Narcissism Cured – Your Comments are Welcomed here …

February 9, 2009

Steve and I have worked tirelessly in the last year and a half helping people dealing with their narcissistic partners or family members or with their own narcissism. Although we are heterosexual and married we have in this time seen that this problem affects all people. We now sell ebooks to people in many different countries and from all walks of life, male and female, old and young, rich and poor, famous or disenfranchised, gay or straight. It seems that narcissism and domestic abuse definitely know no bounds.

We get a lot of feedback and about 98% of it is positive but it is undoubtably our sales pages that draw the most comment. Many people say that the information on our website alone has helped them tremendously and others critcize us saying that they do not like our sales approach and that what we offer is dangerous. Narcissism is a highly emotional subject and so the highly emotional and sometimes even abusive responses we receive (at times) do not surprise me. We of course appreciate courtesy but do value all of the feedback we receive.

Your comments have  encouraged me to make two big changes;

1. I have completely revised our sales page with the help of all the feed-back I have received and hope that it now very clearly informs the reader of our philosophy and methods giving a clear impression of what our products offer without being unnecessarily ‘hard sell’. Our new sales page can be viewed by subscribing to our email list at or if you are already on our list please look for an email with the link which will now take you to the new updated page.

2. I have created this space here for our subscribers to make comments on our sales page and discuss their different opinions on this subject publicly rather than just sharing with us. We also welcome testimonials here that you believe will be of use to others considering purchasing our products,  but for customer service issues or complaints we ask that you please email our customer service department first at ,  this will give us the best chance to help you directly with your issue and most efficiently find a solution.

I believe that a good sales process needs to illicit emotion and address any concerns and also I believe that our sales pages are a very important part of the educational process that we offer. Being able to define a problem clearly and see it from a number of angles is often three quarters of the solution.

For this reason I have spent a huge amount of time and research deciding on the wording of this new page. In it I hope to convey as clearly as possible the journey of hope that we offer in it’s most simple description and that the simple picture I create with these words might help you stay on course through the more difficult parts of your journey.

I look forward to your comments and welcome discussion here, please note however that rude, aggressive or innappropriate comments will be removed.

Hang in there!

Kim Cooper


489 Responses to “Narcissism Cured – Your Comments are Welcomed here …”

  1. spacecowgirl said

    Kim I want to tell you that I was really sceptical about your program at first (and once joined in on a forum where they were saying bad stuff about you) but then I did buy both of your ebooks and decided to give them a try.

    I read them both in less than two days and the first thing I saw was how much practical advice you had squeezed into two pretty short books.

    Your advice was hard, but it did put me back in the driver’s seat with things I could do rather than just blaming him and feeling sorry for myself.

    I worked hard on the points I hadn’t tried yet and did all the exercises and I am happy to say that our life together has improved greatly since then. The hardest was learning to cheer myself up and ‘self soothe’ when he was at his worst but it is something that I am getting better at and I like the faith it has given me in myself. I am much less of a pushover than I used to be and this has had a positive impact on other areas of my life too. Learning to calm down quickly has made me so much stronger a person.

    At first my husband got mad at me ‘limiting’ his bad boy stuff but once he saw that I was ready to expose him then he just caved right in and I had to get used to how helpless he became because he was just lost when he saw that he couldn’t put me down any more (the bill of rights exercise was my saviour). He is getting better about this now and his ‘gap work’ is going well. He is a lot happier and so am I. Your advice about setbacks was also spot-on and I am really glad you warned me about that or I might have given up.

    I never go on the forums anymore and am starting to work toward some of my own goals now like getting back into fitness training. I was glad I got your email about this blog because I really wanted to say sorry for the bad things I once said about you online before I had ever read your books. The things you say are true and there is much more we can do to deal with this problem than just give in to these guys or run. I think that some people don’t like your message because they already lost their love and now they don’t want to hear that maybe they could have done something different. I am glad I didn’t lose mine. Things are better now than they ever were.

    I know you will get lots of comments here and after my time on the forums I know that not all of it will be kind, so I am glad I got here first and got to share my story. If anyone reading this is wondering whether to try your ideas I would say it is hard work but I don’t know what else I would have done and it has not just helped my marriage but also helped me grow as a person. Maybe it won’t work for everyone but your ebooks have sure helped me.

    Thanks Kim
    PS. I love the new page on your website, I think it makes what you are saying really clear.

  2. Sue Howard said

    I came across your site when it was becoming clear to me I was up against it in my marriage. Having endured for over 30 years a range of abuse, being lied to, verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, from my husband, I was getting to the end of my tether. Just over two years ago, my husband returned from working away from home with a gift for his PA and his mother and nothing for me. He wanted to send his PA flowers and was boasting to me that she fancied him. I knew at that point, I was a non-person to him, that was no way to talk to or treat a spouse or partner.
    I snapped and it all came tumbling out. For the first time ever I let the rage out. From that I found that people do not lose their temper, I was fully in control the whole time. I also decided I would stay calm and adult to better deal what would happen next.
    To begin with, my husband would not accept that his behaviour was anything but my fault. From that I realised he could not handle what he saw as failure in any way, someone else had to be responsible.
    The turning point for him was when he worked away again and there was a problem with a room booking. It had nothing to do with me, but he rang up and left a very nasty voice-mail message blaming me. I wasn’t at home when he called.
    I didn’t erase it, but played it back to him and he was shocked. He prided himself on his logical mind and the message was anything but logical. He was more upset about that then what it might have done to me, but it was a turning point in his management of his behaviour.
    I had some very low points, but with a combination of my own skills and your positive, practical words of common sense and inspirations, making a new start in our marriage was and is possible.
    As with all life changes, it opens up all sorts of avenues and long buried stuff. My husband can see the way his mother behaved and still does has affected him in a very negative way and that she most likely has undiagnosed NPD. He is not comfortable with the realisation, but can see that he has some of her traits and has made huge efforts to keep them in check. For me, it has been a change of career. I left Social Work to retrain as a Psychotherapist. Thank you Kim and Steve for opening up your lives to us and sharing. It really has made a difference to us.

  3. Rick Shepard said

    It seems that there really are vastly different levels of narcissism. I was only child with an emotionally dependent mother and no father. My grandparents helped out and my grandmother was mean and grandfather distant. Sometimes I get so despondent about not being able to relate to people without it being about me and being stuck in my own head that I just want to drive off and live in the woods. Is there anyone out there from my type of background that can honestly say this can be dealt with?



  4. ZAN said

    I was lied about in Divorce and my Attorney was doing Drugs with my Ex, and a corrupt court system, they stole my child for 6 years, then my Son kept begging me to let him live with me! University of Michigan fired my Ex, Now the Prosecutor attorneys and Judges are looking pretty STUPID, My Son (call him “A”)got all “F’s” in school and I spoke with Principal at school, notified Police, and my Ex father in-law, turned his daughter into Child Protective Services, (which is who I called in 2002 during the Divorce), Idiots totally, anyway “A” escaped from Mom’s house of Horror and has been with me since Aug of 08, all “A’s” and 1 “C”, now FOC (friend of court) Crooks are now siding with me, as we are going to a real Judge 2/19/09 as My Ex, hired a lawyer and is now fighting me. Her car repossesed, losing her house, fired, no refridgerator, food is out in garage (winter here). What a system. Thanks to you, I now know I am not the Abuser (in Michigan they say only 2% of men are abused) I am a great Father. Used your system to catch her in many lies at Court.

  5. Deej said

    Kim and Steve

    I found your website and offerings at a time of great disruption in my life. I am newly married – less than a year – and have experienced sudden changes within the relationship. I am not a young adult – I am 55 years old, an executive in New York City and had been single most of my adult life. A highly publicized divorce in our community involving internationally-known super model, Christie Brinkley, is what ultimately tipped me off to the ‘narcissistic’ personality disorder. It was casual commentary on the part of local journalists that caused me to investigate the behaviors associated with it. A casual remark by one ‘expert’ labeling Peter Cook, Brinkley’s errant husband, as a narcissist lead me to discovering what I believe to be the truth about my husband.

    I have plenty of things to work on in my life, but I am proudest of that fact that even though his criticism and belittling of me has increased, I have never once believed it to be true. What I was missing were bonafide techniques to handle him when his ire is up. There are truths in your work that many others would agree with if they were not so insistent on getting each of us to walk away from relationships that mean something. I do not believe that I am hiding my head in the sand – this marriage will take work. But that said, I believe he married me because I am able to stand up for myself, to put boundaries around his behavior and to simply take care of me when he decides to go into the cave that he has created for himself. The technique that still fascinates me is the one where, mid-tirade, I will redirect his attention by saying something completely off-subject, or even off the wall. One time, in my calm but steady voice, I interrupted him during a rage and said, “We both know that the person yelling at me now is not the man I married – when he returns, I’ll be happy to discuss this with him.” Not only did it stop, I was able to calmly walk to another room in the house and wait it out. He did not follow me, did not continue to yell, and when I did reappear, looking fine and composed, he sat down to a quiet dinner with me. We addressed the subject a few days later and, well, I feel as though things are improving.

    I think wiorking with my man on this is something I am up to. I seek out his counsel on things that I am qualified to do for myself but I realize that our connection remains stronger if I need him. Your insight into trust is also spot-on. I realize that much of his fear is believing that I can and will leave – just like others in his life. He has had some tragedy – for sure – but his good qualities are what I love about him. We’re new in the journey but I have read and re-read the books – the techniques work.

    Thank you both for taking the time to pen and share your experiences. It has helped here in NYC.

  6. kimcooper said

    Hi Rick, You are not alone and I really feel for you. Your situation might be a bit different to Steve but I think that you might enjoy his site at

    I will also be releasing a new book very soon (I am finishing it today) called “The Little book of Empathy, Love and Friendship” which is a very short but packed with info book (with pictures) on how to be more empathetic and also how to be someone who others will have empathy for. You see we really do decide who we are going to feel for (and who we don’t) and your somewhat ‘different’ upbringing has probably left you feeling a bit left out. This new book should help with some very simple and practical advice on how to fit in better and be accepted by others without talking about yourself.

  7. naturalgal said

    Hi Kim,
    I was excited to see that you added the Youtube about Psychiatry. I have seen that previously. I also like that you said:

    “Personality disorders and emotional problems are not diseases and drugs are not the answer, but please if you are on medication (that you want to stop) get professional guidance to help you as withdrawal symptoms from these drugs can be very dangerous.”

    I ordered your ebooks in January. I had been searching for help for a very long time. My problem is that both my husband and I do not trust the mental health industry and whenever I went for help I was afraid that they would want to diagnose us and push medications on us.

    I did leave my husband in November….before I ordered or your book. From my experience in the mental health system I know that they say NPD is not treatable and advise people to leave.

    Anyway, I now live only three blocks from my hubby. I am trying to do many of the things you suggest…Like always saying his name and encouraging him. But since we are separated his is always very nice, so I don’t have a way to practice some of the other techniques that you suggest.

    I do not know what will happen. I am treading water now. I write about it here:

    I was so excited when I read about how you take Omega 3s, amino acids and other supplements…I do too. I write about it here:

    Also it is really good that you warned people about going off meds too soon and that they can have a bad reaction.

    I am so happy to have found your ebooks. I don’t know what the future holds…. I have tried a couple support groups…but no one has your point of view.

    Hubby is taking an mens group class…we will see what happens.

    THANK-YOU for your alternative voice.


  8. Anna said

    Hi Kim
    I have read your first ebook and even though my situation is different to yours (I asked my husband to leave six months ago after discovering a third act of unfaithfulness within ten months, when it was discovered there’d been several women over several years), I feel many of your suggestions can be modified to help my situation. I made it clear to him at the time, and since, that my hope is for reconciliation and a redeemed marriage (after 29 years together), and he is keen for this too, only he’s still in huge denial (apart from adultery, which he can’t deny!) and still playing the blame-game. One of the hardest things to cope with is that the counsellors involved have been completely ‘won over’ by his convincing but deceptive perspectives. I was left feeling I did not have a leg to stand on; that I had no credibility with anyone of influence. Learning about narcissism has given me a hope that my husband’s deceptive ways can be recognised and dealt with appropriately. I am in the process of putting together a support network – I like that idea – and now have two friends who ‘know everything’ and believe me (!) and who pray for me/us. I have approached my Pastor and his wife, who have agreed to meet with me. My hope is that they too will come on board with me, and I’m thinking in terms of engaging the support of a Christian counsellor familiar with narcissism (who has been recommended). I believe my husband would agree to see him – I/we need someone who isn’t going to have the wool pulled over their eyes!

    There are many other things I have found helpful to know (I so hear you re the futileness of marriage counselling!) and I wanted to let you know that you have given me some hope and direction. There’s much more I could write/explain, but it would take too long. I really just wanted to thank you.


  9. Allan said

    After 30+ years of confusion caused by my wife’s classic NPD behaviour – I turned to you, as my last chance. Have bought both your e books and am almost ready to implement your suggestions.
    We have 3 boys: the eldest has suffered with ME for ~7 years ( almost certainly caused, in part, by my wife’s cruel narcissism) and is badly damaged; the second is a high grade Down’s Syndrome ( thanks to his mother’s input)dependent on her for all his life, whether he likes it or not; the youngest has cut all ties with her and has said he wouldn’t even attend her funeral if she died now.
    In this difficult family situation,you have,at the very least, given me some hope that I can, somehow,hold the family together. Thank you,for that.

  10. Russell Vick said

    you guys are great. You seem to genuine, to real care. I really needed your website and I bought some of your materials. They have helped a lot.
    My wife and I are doing well.
    I see and hope the love that I see that comes out of your videos is really real. It is very up liftng.
    you helped me at a time of great darkness. YOu are really in my prayers, I hope you realize how much God does and can use you at that if you give him the glory for leading you and giving you the knowledge and wisdom; He will greatly bless you.
    The new page is great and the film clip about drugs is very powerful. Thanks Russ here San Diego.

  11. sue said

    hi kim,
    wanted to let you know that i am still at the beginning of this journey with my daughter that has npd. when i wrote you, we were not speaking and i was afraid of losing her forever. as of today we have decided to phone each other once a week and both practice talking to each other with respect, gratitude and patience. so far so good 🙂 we have not gotten to the tough topics, yet, so the entire verdict is not in. thank you for being out there to help people who want their relationships to work. additionally, it is very very helpful to have steves imput so i have a clearer idea of how her thinking process is working. this helps me be more intune. thank you so much for your help – excellent program. sue

  12. Ruth Dormer said

    Hi Kim,

    This sounds like it is too good to be true. I appreciate your desire to help people but I have done most of the stuff you say. It does help the marriage be more peaceful. However that is far from Love. I can protect myself from abuse but you do not say what to do if my husband will not Love. Are you suggesting that I stay in a loveless marriage? I am looking forward to hearing other experiences about this.


  13. cheri said

    You speak about being in a marriage with a person with this disorder. I am not in that kind of a relationship, but my relationship is with my daughter. We fight all the time and she is like self destructing. All of this fits her and she is so out of control. Everything has to be her way almost always. Her behavior has gotten her in trouble with the law. I took your 3 questions and I honestly said no to all three. I can’t really cut her out of my life, but she needs help any advice?

  14. Melanie said

    Hi Kim & Steve…
    I am new to your information as my husband & I were seeking counseling with a psychologist who diagnosed my husband as NPD. To his credit, he has not suggested meds (even though I asked him to) nor has he suggested I leave my husband. My best friend recently also began counseling & her husband was also tagged NPD. Even though our husbands have some differents symptoms, there is that common thread. She & I have turned on to your information & it’s been very helpful.
    Some of the techniques you suggest do not apply to me (thankfully) as my husband is not unfaithful (there are checks in place that make me certain of this) or physically abusive. His verbal abuse, however, leaves me feeling completely spent. Before finding your site, I had already begun using some of your techniques on my own & for the most part, they do work. Reading your information has shown me some areas where I can certainly do some “tweaking.”
    My question is…what do you do when you can’t take it anymore & give in to your emotion? Now that I know what I am dealing with in my husband, I handle things WAY better than I used to, but nobody can be a strong saint all the time. After an ugly fight this weekend where I stood my ground, but was later “punished,” I am left feeling defeated & drained, even though we have “kissed & made up.” He is now back to being chipper & perky which just feels like rubbing salt into my wounds. I certainly don’t want to rub his nose in his bad behavior & I know his seeing me wounded will only fuel more “fun” for him, but how do I get my ego back? I welcome all comments & suggestions & thanks to any who respond.

