Please join our discussion on all aspects of narcissism; ask us questions or offer your own personal, hard-won advice.

This is not a group therapy page to get your angries out however and all comments here will be read before they are approved. I am opening up this page as the first of hopefully more discussion blog pages to create a safe space for our subscribers to offer each other compassion and support. 

This also is NOT a place  for debate but somewhere to come and receive support without judgement or aggression and comments that do not respect this will not be approved.

If you have an idea for a new page topic please just let us know in your post. I will drop in from time to time and hope I can answer your questions as I am needed but primarily give this space to you to meet others who may be having similar challenges as you.

Welcome if you are new here and please know that you are not alone!

Your friend Kim (-:

677 Responses to “Narcissism”

  1. Madge de Bruyn said

    Dear Kim
    You know what really did it for me, was your poem “Song of the male narcissist”! That really made me realise how helpless he was. It also made me realise that God put us together for me to assist him in managing himself.
    I have always thrived on a challenge. And I find this a huge challenge to get our relationship on track.
    I still lose control emotionally but it is much better since I’ve read your advice. I tend to be an optimist but sometimes this drags me down real low. Since I read the “song” it just gave me such insight in what and how my husband thinks. I am really grateful to you for helping me the past few months. I have been to see phsyciatrists as well and they want my husband to see them but ofcourse he won’t go.
    He just does not realise what he is doing wrong.
    You have made me much stronger and I realise that this is the only way I will be able to help our relationship.
    Ofcourse what make it so difficult for me is that he does not phycically abuse me, he has never been unfaithful in the 37 years of marriage. Its just the verbal abuse.
    He has stopped this with me but still criticises our children – not in their presence but to me. This is the one thing that still infuriates me. They want to love their father but he still keeps them at a distance and ofcourse will find any reason to substantiate his actions.
    We are expecting our first two grandchildren within days and my daughter mentioned that she will never leave her child alone with his grandfather – in fear that he might say something negative to the child and thus cause emotional damage like he did when she was a child. This really hurt me badly.
    Have you got any advice on father-children relationships?
    Grownup children, that is.
    Today I realise that I have always protected them against his moods when they were young and still living with us.
    This ofcourse caused that I gave in to his moods just to keep the peace – which was very unhealthy.
    I must add that I have three wonderful, well mannered, self-supporting children. Eldest, boy and 18 months later I had twins – boy and a girl. The twin boy is gay and is living with his partner ever since they met after school. They’ve been together for 10 years. Two wonderfully well-balanced loving boys.
    The fact that they are such wonderful children is because of their father’s strict parenting – for which I am very greatful. They all live near to us in the same suburb and we see each other at least once a week.
    Hoping to hear from you.
    Regards
    Madge

  2. I have left my husband of 20 years and only found this site after leaving. He has now found a new love from the Phillipines via the internet. After reading about a narcissist this fits him to a tee. I have gone through hell and never knew why until now. This is yet another affair from the internet the last woman moved here and the affair lasted almost 3 years. He lives down the street from me so occasionaly he stills upsets my life. He has made me feel ugly old and very depressed. Nothing I do was ever good enough and as always the blame is always on me. I receive horrible texts from him and constant battering as how no good I am. He lies about everything and tells everyone how horrible I am but yet comes around only to tell me he loves me. There is nothing he hasn’t done to me to hurt me. I am an emotional wreck and don’t know how to handle this. He sends his new woman expensive presents while not even caring if I have food. My job moved to Mexico and he told me I couldn’t afford him anymore. He is on disability and hasn’t worked in years and it was totally up to me to do everything, yards, cars, bills just everything. He is so nice to everyone but me what can I do? I can’t take this anymore I am at the end of my rope. His ol girlfriend is paying all his expensives while he dotes on the new one. He is definitely in love with this new one and it’s like I never existed except he wants me to go out to dinner or have sex than leave me for her. He says he is moving to the Phillipines to be with her supposedly. He tells me to leave so he can talk to her on the computer everything is so unfair please I need help ASAP I just can’t take this anymore. I know he will show up at my door again and I need the strength to send him away. There was not one thing that I read about narcissist behavior that didn’t fit him.

  3. Anna said

    Hi KIm,
    After much anguish I separated form my NPD husband one year ago.After that he began exhibiting some extremely bizarre behaviour including hiding my ncar from me for 4 months and lying to me about it( I finally found abandoned in a car repair workshop)and many other weird things followed.
    I thought after 25 years I had done all I could to make the unworkable work. I planned to lick my wounds and heal myself and to keep moving forward and maybe find a healthier relationship. Trouble is we have stayed in close contact and are somewhat enmeshed.I have little interest in other men. I feel myself drawn back to him and the relationship. He is a highly intelligent and successful man and does have many good qualities and is the father of my children. My friends who know what I have been through will think I have lost my mind.
    I am fearful of going through divorce and know that it will be very ugly and he will punish me. That is not a good reason to stay but I don’t feel strong enough to take the hard road especially as I genuinely like him but my love has been sorely tested.

  4. Laura said

    Hello,
    My story is way too long to tell in detail, but I’ll just summarize by saying that I’ve been married to a man who, last year was diagnosed as NPD. Our counselor did not diagnose him to himself, but to me on the phone behind his back. She knew that he would not accept the diagnosis, but she wanted me to know that what I was dealing with was exactly what I thought.
    I’ve been married for 22 years, have 3 children by him and one from a previous relationship. I have a granddaughter as well.
    My husband’s narcissism manifests in his finding worth only in what he can do with his hands…building, tearing down, rennovating houses and other structures. His father put him down all his life, so my husband subconsciously works to please his father every day of his life.
    He cannot handle any form of criticism and will not take blame or anything even if he’s caught doing it. He goes through the same patterned defense mechanisms, no matter what the situation.
    He will go from denying he did something, to giving an excuse for doing it, to getting angry that you noticed he was doing it…anything but admit “yes you’re right. I did that. I’m sorry.” Being sorry means being “vulnerable” to him. Sometimes this gets really annoying because it’s childish.
    I think he’s getting worse as he ages, but most of the time he’s out working somewhere. He will probably work physically till his body can’t move anymore, and then he will be homebound and I will have to care for him or put him in an assisted living facility or something…I don’t know, but it’s not been easy. There has been a lot of abuse of the first 2 children and of me physically, but I left him several times during those things, we got counseling, and now, I pretty much pick my battles and do what I can to not “push his buttons.”
    For the most part, it has worked well.
    I also have a hobby of making Psychological Youtubes about Narcissism and other topics. These are free and are my way of getting the information out, so that people going through this will not feel so alone or crazy.

    ~Laura

  5. suzanne gabriel said

    in five years of knowing my husband and 4 years of marriage he has left countless times and had to be asked to leave more than 15 times. he has been arrested and he has walked out – but he regfers to all of the incidents as him being ‘thrown out’.

    he exahusts me with his attitude of total blamelessness (of himself)BUT he adores me and loves me in between leaving me to cope with all responsibility and all upset when he is ‘thrown out’ (usually due to violence or verbal abuse)

    I would love to say WE have worked at it – but in fact mainly I have worked at it! He does respond to me being assertive etc NOT angry and upset – I know Kyms approach works and I am speaking with my church (love of God finally gave me some self esteem)and my husband and me have got the possibility fo a great future. I am based in Cotswolds (UK) if anyone wants to speak to me directly.

  6. Cathy Blanch said

    This is to Lana Grammer, Lana my heart goes out to you. I understand all you are saying and if I can be so bold as to say I understand what you are feeling. I have dealt with my narcissist for 29 years. Lana, if you could read what you wrote from someone else’s eyes, you would never want or allow that person to continue accepting the treatment that you are allowing. I am saying this badly. You have left him, as I have left mine before finding this site. But the principles that Kim teaches are still effective. He won’t respect your allowing him to keep abusing you. How ironic this is, but you need to put up boundaries. Do not allow ONE unkind word or action to come from him. Don’t allow his infidelity. Just hang up the phone, reject his texts, don’t allow him in the front door. At all times handle him nicely, that speaks about who you are, but none the less, he needs to be shut down when there is any abuse. It is what he will respect but most of all, it is what YOU deserve. You are not ugly, or old and the depression is only from the effects of what he throws at you. Underneath everything is love and life and caring. Put the abuse away from you. You all ready have some distance. You need to work on YOU and embracing the beauty that is within you. You have the beauty coming forth or he wouldn’t be trying to squash it. Lana, find the strength to stand up for yourself. Be loving and kind but strong and firm. Build up your self doing some things that you love and make you feel good about yourself and that build a strong, healthy life. My heart goes out to you and your plea. You can do this. You deserve it. You are worthwhile. Take care and be strong.

  7. kimcooper said

    Hi Madge,

    You are doing very well and congratulations because a narcissistic partner
    is not an easy thing to deal with at all and I am not surprised
    it sometimes gets you low.

    The problem wit the kids is a tough one and I do admit it took the longest
    with Steve, it was like he could completely drop the ‘act’
    and be himself with me but then he would just get so
    scared of showing the kids how vulnerable he felt and
    in front of them the big tough and stern guy would be back.

    I think that the trick here is you being a bit savvy in
    finding him some new friends? If you keep a look out for
    some men that are better fathers in terms of them being warm
    and able to be themselves around younger people
    it will for one thing set a better example for him and
    also give him some people he wants to impress by being
    better about this. I have also noticed that male narcissists
    really crave solid male friends.

    I introduced Steve to an older man in his 70′s who shared an
    interest in gardening (on a fairly big scale) with Steve and this man
    (who also was once a minister) became a very good solid role
    model for Steve and someone that he did well in wanting to impress.

    There may also be some kind of mentoring program at your
    church etc. that you could challenge your husband to join?
    If he was mentoring other younger men in an official capacity
    it might give him some pride in improving his skills
    with this and there would be other men in the program to
    also monitor him and perhaps give him advice.

    You may not think he would be interested but then you might
    be surprised. I have found Steve like a duck to water in anything
    where he gets to spend time with (particularly older) men.

    Hang in there Madge and congratulations that your gay
    son has such a warm and stable relationship. That is a real credit
    to you as I know life can be very challenging and lonely for a
    lot of gay men.

    Kim

  8. kimcooper said

    Hi Lana,

    OK so you want this guy gone out of your life for good? Because you really need to make
    up your mind. You will not be able to use our program to help him and leave him too
    and it is best you understand this. The last chapter in “Back from the Looking Glass” will however
    teach you how to get him to leave you alone for good if that is what you want. You must also
    stop giving him money or taking care of him but this will be easy once you see what you have
    to do. Part of that I think will be telling him you love him but that you are broke and start asking
    him for loans! (LOL). But no seriously I think you should still also get our workbook too because
    there is still so much you can learn in there to protect yourself and start rebuilding your life and
    make sure you never let someone use you like this again. It is time you learn to be tougher and
    smarter and get what you want out of your life!

    Hang in there Lana, and all the best,

    Kim

  9. kimcooper said

    Hi Anna,

    I know that you would get a lot from ur ebooks and I think it might help you decide
    one way or another what you want to do an how to go about it. When you see how much
    is involved you might either say “I can do this” or you will say “It is not worth it” and you
    will know. Either way I know that our advice will teach you to be much stronger and
    tougher and hopefully never again let him get away with stealing your car!

    Hang in there Anna,

    Kim

  10. kimcooper said

    Thanks Laura,

    You might tell people on this list where they can find your movies and I hope that you
    have found our movies and books too and that they might be of so e help.

    It sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of your husbands wound and
    have been through enough that you might build enough trust with him to bring
    his walls down, before you are left caring for him wen he is old which is something
    which I can hear you are rightfully worried about.

    Hang in there and you are not alone either and I am glad that you have found us,

    Kim.

  11. kimcooper said

    Thanks for your help cathy and I really want to give a warm welcome to all the newcomers
    here and thank-you for your courage in sharing your stories.

    I want to encourage you all to help and support each other and if it gets too crowded just
    suggest a new discussion topic.

    I will be off writing two new books I have had on the drawing board for some time now
    and while I am gone Steve will be around as will Sanjay (for customer service issues) and a
    new team member Steve will introduce in a couple of days.

    Still this is your space which we will protect and keep sheltered for all of you and we encourage
    as much as possible you to make friends and help each other all you can and I will drop in
    now and then to offer what extra advice I can.

    You are all so beautiful and strong deep down inside and these trials you are going through will
    bring that strength to the surface in the next few weeks and months I just know it.

    You hang in there too Suzanne and I know someone is here to help you. The advice in our ebooks
    is NOT easy but it is worth learning and will benefit you not just with your partners but in so many
    other ways you will never regret learning these things.

    Take care and thanks again Cathy for being here to lend a hand,

    All the best,

    Kim

  12. Laura said

    As I said, I have a Youtube Channel in which I specifically discuss Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
    The address for that is: http://www.Youtube.com/DelusionDispeller. (thank you Kim, for letting me post my link here)

  13. Laura said

    I have a comment regarding one of the common things about NPD. I have read not only in your writings, Kim, but other posts about NPD, that the person with the disorder tends to behave one way in public and another way in private. I have also seen this in the female Narcissists I’ve come across.

    With my husband, his behavior is really not different in public or in private toward me. He is nasty to me in front of people or behind closed doors. Basically, I think there may be a bit of antisocial behavior in him as well.

    The hardest thing to deal with regarding him, is that his father taught him to have disdain for animals and for people who are ill or mentally challenged. He sees both as worthy of torment and most of the time, if he hears of an unfortunate incident involving either, his attitude will be “so?” In other words, if things do not affect him directly and personally, he has learned to put a wall of not caring. He has very little empathy toward people or animals and hates to see me show any…he calls me a “bleeding heart” because I can’t stand to just let someone struggle or suffer for any amount of time, and will step in to help them.

    Overall, if I had it to do over again, there is no way I would have married this man. I have 3 lovely girls by him though, so that is my silver lining in the cloud that happens to have come along with him.

    I want you to know, Kim…I have tried your techniques (other that calling the police on him) because I call the police on the neighbors all the time for their bullying my daughter anyway.

    I do know that both husband and daughter COWER when a policeman comes to the house. I’ve seen it…they start shaking or crying like babies, because they perceive police officers as very high and powerful in the line of authority and punishment (maybe representative of their own brutal fathers?) So, your suggestion to call the police is a good, effective one!

    I could write books myself here, but I’ll keep this short for now. In fact, my pastor told me to write books about how I have overcome obstacles in my life, but I have no clue how to get them published after I write them.

    ~Laura

  14. Laura said

    I don’t know if we are limited in how many comments we may post, but I think this might possibly help someone…

    Over the past 2 years, my husband’s cousin’s son was diagnosed with MMA (Methylmelonic Acidemia). This disorder requires him to use a G-Tube/Foley device (hole in his stomach with a hose attached) in order to eat. The baby cannot digest much protein and breaks out in rashes if he gets ahold of any offending food substance.

    My cousin has taken this boy to countless doctors. His case is so rare that they want to put him in medical books!

    Recently, a new doctor in Seattle discovered that there is a missing gene in my cousin’s son. Her daughter and she both have the same missing gene, and the baby’s grandmother also might have this. Lacking this chromosome is starting to be linked with mental/psychological learning disabilities and behavioral disorders…

    As you can imagine, my cousin and I are now wondering if this is the same problem throughout the family, all the way generations back. My mother-in-law, her sister, my husband, his sister and brothers all could have this missing chromosome, which accounts for the slow-learning in the family (every one of the daughters I have had with my husband, are slow-learners, have failed a grade or two, and have been homeschooled because of inability to function in a social environment).

    If this is the case, what I believe may have happened is this:
    My husband’s father was raised in an orphanage that I believe was very abusive and cold. My husband’s mother most likely has a learning disability. Put these two together and it was NPD meets TOTAL DEPENDENT. The father molested both his step daughter and daughter and not sure about the sons. He was brutally abusive to both animals and his children (my husband being one of them), was never happy or satisfied with anything his children did, but demanded constant perfection and utter, unquestioning respect.

    Now, one of the things of Narcissists is they can NOT stand people who seem “weak.” If my husband and his mother and his siblings had learning disabilities, being that my father-in-law had a GENIOUS IQ, he would see them as an embarassment and deserving of his brutality. Beat up an already mentally dysfunctioning person and what do you have…well, a number of things…alcoholics (3 of husband’s brothers became this), workaholic narcissist (husband), and a daughter who was so extremely abusive to her children that her son didn’t even want to live with her and moved back home with her ex…her daughter shows the same mental slowness as the rest of the family. (she couldn’t figure out how to get the cap back on a detergent bottle) and my children know her as the “ditz” of the family because of the silly things she says and not jokingly.

    Well, I’ll let you all know what happens with the mma situation and the possible linking-chromosome that could be lacking. I’m hoping at some point that they test the entire family!

    ~Laura

  15. Cathy, thank you for your comment, and Kim I really don’t know how to put him out of my life forever. Just yesterday I let him come back here again. He is now in love with the Flipino woman and has her picture in his (our) bedroom. Will his behavior continue on to her also? Why is so hard not to just walk away forever? I am miserable, I don’t clean the house I don’t want to leave or go outside of the house. All he wants to do is use me and doesn’t try to hide the fact he’s in love with yet another one. It is always him making people feel sorry for him and how bad he was treated. I have never gotten so mad at anyone that I hit them until him and it makes me feel so low but he calls me everything under the sun and I just can’t take it anymore.So now I will try being extra nice to him all the while making him stay away. I will let you know how this works.I really believe he wakes up lying anymore.

  16. Cathy Blanch said

    Lana Grammer, This is Cathy again. Don’t beat yourself up for letting him come back again. Statistics say that it takes an average of 7 times before an abused person has the strength to say enough is enough and truly mean it. But it could take 30 times and each time is genuine and hopefully you will gain the strength bit by bit. What will help you in the mean time is putting up those boundaries. The abuse that he puts forth to you is intended to make you angry, to hurt you and keep you down. He can justify himself more powerfully when he can point a finger at you. (But then again we all know that they justify themselves at every turn no matter how well or how poorly we handle ourselves.) And this is a exactly why we need to learn this next principle I want to explain. Since he is going to justify himself and put the blame on you no matter what you do, then you need to stop accepting what he is saying to you. Kim calls this method “Snipping” or something like that where you just separate yourself from the emotions and the actions that he is thrusting upon you. When he tells you that you are to blame or that you haven’t measured up you just “snip” “snip”, (like letting go of a bouquet of balloons that you are holding on to) and don’t let the comment take hold in your emotions. As he is talking you can think about the tv show that you are going to enjoy later. If he said your hair was blue you would know it was untrue and be accurate in thinking he was “off his rocker”. The comment would just deflect off of you and not take hold. Why should it? It is irrelevant to who you are or anything that matters or is true. Well these other hurtful comments are no different. They are not true. It doesn’t have any relevance to who you are. Don’t accept them. Let them deflect off of you. This tactic is going to throw him off, when he realizes his abuse is not affecting you the way it always has. It will give you some of your power back and hopefully some of your self esteem. AND get that woman’s picture off of your bedroom wall. You do not have to be disrespected like that. It is completely inappropriate. Do not accept abuse in any form, and that is a blatant form of abuse. One thing I was shocked at was how much power I actually had with my abuser. I spent so many years afraid of him and thought I had no choices. When I started standing up for myself (nicely, remember, being dignified and nice is important to building the strong, beautiful, kind woman that I wanted to be) that I saw him back off. I had the power to stand up for myself all along. Who knew? Every step you make in the right direction is a victory Lana. And by the way, he is NOT in love with the Filipino woman, she is just his next target for abuse. Snip, snip Lana!! Cathy

  17. Renay said

    I went through this over the past year, Narcissists are really scary, they will stop at nothing. I love Ryan, but he is gone and I cannot fix it. I wish I would have know what to do at the time, I know now he really needed me to be strong and I let him down. I just didn’t know what to do. Do they usually come back? I don’t think he ever will…I would love to help Ryan, but he won’t give me another chance. I am strong now though, and ready to move on. Thank you Kim.

  18. Cara said

    I have a question but I’ll start with parts of my story as maybe some of it may help someone.
    I’m 35. My husband has been abusive to me for 7 years…we have been together for 11 and friends for 24. I believe the responsibility of fatherhood triggered it for him. I have been sworn and shouted at thousands of times..and psychologically and emotionally bashed in a cycle of uncontrolled rage…remorse/love/closeness…neutral almost detached calm…complete indifference..contempt…. building tension…rage/terrible abusive outburst.. and then remorse and affection again.
    I ended up 3 years ago in a psychologist’s rooms seeking help for my ‘issues’ (I had believed him when he said I was the cause of all our problems). It turns out yes…as with probably all of us I did have some work to do. My main problems were I was tetering back and forth into depression..and I had a child-like need to be approved of and valued and a very low sense of personal entitlement (due to experiencing my parents disappointment in me meeting unrealistic high standards as a child now reaffirmed as an adult by my current abusive partner). It’s no wonder I accepted my husbands critisism and unrealistic expecatations of me as a failure on my behalf and I slowly gave him more and more control without either of us noticing.
    I did not take medication…but it took a lot of work…I’m now stronger and have a sense of what is just and unjust in regards to how I am treated. Most of the time it is unjust..unfortunately as I became stronger and expected more my husband had to go further to ‘keep the power and control’. In the last 12 months it has become violent on occassion either smashing furniture or objects or hurting me physically. My psychologist now has me accepting that I’m in a relationship of domestic violence and until my partner seeks help I can’t do a lot more other than damage minimalization.
    I finally said to my partner last week….during an outburst…”look I love you and it is my preference to spend my life with you but I cannot spend my life with the man who is shouting at me right now. He is not the real you. You are a loving man with issues relating to your parents and those issues are impacting on me and your children and you need and deserve help. I believe you use me as the excuse for your anger but I do not believe I am the real reason. If you don’t get help my 2 choices are to stay in this volatile environment or go..and I cannot stay.” (I had planned this speech in advance..in the heat of the moment it’s hard to think clearly).
    It initially didn’t work the way I’d hoped. He became more enraged and said there was no way he’d get help because I make no effort in anything I do. He swore..told me if I expected him to get help I could go get ****. He told me to get the **** out of his life and then got on the phone, transferred his wages out of his account and told me to come up with the mortgage and seek legal advice about my entitlements because I would be suprised at what he already knew (he was bluffing). It was horrible…but similar to the past… I rang a friend who is a social worker who made me calm down and believe in myself. She said ‘let him threaten and fume and keep trying to control you…this is more proof as to how out of control he feels…YOU WILL BE OK WHATEVER YOU DECIDE TO DO BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM…do not let him know how much this is hurting you…stay strong in his presence. So I went out and got out the white pages and looked up the numbers of all the support agencies I could find. I think this made him realize I meant it and I was moving on. (he was busy making a list….’change my will’ , ‘change my insurance’, ‘ring work to get my wages put in my account’ etc etc…)
    Late into the night…he came in and humbly begged me not to leave and promised to get help. I nearly fell out of bed. In a way it was confusing because I had finally decided it had to end. I’m still wary….actions are louder but it was the first ever acknowedgement that he could benefit from advice and help.
    I do have a question after all this….we HAVE to get this right..he will not tolerate going fom one counsellor to another. Should we speak together as a couple…should he go alone….should he go to anger management…a counsellor or a psychologist? He hasn’t been diagnosed with anything because of course he hasn’t spoken to anyone before but it is my layperson’s thoughts that narcissism is HIGHLY likely…I want someone who can recognize this if he does have it and provide appropriate help. We live in the eastern parts of Melbourne. Would love some feedback if anyone has any.

  19. kimcooper said

    Cara,

    I am not going to say much because our program is designed exactly for you. You are in nearly an
    identical situation as I was and I was also in Australia. If there is any reason you can’t buy our ebooks
    (I would suggest special offer 3 on our introductory specials page) please let us know and we will
    help you purchase them. You are not alone, the steps and exercises in our books are written as if
    they were just for you.

    You cannot leave this up to your husband getting help and there is not many people out there who
    would know how to help him or say there was any hope anyway. It is great he has let his vulnerability
    show but you cannot keep threatening to leave to keep his resolve up or it will back fire. It was
    your strength in this situation and your courage to go public that he responded to anyway more
    that your threat to leave. We will teach you how to keep this strength up and help
    yourself to help him. He wont need lots of time in counselling or therapy anyway I would say.
    But he will need you knowing that you are the strong one and he will need some patience and
    very strong boundaries and limits put on his abusive behaviour and the right challenges in appropriate
    time frames.

    I am glad that you found us Cara … you are not alone,

    Kim

  20. Cindy said

    I’m in something of an immediate quandary, and wonder if anyone has advice. My boyfriend of four years and I recently separated (he moved to his sister’s house in a neighboring town) Our relationship has been tumultuous; he is alcoholic, a smoker, and looks frequently at porn (addicted?). He went to rehab several years ago, but relapses frequently in the form of social (not excessive) drinking. When we are together, he seems to be able to control both the drinking and smoking with not too much trouble, but on the occasions we’ve separated he resorts to heavy use and feels “rudderless.” He associates me with stability and wants to be with me. He is rarely honest when he thinks he may meet disapproval, and has maintained a likeable personna with his mother and sister for years and years. They always take him in and think he’s been ill-treated. I recently found out that his porn use, of which I was occasionally aware, has remained a compulsion despite assurances to the contrary. This was the reason for the last separation. He blames me for any acting out he does, saying that it is my overreactions to things that spurs his addictions. I know better. I know he cannot accept responsibility and does not want to be accountable. During this last separation, he began looking at sites for porn addicts, made a couple of posts, and seemed to get it and wrote to me with some clarity about the issues. But, in the past few days, since we’ve considered getting back together, I’m seeing again his dodging behaviors. In essence, I’m the only person in his life who demands accountatility and honesty, so I remain an “intervention commitee” of one. What I want to know is whether it is advisable or even ethically correct to tell his mother and sister the truth of his behaviors so that he doesn’t have that cushion to fall back on every time he thinks he’s had it with me.

    Any advice would be most appreciated.

  21. Hi Cindy,

    Please check out a a great book called, “Seven weeks to sobriety” for his alcohol problem. Alcoholism is a physiological disease that needs medical and nutritional intervention. Yes there are issues in his head that feed his drinking but the underlying problem is the sugar imbalance that alcohol creates. Check out the book, it is really wonderful.
    When you are the only ‘intervention committee’ (very well put, BTW) you will only grow tired and resentful, no matter how much you love him; this is why Kim and I recommend building a support network of other people. His mother and sister may become defensive if you approach this topic carelessly, s be careful. As Kim says, you must frame this with your concern for him as the major theme. Don’t act like you have the answer, just admit that you have no idea what to do about his addiction to porn. (Even though you may have some ideas). It is vital that you get them on side, and this can be a difficult job. Is there anyone else you can approach.
    There are two roads in life for us all; the road to personal growth, and the road to personal disintegration. If he can build a healthy attachment to you he will grow and so might you. If he keeps an attachment to porn the only way is down. There is little room for personal growth with a porn addiction.
    So please take care in your next step Cindy, you can do it well I am sure.

  22. Cathy said

    Steve,

    My husbands behavior indicates an addiction. I have checked his web history and different things and the main thing that I see him doing is watching movies. (Thank you Net Flix) They aren’t X rated or anything, but the nudity and such in R’s and even PG 13 movies is so offensive to me. Where he used to turn his head, now he seeks it out.

    Would you consider this a porn addiction possibly? He is so closed off to admitting any problem with this but his behavior is so indicative of succumbing to an addiction. He watches a good three movies every night until on into the middle of the night. I really think that this is all that he is doing. There aren’t magazines, or other women. Is this enough to have a porn addiction? And what can be done if he won’t admit to there being anything wrong?

  23. Cindy said

    Hi Kim & Steve:
    I was married for 13 years to a man I believe has NPD. I left him six months ago and regret it very much. I wish I would have found your site before I left him. We have three children together (11,8, & 2)and two adult children with other people. The seperation has been hard on the kids but harder on me. He has a new girlfriend and says he is very fond of her. “She does things for him I never did”. I left him because he was texting and talking to another woman. This was the third time I caught him having extra marital relationships. I suspect there were many others though. I never felt secure in the relationship. He lied all the time about the most rediculous things. Things he did not have to lie to me about. He would boast about how great he was at his job and how everyone loved him so much yet, he has no friends or social life. If he wasn’t talking about how great he was he was talking about how stupid and incompetent everyone else was. This really turned me off and I did not know how to tell him. Because of my insecurity and frustration I was unable to be affectionate with him. I felt like he was emotionally unavailabel to me and he said the same about me adding physically unavailable. I did everything for him from keeping our budget to maintaining our large yard (on two acres). I work 30 hours a week and take care of the childrens needs on my own. He never gave any signs of appreciating what I did. The lies and other women in his life are the reason I left. I felt like our whole life together had been a lie. I felt like he had absolutely no regard for me or my feelings. He has not paid cild support in two months and sees the children about 15% of the time. He refuses to give me the childrens toys and the rest of my things. I have filed for divorce but need him to sign the child support agreement and asset document to finalize it. He has not signed either stating that he does not agree with everything I put in them. I have not pushed the issue because I am holding on to hope that he will realize that I was a good wife and our family is worth fighting for. Now that I have left him, he has paid me 50% of the equity from our home, I have purcased a home, and he has a girlfriend he has been involved with for three months I don’t think he will ever come back to me. I just don’t know what to do. If you have any advise for me I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks
    Cindy

  24. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Cathy,
    I would be suspecting a porn addiction, but I can’t be sure. I am certain that you must find out one way or the other. His addiction to watching the box is a relationship killer and is really unacceptable on many levels.
    So, first, find out as much as you can about what he is watching, and then decide what the next step might be.
    If it is porn, you need to be honest with him about how you feel about that. Really make sure you know what your feelings are about it before you speak to him. Give him a chance to rectify it, be clear about what you want, but no ultimatum should be given to him about it yet. Give him notice that you know about it.
    If it isn’t porn, I still think that you have a serious problem on your hands. Movies are fantasy, highly removed from reality. Even the kinds of dramatic, non-fantasy stories are not very reflective of reality. He has made a point of non-communication as his form of communication, and this will end your marriage eventually. How long has this been going on? This is going to be difficult to approach, because he has immersed himself in goodness-knows-what, and is out of practice being able to relate to people. This may present a problem of him being defensive, so be careful.
    This brings me back to my suggestion of keeping your next communication with him on a level of how YOU feel. If you are lonely, he needs to know. But try and stay as calm as possible, it has to be about you and not him at this stage.

  25. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Cindy,

    I hope you’re doing Ok, it sounds like you’ve had a hard time of it.

    To answer your question as honestly as I can, I want to point you back to something you said in your post.

    you wrote.

    ” I have not pushed the issue because I am holding on to hope that he will realize that I was a good wife and our family is worth fighting for.”

    It sounds to me like you *are* a good wife and that you *are* worth fighting for. If there is anything about yourself that makes you doubt this, you need to look at that immediately, and start taking steps to build your own belief in yourself again.

    Wanting him to ‘prove’ this is placing all the power in his hands, and is making you powerless, even though you are a really get woman worth fighting for.

    Now, I know this doesn’t completely help, because there are other factors contributing to your hurt. Like him acting like a single man while you are doing %85 of the child-rearing, (of his kids). So, please don’t think like I am trying to give you any easy answers here.

    Since there seems to be a formal separation here, you have lost the opportunity to follow many of our steps in our guides. My guess is that he will eventually want you back, or eventually realise that you were the right woman for him. That may take decades…it may take years….I really can’t say. But there isn’t much you can do at this stage to change his mind about this. You can take the positive steps of self-soothing and filling your own development gaps.

    I really don’t enjoy hearing about stories like yours Cindy, but I do know that if you give our eBooks a chance, we can help you with building your own feelings of self-assurance. It may be too late with this guy, so wish him well and give your best to you and your kids now. I’m so sorry.

  26. Cindy said

    Hi Steve:
    Thanks for your response. That is what I was afraid of. It just really baffles me as to why he wont sign the papers or give me mine and the childrens things. My hope was that he wanted us back but I suppose it has more to do with control and his disrepect for me. I am seeing a therapist and it is helping. Eventually I might get over my co-dependancy and be able to have a healthy relationship with some one new.

    Thanks again and keep up the good work. Best wishes to you and Kim.

    Cindy

  27. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Cindy,
    If I were your fairy Godmother, I would put a good behaviour spell on him, one that would last forever, I would rub out the other woman, I would give him flowers and chocolates and send him back to you to beg your forgiveness. I think your heart would want that more than finding someone new at the moment.
    This is where we really want to make a point. You are not wrong to love him, you are a great person to want to hold out hope for him. Trying to find answers is a natural and intelligent response to his abuse.
    Sometimes, Kim and I have to admit that we can’t help, and in your case I don’t think winning him back is anywhere on your radar. There will be an enormous advantage in you reading our eBooks however, because you will have a relationship with him for a long time via the kids. You cannot allow the kids to see you being abused and manipulated by him. They will learn this to be normal and it is not acceptable in 2009. You need to have tools ready to limit abuse, no matter how subtle or covert. You can do it..

  28. Cathy said

    Steve,

    Yes, I do have a problem on my hands. You asked how long this has been going on well… it started in about 2005, I called him on it and he stopped for about 10 months and then he started in again with staying over at his office (which is across the street from our home) until 2 to 3 am every night. Of course I was lonely and told him so time and again but the final straw was that I got a notice that our house was in foreclosure and was to be auctioned in 10 days. I didn’t know. When I confronted him about it, not in accusation, but in distress of “what do we do”? He flew at me with horrible accusations and left the room.

    This is a tiny glimpse of what has gone on for 27 years. Your unbelievable descriptions of confabulation, accusations, delusions of grandeur, all you have said about NPD is a description of my life. He told me I was crazy for so many years I believed it. His cruel treatment of our 7 children and the control and hurt that he has caused them have had them begging me to leave him for years. After the foreclosure incident I left him. This was in the spring of 2007. Since then he moved into his office and I moved back and live in our home across the street from our office. It has been two full years that we have been living across the street from each other: married, dating and separated. I feel that one of the greatest obstacles is this movie fetish he harbors. And your words made me question that possibly what I am actually fighting is pornography. It is a better life than what I had because he isn’t under our same roof and I don’t tolerate the abuse, but it is not healthy and it is not acceptable. It was after I left that I came across your website and your book. I have done much of what you have suggested. I treat him kindly (although his confabulation often creates another story, I only know that I am correct in my perceptions because my children will have witnessed an interchange and confirm that I have handled him kindly.) I created the support group you suggested. I call him on the abuse and he knows I won’t tolerate it. The one thing I can’t rectify with your advice is that I have all ready left him. I can see the value you speak of in that he needs to know that he won’t be abandoned. But it was too late for that since I had all ready left. The children and I are safer and healthier with the separation however, we are not subject to his decrees and outbursts and punishments. So, you were exactly accurate in stating that it would end our marriage eventually. But it hasn’t really ended. I feel like I love him and he charms my soul when he is kind to me, but then he is cold and I see the cruel things he does and is and I feel that I am only in love with a dream of what he could be and what I want him to be. Is he really the monster that he presents? If so, then I don’t like who he is, and I shouldn’t nurture the love I feel for him at times. Or is he just this damaged child that can be nurtured back to health if I stay and try to help him?

    Steve, I tell you, I didn’t think you were for real when I first read your website and ebooks. I didn’t see how a person who has NPD could be consistently compassionate and kind, could heal the damage inside them and be a healthy addition to their family. I am impressed with your admission of who you were and the way you treat Kim and your advice to all of us. How do I take my messy situation and nurture into health our relationship?

  29. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Cathy,

    Thanks for your post. The problem is he is both the monster and the frightened child. When he is a nasty and horrible monster, he is hiding the frightened child, and vice versa. The nastiness is behavior related, the child is more his real self. The problem is that you haven’t got this lion in the ring anymore. We can teach you how to handle the whip and the chair while this lion is in the ring, but now that he is out on his own…you will have trouble.
    Of course you still have feelings for him, and his nastiness doesn’t cancel out his better qualities. This is your children’s father an you will need to nurture some positivity towards him. But having said that, he needs to know that he has killed your passion and a large part of your womanhood, “and that sucks buddy”. You can remain civil in other areas, but about the sexual abandonment of you, he needs to face that failure(of duty). I am not sure how you can deliver such an emotionally charged message while staying calm like we suggest. Maybe you don’t have to be completely calm, but try not to be hysterical.
    Take good care Cathy, I know this won’t be easy for you.

  30. Cathy said

    He is still very much in the ring because we see each other daily. He considers himself married and not even separated, his bedroom is just across the street. He says that “he will do what is needed to give me what I want, but he doesn’t know what that is.” I have been very clear that I want him home accept for work, (he comes home maybe 5 minutes a day accept when we have a special occasion) I want him involved in our lives, I want the movies to stop. I want him to support us financially. How much clearer can I be?

    Steve, how do you know that you have changed? I mean is it because it has been a long time that you have been on this better path? Is it because you feel differently inside? Are your thought processes different? What does being healed of NPD look like and feel like?

    Cathy

  31. Elizabeth said

    Need some advice – I’m married to a wonderful husband for 12 years. He was married before and had two sons out of the marriage. He obtained full custody of his kids as his ex wife left the country after the divorce. She came back in the kids lifes after a few years and we thought it is great that she wanted to build a relationship with them again… after a lot of confusion… (to much to tell) we realized that she (my husbands ex) must be a narcisist. Our youngest son had to go to a psychologist due to all the confusion she caused in his life (mostly unknown to us). She told ridiculous lies to him about my husband and I (the parents who raised him; she specifically tried her best to destroy my relationship with the boys). Now she apologised profusely for what she did and committed herself “not to mess up again”. How do I handle this situation? She is my husbands ex and my two sons mother… how can I make the most of this? Should I tell the kids of their Moms disorder? They love her a lot and I do not think its a good idea… but I want to protect them from getting hurt & confused any more… and I also want to protect myself and my relationship with my children. I enjoyed and found your book helpful, but will like your views on my specific situation. Thanks!

  32. Karen said

    I have a narcissistic boyfriend who I have been living with the past 5 months. The main problem with his behavior is that he refuses to have sex and spend hours on the internet about 30 percent of the time looking at pictures of other women(not porn just on a website he frequents) and saving them on his computer, needless to say this is very hurtful. Anytime I try to confront him on any aspect of his behavior he threatens to leave. He has been married several times before and would probably walk out the door without too much provocation. I do love this man, feel sorry for him, and would like to stay with him, but he is not making me feel valued, when I try to tell him how I feel he says I am jealous and possesive. I am working on trying to make myself stronger, so that I can be alone if I have to, but I do love and feel sorry for this guy, and I would like this situation to work out long term if possible, but obviously I need to get my needs met. Advice…not sure how much I want to tolerate.

  33. Melody Williams said

    Hi Kim and Steve,I need some advice and am wondering if anyone else has had this problem.I have been living with my boyfriend for 16 yrs.He has no children and has never been married.I have 6 grown children and have been married twice,(there was physical and verbal abuse in both past marriages),and when I met my boyfriend I was determined to make this relationship work.He seemed so much calmer and well different than my 2 x’s.I have since come to realize that he isnt any better than my x’s he was just better at hiding his aggression as I believe he is passive agressive.After discovering your site and reading how a narcissist behaves I believe he is also Narcissistic.My problem among many is this; he has had what started out as a rash on his arms and lower legs for the last 5 years. He said it was scabies and that I gave it to him by cheating on him.(I have never cheated on him.)He called me all kinds of things ,slut ,ect.I didnt have any symptoms but I thought if i proved I didnt have anything like that he would stop. Well I went to 3 Doctors they all said I had nothing wrong. Finally he stopped. But now he has switched on what he says is wrong with him.He has been saying for the last 3 years that he is infested(to use his wording),with mites. He is totally obsessed with this idea even though I know it is not mites.It has gotten so bad that he wants to wash the bed clothes everyday ,and with so much bleach it burns my nose!He also stays in the shower for 4 or 5 hours ,sometimes longer scrubbing his entire body and using bleach on himself.He has used flea spray and gone to the Doctors giving them the right symptoms so they think he has scabies and gets a prescription that he over uses and leaves on himself for 8 hours instead of the directed 1 hour.The doctor has never actually tested his skin to make sure what he has.I know if he would leave it alone and not constantly pick his scabs off and use harsh things on it that it would go away.But when I try to reason with him he gets mad and says I dont want him to get well and I dont care about him! He is always in a depressed mood around me but seems fine if he is around others. He will be laughing and bragging to someone ,(like he enjoys most),and not acting sick in any way until he is alone with me then he changes .He frowns and moans and says I dont care and that he is really sick!!But he refuses to go to the doctor.I cant take this much longer. I have gotten to the point that I think sometimes I really dont care anymore but I really just want him to love me and be happy so I can love him. Also we havent had sex but maybe one time in the past 2 years and its been this way for almost 8 years. I am 55 and he is 50. His mother and father were alcoholics.His father died in car crash because of him being drunk when he was 7 yrs old and his mother became more and more involved with alcohol ever since.She has since passed also. I have lost all sence of self worth ,and feel like a walking zombie most days,so depressed. I just wanted to get my story out.Sorry for being so long.But believe me I could go on for days there is so much more.Thank You for listening, Melody

  34. Allison said

    Hi!
    So I’ve just read your ebook, it was very motivating and invigirating, thank you Kim and Steve for that. I have found my way to you both because I think I’ve reached the point of no return. I also visited several other sites and support groups online that left me feeling like there was a whole world of people out there that knew me but couldn’t help me. It was like I was at home, but unhappy. Finding you both and your work has not only brought me home but given me empowerment that I have needed all my life!!! So thank, thank, thank you!!!

    My husband and I have been married for almost 8 years. It wasn’t until this year that I learned of NPD. With the research and experience I FINALLY knew that it wasn’t JUST me, and felt like something made sense for once. I’m at a crossroad and it’s time for me to make decisions. I desperately want to preserve my family with my husband and our two beautiful daughters and beat the odds. I am willing to do the hard work. Letting go of all the negative things that have happened; all the betrayal, lies, cheating, broken committments and abuse over the years has held me down in depression. I always thought if I let go (without some profound acknowledgement from him and some mind blowing apology) that meant it was ok to beat my spirit to a pulp over and over and that I must be worthless since I have let this happen to me for almost a decade with this man I LOVE. NO MORE. I realize that I hold the key to my own source of power and strength and I am prepared to rebuild at all costs.

    I am concerned about a few strategies and points in the ebook that I would LOVE for you to support me on. Markell is in the process of launching a business. This process has resurfaced our issues (after a near divorce in January of this year). Each and every time I try to make a suggestion or have input in decision making (these are decisions that will in fact effect my life and my children’s lives) we battle. He believes I have no rights and behaves like I have no equality. I want to work it out but I don’t know how to turn my back and say “do whatever you think is right” when I do not trust him – as he has repeatedly (year after year) made committment and promises of my “safty/security” and broken them to serve his own needs and desires. This in turn breaks the already severed trust and creates the wall between us. The area I am concerned with is reaching out to the community members. He will FREAK if he knows that I have put him in an undesirable light. Especially because of the work he wants to do in the community. I am fearful that building my support system in the community will enrage and severely embarrass him to the point where it will actually hurt me rather than help me. He is the type of N that appears to want to be let go. I separated from him once and he was glad to go and move on without ever even noticing he left a family behind. I don’t want to push him away by addressing his abuse and limiting his success in the community because he values that power and success most. He is capable of great success, and I do believe that he will stop at nothing to get there, this has meant (we have discussed this many times) that if having this family gets in the way of that he believes he should move on. It’s kind of like I’d be lucky to enjoy the lavish lifestyle that he wants to provide so how dare I want anything else. For example how dare I want him not to travel while the kids are young, or how dare I have a hard time sacrificing him being there for the children if I have the opportunity to have a big house and drive a nice car and go on vacations to Europe and… Even though those things aren’t the things that matter to ME. All I want is a partner.

    I don’t know if I was clear or not, I certainly am confused! But I do want to follow the guide and be successful at reaching my goals. I do not know how to deal with the fact that he will not appreciate me going out there to ask for help.

    Also, he has been held in a light all of his life as he is the most bright star in the sky. Although it doesn’t appear that people (other than me) have unrealistic expectations of him HE is the one. He believes and expects to be perfect because others have driven this into him all his life. It isn’t in a negative way though. It is actually very supportive how his friends and his friend’s parents and his parents see him as “perfect.” So the issue there is how do I separate those situations where he might enjoy inflating his ego but it seems to be in a supportive way. He participated in a schooling program where inner city minorities were bussed into affluent school systems and given opportunity to thrive. He did thrive and he should be proud of it. He recieved a full football scholarship to a division 1 school and played well. He was treated as a god. He should be proud of himself and so should EVERYONE else that knew him right? It’s almost like a cult though, all those who love him and revere him as this person who over came aversity. You should hear the way people talk to him, it’s so strange – like nothing I’ve ever seen before. SO… Is it me? How does he ever learn that he’s normal, that he isn’t perfect, that he can be proud and make mistakes at the same time? He is the one who puts the pressure on himself based on the situation all those around him created. Like it was a bigger deal that he succeeded, did they expect him to fail? Is that what he thinks? He has massive entitlement issues, and why wouldn’t he? So my question is : How does he learn that it’s ok to lower his expectations of himself and still be happy. I don’t think he can be happy unless he’s got his name on buildings and his name in papers for being the best real estate investor around, or the best developer, or the biggest this or the youngest one to accomplish that or the strong balck man who made this… How do I save him from himself?

    HELP :)

  35. I have been with my 44 year old boyfriend for about 3 years and not until I have read about the symptoms of NPD did I understand why I have been treated the way I have been. I am in a cycle of verbal abuse, ( I cannot do anything right, I am always messing up in every aspect of life) did I see what is happening and why. Please help me, I am new to this and I really don’t know how to be “nice” and still not stand for the verbal shouting and put downs. I don’t want to loose this person, what a weird thing to say considering how he treats me, but help me cope and show me how to act when he shouts and puts be down. I am the only person he does this to, he lives with his mother so he won’t do that to her and his daughters from a failed marriage are little china dolls to him, but not me or my daughter. How do I be strong and get the respect that I deserve?
    Trisha

  36. Kyrie said

    Hi Kim and Steve:

    I am listening to your latest radio show “Narcissism Q & A” and I would like to point something out to you. First of all, thank you for all you do. I hope your hearts are pure and that you truly are trying to help so people and I applaud you as well as admire for that. But . . .

    Your reaction to one the viewer’s question on your latest show – re: How can you say you have a cure when so many experts say they are incurable because they have no ability to feel remorse or empathy – was intriguing. Matter of fact, not to be insulting (truly), but it was borderline narcissistic. Here’s why I think that – and I’ll know by your response and by whether or not this comment disappears from this blog – how forthright you are being here just so we’re clear.

    First of all – that person asked a legitimate question and you did EXACTLY like a narcissist does and turned it into something else (ahem, manipulated what was asked-and almost went into a typical narcissistic crazymaking tantrum). That is so indicative of a narcissist. I realize you have alot of experience with this so perhaps it is spilling over into your personal life, but . . . I’m just bringing this to your attention so you can be aware of it.

    Then, not only did you turn that question around into something it more than likely was not, because you HAVE to give that person the benefit of the doubt since they weren’t there to defend WHY they asked it to begin with – but you got incredibly defensive after YOU turned the question completely around. I realize this is your life’s work and all, but seriously Kim, guess who behaves this way? A narcissist.

    Why couldn’t you just answer the question? It was a legitimate one. Saying (at the end of your diatribe against this listener), “because we’ve been through this” did NOT answer the question directly. Again, another narcissistic trait. Is there some reason you couldn’t have succintly put together a response that would have satiated her concerns about your cure?

    Thank you for listening! Looking forward to your response and more shows. I really do enjoy them.

    Kyrie

  37. Kay said

    Madge, i thought this note was mine until i got to the part about the children..i have two girls. everything you said is exactly what i am going through. except i don’t think i can do the ‘support’ part any more. yes i read the song and understand the basics but my heart is just not in it anymore. i hope you can do it!

  38. Lillian said

    I would like to read the poem song of the male narcissit I was reading one of the blogs from Madge DeBryun and was hoping to share it with me.
    I have been married 5 years, 2nd marriage and yes he was charming and all that stuff and I did not really know him or I should say know or understand about NPD. After doing some research, reading, and praying I have understanding somewhat but what I find happens to me is that I forget about when things are going smooth and all of a sudden drama once again. I fall for the trap and I get so mad at myself but only for a short time that I let my guard down. It took me a long time to understand that discussing or conversation was not the way. I do love this man but do not love the roller coaster ride. I am between decisions not sure what to do. will it ever change? I suppose all things are possible… How do I stay alert at all times so
    I can use wisdom and keep my peace. I am not afraid of him nor an I afraid to show him my strenght. I want to help him get well, is there any hope for this relationship to ever be what I would like it to be?

  39. Lory said

    I first want to thank Kim and Steve for opening up their hearts and lives to help other people. I was led to your sight and have been able to answer alot of questions, mostly regain some of my self-respect. However, still somewhat in denial I have not subscribed yet. My “husband” goes back and forth between all that is narcisstic”, and being the Godly man he was called to be. However it only takes a small trigger for me to be in the dog house!
    I came on a visit to my two older daughters homes, with our two children over a month ago. One Grandbaby was having surgery, and the other needed a housesitter, and one was moving to a new house, on and on…I had not seen my girls for a couple of years or my grandchildren. Somehow I tripped the trigger…He isn’t speaking to me(silent treatment),he always wants a divorce, he isn’t sending any money for groceries( so I am spending the savings), he just informed me that I have no car insurance because he isn’t going to pay any bills and with all that rejection He is purposely not fixing the a/c so i won’t come home. I have been a stay-at-home mom for almost 10 years, I homeschool my children and am bringing them up to follow our Lord. I found out a year ago that my husband was not legally divorced from his first wife in Mexico. We were advised by our pastor that he should get one asap and fix our marriage…each time I have addressed this issue he has talked out of the side of his mouth. I now have Godly counsel to get legal advise, leave my kids with family, and go and give him an ultamatum….In the past and I know in the future God has always answered my prayers, but He has also called me to be obedient to Him, and my yes is on the table….I have to go back to the state where we live, and try to not trigger anything so my young children and I can move forward….I can’t believe how hurtful, he can be….
    I don’t know anything other than this narcisstic behaviot opens the door for the “enemy” to come in and tear apart a Christian family. Its all really spiritual warfare….I pray God’s continued Grace and Mercy for us all….Thank You

  40. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Kyrie,

    It is not narcissistic to be upset by provocative comments, especially when I was honest about the hurt I felt.

    I think the advice Kim gave this woman was very sound. Even if she was a bit upset by it. A tantrum? Really?

    I have allowed your post this time, but really this place is not for feedback on our performance, this place is for people working on improving their relationships.

    If we opened this blog up to those who disagree with us in a non-constructive manner, there would be no safe space for people needing help.

    Steve.

  41. Allison said

    Hi Kim & Steve,
    I wrote yesterday and was very long winded, sorry. I just have a couple questions maybe you can help me clear up.

    After reading the ebook I am thrilled to begin the new process. I however am concerned about reaching out to the community for support (police, DV,…) because my N husband is currently trying to “live out his dream” which involves becoming a very important and well know figure in the community. He is launching a company and (by nature of the N) feels the need to be famous and obviously well recognized and admired. He has been educating himself in preparation to launch this company for several years. Now that the ball is rolling he has begun reaching out to elite members in the community (real estate, financial institutions, business owners, developers, investors…). I do want to support him to succeed in this endeavor (obviously not at the cost of my happiness though). I fear that reaching out to the community on my end for support would infuriate & embarrass him in addition to alienating me even further.

    ALSO, I wonder if this endeavor is nothing but a FUEL to his fire. If this building this name for himself will perpetuate his narcissism.

    Please help,
    Any insight or feedback would be great!

    Thanks so much for your work!!!
    I am feeling better than I have in years and it’s only the beginning of my process :)

    Allison

  42. betty said

    Hi,
    I am planning to buy the book & audio cassettes after the 4th. But here are some questions. I am 3 years into a relationship that is very abusive. He fits the NPD & BPD. He seems to project his feelings & actions onto me. He says I abuse & mistreat him. I am sad to know that he truly feels that I do this. Even with extensive knowledge to protect myself & help him,he rages at me a few times each day. I try not to let his put downs, obscenities and abuse effect me. But energetically, how does one handle this. I have tried walking out with nice communication, listening without responding to 30 minute reprimands, not engaging in fights, not letting my anger show & releasing it on my own. I have tried this consistantly for a month or so. I have enforced the boundaries that I have read are good to set & it only gets worse. What can I do differently.

  43. Nadine said

    Hi,

    My spouse and I have had our first setback after 3 very good months. The best 3 months of our 17 years of marriage. I am unsure what brought on this setback but his words and actions are a collection of 17 years of accusations and blame. I feel overwhelmed. I feel very angry when I see childish bad behaviour, mess in kitchen. Freezer looks like a tornado went thru it. I am angry when he accuses me of hiding stuff when its on the kitchen counter when I come home. I am angry when he calls and calls my cellphone and demands I get dinner for him. The craziness the last week is really wearing me down. Where should I look to get help in dealing with the craziness?

  44. kimcooper said

    Hi Betty,

    You need to set a zero tolerance for abuse policy. Let him know that you love him and that you are not going to leave him but that you will not tolerate him raging at you. You can say “I don’t like where this is going and I am not prepared to discuss this further I need to get to work/sleep or just whatever it is that you want to do. If he follows you or continues after this you need back up and there is a lot about this in Back from the Looking Glass and the love safety net workbook. Who does he respect that he would be most embarrassed to know about his behaviour? That may be the person you need to talk to about your concerns for him. The sooner that you are able to disengage when you see what is coming the better.

    Kim

  45. kimcooper said

    Hi Allison,

    It sounds very dangerous to me? What are his gaps? What should he really be concentrating on?
    If he is being abusive that is his problem and not yours and you cannot protect him from himself.
    There is a story of mine that I think you may benefit from here:

    http://www.narcissismsupport.com/narcissism_Support/Kims_Blog/Entries/2007/10/14_On_Ego.html

    I hope this helps some. I don’t know what kind of bad behaviours he is displaying but if he values his reputation
    this actually gives you some leverage. Pick someone in authority to first speak to who will be sensitive to his
    desire for privacy but also someone who will warn him of what will happen if his behaviour continues.
    If you play this right it sounds like you may actually be saving him from a breakdown or public humiliation
    in the future. Can he really sustain this new role he is launching? Watch those gaps!!! It is really these he needs
    help with from someone who can be kind and supportive. You can only be kind however if you have
    back up protection so don’t baulk at getting help.

    Kim

  46. kimcooper said

    Hi Nadine,

    Hang in there but please get onto this quickly. There is someone who is feeding his ego and you need to figure
    out who it is and try and talk to them. Who came on the scene when this behaviour started? Think about it you have had
    three good months, this is not coming from inside but outside! You need to fix the fence and get this person
    either out of your lives or set straight. I remember our last set back like it was yesterday even though it was years ago
    I was so devastated. Steve invited a single woman who lives near us into our house (who we normal avoid) and she was
    half drunk and flirting with him in front of our kids in my kitchen. I was furious! She even touched his hair in front of us.
    This was just one part of all the old bad stuff back and we had a big fight. I went to see my local family support centre
    and Judy there gave me the same advice I am giving you. I thought about it and it was not the woman he had invited
    in. He could have done that any time and even though she is a flirt, Steve didn’t really like her (just the adoration!).

    I thought about it and realised Steve had a new careers coucillour and bingo I had it. He had mentioned her a few times.
    You see he couldn’t bring himself to tell her that he was not ready to get any kind of job but was just sorting
    the mess out that he had made of his finances and helping me with my business. He needed an excuse to save his
    pride and of course me being his standard excuse he just fell right back into blaming me. He told her that I would not let him get
    training and that I was controlling and would only let him work for me! I found all of this out when I went and saw her.
    At first she was really cold with me but I think she got a surprise when I asked her couldn’t she offer Steve any appropriate
    training? She said “What would you consider appropriate?” In a really nasty tone of voice with her arms crossed. I said “Well
    anything that is not night work since he has kids and also something that is not around alcohol because of his past record
    for DV.” She softened then because she saw that what I was saying was sensible and reasonable and I wasn’t the
    b—-h Steve had pretended I was. After we talked for awhile she also saw that a lot of what Steve had told her wasn’t true.

    I was so scared to tell him that I had gone and seen her – I thought he would be so angry, but it was the opposite he was
    so thankful and hugged me. It was like he was really glad that I had saved him from his own lies and also he was glad to see
    that I was smart and strong enough to protect myself now and that I wasn’t going to let him get off the rails again.
    After that it was a bit funny actually because Steve had actually told this woman that he was NPD but she hadn’t believed him in the
    past but the next time he went to see her she said, OK now I see that you are NPD. She was then very supportive of him
    just doing what he was able to and working on his parenting skills and getting his books sorted out without her pushing
    him to get a job.

    Steve and I might talk about this story on our show this week, I hope it helps and that you get through this.

    Kim

  47. betty said

    Hi Kim,
    thank you for the response
    I am ordering the book tonite!
    Here is the deal though- he acts similar to someone with BPD- he yells & throws things & says that I am abusing him. His cycles have been 1- 3 days. Sometimes 3 times a day he will have a tantrum. He builds up past issues & dominates the conversation so I can never explain. When I try to even when he is calm, he says I am lying to him & manipulating him. My heart aches because despite all my fault, I am a loving,patient person who has always been there for him & all he can say is that I never respect him, abuse & punish him, dont care about his needs, and that he will never trust anything I say. Even with the small things like when I ask him to believe me that I am supportive of the new extreme sports he takes on. He snaps & will never listen to me.
    Aside from being totally lonely with him, do you really believes that I am the monster he tells me I am??
    Is this normal for NPD or do you think he has something else???

  48. kimcooper said

    Hi Betty,

    Our material will help you whatever his problem because it focuses on you
    not getting drawn into his ‘tantrums’. You will need to really do some
    work on the personal bill of rights exercise in “the Love Safety Net Workbook”
    too. I would also highly recommend you watch a few episodes of “the Super
    nanny!” I know that you cannot put him in the naughty chair LOL” but you can
    still apply the same zero tolerance for tantrums policy by using the Personal
    Bill of Rights exercise and also by refusing to engage (without rejecting him).

    I know it is going to take some really strength on your part, but it will be good
    for you too.

    Hang in there!

    Kim

  49. betty said

    forgot to add- when i try the zero abuse policy, in an assertive yet loving way, he does not think he is raging. So the trivial topics that he wants to rage about continue to come up daily. yet he never feels resolve. when i apologize for hurting his feelings, he says i am not sincere & will never forgive me, when I try to set healthier boundaries, the abuse gets worse either then and or throughout the week.

    as for respect, he seems to treat strangers & friends great. he always controls his temper. there is one friend who he respects but that guy has told me to be careful with him because he has a habit of bullying his women. He says he loves & respects his mom although he raged on her after brain surgery because she asked him not to open the window & he thought it disrespectful. he husband has raged on her so talking with her, she has told me that i am bad for him. i push his buttons & this might lead to physical violence. this being my fault..

  50. betty said

    Hi Kim,
    just bought & read the love safety net workbook. Have watched many episodes of supper nanny. i agree with her & have tried to put her teachings into action to set better boundaries & stay unattached to rage & drama. this has lead to me walking out or asking him to leave almost every time.

    you suggested to threaten to or call the cops if he uses intimidating methods. almost every day, he will yell, throw things, corner me & bully me where i cannot finish 1 sentence. even when i do not engage, this will happen.
    what do you suggest??

    i actually have done the bill of rights with my counselor 1 year ago & try to respect it but if i have the right to be treated with respect, have the right to finish a sentence & have my own point of view, i dont understand what i am doing wrong because although i have the right for the above, none of these gets met.
    what do you suggest??

    your website is kind of my last hope. i love & understand your skill & communications with everyone. I would really like to stay with him & work on myself, thus bettering the relationship.
    after reading the book & knowing that I have put many of your ideas into action, i must be doing something wrong.

    1-3 times a day he rages & blames. I 99% of the time do as you suggest in the book. I am not passive aggressive anymore. i have shown him that i will not leave him, i offer forgiveness without needing apologies, i am very independent & try positive actions when i feel negative & insecure with him. he just wont stop blaming & yelling at me for everything.
    what would you suggest??
    thank you for your time & expert advice!!

  51. Jennie said

    Hi Betty,

    Have you spoken with the police yet? Kim suggests that you make contact with the police before you need them. His behavior of throwing things and cornering you sounds very intimidating.

    My husband did this sort of thing on occasion. I spoke with a friend of his who is a gentle, caring, married man, about the problem behavior. I made clear I was doing this out of concern for my husband and for the good of our marriage. I told him I didn’t know how to handle my husband when he did these things. He gave me a few suggestions and also said I should feel free to call him should the need arise.

    The next time my husband started doing these things, I told him I felt intimidated, that I had spoken with his friend, etc. He was initially angry that I had done that. I placed a call to the friend, who then phoned my husband and they spoke for a bit. My husband has not engaged in that behavior again in 9 months, so I think it was effective.

    I’m glad you got the workbook. Remember that it is a 4-legged stool. Limiting abuse and handling your feelings effectively is really important, but you have to build attachment and do the gap work too.

    Good Luck.

    Jennie

  52. David said

    It appears that I must be the only one living with a NPD WIFE! Yet I know that is not the case. My story threads through many of the ones I have read in this blog. My wife:
    grew up being beaten by her dad
    criticized by her mother
    called names by her siblings
    was expected to be the best at everything she did
    played piano AND organ for seven church services starting in the seventh grade
    is very bragosio
    and so it goes…

    Yes, she has angry outbursts and takes them out on me and sometimes our children. Yes she would physically beat on me (I would simply defend myself and remove myself from the situation). She can not take criticism. She is the best in everything she does. No one can please her. She has no regard for anyone’s feelings, thoughts, ideas, hurts, etc. I am the root cause of ALL her problems.

    I used to get “beat-up” by her early on in our marriage until one night during an outburst SHE called the police. Instead of taking me, they brought her to jail because of the marks on my arms. That has pretty much stopped her from engaging in that behavour. Yet she now has a disdain for police and as usual blames it on me.

    Recently I lost my job and now she believes that I need to collect disability, since I seem to not be able to keep a job. I work in an industry that is seasonal and in economic times like now it is usually the first cuts made by any business, customer or contractor. So, yes I have worked for several companies, but the “inability” to keep a job was not due to anything I did. Some I left to take another, more responsible position.

    I began researching this subject to find a solution to resolve my living situation. I have yet to come across any website that provides one. I found this site and have hope now.

    I am hoping to get a job soon so that I can purchase your books. Right now I am unemployed, in a bad financial situation, my wife pays all bills and handles all money transactions – I can not be trusted – and would blow up if she found me spending money on this topic. I once bought a book on borderline personality disorder and she threw a fit and demanded that I remove it from the house!! I simply read it when she was not around.

    I am not looking for charity so keep sending your emails with tid-bits of information that I can use to improve my life.

    Thank you!!

    DC

  53. betty said

    Hi Jennie
    thanks for the response- i am friends with 5 cops in town. one read me the police report from his last girlfriend who hit him because he made her so mad for months that she broke down during one of his bullying fights. he has told me that if i continue to bully him (talking & expressing my feelings or views & wanting to respond to him although he never asks me questions, just goes off on me, then i will drive him to do something physical. he has threatened me in this off handed way which is also blaming me & justifying what he ‘might do’ if i keep this up. he says his folks dont like me & believe i will push him to the point of doing something dangerous. so they have given him the justification to do something worthy of calling the cops since they all say that it is my fault for pushing him- by merely wanting to talk with him during his tantrums. so using reverse psychology on me, he has already blamed me for his lack of emotional control. so how can this ever change..

  54. Caroline said

    Dear Kim and Steve,

    I hope you have gotten some rest and are feeling well.Also, I want to thank you for everything you put into helping others while also showing by example that you keep each other and your family first.
    I am sitting here right now in a bit of despair, mad at myself and not really having much hope and perhaps the lack of hope is the correct view in this instance.
    You may have read my previous post on the discussion pages.
    I was divorced in January from a man that shows much of the behaviours you talk about. WE were married for 11 years much of it unhappy.I bought back from the looking glass but we were separated and I went away because it would be too painful to be across the street from him.
    I have been back for a month and I live across te street.we are now civil. He had kissed me and wanted me to stay overnight with him and I did not because I want us to bond on other levels before we get physical. So I have been the one to initiate contact and he is receptive but not proactive. (Well that’s not entirely true. He stopped by with a gift that was a very helpful tool for my music and with money for groceries.) i cooked him dinner for his birthday or I just walk down the street to his house and talk while he waters the garden. Always saying his name in greeting showing I am happy to see him.
    Yesterday, he said it was incorrect to have kissed me and that we are who we are and we just do not mix.I said I have made mistakes but am working on making changes in myself. Beside that he said I wouldn’t even be around if I didn’t live right up the street.
    It hurt me but I didn’t show emotion. I asked him to be more specific about why it was incorrect but he couldnt. I didn’t try to convince or plead or anything like that-just said have a good day and left to get ready for work. I stopped by on my way to work and said I love him and I am not going anywhere.
    the reason I am so mad at myself is that I went and gambled bill money. that is the addiction I developed to escape from the pain of the marriage. (I wish I had gotten your info sooner.)So I thought Kim might have some words of wisdom regarding my backsliding. Obviously I have to be further along in my emotional development to lead the way for him and to be strong enough. Overall, I have been doing well in setting goals. (small ones) and working towards them.
    I want to respect his boundaries because he is trying to communicate. He also said I am trying to repair what might be irreparable. I asked him if he believed it was irreparable and he said he didn’t know. That was last week and he sounds like he has no hope or desire for that now.
    When things got bad in our marriage I started traveling for work thinking he would miss me. He only got mean and it made me want to leave more because I didn’t know how to limit the abuse.

    I realize I am rambling. I guess I am trying to just give you enough info.
    I am working on the bill of rights which isn’t really applicable with him since we are not together. I have spoken to my priest to see if he would help if my ex got abusive. He said I could call on him and he would. but that also seems to be putting the cart before the horse right now. most people would say forget him it’s dead, move on but I guess I am still in denial. I am taking to a counselor who has been helpful. I guess I am just looking for some hope.

  55. betty said

    question for steve
    well it looks like it’s too late. as i have been practicing from the workbook he left me.
    he couldnt even communicate with me about it, just had a tantrum,& didnt hear from him for 2days. when i went over to see if everything was okay he started raging that i disrespect him, am ruining his happiness & that he can do way better than me. then he kicked me out. dont expect to hear from him anymore.
    this tore me up. do you guys really look at us as not good enough & ones who ruin your good life?
    id this a common way to get out of a relationship because you want to date someone else?
    any response will be great here- thanks!

  56. Libby said

    Hi Kim and Steve and thank you for your wonderful websites and products. I found you in January after the worst Xmas I have ever had with my NPD partner. Unfortunately his worst behaviour comes out around his family and particularly his daughter who hes sees almost as an extension of himself. She is also extremely difficult. He seems to want to keep us apart and there is always a major drama created if the three of us are together. His entire life is a ‘house of cards’ as you describe and he even tries to come in between me and my friends and because of my lack of confidence and that I dont speak his native language he can do so right in front of me…which leaves me feeling left out, stupid and isolated.

    I have put a lot of the ideas in the workbook into practice and it worked so well initially but I have to say I find remaining loving toward my partner very difficult because of his sex addiction (affairs, fantasies, pornography) and I feel so lonely and unnapreciated. When he comes home after a few days ‘at work’ he just drinks and talks about himself or says nothing at all. I tried to limit his talk about himself and it did help but he doesnt have any hobbies or friends or any other interests at all. He is happiest when running others down but I asked him not to do that either.

    We no longer have sex as I dont sleep in the same room as the neglect hurts me too much. I found sleeping in another room worked well for a while because (after I suggested it) he came down in the morning to talk and we really started to feel attached. As soon as I went back to sleeping in the same bed he began to neglect the relationship again. He uses viagara because of his drinking and it makes sex very mechanical and not at all loving (from my perspective). He did throw them away after I convinced him he really didnt need them but I know he ordered more which he keeps in secret for when he is away.

    The other problem is that my partner is an alcholic. He is currently in rehab for that and sex addiction but refuses the NPD (although he accepted it before and joined your website). I am codependent and trying to rebuild my self esteem and confidence while he is away as we have no contact while he is in there. I want to go back to work full time but I couldnt cope with him and my work as well…he takes every ounce of energy as he is so emotionally demanding all the time.

    Recently I disclosed these problems to his brother (these are the only people in his life: me, his brother and his daughter)and they live in other countries. The only other people are colleagues which he has made me swear not to ever tell about his problems. I have contacted the police because whenever my children come to visit he becomes enraged and very seperate. The police here said they couldnt help unless he did something which he mainly just shouts and calls me names and blames me for his continued addictions so no help there. He would never forgive me if I did and anyway he kicks me out of the house in a moments notice if I ever stand up to him and since its in his name I am very vulnerable as I have no where else to go.

    I am completely isolated as I can only work part time and currently on holidays and no work for 6 weeks. This is because he tells me that we will have to move countries when he gets the ‘big deal’ for tax reasons so I cannot take a permanent job. I gave up my career and flat to move in with him.He said he would support me and marry me (but then said we could only marry if I didnt tell anyone including my mother so I had to say no). I have made friends in this new city after a long time but he sees them as potential conquests and just dominates the conversation and flirts with them. They all want me to leave him.

    He travels overseas about once a week and refuses to maintain anything but one word txts and even says then I am too demanding. I tried to go on holiday without him but he called me constantly demanding to know who I was with (I was with no-one as I have some agoraphobia which has come up again in the last year or so). We travel a lot together but I usually have to remain in the hotel while he is out on business dinners etc which he always used to take me to but not anymore. He does insist that I do not go out on my own.

    I have recently been longing for some company and I know it is my responsibility to organise that. I have purchased an online study programme. I have saved as much money as I can from what he gives me. But I feel tremendous guilt in seeing or even speaking to other people (including writing to you) as he says it is a betrayal.

    I listen to codependence, anxiety, NPD, Gaia, on my computer to help me grow in confidence. I am trying to go back to the gym but he has been running down my body lately even though I know I have a great figure and have never had these comments in my life.

    I love him very much. He is such a vulnerable person inside. My friends say he will never find anyone like me again but it doesnt ring true to me…actually I dont think he wants someone genuine…he seems to prefer one night stands and ‘porn girls’. But maybe the rehab will help with this.

    He manipulates me with money, neglect, insults, but I cant speak to anyone who can influence him other than his brother and he ends up being manipulated into accepting his bad behaviour or explaining it away and attacking me too.

    Ive wanted to write to you for ages. Im very scared of what he will say or do if he knows so its not my real name.

    Thanks for any comments or words of advice. Ive just re-read this and realise how pathetic I sound. Actually I appear to everyone as super confident fun and intelligent but my reality is very different.

  57. sharon said

    NPD has absolutley flawed me. Everytime I think I have a handle on my partners (or if you listen to him we would be ex partners) lies and manipulations he surprises me once again. He says we are finished but his actions are like he doesnt want to break up being nice working in around the house, having really good conversations etc. But this is only until I talk too much about our marriage or about apology or pinning him down to agree not to see other people while we go to couples councelling. Yes he agreed to go to couples councelling, then a few hours later reverted back to not wanting to be involved. I keep telling him speaking the truth about everthing free’s you. But he continues to lie about things that are not important and uses his families names in the lies. So last night he was reaing a text and I asked who it was from his answer was a family memeber so asked to read it, shock and surprise he gave me his phone. The text was not from his family but about a house he is buying. I confronted him about the reason for lying and his usual comment was/is I dont want to hurt you. What a joke when lying and then me finding out the truth is a double hurt and he cant get a grip of it. I then took the phone locked myself in the bathroom and read a couple of his text to his other women. He tells her he loves and misses her. Well then I rang her myself and told her as much as I could to warn her about him. I asked if she would meet me so I can explain better. I also told her that he will tell her that I am nuts. Actually I am positive that he tells her that I have problems and that is why he doesnt love me anymore. Well hopefully he gets this house and moves out. Though this morning he said might stay. Also he said that it will be a good thing us having a break and if I play my cards right he might let me come and visit him. Ha what a joke I said back its the other way around buddy. I will see how you behave and maybe I will contemplate if I will allow you anywhere near me. I know when he moves out I will cry and have told him that. But so what I am allowed to cry when I like and I hope it makes him feel uncomfortable. Then I will be able to start to get on with my life. If his new woman wont take on board what I tell her and to be carful to bad she will have to learn on her own. I just feel sad for my partner as he cannot heal his soul and become a real man instead of a lying manipulating scum. I feel it is too much of a challenge for him.
    Thanks for giving me this opportunity to vent as it is hard telling other people about how much I love him as they all think Im nuts just like he tells peoople that I am.

  58. Penny said

    Well, I took the big plunge after many many months of planning, praying and stomach issues, with God’s grace I left my NPD. I dropped him off at work and went back to our “room” in a house that we shared with his MOTHER. I had been asking for several months – no let’s make that 1.5 years when and how are we going to move. We are all aware of the verbal tactics that the NPD makes. I saw him for the first time in a week. I attempted to have a conversation with him that was just more of the same, useless and consistentlyu in circles. He never answers a question directly, just answers with another one..I felt as though I was trying to fix things again. It is incredible at how arrogantly prideful he is. This is why I left, so that I don’t have to live with his demeaning beavior. Now, to be strong and not fall for another guy like this.

  59. Penny said

    I took the big step and left my NPD. Words cannot describe how free it feels to walk into my new place and take my shoes off.

    My NPD and I have been together for 3.5 years and it has been horrible. I planned my move 8 months in advance so that I could be really prepared. I knew what his reaction was going to be, so I did not want to tell him until the last minute. I did finally mention my move to him and he proceeded to act like a 10 year old. Going to our friends to blast me for “leaving” him and how I was going to want him back. He is so smug and arrogant, I just want to smack his face so bad. It is incredible how he turned the whole move (we lived with his mother) as though I did something wrong to him. I can’t believe that I have to ask a grown man could we stop living at his mom’s house. I dropped him off at work, packed up and moved the same day.
    I saw him last night for the first time since the move and he just did the usual NPD Q&A. I ask a question, he responds with a question. Just a major game. So done with him right now. I am wounded by NPD’s to the fact that I don’t even want to think about being involved.

  60. Jeanne Fernsler said

    I would like to read the poem “song of a male narcissist” I believe Steve wrote it. Could you please send it to me? I’ve gone through some very difficult times in the past several months. My ex is now getting married. Funny, in the 20 years we were together we never got married. He said I was after his money. He doesn’t have any money. I paid for everything. Anyway we never got married and now I see his hold on me was financial and he held the marriage over my head. But I have a very good therapist and am working on getting better at not being a co-dependent. Thanks, Jeanne

  61. Tracy said

    Hi all,

    I am still working with my partner. I am trying hard every day, every moment to remember the four legged stool. I am finding the area of gap finding with him challenging. Currently, I am challenging him to be more affectionate, giving. As we’re constantly (in his mind, and I guess mine too) breaking up and making up, his showing of affection is seen by him as ‘making promises’ that I’ll ‘persecute’ him for later, when he decides to break up again. As in “why were you being affectionate/having sex/etc when you knew you were going to break up?”

    We have been through so much in the last 2 of our 4 years together. I have made so many terrible terrible mistakes. And I still ocassionally do. I am prone to ‘snapping’ and being crazy back when he starts the cycle of breaking up. Right now, I’m doing my best to concentrate on myself and handling that, but guys, it’s so hard sometimes in the face of this behaviour. To be blindsided and faced with life-changing decisions (do I need to leave my job as he’s my boss) every few weeks is so tiring. I’m exhausted all the time, despite trying to eat healthily, get the right amount of sleep.

