buckalew says:

    Greetings lovely lady. I’m divorced from my narc husband & father of our grown children, both in their 20’s. Please keep maneuvering and thinking of you & your girls way out. Promise me that your 12 years in this deep mess is enough. I believe you have an excellent grasp on your reality. I read for two hours just now. He will not change and I know exactly why you stay but you have to work on getting out now. I was with mine from the age of 15 & virginal to 45 & exhausted. When I left our marital home because he did not have the decency to go sleep on the couch for me after getting caught sleeping with our kids friend and buying her a used car…I knew that if I cared about myself at all and if I cared about what my early 20’s kids thought about Mom at all, I had to leave all that I had loved & cared for behind so I could initially get away from him to digest what our entire small town (my hometown) was talking about. Facebook, texting, it seemed like all the kids were talking about…what Mr. H did to Mrs. H. I could hardly function let alone put a name to our problem. YES, that late in the game at 45 years old. He was 49. I stayed so long because of the marital home and my creature comforts along with not upsetting the entire apple cart for EVERYONE. What about me? What about you and your girls, my dear? I didn’t know why we could not run right. I blamed myself of course for years thinking, I’ve gotta do better, I’ve gotta iron this out. He has devastated & humiliated our entire family. My kids could feed themselves by then and the washer & dryer & fridge was there for them. Inevitable is what we’d become and if I had an oz. Of self respect left, I knew I had to go as he would not. I should have called the police on him and made him leave but he told me & I believed that in the State of NJ infidelity is not illegal and I couldn’t put him out of his own home. I’m finally through the divorce and he made every aspect of it horrific. The judge told him to do something/anything and in true form, he did what he wanted in spite of the judges orders. I had to take him back to court to have ANY judgement enforced. He carried on as though he was above the law. It hurt our kids even further to see him disregard their mom for a final time. They have little contact with him now although I remind them..”well that’s still your Dad and I’m so sorry”. They are too old for him to fool now & they have seen his very darkness as he allowed it to spill out everywhere during divorce. It never got easier & it never became more amicable. I couldn’t protect the kids from seeing who he really was now as I had done for 20+ years. It was gut wrenching. I couldn’t smooth it over for everyone. You said your girls were young. Please remember, they are watching even when you think not. They can feel the gloom that you spoke of hanging around the home. The longer I hoped & waited & gave another chance, the longer I delayed the inevitable and I broke my own heart by doing that because the kids were no longer young and they could hardly believe their Dads actions, words & cruelty toward me. He shamed me one final time when I KNEW that they now KNEW what I had KNOWN for so long & stayed anyway. Still healing the 3 of us while my ex doesn’t go to therapy. We all do. Please get away from him. You’re thinking is spot on. You KNOW. With love & sincerity Andrea B.

  30. Donna says:

    I hope you made it out and you and your girls are doing well.

  31. Faizaa says:

    Wow thank you so much. You don’t know how badly I needed this. You have no idea. I thought I was insane or something was weird with me. I was questioning my sanity. But this blog just gave me hope for a new start. Love you woman. May God bless you with all the support strength and blessings you need.

  32. Jisha says:

    20 years and two grown up children, I’m still with him , I don’t know why? Because of my children, no idea…. it’s painful

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