  15. Sue said

    hi kim,
    i’m glad i found you…but a lot of things do not pertain to my partner. i’ve been divorced for quite sometime and my ex was a carbon copy of all that has been addressed only very, very, physically abusive. he was one of those turnaround blame everything on me and very grandiouse. i had to leave or would have lost my kids. now the real problem…..i have an adult daughter who is 30 and my younger daughter who is 20 and a college student away from home. my older one, has many different degrees and is currently a drug and alcohol abuse counselor. she lives one block away from me….at least once a year about this time, she displays disrespect, starts an argument, says she is co-parenting me, supports me,( i support myself ) and told me the other day that “she” is putting “her” foot down as far as i’m concered. now don’t forget she does this at least once a year around valentine’s day or mother’s day. then there is no contact for months. she then comes around and acts like nothing happened..duh…this time she told me i was jealous of her, and had to have everything she has. told me not to call for help and that i was a martyr. she said i acted like everyone was out to get me and she was sick of it. i don’t know where this distorted thinking is coming from…she is very grandiose and wants to “make it big” in life and have recognition. she accuses me of spying on her, and told me that “i” must always need recognition for helping people. i don’t know where all this is coming from but i am at my wits end with all these weird and mind boggling accusations. there is lack of empathy and she is obcessed with her body image( exercise, diet etc) she looks great. but there is no respect for me as a mother. she acts as if she is entitled and has no regard for sensitivity to others. after this time i am really afraid. there is no talking to her and i know there will be silence for months. she “doctor hops: looking for meds or testing to see how healthy she is!? but my main concern is that it is inappropriate behavior as far a child to a mother. i love her very much and have always been very close. being an over achiever, she puts me down for everything, asks my opinion and then puts me down again. it is an unending cycle. my counselor says to leave her alone and that someone is telling her things. oh, i should also mention she has been in rehab only to admit that it was a ploy to get out of work and she needed a vacation!!!! i’m very confused but will continue to search for answers on how to handle the situation. i must tell you that i am very sensitive and the hurt is affecting me mentally and physically.
    thanks for letting me vent,

  16. kimcooper said

    Hi Melanie,

    It is fine to give in to your emotions and even lose your temper sometimes, the trick is to not carry on interacting when you feel like that but to then take yourself off and ‘self soothe’ and get yourself centered again (without needing him to do anything to help you feel better) before you decide what to do. I know this can be difficult and that is what our audio products are really good at helping with. The other thing is that you do not have to be friendly if he has been behaving badly, if you feel dissapproving of what he has done, certainly let him know that you are not feeling particularly warm towards him (without rejecting him or being emotionally manipulative) but do self soothe and get on with your own life. For me a walk under really big trees will often bring me back to myself but it is probably different for everyone.

  17. kimcooper said

    Hi Ruth,

    Yes I can understand that you feel sceptical and it is not an easy turn around, but it can and does happen. I believe that most narcissistic people have lacked a strong no nonsense parental figure who can help them to feel accepted and loved, but also put firm limits on their bad behaviour and refuse to come between them and the consequences of their own actions. I protected Steve for years from his irresponsibility and this did neither of us a favour. Once I stopped that and learned to stand my ground calmly (and pull in support) at first he fought and blamed me, but when he saw that I was now stronger than him, he crumpled like a deflated balloon and clung to me because he was just so lost. With all the big bravado gone he did not know how to function, but because of the trust I had built with him and also because he respected my new strength he now looked to me as his guide.

    I never doubt his love now, but with it comes a great responsibility. Steve has NEVER trusted anyone before and so he is very vulnerable now and for awhile was very dependent on me while he learned to ‘just be’ with people rather than have to try and be better. He lets his fears show now too and I have to be ready to be sensitive to that. In the past that would not have been OK, because I wanted him to ‘rescue’ me and be my big hero and knight in shining armour. But he couldn’t do that and I needed to learn to see him as he really was, scared and lost as a child (inside) and needing a strong and loving parental figure which he had lacked.

    So the love takes awhile to come through and only you can know if it is really there beneath all the BS. I knew it was there all the time, even when he was at his worst. But with men especially I think that true love is very much linked with respect. They can be infatuated with someone, or in ‘lust’ with them, but if that person doesn’t earn their respect it will never really mean much more to a man. So Steve had loved me before, because there was a lot we had in common from our backgrounds and it felt comfortable being together, but I had never really earned his respect. To do that ironically I had to stand up to him and tame the demons he could not tackle in himself and after that he not only loved me but he respected me too and that showed clearly in his eyes and in his actions and in the new level of trust and belief he showed in me.

    I hope this helps Ruth …

    And Hang in there!


  18. kimcooper said

    Hi Dee,

    Great work … You hang in there!


  19. kimcooper said

    Hi Sue,

    This is not going to be an easy battle as she can just ‘slip away’ if you try and limit her behaviour, but I still think it is going to be worth the effort. I don’t blame you leaving your husband and I am so sorry to hear that you went through that, but now I believe it is time that you learn to deal with abusive behaviour while holding your ground. Our ideas were modified from parenting techniques in the first place and so I think that they really might help you. I would recommend both of our books and especially the Personal Bill of rights exercise which may involve you introducing your daughter to some better role models as I have mentioned elsewhere here. You also might give her “The Little Book of Empathy Love and friendship” as a gift (you can say that you read it and it helped you?). If she will read it there is advice in there she might really be in need of.

    Here are some links that might interest you;


  20. kimcooper said

    Hi Cheri,

    Please see my response to Sue on this page, with links at the bottom. Our program will help with your daughter and it is important that you take these steps as her problems will most likely get worse rather than better if someone does not intervene.

    Hang in there,


  21. kimcooper said

    Hang in there Allan,

    It is ironic but sometimes victims of narcissistic individuals who are disabled or have disabled people dependant on them are actually better situated to use our methods than anyone. This is because the authorities cannot tell your children to ‘leave’ or just ignore her and it will be easier for you to insist that they help in putting limits on her behaviour.

    Please read everything closely before you come up with a new plan of action and try and be as warm as you are firm in protecting yoursleves.


  22. Sue said

    Hi Kim,
    I was gratefully surprised that you responded to me as far as my problems with my adult daughter. thank you for the links, i read everything and then some. they really helped and i will continue to follow up on all your advice. Thank you so much and I will continue to post.

  23. Sue said

    PS: Kim
    I just finished reading The Science of Love on the homepage!!!! It was great and very enlightening. Sort of calmed me down enough to take a nice nap and only dream of good things. Thank You, Sue

  24. JOHN AFFLECK said

    Can give me some of the causes of Narcissesim. Are Parenting techniques of various types seem more frequently in Narcessism?

  25. Sonji said

    Hi Kim & Steve,
    I stumbled across your website a few months ago as I was frantically searching for answers to my husband’s mysterious jerk-like behavior that would happen once a month without warning and last for several days before he would come back to his normal self again. I purchased your “Back from the Looking Glass” ebook and found some helpful tips, but I have not been able to put them to good use because I have been away from the marital home for 5 months due to my husband’s infidelity. He’s trying to justify his behavior by holding mistakes I made four years ago against me. It does not appear that accountability is his strong-suit. I will keep you posted on the newest developments.

  26. sonnybonny said

    dont believe any of it. True NPD is a living hell. No-one can top my ex.

    Point made.

  27. kimcooper said

    Hi John,

    That is a great question and I do have a few ideas about that. The main one is that when you dig deep it usually becomes apparent pretty quickly that most narcissistic people have had some fairly unrealistic expectations put on them when they were young. They may have been expected to know how to do something that they had never been taught or shown how to do and this is where the lies start. The second thing I have noticed is that the parents usually are happy to accept the lies and not look much deeper. Charm more than substance holds sway. So a very simple example would be a parent who says “clean your room” when the room is a disaster that even the parent would have a hard time organising it, but they make it clear that it has to be done or the child cannot go out. The child then shoves some things under the bed and in the cupboard and leaves calling out “my room is clean”. When they come home they have learned that all they have to do to get out of trouble and cover the lie (my room is clean) is to charm the parent with flattery etc. The child feels completely justified in all of this because the original demand was so completely unrealistic but then obviously this behaviour becomes a habit.

    The other darker thing I have noticed is that parents of narcissistic people will also often threaten abandonment as a punishment. “Do as I say or I will leave you here in the supermarket” etc. I think this leads the narcissistic person to deeply fear abandonment and also justify abandoning people who do not submit to their will.

    There is an article of mine on all of this here if you are interested;’s_Treatise_on_Narcissism_and_Abuse.html

    hang in there,


  28. kimcooper said

    I Can really understand you feeling that way Sonny and I am sure that you have plenty to be angry about but I also not like to see you invalidate the pain of what many people here have gone through.

    I am in touch with a woman at present whose narcissistic father abandoned her as a teenager – giving her a house to live in but nothing else, when he divorced her mother (and drove her out of town with threats and intimidation) and married a prostitute. This man is very wealthy and influencial and has since this time continually disowned his daughter, saying she is part of his old life and an embarrassment to him now. Right now he is trying to force her out of the house he once gave her, which she has spent a large sum of money maintaining (and money she has earned working), and force her to move out of town.

    She does not have the choice to divorce this man and our program is helping her to stand up for herself and protect herself from him, while also giving him some simple steps he can take to start acting as a decent father to her when he sees that she has so much solid support now in her community that his other plan is not going to work. Our program is helping her to find that support
    and also protect herself.

    You don’t have to believe that our methods work; but for many people who find us they have no where left to turn and without them trying something different than they have in the past they will literally end up homeless or even killed. If this is not true NPD I am not sure what is,


  29. Laurie said


    Thankfully neither I nor my husband suffer from NPD, but we do have a daughter whom my psychologist has told me does. She is 22 and we have both been extremely devoted, loving parents to her.

    She has lied, manipulated and done some horrible things to us in the past regarding her lies etc. The lying and her awful mood swings got to such a severe state that she left the family home of her own volition as we basically told her that it had to end or else she could make other arrangements. This has all occurred over a month and a half ago. No communication from her or from our side to date. My husband and I are moving to another country this year and we both feel that as sad as all this is we are not willing to be held ransom to her manipulative behaviour.

    Are there any other families suffering from any similar troubles and if so, how did they handle it? We both feel like a death has taken place in the family. I would appreciate any advice either you or your readers might have.



  30. Sharon said

    Hi Kim

    It feels as though I have read my own story here several times tonight, BUT my partner of 18 years moved our family (our kids are now 14 and 10) to Indonesia from Australia over 18 months ago – PROMISING that it would be a new start for us and that everything would be fine. How wrong he was – things are now worse and for the first time in our relationship his abuse has been physical, not just emotional and bullying. He has hit me badly abour 6 times, and twice it has been over a month before I could let anyone see me as the bruising and swelling was so bad even makeup wouldn’t cover it.

    We don’t have a joint bank account here, I had a credit card but he stopped giving money to pay it off 12 months after we moved here and I have had to default on it ( he tells me it’s “not his responsibility to help with my debts” – the card was maxed out after he went to Singapore to work for 8 months, and reneged on his promise to send adequate money home each month, and even though I worked 6 days a week I didn’t earn enough to pay rent and support myself and the kids so I used it a lot to supplement what I earned). I considered declaring bankruptcy to clear the debt, but as I am not a resident of Australia, I am not allowed to until I return.

    He is now alternating between threatening to send me home one week to telling me he loves me and wants our family to stay together the next. He will come home angry and barely speak to me all night then get into bed and turn on his charm and expect sex. If I refuse he gets angry and says “Fine, I will get it elsewhere then” as he stomps off into a spare bedroom – where he will sleep for anything from one night to 2 months.

    If I go home with or without my kids, we have no home, no money behind us and no family who can help us out while we get on our feet. I can’t go to a womens’ refuge as I am not escaping a domestically violent situation in any Australian state. I ahve contacted legal aid and explained my situation and I don’t qualify for their help until I am living in NSW again; but nor do I have the money for a solicitor.

    continued (I was having trouble posting this probably due to its’ length)

    He has had several affairs that I know of and he rubs my face in them, knowing I can’t make a move to go home.

    I want to go home, but he is now selling the property we bought but that he put into his own name; he had our car repossessed 6 months ago; the job outlook at home is not good (I have no formal qualifications so don’t earn good money anyway) AND he wants me to leave the kids here with him so I can go home “and get set up”. Leave them with him in a country that isn’t a signatory to the Hague Convention??? I don’t think so! So I am totally trapped, financially and emotionally unless I risk leaving my kids here (they don’t want to stay here without me anyway).

    He used to use recreational drugs at home and until recently was a regular heavy drinker who would think nothing of leaving me at home night after night and staying out till sunup or not coming home at all.

    I have read your advice over and over again (the free stuff anyway) and I have even gently tried approaching him about his need to control, telling him I want to help us make things right and happy between us. He admits he is narcissistic but thinks there is nothing wrong with it and that that is what makes him successful in his career.

    True to form, he manipulates everyone around him and has them charmed lickety split – most people who know him would NOT believe what goes on at home.

    When he is in a rage, ignoring him just exacerbates things and will drive him to follow me or even kick in my locked bedroom door. I have no one here to talk to or trust, and there is no point talking to anyone at home about things. when he comes home nasty, rude and angry, ignoring him doesn’t work either – he just directs his nastiness at the kids, and eventually he gets a reaction out of me when I stand up for them and to him about his treatment of them being unfair, unjustified and unreasonable.

    I have never been scared for my life until coming here, and I despair at how I will ever get my kids out of this mess and back home where we all feel safe and happy.

    It is apparent that some, but not all narcissists want to change, and I happen to be stuck with one of the latter in a foreign country, with two scared kids (they have seen him attack me twice now), no money and nothing to go home to. I often think I would be lucky if I died, but then my kids would lose the emotionally healthy and sane parent.

    Any suggestions as to how to turn someone around gently to the point where they will at least listen? As far as I can see, your advice and experience can and does help a lot of people, but it mainly helps those with OPTIONS. I don’t have any options in my life since coming here. This man has either consciously or unconsciously taken everything away from me to completely keep me at his mercy and I can’t see a way out!!

    I seem to think he has been emotionally stunted since learning over Christmas lunch at age 20 that he and his siblings were adopted. Others have told him over the years they feel he is “fighting a demon” and that if he thinks the adoption is related to it he should do something about it. He adamantly refutes that his adoption concerns him, but who really knows?

    Any suggestions you have are greatly appreciated and I have left this comment on another of your pages.


  31. kimcooper said

    Hi Laurie,

    I would highly recommend that you work through our program which was first modified from parenting advice. I would also consider if moving away is going to be what is best for her. It may be that you have little or no influence already but your daughter really needs you. Please look at these links and also a book called “Hold on to Your Kids” by Gordon Nuefeld which we recommend highly.


  32. kimcooper said

    Hi Sharon,

    First I will get Steve to organise to send you our material.

    You seriously need help from someone stronger than your husband and who has authority over him. His boss? I don’t know about the police where you are and so can’t recommend anything in that regard, but there must be someone even if it means you making new friends with some government officials. You also need to get home as soon as possible and so I would contact the Australian embassy immediately and tell them of your plight.

    When seeking support make sure you are well presented and dressed modestly and keep your request very brief talking only about the abuse and in your case your fear of him hurting you or the children physically again. Say that you need someone in authority to warn him of the consequences of his actions. If he even looks like threatening you again report it to this person you have contacted immediately. If he loses his job or gets thrown in jail so be it. You cannot protect him from the consequences of his own actions. You can say “Honey I don’t know how to handle you when you are like this and because you are stronger than me and won’t stop when I tell you that you are frightening me I have called the police as hopefully they will know how to handle you better.” Don’t threaten it – do it!

    You also might contact Interpol, the Red Cross and any other international aid organisations that you can find in your area. Remember the names of the people you speak to and tell them the names of other people you have met. good people know each other and will warn you also of who to avoid.

    Your children need you to have courage now so please hang in there and get really calm and grounded before you start taking these steps to build a support network for yourself. This will actually help him more than anything you can do. He pretends to be strong and in control and to know what he is doing but he is actually very scared and doesn’t have a clue. he needs you to be strong and in control now and the only place you can start is by containing his violent and intimidating behaviour that at present he is not able to regulate or contain himself. By doing this you are helping to keep you all (including him) safe, because him continuing this way will bring harm to himself as well as you and the kids. You are not working against him you getting help, you are working for his best interests.

    This is a very good example of the fact that you should not go anywhere where that you are not familiar with, with someone who you feel may be NPD. If you can get them somewhere where you know your way around and have contacts in the community and they don’t is much better.

    Hang in there Sharon,


  33. Hilary said

    I have been discarded by a naricitic person who now wants me back although he is seeing someone who is 10 yrs younger and great in bed.!
    I realize he probably says all the beautiful things to her and is really into sex and porn and is so seductive.
    however I need to get out of this relationship good and for all but its killing me.
    There is no way he would recognize narcissim.
    what do I do to help myself when he is so persuasive and then cruel emotionally if i was to go.

  34. david howe said

    hi steve and kim, iv done a lot of soul searching in my life, i punched my self, blamed my self , could understand my self, iv cryed for 3 or four weeks reprocessing my life to what really did happen , found out it is normal thing i went throught , i thought at one stage i was having a break down, my life has been lonely, sad, and self punching, i read all this you have up and because i am an open person with a lot of love in my heart i can relate everything on this site, a narcissist can’t until they open and get honest, the narcissist is my mother, the sad part is i let her destroy my life every time i got off the floor, but id been conditioned by her in her control games, i believe she knew what she was doing to me all along, to me my brother never had a personal life only her my father was open once but closed now, iv suffered for 40 years and cryed too, information in my life that iv shut out is still slowly coming in and every now then something hurts a bit more than normal but im ok, thank you for having this site up its a small step in the learning curve of life, please keep teaching people by having this site up on the net thanking you kindly, David.