    How can I get him to be affectionate with me? How can I help him trust me again after all the crazy things I’ve done? How can I trust him after all of this? How can I stop myself from being sad when I think of this and letting it affect my behaviour in present.

    Though I’m moaning, I really surprised myself last night be creating a really fun, relaxed environment when he came home last night (we’re not living together, I was staying over – my request). We had a lovely time but again – no sex, even though I tried. I feel lonely and sad when I’m not in the moment trying to create something great. Even in the midst of insane work deadlines and too much to do!

    Please someone help with any suggestions. I’m at the stage where I’m ready throw away everything I’ve built, everything I’ve done simply through exhaustion. I am known by everyone who knows me as the strongest person they’re acquainted with. So, please, if anyone has any thoughts or time, I’d really appreciate your company and support.

  62. Allison said

    Hi Tracy,

    I can sympathize with you about what you’re going through. I have decided this process of “self-discovery” only about a month or so ago. I have been married to a N for 8 years now. It wasn’t until very recently that the lightbulb finally went off in my head.

    This work IS COMPLETELY exhausting!!! I mean think about it. You’re trying to figure out your own personal issues, you’re trying to figure out how to manage yourself in a way that supports healthy behavior in your N, you’re trying to live a life, work, balance it all and learn a totally new way of thinking. Of course we’re exhausted!

    It’s really hard for me to remember the 4 legged stool. This is advise I wanted to ask Kim about. I mean how do you give affection and build attachment when you find out that your N has engaged in completely hurtful and inappropriate behavior? This is where I keep getting caught up… I have a good handle on snipping and letting go of my anger to get to a better more productive place, but then I have to look at him, support him and love him when I am hurt angry and honestly disgusted. That is HARD for me.

    But… like you said you are a strong person! I can relate. I tell myself that this is my situation in life because I can handle it. I truly believe that “god” does not hand us any situation that we could not handle. It soesn’t mean it is easy. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt. But we are stronger than we have given ourselves credit for. You are going through a life changing experience. Keep on pushing through. It’s ok to take a “day off” from the constant emotional and mental experience and just be. I believe that anyway. To just recharge and remember that you are going through this journey to learn something very valuable to you in your life. Take a day if you can or a few hours to let go of the junk, let go of the emotional ties that bind you to the process. Let go and try to relax. Do you meditate? That is a great way to recharge.

    Also, I ordered a book recommended by Kim called “Disarming the Narcissist” and it is a great tool at helping me focus on me. Stuff I needed to work on all my life. It really challenges you to think about your internal stuff that has kept you here stuck in this place for so long. It is quite liberating to acknowledge that you can let go of crap and junk that has no relevance to who you want to be now. Try that book it’s great!

    I know exactly what you mean with the exhaustion. Again, think about what we’re trying to do here – it makes perfect sense that we would be so drained! Especially at the rate we’re trying to do it all. I don’t know about you but as soon as I got Kim’s guide I was on a mission!!! It’s like I couldn’t rest. Not with all this newfound information that I desperately wanted to apply to my life. I mean it was 24/7 reading, thinking, reflecting, journaling, studying, observing… It’s a process that I was so excited about I tired myself out pretty quick. And now I’ve come so far in such a short period of time but I’m tired! And doing so many things at the same time is REALLY hard! So maybe remembering it’s a process and not an overnight fix can help keep us balanced and centered and in the moment. I want to live in the moment, the here and now.

    Hope you can find support in this :)

    Try to unplug if you can and maybe that will help you recharge your batteries.

    Good Luck!

  63. Tracy said

    Just to add, Kim and Steve and their advice have been the best thing I’ve ever stumbled on in my life. A million times better than therapy. Though my post above chronicles my woes, believe me, things are a million times better than they were before with my N partner – in my own head and in my interactions with him.

    But this sort of process takes time, so please don’t take my moaning as anything but. I’m looking for ideas and people to converse with others who know this programme or follow this philosophy. There are real truths here and real results for the better – for the INDIVIDUAL as well as the relationship, ANY relationship in fact – not just those involving narcisissm.

  64. Trisha said

    I am so new to this also. I have tben trying some of the methods and they do work but then some don’t, like when I don’t want to have him raging at me, I still don’t know how to get away from him. I do feel better about myself though but wish I see him for waht he really is and not what I want him to be. I feel that is the main problem for all of us. We want what we want and don’t know when to give up. There must be other men out there that don’t need all this attention and draining energy to get along.

  65. Tracy said

    Thank you for the kind words of support Allison!

    You are very right, I too go full steam ahead with this process as I could see immediate results and others which will take longer and require much more focus on MYSELF. This self-improvement is what will eventually lead to substantial and sustainable results. It is when I forget the elements of taking care of developing myself that things begin to sour.

    Trisha, I am sorry you are so fed up. Please know that the process takes as long as it takes. Please know that we attract these individuals into our lives to unveil the parts of ourselves that need healing. I am not recommending that someone stay with someone whom they don’t want to. I can, however, honestly tell you that the step by step instructions Kim and Steve give on limiting abuse NEED to be followed to the letter.

    Go to the police station during the day and speak to a Domestic Violence officer, start a file, find out from your local government any resources available for those suffering DV. Make a support network. Y

  66. Tracy said

    Sorry, posted above before completing!

    The support network you build will be vital THE VERY NEXT TIME your partner rages. If you approach these people in the way Kim describes in her literature (being ‘professional’, un-emotional, logical and showing utmost concern for your partner’s well being and YOUR well being) you will be surprised to find that emotional abuse is a crime that is just as damaging as physical abuse. If you don’t find these people the first time,keep networking and find them. We have a free phone helpline here in the UK, and I remember the first time I rang. I shook like a leaf when someone on the other end of the phone confirmed that what I was experiencing was in fact abuse and that I was justified in taking action against it. I felt an immense lifting of a weight and an excitement about being somewhat supported, even via telephone.

    You say you cannot escape your partner’s rages. The next time he does, if you follow the steps, you will be able to either calmly walk away and tell him you’ll speak when he calms down, OR you’ll be able to pick up a phone and show him that what he is doing is wrong and not sanctioned by our society or community. As Kim says, it only takes a few times to make the point.

    The first time I did this, my partner immediately calmed and went quiet while I spoke in low tones to the officer who had my case number. He knew that I was no longer going to tolerate this behaviour. Unfortunatly, his first response on hanging up the phone was to physically pick me up and put me outside his home (and push me as he set me down – not hard, but enough to make the point). As I wasn’t expecting this amount of rage, I reacted and we argued and the point was somewhat diluted. I should have simply turned to him and said “I’ll speak to you when you calm down” and walked home. (it was very late and I’d had a few cocktails, so my thinking wasn’t as clear as it could have been). Next time, I’ll phone the police.

    Don’t be afraid if he says “I can’t have a relationship that involves police calls and police reports”. Just say, with a genuine (NOT MEAN, SMIRKY) smile while “Well, we won’t have to do that again if there isn’t anything to warrant it”. He won’t like it at all, and may chew over it and push you away for a while. But in his heart, he will know that he’s backed himself into a corner and won’t have the smarts or the stamina to fight forever.

    BUT YOU HAVE TO BE STRONG AND CLEAR! And forgive yourself if you don’t get it right all the time and backslide yourself. However, the more consistent you can be in your approach, the more trust you build. Remember, whatever this leads you to in your life, you will walk away a stronger person with better boundaries.

    Stop protecting him from the consequences of raging. Stop protecting him over your sanity and your peace of mind. Start acting.

    Good luck! We’re all with you!

  67. sharon said

    Well here I go again on the npd roundabout. Last post my patner was not going to couples councelling and for the whole week it was off then on then off again. We ended up going and much to my distress he said that he just wanted it for closure but couples break up and get back together all the time. He then could not take any more of me saying he should stop bringing up my past that he had nothing to do with like when I was 17 or 18 I didnt even know him and he was just justifying his present behavior, so he walked out of the councelling session. On the way home he spoke about the session which the councellor said I should not but he brought it up. I ended up in tears (whats new) I then got changed and he asked where I was going and I replied I could not go anywhere in my state and I was going to hacksaw ( fixing and old bbq) He then knocked me over with a feather and said he wanted to reconcile???? I think he has hit rock bottom as he said he wanted me to show him what I have been learning as Im a smarty pants. Well we will see how he goes. Though he could change his mind again as he doesnt like any rules. Like stop texting that woman or any woman start building trust stop lying and decieving only time will tell and I will pray that he is given the strength to achieve these challenges.

  68. Trisha said

    Thank you so much Tracy, I will continue to follow the steps. Right now we are in the good period but I know what will be coming. I was wondering if anyone has problems with children coming a problem? He as two daughters from a previous marriage that he sees every Sunday. They now do not want to come over to my house for Sunday visits. Their reason is that my daughter had said something at school and they cannot forgive her and thus do not want to come over. This has caused much conflict. He is taking the attitude fine, he invites them over and if they choose not to come fine, he still comes over to my house and thus does not visit them. His mother has now gotten involved, (he lives with her) and has taken over his visitation. She picks them up and takes them home even when he isn’t around and at my home. It is like he is letting someone else do his work for him. I don’t know how to react, I haven’t said anything because to be honest when they were coming over they had such attitudes that a person never knew when it was going to be a good day or a bad one. I feel that they don’t want to bother with us and don’t respect us as a couple and I don’t blame them, but should anything be said and by whome?

    Trisha

  69. Becky said

    I have to thank Kim and Steve also.While I don’t know if the program will work,I amd just at the beginning of putting it into practice, I do know that I have regained my self respect.
    My biggest issue is getting over the horrible things he has done and is still doing.(I managed to put a lot of them behind me).
    I can’t seem to get over the pain and anger of him telling all sorts of people that I am crazy, insane, paranoid, mentally ill, hormonal, having a breakdown etc.(This is continuing) Then he encourage them – total strangers- to contribute their own nastiness about me.( they analyze me and decide I am feeling old, incapable, paranoid, and I’m a nobody and therefore jealous of him.(He doesn’t know I have copies of all the nasty e-mails)
    So a couple of these “friends” of his went way to far, and I told them (via e-mail) to stop or I would investigate a suit for defamation. When he found out he said “How dare I say this to them?”
    Obviously my response was how darte they do this to me, and how dare he let them and even encourage them.

    But darn it hurts like heck.

    How do I get past that hurt? And put the greet him warmly plan into effect?

  70. Becky said

    Oh, there is another wrinkle that is difficult- my N gets almost all of his N supply over the internet- talking to all these “friends” (lots of women)via e-mail and Facebook. Generally I don’t even have access to his computer as it is pass word protected.
    How is it that I get these people- who disrespect me so badly – how do I get them out of our lives (house) as Kim advises?

  71. Allison said

    Hi Becky,
    I too share your concern about getting the supply from the internet and social networking sites. I recenly found my husband’s name connected to a whole bunch of sites I’d never even heard of. He has actually blocked me off his facebook (and all my friends) so I can be kept in the dark… I too wonder the same thing about getting that out of our lives because my husband has just started a business and uses these sites as tools for networking and promoting the business as WELL as padding his ego in the process of reconnecting with as many people from his past as possible. It’s like he’s on a mission. I’d love feedback to that question too if anyone has it?????????

  72. Becky said

    I’m glad that someone else has the same problem, although I am sure it is not at all unique in this day and age. The internet was made for an N and opens a whole new world of N Supply.

    Fortunately my husband did not block me from FB- so for one woman that I knew he was coresponding with privately (and she was putting me down in private e-mails)- I just sent her a very nice comment asking how she was doing when she posted on his FB site.

    She had a hissy fit about me responding to her comment and deleted him as her friend.
    Whoa, I sure felt that was a triumph.I’m still laughing over it.(poor delusional whiny woman)

    He jumped all over me of course. But really I had been perfectly polite- so what could anyone say?
    One small step for man etc etc:>)

    The others are more difficult, because I don’t have an easy(safe) go at them.

    One(a total stranger to me) said a lot of vile things about me to him so I sent her an e-mail threatening a defamation lawsuit if she didn’t stop. I’m not sure it did stop her, but it sure made her think:>)( especially since she sent the vile e-mails about me on her work computer.)

    Oh, we all know that when he finds out- he will be furious. Oh well, what can he do? I was very very careful not to defame him.

    I hope it’s a pretty hard slap on the wrist for his bad behavior (all thewhile I am smiling benignly)- at least that is the theory.

    Let me know if you come up with another avenue- since you apparently don’t have as much access as I managed ( at least until he figures it out)

    Kim and Steve- please get spell check on this blog, I’m a horrible typist.

  73. Natalia said

    help!my bf of 7 years must be a N, but the last 2 years its getting worse.he is acting so weird!he breaks up with me, the next day he comes back saying he cant do without me!he is always criticizing me (my looks,my clothes,my behavior)but if you do that to him he gets defensive or insulted.he gets mad for minor things, next he says i am sorry.he tells me to be more assertive and tell him what i want or like, but when I do he calls me selfish or its my way or the high way or that i am nagging.he wont call me for days and if i complain the answer is I called you to talk to you and you are nagging.I call him and he says I call him too often, I dont call him and he is complaining why I didnt call him. He tells me to make suggestions on how to have more fun together or new places to go, and when I do, he is either too tired or too bored.I am always trying to please him and he is never satisfied.He has problems at work,I know and I am trying to be supportive, he has issues at home as well, he admitted lately that he is afraid of his father and his bad ways, but I am thinking he is starting to look like his father.I love him and I want to help him but it seems nothing I can do is ever enough.He is acting really selfish most of the time.I dont know what to do anymore.I am a very caring person, my friends all tell me to leave him because he is taking advantage of me and I too good for him, but I cant because I have seen good things in him,(he is caring, thoughtfull, compasionate, but to everybody else except me).His friends and co workers always tell of what a great guy he is and I cant understand he acts indiferrent to me?I had my share of mistakes in this relationship, chasing him when he needed space and all that, but I just wanted him to be nice to me and I needed answers about his behavior.I feel our time is running out.From what I read in your posts, I think he kinda keeps a distance from me because he doesnt trust and respect me as a strong willed person, he sees my good natured character as a weakness, maybe my sensitivities and insecurities remind him of his insecurities and he hates that.I don t know.I was always a very good nature person,calm and serious, I cant change who I am, why cant he accept that, and if he didnt like it why would he stay with me for so many years?If I was a weak person I wouldnt be around him for so long, struggling for this relationship to work.Please help!Any suggestions?sorry for the ranting I am going crazy here!

  74. Natalia said

    Kim and Steve,
    I wish you all the best and I am sorry for the long post.You are my last hope.I forgot to mention, we are not living together, each one of us live with our parents, we’been talking about moving together for the last couple of years but always something comes up, I think our biggest problem is that he doesnt trust me enough and I am always afraid of his ever changing moods and bad temper.he doesnt have any close friends I can talk to, and I have no one to help me with this!

  75. Kelli said

    Hi all. I’ve been reading posts for some time now. I have been with my N BF for about 2 1/2 years. I don’t think he’s full blown NPD, but definitely on that track. He pursued me in the beginning because he knew I was going through a hard time in my life and then when he convinced me to move across the country, give up my business and all my friends (money too) he turned into a jerk. All the same stuff you all are saying. I got Kim and Steve’s book and the workbook and have been studying for about 2 months now and it definitely has turned my life around for the better. I’ve changed, so the situation has changed. I got myself back. However, there are still lingering things that he does like internet porn, flirting and sneaking around that I try to handle in an “adult” way, but find it really hard. Like Allison and others I am EXHAUSTED!! I’m trying to take time for myself, but I find myself catering to him sometimes because he’s jealous and doesn’t trust me (even though I’ve never given him any reason not to)so I still find myself explaining who I’m talking to on the phone and I haven’t been on the internet in quite awhile. I’m only on now because I told him to go do something with his daughter. Anyway, I’m having a problem dealing with when I actually catch him red handed doing something that crosses my boundaries. How am I supposed to react? I’ve tried the calm “we’ll discuss it later” approach and he actually likes it because he’s pretty sure I’ll forget about it later. I’m trying to be introspective about this and maybe I’m just being impatient with the process. He has definitely made improvements. I guess my biggest thing that I find myself dealing with is the sex/porn stuff. He witheld sex for a long time (control)because he knew I liked it. I act like I don’t care about it now (not true) and it’s taken the focus off of it, but I’m not sure if that’s the right thing to do either. He still goes on the internet. He’s also very distracted during sex. Any insight would be helpful. Thanks.

  76. Becky said

    Congratulations on at least some progress. It is far more than I have accomplished.

    But I understand how he would like the process of you walking away when he crosses your boundaries. My husband apparently thinks its weakness and then just attacks with more vigor.And since I told him I was not going to divorce him, he too thinks that is weakness and now threatens divorce at every turn thinking it will scare me into silence.That and he is conducting a very vile smear campaign. Oh well, I will deal with that too.

    Remaining calm is difficult.But it sounds like you are doing a bang up job.

    But you know what, thinking about it- is there anything wrong with letting him actually like the new process? I know it galls you- but you will bring the boundary thing up later I’m sure. So why should you deep down really care? Bring the issue up later and follow your program because it sure sounds like you are on the right path.

    Good luck, and thanks for making me think too.

  77. bob said

    do es anyone have any advice for dealing with an N mother and do your books cover this?

  78. CD, Australia said

    Hi Bob,

    I believe you can still use all of Kim & Steve’s material, but because your relationship with your mother is not a romantic one, you will need to modify the wording of many of their resources for your needs. For example in their “Resolving a Fight in Progress” change the words “partner” to “mother”, and “you want a divorce or separate” to “you never want to have anything to do with her again” and pencil in any other wording to suit a mother-son relationship.
    Try this exercise first, print out the 12 points of “Resolving a Fight in Progress” and modify the wording to suit your Mother-Son relationship. I treat these 12 points like they are my 12 commandments not only in my romantic relationship, but also in everyday life. It is important to embrace these 12 points immediately.
    In reaching out for help you obviously love your mother and want a loving healthy relationship with her. Start by breaking down the walls she, and maybe you also, have built up by disarming her (and you) each time you see her, greet her warmly saying her name and with a smile like you are genuinely pleased to see her. If you already do this, give her a warm loving hug as well. This has been one of the most powerful forces in overcoming the difficulties in my relationship. No doubt your mother is hurting and does not trust anyone, and she may not trust this at first, but persist and it will be rewarding.

    Good luck and stay in touch,

    Cheers,
    CD Australia.

  79. Trisha said

    I have a question. What are the 12 points of “Resolving a fight in progress”? I really need these desperately. I am tired of the pattern that I am in with my partner. Even though we are not married I am so tired of what we have and thinking that I don’t need this partnership anymore. I feel it is starting to affect my health. I am willing to try all before saying goodbye. Please send this to me so I can start hopefully to fix things. Thanks Trisha

  80. Hi Trisha,

    The page you are asking about is here,

    http://www.thelovesafetynet.com/The_Emergency_Room.html

    Resolving conflict may take some time, all of the steps in our eBooks will contribute to a reasonable solution, I hope this page helps you.

    Steve.

  81. Hi Becky and Allison, so sorry to take so long to reply.

    I guess the most obvious point to make here is to bring up our favourite topic of attachment.

    If your b/fs are putting more energy into the attachments on the internet than they are into you, you have a serious problem that cannot be ignored. First step, is to build some rapport and trust with him. Show him that you care about him – and more importantly, care about yourself. You will be self-soothing and building your own confidence with the (sometimes) simple steps found in the Love Safety Net workbook.

    Once you have built some trust and rapport with him, you can challenge him to move away from the immature and childish peer attachments that social networking sites provide. He is only putting energy into it because he gets a buzz from the attention, and feels that it is OK. From what you are saying it is not OK with you, right? If you have established a good rapport, you can show, (rather than explain with too many words) your disappointment with his reliance on the internet for attention.
    This is never an easy step, and you may find that if you have taken a step forward, two steps back are just around the corner. Don’t give up too quick, if you fell it is worth it….

    Kim and I have just entered the world of social networking, and it looks like it can be very demanding of one’s time. We are getting involved in social networking on a professional level, but I am not sure how it works on a personal level for couples, especially when there is little trust within the relationship.

    This problem is a moving target for us, as social networking becomes more and more established. We have a few ideas on what steps to take to limit the juvenile behavior that your boys are displaying. Kim has made previous entries that have more specific details. These pieces of advice from Kim require courage and valor, as Kim has displayed in the past.

    I hope you two have some success.

    Steve

  82. Concerned Mom said

    I have a twenty year old daughter that has been diagnosed with mild NPD. I found your site 9 months ago and ordered your books which have been very helpful. I have five children, three who are grown and on their own. We all spend alot of time together as family and are very close. I really am so concerned as why this daughter has NPD and none of the others do. She seems to have gotten it after a head injury, but to tell you the truth she has always been different from my other kids and seemed to have obsessive traits as a child. She is living at home after attending college and is working full time. She is also in a committed relationship with a truly wonderful man. I see her starting to give this poor guy the “treatment” and have given him your website address. He is reading and learning all he can so he does not “feed” her NPD. I am sick at heart and wonder if she will ever be really cured of NPD or will she just learn to control herself. She drives so many people who love her away by her constant demands for perfection. Why are my other kids ok and she has NPD? What the heck happened??? I ask myself this question every day. Do you have many parents asking you the same questions?

  83. Allison said

    How’s it been going Becky?

    I’m having a crazy couple of weeks. As soon as I needed to bring up something I had to discuss with my husband (not to his liking of course) he vanished. We had a great couple of days and then all of the sudden when I brought up a topic (after building attachment) of our financial situation and some decisions we need to make TOGETHER, he went MIA. He had a meeting that night and although we made a plan to discuss the budget, finances, work plans… he didn’t come home till after midnight. No call, no communication letting me know he wasn’t going to make it. Of course that really pissed me off but I did my best not to get angry, I did cry though. I told him it wasn’t ok, I told him he hurt me and it made me angry that he was disrespectful and inconsiderate. He did his best to try and provoke me by telling me didn’t do anything wrong… I walked away. That was a week ago. He has been testing me ever since. He has put me down, he has broken a committment to the children, he has done a number of childish things that are all a part of keeping us apart, pissing me off, and hurting me.

    I felt like a different person 2 weeks ago… what happened? I feel like I can’t win. If this cycle goes on and on and the narcissist doesn’t change – how in god’s name can we work this program? When does it change? I’m weak all over again……

  84. Allison said

    Glad to say I’m having a better day. I realize that not having the time in the day (with the kids at home and the N unavailable for assistance) to myself to read, review the program, journal, self-sooth – I am overwhelmed and emotionally charged. I just sat down to reflect what changed over the past few weeks and “time” is what changed. I had time a few weeks ago. The N was still behaving badly but my response to the bad behavior was definitely quite different. I had time each day to myself to do the work I needed to do. Now that my time is spoken for I have been less patient, more sad & started to become hopeless…

    I am going to do my best to get back on track here and remember that it is a process.

    Allison

  85. Trisha said

    Alsion,
    Boy can I relate. I wonder if the program is just all about not getting mad or reacting. It seems to me but I myself have a hard time doing this. My boyfriend doesn’t trust anything I say. If I tell him I have to take my daughter to an eye appointment, and I do, do that, when I get home and tell him I am home he accused me of not going and that it took too long!!!! I am so frustrated and defensive. Am I doing something wrong when I defend myself or “prove” that indead I was there or just tell him the truth and if he believes something else just let him?? If someone can answer that question I will know how to react. Thank you so much.

  86. Trisha said

    Alsion,

    Glad to hear you are doing better. I better start learning how to self sooth because no one else is doing this for me. Between my 14 year old daughter and my boyfriend it feels like they are a tag team. Do I just ignore the yelling. He even yells about my daughter and how I parent her. He doesn’t parent his own,(divorce) yet feels the need to yell about my daughter. I am already shaky on how to be a parent to a teenager and he is undermining my confidence I had or the little I did have. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  87. Natalia said

    kim and steve,
    I have just bought your ebook, I had just the time to have a quick glance at it, and I would like to ask for a big favor. Could you please give us some advice on how to practice your guide into long term relationships (7 years), but not living together? your books are great but somethings are hard to do if you are not living together and you are not married or have kids, and you dont have access to his things or his whereabouts or his friends.Any advice would be useful.Please help!I am desperate.I feel like I am losing my boyfriend to his N.

  88. Natalia said

    Dear Kim and Steve,
    or he is completely bored of me!(sigh).Any help would do.Thanks

  89. Allison said

    Hi Trisha,
    How are things going? Sorry… it’s so hard to get time, I haven’t been able to respond. I just re read your post about the “proving” where you are. I would consider that you might not even have to get into it with him. If he chooses not to believe you after you’ve given him a logical ezplanation he probably is just trying to provoke you into anger and frustration which might cause you to lose your cool and therfore he can take the blame off of himself and use you as the scapegoat of his anger.

    I’m just getting back on track with this after a terrible week last week! It takes 2 to fight, and most likely he wants a fight. If you keep your cool and remember your magic scissors and try to use the language with yourself like, “I’ve told you where I was, if you choose not to believe me that’s fine, but we don’t need to go back and forth on this issue.” or if he starts yelling at you because you’re not letting him fight you, “I feel afraid when you yell at me that way, I’m going to leave the house (with your daughter if she’s involved) and let you have some time to cool off.”

    It is LARGELY about learning NOT to give in to the tantrums. I know this is hard, especially when you feel that someone is wronging you, or really making your blood boil by saying crazy things which seem just to be said to piss you off. You need to learn how to talk to yourself about how it is NOT you, he has a problem and is trying to use you to take the emphasis off of himself. DO NOT PROTECT him by being his scapegoat.

    This is still very difficult for me. Especially with the stresses of life, (as if that’s not enough). I lost it a week ago and felt lost. I realizes that without time to work “my program” and personal development I began blaming him again and getting really mad at teh way my life is going.

    I was able to regroup with help from my support network and get some time to myself to recharge. You need to remind yourself constantly of how you are in charge of your life, and you can make changes that will make you feel better each day.

    You will not be perfect, you will fall and question whether or not you want to get back up. But you can make your life better (with or without him in it). Now is the time to build strength and courage. If you’ve been in this relationship you already know you have courage and strength! Now you just need to use it for yourself!!!

    Try to walk away from his abusive comments try not to feed into his constant questioning of you and your where abouts. This is a distructive pattern that most likely only leads to your abuse. Try to leave the house. Try to do it while honestly telling him that you care about him but you do not care to participate in the abuse because it in not productive.

    I have already seen my husband behave differently through a couple months of reminding him I will not engage in abusive and intimidating confrontations. I don’t have it down to a science, and he certainly is misbehaving when he feels stifled; but I FEEL BETTER! I FEEL STRONGER! I am aware of a whole new situation. I don’t walk away from the fight feeling hopeless and depressed. I don’t question my sanity or what I did wrong. I don’t cry all day and wonder what I did to deserve this A-hole treating me like trash. When I walk away I feel in charge of my destiny. If he chooses to hurt me afterward because I won’t engage him in the fight (which is where we are now) I know what’s going on. I still feel proud of myself because I know I’m going to be ok. NOT EASY!!! At all. But worth every minute I get stronger and gain my self esteem back!!!!

    Good luck,
    Allison

  90. Trisha said

    Oh Allison,

    I wish I could put you in my pocket and have you coach me on what to say and how to say it!!! Thank you for you wisdom. It is hard not to fight, and he is very driven when he wants to fight. He will say anything to get me going. I will take your words to heart, in fact I will reread your comments to get them in my head. I just hate it when I second guess myself and wonder if I am really the problem. I know I am not but still at the time and after the war I sit back and think and wonder what now. Thank you so much, you have helped me. Trisha.

  91. CD, Australia said

    Awesome Allison!

    Isn’t it the most wonderful feeling – beginning to believe in yourself by forgiving, loving and accepting yourself again? It is so empowering! You bought tears of joy to my eyes! You are clearly demonstrating how much you have learned so far, and how you are letting go of pointless guilt, blame, anger and resentment in the face of adversity by turning your strength, energy and focus towards achieving a healthy outcome for your relationship and your family, all the while realising there may be setbacks (which are really opportunities for us to get centred and back on track again as you have just done!).

    What a great example you are setting for your daughters, they will be witnessing and learning from your growth in strength, courage & hope!

    Over the years I have been collecting, or creating my own, what I call my valuable “Precious Pearls of Wisdom” which help keep me on track, and I would like to share three of them today with you, and anyone else who may find them as valuable and empowering as I have.

    “I am not powerless over myself, and the way I act and react. This is, in itself, a power that can work miracles in changing the attitudes of others.”
    Anonymous

    “What can words do to me unless I take them to heart?”
    Anonymous

    “I lived in an emotional prison with bars made of guilt, anger, resentment, self-pity and bitterness until I realized that my prison unlocked from the inside and I held the key.”
    CD

    Well done, Good Luck & Stay in Touch,

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia

  92. Allison said

    Your quite welcome Trisha!

    I am glad to be able to provide some help and encouragement! God knows I reach out for it desperately when I need a reminder myself! The truth is some days you can feel like you’ve really got a grip on it, and other days (which can be the very next day!) you wonder if you’ll make it through the next battle without completely crumbling and losing yourself all over again… At least in the beginning I suspect.

    Just hang in there, and be good to yourself. Forgive yourself when you make a mistake, and get back up and try again. Love yourself always and try to learn new ways to get what you want and need. When you start to reject his tantrums regularly (although he might behave badly due to his confusion of the different reaction) you will find you get a little piece of you back. A small but very real bit of self respect and strength that you will build on day by day. As you grow to feel more confident that you can use the “magic scissors” regularly you will get an amazing feeling of satisfaction with yourself and pride in your massive accomplishment. Just think of all the years you’ve spent waiting for someone else to make it right… for me it was since my first relationship as a teen!!!! Just the little bit of responsibility I gave myself to take charge and make myself happy has made WORLDS of change.

    I KNOW it’s really really hard, especially when you have someone provoking you and taunting you – it’s the worst temptation and you want the release of screaming out loud to “LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!!!” Trust me, I know, all too well. You are stronger than you know, you can learn in the moment to let it go. EVEN though it seems impossible, you can do it. And you will be so happy that you did!

    I’m sure I’ll need your support at some point and I’m sure you’ll be there to do the same for me and others. We are all here for eachother – Thank god for that!

    Allison

  93. Allison said

    Thank you CD!!! I love being able to come here for support and encouragement. And I love being able to return the favor to others. And I LOVE KIM & STEVE for making this possible for me.

    Thank you for sharing your “precious pearls of wisdom” they are very thoughful, so true, and definately apply to us here!

    It means a lot to me that you have pointed out my effort and benefit it will have for my children. That is the most important thing to me! I really want to be the most positive role model I can – and for a long too many years I simply fell short. I feel very thankful and hopeful that I can turn it all around :)

    THANK YOU!

    Allison

  94. Laura said

    I was just reading my email post from the lady who said she wishes she could put Kim in her pocket.

    I’ve been married to a Narcissist for 23 years now, and I can tell you that I pick my battles with him. He generally tries to set me off about the stupidest things, and then he gets upset if I don’t react in anger, yet when I do blow up, he will say “calm dowwwwn…why do you have to get so angry all the time?” Unfortunately, my children have seen years of this stuff and they tend to join with him in his attacks against me. It is sometimes hard to really like my own daughters because they are so deceived by him against me.

    All I know is, no matter how he hates it, DO NOT REACT to him. Simply remember that his brain is misprogrammed at this time, and, due to “faulty-wiring” he can only behave according to the “chip” that he had inserted years ago. In my case, this means I need to see my husband as a scared, upset little 7-14 year old. Difficult, unfair, but TRUE

  95. Allison said

    Hi all!

    I bought the book “Disarming the Narcissist” by Wendy T. Behary. I have to say it was brilliant for helping me discover some of my own issues and contributions to the dysfunctional relationships that I have had (before I ever met my husband) for my entire adult life….

    This book really started me on my way. And has totally challenged me to recreate my thoughts, ideas, and reactions as related to the here adn NOW!

    Trisha, I suggest you pick it up. It’s not a huge book that’s hard to read. You’ll probably find you don’t want to put it down!

    Just a suggestion :)

    Allison

  96. Trisha said

    Allison,

    Thank you for the suggestion!!! I have already written the title and author down for my next trip to Barnes and Noble. I love to read and this will I am sure add to my information on how to deal with the issues I am facing. I do need to get strong though and not get so dissappointed in the set backs. Right now things are great and I feel myself falling for the nice person even though I know in my heart it will not last but I still have that hope and that is what gets me in trouble every time. I feel like a fool for even thinking it could (the nice part) last. Hopefully I will learn from this book how to not have so many events of the up and downs. Thank you, you give me hope and I don’t feel so all alone. I do have a daughter that seems to be learning from him (bad part) and between them I sometimes feel beaten down. But I am stronger than that I will survive!!!

    I love you for all your comfort and will be there for you also.

    Trisha

  97. Linda said

    Can anyone help me? After a series of failed relationships, and having been on my own for six years, I thought I had met the man of my dreams five and a half years ago. I was then 54 and he was 50. After about 18months I started to realise that things were not right, but couldn’t leave him, even though he would often treat me disrepectfully and I suspected he was seeing other women. My suspicions have now been confirmed that he is a cheat, and in desperation I researched until I discovered Narcissism and Codependency and realised the awful truth that this describes us perfectly. I have tried to leave several times, but always break down. He has now promised me that he wants to change, but I realise that, if I want the relationship to continue (at least for now) I am going to have to implement your programme, and that I cannot expect miracles. I have asked my Doctor to refer me for psychotherapy (I know my man wouldn’t entertain the idea as he is so much smarter than any therapist!) as I realise I need help for my own codependency as much as he does for his narcissism. My biggest problem is that we don’t live together, although we see each other almost every day. This has suited me somewhat, although it has obviously suited him more as he has so much freedom to cheat if he wants to. I have confronted him with his cheating and he has admitted everything and begged me to forgive him. I have told him that I won’t leave him, but obviously won’t tolerate him being unfaithful. My question is, how do I impose consequences if I discover another affair when I have no access to his computer (I know he visits porn sites). Is this advice only for married couples or people who live together? I’m 60 now, and don’t want to start seeking another relationship. He has many good points and we are very close in many ways. Any suggestions?

  98. Trisha said

    To Linda,

    I can relate to a few of your situations, such as the time together, not living together, the age and even the good points. I have even gotten so far as to question my own self and if I am really right or sane. I as of yet I don’t suspect him of cheatiung but you never know. So my words to you are not so much to give you answers but to ask yourself some questions about what you really have. Have you ever looked around at other women and seen the difference in some of them, such as their faces and expressions? I don’t care how old a person is or how they age but some women just have a certain happiness about them and I feel that is due to a happy union. I know of women who are in unions where the husband or boyfriend cheat, others know, they even know!!! But, they still are with them and their posture, facial expression and even how they act with others tell the story of what they live with has done to them. I want for myself to be one of the women who look happy, and content even if that means not having someone because the stress of someone who is like that can be damaging in so many ways and I am sorry it is just not worth it. Also, I feel that it is just not up to one person to care about what is going on in a union. Isn’t it better if both are involved in making it the best it can be, rather than letting one person always shoulder everything, take things and be the better person but still keep taking the junk just to say they are with someone they love?? If children are around that is different, but if like myself it is just the two of you, why not have a union that is good for both? Please write back to me, someone, maybe I am getting fed up and tired of trying.

  99. Allison said

    Steve, can you help with this…

    ANYONE, I could really use some feedback!!!!

    Question… ok, so my husband has struggled over the past year (and then some) with finding the right business opportunity to earn cash. Our financial situation is a massive struggle and our daughter who goes to private school is about to lose the opportunity ot stay there if we don’t figure it out. I have recently began to study online income opportunities to help. He continuously comes up with new ideas (I just counted over 15) without following through on any of them enough to make real progress. He obviously has huge issues of instant gratification. But how do I talk to him about my opposition to the latest idea because I’ve had enough. He doesn’t believe I have a say WHAT SO EVER in how he conducts his business because it’s HIS career and separate of me. I believe he affects our family ever time he wastes time and money and doesn’t follow through.

    HOW can I talk to him sensibly? Is it all all possible… what do I do? Do I just watch him do this until he gets it right? Do I do my best to get myself back into work (I haven’t worked for 5 years) and try to keep us alive? Do I ask someone else to talk to him? I feal that he will go through this ritual until it all comes crashing down and we lose our house, and all the rest of it. Help. I NEED some advise here. He won’t listen to me from the position of a caring and concerned partner. He won’t even listen to some of the other positive forces in his life who have told him to pick a focus and make it happen.

    I’m tired of fighting this. I can NOT win the battle over what is reality and what is not here.

    Please give some advise!!!

  100. Cathy said

    Allison,

    You could have signed with my name because it is identical to my situation. I have been married over 30 years and we have floundered and lived in unbelievable circumstances while I “supported” him with his ideas. Everything you said fit ours, I had no say because it was his business, although boy did he let me do the accounting and tax work and grunt clean up work on his home remodeling projects, and on and on. In the end, he told me that I never supported him in anything that he has done or tried, (Not even when I didn’t balk at the 700,000 of debt he has gotten us into.) The message I want to give you, is that if he is like my man, you can NOT count on him changing. I wanted to stay home with my babies and so I lived in the depths of (I can’t even describe what I lived through) so that I could raise my babies. And that was invaluable, but when the youngest one was old enough I have gone to work and given us the security and grounding that our family needed. He still scoffs my efforts, but at least now I have car insurance and food on the table regularly. I had to provide it because he couldn’t or wouldn’t. You have to decide, but I would NOT bank on him changing.

    Cathy

  101. Laura said

    In my case, my husband was into “get rich quick” schemes, and would spend money on every pamphlet that came through the mail promising riches! Soon we were in debt past our eyeballs and are still digging our way out of the debt!

    He was so convinced that he was the next millionaire-to-be, but all it did was cost time and money and energy. Eventually he went back out to a “real” job, thank GOd for that!

    Now when he gets all excited about some new home-based biz, my feelers come out and I look at him and say “FORGET IT!” (generally, I was the one who was responsible for making these businesses work and when they didn’t, I was also the one to blame for it. no thank you!)

  102. Allison said

    Thanks Cathy & Laura for the feedback! I don’t know how to approach this right now though… what do I say to him to keep us from going down this path. If I fight too hard he lashes out and misbehaves, if I support the ideas he fails anyway (thus feeling worse, I’m sure). I want to do the right thing. I am a stay at home mom and don’t have the basis to earn his “respect” as I’m not bringing in any cash, and realistically can’t (significantly) any time soon anyway…

    How do I address this right now?
    Thanks!!!

  103. Cathy said

    OK Allison, this is something I wish I had known YEARS ago. I have power. I cowed when he went into his violent mode and blame mode and retaliation mode. After I stopped taking it I couldn’t believe my eyes and ears. He backed off. Kim’s methods work great. Don’t put up with it, zero tolerance, be kind but say the dialogue, “I won’t have a conversation with you right now when you are trying to bully me” or whatever version you come up with. Then, stand up for what you feel is right. Go ahead and say no to his ideas, be firm and say we are not doing that. When he lashes out, and he will by the way, you tell him you won’t tolerate that behavior. You have the power and he will give it to you, watch this work, it is amazing.

    The textbooks say that you don’t have any basis for his respect because you are not bringing in cash. This is the textbooks. You need to know in yourself that you are worthy or respect and then demand that. You bring in PLENTY or worth to your family staying home and giving care to your family. That is worth ten times what any paycheck brings. You know that, you remember that, and zero tolerance for any action that demeans you or doesn’t give you the respect, consideration that any human being deserves.

    Now go to the mattresses!!!

    Cathy

  104. Laura said

    Although I don’t have a definite answer for you about what to do regarding your husband’s endeavors, I will assure you of something.

    Don’t get down on yourself for not having a job and cash coming in. If your husband is anything like mine, if you worked outside the home, he’d be complaining that you weren’t home to take care of him and the house. If you don’t work, he’d complain about you not bringing in money. If he’s a true N, there isn’t much use in falling over yourself trying to please him.

    Find a hobby, a support group, some friends, and take care of YOU…seriously. Just stay stable yourself because he’s going to do whatever he’s going to do regardless…his brain is just geared that way.

    perhaps the fine couple that sponsors this group could give better advice than I did. I imagine so.

  105. Allison said

    Thanks again Cathy & Laura!!!

    I know what I need to do. I realize that my biggest issue here is fear. I am afraid of what he will do to retaliate against me, against my firm disapproval of a “new” money making opportunity. I know he will lash out agianst me – the last time this happened (a month or so ago) he decided to break a commitment and contact someone (a N supplier) he agreed not to. So I’m afraid of how the ball will drop on me. It appears that I am trying to avoid it by pretending that going along with something that makes no sense for our family (him included) will maybe be ok.

    Thanks for the quick dose back to reality! I will stand my ground, as I have EVERY SANE right to. I will not tolerate being bullied, or put down. And the best I can do is prepare myself for however he plans to lash out agianst me. I will remind myself that I can handle it, I have before. And I will practice work on how to address what to do when the boundaries get crossed… because I know that’s what I’m in for. But I also know I will be ok, I will be strong and I will not waiver :)

    Thanks ladies,
    You really helped!!!!
    xoxo

  106. Laura said

    Hey Allison!
    It was nice hearing such a positive reply from you here. I just finished answering a question about psychoanalysis regarding childhood/adulthood, so it was a nice reprieve to come read something so wonderful after all that intense focus!

    (I’m working toward my Bachelors in Psych)

    Remember, Allison, we are here for you if the stuff hits the fan. I will also be praying for a favorable response of him to you. I know what you are going through. Keep us updated, hon.

    Blessya,
    ~Laura

  107. Susan said

    I really need some advice.I have been listening to your radio show I tried to go to your blog but cannot get into it.
    My husband of 31 years and I have been separated for the last 10 years. He has come back several times to want to start again but keeps leaving. He was living in Mexico and now he is in the states and unfortunately has gone back and forth. There have been immoral behaviors. Right now he has been here in the states about a year and a half. He was in the home at first and right now is renting a room. we are talking and go out together once in a while. He is in the states because he has to be. He didn’t come to be with his family. I would like to heal our marriage. this is not his goal. His goal is to eventually go back and live with this other woman (who is there now). Anyway, sometimes we see each other and we can get along fine together. Since he left he has been better verbally. I put some limits on that. I also told him that I like seeing him and spending time with him but I wnat something more and he is interested in intimacy but I want more of a long term commitment. Not just a casual thing. I mentioned we have an opportunity right now to correct some of the wrongs from the past but of course he is not interested. We still have 1 child at home who is 15. But he really doesn’t seem to be concerned that his immoral behavior has hurt his family. I do not want to enable him but at the same time i am not sure how to handle this. For ex sometimes he asks if he can come to check email. or borrow the vacuum. It seems for other things it is convenient for me to be his wife and he refers to me as such but behaves as if he didn’t have one. There really aren’t to many people here for us to turn to or people that he is concerned if they know about his behavior there are times when he tells what he is doing and doesn’t bother him what they think of it. Also the macho culture of our countries doesn’t help. How do I handle this since he is not in the home I don’t think talking to this other woman will be helpful. Especially since she is a widow, knows he is married and her children are grown. My teenage daughter has a lot of anger towards his constant abandoning of the family. I also told him it is wrong what he is doing it is hurtful to us and it doesn’t seem to bother him. What is the best way to handle this situation?

  108. MR said

    Allison,

    Hadn’t read this blog much until this evening, but reading your earlier postings on surviving the “cycles,” I wanted to share some humor from today. Hope it helps you on a rough patch.

    About 7am – I responded to an question my husband posed on Monday that I avoided then because it was almost time to get my boys from school. I answered with the caveat that the boys were downstairs eating breakfast, and I had a lot to finish to get them out this morning. First I got the 20 questions interrogation and then got the “there you go walking away,” a few times before I finally did leave. Unfortunately this was supported by my eldest (6) saying repeatedly “daddy, I need to go into school.” (As we rushed out, we got the gratuitous “do you always have to be late?”)

    I returned home, to drop the toddler off and get something for the preschooler before his school began. I got pulled back into the discussion (loosely about finances – expenses needing to be less than income – not the issue because we have no real financial worries) Because we were talking in a reasonable manner, I tried to listen and did hear some of his valid points along with the other stuff. I let the discussion go too long (again the comments of my walking out if I tried to walk out, followed by the announcement of the time – telling me I was going to be late getting the 2nd one to preschool.) My nanny/housekeeper was arriving at this point and chuckled as she overheard (unknown to my husband) the last few remarks. I left for drop off and work rehashing in my mind how I need to cut the discussions off sooner, and just leave despite the “your walking away again remarks.”

    I sent my husband an e-mail later in the day – stating first where I did hear his valid points, and that I was changing my behaviors, but also setting out some of the points from my bill of rights (behaviors which I already see he is decreasing as I am stronger.)

    When I got home this evening there was a detailed outline of the time my nanny spent the past 1 1/2 weeks with the kids and the time she spent cleaning. My husband has decided I was not doing a good enough job managing her time and effort etc, and not setting the cleaning standard high enough. He has been “fixing” this with her over the past few weeks. She shared this list with me, and told me that when she said she couldn’t do all of it that he said maybe we should hire a separate house-cleaner.

    The chuckle for me was then, but also when he came down later tonight to say the same thing to me (along with how I should have hired someone to essentially tutor the boys months ago. Both comments were given in the context of how I can not manage my time nor anyone else’s – there is a small kernel of truth in my own time management weakness) Wasn’t this the same person who was fussing just this morning about how we need to make sure our expenses are not greater than our income, and how I would be the one not to recognize this until it was a crisis ??? Did I miss something from that conversation ??? Did I miss some increase in our income during today ??? Perhaps I need a butler, a gardener and a chauffer as well ??? :)

    I could listen and not respond because I could see more clearly what were my weaknesses and what was his fussing and his own internal stress. I can see that the cycles are still going on, but I can see things are better. I share this detail because I trust this site is relatively private and anonymous. Humor helps a lot.

    MR

  109. Laura said

    MR,
    Was your husband diagnosed NPD or is he just unreasonable and “flip-floppy” in his decisions? Just curious.

    ~Laura

  110. Allison said

    Hi Laura & MR,
    Laura, I also have my bachelors in psych… Maybe that’s why I’m so drawn to understand my own situation. It gives me great insight into human behavior – although I’ve always been really interested in it anyway. I think it’s also a downfall because I tend to over-analyze behavior and where it all comes from. That’s a big part of my problem. I guess I figure if I can step back and see the flaws in myself and want to do better it becomes impossible for me to accept the fact that others won’t do the same. I mean it’s to become a better person, right?

    MR…
    Good for you that you were able to see humor and step back and collect the situation without reacting in an unfavorable way. I’m actually in the midst of a situation right now. I want to go away for the weekend and he doesn’t want to. Financially I know we shouldn’t. Emotionally, I know that he will make excuses to spend $$$ on things he finds of value. So I’d rather not sacrifice a family excursion that we have gone on for every year since my daughter was 1. It’s a very special tradition to our children and to me. He could care less. Also, we shouldn’t be spending money on recreational things right now. But that won’t stop him from buying a new cell phone, buying new hardware for the computer (that he hasn’t even installed yet) and buying information that clogs his brain and keeps him from addressing reality. I know I should be responsible but this is a big priority to me, and it’s of value to my children. I have NO PROBLEM making the sacrifice. What I do have a problem with is the fact that he will not make the sacrifices as well. So when I’m sitting there in a week or two after giving up something important to me and he goes out to buy whatever and tries to explain how “it’s different” or it’s an “investment that will bring a return” or it “wasn’t as much money” I will FREAK!

    I’ve been through this for years. So I discussed it with him in a calm and supportive manner. I told him that I would give up the vacation, and we would sit and pick the things that WE were going to cut back on. Like the constant lunches for networking, and the landscaper that we don’t have the $ to pay, and the office space that he rents and doesn’t use (so he can look professional – I can’t believe I bought into that…), and those other things that add up that we do NOT NEED! He refused, flipped out on me, and got really mad and started telling me how I am not helping financially.

    He completely avoided the conversation about the finances (which we actually do need to have) and decided to make it about how this probelm is me never giving up anything and me never working to earn money, and me not understanding all he does and is trying to do.

    I was again blind sighted. But I tried not to indulge him and I did say we can talk later when we can stay on topic… He then proceeded to tell me, “Fine, book the room.” Because he isn’t going to be told what he can spend his money on.

    Sometimes I just want to shake him out of this delusion. But I can’t. It’s so hard. Especially when you are trying to make healthy, positive choices and for the good of your family and one of the most major players won’t let you help, won’t let you in, won’t let you do what you know to be right and good. He sees me as his biggest opposition, not his biggest support – and that’s what I’m trying to be.

    This of course is aftermath of me standing my ground after he posed yet a new career opportunity. I explained that I do have a right to have a say in what he does when it directly affects myself and our family. He is very angry with me lately that I am not on board with his latest idea. He is also upset that I have presented him with a good arguement, that he is trying to deny.

    Anyway… what craziness. I hate the competition!!! If I can’t do this you can’t do that. It’s terribly annoying, and hard to tolerate. I wonder when Steve decided to address himself as a N. And what that looked like. I feel like I’ll never get there. And I think a life of this rollercoaster bullshit might not be what I’m in for…

  111. Laura said

    Allison, you post reminded me of the fact that I can absolutely NEVER sit down face to face with my husband to have a serious conversation.
    First of all, he has NO eye contact whatsoever or stares above my head to the ceiling as if I’m up there while he’s talking to me. Very IRRITATING!
    Secondly, he just can’t sit still long enough to HAVE a conversation and will cut any attempt of talking, off at the onset of it.
    I used to become very frustrated when therapists, friends, and others would say “well, during your husband/wife talking time, ask him such n such…” I’d be thinking “yeah right…”talking time?” I’d LOVE to be able to sit across a table at some restaurant in the dim lights, holding hands, just talking and connecting. He never could, we never have, I’ve always wanted that.

    ~Laura

  112. Laura said

    sorry, Allison…I meant to say “your post” not “you” post.

  113. Claire said

    Hello Everyone,

    I have been on and off with my boyfriend now for about 2 1/2 years now and although we fell very in love with each other it has always been rocky. During a very difficult period I began searching the internet for help and I found this website and like many others am very thankful that I did. The behaviour you describe sounded scarily similar to that of my boyfriends and I found new confidence to know that it wasn’t my fault but there were things that I was doing that were not helping. We have many issues to tackle he likes to gamble and take cocaine, he thinks that he has control of these things but I have noticed a pattern that he will pick a fight with me when we are spending an evening together, usually at his house as I live with my mother, so either I have to leave or he throws me out so he can go and do these things. It always then a row that lasts for days and one of us, usually me ends up telling the other it is over. Anyway, recently we have had a few good weeks and I have been avoiding the fights, biting my lip at his not-so-nice comments and turning potential situations into lovely evenings. But I have found a problem that I am really struggling with. The other night we went out for dinner and drinks with my best friend and her new boyfriend, had a lovely time and went back to his to stay. When we got home he decided to be in a mood but I tried not to let it bother me. We went to bed and his coldness warmed into getting intimate. About 15 mins in and I start to feel quite unwell and stop and go to the bathroom feeling very sick and dizzy. I come back in to the bedroom and say ‘I’m sorry, I don’t feel very well’ and open the window to get some air. He turns away and says ‘Great. My girlfriend tells me she feels sick when I’m having sex with her. How’s that supposed to make me feel?’ I was so upset with what he said I snapped ‘sorry I wasn’t aware that I had to consider your feelings when I feel so ill.’ He then left the room to go and sit in the other room to watch tv and laugh very loudly with his flatmate. I was so hurt I called him in and started to cry and ask him why he was treating me with such contempt and he laughed and I lost my temper and he told me to leave. He stood and watched whilst I cried packing my bags struggling because I felt so ill and worthless. He said he was watching me in case I took anything!! This is not the first time he has done something like this. About a year ago, he was going away for a while for work so we were spending the last weekend together, we were having a few drinks and having a lovely time then we started kissing and things became heated. I started to feel a bit woozy from the wine and stopped to get some water. He started to get angry and upset with me saying how he was really getting in to it then and I’d ruined the moment. He made the rest of the evening and the weekend horrible because in his words ‘I ask one thing from you and you can’t even do that for me.’ Am I wrong to be so hurt and upset? Is it acceptable to be horrible to your partner when they become unwell during intimacy? I am finding it extremly difficult to remain civil to him when I feel from the way he acts as it feels like all he cares about is the sex and not me as a person. I don’t know if I can continue to be intimate in a situation like this I don’t feel safe. Any advice or opinnions on this situation would be great. Thank you.

    Claire

  114. Bobi said

    Thank Goodness I have found you all!! It is like reading my life story over and over again. I ordered the ebook today and am waiting for payment to process. I hope to share with you all and learn from you all as time goes on. -bj

  115. Bobi said

    Clair,
    I have had that EXACT same phase said to me so many times about sex ‘I ask one thing from you and you can’t even do that for me.’ You know it’s not wrong of you to tend to your illness over his “needs”. No more than it’s wrong for me to think sex should be a two way street not something I do only for him.
    I haven’t found a great way to deal with this yet other than to know it’s him and not me. I have become very good and not allowing him to drag me in to his crazy world. It still gets to me and it comes out in the form of depression.
    Good luck!

  116. Bobi said

    My turn… My boyfriend and I have been together off and on for 20 years. We have an 18 year old daughter born 11 months after he and his then wife had a son. I found out later that at that time I was one of TWO mistresses. We eventually parted when our daughter was 2 and I didn’t really hear from him for 11 years.

    Then like a knight in shinning armor he reappeared divorced and ready to have the life we had always talked about… 6 months later we were living together and for the first time I saw the mask really come off. I realized what his wife had been living with all those years (23!)

    So we’ve been together and apart twice now since that reunion. It caused horrible disruption in everyones lives when I walked out on him. We have now been back living together for over two years.

    Over the years I have made great strides in not allowing him to push my buttons. He has come miles in controling the fits of rage. Unfortunately his lack of trust and jelousey continues to be a major source of trouble for of us. I am still “bad” becuase I had affairs and cheated on him when I was his mistress or we were seperated. (His words) He of course is perfect and none of his past matters including the recent internet affairs I have busted him on.

    So here is the current drama… My well meaning friends purchased a 5 day cruise for me about a year ago. Half cause they wanted me to go and I was unemployed and half because I think they knew it would force something between Louis and I. I never told Louis. The cruise is Oct. 17th. So I lied and told him that my friend had bought it for someonee else and now that person couldn’t go so it was a free trip for me. He of course through a fit and says if I do he is leaving and moving out. We are now at a Mexican Standoff with me saying I’m going and him saying he is moving out BUT we are playing house nicer than ever and having a blast. GO FIGURE!! I want to back out on the trip but I don’t think that is right the thing to do. I’m not ready to give up the realtionship either… Thoughts??

  117. Laura said

    Claire, this may sound simplistic, but RUN while you can. He’s only a boyfriend, not a spouse. You deserve better. Wish I would have run in those days too.

  118. HI Claire,

    I approved Laura’s comment to highlight my feelings on this.

    As humans, we have an only a limited understanding of our own intuition. The biggest problem Kim and I face with our work is that we know that many people like Claire have a ‘feeling’ that they have something of a connection with their abusive partner. This deep bond is almost impossible to ignore.

    Also, Kim and I are of the opinion that running away will not resolve the conflict. I completely see that Laura’s comment is compassionate and made with the best intentions, but a larger question opens up, i.e. What next?

    Running away from this problem will not resolve Claire’s confusion and sadness. This guy sounds like Trouble with a capital T, so the option of ending the relationship should definitely be on the table, but it is not as simple as running away.

    Kim has a chapter on ending a relationship if Claire feels it is the right thing to do. Claire, you need to be ready to move on completely, and part of that process is learning to limit abuse. The big danger is that Claire may run straight into the arms of an even bigger abuser. It happens all the time.

    So our eBooks are about limiting the abuse and resolving the conflict. The ongoing work is to develop better emotional maturity and intelligence. We need to be able to be our own hero, as the knight in shining armor is a myth that is not relevant in today’s society.

    Claire, I know this is not an easy solution, but you are ready to take the steps to looking after yourself and your own emotions now. You have to learn some new skills, you can do it.

    Laura, I know your comment comes from your own experience and I believe you have Claire’s interest at heart, I hope I haven’t come across as dismissive. Kim and I only want to give people like Claire the best chance of a bright future, and untangling difficult scenarios like this are never easy.

    Steve

  119. CD, Australia said

    Hi Everyone,

    I believe from personal experience that when your partner is aggressive towards you they are actively hiding something they feel guilty about – something they may say they are in control of – but in actual fact are out of control of, and in my husband’s case it is alcoholism along with the behaviour that drives his addiction to alcohol – which is Narcissism.

    I have been married to my husband since 1976 – we have had many good times, but we have had countless very, very bad times. I started out in this relationship a very bright attractive young girl, but soon lost the sparkle in my eyes as my husband’s addiction to alcohol got worse and he started shifting blame onto me for everything that went wrong in his life. I started and then continued to doubt myself, and I went downhill with him by trying to make him happy in the hope that he would overcome his addiction to alcohol. What I didn’t know was that in trying to make him happy I was actually contributing to his alchoholism and the narcissism behind his addiction to alcohol.

    We both ended up in a downward spiral of a love-hate relationship. However I remained optimistic that I could one day “make him happy” and everything would be alright. At the same time he constantly told himself (and me) “It is no wonder I drink – look at what I have to live with…,or the kids are playing up…,or this one or that one has done me wrong…,or my problems are bigger than anyone else’s….,or it’s party time….,or it’s a hot day….,etc, etc, etc,”.

    How do I know that he is an alcoholic if he has not been diagnosed or has not confessed to being one? Unfortunately I cannot say categorically that he is an alcoholic – only he can really judge that for himself – but right now he is in DENIAL that it is his drinking & the behaviour associated with it that is causing many of the problems in his life. He irrationally and conveniently believes that it is the problems in his life that are causing him to drink.

    From a self-growth program called Al-Anon that I was in for many years which is a world-wide support group for the family and friends of alcoholics I learned that if a loved-one’s drinking is causing problems in his/her life and your life, then your loved one may have a problem with alcohol. From that program I learned that the problem all along is not when or how long he drinks or how much, how many or how often he drinks, nor has it been what sort he drinks, nor that he is in the gutter and penniless (both of which he is not – in fact he is a high achieving and successful businessman in a highly stressful business)…..the problem is the NEED to drink and the DENIAL that his use of alcohol is causing problems in his life.

    My husband sometimes goes to extraordinary lengths to hide how much he is drinking, or justifies his drinking in many ways as mentioned above, or he (sometimes aggressively or for sport) creates an argument to fabricate a “reason” to justify his drinking.

    Narcissism is the common denominator that we are all discussing here – and it is Narcissism that is behind the alcoholic, the drug addict, the gambler, the porn addict, the con-man (extortionist) and so on. The Narcissist is very skilled at hiding whatever it is that they don’t want you to see or to acknowledge for fear of losing our (the co-dependent’s) physical, mental, emotional and sometimes financial/business support that helps structurally hold up their “House of Cards”. The Narcissist will keep us “attached” to them by pulling on our heart strings or by pushing on our insecurity buttons, or by exploiting and manipulating our vulnerability – and guess what – they can because all we want to do is to “make them happy and everything will be all right”.

    Our task is to learn as much as we can about Narcissism and ourselves, to let go of all the old blame games and emotional turmoil – to get real and to get honest with ourselves and our partner, and very importantly, to learn to love and accept ourselves again, and to command respect.

    How do we do that? It takes a while – and it takes as long as it takes! It is a voyage of self-discovery while turning our inner strength toward positive self-growth and newly-found confidence that we are heading in the right direction for our mental, emotional & spiritual maturity – with or without the Narcissist in our life…we have to be prepared for a healthy lifestyle whatever the outcome.

    In learning to love ourselves again, we can better withstand the rigors of any continuing emotional abuse from our loved one, by not absorbing their projected criticisms and rising above “the junk” all the while knowing that (in most cases) the Narcissist is really more scared of losing us than we are of losing them – although they would have us believe otherwise!

    In learning to love ourselves again, we can smile and say our partner’s name warmly each time we greet them and because we have learned that they have been and are suffering from mental, emotional & spiritual immaturity – just like we have been. We can now truly reach out to them by showing them we are getting happy “without making them happy first”, and by being honest with ourselves and with them we will then be seen as trustworthy and therefore they may slowly learn to trust us. They may want to give up on their “House of Cards” or they may want to continue with a new co-dependent….que sera sera! Whatever will be, will be! The important thing to remember is we can only change ourselves, and our changed attitudes may inspire change for the better in our Narcissist.

    All of the below programs for addiction are similar in format, and powerfully assist those affected by a loved-one’s addiction to a vice. As you regain your self-worth and self-esteem, and change your attitudes towards the narcissist/addict you will be providing a positive environment for the your loved one’s potential recovery from their addiction or compulsion to drink, gamble or take drugs, etc. All these programs also empower both the addict and their loved-ones to achieve their individual goals. These programs also reinforce the principles of Kim and Steve’s program only Kim and Steve and their associate professionals give definitive advice on how to handle various situations, unlike the below programs which leave each individual to find their own solutions – however together they provide the strong support than anyone living in a relationship with a narcissist requires.

    12 Step programs and support groups for the family and friends of those addicted to:

    Drugs: Nar-Anon
    Gambling: Gam-Anon
    Alcoholism: Al-Anon

    I cannot praise the work that Kim and Steve have done highly enough, and will be eternally grateful that they have dedicated so much of their time and their lives to helping others as they have helped me. Thank you so much!

    Good luck & stay in touch,
    CD, Australia.

  120. Bobi said

    CD,
    Thank you for your post. You are an inspiration to me. I have to keep telling myself daily it’s not up to me to make him happy. I can only make me happy.

  121. MR said

    CD,

    I respect your maturity and insight with regards to all of this. Clearly you have done a lot of work with these ideas, and your experience has been valuable for many of us. It is because of that experience and insight that I write seeking your thoughts.

    I continue to struggle both with myself and with my husband. I don’t want to leave, because I don’t want to hurt my boys – which I know leaving would do. I don’t want to leave, because like so many here, I see the side of my husband that I knew earlier in our relationship, both the over-confidence and the insecurity. However, I don’t want to stay and have things continue as they are because it is wearing me down too much. I don’t like the constant nastiness. I don’t like who I have become … your last posting touched on that. Essentially something changed in me with this last eruption – I’m not eaving, but I am ready to leave. It is difficult to remain kind to anyone when you are constantly being hurt, but I keep going trying my best with that suggestion. However I also can’t see myself responding to my husband in the overly solicitous, accepting all responsibility way that he seems to want/need from me. I’m having a hard time letting go of a lot of anger and resentment … fueled by constant criticism/put downs and just the other day a new level of temper-tantrum. Recently I am having a hard time even engaging at all, let alone building attachment etc. It is hard to let go of what has been said, even if I know they are just very hurtful words which I mostly doubt he really means. It saddens me because this is not the life I want, nor feel I deserve. I also do not think he wants or deserves to live this way, but I can not make him take any steps towards changing.

    Although I do not know what all is the “addiction,” or deception that I have yet to discover, I have discussed previously some issues. As I have said, I think some part of his historical “grandious,” thinking has calmed, and he is creating a portion of what he always wanted, and a “real” high level business. Clearly his mind is always 5 steps ahead, envisioning the next level … that is the narcissism, but it is also what has always driven him to do more and to achieve. However, I suspect the other side of it is also what turns people away – although here he has improved in his public persona.

    I’m just exhausted by trying to keep up with this ever raising standard. I just want to be able to live happily and allow my boys to be content – not worrying about who is going to judge them as “inferior and to be avoided,” because their hair is mussed, their clothes have a dirty spot, or our van has crumbs or clutter when they are dropped off to school. These are little children … there are enough years for them to be so concerned about appearences. I think his house of cards is in part wanting to “appear,” as part of some powerful social strata, that is ill defined (probably always rising) and is never what I wanted. I’m not really convinced that “those people” live the way he believes they do, but since I am not sure who “they” are it is hard to determine. He believes that “success” in business/social sence is in part coincidential and any circumstance that is not “what I expected,” will take away from that potential. Except for the relationship stuff, I am where I want to be. I took the steps to get there, and some places where I have side stepped professionally are because of making the conscious decision to focus on and protect my boys (just from the problems that I think arise more readily when both parents are working 60+ hour weeks.) I can accept my flaws and mistakes, and know that I can improve on some of the “scatter-brain-ness,” time management, and disorganized inefficiency as I get less emotionally vulnerable. Those are my biggest weaknesses I see right now.

    A few weeks back, I restated clearly some boundaries about what is not acceptable, and after the temper-tantrum the other day I took the boys to my parents for an overnight. I was not going to stay with his acting so dangerously and irratically, but I came back because I did not want to be punishing him by keeping the boys away . I’m not ok with either his words to me or his behavior, and I am not sure how to address that without leaving myself open to being blambed.

  122. CD, Australia said

    Hi MR,

    It is empowering when we learn that the only person we can change is ourselves. However we have to guard against changing ourselves just to make our partner happy or in response to their criticisms, put-downs, unreasonable expectations or mind games.

    If there is something we believe we should change in ourselves, it must be for the reason that it is right for our OWN individual health, contentment and well-being. As we do make the changes in ourselves that we find necessary (for our own health, contentment and well-being) others will benefit too – especially those closest to us, and they may be inspired to do the same for themselves.

    In searching out the shortcomings or attitudes you wish to change in yourself, you are taking your focus off your Narcissist and turning your focus toward yourself. Your Narcissist will see or sense this, and because of his high demand for constant attention, and the need for a scapegoat to excuse his own shortcomings/inadequacies, he will most likely try to get your attention and focus returned to him by whatever means possible – for example he may use charm/seduction, button pushing, blaming, criticism, put-downs, etc. The challenge for us is not to react, but to respond by being ASSERTIVE in response to the attention seeking and need for a scapegoat.

    To be assertive requires us intimately knowing and believing in ourselves – what our core values and beliefs are, what we want for ourselves (and our family) and what our boundaries are (Personal Bill of Rights), and that we live according to these with honesty and integrity. To be assertive also requires us to like & love ourselves – accepting ourselves for all our strengths, weaknesses, successes and shortcomings. We build on our strength and success every time we search out our weaknesses and shortcomings, and by working on them, changing them for the better, we increase our chance of success at dealing with the difficulties in our life and become stronger to cope with – and DEFLECT – disappointment or negativity. Until we decide to and actually believe in ourselves, we are like willows in the wind – tossed and blown about by the abuse of another – abuse including criticism, insults and put-downs, etc. Nobody can put us down UNLESS WE LET THEM by absorbing or reacting to what they say.

    One of my weaknesses was not knowing the language of assertiveness, saying HOW I FEEL when my husband treats me negatively (eg: Hurt, Distressed, etc), and WHAT I NEED TO DO IN RESPONSE to that negativity (eg: Go to work/sleep,etc; Call my support network).

    With emotional immaturity I would react by TELLING HIM WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO TO MAKE ME FEEL BETTER (the Narcissist/Co-dependent in me?). The trouble is with his emotional immaturity he does not know how to make himself feel better, let alone make me feel better!

    I would also react by defending myself, rebounding blame, negativity or aggression, crying tears of hurt, fear and frustration, and so on – and after some time of being in Al-anon I realised that every time I reacted in this way I still had something to learn – that being how to respond ASSERTIVELY.

    The value of time out and self-soothing is to find the most appropriate and assertive response to keep us from going down the “automatic reaction” path that we have been caught up in doing for so long.

    Kim’s repertoire of responses have been of great help to teach me the language of assertiveness – especially when I need to “build a bridge” between the “incident” and “the time-out to self-soothe” by immediately responding that:
    “I feel hurt/distressed/etc by what is happening right now and I don’t want to respond until I have had time to calm down”.
    Tapping into exactly what I am feeling at that exact moment of confrontation has been difficult for me – I may be feeling a combination of feelings – hurt, angry, frustrated, etc – but feel numb and can’t readily verbalise what I feel – I think the word “distressed” covers all feelings of distress in that moment of numbness.

    Kim brought Steve’s narcissism to account with him by not getting sucked in to the negativity, and by getting support from others – from her support network – and she did not to hesitate to call on them to step in when necessary. From what I understand, to try to do that completely by herself under some circumstances would have probably invited further negativity or blame and would perhaps not have achieved the positive results she required to protect her well being and to command respect.

    I don’t believe we can build an adequate or appropriate support network until we know what we are dealing with. It is my opinion that criticisms, insults and put-downs, etc are most likely the smoke-screen the Narcissist creates to hide his/her inadequacy(ies), or whatever it is he/she feels guilty about, or they don’t want you to know about, or the true extent of.

    While you are hurting from, or reacting to, the criticisms, insults, put-downs, abuse, etc, your mind has been distracted from revealing whatever it is he is wanting to hide (this may or may not be done with malicious intent). The real deal is not about your time management (which I believe would not be a true “failing” especially under such stressful circumstances), nor about the crumbs or clutter in the van, nor the children’s hair not being combed 100% of the time, etc as he would have you believe. I believe this is his form of smoke-screening, and as you have eluded to – criticisms such as these also are about keeping up appearances, or the (Narcissistic) image he is trying to establish and/or maintain.

    At a conscious or unconscious level for him, I believe it is also to distract,demoralize and/or disempower you to keep you from finding out the truth and/or leaving him – although he would have you believe you are dispensable. He has not yet followed through on his threat to leave you (which I believe could be because he is more scared of losing you than you are of losing him – although he plays this card close to his chest).

    Now you are thinking that you can take or leave the marriage, the dynamic may change. When we reach this point it is because (I believe) we have grown in self-esteem and self-worth sufficiently to enable us to DETACH better from the insults, criticism, put-downs, etc, because we have realised that we are a worthwhile human being and do not have to accept unacceptable behaviour or abuse.

    As a physician no doubt you are very experienced in using objectivity instead of subjectivity with your patients while still showing that you care for them. The detachment required with your husband that I talk about is similar to this. You care very much about your husband, but you can only successfully get a handle on the situation with objectivity and not subjectivity at this point in time. It is vital that you listen to what your husband “does” and not what he “says”. My guess is that what he is DOING is saying “stuff” that he knows you get caught up in and keeps you down and busy being hurt – maybe not with malicious intent (however with the prowess of an attorney) and ultimately as an emotionally immature way of hiding his true self from you, himself and the world.

    It is also vital that you find out what is going on in your husband’s life – as his wife, and mother of your children, you have a right to know – especially because there has been verbal, emotional and physical abuse and intimidation. I believe you can only do this safely with a covert private investigation, and it should not be attempted by yourself. For your safety, take care on how you make and keep contact with a private investigator (meetings, phone calls, letters, emails, etc) and how you pay for the investigation service to keep it confidential from your husband. An investigation may or may not reveal anything, but it will enable you to make an informed decision if you are considering leaving the marriage. If an investigation reveals something that is not acceptable you will then know what you are dealing with and what to do about it, or what support is required whether or not you decide to stay in the marriage. With a covert investigation your husband need never know about it.

    With respect to the history of physical abuse and intimidation and the recent event where things escalated that you needed to retreat to your parents home with your children – it is vital that you seek the support of your local police BEFORE you have a need to call them in the future – make them aware in the cool, calm and matter-of-fact way that Kim talks about, in a language that you are concerned for your husband, and that you are concerned for yourself and your children’s safety, and that you are not wanting to set up a stage for divorce, but that you are seeking limits on his abuse with the intent of getting help for him, and make sure this is on police record. Listen to Kim’s audios regarding this and make note of her advice – for your safety and the safety of your children.

    In the meantime, make sure your basic needs are met. When things get tough for me I get very little sleep, and my mind “boggles” while staring into the blackness of night from my bed – rehashing past hurts, searching the depths of my mind for answers, etc which sets me up for exhaustion and reduced capacity to deal assertively with negative behaviour and attitudes (including my own). Make sure you get adequate and quality rest to deal with a very stressful situation (in addition to as a working mum looking after small children too which is challenging by itself). If possible – try to reduce your workload either at home or at work or both to conserve your energy. I did chuckle with you that your husband started talking about expenses not exceeding income, then nearly in the next breath he said you should have employed home tutoring for your boys a long time ago! I believe this made his criticisms of you at that time somewhat transparent? and from that you definitely should not take everything he says to heart from now on?

    Consider new options like:
    • Some day care for your pre-schoolers where they can relax, make noise and have fun with other kids of similar age. My nearly six year old grand-son has just taken up ball-room dancing! He asked to do this after watching his mum starting ballroom dancing. His little face lights up with joy every time he dances – and his teachers are astounded at how quickly he is picking it up (he lacked confidence in doing anything before, but has taken to this like a duck to water).
    • Take time out from the marriage (whether or not you want to leave the marriage right now) by going on a holiday with your children -no doubt your husband would not want to go due to his work commitments. Have heaps of fun with your kids – speaking from experience they will appreciate it immensely and remember it with happiness well into adulthood. While on holiday, live by your standards with them, letting them relax and have fun while just being kids without concern for dirty laundry or dishevelled hair, give them the opportunity to enjoy that mum is great fun to be with. (“They say to look after your kids really well because they eventually get to choose your nursing home!” – humorous but true!!)
    • When your husband wants the house to be quiet, make sure that you go somewhere with the kids where you have lots of fun and relaxation too.

    This is all just being good to yourself, and what is best for you is best for your family (it also takes the focus off your husband, and brings new joyful conversation to the table – you may be met with some adversity, but your husband will need time to feel “safe” with this, and may even reassess his priorities one day?).

    Keep reading and listening to Kim & Steve’s information, and Sarah’s audios if you have them – I still pick up something new every time I have another look or listen to the wealth of information they have provided.

    Good luck and stay in touch,

    CD, Australia.

  123. faye said

    Dear kim and Steve,
    It is refreshing to know someone believes in healing, not leaving! Our story is the same as the hundreds that you read each day, with one twist. When we met, we both had petting zoo businesses. Entertaining was or lives and we enjoyed it. Mine was a farm tour, aimed at teaching children about agriculture. His was more of a traveling show.
    In the beginning it was so perfect, so much in common. Within six months he had convinced me to give up mine (so that we did not have double expenses) and we became one business. Incorporated both names worked together….so nice. Then it fell apart, first he stopped allowing me any part of decision making, then took my name out of all advertising, then left me totally out of the finances (my only source of income!) I have five children so you know that is not an option. I started fighting over even grocery money, and eventually had to stop “working for HIM” and find different work.
    When I did, he filed for divorce, of course telling us to leave, while he operated the business solely. All the while we have been trying to work it out and have cancelled the divorce. ( i never agreed to a divorce)
    I had no choice, I moved to a seperate house. And now have a great job, he however is doing horrible financially, and refuses to admit it. He has taken “our business” and made it into the source of his ego building monster feeding device. He uses and abuses the animals, and cant financially take care of them, but doesnt care if they die, he just replaces them.
    Meanwhile he shows up at events and of course ALL women throw their selves at him, because they think it is sooooo cool that he has a zebra, kangaroo, buffalo, monkey….whatever. This “business” does not provide for us in any way, and he only goes farther in debt, only because he buys so much “stuff” to impress others. But it has a potential to make a fortune if the finances were handled correctly.
    I try not to get mad, but if we dont have heat, do you think he should by a camel?
    I have taken back control of my finances and take care of a seperate home (with heat and a working stove) and he says he loves me and we are trying to work it out, but now his is excuse is that I dont support his “lifestyle” of what makes HIM happy. (keep in mind it was mine to start with).
    So he refuses to let me or the children be a part of “the business” at all- instead he tells everyone that we dont like that kind of thing, and he hires other womens kids to work with him, and they pity him for his wifes lack of support.
    I am his fifth wife. I do NOT want to divorce him. But cant compete with the women who constantly feed his ego, since he now calls that his “lifestyle and only source of income” can you PLEASE, PLEASE tell me how you would addres this?