  35. kimcooper said

    Hang in there David, I really feel for what you are going through and I bet you are a nice man. Even if your mother is not at peace with herself I bet that you will continue to grow and learn more and more about who you really are and what a fine person that is. In the end it is being able to live with ourselves that really matters.


  36. Carol said

    I am not in an abusive relationship, but happily married for 27 years. My question is whether your website and information would be helpful to me as one who has a sibling who is abusive, even violent and I am quite sure she has NPD, although not foramllt diagnosed. Right now she is not speaking to anyone in the family, but I have tried to maintain some contact (email), although infrequent. I think that 4 or my 5 siblings have narcissistic traits, myself included. The one thing that seems to differentiate me from the others is that I do not have the anger issuses that 3 of my sisters have. They all have really bad, sometimes violent tempers. I am always looking for help to deal with them as well as a reality check for my own behaviours. I have lived with this craziness from them for so long, that I often question myself, if they are all right, then I must be wrong or at fault. BUt then I look at my relationships with non-family or my hubbie, kids & grandkids and things are so different and “normal”.

    Would signing up for your information benefit me with my sibling relationships. We are all adults

  37. Shelly said

    I’m a divorced mother. my daughers father fits the discription of a narcisist perfect. I have to deal with him on the regular bases. I won in court years ago and had most of the custidy of my daugher. Now she is 15 and is buying into his manuplative ways. Sometimes my daugher acts narcissic herself. Do u know if this disorder can be learned by someone else and do u talk about this in your books? I’m thinking about reading them. Any advice will help. Thanks a lot.

  38. kimity said

    You say it is my choice to stay or leave and I thank you for not judging.

    After 7 years of trying so much, him and me, I kicked him out.

    I see how his character weaknesses created a man and a marriage neither of us want but I just got so worn out and he was abusive to our small daughter. I couldnt fix it, he couldnt control it, and we didnt find any help that worked. I just had to stop it.

    If I had read your info earlier I would have implemented it for sure.
    The idea of spending more of my life ‘re-parenting’ him is sheer torture.
    I dread him now, his extreme neediness is repulsive to me.
    I dont know how I can turn around my feelings toward him. I dont know where I would start to find any tenderness for him in my heart.

  39. kimcooper said

    And you have no responsibility to help him. I am glad you have found the courage to move on. I went out with another abusive guy before I married Steve and I am very glad I got away from him finally, No judgement whatsoever!


  40. Rick said

    A certain level of narcissism can be helped with behavioral modification and ‘re-parenting’ but the real high-level stuff from being an only child with no dad and narcissistic, controlling mother, especially for a boy doesn’t get fixed or cured, just managed.

    If we really truly had choices then explain the flame-outs of the likes of Elvis. He’s just famous example of what thousands suffer from and it didn’t get fixed, just harder to manage as he got older.

    If you do serious research on the subject you will see that between the ages of 30 and 45, highly narcissistic people (mostly males with no positive male influence or one that was obsessed with work) begin to unravel mentally.

    No offense but if all that you submit on your site is real, either Steve doesn’t have it that bad or your just trying to sell stuff.

  41. cynthia said

    Help. I am the other woman in a NPD marraige. You have opened my eyes so much. I still need help getting out. I am addicted to him due to an abusive childhood. We have a sick bond. He returned to his wife and kids about 1 year into a 3 year relationship we were having. Where do I go for help.

  42. Anna said

    Hi Kim, Here’s a little update plus a question for you. I’m the one who asked my husband to leave (after 29 years of marriage and much unfaithfulness in the last few). We both want reconciliation but apart from owning the adultery (he was discovered, then confessed all), he is still in extreme denial – in fact, he’s convinced himself and others that I’ve always been the one in the marriage who would not face their issues. I also apparently can’t ‘let go and move on’. Whilst I know I’m not perfect, I also know the truth – which is the opposite of what he claims.

    Having read your ebooks, I have changed my approach with him and we now date on my terms, ie we don’t talk about ‘us’ (dealing with his self-deceptions and accusations gets me mad!). I have told him I love him and am committed to reconciling but that I won’t take his crap any more, and that I want him to be sick and tired of it too (sound familiar??). I have two friends in my support team, and have met with my Pastor and his wife to explain the reality of my situation. Praise God, they ‘get it’ and are very supportive of me. My Pastor said he feels he should talk to the counsellor involved (who is a friend of both himself and my husband)to get him in the picture (as he was unwittingly convinced by the deceptions, not recognising NPD in action). As my husband sees him often as a friend, it is critical that this person now recognises the deception and responds differently. My husband needs to know that he can be authentic and ‘known’ and still be loved and accepted.

    My question is – would you or Steve have any advice regarding HOW my husband should be told about his NPD? And WHO should tell him? I’m assuming he needs to be told, but the nature of the beast indicates that it is not going to be easily believed by the sufferer, especially when being dishonest with oneself and others has had such a very strong hold for such a very long time.

    Bless you heaps

  43. kimcooper said

    Hi Rick,

    Yes I understand what you are saying, but the important question that comes to my mind is – do you want to get better or not? I have seen many men unravel as you say and I have seen some rebuild a new false persona from scratch and others, usually with the support of role models as you say, take the smaller and more humble steps of relearning more rewarding behaviour.
    Elvis did not have the educated support of people around him (as we advocate) and so yes he ‘flamed-out’ as you say. We are not saying this gets better on it’s own! Whether the person recovers or is managed better is something only time will tell and of course there are no guarentees that what worked for us will for everyone.

    Our program is primarily for the family and partners of people with NPD and with narcissistic tendencies, but if you have decided you want to overcome this I am sure you
    can. What are your other options anyway? You seem to have a pretty clear understanding yourself of what is necessary in your life. Steve has worked hard at finding solid male role models for himself and as you say this is vital. Is no male role model worse than a number of very negative ones? Who can say. Finding and developing relationships with good ones now will certainly benefit you. Attempting some of the steps we offer in forming healthy attachments might not come natural at first, but with practice this will become easier. Emotional skills CAN be learned when you are older, in fact many of them are learned more easily when we are over 29. You may never change your initial reaction, but you can ‘scaffold’ which is a term which means that by moderating and choosing a better response after the initial reaction the two fold reaction and then moderated response becomes a new ingrained habit.

    It will certainly always be easier to doubt what we offer and look for excuses and others to blame than to do the humble and hard work of relearning how to get along with people better and I am not saying that this work will be easy for you, particularly if you are on your own, but the rewards are more than worth the effort and ultimately it is your life to choose what you want for yourself and what effort you are prepared to put in to get it. I watched Steve struggle for over a year when he had dropped the game and was more vulnerable than a child. I watched him not know how to be with some people (and so fall back into his past bad habits) and I watched him also (with some sadness) let those people leave his life and his circle of influence. He had me to support him and I don’t know how he would have gone without that and that is why we try and help couples who want to tackle this do so before they separate as it certainly makes this easier. As I believe you are on your own I would say the challenge is to find one person for starters that you form a healthy attachment with and who you feel you can just be yourself with and start actively avoiding people who make you feel you need to puff yourself up. If that is an elderly neighbour or a child so be it. I am not suggesting this person be your support, just a bench mark for you to gauge your other relationships by and to help you in choosing who you want to spend time with from now on. No one likes getting carried away with their ego; choosing who we nurture attachments with is challenging and rewarding work that will make an enormous impact on your quality of life.


  44. kimcooper said

    Hi Cynthia,

    I really feel for you and I know your heart must be broken. It is good that you see you need help and I hope you are also wanting to end your attachment to him? You are not the first person in your situation to contact me and unfortunately most feel they want to help the narcissist in their life (rather than you wanting help for yourself which is much wiser) and that is very difficult for me.

    The responsible thing for this man in your life to do is obviously to stand by his wife and his kids and as you probably realise by now most of the bad things he has told you about his wife were probably lies and whether they make it or not is unfortunately not really something you can concern yourself with.

    There are many good counsellors around and if you can afford one that would be good. I would suggest that you also think long and hard about what you want for yourself
    in a relationship with a man and start being a bit choosier about that. Saying to a man “I am looking for a guy who —— and I am not sure if that is you or not … but let’s see?” Is actually very attractive to men. I would also sign yourself up for something like Simpleology and set some goals for yourself that you are excited about and really get to work on those. Having a focus on goals for yourself that you stick to is also very attractive and will save you from becoming clingy or ‘addicted’ to someone again. We also have a lot of advice on forming healthy friendships in love and otherwise in my new book called The Little Book of Empathy Love and friendship here

    I hope some of this helps, a broken heart is an awful thing and as they say it usually just takes time.


  45. kimcooper said

    Hi Anna,

    OK first off good work … look how far you have come! You are in so much better a situation of strength now.
    Here are a few ideas about addressing NPD with him, the first is that maybe you don’t? Instead you could make a
    short list of the behaviour that is of concern, blaming others and shifting responsibility might be at the top it sounds
    like and address these instead. Your support network might help back you up on these and his need to demonstrate
    that he is working on this list.

    The other idea is that you find the description of NPD that best fits him and you leave it on screen on your computer
    and say … I have just been reading something that sounds like you … and just leave it up there. He will read it because
    it is about him!

    You may also see if there are any of our radio shows that might interest him to listen to with you and that might leave
    room for a bit of discussion on the subject.

    The most important thing is that you keep the trust strong and address this not as finger pointing or blame but as
    small doable challenges he can tackle. If it is dumped on him like this is what you are and now do something about it
    it is obviously going to put him in overwhelm and defence.

    One thing I say to partners of narcissists all the time is really look in your heart and stop thinking that he will ever carry you
    off into the sunset. You need to have a picture of where this is going and you need to take the lead and set challenges for
    him in his path to becoming someone trust worthy and reliable. You also need to be strong and dependable. This kind
    of approach will help him feel a lot more secure and relieve him of feeling he has to be perfect and have all the answers
    once he starts feeling vulnerable about having his condition ‘exposed’.


  46. kaylin mills said

    I do not agree with your advise telling women to stay and work on the relationship for the sake of the family, especially when the husband is being verbally and emotionally abusive. It is wrong to scare, or guilt, or manipulate women into staying in a bad relationship. You are only perpetuating the abuse and victimizing further the woman and her children. It does not matter if you have found a name or supposed diagnosis for the abusive man’s bad, unacceptable behavior. A woman has the right to be safe, happy and not abused.

  47. kimcooper said

    Hi Kaylin,

    First I really need to emphasis that I never tell anyone to stay in their relationship for the sake of their children or any other reason. I don’t tell anyone to stay or to go, that is up to them and I have a chapter of advice to leave and stay safe (in Back from the Looking Glass) as I did once in a previously abusive relationship. No guilt, no judgement and no manipulation full stop.

    I do give a comprehensive program teaching people to stand up for themselves, hold their ground and not run if that is their choice. Many people do not want to leave and after a number of abusive relationships are desperately needing answers as to why this repeatedly happens to them and what they need to do to learn to stand up for themselves better and form healthier attachments. The truth is that telling someone they must leave, but giving no advice on how to do that safely sees hundreds of women and children killed in this country every year. To assume that leaving is going to make someone safe and end the abuse is a complete fallacy and whether a person leaves or stays their children need to see the conflict resolved and I believe we offer the only program available on how to do that. As far as I see most other sites claim that getting ‘closure’ on the discord is impossible and I believe this is a very destructive message as it leaves children and victims at very high risk.

    Divorce is not the solution that people pretend it is. Very often it just leaves the pattern to repeat itself. If someone really doesn’t love their partner anymore and wants their relationship over of course they should divorce and we have advice on how to do that safely. If like me they are not wanting to divorce but are ready to learn new relationship skills to improve their relationship and end the abuse and fighting we believe this is a valid first option and get hundreds of testimonials from readers thanking us for our help.

    Further to this we hold abusive partners much more accountable than those who say to leave. To me this is similar to telling someone whose house is repeatedly being robbed to ‘just move’. We tackle the abuse head on and do not advocate running away to leave the perpetrator free to abuse another partner in the future.


  48. kimcooper said

    Hi Sonji,

    You hang in there! he might be acting like a jerk and a child but that doesn’t mean you have to!


  49. kimcooper said

    Hi Hilary,

    I would think very hard about why you would want to get back with this person knowing what you do about them. I turned things around with Steve but we had a 10 year marriage and three kids together and I had a lot invested. Personally I think that you learning to set higher standards for yourself and learning more about emotional intelligence and setting challenges for yourself and others will help you be more attractive to choose a better mate for yourself. There is a lot of advice on this in my new book The Little Book of Empathy Love and Friendship here;

    And our Love Safety Net Workbook here;


  50. Julia said

    Hi Kim – feeling sad to read about your wonderful service as for me it is too late.My husband of thirty six years divorced me last year. He was abusive and controlling and finally blamed me for his anger. In ending our marriage he had full control at last and admitted in the end that he had been rebelling against me for a long time. If only I had had your material to work with throughtout our troubled marriage I would have handled his angry outbursts so differently. He now has a new girlfriend who I am sure knows nothing of his past life and who is currently being charmed into believing he is Mr.Wonderful. Regards Julia

  51. kimcooper said

    Hi Carol,

    Yes I believe it will certainly give you a better understanding, but it certainly sounds like you have your work cut out for you!


  52. kimcooper said

    Hi Shelley,

    Yes narcissistic behaviour can certainly be learned and also inherited and yes our books will help you as will a beautiful book called “Hold on the Your Kids”.
    It is very important that you take action because otherwise things are likely to only get worse.


  53. Sophie Mackrel said

    How interesting that your site only has ALL the positives? Can’t imagine why

  54. Jean said

    Dear Kim,
    My partner of 20 years (who would never even consider marriage) left me earlier this month, indicating a need to be free of the contraints and demands I placed on him – like “accounting” for his time, trying to track spending, and most importantly his perception of my need control his interactions with other women. (He has no male friends and entertains serial female “best friends” that he says I am simply too jealous of to be able accept as just friends.) At my 4th counseling session this morning, my therapist suggested my partner’s behavior throughout our relationship has certainly skirted the edges of narcissism.

    So, my question is this: He has left my home but we remain on speaking terms and do still see each other often. Do you think your plan would work to reconcile a separated couple dealing with NPD issues? I find it hard to imagine I could have enough influence to get him to consider HIS behavior as needing adjustment but I would certainly try if your experience indicates it might be fruitful.

  55. Steve said

    Hey Sophie,

    There are some comments on this list that are less than positive and have some doubts. The honest fact is, positive comments outweigh any negatives across all of Kim’s email replies and blogs. I think those who disagree with us do not bother contacting us, and to be frank, that suits us. That being said, Kim and I are more than happy to engage in intelligent and vigorous debate about any of the issues we raise in our eBooks and websites. We are also working on the side of positivity and optimism and I guess that sets the theme for blogs like this one.
    Steve Cooper

  56. kimcooper said

    Hi Jean,

    I think the important thing for you Jean is to look at the relationship skills you can improve on that will benefit you whether you reconcile things with this man or not. Your attempts to make him accountable only made you appear controlling and that signals to me that you may benefit from working on your attachment skills and also on effective means of limiting abusive behaviour that do not rely on you playing the disciplinarian. This would mean you learning how to present yourself in a way that you can gain the support of other people in his circle of influence. I think you would also enjoy learning to set challenges for men in a way that they enjoy (men find this very attractive). All of these skills will help you in the future whether you get back with him or not.

    Don’t get me wrong, because holding him accountable for his time, spending etc. is not a bad thing and it is good you have been wise to his shenanigans, but with someone behaving narcissistically there needs to be very solid trust and rapport built as well or as you have seen they will just blame you and run.

    Just as with disciplining children clear boundaries and real consequences (not punishment) need to be set, at the same time as clear love, trust and security built into the relationship if you want to turn a rebellious child/adult into a loving and respectful one.

    I think that you would find our workbook exercises very useful and I also think that you might find “Back from the Looking Glass” interesting and it would probably offer you some very valuable information even though it is more geared to a couple that is still together.


  57. Lynn said

    I dont think your website is any use to me,as it is my mother who is narcissitic…putting a hugely different slant on the whole scenario I Mean you can leave a husband or partner and emotionally surviveit
    But we are intrinsicaly tied to our parents foe life
    Thanks anyway,Regards Lynn Sanderson

  58. Sarah Muller said

    I really appreciate your website and I am so pleased that there is a forum to talk about narcissism. I was married to a narcissistic man for ten years and had two children with him, now aged eight and seven. He left me for another woman, to my intense relief because there was no way that I would end the marriage as I believed deep down that all our problems were my fault. However, the abusive relationship does not end, because I am linked to him to these children. I really appreciate what you are saying regarding the ability to change narcissistic behaviour, but I would urge caution about the desire of many narcissistic people to change. My ex-husband has remarried (immediately after our divorce) and he tells me that he has changed and is a better person which intimates to me that he thinks the abuse was my fault). He tells me that he needs me to forgive him foe his past behaviour and yet he continues to abuse me by yelling at me and belittling me and my new partner while picking up our kids; walking into our house uninvited; notifying Child, Youth and Family about our supposed abuse of the children which the department found unjustified. These people are dangerous and I really applaud those who can see the need for change. My exhusband knows that what he did to me was wrong and he says that he is sorry, but I can’t help feeling that he still blames me

  59. Judy said

    Hi Kim and Steve

    I stumbled across your website recently and have finally found the answer to my anguished heart. I have turned myself inside out trying to fix myself in this abusive relationship. Even now I still feel a little irresponsible in saying that because I know I have contributed to the breakdown of my marriage. But mostly I see that it has been my reaction to his absurd behavior that has caused me to lose credibility.