  124. MR said

    CD,

    Months ago, I took your suggestion about listening to the past radio shows and relaxation tapes while driving. There are 2 days a week I have a bit of a communte and I cherish those trips. I think it has been good for me, as was going back to work about this time last year (helped me once again feel like I was capable at something.)

    I read in one of Kim’s recent transcripts about difficulties in discussing things. She says “Steve, back when I wasn’t able to discuss that with you.  And you would just say, ‘oh it doesn’t matter, you just do whatever’.
    STEVE:    Yeah, ‘I haven’t got time to talk about it.  Sure, you do whatever’. 
    KIM:   You just do whatever you want and I will go along with it.  And you pretended you were really easygoing.  But when it got down to it, whatever plans I made you would just completely ignore and do what you would like and be upset with any of it if it wasn’t what you wanted or what you liked.  And I would say, well, why didn’t you talk to me about it.  And I remember reading marriage books back then and one that just clearly illustrated that whole situation for negotiation and if one person isn’t prepared to sit down and take the time to negotiate, really they are the person that is the aggressor. 
    STEVE:  That’s right.
    KIM:    And you used to always point the finger and say, ‘Look, you are having all these ideas and you are more assertive than me anyway.  There is no point in talking to you because you will always win’. 

    This scenerio rang very true for me. Going back many, many years to issues I didn’t even recognize at the time. My husband has always tried to say that he allowed me to do whatever I wanted in many things, but after many of my decisions it was always a criticism about the decision. It is much clearer to me now, but I can remember sometimes I even saw it then. Situations where I thought he was agreeing, and he later has come back to say that I was pushing something on him, and he was being so generous as to just go along, but I am “blamed” now for not recognizing how he really felt, or supporting what he wanted. The biggest of these was the purchase of our first house, which I did with some minor help from my parents. I worked extra hours during my last year of medical training to help cover cost. I wanted us to have a nice place, and I thought it was something he wanted too. (I was guilty of playing into the “image” thing at that time too. ) We sold it at a big profit, and moved at my husband’s wish, but couched as “for me,” because I was commuting about an hour and was about to deliver our first child. The profit from the house went into some things he wanted to do, to pay off some old debt he had, and ultimately into our current house. Once I was out of training, I out earned my husband for the first 7 or so years of our marriage, so I understand this was not how he wanted to see himself, but I saw it as the opportunity to let him find and develop what he wanted to do while still having a “pretty good life.”

    I took off some time after the birth of my third, and that was when things got very bad between us. Post partum depression, my feeling less secure because we had moved around during my pregnancy, our things were all in boxes, and I had lost my role at work, and was being criticized constantly. At this point I am back to contributing significantly to our household income, but much of what I do at home is still being devalued. Our nanny has even picked up on when he tries to find fault with how I am managing things. He seems to be hurt and to want to hurt.

    I’m doing better at not getting caught into feeling responsible when he gets angry at me. I know I still need passages like Kim’s above to reassure me that I am not the precipitant of all of our issues (that doubt is pretty well entrenched – maybe because it leaves me with some control over things … if I fix myself it will make everything ok again. ) I’m probably getting more frustrated and angry at him, although I am mostly not responding or reacting. I’m tired of accomodating and tolerating. I’m tired of either being ignored or insulted. I’m tired of my boys being put in the middle – pushed to either choose to spend time with dad or with me, and other times having to listen to the put downs of me.

    I’m considering talking with the headmistress/nun of my eldest child’s school. She just sent out a newsletter on expecting too much from our children. I expect to find a receptive ear, but I need to figure out how to ask for help in getting my husband to see how his interaction with the boys and with me in front of the boys is not good for them. He expects them to be older than they are, especially when he is under stress. I’m wary about making things worse – making him feel like I am criticizing him or trying to tell him he is wrong, which are sure to backfire.

    Given the spectrum of what is people have documented on this site, my life is ok, but it is not what I want. I hope in time to give more back to this site and to others here. I miss the husband I first knew … and yes I recognize that may have been a facade, but I would like back someone who can want to be with me and want to be considerate of me, It is difficult to work on building attachment when he hibernates on the computer. It is a challenge to even get eye contact at any point in the day. I can’t get myself to give a bright and bubbly good morning … although I know I should try, and need to work on doing so. I think I am wary of being hurt when it is rejected – either directly or indirectly.

    I know the places I need to see some changes, and some have changed , but only to be replaced with cold disengagement (here I need to not let his past threats echoing back in me.) I’m still holding out hope that things can get better, but I wish I more clearly had my husband working with me.

    MR

  125. Shannon said

    Dear Kim and Steve,

    My situation is a little different than what yours was and I’m trying to figure how to apply your recommendations to my situation. I would be the classic co-dependent that you described. I am not married to my NPD partner and now he has decided to leave the relationship but says he wants to remains friends. I feel like I’ve been hit by a bus and feel horrible that there seems to be nothing in my power to un-do the damage.

    While he said he wanted to continue to remain friends, he hasn’t honored that statement either. At this point, I’m simply trying to retain the friendship part of the relationship. As nutty and irrational some of his behavior was, I still cannot help but believe that there is a decent, kind and caring human being inside of him. He was never physically abusive to me. I do feel he drinks a bit too much (shot booze in his coffee, booze in his office desk, a glass of scotch before bed and beer all day long), he also has a serious addiction to nicotine. He stopped smoking which sounds great but now he chews through 10 to 15 pieces of nicotine gum per day, which is more than when he smoking. I spends a tremendous amount of time alone surfing the internet (the fantasy life you spoke of, although I don’t think he uses porn, but habitually trolls the dating websites)

    In the early stages of the relationship, we seemed to be so very much in synch and we both proclaimed how very happy we were to have found each other, but then one day it was as if a light switch went off and he totally changed. He accused me of being over critical of him because I simply stated that “I don’t think it’s going to rain of us today” and that was an insult to his proposed plans – that I was a total go on all long. From there, the cascading failure of communication began at an uncontrollable rate. I could see deep hurt and fear in his eyes and I would try to reassure him that I would never hurt him and that I would always stand by him, and that seemed to only make it worse. He has now changed his story several times in regards to the “type” of relationship that he is looking for. The fact that I was commented to stick by him made him act even worse and push me even further away. I probably did every wrong thing on your list to try to diffuse the situation, which led to the situation to become even worse. I know he’s already online trolling for his next “victim”. My girlfriend saw his profile online on his favorite dating website. I’m worried for the next person he dates and I know there’s absolutely nothing I can do to control that.

    I’ve let boyfriends fall by the way side more often than not, but for whatever reason, I felt different about this one. I feel like there’s a good person inside being held back by a bad one that is only acting out from pain. At this point, I do not have the ambition of getting back together as a couple. I only want to salvage the friendship. The only communication lately has been through emails. Is there truly nothing I can do to at least save the friendship part of this relationship?

  126. S said

    Dear Kim and Steve,
    I have been in relationship with my husbad for last 5 years (3 years married). We have had constant arguments and I always thought the I was the problem and was not good enough. I have been batteling depression since last couple of years and thought that I was going insane. My husband blames me for every thing he possibly can and made me belive that I was the one who needed to learn “to behave” (thats when i did did something different to what he thought was the appropriate behaviour). For the last 5 years i have kept on changing myself for him but the cycle never ends! There is always something he finds to “Fix” in me. It was only when I came across your website I realised that its my husband who is the N here and I am the co dependant. He is very possesive and insecure and tries to keep me away from my friend and family as best as he can. And if i try to maintain ties with them he says that i am selfish and heartless and i dont care about him. He is verbally very abusive. Your website has given me a hope that things can be mended. i have bought your audios and also the gap finder and look back from the glass. I have been following the steps that you have suggested from the last couple of weeks. I can see that my husband is a bit confused by my confident behaviour now. He said to me last night that he feels i have changed and have become more bold and selfish and dont care about his feelings any more. So he is now trying to control me even more. Wondering if i am on the right track?? what do i do? is he just testting my limits?

  127. kimcooper said

    Yes I think you are right and he will probably test you even more before this is over but you stand firm!
    Have a look at the super nanny if you can and just see how hard those kids test their parents once they
    start setting firm boundaries and not getting sucked in to the games!!! It will help you to see that I think.
    So far so good and you are doing great and you hang in there!!!

  128. Allison said

    I can not thank you enough Kim for what you and Steve have done for this community of people suffering with this issue. I run the risk here of sounding a little too “emotional” but you have been like an angel to me! On just the right day, and at just the right time you have provided me with just what I needed to get back on track… a track that I had begun to walk away from. Like an angel!!! Thank you so much :)

    Allison

  129. Joyanne said

    Hi
    I recently purchased your material and have found it extremely helpful. I am in the setting boundaries stage and havent figured this all out yet. My husband of 17 mo has NPD and is Bipolar (on meds). For the past 17 mon I have written when he got mad and what it was about. He would always blame me but I knew it was not my fault. He gets mad about something at least once a month. He can stay mad for up to 10 days, all the while blaming me and saying that I don’t want to resolve it. I am finally learning to set some limits because he is verbally abusive even to the point of yelling. When he gets mad I leave the bedroom and sleep downstairs because he is very mean at nite. He has elbowed me in bed and pushed my legs. He gets up and turns all the lights on when I am trying to sleep. Sometimes he starts yelling at me in the middle of the nite. It makes me tense all over wondering what will happen next so I sleep downstairs.
    Later after days, he will become sweet and kind and ask me to forget the past and move forward.
    My counselor has told me some of the same ideas portrayed in your books. I appreciate your detail and I am learning what has to be done. I don’t know what the outcome will be, but I know I will survive and even thrive!

  130. Lynne said

    Hi Kim and Steve,
    My husband and I have had a spiraling relationship the past 10 years. i am an Ivy League trained physician-scientist and lived in Boston and New York before “slowing” down my career, when I met my husband who worked at the same job for 20 years and lived in his same hometown. We got married at 38, had two wonderful children (boy and girl), then my life slowly fell apart. I worked part-time as a pediatrician, but to him, I never was making enough money. I went for more training in genetics since I lost a position when he pushed me to make more money. I completed my training, commuting 3 hours a day, got treated for thyroid cancer, then had 3 part-time positions but had difficulty keeping up because of the fatigue after my thyroid cancer treatment, my 2+ hour daily commute, my son’s learning problems, and the fact that whereas his mother was 10 minutes from our home, my parents lived 2 hours away. Somehow I was being held to a higher standard, and felt my life was out of balance, so I left clinical medicine, worked on improving my home and supporting my son the next 2 years, then got a part-time position working from home (in genetics). Well, for the past 5 years my husband has been complaining that I don’t have a real job, that I ruined the marriage, that I am to blame and need medication. He has refused to see my therapist. He threatens me with divorce, then he filed for divorce (he kept nagging me one day about no relationship, no marriage and asked whether we should get divorce so I told him to go ahead). He filed in May, but refused to go to mediation. He sent my lawyer a “proposal” which she thought was preposterous. Then at the last minute he asked me to have a 90 day stay and stupid me accepted. He was nice to me the first day, saying he was sorry for everything he put me through. The next day he was telling me how much the lawyers already took from us, still talks about my career and my MD degree, and wonders if the marriage is worth the benefit. He feels nothing is wrong with himself. I feel like a failure. Is this a narcissist? Am I crazy/stupid to remain with him or think that he can change?

  131. Neicey said

    Hi Kim and Steve, Your website is the best.I know without a doubt in my spirit that God lead me to your site.My husband is a Narcisstic and I have cried many days because of it.I always kept hoping that his terrible behavior will change.I am a Godly woman and I love my husband and I don’t want a divorce.Do you believe a narcisstic can behave this way and truly love his wife?I really need a answer to this question, thanks

  132. Joyanne said

    I need some input on this….I am trying to work on my boundaries and having the right responses to his negative outbursts of yelling and putting me down but what do you do about making love? He EXPECTS that I should continue to want to be intimate with him even when he is mad at me and yells at me. I tell him there is no emotional intimacy in our relationship because of the verbal abuse. When he is nice and helpful then I try to make love but it is getting more difficult. He quotes the Bible to me as this is my obligation! What do you other ladies do?

  133. MR said

    Allison,

    I was re-reading old postings as a way to calm myself after a rough morning. I read your first posting and I do see some overlap in our stories. My husband came from 2 immegrant parents, his dad had 4-5 years of schooling and hos mom had none. He built a business with his dad that did well and then had big problems (which he blambs entirely on his dad.) He was an attorney came to the US to get an advanced degree and now is running a council with multiple international embassies and universities. Lots of places for narcissistic supply, but he also has really accomplished a lot.

    I wanted to share with you a new insight or new perspective … not that intellectualizing about our spouses fixes the problem.

    I do not see that my husband has an “addiction” in the traditional sense, but similar to what you described there is a constant drive to create the next big idea or project. Earlier in our marriage, he talked to me about the anxiety he felt because there always seemed to be some leap to the next step in his building of his business. However now with years of history with him, I see that much of this is self created. He will justify this as the evolution of his business model trying to find what really works, but it is also creating a frequent re-starting and re-building. There must be something that releases endorphins in this … the rush of the new project or new idea.

    I see the same pattern in his leisure activities with our boys. He can go from one “focus,” to the next in cycles. While in one, he is overdriven about it … for example the past 2 weeks or so, he has decided that the boys need to learn about art and drawing. So this means spending time at the local art museums, watching internet videos on how to draw, getting books on how to draw, and now going out to get paints, charcoals, pastels, and lap easels (getting them out of the house by 7:30am on a Saturday.) Remembering my older 2 boys are 4 and 6, what is wrong with a box of crayons and a box of washable markers. I don’t see this as “for the kids,” but as “serving dad’s need” for the next novel interest. I’m not complaining, because in these spurts he does spend time with the boys, and does expose them to a number of good things. I just put it out for consideration as a variety of a behavior driven similarly to an addiction (?) or similar to the search for the next new business plan.

    If you see a similarity in your experience, I hope this gives you some comfort and shared perspective.

    MR

  134. Laura said

    MR, interesting post you shared here.

    With the former N-mentor from a few years ago, I saw the same thing. At one point I asked her if she ever feels that she actually “accomplishes” or “arrives” at anything she strives to do or place she strives to get to. Her response was that she really never does, because there is “always something more…something better…something new.” Again, as in your situation, most of this was self-created on her part of things.
    The biggest thing that baffled me, was that she seemed to have big plans for a huge ministry endeavor, yet when I got up close to her, there actually was no ministry at all…not even the real “starting” of one. Very odd.

  135. MR said

    Lynne,

    My background is similar to yours except for a different specialty. I was married when I was in my fellowship in New Haven. Almost three years ago, I left a top tier faculty position in part (although not entirely) because of my husband’s covert message that it would be better if I focused less on my “career,” more on my family, and maximized the $$/hr I was getting. I was not strong enough to protect my time which made it difficult for me to keep up with the demands of academia.

    I stopped working completely after the birth of my 3rd child, and was “helping him” in his business. There was a change of job and a few re-locations in during the pregnancy. That 9 months and the next 8 when I stayed home were the worst for me and our relationship. Although I’m not sure I was ready to go back to work much sooner than I did, I still remember the first few days back when once again I felt like I could do something competently and confidently! First – Don’t loose what you do well and where you get positive feedback. Consider if you should go back to working someplace outside of the home. Living with someone who can be subtly critical all of the time is very draining. Second – (and here I differ from Kim) do you think you would benefit from an antidepressant if only for short term, to get yourself more resilient?

    I still get drilled about how much I am bringing in financially. No matter how I answer the question it can get distorted and is never quite in the format he wants (usually it digresses into how I should be keeping records of everything I bill on an excel spread sheet for I am paid a % of what my employer collects for my work) I have come to realize that is not the issue (and I am getting better about just diverting the discussion.)

    I’m still hoping that staying will get things better, but I am “in the process, at a fairly rough patch,” so I can just offer support. I deeply believe that divorce is not going to make things better, and that sharing custody with these type of spouses is going to pose most of the same challenges as does living with them. Does it help to engage your husband around what kind of a relationship and role model he wants you and he to be for your children?

    Remember you are not alone, and are far from a failure.

    MR

  136. Allison said

    Joyanne,
    That issue is extremely challenging! I myself have struggled with it for years as well. I have tried explaining to my husband the difficulty getting intimate when he behaves emotionally disconnected, and void. I think it makes me feel like a prostitute to give myself to someone who isn’t at the same time able to connect in that emotional way. And then I leave the situation feeling used and disregarded. My husband has never understood my desire for emotional intimacy and my inability to share myself with him in that way if we have just had an issue, arguement, or are in repair mode (especially because “repair mode” after boundaries have been crossed, can take a while).

    I’m not really sure I can give you any advise, but I can sympathize, as I agree with you and know how hard it can be. I do feel that he has NO RIGHT to bully you, or belittle you at this time. You have EVERY right to decide what feels comfortable and when you feel you want to get intimate is quite personal to you and your own situation.

    I actually got into the very bad habbit of drinking alcohol to mask the feelings of disgust I had for my husband so I could have sex. It was awful!!! I became worried that he would go somewhere else to get it, so I very foolishly decided to degrade myself and behave in an unhealthy way to deal with it. Only, this just brought more problems into my life and I was not “dealing” with my ill feelings at all, I was just running away – and running away solves nothing! I feel much better now that I deal with my issues regarding myself and the narcissistic behavior.

    I actually had to work on this issue of intimacy in therapy on my own with a professional. I became so cold and resentful that I was getting more and more distant and losing myself in the process. I want to try to make our marriage work and to do that I needed to try (as hard as it was) to build something with him slowly and at a comfort level that I was in control of.

    Good luck, and remember that NO ONE has the right to make you feel badly about doing something you are not ok with!

    Allison

  137. Tonya said

    Hey Kim! I just recently joined your website. I have determined that I am the co-dependent one. I think I kinda always knew that but never admitted it. Ok, long story–try to make it short:

    My husband and I have been married for 8 years and been together for 9. For 7 years, my husband has lied to me, verbally and emotionally abused me, he never physically hit me though. I know back in 2006 we are on the verge of divorce and he lied to my family saying bad things about me, which of course they didn’t believe.

    My husband lost his job in Dec. 2007. In April 2008 with moved in with my mother and brother–who is very very verbally and physically abusive (this we didn’t really know until we moved in). After living with him for a year, we finally got our own place.

    Ok: now to the point: My husband quit calling me names and putting me down. He has really changed and is making an effort not to do those things. He is still not there for me emotionally. How do I get past the past and focus on the present and future? There are times when he will say something a certain way and I always want to close myself in. It’s an automatic reaction. When he does yell at me or use that tone, he comes back later and apologizes (something he really didn’t do before). I’m lost and really don’t know where to go from here.

    I’m glad I found your website because I finally found someone who can relate to me and I can relate to them. We have a 5 yr old son and I don’t want to end my marriage. Truth be told though, if I didn’t have my son I probably would have left him a long time ago. Am I wrong for that??

    Please anything you can suggested is truly appreciated.

    Thanks

  138. Kim said

    Hi Tonya,

    The advice in “The Love Safety Net Workbook” will really help you develop a better attachment and better rapport and our new codependence package on our new introductory sales page will help you a lot too.

    It is good he is making progress and these short eBooks will really help you build on that and develop deeper trust.

    I only stayed with Steve because I didn’t have the money to leave and in the past to be honest I used to wish him dead! Now he is so dear to me I could never express it in words so no I don’t think you are wrong for staying because of your son and I also know that there is hope!

    Kim

  139. Laura said

    Allison, I can relate to the feelings of being “used” or “prostituted,” because along with just being emotionally disconnected, my husband is very into pornography. I hate it and secretly long for the day when I’ll be free of him and his perversions!

    I’m not like you, Kim…I am not real sure I want my marriage to work out with this man, because I can’t see how he will ever be anything other than a slob and pervert and abuser. It looks hopeless for him but not for me as an individual.

    Just to share a bit here of today’s fiasco with him.
    He has a chiropractor appt Mon, Wed, Fri at 8 AM. He has been late for his appts ever since he scheduled the first one.

    Today, I woke up close to 8, went and woke up him and he said “what time is it?” I said “8…your appt was at 8.” He asked “Why didn’t you wake me up?” I said, “you are 50 years old, not 14. I should not have to wake you up. That’s what alarm clocks are for!” Then he said, “You should have woken me up!”

    He came upstairs and we got into an argument over the bills he hasn’t paid. I told him, “then you need to get a better job if you can’t pay the bills.” He said, “no, you need to go get a job instead of going to stupid college! It may help in the long run but it ain’t doin us any good now!” (he has jeapardized my chance to go back to 4 different colleges in the past. I’ve told him in the past, if he screws this up, I’m OUT!!! I have a right to an identity and a life free of reliance on a man who chooses to be irresponsible).

    Finally, I said to him, “Roland, you are NOT going to scapegoat me for your irresponsibility.” He said, “it’s your responsibility to wake me up…you were up already so all ya had to do was wake me up.” Then he stomped out the door.

    Last night, I attended a drama about domestic violence and abuse. I’ll tell you, if it weren’t for having a very impressionable 10 year old whose world counts on this illusion that mommy and daddy are happily married, I would have LEFT years ago!

  140. Allison said

    Hi MR,

    Sorry to hear that you are going through a really rough patch right now. I can relate! I’ve been feeling like the work load of managing this disorder is more than I want to take on. I’ve regressed a little over the past couple months and recently decided to take it day by day again and attack it that way.

    When you talk about your situation and your husbands desire to “create” new things in his business I do feel similar. The difference for me is that my husband has not had success yet. He has been in “change” mode for the past several years. Although he only officially started his business in Feb. he has been planning and replanning, renaming, and researching and learning for the past 3-5 years. The past 6 months have been brutal because he has invested (time and $$$) in over 5 different business opportunities and never been able to follow through on any of them. Now he is “doing what he has wanted all along” and swears he will follow through. I guess that isn’t really the issue for me. The issue is the fact that our financial security is at risk now and he won’t address it realistically. He keeps telling me (like he has over and over again over the past 6 months) that the answer to the problem is to bring in income and that is what he is going to do with this most recent business venture. My problem isn’t that I don’t believe him, but that we have NO IDEA how long that will take and there is no guarantee that he will not lose his day job in the process. And our financial problems can not be put on hold. Fortunately, I was able to take some positive steps to get some control over our accounts and he hasn’t yet responded negatively. He seems to be glad to give me the responsibility of the bills and the finances and managing our debt. This worries me though because just a month ago he wouldn’t give me the passwords and gave me a really hard time when I said I wanted to manage the finances for us…. it’s odd that now it seems ok.

    Anyway, I am at the beginning stage of this with him as far as the business goes. I don’t really mind backing off and letting him do his business the way he wants to as long as we are financially stable. The problem is that he obviously doesn’t see me as an equal and therefore I don’t (in his eyes) have the right to make decisions about our finances including his business. So when he makes a financial decision he doesn’t consult me anymore because his experience tells him I will not give in to his every whim and desire and he would rather just have his own way, but recently this has cost us another couple thousand dollars in debt and fees and bounced checks… all of which he says are worth it becasue his education is an investment for our future. I don’t have a say in the matter obviously.

    I’d love your feedback if you are comfortable sharing. What has it been like for you to deal with your N in business? Did your finances go in the toilet? Have you been locked out of your right to make financial decisions that effect you and your children? Has your N been successful in follow through with business decisions, and have they been good deals? My husband gets his supply through this process. All the meetings, all the networking, all the dinners and lunches where he can hear how much people admire him for his determination and hard work… I can’t compete with it. I can’t cut it out of his life, it’s who he is. He would never even consider changing his ideas about his career. I am battling this every day because he spends most of his time feeding his supply which then turns into what a tebbile person I am for not believing in him when every one else does. And of course the more meetings he goes to the more ideas he gets from new people and new groups. I know it’s all part of the npd but I don’t know how to manage it with him persuing it every day.

    Any ideas?

    Thanks,
    Allison

  141. Joyanne said

    Allison, Thank you for your response to my searching for answers about intimacy. I especially appreciated your statement at the end ” No one has the right to make you feel badly about doing something you are not ok with.”
    It is very difficult to desire an intimate physical relationship with someone who yells at you, demeans you and accuses you. I try to tell him this but for some reason he can not see the connection between treating me nicely and making love.
    Thanks for your thoughts.

  142. Shannon said

    I have a couple of question for Steve, if that’s ok. Steve, I listened to your radio show where the two of you where talking about the “Skeleton Woman” story, and you said that at point you had decided to leave Kim. May I ask what did Kim say or doing that made you change your mind? What was it that allowed you to start trusting her again and what led you to finding attractive her to you again. I hope that isn’t too personal. I hope to you understand what you were thinking during that time before things turned around and then how it did turn around for you two.

    On another note, I have discovered that my NPD’r is spending a tremendous amount of time on a dating website. My girlfriend saw his profile online. I guess he doesn’t realize that a person can see when he’s on there without actually clicking on his profile. He is so arduous about how serioius his work is and how important tha he not be disterubed at work, when in fact, he’s spending 2 to 3 hours a day on this date site. I would say this is his fantasy life, clicking through girl’s profiles literally morning, noon and night. I’m doing “snip it” and stop exercise to keep myself from becoming upset. But does one compete with a fantasy world and fantasy life?? I’m real. I’m human and flaud like most people. How does one bring him back into reality?

    My ambission is to disarm this destructive behavior.

  143. Maria said

    Allison,

    I’m happy to share and go through all of your questions. Still feeling rather hopeless here, although I knew this was going to be a stressful and difficult time, in the midst of it I am really wondering why I keep trying with someone who appears to care nothing for me and to be enjoying hurting me. (My empathy is on empty right now, and I am reacting to lots of little things despite my not wanting to do so.) I don’t know if Kim still is maintaining any sort of e-mail “penpal” system, for I am a little anxious about putting too much details out “on the web.” I am fearful that the “public / private” boundary gets blurred for me – because of my own nature and I guess because of my job as well.
    Our timeline has been as follows – we were married in late 1999. My husband left his employment (secure government position) around March of 2001. I had been working an additional position to cover some extra costs because I wanted a house, and I knew I would have an income jump in a few months. My husband had moderate amounts of income from 2001 – 2006 often from other “small consulting type” sources. I think that in 2006 his income was a little greater than his expenses, and after that is has increased.
    My income has always been good, and I have always provided all insurance, benefits etc. I began to decrease my work time after our 2nd child, and more with our 3rd. Only in the past 2 years have we been able to put anything into savings. My husband is less cautious about low ticket item purchases, eating out etc. than I am, and I have had to tolerate this all along (meeting his needs.) He never was reckless or excessive with these. With some minor exceptions he has kept his costs very streamlined as well. Because I knew I could cover our primary expenses the debt never was unreasonable.
    (At some level, I wonder why I feel so hurt with how things are now …)
    His business ideas were not a clear picture and a straight shot from 2001 to now. There is some connection between the areas he always discussed and explored and what he is doing now, but it never was easy to explain to anyone else what he was doing. I guess earlier it was easier for me to handle because I was working long hours, and the critical remarks to me were far less frequent. Juggling working and the first 2 babies 25 months apart kept me busy and distracted.

    >>>Fortunately, I was able to take some positive steps to get some control over our accounts and he hasn’t yet responded negatively. He seems to be glad to give me the responsibility of the bills and the finances and managing our debt. This worries me though because just a month ago he wouldn’t give me the passwords and gave me a really hard time when I said I wanted to manage the finances for us…. it’s odd that now it seems ok. >>>

    I have always manged our taxes – he pretty much ignores them beyond making quarterly payments. It always was a trigger for arguments (I think it made him feel insecure) I have resented this the past 2 years because they are much more complicated and I have to make my best guess around some of the business issues etc. He has generally done our primary bill paying etc. Early on I suggested he do it on line, which he distrusted and generated some arguments between us. Now he does many accounts this way (and has reduced the amount of late fees/penalties etc.) I have offered to do them, most recently when one of my credit cards went unpaid, but he has not accepted. I do not have the on line account password, but I have considered taking back at least my personal credit cards and some other things. When he pushes at me about what I am making, or “checking” about minor charges, I consider this more strongly. His behavior around money is not not consistently “controlling,” but does flair when other stress or anxieties increase for him.

    In general I have come to recognize that when I am over tired, when I am feeling insecure myself, … at those times I get more worried and more reactive. I can also tell when the tension is starting to build between us, he is more critical and more isolating from me … I do know that as he has become more financially successful (essentially no longer needing me) the proportion of the time he is “dis-satisfied” with me has increased. He also knows that those are “my buttons.” Currently it is about 100%. I feel he has been building the scenerio in his mind that he no longer needs me for anything (ie the nannies can be an adequate substitute, especially as he convinces himself I am not good for the children.)

    >>>> The problem is that he obviously doesn’t see me as an equal and therefore I don’t (in his eyes) have the right to make decisions about our finances including his business. So when he makes a financial decision he doesn’t consult me anymore …>>>

    My husband used to talk to me more about what he was doing etc,. Earlier in our relationship I would listen for a long time about his ideas and strategies (I now see as reinforcing for him.) I tried to listen and help, but my mind does not think the same way as his … I am more limited by the traditional models, and if I pointed out the issues I saw, a conflict began and I became “not supportive.” Because he has pointed out over the years about how my comments often seem negative to him, I have tried my best to counter that habit. Prior to my helping him he again tried to discuss a lot. I loved that feeling, because we had started to loose so much shared time, but it also became a set-up for my being inadequate and “reinforced” how I was not smart enough – or he was “better.”
    >>>I’d love your feedback if you are comfortable sharing. What has it been like for you to deal with your N in business? Did your finances go in the toilet? Have you been locked out of your right to make financial decisions that effect you and your children? Has your N been successful in follow through with business decisions, and have they been good deals? >>>
    Any business decisions he makes on his own – I’ve given him full freedom around that. Sometimes the technology “toy,” purchases etc seem excessive to me, but I try and take a big picture perspective and realize they are not so significant. (This has been easier in the last few years.) There have certainly been moderate expenses which were not necessary and not helpful, but at least earlier in our marriage he would explain his strategy to me. I tried to trust his judgement about these. There were a few which were more difficult to support, and these were usually driven by his fear and a desire to try and take excessive precautions (I can explain more by e-mail if needed) I would say that any non-business big financial decisions he has either made on his own (where if I knew about it ahead of time I agreed in part because I was trying to make him feel I was being supportive,) or most he takes a more passive role (leaving me to make the decision and then to be blamed for whatever fault he found in it later.)
    >>>>My husband gets his supply through this process. All the meetings, all the networking, all the dinners and lunches where he can hear how much people admire him for his determination and hard work… I can’t compete with it. I can’t cut it out of his life, it’s who he is. He would never even consider changing his ideas about his career. I am battling this every day because he spends most of his time feeding his supply which then turns into what a terribile person I am for not believing in him when every one else does. And of course the more meetings he goes to the more ideas he gets from new people and new groups. I know it’s all part of the npd but I don’t know how to manage it with him persuing it every day.>>>>

    Oh believe me I understand the narcissistic supply of networking and meetings etc! My husband puts on a conference at this point, and organizes on line panels and meetings etc. Bringing together “high level experts,” can bring you into their circle … the perfect narcissistic position??? Take what you are experiencing and compound it with the fact that the “meetings,” are his! I get caught with a mix of pride for what he has done, and nausea for the hypocracy between the public persona and the one I live with. That has gotten stronger as he has gotten stronger, and I wish I could focus more on the pride.

    Sometimes I wonder if Kim’s strategies will work in our case, because my husband’s biggest failing is in his responsibility to maintain a good relationship with his spouse, and this is easy to blame entirely on me. It is tough to build attachment when he is actively trying to disengage from me. I’m struggling to not be so caught up with my own hurt that I can’t be calmly assertive but rather am over-sensitive to less significant issues. I’m very afraid he is going to leave once this project is done … I do not want that to happen and (my own narcissistic ?) part of me will feel like a failure if he does.

    Hope that helps … and it gave me the opportunity to vent through some things as well. As others have said on this blog before … thanks to everyone … this community has really been a great support and a lifeline while struggling with these issues.

    MR

  144. Allison said

    Hi MR,

    Wow, thank you so much for sharing! I feel like I “know” you better than I know my husband. I guess because your situation has similarities that make me feel “home”. It’s like I can relate to you and understand your situation so much more easily than I can understand the narcissism, because we’ve probably gone through some of the same feelings and the same torture with this disease.

    I don’t think that anyone can truly empathize with a person dealing with a narcissist unless they are dealing with one themselves. That is hard for me becasue I need support on a regular basis, and my family and friends just don’t get it. They try and they listen, but they don’t know what I feel like. Only the victims of narcissism know what it feels like. And there aren’t any support groups that meet to talk around here that are related to npd.

    Anyway… thank you again for sharing, I appreciate your honesty and friendship. One day at a time over here. And that’s all I can do right now.

    Allison

  145. Laura said

    Maybe this is narcissistic of me to say, but I’ve been feeling very ignored on this list lately. Seems I post but nobody responds and they just keep telling their own stories.

    I guess I have a boundary that requires feedback at least once in while, please.

  146. Allison said

    What’s going on with you Laura? How are things? Are you going through an “upswing” or are you dealing with the trauma right now?

    Allison

  147. Allison said

    Laura,

    My husband went ahead and followed through with his newest opportunity and career endeavor. I was unable to get through to him, regardless of my thoughtful and considerate arguements to the contrary.

    He has control of where his $$$ gets spent, blah blah blah! But I have begun to take steps to control the finances at this point…

    How did you have success keeping your husband from moving forward???

    Allison

  148. Neicey said

    Hi Kim and Steve, I am new here. I believe that my husband is a Narcisstic.He is very sucessful with a high professional job. I have observed that he is unable to see his flaws.It seems to build him up when he constantly point out my flaws and faults.He has unresolved issues and pain from previous failed marriages,and he take it out on me.I have tried in a loving ways to help him to be aware of his own behavior but i just wasted my energy and time. I feel that he is afraid to see himself and if he were aware that he has flaws, it will destroy him.He act crazy when he see my flaws and that is not normal behavior.I love him, how can i help him heal so that we can have a strong healthy marriage?

  149. CD, Australia said

    Hi MR,

    Just back arrived back after being away the last couple of weeks – so many postings to catch up on. I was really pleased to hear that you have been listening to Kim and Steve’s Audios in your car while commuting (perhaps you should only listen to Sarah’s relaxation audios when not driving though?).

    I recalled the audio you were talking about and I had nodded my head also – I identified whole heartedly with what Kim and Steve were saying – that when Steve used to appear “easy going” by not negotiating, but later complained about the outcome or events – he was actually being the aggressor.

    My husband does this frequently, he pretends to be easy going when all the time he is setting me up for after-the-fact criticism, saying that “he doesn’t get a say” or “I always do whatever I want anyway”, etc.

    If that were the case why, in the first place, would I ask him every time for the purpose of negotiation what he would like to do with the options/choices we have? It is aggressive behaviour on his part and later (full of self pity and resentment) he will either sulk, make deriding comments about me, others or the event, and/or make remarks about how much he didn’t enjoy himself, and/or that he wanted to do something else, etc.

    I used to become distressed that I had upset him and would try to make amends or placate him. But when I recognised the real problem many years ago and learned to make note of the course of events ready for times of such aggression – I would then recall to him that I did ask for his input and remind him of his response.

    He still does it though – and I am still always careful to say right from the start “is there something you would prefer to do instead?” This leaves the door open for him to negotiate with me, or for him to make a decision for himself. The times I find more difficult to deal with is when he won’t respond at all – it becomes a situation of “I am damned if I do, and damned if I don’t”.

    Nevertheless I have learned over the years to go ahead with what I want to do if I have given him the opportunity to negotiate, and have been given the “easy going response” or the “non-response”, but I do remain prepared for the aggression later. If I give into his mind games “to make him happy”, then I would be handing over control of myself to him, and would be giving him unhealthy attention. I also am entitled to “have a life” filled with pleasant experiences, and to work toward achieving my goals.

    Have you been able to see your son’s head mistress/nun yet? If so, I hope she was able to give you the support and understanding you need during this difficult time – and especially for the well being and pastoral care of your son. Maybe she will be a valuable member of your support network in future?

    With respect to what your husband may be addicted to – maybe it is not substance abuse, porn, gambling or some other vice – maybe it is addiction to fame, fortune and the “limelight” – and his computer/business?

    My husband, to my horror, enjoys and strives to be in the company of the rich and famous – he equates this with success. This company he keeps is frequently filled with people of narcissistic tendencies – each striving to be the centre of attention. Many of them are so fake I just want to “puke”.

    I have often said to my husband I don’t enjoy that sort of company – I love our old circle of friends – the friends we have had nearly all our married life – the ones that are unpretentious, honest and caring.

    However, my husband continues to be drawn to the rich and famous like a “moth to the light” and he has already been burned badly once before, but he is still attracted to that limelight! His obsession with this league of people was really at an all time high during all of last year and coming up to Christmas 2008 – and guess what – he was especially cold, arrogant, rude, disengaged, haughty, sulking, and verbally aggressive toward me during that period of time – talking like a single man leaving me questioning whether he was planning separation and divorce.

    He was also behaving very fake, confabulating,very full of himself and theatrical – like he was so important, entitled, and above everyone and everything. After having learned so much about Narcissism since early this year I now believe that when he finally did say he wanted a divorce but wanted us to continue in business together, and not to have a divorce settlement – that he was wanting to maintain his successful businessman persona and material wealth to stay up there in that league of people.

    Unaware of that possibility due to not knowing about Narcissism, but at the time only out of concern of what was best for me – I had responded that I would not continue in business with him, that we would divorce and our marital assets would be split up hopefully in a fair and amicable divorce settlement. My husband was shocked that I was not just going to go along with what he wanted (I see now as to maintain his “image”).

    I now can see how much I had been used over the years to build our business and financial success – I have put in about 60-80 hours a week since 1983! My husband believes he is entitled to all the credit and accolades of our success instead of sharing it with me – we both have contributed and worked very hard to achieve what we have. His agenda was all along it seems to be rich and famous, a person of power, importance and control – and in doing so he had been exploiting me all along, all while showing very little respect or gratitude towards me – but why should he because I in effect accepted his maltreatment and sacrificed my well-being by doing everything I could to “make him successful and happy”.

    When I said no to his proposal it was like I pulled the rug out from under his agenda – he came back to earth with a jolt – and he then retracted from wanting a divorce. Not prepared for or wanting divorce at the time, and with my father gravely ill, I was an emotional mess, I also opted to stay in the marriage, and to do as much work as I could to build a healthy relationship. My Personal Bill of Rights is extremely important to me – and I have learned how to more assertively protect my boundaries – in return I am being respected more and more as I grow in this area.

    There has been improvement, but I remain exhausted from being constantly on guard against Narcissistic behaviour. I can’t change him – I learned that many, many years ago – I can only change myself and the things in my life that affect me. I found Kim and Steve’s latest radio show on “Facing Your Codependence” very inspiring and I am keen to get their 10 Steps and to work on them.

    “The only difference between a dream and a goal is a time-line.”

    Good Luck and Stay In Touch,
    CD, Australia.

  150. CD, Australia said

    Hi Everyone,

    In recent postings – I have noticed that there have been many people struggling over financial security/control/independence. Is it possible to visit your credit card provider/banking institutions/taxation office/creditors/etc and have your financial affairs separated from your Narcissist?

    Get rid of as many joint accounts/credit cards as possible. Have his name removed from your credit card if he is an additional card holder. If he really needs a credit card he should have his own and be responsible for payment of it too. Get advice from a banker/solicitor/ accountant/etc. Write letters to creditors cancelling credit/trading accounts that are in joint names.

    When purchasing an asset with your money, do so in your own name so it cannot be used as collateral for loans/credit cards & applications, etc in his name.

    I have been fortunate to manage our accounts all these years, and I am trained and qualified to do so. I would be very nervous about giving control of my own financial/taxation affairs to a husband/partner who has narcissistic tendencies (since they are frequently known to be dreamers, high-flyers, always out to get fast or big buck with little concept of reality when it comes to the financial “crunch” and sometimes with questionable honesty).

    I do not advocate that you look after your Narcissist’s financial affairs – but to at least be in control of your own – and not to bail your Narcissist out if he gets into financial trouble – in other words, make him stand on his own two feet by getting him in touch with reality and by making him accountable.

    Taking these steps may encourage him to achieve financial independence from you by getting a real job instead of pursuing “get rich quick schemes”. If he lacks personal or work skills challenge him to develop or improve on those skills by getting educated.

    Also challenge him to learn accounting principles, and methods of book-keeping including computer programs designed for that purpose.

    I appreciate there are varying degrees of financial strain in each relationship, and that there are shared expenses when living together, but seriously I would not let someone who is emotionally immature and full of self-interest manage most or all of my financial income and interests – it is a potential recipe for your own financial disaster all while you may have been working and bringing in an honest income and living modestly yourself.

    “Never do for someone what they could or should do for themselves.”

    Good Luck & Stay In Touch,
    CD, Australia.

  151. Sondra said

    I am glad I found this website. I was married for 38 years, and am now a vibrant, sexy, athletic, engaging 65 year old with tons of confidence.

    I left the marriage in 2003. I, at first blamed him for whatever “didn’t work”. I have since taken responsibility for my contribution. I had covered up my feelings for all those years. I did everything to/for him. I allowed him to passify me with false promises and passive aggressive behavior. We were in counseling for 7 1/2 years. After counseling The overt, abusive behavior ceased.( I don’t ever remember hearing the word narcissistic applied towards my husband.) Our day-day relations were good.

    I have recently become attracted to,in the most compelling way, a man that I am sure is narcissistic to some degree, as well. I have kept a journal for 1 1/2 years and made a note of this red flag early on when I first met him.

    His first wife of one year, committed suicide. His 2nd wife died of cancer. He was in a tumultous relationship – on-again-off-again for 6 years, when I met him. Because of our mutual, varied interests, I saw him several times a week. We did a lot of flirting. I put out bids to him, he put out bids to me. I set up boundaries and would not go to his house because he had too much to drink. I told him another time. In the meantime, he met another gal online,less than a month after his breakup, and he has been with for almost one year. He has cheated on her, he has blamed others and not taken personal responsibility. He claims that the cheating was one time only. He distorts the truth and manipulates. He has been abusive in emails and phone conversations with his women. The current one is in love with him. I tried to talk to her. I am sure he manipulated the situation so that she would not believe me or any “impartial” person who was aware of his cheating. She, in a brief second, told me she was breaking away, but it was sooooo hard. He has all the props and money he needs to woo her back with great nights and vacations, and he does, probably telling her she’s the only one and he loves only her.

    I believe he is just going through the motions with her. She very definately is his NS. She was over-the-top at first, with the overt adulation. I’m sure when it doesn’t continue with the same intensity, that is when they have “issues”.

    I seem to be attracted deeply and unconsciously to narcissistic men. I am working to get the best education I can so that I protect myself. Are those of us who have had troubled families of origin and who are in the helping professions, (teaching or degrees in psychology,) are we more likely to “want to help or fix these wounded birds?” This attraction to him was at a core, very unconscious level. It is still there. I still continue to see him and his girlfriend at group functions. I give “I” messages, which I have used since early counseling. I have boundaries of the behavior I will accept.

    I have gone through EMDR therapy since my divorce, which I think has helped tremendously with my self esteem. I am in a great place. I am establishing boundaries for myself and am learning to be “selfish”. This is HUGE!
    Hopefully, my two, adult sons, will not have their father’s narcissism and my support of that narcissism for so many years affect them too much. I will study their situation with new “eyes”.

    I am learning and growing everyday. I am compelled to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together so that I get a better understanding of who I am. I am on the road to finding a really good, caring, empathetic man! I think I am pretty good at spotting the narcissistic man. One of the first things this latest guy told me on our first date was, “I’ve hurt women. I haven’t wanted to.” That was one of the red flags.

  152. Laura said

    To ALLISON: thank you for acknowledging me. I’m doing ok actually now, but there are times the N’ism just really bugs the crud outta me, ya know?

    This ENTITLEMENT they have really is for the birds! Everyone needs to do his or her share, not expect people to be their slaves just cause they think they deserve it. My husband…ugh sometimes, just ugh.

    I was just feeling ignored in a lot of ways so I appreciate that you dropped me a line. Thank you again.

  153. Joyanne said

    Laura, I can understand your feeling of being ignored. I think maybe not everyone writes back to what someone said here but we read it and think about it. What you said about entitlement and being a “slave” is so true. My husband likes me to serve lunch or breakfast to him in bed. He likes me to stay there with him to provide conversation while he eats too. Most of the time I do not do this unless he is sick.
    My husband is odd though because he can be fairly nice to me for about 2-3weeks a month and then I go through 10 days of pure hell where he, yells at me, puts me down and is demanding. Then when that time frame is over, he slowly becomes somewhat pleasant again but life is still about him. It is his monthly what I call a “snit”. Haha
    He thinks life goes right back to normal after the snit with no apologies or anything. I am saying no to that because the verbal abuse kind of kills emotional and physical intimacy with someone. Everytime he has a reason why it happened the way it did. Everytime he says to me “cant we just forget about the past and move forward?” Sad for him to be so locked into his awful behavior and not be able to see it.
    Hang in there and take care of YOURSELF.

  154. Laura said

    Life right now is very tricky for me. I just found out that I owe $660 from the college I was attending before I switched to a local one. It is to cover tuition that the grants and loans did not cover. My husband said “tell em to sue us cause we can’t pay ANY of it!” So, I wrote and told the lady what he said and explained my circumstances again. I have no clue what will happen next, but God knows and is in control.

    As for my husband, I have not been intimitate with him in some time and I do not sleep with him anymore either. personally, I got sick of being told “all the books say you are supposed to respond THIS way,” as if I am some sort of defective toy. I am tired of being used and made to feel defective, so I sleep alone and actually DO sleep now instead of getting his knee pounding down on my chest when he flips over and it falls on top of me.
    I really still have no clue how Kim and Steve have worked this stuff out…I work it out by TOLERATING this man and doing what I can to remember he is SICK and might never change. Secretly, I long for better days though…I really do!

  155. Joyanne said

    Laura, I try to think of my husband as a child throwing a temper tantrum when he doesnt get his own way. I am struggling with still loving him but not his behavior. I was starting to lose myself because of him verbally beating me down. I think we have to be careful not to lose ourselves while we are waiting and hoping our husbands will change. There is not alot of encouraging material out there about narcissists changing except for Kim and Steve’s.

  156. CD, Australia said

    Hi Laura,

    Although I haven’t directly responded to your posts in the past, I hope that you may have got some support from postings I have made to others. Each one of us here tries to help others by writing about our own lives by sharing our own experiences, frustrations, hopes, strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures (the latter of which I prefer to call “future challenges”).

    Where we have been caught up in the past analysing what makes our partner happy or unhappy and pivoting our life around that analysis, many of us are just in the early stages of shifting our focus onto ourselves and what we need to do to find happiness within ourselves instead of through our partner – all while living with a partner who is most likely not working on their own personal growth (because they have not been sufficiently compelled to do so) and therefore they are continuing to behave with self-absorption , irresponsibility, and perhaps immorality.

    Well done for pursuing your College education – how long before you finish? This is a healthy goal to strive for – hopefully financial strain does not delay you from achieving this goal. Are you fully financially dependent on your husband? If so, would you consider writing to your previous College again and tell them that even though your husband is not able to pay the $660 bill, that you would like to pay when you can and is there some arrangement that you can come to with them? I believe it is important to protect your OWN reputation at all times (even if your husband is taking an opposite stance on the payment of this bill).

    How have you tackled getting the pornography out of your home? It is a difficult one – Kim and Steve have many excellent articles and audios on this. Are you able to draw a line in the sand with your husband? Are you able to tell him that it is not acceptable to you to have pornography in your home? And to tell him that you would like to have an intimate and sexually fulfilling relationship with him, but you feel you cannot because his use of pornography destroys your desire to be intimate with him? Of course, if he is addicted to pornography, he will perhaps not easily let go of this addiction. Try not to be hurt or upset if he does not let go easily – his addiction is not about you – but pursue the fact that pornography is harmful, it statistically destroys relationships, it is two dimensional and nothing more than empty FANTASY. Tell him that you are a REAL person, a warm blooded woman with REAL needs and that he can satisfy you without the need for pornography (said just in case he has feelings of sexual inadequacy) and that you have a lot to give him in return, and that you miss the guy you fell in love with.

    Remain calm and respectful toward him at all times (even though you might feel angry, hurt and frustrated underneath). Pick your time and place, and be well prepared emotionally to tackle this.

    Remember to breathe – and to choose your language carefully, keeping your voice low and controlled – free of blame and ultimatums. You can do this by focussing on what you want for yourself, for your future, your health and well-being. Be clear about your moral standards and what is acceptable to you and what is not.

    If he warms towards you, tell him that you are wanting a healthy and loving relationship with him from now on and for that to happen you want to immediately block access to pornography sites on his computer (if he has a computer that is, and he should not then have the password to the blocking feature). Have pornographic type phone numbers barred from your telephones – including mobiles/cell phones. Get rid of all pornographic books and pictures – burn them, dump them or do with them whatever you want that would be therapeutic for you too – shred them and feed them to the worms and watch your garden grow! Pornography can be an expensive habit/addiction too. If he agrees to your terms – you know what to do next! But remember to forgive and forget, put the past out of your mind, enjoy and heal yourselves day by day!

    If he does not want to give up his pornography addiction – who in your support network would he least like to know about this?? Tell them, and seek their support, and tell him also that you have sought their support if you consider it safe and/or necessary to do so.

    “The quickest way to success is to behave your way to success!”

    Good Luck and Stay In Touch,
    CD, Australia.

  157. CD, Australia said

    Hi Everyone,

    I have just purchased and read Kim’s 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence. In Kim’s established tradition, she has produced yet another powerful tool to point us in the right direction toward emotional maturity and personal success. While I feel like I am mostly on the right track these days, Kim’s material always provides something new for me to consider and/or learn. I can’t wait now to find the time to listen to the 3 audios that come with this purchase. Congratulations & well done, Kim, and thanks again to you and Steve for devoting so much of your lives to help others like me.

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia.

  158. Laura said

    CD,

    Thank you for your post to me.
    First of all, my husband has been addicted to pornography since we first met, so it’s not likely to be something he gives up at all, let alone easily. Porn was how my husband learned about sex in the first place as a child. It is cemented into him.

    Yes, I wrote back to the school and told them that I’d be willing to pay the $660 out of my stipend money from my Living Expense check I’ll be getting from my current college. I thought it was the right thing to do too, but I’m used to bills going unpaid by him. If it weren’t for my brother in law paying our back taxes and buying our house and property back, we would not have a house right now…a guy bought the back taxes and we were about to lose our house not long ago.
    This man I married has ruined friendships, destroyed job opportunities and careers for me, killed pets, and basically, I do not WANT to love him or work things out…I just sometimes want OUT!!! That’s where I’m at now.
    I’m glad things worked out for Steve and Kim, but I do not even have money to buy any audios from them, because my husband will not go and get a better job that covers basic living expenses so the bills are paid on time.
    People who are not truly married to narcissists, seem to still think they respond to normal threats, or reasoning, or gentle words…they just don’t…they do not care and they rarely change! I just want to get my college degree, land an awesome job, grow my youngest daughter up, and LEAVE here.
    Thanks for your caring comments, everyone

  159. jacky said

    Hi Kim
    Im new to this site and have found it very helpful wish i had found it sooner.My husband of 18years has been a complete nightmare. We were told that he had Narcissim about 3years ago which i had never heard of before and he felt that there wasnt anything wrong with him but it was all me. I was a full time mum for 15 years of our marriage and found that things started to go wrong once i had started to work and found Jacky again. I still included him in my work new friends but it still was not enough. i left him 15 months ago as i didnt have the knowledge tht i have now and move a few streets away with our youngest daughter. Im finding myself still drawn into his web. For the last five months we have progressed from shouting to talking he tells me that he still finds me attractive and still love me but he cant trust me for walking out on him and for leaveing the two teenagers with him, i asked my other two children if they wanted to come but they choose to stay the children and i have a very good relationship. i have kept my door open to them and they come and visit whenever they like. i have tried to do birthdays family gatherings with their dad at my home to let them see that we can talk but this has been one sided. My husband has a girlfriend which has an on of relationship and he has lied about her and said that its not serious. We have gotten intermit and he knows how i feel but i always ended up been hurt, as i would love to get help and tell him about his problem and to put all the wrong things right but whenever we touch on this he goes in the opposite direction. He still likes to know how i spend my spare time and although i have told him that im not interested in finding another relationship im continuosly asked. Why do i still have feeling for this guy after the way he treats me and the verbal abuse that comes with it. we have know each other for 22years half of my life has been spent with this person. Its coming up for another weekend he has our daughter and im on my own , i havent made many friend and the ones that i have made all have families. i have done counseling on my own and it has helped but it hasn’t given me the answers. I feel lost and along

  160. CD, Australia said

    Hi Laura,

    In my situation, my goal is to take back from my narcissist my power over myself because I learned many years ago that I was powerless over his addiction to alcohol and the behaviour associated with it which is narcissism.

    Every time I reacted to his unacceptable behaviour with anger, tears, disrespect, yelling and screaming, not only did I widen the rift that had developed between us over his addiction, but I also gave my power away to him when I had misguidedly thought that my yelling and screaming should knock some sense into him. It never did. In fact he used my behaviour to justify his own. I also must have looked very unattractive to him – and I know in myself that I did not like losing my temper, dignity or grace – but being emotionally immature at the time – I would lose it only to regret it later, and I would suffer deep remorse and guilt while taking full responsibility for the crisis – cycled with justifying my behaviour by saying to myself (and sometimes to him) “but he MADE me lose my temper”. In actual fact no-one MAKES us do anything – we CHOOSE our own behaviour – they way we react negatively or the way we respond positively or assertively.

    It took a long time for me to accept that I have no control over his addiction – I cannot change him, only he can change himself. So where did that leave me? Powerless? Hopeless? Trapped? Then many years ago after a long period of self-growth in Al-Anon, I gradually learned that I was powerless over him but I was not powerless over myself, that there was hope for ME, and that led to freedom whether I stayed in the marriage or not.

    As I changed my attitudes and priorities, and became more secure within myself – no matter what external forces threatened that security from time to time – I regained my power over myself. My codependence increasingly diminished and I was then able to take a stance on not caretaking my husband. For example – there had been many times when he arrived home so drunk that he wasn/t able to scratch himself even if he wanted to, he was incoherent, horribly abusive and physically intimidating.

    Then one day, after having learned in Al-Anon how to find solutions to my problems, I informed him calmly and clearly in a respectful way while holding eye contact, that if he was arrested for drink driving I would not bail him out. He thought I was joking at first, but I held eye contact and he soon realised that I meant what I said. He has taken great care since then not to over-indulge if he is going to drive – however I would think he would be over the limit most of the time – but my stance has not changed because of a reduction in his alcohol consumption.

    This was the first of many stances I had to take against his alcoholism, and each time I did I could literally see guilt on his face – that he knew he had a problem (even though he constantly denied it), and that the problem was now RESPECTFULLY being put squarely back on his lap to deal with – and most of the time he lifted his game.

    Now I don’t want to take any credit, nor be given any credit, for any changes he has made in himself – that credit belongs to HIM. He may have made changes in response to my stances, but he had to make that choice for himself BY HIMSELF.

    I realised many years into the marriage that he would have been an alcoholic when I married him, but back then I thought it was something he would grow out of like the rest of us. Unfortunately he did not. His addiction is just the same as any other addiction. I did not cause it, and I cannot change it, but I had to learn how not to perpetuate it.

    I did however change myself from having sought my happiness through him in the past, to finding happiness within myself. My power to do that in part lies within defining clear boundaries of what is and what is not acceptable behaviour to me, and what the consequences will be for unacceptable behaviour that I will put into action. Just the same way we parent a child in a healthy way. We should not deliver the consequences of unacceptable behaviour to a child by yelling and screaming at them, nor beating up on them, nor by belittling or putting them down, nor other negative type reactions. We should deliver our consequences in a clear and respectful way, keeping our voice low and controlled. This applies to our life partner as well – whether narcissitic or not – they are human beings just like us, with shortcomings just like us.

    I know my husband suffered emotional and verbal abuse as a child and (I witnessed it) when he was a young adult from his narcissistic father. It is no wonder he has had huge problems with his own negative, abusive and offensive behaviour through his adult life – and he has hidden his true-self all these years behind a mask of over-confidence, self-assurance and inflated ego. He constantly reacts to external forces – he cannot cope with any level of constructive or negative criticism – but he sure can dish negative criticism out with a hide as thick as a rhinosaurus to take the focus off himself!

    Recently he has admitted to having had a very bad gambling addiction too in the early years of our marriage which I didn’t know about – but it sure explains now why I was given very little money at the time to feed and clothe the family and pay the bills – sometimes we were in very dire straits. It also explained the aggression he had towards me (out of guilt, inadequacy & fear of exposure) if I asked back then where all the money was going besides on alcohol and cigarettes – which was bad enough without gambling too. It was a nightmare. It wasn’t until I got control of the finances when we started out in business together that things improved. There were times when he would steal money from me – even before we were married – and blame it on a “break and enter” when there was no evidence of that – but I was so trusting/codependent that I believed him! That never happened again when after yet another “event” I tried to call the police in to investigate – he stopped me – he said there was not enough money missing to worry about it – if only I knew then as much as what I know now I would have followed through with the police! We did have a real robbery some years later though and the police were called in!

    I agree with you Laura, we cannot change our narcissist. But I expand on that belief that our narcissist can change themselves when sufficiently compelled and inspired to do so. It is not our job to “save” or “fix” them, but if we choose to stay in the relationship, even for a short distance, isn’t it better to look for more positive interaction?

    The narcissist must suffer the consequences of his actions – he must not be protected. If my husband’s actions affect me negatively then I must find a way to deal with it positively to protect my OWN health, safety and well-being. It is not easy!

    Through your subscriber link to thelovesafetynet.com website you will find many audios that are free for download when Kim and Steve used to broadcast on Internet Radio Australia. These audios are extremely good – I hope you will listen to them and find them as valuable as I did whether or not you stay in your relationship.

    Click on “The Love Safety Net Radio – Our popular archived radio shows”
    On the next page scroll down and click on “Go to archive”
    On the next page you will see and extensive range of free radio shows to select from and download.

    Some of the shows still say “coming soon” and I hope they do because I have found all the ones available of great value.

    I have suggested in previous posts to others to record these shows to CD and play them on their car stereo when commuting – effective use of travelling time while learning about co-dependence & narcissism.

    Good Luck and Stay in Touch,

    CD, Australia.

  161. Joyanne said

    Hi CD
    I greatly appreciated your last email and found it helpful because I am still trying to figure out how to balance love and consequences. The consequences seem to be easier to meter out but the love in my heart for my husband seems to be disappearing. I am not sure how you found that balance of staying in love and giving consequences lovingly to someone who is verbally/emotionally abusing you?
    Any insights will be appreciated.

  162. CD, Australia said

    Hi Joyanne,

    That is a very good question constantly on the minds of everyone who posts to this website, including me.

    My self-analysis is that when I met my husband 34 years ago, I fell in love with the man I believed to be his authentic self – kind, sensitive, humorous, charming, trustworthy, strong, intelligent, talented, independent, hard-working, adventurous, handsome, attractive, loving and much more. He still has all of those qualities in him, and I continue to love him for those qualities.

    When I married my husband I believed my love for him would conquer the difficulties he had with his father and his deep hurt associated with that, and the difficulties he already had with his alcohol abuse that I naively thought he would grow out of. Many years later I was to discover that he used, and was addicted to, alcohol to escape from his pain. He also was addicted to cigarettes but gave that up when our children were small.

    My love for my husband was real, but the nurturer in me also wanted to heal his pain, heal the hurt child in him and that was the co-dependent in me (which I did not know what that was back then) that just wanted to make him happy so we could both be happy. I would care-take, protect, beg, abuse, love, hate, cling, abandon and so on. The more I clung onto that fantasy and pointless behaviour the stronger his alcoholism/narcissism developed and the more our relationship deteriorated.
    Serious damage had then been caused to the original love and attraction we had for each other, we had lost respect for each other and most of all we had lost sight of our true selves – our authentic selves.

    History has it now that we both had just lost our way in a downward spiral of emotional immaturity and unhealthy ego. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a perfect marriage and life, but it had become a living hell until I found my way into Al-Anon and it took me a long time to learn, let go, soul search, forgive, shift my focus onto me and my goals, emotionally grow and mature, love and respect myself again, command instead of demand respect, and so on.

    Getting real and finding our authentic selves and striving to achieve our individual goals is the true path to a fulfilling life and loving relationships, and the more we succeed at that the more chance we have to heal our relationship, and the more chance we have to build trust and attachment. This is also a time when we reassess why we are in the relationship, how can we love if our partner continues to abuse us? Each one of us has to find our own answer to that. My answer to me is not simple. Firstly there is a bond there that wavered (but did not disappear entirely even though at times I thought it might) with my self-growth over the years. Secondly each time I protect my boundaries assertively and respectfully, he responds positively more often than not these days. Thirdly, not only is he my lover and my husband, the father of my now adult children, but he is my business partner and many people depend upon us for their livelihood – it is not a decision to take lightly to go our separate ways, and if there is a chance that we can rise above this disorder, then we will strive for that. Finally he has been mostly operating at the level of unhealthy “ego” all his life, and it is not easy for him to change, and he has been questioning his behaviour and motives since I have followed Kim and Steve’s program and protected my boundaries in a clearer and more positive way.

    I still love the man I fell in love with and continues to be (in between bouts of projected hurt and abuse). I wrongly believed I could heal the hurt child in him back then. I no longer believe I can do that now, but I can provide a safe and predictable environment for him to heal and grow in – if and when he chooses to do so. Children test healthy boundaries, but trust healthy boundaries also when they are enforced with respect and tough love. Children respond well to respect. The same works for the child in an adult too.

    I am also prepared to leave the relationship, even while still loving him, because I know full well that alcoholism is a progressive disease and despite his and my best efforts to stay together, we may have to part ways – not the outcome I would like, but the choice I may have to make for my own health and well-being.

    There is no such thing as “perfection” because we humans are never perfect, and while we may give our best until we know better, each of us are entitled to be accepted for not being perfect, and being forgiven for making negative choices along the way.

    Good Luck and Stay in Touch,
    CD, Australia.

  163. CD, Australia said

    Hi again Joyanne,

    Just thought I would give you the short answer version of my last post, there is a saying that goes something like this:

    “You cannot truly know and love another until you first truly know and love yourself”.

    If you find your current form of love disappearing it is because you are finding out who you really are – your authentic self, and you are establishing and protecting your healthy boundaries more assertively now, and perhaps setting new goals for yourself. The form of love that would be disappearing is the unhealthy type of love. Any healthy form of love you have between you will gradually grow – there will be setbacks as change can “rock the boat” periodically for a while – and you will probably find yourself exhausted many times from practising “tough love” while perhaps needing huge amounts of patience (which is a virtue).

    You will probably also find yourself reassessing your relationship many times over while you are growing and becoming stronger – none of us can know the future until we get there – but we need courage to accept the things we cannot change, and courage to change the things we can no matter what the outcome. (It is important to remember though that we can only change ourselves and “things” – we cannot change other people, only they can do that for themselves – and they may or may not do that in response to positive changes in ourselves.)

    Good Luck and Stay in Touch,
    CD, Australia.

  164. Joyanne said

    Hi CD
    I read both of your posts several times to let them sink in. I have been going to counseling alone and I am making changes and maybe like you said that is why I feel differently. You are right about me setting new boundaries because I have had to work in that area.
    It felt good to hear you say put into words an explanation for the changes in my life and who I am.
    My husband I have been married only 18 mo. He has been verbally abusive monthly during that time mostly directed at me when we are alone. He recently changed that when he yelled at my daughter for asking for a piece of pizza. I had to ask her to leave the room and I asked him to stop yelling at her so he yelled at me instead. I stood my ground and when she was out of the room I walked away and told him we could discuss it another time when he was not so into it emotionally.
    This past weekend was way over the top with him verbally attacking me and calling me stupid in front of my teenage daughters. They of course told him I am not stupid and it is wrong for him to treat me that way. So he turned on them and verbally abused them and in the process called them stupid also. I made a quick decision to get out of the house. We had to take the dog and went to a friends house for a few hours to let him calm down. We never know when he will be in this spiteful mood.
    He is also bi-polar and has NPD. I am ready to give him an ultimatum of going back to his psychiatrist and getting his meds adjusted and we go to marriage counseling or we separate and he moves out. ( This is my house.)I have talked to his bro-in-law who is married to his bi-polar sister who has had to take a similar stance.
    I know I love him but I also love myself and my girls. I know that I can’t continue life this way. It is not good for me or good for my daughters.
    I am going to write out what I want to say because he interrupts me, talks over me and interrogates me to the point I forget my thoughts. LOL ( have a good sense of humor and that gets me through alot.)Not that I don’t cry, but I never cry in front of him anymore.
    Thanks so much for putting that all into words, CD! And to EVERYONE here who shares their thoughts and lives. Its kind of like getting together with a bunch of girlfriends and sharing. We may not always have anything to say but we read the things you have wrote and we feel your pain through our own heartaches. We ponder what we have read and glean what we can for our own lives.
    thanks
    take care

  165. Linda said

    Kim:

    I am a 64 year old mother of a very serious narcissistic 42 year old son. He has also been diagnosed bi-polar but refuses to accept that diagnosis or take the Lithium prescribed for his illness. I found your sight while googling, in an effort to seek support for myself. Most of your information is on a marital relationship between the narcissist and spouse. Are there any sites for parents of adult children who have this problem? I relate to the spouse vs spouse, my relationship with my son is exactly how you describe it. I could choose to walk away from my son but I have three grandchildren who are suffering daily from his problems.

    He constantly makes me feel like I am the crazy one and it’s not easy to convince myself that I am not. His dis-respect and his control issues have been worse as my husband and I get older. He uses his 6 year old daughter as his weapon against us and it is so hard trying to figure out how to help ourselves, muchless him.

    He is an absolute mad man, got any suggestions?

    Linda, Houston

  166. CD said

    Hi Joyanne,

    Something else that may help you is to listen to Kim and Steve’s radio program called “Ultimatums” and it is found on the Lovesafetynet.com website as a free download. I wrote to Laura on this page recently showing how to find this and other extremely good radio shows on Kim & Steve’s Lovesafetynet website. After listening to that show I really find it easier to remain focussed and to address my husband’s aggressiveness from a different level.

    You obviously are dealing with a very difficult double-whammy by the sound of it with your husband having a combination of Bi-polar and NPD. He must feel very out of control and inadequate at times, especially when in company – being aggressive makes him feel “in control” which obviously he is not.

    Good luck and stay in touch,

    CD

  167. Allison said

    Hi,
    I’m having a really hard time getting over this latest indiscretion and trying to coexist with this man who repulses me at the moment. I have discovered in therapy that I value “family” right now over the value to have a “partner” and that is why I am still hammering away at this. Most of the time lately though it feels like I’m living as a single mother anyway, exept I get tortured by his crazy behavior and can’t run away. I guess it feels worse. If I am going through this anyway on my own AND EVEN WORSE he’s around to “aggrivate” the situation it’s worse than being alone, I feel.

    I do need his financial support right now so that really sucks. I keep thinking back to all those times my mom tried to encourage me to gain my independence and I cowered and continued to rely on him for everything… what a mistake in retrospect. Oh well.

    I can’t seem to let go of the fact that he got his hands on my credit card and bought into another business opportunity. I have taken many steps to rectify the situation, but the fact remains that now he is moving forward in a different direction so full of his narcissistic supply that I am horrified. I can’t change the fact that he did what he did, but I can’t let go. I can’t look at him, I certainly can’t touch him, and I have no respect for him at the moment. I am disgusted by him in all accounts. This has been going on for almost a month now and I’m stuck. I don’t want him to live here anymore and I don’t want to see him.

    I’m so angry and I don’t know what to do to get centered again. I can’t find my patience. Every time he goes out “to a meeting” to “work on a deal” to do all of the things I let him know I was NOT supportive of at this time I lose it. I want to let go and coexist with him without the disgust because it’s eating me alive. I go to the gym and feel better for taking care of me, I go out for dinner with friends, I work on out finances, but as soon as I see him I feel repulsed. I don’t know what to do… Any advise?

  168. Allison said

    You know what Laura,
    I feel like you do right now I think… the entitlement is so ridiculous. I keep meaning to go back and read that book that really helped me over the summer but I have been so busy trying to manage the downfall lately. Even when I take time for me I can’t escape him. Every step forward I take he throws me back at least three. I’m drowning in this disease at the moment. I know why I stay, obviously he’s still worth something to me. I’m beginning to get really scared that the damage our relationship is doing to our 2 young girls is far worse that a divorce would be…

  169. James said

    Hi, I’m a codependent husband and I’ve also seen the tendencies for that narcissistic thing in me too. I had a real hard time to come clean to my wife these addictions I had, but God said the only way I could get free was to tell her the truth. I told her and it freed me and I haven’t had those particular problems, but I see the fear of comeing clean as an almost imposible thing. This fear is how it can take over someone who is codependent because they are afraid of losing the ones they care about. I really don’t understand how people can just not care about the feelings of the people in their life. I have seen it, I just don’t get it. I thought my wife would be close enough to the truth to come down off of her high horse, but she didn’t even like the fact that I was studying this stuff and she didn’t care who wrote it. She just thinks that sycology (how ever it’s spelled) is a load of crap. She does admitt that she is mean to our kids and I, but says if we don’t like it she could just leave since she’s the problem (of course she somehow turns it around to be a sarcastic statement and makes the kids and I to have the problem). It’s obviosly our incompadence that makes her superier to us. She says of course I’m not perfect, I’m just better at everything than you. She is a wonderful woman in public as long as I let her lead, but she says I’m not smart enough to run things as good as her. (I know that’s not true, but what’s actually happening is she wants it done her way and don’t care what is right or wrong). Any way I know there is hope and was encouraged to hear other people go through the same stuff. (not that I’m glad anybody else has to experiance this, but that I’m not alone).
    Thanks and don’t ever give up!!!

  170. Laura said

    As I read your post, James, everything in me is screaming 2 things: Get counseling and Get out (or at least remove the children from that situation).

    The damage that occurs to our children as a result of living with people who are mean to them, is almost beyond repair in the later years.

    I think maybe it’s time to ask yourself what the pay-off is for staying with this woman. It’s one thing if the spouse abuses his “equal” (the other ADULT), but when the abuse starts touching the children, it’s time for a huge change, ultimatum, help, something!

  171. Laura said

    Kim and Steve, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about how Steve’s narcissism affected your children if you have children. Please share if so.

  172. Hi Shannon,
    I apologise for taking so long to reply. The best answer I can give to your first question of “what happened when I decided not to leave” is best answered in our radio show here,

    http://www.globaltalkradio.com/shows/lovesafetynet/program7.php

    There is a transcript to read or a radio show to stream.

    The issue of dating sites is a real problem. If you and he have a strong attachment, he does not need this service. I know that there is a big temptation for guys (and girls) to test the water to see if they can still attract the opposite sex. However, if you and he are to survive this profile has to be removed and his attention and efforts need to be re-focused back into home. I am not sure exactly how to initiate this. When Kim found me talking with other women on-line, (social networking, not a dating site, but not really much difference) she sent a very polite and revealing letter to the particular woman I was talking to. It was rather embarrassing for me, and I learned my lesson. Very sobering. I am a lucky guy, Kim continued to show her affections to me and that made a difference.
    Steve

  173. HI Laura,

    Answering- “Kim and Steve, I don’t think I’ve ever read anything about how Steve’s narcissism affected your children if you have children. Please share if so.”

    Yes, I could talk about this for days. My poorest narcissistic behaviour marginalised my family in nearly every way, financially, socially, emotionally, you name it. The simple answer is that narcissism is very much a ‘moving against’ style. This concept is from a book called “The Friendship Factor” by Alan Loy McGinnis. This behaviour describes how one person will pull away from the team (ie the family), and that is how I would behave. It was a bad example for my kids and our oldest son is very much caught in the same kind patterns now. We are competing with a huge amount of supply he is getting from high school and he is beginning to pull away from us in more ways than one. Our 11yo daughter is showing similar signs, yet she is more attached to us.
    The kids are part of the team and in many ways they mimic the worst in us, which is infuriating, yet it is a good lesson for us.

    Steve

  174. CD said

    Hi James,

    I so admire your strength, courage and wisdom. I also wonder how long you have been studying this program – you are obviously a thinker, and now a doer – maybe male co-dependents “get it” quicker because men tend to think with logic rather than with their emotions – this is a well recognised thing in psychology (your spelling makes more sense – what’s with the “p” in front of this word anyway?).

    Without exception, our experience in life is limited, and we may experience difficulties, so as human beings we reach out to others for help (if we are not too proud or too stubborn to take help that is). We search and search for answers according to the outcome we want – you obviously love your wife and in making the changes in yourself to improve your self-respect and self-worth you will one day COMMAND respect from your wife (which is different from “demanding” respect).

    You are right that we fear to tell our partner the truth for fear of losing them, and I also think because they may become self-righteous, enraged, and bullying. You are also very, very right – the truth will set you free. You have admitted to your addictions and done something about it – and that takes great personal courage and strength, and faith in a power higher than yourself, which in your case is God.

    You may find more shortcomings in yourself that you may want to change or improve upon for YOURSELF – but this does not mean that your shortcomings are the cause of your wife’s bad or inappropriate behaviour. Your wife, if narcissistic, operates from the level of unhealthy ego and may use, or have used, your shortcomings as a “get-out” clause from having to face her own shortcomings.

    As you face your shortcomings and grow in a healthy way, the dynamic in your marriage will change, your wife will become more exposed to her own shortcomings, and she may ultimately find herself having to own and face up to her own shortcomings.

    Kim and Steve said in one of their old radio shows, their children saw Kim operating from a position of strength (built from facing the truth) and their children learned good values from that, and they leaned mostly on Kim – the parent with honest and trustworthy strength – until after Steve faced his narcissism, developed into a person of honesty and trustworth strength, and they eventually built a strong and healthy marriage and family unit.

    The point is that you are working on improving your self-worth and self-esteem with positive and honest self-growth, and there will come a time when you will believe in yourself enough that you will deflect ALL negative criticism, insults and put-downs from those who are emotionally immature and perhaps spiritually bankrupt. But you will also remain compassionate and have empathy towards those that use such behaviour to mask their own personal struggles.

    It is interesting that your wife admits to being mean to you and your kids – she is admitting to a shortcoming. But she goes on to say if you don’t like it she will leave you and the kids. That is her “get-out” clause from having to face her own shortcomings. I couldn’t count how many times my husband has used this sort of emotional blackmail over me in years gone by – but he has never left, not for more than a couple of days or so anyway, but always leaving full of drama and making a dramatic return saying he cannot sleep, using all sorts of emotional appeal/blackmail to get back in the door! I have looked harder at this emotional blackmail of threatening to leave, and decided that this was used because it worked ON me and worked FOR him!

    Analysing that emotional blackmail further, what the narcissist is really saying is “I have this problem, and I feel powerless, and I don’t know what to do about it, because I might have to take my mask off and get out of my comfort zone and change my beliefs and attitudes, and I am scared of change, because I am always right and I am better than everyone else, and I am a fun person to be with and I don’t know how I will survive in a world that I don’t trust and may trust even less if I change.”

    I therefore do not respond to the emotional blackmail of abandonment anymore. To do this I had to make changes in myself, and one of those changes was to face my fear of abandonment and rejection once I revealed that fear in myself (it is interesting though that the narcissist in my husband saw and manipulated that fear in me before I saw it in myself). In not responding to that emotional blackmail, I have taken away that narcissistic tool of manipulation, and left my husband wondering when he threatens abandonment “What do I do now? I don’t want to leave, she is not biting, but I have made this statement that I do not want to follow through on…”.

    After a while of me not biting, he stopped threatening me with this for a long time, until last Christmas and I got caught up in it again. However, he did have real and not-so-real issues about the marriage, and he was perhaps very serious about leaving, but when it came to the crunch – he didn’t leave. He didn’t believe in all “that psychology crap” as he calls it too, but he did agree to marriage guidance counselling (after 34 years of marriage) and we did benefit from that strong male marriage guidance counsellor’s sessions.

    He may leave one day – but I will be OK if he does because I can emotionally stand on my own two feet now.

    I hope you stay in touch, James, it is good to hear from a guy in this situation that clearly displays not only intellect and emotional intelligence but compassion towards his wife and others – and take heart – things may get worse for a while, but they will get better as you truly work this program.

    Take care,
    CD.

  175. Laura said

    Thank you Steve for talking more about the affect of narcissism on the children in your family.

    In my case, I started marriage with a daughter who receive most of the physical abuse before the age of 4, until I finally put my foot down and refused to allow my husband to do it anymore to her. Unfortunately, there was a huge gap in bonding between my eldest daughter and him (she was not biologically his either)

    Next, my 2nd daughter was vicious from the start. When I would scold her as a young toddler, she would turn and start hitting her older sister. I believe this was a form of “displaced aggression” and even later, projection on her part. She was one who would refuse to help me and then when her father came home, sweetly say “why didn’t you tell me you needed help. I would have helped you.” Unfortunately again, these types of young narcissists-in-the-making learn quickly how to pit parent against parent. In our case, I was the weaker one for too long, controlled by both my husband and her in many ways till she moved out with my granddaughter.

    My 3rd daughter is reclusive, home-schooled, somewhat socially phobic, but we have a good relationship providing she isn’t with her older sister for too long. She is my “right-hand-man” in a lot of ways and is currently struggling to learn anything she can from highschool with a mental block.

    My youngest is the outgoing one of the family. She is bubbly, funny, a singer, friend to several. She is the little “light” in the darkness here, and I have to be careful of her feelings because she takes things very personally. She begged me to stay with her father because she loves us both and doesn’t want us to fight anymore, so…..what can I say…I stayed, yes, FOR HER! I couldn’t bare to break her heart while she was too young to put her world back together if it fell apart.

    I’m a child of divorce and I had an awful time trying to convince myself that I wasn’t the cause of it all. I didn’t want that for her.

    ~Laura

  176. James said

    I spent some time last night responding on here, but I stoped for a while because my wife was attacking me and my coputer shut down while I was away. The whole message was gone. Well it was theraputic to type it down anyway.

  177. James said

    to clearify my first message, the type of abuse I’m dealing with here is verbal and expressive mostly. She has started to beat me up once, but because I don’t hit females, she got made that I wouldn’t hit her back. She really hasn’t done it since then. I reallized today that the source of her problem was her step dad (he’s way worse than her). I did know years ago that she was abused this way when she was growing up, I just never connected the two. My oldest son (13) has the same problem. He is always bossing every one around (including me, but not my wife)I’ve had to punish him for bullying our other kids (hurting them because they won’t do as he tells them). I always thought he was just disrespectful and strong willed, but last night when I was trying to explain to my wife that her yelling was abusive, he walked in on us hearing what I was saying. He then laughs at me, telling me that I must be pretty stupid to think such things. He has never accepted me as his dad even though I’ve been his only dad for 9 years of his life.

  178. CD said

    Hi James,

    Have you had a chance to listen to this week’s Globaltalkradio show from Kim and Steve with guest Maria Rodowski yet? The show is called “The Roots of the Dance”. It is excellent for shedding more light on narcissism and particularly narcissism in teenagers within the family unit.

    Cheers
    CD

  179. Marcia brown said

    Could I have some advise re my situation. I asked my narcissist husband to leave and I feel I have made the situation worse but I just could not cope with the abusive behaviour all my friends think I’ve done the right thing but I’m not so sure. What can I do to get stronger and win him back ?

  180. James said

    No I haven’t had any time to listen to much of anything, because I’ve been to busy with the other problems I’ve been having. The economy claimed my job in Sept. and that’s claiming our house. We’re getting evicted right now so I’ve been having to pack, but I’ve been crying mostly. I do have good news though! My wife said she had enough of me trying to keep her accountable. (not letting her yell at the kids. I’ve been interupting her when she starts yelling and telling her that “I’m suppost to handle this stuff and it’s getting you to frustrated anyway so why don’t you go calm down and let me take care of it.”) Well she blew up at me a few hours after my last entry. I had went to the park accross the street from our house for a walk around the track. (walking really soothes me) I already had the kids to sleep and washed the dishes and swept the house. She was watching T.V. the whole time and seemed happy. (laughing at whatever she was watching.) Well; as I was walking back towards the house I noticed her standing in the driveway. I was taken by suprise when she started yelling at me from accross the street about how I’d rather be at the park than to be at home with her. Then she turned around and said she had enough of my stupidity and she was going to leave me. She said no one ever told her what to do and I wouldn’t be the first. She was saying since she couldn’t handle the kids she would leave the younger ones with me and send the older ones to their birth dad. (who by the way we havn’t seen since Jan. of 2001 or heard from him at all except once in 2006 wanting the social security #’s from the girls so he could claim them on his taxes. He never once sent her anything and wouldn’t even let us find him.) So I told her “fine; if that’s what you think will fix your problems, but I bet you’ll just find out that it will only follow you around where ever you go. I’m not sure how we got from their to the next, but the next thing I know she’s crying and going on about how sorry she was for being so mean to me and asking why didn’t I just leave her so many years ago. I told her that I love her and always have. these problems she is having isn’t her I can see it come and go. And besides; who else is going to help her through it. well; some how we got through it and went over all the great things about our relationship. We both healed so much (sometime around 3-4 this morning). She said she didn’t want to admit I was right because she couldn’t accept what I had been telling her, but as she was contimplating leaving she had this flash back of how cold the look was in her first husband looked her in the eyes and said the same thing she had just told me. well; the more she thought about it the more she started to see that she was treating me like her first husband had treated her in so many ways. Any way I’ve got to send the kids to school, I’ll write more later.

  181. Patrick said

    Hi Kim, I recently found your website after many years of searching. I am so grateful. I have been married for 18 yrs and unfortunatly my wife suffers from I beleive is NPD. I had no idea of NPD until recently. A pyscologist suggest something to me that inspired me to research, it was this research the I found out what narissism was. It was both a blessing to discover it and devestating read what the future can hold for both of us.
    Up until a few years ago I was a strong person, successful, happy and had self confidence. I am now an absolute mess. I spend most of my lifetime self employed with my own business. I sold it a few years ago thinking our family had a very secure future and I could spend more time focusing on our family.

    I made a dreadful mistake and invested most of our money into a family travel business with my wife as my partner. As you can likely predict the business was a absolute failure. After three years I have lost all my self confidence, self esteem and most of proceeds from the sale of my business. From my wife perspective the only impact of the business failure is a change in her narissism… for the worst, and I am now caught what seems is a hurricaine of issues and just do not know where to start. I feel completely defeated. I find it hard to even function with day to day tasks. Everyday I am confronted with a situation. I know I am now parinoid, I cannot distingish any truths and see my whole life collasping. I am losing my kids, friends and family. There is no empathy. AS I fall deeper in dispair, and I know it is evident from comments from friend and family, my wife is more critical of me than ever. I have finally realized she actually enjoys expoiting me and seeing me fall. Yet at the same time she turns on the charm.

    I would love nothing more than spending the whole day laying out my story, knowing I have found this wonderful resource, But I would like to speak to two current issues that are most important to me, in hopes I can get advice. If I can move forward on these two, I think I will see some light.

    1) We managed to sell what was left of our travel business 1 yr ago. At that time, we both had the opportunity to work for the lady that bought our business. I decided it was best not to work selling travel for the time being, thinking my wife needed the break from me and it was best for her. At that time the door was left open for me to return.
    Once my wife starting working in this new office, she found her new Narssistic fix. She has since had one affair that I know of, her narissim has escalated x 10. Although I have a job now, it is not want I want to do forever. I want to go back and sell travel again for myself. I do not want to work where she works, just sell travel somewhere else. She is forbitting me from doing so, theatening to leave me and take kids if I do. I think she considers me a threat in someway as I was quite sussessful.

    2) She is alienating me from my kids. They are 14 and 16. I had always believed she was a great mother. She was a stay at home mom and always found time to spend with the kids. I was a typical working person, spending what time I could when not working. Now I am home more with a regular job, I have more time with the kids. I have never been able to connect with them, after trying everything. After reading about Narissism I understand why. I now see what my wife is doing, she undermines me every chance she can get. A few examples. She says to the girls, ” You look like you are not happy these days (even when they are), you need mommy daughter time, dad cannot help”. She claims ownership to everything we have accomlished over the years in front of the kids, mainly when I am not around. Se tells them outright lies and exgagerates her importantance on every turn. Before it was behind my back, now she tells the lies in front of me, (she knows I am weak and will not respond). My kids do not speak to me anymore, all communication is addressed to my wife. How do I win my kids back? Do I address the lies with my wife or my kids?

    I have just started reading your ebooks. They are an absulte blessing. Although I am, just starting I want you to know how grateful I am.

    Patrick

  182. Allison said

    Hi Marcia,
    You need to focus all your energy on taking care of you first. If you haven’t already, check out Kim’s ebook, “Back from the looking glass” Also there are many resources on their site that can help you get a handle on you, like the radio shows & downloads….

    You’ve probably spent so much time living in this “haze” because of the narcissism that you might have lost yourself along the way. You’re best bet is to redefine who YOU are, what your boundaries are, how you can learn to make yourself happy and learn about how narcissism has affected you personally. Then you will have tools to make better decisions about what it is that you really want in the situation with your narcissist.

    Good luck!
    Allison

  183. Allison said

    Joyanne,
    I haven’t read about or heard of any information regarding the “transformation” of a narcissist aside from Steve either. I think it’s quite a long process from start to mantainance. I’m not sure if Kim & Steve have said how long the process actually took from the time Kim made the decision to address the narcissim to the time Steve was able to manage his behavior appropriately…

    I wonder, does anyone on this blog have a similar situation to Kim and Steve here? Or are we all in “working” mode to work the program and go through the process hopefull for change???

    There are so many things about my husband that worry me, things that will never change. I fear that there is no real escape from the narcissism because how my husband wants to live and what he wants to do for work are centered around the narcissism. I can’t take it out of the equasion because it’s his work AND he gets all of his supply from his “career”. I often get very discouraged because of that. I can’t compete with it because he won’t change, and the more “successful” he is in business, the greater his ego gets and the less realistic he is at home. The bigger his ego is, the less engaged and interested he is in our family because he is doing such big and important things that there is no time to think about or respect the things that are little (to him). It’s a circle that I can’t stop running around in.

    Any suggestions?

    Allison

  184. Hi Allison,

    In our global talk radio show number 20 last week, we spoke about the concept of ‘scaffolding’. I say this because I am not sure if I have ‘transformed’ into the perfect man just yet. My initial reaction to many situations is often to become abusive and aggressive. I often self-censor sarcastic comments that pop into my mind, and sometimes I cannot censor them quickly enough. My secondary responses and ‘scripts’ now are much more appropriate than they once were.

    The truth is that I am very narcissistic in many ways, as we all can be at times. The difference, or the transformation, now, is that I have a solid attachment with Kim and I trust her. She also trusts me. We have goals that we have set together, and I am lucky because Kim is a determined person and she usually gets what she wants. It is very cool having a tough woman around.

    The difference between me and your man may be this; I am not cut out for the workplace in many ways. My narcissism has got the better of me in my previous jobs to the point where I have become embarrassed and unable to continue. My career now is very humble, yet full of challenges. I am in many ways my own boss but also in many ways a slave to the grind. I won’t find fulfillment in the corporate world because I’m not cut out for it. So, there is a difference between your husband and I here perhaps.

    I know this is the most difficult of all of the balancing acts. How to bring a balance to the work-life equation, especially when there is career success occurring and also more success to be had. There will be resources out there on this topic, I don’t have any specific titles for you I am sorry.

    My humble bit of advice to you is to set some goals for yourself. Do not take a back seat to his career, because you may never get the chance to drive. Imagine yourself hitting those goals, and see what changes may need to happen in order for you to achieve your own success. Make them realistic goals, but make them challenging too.

    This circle you are caught in will not control you forever.

    Steve.

  185. Laura said

    Just want to offer a really good book to all of you who are wanting to survive your N’s in a healthy, spiritual way.
    It’s called FOOLPROOFING YOUR LIFE by Jan Silvious
    i’m going to be teaching from it on a forum known as Paltalk. It will be in audio/text.

  186. CD said

    Hi James,

    Wow! You really do “get it”! It goes to show that all your wife’s puff and smoke was just really a smoke screen for her insecurities,inadequacies and inability to trust attachment! You are displaying great competence, one of the very things your wife accused you of not having, and it is that very competence that is going to help her, you and your family through this right now.

    You have shown how much you really love her – she has tested your love until she knew that while you still loved her you were prepared to let her go if that is what she wanted, but you also let her know that if she went she would just take her problems with her, and that if she stayed you were there to be a strong guiding hand through this. You did all this with so much other strain going on in your life – such as losing your job due to the financial crisis, and now losing your home! I really feel for you at this time, but I also am marvelling yet again at the strength of the human spirit. You obviously have a great inner strength to cope with so many adversities at the same time, strengthened no doubt by your spiritual faith.

    There will be setbacks, but try to remain focussed and lovingly firm as much as you can under the circumstances – it is the greatest and best example you can set not only to your wife, but to your children as well. You may be losing or have lost so much now by way of your job and your home, and you will grieve over those losses, but to your credit you are focussed on keeping your family together during this time which is more important than any material attachment can ever be. You no doubt will have another job in the future, but right now you are doing the most important job in the world, looking after and keeping your family together.

    Good luck and stay in touch.
    CD

  187. Allison said

    Thank you so much for your response, Steve! I really appreciate you sharing your first hand experience. I especially needed to hear the part about not taking the backseat to his career… because that is exactly what I have done since I chose to be a stay at home mom for the past 6 years. I have spent years telling myself that once he “finds what he’s looking for” he’ll have time to re-prioritize his life. Since I started your program over the summer I’ve become aware that he might never “find what he’s looking for”, and that the “chase” is much more appealing to him than the end result. Hence, the advise to take charge and set my own goals and refuse to take the backseat – is simply PERFECTION, on your part. Great call. That really spoke to me, just the way it needed to!!!!

    Thank you again, for sharing :)

    I really appreciate you and Kim and all your work!

    Allison

  188. CD said

    Hi Patrick,

    How wonderful it is to see some guys entering this forum from the perspective of co-dependency.

    My heart goes out to you Patrick – I have experienced a total feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness after having been subjected to years of oppression, and consequent depression, and it is not a nice place to be – but there is HOPE.

    I too lost myself. I was a very capable and talented person, then lost myself – blinded by my husband’s “aura” of false ego, and seeming popularity, and by internalising my husband’s bullying or projected self-hate in the form of criticism, insults, put-downs and verbal abuse towards me. I didn’t know what all that “psychology stuff” was though at the time it was happening.

    All I could see was that my husband was unhappy, not just with me, but with everything and everyone, and I thought by turning all of my attention to making him happy by making everything “right” for him, it would eventually make everything OK and we would then find happiness.

    It was a downward spiral that led me to a “rock-bottom” where I was mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted – I became and felt powerless over my situation. This same rock-bottom then led me to a self-growth program (which helped me tremendously), and then many years later to Kim and Steve’s program which I found in about February of this year.

    When I was at that rock-bottom many years ago – and through the self-growth program I was in – I had to realise that although everything seemed overwhelming and hopeless – that there was hope for me to recover from complete and utter despair.

    When I reflect on those dark times I think how cruel it was that the less I valued myself – the more my husband abused me! I don’t know if he was being deliberately callous, or just didn’t realise what he was doing, or perhaps was simply so narcissistically out of touch with reality that he didn’t even acknowledge that I was a human being, or some other reason, or maybe all of the above.

    All I know now is that it was a long and bumpy road back to valuing myself again, establishing healthy boundaries, and achieving goals that had become long lost dreams for many years. But it was worth travelling that road and putting in all the hard work that it took to bring me back to personal empowerment and success.

    Make yourself your priority – that is something we can and all must do. Just take one day at a time for the moment, or even one minute at a time if necessary when things get really bad.

    Assess and take care of your very basic needs initially – quality sleep, nutrition, relaxation, meditation, personal presentation, Omega 3’s and so on. Also be proud of your job, however humble it may be – it is not your identity – but it provides you with life’s essentials. You will know what the right thing to do will be as far as your business aspirations or career goes once you have become your own priority again, and got in touch with who you are and what you want for yourself and your future.

    Self-soothe especially when faced with adversity, negativity or aggression – know that you will find solutions to your difficulties when you are calm, cool and collected. Getting caught up emotionally in the bullying games really hurts – but it also distracts us from focusing on what needs to be done.

    I resolved that I had heard it all before, the topic may have changed but it was all about just “the same old, same old junk” – all the bullying, criticisms, insults, put-downs, etc that I had allowed to hurt me and had internalized before. I had to decide to choose not to even acknowledge “the junk” because I could see a bigger picture now. I had to consciously leave the “junk” where it belonged – with the bully (my husband) and that eventually diffused one of his narcissistic manipulative tools, and eventually commanded his respect somewhat.

    In the coming days, read and learn as much as you can about Kim and Steve’s program, listen to their free audios, download them, record them to CD, play them in your car on the way to work and so on, they are extremely valuable to point you in the right direction. As each day passes you will become more and more aware of what is actually happening that is creating dysfunction or discord in your relationship and your family, and you will also start finding solutions to the various difficulties you are having in your life, and with your wife and your daughters.

    It is not weak not to respond to taunting or abuse, especially if you feel too numb or too taken aback to respond. Throughout Kim’s audios you will find some great responses like:

    “Your not better than me”
    “I don’t like where this conversation is heading right now, we have been down that road before and it is distressing me and I have to… go to sleep/work/take a shower/etc right now”…or whatever it is you intended to do before the negativity started. Then without hesitation go ahead and do IT …walk away from the negativity and get on with your life.

    If your daughters witness this you will be setting a good example to them on how to handle negativity, and they will also see the junk being left where it belongs – with their mother – you will also have a better chance of earning or restoring their respect and perhaps empathy towards you.

    There is a lot to be done, but I have great faith in the truth and the strength of the human spirit.

    “A journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step.”

    Good luck and stay in touch.
    CD

  189. Tracy said

    Hi all,

    I haven’t contributed much on the board lately as I’ve been trying to really knuckle down and give my energy to Kim & Steve’s workbook and the challenges laid out before me.

    As a result, I don’t expect many of you to be able to offer much advice or support. But perhaps my sharing and questions will help others. I know I feel better just reading what you all write.

    CD – You’ve be a great boon to many people on here. You sound like you’ve worked so hard and come so far and have so much good, practical advice to offer people here. Bless you for that!

    Kim & Steve – nice to see you are still doing so much for everyone. I am loving the Global Talk radio archives. They are really getting very good, very in depth about more complex problems and illuminating all those places we all have questions about here on the board. I re-listen to the older ones and constantly find things I missed, or things I got ‘in theory’ but not in practice. I’m gearing up to buy the co-dependence book, but I want a good grasp of the first level and a good clear window of calm time to look at the material with fresh eyes.

    James & Patrick – you sound so sincere. I wish you all the best in what you are doing. Cling to Back from the Looking Glass, letters from Kim & Steve on this blog and their other sites, and the global talk radio shows. There is an incredible amount of resource here. I know that I comb through it and cling to the advice like a lifeline when things are confusing and rough. To have their single, united voice, speaking logic and reality and truth and courageous ‘growing up’ is immeasurable. These lessons are about learning what real love is – for yourself and for your family. My only regret is not having found them sooner.

    My N partner suffered a nervous breakdown recently. It came out of years of us fighting now, doing all the wrong things. I’d started really practicing Kim and Steve’s advice (not just bits of it)and things became calm and safe. He became closer and then it seemed like the walls started tumbling down. He has always suffered from (what I consider) high anxiety (nervous ticks, blinking etc). when things finally calmed and I was withdrawing my energy from the fighting and into the attachment, trust, goal setting and achieving for myself (4 legged stool) etc and my children – he broke. His anxiety turned into full blow panic attacks. He’s so used to living off of adrenaline dumps. It got so bad, he was afraid to leave the house. He was having panic attacks in front of my eyes while he was suppossed to be leading meetings at work (he’s a director here!). I’m sure you can imagine how frightened and terrified he was. He couldn’t go into a shop for milk or have a repair man around to the house. He was having about 10 panic cycles a day. He had to take nearly 2 weeks off of work.

    During this time, I worked hard to help him. I set little challenges and he acted and did very loving things of his own volition (like coming to my house when I was at work and cleaning my daughter’s room from top to bottom – they’re young so it was a crazy mess). He became very affectionate with me again and with my girls.

    Long story short, over a couple of months, we’ve been getting very close. Because we’re in two houses, I was finding that we were spending lots of time at his because it’s bigger/better/etc there. But my own home was neglected and it was causing me and the children stress (I think that’s why he came and cleaned that week). I also began to get a bit scared about what growth would look like for us. I’d enjoyed all of this quality time and getting so close again. My children were thriving in it too. I started to dream about being a family again (getting married and being together like we did before).

    As he began to recover and go back out into the world, I began to feel abandoned. I was proud he got back to work and did ok. I was proud that he started tackling going to the shop. He also started going back out with his mates once or twice a week. That was great, in theory, but I would go back to my home and sit there and feel lonely and sad that we weren’t together. I know – I filled my time and didn’t fall down into depression or anger about it like before, but his planning of this was abrupt and left me no time to fill my own diary with plans/friends/activities. Also, most honestly, it just left me thinking “ok, when do ‘we’ become priority. He’s ok to now start going and tackling these issues, and spending time with friends (whom I don’t respect for the way that they pressure him and don’t actually really care that much). When does making us into a family unit so that we are stronger come onto the agenda?”

    I began to express that it was very difficult to give to him and have my heart be so open, but feel like I wasn’t getting the same comittment. These discussions would start as calm, reasonable exchanges but would get heated and angry. I worked like a devil to enact all the principles i’ve learned. He is a verbal bully and lashes out very badly when angry. Even I can see how wildly mean he is and see through it. Some stray flack still gets through to my heart though. Also, I get pushed into a place where I find it hard to control myself. I grew up with physical intimidation and abuse. When he’s mad, he tends to get right in my face or my ear and be vile. Sometimes he’ll grab my arms too – but when I react (shouting, pushing him away), he says “It’s just to calm you down”. He’s gotten alot better with this as I enact Kim’s advice. But still, I can find myself in places that touch on my past and can only stay in that place so long before I start to lose my cool. What’s also adding to the stress, he’s my boss at work, so any decision we take about the relationship will impact on this and on my ability to earn a living for my children. This means my home is in danger etc. The economic environment is not great here and the ‘normal’ opportunities for mobility just do not exist.

    He is now saying: “I want to you to live with me and see if we’re compatible. I want to take it one step at a time because I want to make sure it’s right. The thought of getting engaged right now makes me feel panic and sick and I can’t do it.”

    This appeals to Kim & Steve’s advice around setting smaller challenges, around needing to break large tasks into smaller, achievable goals. But how can you break being together into small goals?

    I say back to him: “I can’t just come and live with you. First, it puts me and the children in a difficult situation wherein we are forfeiting our security for a ‘trial’. We need to know we are going to go forward as a team, together, and approach our decisions and life design in that way. Second, it completely puts me into a financial position where I’m dependent as I’d have to rent out my home, etc Third, how can I possibly do all of that *knowing* that you’re not sure if I’m the person you want to be with forever.”

    I am confident now that I can see much positive reaction to my changes of behaviour. We benefited enormously from Kim & Steve’s advice. I am now hitting a brick wall on this subject though. If he were just my husband, in the house, acting weird, I’d know how to handle it. This step though feels like I’m out in the wilds without a compass.

    Any thoughts?

    Tracy

  190. Tracy said

    Am I just making things too complex?

    I am sure I’m missing something very simple. I want to move forward with him. I do not want to continue living between two homes, or ‘dating’ him. I feel that I have a right to feel safe and comfortable. I feel that I have a right to have my desires taken into account. I feel that marriage would symbolise BOTH of our commitments to working together on ourselves to make a brighter future.

    Thanks for listening.

  191. kimcooper said

    Hi Tracy,

    I just happened to catch your posts – I am not often moderating posts here much these days!
    I have just been so busy with the radio shows, new products and improvements to the sites.

    You are doing great but I know that the position you are now in is tough.
    One thing I would say is that maybe he needs a challenge that is close to his heart – something that is just for him and helps build trust. The other is that I think you might benefit from joining Christian Carter’s mailing list. His products are expensive but honestly you will get so much good advice from his newsletters you may not need to buy anything. His advice about dating and learning how to get commitment from a man is very good.

    It is very common for narcissists to have nervous breakdowns as you describe when they are recovering and the really important thing is that they do not rebuild the false ego again for lack of knowing what else to do. Sometimes just small reminders can be very powerful, such as “I am not interested in how successful you are or what car you drive, what I really value in a man is that he can live easily with himself and how good a father and husband he is.”

    I am sure there will be others here who can also help!

    Good to hear from you!

    Kim
    PS. THe other thing is that when you want to talk about the future you don’t bring it up like it is a problem or a big issue to discuss. It is much better if you can build on the rapport you have found. So you say “I am really enjoying your company so much these days … (and wait to see his response is positive) I like it that you are ….. (again see that this gets a good response) and then you might suggest what you would be impressed or pleased to see happen next (the next challenge) and in this way you can lead him to a more positive place rather than letting your own frustration bring up resistance and bad feelings in him (-:

  192. Patrick said

    Thank-you for the response. I wish there were a few more guys in the forum as well. I fell abit of alone here wondering if I am “a just a coward and a wimp”. (I know it is not true but the feeling still exists). I cannot believe how much three weeks of learning about narissism has taught me.

    After reading many posts, I find it a bit hard to relate in some areas. My wife in many ways displays charm and genuine caring towards the family, friends and me for that matter. I coming to the realization that the caring is all about her stroking her own ego.

    I have been reading alot about NPD. Has anyone seen cases where one type of NPD changes into another type? I have read but “Parental Destructive Narissism” by Nina Brown. She talks about a “Parentified Child”. When I read about it , it fits my wife to a T. Ms. Brown talks about two responses to being parentified child, one is a compliant response, the other is seige response. My wife Cindy unfortunately was raised in a home with a father that was an extreme narissist. Three weeks ago I did not know what narissism was, I knew words like self-centred & conceded. Her father has it all 24/7. in regards to her mother I simpley judged her over the years as a very pathetic, shallow person that cannot carry a conversation beyond what she is cooking for dinner or the flowerbeds she escapes to. She cannot even keep relationships with her two sons and my wife. She does try, but just does not have the skills. My wifes family is totally disfunctional. Her sad pathetic mother after 30 some years living My wife father is a result of this actions. I never understood it…. Now I get it, I feel so sorry for her.

    Back to my wife, I think she was a complaint narissist for many years, because I was a supportive and protective. “She openly admits I saved her from her disfunctional family when we met and married”. I suppose when I look at it, she was co-dependant on me. Looking back, It was okay with me. I was a strong person, although I felt sorry for her, thinking her self centred actions & consede was just a poor personality trait, it did not affect me and I learned to accept it. Besides she was a good mother in most ways, so it seemed. I accepted her narissism.

    In the last year she has found as she calls it “her independence”, she was changed to a defient Narississt. Here is where the problem lyes for me… Every person is intitled to independence. But her actions are exactly what you would expect from a rebelous teenager….

    So here is my struggle, I understand I need to work on myself and get me back to a better place.. But what do I do about her day to day actions that are destructive to our marriage kids and family? Her actions are not seen as abusive ( at least to others) , they are suttle and appear innocent, but behind closed doors of our house they very destructive to the family.

    PS: Just wring this down, is a real help for me. THANK YOU!

    Patrick

  193. Patrick said

    Hi Tracy, Thanks for paying attention to my post, It is comforting knowing someone is listening.
    I am assuming you from Australia from your description of your husband’s “mates”. I am from Canada. I was fortunate to travel to Australia last year, beautiful Country. We both are blessed to live where we do ( if I am correct).

    I am new to this post and feel I am not worthy enough or knowlegdeable to comment, but what struck me from your post was the comment your husband is your boss.

    My biggest mistake was entering into a business with my narissitic wife. When each of us worked on our own individual issues within the business it worked okay, but when we crossed paths on issues, which was daily, it was hell. With any interaction we had, for my wife it was always competitive. We tried to identify boundarys for each other, I feel I respected them, but she could not. My success was a constant threat for her. As a result, I could not work at 100%,I was focused on avoiding confontation with my business partner and wife, instead of focusing on the work at hand. It was a very confusing time for me. Juggling keeping my family as number one, and trying to do my job to the best of my ability turned impossible. As result everything came crashing down. I know it was best the business failed, now I trying to move forward.

    Have you thought about searching out a new carreer? For me, I truly beleive, if I find a new fresh enviroment I I can kick start my life again, I am still searching for what I want to, but know in my heart I need to find it for my own peace.

    I know there are plenty of opportunity’s out there, even if it requires education. The web is becoming a great tool for part time education, via correspondence.

    Patrick

  194. CD, Australia said

    Hi Patrick,

    I hope you can take comfort in knowing that most of us (if not all of us) here in this blog have felt like “cowards or wimps” at times, however that feeling will subside, and may pass completely, as you learn and grow from Kim and Steve’s program.

    You obviously have empathy towards others though (which is a virtue) because after just a few weeks of reading and learning about this program you now understand, for example, why your mother-in-law is so seemingly disconnected and shallow – and you feel for her.

    Who knows what she is thinking and suffering inside as she escapes to her garden after having lived more than 30 years with a narcissistic husband. Maybe one day she might learn the truth (perhaps by your example) and awaken to the fact that there is hope – even if it is just for the personal recovery of the long-time and severely oppressed individuals who have lived in these types of destructive relationships.

    All I know is that it is good fortune, and perhaps even a miracle, for each one of us here to have found Kim and Steve’s program. We have now found a way to slow down and perhaps halt the downward spiral of being codependent and living with a narcissist by learning all about co-dependency and narcissism. We now also have a chance to turn our relationships around, and to rebuild them into healthy attachments, in an upward spiral of truth, integrity, dignity, grace and trust.

    Dr Maria Rodowski, a guest on Kim and Steve’s final Globaltalkradio show for 2009, had some excellent information for us about The Attachment Theory regarding human development, teenagers, secure attachments, insecure attachments and avoidant attachments. It is very worth it for all who write to this blog to listen to this show to see how we, our partner and children relate to each other.

    Knowing how you fit in by your form of attachment to your partner or child could help you to “detach” from negativity as it happens hopefully in order to outgrow insecure attachments and avoidant attachments, and to develop trust and healthy secure attachments.

    With respect to handling your day-to-day interactions with your wife and children – take an “easy does it” and “how important is it?” attitude. Be as warm and as welcoming you can by making sure you greet each member of your family as Kim tells us to – this must be done – it is not optional.

    Avoid REACTING to blame, put-downs, criticism, insults etc, by using your “magic scissors” – perhaps initially on EVERY single negative comment you hear or action you see, and EVERY single negative thought you have in your mind. Easy to say – much harder to do – but worth the self-control to get a real handle on the situation.

    If you use your “magic scissors” and detach from the button pushing – you can have an objective (unemotional) look at what is being said or done that is probably meant to offend you, or hurt you, or to keep you down.

    Your wife may wonder what on earth is going on with you, and she may escalate her negativity because she may have grown up with a lot of drama in the family home and is only comfortable living with drama – this phenomenon has been called “excited misery” in the self growth program I was in many years ago.

    When she is putting you down, being insulting or abusive towards you, listen to what she is saying but try to rise above it (detach) and look at the bigger picture that may exist. Ask yourself questions like:

    • Does my wife have a legitimate concern or complaint right now, or is she creating a drama because she cannot relax and is so used to living with drama and anxiety that she doesn’t know how to live without it for very long if at all? Is she making a mountain out of a molehill?

    • Is my wife pumping herself up right now or getting a narcissistic supply by doing/saying what she is doing/saying to me right now? Is this part of her narcissistic mask?

    • Is my wife smoke-screening by blaming others so that she does not have to take or share any responsibility for this or some other matter?

    Contemplate during your self-soothing times, questions like the following (for example – her apparent portrayal of superiority to you regarding the history of the travel business):

    • Does my wife see her personal identity and success in life as what she does or achieves in her career?

    • If my wife lost her job in the travel agency – would she still be so cocky and self-absorbed, and putting me down? Or would she fall in a heap of perceived lost personal identity, and behave perhaps like a child not knowing where to go or what to do next? Would she throw childish tantrums? Would she blame someone or something else for the loss of her job?

    • If she lost her job – would she take it on the chin with emotional maturity, and move on to find another job straight away, with dignity and grace?

    • Does my wife portray that she is more powerful, and/or that she is “better” than me, every time she puts me down (especially in regard to the history of the travel business) bearing in mind that her father may have been tyrannical towards her as she was growing up – and she has not only suffered from this, but learned the behaviour too?

    The above are only suggestions or examples of questions for you to contemplate what is behind all the abuse and superficiality. Only you can know your true situation, the more you learn, grow, detach, self-soothe and contemplate the better chance you will have at finding solutions to your difficulties.

    Good luck and stay in touch,
    CD, Australia.

  195. CD, Australia said

    Hi Tracy,

    I think Patrick has a good point – are you able to find a career/business or job that is independent of your man?

    Living and working together can pose strains on any relationship, and based on personal experience I would not recommend that anyone go into business with a romantic partner unless they both have a solid “secure-attachment” type relationship with each other.

    From experience also, it is one thing to be tied to each other by marriage or living together in a committed relationship, but if you ever wanted to part ways in the future – not only do you lose your marriage/relationship, but you could lose your business (perhaps with associated career) and livelihood all in one hit.

    Perhaps this is what you need to consider first before moving in together – what your back up plan would be if things didn’t work out the way you expected or hoped for? You have expressed some concerns already about losing your existing independence and security for a trial?

    Good Luck and Stay in Touch.
    CD, Australia.

  196. CD, Australia said

    Hi again Tracy,

    Sorry Tracy, in my last post I meant “if you ever wanted to part ways in the future – not only do you lose your marriage/relationship, but you could also lose or need to change your job risking losing your livelihood all in one hit.”

    Take care,
    CD, Australia.

  197. Andrea said

    Hi,
    I don’t know if my husband has any diseases or problems but for some reason I keep thinking this might be the one.
    We just got done fighting again with me trying to tell him how he makes me feel when he leaves me responsible for everything. This would include making decisions, paying bills, the kids, you name it unless it’s a physical job, mowing lawn, housework, projects and his job, I am responsible and also to blame if it goes wrong. Today was I went to town to long and he had things to do so he just didn’t do anything because I took to long. I left home at 10:30 this morning and got home at 11:45 this morning. My fault he didn’t do what he wanted. Basically if he doesn’t want to do it or doesn’t think he will make the right decision I get to decide or do and get fully blamed if it goes wrong.
    I am also responsible fully during the week because he works on the road which gives him excuses to not do anything even if he needs to make a phone call only he can make on his behalf.
    My husband’s mother has schizo affective disorder and I see a lot of the lack of emotion or empathy in her that I see in him. There is a strange disconnect like they don’t understand what you are saying when trying to explain something or in my husbands case not be able to understand being in my shoes. The minute I say this is how I feel he says well this is what you do or how you make me feel. I am starting to feel crazy because no matter how I go about it he just doesn’t get it and it’s taking a major toll on me.
    In the past he has been caught with porn and caught red handed and denied he did it and made it my fault for him doing it or laughed it off and made fun of me like it was a big joke to him. He did this when I was pregnant and he also blamed me for being pregnant.
    It’s never ending. Tonight I just feel like walking away and never coming back it’s just so toxic for me and the kids because I can’t deal with living with someone that seems to only have me around to be used for things but not loved. He says he loves me but the actions never confirm the talk.
    He refuses to take blame.
    Right now our house is in foreclosure and I found out from him that he told his parents that he should have paid better attention to the finances to make sure this didn’t happen. He threw me under the bus. He didn’t tell the truth. I asked him countless times to help with the money and never got help. He has no clue what anything cost. I told him 3 years ago we couldn’t afford the house we are in and he just never listened. I wanted to move back home so I could have help with the kids from my parents when he was gone but he didn’t want to move because he didn’t want to. So since he has left me to take care of things and it’s all my fault. I only have so much money to go around. Just think If I had never paid anything and he would’ve had to, we would have been in big trouble a long time ago.
    Manipulative, deceitful, blamer, unsympathetic, cruel and cold is how I would decribe him. Seems like he is incapable of loving me. Constantly criticizing what I don’t do and how he does it all.

    I’m blamed for his loss of friendships or lack of, and blamed for his relationship with his parents and sister. I’m blamed for everything. I have been lied to by all of them especially concerning his mother’s health and our kids being around them when no one disclosed her condition until she flipped out. I don’t trust his parents or sister either.
    I can’t get him to go to counseling. I think if I could it would show. He is pretty quiet and always has been but everyone calls it shy. He is passive aggressive. He might not say he is mad but he will come back in a way to make you pay for it later.
    His mother’s side of the family, half of them which is about 5 siblings have some sort of mental illness including her mother. Anxiety to major depression, to her schizo affective. I’m pretty sure something is not right with him. I don’t want something to be wrong with him but I just don’t understand how a person can be so unthoughtful or mean and just not get how they are affecting someone else. It’s like he has no heart. I can’t stand feeling so unappreciated and used anymore. I have gained weight and am very depressed. We don’t have sex and when we do it’s all about him.
    I hate this for my kids. I love him I just don’t know how I can live with someone that really doesn’t care about me. This sucks!
    I have tried time and again to tell his parents and sister that this is what is causing problems between us and I end up being the bad person and crazy one that needs help. The funny thing is I am the only one that actually went and got help. His mother hasn’t even had any sort of counseling sessions since her meltdown last fall. Just a bunch of pills. But to understand her husband, my father-in-law brought her home after a month in the hospital and a suggestion from the doctor to put her in long term care and went back out hunting and left her home alone. So, I couldn’t stand feeling the way I did like I do now again and went to get help. I knew I was doing the best I could and the counselor helped me see that and that I wasn’t losing it.
    Just at a lost. Not sure what to do anymore. I am overwhelmed with his behavior and my 5 and 3 year old and the fact that we will be out of a home in 3 months. We have a place to go, one of my parents homes, but he wants me to tell them that this is my fault we lost the house. Really? What is wrong with him?
    I have tried to be independent by getting a job because he tells me to work and that he will help if something goes wrong with the kids and then he never ends up helping. We don’t live around family or friends and we have no friends so I have no one to help me. I have been fired for jobs only after a few months because the kids get ill and I have no time off and he wouldn’t help. It all seems so controlling as I read what I type, or is it just me?
    Needed to vent and thanks for reading or listening.
    Andrea

  198. Theresa said

    Hi Andrea,
    I am new to all of this as well. I have been married to my husband for 21 years. So much of what you are saying is familiar to me. You are not crazy. But, I know what it is like to feel crazy. Living with a person with NPD is very confusing. I am looking to Kim and Steve’s work for ways I can take control of myself and become more aware and educated about my own emotional well being. I am in the middle of divorce proceedings and I have three beautiful children. I am hoping to have a positive relationship with my soon to be ex-husband through self improvement and self strengthening for my sake as well as my children’s. It is helpful to feel like there is a community of people out there who understand what we face and are working through the challenges of living with NPD as a part of their lives. It is not just you and here in this place you can find encouragement.

  199. Tracy said

    Dear Kim (& everyone!)

    Thanks so much for your replies and I really want you to know how much I appreciate it. I meant to write earlier to say how useful Kim’s step-by-step advice was but didn’t have a chance because I was too busy enacting it!

    ” So you say “I am really enjoying your company so much these days … (and wait to see his response is positive) I like it that you are ….. (again see that this gets a good response) and then you might suggest what you would be impressed or pleased to see happen next (the next challenge) and in this way you can lead him to a more positive place rather than letting your own frustration bring up resistance and bad feelings in him (-:”

    This was very sound advice, yet again, from the Coopers. Thanks.

    When I did this he said:
    “You know I am not going to ‘mess you over’ in the long run. What about me telling you ‘I love you’ more and stuff? If only we could talk about these things and then leave some time for thinking and then revisit them again rather than fight or say ‘it’s over’.”

    And we’ve been doing just that.

    I will keep you all posted! Wish me luck.

    Thanks again from the bottom of my heart.

  200. Shannon said

    I simply wanted to say Thank you to Steve for his input and helpful insight from his perspective. It sure goes a lot away to help understand what could be going on in a NPD-person’s head.

    I can’t really say my situation is getting any better at all, but at least I know I’ve done everything within my power to try to get things back on track. Sometimes people just get things stuck in their head that is just not accurate, and that’s more of what I’m dealing with than anything. No matter what I say or how calming or supportive I am, I’ve been made the calalist of everything that has gone wrong in his life. All can do is step away and when his life is still crap, he’ll have no one else to blame.

  201. MR said

    Hi all,

    I haven’t posted for a bit, but things have been progressing here. I’m feeling cautiously optimistic, and I hope it remains. We seem to be entering a shift point for my husband, and our relationship. We had had a better stretch (briefly), and then I felt the tension rising again. I’ve been keeping pretty low key. As a background – I predicted that this 6-8 week stretch (mid Oct to early Dec) was going to be horrid, for a variety of reasons. I joked with friends that I was going to need to leave town during this time, so from that baseline expectation things are pretty good.

    I have sat back, responded as calmly and minimally as I could, and have been able to bounce back pretty quickly when I have gotten off track. My husband has been pushing and provoking in a very rapid cycle. His emotions are clearly spinning out of control. When my responses have been pretty “good,” he has quickly escalated into nuttiness, but then returns to a calmer and more normal state by the next day.

    A few weeks ago he escalated about something and said he was never going to do anything with me socially ever again – yes I was very hurt – but shortly after I got his family to agree to come along, and I proceeded almost as if nothing happened, and made firm arrangements for a previously discussed joint family trip and a conference for myself. It took me several days to figure out how to handle this and several more to actually book all the arrangements, but I did it. Short of really making a fool of himself, he will be coming. When he started ranting that I could not drive our children because I was not a safe enough driver (yes I have had too many minor accidents in the past few years because I was too distracted and internally distraught.) As best as I could, I just replied that he did not have the right to keep me from driving our children, but if he wanted to come along on our plans for that day he was welcome to drive. He came – he ended up shifting our plans a bit, but he came.

    One night he had a scare over something, and apologized to me for saying a lot of very hurtful things. It was the first apology in years, and while it had passed by the next morning I still valued it. It reminded me of how frightened he is. However I need to see some clear changes going forward. I have drafted a letter to give him just before or just after the end of his acute stressors. It will acknowledge once again some of how I should have manged some things in our life differently, but also assert that I deserve to be treated with more respect than I have been, and that we both need to see a clear improvement in this regard.

    My biggest concern is the incessant “put downs,” and critical or inappropriate negative comments about me expressed in front of our boys. I have discussed this with the school team of our eldest in the context of my being concerned about my husband’s high and inconsistent expectations causing him some mild anxiety symptoms. They also see the tension, asked me many questions, provided me with some additional information from their observations, and strategized about how to bring it up in a very gentle fashion at our parent teacher conference next month. I’m wary of getting blamed for talking to others and distorting their views of my husband (even as I am planning to just take a totally passive role and pretend that I had no role,) but I also hope our pre-planning brings some leverage and insight to him in a gentle enough way that he can hear it.

    Others have posted in the past asking if anyone beyond Kim and Steve have seen significant change. I think there are others who also have, and I am seeing some positive changes at a time I expected to be very rough. I feel we are approaching an inflection point, and if I keep with my plan, I will also express my need for further behavioral changes (I’m still considering if this includes some recognition of how I have been held overly culpable) I’ll let you know how it continues.

    Thanks everyone,

    MR

  202. Allison said

    Wow, MR, That’s so great to hear! It is refreshing to reflect on the positive while remembering that it doesn’t really ever make it easy – just manageable. I mean it won’t be easy, right? It can be acceptable and tolerable if the behavior is kept in check, and addressed in a non confrontational way. It’s great to see your growth. Good for you for sticking with it and staying on track. I remember that post you were referring to about how crazy a time this was going to be because of his “hard time” over these months… It reminds me of how fast time goes. Everything is truly a moment in time and if we don’t find a way to embrace all those moments (even the awful ones) one day turns into the next and we are no further along on our journey because we get stuck in a moment that turns into months and even years!

    I’m proud of you and your perseverence! Keep it up :)

  203. CD, Australia said

    Hi MR,

    It is so good to see how much you have grown! Please take this as a compliment of the highest order, that it gives me (and probably others too) comfort knowing that even as a psychiatrist and physician you have struggled living with narcissism too just the same as everyone who posts here – and this illustrates and reminds us that it is an extremely difficult disorder to deal with for those emotionally affected – no matter what level of understanding or factors are involved.

    It is no wonder then there is a lot of advice out there to just “cut and run”. But what sort of society would we build, or what example to our children would we make by running away instead of dealing positively with narcissistic behaviour and allowing the narcissist to get away with their junk giving them a false sense of security?

    Security for us, and for our loved one who is also suffering from narcissism, is setting healthy boundaries and maintaining them in a positive and assertive way. Security is setting and achieving our personal goals on a daily basis, regardless of any sabotage or distractions. From your post I can see that you have now drawn a line in the sand, and that you are consciously choosing not to believe or validate his put downs or criticisms by focussing on and achieving your own goals & plans instead – and in doing so you are “commanding respect”. Your husband is starting to listen to your actions and to follow your footsteps of courage and inner strength (albeit with some resistance which translated is really fear of change and fear of trusting a loved one).

    You have definitely shifted the power imbalance, and I have a feeling that you may not even need to give him the letter that you have drafted because you are now sending him clear and strong signals by your actions – and you are definitely getting his interest and attention. He will continue with the criticisms and put down “games” because that is his “armour”, and as time goes by you will get stronger and stronger to be able to resist this negative behaviour with emotional intelligence and maturity.

    You have definitely put a “chink” in his armour – so keep chinking away – and you will continue building a healthier relationship with the trust and attachment that you hope for. Have you been able to rise above the past and current hurts to be able to greet your husband warmly yet? I found this one extremely difficult in the face of bitterness and hurt, but worth its weight in gold when I actively did this – not just for my husband’s benefit , but also for my own.

    Try to ignore the negative stuff he says about your driving also – this erosion to your driving confidence is dangerous – my husband did it to me (and still does sometimes) and it is not acceptable. If you have any doubts about your driving competence go see a driving instructor to reinforce good driving skills. It is difficult to concentrate when driving if you are emotionally & mentally distracted. Play your favourite talk back radio station to get your mind thinking about other things happening in the world besides a current personal crisis that you may be faced with – I find that if my husband is in the car he concentrates on that radio show instead of my driving which is a great decoy tool. Touchwood (knock on wood) I have not had any accidents in my nearly 40 years of driving except for one little one when I was 18 and relatively inexperienced. Nevertheless, my husband has generally tried to erode my confidence over the years about everything I do or say (which is a form of abuse) and I had to make a conscious decision to discredit him and the abuse, and to believe in and validate myself. He doesn’t do this very much anymore because he knows it doesn’t work on me.

    Well done, and keep up the good work – you are an inspiration to all of us!

    Good luck and stay in touch,
    CD, Australia.

  204. Tracy said

    Hello all,

    I am in the middle of a battle with my N partner and I’ve just undone all the months (nearly a year now) of hard work I’ve been trying to achieve with him. We are battling over where our lives are going (living together vs getting married). The things he has said in our arguments make it impossible to even consider his point of view (paraphrasing “I’m only with you because you had no job, no car and now you work for me. I can’t just leave you all [my little family and I] out in the cold.” “I’m not happy in the relationship” etc etc. ) He pulls out these arguments when he’s in a corner. One moment it’s “I love you and I’m trying, I want it to work, it’s all going to be fine”, the next, he’s bullying me by refusing to discuss the matter, telling me to ‘f off’ etc.

    I’ve had nearly 7 days of it now and given that my income is solely dependent on him [which is out of my control in the short term] I have nowhere to negotiate. He knows that what he wants/says goes. This is after a few months of me nursing him through the worst time of his life, a complete breakdown.

    I’ve lost it. I’ve lost the ability to self-soothe, it seems burned away by my immense anger that he woudl treat me this way. I am in danger of doing something awful because when he shows me callous, cold disregard, I am overwhelmed by rage.

    If anyone’s around, it’d be much appreciated to have some support. I am facing a weekend where my children are at their fathers. Traditionally, they’ve acted as my anchor and stopped me just short of tipping over into rage.

    I am so disappointed in myself. But I can’t seem to exercise the discipline I need! I’m so ill with the flu and have been for over a month and I am so worn down. I can’t seem to stop myself from phoning, arguing, threatening, raging. All because we are at an impasse in our lives and I can’t cope. His statements around us, around my family and I, when he is angry are impossible to ignore and make it impossible to move forward with him in any fashion without a significant gesture of humility on his part. I can’t cope with the stress anymore and am finding myself either so angry I want to commit criminal damage or so low I’m contemplating ending it all.

    I’m off work one more day (doctors note) and then I have to see him or quit or something. I’m embarrassed even typing this, because I can see my ‘victim’ whining and also how futile my rage is.

    But I think it’s important to share the truth.
    He’s become sophisticated with his torture lately, knowing that if he grabs me, intimidates me, etc I will phone the police. So sophisticated, that he laughs because he knows he has me cornered with the work thing. He can’t even leave the house at the moment because of his own anxiety disorder coupled with N, which he completely and utterly blames me for. Apparently, he despises me and I’ve ruined his life, one moment and the next, he loves me and is just ‘scared’ to move forward. How can i ever know what to believe? I’m STILL clinging to the idea that he’s just going to *poof* change and make things better. But when I map that out in my mind, I know it isn’t the answer and I know he’s incapable of it. Why am I torturing him adn myself then? Knowing that I know everything Kim and Steve have taught me, knowing how much I respect and admire the lessons I’ve learned, WHY AM I STILL DOING THIS? I can’t understand it, yet I’m having these out of body experiences where I see myself doing these things and no matter how loud the voice in my head shouts, I just think “he deserves to hurt like I hurt”.

    Please, if anyone is available to chat with me, I’d really appreciate it. I need some moment by moment steps to get through this.

  205. Tracy said

    Sorry guys to be so negative. I really am. I’m just hoping to document my own struggles. I’m full of hope for long periods of time, then I just ‘lose it’. I have some serious growing up to do. I am just lost as to where to start in the situation. It seems so immediate.

  206. kimcooper said

    Hi Tracy,

    Hey luck MUST be with you girl because you caught me approving posts!!! Now take a deep breath
    and hang in there because believe me I have been through where you are right now and made so many
    mistakes and it is not like the work you have done in the past is undone it just seems that way now.

    First things first I want you to stop arguing with him. Start agreeing with everything he says like this …

    “I am sorry that you are so unhappy being part of this family and you are probably right that we are not meant for
    each other. I want you to be happy and that is important to me but right now we are both sick so lets not
    plan what comes next until we are better OK?”

    I also want you to think about it like this … There is only one thing that is certain about emotions and that is
    that they are going to change. Remember the patronis charm in Harry Potter? The kids had to practice it over and
    over because it is not easy to bring to life a happy memory when we are hurting or afraid. You don’t need to be
    perfect but now is the time to practice!!! What is your favorite comedian? Go watch them now. It doesn’t matter
    that you don’t feel like it – do it anyway!!! Go and get that list that you were meant to write when you were happy
    and look at all the things you wrote on that.

    Next is bio chemical. You need to alkalise right away. The fastest way to do that is drink a glass of clean water with
    a couple of teaspoons of bi carb of soda in it. Go do that now. I then want you to get some lemons and start drinking the juice.
    Lemon juice is acid but turns alkaline in your system. Also try and get some fresh squeezed vegetable juice and cut out meat and bread
    while you are sick.

    OK so I am thinking of you Tracy as are all of us here. Feel the love we are all sending you and you see this as
    an opportunity!!! I know that sounds crazy but it is. You cannot get stronger by practicing self soothing when you are happy!
    You get stronger practicing it when you are mad!!! I know you want to hurt him, that is OK and understandable but acting on
    that emotion just plays into his bad sides hand and you are not going to let that @#$%%^ win are you? Acknowledge your
    anger and then send it away and call on your happy mind to come back and help you. You can’t force him to do anything.
    Show him you can get in touch with your calm and strength with or without him and all this will pass.

    Hang in there mate …

    Kim
    PS. Also go and watch the movie link on this page here
    http://www.narcissismsupport.com/narcissism_Support/Kims_Blog/Entries/2007/10/7_A_Free_Movie_Link_for_You.html

    Even if you have seen it before it doesn’t matter watch it again!!!!

  207. Tracy said

    God, thank you so much for that. I am drinking the bicarb soda water right now. I’ve just read the transcript for Emotional stupidity too. I think I missed that show. But it was spot on and exactly what I needed. I am very challenged myself with some emotional issues and I’ve NOT done all the work. (dang it, I also noted you both discuss that show the fact that those who just read the material and do it, no excuses, get on with it, do better and have more of a chance – so I may be silent for a while :) & please ignore me. :)

    I am going to buy your new book tomorrow and make that my focus. I did come down from a terrible state the other day by doing the ‘focus on 5 things around you’ exercise you advised of, the one you practised at the bus stop.

    I think there’s a few places I’ve fallen down:

    I haven’t been looking after myself properly and it leads to low self-esteem, needines, exhaustion and feeling like I ‘need’ him to make it better.

    I haven’t just stopped the madness and conversations and gotten on with life. What the hell am I hoping to achieve? He’s not even able to think straight with my own brand of torture, much less make considerate actions towards me.

    I haven’t worked on building a support network for him. Well, I’ve done a little of that, but haven’t been successful hooking him up with these people yet and it’s a very lonely time for him right now.

    I am totally obsessed by ‘time ticking by’ because I want to have more children and I’m embarrassed that we’ve been together so long and everyone looks at us and thinks ‘hmmm, he’s just stringing her along and she’s desperate enough – single mum, etc – to take it’ so the whole idea of him making it right feels like the perfect answer. So, when we get close, I want to shift up a few gears and get it in motion. When he doesn’t jump on the bandwagon with delight, I focus in, in, in until I’ve pinned him down like a butterfly in a case and he has nowhere to go. It’s ‘my way or the highway’lately, if I’m honest, because I think I’ve felt more power, and I’ve once again begun to leverage my presence as a way to gain control ‘ it’s over’ etc. That’s not nice. I’m really intruiged by this particular part of my problem because it’s here that I keep getting stuck. I don’t know how to achieve my relationship goals in a way that works for us both, in this situation or any others. My exhusband and I had an argument today where he pretty much told me that when I didn’t get what I wanted, even if it was something that I was right in wanting, I go into meltdown mode and got, I quote, ‘psychotic’. I know this comes from my past, from the abandonment and rejection I experienced with my parents. I got an emancipation, or divorce from them, when I moved out at 14 years old and been supporting myself since (with the help of my exhusband). It is like I am looking to have my partner fill those gaps for me. Now, I know that it’s unrealistic, but surely a healthy good relationship can go some ways to helping these things? Just like I am hoping to offer. Thing is, can two totally messed up people actually help one another? Who else is going to do it? I just need to figure out how to get out of my own ruts. I’ve had counselling, read a million self help books, reiki, you name it, but the pain is pretty deep and when challenged, I turn about 4 again and it’s not pretty. I have been proud a bit more lately, the latter half of this year, because your books and you and Steve’s advice were like a big old slap in the face and got me, for the first time, thinking about MY PART IN IT. But I still have a LONG way to go.

    How long did it take you to properly ‘grow up’ – this question is for anyone out there reading. CD sounds like she’s well down this path, as do a few others.

    I HAVE focused on my goals and my girls, but I’ve just had a serious, hard core relapse and I’m in shock.

    Anyway, thanks all for being here. If anyone wants to chat over the weekend, let me know. Sometimes it helps to talk through these steps.

  208. Tracy said

    I just woke up from going to sleep because I wanted to once again thank you from the bottom of my heart. The example you’ve shown us all deserves to be shouted from the rooftops. I hope that one day, you and Steve get to spread your message far and wide across the world – it’s the most spiritual, grounded, realistic and loving advice I’ve ever read and has really made a huge impact on my life.

    May you be blessed this Christmas and into the New Year with the love of your family, and an expanding presence in this world, and comfort and wealth. You both deserve it for the time, attention and dedication you’ve shown to something you obviously believe in so sincerely.

    If anyone is new to this thread or existing members, please please please – never give up. Read these resources again and again. The answers are all there. They really are!

  209. kimcooper said

    Hi Tracy,

    Good question Tracy and you know it took years!!!

    At first and as I had very little guidance my new emotional strength would go up and down and then finally about 6mths of solid improvement with me “getting it” and starting to see I HAD to be the strong one or we would just sink, this was after I had found another girls phone number in Steve’s wallet (only because he was making a big show of hiding it) and discovered I could be happy anyway and that this didn’t make me weaker it made me STRONGER. Then a setback which was caused by a trainer Steve was working with pumping up his ego and telling him he really didn’t need to do all the work (he had her doing his homework!!!) and at this stage he also starting talking about plans for my business as if it was his. I put a stop to all that fast. I went and saw this woman’s supervisor and said he either has to do the course properly or this has got to stop as it is effecting us at home. I said I understood the trainer was just trying to help his self esteem but that was NOT going to help in Steve’s case as it would just go to his head and his bad behaviour at home had started again after him being good for so long. One mention of a DV history and she got it and the woman in question was pulled from training him. The funny thing was that Steve was relieved. He came back down to earth. Then after another good 6 months we had the final set back with his social worker which I have talked about a lot. I talked about the solution however but not about the part where I flipped out and did all the wrong stuff (ha ha ha). You don’t have to be perfect and who better to learn all this stuff with than someone like your guy who has lots to learn too. see: http://www.thelovesafetynet.com/Love_Part_2.html

    The important thing Tracy is that you are seeing your mistakes and are ready to face them. You will love emotional stupidity. It talks all about why we get sucked into thinking we can force people to do what we want. I was like that too and once Steve would scare me and would succeed in provoking me he could turn me into a psycho too!!!

    So you are back on track now I think! When he starts with the “I’m leaving you” stuff just think to yourself “yeah yeah yeah we will see – but honey how about we first watch some funny movies and get some sleep” (-: I know it isn’t easy but in the end you are going to be SO solid girl. I am facing it all in business now instead of my home life! Believe me in business there are just as many tantrum throwing babies that want all your attention while calling themselves business people and you know the same stuff I teach with Steve still applies. It’s tough but then I look at all of the successful people out there, do they go to pieces and forget their own goals just because someone is unhappy with them? No they say I am busy and I will talk to you once my lawyer has this sorted out with you and they hang up!

    You get that gap finder going Tracy and give yourself plenty of time and love to fill in those gaps!!!

    Kim

  210. kimcooper said

    Ahh Gee thanks Tracy – I have goose bumps now!!! If you get bored over the weekend check out my YouTube Channel

    http://www.youtube.com/user/kimandSteveCooper

    I just last night favorited some great stuff.

  211. MR said

    Tracy,

    Feel free to use this space to just get the frustration off of your chest. We all have, and we all have had moments of feeling like we were loosing our mind, like we just can not keep living like this and yes even considering what are the other available “ways out.”

    I am very glad for you that Kim happened to be on-line and could respond so promptly and give you some concrete suggestions. For me, the intensity of the frustration that sometimes pulls me back into responding with old patterns has not really lessened, but the frequency of my reacting to the set-up has lessened, and I am “bouncing back” to a better place more quickly – even if when I was feeling very hurt I felt as if all of my progress had been lost (as you described.)

    I have also found it useful to write e-mail letters to supportive friends about what is going on – except I e-mail them only to myself so others do not get the burden of the whining and complaining. By the end of writing it and editing what and how I want to say, the intensity has usually lessened.

    MR

    PS – Kim, This response is great. I think I am going to file a variant of this suggestion in the back of my mind. I needed to have used it earlier today.

    “First things first I want you to stop arguing with him. Start agreeing with everything he says like this …

    “I am sorry that you are so unhappy being part of this family and you are probably right that we are not meant for each other. I want you to be happy and that is important to me but right now we are both sick so lets not plan what comes next until we are better OK?”

  212. kimcooper said

    Hi MR,

    I am glad you liked that!!! I will write a bit more to you tonight but everyone is waiting for me to have dinner right now (-:

    Kim

    OK I am back now, I just showed my family one of the new YouTube movies I was mentioning before that I subscribed to
    recently. Please search for it on YouTube or find it on our channel (narcissism self help). It is called ‘validation’ and I was put on to
    it from a subscriber here! It is a great one to show your family too!

    I am glad to hear that you are getting stronger MR and it is very wise that you view your progress over time. I really want to
    say to everyone who is still struggling with their partner that they will really benefit from the 4 legged stool exercise in The Love Safety Net
    Workbook and I think that you may find the areas that come less naturally finally come to light if you start tracking
    your progress there. When you find that last leg it can be really elating to discover that all the other legs you have built are actually
    much studier and stronger than you thought!!!

    I so want to thank you MR and the other beautiful women here for all of your generosity and wisdom and I really hope that the love
    starts flowing a bit stronger for you from your man soon – because you deserve to be loved and you deserve to feel proud of how far
    you have come!!!

    Hang in there!

    Kim
    PS. I am working on articles for a new blog I will be more active on which will be launched in the next week or two so I will keep
    you posted (-:

  213. Laura said

    for TRACY:

    It took me till I was in my mid to late 30′s to finally mature into adulthood. I always associated “growing up” with “being boring, responsible, stagnant.” I just didn’t see myself as wanting to be “like them…the adults.” Peter Pan Syndrome, perhaps.

    After I was abused by a minister’s daughter, a narcissist/borderline/poss mpd person, I WOKE UP! I went and got on medicine in order to straighten out my own brain cells…went back to college, took Psych classes, Sociology classes…even faced a fear and SWAM again in Swimming Class! I took care of ME. My N husband hated it, because, the things that were ok with me for years, suddenly became intolerable.

    For me, it was no longer ok to expect everyone to take care of my children and me. It was frustrating depending on my husband to pay bills on time, knowing our utilities would keep getting shut off…so, I began seeing him as the “child” he was, and I became the “re-parenter” of not only myself, but him! He didn’t know how to take it and he got very angry and still does at times, saying “the worst thing you ever did was GO BACK TO SCHOOL!” No, it was the BEST thing I did…I found ME again and I began BEING me, instead of fitting into his nasty fantasies.

    My advice to you, Tracy, is keep taking care of you, read The Language of Letting Go, The Bible, books that help you find YOU! Deal with any types of other issues that cause you to have distorted perception about things…Stop Walking on Eggshells, THe Borderline Mother…of course, Steve and Kim’s books…all those things will help you really SEE yourself and begin making the changes to feel good about who you are.

    As far as wanting children, my advice to anyone about that is, get well first yourself. Children are so innocent and it’s just not fair to give them parents who are still stuck in “child” mode themselves. I have a cousin who did that, a daughter who did that…it’s so painful to watch a baby or child try to get the attention of a mother who is a child herself and just can’t give the baby/child what it truly needs…stability. Think twice, work on YOU…that’s my advice.

  214. Allison said

    So it’s the process that continues to trip me up. My therapist and I came up with the notion that I want to handle my relationship with my husband like a math problem. If I do “x” then the outcme will be “y”… The problem is that life is NOT a math problem. There are so many unknown variables that you just can’t solve life’s problems by using a simple formula. I simply can’t seem to get it into my head though. I feel like I know too much. I feel like separating my partener from his N supply is trylu not possible, since it is his career and life’s dream. His mission in life (building his empire) is his biggest Narrcissistic supplier and I have NO opportunity to rid our lives of it. The best I can do is take care of myself and my children. But I do get extremely negative and down when faced with an issue because aside from self sooth and magic scissors & moving on there is no way to stop the behavior since the circle has no end. He will never stop seeking out the recognition and the fame of his endeavors, that is what he lives for. The bad behavior that follows the blown up ego (that he gets when he works on a project, does networking, joins a new professional group…) will never end – because the precursors to the bad behavior are going to be a constant in his life. What do I do with that??? I guess I’ve been trying to solve the problem rationally. A problem that seems not to have a solution. I’m getting tired of the cycle. And like I said I get very down when it seems like there is no end to the cycle. I don’t know what to do. I got some good advise from my therapist about being in the moment. I try to move ahead to what I want my life to be, ignoring what it really is. That makes it worse for me because I’m always comparing what I want my relationship to be with what my relationship is. This makes the relationship seem hopeless and horrible, because I’ll never have that fairy tale relationship, it simple isn’t real. But longing for it makes me even unhappier rather than working on accepting what is there and working on that. I’m working on creating something that isn’t real, no wonder I keep failing!!!!

    The problem is I don’t know how to get the fantasy out of my head. I don’t know how to accept that I married a narcissist and that is my life. He will be selfish and that is my life. He puts himself above our marriage and our children and that is my life. When I admit those things to myself I feel terrible about myself for staying. I feel stupid for putting up with it. I feel like a bad mom for not sweeping my girls away and protecting them. And at the same time what I do is LONG for a different life…one without narcissism, a partnership that I desperately want. And then I deny the truth of my relationship and perpetuate the fantasy I want to live. Because I must be a loser to accept him, right? And I CAN’T possible stay if he won’t change, right? This is what trips me up every time… the battle I have with myself over “right and wrong”. The battle of accepting him for who he is, and a life of managing his narcissism, over my fantasy life that I can’t seem to let go of.

    Any suggestions besides time and practice? Now I know the answer to that but I’m trying to solve it like a math problem again!!! See… ARGH!!!!!! I want it to be easy, but it isn’t, that’s all there is to it.

    Thanks for letting me vent :)

  215. Laura said

    Allison,
    First of all I want to tell you that I can really relate to all of your feelings, because I tend to want to solve problems logically too.
    Narcissists don’t act according to “typical” anything, other than their own behavioral patterns that are listed all over the internet…problem with delayed gratification, grandiosity, lack of empathy, false-self centeredness.
    Secondly, I can’t stress this enough, but especially people married to narcissists, need to take care of themselves…self-care. What IF the man/woman does NOT change…chances are, he might not! Are you going to sit there having regrets, pining away the rest of your life, while your children grow older and long for a mom who was so caught up in the drama of the N, that she couldn’t be there fully for them? ( not saying you are doing this, but I know how it can go that way if we don’t practice self-care )…don’t do it. Join a club, a church, go out with friends, go back to school, establish little celebrations for your children and you to have, just because…study other cultures and have a pinata or tie strings to your big toes and you tug on em on C’mas morning to let the kids know Santa came (Switzerland custom I think)…point is, you do not have to let this guy or any gal either, DEFINE your entire existence.
    I didn’t. You don’t have to. You may never have the man you thought you had married…I know mine doesn’t even come close…but I love ME and ME and YOU is all we really have in the end of things anyway. Take care of yourself, have fun with your life, with your children…if this isn’t possible, then yeah, time to separate.

  216. CD said

    Hi Tracy,

    The strength of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me! What a tough life you must have had from time to time, especially as a 14 year old child having to divorce your parents, and to support yourself from such a tender age out of necessity. It is no wonder you have (by your own self analysis) got the trait of wanting what you want when you want it – otherwise you go into a complete meltdown. You are a survivor of child abuse and as a child you have had to survive with the emotional maturity of a child, a child that unfortunately did not have the support of emotionally mature parents during your developing years.

    Nevertheless, now as an adult, you obviously have done a lot of personal growth work and developed a very good amount of emotional maturity by being able to calm yourself down or self-soothe when hurt or angered (showing maturity also by asking for help and support when you need it), and you also have a talent to look within yourself for the “seed” of your difficulties.

    This is not saying that your man has not hurt you, nor that you are the cause of the discord between you both, but rather that you have the ability to look within yourself to see what makes you “tick”, what makes you react defensively or aggressively when you are hurt or angry, etc . . . . or what makes you respond assertively.

    When you have a meltdown, is it the child within you that is hurting and just wants to be loved and to feel secure, and when that hurt child perceives a threat of abandonment or rejection does it go into survival mode by losing control and lashing out? If this is true, then don’t beat up on yourself so much – you have done it tough, and you have always given your best until you knew better – and you are striving to be the very best you can be with an ever raising bar of personal growth and enlightenment. You are to be praised wholeheartedly for this.

    Cut yourself some slack for the moment though, give yourself as much time as you need to heal and completely love the child within you FIRST. Allow your man time to do the same. Don’t be pressured by your biological clock or the need for a marriage certificate for now – maybe the BOTH of you are too fearful of commitment at this stage hence the anxiety and arguments. Men panic when their lady applies pressure about such things – among other concerns they wonder “Does she really want me or does she just want a wedding ring and babies?” True relationship stability comes at the level of trust and secure attachment.

    Maria Rodowski spoke of “secure attachment”, “insecure attachment” and “avoidant attachment” in relationships in the last radio show of Kim and Steve’s “The Roots of the Dance”. It is worth listening to this show – the information is valuable for assessing where you and your relationship are at, and if you are really ready for full commitment yet, or what areas you (and your man) still need to work on.

    I know I have already said this, but think very carefully about being totally dependent on your man – living with or marrying him and working for him, etc. It might be healthier for you to have a job independent of his business before you totally commit to each other? To be able to financially stand on your own two feet at any time, not only for your own financial security but for your children as well? I am speaking from experience – my husband and I are so tied up in business it would take years to sort ourselves out legally if we ever wanted to part ways – which has been seriously contemplated by us several times this year, and it is happening right now. The problem for us both is that we would not only lose our marriage, but our business, livelihood and careers as well – and that is not good for the emotional and financial security of either of us.

    Good luck and stay in touch,
    CD

  217. Coz said

    Hi Everyone,

    Does anyone out there know what this is? My husband displays all the traits of narcissism – but he also has the following behaviour. One night we went to a Johnny Farnham concert with friends, everyone in the audience thoroughly enjoyed the concert – they showed their appreciation by clapping madly, cheering, whistling, and standing ovations, etc – all except for one person – my husband. He sat unemotionally in his chair all night sometimes with his arms folded not showing any outward sign that he was enjoying the concert – and I thought that he wasn’t because of this. I think Johnny Farnham could see this one person in the audience of 1000’s as we weren’t too far from the stage. Johnny shielded his eyes against the lights and looked steadily towards my husband for a brief moment – and if I am right – that he was looking at my husband, he must have wondered whether that one guy in the audience wasn’t enjoying his show.

    It looked so strange that my husband was so unemotional – he wanted to go to the concert but he did not even clap his hands or display any form of enjoyment or appreciation – not even a face muscle twitch! As you can imagine I was blown away when we got out of the venue and he was the first to say “Well I really enjoyed that!” and he went on enthusiastically to say what he enjoyed about it. How can someone enjoy something so much but outwardly show no enjoyment?

    He wasn’t depressed at the time (that I know of) and I don’t think my husband is claustrophobic, or agoraphobic or enochlophobic (fear of large crowds) – although I am wondering about the latter because he resists going to concerts, but he does enjoy them when he goes and he doesn’t stop raving about them for a long time later. He still raves about a concert we went to 35 years ago!

    My husband shows little emotion except for football and the news or current affairs, etc where he becomes very vocal, and mostly negative. He does not laugh at any comedies, even if everyone else in the room is “in stitches” of laughter – but he has been known to crack a smile on very rare occasion when he does find something funny – but that quickly passes.

    When he socializes – and I know him very well – he appears to be really enjoying himself with lots of laughter, but that laughter is so fake, his stories are mostly fake, and there is the gingival smile and the mask of him behaving like he is someone so much bigger and better than his true self.

    In more recent times he does not do that anymore – he has been suffering insomnia and deep depression – but he will not take the help offered to him by the family doctor, and he does not want counselling any more – he only did that under sufferance apparently – and he is so anti prescription pills and refuses to take any pills – saying he will work through his depression himself, but he says he does not know if he will ever overcome it this time. He did take antidepressants some 14 years ago, but they made him go “psycho” – my son said it was like he was on illicit drugs – although we know he wasn’t because he is so anti illicit drugs as well.

    After years of living with this most recent bout of depression and insomnia, and supporting him emotionally as much as I could, it has taken its toll on me – we are at the point of either he gets help or we part ways, I have to save myself from ending up in the same place.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

    Coz

  218. vicki said

    My narcissist boyfriened is a rich and very tight man. He’s a genious and engineer. He’d the first on the playground and hikes and camps and has no fear of anything. It’s like I’m an object not a person that he loves and says he will love me for the next 40 yrs. I’m perfect for him. He judges and gets on soap boxes that annoy me but I just be quiet. He loves breasts, and says he wants some milk and wants to buy me a nusrsing bra. ewww. but never buys the bra but he always acts like he’s nursing. Loves to make love to me. He says he’s learning to trust. Boy does he push my buttons, usually about women. sheesh.

  219. Jean said

    OK, just found your website and have lots of questions.
    Five years ago, my husband Tom told me, after an unexpected phone call that he received on Christmas Eve after I had already gone to bed, that he was going to the airport to pick up a (male) friend of his that he hadn’t seen or heard from in ~two years. His friend Paul was returning home for the holidays from out of the country, and couldn’t reach his family to come pick him up at the airport.

    My husband brought Paul home, and since his family still hadn’t been contacted, Paul spent Christmas Eve night on our couch in the living room – it was the least we could do for someone in such unfortunate circumstances.

    Well apparently, Paul’s wife (turns out that she was an ex-wife since 1999) wasn’t enamored with the idea that he was home for the holidays after being out of the country for six months. So Paul spent the holidays with us. I felt so sorry for him.

    He began trying to get back with his ex-wife, visited her frequently, yet she seemed to have a pretty cold relationship with him, although Paul’s two adult daughters treated him cordially.

    Time passed, the ex-wife moved cross-country to live with another man, and I fell in love with Paul.

    After the first year, he made sexual advances to me, and things got out of control. I was enamored with his charm, his wit, his high intelligence, his interesting background, and his athleticism.

    I ignored his argumentative behavior, his explosive temper, his controlling/manipulative personality, his impatience, his lack of humor, his lack of empathy, his lack of being able to hold down a job in the past and current unemployment status, his large mood swings, his obsession with privacy, and his stinginess/selfishness.

    I was willing to overlook his unwillingness to pay us room and board, even if it was a small amount. He began doing odd jobs around the house, and his talent at doing repair/maintenance jobs was outstanding, so I was willing to overlook the lack of him paying any rent money. He did things willingly, without me asking, and I was pitifully grateful.

    I learned that he had been “a womanizer” when his now-adult daughters were young, before he became very religious(fundamentalist).

    Fast forward to 2009.

    I had been trying to break off our little “affair” but just didn’t have the emotional strength – my conscience was tearing me apart and I knew it was wrong. Paul apparently had no qualms whatsoever about it. My husband had no clue.

    Then Paul fell in love with the widow next door, and he has become obsessed with her.

    I was dropped like a hot potato, with no explanation. No more repair jobs are done around the house, and of course, we’ve never received any rent money. She gets 120% of his attention now.

    Am I jealous? You bet. Turns out, both she and I are co-dependents.

    Paul had to make a trip out of the country to take care of some loose ends business-wise, and while he was gone, my neighbor and I had long heart-to-heart converstaions. I told her of our affair, and that “he didn’t even say good-bye”. Was that a wrong thing to do? Perhaps it was the jealousy thing kicking in, or perhaps it was my inept way of trying to warn her that she was the “new flavor of the month” – I honestly don’t know.