    I have separated from him, because my sanity was at stake, I felt, but the pain is still very real. I want badly for this relationship to work.

    I have purchased your book and workbook and am absolutley amazed at what I am learning. It makes very good sense to me. I wish I would have found it years ago. I now know which direction to head. I’m not sure if this relationship can be salvaged (I hope it can) but I want to work on me and begin the healing process.

    I have so many questions. He can still push my buttons and knows my vulnerabilities and will exploit that at any opportunity. That’s very confusing to me, and he says he loves me… 😦 it does’nt fit!!!

  60. kimcooper said

    Hi Judy,

    Just take it one step at a time and follow through the points in “Back from the Looking Glass” and the exercises in “The Love Safety Net Workbook”
    and hang in there!


  61. kimcooper said

    Hi Sarah,

    This is exactly the point we make, leaving does NOT stop the abuse and change cannot be left to the narcissist!
    I believe you would benefit tremendously from our books. It is about learning to stand up for yourself and hold
    them accountable for what they do without losing your cool and without breaking trust. I know this is a lot harder than
    it sounds and that is why we lay out steps and exercises you can work through to help you get there.

    I have women write to me that say, “Wow I thought I was really tough before but you showed me that I used to
    be a real pushover!” At the end of our program even if the narcissistic person in your life is not changed, you will be safer,
    have a better support network and so much stronger and warmer a person that you will not believe it. Learning the skills
    that we teach has made me more successful in every area of my life. I may still have the same initial reactions to
    put downs or challenges but I have developed habitual secondary responses that serve me much better. Social scientists
    call this ‘scaffolding’ and it takes effort and patience with yourself but pays huge rewards.


  62. kimcooper said

    Hi Lyn,

    This is our point entirely and why we say leaving isn’t the answer, I had three kids to Steve and so I was intrinsically tied to him for the rest of my life whether I liked it or not! If you have grown up with a narcissistic mother you will need to do a lot of work on your identity and working on developing a really good feeling about who you are. The advice in our program would still help you, if your mother is actively abusive in your life still “Back from the Looking Glass” will help you and if you want to learn general skills to help you form better relationships our workbook would be very beneficial.


  63. Stephanie said

    My husband got on my computer and found the ebook. Now he is mocking it and me and has sent it off to his parents who have launched a campaign against me to the entire family. My in-laws completely enable him and he talks to his mother several times a day. Help!

  64. Judy said

    Hi Kim and Steve
    Thank you for your continued follow up and resources! I am so encouraged by what I am learning and find your products and advice to be just what I was looking for. I have read “Back from the Looking Glass” twice and am working through the work book. I also went to my local library and checked out “Hold On To Your Kids” and am finding it very interesting. I think my husband and I both have ‘attachment’ issues as does our society as a whole… it’s scary!

    Anyway, I have a question. This morning my husband suggested taking me to lunch and then we would run a few errands together, (we’re currently separated). I agreed and planned my morning accordingly, which was all good. But he did’nt call me. I ate a bowl of cereal and mentally had a good talk with myself, not letting my emotions get away from me. Finally at about 1:15 I called him to see if all was well. I respectfully told him I was waiting for him to call and that I thought we were going to lunch. Now this is where his behavior is typical and habitual and gets very confusing. He is with his son and says to me ‘oh, I’m sorry, I must have misunderstood you, I did’nt realize we made a lunch date, I’m sorry, really, I’m sorry’. Thankfully, because this scenario is sooooooo familiar to me and because I’m getting so much insight about his condition that I DID NOT REACT!!! Thank God! I just said, ‘ahhh, no big deal, I’ll just make me a sandwich’. And you know, my feelings really did follow my actions! Amazing!
    So I did have a good day, inspite of his… slight. My question is, does he see me as a pushover, and does my lack of reaction fuel his independent, non-commital persona? In the past, I would have been very angry and would have told him how rude and inconsiderate he was. I’ve always felt like a ‘second thought’ to him, dismissed and disrespected, and low on his priority list.

    Am I on the right track?

    Thank you for all you are doing! I look forward to hearing back from you…

  65. kimcooper said

    Hi Judy,

    Good work and you are right on track! The thing is that you getting upset wouldn’t have achieved anything anyway! It would have only thrown you off balance. You learning to not let his bad behaviour throw you will make you less of a pushover because you are stronger and on your feet.

    You will also need to work on limiting the abuse and the chapter on that in the Love Safety Net workbook will really help you with that, but it is a matter of choosing your battles. There will be issues you do need to make a stand about but in those cases you having learned to be better in control of your emotions and choosing the time and place to take action rather than you being reactionary to him in the heat of the moment will help you draw that line much more firmly.

    It is funny but I used to think the same thing, that I would be a pushover if I didn’t get angry or upset about stuff, but now I know the opposite is true and if someone actually manages to get me upset enough to get angry and emotional in the moment that they have actually got the better of me and I am really best to go and take a lot of time to cool down!

    Keep up the good work!


  66. kimcooper said

    Hi Stephanie,

    Sorry to hear that. I would however just keep at it following our advice and I would also add the invasion of your privacy with this to your list in the personal bill of rights exercise.

    Steve’s family used to side against me too and say terrible things behind my back but you know I am staying with them right now and we all get along brilliantly now. I once would never have believed that was possible but I do now. Hang in there you are going to really need to put some time and care into building your own support network and working through our steps and exercises.


  67. Stephanie said

    I have a bit of an unusual situation. My husband is clearly a narcissist and we have four kids; two are mine and two are his. I am struggling with how best to protect his kids when I am not their mother. Drinking is a particularly troubling issue and he has often not only been drinking and driving with the kids in the car, he has been sipping Jagermeister directly from the bottle from the driver’s seat. I finally told his ex-wife today that I am concerned they are not safe when with him without too many details but am worried this was the wrong decision. I am getting temporary restraining order today to keep him away from my kids and the house but can’t do anything to protect his kids who he may just have stay with him where he is.

  68. Stephanie said

    To Anna, I have a great Christian counselor. She was my marriage counselor until my husband stopped going. He was frustrated with how “hard” all of this stuff was she was asking him to do. I know he thought if we went to a counselor, she would “fix” me but the more she focused on him the more reluctant he was to go. She coined the phrase “empathy chip missing” which really helped me understand why I was growing so frustrated; I was asking him to give me something and he really doesn’t understand what it looks like and how to do it. I am too devalued at this point for him to even try.

    her approach to my counseling is very similar to Kim’s; focus on yourself and your children and “live alert” for set ups and dont’ succumb. If you would like her contact info, email me at My daughter and I are seeing her tonight because there was a physical altercation over the weekend and I want my daughter to vent if she needs to. I would be happy to help out with a support group as well if you need it.


  69. Allan said

    Without doubt I was a little suspicious when I first came across your website. Only after a couple of months, and some encouragement from a good friend did I buy your e books.
    Our marriage is still far from perfect. However, thanks to you,and your sensible advice, we appear to have reached a workable solution, after 25+ years of getting it completely “wrong”.How many hours of utterly futile “discussions”and subsequent emotional hurts over the years have we endured? Of course, she still blows up from time to time, but you have given me the confidence – and insight – to, I think, handle such crises much more constructively. Even she has remarked on my better approach to her.
    As we work together in the family business, I could never understand how, after an explosive bust-up, she seemed to want to accompany me to jobs – just when I was reacting in the completely opposite direction, and wanting nothing to do with her.Now, with the knowledge ,and understanding, you have given me,I allow her to come with me, but, as advised, I now stand up for myself much better when the flak inevitably starts flying.
    Although our relationship appears to have been mended, to a great extent, that with her eldest and youngest sons would appear to be permanently damaged: one son is not even going to invite her to his graduation from university next month, and is on record saying that if she died tomorrow, he would not attend her funeral. This complete breakdown grieves me enormously and holds horrendous implications for his future sexual relationships and for any grandchildren that may come along.
    So,although not all my family problems have been solved you have helped me enormously in my marriage, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

  70. Tom said

    It’s hard to part with all the good, yet it was too often overwhelmed by the bad. My mind is still open to the possibilities but it seems there is an airtight (sick) psychological fortress around any possible attempt to reach this person.

    First of all this is someone who resents, not respects, my own progress, the degree to which I had my life figured out and was very comfortable with myself and others.

    My immediate question though, is about the maddening way in which I was blamed for absolutely every ugly thing she did – repeatedly without end. These are things which in most cases I was present for, part of or witnessed. I can only remember two incidents in several years of (to a large extent) Hell, in which she actually took responsibility for what “I didn’t deserve”. This is not the first such person in my life, who handled things in this way. Yet it is just maddening and this site is the only place I have ever seen specific mention of such behavior. I would like to hear from others who have had this experience and especially any input you can offer, Kim. It is a terrible thing to have spent my life intent on being the best person I can be and yet to be so adamantly blamed for being the one having done all the terrible things SHE did. Then she (allegedly?) writes her friends, even quotes herself using my words and crediting me with her enraged responses – and sends me their replies about how no good I am.

    Thank you Kim and Steve for the work you are doing here to help people find the real person (the one they love)inside of their partner.

  71. kimcooper said

    Hi Tom,

    Yes all you describe is very typical of NPD I am afraid. It is about an over developed false ego that is not able to face guilt or shame. This is why it is so important to learn to build trust at the very same time as learn to stand up for yourself better. The woman you speak of has probably never felt safe with anyone and especially never safe enough to admit her own embarrassment or shame about her behaviour. So she continues doing what she has done for years which is blame someone close to her and/or get angry and have tantrums.

    I admire the work you have done on yourself and before I solved this with Steve I had also done years of personal development and do not regret a minute of it. The sad fact was that I was really a pushover at standing up for myself and only knew how to play emotional games which only bred resentment and added to the problem. I thought I was tough and no nonsense but really I was emotionally volatile and immature. This is why when I finally learned better I knew I had to help teach others these new assertiveness and trust building and attachment skills as well as the tactics I had learned to limit the abuse without becoming emotional. Without that I would have walked straight into another bad relationship with things still hurting and unresolved with Steve and our kids in the cross fire. I had really become tough and no nonsense but I choose to stand by Steve at the same time. That changed everything and he saw in my eyes that I would not hesitate to throw him in jail or call his boss with information that would see him fired or discuss his ‘crimes’ with anyone who I though might help me ‘save’ him. I also had to learn how to be taken seriously by these people and this was a big step too. At the same time Steve also saw that I was no longer angry or trying to manipulate him to love me more. I cared about him and was going to stand by him but I was not going to shelter him from the consequences of his own actions any longer. Narcissists fear exposure more than anything.

    It was sad that Elliot Spitzer’s wife copped so much flack when she stood by him through his shameful exposure. That was a healing moment for him and she was not powerless in that moment. She is who he went home with and who after his public downfall held a lot of power over his future. I wonder how she handled that power? Like an emotional tyrant (which you could hardly blame her for) or like a firm but loving parent helping him to go back and ‘fill the gaps,’ remember who he really was and challenge and support him in taking small steps toward learning to live an honest life? Because you see tantrums and blame are addictive things and if a person has not learned to face being held accountable, just like a drug addict they will really have no idea how to live. Once Steve’s ‘game’ came crashing down it was like rehab for him. He did not even know how to sit in a room with us and just be. Just let the conversation go where it would. I stood by him through all of that and he also did a parenting course then to learn to talk to the kids. This only came after the game had come crashing down however. Only after he saw that he was not going to be able to scape goat me any longer. I wasn’t crying or angry anymore, I was in control of myself and had a strong support network on my side. I remember when he finally saw that. I watched him crumple like a balloon with all the air going out of it and I nursed the invalid that was left for nearly a year till he started getting back on his feet with a stronger foundation and stronger sense of himself. I am proud I did that. I didn’t have to and I had every reason to feel angry and sorry for myself, but you see Tom I wanted to get better. I couldn’t run away any longer. I too had to change and face the man he really was instead of dreaming about the man I wanted him to be.

    Steve trusts me now and for good reason. We stick together and he is a great man.

    Forgive me talking about myself, but I am not a psychologist and my own experience is what I offer. I hope it might help you as it has the hundreds of people who have written to us and told us it has.

    Hang in there Tom!


  72. John said

    I have been dating my significant other for about two years now, and she has confronted me about the way I talk to her about my frustrations. I feel that the way I take out my anger on her about other events in my life indirectly, along with the fact that I tend to say things in a demeaning mannerism, which she says is guilting her to thinking it is her fault. She told me that she won’t put up with it anymore, and she’s standing up for herself. I believe that she should do that, but I never thought it would be to me. I think I might be verbally abusing her, and I understand that I am the only one that can fix it. I still feel that years of having bad examples of this in my own home, my father verbally abusing my mother, but I hated that about their relationship, and felt a vow that I would never do that. I find myself doing more or less insidious things with my beloved. Symptoms I think I might be suffereing are the following:

    *I tend to blame her for any problem in the relationship

    *I tend to blame myself for all other problems and suffer depression

    *Insecurities about my self image

    *I take out any frustration I have on her as if she’s the source of all of my problems, even though I am not angry at her by any means.

    *I am extremely critical of everything she does

    *I sometimes feel that she is dependent on me for monetary support.

    *I am angry at myself for letting myself do this to someone I care about, and I feel even more terrible for subjecting her to my faults.

    I don’t know of any kind of methods that will at least treat and/or create psychological tricks to prevent myself from doing this. Or habitual training that will help me.

    Another note, she has said that she won’t help me and I have to help myself, she will only defend herself from me and I feel that I am alone in this, but I don’t want her to “fix” it as in she’s the problem, because the problem is in my head.

  73. sue said

    I am writing as a woman who needs help in obtaining letters to further prosecute my brother-in-law who attempted to murder my sister with a murder-for-hire plot last year. He’s been given a plea bargain of 3 years and will most likely be released before Christmas. This infuriates my entire family, and places my sister in fear. There is an opportunity to prosecute him in another County if we can provide enough support and public concern to do so!!!!!!! head beaten in He wanted her beaten with a brick!!!! and did not care that his children would witness it.

    Please pass this information along to anyone who is interested in seeing Domestic Violence come to an end! It is a serious issue as we all know.

    Please feel free to repost via email, myspace, facebook, or intherooms as I really needs support!

    Anyone who is willing to write letters to the states attorneys office in Harford or Baltimore county the address is below….this is obsurd that this has been taken so lightly.

    She has 3 small children with this man as well. He had no care in the world that they would be there to find their mother bleeding to death on the garage floor because he “has enough money for their therapy” HIS WORDS ON A RECORDED CONVERSATION!!!!!! This man sat in the courtroom yesterday smiling and laughing the whole time….this is a joke to him..

    He will absolutely succeed in KILLING her this time if we do not get another county to charge him…..

    Jospeph Cassilly- states att.

    Circuit Court, 1st floor

    20 W. courtland St.

    Bel Air MD 21014


    Scott Schellenberger

    401 Bosley Ave. Rm 511

    Towson MD 21204


  74. ATrueman said

    I am posting this in the hope that my message can be of some use to the victims of pa’s/narcissists who use your site for support. Your self-help materials (and the fact that I was able to identify with Steve’s story) went some way to bringing me to the position I am in today.

    I am a 43 year-old man. I have been with my wife for nearly 24 years (we have been married about half of that period) and until today I was passive aggressive. The main expression of my pa behaviour was in lying. I lied constantly and repeatedly about anything and everything, as a means to control and manipulate my wife. The depth of my evil and destructive behaviour extended to failing to support my wife through fertility treatments, interfering in her attempts to have therapy to cure a crippling phobia, destroying one career and severely damaging a second. Her unhappiness has been so prolonged and so deep that she knows the Samaritan’s telephone number by heart and our previous telephone service provider offered the Samaritan’s as one of our list of discount numbers because I reduced my wife to seeking their help so regularly. In addition to lying and being evasive I fully expressed other typical pa traits such as breaking promises, being obstructive in getting things done, pretending to be unable to keep commitments, playing power games about availability by switching my phone off or “forgetting” to take it with me, sabotaging my own career etc etc. Even though I knew I was behaving badly I allowed my wife to spend years of her life soul-searching and looking for answers in her own past and her own personality. After nearly two decades of taking herself to pieces and putting herself back together again, after exhausting every other possibility, in the last five years or so she finally began to think that maybe I was the problem. I denied it repeatedly even though I knew that it was the truth. Finally about 2 and a half years ago she found, by chance, a magazine article that described pa men. All the pieces came together for her and she verified what it said about the characteristics of pa men by reading websites like yours. She told me about pa personalities in the belief that I would be happy to know and recognise myself and that I would begin to do something about it. She was wrong. Even though I was busted, I continued to behave in exactly the same way, adding further to her agony and despair. Now, I have finally decided to own up and come clean, to take responsibility for my decisions and actions and to burn my bridges by emailing you and other similar people who try to help and support pa victims. I do not know what proportion of men have a true pa disorder in the sense that they are incapable of behaving in an open loving way. I suspect, based on my own experience, that it is a very small fraction of the whole. It is hard to imagine other pa men behaving worse than me, and in my case it was a choice so I doubt that severity of abusive behaviour is a good guide to whether a pa man is choosing his behaviour or has a true inability to behave well. I chose to do it for decades and now I have chosen to stop. To any victim who is reads this message I would say this. Ask your abuser “Is it can’t or won’t? Can you truly not control your behaviour, or do you just not want to?” I am a very intelligent man. I rarely lose arguments or debates (even when I don’t resort to lying), but I never found a way round that question when my wife asked it. If the answer is “can’t” then your abuser needs help and you need to consider your position carefully. If the answer is “won’t”, as it was in my case and as I suspect it will be in the majority of cases, then the solution is equally clear. “I don’t want to” is simply not a reason for anything. It took me a long time to accept responsibility and stop being pa, but it was nothing more, in the end, than making a choice. Don’t let your pa abuser cloud this simplicity. I say this to pa men like me who are behaving that way by choice: the game’s up, your cover is blown, if someone as dedicated to the behaviour as me can stop then so can you. But don’t try to pretend that you can’t stop if what you really mean is that you don’t want to. Ask yourself this – would you admit the way you behave to anyone else? If you can stop, but you’re just choosing not to, then stop lying when you say it’s hard, stop expecting anyone to feel sorry for you and take responsibility for your choice.