    She told me that she had been in two controlling/abusive marriages and there was no way that she was ever going to get into another one. He had already proposed to her in marriage but she refused – she told me that she barely even knew the man, and “there was a check in her heart”. (instinct that something just wasn’t right) I couldn’t believe that he had proposed to her after knowing her only two months.

    She wound up telling Paul everything that I had told her in confidence, (of course – I should have known that would happen, but I honestly didn’t think that she would do that at the time). She told me that he had badgered her into admitting to him what we had done while he was gone.

    Needless to say, Paul was furious with me when he found out about our converstations. He no longer speaks to me, and he barely speaks to my husband. My husband just thinks that Paul is moody and blows it off as just an idiosyncrocy.

    When I recently discovered that Paul has narcissist characteristics, I was so shocked to find out that I wasn’t going crazy, I sat down and cried with relief – I wasn’t going crazy after all.

    I wish Paul and his new found love the best, in spite of my hurt and jealousy. None of this is her fault.

    I strongly suspect that he is hoping that she can support him and he would like to move in with her; however her three adult children will not allow it. So at this time she is keeping Paul as her “secret boyfriend”, and two of her children have no clue what’s going on, nor do two of her closest female friends. Only one daughter (my hairdresser) strongly suspects that Paul is targeting her mother, and she has strongly criticized her mother to stay away from Paul.

    My stress level is high – I can hear the laughter and the charm and the entertainment going on in my neighbor’s back yard, and I see the projects that he’s doing at her house, and the little “labors of love”. It’s total silence over here – he doesn’t speak at all…and his hostility is something to behold. (I’ve “betrayed” him, if you will)

    If you ask Paul a question, he will only reply with a curt “yes” or “no”.

    I still love him in spite of his abusive behavior, which I have brought on my my mis-handling of his new love affair. I should have kept my nose out of their business, but my hurt was too much and I had to confide in someone who was already familiar with Paul’s charm.

    I know that we are being used – I accused Paul of this in one of our many loud screaming matches. I resent that now. I can accept his new love affair but I am having a hard time dealing with feeling like a “used piece of toilet paper”.

    BTW, Paul has threatened to me, in one of his explosive verbal rages, that he will tell my husband of our past affair, if we ask Paul to permanently leave.

    Any suggestions on how to handle Paul better than I have so far?
    My neighbor has tried to keep him from spending so much time at her house, monopolizing all of her time, but she’s a co-dependent, like I mentioned before, as am I.

  220. Tammy said

    Hello,
    I was so shocked to see a site that describes my husband to a “t”/ Utterly charming to others, emotionally abusive at home. Not always. But definitely so. In front of the children today he yelled at me to leave to go, trying to make me out to be the bad guy. For the past few years, I make a joke of “everything being my fault” because it is so ridiculous-whatever it is, no matter what, it is MY fault. I used to just admit to it-”yes, its all my fault. its always my fault” blah blah blah. Just to get him to shut up & stop blaming me. I knew itwas not my fault. I KNEW he would never admit when he was at fault….so why not just jokingly, ALWAYS take the blame if ANYTHING went wrong?

    I cannot believe I have lived in this environment with my children.

    All of the information about it making the victim more and more upset over time-so true.

    I used to have more patience than anyone I knew.
    Over time, of getting blamed, lies, things turned around…it makes it hard to believe in yourself.
    I know they are lies. But after a while you wonder if its you, even if you know its not.

    I wish I had the answer. Hopefully I can find some here.

    Thank you for having this site.

  221. Joyanne said

    Tammi everything you said is true about being blamed and over time you start to believe it. I had a friend tell me today I am not the person I used to be. I am beaten down and holding back. You may not see what the abusiveness has done to you but ask some of your friends.
    Anyone – any thoughts on this…I went to bed last nite and my husband had the “white noise” sound machine turned the whole way up, was lying in bed reading “Forgive for Love” and had earplugs in. You have to understand we live in the country and there were no other sounds. When I asked him to please turn down the sound machine ( ocean waves and seagulls) he refused. I turned it down myself and he turned it back up. I asked him again. He refused. I had no choice but to sleep downstairs.
    I know you probably smiled when you saw what he was reading and doing. It doesnt make any reasonable sense.
    Is it better to back down and avoid the arguement by sleeping elsewhere or stand up for your right to sleep there? I chose the first option.

  222. kimcooper said

    Hi Jean,

    Well this is really is a mess. I can only give you my thoughts and recommendations Jean which are these;

    a. You did the right thing to warn your neighbour.
    b. You need to let your husband know about the affair AND let the police now that Paul is blackmailing you (because that is what it is). I don’t think that you should lie to your husband but I do think you can honestly play down your role in the matter. He DID target you because he wanted you to let him stay and now it is quite obvious he is doing the same thing next door. Your husband will be angry and you can’t stop that but you can use the advice in The Love Safety Net Workbook to bring him as close as you can and show him that you regret what you have done and that you love him and want him close. If you stay calm and loving and accept his anger without needing to change it and just apologise – hopefully it will then be turned on Paul where it belongs. You need to tell your husband that you want Paul out of your life and that you have already told the police about him blackmailing you. Don’t give Paul even the slightest crack at turning your husband against you.

    This is your family that you are protecting and you cannot help Paul in any other way than to show him that his game is not going to work and that people are not pawns.

    Hang in there Jean and I would say you need to vow to never let someone come between you and a direct family member again.

    Kim
    PS. I would also suggest you get 10 steps to Overcoming codependence for your neighbour and yourself!!!

  223. kimcooper said

    Hi Coz,

    It sounds like your husband has a big problem with envy which he also tries to hide. Saying he liked the concert later was his way of being the authority but I bet he was still feeling very jealous inside.

    I think if you were to buy and print Emotional Stupidity and The Little Book of Empathy Love and friendship from our site and have them printed at your local print shop (as they come as PDF’s to read on screen) and leave them lying around for him to see and pick up would be a good start. The Love Safety Net Workbook would also be good for you. If I were you I would also try and add as much healthy fat to your husbands diet as possible. Sardines, Salmon and Evening Primrose Oil if he will take it. If not use avocado oil and walnut oil on salads. As a guide try to use nut oils without heating them, coconut oil if you are frying food and don’t use seed oils at all.

    This along with exercise is the best treatment for depression and even though your husbands problems obviously go deeper than that the biochemical impact healthy fat has on our system is quite profound and it will still help.

    Most important of all is that you don’t leave it to him to make the changes that are necessary now. If he is so conflicted that he cannot even watch a concert without going through the kind of inner turmoil you describe, how is he going to make the right decisions about the rest of his life.

    Oh and as for his stand on drugs, look on the bright side that he is not an addict. That is a real plus.

    Kim
    PS. I just came back to edit this because Steve told me it was you CD, sorry about that (blush!) of course you have our workbook etc. I hope that you still got something out of my response (-:

  224. kimcooper said

    Hi Vicki,

    I think you need to be careful. You do not seem to have much respect or attraction to this man and so even if he is rich you are still letting yourself down to pretend you like him more than you do. You may think you have the upper hand now but that won’t last for long and you could end up in a very dangerous situation indeed.

    As he has admitted trust is an issue I would also suggest that if you want to break up with him you organise it so that he can pretend it was his idea (there is more on this in “Back from the Looking Glass”). Trust me, with this kind of man who sees you as a mother figure and is rich you are better to be a big person and take the fall (let yourself be dumped) than face the betrayal and abandonment that a rich man has the resources to act out to epic proportions. If you can’t read between the lines of what I am saying here I will be plain by saying that if you let him end it you will be much SAFER and freer to then carry on with your own life too.

    Hang in there Vicki,

    Kim

  225. kimcooper said

    Hi Tammy,

    There are a lot of amazing people here who will sympathise with you I know! I will suggest however that you first make the small investment in our ebooks because the situation you describe is only going to deteriorate without you taking some big steps now. I really feel for you but you do not want to wait until you truly want to kill him (like I did) till you seek help.

    I am so glad you have found us, their is a safe little island here where if you have trouble with the steps you need to take you can come and get help.

    Hang in there Tammy (-:

    Kim

  226. kimcooper said

    Hi Joyanne,

    You did the right thing by not letting him provoke you, but how long can that go on? It is very important to choose your battles and that may and may not be the right battle right now. Once you have got more to the heart of what his narcissism is built on and you are ready to make some serious moves to shift the power balance, with the help of a support team, you may be in a position to say “Turn on that torture apparatus of yours again and I will ….. (something will real consequences like “be forced to talk to —– about your aggression towards me in this regard) and then you put earplugs in (so even if he does turn it on there is no fight only consequences) and you go to sleep.

    Until you are on very firm footing however I would definitely say choose your battles. There is a great story I read once about Elton John who was ripped to shreds by the tabloids for years. The press believed they had him because even though he filed law suits against their slander he hesitated to have them heard as they would involve having his private life dragged into the public eye in court. While it looked like he was cowering scared however he really was baiting them and waiting and finally the right tabloid story came. It was a story that said his dogs had had their voice boxes surgically removed and were ‘silent assassins’. This story had nothing to do with his private life and was easy to disprove (I may be wrong but I think he didn’t even own dogs). He immediately sprung into action and withdrew all the other suits and presented this one to be heard straight away. Not only did he receive a big payout he also got a front page apology and it was this point he became friends with every celebrity in London as well as the royal family including the queen because they were all so thrilled that someone had finally beaten them. So I will say it again Joyanne, choose you battles wisely and make sure you are fully prepared.

    Hang in there,

    Kim

  227. kimcooper said

    Hi Allison,

    You cannot say that if you do x the outcome will be y but you can say that if you do x your situation will improve.
    For instance say X is;

    a. Live within my means
    b. Eat fresh and healthy food
    c. Improve my relationship skills
    d. Get sunshine and fresh air everyday
    etc.

    So here are some things you can do that I would suggest will improve things;

    First I would say to look at your negative inner self talk (“there is NOTHING I can do, I can NEVER stop his be
    haviour etc”). Whenever we start using NEVER, NOTHING or ALWAYS it means that we are in defense and not in
    touch with the truth.

    Second I would set some goals for your own life and do do your own gap work (in the Love safety net Workbook)
    as this will help you give up your unhealthy dream that it is a relationship that will save you. Simpleology would
    also be great for you and I always recommend it;

    http://www.simpleology.com/p/s101/kimcoo/ty1/

    Third I would say that you need to stop looking at your husband’s supply and instead focus on the bad behaviour you mention.
    You CAN do something about that (and you must) and Back from the Looking Glass and The Love Safety Net Workbook will help you
    with that when you find the courage to make a stand.

    In short your WILL needs to be stronger than his and you need to have a plan that considers everyone’s best interests – and be saying
    to yourself that you are going to win and you deserve to take the helm because you are a grounded, calm and confident person
    who truly cares about your family. This is what I would say you need to work towards and if you set small goals and take small
    steps there is no guarantee where that will lead, but there is an extremely good chance it will be somewhere better than where
    you are right now.

    Hang in there Allison!

    Kim
    PS. One last thought … If you are doing x only to get reaction y then that means you are attempting to manipulate too! You need to take
    the steps we offer because they are what will make you safer and stronger and to feel better about yourself NOT as a form of trying to
    squeeze what you want out of this man. Ask yourself, do you really know him or love him or feel for him as a person? Or are you just in
    love with the fantasy of a prince charming? If you need him to live up to your fantasy this is a big sign of narcissism in you too!

  228. kimcooper said

    Hi Everyone,

    I am sorry it has been so long since I have dropped in here to answer questions!

    I am working on a new blog that will be out in about a week and which I am very excited about and hope you will all enjoy and support.

    This year has been very tough for our business as the Australian dollar has continued to strengthen it has nearly halved our income and as I will not put the prices of our material up (again) it means I am forced to spend most of my time now studying how to get our sites better ranked in Google to save us some money in advertising.

    The new blog has been set up so it will hopefully get picked up better by the search engines and will also include a lot of new free content which I have also been busy creating.

    As always we remain committed to help those who need us (-:

    You can help us too by finding our YouTube channel at;

    http://www.youtube.com/user/kimandSteveCooper

    and when you watch our movies there make sure you watch them right to the end (so it counts as being viewed) and then if you like it also rate it.

    You can also let people know about us and direct them to our site.

    OK so I will let you know when the new blog is up and till then hang in there!
    I think you are all the most beautiful women!!!

    Till next week,

    Kim (-:

  229. Kacy said

    Hi everyone, I have just found Kim and Steve’s website and this blog. I have been in a relationship with a man for the past year and have only in the past few weeks discovered that the overwhelmingly confusing behavior he has exhibited is due to NPD. He and I dated each other 38 years ago and I got pregnant with his child at that time. The baby was lost and we broke up. Just this last year our paths crossed when he contacted an old mutual friend and got in contact with me about doing some work for him. I agreed, and within the first week he began telling me how he has never been able to forget me and did the usual overwhelming grooming of me to become romantically involved with him.”I was the love of his life.”….. “He would never do anything to cause the demise of our relationship because he has waited to be with me all of these years.”….. It was two months or more of intense loving and romantic grooming. It was intoxicating and successful. The first two months were absolutley wonderful, and obviously I know now, bought into my very needy self. I had had no experience with anyone with his issues of NPD and also Commitment Phobia. Do the two often go hand in hand? Gradually over the months things became very confusing and sometimes emotionally abusive,which I would overlook and excuse because “after all he has loved me so much for so long,” how could he really be acting in an abusive way??? (I now absolutely realize how my co-dependant issues played into all of this and am working on those) From the begining he proclaimed how much he wanted to marry me but over the next several months many excuses (especially financial, which was ridiculous becasue he is very well off) began to be thrown out as to why he couldn’t marry me any time in the near future. I just had a realization today that his attachment to his money is likely his avenue of self-soothing. He needs his money to buy and purchase things for “Himself” to make himself feel secure in his future and to be able to “soothe” his feelings of inferiority and lack of self esteem. He fears that he will run out of this money and that is a very fearful place for him. After all what else does he have and what else does he feel he has control over??? Any thoughts about that?? …. I began my research and concluded he had full blown Commitment Phobia and began dealing with the relationship with that in mind. This culminated when about a month and a half ago, I finally told him that he could have all the time he needed to make a choice about committing to me but while he was deciding I wasn’t going to continue shutting off all of my other options. Rather than him stepping up to the plate and committing to me,which most normal men would do if they really loved someone,… he reacted by becoming VERY angry and ending the relationship with me.He expressed great anger about me “finding another man, who could obviously give me what he couldn’t” and did alot of twisting things around, making up stuff and blaming me for most everything. Five weeks went by with no communication and then last week he contacted me and we had a discussion about having shared so much that it was a shame to end things on such a negative note. It was during the 5 weeks as I did more research that I realized I was not just dealing with CP but that he was a full blown NPD person as well. I realize that I am lucky to have not gotten into a marriage with this man, as I realize it would have proven to be very difficult. I do want to say however that I loved him very deeply and still struggle with my feelings and being able to let go of all that I thought was good and wonderful and meaningful between us. I do believe that he loves me deeply, as much as he is able! (Just like Steve and Kim have expressed that Steve did love Kim very much, but his NPD got in the way of it being healthy) He has never married and there are many many things that have been discussed and proven to me that he has a deep emotional attachment to me. Albeit much of it was likely fantasy based. (He is 61 and I am 57.) I know that I should be glad there was no marriage and realistically I am. I do however feel so much DEEP compassion and empathy for this man, and his deep struggles and intense lonliness, feelings and fears of abandonment etc. that I would like to be able to help him to recover somehow. This is my co-dependancy speaking I’m sure, but he has no family alive, and really has no friends except for a few phone acquintences that he speaks to every few weeks. I had considered keeping some kind of friendship established so that I could possibly find ways to encourage him to seek professional help, but after coming across Steve and Kim’s web site and reading some of their material I don’t think therapy would ever help him and I don’t believe he would ever agree to see one, anyway. I know that I should be viewing this as the greatest break I have probably ever had in that I did not end up in a marriage with this man. I do still however have deep feelings and empathy as I mentioned. After our last conversation (the one after the 5 week interlude) he expressed his continued love for me and he did call me again later that evening. I know this sounds peculiar but prior to that phone call I had a “ringback” tone on my phone that had been on there for most of the year we dated which was “Our Song” and was Tina Turner’s “Lets stay together”. During the 5 weeks we didn’t speak the “ringtone” expired and I didn’t renew it. Thus when he called me that evening he obviously didn’t hear “Our song”. He acted a little peculiar during the conversation and we hung up. He hasn’t called me back since. I don’t know if he is reacting to the lack of “Our Song” and feels once again that I abandoned him, or if he has just decided after all that he wants no contact with me. Knowing how hyper-sensitive NPD’s can be to the most minute things, I do suspect that this triggered him. He has e-mailed me a few times with some non-intimate e-mails. I guess my question is “If I want to maintain some contact with him in order to possibly bring about some healing for him with these deep issues, should I continue trying to reach out to him, or just step back and let him make contact if he chooses?” I don’t want it to appear that I am pursuing him, but given the unusual responses and deep fears of NPD people I feel a concern that if I step way back and wait for him to come forward with further communication that he will not do that because he feels abandoned by me, twice in the past month or so. Any thoughts?

  230. Allison blount said

    Hi Kim, thank you for all you’re advise and support. I truly appreciate you and all the people who are here sharing and supporting eachother in such a difficult situation. Good luck with your new blog, I can’t wait to see it. It has really been a life saver to have this support system that you have created. Can’t thank you enough! Hope all is well with you and Steve and the kids and I wish you great success with your business. If anyone deserves it it is someone like you who does such wonderful things for others!

    Allison

  231. CD said

    Hi Kim,

    Thank you so much for your thoughts and suggestions – I would never have thought about him being jealous or envious at a concert! Your perception and perspective on human behaviour is astounding! I have been unable to sort out in my mind, or by googling on the internet, this puzzling side of my husband all these years. It goes to show that some things that have remained unanswered may hold a significant key to an overall picture, but before I explain what I mean I would like to add some more information about my husband and what I consider to be unusual response behaviour:

    My husband rarely has (if ever) an involuntary “fright or flight” reflex response to unexpected perceived imminent danger. I wouldn’t like to judge that this is linked psychologically or physically with his lack of outward sign of enjoyment or appreciation, but then it might be. I thought I would mention it now just in case. I would like to send you and Steve an entertaining e-mail video-clip a friend sent to me – if that is OK? I do apologise if it frightens you or Steve – it would be G-Rated though I would think. I jumped and gasped with fright at the end of this video clip, and so did my daughter and a couple of friends that I showed it to – we sort of knew what was going to happen, but the involuntary reflex of “fright and flight” still occurred in us.

    However when my husband watched it, I expected that he would react in the same way as we all did – he sat there through the whole thing not knowing what to expect but at the end he didn’t even flinch a muscle! He said “Yeah? So what so good about that?” I asked him “Didn’t that frighten you in the least?” He said no, it’s just a computer movie, it’s not real! My husband is terrified of snakes in real life though. I often wonder if a doctor tapped him on the reflex point just below the knee cap whether his lower leg would jerk as it should – I don’t know what that reflex test reveals to doctors anyway! I don’t know if this last piece of additional information is relevant or can cast any more significant light onto our situation.

    However my contemplations from your thoughts and suggestions are – my husband loves to be the centre of attention at all times – obviously Johnny Farnham would have been the centre of attention in that public arena, and to say that my husband would have been envious or jealous of the attention being on Johnny Farnham instead of my husband makes sense. My visual memory of his facial expression, body language and lack of outward display of enjoyment or appreciation on the night does match that of jealousy & envy, and his subsequent judgement of the concert with his air of authority and superiority is about being better than everyone else – including Johnny Farnham.

    This question and answer has just made so many pennies drop in my mind about our relationship – I always knew about my husband’s need to always be the centre of attention and THE authority figure on everything in his life and in the world, and his need to always be right even if he knows he is wrong – what I didn’t appreciate was the amount of jealousy and envy he could experience if he felt displaced from the number one position in his or any hierarchy.

    My husband is now extremely domineering and controlling, and he has disdain for those who do not support his opinions, or have an opinion opposite to his, or do not comply with his demands, especially when it is me or either of our two adult children.

    He constantly criticises or character assassinates us or others – either to our face, or back stabbing us or both. It breaks my heart when he backstabs my children to me, and this has been the most difficult button pushing to overcome. In the past I have tried denouncing his criticisms and/or defending our kids or myself or others from his tyrannical onslaughts. Obviously that did not work, it only served to widen the rift, but now I have been using your magic scissors this has working for the most part like “I don’t like where this is going, it is distressing me and I don’t want to go there, etc”. He will either stop the crap, or say something like “Oh, well alright, I won’t say anything then because I am always wrong!” or something similar in a tone and facial expression that says he is hostile, hurting and downtrodden. I have learned a long time ago in Al-Anon to keep my tone low and respectful at all times so I do not validate this frequently used victim type of response of his or escalate the situation.

    He still tries to use that type of emotional blackmail to get me in there – it takes a lot of self-control to stay out of the ring, and I usually achieve this by changing the subject or finding something else to do or by self-soothing. Nevertheless he can remain angry, sulking and stone faced for hours and sometimes days or weeks at a time. Our counsellor told me not to internalise his anger, that he is not just angry at me – he is angry at the world.

    My husband does display jealousy toward me for my close relationship with our kids, and he creates a drama of some kind to try and take away my attention from them and divert it to him, although this pattern of behaviour can be obvious, it can also be quite obscure at times until after the drama is over and I can reflect on what has just happened.

    About 10 years ago, after 6 years of study, I was nominated for two prestigious academic awards. My husband did not want to go to the presentation night at first, but then he decided to go right at the last minute (attention seeking tiny tantrum?). At the venue he drank too much, became loud, obnoxious and embarrassing. I won one of those awards – and not only did he spoil my special night for me, but he could not handle me being in the limelight instead of him. When the MC gave a short spiel about me while presenting the award to me, I could hear my husband in the middle of the audience of about 500 people saying loudly (along with other relentless childish behaviour) “I taught her everything she knows!” It is one thing for him to be jealous and envious of me and my academic achievement, but I never would have thought he would get jealous or envious of an international star!

    Our daughter as a child was a brilliant musician – she won many awards and was highly praised by an Eisteddfod judge one time who is a Doctor of Music – she was spellbound by our daughter’s performance and encouraged her to go as far as she could with her music. My husband behaved almost the same as he did at the Johnny Farnham Concert – although he did clap his hands this time albeit reluctantly, and while everyone else clapped enthusiastically for a long time, my husband finished clapping after about 3 slow claps then folded his arms again – appearing to be quite uninspired and disinterested.

    It is so sad, my husband is talented, hardworking, intelligent, capable, athletic, lovable, successful and much more, and he is to be respected for those traits – but he has a dark side and this emotional immaturity that prevents him from just loving and accepting himself – his authentic self, and others for themselves. While my husband continues to strive for the limelight, he will continue to have huge issues with jealousy and envy. His recent depression has seen him become an out of character recluse, and he has little interest in having fun, he just wants to criticise and fight all the time. What a shame that he lacks empathy & humility for his wife and children and others – perhaps never to experience the real joy of truly appreciating another person’s talents or successes. Now I know a lot more about what dynamics I am dealing with I can take an even more emotionally intelligent and compassionate approach toward him, whether we are together or apart. I agree he is not in a good place to be making a life changing decision, so we will just take it very slowly for the moment. I am hoping the doctor will have convinced him to follow up the real help offered to him for his insomnia – quality sleep is extremely important in any stressful lifestyle.

    Thank you once again for your help and support Kim, as always it is invaluable. Remember to rub Bhudda’s belly for luck and prosperity in your coming ventures – it works!

    All the best,

    CD.

  232. Kathy said

    Wow! My first reply HAD to be for Laura.

    Laura, I know the exact same family that you mentioned: NPD meets TOTAL DEPENDENT! The dad was extremely abusive. He married a woman who was mentally retarded (not to be politically incorrect, this was her diagnosis back then). They have many children. They ALL have some type of problem. People used to joke around town about how the mother dropped the kids on their head, until recently we could not understand how they all had some type of problem.

    It was found out recently that they have some type of disorder, I can’t remember what it is called, but they can tell at birth that they will have it because they are missing a (or have an extra, I can’t recall) chromosome. The father would put expensive electronics in his childrens bookbags, then act as if he was completely appalled when they were caught! He has left his family now, and lives in another country. He remarried to an extremely submissive wife (but not disabled) and he only took the one boy, who, coincidentally, is not showing any mental problems.

    This really makes it clear that an abuser DOES NOT need a submissive wife… they need help.

    I was just so amazed that you know the same family, I really didn’t think there was another one of them out there!

  233. Kathy said

    Hi Kim,

    Thank you so much for everything! Your capacity for love is a true gift!

    I am looking for a little inspiration to keep me going. I am a bit frustrated today.

    My spouse and I were a little bit late finding you. We had already broke up, but we were still living together. I am trying to employ your methods, but we went backwards a lot from the breakup.

    We have four years together. It took me four years to convince him that as a couple, we must make decisions together. It took 3 years to get him to combine our money. (This is important in our relationship… if it is his money, he can spend it any way he wants, and he goes madly into debt. If it is our money he must make decisions with me prior to making any large purchases). It took 4 years to convince him to quit drinking… which he did upon our breakup to get back together with me.

    So, I told him recently that I will never abandon him. Two things run through his mind with this: “She wants me back for my money” (He recently screwed me financially, so I am broke for the first time in 4 years) and “I don’t have to make any effort to keep her because she is never going to leave me”.

    I am now looking to you to inspire me to keep going. Did this happen to you when you told Steve you would never leave?

    I am also wondering: Does Steve now genuinely care about you? Does he feel real compassion and empathy? This is not to question your success… I believe that Steve’s actions are now more respectful, more productive and less abusive. I have a mood disorder… I feel things very strongly, and no amount of cognitive work takes that away. I feel at times that the world is out to get me, but I choose not to act on that. But narcissism is a personality disorder, which may be different.

    I now wonder, Steve: do you still “feel” that you deserve better, or that you are better than others? Do you still “feel” angry/ vengeful when someone hurts or criticizes you? Do you choose to ignore these feeling because you “know” that they are not right? Or, with Kim’s help with trust and love, did you learn to feel the same compassion and empathy for others that Kim feels?

  234. Lisa said

    This is for Lana.

    I went through similar things as you have described and let me tell you that I realized early on after my separation that my life did not revolve around him any longer. After having an emotional breakdown it took my daughter to snap me out of it. I would sleep all day, gave up my job, was crying all the time and my daughter walked into my room one day and said “Mommy it’s time to get up”. To me I heard, “Mommy it’s time to wake your butt up and take care of us cause we need you! Ever since then I have been up on my own two feet. Depending on him for anything should no longer be an issue. If he has other women, let them have him! It’s time to take care of you because let me tell ya, no one else will. Dig down deep inside your heart to find the beautiful person you are and then start letting it shine through. Set small goals for yourself, goals you can achieve each day and then slowly build them into bigger achievable goals. Treat yourself when you have accomplished them. Do not allow him to make you feel bad anymore. It took me telling my ex husband that I was not going to put up with him putting me down anymore and telling him I wanted no contact from him except dealing with the childrens school and doctors appointments and then when he tried to contact me outside of that…I gave NO response. I blame myself for allowing my exhusband to treat me as he did because I did not have the strength or know how to defend myself. We all have our breaking point to where something has to give. Tell yourself you can do it no matter what…and then find something to do other than worry about him and his many females!

    Lisa

  235. Laura said

    Lisa, I want to comment on your post, sharing my own experience of how I stopped getting mistreated. First of all, I used to act very melancholy…blamed myself for not being a good enough wife, partner, person. Finally, I hooked up with a lady-mentor who happened to have narcissistic traits and abused me mentally, spiritually, and emotionally for almost 3 years or so. After that, I began realizing that I attracted abusers and I found my VOICE in a couple ways.
    I went through mental health and got on some meds that helped fix the frontal lobe of my brain so I could think right. Then, I went to college to find out who I was and begin working toward a career.
    When the first instance of child abuse began with my first daughter (not his child), my mother threatened me that if I did not take action, she would report us BOTH! At that very time, I began telling him he would NEVER lay a hand on our children to discipline them again. When he tried once, I LEFT till he went for counselling and I saw change. The physical abuse stopped from him. Now, it’s mostly little verbal digs and I stand up to him and tell him to stop acting narcissistically, which he hates, but it works. We’ve been married 22 years so I speak from experience. We have 3 other children together besides my eldest. If I can be of any help or encouragement, please let me know. I’m currently working toward my BA in Psychology.

    ~Laura

  236. Neicey said

    Hi Laura,You stated that you were given medicine from mental health to fix a part of your brain.Did the medicine help you think faster?Tell me more about what that medicine does for you.I am very interested because i have problems with my thinking ability.Hope to hear from you very soon!

  237. Laura said

    Hi Neicy.

    Thanks so much for responding. I love to be heard and to share what worked for me.

    Yes, I was on Topomax for 9 months. It actually corrected my front-lobal activity of neurotransmitters firing back n forth the wrong way. Before being on this medicine my behavior was very similar to a bipolar person’s. I couldn’t focus, couldnt’ stick with anything for any length of time, was very depressed, often suicidal, hated my life, my family, everything and everyone, just waiting to die. I believe Topamax was my answer God sent when I finally just cried out to Him in surrender! I wanted revenge on people so badly back then and I couldnt’ stop wanting it till I got on those meds! I can’t explain it to someone who doesn’t understand what it feels like to be DRIVEN to do things you don’t want to do, but that’s how it was. It was terrifying! I am so grateful God gave me an answer and set me free. Feel free to keep writing and asking me questions if you want. You can always email me or post here. God be with you.

  238. Neicey said

    Hi Laura, Thanks for responding back.I am so happy that God has set you free and now you are delivered from that situation.I have a lot of trouble focusing, thinking, concentration,paying attention.I have not had any of the symptoms that you have experienced, but i am tired of suffering with this because it is affecting my life.Do you know if the Topomax will help with my type of problem? Meanwhile i will try and found out.God bless you!

  239. Laura said

    Yes Topomax will help you focus and concentrate. It slows things down so you can think one thought at a time.

  240. CD said

    Hi Laura,

    Is Topomax the same as Topamax with the active ingredient “topiramate”?

    CD

  241. Laura said

    Yes, Topomax is Topapiramate. At the time the psychiatrist prescribed it for me, it was only used in Epilepsy. I read some articles about it, and found out that bipolar disorders are starting to be linked with petit mal seizures in the brain. My doctor told me that it was highly likely that since I was in oxygen as a baby, due to complications at birth, I may have had some neurological disruptions in the temporal lobes of my brain, therefore causing undetected mild seizures, later resembling bipolar disorder. This would cause the topomax to work for me as an anti-convulsant. What the psychiatrist was and still is baffled by, is that people on Topomax generally NEVER GET OFF OF IT, whereas, it seems that my brain was actually “healed.” I have no evidence of bipolar syndrome anymore.

  242. MR said

    Hi all,

    First – topomax can be used as a mood stabilizer, especially for aggitated depression type symptoms; as well as an anti-seizure medication. Daniel Amen MD who has done a lot of research on corrolating SPECT scans (a type of brain imaging study that shows what areas of the brain are under of over active) with mental health issues uses Topomax and other novel mood stabilizers a lot with what he calls “ring of fire” activation and some other “overactive” brains. I would caution too wide spread enthusiasm about it because many people also experience cognitive slowing or clouding on it. I hope that current and future research in the field of psychiatry gets better at predicting who will respond how to which meds.

    MR

  243. MR said

    Second – personally I am saddened to hear that you are struggling again CD, because I too was feeling hopeful, yet my husband came back last night from his big conference just to start in on a ton of nit picking (why was there no hamper in our room, why was there no extra toilet paper roll in the 3rd floor bathroom – ie why if I can not do it myself can I not organize our nanny/housekeeper to take care of it.) Basically just back to how inadequate I am and how he is the only one who can get anything done …

    Things snowballed as the day progressed because we were to meet my parents for a Christmas concert, and they had the wrong place (although it was the same place we had gone with them several times before). They are older, not functioning too well, and refuse to cary a cell phone. I should have had them follow us, or drive with us, but I didn’t (in part because things were already a mess here.) Of course it was all my fault and just another example of how I can’t do anything right. I hate being put down or insulted in front of my kids and now in front of my parents. I don’t like my boys being told again and again how incompetent I am etc. etc.

    I’m slipping back into it again, and really feeling like I can’t do things any differently. I am not sure I can tolerate this, nor am I sure that I can keep strong enough to keep pushing back. I don’t like how my boys are starting to behave because it seems they are being taught that they do not need to listen or respect anyone – that everyone is stupid (which is said explicitly quite often.)

    Just venting a bit here, but I got sucked into it again. I said some things I only partly believe, but I also worry that things will not get better, that I need someone who can tolerate my flaws, and I am very worried about my boys. … if others have felt this, I think there is a hormonal piece to when I feel more easily provoked and more hopeless.

    I’ve been off of this for a while, so I’ve got some catch up reading to do.

    MR

  244. Laura said

    right, always check with your psych or doc before choosing meds. I did a LOT of research and talked to people on Topomax before I ever went on it. I was scared about taking any type of brain med as I’d never done that. I only know it worked for me.
    Yes, it did slow things down…they nick-named it “dopomax”…people who were on it. It does do that, you are right, but it was worth it to finally be able to live a life in freedom and no more obsessive thoughts, etc.

  245. CD said

    Thanks Laura,

    I was interested because a relative of mine has just been prescribed Topamax for epilepsy and migraine – however I knew that it can be used for other purposes too just as MR describes. I thought maybe your meds might not have been the same because of the different spelling, but I am glad you followed up with strong advice for people to consult with their doctor or psych about treatment for their individual situation or diagnosis, and that you only took Topamax after long and careful consideration and research. I am glad it helped you.

    Cheers,
    CD

  246. CD said

    Hi MR,

    Thank you for your compassion – I am beginning to wonder if your husband and mine are twins! Mine gets so bullying toward me about everyone and everything, throws both tiny and tumultuous tantrums – he only sees what I haven’t done and not what I have done – but that is the nature of this disorder – to distract from their OWN shortcomings, and to make them feel “powerful”, “perfect” and “in control” – certainly learned behaviour in my husband’s case.

    I am fully prepared and fearless to reveal and deal with my own shortcomings at any time, and I will consider constructive criticism from my husband or anyone as it arises, but I always judge each situation by a slogan we used in Al-Anon “How Important Is It?” – if it is trivial, or without merit or a power play, then let it go through to the keeper.

    When you told the story about the extra toilet roll, I laughed. I would not suggest you do this, but my Aussie sense of humour and mischief imagined that it would be funny to buy enough toilet rolls to entirely fill the “little house” with fresh white soft multi-ply toilet rolls – floor to ceiling – and watch them all fall on his head when he rushes to the loo after eating his chocolate pudding that “unfortunately” was laced with “Laxettes”! It would bring a whole new dimension to people pleasing! Maybe there still wouldn’t be enough toilet rolls! Sorry – I imagine this stuff but never act it out – I just like to keep a sense of humour to preserve my sanity! My mother-in-law used to say “If you didn’t laugh you would cry!” The point is you can never make someone who behaves in this way “happy” – while you are making this or that right for them, they are onto criticising you for countless more things – it is a power play – he is trying pull you down to make you feel inferior and him feel superior to you – “the man” and the “head of the house”.

    I have realised that my husband is never going to get better if I get caught up in his belittling mind games – just keep snipping!. Kim’s recent comment regarding my husband being in deep conflict and having trouble with envy and jealousy really sums him up. He never shuts up being critical of the news, sport on TV, character assassinating successful people and authority figures, and he is racially prejudiced – but he vehemently denies being so. However, most of all he is envious of me and my successes in life, and my rapport with people, and my self-confidence and I see his envious and jealous body language now when people focus their attention on me instead of him – his stories get bigger, better and louder trying to divert the attention back to him.

    Over the years since being in Al-Anon and following Kim & Steve’s programme, I have built up my self-confidence and restored my core values and beliefs. I don’t consider myself superior to him (or anyone because I feel humbled by there always being something new to learn in life), but he is constantly behaving superior toward me and toward everyone else in the world, by criticizing and nit-picking and being constantly negative – of course this is to pump up his ego (perhaps subconsciously) albeit vainly just to be accepted by others and/or be in control.

    I do accept him exactly how he is, but I also accept the fact that he sees so long as his world around him makes him happy, then he is happy – and I was contributing to that spiritual disease when I was co-dependent on his happiness. My husband does not entirely get (and resists) the concept that happiness comes from within – that each one of us has the ability to love and accept ourselves exactly how we are at any moment in time – with all our strengths and weaknesses (flaws) – but it involves a life long voyage of self-discovery.

    When we truly come to love and accept ourselves, and to believe in a Power higher than ourselves, we achieve an inner peace that is rarely disturbed by the behaviour or criticisms of others.

    While my husband looks for happiness through external sources he will never find true happiness. He will continue striving for success and happiness through his work (workaholic). He has achieved a high level of business success – but not real happiness. In fact he is a depressed insomniac now, probably with a liver that is stuffed through decades of alcohol abuse, but he continues to be driven in his work. He has forgotten how and does not want to relax and play. It is sad.

    After his most recent tumultuous tantrum where he tried to provoke a fight, but I did not bite, he took off to the bedroom sulking in a flurry of victim like comments expecting me to follow him – but I did not. This is an old game of his which I stopped reacting to a long, long time ago because I realised it was attention seeking and him only being comfortable with drama and not peace. An emotionally mature man 53 years of age would not behave this way – I know my father certainly would not. I relaxed on the lounge and read a magazine, and about 30 minutes later, he came down stairs and apologized for his earlier outburst – he never apologizes normally, but it sounded genuine. I didn’t say “That’s OK” though, instead I spoke to him in a respectful and assertive way with a low voice tone, saying that his behaviour was not acceptable, that I feel intimidated and anxious when he behaves that way, and it is not the behaviour of the man I married. I said that he is right – we have grown apart – and I believe that this stressful business we have both been partners in since 1983 has taken its toll – it has changed the both of us – and now it is time to say enough is enough, that it is time to start closing the business down as it will take years to do so. To my surprise, but not so surprising really, he looked horrified at first but then his face muscles relaxed – one of us had to make this decision – and right at that moment I could see that he did not have the courage, nor did he know when to make this decision and how to go about it – all he knew was that he has had enough of the physical, mental and emotional drain the business has had on him (and me). I think we have both felt like we have been driving a freight train we didn’t know how to stop for many years now and we are both burnt out.

    Although he has a “tough” image he is really a very anxious person (chews his nails until they bleed!) and he frequently feels inadequate (incomplete high-school education although very intelligent and hampered by dyslexia), but he has guts and rises to every challenge confronting him – hiding his anxiety and inadequacy by being bullying. It is a credit to him though what he has achieved by his own talents, intelligence, dedication and physical stamina. He is however dependent on me in many ways for running the business, and vice versa. It is a big fear to face – giving up our successful business – it may be the best or the worst decision we could ever make career wise and marriage wise – all I know is we cannot continue down this road unless my husband finds his authentic self through spiritual enlightenment and belief in a Power higher than himself.

    Sorry – I have nearly written another book! I agree – it is good to vent – hopefully my experience helps in some way.

    Good luck and stay in touch,
    CD

  247. Cindy said

    Hi to everyone. I’m not sure where to start. I found this site way to late. I was married to a man for 13 years that I believe has NPD. I have read so many of your posts and have felt the same way so many of you feel. Now I am faced with the fall out of my decision to leave. The divorce has been reasonably respectful considering the possibilities. The issue I am having now is child suppor, custody and getting the rest of my personal property from his house. We have no judgement in place and I am afraid to persue one because he has threatened to drag me threw an emotional hell and file for custody of our three children. Not that I think he will win but I do not want the fight.

    Our agreement, when I moved out, was that he would pick the children up before and after school two or three days a week, depending on his days off, and keep them until 7:00 p.m. We also agreed that he would keep the children over night on Friday and Saturday nights that he did not have to work. This amounts to four nights per month but leaves him with no weekend time where he does not either have the children or have to work. Our child support agreement was based on him having the children 50% of the time. He would pay 50% of any additional medical/dental expenses not covered by his insureance and he would pay half for their clothing. So far he has not paid his share of those expenses. When I agreed to the support amount I did not take into consideration that I would be providing ALL of the diapers and milk for the baby during the week. Or that I would be providing breakfast, doing their laundry and supplying all of their toiletries. These are things I have always done without considering the expense until I did not have money for diapers and shampoo.

    Four months into this he stopped picking them up in the morning because it was too much for him to be on time (his girlfriend lives an hour away from us). I fanally had to tell him that it was causing too much anxioty for the children and me. I explained that it was not okay for him to call five minutes before he was supposed to arrive to say he was running late or he was not going to make it. Or to just show up late. He made the decision to stop comming altgether.

    For the last year he has been unavailabel, sent one or two of the children to his mothers or had her come to his house to babysit the children so he could go out. His latest stunt was to take the youngest with him to his girlfriends house for the weekend. The oldest child was with her grandmother and the middle child was with me because she did not want to go with her dad. She was angry with him for being late to pick her up from school one day last week (he kept her waiting for 20 min). She was so upset about it that the following day she was sick and did not go to school.He generally does not have all three of the children at the same time over night. Our youngest child is two and a half the oldest is twelve. His mother can not handle the baby over night so he is forced to keep him.

    I am upset that he upset our daughter and she feels like she is not important to him. I am upset that he took the baby to spend the night with his girlfriend. It is hard enough for the children to go back and forth between his house and mine without adding in another location. I am further upset that over all he has the children between 15 and 20 percent of the time not 50% and he does not feel like he should have to pay more child support.

    I want to file for more child support and to modify our custody areement so that he will be free on the weekends to have his social life without making the children feel like they are not a prority. The modification will not affect the percent of time he has with the children just the days he will have them over night. Part of me is wondering if I am jelous or angry because he can not see that if he would have spent time with the children and I like he is spending with his girlfriend and had he been faithful/honest we would still be together. The reallity is that he and his girlfriend have already had their share of problems so I can imagine what he is REALY giving her. He has said she does not trust him but, that is a whole other story. So I ask; am I really looking out for myself and my children? What can I do to protect my children from feeling like they are NOT a prority to him other than modify the visitation to better accomodate his social life? How can I get him to agree without feeling like I am critisizing him? I do believe he is doing the best HE can and I do not want to judge him for that or make him feel defensive.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thank you
    Cindy

  248. MR said

    Cindy – quick thoughts … it is not good for your girls to have to tolerate so much inconsistency not to mention feeling like they are “less important” than dad’s new girlfriend. Trust you instincts and politely restate reasonable expectations and get others to support your position.

    CD – Thanks again for sharing. I do have complete confidence that your husband’s need for you is beyond the role you provide in the business, and I hope that he has grown enough to see this for himself and value it.

    There do seem to be many similarities in our spouses – the anxieties and the resultant insomnia (or sometimes just very erratic sleep patterns) the thriving on being in the proximity of very powerful people, the feelings of entitlement and criticizing everyone and everything. I’m sure there are countless others if I gave it a little more thought. The depression is currently setting in as part of the post conference let down … constant jabs at me, making fortunately)small promises to the boys and then spending a good portion of the past few days lying down in bed.

    Many times your sharing has helped me to regain a balanced perspective on things – to reconsider where certain behaviors are likely being driven by difficulty with my being in charge, or other power struggles … ie – the total rage reaction I got the other day when I set some limit over what and how he was saying to me. Still frightening, but things settle back much more quickly now.

    It sounds like you are comfortable with starting the process of closing down your business. Transitions and endings are never easy, and I hope this allows you both to find some time to reconnect and to enjoy life. Maybe you have given him permission to say that this is good enough (probably only for that evening, but it is the first step in accepting it longer term :) It sounds like it will be a process, which will give you time to accommodate and adjust as you go along.

    MR (who now can’t walk in our wash room without giggling at the image of it packed full with toilet paper.)

  249. MR said

    FYI to all

    Fatty acids (fish oils and other healthy oils) as an adjunct to depression/anxiety treatment have been mentioned here recently. Here is one of the stronger pieces of research I just came across. (Ref avail if anyone wants it)

    This timely new review, supported by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), summarizes for clinicians both the theory and the available evidence that omega-3 fatty acids may help in the prevention and management of a wide range of psychiatric disorders.

    The APA committee made the following specific treatment recommendations on the basis of the available evidence:

    * all adults should eat fish at least 2 x week
    * patients with mood, impulse control or psychotic disorders should consume 1g/day of EPA + DHA (the omega-3 found in fish oils)
    * a supplement may be useful in patients with mood disorders (1-9g/day). Use of > 3g/day should be monitored by a physician. (MOST RESEARCH I HAVE FOUND SUGGEST THE RANGE OF 3-6g/day)

    THESE SOUND LIKE WEAK ENDORSEMENTS, BUT ARE QUITE STRONG COMING FROM AN AGENCY THAT IS SO ENMESHED WITH THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY.

    The meta-analysis of 8 studies involving patients with depression or bipolar disorder showed OVERALL SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS from omega-3 treatment (p < 0.03) although there was considerable variability between studies. This indicates the need to consider differences between study populations as well as doses and ratios of EPA:DHA used. It was noted that most positive trials used EPA primarily or exclusively, rather than DHA

    Importantly, this review summarizes evidence from epidemiological (population), experimental and clinical treatment trials to give a far more complete picture than most conventional systematic reviews or 'meta-analyses'. The latter were also performed, however, in areas where there was sufficient evidence from randomized controlled trials to merit this.

    MR

  250. Allison said

    Wow,
    So I’m totally lost here. I don’t know what happened. I just found out my husband has been cyber searching for his ex. He is well aware that this crosses the boundaries. He understands how this hurts me. I don’t know what to do. I am downstairs on the couch, and avoided the “fight”. I expressed that it is NOT acceptable, and that I am sad and confused. I didn’t yell. I didn’t do anything extreme. I don’t know what to do though. I am lost. I thought we were better. Dealing with this behavior is so hard. I am just so sad…. How do you love someone that doesn’t want to love you back?????????????

  251. Anne said

    Hi, I’m an adult child of a NPD mom, and currently her court-appointed Guardian/Conservator. She is legally incapacitated, but still able to play the games I’ve become familiar with for 51 years. Things are not going well, and it seems the nicer I am to her, the meaner she is to me. I have bent over backwards to meet her demands, but all I get is criticism, as usual. To me, this is very vindictive behavior. She’s also been diagnosed with other severe personality disorders, such as Passive/aggressive, Anxiety, etc. I noticed this site is for marrieds (partners) and such, but what about kids of NPD parents? Am I welcome here to find answers, or would you direct me to another site? Thank you for your consideration.

  252. Mari said

    Hi,
    What’s the song of the male narcissist? where could i read it?

  253. CD said

    Hi Allison,

    Remember when Kim discovered some painful things that Steve was up to? That was Kim’s turning point to take charge of her situation and her life by facing her fears (becoming her own hero). Kim had come a very long way, but this was when the heaviest work began not only on Steve, but on herself.

    All our decisions are based on FEAR. Probably one of the biggest fears each one of us here faces is the fear of losing or leaving our loved one, or the fear of being abandoned or rejected by them.

    We become dysfunctional physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually if we let the FEAR of losing our loved one override our perspective on being true to ourselves and our core values and beliefs by not taking a stance on what is morally or lawfully right. We do this by PROTECTING our loved one from the NATURAL consequences of their unacceptable behaviour or actions.

    If you know that a particular behaviour by your husband IS morally unacceptable, or against the law, or is harmful in some way to yourself, your family or to others – and you DECIDE NOT to do anything about it by not getting the appropriate support, or you shield them from the NATURAL consequences of their actions, then you need to self-analyse what FEAR in you leads you to that decision, and address that fear.

    Our decisions are ALWAYS FEAR DRIVEN, whether or not that fear is positive or negative, rational or irrational. However there is a difference between:

    • Deciding who you will get support from, and not standing in the way of the natural consequence of unacceptable behaviour – which may or may not in turn bring about change in him. Even if your husband does not feel compelled to (or resists) change he will certainly have felt the heat of reality being turned up on him at that point in time;
    • Not deciding what to do because you have not yet figured out what the real issue is or the solution, or what the natural consequence to the unacceptable behaviour should be, or who to get support from. This is why self-soothing is so important – it brings us back to earth from being angry and hurt, and perhaps reacting impulsively – maybe missing a bigger picture in the process;
    • Deciding that you will not do anything because it may be at too great a cost to your husband, and/or that you don’t want to “hurt” him, or that you fear his reaction to your stance (perhaps abuse and/or his abandonment of you). Ultimately your fear is that you may suffer in some way as a result of taking a truthful stance for what is right morally and/or lawfully. This path actually hurts both you and him by ENABLING the unacceptable behaviour to continue, and it breeds disrespect for each other, a loss of self-respect, and it allows the fantasy side to your relationship to continue;

    We must stand up for what is right and we should not protect our loved one from the NATURAL consequences of their unacceptable behaviour or actions. To do that we must zero in on what our FEARS are that hinder us from standing up for what is right – and reject those fears by having the courage to override them – to change the things we can (but remember that “things” are not people).

    Maybe Kim felt she had nothing more to lose, but everything to gain by facing her fears, and by getting real with herself and Steve – which set herself free to take charge of her life, and the result was that she built mutual true love, respect and trust in her marriage – and part of that was by making Steve face reality and the natural consequences of his actions.

    Kim did not take the role of judge, jury and jailer, but instead, after assessing any given situation and getting the appropriate support, she became the “middle person” or mediator/messenger to get the appropriate support or action required for Steve to get in touch with reality at that time. Kim had made a conscious life changing decision NOT TO PROTECT Steve from reality anymore – she had to become brave and to be her own hero – to set aside any fear that she may have had of losing her husband or publicly embarrassing, shaming or humiliating him and/or herself. This last point is what I admire so much about Kim – her intuitiveness, courage and determination to face each challenge no matter what the consequences to Steve or herself were – but in the end, the truth and reality set them free from the fantasy.

    For example, Kim made her husband face the law where the natural consequence could have been that Steve would go to jail – that must have taken a huge amount of courage! But it also stopped the behaviour that had existed in more than one of her relationships.

    Kim had to deal with many different issues in her marriage, and she dealt with her husband’s (perhaps benign) search for fantasy love in the most appropriate way as she describes throughout their material. I would say that Kim then had Steve so busy worrying about the bigger REAL issues and what she had coming next that he apparently did not search for fantasy love again!

    Just for now set aside your emotional hurt about your husband searching the internet for his ex – it is still fantasy for the moment – and the intent may have been harmless – searching for someone who now may just be a friend and he may have just been curious about whatever happened to her. If you know it is more insidious – then SNIP it for now anyway!

    Think about his real and bigger issues which you have spoken about before – and how you have addressed those issues so far, think about what successes you have had and how you have grown and what challenges remain. Do you need to build on your support network to bring him to account better than has been achieved so far? Do you have a back-up plan or a nest egg to keep a roof over your head and food on the table, etc for you and your children in an emergency situation?

    I do feel for you, it is not easy – but have courage and faith and always remember that you have the love, support and understanding of many people here as you face each challenge. Think about how long you have been following this program and how far you have come. Think about how difficult it has been to change your own attitudes and behaviour – it takes time, a lot of contemplation, self-discipline & self-discovery, and only you can most deeply and intimately take your own personal inventory. And as you reflect on the last six months or so about yourself, you will then realise that it is impossible for you to do your husband’s self-discovery work for him, only he can do that for himself in order to change his own attitudes and behaviour – and he can only be inspired or compelled to do that by facing the natural consequences of his actions.

    It is a fine line, but it can be walked – your changed attitudes by following what is morally or lawfully right is the right thing to do for YOURSELF, and the right example to set for your children, and also your husband. In doing so it may inspire or compel him to follow your path toward truth and trust, while feeling safe and loved, but not shielding him from the natural consequences of his unacceptable behaviour.

    Good luck and stay in touch,
    CD.

  254. CD said

    Hi MR,

    Thank you for your kind words – you are truly an inspiration to me. When I recall that a matter of months ago you were very distressed about your husband’s abuse, his extremely high expectations, and him threatening to leave you many times, now you are taking a step back, not in fear, but more confidently looking objectively at the dynamics of your relationship and seeing things more clearly – and this can be difficult to do when emotionally involved.

    You husband doesn’t seem to be threatening to leave you anymore?? If not, maybe he was all puff and smoke back then (just as mine was)?? Maybe you have successfully diffused that emotional blackmail. Maybe he is all puff and smoke when he is being tyrannical also?? I found this the hardest thing to judge when my husband was being critical or nit-picking of me – whether he had a cause for genuine complaint, or whether he was just throwing his weight around because he sees himself as the centre of the universe and the world (including me) has to revolve around him. All I know there is a lot of guilt, manipulation and smoke-screening involved, and the more assertive I become and the less I let my world revolve around him the more he respects me and backs off.

    I am glad you found my “little imaginary practical joke” about the toilet rolls funny and now have a giggle every time you go to the washroom. Based on personal experience there is nothing like a laugh to relax the face muscles and restore some happy endorphins when faced with a husband who frequently tantrums over nothing really!

    I am happy to say though that my husband finally agreed (after years of encouragement by me) to go and see our doctor about his insomnia, and to get something to help him sleep. After two weeks of Stillnox and less insomnia, including short periods of quality sleep he is so much better and almost like his old lovely self again.

    Unfortunately he was only allowed to take it for two weeks at this stage, and the first night without it he was awake again for most of the night. Hopefully he will go back to see the Doctor again and attend a sleep clinic or something because he can now see how used to sleep deprivation he had become, that he didn’t know what it felt like to be “normal” anymore. He has realised how much better he is feeling, coping and behaving for even just a little more sleep each night for two weeks. He was really operating at a “dog-eat-dog” level before that – it was awful for both him and me.

    Thought I would share the below quotations as they often sprang to my mind in times of constant criticism, they helped me keep perspective, and my inner peace and strength countless times over the years.

    “Whoever is out of patience is out of possession of his soul.
    Men must not turn into bees who kill themselves in stinging others.”
    (Jonathan Swift)

    “It is easy, terribly easy, to shake a man’s faith in himself.
    To take advantage of that to break a man’s spirit, is devil’s work.”
    (George Bernard Shaw – Candida)

    CD, Australia.

  255. Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for all of the posts.

    Kim has been working hard on building a new blog that will be focused on Kim’s articles and her writing.

    This wordpress blog will remain as a discussion board, and we’ll still be contributing where we can. The new blog will however allow for more interaction if you choose to join via Google Friend Connect and Gmail.

    Here is the link,

    Narcissism Daily Mirror

    Hope to see you all there,

    Steve

  256. Rebeca said

    Kim, I am not sure how to contact you via email and if that is possible. I see comments but not sure how it is that they are interacting with you.

    I have read your material and I was involved with a man who had narcissistic tendencies but not your classic. More introverted than extroverted characteristics.

    Question – I broke up with him due to an illness. I did not want to plague a troubled relationship. After I left, I realized more about him and how to love someone like him. I returned and told him about my illness but his ego and pride won’t allow him to understand enough to come back. He started dating someone weeks after we split up. He still cares for me and is torn over the hero in him wanting to be here to save me and the new gal. How do I win his heart back so he can see what I have learned and how we could be so much happier together. He is very hurt I called it off and can’t see past that enough to believe that it would be different now that I have had an enlightenment on life and us.

  257. MR said

    From CD’s posting

    “I found this the hardest thing to judge when my husband was being critical or nit-picking of me – whether he had a cause for genuine complaint, or whether he was just throwing his weight around because he sees himself as the centre of the universe and the world (including me) has to revolve around him. All I know there is a lot of guilt, manipulation and smoke-screening involved, and the more assertive I become and the less I let my world revolve around him the more he respects me and backs off.”

    It has been a rough day here interpersonally about just this issue. My husband came down after I had done breakfast and gotten 2 of the 3 out in the snow and was working on the third. He asked for his snowsuit (which I already had out) and went out to help/play with the boys who were shoveling. He started with many “correcting” comments at me, including my not getting pictures of the littlest one who by now wanted to come back in, and not getting up the water/snow off of the floor.

    I then worked on getting things cleaned up a little and then on getting myself ready to go out in order to get the baby back out for some pictures. We started on the porch and then went to the front where the others were shoveling. My husband got upset that I was disrupting what he was doing (and trying to teach the boys – to finish a task they start – another indirect jab at me) I tried to help shovel, to help get the boys to finish, and he took this that I was trying to be the “man” etc. He kept trying to send me inside to do something or another, and I said (after making him a coffee that he never drank) that I just wanted to spend a little time playing in the snow with the boys.

    Shortly thereafter the youngest needed to come back in, and I brought him in. My husband came in to start screaming at me that I had disrupted what he was doing, and I am always ruining when he is having a good time with the boys.

    Things escalated off and on during the day … and I wish I could have disengaged better than I did. Finally it ended with his saying I was being a shrew etc and I said that he is the one who is constantly nit picking and criticizing. He said that wasn’t the definition of a shrew, it was just a yelling female. I looked it up and read him the first part of it which I took as supporting that it was criticizing, and he eventually got me tangled in the fact I did focus just on the first part of the definition that used the word person, and not the full definition that said a woman. My whole message got lost and undermined by the fact that after hours of pushing at me, I did manipulate by focusing on the “person” part of the definition, and he took this as validation that I am a liar and would even lie about what the definition said, and how can you ever work with a liar. Yes I did not give the whole definition, but that is so far off of where things started that it is secondary. I do not see that this is an example of how I always behave, or that I was also manipulating when I came out to join in the snow … allegedly purposely to disrupt what he was doing.

    I loose touch with what it reality and what is reasonable. He tells me I am the one who is the cause of all the problems, that I am the one who is “mentally ill,” and that I have been the unreasonable, abusive manipulative person throughout our relationship. I don’t think so, but I start to doubt myself, because he will find the partial truths and flaws I do have. I know focusing on the blame and the cause is futile, but these discussions really throw me off. I then do not get to things I want, or get upset, get irrational, or don’t spend time with the boys.

    I think the real issue is this power struggle over who is in charge, and I don’t want to be in charge, but I also don’t want to be put down and act like I am subservient. The arguement expanded to telling me that I should stop working, that I always do what I want and the only thing I do accomplish is working because that it all I care about – that I am trying to be the man of the house.

    Sigh …

  258. kimcooper said

    Hi MR,

    I think you deserve a medal for your patience and certainly do not think that you are mentally ill or should be doubting yourself so badly!

    You have already seen that you should probably have disengaged from this one sooner and I think you are right on the ball there, “Stop telling me what to do”, or “I am not discussing this with you, I am going to …” would perhaps have been better answers.

    The thing that you might pick up from this episode however is that I think perhaps he is very self conscious of knowing how to play or be with your children? This coupled with your own qualifications in this area may be very hard for him to deal with and leave him feeling cornered with only his false pride to protect his very fragile ego which can’t admit that he does not feel natural being a father.

    This may also explain the desperation, immaturity and blame he displayed at not knowing how to handle this type of situation. Steve was similar except because of his Mediterranean background he was less academic and more
    intimidating and vocal in his insistence that I let him be the head of the family. He would even lord over the kitchen and until I learned the courage to firmly kick him out and tell him to stop telling me what to do, me cooking anything was very uncomfortable. When we were first married I was very proud of what a good cook I was, but eventually I just let him take over and would actually hide in my room a lot and only come out to protect the kids if he got too angry with them.

    So yes I think you are right about the power struggle and in the end I believe you need to acknowledge this fully and also be ready to consciously take it on and win it. Your will needs to be stronger than his. Steve and I share responsibility now but that only came slowly after a year or two of him proving himself with solid achievements. When I wrested control off him (with the help of my support network) I made no bones about it. I would say “You lost your right to be in charge, you were dragging our family into the gutter!” or “When you were the cook we were all overweight, get out of my kitchen!” My eldest son denies it now but when he was 7 he would say “mum is the boss, because when mum is the boss everything is good.” He is now 13 so now of course he thinks he is the boss, but only this morning he told me I was the coolest mum in the world! I loved that but I also know it may have something to do with Christmas coming (Ha ha ha)!

    I would say, somehow or other, you need to have back up and not be afraid to stand up for yourself and what you know, and put a firm stop to his insults and bullying; using both the bill of rights exercise and your support network. He needs to know that if he escalates the fight there will be consequences and outside officials/peers he will end up having to deal with.

    That is my take on it anyway.

    The other thing is that if I was you I would find a really great father/son parenting course and I would blatantly challenge him to join it. You can say “I dare you to to complete this program” or, “if you think you are the expert let’s see what you are really made of?” or even “Let’s see if you are too big a know-it-all to think that you might learn something from this?”

    What is really strange is that Steve would even ask me to use reverse psychology on him. He would say “I like it and it works on me.” Isn’t that funny? Even now sometimes I will say “I bet you can’t …. ” and he will look at me and say “I know what you are up to” but he still can’t resist it. I had a really big revelation about this once on just how powerful this is when Steve had been behaving very tersely with us again for a few days and I was very confused why he was falling back into his bad old ways. We talked about it and he came out and admitted he was mad because he thought a challenge I had given him recently was too hard and it was really bothering him that he didn’t think he was going to be able to achieve it. I had even forgotten the challenge and we sorted it out pretty quick, but how is that for an example of how far he has come in taking what I challenge him seriously, from a man who used to leave us at home with no money and no car and without the phone even being connected at one stage!

    OK so I hope this helps some Maria and that you and your family have a safe and wonderful Christmas. You can do this I just know it, you stand firm and proud of your strength and your knowledge and your courage. He will be head of your family only when he proves one day he is capable of humility and maturity!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

    PS. You might also tell him that it is only lower class men who feel they need to dominate and control their families! While I say this slightly tongue-in-cheek and in the same sassy style as the reverse psychology challenges above, there is actually a lot of truth in this. The more a man has responsibility at work the more he will often long to be dominated at home and have someone else take the burden of making decisions from him, while the more dominated he is at work the more he will look to play the boss with his family. There are some interesting studies on this in fact about how the desire to be dominated is largely undiscussed but in fact is very common. Once you learn to do this with confidence my bet is that you will find he loves it (-:

  259. kimcooper said

    Hi Rebeca,

    I do not answer private emails any longer and you have to be very lucky to catch me here but I am trying to keep up a bit better with my new blog at http://kimcoopersblog.blogspot.com/ – the thing is that I really have to give the bulk of my time to writing articles and books that then are then available to help many people. I have also found that the more people work at putting our ideas into practice rather than asking for too much individual advice the faster things tend to get better.

    As for the man you were dating, trust tends to be a very big issue with people with these symptoms and so you may have trouble with this one. I would state simply what you want but then make sure you stay grounded and focused on your own life and goals. This is best for you and will also make you attractive.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  260. CD, Australia said

    Hi MR,

    I just had a stouche with my husband too at the beginning of this week where he caught me off-guard (I still don’t think I have completely restored my balance). He asked me to promise not to tell my daughter what he wanted to say to me. I said that if what he wanted to say was not something to be repeated then he should not be telling me in the first place and I would not promise anything when I did not know what the nature of the promise was.

    Unable to restrain himself and despite my requests for him not to, he proceeded to tell me anyway. He set about criticizing and demeaning my daughter. (I have learned over the years that he criticizes my son or my daughter to me even without valid cause for criticism, because he knows it is a button that can still be pushed – and sometimes he just wants to pick a fight – he gets such a “buzz” or narcissistic supply out of fighting.) I said “stop right there – I don’t want to hear this, that I hurt when he criticizes or demeans my daughter – he then of course denied that he was doing that, and continued on relentlessly. Of course by now the strings were pulled, and I became his puppet – all of my attempts to “thwart” his criticisms of our daughter (and now me included) were met with his fierce verbal abuse, diversion and distortion. Consequently confusion for me set in as the original topic expanded into many topics – and as quickly as I was defending this one or that one he was off on another tangent.

    After a lengthy heated exchange, and getting back to the original topic of criticizing my daughter and now me as well – I asked him apart from his mother – what other woman or women in his life does he truly respect?

    I know he loved and respected his mother (may she rest in peace), but perhaps he subconsciously disrespected her also for “allowing” herself to be abused by his father, and perhaps because she may have not stepped in and shielded my husband and his sisters when they were children from their father’s verbal and psychological abuse. I believed he learned his father’s behaviour also and now sees himself as the “powerful head of the household” – that respect is extracted by inflicting “pain and fear” in us and others.

    In answer to my question above my husband said “Well I respect you, and my daughter, my two nieces, and that is about all. I asked him why I had never heard him criticize or demean his two nieces where he would frequently do that to me and our daughter. His answer was: “Well that is different, you are my wife and she is my daughter and that is just the way it is, obviously I can say things to you and our daughter where I don’t have the right to do that to my nieces.”

    He then asked me whether I thought he was wrong to do that – but already exhausted from the fight – mentally, physically, psychologically and emotionally – by now crying and in the foetal position, I was not willing to respond because it would only guarantee more arguing (right-fighting) that I would never win, and he had to win at all costs. I would have liked to reply that he is wrong to think that he can destroy me, or my daughter, or my son because he sees that he has a right to do so by perceived “ownership” of us, that we are his “possessions” or “objects” and that his behaviour is aggressive, narcissistic and highly misogynistic towards my daughter and myself.

    Instead of replying, I said that I did not want to continue with this, and that I was going to go to the beach for half an hour to calm down. I expected that he would have gone off to bed, but he waited for me to get home wanting to know “what I had decided” ??? I briefly said that I hate all the secrets and lies he breeds in this family, and then I cut any further conversation off. He went to bed and I remained on the couch, angry, tearful and hating this terrible disorder called narcissism – where he also gets to dull or even forget the pain of it with alcohol.

    I wonder if the parallel between your experience and my experience is that my husband is basically from the “cave-man” era where women and children should be seen and not heard. It is ingrained in my husband that he should be “head of the household” (and our business) and in control of everyone and everything. He does that by criticizing me, his son and his daughter, and everyone else. He is negative about everything except things he has achieved. He constantly plays the victim whilst he wreaks havoc in his family and the community.

    It is interesting that your husband should call you a “shrew” – does he relate to the husband in “Taming of the Shrew”? In William Shakespeare’s play, Taming of The Shrew, Petruchio, who seems interested only in money and fine jewels, tempers the headstrong Katherina (the shrew) with various psychological torments until she becomes the obedient bride.

    Petruchio marries Katherina for a large dowry, and he begins taming his new wife. He keeps her from sleeping by blowing a trumpet, invents reasons as to why she cannot eat, buys her beautiful clothes only to rip them apart with a bread knife. Eventually Katherina demonstrates her complete subordination to Petruchio agreeing that she would regard “the moon as the sun and the sun as the moon”. There is an element of misogyny in this play and Petruchio uses language to objectify Katherina – for example, where he claims her to be his “property” when he says:

    I will be master of what is mine own.
    She is my goods, my chattels, she is my house,
    My household stuff, my field, my barn,
    My horse, my ox, my ass, my anything.

    Was Petruchio a narcissist – I think so! Is this is how our husbands objectify and treat us in a quest for our obedience and subservience while implying that this is how we will earn their love and respect? Only to be treated as disrespectfully as a doormat when we do so? Today’s woman is educated and usually with a career or a job on top of running a home (which is challenging enough on its own). I think the “cave-men” of today are threatened by the current era of multi-tasking super-women that they can’t resist but pick on their women for what hasn’t been done instead of showing their appreciation for what has been done, and chauvinistically excluding their women in what should be family or together time.

    I strongly recommend that you have plenty of EXCLUSIVE fun time with your boys to help them grow into men who love, respect and understand women (in Oz we call them SNAG’s – Sensivitive New Age Guys) . I often wish I could record my conversations with my husband to see how we interact (with his permission of course) – to see myself more clearly instead of trying to recollect the transpiration of events and conversations – and how I could handle things better or detect patterns of behaviour.

    I do hope you and your family and everyone who posts here have a happy and safe Christmas, and that we keep in touch – especially if the going gets rough.

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia.

  261. CD, Australia said

    Oops – spell check SNAG’s – Sensitive New Age Guys!

    Cheers, CD

  262. Rebeca said

    Hello Kim,

    Thank you for your response. I find your material focused on those who are currently involved with a narcissist. That makes sense but there are those like myself who believe that a relationship is worth saving and or re-establishing if you find the key or tools to understand and better love your narcissist. Otherwise, one is no better than the classic narcissist who moves onto from one person to the other and never learning how to work hard with one person. Trust issues as you mentioned. I am unclear on what that entails as I am dealing with him now that he is outside the relationship. I am beside myself trying to understand how he could so angry and hurt that I called it off, (he does not say this but his actions say otherwise) yet I did it because I have cancer and now that he knows this, he feels bad and wants to be here for me but is with a new gal of a couple months and she will now allow it. I am having trouble finding any material that addresses the underling issues here. I have looked at your books and articles (those sent to me) and I don’t see anything that deals with his anger/hurt and love for me, yet his pride will not allow him to yield to me even in a time of serious cancer. What am I missing here to better understand him if/when he does come my way?

  263. kimcooper said

    Hmmm that is tricky Rebeca as your situation is quite unique. I might suggest that you check out my site

    http://www.therules.info

    I hope that this helps and you take care (-:

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  264. Rebeca said

    Thank you again for your response. Question on the male narcissist and the hero role. It seems my (N) was attracted to me because I was strong and independent. His ex-wife of 17 years was totally dependent on him. He married her knowing this but complained towards the end that she would not work. She also did not bring much to the relationship such as interests, hobbies, goals, etc. I came with career, education – real go getter. He liked my energy, plus I am very passionate and extremely intense when it comes to romance. He seemed to really like this, however our relationship was very tumultuous and he could not stand the ups and downs. I handles far better than he did. When we would have fall outs it would just ruin his day at work and eat at him. I never saw this but he would tell me that. I on the other hand would know/believe things would be okay and be fine the next day. We were supposed to get married but as the issue drew nearer he started coming up with reasons why not to marry and they were all me. He stated he began to be unhappy with the relationship because – little things/stupid things; I was to picky about house cleaning, I did not cook enough; I was always watching my eight and it was hard to find places to eat with me; if bad things befallen me (car accident, layoff from work) I was always having drama in my life. His first marriage was smooth sailing for the most part. Few arguments, no drama except the loss of his mother (sudden) and his divorce. However, I got the impression that she did not say/do much since he had the final word and she was dependent on him. When they divorced she hated him and has not spoken to him in years except through emails and the courts told the ex to join support groups on abusive relationships, building your self-esteem etc. I did not think much of this and ignored it. I took it that she was just a weak person. Well as I spent time with this man I found that his picking at me and putting marriage off was putting me in a vulnerable state and the script was flipping between us. I started doubting myself and trying to work harder on the things he was pointing out. But he kept changing them and I began to think he is never going to marry me or real verbiage, I am never going to be what he wants. ARguments started and they were constant. He was very stubborn and we would go days without talking to each other and existing under the same roof. I would go about my evenings with friends and outings and he would stay home. He had no friends. Not one since I met him. He then started to tell me that he was unhappy because I did not treat him well. My self-esteem really started to take a hit and I began to believe that i was this mean person and this strong person that would normally reply to comments remotely close to telling me I don’t treat you well would likely be…”This is as good as it gets and if you don’t like it.” In the end, I had a number of bad luck events that happened to me, car accidents, loss of job, mirror fell on my head in store and injured me for years (not effecting my work but our personal life) and so he kept telling me he was tired of all the drama as if it were my fault and me. When I got cancer I just could not tell him. I feared he would throw in my face more drama and to hear that would kill me. I tried to tell him but panicked several times and just broke down one day and called it quits. Weeks later I tried to call him and tell him why I did what i did but he would not hear the truth. He was so angry and said, no you called it quits, I am holding you to it. See you later, I am moving on, I am glad you did this, I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders etc. I had never heard him talk to me like that. He was always passive and quiet and would stuff things. Never in our relationship had I heard him yell. So I took this hard and he never quite knew what was wrong with me. As I was away I realized my wrong doings and learned more about him from therapist we had gone to earlier (twice). By the way I was trying to work on fixing what was wrong with us prior and asked him to not give up and go to therapist with me but he reluctantly went. He would never say no or speak up but I took his reluctance as rejection and we cycled like that for awhile. So the therapist, two different psychologists told me that in our few sessions they both saw issues with him more so than me and he was a narcissist. He is also a cop and this is typical of a cop. I started to read and learn more about this through your website and others who told me about your website.
    So now that i know more about him, I realize that he moved on a couple weeks after we broke up. He could never look back but i have written him to tell him what I learned, what I know of me and how I am sorry and asked for forgiveness as well as explained the status of my cancer. He replied with brief but cold email. I then sent a letter a month later telling him what was going on with me and being friendly. He called me and told me he had moved on and it seemed I was trying to get him back. His anger and resentment right now towards me is he thinks I am trying to get him back and this angers him. I am unclear how this plays into narcissism. If the ego is what needs attention and they want someone to adore them and “WANT” them then why offended by someone wanting to restore things. I told him I was seeking friendship as the letter stated. (I feel that we would need to start over and I want the time to befriend him and see things from a distance). I also told him all the wonderful things I liked about him and told him how appreciative I was of all the things he did for me and my family. It was a letter of ego stroking at best. He softened in our conversation and said he did not want to turn his back on me and he wanted to be there to support me but he did not know how the new gal would take it. He said he needed some time to figure things out. I had not had any contact with him other than these two letters but after talking to me, he realized that I was only seeking his friendship and he seemed to back down and be okay with this. The idea of me wanting him back would send him into a rage, why not sure but when he talked to me and heard how I was doing and I had no one to be here for me and spent Thanksgiving alone, he felt bad. He knew months ago I was sick but he chose to only hear what he wanted to hear in my letters and that was that I wanted him back and not that I maybe dying and I just want to tell you what i have learned, what I know, how I am sorry and if I had to do it over again… I find that he likes being the hero. Although he was now talking more like his old self and he was not taking the cold hard cop voice with me, he would interject every now and then with the cop voice saying but I cannot see you. I am not going to get sucked back in and seeing you is out of the question. I was not asking for anything other than an occasional hello hi email. He went back and forth as if agonizing on what to do. He did not want to turn his back on me but yet he wanted to be there for me, yet he has this new gal and he does not want to jeopardize it and yet he thinks she should understand since she has a terminally ill brother. He said give him some time and he would let me know… I read in Steves Blog that they are inmature. I have hard that a lot from my family since we broke up. My family has also told me including his daughter that he loved me dearly he is just hurt and angry I called it off and sick or not sick, he is not hearing that he is only hearing the selfish inmature voice of himself and his wounded ego. He is now dating a woman who is a high-powered attorney. One of the things he disliked with me (my strength from being single and independent my adult life) was when I would call the shots. He did not like the idea of me telling him what to do or he feeling he was not controlling things. So now my questions for what my guy was like and what I am learning through your blogs and books on narcissism but not sure about the following:
    He called me a week later after our first conversation and told me that he talked to his new girlfriend and she does not like the idea of he talking to me and she does not want him to have contact with me. I said okay and was sorry to hear that, I thought she might understand. He said she feels there is alterior motive. (By the way she is a criminal defense attorney). He told me he did not believe that and he wanted to be there but he had to respect her wishes. He asked me to give it some time and maybe later on he could be friends with me. He wants to be friends with me but needs some time to secure things with her and…I did no believe for a second she will ever be okay with this and it seems he does not see the brevity of my illness. So questions on “N” men.
    Do they tend to like to be the hero? Lacking empathy tends to be a trait but how does guilt play into this? This guy is driven lots of time with guilt and I am not sure if it is out of true affection or out of the ego just not wanting to look bad to others? Women like this attorney who are very strong and very straight forward and have not problem calling the shots and being in control…I thought this goes against the typical “N” man and what they like in a woman. I can’t believe he allowed her to tell him no but I suppose since it is affiliated with me and therefore a threat to “them” and not something she is picking on or about himself, he is overlooking it? Does any of this play into the role of a “N” man. I am guessing that he will contact me for one of two reasons. Guilt and wondering how I am doing, things start to go bad with the new gal. His daughter told me he loved me more than her mother of 17 years and his ego is wounded and he is very hurt and now jumping to someone else. His daughter also told me that he is selfish and does not know what he wants, is looking for that perfect partner and he will regret losing me, I was the best thing for him and the first person to get him outside of his box. She is only sixteen and we have been in contact since the split. HOwever, as of last conversation when he told me that the new gal does not want him to befriend me as I have asked, the new gal also wants me to not have contact with daughter since she is having trouble bonding with daughter. What here is playing out for narcissism?

  265. S said

    hi everyone i am in desperate need of some help. I think i am seriously going insane. I have been following Kims books and

    advice and it has helped me a great deal but recently every time there is a setback it pushes me back where I started from.

    I loose my confidence and dont know what i am doing is the right thing. My husband who is an (N) has changed a bit. He is

    able to control his anger better than before but the tantrums are still there and his N side comes to life now and then

    although the span has increased. He has become a bit better its now me who is going crazy. My problem is weired. I cannot

    look at my husband and speak to him noramally. I feel intimidated and scared of saying anything wrong so my lips tremble

    and i go all wiered and it looks like i am lauging at him (i am actually nervous that i might say something that might

    trigger him). the more serious the discussion is the more wiered i get and am unable to engage in the converstaion or

    project the correct emotion.For example if he is talking to me about some problem at work instead of showing sympathy or felling for him i get wiered and looks like i am lauhging.(i do not intend to) This is destroying my relationship my husband. He feels that i am making fun of him at the

    time when he is seriously talking to me about an isuue and needs all my support. He has started to feel what good is a

    relationship when he cant even talk to his wife about something. He has been trying to ignore my behaviour so that i donot

    get anxious may be this problem will go away. But then there are days when he looses his patience and the N comes alive and

    i am back where I started. Is anyone able to relate to this or i have i seriouly gone crazy??.. Now he thinks that i am

    trying to hurt him and get back at him for all that he has done to me in all these years ( i have been married to him for 3

    yrs and in relationship for 5). I told him that i would like to see a psychologist because i am not able to control it but

    he does not want me to go to a psychologist (he doesnt say why). I dont know how to fix this problem and now he has got all

    the more reasons to blame me for this failing relationship. I am in tears even when i write this. I feel all my efforts are

    wasted i have lost everything.. my life my husband and my sanity

  266. kimcooper said

    Hi Rebeca,

    I am sorry that I have very little time today but I will offer you a few tips;

    The first is that although N men like to be in control this is out of fear and lack of trust
    and in reality they long for someone strong enough to make them feel safe. Imagine a kid
    who never had limits put on their tantrums. Yes they rage and rage but deep down they are
    disappointed and terrified that there is no one strong enough or wise enough to “contain’ their
    rages or bad behaviour and make them feel safe. Some say the only cure for a bully is a bigger
    bully but that is only half true. The bully really wants proof that good is stronger than evil and
    so they test everyone and feel disappointed when everyone fails. See a narcissist really wants a
    worthy opponent. Someone who will see through their lies, stay calm and in control no matter
    what they dish out and who will know how to put them in their place regardless of what they
    try. Indeed they want someone stronger and tougher but that person certainly doesn’t not need
    to be mean or cruel. It is the parent who is stronger and wiser than their bad side and able to
    put limits on their bad behaviour which they never had that they still crave. I am older than Steve
    and it seems very common also that someone with narcissistic tendencies will choose a partner
    who is older than themselves.

    The classic police drama where a tough no nonsense cop brings a rebellious (and truly bad) teenager
    to the point of trusting him and by doing so turns his life around is the storyline these people crave.
    This change never comes however without the policeman being tested beyond what most people could
    endure.

    If this man is a policeman are you really up to this? Especially if you are sick. The battle I had
    to face with Steve was not easy and I had a lot a stake. If you are lonely and needing care at present
    I doubt this man is a good choice for you right now. Even if you overcome his defenses and turn him around
    he will be very vulnerable and as helpless as a child for quite sometime. This is why he is with who he is with now.
    He actually craves and needs this woman’s strength. Whether he is redeemed by it or he manages to pull her
    down only time will tell but you need to take care of yourself right now.

    I know that you love him but I would suggest that for your heart and your health you look at our introductory
    special on codependence. I believe this is your lesson in all of this and that by working on healing the part
    of you that will put yourself at this man’s mercy, even in the weakened condition you are in, you may find
    that you health problems resolve themselves too. You do not need him now – what you need is yourself.
    To become your own best friend who knows what you need, what you are up to taking on and what is good for you.

    I wish you a very Merry Christmas Rebeca and I am sorry I cannot give you advice on how to win him back, sometimes
    however is is us facing and accepting that we have lost something and feeling the sorrow of this deeply that allows us
    to move on.

    You getting stronger and better at knowing how to take care of yourself will make you more attractive as well.
    You will not convince this man that you can protect him or keep him safe (what he really wants) when you are
    sick and needing care but still putting yourself in the line of fire from a high powered and possibly dangerous
    woman who he has now committed himself to.

    I hope you will give this some thought and take care,

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  267. CD, Australia said

    Hi Kim,

    I was very interested to read your response to MR. I hate being caught off-guard and I should have not allowed myself to get sucked in. I wish my first response was always to limit the abuse instead of getting sucked in – I guess I am like a lioness when I sense or understand that my son or daughter are being criticized or putdown either in person or behind their backs. Even though they are adults now I still have a strong maternal instinct to protect them from harm or being backstabbed by my husband. I have a personal bill of right that states this and that boundary was crossed. I understand that the only way this is going to change is to have an appropriate natural consequence or support from my support network for unacceptable behaviour and make him accountable.

    It has been very difficult to find people I can make part of my support network because there doesn’t seem to be anyone that my husband outwardly respects – not even the law or authority figures.

    However recently when I suspected he was playing one of his mind games, I said I would go and talk to our mutual friend and explain to her what is going on between us and with him and his depression so she and her husband would understand why we don’t come to visit regularly like we used to. My husband immediately (and revealing a tiny look of panic) said “Don’t you think it is too soon to take it that far?” I knew then that he WAS playing mind games and was trying to isolate not only me but the both of us from our friends. I responded that this has been going on at this level for more than 2 years now, that I was not prepared to let this continue anymore without seeking the support of our friends on this. Added to this I insisted that he see our doctor and get something to help him sleep.

    There has been a big about face since then – he is behaving much more sociably and relaxed with our friends, and he has actually been good company and instigated our visits to them. I did not confide in our friends, but I will do so if this current acceptable behaviour turns out to be temporary manipulation. I guess that is why I got caught off-guard when this other curved ball was delivered unexpectedly to me.

    The thread of my story above is that even though he behaves like he is answerable to no-one outwardly, maybe it is just his fragile ego – but hopefully he does inwardly have a conscience after all and if so he has unfortunately smoke screened it so well that I have found it extremely difficult to reveal the people he would least like knowing about his unacceptable behaviour. I am not afraid to build a support network and call on it, and I have talked to some people I have never talked to before about our problems, but I am afraid that I would not find the most effective people to stand up to his verbal aggressiveness and defiance, escalating the behind closed-doors unacceptable behaviour toward me (my fear), then I not knowing (my other fear) who better to seek support from apart from the law – and there is always the unacceptable behaviour by him that does not break the law especially his put-downs and criticisms.

    I was surprised that my stance on telling our friends had so much power – but it remains to be seen if that is a temporary manipulation of me by him. I am wondering though why this stance had so much power because most people including our friends know what he is like anyway – maybe it was because I was going to talk to people about my situation where I don’t normally talk to them about it?? I haven’t wanted my friends to be put in the situation of potentially taking sides, but I would have taken the stance of being concerned for my husband and myself, and sought their understanding and support for the both of us.

    Thank you to both you and Steve, both individually and together as a couple – you are both an incredible inspiration to me. I wish I could capture Steve’s sincerity, humility, empathy, love and compassion towards his wife and family – put it in a magic pill and make my husband swallow it! It is sad to see my husband locked in a world of doing it the “hard way” instead of trusting us – that we love him and want him to feel safe enough to trust us and love us back – that we are not the enemy and will never intentionally hurt or harm him. We all try to prove this so much in every way every day – but he continues to test our love and patience over and over – perhaps believing that one day it will be over and he was “right” all along – that he believes he is unlovable and no-one is to be trusted with his love.

    CD, Australia.

  268. Rebeca said

    Hello and thank you, great insight. Yes I have been looking at the codependence information. I really was confused and questioning whether he fit the profile for narcissism. He is quiet, low key and always in control. He does not portray the typical behaviors that most therapists speak of when DSM’ing a “N” and the blogs posted from a lot of your readers, describe behaviors that this man has never portrayed. He is always gentle, kind and never looses his cool, temper or tongue. HOWEVER, the strong woman you say he craves now, that was me when we met. When you said bring her down, I think that is what happened to me without seeing what was going on. Since we split up I have learned much, gained awareness of me and how I contributed to his cycle if you will and if I had just stood my ground as I did most of the time things would have been different. But I believed him when he started to critique me and began to think he was just afraid of marriage.
    So if this man is meeting the criteria of a narcissistic man then as you say he is craving someone strong and tough. If this be the case then how did that fail with me? I was very strong and very tough, and kept strong boundaries. In the end I called it quits due to illness. Does he not see that as strength? If these men crave strong women then how does this play out when men meet women like this attorney? When a “N” meets a strong women like this and they are unaware of his “N” but as in this guy he is very low key, amiable, one dimensional, he seems like a really nice guy then how does the women become disenchanted with someone like that or is it he that becomes disenchanted with her?
    Thank you for your concern of my health. Yes I am very strong and I take good care of me and yes I could deal with him, now that I understand his shortcomings. I was on the right track, but when it came to taking that next step, I did not get that he was challenging me, I took it as he was losing love for me as he began to test me. Had I known what I know now, I would have stayed on course.
    So can you explain to me the lack of empathy and guilt. I hear you say they lack empathy – yes. That is true with this guy to a certain extent but he does hold high standard to looking like the good guy and guilt plays a lot on him. He does not say this but I know it to be true. With my health issues, does this not make him feel bad not being here when he wants to be here but not willing to rock the boat with the new gal? What is it with the “N” men that what i did could be so wounding and so hurtful that he is scared to death to come near me or have contact with me in fear that he will be “sucked” back into…what????
    I may have mis-spoke when I told you win him back. What I meant was I would like to have the opportunity to be a friend to him and not be involved romantically while I get healthier and allow a more casual, caring, nurturing relationship to blossom, knowing what I know now. Well since my illness and my new awareness, I have had a 360 and short of a total personality change not only have I gained so much insight to him but life. My goals, my desires, my priorities, my temperment, attitude and my way of life have changed. My family can’t believe the changes but when you think you could die.. you either get it or you don’t. I got it and I have shared this with ex. He did not believe me at first but after talking to me couple weeks ago, he did and that is when he acknowledged that he still cares and he does want to be here to support me but… Yes, loving him would be hard and being with him would be a challenge and yes I could find so many more easier and better. But I was with him for four years and I was determined to figure it out. A little late but I did. I am just seeking to find an open door to allow a new beginning so I can see how my new understanding applies. My health is on the mends and the outlook is good which is why I am trying to understand how best to deal with him when and if he does contact me. He says he wants to be friends with me but again as said earlier not sure if this is just a line to get rid of me (I have never experience him not to say what he means, it is just getting to that point that is hard for him but when he does…it has never untruthful). He said down the line he would like to be friends but now sure how and what. This I took as he wants time with this new woman so she will help him forget his feelings for me. I could be wrong. Meanwhile, he was quite bothered when he told me that he does not want to turn his back on me but he has to respect new gals wishes. He was coming hard at me but I understand he was feeling pressure. Your experience, how does this type of guilt or concern or thought of me (if any) play out in not looking back or making contact with me and if when this progresses, tips on how to handle the attitude I will likely get when this happens. He tends to come off with the tough guy cop, how are you, good, brief and to the point. I know he does this so he can stay detached. Tips on how to handle these interactions when not involved in a relationship and don’t have the time or opportunity to melt his heart like your other readers? Also if you can touch base on earlier question of how does a woman like this attorney play out with a man like this. Thank you again for your thoughts on my health. I have a good family and good support group that is there for me and was there for him. Oh one other thing while thinking of feedback. How much does the partners family play into the needs of a “N”. He loved my family and they adored him. He has little contact with his own so he was pretty much adopted by mine. We would have family night and game night a lot. This was foreign to him He was raised by alcoholic parents (functioning alcoholic parents) and baby of 7 kids with strong catholic background. I know he misses my family as he tells my son but he won’t let that guard down for nothing. Look forward to hearing from you.

  269. kimcooper said

    Hi CD,

    I think that you and MR both might get a lot from the email I just wrote to Rebeca.

    Verbal abuse is very tough to get outside help with and so in this case it is really important to be able to shut them down really quick when you see where it is going and be able to walk away and get on with it. Leaving them standing with their mouth open so to speak!!! Even if you have to use the trick of getting mad early (one of Steve Biddhulph’s) so it comes as a surprise and while you are still in control and can play act with it a bit. “I have work to do and don’t you ever speak about our daughter like that again to me!” and you walk off and get busy and refuse to engage further.

    In reality they love this strength especially if you can do it while you are still 100% in control of yourself.

    The problem is that their false pride has left so much that they still don’t know about how to be with people. Steve is even still learning how to be with the kids without the gruff I’m the boss exterior. Because he feels safe with me now however I can actually step in and say “You are not listening Steve and it is you who is being angry (when he is telling off one of the kids for being angry) and he just melts and becomes one of the kids and let’s me take charge. That really surprised the kids when it first happened because before of course that would have made him very angry. So even though he still even now finds it hard to show them his soft side they know everything is OK and that really he loves them.

    It is interesting too about your husband being nervous about you talking to your friends and this does not surprise me. You see this is their game to bad mouth people behind their backs and this is why they have to keep everyone separate.

    It may be best that you did not actually go through with talking to them (for your own privacy and self respect) but I would make him aware there is always the possibility. If you can arrange it so that sometimes he sees you talking with other people but he doesn’t know what is being said will really unnerve him too. This is not to be done in a cruel way, because the way I see it their false pride comes unstuck eventually anyway so in a way you are manouvering this so that it happens when you are ready to catch them.

    You have probably heard it before but the person in my support network who had the most sway with Steve was someone I introduced him to and in the end I never had to talk to him anyway. When I asked Steve if I would really need to talk to this man (who was an ex minister) about my concerns about his pornography addiction Steve nearly fainted. Before this he could pretend it wasn’t a problem and that I shouldn’t be worried about it, but when he was confronted with the prospect of this information being put to this man who really believed in him, suddenly he saw how ashamed of his behavior he really was and how far he had severed his fantasy world from the reality he was projecting to others.

    I let him off the hook then and I said OK I won’t mention it and don’t worry I am going to take care of you and I won’t ever leave you, but all of the BS has to stop and I want you to let me put security software on your computer. You know I will never forget the look on Steve face then, it went from terror to defeat to complete gratitude and dependence in only a few moments. He was then like a little kid that just wants to be close to mum and go home once the big scary night of being lost in the woods is over!

    So now I am working on better role models of fathers as friends for Steve and this is helping him learn how to drop his guard more with the kids and of course still tackling my own codependence but I am really starting to get better. It is quite amazing to me now to watch and notice other peoples anxiety and nerves and see people putting themselves through inner hell like I used to and having to pinch myself and say “Wow look how calm and grounded I am!” See before I was lacking in empathy too because I was so nervous and anxious myself I hardly ever noticed it in anyone else!

    OK I gotta run but I hope this helps!

    Hang in there!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  270. CD, Australia said

    Thanks for taking the time Kim, I appreciate it so much – Christmas is never an easy time in our household.

    Your advice helps greatly as always! I am glad you think it better not to involve our friends – I don’t want to risk losing them either as they are lovely well-balanced and caring people and I treasure them. I haven’t involved them in the past out of respect for them. But I will stage something as you suggest – my husband does not like not knowing everything that is going on at all times – you can see him behaving nervously and anxiously if he senses he is not privvy to everything that is going on because his “House of Cards” requires knowing everything to be able to hold it together.

    Your pointing out recently his jealousy and envy issues has helped me understand so many dynamics in our relationship.

    Thanks once again & take care.

    CD, Australia.

  271. Rebeca said

    Okay Kim and Steve, I think I am getting it now.

    AFter reading your postings and your emails, I think I am finally getting the hang of what you are saying when it comes to handling someone like this. When he called me a couple weeks ago after receiving my letter he called to tell me to stop writing he had moved on and he was in a new relationship. I said okay. He barked a couple more orders and I said okay. I thought that was the end of the call and then he said to me is that it? I replied by saying yes, unless you have something else you would like to ask me. I heard what you said and I am going to respect your wishes. I told him that we still had a number of furniture items and things to exchange but we could do this later if he thought best. He said okay. I thanked him for calling and then he stopped me and said I wanted to ask you some questions about your letter. It seems the tone of these letters is you trying to get me back. I said, not that was not the case. He started to pick the letters apart and I answered him based on his questions. He then paused and told me that he was surprised at how I was talking to him. I asked him what did he mean and he told me that he expected me to be upset and crying or desperate to get him back. I told him no, the letters were to express this….and to let him know that I was grateful for all that he was and if we were not to speak again….he then went on a rant again about how it seemed I was trying to get him back. I responded in a parental tone if you will that this is what I meant. He never once addressed my cancer as if it did not exist. I called him on it and said, do you realize I have been diagnosed with cancer. I talked about it throughout most of the letter and it seems you did not understand the purpose or intent of the letter. WE then talked and he then softened and started to tell me how we had a lot of time together and he wanted to be there to support me etc.

    Is this what you are referring to when you say how my change in demeanor, strength and just addressing him as if unemotional is what threw him for a loop and he was surprised by it?

    Second incidence – since you emailed me he called me upset because a couple weeks ago he asked if I could not contact his daughter or let some time go by since she seems to be “confused” and his girlfriend is having trouble bonding with his daughter. As if that one is hard to figure out. I said okay I would do that. Well he did not tell his daughter this (of course he avoid all conflict when possible) and she text me a couple times. I did not respond first time but second time I thought to myself, that I have known this girl for four years and we have been close so I thought it right to contact her and let her know that I thought it best we put some time/space between us while his new girlfriend is getting use to the dynamics of the three of them etc. I left a message on her phone (texting rude) when I knew she would not be able to answer it. She responded by saying okay but she missed me. I get a call recently by him and he has that cop attitude. I heard you contacted my daughter. (apparently he asked her if she had talked to me and she answered nievely not knowing what he was doing) and he started to scold me as if “I thought I told you not to call her and now I hear you called her and you went against what I told you to do.” He then went on to tell me that I had asked for his friendship and now he is beginning to think twice and if I keep pushing this then he is not going to be able to be my friend and if I push this am going to lose out. I did not say anything I let him talk. When he was done he literally had to ask if I were there. I said yes and he said well.. I said I was listening to what he was saying. (Usually I would be on top of this type of talk and him). In a calm voice and controlled manner I apologized if it seemed that I was going against him or undermining his wishes. I told him that I could see how this would look given our last conversation and that it is apparent his new girlfriend is concerned about my having contact with his daughter. I told him that I had made one last phone call to explain things to his daughter and …he cut in and told me “that was my place to do that.” I agree with him it was his place and I had hoped he would have talked to her earlier in the week but in recent days she texted me and I explained the situation. I told him that I felt it only right to call her and personally explain….

    He backed down a bit in how he addressed me but his tone stayed firm. He told me that he was in a pinch and he did not need my name coming up and he wanted to be friends with me but he needed some time to let things simmer down for him and…but if I pushed this… I responded by telling him although I understand you are in a squeeze here, but I ask that you try to put yourself in my situation and consider that I have not only lost my health but you and your daughter all in a month and for the last four years you and your daughter have been my life (so to speak). The least I could do was return her call and leave her a personal message. I continued by saying that as much as I would like to have your friendship and as much as I value having you in my life, I do not deserve to be talked to in that tone. I told him that in the future if he chooses to call me I expect him to address me more respectfully. He was speechless. He did not know what to say as I was once again acting different than my norm with him. He said okay real tough. i told him that it was nice to hear from him again in spite of the purpose of his calling and I told him that I wished him well and lots of love in his new relationship. Again he was speechless and paused quite a bit and responded by saying.. give me some time and..I said that is fine, don’t worry about it, do what you need to do,l thanked him for calling and hung up.

    Now is this what you are talking about when you say changing the roles and not allowing him to get a “rise” out of me and yet being firm in what it is that I expect and not buying into his emotional antics?

    One other question: My family is beside themselves. They cannot believe that he is abandoning me as they call it when I am sick and though he is dating someone else they find what he is doing cruel and just can’t believe this is who he is. They would never have thought that he would not be here as a friend. Narcissism is not something easily explained. However, I have questioned whether his lack of being her right now is narcissism and selfish maturity that is keeping him from looking at my situation and the brevity of my health issues, or is he just one cold callous person who never cared at all and does not have any regard for my life now that he is not part of it? I find this hard to believe but this is the way my family and friends are seeing it and I am trying to find some insight to what i want to believe and what you know to believe if this man se following patterns and trends of narcissist.

    It seems all of this is beginning to make sense but i have a feeling that i am going to hear from him again and I need some guidance on whether I am handling conversations correctly. Thank You

  272. CD said

    Hi S,

    When I first started in a self-growth programme years ago which dealt with the narcissistic behaviour associated with my husband’s addiction to alcohol and my co-dependence, I was an emotional, mental and spiritual wreck. I had lost who I was, my core values and beliefs. Going to Al-Anon was like pouring oil on troubled waters for me – there was a lot to learn & let go of, self-discovery and recovery work to be done and many challenges to be faced within my relationship with my formidable husband.

    It was overwhelming for me at first, and I can remember my mind being out of sync with my body language – many times my body, lips and speech trembled in fear and perhaps with an element of excitement that finally I could stand up for what is right knowing that right was on my side. This uncontrollable trembling happened whenever I stood up for myself or my rights and sometimes just in general conversation too. I had been a long time oppressed and my self-esteem was extremely low.

    It was very difficult to stand up for myself when faced with a stern faced eye-contacting husband who would see me trembling in fear, and my face contorting with all sorts of uncontrollable expressions. Nevertheless as time went by I slowly and gradually grew stronger and stronger day by day until eventually I not only had greatly restored my core values and beliefs, but also my self-esteem and this problem subsided little by little.

    I have been following Kim and Steve’s programme for 10 months now and have learned so much more, especially very good lessons on how to limit abuse and to be assertive – skills that I am still trying to master.

    Don’t worry too much – just believe in yourself and that things will get better for you after a while – just work on you and put yourself first for now. Sarah Chamber’s audios are amazing to help you relax your nerves and anxiety and to gain inner strength and peace – my favourite is The Phoenix. Prayer and meditation are also extremely valuable for healing and regaining control over yourself and your life.

    CD, Australia.

  273. S said

    Hi CD,
    Thanks so much for replying to my post.Cant tell you how relieved i feel after reading your reply.I have been very depressed lately. Reading your reply has once again made me believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel and i have not gone crazy.Just a few days back i was quiet nervous about an issue – i had got a good christmas gift from work and i was worried that my husband would get upset and feel that i am showing it off.(if i told this to someonelse they would think that this isnt even an issue to worry about. But here i guess we all know how even a smallest thing can trigger a N) and when talking him later because of my fear i lost all control and got a bit shaky any expressions and lips where totally uncontrollable. This set him off and he started throwing and breaking things blaming me that i was lauging at him and making fun off him cause i feel that i am better than him (honestly there was no such thing going on in my mind) i was just nervous and it all ended up the way i was trying to avoid — a few broken glasses , mugs and his own laptop and my confidence gone back to zero. I was trembling for a long time after this incident but i made sure he did not see that.He came back to me once he had cooled down and said he understood why i was behaving like that . But i honestly dont know if he truly understands the stress i feel around him sometimes. This cyclye is going on and on.. I have been listening to Kim’s audios on Codependence and selfesteem and also the one for anxiety. They have been very helpfull but its just episodes like these.. seeing that rage..the anger in his eyes that stare pushes me back a million miles . How did you handle this cD? Did you avoid conversations with him? Did your husband notice that you were not able to look at him and speak normally? i dont know at this stage if i should be avoiding him or continue talking to him?

  274. kimcooper said

    Hi Suhela,

    Do you have “Back from the Looking Glass?” It is vital that you start putting together a support network and get help protecting yourself from this type of behaviour as soon as you possibly can. You cannot deal with this alone.

    Kim

  275. S said

    Hi Kim,
    Yes i have been reading your books and following them. Thanks to you!! dont know what i would have done without them. Building a support newtwork is very hard for me as I have been only a few years in this country and am from a fairly conservative background. We do not have any close friends here and and any that we do are are through my husband. I cannot talk to them as they are all men and i am not very frank with them (so i dont know if any one will believe or help in any way) and cannot contact any one personally as my husband does not approve of me being friendly with any male (no matter what age and also there is no one that he looks up to).I never tried to make even many female friends before as i was trying to prove my love for him (he always said that if you really love me you shouldnt need anyone else , you should be able to live with me even in a jungle) . I was young and foolish then and had no idea about narcissism. All my family is overseas. I have made a couple of friends now and am trying my best to build up a network but it is extreamly hard as he needs to know everything that i do and gets very insecure as soon as he starts to feels that i am getting a bit independant. He now knows that he has issues and has taken some steps like not calling names and demeaning me as much as before (or may be i should say that what i have learned from your book is doing the trick) But there is still a long way to go. He says he really wants to fix things between us and has also been listening to the npd audio.And one thing i must say Kim.. your magic sicssors really do the magic.. I am going overseas in a couple of days alone to see my parents (dont know how this got his approval.. i am still shocked!! this is the first time i will be away from him in last five years since we have been together) I wonder if i should say anything to my parents? I never did all this while as they are so far away and did not want to worry them. And if i do tell them should i tell my husband that they know?? i feel if i do that he may get angry and try to cut my ties with them or say that he is trying to make an effort and i m ruining it for him
    S

  276. CD said

    Hi S,

    Before I found my way into Al-Anon, there were some times when my husband would come home from work under the influence of alcohol and my son, daughter and I would all be in fear of saying or doing the “wrong” thing to set him off in a rage of abuse. There were many occasions where he was physically intimidating and although he never hit the kids or me, we lived in fear that he might. On one night he punched his fist through a door as he was raging at us – the children ran upstairs to my daughter’s room and they huddled together in fear, and hid from him while I weathered through the verbal violence and physical intimidation figuring that while he was concentrating on me his attention would be diverted from the children – this is the only way I felt I could protect them – knowing what I know now I could have – with ample justification – rung the police. I was on the misunderstanding in those days that he had to actually hit me to justify calling the police.

    After I found my way into Al-Anon I learned so much about the behaviour behind alcoholism – but that behaviour was never identified as “narcissism” through the Al-Anon program and we had to find our own solutions to our own difficulties within ourselves and with our partners.

    With the loving support of the beautiful people that were in my local support group, some who had suffered much more than my children and me – I gradually found an inner strength and peace that gave me the courage to love myself again and to stand up for myself.

    There is a saying that “A journey of a 1000 miles begins with a single step”. I had to take baby steps for a long time and initially my husband did not trust the changes he was seeing in me – but he did not know that I was going to Al-Anon for about 2 years. What I did learn was that I could not change him, that I could only change myself and establish boundaries, and that he may change himself for the better in response to my personal recovery and growth.

    It was the establishment and protection of my boundaries that I found most difficult BECAUSE we had to find solutions to our own difficulties. Nevertheless things did get better and my husband gradually felt safe with the changes in me as they happened. However alcoholism is a progressive and downward spiralling disease and this time last year was an absolute nightmare – we were at the threshold of parting ways and divorcing.

    I definitely believe in a Higher Power – and I believe that is God – and He must have sent the lifeline to me, my husband and my marriage because while working in our home office about last February, a documentary came on television about a Narcissistic man who posed that he worked for the World Health Organisation. Many aspects of his narcissistic behaviour was frighteningly so familiar to me – I went immediately onto the internet – and among other websites, I discovered Kim and Steve’s information and their program which I felt offered REAL HELP. The core values, beliefs and messages of their program not only supported what I had already learned through Al-Anon, but Kim and Steve had definitive advice on how to handle the various levels of unacceptable behaviour. Different from the Al-Anon program where advice was never given, people desperately in search of help were not left to find their own solutions with Kim and Steve’s program – especially in what can sometimes be dire situations of emergency and threat to personal physical & mental safety. People are given clear instruction on how and where to get help and support in Kim & Steve’s “Back From The Looking Glass”.

    If you do not have Kim and Steve’s “Back From The Looking Glass” please start right there – WITHOUT DELAY. You must get in-person help from people or authorities in your community – a support network that you will build yourself. You will get valuable help and support through this forum too, but you must get the in-person help as Kim describes in “Back From The Looking Glass” for the abuse and intimidation you are experiencing right now. You mention you work so you must have some financial independence where you can make this purchase without your husband’s knowledge, permission or approval if you fear him raging at you if he knew.

    While you are studying Back From The Looking Glass and getting a support network together, try not to take your husband on confrontation wise just yet, try to remain calm, respectful and agreeable – to buy yourself some time to learn as much as you can about Kim and Steve’s program. You will know when you are feeling more confident and ready to stand your ground and you will use your support network as necessary instead of trying to fight this battle on your own – and this truly is a battle that is extremely difficult if not impossible to win on your own!

    In answer to your questions, how did I handle the nervous trembling and twitches ? Instead of trying to control or fight them “I went with them” because I found the more I tried to hide them the worse it got, and they gradually went as I gained courage and feared less. When I felt it was safe enough to do so I spoke my personal truth quietly and clearly while respecting that he was entitled to his opinion, otherwise if I did not feel safe or composed enough to express myself, I said I felt confused (even if I wasn’t entirely confused) and did not know what to think or say at that moment in time.

    I would suggest that you try to find a way to “exit” these times of confrontation – say you need to go for a walk for half an hour (self-soothe), or go to the toilet/bathroom or something like that. Time-out is is always a great way to regain your composure and think of what you can do to diffuse the situation (instead of resuming the confrontation) when you return – a routine, a chore that you would normally do, or some other activity that you can get on with. Return from your time-out like you have forgotten about the confrontation, and do whatever you have decided to do instead of continuing the power struggle with your husband. Use your magic scissors if he tries to get you back in there,and call your support network if necessary.

    I am hoping that while I am away from tomorrow until New Year’s Day with my husband and my family that we will enjoy each other’s company, but if things go haywire I will try to remain calm, respectful and take all the time I need to self-soothe. I am also starting to think of what goals I would like to set myself for the coming year – mainly small achievable goals that will be good for me, and my health and well-being – because we had a saying in Al-Anon “What is good for me is good for everyone” (including my husband).

    Good luck, stay safe and in touch,

    CD, Australia.

    PS: I can’t sing to save my life, but when home alone, I would put on my favourite CD’s and sing loudly and unabashedly – apart from enjoying myself it helped me relax and voluntarily control my facial muscles – and I also love music! Tina Turner is one who is great to sing along with to release many tensions! She is a also lady who suffered abuse within her marriage.

  277. S said

    Hi CD and Kim,
    Thank you so much for your replies. I have the book ‘back from the looking glass’. I had read the book but it had been a while since i had revisited it. I thought that i was on the right track but i read the book again this morning. And now i understand what you both are trying to tell me.Well i had stared off on the right track but somewhere down the line my C(codependant instincts have come to life again). I think this is why the circle never breaks. Just like the N comes alive in my husband, the C comes alive in me. I have to work on myself first, regain my confidence again and not get cornered by him.
    CD – what you said is so true “What I did learn was that I could not change him, that I could only change myself and establish boundaries, and that he may change himself for the better in response to my personal recovery and growth.
    “.And yes I will try to get some support as well.
    Have a great christmas and New Year :)
    cheers
    S

  278. Sarah Troxel said

    Kim,
    I have been married for 24 years and have told my husband that I want a divorce of Dec 23rd. I was looking up verbal abuse on Google when I came across your page two days later. When I read it I felt as if I was reading about my life. I am typing you now with tears. I have been in this relentless cycle of abuse that I want to stop. I have finally come to the conclusion that I deserve to be loved! I have been telling my husband for years that he doesn’t love, respect, or cherish me. He finally admitted that he doesn’t. If only I had come across your page sooner. The pain that could have been avoided. I am to the point that I am going to work on me, not him. I told him I am no longer going to attempt to make him happy, because no matter what I do I can’t seem to make that happen. I have realized I am obviously a C, no doubt! I went from a dad who was a N to marrying my husband who is a N. I am now 43 and have decided to make me a priority. Thank you for what you are doing to help others reclaim our lives.
    Sarah

  279. Allison said

    Hi All,
    hope you had a nice Christmas/Holiday! I’m struggling, as I bet many of you are with the holiday season and the stress, anxiety, and frustration of managing the season, children and most difficult the Narcissistic behavior.

    My husband just lost his job!!! ARGH! If you remember any of my earlier posts, I have been fearing this would happen for quite a while now because he hasn’t been working this “job”. He has been coming up with a million and one ideas about how to build his empire in real estate, real estate investing,etc.

    I thought I’d be really pissed. Because I have been thoughtfully and cautiously reminding him that if he continues to use his work computer to do other business, and continues to blog about his other business,and continues to update his linked in profile with all this other work he’s been trying to do… he will probably be looked at seriously as not valuing the job he is being payed on.

    Well it happened and I don’t feel as angry as I thought, I’m totally and completely afraid of what we are going to do now. We can’t keep up with our mortgage. We can’t keep our children in their schools. We have to seriusly face the facts and make some HUGE changes that he has never wanted to make.

    He’s NEVER accepted my opinion or my suggestions as valid. He has ALKWAYS taken my position as one that is trying to keep him from his happiness and achieving his dreams. I can’t make any points to him that make any sense in our situation. I don’t know what I am going to do at this point because we can’t talk as partners and share the responsibility of the decisions. He has been in denial and so have I been numb to make the hard decisions that were inevitably coming and now HAVE!

    I don’t know how to work through this with someone who wants nothing to do with sharing the decisions. It has been his bad decisions that have gotten us in this position, and my lack of strength and understanding to make change occur for our family and our children.

    How do you defend boundaries that get crossed over and over? How do you allow accountability for a person that is void of it?

    He won’t tell his parents that are spending the holidays with us (and have been since November!!!) He won’t let me tell anyone. He doesn’t want to ask for support, or “burdon anyone with his business.” he says. He needs support, He WON’T accept it from me. What should I do?

    I have been fearing this for 2 years – losing the life I have known.

    Thanks for listening, any feedback would be great!
    Allison

  280. kimcooper said

    Hi Allison,

    I hope that others will respond to you as well, but briefly, sorry to hear about the bad news you have had over Christmas. The first thing I think you need to do is protect what money is yours! You need to get a very good financial advisor, a friend perhaps (?) and protect what assets you can and cut back on your expenses. Downsize and restructure!!! I think you need to also be very wise now. Obviously your husband has not liked his job for sometime if he has been pursuing other interests. I am guessing he needs guidance in a career change where his dissatisfaction with his past work is considered and also what he wants to do now. The gap work exercise might help here …. where he is now on the left hand side where he wants to be on the right and the steps in between. Is there any chance he can make what he is working on now viable? Maybe you need to reconsider and get a bit more interested and involved and see if you can help? Steve and his family treated me like I was crazy for many years while I was learning web design etc. and said I should just concentrate on the job I had which I hated and finally got sacked from before I took the leap of faith in self publishing my books, so perhaps I am biased, but Steve getting behind me even when I had to get a credit card just to live on for awhile while I set this business up was a huge turning point in trust for me in our relationship. That was how I really knew I could finally trust and count on him, because through that period he supported me and believed in me and helped me make it work even when I was scared. You also need to decide if you are going to tell his family (whether he likes it or not) and if you do, I would suggest that you do it in a way where you come from the point of view that you are concerned about him and concerned that he seems to be in denial. Do not try and get them to take sides etc. just say that you do not know what to do and that you are scared. If you want to have a go at supporting your husband in his new venture and his family would be against that however you may decide it best to not tell them at this point. If he is going to have any chance at making his own business work he will need the support and help of other people who are in business for themselves, people who are wage earners might mean well but their advice wont help.

    You are going to need to be very strong and grounded now so please take time to take care of yourself and make sure you don’t let your fear drive you to drinking too much etc. and make sure you get enough sleep. Your family is counting on and needs you now and I bet you are up to the challenge! Have courage and hang in there!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  281. kimcooper said

    Hi Sarah,

    I bet you found us at exactly the right time so please don’t worry. Your decision to work on you is the right one and is the only thing that will change things in the future with him anyway. I had a lifetime of living with narcissistic behavior (and even became very narcissistic as a teenager) so I can relate to where you are at, it is going to take patience, time and effort on your part but things can get better for YOU no matter what happens with him. Please let us know if you have any trouble purchasing our ebooks and you just take your time working through them. The special offers on our introductory sales page will help you a lot whether you do end up divorcing or not and are the most economical way to buy our material by far;

    http://www.narcissismcured.com/special_offers.html

    Life really can get better from here and I am glad that you found us …

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  282. Rebeca said

    Hello Everyone, I am asking for some input on a couple comments I made on December 21, 2009. One comment was as follow-up to kims advice on my health and my trying to understand whether I was really dealing with a narcissist. My buys behaviors have not mimicked a lot of what has been discussed with many of you. However, the reply I got from Kim noted that he was challenging me and thus why he has turned to the woman he has turned to. Meanwhile, I have been having some health issues but my strength and my support and my fervor is very strong when it comes to trying to deal with not only a man I love(ed) but someone who I know from second posting is not yet done coming in and out of my life. With that, these questions from previous postings that I could use some help with. The other woman is very strong and has been calling the shots as to his communication with me. I am a very strong woman, however, I did not understand or realize my N so to speak. I took his criticism and his subtle ways of not connecting with me as rejection. I could never put words on it but I always felt he just wasn’t into me the way I was to him and it seemed the more I pushed him to be upfront with me about how he felt about me, the more he came back at me with totally stupid reasons for not wanting to “move forward” with me. I began to reverse my strong role and started to try to please him. The more I did this the nor pushed me away.
    Okay so we all know how that goes. So I call it quits, not knowing what I was dealing with, he moves onto new woman right away and she is of strong profession, etc. Please read earlier post if you can. Question. Why does he feel this need for strength when that is what I represented. Was my role reversal in the end trying to please him rather than standing my ground who/what i was willing to do and give up etc…a death for me in the relationship? If you have lost your boundaries and your strength (not realizing the game played on you) do you lose all credibility?This man is not your typical egotist N. He is humble, kind, loyal, honest and never leave kind of guy. He was married 17 years but never yells, profanity, drinks etc. He takes great pride (ego) in his higher standards of conduct and values/morals. If anything he is always cool, calm and in control at all times. When he does get angry it usually brings tears not rage. The flip, he horrible at nurturing relations, initiating/leading, one dimensional, lives in a box, very structured/routine, and likes to be the hero or think he is hero and is not one for competition, conflict or friends. He prefers women that are less fortunate than he (need caretaking) and he is BIG people pleaser. Does this sound like a N to any of you. If so, why pick a district attorney who makes more, has more and does not need him when that is how he operates. Is it just a rebound from me? i know my aggressive nature was very in your face, said a LOT of things that I am sure really wounded the man. HIs first wife rolled over and never said a word or raised her voice to him. I was a double barrel shotgun compared to his ex. How does this woman play out or factor into this scenario at all? Also, if you can read my last posting, you can see how I responded to him when he came at me gruff.
    Am I getting a grip on this whole N behavior. Did I handle the conversation correctly and when he calls in the future, knowing he still cares and I just want to know how to better deal with him and trying to get a better assessment on whether this man is operating as a typic N and how best to deal with him next time.

  283. Dawn said

    Hello I am 30 yrs old my husband is 48 yrs old I have been married for 9years the verbal abuse have been going on the whole time it use to be physical at times. I use to be real close with friends and now i feel ackward and sad all the time.My relationship with family has suffered. I have no children. My husband makes up a lot of lies about his childhood and even who his parents are. He makes up alot of stuff to the point it makes me squimish. Please help me for I have been isolated he never takes me out all I do is work and come home to work again .

  284. kimcooper said

    Hi Rebeca,

    I do not have time right now to go through your past posts. I remember that you are trying to find a way back into his life when he and his new partner had both let you know that they were not comfortable with this? As I recall it was you who ended the relationship which had been troubled for sometime. As I see it rather than putting the focus on him you would be better were things now stand to start looking through and seeing what work may benefit you. If you look at our site at http://www.thelovesafetynet.com/The_Love_Boat_Cruise.html there is a whole series of free movies and transcripts that might help you get some ideas where your relationship skills may need work.

    I am sorry that I can’t help you more but I think that if his present partner is not comfortable with him seeing you and he has agreed to this with her, there is not much you can or should do – I know that is probably not what you want to hear but sometimes accepting the pain of what we have lost helps us be able to see the silver lining and move on.

    I feel for you and sorry there is not more I can offer to help.

    Kim

  285. Rebeca said

    HI Kim, thank you for your quick response. You are correct on all matters except a couple bits of information that has created confusion for me. I am not trying to find a way back into his life as much as trying to figure out how to deal with him knowing now that he is a narcissist when in the past I did not deal with him in this manner.

    Our relationship was troubled, I became seriously ill, and I did not want to burden the relationship further. Besides in hind sight he was portraying a lot of N characteristics as therapists pointed out but unbeknownst to me at the time, I reacted to it, and took problem as me and when I got ill was just scared to bring one more issue of “me” to table. I called it quits. I explained reasoning for calling it quits but he was too hurt and angry to hear it and moved onto new girl.

    He expresses anger of moving on and glad to be gone, hurt/angry words but yet calls me to befriend me (as I have asked) but confused with new gal. I told him take care of new gal, not to worry of me, if he can offer friendship etc. fine if not… He flips flops in mixed messages from that conversation to next conversation and this is the confusion on how best to handle him when he does make contact and whether I dealt with him properly during last conversation given your books, readings videos etc. that I have looked at and considering he has narcissistic tendencies. (Great videos by the way thank you for the emails!)

    This a similar pattern as before but we are not together and I don’t want to continue old pattern given my new understanding. Hope I clarified things a bit.

  286. kimcooper said

    Hi Rebeca,

    Yes you have but I am still not sure what you want and where you see this going? If his current partner is not comfortable with you being friends then that is probably not going to work. What outcome do you want? I am glad that you liked our movies, the info in them is very up to date even if we are not actors!!!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  287. MR said

    One useful suggestion that has been made is to journal – essentially to write down and document what has happened during difficult exchanges. I have found it helpful to calm down when upset, to stratagize about how to respond to things in the future, and just to ramble on with myself to figure out what is right and reasonable. At least sometimes it helps to calm and self soothe.

    I’ve never had the nerve to implement this with an N, but a support site for parents with severely emotionally disturbed special needs children (who can be quite verbally abusive at times) recommended writing down word for word what is being said to you – in the moment with the other party watching … and asking for feedback and clarification as you go. It is useful because it gets your focus off of what is being said that is emotionally hurtful, and distracted by the act of transcribing the diatribe.

    CD – Reading your last posting I was trying to figure out what I could say that would make things better … but I know that there isn’t an easy solution. However the 2 week time limit on sleep medication is not a rigid recommendation – especially for chronic insomnia. See if your PMD or another doctor will reconsider. There are many options. Alcoholism does not have to be a chronic downward spiral. If he can be willing perhaps helping your husband’s mood or anxiety can help turn the tide.

    My thoughts are with everyone,

    MR

  288. kimcooper said

    Hi Dawn,

    I answered your post yesterday sorry but the screen must have been closed before I submitted it sorry. It is hard sometimes working with the kids home on school holidays. Briefly I want to say thanks for writing to us and also let you know that you are in a lot of danger. I am afraid that things won’t get better without some very courageous action on your part. I strongly recommend that you look at special offer 1 on our introductory specials page here;

    http://www.narcissismcured.com/special_offers.html

    If you need help purchasing our products or don’t have a credit card then please go to our home page here;

    http://www.narcissismcured.com

    and at the top choose live customer support. Don’t let any reason stop you getting in touch with our help desk as they will help make sure you can access our material. They are wonderful people who we love having on our team. Whatever you decide to do I would suggest that you take as much time as you can (while staying safe) reading all that you can and listening to our online radio shows (or reading the transcripts) before you make a plan. I really feel for you Dawn, I was VERY isolated at one point in my relationship with Steve (we were on a farm in the middle of no-where) and that was a VERY bad time in my life. You must learn to overcome your embarrassment over the fights and abuse and still find the courage to reach out and stay connected with the outside world.

    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner and please take care,

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  289. Allison said

    Hi Kim,

    I appreciate your response, thank you. I hope your holiday season is going well…must be busy, busy, busy!

  290. Trisha said

    Hi Kim,

    I need your help, tell me what to do please. What do you do when a child a 14 year old daughter has been the victim of the NPD tongue? She never really did like him but over the holidays he attacked her verbally and now she hates him!!What do I say to her if anything? He seems not to care because he has yet to say he was sorry, in fact we never even had Christmas with him but he made sure that his two daughters had a Christmas and it is New Years day!!! I feel that I will loose my daughter and her respect if I continue to have anything to do with this person. Please respond or if anyone else has any suggestions it would be helpful. Thank you.

  291. Laura said

    hi Trisha. I was headed to bed but decided to pop on to read some posts.

    I’d like to give some advice regarding your daughter. First of all, assure her that this man is the one with the problem, not her. Let him “own” his behavior and do with it as he chooses, but be sure your girl knows that whatever cruel things he said, it was out of his own voids and nothing she did to warrant that treatment. As far as what you should do from there, I’d be putting lots of spece between this man and her. She doesn’t deserve that.

    The biggest concerns I have when I read this board, is the many women who are not married to these narcissists yet they stay with them. You didn’t mention in this post if this was someone you were married to or an ex or whatever, but if you aren’t, get your daughter as far away from him as possible.

  292. kimcooper said

    Hi Trisha,

    I agree with Laura’s advice and do want to make it clear that if you are dealing with abuse you really need to follow the steps in “Back from the Looking Glass” and “The Love Safety Net Workbook” and not just what is written here. The steps in these ebooks are about setting up a zero tolerance of abuse policy in your home (with teeth) for yourself and your children which hard as that can be really must be done.

    And BTW Allison thanks I have been very busy with the kids, but I am around to help all that I can (-:

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  293. Joyanne said

    Hi Laura
    I am in a second marriage for 1.5 yrs to man who so far only verbally abuses us. It started with me and now has moved to my daughters. I talk with them openly about what happens when they hear him ranting or he rants at them, but I am still concerned about the effect this will have on them and their future relationships.It is serious. We have to protect our kids even if we cant protect ourselves. I wrote this in my journal the other day because this is my life ( please excuse the language but this is what I hear from a man who professes Christianity:

    Verbal abuse from your spouse is like someone pointing a gun at you. You know they are going to hit you with a bullet but you don’t know where or when. You anticipate the pain of the bullet in different parts because you are not sure where the bullet will enter. It consumes you – thinking about the chance that they are going to shoot you sooner or later. You find yourself looking around the house to make sure you have things just so. God Forbid the sweeper should be left out or the foot rest on the lounge part of the sofas left up because that will bring you more snide comments. It is living with name calling and put downs. What are you today? A piss poor mother? A bitch? An asshole or are you just plain down right STUPID? Are you aware they think it is written across your forehead and will even tell you so?
    The abuse is not only name calling…it is about asking them a direct question and they don’t bother to answer you or maybe they make a smart reply. Its about changing what they said originally the next time it comes up, they deny saying it or tell you that you were confused and you were too stupid to understand. They can leave the house and never tell you where they are going or when they will be home. They can tell you they have superior thinking and logical skills and you “obviously” are lacking in that dept. Its like standing on sand at the beach as the waves come in, it is constantly shifting and changing. Anything you agreed on a week ago changes in their hands.They ruin plans and take things away from you as “consequences”. Living like this is not healthy.

    My daughters 15 and 18, are feeling unsafe in their own house.There has not really been any physical abuse to me but when he gets angry it appears almost demonic and uncontrollable.My biggest concern is for the effect this already has on them and will have on them. I feel like I brought a monster into my home.
    I have read the love safety workbook and feel like maybe I need to take even more steps to protect my daughter’s emotional/psychological well being. We are living with verbal/emotional abuse as you are and many of you are.
    I know I need to take new steps to change this situation.I dont know what they are yet but I will continue to make steps for safety.
    Talk to your daughter. Get her counseling too.
    good luck!

  294. Tracy said

    Hi all,

    I’ve been quietly reading away and working away at bettering me over the last few months, but I’m so far from getting it right yet. These holidays haven’t gone well. His abuse escalated, I also lost my temper and my way.

    I resigned from my job via email yesterday evening because I thought that 2010 should be different (we work together). Now, I can’t get out of bed. I am having rolling wave after wave of panic attacks. My daughters are downstairs just playing and watching TV for two days now.

    I am scared and lost and honestly wish that I could end my life, I am so sad from all that has occurred. I have no way to pay my bills now and the ‘fight’ that I’ve always had – the fight to get out of bed and try and repair my life – is gone. I’m massively in debt from the depression I got with this situation last year. Everything’s gone haywire, even my washing machine has broken!

    My girls need me, not a zombie. But when I try to force myself to do something with them, I just scare them. I try not to cry and be happy, but I can’t stop and they can see this weird clown’s mask on my face where I’m trying to smile.

    I’m so scared. I thought resigning would be the right thing, to get out from the situation, from out of his control but now I wonder if I’ve just stepped back into a trap. If I can’t pay for my life, I’ll have to ask for help. He is the only one I know who CAN help and the bank won’t loan me money now!!! I’m having a house valuer visit this week to maybe put the house on the market because I don’t know what else to do! If I sell it though, I’ll even have trouble renting, my credit rating is so bad now.

    Sorry everyone reading, I need help.

  295. Trisha said

    Thank you Laura for your advice. No I am not married to this person only dating him for three years, was engaged to him but he took my ring so many times and finally he threw it in the yard never to be found. I am keeping him away from my girl and have informed him that she is angry with me because he has yet to say he was sorry, hint, hint. He didn’t get the hint about the sorry part so I guess he isn’t and has no respect for my daughter or me for that matter. It hurts because of how he treats his own daughters, if I was to do the same thing to his jewels he would not even be talking to me he would be so mad at what I had done. I did tell him that because of the feelings we have, hers and mine we would have to have some healing and his response was to say “lets just move on”. To me that is the cowards way, maybe the easy way but if he had any feelings for me he would work it out and make it right somehow. After reading about the NPD person I see that they don’t operate like that, it would be too normal or right. I refuse to answer the phone when he calls like he did last night, 6 messages about how wild he thinks my daughter is. Well she is not, she is 14 not alloweded to date, go in cars or do much of anything. What makes him mad seems to be the fact that I allow male and female friends over to the house. I am always home and present so I really don’t see the problem he has with this. I feel that there is something else brewing here. Please commet to me, I need support so that I don’t start second guessing myself. Thank you so much!!!
    Trisha

  296. kimcooper said

    Hi Tracy,

    I think you leaving your job is very wise under the circumstances. It is also normal for you to feel grief over that and fear about the future. You have so many skills that I am sure you will find a new job soon.

    Once you accept that this part of your life is over and feel the sadness that all the ideas about what you hoped might be are not going to happen (at least in the way you thought they were) it will be easier to go on. Facing loss hurts but it also allows the silver lining to appear.

    I don’t know what social services help is available in your area but please get in contact with people who can help you and don’t be proud. You do not have to solve all of your problems at
    once. Your biggest priority now needs to be finding some energy to be courageous and strong for your kids and get out of bed and perhaps take them to the park. Getting out of the house will help. They don’t need all the answers from you just some time in nature and the reassurance of your smile.

    Please Tracy, write here as much as you need to but Steve and my message is all about getting outside help. There will be agencies in your area who can help you please contact them today.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  297. Allison said

    Tracy,
    As I sit here crying my face off at my life in turmoil at the moment, your post came through. I feel for you, and I’m desperately worried about you and the children. Is there anyone you can call to chat with rigth now? Is there someone you can speak to that can help you take one step at a time and regain control over yourself? Can you reach out to a family member that might be able to offer you support. You sound like you are extremely in need of help. Your children need you. Take one thing at a time and stop beating yourself up. You might feel at the moment that not dealing with this would be better than going through it but you can do it. ONE step at a time. Is there anyone you can speak to?

  298. Allison said

    Tracy,
    I see Kim was on this immedately! There are people here who care about you and all support your health and well being. I agree you need to contact someone who can offer you a more professional way to deal with your issues at the moment.

    I too have been in your position. Unable to get out of bed. Embarrassed and guilt ridden at the fact that I couldn’t seem to find the energy to care for the kids. It won’t last forever Tracy. You can do this, I believe in you. You are a mom!!! Right there you possess something unique and special – if you tap into that you will remember who you are and what you are capable of!

    I hope you don’t find me trivializing your situation. I just know that you can do this. It is NEVER easy, but you can do it. I appreciate you sharing your feelings and reaching out. Please know you are loved, you are a valuable individual and you are worthy of happiness :)

    Prayers & hugs to you!!!!

  299. kimcooper said

    Hi Trish and Joyanne,

    I will look at The Love Safety Net Workbook today and start seeing how I can make the advice in it clearer as it concerns me that you have read it and my message has not come across as it should have.

    An apology from him is not going to change things.

    If you look at the personal bill of rights exercise you will see what I suggest if you are going to have any contact with this man. In both of your situations you need to inform the police or child protection people in your area or else someone with authority over him such as the minister of the church he attends or his boss. Choosing the right person needs to be given some really serious thought. He chooses to speak with you and your children the way he does because he thinks he can get away with it. He doesn’t speak with his boss or the police etc. in that way so you see he does have control of it really. You need to put REAL limits in place with this ASAP.

    If whoever you ask for help from says you should just ‘get away’ you also need to be prepared with an answer. If you are planning on leaving well then you need to say “Yes I am working on that but that also has the danger of making him even angrier and I so I still do really need your help. You need to tell them clearly that you want them to warn him of what the result will be of him continuing to threaten and intimidate you and your kids. This cannot be an empty threat and this is not you getting him in trouble it is you getting out of the way so that he can get the help he really needs. He has caused this and not you and he needs to face the consequences.

    If you don’t want to leave you are going to need to be better prepared with answers or ready to look for someone else to help if the person you talk to tries to make it your fault. In this case it will help to get your language right.

    I really hope that you have both read “Back from the Looking Glass” because this is what it is all about. You can’t stop this and leaving is not always going to protect you.

    I charged Steve with assault and he was dragged through court 3 times before he started getting the point. I was also very clear with him that (in my case) I didn’t want our relationship over but that the abuse had to stop and as I didn’t know how to handle his behavior I was going to have to bring in outside help. I didn’t want to leave Steve and so it was very hard getting help as most people just wanted to blame me and tell me I should just leave him and if I didn’t it was my fault. In my case I felt they were wrong. I had 3 kids to Steve and even if we separated I was still going to have to see him because of the kids and I knew and feared that leaving was just going to weaken my position financially and in all sorts of ways and still leave us wide open to the abuse.

    Steve did pull through and wake up to himself but only after he saw that I would throw him in jail as fast as I could blink if he threatened me again. Once I finally learned to get support from the community (with is what BFTLG is really about) Steve saw his game was up. I know this is hard and it is why I write about it.

    What I don’t share often (but you will read on my blog and in my ebooks) is that I did not grow up with very good social skills and although undiagnosed am probably on the high functioning autism spectrum. When I am distressed I don’t flap my hands anymore but without embarrassing myself the fact that I used to I hope helps you get the point. I am sharing this because if I could learn to present myself better so that I got the help I needed I believe that you can too. It is not so much about skill in the end anyway but determination and the realization that you real do NEED and have a right to ask others to help you, especially if it is their job.

    I will share a story that perhaps might help here and might end up on my other blog today as I have been a bit stuck this week wondering what to write …

    My son had some glass in his foot last year that became infected and he only showed me the night before we were meant to leave on holidays. I took him to the hospital and after waiting for 6 hours (in casualty hell) and after hearing that he would probably not be seen for at least another 2 days I decided that I should go home and leave on our holiday as planned and take him to the country hospital (that wouldn’t be so busy) when we arrived. The whole journey I stayed by him and fed him vitamins and the right food as well applying other remedies taught to me by my mother and father who were both medical being a doctor and nurse.

    When we got to our destination the hospital told us we needed a referal and we waited to see a doctor who then proceeded to verbally abuse me for my irresponsibility at proceeding with our holiday instead of waiting at the hospital the night before.

    When we left and waited for Steve’s mum to pick us up and take us to the hospital my son said “Mum that man was so rude and horrible to you and what he said was so unfair, how did you manage to just sit there and listen to him and not get angry?” I then said to him “What would have been the point? He wasn’t there and he didn’t know what it was like in hospital waiting (they would not even allow my son to have any fluids even though he was not going to be seen for over a day) or that I do know how to take care of you while we wait to be seen.” I also said “Even though he was wrong to talk to me like that he actually thought he was doing the right thing. He was angry because he though I didn’t care about you. So what matters now is that you understand this …. we are going to have to wait again at another hospital now and who knows how many people we are going to have to talk to. Some of them might be angry and who knows, all we need to hold in our mind is ‘is this the person with the courage and skill to get the glass out?’

    So that is how we got through the next day and in the end we met another three people until a young Chinese doctor finally was the one. When we got to the country hospital it was a woman doctor who helped us and as the infection had cleared up and he was doing so well she was actually going to send us home without taking it out! I knew this would be a big mistake as it was under the thick part of skin on his foot and possibly take years to come out on it own. I said “You know it drives me crazy because I grew up in a country medical practice with my family and I just wish I had a bit of local (anaesthetic) and a scalpel and I would get this bit of glass out myself!” I said this smiling and half joking but it did the trick and she said “Yeah come on and let’s get it out,” and then she organised the young Chinese doctor to do it. It was healed completely and he felt no pain in it after only a day.

    I hope the point of my story is not too obscure here but in life just because people are in positions of authority does not mean that they possess skill valor or courage and when you need help with something like an infection and piece of glass in your child’s foot or an abusive family member you need help from someone with all three and your own skill, patience and wisdom to find them.

    This is not a game! Life is dangerous and I hope that you will draw on your own courage and internal wisdom in finding and getting the help that you need in protecting yourself from these men. If they wake up to themselves eventually great but you cannot count on it and first things first you need to 100% make sure that you are safe.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  300. Trisha said

    Thank you Kim for making things more clear. What doesn’t help is that my computer had crashed and I lost the file with “Back From the Looking Glass” as well as the Love Safety Net. I do need them both. My question to you is that I will contact someone for a support group but I feel that the minister is not effective or the police. I do like the idea of the child protection agency. I feel that will impact him more because he has children of his own and Would not want to do anything to put that in danger. Is this a good idea or am I inviting an agency in that might just cause more problems than I already have? Do I tell him in advance or do I just do it and then tell him? I will do whatever I need to do to stop this bad behavior for myself and my child. Thank you again Kim, please let me know if you think this is sound option.
    Trisha

  301. CD, Australia said

    Hi Tracy,

    My heart goes out to you Tracy – and I would like to offer some words of support too. Although your current circumstances are not what you had hoped for, and even though you feel you have lost everything at the moment – you still have YOURSELF – and yes you are feeling devastated right now and you will grieve and cry and not feel very strong – but you ARE strong! So strong that you have grown into an emotionally intelligent woman all while you have devoted so much of your time, energy, inner strength and wisdom to someone you loved who is suffering, someone who constantly tested your love, tolerance and patience. It is now time to turn all of your strength back into yourself – for YOUR sake – and therefore for your daughters’ sake. Always remember that “When one door shuts another one opens”. You will be OK now – you have new found courage and wisdom from what you have learned through this program. Take control and charge of YOUR LIFE – your girls need and love you so much. Start by greeting them warmly and saying each of their names – remind them they are special and loved very much by you – tell them you are sad right now but you won’t be sad forever – children are naturally compassionate – and they will appreciate seeing your virtues shine through once more and they will learn from you – how to overcome sorrow and to find your inner peace once again.

    The challenges you face now may not be as big as the ones you have just faced.

    Write a short simple list of things to do at the start of each day – and DO each thing! Turn on the radio, listen to some music or talk back shows – don’t allow your mind to think about your situation 24/7. Reach out for help – there are many wonderful compassionate people in the world – and perhaps social support systems in your area or state. Would it be viable for you to short-term rent your home rather than selling it, and to look for emergency accommodation with relatives or friends until you find a job and get on your feet?

    You can do it girl – you may need to force yourself out of bed each day, but it will get easier, and you will have a better chance of healing from your grief more quickly if you do so. This challenge has come your way for a reason and in facing that challenge you will find out what that reason is – the silver lining that will be your reward for bravely facing your current uncertain future. You can do it – you have endured so much – now it is time to different things, and be all that YOU can be – who knows what joy and fulfilment that will bring you!

    Good luck, and write to us often and let us know how you are getting on, we are thinking of you.

    CD, Australia.

  302. CD, Australia said

    Hi ,

    On Kim and Steve’s website http://www.thelovesafetynet.com you will find access to purchase their e-books and audio products. Start with “Back From The Looking Glass” and then follow on to their Lovesafetynet workbooks. Also there is access to archived radio shows which I found extremely valuable – they are free and I recorded them to CD to play in my car while driving – effective use of travelling time and great company. On this website there is also the Love Boat Cruise – certainly worth the journey! Once you have worked through this much you will no doubt cast a lot more light on your situation.

    Take heart also that there are several mental health professionals (either training or qualified) posting to this website who are in romantic relationships with a narcissist and who also question themselves as to why they were attracted to an N, even when they saw warning signs. Many, if not all, Narcissists can be very charismatic and know how to turn on the seductive charm, and there are also probably just as many women who understandably get hooked by the narcissistic charm and charisma. What closely follows though is the bullying, the entitlement and possibly addictive self-soothing. The woman then overlooks this negative behaviour when it occurs initially, and then she works very hard at trying to get her “happy”, charming, and charismatic lover back again – she may temporarily succeed, but the cycle is destined to repeat over and over like a merry-go-round (carousel) until the woman gets real help for herself and indirectly for her lover.

    You are in the right place here, there is a lot to learn and do – and it is not easy when you are emotionally involved – but the greatest journey you will have is one of self-discovery and recovery.

    I am currently studying “Disarming The Narcissist” by Wendy T Behary – her book is packed full of incredible information and offers real help also that compliments Kim and Steve’s Program.

    Good Luck and stay in touch,
    CD, Australia.

  303. CD, Australia said

    Hi MR,

    Thank you for your posting and thoughts – sadly I think it is too late for my husband and I – we have perhaps said and done too much to each other to recover from events over Christmas. I had looked forward to our Christmas holiday with the family at our holiday cottage, but Christmas is never without a drama being created by my husband – he has never been one to enjoy the joy of Christmas – perhaps there is a history there that I don’t know about – perhaps it is the hot weather and heavier drinking episodes – perhaps he just can’t stand the sight of me, who knows?

    My husband is not willing at all to give up his anaesthetic of alcohol – he is a very troubled man. The clinical psychologist who was seeing my husband said he is in extreme and stubborn denial that his drinking is causing him problems and claims that he does not have a drinking problem because he only drinks a “few” low alcohol beers each day. However he has admitted to a doctor that he drinks 12-18 x 375ml cans of beer per night – I used to count his drinks before Al-Anon days trying to establish & prove his addiction to alcohol – but that was pointless because he doesn’t do all of his drinking in front of me anyway, so there is no way I could tell how much he is drinking. I learned in Al-Anon it is not how much alcohol and how often – it is the behaviour associated with it – which I now know as narcissism.

    I am currently reading Wendy T Behary’s “Disarming the Narcissist” and have found it extremely valuable to not only get inside the mind of the narcissist, but also to help me recognise what makes me tick from my childhood influences and how I can over-ride these schemas, and respond assertively as an adult to the various forms of abuse directed towards me by my husband.

    Behary reveals how I can overcome my flight, fright and freeze (numb) reactions and stand up for myself as an adult, and much, much more. She also explains “the child” within the man (narcissist) that is behind “The Show Off” “The Bully” “The Entitled One” and “The Addictive Self-Soother”. I wish I had been able to finish reading this book before Christmas – I would perhaps have handled a very bad situation much better than I did. I have not seen “The Show Off” very much for a long time – ever since he has been suffering deep depression.

    I believe he needs psychiatric help but he would never agree to that, according to him there is nothing wrong with him – it is just the rest of the world! He would rather anaesthetise his pain with alcohol and stay within his comfort zone, bullying everyone to keep them outside of his self-made fortress – extracting what he can from loved-ones and people-pleasers while stuck in a time-warp of self-absorption.

    I don’t mean to sound scathing – quite the opposite – I only seek to understand why he behaves the way he does, and learn how to effectively relate to him – otherwise he retreats into a suit of armour whenever he experiences or senses vulnerability with me or others. He states he cannot get close to anyone – perhaps it is more accurate to say that “he chooses not to get close to anyone”.

    Our relationship is extremely strained – I am exhausted and feeling ill-equipped to deal with his deep-seated resentful and self-pitying ways and his often-times distorted negative perspective about me and on life in general. I am seeing paranoia in him too now – maybe it was always there but I didn’t realise how paranoid he is. To him the world is a dangerous place and it is safer to stay at home, and strangers mean danger, and so on. This paranoia is at odds with his big strong image of no-one messes with him!

    He refuses to go back and see the doctor to get more Stillnox – he would rather be a martyr to his insomnia – constantly complaining about it to me and to everyone who would listen – sometimes visibly enjoying the sympathy it attracts. I witness him getting at least 4 hours sleep per night but he tells others he gets 0-2 hours/night – maybe it just feels like that to him – he does not have sleep apnoea, and he claims he doesn’t dream. His brain is constantly ticking over about his business affairs, and he is hyperactive, hyper-vigilant, hyper-sensitive, extremely anxious, and angry at the world.

    I saw a documentary recently where a lady had the part of her brain affected by a stroke that they recently believed is responsible for dreaming. She was deeply disturbed that she could not dream and felt that she had no concept of being asleep when she was asleep – she felt that must be what it is like being dead and she feared going to sleep. She was very happy when that part of her brain healed and she was able to dream again. I wonder if this is why my husband believes he does not sleep at all if he does not dream.

    I don’t know if this latest crisis will blow over, and I don’t know if I even want it to – it is difficult living with someone who chooses to sulk and distort everything. Life is passing me by and I am exhausted, and I could waste the rest of my years hoping he will see the light and search out real help for himself.

    Hope things are going better for you than they are for me now,

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia.

  304. kimcooper said

    Hi Trisha,

    Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you, I have been very busy with my kids as it is school holidays here. I am also sorry to hear that your computer crashed, if you email us at info@narcissismsupport.com our help desk will refresh your purchase links.

    The story I told before was to highlight the patience, courage and instincts needed when drawing in help and support. The trials and mistakes I made learning this is in my eyes the whole lesson now. In every exchange we sum up whether we are more or less powerful than the people around us whether we acknowledge this or not. An abusive relationship is a grave power imbalance and unless those of us who have suffered abuse learn to be able to call in help and earn the respect of those whose help we need better, our relationships long term are unlikely to change. Why won’t we let ourselves have power? Why do we let others make us internally quake?

    In short I have had very good and very bad dealings with child protection agencies and you are right to be wary of what this move may “pull in” to your life. On the other hand if you believe you have the courage and strength to limit this man’s abusive behavior and make a go of a relationship with him you are going to need to become very grounded and sure of yourself and able to judge for yourself in real time if people can be trusted and if they are on your side and how best to win their support. I used to cry and rant and blame. Now I stand tall with my hands at my side or behind me and really gauge each response I get to what I have said. This is where I changed and not Steve.

    The first question is if you really want a relationship with him or not? He is not the charming man he pretended he was once. He is a damaged soul who has given up on being treated fairly or life improving for him many years ago or he would not act the way that he does. Are you really strong enough to rescue him or are you risking drowning yourself? If you call in child protection when you do not have the resolve to also stand by him and be the very solid and brave parent he lacked that is able to set this boundary while also showing him love and compassion the result is unlikely to be good. If you think it will change him while you stay ambivilent and looking for someone to rescue you at the same time you will probably make him extremely angry as he will just see it as an attack and in this he will probably be right.

    It is about what is at stake in your life and what you really want and why. If it is simply love and affection you are looking for be smart and swallow your pride and give him cause to let HIM dump you so he feels no more need to play games and it is done and you move on (this is the smart move because otherwise his pride will not let go and even if you dump him he will want to get back so he can return the blow). After this then work through our material and learn what this type of relationship is really teaching you and spend some time with your kids. Loneliness is not a good enough reason to take on re parenting this man.

    On the other hand if you still want contact with him and he will be around your daughter the line needs to be drawn in stone and you need to become incredibly tough and incredibly warm and also very patient. He is a damaged and wounded man and no prize.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  305. Trisha said

    Kim,

    Thank you, thank you!!! Your response to me was just right, not only your thoughts but in how you presented them to me, just the right amount of forwardness to get through to me. I am going to work and believe me I will be going over the options. I will let you know what I choose, either to stay or leave and even why for the others that read this. Your response was just right because I can see him in each situation doing just what you said would happen. Right now I don’t think I can be the warm and loving person he needs me to be. I am tired of the cycle and since we don’t share children or married it seems to me that leaving is a possible option. I do love him, but not all of him, and I love the good guy that he can be but is that enough? I don’t know that right now, I need to think on this and figure out if I am ready to do this. I wish I didn’t remember the good guy, it would be so easy to let go if he was always creepy. Again your strengh shows through to me in your words to me and I thank you for that.

  306. Jean said

    Hi once again –
    I posted my first post to the website back on Nov. 21 and am still processing/evaluating Kim’s excellent response, and trying to figure out how to complete her step-by-step suggestions. The holidays got in the way of everything and I’m just now getting back into a normal daily schedule.
    Anyway, I had another quick question -
    Is it normal behavior for an NPD to stalk their “target”? (In this case it would be my widowed next door neighbor being the “target”)
    Thanks -

  307. Stephanie said

    Wow this is my first time on a blog–funny how so many of the stories seem to share a bit of mine. The looking glass really lays things out there-not always pretty. I’m working in the workbooks, and really I would never have even thought “narcissism” had a counselor said it to me in a private session. My husband lost his job and he’s mad at his employer, so he drinks more and more and only talks about how badly he and fellow employees were treated. He spoke at a council meeting and took up for other employees–I was proud-he even managed to control himself fairly well. He has a lot of rage and deals with depression. I am now the target of his unhappiness and try as I may to be patient and understanding I am worn out with it. I did not even attempt to let him know how left out of his life I was feeling until he asked–that didn’t go well, he really didn’t want to hear me say I needed a bit of his time. I’d like to cook and converse and laugh a bit, find some happiness in the dire financial straights we have found ourselves in. I’ve dealt with infidelity even, but tonight just broke my heart, he screamed at me and told me I was the reason that he was depressed and drank, and if I loved him I should shut the @uc* up. Self soothing isn’t working at the moment:) I’ve seen the cycle and I knew it was coming, but I really am so tired of being the blame of everything. I’m even to blame for his past infidelity but I don’t bring it up, he did, he just dumped the last 10 years of our life on me in scream and spit! I walked away, but I hurt. How does everyone else deal with these episodes without really losing it? Help sought and appreciated. Kudos to Kim–you really did overcome a statistic, I still have trouble fathoming how you found the courage. I need to sort socks or seeds or something!

  308. Allison said

    Hi Stephanie,

    So strange! My husband went on a rant at me last night too. Same thing. ALl the things that I’ve done wrong, pointing out all the ways I’ve been responsible for us getting here. (He also got fired a couple days before Christmas). Making fun of me because I’m a “codependant” (a word which he’s only learned because I’ve admitted that WAS a path I was on for most of my life). Telling me no one held the gun to my head when we bought this house, I signed on the line. Telling me I have no dreams and no ambition and no fight in me…. Blah blah. And I sat and cried and felt bad and wondered for a minute why the F**k I have taken this beating for 10 years???? Then I remembered that I am fighting a fight, just not the same one he’s fighting.

    Hope today goes better for you. I feel like I find success and scrape whatever happiness I can manage out of these situations when I step back and take one thing at a time. I often find myself trying to solve these problems with some equation that will work out neatly and precisely. The problem is that there is NO simple solution. I have spent the last several months trying to wrap my head around the fact that my life can’t be figured out in a simple formula. Reminding myself of that and stepping back to keep MY feelings and reactions/emotions in check helps me to realize that I can handle it. I HATE IT plenty, but that doesn’t take it away, it doesn’t make it easier to deal with and it doesn’t ever make me feel successful when trying to find happiness. When I can say those things to myself about all that I DO have and how I have managed to cope before because I am strong and smart I tend to be able to smile again.

    I am in a similar situation as my husband has just been fired and we can no longer afford to keep our home. I have been very angry over the past couple weeks over this. He was not doing his job, and trying to build his own business during work hours and then some. I had asked him to consider the consequences and discussed this as a bad idea for over a year with him. Finally I gave up, put my head in the sand and basically quit. I quit on my family, I quit on myself, and I quit on him. I pretended that the state of denial I chose for myself was support for the new ideas he wanted to pursue. I pretended that It wouldn’t happen, I pretended that he’d find success in his new business, and we would be able to keep our life the same. I didn’t find work or look for a job even. I knew we were struggling financially to make ends meet, I knew that the pressure of starting something new was going to take a toll on him and our family, I decided to ignore ALL that I KNEW and pretend everything would be fine in the end. I am PISSED. So now I have to wake up, figure out what to do. I am angry with him, no doubt! But more so I am angry and sad that I wasn’t stronger, more powerful, and active rather than passive. I hate to admit it, but I am responsible for letting all of this fall down on me.

    This makes me feel so frightened but at the same time extremely empowered. See we are super lucky. He has another job offer already, and we have family with a home for us to move into without worrying about rent. It took me a couple weeks to get over it and get back up, but I’m better now. I mean when I finally was able to think clearly it was evident to me that “god” couldn’t have made a cushion any softer for me and my children to fall on. Yes, we lose our home, yes we have to move, yes we have to go back to a lifestyle that is challenging and uncomfortable – but we HAVE a home to go to, we HAVE a job lined up, we HAVE family to support us. Many people don’t have any of that and they still need to plow through and figure it out. I am going to consider myself VERY lucky in this situation.

    Now, I am considering moving on without him just due to the fact that I can’t seem to create that partnership that I really don’t want to live without. But I’ll tackle that later on down the road. He makes all the decisions, good and bad. And our family suffers the consequences. He refuses to let me in. He refuses to trust in me and know that I am here for the good of our family. The narcissism won’t let him accept that I love him and that I will love him “as is” rather than the standard of perfection that he strives for every day and continuously fails at miserably.

    I can’t compete with that and I’ve become exhausted in the fight. But one day at a time here. I am feeling great at the decision to finally get out there and find a job. Even though I don’t want to work (since I have been putting it off for the past 5 years) I know it will give me the strength and control over my situation in which I have chosen to remain powerless in over the past several years. I will find much satisfaction in being able to care for my children financially as I never have before. I have never been independent in this life and if my lesson here is none other than to finally get up and take control over my life, I’ll take it!