    AT (not my real initials)

  75. kimcooper said

    Hi Sue,

    I understand your grave concerns for your sister and hope that you succeed in having him charged and his behaviour monitored closely enough by the authorities to ensure your sister and her children’s safety. I would suggest that rather than seeking strangers to write letters that you instead concentrate your efforts on having him investigated (by PI if necessary) and that you see if you cannot work together with the law in finding further evidence against him. If he has behaved this way I am sure there is more illegal activity going on that will interest the police. I would also see if you can find people that know him (and a PI?) to watch him (if he is released) and make sure any further attempts on her life are immediately interrupted and him again charged. It is important also that you remain very grounded and calm and do all that you can to be taken seriously any time that you have contact with the courts or the police. It is easy to think that being upset or very vocal will get people to listen to you better, but this is often not the case. Someone professionally dressed who is calm, assertive and prepared to work within the bounds of police procedure will always get more attention than someone who is letting their emotions colour their speech. This is advice I received from the police first hand and it changed my own dealings with them entirely. I hope that you succeed.


  76. kimcooper said

    I am so glad to hear that things are improving Allan. You are giving your children an enormous gift for them to see that your relationship can improve and change for the better. As your wife comes to trust you better hopefully things may continue to improve with your kids. It took Steve a lot longer to drop his big bravado game with the kids than it did for him to drop it with me. There is so much fear behind that game as I guess you are beginning to see. Great work and of course Hang in there!


  77. kimcooper said

    I am not sure where you live, but there will be something equivalent to the Department of Community Services (DOCS) in your country I am sure. DOCS in Australia is who you report behaviour that is endangering children to. You can also make these complaints anonymously which is very handy and obviously has less repercussions than you talking to his ex. You may also need to make a number of reports until they act.
    They may also take your complaint more seriously if you also report it to the police.


  78. kimcooper said

    Hi John,

    You can have a look at Steve’s site here where he has material that may help you learn the new skills that you need to make your relationship work. I would also highly recommend our audio “Moving Beyond the Narcissistic Stage in Human development” and my eBook “Honey for the Bees”. I think too that you have solved your own problem John in seeing your lack of good male role models. See if you can join a parenting group or some kind of training in your area that will see you mentored by a man who can be that better role model for you. Choose someone solid who has the kind manner and humility (yet strength) that you feel that you need.


  79. kimcooper said

    Hi AT,

    It is great that you can be honest about your behaviour now and you are a great example that people can change. I would not expect too much too soon from yourself however, when ever you feel threatened the danger of the lying coming back as a knee jerk reaction will surface again. I would suggest that you complete the gap finder work in “The Love Safety Net Workbook” and also listen to “Moving Beyond the Narcissistic Stage in Human development” regularly. Setting some really solid short and long term goals for yourself and gauging your progress over time, such as how many times you lost your temper or felt you needed to lie last week as opposed to how many times you did that in the past will be a much better way to gauge your progress and achieve the more happy and relaxed way of living that I am sure you can achieve.


  80. Stephanie said

    So my husband was drunk and began bullying my daughter (his step-daughter) which resulted in her hitting her head. We had a fight about it at home and he became physically abusive with me. I amde him leave and refused to give him his car keys or house keys until the next day. I filed a restraining order preventing him from coming around me and my daughter as you recommend.

    Now he is so angry I went through with filing the restraining order he is refusing to speak to me and has asked his attorney to proceed with divorce and we have mutually agreed not to contact one another for 60 days at least. I would like to try to mend but with no contact and his current anger and resentment for following through with my threat to get restraining order and call 911 (which I did twice because he was not abiding)it appears his anger will win over and we will end up divorced. What do you suggest?


  81. Jennie said

    Kim and Steve,

    Thank you for sharing your personal story and daring to go against the conventional ‘wisdom’ that change is not possible. I think you are definitely on to something.

    My husband and I are older (past 50), second marriage for both of us. He was verbally/emotionally abusive from the time we married 3 years ago. I tried many things (unsuccessfully) and things got so bad we barely spoke and I avoided him as much as possible. Then I found your web site and started to follow the advice in your ebooks. Gradually, things began to improve. Over a period of 9 months, things have improved so much that I actually enjoy being married to him now. There is still work to do, but I am very hopeful

    I started doing the things you recommend to build positive attachment. I worked on handling my emotions better. I love the pictures on your sales page. I used to respond like the picture of the angry lady; now I can do a pretty good supernanny look. As you suggested, I started watching SuperNanny. There was a recent program with a particularly difficult little girl. The ‘time out’ interventions made some improvement, but the parents were still feeling angry when they would discipline. SuperNanny worked with parents on handling their feelings. Then the next time little girl was doing her brat thing, the dad responded to her firmly but without anger. The little girl just folded. Her provocative behavior just stopped when she saw she couldn’t get a rise out of Dad. Amazing.

    A couple months after I started following your advise, I found Steven Stosny’s book, ‘Love without Hurt’ for emotionally abusive marriages. He talks a lot about attachment also. I was able to get my husband to read the book and do the exercises and that has helped enormously also. I suspect that the things I had been doing to strengthen our attachment and manage my own feelings gave me the leverage to get him to even look at the book, so the two seem to work together quite well.

    To those who accuse you of giving false hope to people, I want to say that Kim’s program helped protect me from abuse more effectively and helped me become stronger so if even if I had needed to leave for my well being, I would have been in a better position to do so than I was previously.

    I was very excited to get your email announcing that you were working on setting up a forum to connect with others working your program. It is difficult to find a forum where one can be supported in trying to make changes so I sometimes feel quite alone. All I hear is ‘contact = abuse’ and ‘they never change’ and endless bitterness. I am really looking forward to sharing ideas and experiences with others.

    Thanks Kim & Steve

  82. kimcooper said

    Thanks so much for writing to us Jennie, I got tingles reading your post. It is letters like yours that make all the work we do worthwile. We are really working hard to get the forum up soon, it shouldn’t be longer than a month away. Other news is Steve is in the studio today recording a new product with Sarah on transitioning from being single into married life and parenthood which I am looking forward to hearing when its done. Sarah is also recording a new audio on mending a broken heart. I have a new book on the way too!

    Well done girl! It is amazing how much stronger a position you can claim as soon as you get your own emotions under control isn’t it! You have understood our message so well, I look forward to your input on the forum! We will keep you posted …


  83. kimcooper said

    Hi Stephanie,

    I am sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time Stephanie.

    I am not sure where you heard me recommend a restraining order. Where I live it is possible to get
    an AVO (apprehended violence order) which is not the same. It means that if your partner intimidates
    or assaults you again they will go straight to jail. You can have an AVO on someone you live with.

    You are in a very volatile situation now but you must know that you have done the right thing by
    contacting the police about the assault. Have you done the exercises in The Love Safety Net Workbook?

    If you want your husband back you must make it clear to him that you will stand by him but his
    aggression must stop or you will be forced to have him put in jail.

    I cannot give you any simple advice here and I suggest that you please go back and read what material
    of ours you have very carefully. You are in a dangerous situation now and it is vital that you stay calm in your
    dealings with the police and ensure that you have their protection on hand.


  84. Rick Shepard said


    First I’d like to recognize you for the work your doing. You definitely have made the right choice to stand in their for your family and as long as you and Steve can be a positive influence on your children it’s worth the fight.

    I’d also like to give your female readers something to chew on from the male perspective.

    Narcissism is just a big word for selfish, albeit an extremely large dose of it. Men (and women) get it from parents who honestly saw them as something of a nuisance. They were unplanned pregnancies and were birthed into an environment where the adults charged with their care were not emotionally ready to raise children.

    At it’s root lies a father who was really just a sperm donor, unable to, because of his own selfishness, to be anything close to a good role-model for his son. For this he is to blame.

    However, and this is going to sound like gender-bashing so some of your female readers are going to tune me out, but for the sake of reaching at least one mother, here goes.

    100 years of feminism has taken its toll on fatherhood. Being a libertarian, I am firmly for equal rights for all human beings, but the pendelum has swung too far. Many women believe that a man is not needed, that they are fully capable of raising boys. Women and men alike have ego’s, and often the female ego says, “I alone can do this.”, and in the case of raising boys that is a grave mistake.

    A man is needed to take the mother’s focus off the boy and to run interference. A woman’s natural tendency is to provide and do for the child, which ironically does more damage to his independence. A strong male is able to deflect this energy by standing in the gap to protect the boys spirit from the crushing effect of too much love. A good man does this unconsciously and with love, not by bearing down on his wife/girlfriend with tantrums of his own.

    Yes, children need protection and nurturing but they also need to be prepared for the big bad world that doesn’t give a damn how special their mother thought they were. A good father adds a dash or reality by teaching the boy that he is really not as special to the world as his mother has led him to believe. He does this primarily by modeling correct behavior, which is that a boy (and girl) does not NEED anything outside of himself or herself and should not be dependent on someone else to meet his or her needs.

    So, as a man who was a boy and the product of a doting mother, my advice to the fine ladies that visit your forum is this. Realize you too have an ego, check it at the door, and make sure your children have positive male role-models that you allow to share control. If you REALLY care about your children, and not just how they make you feel, back off a little and let a good man help.

    A quick example. A few days ago our 10 yr old son was doing a project for school that he obviously could handle. His mother was trying to help with good intention however it finally became too much for my son and he gently smacked her arm away and told her he had things under control. I notice from my perch at the stove, her moment of emotional pain, followed by understanding and backing off, along with his elation at having the strength to stand up for himself in a humorous and gentle way. It was really a thing to behold.

    Again, It was not my intention to offend, just hopefully provide a little guidance. Kim and Steve are good people, like most of us, just trying to survive and help others.

    Have a Great Day,


  85. Stephanie said

    A restraining order is the closest thing we have and when served they are in violation if they are around you; especially in the beginning. My children’s father actually will not likely cooperate if I allow my husband to live here. He threatened to call the police also and I fear if I am not protecting my children, he could try to have them moved to his primary custody for the time being. It is quite complicated with the step-parenting situation.

    I will try the work book as I haven’t yet but fear it can only help me going forward in new relationships. I worry this one will never be repaired.

    Thanks for taking the time to respond. I am sure this site keeps you quite busy.


  86. kimcooper said

    Hi Rick,

    I couldn’t agree with you more about good male role models for boys growing up. My dad worked as a doctor in his own private family practice his whole life and so learned a lot about people. He would always say that a man’s relationship with his dad (or a father figure) and a woman’s with her mother was the most important thing for a person’s well being, success and health.

    I don’t know if it is feminism so much that is to blame however and parenting styles amongst women vary greatly, many are very critical and un involved in their sons lives. I only know a few single mum’s and I know they all would have preferred to have a committed loving relationship with a man. For some that didn’t work out and for others they had given up hope (many men of my generation were not very interested in settling down) and out of some desperation and sadness decided to not give up on their dreams of having children and so go it alone. I also know those women probably regretted that decision sorely, as raising a child and especially alone, is a harder job than I think anyone is ready for. I think that single parents deserve all of our empathy and support and if a person lacks a positive same sex role model then they or their parent should work on finding them one! We say that so often to the men that come to us for help and so I really do agree and understand.

    Having good relationships with (well chosen) older folk who can support us with their experience and wisdom is extremely important to feeling a sense of being grounded and supported in your community. Our obsession with our ‘peers’ and friends has had a very high toll on society and our community. The number one cause of teenage suicide for instance is peer rejection. Why are teenagers so attached to their peers that this should happen? If they had more solid attachments to the older folk around them they would not take this rejection by peers so to heart. This is the theme of a beautiful book we highly recommend called “Hold on to Your Kids” by Gordon Nuefeld.

    All the best,


  87. kimcooper said

    Hi Stephanie,

    Please understand that keeping your kids safe may not just be a matter of having him excluded from your
    home but also you learning to deal with him better so as to hopefully resolve the conflict. I know this is a
    huge challenge but please take heart and you are quite right that by working through the exercises in our
    workbook and really giving some new ways of dealing with this man a chance you will learn new people
    skills that are going to improve every relationship in your life and really make sure that you don’t end up
    in this situation again even if your current relationship doesn’t work out.

    Take care,


  88. Jeannie said


    I found your Web site online just yesterday while I was searching Amazon for ANY book NPD that I might not have already read. I had become so terribly despondent while re-reading a book that was all about how to live with a man with NPD but repeatedy insisted one must give up thinking he could EVER change. I will soon be 60. I’ve been married to this man 20 years. And I was just not ready to give up on him.
    My husband is not violent, but he is very intimidating, loud and verbally abusive. Like other NPD’s, he is a master at charming “the public”, a trait that has helped him to be successfully self-employed for five years. Nonetheless, recently he and I have both been under a great deal of stress, having invested our life savings into opening a business of our own just as the recession hit hard here in the U.S. I believe his fear that he might not be up to the challenge is the reason that his abusive behavior has become worse in the past few months. Several times he has let his mask slip in front of clients and launched into angry diatribes aimed at me.
    I’m also learning how much his NPD is a handicap for him dealing with employees. Apparently the fact that he provides their wages has moved them into a different category in his mind. Where he used to save his manipulative behavior and imperious manner for family members, I now see it more and more in his interactions with staff.
    I am truly impressed with the work that you do. At first glance I feared that your Internet ad would be just a lot of empty promises, as there are so many frauds on the Internet. But I have a well-developed b***s*** detector, and I know that you are genuine and that you and Steve have put your heart and soul into using you experience to help others who are suffering.
    Since yesterday I have read “Back from the Looking Glass”, read half the workbook and begun the exercises and twice listened to the recording “Understanding Love”. Already you have helped me to resolve a painful disagreement that would have turned into days of the “silent treatment” had I not taken your advice.
    I commend you for your courage in the face of all the “experts” who say there is no hope. I expect that I will be purchasing more of your books and tapes in the months to come.
    Best regards,

  89. kimcooper said

    I am so glad that you found us Jeannie!

    You hang in there and make sure you have a very close eye on the money in your business OK?
    The more you can say to those who your build a support network with that you are concerned
    and worried about him (rather than it sound like you are fighting) the better I think
    this is going to work out. I am sure the business in these financial times is putting a huge strain
    on him and slowly but surely you need to show him that you are not going to put up with him
    behaving like a nasty brat, but that you are behind him and he is safe.

    Kim (-:

  90. Nolan said

    I feel gyped! You promised 3 questions that would help me, but the three questions were no where to be found after reding and scrolling for some time. Everything you say sounds good and I can relate, but where’s the beef? Chasing shadows and coming up empty. Sounds like you want me to buy your e-books, well maybe so, is this a con?
    Please advise.

  91. kimcooper said

    Hi Nolan,

    The three questions are at the top of the page that you should have got a link to by email as soon as you subscribed.


  92. Tracy said

    I wanted to write down a few lessons I’ve learned so far in my dealings with a Narcissist. I’ve been writing to you and Steve, reading your literature, and listening to your Safety Net radio programmes. These lessons below have been the hardest for me to learn so far, though you clearly state them in your books. I thought that if I shared them, it might help:

    1. Stop talking to your friends: You only alienate yourself and your narcissist partner further. No one has any answers. Divorce rates show that people have difficulty dealing with personal relationships when both partners are reasonably well developed. Why would they know how to help you or your partner reach health? Narcissism in practice exhibits such a specific set of behaviours and patterns which, to the outside world, can easily be read in a different way. The narcissist’s use of arrogance and de-valuation present a face to the world that is sometimes cruel and incomprehensible. Your friends will only end up telling you to leave your partner in frustration at being unable to solve your problems, or worse, as in my case, turn on you and begin to judge you both for staying in the ‘toxic’ relationship. Only YOU have the answers and the capability and the strength to learn to see through the facade, limit abuse, self-soothe and grow. Only by presenting a calm, capable, strong self to the world will you gain the respect and trust you need to support you in your community.

    2. “Go Away” often means “Please don’t leave!” I found this concept difficult to grasp at first, and even now at times, because the narcissist is very convincing, cruel and cutting. I liken the experience from the n perspective as ‘short-circuiting’. I find that when my partner feels unsupported, scared, when i am making demands that are too big to tackle at once, when I use sarcasm, ultimatums, threats or tantrums to get what I ‘think’ I need from my partner, he is emotionally overwhelmed. He is unable to stop, stand and deliver what I want in that moment and is shamed and frightened of the rejection that it presents. His constant response is “Go Away”. At times, I’ve gone away and he remains convincing – for about 3-5 days. But inevitably, the phone calls, visits, emails begin to escalate and before I know it, I am dealing with a distraught, confused, very scared young child. In the past, I’ve used those moments to leverage exactly what I want in the relationship,while acting like the all-knowing therapist. We quickly get back to ‘Go Away’ in those instances, as his resentment builds so swiftly. I am still trying to find the balance that works for us. Now that our work is tied together, I am truly going to have to learn the magic scissors principle, and the ‘envisioning’ your goal instead of compulsive anxiety technique, or it will end in disaster in the workplace for us both.

    3. Strategise your limitation of abuse and STAY EVER VIGILANT: As you both say, it is vital to limit abuse in order to live safely, provide a safe environment for the children, but also to show yourself as strong and capable of providing a steady foundation so that your n partner can truly ‘let go’ and open up. I often find this easiest when we’ve gone through a ‘go away’ pattern (as we don’t live together). In the past, I’ve removed myself and once I’m not caught up in the bear-baiting or ‘confabulation’, I find it easy to gain some peace and clarity about how each and every little nastiness leads to an eventual ‘explosion’ on my part. Just like we are counselled to not ‘bottle’ our emotions or we will experience meltdown in the longer term and everything will feel much more severe, it is vital to think of all of the ways you feel unsafe, goaded, mistreated, abused, etc in your daily life and think of clear, easy to remember, and loving, calm strategies to cope. Kim covers violence very well in your literature, however, it would be very interesting to hear more about how to cope with confabulation, baiting, anger and nasty words with your n partner. The basic answers of the magic scissors, self-soothing etc are fabulous, but without the court or police involved, how can we, as partners, disallow abusive language and anger in situ without making the narcissist partner feel abandoned. For instance, I am often on the telephone or in the car when my n partner tries to trap me in one of these situations. If i calmly say I am hanging up the phone until we can calm down, I receive a flurry of angry phone calls, sometimes he will come to my house and then get more angry. Or if i am in the car, I have nowhere to escape to and if I go quiet, he gets even more angry. This is a really important question for me and I’d love to hear some techniques!! He often uses these escalated angry events and the chemical exhaustion he feels after as ‘evidence’ for why we should not be together. Yet, no matter how hard I try to calm things, it often angers him more!

    I also wondered something really interesting. I am sure that you both have heard of the book The Rules. It is based on the principle that men enjoy the chase. In my past desperation, I have used these techniques, primarily limiting phone and physical contact (the rule: don’t accept weekend dates after wednesday and only answer one out of three phone calls). The idea was to allow the man to exercise his natural urge to hunt and that if you were ‘too easy’ to reach , particularly far down the relationship where you do not have the commitment you desire from your man (marriage), he would devalue you. By instituting limited – and in cases of the partner being rude, abusive – No Contact, I have only found that i never get a ‘real’ commitment or decision from my partner. He will initially ‘toe my line’, but very quickly, we get back to the same place. How do you see The Rules in the context of your advice and programme?

    I hope some of these observations help others listening to your radio programmes like me, those of us following your advice and learning how to grow and have a reparative relationship.

    Good luck and bless you both!


  93. Tracy said

    Also, I wanted to tell you about a funny incident that occurred recently.

    My n partner, Andy, says he wishes we could ‘live together’ not get married. But he’s afraid to actually take these steps because we’ve been so volatile in the past and if he ‘changes his mind’, we might end up wreaking complete devastation. Also, he knows that the pressure would be on him , internally and from me, to get married and have another child in the near future.

    After a big argument over this, he came to my house and said “Surely if all you know about narcisissm is true, and I am that way, I believe it now, then you’d realise that the way to get me to feel comfortable being married is to live together and let me slowly open up and learn what love is and to trust.”

    I don’t know what to think or how to feel about that statement, but I thought you might find it interesting.

    PS. I know that you all are busy, I just thought I’d write down the interesting bits of my journey in the event you might read/think/it might help someone else – not for a response. 🙂

  94. kimcooper said

    Hi Tracy,

    I will try and answer all of your questions as best I can.

    First about getting a man to chase you. I think that is very manipulative game playing and I don’t think it a good idea at all.
    I do understand the psychology behind this however and I will give you what I think is a more healthy slant on ‘the rule’ that might
    also help answer your question about living together versus marriage.

    Men (and a lot of women for that matter) are not so much out for the thrill of the hunt (and if we all were, when would that desire ever
    end?) so much as we are hunting for a partner we feel has ‘status’ and who will be a prize that brings value and respect
    to our life. The song ‘Hound Dog’ describes this very clearly. “You said you were high class but that was a lie – you aint never caught a
    rabbit and you aint no friend of mine.” No one wants a partner who is crying all the time and who is not a winner and has never gained
    any rewards for themselves. We are hunting for someone ‘high class’ that will bring value and magic to our lives. This song also says
    clearly what the results are likely to be if you lie about being ‘high class.’

    “You said you were high class but that was a lie” is someone who does not answer 2 out of three phone calls
    and turns down dates when they really had nothing better to do. They are putting on a false front of confidence and of being busy and
    having goals in their life that the object of their affection will either see through or in time (even if they fall for it in the beginning) come to
    resent. It is also only likely to interest the worst kind of mate. Men feel rejection as strongly as women and research shows that most people
    will never make an attempt to connect again after only being rejected ONCE. Men are human beings with hearts and not heartless hunters.

    This is why having your own goals and being able to effectively disengage from unproductive conversations and choose your friends
    wisely and know how to win their respect and support is so important. It is about you becoming stronger and more successful and
    winning more and more often in life and this will obviously make you more attractive too.

    Set some goals for yourself and work hard on them and if the date or the phone call gets in the way of those goals well then say no
    with kindness making sure that you don’t make him feel rejected. If both partners in a relationship see each other as the sole
    prize in their life where does the value come from? I used to think my happiness revolved around Steve and we would have
    endless ‘relationship conversations’ and quiet honestly I don’t know how he put up with me for so long. He was behaving very
    badly back then, but I was also an emotional vampire. I pretended to have my own life and goals but I always needed him
    and let his bad behaviour mess things up for me. Once he saw that I was going to do anything to protect myself and to make
    sure I protected my own goals and my own interests no matter what and that I no longer had time to sit around worrying
    what he was doing or what he thought of me or trying to psycho – analyse him, he got scared sure, but also my value in his
    eyes went right up. I became a winner and not a loser, instead of being a liability I became someone he wanted playing on his

    As for your friends siding against you and you putting a stop to his tantrums I will recommend the following.

    1. Decide how you want to come across to others in your life and start working towards that. Whatever you need to do to gain more
    respect do it and don’t make excuses. I stopped drinking and smoking and got on top of my anxiety with diet, and of course none of
    those things were easy! Life is not a dress rehearsal.

    2. Only talk about his tantrums etc. to people who have influence and authority over him and then keep it incredibly brief.
    “I am worried about —— he seems very emotional lately and I am scared that he is going to damage his career etc.”
    Please use the personal bill of rights exercise to choose the right people and otherwise you are very right to leave the rest
    of your friends out of it. I used to have a lot of people I thought were friends and no attainable and solid goals for myself
    and now that has reversed, I have few friends, no time for TV (I don’t even own one) and amazing goals that I am kicking
    every day and I can tell you which life I prefer hands down. I bet you can guess?

    3. Do whatever you have to do to disengage from him when he is being nasty calmly. Say “I am not going to listen to you speak
    like this, I will talk to you tomorrow.” If he keeps calling switch your phone off or tell him you will report his nuisance calling
    to the police. If he comes to your house angry don’t let him in and do the same. ” I have called the police and they will be here in
    10 minutes, I suggest that you calm down and I will talk to you tomorrow,” should do the trick. You need to make this line very
    clear. You are not rejecting him but you are definately not going to tolerate that behaviour. If you are in the car with him say
    that you are not prepared to discuss this matter because you feel it is going no where and stop talking about it. If he doesn’t, get
    out and get a cab but say clearly that you will talk to him tomorrow or in a few days when he has calmed down.

    4. You can set small challenges like, “I know you are going to get better at calming yourself down and not flying off the handle and
    losing your good manners, Let’s see how well you can do tomorrow night when we … , I know there is a danger of you getting upset
    but I bet you can get control of yourself even if you do. Let’s see?”,

    Besides this I want you to stop all relationship talk entirely. I really don’t want you talking about relationship stuff at all. When it comes to
    living together versus marriage – I would say, “Let’s just see how much you can learn to trust and relax me right here and now in the
    present? I am looking for a guy who can be in control of his emotions and I hope that ends up being you. I think you can do that with a
    little effort – I am waiting to be impressed!” If it is stuff that needs discussing because of your business bring in a professional mediator
    if necessary. Make it 100% clear that you will do whatever you have to do to stop him verbally intimidating you, but that you will also accept
    him with no further discussion on the matter necessary if he stops. Do you get that? You are not going to claim some victory or lord
    over him or even talk about it anymore. When it stops you will accept him with open arms but until it does you will spare no expense and
    no (even public) humiliation for him to see that what he is doing is WRONG.

    Ok so that is all I am going to say today because you have asked a lot of questions Tracy. I used to talk way too much and if I could change
    that so can you. It is funny now because I am so focused on my goals that my family has to work to draw me into conversation a bit now
    and I don’t think they ever thought that would happen. It is a very positive change.


  95. Anna said

    Hi Kim
    Don’t know if you’d remember me (I’ve written a couple of times before) so here’s a brief summary – plus an update and some questions. Last August I asked my hubby of 29 years to leave, after having discovered a third betrayal of trust since the shock of finding out that he’d had several women over several years. These were all women I knew, women who my N spent much time in helping with all their problems (five of the six were Asian or African immigrants)- and believe it or not, despite letting him know I did not like the amount of time he spent with them (to which he’d take offence and accuse me of having no compassion), I never ever thought he was anything but over-zealous in regard to them. He’d always been ‘generous to a fault’ when it came to other people and I truly never thought he’d ever ‘go there’ with any other woman. I suppose I was naieve – but all I can say is that I knew him to be a man who believed deeply in wholesome family values who, when his double-life started six years before his exposure, continued to present that persona convincingly to all but the ‘parties’ involved. That third act of unfaithfulness was not actually sexual – it was a 2-hour phone call to one of his women – but it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I felt I couldn’t live with the stress of his betrayals and all his other narcissistic ways any more. (It would be another few months before I learned that narcisissm was actually a recognised disorder! I am so grateful that my first foray to learn more led me to your website. It has been so, so helpful.)

    I have shared these few details for a reason. But first, the update: We have been ‘dating’ over the last 3-4 months (I had made it clear at separation that reconciliatiion was my hope. He himself never wanted to leave the marriage, at any time) but I’d stipulated that we not talk about ‘us’ on these dates as they never achieved anything but frustration. Meanwhile, I’ve been gaining much insight from your e-books and learning how to ‘do’ Ns in empowered but respectful ways. Although I had fully believed that I wouldn’t/couldn’t have him back until and unless he’d had some breakthrough in ‘getting’ the deceptiveness of his thinking, etc., I had a breakthrough of my own last week. As a result, I told him that I was ready, if he was, to start looking at his coming back home. I told him that I now realised that for us, sexual and emotional fidelity is a basis for marriage and that if he could assure me of this from now on, that I felt I had healed enough to take this step. (I have every reason to believe he has not been immoral since he left – for various reasons I won’t go into here. You’ll just have to accept this
    :-).) So anyway, although we’re both feeling scared, this is what we’re now embarking upon. He told me that ‘we’ll need to do a lot of talking’ and that he needs time to ‘learn to trust me’, saying how difficult I’d always made it for him and maintaining that he was the one who always tried hard in our marriage. I do own the times I reacted in anger, and other times in self-righteousness, but I also recognise that his comments are not based on reality so much as his own sick perceptions; and that he is utterly convinced that this is the case. Tomorrow, we meet for the first time since this initial talk. I feel so much more equipped, thanks largely to you. I found both Tracy’s post and your response to it helpful.

  96. Anna said

    (Sorry – didn’t mean to send that off at that point! I’ll continue…)

    I’m hoping that my N will have grown to value me more since our separation, not that that was my purposeful intention. The fact is, I have coped much better than he has (despite many moments of deep private anguish) and achieved one or two goals in the process, and now see that it’s imperative to continue to be ‘the strong one’. However, unlike many Ns, mine has never been in habit of expressing anger in the more common ways. On the contrary, he’s prided himself in always remaining cool, calm and collected, believing he didn’t ‘get angry’. He did of course – in passive-agressive ways which ultimately lead to his adulteries. He’d withdraw, go into denial, overlook my needs/desires, undermine me, etc. I shared some detail above in the hope that you may get an idea of the type of personality this N is; and how most people saw him as being a wonderful, warm, caring, insightful, empathetic and caring guy. Everybody liked him! This of course was his need – he had/has an ‘admiration addiction’.

    I do believe there has been some change in him over the past 9 or 10 months and that I won’t perhaps be having to deal with his extremes. However, he’s still ‘that way inclined’. What I need to know is: How do I deal, in an empowered way, with his passive-aggressive withdrawals? his ‘little’ lies and accusations (eg denying my claim that he said he’d fix the tap this week)? his ‘forgetting’ to tell me something he should have (like having a coffee with a female colleague)? refusing to agree to accommodate my request to ‘just hang up’ if one of his women were to call? and – most importantly to me at this time – when he wants to talk about ‘my issues’ and how difficult I have made it for him, when in my heart of hearts I know this is largely his sick perception, but that it’s absolutely his ‘reality’? If I quietly claim that I don’t buy into that, he will be frustrated and claim that I’m in denial and refusing to deal with it, that it’s always been the case and that this is his difficulty. Yet, I don’t think I should pretend to agree with him, for the sake of appeasing him, either.

    These examples are from pre-separation times. The last one, which was the main reason why I did not allow ‘talking’ when on our dates, continued after it. He’s convinced counsellors of this as well.

    Oh Kim, I’m sorry this is so long-winded. I’m feeling a bit apprehensive about this new development. I don’t want to muck-up. I know if I feel those familiar feelings of utter helplessness, I’ll end up angry, and it’s so important for me not to do that. Thanks for taking the time (that I know you will) on this. I really, really appreciate it.


  97. Tracy said

    Hi Kim,

    Many heartfelt thanks for your replies!

    I have *finally* learned my lesson about talking to everyone and living my private dramas in public. Honestly, it took a very bad situation to finally make me see after about 6 years, maybe all my life, of living this way.

    I want to say thank you so much, SO SO SO SO MUCH, for answering everything. Thank you to Steve too, who has also answered my email queries in the past. That you both have given so much of your time and energy to this project and to responding to people touches my heart. And the honesty you both have shown in telling your story gives me hope and a belief in humanity and love.

    I hear and understand all that you are saying. Thank you for the specific steps.

    Also, thank you for clarifying how you see ‘the rules’ style behaviour and the Elvis analogy. It’s so true. At the moment, he is still querying ‘whether or not we’ll be together at all’when pushed (though his gestures, emotions and actions – other than asking me out – all point to the fact that deep down he wants us to work) so worrying about dates seems silly.

    I had a great workout today, have secured my first contract as a professional advertising copywriter with his company (relief! we have such a bad recession here right now in the UK!) and my children are happy and stable. Health, (relative – well I can pay my bills now!) wealth, and family. That’s a great starting point in my journey.

    Your advice on one of your radio programmes, I believe it was a programme on Anger, to envision your goal when you use the magic scissors technique to disconnect, is some of the best advice yet to conquer anxiety.

    I too rarely watch TV and think alot, so I’m happy to hear that you have finally ‘slain’ the anxiety dragon!!!!

    Keep up the great work and I hope to keep you all updated with a success story based on all your hard won wisdom! Well done!

    Bless you and your family!


  98. kimcooper said

    Hi Anna,

    You hang in there Anna and stay focused on your life and goals. You are still in for some hard work ahead with this man obviously and I can’t stress how important it will be for you to do the personal bill of rights exercise in the Love Safety net Workbook and make sure that there are other people in his life who are going to be alerted if he is seducing with what seems must be his clients? If those people don’t exist you must introduce him to them. This man needs strong and no nonsense male role models in his life and preferably ones who are going to keep an eye on him. When you talk to them always let them know that you are disclosing what you are out of your concern for him and not as your problem with him OK? If he is working with refugees etc and charming these women in inappropriate ways there MUST be regulatory bodies who oversee this and you must make sure they know of his behaviour. You can’t police him YOU NEED OTHERS TO DO THAT and he must face the consequences of his own behaviour.