    I agree and OFTEN wonder how Kim and Steve pulled it together. Sometimes I feel like they were granted their miracle and that was for us all to find comfort and strength in getting to know ourselves and all that we are capable of. At the very least, but of the most importance I have grown more this year than I have in my entire life. This was probably my hardest year with him, but this was the year I grew self esteem, courage, and now independence and power. I feel better than I have about myself today through this work than I have all my life.

    If I can’t salvage my marriage, at least I know I will be ok, I know my children will be ok, I know I did with no doubt all I could and that I am not a failure. I can’t battle the disease that has no cure for the rest of my life.

    We all have our own journey maybe my husband’s doesn’t include this family, who knows. But I have come to accept that I can not change him, only me. And I’m working on being at peace with that.

    Good Luck! Don’t let his negativity and verbal abuse cloud your judgement of yourself. You have all the power in the world to make your own happiness. He CAN NOT take that away from you. He can NOT control how you choose to feel about you. KNOW that you are one of the strongest people you know. Grab it from within. IT IS THERE for the taking :)

  309. Trisha said

    Stephanie,

    I don’t know how much I can help, I am struggling along with all the others. I do know that they never take the blame for anything, it is always someone else who is to blame. I also am finding out that if they don’t get the adoration they “think” they deserve they will become increasingly unhappy and look elsewhere or think that the grass is greener on the other side. It is hard to give this person adoration and respect when so little is given back if any, and yes I know what you mean about the anger and spit. I have started to just hang up the phone or leave my own house if need be just so that I don’t hear the junk. I am lucky as I am not married to this person and we don’t live together. Maybe that is a plus or maybe it isn’t. Not living together makes it easier to take a break and then when the good cycle is present to go back but the bad one always is coming. Maybe if I lived with the man I would find the courage to just get out I don’t know. I will be looking for other comments and help myself. Good luck and the best to you.
    Trisha

  310. Allison said

    Hi Trisha,
    Hope things are getting better for you and you are learning some positive strategies like the “magic scissors”. That helped me SO much in the beginning. It’s when I got past that initial stage of empowerment that I truly realized that the road ahead was quite long and painful. It became harder for me at that point. Because I wanted it better, and I wanted it to stay better… I didn’t expect to continue through the process with my newfound voice and my self esteem. Then I’d get upset all the time saying, “I don’t need this” I have the right to be treated like a person. But then I remember why I started the process in the first place. FOR ME!!!!! And that is what always gets me back on track, back to focus only on that which I can change, ME :) Good luck!

  311. kimcooper said

    Hi Allison,

    That was so well said!!! Congratulations that you have found your inner strength and courage and although the workforce will certainly have more challenges for you, what you have learned this year will help you stay grounded and focused on your own goals no matter what anyone else dishes out. It will be wonderful for you too as you say to have the independence and sense of self determination that your new income will provide.

    You know sometimes I don’t know how I did what I did either – I think maybe it was because I had no choice. There was no other house for us to move to and if there was I certainly would have chosen that option so don’t feel I am judging you when I say that. I just didn’t have anywhere left to run. I could see the next step down for us would be us living in a slum and I wasn’t going to let that happen. On the financial front it felt like climbing out of a hole with vertical walls with my bare hands and my family on my back. Finally after 3 years of that (even after Steve had got better and was helping me) the miracle came and an old school friend who is now very wealthy found me after searching for me for over 20 years! He is happily married and a practicing Christian so it was all above board (as far as romantic boundaries etc.) but he did offer me some financial support at a time when I don’t know how I otherwise would have been able to keep handling the pressure and the grind of it. So miracles do happen but I still had to do an enormous amount of the work.

    On the bright side I bought a second hand car last week, my families first car in 4 years and the newest car I have every owned. It is nothing flash but to me it is amazing. Steve used to be so arrogant about the fact that we were carbon neutral because we walked or got public transport but with 3 kids at 2 different schools I don’t know if anyone who has always had a car can imagine how hard that was. The worst of it was that it meant I had such little time with the kids as they were always getting rides with other people or the bus. Yesterday I took my eldest son to registration for classes he is taking this year and we had such a wonderful talk. I can’t believe we have made it this far.

    On the financial front I will give you a few pieces of advice I discovered climbing out of the hole …

    1. It is easier to slide down than climb back up. I would say this to Steve all the time when he wanted to move to bad parts of town. Taking pressure off is fine but living in a slum is not a way to save money. it is easy to get there but very hard to get out. Much better to accept others charity or live in a house that is not the best in the street but still in a nice part of town.

    2. Leave your ego out of your career; Find someone you want to help and figure out how you can help them. Don’t be proud / be smart.

    3. Don’t eat food just because it is cheap; I used to borrow a friends car every week and take it to the wholesale fruit and vegetable markets where the shops buy their produce. In our city there is one hour a week that they let the general public in just to get rid of what the wholesalers have left over. I would fill up the car with whatever was cheap but also nutritious. I would also wash the car and give my friend who lent it to me a box of produce so that I showed I really appreciated her lending it to me. I would then have more than we could eat but stuff I could give to people to say thankyou, trade for things we needed or even on sell. We still do this in fact and this week I got about 10 kilograms of cherries (it is summer here now) for only $20. It was the first week I went in my car!!!

    Eating lots of bread and noodles just because they are cheap and filing doesn’t benefit you in the long run. Better to buy cheap over ripe bananas and freeze them and make smoothies in the blender or better get a food processor that after they are frozen will make them into ice cream without adding anything else. We have one of those and the kids love it. There is always chopped up frozen bananas in the freezer and they can make it themselves whenever they want.

    OK so hang in there girls and you know self soothing doesn’t mean you have to sit there and take it. Here are some of my favorite comeback lines (as I disengage) from the past …

    “You are not better than us”

    “you seem only determined to drag our lives into the gutter and I am not going there with you.”

    “If you are not going to help me make a respectable life for us then leave me alone.”

    “Stop insulting me and take responsibility for yourself”

    “Look in the mirror.”

    OK so some of these will certainly make the fight worse unless you DISENGAGE as you say them and walk away. One way that is very effective at helping do this is to put your hands up (finger tips pointing up) in front of you slightly out from your body for a moment as you walk away. You can BTW also do this without saying anything.

    If you feel safe enough and in the space to do it you can also say something like …

    “I am worried about you and I don’t know what to do? I hope that I am not going to have to talk to ………. (the person they would be most embarrassed knowing about this behavior and who has some authority over them (but not their family) about what you are saying and doing now. You are not yourself and this has got to stop.”

    OK so great work Allison and you hang in there Stephanie and Trisha (-:

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

    PS. I am usually very careful not to be political here but I would really like to share this movie, simply because of the values it represents;

    I don’t live in the US and so please don’t take this to mean more than it does and please note that political argument on this blog will not be approved.

  312. kimcooper said

    Hi Jean,

    I remember your situation and I say it would be normal as he had probably realized he had been leaching off you for too long.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  313. Lynn said

    Allison,
    I have been reading this blog and have really identified w/ your posts in a huge way. I feel like you are writing my story for me, although, I am not nearly as far along w/ my codenpendence issues and feeling secure as you are. I have known for years that I was codependent and thought I had gotten past it…until, my narcissistic husband (who was grandiosely adored like yours) admitted to our whole marriage being a very compulsive gambler. The debt is insurmountable. He also used to go from job to job in search of the big moneymaking scheme. He would also work at his “real” job, you know, the secure, safe one because there was always something better that made more money so he could cover up the gambling debts. Now, as I said, the debt is insurmountable and we have nothing. Luckily, we still have our house and he still has a job..right now anyway. I’m only a few wks into this knowledge and a few wks in to trying to get myself to be independent, for once! I literally let him take care of me and make all the decisions after I had the 3 kids. I felt that this is what we agreed to..he would work and I would stay home w/ the kids! I held up my end and he did too, but instead of making wise choices w/ our money (he was a financial advisor!!), he gambled our money away. I’m just now and to this second trying to figure out our finances and trying to live w/ this man whom I do not trust. That being said, I have really loved reading all the posts on this blog. I really had no idea anyone else was in my same position. Anyway, thx to everyone for sharing. Allison, stay strong and just wanted you to know my husband is your husband’s long-lost brother or something! :)
    HUGS,
    Lynn

  314. Trisha said

    Allsion, I don’t know how you do what you do but I am so proud of you. It is hard to be beaten down verbally and then be strong, somehow it just doesn’t belong in the same sentence. I just got beaten down because I was told I was a bad mother to my 14 year old daughter. He feels that I let her do too many things, what I don’t know. She has hardly no social life, she is popular with both boys and girls and I have set limits on when she can date which is about 15 to 16, more leaning on 16 depending on how mature she is at that time. I don’t know where he is coming from but he did verbally tell my daughter what he thought of her and he really doesn’t know how to fix things with her except to tell me that he has some stuff to work on. I gave as good as I got because I told him that I know a certain mother who didn’t do too well with her own three kids, meaning his mother. I know it was a cheap shot but it sure felt good. I did go down to his level but I was hopiong to knock the wind out of his sails. No way, the only thing I can do is not answer the phone and take the answering machine off so he cannot have anything more to say, he likes having the last say and I am taking that away from him tonight. I know I am going on and on so I will quit. Please pray for me as I need a lot of help. I am safe though and so is my daughter that is all that matters. We survive no thanks to any efforts on his part so I don’t need this stuff. Trisha

  315. Hi All,

    Since this blog has become the place where people write when things aren’t going so well at home, I thought it would be time to share a bit of positivity.

    I am pretty much full time on the help desk these days. The help desk is where we receive all of the positive testimonials from our work. So I will share a few that have come in recently…..

    Dear Kim & Steve

    Before this year has gone, I wish to thank you both most sincerely for
    helping me save my marriage. At the beginning of this year, all seemed
    hopeless and my husband and I had separated under very unpleasant
    circumstances. Totally distressed and unable to make sense of my husband’s
    behaviour, I stumbled upon your website ‘by accident’. This, as well as your
    wonderful emails and podcasts helped me to gradually understand what had
    been going on in my marriage. Nine months later, my husband and I are back
    together (and have been since May). We are both very happy and respect has
    become a vital part of our relationship. It has taken time and great
    patience to rebuild trust, but our friendship is stronger than ever and for
    the first time I feel he respects me for who I am. Every day is a blessing,
    even though there is still work to be done.

    We would not be together today if it were not for your wonderful website and
    positive message. I am sure many people have already said this, but please
    never doubt the good you both do.

    God bless you and yours this Christmas!

    EK

    *****************************************************************************

    Hi Kim and Steve,
    It has been on my mind for awhile, just to write to tell you how very grateful I am for your support. The work that you are doing is defiantly paving a path. The day that I assimilated Narcissim with my husband was a mix of emotions both very painful, but at the same time liberating in the sense, that now I had some sort of explanation for his behaviour, and I now knew what I was dealing with, instead of the constant confusion. On so many occasions during paritcularly challenging periods, I find myself thinking that I just don’t have the skills to deal with this behaviour, and there in my email is another peice of wonderful advice that has either provided clarity, answered my questions or validated that I am actually doing ok… On so many levels your insights and research are so valuable and I understand the absolute dedication that you are putting into this work that is helping so many people. I am certain that one day you guys will
    be well recognised for your achievments.

    warm regards and blessings to you and your family for the New Year,

    C

    *********************************************************************

    Hi Steve and Kim,

    Thank you sooooooooooooo much for all you have done. You have completely changed my whole life and outlook towards my husband. I was at my wits end bit you have given me tools that I needed. Have to go and I will finish later.

    Thanks again B

    *******************************************************************************

    Steve Cooper

  316. Allison said

    KIM COOPER, I LOVE YOU :) & thank you!!!

    Lynn,
    Wow. That is what I feel like could happen to me. There has been infidelity in the past, that was a huge blow! But I feel like he could be doing something right under my nose and I wouldn’t even know it. I try hard to pay attention, but I have a big history of denial…

    Good luck to you in your process. It is not easy. Most of the time that I am struggling I come here to this site and gain comfort from venting and identifying with others who have used strategies in Kim’s program that have worked. It always makes me feel better to know that even though I hurt because of the realtionship I long for but don’t have – I have me, and quite frankly that’s better than anthing else.

    Keep growing and love yourself for all your efforts!!!

  317. CD, Australia said

    Hi Kim,

    Just wondering if you and Steve will be making new radio shows in 2010? If so I have a request for a show topic – dealing positively with verbal abuse.

    Since it is not easy to get outside help for verbal abuse, it is difficult for me (and no doubt many of us who blog here) being emotionally involved to know how to approach the verbal abuse.

    I get the value of and use the “magic scissors” and self-soothing, but when I have calmed down and feel ready to deal with the crisis/drama – I find that my husband is not always approachable or receptive and I have always known that I lack the skill of positive assertiveness. If I say to my husband how his behaviour has been unacceptable, and how I feel hurt, etc – he only sees all my best efforts as lecturing and self-righteousness – he might be partly or wholly right – who knows – but I really need to work on my communication skills.

    I have recently learned how to approach things differently – by using reflective listening to mirror my husband’s stories/dummy spits and projected emotions back to him.

    This then shows him that I am listening and that I “hear” his emotions and in reflecting those emotions back to him, I am allowing him the opportunity to own his own emotions, and showing him that I understand how difficult it is for him cope with his own emotions (even though I may be feeling unsupported and like I don’t matter to him).

    Encouraging him to own his “bad” feelings may show him also over time that he can & will survive those feelings and move on. He has had difficulty all his life dealing with “bad” feelings.

    The art of reflective listening can also promote a balance of power between us, and reciprocity modelling.

    The other thread I would like in this show is how to give an effective, genuine apology, and when not to say sorry – for example – out of habit, or sarcastically.

    Throughout your material you have many great examples of how to respond to abuse, etc – it would be great (especially in times of crisis and despair) to have a radio show that is a one-stop-shop with lots of examples on how to remain calm and grounded while using language and content that will promote recovery & growth not only in the Narcissist, but in ourselves.

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia.

  318. CD, Australia said

    Hi Allison,

    Wow! You have come such a long way, and become so centred! In reading your story, I don’t think that even if you had actively continued to try and stop your husband’s self-destructive choices that you would have stopped the eventual outcome – it may have slowed it down for a while but not stopped it unless there was some miraculous awakening in him.
    As far as him blaming you for the situation – it goes to show that they don’t like or want to have to take responsibility for their own actions. Of course there is some intertwining of choices and decisions made as a married couple, however you did not make him pursue his personal business ventures during working hours with his previous employer – he chose to do that himself and at the expense of his job!
    This same thread applies to Stephanie’s husband who blames her for his drinking – Stephanie does not bend his elbow to make him drink – he makes that choice (albeit obscure to him) out of escape from his pain and unmanageable life and GUILT. (To Stephanie – if your husband’s drinking is causing him problems – then he may have a drinking problem – I got so much help by going to a world-wide support group called Al-Anon and you may have a group near you- it was like pouring oil on troubled waters and it compliments Kim and Steve’s program in many ways).
    A large problem not only for Narcissistic people, but for all people throughout life is dealing with BLAME and GUILT. These two things are behind most (if not all) verbal abuse – we tend to hear that we are being blamed, but what we often don’t see or “hear” at the time is the GUILT that the person is experiencing, and how they are not able to handle the guilt along with their other “bad” emotions that they are feeling – probably in part because they have never learned that skill, and partly because of their irrationally high expectations of themselves and others, and partly because of their present inability to love and accept themselves as a fallable human being and that it is OK not to be perfect, etc.

    When you can recognize the guilt behind any blaming type of confrontation, you can then see the anger, hurt, frustration, fear, etc that is being projected onto you or others because they cannot deal with those feelings within themselves – and that is why it is pointless trying to defend yourself – in doing so you may appear self-righteous to them.
    I have just asked Kim if she will make a radio show on how to deal with projected blame, guilt, frustration, hurt, fear, etc in the form of verbal abuse – how to see and reflect the emotions that are being projected on to me so I don’t have to try and defend myself or strive for recognition that “I matter” because I never win anyway – and the emotional ping-pong match may continue with no real winner or positive outcome.
    From what you write Allison, it sounds like you didn’t get into the blame game, but found your centre again quickly and you are now taking control over your own life. It is one of life’s greatest gifts to find that you can only change yourself by rediscovering your core values and beliefs and developing new ones, and learning to love and accept yourself again exactly how you are in the present moment – a new you that empowers you to do anything! It is so sad that this light has not yet switched on in the one we love – but it is their life’s journey and we can only set an example for them to show them the way – whether you stay together or part ways.

    Good luck Allison!
    CD, Australia.

  319. kimcooper said

    Thanks CD (-:

    OK I will let the cat out of the bag about our plans for next year …

    I don’t know about radio shows yet as with me becoming taxi driver for the kids (my choice to build attachment with them) I am going to have to be even more super organized than I am. I won’t share details but Steve and I have also been going through an onslaught for the past few months from a narcissistic person close to us which has been horrible but also has given me new insights and shown Steve exactly what it is like dealing with this from the other side (LOL). OK so to cut a long story short this has caused some new major breakthroughs in our understanding of this condition. The first is how much anxiety plays a core role in both Narcissism and Codependence (as well as so many other conditions). Because of this I am looking at creating a new website this year just dealing with anxiety and doing a massive amount of research on this as well as developing and licensing new products, diets etc. for this problem.

    On the other hand and more direct to your ideas I had already had close to the same idea but instead of a radio show I think it might be an ebook full of responses to verbal abuse. Ebooks always take more time than I think they will but hopefully I can get this done pretty quick and since you have asked for it I will start on it before I start the new website.

    A bit more on the anxiety insight is that what I have realized is that controlling behavior is really just a means used to try and control anxiety. We have all probably witnessed this when we stop letting ourselves be controlled that our partners anxiety increases. This is what happened with Steve and in my case I had him in a position where he then actually collapsed from his own internal stress and I was able to then take charge and take things to a better place. With many people writing in here however and from my own experience too I see that this is not always easy to do and some peoples ability to handle very high levels of anxiety without backing down differ from what happened with Steve.

    So I hope that by researching anxiety I might be able to also come up with some ideas to come at this from yet another approach. If anxiety is the base line issue for both parties I feel it may be possible to come up with a program that highlights couples similarities (anxiety) rather than differences and helps take the pressure off rather than having to push it to the point of breakdown as I did with Steve.

    OK so this is all in research stage right now and I will need to give this a lot of time but I thought I would share these insights as I know that all the people who visit here and you especially CD are very wise about these matters and this might help you come up with some ideas yourself.

    You cannot let down your guard however!!! Back on the war front please consider this …

    Most teams in sport are either good at offence or defence and few really good at both. If you are always running defence and you live with someone who is always on the offence it can be really scary but also worthwile to realize that you may need to change strategies if you want to win the game. This is like what happened with Steve and I. He was really good at playing boss and intimidating us but when I finally found the courage to stand up to him and run offence myself I discovered that his defence was very weak.

    I am not talking about being abusive back but I am talking about being really clear about what the result is going to be for the bully in your life if the abuse continues. Letting someone know that you can and will report them to the police or even that you have a recording of their verbal assault on you that you will give to the police or other significant authority figure in their life if they don’t wake up to their problem is not you being a bully too it is just you standing up for yourself. Please note if anyone tries this please do not show or tell them where the recording is or threaten this if you do not have the courage to go through with it. At all times rule one is keep yourself safe.

    So until I figure out more about anxiety this is really in my experience what it MUST come to before they will cave. Steve didn’t turn around from me playing nice guy but from showing him I was in control and not him and that his game was up.

    I hope this helps.

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  320. CD,Australia said

    Hi Kim,

    You are right – anxiety is a huge factor in the both of us – my husband tries to calm his anxiety with alcohol & workaholic – I try to calm mine with food & workaholic – both methods are “emotionally stupid” and self-destructive.

    The traits of narcissism are not far different from the traits of co-dependency, and I have always wondered whether anxiety is at the heart of it all – fuelled by fear, blame, guilt, inadequacy, frustration, self-pity, anger and resentment etc. I mentioned in one of my posts recently how my husband is hyper-active, hyper-vigilant, hyper-sensitive etc and chews his nails until they bleed! Clear outward evidence of anxiety in him! I on the other hand am thought to be a calm and patient person by others – if only they could see how hard I clench my teeth and try to relax that clench by chewing or singing, etc!

    I have often contemplated whether each one of us have both the traits of narcissism and codependency at the same time, and at all times – and by learning and growing emotionally intelligent and becoming emotionally mature we evolve into a ??????. Pity there is no “label” for what we are all striving for – we have labels for disorders and diseases, but not for a place of healthy emotional maturity – or is there no defined level of that because there is always more to learn, always a higher place or level of understanding to achieve? Or is it so that the egotists and self-righteous, etc of this world should not claim or exploit that “label” when their judgement might be blinded by their own light? There would have to be a way of proving yourself or being assessed for a right to be awarded “label”. And what happens if you later lose your way and don’t deserve that label anymore? Better then not to have a label??? Sorry – just a bouncing ball in my brain!

    Thank you for your comments about taking a tougher stance than the bully – whenever I try that I always end up defeated and suffering for it – in fact I think he has left me now because I tried to stand up for myself, but if not then I guess that is what I have to work on – right? To plan on winning the battle?

    If your new production is to be an e-book, could you also possibly publish it as and audio-book for sale? I have found the radio shows excellent because I can still work or drive while listening to your message – an audio-book on CD would be the same convenience. Unfortunately time is not always on my side to read your wealth of material over and over.

    One more suggestion – could you provide links on each of your websites to your other websites, this site and your new blog site, etc?

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia.

  321. CD, Australia said

    Hi Kim,
    (Below is an e-mail draft I had prepared yesterday but did not send it because I thought it was too long. I instead drafted and sent a shorter version today – then after reading about your coming new work about anxiety I responded earlier today – but then I thought perhaps I should send the original draft to hi-light my various anxieties about my communication skills, especially with aggressive people – in fact I have anxiety in almost all levels of verbal interaction – scared of saying the wrong thing or offending someone. My husband is quite the opposite however – he doesn’t care who he offends (or does he? since he is so anxious all the time?) – I know he bluffs his way through life, but many people seem to like his grandiosity, his star-like persona, his stories where he is both the victim and the hero, and his harshness and arrogance – but there are many people who don’t like him also – he has been labeled by some as “notorious”.
    Anyway I thought I would send my original draft, because there may be something useful for you in your new approach regarding anxiety – I try hard to truthfully and candidly dig deep into my own personal inventory, and also my husband’s inventory in order to understand how I might relate better with him. If I could overcome my anxiety and help him overcome his then we may calm down and feel safe to trust each other enough to form a healthy attachment again. I hope this draft is of value to you in your new work.)

    Just wondering if you and Steve will be doing radio shows again in 2010? If so I would like to make a request for a show that concentrates on the art of effective communication – by staying in charge of your own emotions while listening carefully to your partner, “hearing” their emotions behind what is being said. From that I would like to develop and use scripts that are compassionate, empathetic and respectful toward my husband that will encourage a power balance within the relationship, and therefore hopefully promoting reciprocity by modelling – in other words communicating in a healthy way as an important part of re-parenting my loved one.

    One of my greatest challenges is that I feel ill-equipped in the present moment to respond to verbal abuse or negative emotional confrontation. I sometimes get too panicky in my mind to sort out the “this from that” and I may respond in what I think is the most positive or assertive way – meaning no harm – but inadvertently sometimes adding fuel to the fire, or I run from the confrontation, or I am too numb or freeze on the spot through emotional overwhelm.

    The other thing is I have trouble dealing with these days is – complexity within the interaction – being older and now not so spontaneous as I used to be to deal with too many threads at the same time. Sometimes I have a short term memory problem through medical factors, being over-extended and stress, and I cannot always recall what has been said in its entirety – in other words I have mental blocks probably from stress, anxiety and confusing interaction.

    I therefore find it hard to do the mental acrobats required to listen and retain all that is being said while analyzing what emotions I thought I “heard” to reflect back to my husband (in the face of potential verbal aggression). Another factor is my husband denies, or selectively does not recall, what he has said or done, or he races off on other tangents – perhaps as a way of avoiding his emotions.

    My husband will deliberately provoke a fight and you can actually see him getting an emotional “high” when fighting, and he does not stop fighting and tantruming until I or others are left in a muddle of confusion and despair, and find ourselves sometimes apologizing to him regardless of the circumstances. He calls this prowess “streetwise” – I call it bullying but he doesn’t believe it is that. Of course he sees it that everyone else is the problem and to blame for his anger and shortcomings.

    I know the importance of the magic scissors and self-soothing – and use this to cut off pointless string pulling and/or to take time to consider the most appropriate response to negative confrontation, but sometimes I do not realise what is happening until after the fact and we have collided yet again.

    In “Disarming the Narcissist” Wendy Behary talks about “reflective listening” – the gift of balance – and her example of this revealed to me why my husband may feel “lectured” by me when I respond according to how I feel or my point of view – rather than showing that I “hear” how he feels by reflecting what he is “emotionally saying” relative to the topic, and that it is important not to defend any criticisms of me or others, but instead show understanding, compassion and respect for him when he may be feeling anxious, inadequate or powerless (although he might be portraying powerfulness and control by bullying at the time).

    This is showing that I “hear” he may be struggling or suffering emotionally and that he does not always know what emotions he is experiencing – that all he knows is he is angry.

    Behary also talks about placing personal attacks on a mental shelf and picking the right moment to reflect those comments and respond in the most appropriate way or at least to let it be known that you have heard the comments, and then to let it go if it is not worth pursuing or if it could become a ping-pong match of accusations and escalation of the conflict.

    Behary however is professionally trained to do this – but to the lay person who is emotionally involved it is a mine field of fear and uncertainty, that is ultimately psychologically damaging for both parties and difficult to recover from – especially because verbal abuse is not easily revealed or proven to others, nor something that the police would be particularly interested in – let alone take action upon, and it is difficult to find a mentor that my husband would respect.

    I also would want to keep it as simple and natural as possible – my blogs are frequently too long here and I need to learn how to be more concise and to the point! I am not professionally trained in psychology and do not want to pretend or sound like I am – especially because my husband who discredits “all that psychology stuff” – and he may resent me sounding “too smart” for him creating further power struggles.

    I know my husband is not in a very good place at the moment, but I need to learn or further develop this skill of “hearing and reflecting” and the virtue of empathy anyway.

    Throughout your material you have some great examples of responses and actions to take. It would be much appreciated and invaluable (especially when lost and in despair) for me and perhaps others who suffer from verbal abuse, criticism and put-downs to have a one-stop-shop radio show or audio-book that we can purchase on CD that we can listen to that specializes in “hearing” what your loved one is really communicating underneath the hostility, and a collection of various “I hear your emotion” type responses while staying in charge of your own emotions.

    As you said in one of your articles – you only had to do this a few times with Steve and once he felt he was being “heard” he stopped being so angry at you and your family all the time.

    Also, I would like to hear material on when and how to give an effective, genuine apology and examples of that, and when not to say “sorry” – for example out of coercion and/or submissive habit, or just plain bad habit etc.

    The level of calmness, understanding, compassion for others and the feeling of being grounded that you talk about is the level of serenity I am continuing to strive for – and that requires raising my communication skills, self-esteem, confidence and spirituality to stay above the button pushing and focus on listening and hearing the “real deal” and speaking with compassion and empathy.

    It is difficult to remain unmoved when my son, my daughter or myself are the subject of the criticisms or put-downs – at the time my mind races about the validity of the complaints, my emotions run wild, and my self-esteem is constantly being eroded only to require rebuilding again, and again – and that can cause me to miss catching and dealing positively with all the “curved balls” that are thrown at me.

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia.

  322. Dee said

    This is a question about my situation. I will sum it up as best as I can. I was dating someone whom is NPD on and off for about 6 months. The last breakup he met someone 2 weeks after me and went into a serious relationship that turned into him getting engaged after 8 months of dating her. I am in love with this man and I will do anything to be with him. I had been seeing him in passing for on a monthly basis in which he would just stare at me and not acknowledge me or me acknowledge him. I finally ran into to him yesterday in a supermarket and he acknowledge me and we talked he looked in shock to see me. He then told me that he had gotten engaged to the girl he was dating a realized about a week later that it was the biggest mistake of his life. He then said he stated a few months to see if things could work and he plotted his escape out. He has been apart from her for 5 weeks. I gave him my number because I had changed it and he gave me his because he changed his as well and then he gave me a kiss. What is my next step? Do I call him or wait for him to call me? I know he has commitment fear and I don’t want him to run. Please advise, I’m confused, I don’t want to loose him again. Also, I had approached him when we broke up that I though he did have a personality disorder, he stated I do not.

    Thank you.

    Dee

  323. CD, Australia said

    Hi,

    Examine your fears one by one – be totally honest with yourself and dig deep. You have realised that little by little you have allowed this man to take over your life and your home – for example you will not communicate with your friends on the phone in front of him, and by your own self-analysis you are becoming more and more isolated from friends, and introverted when you used to be extroverted. It is important that you maintain your friendships, and not sacrifice them for this man that you are trying to please or placate.

    Don’t allow him to come and go just as HE PLEASES with little or no regard for your plans – change the locks if necessary and don’t give him a key – he is behaving like he has Title to your home when he is not entitled.

    Say NO when you should – and don’t put your life on hold waiting for phone calls and text messages from him.

    Don’t fit your life into his – make him fit into yours by having your own plans and goals – and sticking to them! Revolving your life around him is handing control of yourself over to him, and he is not respecting you or your needs for that – it can take you back to a place where you have been before, and you don’t want that – your over-eating is possibly a warning sign of this pattern reoccurring.

    Make sure you have a hobby, interest or goal that requires daily or at least weekly commitment – so that if this relationship does dissolve you can keep your mind busy while trying to make a clean and final break from the relationship, instead of falling into a state of despair where it hurts so much you may go back to him.

    In the meantime you will become more attractive to him if you put your own needs above his – and it is good for him too to learn to respect you and your needs.

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia.

  324. Tonya E said

    I don’t know where to begin. I feel like the life has been sucked out of me. I have recently decided to stnad up for myself and I’m paying the price. I am a “stay at home mom” and if I stnad up for myself he won’t give me gas money or grocery money. When I asked him for money he told me to take back a Christmas present and to use the money. He is an awesome gift giver but I finally realized that it is show so other people will think I’m crazy when I try to tell them how mean he is to me. Please help me. He has been accused of having a girlfriend and I found some really disgusting sites on our computer history. Of course not long after our computer of only 2 years messed up and my husband took it to be fixed and never brought it back home. He tells me to shut up constantly which I was taught was very rude and disrespectful. He has forced me to do things that I will not elaborate on. He is a carpenter and has a side business but will not fix things around our house. When I ask him why he puts his heart into fixing other peoples things he says, “they pay me”. He started a screened in porch about 9 tears ago and will not finish it. I don’t even mention it any more. He will fix things for his parents and brother though. It’s like he is constantly seeking their praise and approval.If he goes out to shoot baskets with our 14 year old son he (my son) either comes back almost in tears or frustated beyond words. My husband competes like a child instead of acting like the adult. He coached our son in baseball and he was awesome at it. When we would get in the car he would yell at him for the one thing he did wrong even if he had made two homeruns and a triple. My son finally said he didn’t want to play any more.He NEVER compliments any of us. Our 7 year old commented on the way to church ond day, “daddy did you tell mommy how pretty she looks?” His reply was she didn’t tell me I look good.”I am so tired of my husband treating us (the 3 kids and I) completely differnt in public. Our 17 year old daughter thinks he has 2 different personalities. He will help with the trash and even the dishes at church but rarely takes out the trash at home and thinks dishes are the womans job. He sits in the car while I carry out 2 or 3 casserole dishes to take to church and then when we get to church he jumps out and helps carry them in in front of church memebers. One time we were heading up a meeting about vacation bible school and I had brought a t.v. so our youngest would be occupied during the meeting. I carried the t.v., the vbs info, movies, pencils, etc. to the car. When we got there I was leaning in the back to get the t.v. out and a male church member pulled up. My husband jumped out of the car and literally leaned over me in the car and said I’ll get it. I was angry and said “no I’ll get it, just like I did at the hosue.” I had it in my hand and he jerked it from me slammed it into my arm and carried it in. As we sat down I pulled up my sleeve and it had instantly left a bruise. He actually said sorry, which is rare. I really need help. I constantly compalin to my kids. I think I say stuff to them because they are the only ones that truly see how he is and it is so frustrating!!! This is not fair to my kids and I take complete responsibility for this. People see him buy me things (nice things), put his arm around me at church, fix things at church, make things for the church, coach. He pays the bills. He is a hard worker and I get to stay home but I pay the price. Outside of our home he makes comments about how glad he is that I stay home with the kids. In our home he says things like “I’m tired, I’VE been working”, “You don’t do anything”, “if you want something go to work”. When I took an entrance exam to go back to college he said NOTHING when I got my acceptance letter in the mail. He then planned a surprise trip to the beach during the time I was supposed to start classes. It was miserable. I hate going to the beach with him. The kids even get grossed out by the way he stares at girls. One time I was at the pool reading and I was right in front of our room and 2 younger girls (about 19) were laying in the chairs beside me. I didn’t know my husband had come out until one of them said, “oh my gosh there is a creepy guy behind us staring at us.” I turned around in my chair and sure enough there he was. The girls got up and left. He literally stares right at peoples clevage. It’s very degrading to me. I have tried to maintain my weight and I try to put effoert into my appearance and I now know it will NEVER be good enough. He has gained a bit of weight and I don’t care. We are supposed to be at a comfortable stage in our marriage.I feel like a prisoner. He pays the bills but goes crazy if I ask him about how much he made on a side job (carpentry work). He never puts money in savings but works a lot of hours. The only $ we have in savings after 18 years of marriage is from our tax returns. Every time the check comes I put it in savings. It is true people think your crazy if you try to cofide in them. Thanks for caring. I feel so lonely and scared!

  325. Joyanne said

    Hi
    On Sat I told my husband of 1.5 yrs ( second marriage) that I loved him but he needed to move out and work on his issues by Jan 31 or I was filing for a divorce. Ii told him I would no longer support his verbal abuse by putting up with it.
    In Nov I had written him a letter asking him to get counseling and telling him I had zero tolerance for any more verbal abuse. He said at that time he would move out if there was more.Last week when discussing it he blamed the name calling on me saying I push his buttons.
    I moved out of the bedroom because he wakes me up at nite to yell at me. Ii told him Ii would no longer ride with him in the car because he yells at me and I am captive and because he drives 80mph when he is angry.
    It is hard to set boundaries but I am going to try and stick with them.
    Now he is talking like he does verbally abuse us and he is going to go to counsel. time will tell since I am taking this new path after talking to a lawyer, counselor and pastors and friends.

  326. Allison said

    Oh Tonya,
    I feel for you. It is a hard road and with it comes a whole bunch of challenges. I can’t write much right now, but I will try to respond to your post asap. Please know that your worth is NOT to be measured by ANYONE other than you and your efforts in this world. DO NOT let this man allow you to decide you are not in control of your happiness. You are a very special person, strong (which I know – because anyone who has faced someone with narcissism HAS to be to survive) and capable. Please reach to your inner strength and get to a “better” place and hopefuly you can use some of Kim’s program (ebook: back from the looking glass) to get a handle on how to get yourself back!!!!

    Good luck!

  327. Ed said

    Kim,
    Your information is very helpful for people saving their relationship. My situation is of a little different nature. I have depression,anxiety, and OCD. These issues were not real issues until the end of a very bad relationship (she is a sociopath/personality disorders) and I’ve been trying for months to recover from loving this woman and what she did and it’s not working. I’m looking for help I haven’t been able to find. It’s killing me…literally. Where can I find some useful information? I don’t have money, btw. Another issue created from her.
    Thanks,
    Ed

  328. CD, Australia said

    Hi Tonya,

    Have you been able to purchase Kim & Steve’s e-books “Back From The Looking Glass” and their workbooks? If you are unable to afford it, is there one of his gifts he has given you that he wouldn’t notice if you took it back to get a refund to purchase the above?

    Just for today though try not to tackle all your problems at once. Try to get your head around what you are dealing with by reading, listening, studying, and communicating with everyone here – gathering knowledge, wisdom and strength as much as you can before you take him on yourself. This will take some time though – so give yourself that much needed time.

    You do need outside help urgently though for your safety and basic human rights – Kim’s e-books above point you in the right direction on how to limit the abuse and stay safe, and where and how to get the appropriate help from outside.

    Unfortunately your children cannot help you with adult issues, and it is best you don’t lean on them – talk to your local domestic violence officer, minister, or us instead – adults who can possibly help you with adult issues.

    Reassure your children that you love them and that things may get rougher for a while, but you must be strong and get outside help urgently to stop the unacceptable behaviour (which is financial abuse and the other forms of abuse that you are suffering at the moment – but don’t say this much to your children even if they probably already know it anyway). From this they will see the beginnings of a new found strength in you and that is a great example to set for them.

    Good luck and stay in touch,
    CD, Australia.

  329. CD said

    Hi Ed,

    Please know that you have many people you can talk to here at any time and draw on their strength to help get you through this – there IS a light at the end of the tunnel – you just can’t see it right now – but have faith – you will get there! In Australia we have help phone lines and internet sites such as http://www.beyondblue.org.au for depression, anxiety and other conditions.

    Maybe you have something similar in your country – especially on the internet, otherwise log on to the Australian Beyond Blue website – you may find some help there.

    Please, please keep reaching out for help and you will get through this – you are worth it – and one day your experience and recovery may help someone else who is on a path you have already travelled.

    Living with a person who has narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic tendencies can cause serious psychological problems in those who are closest to them – but you can and will recover, however it will take time, patience and courage.

    Just take baby steps for now – and make sure you stay in touch about your concerns or progress no matter how great or small.

    CD, Australia.

  330. Lori said

    Hi,

    Reading your information has been very helpful. Thank you. I am pleased that there is information that focuses on the positive. That helps a bit. What is not helpful in my situation is that the information I have read has been helpful and useful, but not effective in my case. Well, not yet anyway.

    I have been dealing with this in my marriage for almost a year now. I guess technically, I have been dealing with it for 14 years! But, I addressed it last January. It was not the first time issues were addressed, but the first time that I really addressed my own issues and didn’t get caught up in the whole game. I stood firm and finally asked for some consideration. I knew that I needed that, and finally considered myself for a change.

    What I have been dealing with is all of the obstacles that have been thrown in front of me to get in the way of taking care of myself and my family. I really have enabled this to happen to a certain degree (up until a year ago), but I assumed that I was dealing with someone who had our best interests at heart. I have found out over this past year, that he isn’t really capable of REALLY doing that. He is intelligent enough to know what to say about it to give the impression that he knows. But doesn’t actually do anything to show it. How’s that for an overly general explanation? :-)

    My life has been reactive. It is hard to take care when you are constantly reacting to situations. Because the reactions are the goal! Ugh. I am faced with “stunts” daily. Many of them are small. But they sure do take up space! And continue to keep me off balance to a certain degree. But, now that I know more, it isn’t as deeply frustrating. I am more deeply disturbed by other, bigger issues in our relationship.

    What I have figured out is that I am stronger than I thought, maybe a little smarter too(?), and can control my emotions enough to function. Which is good! I have also discovered how I am able to care for people. I have paid attention to what I actually do and why…also good!

    So, my husband doesn’t really respond well to my type of care. Because my method is to consider my feelings and limitations, communicate why (I think) I feel the way I that I do. He takes this personally because I end up describing all of my reactions and what I react to (his behaviors). I try not to sound accusing, so then I ask questions. Why did you do that? Why aren’t you home? Why wouldn’t you ask me first? Why don’t you trust me? Things that I don’t agree with and really KNOW the answers to (a.k.a. the stupid stunts) I ask about. Ya…he doesn’t like that. Early on, I tried going back to just doing whatever. I’m afraid that it made me pretty sick to my stomach. Then I created some boundaries to create space. I have had less space than ever, which is bad because I didn’t have space before! I have tried not reacting and just being. Still asking from time to time how he is…all not effective.

    Rational though isn’t working well. Saying the “right things” aren’t really good either. I am not optimistic. I just don’t think I am really the right person for him here, and I know, from what I have seen, he isn’t good for me. But, we have a family. And I am open to whatever may change. I am getting pretty tired of asking questions and not getting any response except that he doesn’t feel compelled to talk to me when I get a certain tone or whatever. But, I am not allowed to respond negatively to him because he is going through depression (which I’m sure he is, but it is not his only issue). I am supposed to support and understand. Well, I do. I just don’t blindly accept anymore. And I also will not let him manipulate me anymore.

    I’m just reading and thinking and taking care of my responsibilities. I am even listening to my husband when he chooses to share something. But, I am wondering how much more I can take. I am not in a position to leave. He isn’t living at home, by his own decision, that I don’t disagree with. But I am being punished for him not being here. But he knows the door is open. I believe he just wants me to “come to my senses”.

    I am just waiting to see and putting things in place to protect myself and leave if I think that is the right thing to do. Because now, my instincts tell me this is not good. But I also don’t believe that breaking things up now is the right thing. Not good for anybody. I just don’t know yet. I am being pressured into deciding for us all. That’s not cool. But, I won’t. Not until I am ready.

    Thanks for reading.

    Lori

  331. Tonya E said

    Thanks so much for the words of encouragement. This might sound strange but it is almost comforting to know that someone understands and has been in your situation. There have been so many times that I have felt so alone. I look back now and see very clearly that our relationship was toxic even when we were dating. He cheated on me with a neighbor and even got physical (pushed me off of a bed onto the floor and I hit my head)when I told him I did not want to be with him any more. He asked people out behind my back and made the typical promises that he would never do it again. He is the only person I ever really dated (one other guy for about 2 months). My dad left when I was about 8 and I only saw him for about a year after the divorce. I guess what I am saying is that I really craved love and affection, so to a point I guess it was my fault that I setteled for someone that treated me like that. I see now that my husband deliberately denies me of affection and gives it for only one reason. He has gone hunting when I was very sick and had a sick baby as well. When I tried to tell him that I needed his help he said I got sick just because I knew he was going hunting (which was pretty much every weekend).I now know I would rather him not be home even if I am sick. I am going to try to get Kim’s info but was cut short yesterday, (I thought my husband was home), which explains the poor spelling from yesterday. Please pray for my family, especially my kids and my husband. My kids are so incredible especially considering the things that they have seen and heard. I don’t want my girls to settle for someone that treats them like this and I don’t want my son to treat another human being this way. I sometimes feel so overwhelmed. I try to think positive thoughts when I wake up and thank God for another day. My kids need me. I love the Lord and I know that he is in control, but I heard the comment on your video about making changes. It’s time, I’ve got to make a change. I have tried so hard to ignore his scary body language and his rude comments. Just Sunday he called me stupid because I put a tape in to rewind it for my son and his friend.My husband was watching t.v. and a commercial was on at the time. My son’s friend heard him and it embarrassed my son. I just ignored him which made him more mad. What do you do when his family contributes to how he is. I tried to confide in my mother-in-law and she just made a comment about how he buys me nice gifts. I don’t want gifts I want to be hugged and held when I’m sad and to be taken care of when I’m sick and praised when I’ve done something good. I would have liked for him to have helped me when I had a baby that was up all night. Wow I guess I had a little pitty party, sorry. I finally feel like I am not alone. I know that this is the beginning to the answer of about 20 years of prayer. I do see now that I have been waiting for some light to go off in his head and that he is going to feel remorse and get help. He has apologized a few times to the kids and I and has even told the kids that he has a problem with his temper. Last year he even cried and told them that he would work on things and within less than 24 hours was yelling at us at the top of his lungs. He so rarely apologizes that it catches me off guard and I fall for it. I am very compassionate and I sometimes wonder if this is a curse. Thanks again for the support, concern, and friendship.
    Love and God Bless-T

  332. julie said

    Hi Kim,
    Do you know if there’s any correlation between Narcissism and scizophrenia? My Husband’s mother was diagnosed with it and I’m wondering if they are tied. My H is a narcissist who displays all of the symptoms. Is contradiction a symptom? He says one thing and does another. He tells us that he loves us today but tomorrow will tell us to get out.

  333. karcoop said

    Hi Ed,
    There is free information to you available at thelovesafetynet.com. If you unable to purchase Kim’s products due to financial reasons, please contact the helpdesk at support@narcissismhelp.com.
    Kind regards,
    Kerry – Admin

  334. Stacy said

    Hi Kim,
    As you may get these letters alot I accidentally stumbled upon your website. I was quite intrigued when reading about your marriage and Narcissism, I perhaps know how it feels to be in a relationship with a person who has these traits. My boyfriend and I have been together for 2 years and I love him dearly but I always knew in that there was something wrong I just could never put my finger on it. In the beginning everything seemed great and I fell fast. In the mean time I had gotten sick, he was there for me, then out of the blue he dumped me while I was in the hospital. This completely devastated me and I was upset, in his response, he said I was being clingy because I was questioning him on his day. We ended up patching things up, but in any circumstance of him having to relate to feelings he pushes people away. He’s well aware that he does this. He has a daughter and so do I, and he has told me that to show her affection is sometimes uncomfortable for him to do. He is a very distant person and yet when he does become a warm person, which is barely ever, I feel like I better appreciate the short lived actions. He doesn’t have many friends and was neglected in his childhood and has many disturbing memories from it. Although he’s not physically abusive he’s very demeaning, he makes me feel like I’m not good enough, although that was mostly in the beginning. When I didn’t know him all that well I would blame myself for everything and I would praise him all the time thinking that maybe it was his self esteem or something. The reason for this, He had gone through a horrible breakup and he blamed his ex for everything. I don’t think that is the whole case but I do believe that she contributed to the outcome. She was manipulating, cheated on him with his brother and left him with there daughter to take care of her while she was out feeding her alcholism. These things are true I’ve seen how his Ex is for myself. I don’t know if he lost faith in relationships or if he does have this disorder. He is very critical but laughs and says hes joking when addressed or says its his sarcastic humor. He treats his daughter differently thatn mine he’s more stern with my daughter than his own. When we argue he’s always the right one and very rarely apoligizes for his behavior. Not to mention he keeps me to himself and doesn’t take me around family members even though he spends most of his time with me and they know about me but it seems like he keeps them at a distance and out of the loop. He’s often very polite to strangers and can carry a great conversation but with me sometimes I feel like I’m just a nobody. He boasts about his body and how he looks and how he believes he’s an Alpha male. Along time ago in the beginning when we had way more problems, I seen him curling weights when his ex walked through the door to pick up their daughter. He’s very sensitive to criticism. Some things that I would dismiss and attend to at a later time, he would either act quickly over something small or knaw on something for long periods. In order for him to do something that I believe would be a logical thing and if he disagrees I have to swing it into sounding something for his benifit for him to compromise. He stays stuck in that past and its very hard for him to move on. I sometimes feel like I’m the one here to help him even if at some points I can be manipulative it is for his benifit. I also read Nacissitic people have tendancies to be manipulated and abused themselves for that of which I think takes place mostly with his ex, then of course, I have to take another stance to turn it the other way. I would have never stayed this long if actions didn’t speak louder than words. I know from his actions he really truly does care for me but this is hard to deal with and I’m glad that possibly I will be able to find the answers I have been waiting so patiently to find.

  335. S said

    Hi Kim and Steve,
    I have been following your book and website and also a couple of days back I had to see a counsellor regarding my depression and anxiety. Even she stressed on the point.. “get you money sorted” mostly for the reason that I need to feel safe. All our money is in a joint account. I just usually have a $100 -$150 a month with me for my day to day expenses. Other than that I do not have any money separately (nor does my husband.. that’s what I know of). So last night with great courage I bought this up that all the money that we have in joint account can be there but from now on I’ll keep what ever is left of my pay after expenses in my individual account. As expected that did not go too well. He thinks its all about money and now I have become money minded and don’t trust him. I am taking the relationship backwards instead of forward. He is adamant that whatever I said is completely wrong. And if I still feel I should have my money separate and want my independence back then there is no future to this relationship and I can take the share of the money and end the relationship. He says that there is only so much he could have changed in himself and he has done that. He says that he has always been constant in the relationship (been the same and had the same demands) but its i who is the confused one as I was first submissive and now i want to be independant again.I am now totally confused about what to do. Please help
    S

  336. Stacy said

    Ok slighlty confused about the N I have in my life. First and foremost. I have been told they have double lives, mine on the other hand has one with me and the kids and the other with his family, which I’m included but not always. He allows me to be around his mom just not his brother for obvious reasons. We have separate accounts but I have access to all his spending, with him knowing, and there isn’t a shread of evidence that he’s done anything different than he does now. Hes quite the penny pincher and nothing goes to waste. Although about him possibly not being attracted to me may be true. I have gained weight but I noticed when I become more of an independent person emotionally and feel good about myself his response to me is quite different. Although the one thing that jumps out at me to make me beleive he is an N are 1. He’s very critical and sacastic. 2. Holds his emotions at arms length and pushes people away. 3. When he grew up he was neglected by his stepparents including by his mother. 4. When there is a problem with his behavior, he somehow tries to twist it in becoming your problem or someone elses fault and very rarely says sorry. 5. Can become overly dramatic and very sensitive. 6. Can be somewhat self absorbed in his looks Ex: Bragging, but he thinks its good to be positive about your looks well of which is true to an extent. Although, describing these symptoms of a potential N in my quest for research for obvious personal reasons I have learned that there are different variations of an N. In my quest, I want to find his type and how to deal with it in a positive light. I do believe in the close future, I will be buying Kim’s books when I have the funding. I’m happy I stumbled onto this sight, in which it gives you hope for potential and that it could lead to a positive outcome. One thing that I have learned that is somewhat frightening, is that looking back in my history my last serious relationship which was with my daughters father is that he I believe to was an N. Unfortunitely he was to far gone to be saved I guess you could say. The lying and abuse was enough for me to say See ya, and when I did, he made it very difficult for me to leave. But I thank my local law enforcement for helping me in our separation. I never looked back but I was definitely scared from this. I think about how these men are attracted to women with low self esteems and that there are many people out there who have this disorder. I also want to learn ways of pointing out these types of men and how to boost my self esteem and get myself together. This will help me just in case the future starts lacking in my current relationship. So if I do decide to start dating again I will know the signs and run as fast as I posssibly can. Til then I know I have a long and educating journey in front of me.

  337. Trisha said

    Oh how I can relate to you. I am also unmarried but have been with him for three years and we do not live together thank goodness. I am trying something new and I will pass it along to you to see what you think or others too for that matter. To condense my story my N boyfriend has extended his verbal put downs to my 14 year old daughter. The omething different I am doing is that I am not taking his phone calls at all. We have just started talking on the phone last night, he called and I felt sorry (not so new behavior). Today I informed him that my daughter has plans for the afternoon that involve me driving her and her friends to the mall and dropping her off with another mother picking them up and bringing them home. I will be gone for about 1 hour total but he told me that the day was shot and he didn’t want to hang around all day to see me. Here is the new me coming, I said fine even though his statement is off the wall. We never in the past seen each other during the time I will be gone but fine let him have his way. I feel that if a person wants to see another person, 5:00 in the afternoon is not too late. I also told him that I have homework to work on and of course that didn’t go over to good as well. I am going to college at night. You know what? I don’t care what he thinks anymore. I am tired of it being about him. I am a person and this is my life. If he looks upon my life and doesn’t like what I am doing with it he should move on and not waste my time and his trying to rework it. I sub teach 5 days a week, go to college at night and maintain a home with bills with no help from anyone. If he cannot see the value in me I will let him make his own choices and let it go. Please don’t feel sorry for the little child in the grown up body. How would you treat a real little child if they did the same thing? Hopefully you would stand your ground and say this is what it is about and if you don’t like it too bad.I refuse to feed into that little child that is disrespectful, mouthy and selfish. I withold the only thing I can with this adult child and that is the presence of me which I feel is special. I hope that helps. I used to feel sorry too, not no more, its time to grow up for our N boyfriends!!!

  338. pam said

    When my husband and i met he was a very loving generous man 10 years ago then he became very abusive i put this down to him drinking excessively he is a charming man or so everyone tells me outside yes but at home he cuts me off he lives a double life affairs lies i had decided to divorce him then the bombshell he was diagnosed with cancer i love him and forgot all that had gone before which i had considered living hell but no there was more hatred for me in store he told his children i wished him dead his ex wife who had not spoken to him since their divorce was supporting him he has tried to write me out his will he tells people lies about me he says very upsetting things to me and when i respond he tells me he is taping me he will not talk to me then all goes quiet he deletes all texts and phonecalls to and from his ex so i cannot read them his children and grandchildren no longer come to the house and are not speaking to me everything that has happened is my fault these last six months have been hell i have gone through every emotion possible he has never once considered my feelings i am so tired i cannot write a lot but all the things i have read here tells me i belong so at least i know i am not totally alone thanks

  339. CD said

    Hi Trisha,

    It is good to hear you are re-thinking how to handle your situation. Your boyfriend sounds like he is floundering while still trying to call the shots. It will take a long time and a strong stance on your part to successfully re-parent him. It sounds like you have consciously detached from any unhealthy emotional attachment and are getting real with how things need to change – especially putting yourself and your daughter first.

    How has your daughter been since your boyfriend hasn’t been on the scene like he was before? If your boyfriend is to come back on the scene, I would like to suggest that some clear boundaries are drawn about how actively involved he should be in the disciplining and rearing of your daughter. Dr Phil has an excellent article on the role of a step parent which is worth reading regarding your situation at http://drphil.com/articles/article/243/

    While your boyfriend’s intentions may have been good toward your daughter’s welfare – there obviously are some differences between the way you and he think children should be raised, and there are differences on how he treats his daughters versus how he treats your daughter. It also needs to be established – based on the level of commitment of your relationship – how much right he has to directly discipline your daughter, or if he has any concerns to instead bring those concerns directly to you to assess whether you should discipline your daughter directly yourself while maintaining the right to raise your own daughter in your own way. This should work vice versa for his daughters also.

    If he is narcissistic, there is a danger that you have an adult child who is emotionally immature having an influence on your child’s upbringing. Whatever happens – your daughter needs consistency and balance. She needs to feel safe while being raised to be a responsible and emotionally mature adult.

    Raising children is not easy – especially teenagers who are still children and frequently behave narcissistically to get what they want – this is a skill developed right from early childhood. It is up to the parent(s) to ensure that the narcissistic side of their child is set straight with gradual and consistent progress (albeit obscure progress at times!) that they are not the centre of the universe and that the world does not revolve around them – and that life is easier when they come to terms with that.

    There is no substitute for learning good parenting skills – and in order to achieve consistency and balance this could be a requirement if your relationship with your boyfriend is to continue – that both you and he are to study a good parenting program (and the same one) to iron out your differences in parenting. There is an old saying “United we stand, divided we fall” and children can readily learn how to expertly and perhaps narcissistically exploit the divisions – even divisions that you aren’t aware of just yet!

    The side benefit in studying a good parenting program may be that your boyfriend could expose how his upbringing may have been deficient or negative, and how he might improve his life – in effect maybe re-parenting himself a little or a lot. This last point may also apply to the co-dependent regarding their own upbringing – and also how to re-parent themselves and the narcissistic side of their husband/partner/loved one.

    A program that I thoroughly recommend is “Powerful Parenting” by Davina Sharry and you can view information and excerpts about her program at http://www.powerfulparenting.com.au

    Probably the last thing you need now on top of your work and studies is more reading! However I found this program excellent for strengthening my position in dealing with the narcissistic side of my husband and other narcissistic people that I may encounter. The result for me was that the time I spent became the time that I saved in more readily recognising when the child within the adult was acting out – enabling me to reduce my anxiety levels by effectively and appropriately cutting off immature and manipulative behaviour sooner, and then getting on with my life/goals immediately. As Kim said the narcissist is looking for a strong parental figure – and mine chose me, but he had worn me down until I found out why and a better way – and that is the hard lesson that I am still gratefully learning.

    I hope these suggestions help you in some way.

    Good luck and stay in touch,
    CD, Australia.

  340. Lori said

    Ya,

    I’m afraid I have a pretty significant problem with the whole parenting part of this. When I got married, I was under the impression that it was a two way street. The meeting of two individuals, two people that are there for each other, supportive, dealing with all of the crap of life together. Maybe being able to meet at the end of the day sometimes and even enjoy each other’s company to some degree.

    Yes, my husband needs some serious guidance. But, I don’t really feel like my job as a WIFE is to teach him how to be an adult. He is a big boy and is intelligent. He knows what the right thing is to do, for whatever reason, he just won’t. And if it is because he is immature and self absorbed…does that make it impossible for him to alter his behavior? He knows he needs to, he’s said that out loud!

    For the last year, I have stood up for myself with my husband. I needed support from him AND personal space. He has NO CONCEPT of how to give me that. I had no idea how much I was robbed of that for so long until recently, when I have gotten even less. He continues to fight me on everything, doesn’t communicate regularly, has very sporadic behavior, unpredictable as usual.

    My strength has certainly been his downfall. He has been stomping his feet like a child for a year now. My personality is NOT attractive to him. He just wants me to accept his goofy behaviors and continue to support him. All of this with no real promise that I will ever be able to count on this from him in return. I haven’t ever really seen it before (except financially, and he has since stopped working, ugh!).

    I will continue to support him, and help when he lets me. But, his behavior is extremely unattractive to me. And teaching him how to be is even more unattractive to me. I will do it, but I don’t know if I can stomach it as his wife. Blech! Not a fan. I have three children already! And I enjoy their company! My husband’s, not so much anymore.

    Not optimistic.

    Lori

  341. Trisha said

    CD,
    Thank you so much for your suggestions. I will try to find the time to review all of them. It is a challenge. Just today, he called and left me a message saying ” I love two people so much and he has a problem because we view him as a monster”. Well I can think of some other adjectives but I won’t. When he does call back I will remind him that he still hasn’t explained to my daughter his veral outburst, (I gave up on an apology and don’t feel it would be effective anyway). I feel an explanation would be better and it seems he doesn’t remember that we were the only two people that he loves that didn’t get anything for Christmas from him. I think of him as a child and then plan how to deal with him as if he was a child. That is all I can do for now. We have not seen each other for about 2 weeks now and to be honest it is easier to detach. The bad thing is that I want to hurt him life we hurt and that is a bad thing to have on a heart. So any suggestions would help. Thank you again Trish

  342. MR said

    Hi all,

    I’ve been working on some of my own things, and have some catching up to do, but wanted to put in my 2 cents on a few things that were mentioned back in the postings a bit (still have to read the last week or so.) Sorry this posting could use some editing, but sleep is more important.

    CD – I too have gone through the Behary’s “Disarming the Narcissist … it is now a rather dog-eared book. It has been very good for insight and ideas about setting limits. All of these resources help bring back strength and hope when I’m feeling low. I have learned that I have to be careful that I do not get to depressed, hurt and defensive after reading a lot about narcissism. If I say things too critically or too defensively it easily makes for a rough patch in my relationship which generally has been getting better.

    I know yours was not a few weeks ago, and during my last nadir you encouraged working on building attachment … I don’t know if you feel able to do that now, but you two have shared a lot of things together … perhaps you can when the holiday strain has passed. Perhaps also you can indirectly (maybe have someone else) remind you husband that alcohol really destroys his sleep cycle next time he is complaining ??? :)

    For everyone – Regarding the radio show (or e-book) about how to respond to verbal abuse … I too would support that idea. The empathic listening strategy has helped me too, both because communication can get so distorted, and because it seems to allow my husband to hear that I am making an effort to make him “feel good.” (ironically his words -from one who typically focuses only on the principles and logic in conversations). Sometimes I am really struck by how much my husband hears what I am saying more negatively and more critically than I think I said it. I know that the reverse is also true. I also am seeing how sometimes my schema of being defensive gets triggered, and it is much better when I can hold off and not respond back.

    Several people have remarked on the fact that all of us have some narcissistic tendancies that compound all of this. It infuriates me when my husband points those out in me (ie my giving half truths about my computer being at work for some new communication software because I didn’t want to admit that yes it was not working fully and it was getting repaired, and have to hear his lecture about how I am too careless with it.) He is right I should not have been deceptive, and that is weak, but that does not make me responsible for all of our issues (as I tend to internalize when he starts pointing out all of my mistakes and flaws.)

    Anxiety / stress management / and taking responsibility for our own self soothing – I agree these are part of the dynamics between narcissism and co-dependence. If I have time I will put together some more cohesive thoughts on this.

    Sometimes I can identify the anxieties of my husband’s that are behind the criticisms, – the days when he doesn’t just let something go that he might another time. I wonder/worry if there are things he is covering up, but I am still responsible for that part of my behavior which was wrong, and need to stop trying to avoid or take an easier out. If I can just answer – yes your right, and reinforce what he was saying, and then tune out much of the tyraid, it is usually shorter. This seems to give him a safe space to dissipate his angst which is probably stemming from more than whatever triggered it. Coming back with something nurturing later seems to help … some days – like this fall for me, it is really hard to do.

    Hope these thoughts help someone.

  343. Tonya E said

    I have not been able to purchase any of Kim’s info. I did however see that Kim stated on one of her blogs that the higher your expectations are about the N in your life the more disappointed you’ll be. That has helped me more than anything. I still after 23 years found myself expecting an apology after one of his mean cruel verbal attacks. It has been harder for him to get to me since I read that. It seems as if my heart has a small shield around it now. I was always taught to apologize if you said something that hurt someones feelings. His family is very prideful and thinks of this as weakness. He does not feel remorse like most people. He has said the meanest things and then proceeded to tell me to, “shut up crying, I can’t hear the t.v.”. I am a very forgiving kind-hearted person. This is not something that a N admires. It is something they prey on. Even last night he deliberately kept me awake for two hours by abrutly moving around in the bed because he was mad because I did not do somthing with him. We had not gotten home until 12:30 a.m. because we had gone to visit some friends. By the time I got in the bed (after getting our three kids in the bed, feeding the two dogs, and brushing my own teeth) it was 1:30. I read my bible and finally turned off the light. He by the way had taken a 3 1/2 hour nap before we went to visit our friends and went straight to bed when we got home. I finally gave in so he would let me sleep. I was already exhausted because he snores and had woken me up several times on and off all week. He has sleep apnea and if he is mad at me for whatever reason he refuses to wear his sleep apnea mask, to punish me. I have been stronger since reading Kim’s free info. but it is hard not to get worn down. I really want to go back to school but when I try it’s as if he sabotages it. Even if he didn’t I sometimes wonder if I could handle it given the stress, lack of sleep, and to be honest lack of confidence. I truly feel for the person that has to get up and go to a full time job. Some days it takes everything in my power to get up put on a happy face for my kids, take them to school, and make it back to the house. To top it off about 7 years ago we refinanced our house and I went with him to sign the papers. Months later when I went to make a phone call about our mortgage payment they said that my husband had to call because I was not on the house note!!! I had no idea that my name had been taken off. We couldn’t even get our home loan without both of our names when we originally purchased our house. I have been a stay at home mom for 18 years. I am terrified that I am going to be left to live in a card board box. I don’t enjoy being around him. He is mean, controlling, and very unpredictable but I feel trapped. Today he is working on his brother’s basement for free (making it into an apartment for his nephew) but won’t finish anything around our house. In our house five people share one bathroom. His brother has a huge house with 3 bathrooms and a full basement. Right now our son is trying to figure out how to change the oil in a go-cart because my husbsnd has been telling him for two weeks that he would change it but never seems to have time. My daughter has been waiting since Christmas for him to hang a heavy picture up over her bed but again he won’t make the time. I normally would hang it but it needs anchors and a level to be hung. I asked him if I could use his level and he said it was at his brother’s. He won’t bring it home. I know he does not love me and that he would replace me just like that. It dosen’t hurt like it used to but I’m not sure what I need to do. I am tired. It’s nice to know that someone out there cares.

  344. Hi Tonya
    Reading your story really hit home for me because a lot of what you talked about could be almost my exact situation. I can definitely relate to what you are saying as I’ve somewhat walked in your very shoes!
    I have not purchased any of Kim’s info either, but I read this board and watch Steve and Kim’s videos.
    I have been also somewhat of a Youtube expert in this area, making videos of my own as another outlet for the frustration I have felt being the wife of what I term “an Intermediate Narcissist.”
    I stopped expecting “normalcy” from this man a long time ago, as I realized all my hopes and dreams would be crushed if I continued to think he’d suddenly magically change into “prince charming.”
    Just as you said, there are obvious signs of dysfunction through his entire family!
    My husband really does not feel remorse or empathy either…and that, when you have little children and grandchildren who get hurt, can be SCARY…or, even if YOU need medical help. His reply was always and still is “ohhhh you’re FINE. They’ll be alright.” I can’t tell you how many near-death experiences I’ve had because I almost LISTENED to him and didn’t go for help!
    The meanest thing he has said so far was the other day when he said “shut up or I’ll punch you in the mouth!” I hadn’t heard a threat outta him in years, so this caught me way off guard. Unfortunately, I found myself then threatening my daughter to smack her…UGH, that’s NOT ME at all…that
    s me picking up on his ugly projections!
    As far as being kept awake, my husband ground his teeth for YEARS AND SNORED! I snore too, but I lost weight recently so it’s not as bad. (It is CRUEL that your husband refuses to wear his sleep apparatus!)
    I am so glad to hear that you read your Bible. God is the MAIN help in time of trouble, isn’t He!
    As far as the sleep situation, I finally got tired of being sleep-deprived, and began sleeping upstairs with my daughter since summer. Only the other day did I manage to get a queen sized bed to afford my husband and I more room and space, and I moved him back in with me, under stipulation that all CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECTS REMAIN OUTSIDE THE BEDROOM!
    Regarding going back to school…I tried 4 x and every time my husband had not turned in the tax info so I couldn’t get my grants! I had gone back a few years ago but he stopped doing the tax info suddenly so I had to drop out. Recently, I signed up for online classes and told him “If you ruin this for me, I will LEAVE!” So far, he hasn’t screwed me over on it! I am working toward my Bachelors in Psychology.
    Financially, my husband always got bank accounts and other things in HIS name. As soon as I started working, I took out a bank account in my name, just in case I had to leave. The bad thing was, when I wasn’t working, it depended on HIM to fill the account, which of course, he let slide and I defaulted and lost the account entirely. THis happened several times….ugh again.
    I don’t enjoy being around my husband either, but not because he’s unpredictable. He is VERY PREDICTABLE, like living with a robot and everything always has to be done the SAME WAY or he has a meltdown. So I’d say he is BORING more than anything and acts like he’s about 7 or 14 years old at any given time. It is almost like living with someone who has dissociative identity disorder. He DOES dissociate too, which is really irritating when I’m trying to handle serious matters with him and he Zones out!
    I DO understand. I DO hear you. I DO care. I am LIVING it too! Do what you can to reestablish your identity apart from him, like I did.
    If you want a friend to talk to, feel free to email me at futurehopevm@gmail.com

    ~Laura

  345. Allison said

    Oh Tonya,
    I was reading your post and I had to say I completely relate to the “punishing” aspect of the narcissist. That has been one of my biggest downfalls. My husband can’t handle me being angry with him – even though I’ve learned how to better defend my boundaries and also learned how to (though sadly I don’t always practice) disengage and walk away. I can say I no longer feed into the arguements and try to defend myself like I used to. I know I have rights, I know what he does isn;t kind or respectful. I don’t second guess myself anymore. After 8 long years of doing that and getting nowhere but more confused I’ve learned to walk away. It’s such a different animal; the narcissism. I mean after I read these posts it’s like we are in a alternate universe here. It’s sooooooo hard to get your head around the fact that most people around the narcissist (like your husband’s brother???) think these people are so fantastic (because of their lack of being able to say no, or disappoint people), while we experience the downfall of them trying to playing that role.

    I am in the middle of a HUGE trauma at home and this is actually the worst it’s ever been. My husband is punishing me for being angry with the situation I’m in right now. I am not treating him badly, I am not being unkind. I am trying to focus on ME and my children and figure out how to best care for them now. He isn’t pleased that it is taking me time to figure it all out. He has been provoking me for weeks. He refuses to come to bed at a reasonable time, so he wakes me up in the middle of the night. Then he refuses to get out of bed and help with the kids. He disappears and won’t answer the phone when I call to see if he’s going to make it home for me to go to my appointments. He refuses to engage with the children so that they can see he loves them, he actually withholds love from his children, which obviously makes me sick! He verbally abuses me in front of the children so I will have to engage him in a reprimand about how that isn’t appropriate. It’s awful, I know what you are going through – AWFUL!!! So sorry!

    I seriously feel like I’m in the twilight zone sometimes because of how crazy it can feel. I go through these phases of feeling strong and powerful to feeling completely defeated and weak. I also get very impatient with the process. During the really tough times I waiver, and wonder how to get the hell out. But I know that if I hit the door running, I’ll still have to deal with him and his madness, for the kids. So I guess I keep trying to figure out how to make it right for me. I am in the process of trying to get a job. I have been a stay at home mom for 5 years. I don’t really want to get a job, but because of the fact that I have been financially dependant on him rather than be able to take care of myself and my children – we are losing our home and the only lifestyle that my children have known… If I had been able to contribute maybe it wouldn’t be the case, maybe it would, but at least I’d have choices. He was trying to get fired because he didn’t like his job, and then he spent large amounts of $$$ trying to start a business which never amounted to anything but a waste of $$$ and 2 years time.

    So, I have learned that I need to rely on myself and even though you would want to believe that the person you chose as a life partner is going to protect and care for you and your family – it just isn’t the case for the narcissist. They have no understanding of union and 2 becoming 1. As long as you say, yes, yes, yes do that. It’s fine. When you say, “I’m not sure that works for this family” then the world falls apart and you’re on your own, confused and angry.

    I hope you have some luck. And yes there are many people out there going through this together. Many times this blog is the source of comfort and strength that I need to pick myself up and hammer through it.

    Allison

  346. Allison said

    Hi CD, MR…

    I read the book (disarming the narcissist)in July and that was my turn around point. But man, I feel like I need to read it every day for it to really sink in during the tough times.

    My husband sees this book often because I use it as a resource often. He once commented that he was willing to readt it. Of course I was excited, and said sure. But he never picked it up nor have we spoke of it since.

    What are your thoughts on the narcissist reading the book. I mean am I totally mad to think he’s get anything out of it anyway? He has been trying to deal with “intimacy” issues in therapy. He admits he’s a narcissist, says it’s true he doesn’t trust me. Said the other day, even though I have never given him reason to believe I don’t want what is best for the family which includes him, it doesn’t feel normal or natuaral to make compormises in his decisions. He admits that he has made many mistakes which might have been avoided if he considered my input in the process. At the end of the day, he says it doesn’t feel right to do things any way other than what he believes to be “the right way.”

    I do beleive that he wants to build a partnership, but he openly admits that it doesn’t feel right to him. He also openly admits that making all the decisions and disregarding my position/boundaries is no way to get what he wants in a marriage (love, respect, support – dare I say admiration).

    What do you think about how the narcissist would recieve the information in that book????

    Is it better for me to just keep trying to run my own program and forget about what he should be doing to make an effort?

    Thanks :)

  347. S said

    Hi Kim /Steve /CD
    Kim/CD thanks so much for your support. I am following your advice and building a support network (I don’t know if you remember.. I am unable to look my N husband in the eye.. my lips tremble and twitch ). I also went to a counsellor and here is how it all went..
    I hope one of you guys can guide me with this one..
    I had posted the below last week..

    “January 15, 2010 at 8:40 am
    Hi Kim and Steve,
    I have been following your book and website and also a couple of days back I had to see a counsellor regarding my depression and anxiety. Even she stressed on the point.. “get you money sorted” mostly for the reason that I need to feel safe. All our money is in a joint account. I just usually have a $100 -$150 a month with me for my day to day expenses. Other than that I do not have any money separately (nor does my husband.. that’s what I know of). So last night with great courage I bought this up that all the money that we have in joint account can be there but from now on I’ll keep what ever is left of my pay after expenses and rent in my individual account. As expected that did not go too well. He thinks its all about money and now I have become money minded and don’t trust him. I am taking the relationship backwards instead of forward. He is adamant that whatever I said is completely wrong. And if I still feel I should have my money separate and want my independence back then there is no future to this relationship and I can take the share of the money and end the relationship. He says that there is only so much he could have changed in himself and he has done that. He says that he has always been constant in the relationship (been the same and had the same demands) but its I who is the confused one as I was first submissive and now I want to be independent again. I am now totally confused about what to do. Please help”

    Now after all this my husband came to me the next day and apologised for all that he said (that he cannot change.. I shouldn’t have married him..etc etc)
    He said that he did not mean it and just said it all because he was angry. And whatever he is saying now is with a sane mind. I explained how I an still sacred of him and though is not physically abusive any more or has stopped calling names he is still very much intimidating. Screaming in a fit of rage ,breaking and throwing things around is not acceptable. Even if he allows me to do something he may pick a fight about it or put me through so much pressure that I cant even enjoy what he is letting me do. Every time we are at a social gathering I have to keep looking for his approval as to what I said or did is right or wrong. I cannot pick up his phone when he is not around (doesn’t a wife has the right to do that…just say yes he is not at home / in a shower .. how are you .. we are good.. can you call back later / I’ll let him know you called ) I am sacred that I might have to face false accusations. After all this he said that he realises that what he is doing is wrong and that is his basic nature and he does this at work with his subordinates as well. We also discussed about his anger issues that he says that he has no control over what he does or says and later apologises. He seems to be addicted to anger like someone may be to alcohol. Alcoholics do all sorts of things when they are high and then later apologies or say that they do not remember as they were drunk. He seems to get a high from anger and probably it gives him a feeling of control over the other person. He said “yes”. He accepted what I was saying was correct and he wants to work things out. He feels he is at a stage in life where he wants to settle (buy a home) and have a family (we do not have any kids yet) and does not want to ruin things. He said that the money discussion we had was still wrong (and it was bad on my part to say that I wanted to keep my pay separate. These are just temporary fixes and will not help in the long run) but if I wish to keep it in my account he will not say anything. Well after all this the conclusion was
    – he said he will fix two things immediately
    1. Not be so critical and judgemental about me over silly issues
    2. He will not stop me from being in touch with my friends and family.
    – he accepted that he has anger issues and other issues he needs to deal with (probably is possessiveness and insecurities etc) and he will seek counselling for the same.

    Now this seems to be a total turnaround from the night before. I do not know what to make of this. I would be thankful if Steve could also suggest something regarding this. As I am unable to understand what is going on in his mind .Does he really want to make things better or was it just be cause he did not know how to deal with me as I am now trying to be more independent and bold. He also said that he does not want to be alone. I wonder if he is thinking that I might leave him as I asked to keep my pay separate (although I assured him that I wont). Is he trying to save our marriage or his dream (of a perfect marriage ,a home , kids) cause if I leave him his fantasy will fall apart. He has never mistreated me in public. To the world we seem like a perfect couple.
    S

  348. CD, Australia. said

    Hi MR,
    Good to hear from you – many thanks for your words of encouragement – I especially identified with what you said:

    “Sometimes I am really struck by how much my husband hears what I am saying more negatively and more critically than I think I said it.”

    My husband is so defensive and resentful he construes things I say negatively or critically, even if there was no negativity or criticism spoken. This has been exposed to me by observing that my husband thrives on drama – he is constantly on the alert for confrontation of any kind – if there is no drama then he will create a drama because that is his “supply”.

    I consciously try not to feed into that supply by taking notice of other things happening in my life and the world and making conversation about those things instead of focusing on him (so as not to play into his self-absorption).

    Many times I have talked about things that had nothing to do with him but he distorts what I said by claiming that I am really saying things about him “in between the lines” – Uugh! This man can be impossible at times! Maybe even super-paranoid!

    How come I can have a light hearted two-way conversation with almost anybody I come into contact with – but with my husband – all I see is a scowl and the guns blazing – and quite frankly I am exhausted from dodging the bullets! Our marriage guidance counsellor told me not to internalize everything he says – that he is not just angry at me – he is angry at the world! What is he hiding! What skeletons! What is he doing now that he doesn’t want me to know about? I know he is addicted to alcohol – are there other vices too?