    Stay focused on your life and goals and if he wants to carry on trying to blame you for what is obviously his problem I think your best bet is to show him that this talk bores you – show disinterest and tell him you forgot about another appointment that you are late for and leave. He will soon get the hint. Oh and you might also let him know that you are looking for a family man who knows where his true responsibilities lie and is not out to try and be a big shot to the whole world. Say that you believe he can grow up and be the man you are looking for but the way he is talking at the moment is not a really good sign! keep working on the points in the ebooks! You are going to need to hang on tight because it sounds like you are still in for a bit of a ride!


  99. kimcooper said

    Thanks Tracy,

    Congratulations on your great goal kicking girl! Don’t let his tantrums faze you, remember when he is in that mode you are dealing with a child (-:


  100. Anna said

    Thanks for your prompt reply, Kim, and for the points you make. I hear you! Now that my N and I have started to work towards reconciliation, I am very motivated to work through your e-book very closely. Re the impression I gave that he seduces his clients, this is not actually the case – he doesn’t have clients and the women are not work-related. Would take too long to explain how we met each one (I was always involved at the beginning) but was different each time. He is definitely a ‘rescuer’ and a people-person and just today I made it clear that even seemingly innocent and platonic interest in women (as of the past) are in the category of deal-breakers for me now. He accepts this.

    You are very wise in your advice re presenting ‘concerns for him’ and not ‘my problem with him’. This would definitely be where I’ve gone wrong in the past with counsellors, resulting in me being seen as a major contributing factor, and the focus then being primarily on me.

    I feel I have a sense of direction now though. I’ll be moving carefully, Kim, and I’ll let you know how things develop. Thanks again.


  101. kimcooper said

    Hang in there Anna!


  102. Anna said

    Hi Kim

    This is a query about the Love Safety Net Workbook. I’ve started serious work on it, but am now wondering if there’s more to it than what I downloaded. I’m possibly missing Part 2, unless I’m just getting confused, which is entirely possible! The last page of it that I have is the one with the heading, ‘Bringing it Together’ – it’s the 28th page of it that I downloaded. If there is in fact more, is it possible for me to get just that part? I would of course pay for it.

    Sorry about this!


  103. Anna said

    Thank you, Kim, for letting me download Part 2. It all makes so much more sense now!!!

    Many thanks

  104. Tracy said

    Oh what a tough week! I am writing for support as I’m very exhausted in the early stages of trying to limit abuse and self-soothe.

    This past weekend went well, I spent 3 days with no word from my n partner, and though in the past, I’d have been distraught, I actually had a nice time and achieved some of my own goals.

    I finally heard from him on sunday evening asking if I’d like to go out motorbiking on Monday (Monday was a holiday here, which we did and had a lovely time. Then we hung out all evening and ended up with him kissing me, rolling on the floor with me, but then he pulled back and started acting weird. So again, i let him go and carried on about my business – no talks, no anything. And it was surprising how easy it was to self – soothe, I used the technique (you have a name for it – I forget!) of looking at different things in your environment to calm down. I went to bed and felt positive, so again – well done to me! 🙂

    I started my new role full-time with my n partner on tues, the next morning. I rode to work with him (I’ve lost my license) and he misunderstood something I said, and got himself all wound up, angry, started shouting etc. I stayed calm and dealt with it, went on to do my work. Then we saw one another and he was kind and nice.

    Later that evening, I went home to find out that my daughters were going to be away another evening camping with their dad, so I emailed him asking if he wanted to do something that night. He replied with a long, convoluted email about how he was ‘caught between a rock and a hard place’ with his feelings, that he feared our relationship would end in the worst given history, blah blah blah. He then showed up at my house, I was calm (as I haven’t been so much in the past) and calmly stated that I wanted to focus on things right now…not the future. He later asked me to spend the evening with him again. I did.

    This morning on the way to work, I asked what day he’d like to see me this weekend and he flipped out, starting getting angry, shouting again etc. I stayed calm. At one stage I asked him to please let me out, but he wouldn’t. i’m trying! Later, he came, all sorrowful and nice and began talking to me and a colleague at work. Then when he and I had a meeting scheduled to discuss some business, I was professional and slightly different to the warm, open, friendly person I am and he just blew his top. I wasn’t rude, or mean, or nasty, just reserved, professional and not fawning, smiling loads etc. (I wasn’t happy about the way he treated me on the way to work, and I was stand-offish, but only noticable to someone in a relationship and certainly not out of proportion to how he’s treating me). Repeat the above ‘meeting’ again in the afternoon. The last time, I said “do whatever you want to do about ‘us’, but I need to understand what tack you are taking because I will need to make other arrangements to get into work if you continue this behaviour and I will also put into place measures to protect myself from getting abused at work too.” So he phones me later on the way home from work, apologetic on the answerphone. He keeps calling. By the time I pick up the phone, i suppose he’s worked himself into a panic, because he’s rude again. All he wants to say is “I hung out with him the past two nights KNOWING all the info (in a very snotty voice) and it’s my fault we had an argument, and also – did i want a lift to work or WHAT? (In these rows at work, he also said that if the ‘professional’ me was what he’d encounter at work, he’d ‘have me fired’).

    you see, he’s a control freak. He hates it if I ASK HIM WHEN HE WANTS TO SEE ME. He wants to have me on his terms, how and when he wants to see me, and if I in any way try to establish some healthy boundaries, I am causing problems, ‘trying to keep him under the bootheel’, etc. If he behaves terribly in our personal life and I am cool with him, he’ll threaten ‘to have me fired’. But if I’m warm and open, he’ll cause rows.

    What gives? I don’t know how I’ll cope with this – tell me I’ll get stronger! I’ve been trying like heck to avoid ‘relationship’ talk, but HE KEEPS DRIVING IT! When I avoid, these rows start! If I try to do ‘no contact’ at work, he’ll make an issue of it, if I’m slightly distant at work, he’s tantrumming!

    I’m absolutely loving the job itself and my little ones are dependent on me securing this as it’s school hours but very much in the career i desire – so win win for us both!

    Advice on this crazy situation?

  105. Tracy said

    PS I think he may be having a ‘narcissist crisis’. Let me explain.

    I am doing most of the things you suggested to me in your previous post and also in your books. I’d say I’ve been 95% there (still learning of course). But he’s now flip-flopping out of control, was shaking when talking to me and even mentioned suicide. This was in response to me saying that if he continues behaving this way with me (both personally and professionally), I will get a lift into work with someone else (he hates this idea I think because he said that people will gossip about it and that’d threaten his reputation) and that I will behave with him in a strictly professional manner (which he hates because it doesn’t inflate his ego, plus, really, it means he won’t get my company,love, support etc). But that’s because he keeps treating me like hell!

    I want:
    1. to be asked out in advance (as I have issues like babysitters, other friends, etc to consider) and almost to take it for granted that we’ll be seeing one another on the weekends
    2. him to get control of his anger and trigger response to anything he perceives as a threat to his ego.

    Is stating that I’ll cut the two in half (work and personal) by making my own way into work going and being strictly professional going to make the situation worse?

    He states that it’s exactly what he wants, until he gets it, then its rage and anger, then chasing, then sadness, then apologies, sorrow, asking me back etc. I’m just trying to bypass the long, stupid process this time…i’m getting older and would love to have a peaceful life, succeed with my work, have another child, get married, live a nice life, etc

  106. kimcooper said

    Hi Tracy,

    Good work so far, from what you describe you are doing very well. You must also do the other work of building trust
    and reassuring him it is just his angry and abusive outbreaks that you will not tolerate and most especially in the
    car while he is driving and be clear that you find that behaviour intolerable but that you are not rejecting him.

    He WILL go through a crisis with this before he gives up the game so please keep your head together and be
    ready to protect the life you want for yourself. I would not be too cool with him after he flares up for instance
    I would do your personal bill of rights exercise and find someone (such as the police to warn him about driving
    dangerously when and if he is upset or someone he really tries to impress at work to confide your concerns
    about him with) to start talking to him about his bad behaviour and not you having to police him.

    You really need your support network (you are building one aren’t you? ) around you now to protect you from
    his outbursts and you need to keep staying as calm as you can but you also need teeth! He has been getting
    away with these tantrums all of his life and he will not give up without a fight! Please I would also get some copies
    of the super nanny to watch on DVD and watch how she turns tantrum pulling kids around and just what kind of crises
    they go through in the process.

    You will stay strong (-: and ‘Hang in there’ Tracy,


  107. Tracy said

    Thank you again Kim for your support. It’s like a lifeline in a stormy sea.

    I’m doing ok and weathered the rest of the working with with no incident. I got a taxi into work. Which I can’t afford to keep doing.

    I wonder how we can help ourselves get over the acute and painful feeling of a broken heart. Though I love him dearly and am willing to walk this rocky path for him, I am now having to face the reality that perhaps he doesn’t want to walk it with me. He’s making no attempt to see me or communicate with me outside of work. I guess he gets enough, his fill, during that time and spends the weekend content in the fact that he knows I love him, so he has the luxury of knowing that and going through his activities without the intensity of emotion that I am experiencing.

    I am trying to distract myself, but inevitably, there are moments – days like on this weekend – where I am alone and unable to stop the rush, even with meditating etc. During these times, I think that perhaps I am doing myself further harm, dragging out this painful process. I look around and see happy families enjoying the sunshine and, even if their lives aren’t perfect, they are together. I begin to wonder if I’m just addicted to the hope, the dream, and if in indulging this and by working with him, if I’m not causing myself further long term damage. The working week is like my ‘fix’, and when the alone time comes, I get sad, lonely and upset. It feels like the cycle will never stop, it’s been going on for over a year now. I am getting older and only have a window of time in which to have more children etc. How long do I let myself dream? When does the ability to self-soothe become a liability?

    Hope you all are having a lovely time.


  108. judy said

    After reading all these comments it appears I have found a good place. The only thing is I don’t know anymore if I have another attempt at anything in me.I have been married for 45 years to this person and have 4 children, all grown and doing well.(thanks to God and me)and mu husband was a good provider(I also worked) I have 7 grandchildren whom I love with all my heart.I have grown leaps and bounds over the years overcoming my childhood which was full of violence and alchoholism. This man(husband) has not grown one inch.He is retired and now blind as is his brother. I care for them both(different households) My brother-in-law is rather kind but my husband drinks and sleeps and puts me down.He is passive agressive, selfish or too generous,controlling and takes no initiative and with me cruel. Anymore I have become the meanest bitch God ever put on this earth. No holds barred. I cut him down when he plays his stupid games to the point of wondering why he doesn’t commit suicide.I have even offered him a bottle of strong narcotic tranquilizers to do the job. Guess what? I really don’t hate this man but feel sorry for him once the temper is over.I cannot bear the pain of his cruelty anymore and I either leave a blind man to fend for himself(his kids are not too fond of him) or what? or what? There is no answer. I refuse to be his parent, if I have this correct, that’s what you suggest. I also did this for years but still no trust. Of course I did things that he had ample reason not to trust me but only after years of his B.S.and sleeping with my best friend. He is a baby and an alchoholic, a controller, insecure and petty. I wish one of us would die. Would you also believe I believe in a loving and forgiving God? Doesn’t sound like it, does it? I am a very hardworking person but? But what? I don’t know anymore, this is not me.

  109. kimcooper said

    Hi Judy,

    I really feel for you Judy and your story is a stark reminder of how this situation just gets worse.

    Is there some respite care in your area? I would say that you definately need help taking care of these
    men and that this should not be your entire responsibility. His family may not like him but that does
    not relinquish their responsibility to him and his brother. One way or another you need to organise
    someone else to help you and you need make it clear to his family that you will only continue
    caring for him if they support you in this.

    Take care and take heart,


  110. kimcooper said

    Hang in there Tracy,

    It does not need to be all or nothing. You work on your own goals and your own life and
    becoming emotionally stronger and then of course this journey will be worth it! Because whether he
    changes or not you will then have learned better how to set boundaries and how to take care of
    your own emotions regardless of anyone else’s bad behaviour. These are some of the most powerful
    lessons you can learn in life. Use those magic scissors! You should be doing this more for yourself
    than you are doing it for him anyway and if you hang in there he may just decide he feels safe enough
    with you to let the ‘walls come tumbling down’ – if that happens you must realise that he will not
    be some great prize though! Just a wounded scared man with more problems than he has probably
    even admitted and he will need a lot of patience and a lot of care. You need to be honest with yourself
    if that is something you want to take on? The dream of him being any kind of night in shining armour
    definitely needs to fade.


  111. Sharon said

    Hi Kim
    Just giving you an update since I posted to you here back in February. I have finally made it home to Sydney and am starting again. I decided even after reading your books and advice that I just don’t want to put the energy into my now ex partner. There was really nothing I could do about a support network whilst living in an expatriate community and all the men he surrounded himmself with were very similar to him – yes, the justification that he needed (consciously or unconsciously) to continue just as he is. 18 years of my life had been invested in the relationship and had we have been here when the behaviour turned violent, I would have been willing to spend as long as it took to work through things. In a foreign country though I had no protection like I am afforded (police, womens’ support networks, being able to take out an AVO etc) here at home and I decided I didn’t want to risk being physically hurt anymore – nor did I want my children witness to that behaviour any more for fear of the damage it would inflict on them. We’ve now been home for a month and I’m happy to be back amongst friends in our old community, and know that we’re safe for the first tiime in almost 2 years. I have determined that it’s now time to move on, make a new life and continue being a good mother to our children – and it’s a much easier job when I am emotionally stable. Keep up your great work here. Sharon

  112. kimcooper said

    That is fantastic news Sharon, I am so glad that you are safe! I think you really made a wise decision and your story really highlights how important it is to keep a supportive community of people around you when you have a family. You learning to stand up for yourself and remove yourself from the situation you were in will also help you be stronger, more successful and wiser in your new life to come. Set yourself some good goals now and put succeeding at them before any men in your life and you will have your pick of men and friends who respect and admire you.

    Again Sharon great to hear you are OK and well done!


  113. Anna said

    I’ve just read the last entries by Judy, Tracy and Sharon and am feeling so much for all of you that I thought I’d let you know! I think we probably all have something of an idea of the pain each one is experiencing – otherwise we wouldn’t be on Kim’s blog and seeking her wisdom and support. Judy, my heart so goes out to you and I support Kim’s encouragement to you to get some practical help in your situation. You sound utterly exhausted. I’m sure God understands your sentiments exactly, and that He has His great big arms around you.

    Love to you all.

  114. judith collier said

    Hi Anna, Kim and all the rest. Thank you for your empathy. I have been concerned lately with getting physical help and will continue. I have told my brother-in-law that he needs to pay me something so I can get my house cleaned and he has accepted this.I do need to get away more and maybe I will reach out to my children who all my life I have always protected from as much unhappiness as I could.I am a doer and it is hard for me to just let my husband go down the drain and yet I do understand about, “can lead a horse to water–” I think I might try again and see what Kim suggests are the better responses or no responses. I have the ability to make myself happy, I also have leukemia and I tire easily but can and will shut down completely for a few days if I have to. The thing with my children is, I don’t tell them much but keep wishing they would offer help. I believe they know but their father is so unrewarding(emotionally) they back off. I WILL work on this. I have a strong faith (God’s gift) but right now am a bit ticked with Him too.(chuckle)I told God he is not very pragmatic in helping me but I know God works through others and rarely are there moments on the mountain (there are but He makes you come down and live with all His children) I am O.K. for the most part and I do wish all of you as much love and healing as I wish for myself. Judy

  115. kimcooper said

    Good stuff Judy!

    You hang in there and really start learning you have the right to ask for help!
    I really congratulate you on feeling you might be ready to start working on your own responses.
    I know you probably have every right to be furious at him but you letting him get
    the better of you in the end only really hurts yourself.

    If you need any help purchasing our books you let us know OK?

    All the best,


  116. Anna said

    Judy, I would love to pay for you to have the Love Safety Net Workbook if you were interested, and if Kim wouldn’t mind arranging it. I suspect you’ll find it full of very pragmatic help and advice!! (I also suspect God is chuckling right about now too :-))


  117. Sanjay said

    Hello Anna and Judy,

    Thank you for your warm gesture Anna.

    Kim has asked me to let you know that if you both contact me at I will arrange a payment option for you Anna, and Kim has also asked me to pass on a free copy of “The little book of Empathy, Love and Friendship” to you Judy.

    Thank you,
    The Narcissism Cured Team

  118. kimcooper said

    Hi Anna and Judy,

    I have asked Sanjay to post his address on the blog for you to contact him to arrange the payments and deliveries if you want to accept Anna’s offer Judy. He is our assistant and helps with sending products and links for payment. If you have any worries about this just drop another post and we can continue to arrange this off-line or I am happy to just give you our books, it is up to you both, just let us know and I hope you both are well.