    Time may tell!

    I am trying to rebuild trust and attachment, but it is very difficult to do with an angry grizzly bear who so self-absorbed he can’t see the light of day!

    Hope things are going better for you.

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia.

  349. CD, Australia. said

    Hi Allison,

    I don’t see any harm in continuing to leave “Disarming The Narcissist” lying around for your husband to read – but he might not like or believe what he reads if he does read it – or he may just read it to see what you are up to in order to block your efforts to re-parent him, etc.

    My guess is he has already had a bit of a read and does not like what he sees. He is therefore continuing to be in a state of denial and is disconnected, abusive and dodging accountability again.

    He would also be suffering truck loads of guilt over your current financial predicament – and he can’t bear the pain of the guilty feelings he is experiencing right now and for being held accountable for what has happened (his problem though – not being able to cope with his feelings). So he is trying to make you or others his scapegoat one way or the other to make the pain go away, and to retreat into La-La land again.

    Try to avoid the “blame game” on what now is history – focus more on what you and he can do either separately or together – ask for his ideas and input. However he probably doesn’t have much if any confidence at the moment – probably not such a bad thing because he is possibly feeling (underneath the guilt) quite humble at the moment – a better place to be though to make more realistic decisions from.

    Thank goodness you had done so much work, and had your head screwed on so well when this crisis happened.

    These challenges however are also opportunities – think hard and act upon the challenge/opportunity that has come your way right now. Your husband is at a rock bottom – a casualty by his own hand – and that is why a book that I think he is more likely to pick up, read and get more out of initially is “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama.

    Hopefully your purse strings will stretch enough to be able to buy a copy in your current financial situation – maybe an early birthday present for your hubby? maybe you could borrow it from your local library?

    I believe people are more inclined to read material that guides us towards happiness and contentment first – especially during times of great unhappiness and despair.

    Then once we get a better perspective on the truly valuable things in life, our minds become more receptive to examine the deeper and more confronting personal issues that we have. This is difficult for a narcissist to do – especially when the issues are not very flattering to the narcissist who protects his image and avoids reality at all costs!

    Your story has been an inspiring one Allison, keep up the good work and please stay in touch.

    CD, Australia.

  350. Hi Suhela,

    Kim is about to post an amazing piece of writing on her blogspot account about many of the underlying issues around verbal abuse and aggression that you are talking about.

    http://kimcoopersblog.blogspot.com/

    I am certain this will answer many of your questions. I have similar anger issues but I’m beginning to learn how to weed it out sooner rather than later these days. The big step for me was to realise that the team I wanted to play for was the team that is Kim and I. I’m also completely committed to the team that is Kim, the three kids and I too, but that is a close second to the most important relationship that is Kim and I.

    The kids are my blood and we will always have that link. Kim and I are a married couple and modern pressures are always gnawing at our heels. If we do not commit to any kind of solidarity to each other, there are a million competing forces out there that will try and drive us apart. I won’t find a better woman than Kim, but for some silly reason, I used to think I could. That was the bad old days, when Kim and I were not a team and when aggression was a regular feature of our home life.

    I hope you enjoy Kim’s post, I really think you’ll get a lot of answers from it.

    Steve.

  351. CD, Australia said

    Hi Kim,

    Congratulations once again on writing such an extremely incredible and helpful article! I feel that this article on how to handle verbal abuse is as important as Back From The Looking Glass and your Workbooks. Could you still possibly make it available in e-book form for purchase? It would be great if it could be printed in a pocket book size – personally I would keep a copy in my handbag – readily available to read at any time in times of crisis or despair and/or to keep focused on the bigger picture.

    In my own mind I have dubbed this article as “The Little Book of Empowerment” – designed not only to help the victims of verbal abuse – but also indirectly to help the abuser overcome their false pride and misguided ways and attitudes.

    Your article is the empowerment needed to help the verbally abused rise out of their victimhood and perceived powerlessness to stage a successful “mutiny” against the verbal abuse in their home (or outside world/workplace) where there is very little direct help available for this problem.

    This article got me thinking that maybe Steve (and you) could prepare something from the Narcissist’s point of view, the struggles he suffered and how he overcame (and continues overcome) the self-defeating ways of narcissism. I would think that if a book like this was available in e-book form for purchase also that it would be in high demand and a good thing to leave lying around for the narcissist in my life to pick up and read. I am sure many others would like to do the same as me too!

    My husband has said that he doesn’t know what is wrong within him, that he is scared to change “it” for fear of losing “it”! (“Control” in other words albeit “unhealthy and tenuous control”.) So my husband continues within his comfort zone believing no-one could ever understand him. The break down Steve suffered is the break down my husband fears most and me too!). It would be important I feel for my husband (and others like him) to read Steve’s story and know that they can and will survive it – that life is good on the other side (out of the bubble) – and that there is at least one person close to them now who has a better understanding than many about this disorder and that they are prepared to support them through it. To read about narcissism from the perspective of the narcissist is probably better than reading about narcissism from the perspective of the observer. Just a suggestion anyway – to provide help for the narcissist too that is.

    Congratulations again, and thank you so, so much from the bottom of my heart to the both of you!

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia

  352. kimcooper said

    Thanks CD.

    I feel bad I haven’t got back to you until now but as you can see I have been busy! These type of articles take a lot out of me and you know finding the answers always teaches me something new too. The stuff about adding the virtue that is missing is honestly so counter intuitive to me but whenever I do it I am amazed at how fast it works.

    I have talked to Global Talk Radio and they will be helping me produce this as an audio CD for sale early this year so thanks for that idea and yes I might also make this into an ebook, I am just going to really have to schedule my time so carefully this year with me having become taxi driver for the kids! That plan is working well however and we have already had some great heart to hearts.

    I am so glad that you liked the article I really put my heart and soul into it (-:

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  353. MR said

    HR – In one of Kim’s first two books is a section on ending a relationship with a narcissist. Briefly, be overly solicitous and let him believe he is the one making the decision – however go to the source as I do not readily have the time to review the details for you. My suspicion is that “letting him go” any other way will leave you too vulnerable to being pulled back in.

    Allison – regarding spouses reading Disarming the N. I suspect my husband has seen it around, and perhaps also some of these sites … he occasionally says that I am what I think he is … meaning I am the narcissist (or that I am just like my mother – implying being totally self-centered as he has concluded about her.) As I have said before, there are kernels to that which I think are true (and some recent events are making me re-reflect on that) however I don’t think that is the whole picture. I really do not think having him read the book would be a good idea, and I suspect it would just provide further information for him to use to push my insecurity buttons.

    CD –

    I too find it difficult to really listen and hear my husband in the middle of an arguement. He knows just what to say to push at me, and to get me into a space of being defensive, so that I am no longer being rational and I no longer feel confident in my perspective or understanding about anything.

    I am cautious about explicitly saying “I hear your emotion” type responses, because when I have tried to say “I hear you,” or “yes I understand.” in response to criticisms it can escalate if it comes across as a canned or insincere response(which if I am already feeling angry, it can very easily be.)

    You said in an earlier posting,”It is difficult to remain unmoved when my son, my daughter or myself are the subject of the criticisms or put-downs – at the time my mind races about the validity of the complaints, my emotions run wild, and my self-esteem is constantly being eroded only to require rebuilding again, and again – and that can cause me to miss catching and dealing positively with all the “curved balls” that are thrown at me.”

    Oh how true … I too can get caught in defending against the minor details where his criticisms of me are wrong, and in the process escalate the whole arguement rather than just being able to diffuse it. I wish I could apologize better, and accept responsibility for what I have done wrong without accepting and buying into everything else that seems to get attached to the situation (both by what he says, but also by my own mind.) Clearly this has much to do with what is in my own mind, and not really in what exactly I say. I think for both of us there is a trigger of feeling overly culpable and in the same way defending back against being wrong.

    MR

  354. CD, Australia said

    Hi MR,

    Your comments addressed to me certainly gave me food for thought! I understand what you are saying and totally agree that things can escalate in the middle of a confrontation if I try to analyse and show him that I “hear” his emotions behind what he is saying – especially if he detects a lack of confidence or insincerity in me, and that can be difficult to conceal when emotionally involved.

    It is a case of being caught between “the devil and the deep blue sea.” My husband is constantly looking for sympathy and understanding – and seeks that not only from me but others too – and when I pointed that out to him 12 months ago, giving him as close to verbatim examples as I could recall when he denied seeking sympathy from everyone, I suggested that and he agreed to go to the doctor and get a referral to a psych to get help with whatever issues he has and his depression and insomnia.

    He has brought my comment about seeking sympathy up several times, since then – either defensively or attackingly – saying that the NLP said there was nothing wrong with him . . . . that I am his problem (I doubt a professional would say that without interviewing “the problem” also). I also doubt that she could remain totally impartial and objective because she knows him at a personal/emotional level. I also believe that he concocted his own story to tell me and others about the result of that consultation because he was telling it in a gloating way. He said he got nothing out of the marriage guidance counsellor. He claims that no-one could ever understand him – and says that sometimes looking lost and in despair, and other times with an air of arrogance, contempt, and I would even say “pride” – that he is unique and beyond the reach of all of us peasants!
    It is when I see that latter side of him that I wonder why I hang in there trying to reach him – but when I see the lost and despairing side of him I want to help him.

    The trouble is I don’t always know when he is masked or unmasked! When he is for real or playing emotional games! I also question why I would want to help someone who has treated me with so much disdain and disrespect for so many years – then I remember the good times in between and continue to hang in there holding onto hope, and also from realizing that I have been with him for 35 years and only known about Narcissism for just under 12 months of that time. I takes a long time replace old habits with new ones, and I think I am getting a real handle on it now.

    After reading Kim’s article I am going to take her responses, and create more of my own if I can, to respond to confrontations of a personal kind towards me by my husband – including any taunts or button pushing about my son, daughter, grandchildren, family and friends – anyone whom I am emotionally involved with.

    In deciphering which sort of response would suit each type of future situation that might arise – I will recall past events, how I handled each event and whether it had a positive, negative or neutral result – and if I were to have handled it differently using Kim’s advice – which response I would have used, and perhaps using the missing virtue (if I was able to recognise it in him whenever I not overwhelmed by my own inner emotional turmoil at the time that would have clouded my perception and judgement).

    On the other hand, when he is confronting me about issues of a business kind – I will not only use Kim’s responses, but also on occasion use the reflective listening method only when the confrontation is not personally directed at me.

    For example: From “Disarming the Narcissist” I thought I would try to develop a script of reflective listening that perhaps may have handled a situation better than I did recently by being DEFENSIVE at the time when my husband was name-calling and character assassinating one of our clients to me (although it was probably a personal attack on me in disguise because the man was MY client in the first place!).

    These types of character assassinations by my husband can often be without substantiation – fabricated in his own mind probably in order to provoke a fight with me or others.

    I consider myself a good judge of character and I found this client to be a warm and sincere person – but my husband didn’t have a kind word to say about him! My husband seemed to be threatened by him in some obscure way. My husband claimed that my client was devious and was trying to get extra work done without having to pay for it – but he seemed to be reacting to a greater threat than what he was saying.

    I don’t believe my husband’s claims were true however, I was at every interview, and I defended the client, produced evidence, and also reminded my husband that he was given the opportunity to properly quote the extra work at the time, and that our client was prepared to pay for it.

    My husband got angry at me for disagreeing with him and began to hurl abuse, see-sawing between being the aggressor and playing the victim over and over – saying such things to me like – What would you know? You don’t know anything! I am always wrong! I don’t know anything! (From these and other statements I could see the power struggle between us that Behary was talking about. I am comfortable with people having their own viewpoints and opinions about things and can respectfully agree to disagree. However my husband does not like people disagreeing with him – and he will right-fight to a bitter end.)

    Realizing where the disagreement could lead to I disengaged immediately, but thought about what had just transpired – the offence, the defence, the volcanic eruption of his feelings “behind the story”, his apparent feelings of powerlessness, aggression and the need for understanding and sympathy – not about the topic of his story – but his struggle to cope with his emotions behind anything at any time.

    A few days later and after contemplating the power struggle between us I developed the following script based on an example in “Disarming the Narcissist” which I hope has captured the essence of “reflective listening” – attempting to “hear” his feelings behind the bullsh*t (and since this same sort of story/topic comes up over and over about clients I will have a chance to use this script next time such an event occurs):

    “It is very clear to me how upset you are feeling – I know how hard you work to give the best price you can to all of your clients and how unappreciated you feel for that.
    I understand that you are feeling angry and frustrated because you believe you are being exploited by our client due to your fear that we may lose the job if you charge what you should and you feel that this is a burden you carry on your own.
    I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for you and I can feel your tension about this.
    Is there any way I can help?”

    The emphasis in the above script is “hearing and acknowledging his feelings” behind the event – because it is clear that right from childhood through to adulthood he has not learned how to recognize/acknowledge and/or cope with many of his feelings, or maybe even been taught to suppress or deny his feelings. This is common in men like my husband whose father’s brought them up to be “tough” – no tears, fears, affection, appreciation or other “girl-ey” feelings, etc.

    So hopefully I have some success at “diffusing the bomb” by choosing Kim’s methods for dealing with his confrontations against me personally within the marriage and our business, and using Behary’s reflective listening method when he is being confronting about business matters where I can easily remain emotionally detached and have to deal with business matters without always having an opportunity for self-soothing and disengagement.

    One thing I do know is that my husband continually tries to sow seeds of self-doubt in me, and then attempt to reap tyranny from that – just to try and keep me down and out. He has always had a lot of respect for my father, but not my mother. I love my mum, and I do recognise her strengths and weaknesses/flaws – but she is an imperfect human being just like the rest of us. My husband said many times early in our marriage he found her “overpowering”. He treats me with the same contempt as he treats my mother – he has never outright said it – but it is plain to see he thinks I am just like her!

    However my husband has a lot of problems with a lot of people and things that I can perhaps safely conclude that he is the common denominator in all of his problems – and he is his biggest problem!

    My own assessment of my mother is that she is a law abiding citizen, a caring person who was active for many years prior to physical disability in helping children with cerebral palsy, and later running a school canteen for many years, sacrificing her own needs when she was raising us to see us educated, fed and clothed and much, much more. Other people love her very much – why doesn’t my husband? She has been married to my dad for more than 60 years and he respects me dad. Is it just plain misogyny with my husband?

    I am yet to learn how to deal effectively with my husband’s various levels of disrespect towards my mother which in turn hurts me – but one thing I can always do – is not to doubt myself when my husband implies that I am just like her because I am proud to be her daughter, and she has made me so much of what I am today (and strong enough to deal with this terrible disorder called Narcissism!). I think I have just realised what to say next time he implies that I am defective because I am just like my mother!

    Sorry this is such a lengthy post – I hope that my personal story and thoughts help in some way.

    Good luck and stay in touch,
    CD, Australia.

  355. kimcooper said

    Hi CD,

    Sorry to butt in – just a brief clarification …

    I did not sympathize with Steve’s false pride, I completely went to war with it and would be very ruthless in not tolerating him putting other people down including myself. My reactions to this could probably have been seen by others at the time as me being very dominating and even somewhat of a tyrant (LOL). I would even stop him in front of the kids and say “Don’t you speak to any of us like that again”, with the most dead serious tone of voice and look on my face. Once he knew that he could not intimidate me or I would get straight on the phone to the police and I could also not be sucked into an argument he was really cowed by this. On the other hand however I was sympathetic to his gaps in a way that was very real. I stepped in and did battle with anyone who was expecting too much of him and even supported him financially while he learned skills better suited to his real needs and potential. I also helped him get out of debt and set challenges for him. I made it very clear that if he fought me he would be dealing with a tiger with metal teeth but if he surrendered and dropped the BS he would be 100% safe and I was there ready to be the strong and kind parent he was needing.

    This is something that came up with a woman a few years ago whose husband did let his false pride crumble but then she was surprised when the tantrums started all over again. She was working a full time job while studying for a PHD and looking after her kids as well. I had to explain to her that if she really was committed to helping him she was probably going to have to find more time for him. Once Steve dropped the act he was nearly 100% dependent on me 24 hours a day for nearly 8 months while he relearned how to even watch TV with us. He would be so vulnerable and talk openly (and even cling to me) when we were together but in public or even in front of the kids he was for a long time just quiet or his old act would come back (to a degree) simply because he did not know what else to do. I was very understanding of this but I kept a very close eye on it. He was a full time job.

    It is hard for me to talk about that side of things on our radio shows because it is still a very protective role that I play for Steve’s still somewhat fragile ego. He is much better now and he has tackled some very difficult challenges in the past 4 years that have made him very solid but there is still that pain around exposing his true self and vulnerability. It is a somewhat sad joke between us when I will praise him and sometimes he will look sad and say ‘but really I am still just a joker/clown’ and I will smile and say – “Yes but you are real with me sometimes too.” He knows I love him when he is sincere and unguarded you see but ‘the act’ is all he knew for so long that it is still of course a big part of him and learning to relax and be real a gradual process. I don’t jump in and say “You are not a joker” because I know him and the pain that getting carried away with others praise used to cause him (and the crash that would follow) was terrible. So my love is real love. I know that he does not respect anyone who lays it on too thick and I am always careful that I keep it 100% real.

    For this reason I worry a little about the script that you mentioned because it is so important that he does not feel manipulated or that he can suck you into his self pity. Maybe I play it tougher than what would be right for you but personally when he carries on about not being understood by anyone I would look him straight in the eye and say “but we both really know that is BS and really you were just never taught manners or how to feel good about yourself” and then I might say “I feel plenty for you but NOT while you are telling yourself these fairy tales … if and when you are ready to drop the crap and admit how scared you really are and how much you hate yourself I am here for you.” After that I would get on with my own business but not be too far away so he knows you are truly available.

    OK that might be all wrong for your situation but it is just my take on it!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  356. MR said

    CD – once again I am struck with the similarities between our spouse’s behaviors. There is a hurtful judgemental, negative side to my husband which seems to be brought out by anxiety and sometimes the acute trigger of my repeating some mistake (reflecting his failure at picking the correct spouse???) I’m often on guard for that returning, but I find our interactions are better if I am not – if I respond as if he were only the “appropriate gentleman,” he would like to be, and almost don’t see anything else. (I need to think this through further, but wanted to pass on the strategy – our husbands present so similarly.)

    I have some other thoughts about what both you and Kim have said, but need some time to mull on them.

  357. CD, Australia said

    Hi Kim,

    As always your input is much appreciated – just a couple of questions though to help me absorb and comprehend fully what you have said.

    Does all my husband’s criticisms, put-downs, negativity (even tantrums) = his “False Pride”? (I am trying to understand the term “false pride”.)

    I have said things over the years to my husband like “Don’t you ever speak to me that way again!”, and “Stop criticizing me!” and so on. It always results in him punishing me for days and days on end by sulking, the silent treatment, disappearing, exclusion, verbal abuse, etc or while he is bottled up and sulking he gathers together a heap of (most times) derogatory remarks or accusations to hurl at me about how horrible and lower class I am (he nearly always regrets doing this later though but he gets to feel better venting his resentment – and I get destroyed again on top of the original criticisms and insults!)

    Also for example: If he is sulking and I say to him “Are you going to stop sulking and (do whatever he should be doing)” he denies sulking – and therefore adds lies to the equation (tantrum).

    I know he does what works for him and works on me and I wish you could bottle your strength and wisdom because I would buy gallons of it! I have always been good at defence – even in sport – and I get that I have to become good at offence in this situation – but I have never really been good at that – however I guess that is just another area that I have to develop the courage to change in – it is not a shortcoming, but rather growing an “unbreakable backbone” – and “metal teeth” as you put it – (Wow! I think I would even frighten myself if I got that good!) (LOL)

    “—because I know him and the pain that getting carried away with others praise used to cause him (and the crash that would follow) was terrible.”

    Can you explain the “pain” and the “crash” as used in your statement above – so long as Steve is OK with that being revealed of course?

    Is my big bully really scared underneath his brutish ways? I reckon I have seen it many times but he is quick to bluff or mask his way through any situation where any of his insecurities or inadequacies might show publicly or privately – he covers up by being the life of the party, the big successful businessman, or by intimidating people – the smiling assassin that sucks everyone in with his charisma, charm and notoriety! And that is the crap that I would like to see him drop – because I know the real unmasked person – and he is a nice man – he doesn’t have to be more than his authentic self for me and others to love him.

    Obviously from a low self worth, my husband scoffs at and does not accept at any unsolicited genuine (not gushy) praise I give to him, and yet he seeks praise from people and me all the time! And if ever he detects or suspects that I have put myself down – he gets very angry with me for doing that – which is very contrary to what he does to me.

    With everything that is going on, with all that I know now – do I have what it takes to win the war??

    Thanks Kim,

    CD Australia.

  358. Lynn said

    Kim,
    Thank you so much for posting those helpful phrases to use!!!! It’s so common sense, yet so out of my comfort zone at the same time.

    We learned these same types of phrases to use in some parenting classes we’ve been taking, so it makes sense to apply to it to adults as well.

    Thank you for making these helpful tips free as well…what a gift!

  359. kimcooper said

    Hi CD,

    Your questions have given me some ideas for a new blog post I will try and write in the next few days …

    Hang in there (-:

    KIm Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  360. CD, Australia said

    Hi Kim,

    I am looking forward to your blog regarding my questions. In the meantime I googled “false pride” on the internet and found a website that had not not only some good info regarding false pride but many aspects regarding human behaviour as well including “Tyranny”.

    I have often referred to my husband as being tyrannical – not only with me, but with our family, clients, workers, business associates and others.

    This article may interest and be of great benefit to MR as well since our husbands display so many similarities in their behaviour.

    The website address is http://www.emotionalcompetency.com/tyranny.htm

    This whole website has cast a lot of light on the dynamics of my relationship with my husband (and business partner).

    Thanks again Kim for all your kind help.

    CD

  361. kimcooper said

    Thanks for that CD, what a great site!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  362. Trisha said

    Hello MR

    Well I did what you are not supposed to do with a N person, I broke up with him and I did the breaking up. I wrote him a letter, basicly saying that because of his actions, arguing,not seeing me because of the arguing, putting his teenage daughters over me and so on and throwing my engagement ring and breaking up with me and the list goes on, I am done. So done. I did call him afterwards and told him that I don’t hate him but feel that he doesn’t put any effort to make things right, just argue with me I feel that he wants to be done with me anyway. I know he is afraid of being alone and I think he just is nice enough to me to keep me there but is waiting to start something new with someone else. I am sort of on hold till that new person comes along, my feelings but they hurt so I cut it off, my idea. Now what? I need guidance. I am so serious about not being the safetynet till someone else comes along. I feel that this is coming because we have nothing right now together except fights. Is this the way a N person acts? Help

  363. S said

    Hi CD,
    As I was reading your post regarding “False Pride” I thought you were speaking my mind. It’s the same behaviour that I have to face. Recently as I have been trying to gain some control over things and I am facing this behaviour more often. Waiting for Kim’s blog on this one. I read the information on the website link on your post.. its great!. Thanks a lot for sharing that. I was thinking.. will it be a good idea if somehow I got my husband to read it?. Lately one day he says its all my fault that I am suffering from anxiety and depression as I know what kind of person he is so I should just ignore whatever he vents when he is angry. But the next days he himself agrees that he has issues and will try and control his behaviour. I don’t know if it will make things better or worse.. any suggestions?

    Cheers
    S

  364. CD said

    Hi S,

    If this is the same ‘S’ that first posted to this website in December last year – I would first just like to say well done on showing so much courage and determination in the face of uncertainty – you have been very brave, and no doubt your husband would be feeling scared of losing you – hence his opposition to you and the importance of Kim’s instructions to make your loved one feel loved and safe at the same time as receiving strong messages about what is right, just and acceptable behaviour.

    The website address I posted here this morning offers a huge amount of information regarding human nature, behaviour & emotions by clicking on each of the blue highlighted links or words in the text.

    In my case my husband would not be very receptive to an article that would again paint him in a bad light or “image” because he is so convinced (or bluffing) it is not him – it is just the rest of the world!

    My husband is hypersensitive to any direct or indirect judgement or criticism towards him – and the result is always futile, negative and sometimes abusive.

    However he would most likely be receptive to another article on the same website regarding “The Importance of Emotional Competency” at the following address:

    http://www.emotionalcompetency.com/need4.htm

    This article is not directly about him (but very much about him and many others in the human race, perhaps including me). If I were to show this article to my husband it would be the most non-threatening way I have found so far that would hopefully awaken him as to how emotional stupidity is so self-defeating and/or potentially harmful to himself and others, perhaps even downright dangerous.

    My take on this is that my husband already knows what negative and destructive emotions and behaviour I think he has – but he is too proud to say “I don’t know what to do about it” so he denies having a problem or needing help, preferring to stay in his comfort zone instead – because he can!

    He reckons he has changed all that he can change, that he has done all the work and I have done nothing!!(??), and that he doesn’t understand all that psychology stuff!

    I believe he is too proud and “above all that stuff” to ask for help from me or anyone else because he has got to be right and win at all costs.

    I also think he is lost and in despair, but puts up walls to shield his vulnerability by using his smoke screen of tyranny. I, however, have to grow some metal teeth, as Kim puts it, to tear down those walls – but I confess I am really concerned whether I have what it takes to do that and to pick up the pieces from the fallout – and the consequences to our business and the people we employ. However courage is fear that has said its prayers!

    In the meantime I am going to buy Daniel Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence”, and the Dalai Lama being interviewed in the book “The Art of Happiness” by psychiatrist Dr. Howard Cutler. I would think these books would be available at most public libraries – but if not could maybe be ordered in.

    I plan to openly read these books myself for myself in front of my husband, but I will not be canvassing him to read them. If he was to read them it would have to be out of his own choice and curiosity, or his own need to learn about emotional intelligence and/or the art of happiness. For me to leave these books lying around is only making them visible and accessible to someone who may want and reach out for help – however the choice is ultimately his. All I know is I am going to continue on my voyage of self discovery and emotional intelligence because my happiness is my responsibility, and his is his.

    Take care now,
    CD, Australia

  365. HM said

    HI everyone

    CD- I completely agree with your statement and sentiment about your happiness is your responsibility and your husband’s is his. However, how much of that is put into practice by any of us in reality? Saying it is so much easier than actually doing it isn’t it? Caring for them and loving them despite the difficulties makes it a huge challenge to say the very least! I know I have struggled with my own feelings of guilt in considering my choice to ‘abandon’ him and kiss our relationship goodbye.

    There is still a part of me that wants to help him even if I cannot consider being his significant other. I do not want to leave him and have him not understand why it’s over between us and would like to be able to explain it to him. I know though, that the likelihood of him taking any of that on board is very remote. ANY show of guidance/advice will be seen as a direct insult to him and will not be taken well. Yet I know he has to at some point in his life, realise and accept that he is in charge of his life even if he really has not got a clue how to move forward constructively and comprehensively with that.

    I have always believed that one should walk a mile in another man’s moccasins before finding fault with someone’s actions, however, as all of us here know, it is not always so easy to uphold that belief when loving people with this disorder. I have searched the very depths of my soul to find understanding for him before I knew what I was encountering. I am still searching for answers even now, in the wake of deciding to end my relationship with this man.

    I have to speak from my own very deeply personal experiences, when I say that since joining this blog only a few weeks ago, I have really got into my own head space in a much more profound and explorative way than I ever have before! I have learned a great deal about N behavioural tendencies and traits and found out a lot more about why I am in this relationship and have felt immensely comforted by the fact that I KNOW I am not alone in this quest for not only knowledge and empowerment but also healing for us both.

    H

  366. Trisha said

    Oh how I wish we could talk in person. I feel for you over this weekend. Let me tell you that the N person does not care about birthdays, only theirs of course. I have had mine spoiled by him, him not even wishing me a happy birthday. I am different than you though, I wouldn’t dream of paying for my own dinner!!!! I wouldn’t mind the meals at home but going out, he would have had to do dishes or something. I did tell you that I told my N in a letter that I was done. Now is is only one day later and I feel great. I am sure I will be sad some days and I was this morning when I woke up, but all I have to do is remember him on my birthday, throwing my engagement ring in my yard, never to be found, his mistrust of me, his damaging and cruel and judging words to me and let me tell you it feels good to turn the tables and know that without a shadow of a doubt I did the right thing for me. He asked for it as far as I am concerned, not only asked for it but worked real hard at getting the result that he did. I was always raised that you reap what you sow, well this is it for him. I am not saying that he was always bad, he was at times so wonderful, but lately not so wonderful, and I don’t want to be married to someone who can say or talk to me so unlovingly. You have to do what you have to in your own time, I guess my time is now. Write back to me please.
    Trisha

  367. CD said

    Hi Kim,

    Your article on false pride has revealed what is probably behind every tantrum my husband throws or egotistical display of superiority. The issue that happened over Xmas was a situation where had my husband left his mobile phone turned on I would not have had to try and get help from other people.

    I ran into trouble when I was driving alone on a lonely country road 3 days before Xmas late at night – and I tried to call my husband (for help) who was already at our holiday cottage waiting for me to arrive. However my husband habitually turns his mobile phone off each evening before he goes to bed and therefore I had no way of knowing whether he had just turned off his phone and was awake waiting for me to arrive, or whether he had gone to bed and fallen asleep assuming that I would soon arrive safely at our holiday cottage.

    Unfortunately I had become stuck in a lonely isolated place in the country, a woman alone late at night in a car filled with Xmas presents, personal belongings, an unpowered car freezer filled with frozen food on a hot summer’s night, and also with a large dog on board (Golden Retriever – certainly no guard dog!).

    With no room left to be able to sleep in my car if I had to apart from sitting up in the driver’s seat, I did what was the common sense thing to do – think about who I could call for help and make the mobile phone calls – and thank goodness there was phone signal available!

    I was not angry or feeling reproachful toward my husband at all because I know he is a creature of habit (turning off his phone) but I had no way of knowing if he was awake or asleep! After having made several phone calls, including calling and texting my daughter and son-in-law (whose phones were apparently out of earshot at the cottage) I finally found a friend who could help and 45 minutes later help arrived.

    However just as I finally got to the holiday cottage my husband had been awake after all and had just realised that I was more than an hour overdue from arriving, and expressing his concern he said to our son-in-law (who was also waiting for me to arrive) that I would have rung if I had got into trouble. My son-in-law asked him “Have you switched your mobile phone off as you normally do?”

    My husband turned on his phone and returned a missed call from my son (although strangely not returning mine first as I was the missing person at the time). My son told his father of my plight and how he had got help for me. As I arrived my husband’s greeting was not nice – he verbally abused me for not having just waited for him to realise I was overdue and come to help me. Then when he found out how many people I had rung trying to get help he got even more angry and abusive (I recognised out of embarrassment, and perhaps anxiety for not wanting to be held accountable for the situation).

    Instantly I realised the irrationality of what was happening at the time (that he was only concerned about what I had done “wrong”, and himself, and not my welfare). I tried to calm him down -saying that neither he nor anyone is in trouble here – that I am OK and everything is alright, that I haven’t done anything wrong and only done what was the common sense thing for me to do.

    Well he did not stop ranting and raving at me, and I told him to stop yelling at me, that this episode is now history as far as I was concerned, and that I was not angry at him for not having his phone turned on, but he was making me angry now by carrying on like he was, and to “get over it!”.

    At that point he shut up and went to bed still fuming and now sulking as well! I was to find out later that my son-in-law could hear everything that was going on and was just about to come out and intervene because my husband was so out of control with his verbal abuse and my son-in-law feared for my safety.

    It is rare that my husband’s verbal abuse is exposed to anyone else (it usually happens behind closed doors), but not only did my son-in-law witness my husband’s irrational verbal abuse, but also the person who came to help me saw the first part of it. I was to find out a week later (when my husband revived the incident and starting tearing shreds off me again for the same thing) that he was so engrossed in his own emotions he wasn’t even aware that there were witnesses to his initial verbal abuse – he was horrified when he found out there was an audience apart from me!

    The articles on verbal abuse and “false pride” that you have written about so far have been invaluable to me Kim – to reinforce the bigger picture as I saw it during those episodes over Xmas, and other non-related episodes that have happened since then. Putting a label on the behaviour helps me to decipher what to do about it as it is happening.

    I think now that I have been doing what I should be doing – perhaps with fledgling wings – and I will hang in there a while longer – because even though I am enforcing tough love on my husband and he is sulking and silently threatening to leave – has hasn’t left yet! (Who will they turn to?) He still acts like he is superior at the same time as being the wounded bird.

    His gaps and lies are critical – sometimes hard to expose because of the thick smoke screening though.

    I get goose bumps every time I read your story about Steve in the Kitchen!

    My husband “critiques” what is on the menu and how I am preparing the evening meal every night when he arrives home from work. I had given up cooking more than what I needed to years ago because it basically is only him and me now – and with his constant criticism – I think why subject myself to more criticism than is absolutely necessary? But I enjoy cooking – so stuff him – it is just politics after all!

    I am going to cook more again – and donate it to my daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren if he doesn’t like or want it – at least I know they appreciate my cooking as much as me and everyone else except my husband! The same as with the “organisational skills” and “friends” – my husband constantly tries to organise me and tells me I have not got any friends. Neither accusation is true! But he is so strongly opinionated and convincing he has me doubting and constantly character analysing myself!

    It seems that I am always feeling a little unprepared in many of these accusations – I should have known immediately that these accusations were unsubstantiated – that I need to get a stronger grip on who and what I am whenever challenged by him to cut his BS off immediately, and even whenever doubting myself in the moment to believe in myself anyway regardless of his opinions and accusations!

    Thanks so much Kim – I am really looking forward to Part 3!

    Cheers,
    CD, Australia (The Generous Contributor!) LOL

  368. HM said

    Hi Kim and Steve

    In light of the fact that some of us are regularly sending messages to each other on here in the bodies of our blogs but ever watchful of not giving too much personal info away, i.e., email addresses for instance, would it be possible do you think please for you to consider setting up a link where we can ‘chat’ in a private messaging room?

    I am not suggesting that we should not still blog here as I do think there is invaluable info here with shared experiences for not only the existing bloggers but also anyone new joining the circle of friendship and support. But it would mean that more personal conversations could take place, also being able to see who was online at the same time as us, which would in essence provide us with someone to chat to when things are really bad and worrying us. It would be a lifeline I am sure for a lot of us. I have a group of very good friends I see and speak to regularly but unless someone lives with this in their primary relationships, no one really understands what it is you are so troubled about.

    Another question for you too Kim and Steve, is where should I suggest a friend looks for help with regard to her grandson being what she now fears an N. He is 12 years old and verbally abusing everyone who is in his path. He is well behaved at school but shows absolutely no remorse or empathy she says for anyone, not his mum, not his granny .. nor his friends. She is very upset by his behaviour and realises that her daughter has not set firm enough boundaries and totally over indulged him, giving in for a quiet life she says. He is having horrendous temper tantrums too which he should have outgrown by now. He is seeing a therapist with his mother who also has had her own issues. But I am not sure this is helping at all. For many years he has been the only grandchild until nearly 2 years ago, and that too may have stemmed some angry and insecure feelings for him although he sees his baby cousin occasionally and apparently seems to be quite fond of him.

    I told my friend that I would look up some info for her and send her the links as she is a very busy social worker. She is at her wits end with his behaviour and thought I may be able to help given that I have started to find out more about this very sad and debilitating personality disorder. I don’t want to send her down the garden path of all the links out there so one geared to children would be ideal if either of you OR any of the contributors here can offer some sound advice for my friend. They live in the UK.

    Thanking you for all your help again and again….
    Best regards
    H

  369. Donna said

    I have been divorced from my ex for about 10 years (I am very happily married today to my husband of 7 years). I still get so upset dealing with my ex because we have two children together, 16 and 14, both boys, and I still have to deal with my ex to some extent for them. My biggest concern and challange at this time is my 16 year old. I see so many of these npd trates in him, just like his dad. I gave up on my ex, I will not give up on my son but I do not know what to do with this child who I love dearly. It has been soooo hard for all of us but I get the brunt of it (hurt the ones you love the most?)Does anyone out there have any suggestions? Any help I have gotten my son, my ex has put down or discharged him from the program. I only have a year and a half and he will be 18! What can I do to save him???

  370. Lori said

    I am getting pretty tired of being manipulated. My head is spinning. It also makes me feel a little sick. I have gotten many forms of the manipulation. I’m pooped!

  371. Sally said

    Hi
    I have been reading these posts for a couple of months now and have also downloaded most of Kim’s publications. What a life changing relevation it has been for me to finally understand my husband, and my own co-dependent behaviour.I want to thank everyone for sharing their stories, some of which I can relate to so well they have made me cry.
    My mental health has spiralled downhill over the 21 years I have been married to the point where I have decided to take charge and concentrate on getting myself well and strong. I have taken six weeks off work and left my husband and two teenage boys for 2-3 weeks while I am taking a self-help course for depression (which I highly recommend – you can find it at http://www.uncommon-knowledge.co.uk Their information on depression is particularly clear and helpful) and also working my way through Kim and Steve’s stuff and reading “Disarming the Narcissist“ by Wendy Behary.
    I am starting to think about how I will approach my husband when I return. We have been in contact on the phone and e-mail and his personality shines through these interactions! But it is a lot easier to remain calm and strong from a distance. I know that my real work begins when I go home. I wonder if anyone can give me some advice on whether or not to try to talk to him about Narcissism. I am pretty sure that it will not go down well and that he will completely dismiss the idea that there is anything “wrong” with him. Kim, I get the impression that Steve was formally diagnosed sometime? This must have helped.
    I suspect I am better off practising all the techniques for dealing with a Narcissist first and continuing with my own self strengthening, but I wonder if there is also anything I can do to get him to start connecting with his inner self?
    My other question is how much to tell my son’s who also struggle with their Dad’s behaviour. They are 16 and 17 years old and I feel they are pretty well grounded. I have invested a great deal of energy over the years trying to compensate for their father’s emotional immaturity. Now that I have answers I want to share my knowledge with them but also do not want to over burden them? I am thinking of writing something to them as their attention span with me at their age is very limited! And that way they could dip in and out of it when they want – perhaps at times when the are upset with his behaviour as I know they sometimes are? What do you think?
    Once again thank you all for your support. It really has changed my life. I have not gone into any of the detail of my story but I can relate in particular to what CD and MR have posted, thank you, the toilet roll story keeps me strong through my husbands rage over petty things!
    Sally

  372. HM said

    Hi Trisha – how are you? You have been in my thoughts a lot this past couple of days! I hope you are doing okay. Let me know please!

    Lori – I know just how you feel, as we all do! I wish there was something I could say to you that would make sense. The only advice I can give you is to make yourself as strong as you can, find healing thought patterns for yourself, either through meditation, or through therapy if you can afford it, hypnotherapy works well as the messages to the unconscious mind will strengthen your resolve. The unconscious mind wants what we want, it will act on whatever you tell it to. Think of the old days when parents called children stupid and lazy.. very often those children grew up believing they were stupid and lazy. The condition of the mind is such that it will create whatever we tell it to. So change what you tell yourself, believe that you have a right to a better life. A life where you are understood and respected and loved for who you are, your right of passage, your birthright.

    If you can buy the downloads or CD about codependency I can recommend it. I am a hypnotherapist too and (yes you would think I would have seen my N coming wouldn’t you?) I have to say that Sarah Chambers voice is calming and yet directive. You will gain a lot from listenig to her therapy session. I have also bought a book which although I know from my own training sessions, is teaching me nothing new than I have learned already, but somehow this is different and its really resonating and I am believing that not only my clients are entitled to a wholesome life but that I am also! :-) the book is ‘The Power of Your Subconscious Mind’ By Dr Joseph Murphy. It may work for you too. Belief in yourself is vital to your survival.

    Hi Donna – I am sorry about your son, I know how difficult it must be for you. I posted here the other day about a narcissistic child of 12, whom my friend is worried sick about as this is her grandson. If you do find out anything about the sort of help that is out there, please post here and I will also for you if I find something.

    Hi CD – how are you? I do hope you are alright! I feel for you so much and the storms you are riding through so admirably but at what oost to you? xox

    Take care everyone and keep safe.
    xxx

  373. HM said

    Hi Sally

    I just wanted to say that you have chosen well with your depression course. Uncommon Knowledge are the one of the best in the business I have to say and I am speaking from personal experience. I trained with them 3 years ago and when they did actually have a clinic, I referred quite a few friends there and took my daughter to see one of my tutors there too for therapy. Let me know how you get on with that! I am sure you will do well and enjoy the benefits immensely!

    Hope everyone else is okay! Trisha let me know you are okay please – worried about you!
    xx

  374. S said

    Hi CD,
    Replying to the post on 25/1/2010.
    Thanks for writing back to me. I am the same person who had posted to this site in Dec. I agree that its probably not a good idea to show him the article about tyranny. But I could leave the article regarding the “The Importance of Emotional Competency” open on the pc and may be he will browse through it. My husband is also extremely hypersensitive to any judgement or criticism towards him. Infact he immediately gets very defensive and angry. Sometimes if two people are laughing and talking in the corner of a room he thinks they are laughing at him!. He also does not believe much in psychology. At one time he promises me that he will go for anger management counselling but the next minute he says its all crap and these things don’t help and even discourages me from going to the counsellor. He has not had any tantrums in last few days. I had been so stressed and depressed with things going on in my life but now I have learnt to self sooth. I am now going to try to have some “me” time and focus on getting better. Some days I am full of energy and ready to take on anything that comes my way. But then there are days when I feel emotionally and physically so drained and weak and that’s when even I question myself if I have the strength to go on . I have been nice to him greet him lovingly (like Kim mentions in her book). But I sometimes feel I cant get through to him. He shows as if it doesn’t really matter. I wonder if this is his smoke screen and he doesn’t want me to know what he is really feeling when I am nice and polite to him. I am planning on buying these books too for my own benefit. My husband is not into reading books. So I am not sure to even bother to read it. He feels he would rather watch a movie than read a book. Actually thinking about this are there any movies relating to narcissistic behaviour? .
    How are things going at your side? keep me posted

    Cheers
    S

  375. Lori said

    I am being manipulated. Every day it is a different story. A different demeanor. It is pretty horrible. Blech!

  376. john said

    I find in reading all about this disease that not only does my wife fit many of the areas discussed…but I to have issues in many of the areas discussed.
    I am trying to STOP my areas which I know only escalate the fights and bring the majority of all problems to be labeled MY FAULT. BY speaking softly and not addressing every comment…complaint…put down or challenge and choosing my respomses I feel less hurt and can stay alittle more forcused on the hopeful outcome of the discussion. By not challenging every statement I feel my wife cannot respond and also that her initial statement was to take the discussion to a place where she is in control and I am just defending myself…probably nothing to do with the original issue.
    The anger is severe and the blaming is constant…and seems to be strong and then in alittle while(hours or days) subsides and thing s contnue on.
    I cannot say I haven’t been abusive(physically in the past and at times continue the verbal harrassment
    to this day) and once it starts it is very hard to stop(verbal).
    I need to know what steps to take to gain back my personal power and knowning of self worth and value. I feel very unsure of myself and have alot of diffuliculty moving forward for fear of failure and truly being alone(parents deceased…only step children fully grown…a close
    friend and 57 years old).
    I believe that with changes (both of us together) our lives can be better and get to a place where peace is constant.
    I also need to know the steps to stop the engagement of conflicts and how to difuse some of the issues I am blamed for.
    How can I not accept the blame without conflict or rebuttle that is truly is my fault. If she willnot listen to my response and plays the superior role how do I come out without cuts and bruises AND with some sort of peace(without being told I am controling?
    Is there anyone out there who can give me some help and answers that might work
    thanks

  377. Sally said

    Hi H
    Thank you for your validation of Uncommon Knowledge. I came across them searching on the internet and I am impressed with their self help programme. So far it is certainly helping me. But it is reassuring to hear your view of them, i will keep you posted. I agree with you that it would be good to be able to chat with people sometimes. I have some great friends but no one who really understands what we are all going through.
    Sally

  378. CD said

    Hi Kim,

    Congratulations again on your article Verbal Abuse 3. This is yet another great article from your hard won experience regarding your self-growth and healing your marriage.

    All 3 articles leave me feeling assured that I have got somewhat of a grip on matters, but also clarifies the areas I still need to work on. These 3 articles cast so much light on how to deal with negative behaviour that I consider them a must for everyone to read.

    Just one thing though, my husband is either in true denial about his abusive and/or negative ways, or denies it out of not wanting to acknowledge it or take responsibility for it (in other words he lies about it to keep from facing the truth).

    My husband claims abuse is only when you hit someone – that yelling at, insulting or putting down another person is not abuse – maybe there are various levels of this that are not abuse? I wonder how many people out there like me are not sure where the line gets drawn – what constitutes abuse. Some may not know what the many different forms of abuse are – from physical abuse through to financial abuse? Maybe this is another topic of discussion to educate people on – to help them define healthy boundaries?

    I feel I have become somewhat de-sensitised over the years to the abuse – I don’t know whether I am tough or weak! I know I have had to be tougher than ever in recent times to let the abuse “go over my head” and try to deal with the child in my husband who is acting out – it is hard work – but I figure I have got nothing to lose and everything to gain in getting tough, with or without him in my life. Where my husband would tantrum and storm out when confronted – now when he starts to do this, he stops himself right away because he knows I won’t bend to his tantrums anymore.

    He opened up in front of a couple of friends and myself two days ago how much he hated how his father treated him as a child. He must trust us more now to start talking about it. But then the next night he was back to being the “entitled one” and being superior and abusive toward me! He is a Jeckyll and Hyde and I wish I could figure out who is boosting his ego that he changes his attitude so radically towards me. I still wonder if it is me not handling things in the best way, but at the same time he seems to now like my tough love, almost seeking it out by testing it over and over.

    I have got to dig deeper with the false pride and support him with his gaps plus work on myself at the same time! So much to do and it takes so much time, patience, compassion and understanding!

    It is hard to tell who the genuine person is sometimes. I even wonder if he was really just boosting his ego by looking for sympathy regarding his childhood – but then I dismiss that because I know it was bad. I didn’t know him or his family in the first 17 years of his life, but I was on the scene during the next 13 years of his life until his father died and I know how his father treated him then – it was awful! I can only listen to what he and his late mother told me regarding his childhood relationship with his father.

    I know this situation is at great cost to me in one respect, but on the other hand it has been a character building experience – as I see things much more differently now. I realised a long time ago that there is a positive in every negative – it may just take some contemplation to reveal the positive, but it is worth it.

    CD, Australia.

  379. kimcooper said

    Hi CD,

    I have been so busy, I was just lucky to catch this post. I haven’t had time to read any blog comments in the past week or so. I will get on top of it however and from your inspiration Steve and I will be doing a new audio product as soon as I can get to it.

    You really do sound like you are probably making more progress than you might realize. He does like the tough love I am sure, good work and yes I certainly think it character building!

    When you asked who is boosting his ego I think you are on the right track there too. It may not be someone who is doing that overtly, it may be someone who he feels he can’t show his vulnerability to and has to keep up the lie with. With Steve it was his social worker (who he had told I was tyrant etc.) and when I enlightened her that this was not the truth Steve was so relieved it was a major turning point.

    As for what constitutes abuse that is a good question. I think anything that leaves you feel threatened and where you feel hurt or humiliated and that your boundaries have been crossed. I don’t worry so much about labeling it. It is more a matter of learning how to command respect and be treated well and not poorly.

    Bravo on not tolerating his tantrums and not engaging in the arguments. Keep saying his name warmly and showing that you do accept him (just not the bad behaviour) and you may have a breakthrough with him deciding to lower his defenses. Something is going to shift I would guess, because he must be beginning to see how foolish and immature his behaviour is becoming compared to the new strong you!

    Hang in there!

    Kim Cooper
    http://www.narcissismcured.com

  380. CD said

    Hi John,

    Kim’s story in Verbal Abuse 3 (www.kimcoopersblog.blogspot.com) about how she stuttered and stammered when she was in the circle of identity was exactly how I felt at the very beginning of my voyage of self-discovery.

    I did not know what or who I was anymore! I had lost sight of my core values and beliefs, what I enjoyed doing in life, and the time had come for me to surrender to the situation and get real help and understanding – and I first found that in Al-Anon.

    Both my husband and I were behaving extremely immaturely, and when I started to “grow” in Al-Anon, and with each change in me, the situation got worse for a while until my husband felt “safe” with those changes in me. Nevertheless I had to emotionally and mentally grow up for my own sake, and the sake of my family, and learn to deal with the BS at the same time. I took a form of mental and emotional “time-out” to re-focus on myself while still living with my husband – it was difficult – and I had to let a lot of stuff go through to the keeper until I got my emotions and thinking sorted out with lots of enlightenment into the behaviour and suffering associated with my husband’s alcoholism.

    I would never have thought that he was “suffering” – but he does suffer tremendous guilt and an extremely low self-esteem hidden behind a smoke screen of abuse. He has even admitted to feeling guilty about many things lately.

    One of the greatest and best lessons I had to learn was that I cannot change another person – that I can only change myself. The extension of that philosophy is not to change myself in order to change someone else, but to turn my attention onto myself – to find my identity – who I am and what I want for myself. This journey of self-discovery and building a solid identity (which I think is a never ending journey) has been so personally empowering and exciting – even when dealing with character traits I don’t like in myself – but I still love and accept myself now for all my strengths and weaknesses – which I did not when I first started this journey. This is important to do to be able to regularly emotionally detach from the BS and deflect the criticisms, put downs and insults.

    I started to re-discover my personal identity by reflecting on what I liked to do as a child and young adult, my passions and my dreams in my pre-codependency days.

    I then figured out which ones I could do as a much older person and would enjoy doing again. I started to play squash again, joined Rotary International, and returned to College to study and achieve my Diploma in a field I am passionate about – which is Architecture. I also love to swim and to fish, and being with people. This was the beginning of taking my focus off my husband and starting to live my own life. I haven’t been able to do much in recent years due to a physical disability – but I am starting to find out what I can and would like to do instead.

    Searching out my core values and beliefs ran side by side with “getting a life” that I have outlined above.

    It is OK to be different to your partner, and where there is conflict it is also OK to respect each others opinion while remembering that there is always my opinion, his opinion and the right opinion – that neither of us may be right. What is more important – to be right? or to be happy?

    When my husband is behaving like he is superior to me I really know now “that he is not better than me” and as the Dalai Lama says – “We are all the same” – in other words we are all human beings and entitled to be imperfect and individual. I have to take care not to behave like I am superior to him – but only to quietly, clearly and with courage and conviction stand up for what is lawfully and morally acceptable, and to take the appropriate action against unacceptable behaviour.

    Regarding “blame” – getting someone who is narcissistic to accept blame when they are at fault is a battle that you probably won’t win – simply because they can be so skilful at dodging accountability using all sorts of emotional tools such as accusations, insults, put-downs, abuse, blame shifting, distractions, disappearance, sulking, and so on.

    In times of conflict and blame games, it is always important to remember “How important is it?” and if it is worth continuing a disagreement, and if and when an impasse is reached, then “agree to disagree” -therefore each of one maintains their dignity and viewpoint at that time. Sometimes it is good to repeat back what your partner is saying so they know you have heard their side and to tell them you will take some time to consider their viewpoint. You are then neither agreeing or disagreeing, defending or giving in, but each one can walk away in a form of truce.

    Good luck and stay cool and in touch,

    CD, Australia.

  381. HM said

    Hi everyone

    I wish there was some private space we could chat on here because I am now having to be very aware of what I am personally expressing for fear of being sprung as it is possible my ex N (!!!) may eventually find this place. It ended recently with him calling the final shots, just as had been recommended. However, we did agree to stay friends, although we all know how problematic that can be too, but I was honestly and truly prepared and more than willing to be there for him as a friend and to let him be the friend that I believed he could be if he really put his mind to it!

    He had to remind me though that it had not worked for various reasons (his reasons of course!!) and I did not agree with him about this but said that we had to agree to differ, this has always been the way I have conducted myself in all my relationships with my children, work colleagues, friends and even my parents as I matured. I have not ever considered that only my opinion counts, I have always been ready to listen and willing to change my thoughts if someone came up with a case that perhaps swayed my thinking to a more sensible or rational belief.

    Yet I found this incredibly difficult if not absolutely impossible with him as he would refuse to listen to me, I would see his eyes glaze over and you could almost ‘see’ his brain switching off and the rolling of the eyes or raised eyebrows,the curl of his mouth, the snide expression, the walking away from me all sweeping out in front of me, followed then by the stonewalling, until of course, I ‘came to my senses’ and opened up the doorway for him to stroll back through, without having to apologise or be accountable in any way. I did this and I am sure you all do it too, just to keep the peace and get some sense of normality back into the day.

    Sorry I digress – So there we were, ending on a relatively good note (if there is such a thing) and then I made an ALMIGHTY ERROR OF JUDGEMENT and am now being severely punished as he has shut down on me completely, he has cut me off from his life in every way possible.

    I realise now, that I was lulled into a sense of false security, given that he seemed fairly responsive to the issues I had raised regarding the problems we had encountered in our relationship which we had just finished discussing. His mood changed instantly, yet he did not speak, although when I asked him if anything I was saying made sense, he said he did not know .. rather than just ‘no’, which to be fair, I had expected him to declare.

    The conversation, however, came to a very abrupt end with me wishing him well and to take care but his hostility was evident towards me. He has not only shut me out but also mutual friends and my family. This upset and puzzled them as they are completely innocent in all this. However, I do know why he has done this, I have rumbled him and he is clearly afraid I will alert someone to his problem.

    We have all been cast out, like broken toys, we have fulfilled our uses and cease to exist in his world without a thought for what any of us shared together in the past.

    At some level, I do truly believe, that he knew exactly what I was talking about. I also know that he will be out there now seeking a new NS to take my place. I hope he finds somewhere inside himself to change before he meets anyone else, I do not want another woman going through what I did in loving him. Alas, I think this is highly unlikely.

    How do I feel now a few days on? Well I know I feel sad, and I also feel somewhat bereft, it is like he has literally just dropped dead and his body has disappeared, because his personal belongings are all here but he is not! At some point of course, he has to contact me to collect these and I have placed a time limit on this.

    Yet, I also KNOW that I am going to be in a better place soon as I have been very troubled, distraught and confused over the past year, having dealt with some tremendous blows to my self confidence and self esteem, I have been hurt beyond all imaginings with his intentionally cruel criticisms and also his sick games. He once criticised me for being defensive when I was being criticised by him! I picked him up on this paradox, but he could not understand at all what I meant by that, he felt he had EVERY justifcation WHENEVER he CHOSE, to be as critical and judgemental as he WISHED to be of me, and any defensiveness or upset on my part was just seen as a weakness and another way to manipulate and control me. With what I have learned here, I can now recognise that. This is how my co-dependence was being built and maintained.

    Yes of course I miss him.. and there is a part of me that will always love that man I fell in love with, because he is lost to me forever. I know that he will not return, I worked really hard to get the old him back, not realising at the time exactly what I was up against.

    I still take my hat off to you Kim and Steve and to CD, Lori, Trisha and so many others here who have really worked so hard at rebuilding your lives, your marriages and relationships. In some ways, you know, I truly envy you. You have the opportunity to possibly beat this beast, not into submission, god forbid, that would not be right or ethical to command such power over another human being, even a narcissist! But to be able to feel that you are actively working for the good of your marriages. I did not have that opportunity, given that we did not live together and that has made me feel sad in so many respects.

    I know though in time, I will be okay, I am a survivor and in fact, I intend to be better than okay! I am already taking slightly bigger baby steps than when I began this journey a month ago so I can see the grieving and subsequent healing taking place bit by bit as I learn to accept I have loved and lost ‘him’ to ‘himself’.

    I am listening and reading the Co-dependence package I downloaded here and am really becoming aware of the re-rooting taking place as I find my inner sanctum once again.

    In early January, when I discovered this site and the support and love that you all transcended, not only to me, but for ALL of the ‘members’ out there who are all going through some very challenging times, I can only humbly express a VERY BIG THANK YOU TO YOU ALL who have shared your stories giving me hope and comfort or who have given me sound advice to guide me through the dark days.

    So on that note, I will still be here, either to support you or come back for advice I am sure as the hours and days progress into weeks and months, I will need it again as I know there is a measure of healing and rebirth to take place within. One of the main ways I am healing is that I have taken back my life… I had not realised how much of this was all centred around him or how much of my ‘POWER’ I had literally given away.

    Love and light to you all
    HM

  382. HM said

    PS to that last correspondence – I am also taking Rescue Remedy! Lots of it!

    x

  383. john said

    cd,
    thanks for the note…its good to know others are in the same situation.
    I want to get enough strenght to be able to know when to stand up and when to just let things pass by. I notice by responding to the put-downs…threats…and hurtful statements(which have the response that they are FACTS) I only dig a larger hole…one I eventually cannot get out of.
    BY just listening I am acused of ignoring her and not giving her any answers. A lose-lose situation.
    The threats get bigger with any rebuttal and the hurtful statements hit harder and harder. I cannot get my point across and cannot have her see any possible errors on her side. From here the battle escalates by her defending EVERY action she makes and the nerve of me to even control and question her actions.
    I want to be able to leave believing that this whole 30 years is not my entire fault and there was some love and goood times to be had.
    MY heart hurts so badly and its very difficult to accept that her issues are just that.
    help

  384. CD said

    Hi HM,

    I feel for you, you must be experiencing a lot of mixed emotions. Maybe it is better for you both not to have contact for a while “to let the dust settle” and to prepare yourself for the next possible encounter.

    Whatever you had said to him where you now believe you were lulled into a false sense of security (believing that you could discuss something as emotionally mature adults??) obviously he was not receptive.

    He may need time now to chew over what you have said, deal with it one way or the other, or continue to deal with it by disappearance.

    It takes a good level of emotional and mental maturity to remain undisturbed by the viewpoints of others.

    It takes even more maturity to consider the merits of the viewpoints of others in an unbiased and non-egotistical way, and then after taking every thing into account – arriving at an unchanged or new personal point of view whilst remembering that it is possible not to see or know ALL the facts right at that point in time.

    Keep going learning as much as you can about narcissism and co-dependency – based on personal experience it is well worth the time and effort.

    “Maturity is the capacity to withstand ego-destroying experiences, and not lose one’s perspective in the ego-building experiences.”
    Robert K. Greenleaf

    Good luck and stay in touch,

    CD, Australia.

    PS: MR, S, Lori, Sally, Donna, Trisha and others – how are you all going? Hope you can stay in touch too – we all learn so much from each other!

  385. CD said

    Hi John,

    Things sound really rough for you at the moment. Have you purchased Kim and Steve’s “Back From The Looking Glass” and workbooks yet? Many people here have found it invaluable to limit the abuse even in highly abusive relationships. There is a lot of help available through Kim and Steve’s program and the people who post here.

    I would like to give you a “thought” to silently think whenever your wife is trying to provoke or sustain a fight or being abusive:

    “Whatever I am, or whatever you think I am, does not excuse your abusive behaviour right now.”

    You can do this while still listening to her of course – and as you gain confidence and courage – and whenever you feel uncomfortable or threatened by her behaviour use some responses like:

    “I don’t like where this is conversation is going, we have been down this road before, and I don’t want to go there again because right now I am going to work/sleep/take a shower/etc.”

    “I hear what you are saying and right now we need to take time out to think about things and we will discuss it again later after we both have calmed down.”

    “Stop criticizing me!”

    “I can see why you would think I am ignoring you, but right now I don’t know what to do or say when you are so angry at me. I need to go for a walk/cycle/drive for ? minutes/ ? hour(s) to calm down.”

    After each of these type of statements make sure you follow though with self-soothing or do what you need to or should be doing.

    While your wife is insulting you, putting you down and emotionally beating up on you she is focused (perhaps unconsciously) on making you to blame for all of her problems and difficulties her life and her marriage, instead of realising and/or acknowledging it is most likely her own self-destructive ways and shortcomings that are her biggest obstacles to herself.

    There could be many reasons for her not facing her own difficulties/shortcomings some of which may include a low self-esteem, self-hate, inadequacies, addiction(s), guilt, self-pity, resentment, sleep deprivation, history of a dysfunctional family, lack of manners and/or communication skills (throws tantrums?), lack of lifestyle balance (work versus play), hormone imbalance or other health problems, lack of a good diet, exercise and the good oils (Omegas 3 & 6) and so on.

    Your wife probably knows that she is not in a very good place, but doesn’t know how to climb out of the hole she is digging deeper and deeper for herself – it is much easier to blame you and to see your “faults” than for her to look at her own, and to pull you down into the deep, dark hole with her.

    Once I understood what struggles my husband may be having I was able to (little by little) own my own difficulties, and recognise what was actually my husband’s own difficulties even if he did not want to own them. In so doing I was then able to apply to my life and relationship the full strength of the Serenity Prayer:

    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

    It is important to remember though that “things” are not “people”. The Serenity Prayer is a great way to climb out of the “hole” by calming and/or inspiring yourself in times of despair, anger, hopelessness, complacency, etc. – it helps you to become centred again and focused on your life and goals. As time goes by, and you reclaim your own identity, you will begin to learn to love and accept yourself again and to command respect.

    No-one can know you as well as you can know yourself – and that is not always a quick or easy task – and it is your obligation and your right only to define your authentic self.

    If you already have Kim & Steve’s BFTLG and workbooks and are trying to implement the strategies, then it pays to remember that things are very likely to get worse for a while before they get better.I believe this is due to what we used to call in Al-Anon as “Excited Misery” and “Stinking Thinking”.

    When our relationships end up in such a bad place we may have become so “addicted” to dysfunction and anger that when we look for and have the good fortune to find real help (like Kim and Steve’s program) and start making the necessary changes to our attitudes and strategies – our partner will still be caught up in the old behaviour patterns, and will attempt to “keep you in there” out of habit, bad attitudes and poor relationship skills.

    This may continue for some time until your loved one learns to feel safe with the new dynamic in your relationship, and it also may re-surface from time to time as you continue to make changes to yourself. She may even sense that she is losing you because you have risen to a higher level of emotional maturity and calmness than hers – so where you are more in fear of losing your wife and your marriage at the moment – the tide can turn with changed attitudes and truck loads of patience, understanding and self-soothing. Take heart though – it will get easier after a while – and the rewards are great and character building!

    Good luck and stay in touch,

    CD, Australia.

  386. HM said

    Hi CD

    Thank you so much for your very supportive and empathic post concerning my recent relationship break up. You are so right about the mix of emotions! The 1st few days I felt bereft, all I could think of were the good times we had had, however, since a few days ago, I have felt very differently about it all. I have compartmentalised my feelings about him in a very rational way I feel and whilst have remembered the good times have also been remembering the not so nice times with him which sadly had become far more frequent than the pleasurable times. Those memories of his abuse have kept me on the straight and narrow regarding feeling safe now.

    He has been in touch and of course blames me for his blocking all contact from me, well we all knew that was going to be the case didn’t we? He told me that I should have demonstrated ‘dignified silence’ after it was decided to end it and not contacted him. Although I replied about his belongings and when he could pick them up, I have not reacted at all to any of the negative comments and guilt transferences that he made to me. This is what he expected I am sure, for me to retaliate as I have done in the past when feeling the necessity to defend myself from his verbal attacks and constant criticisms of my every being. I have stepped way back and now feel able to look at things from a new perspective. I have been able to see so much more than I saw before.

    I have to share that it feels ultimately a calmer place inside my mind and body this past 3 days and I really feel as though I have broken ground at last with regards to understanding how I fell in love with hiim and how I ‘allowed’ him to continue to behave badly whilst always finding it in my heart to forgive him time and time again, only to be insulted even more so as I became weaker in his eyes and less attractive. I can see with so much more clarity now.

    I have been ill for weeks with a virus I have not been able to shift and I know that the reason this bug took a hold like it has, is because my immune system has suffered a great blow too just as my self esteem, self confidence and happiness were also taking regular blows from this man. The immune system, under attack from stress cannot cope and the resultant issues will be resistant viruses, headaches, IBS, joint pains, back pain….emotional eating etc etc…..

    The resources for this recovery which I have made and is still a work in progress, came from reading Back from the Looking Glass and your heartfelt recommendation CD, to read that and I am glad I listened to you and did. I also downloaded the Co-dependency package and have found that invaluable too. Again too, CD, from your recommendation on the Wendy Bahary’s book Disarming the Narcissist, I have also learned much. Another book I would like to recommend on the subject is ‘Why is always about you? The 7 Deadly Sins of Narcissism’.

    So thank you again CD for your infinite sense of wisdom and reality.

    John – I am so very sorry that you are in such pain and we all know what you have been through and are going through and the fear in your heart for what lies in the future.

    I really felt for you when I read your post and have thought about you a lot. We all need a fair amount of support here and it seems crazy to think we can get that level of support from a few post its on a site but do not underestimate the power of this site of Kim and Steve’s. There is so much love and support here we all radiate outwards to each other, I am sure you are already aware of that.

    Follow CD’s advice, she recommended to me that I read the e book, Back from the Looking Glass and various other books and I took her advice and read them and the healing began, from the inside out. Make sure you get plenty of restorative sleep especially as you are low at the moment, this is essential to keeping you emotionally stable, not enough sleep will make you susceptible to emotional swings and you will find it harder to bounce off the hurtful comments from your wife. Get some exercise as its the quickest route to feeling better when you are depressed with all that life is dishing out. Do you also know of EFT? I have found it has really helped me a lot this last week. I also have been using Rescue Remedy, at least 4 times daily.. 4 drops under my tongue.

    Trisha – not seen you posting for a while, hope you are okay! Come in and let us know.

    Hope all of you are doing okay!
    Blessings
    xx

  387. Jean said

    Does a co-dependent ever give up on the relationship without making a conscious effort to do so, or do they usually stay with their N partner for an extended period of time?
    I know that’s like asking “how long is a piece of string”, but I was curious as to whether a co-dependent eventually realizes that they have to make the first move in bettering their relationship.

  388. Trisha said

    Hi HM,

    Its been along time sine I have talked to you, again I wish we could talk in person. I have led and interesting time lately. I broke off the relaionship with my partner, I wrote a letter and basically I told him we were done. I know thi is against what we are supposed to do but I guess I am a rebel. I even talked to him on the phone afterwards to clear up any thing he may have. I told him never to call me, forget me and that he earned what happended to him, I kicked him to the curb. Well he did respect what I said and did not call. It took about 4 days and he did call. I was very firm and told him no more. I did give him conditions though if it was ever to work with me. Now he is in counseling and on medication and has found the Lord. He seems to be a different person. I have gone very s l o w with him, I would not allow him the same privileges that he used to have such as coming over every night, taking me for granted and so forth. It seems that I have a new person on my hands. His guidance is coming from his belief in God and doing the right thing. So far so good. Like I said he is on medication and seeing someone for counsel. I don’t know, to be honest I see him 3 times a week rather than the 7 of before, he treats me nicer than I have ever been treated by him as well as my daughter, he seems to be thougtful. I am still waiting for the other shoe to drop. I hope this doesn’t blow up in my face, if it does I know what I have to do, start all over and this time no matter what he says or does it is done!!!! I did it once and to be honest it felt so good. For a change I was the one finding fault, and not being the happy one. I gave him what he gave me, and I dumped him on top of that. The only way I got through that was thining that he earned it and he did. I just hope he stays the same, I have no guarantees, but I do know I don’t want any more bad behavior and I will not take any for any reason. You get what you sow. What do you think? Is this just the good time? I hope not for his sake because I do feel I am a different person. Hang in there HM, I wihs I could give you a hug, in fact we all need a good hug.

    Talk to me soon,
    Trisa.

  389. HM said

    Hi Trisha

    I am here! I was hoping you were okay, I sensed you were back together with your BF and taking time to sort it out in your head. I am happy for you that you are back on track with him and that he seems to have found a means of recovery too.

    Take care of yourself first and foremost and continue to read up on the subject to learn how to protect yourself and how to dissarm him should there be a repeat of his past behaviours. Take note of what CD says, she has a good grip on the whole subject! Have you read downloaded the Co-dependency Package yet? I can give it a good review. Even after the 1st time I listened to Sarah Chambers, I felt an instant lift of my spirit to a more awakened and enlightened understanding.

    You and your daughter are the most important people in this equation and you can only look out for you and she, not for him, he has to take responsibility for his life and his happiness. I cannot hide the fact though, that I am concerned for you, I hope that this does not come back to bite you in some way.

    If he has truly found God and this is giving him comfort then fine, as long as its not a means of covering up or masking your eyes from seeing the real situation. Please take care!

    Prayer is a means of talking to the unconscious mind, our mind will create what we tell it to as the unconscious mind wants to be one with us (and our conscious mind). This is followed through in Dr Joseph Murphy’s book, The Power of the Subconscious Mind, which I am presently reading. Or also in Gary Zukav’s book ‘The Seat of the Soul’ another good read.

    If in his prayers he is asking for help to be whole and good and kind then who knows, with your love guiding him, he may well become a better person and free himself of his N tendencies. Be aware that is all, do not become complacent that he is changed already, he has a lot of work to do and so do you in rebuilding your relationship and in empowering yourself, you do sound more grounded now though, I must say! xx

    My ex and I broke up last year for a few weeks, got back together and he was better for a while, unfortunately he clearly decided that I was not worth the effort and started to withdraw again and preferring instead to spend his time in the company of others, particularly females he works with. I think he found my new rules about what I was willing to tolerate in him, not to his liking.

    It has been nearly 2 weeks now and I feel so much better, I feel calmer and my path is clear again, whereas before the road ahead was something that was blcoked from my vision. All I could feel was pain and sadness at how he was treating me and treating our relationship. Every attempt was thwarted to find the man I had once known in him. I started to withdraw from my social circles because I found the whole thing just too much to cope with……that is so not me! I was once known as the life and soul of the party, I had started to become quite reclusive and I recall once trying to explain things to him about how I was feeling and that this side of me was beginning to worry me… of course his reply to that which was not even an accusation to him, was one of “well you can’t blame that on me!” I had not said a word..but we know that this is how an N usually responds, it is always, always going to be someone else’s fault and not ever theirs. I think on that day, something started to shut down inside and the last few weeks of some appalling behaviour of his had really finished me off, they were the final straws.

    I have no regrets that it is over and none that it started, I do not believe that having regrets ever does any of us any good. I met him, I fell in love with him and we parted…end of story and another chapter of my life is here, it is all part of the same book however and has proven to be a HUGE learning curve for me. I thought I had learned it 11 years ago when I split up from my husband, for the same behaviour. I am sure that if I had known then what I had been dealing with, there would not have been another N in my life. At the 1st sign of trouble, the door would have been shown for them to leave.

    I am seeing him soon for the collection of his ‘stuff’ from my home, I am not particularly looking forward to it I must admit, not because I am afraid of him and not because I am worried that he may try and creep back into my life, or that I will weaken when seeing him. I know I won’t. I simply do not want to expend any more energy on him being at the forefront of all that I do, as I have done for 2 years! I will be polite and keep it short and to the point, there is no point in prolonging anything. He thinks we are still friends, however, I am not entirely sure that I want to be the sort of friend that he is thinking I will be. A friend that he can call upon for a favour or to meet up with him when it suits him because he has not got anything better to do. I know this may sound harsh to some of you out there, but I gave so much of myself. Too much. I have taken back my power in the last couple of months although it has been a slow process and is still a work in progress. I know that the abuse I received at his hands is not going to disappear overnight but I am taking bigger steps forward now to my recovery.

    His mother called me last week and wanted to lay some blame, he had asked me not to tell her the truth about anything to do with why we broke up, it was tempting I have to say when she was suggesting that it was because of me. I just drew a short breath in, held it for a moment and then breathing out slowly let her think whatever floats her boat. I know what I know and I do not need anyone else now to satisfy me that I have made the right decision in ending it. I made a decision based on what I also know about her, she is the reason he is the way he is, she is THE N in HIS life. She is the woman who raised him, indulged his every whim and thought of herself first and foremost and still does, she has no genuine empathy or compassion for anyone except herself. It is always about her, just as it is always about him. It is a strange relationship he has with her, he loathes her, he complains about her being self absorbed, selfish, thoughtless, tactless, cruel, that she lies about her health to gain sympathy, and yet he sees none of these traits in himself at all.

    I am thankful for having had an upbringing where my parents laid firm boundaries down for my behaviour and taught me right from wrong and taught me the important lesson of being accountable and responsible for your own actions. How to say sorry and make amends and give unconditional love. I did lock horns with my parents some times as most children do, we always found a way out of it with love and understanding of what each of us were trying to convey, a compromise would be sought, sometimes I was grounded though as my parents rules were paramount over mine. :-) Whereas he missed out on those important lessons of life and that is very sad.

    Whatever any of you decide to do, make sure that you really are doing what is right for each and every one of you in terms of your emotional and physical health. The other decisions you may need or wish to make will follow when you are in a good and balanced place in your mind.

    Life is too short to be unhappy. Take charge of your life, it is one lifetime you have to think about – THIS LIFE NOW!

    My friends are commenting on the fact that the old me is returning .. I am slowly emerging from my ‘hiding place’ and shining once more. I feel free for the first time in such a long long time. I can wholeheartedly recommend the feeling! It feels akin to a rebirth. However, please note that this tact of ending it has worked for me, it may not be right for you Trisha or any of you out there. I just have this amazing feeling of peace inside me now and I want to share it with you all.

    I have learned so much about myself in this journey to where I am now. I found out about what was making me a co-dependent here on this site through support, advice and the friendship connections that we all share here with each other and most importantly the one thing that binds us all, is that we all have true and sincere EMPATHY for each other.

    I wish too Trisha I could give you a hug, we do all need one!

    Blessing you all and sending one big virtual hug
    Love and Light for all our journeys
    HM

  390. john said

    cd & hm
    thanks for the notes…as always very helpful
    I want to share a short tale with you that just happened…the other night I had a situation where out of nowhere we had a very loud discussion regarding a very simlpe opinion of mine…wow the quickness and volume of the situation was like lighting a match. Caught off guard I retreated to a neutral spot and did not respond to all the things being said to me and the tone of the statements. The night was finished in silence, The next day I left for work w/o speaking and in the afternoon I rec’d a phone call in which I heard a apology for the way the night before was handled and a statement that she should have handled the issue in a better way. I did not ask what the beter way was thinking its better to leave things without another issue.
    I bring thsi up because I was proud of myself for not getting caught up in her issues and therefor DID NOT have the problem become mine. I was pleased with the phone call but it did not mean as much to me as the progress that I felt I had achieved in handling the situation. I know its only one step BUT what a step it is. I will continue to work on MYSELF for that is the only place where change can be counted on…its my life at stake not hers and as soonas that is realized things take a turn for the better. YOu cannot yor strenght thru someone else unless you accetpt that that strenght can be false and taken away at any time by the other person.
    Once youseperate yourself enough from the other person you can see a little clearer what needs to be done.
    Its not fixed…its justnot as broken!
    will talk again…
    peace

    john

  391. KL said

    I decided 6 months ago to leave my narcissist husband because I could no longer take the verbal/emotional abuse and being blamed for EVERYTHING in our relationship. Even though we were separated I did everything I could to try to make the relationship work. He started to date other people even though he was telling me he did not want a divorce (I believe for financial reasons). Yet after a few months he asked me to move back in and because he had shown no commitment to working on our marriage, I said no. A week ago I was told by him not to contact him anymore and that I do not live at my house anymore and should not ever be there (even though I have been giving him money) because I play “mind games” with him (ha!). I decided now that I do want a divorce because I can’t take the devaluation and put-downs any longer. My question is: I have so many belongings in that house that I want to retrieve, we need to make financial decisions but he will not talk to me and I do not want to contact him. I am afraid that if he finds out I get a lawyer, he will destroy my property and my finances. Does anybody have any experience in dealing with this? Do I sneak in and remove my belongings and just leave divorce papers? How do you tell someone like this that you want a divorce without facing the horrible abuse that I know will follow? Thank you all so much, it is nice to know that I’m not alone.