  119. judith collier said

    Boy Anna and Kim, this is something that I am not good at and that is receiving. I don’t know how to act. I am sure by now there must be a suspicion of my rescuing, fixing, bearing, controlling qualitys that I have never been able to overcome. I even paid my girlfriend back when she invited me over for lunch and to watch movies and as I am much pushier than her, well, she just shook her head and had to accept. I got bored with myself years ago and decided for the sake of love and mission to invest in others, but as usual, overdo it. Just for the sake of practice (oh God, this is hard)I will accept your kind and generous offer Anna but I will probably have to forward this on in the future or I will get seriously out of balance. Why couldn’t I have been born a Scorpio instead of a Libra! O.K. gonna’ do it. Thanks again Anna and Kim. Judy

  120. judith collier said

    I have been reading,literally, all night.Here’s what I learned about myself. I am somewhat abusive, one of those sensitive kinds, lack self respect at the moment and am married to a BPD who is also a sensitive and abusive. I understand the sensitive part is most likely a congenital neurological condition.( THAT’S the reason I have had many spiritual occurences, even prophecy, not knowing exactly what was coming but certain there was something coming) That’s great because this knowledge releases a lot of my shame. I am no longer a neurotic, half nuts, touchy female. NOT that I can’t do anything about it though.I do not have strong enough boundaries nor do I follow through with them. I must watch myself in order not too get too stimulated. I can leave an argument and don’t have to go in for the kill and still respect myself. I am not a coward nor passive if I don’t. Wondering what I will be like when healing takes place. Jesus is sure to be much more pleased with me(that’s funny) At least I have the thought I will be pleased with myself. I have no idea what the name of the ‘stuff’ I was reading but it was written by a man, a very nice man(did I really say that?)Now, I have to be careful because I tend to intellectually(a downfall for me) get it but much practice is in order here. I am going to bed for a few hours. Thank you so very much, my Lord said,”my people suffer due to a lack of knowledge”, how true. Judy

  121. Dori said

    Dear Kim,

    I am writing as I need help with understanding a recent situation with my boyfriend. After years of study on the subject of Narcissism, I am pretty confident he is a N…and I like many people I read about, had despaired of a normal relationship…I was told he is incurable and that I should just leave him. I am not the first, before me is a trail of broken hearts, though not many lasted longer than a few months. He is an older gentleman, in his 60’s now, if age makes a difference in being unable to change.

    I ordered your e book and work book which have been illuminating. You have given me my first real hope. I am learning to self soothe and keep on track with my life…before I had been pretty depressed for days and weeks after any disagreement.

    You know, I can’t really say they were normal disagreements we had either, but one sided. I would try to talk to him about his hurtful behavior, porno (he was bored), or seeing other women (he said they were just friends) or cruel treatment that I didn’t understand (He will laugh out loud sometimes and say things like “I am so mean to you” and is really ammused by it). And that didn’t make sense at all, it was like he was talking to himself, but it was true, he is very cruel in his words and his dismissiveness. Anyway, when I bring up these points to discuss, he is so good at deflecting them…he never takes any responsibility or owns his actions…he just ends the conversation and does not talk to me for a while, until it blows over. It’s been a very frustrating nine years, well eight, the first year was pretty darned good and probably the reason I don’t give up.

    I do love this man. He can be kind and lots of fun. He has never hurt me physically. We share many common interests, sports and cooking, politics and TV shows, etc…we are compatible in most ways. I am a kind person, with a good education. I am attractive and have a great sense of humor. And these are things he will even admit to. I just share this so you get an idea about me too.

    My instincts have been pretty good up until now, in that I have broken down barriers to his secret friendships, by getting to know people, including his family, an old girlfriend, (she really is in the past…she has no love interest in him), and other people in our social circle that he kept me from. It was always a good thing that I got to know them too, as they saw what a reasonable person I was, and my BF ceased to talk about me around these people, as the jig was up, they knew I was not the crazy lady that he had been telling everyone that I was. (As they told me later, after they came to accept and like me, he had told them I was neurotic and that I controlled him and gave him no freedom. All of these things are not true…we don’t even live together…although we have stayed at each others places often.

    I also have instinctively been re-parenting him over the years, which did bear fruit in some limited ways. I taught him how to cook and how to buy clothes and shop for gifts…many things that have opened up his ability to function in the world. He uses them all…he seems to forget after a short while that I helped him learn them and after a while, it’s like he always could do it anyway. I don’t really mind, like a mother, you are just glad to see your child can now walk instead of crawl, but I am telling you to explain our pattern. He gifts family, but has NEVER given me anything….and he always gets birthday and Christmas gifts from me.

    Anyway, all was going well, I was taking care of myself, not letting his moods drag me down. And we were managing to not step on each others toes. Taking my cues from your suggestions…and it has been good for me. But today I decided I ought to reach out to another women that he talks to a lot. She is a phone person only…someone from his past. I know she is not an actual love interest on his part, only on hers. She lives 1000 miles away, so they don’t see each other, but she sends him cookies and little presents and they talk for long times. I felt an unease about her. He changes after he talks to her. So today I called to introduce myself. And was that a huge mistake!

    At first she was polite enough, and she seemed to know A LOT about me. She asked me many questions and shared a little about herself…and I thought we were off to a good start…but then, she suddenly turned on me. Like BAM! As if she was just waiting to pounce! With no provocation! She told me that he felt like a prisoner with me, that he said I am neurotic (the same things I heard from others) that I should take a clue and get out of his life, and leave him alone…that he would never marry me, that he dislikes me and wants me gone…and many other mean things too numerous to mention all…it was a cruel moment, like a swift punch to the stomach.

    Of course I was completely taken aback. I had wanted to find some common ground with her so we might get to know each other, in hopes of gaining an understanding ally. I told her I hadn’t expected her response…that there are two sides to every story…that I called just to open a door of communication with maybe a new friend. I didn’t tell her all the cruel things he says about her, I still felt loyal to him and that’s not what the call was about anyway…so I apologized for calling her, mentioned I had only wished to know her as a friend of my friend, and told her I would not call again.

    Not feeling very good about myself, I am not sure if I should have become more appropriatley angry? I didn’t see the outburst coming, people are usually friendly and open with me. I just backed away and let go of the call as politely as I could.

    I did call my boyfriend to tell him what I had done. She told me she was going to call him, and I wanted to be up front with him, not to have him blind sided by her call and at least my side of the story would be out. She clearly does not like me, and she doesn’t even know me. He just laughed and said, you got what you deserved. He didn’t apologize for the untrue things he had told her. He said let’s just forget this, and move on. And that’s what I did, or the coversation would have ended, and we wouldn’t see or talk to each other for weeks, which just kills me and sends me into a non functional depression…and I am always the one to come back later. I know if I didn’t accept this, he would never call me again. And he won’t! He is stubborn and lives in his own fantasy world…he says all the time, he is content alone. He needs no one.

    And lastly, he is a man who has been given nothing in the way of life skills by his parents, self admittedly. I can see where re-parenting would help him, especially now that I have learned better ways to help. But I don’t know how to get past his reserve, that lone wolf mentality…to get him to recognize I am a force for good in his life. To get past his brick walls and lies. Not being married to him, I am not in a position to have any rights, and being that he is not abusive physically, there is no need to involve the law. His behavior is seen and experienced only by myself, for the most part…and if I get to be too big of a drag, he will dump me too, like all the others. And no woman fairs well when he recounts why they are out of his life. It’s a testament to how good I have been to him, and we have had at times a very happy life, as witnessed by the fact that I am here after nine years. I can honestly say I believe he really needs me. He either won’t or can’t admit it, or maybe, he truly doesn’t realize it.

    I know that if we part ways, I too will become one of those “horrible women” of his past that just wasn’t able to get along with him. All goodness out the window, I will labeled as unstable, weird, or crazy, just like he says of each woman from the past. I am sure they were probably mostly lovely women, who just got in the path of his Narcissistic abuse. Most of them probably never knew what they were dealing with, and just got out.

    So Kim, do you have anything to say to me? Am I missing something? I love him so much, as one does when they are good to people. I am a cheerful, happy, gal Friday, I tell him I am his Pepper Potts, the gal pal to “Iron Man”. That old reliable shoe that you feel comfortable with. And he does feel “at home” with me, like no one else he knows. I have even seen him feel safe, he sighs a great sigh after I call him after a few days away, or when I come to stay with him, like he is at peace…but I don’t know how to make inroads beyond his basic needs of having someone around SOMETIMES. He seems to defy any PERMANENT breakthrough on his part, only on my part are there changes, and it has eroded my sense of self worth and my trust.

    One of his guy friends told me that I must love abuse…and I can honestly tell you I do not. It’s just that I hate to give up on him. This same guy friend doesn’t understand that love is patient. That it isn’t fickle, that it doesn’t just go away because something is inconvenient. Some friends do see what I go through…the closest ones, and they all pretty much say the same thing…move on.

    I hope you have some words for me, Kim. I just don’t know what to do anymore. This latest event has shown me the depth of betrayal, his seeming hatred of me. AND YET, he asked me to come and stay at his place for a month, after this latest event…as we had some future things planned. I was shocked he would still want to have me over! What is this????


    PS If Steve can shed any light on this, or give me an inkling of what I am missing, I welcome his insight as well.

  122. kimcooper said

    Hi Dori,

    Believe it or not you are doing really well and I thank you for sharing your story because I think it will be very useful for others reading here.
    I am not surprised that this episode has made him warmer towards you. This attachment to this other woman causes him nothing but pain and
    somewhere deep inside he is delighted that you are strong enough to stand up to her.

    It is very hard for a man like yours to be any kind of dissapointment in this other woman’s eyes, she is a long way away and he has spun the
    fantasy to her and now he needs to keep it up to keep her adoring and praising him even though trying to impress her hurts him (and makes
    him feel a fake). I definitely think you would be wise to do whatever you can to sever this tie.

    Basically it is you or it is her and she does not sound ready to consider you or play fair, so I say it is war and you are so well positioned to win
    and for you to win is the best thing that can happen for everyone involved because she is completely blind to what she is getting into and is only
    going to cause herself and him more despair.

    OK so you must make your own decisions here, but what I would do is to write her a quick note and include a nice photo of you and him together.
    I would also say something like

    “I am sorry that I upset you but I am glad that I called and I really do understand you feeling so angry with me, but I think it is important
    that you are fully aware of all of the things —– (his name) says about you as well. This is a game he has been playing with women for years but you being
    so far away it is easy for you not to see the truth and believe the lies he tells you. Just like it was easy for me to believe the lies he has told me about you.

    Like ….

    You can then include a very short account of the worst things he has said about her
    and also it would be good if you could include him laughing at one of the gifts she sent
    (letting her know that you know what it was to help validate your side of the story)
    or any other intimate knowledge you have of things that she would not expect that
    he had ever shared with you.

    I would then say,

    But I am sure that none of these things are true and you are probably a very lovely woman,
    but I do have a suggestion for you and that is that you are way out of your depth here
    and you should really leave us alone and find yourself your own man.”

    Set backs in my experience are always when there is someone else involved that
    the NPD partner feels he needs to perform for by putting you down. If he felt
    comfortable with her he would not need to put you down like he does. You are closer
    and you have been warm and kept your head together and so when she blows her stack at
    him after receiving your letter you want him deciding that this time it is her who he is
    going to say “Well you got what you deserved” to and my bet is that he will be a bit relieved and
    if you are warm and welcoming he will turn to you and be more trusting than he ever has
    been before, because you have shown that you are a tough cookie and able to look
    out for yourself and this will make him feel much safer with you.

    Also since you have done so well with the parenting in the past I would suggest you really
    focus now on what he would really like to accomplish in his life and start
    challenging him with small steps towards doing that. For Steve it was to play football
    again (which he is doing now). This will make you very attractive in his eyes if you make this
    a very sexy kind of challenge (and also if you focus on some goals of your own so it is like
    you two are egging each other on).

    In the long term you are going to need to find and introduce him to some solid no nonsense
    male friends who he wants to impress and who he can only impress by being a solid man
    himself. Regardless of his age my bet is that he will lap this up. Look around and choose well!
    Later these same men will be good to help you limit the abuse if you still need to because
    he won’t like them hearing about the other women he leads on or about the porn etc. This
    is why it is important that the men you choose have very high moral standards because
    later you might need their influence to lend you a hand.

    OK so take your fish oil and get some sun every day and don’t get depressed because you
    are doing really good and my guess this will be a ripple that is over in no time but for now
    you let that lioness out in you and you let this other woman know “Hands off he is my Man!”


  123. kimcooper said

    Hi Judith,

    I hope you got your workbook and that you are reading that too?
    I also want you to make sure that you get enough sleep!

    Setting boundaries is going to be life changing for you Judith, as will
    you learning to ask for help and not let him push your buttons
    (by walking away from arguments and staying focused on your
    own goals).

    When I have had some of the toughest challenges in my
    life (like stopping drinking) what helped me was this thought

    “Do I want to arrive in heaven when I die looking for my next drink?”

    I know when we are older it is easy sometimes to give up so I hope
    this idea might help you. You can say to yourself, “Do I want to end up in
    heaven still fighting with this man?”

    I know that sometimes in your journey it is still going to seem impossible
    but I bet you felt the same about some other things in your life too, like
    riding a bike or dealing with bratty kids? That is a good one you know
    because really he is just a bratty kid at heart and so you might also
    say to yourself “Am I going to let an old blind man who is behaving like a
    nasty 8 year old get the better of me? No I’m not!”

    I hope this helps Judith and you hang in there because believe me you are
    not alone and there are plenty of people on this blog who really feel for you
    and understand (-:


  124. Dori said

    Oh my gosh Kim…You are a genius!

    Being so close to the sitution, I couldn’t see the good that might come out of my phone call to her.

    I had felt guilty for contacting her, but I can see now that I just didn’t have the skills to deal with her or him. You have empowered me immeasurably!

    And thank you for the wording of the letter that I am to send; that really is a HUGE help. I can fill in the details, I have plenty! It will knock her socks off.

    What I love about you is that you are such a lady in your approach. I intend to keep that classy style to my letter. But the facts alone, that I add, will do the work necessary to send her screaming to him. And he will hate it!

    Should I brace myself for a verbal assault or bad reaction from him? He has never physically hurt me, so I am not afraid of that, but do you think he will be angry? And can you give me a few words to deflect his response, when and if he reacts?

    Thank you so much, Kim. I am empowered again! HOPE is the best tonic!


  125. kimcooper said

    Glad to help Dori,

    Might I suggest you say “Well I guess you got what you deserved?” and give him a wry smile
    and maybe also say “How about you come and see me when you have calmed down?” with another
    cheeky smile? Seriously I don’t think he is going to be as mad as you think he will. I discussed
    it with Steve and he agrees. He will admire you for standing up for yourself and besides as
    long as you are warm and inviting while she has the blow torch out, where is he going to turn?
    You have to be as strong and tough and smart as you are now Dori, because this is no dress
    rehearsal it is your life.


  126. Dori said

    Great lines, I feel so ready now! Thank you both, Kim and Steve. I really learned a lot tonight.

    Have rough drafted the letter, using your advice, will put finishing touches in time for my visit to him. I am going to post it from his address, (nice touch I think) and then I will be at his home for a month to enjoy her call when it comes in.

    Super! I am back on track, and I do feel he will be glad to move on as well.


  127. Beth said

    I just want to thank Kim and Steve for this program. I found the narcissism cured website on a day I was to file for divorce from my husband…I did file but the day I found the website I fired my attorney and somehow received the narcissim ebook and workbook (thank you Steve!!!!). It was like divine intervention, totally wild. I dont want to jinx myself here but I really have learned so much from this and it has even helped me deal with my Narcissistic mum. I can even see some narcissism in myself but at least now I am cool and centered and in control of myself and just “be”.

    I cant give too many details right now and I am still learning and still have questions(yes, I have some questions so we keep moving in the right direction, I will ask those at another time), but that is life. For now, all is well, there is love and safety, and our little girl has both her parents together loving her…and it is all because of a website I found randomly that mirrored my/our story. Blessings to you Kim & Steve.

  128. Beth said

    I just wanted to add that in the beginning of the program, or the first couple of weeks into my learning, my husband tried to really get me to lose it and was very mean. When all his verbal attempts failed and I was cool and strong on my boundaries he had no more control of me but actually seems to now feel safe, and I thought I was the one feeling unsafe…Like I said I am still learning and will post questions but it is important he knows I am not going to freak out or abandon him, but help him by helping myself do better. I realize now I am the strong one so I must then be strong and lead the way in a loving earth mother way…before I used to fall apart and cry and use emotions to try to get empathy and control but it never worked and I didnt know why…until I read your books. Plus, it is fun creating that attraction again with “the look” which makes him think about things instead of me being the one spending my life trying to figure out why he said or did something…life is too short. This adds some fun teasing to go with the light bulb effect.

    Kim, you are priceless. I have learned so much from you ( I tell people my “mentor in Australia said to do this or that”…I look forward to more of your knowledge and wisdom and I do have other questions especially on the gap work exercises etc. so I will talk to you soon I hope on this message board. Thanks again

  129. mark said

    Hi Kim and Steve,
    I think it’s great that you have got this forum going.
    from my own experience with other blogs that concern relationships that are affected by this, your stance on “saving” things is the best!
    I know, after going through a very hard, gut wrenching divorce and trying to save things all the way through it, and my ex being told that if I didn’t perform in such a way, then God says to divorce me.
    I bent over backwards, and still couldn’t measure up
    it left me feeling horribly defective, and my ex terribly self-righteous
    I’m glad to see that it’s an issue that’s being dealt with as an “issue” instead of a curse, (although,NPD is definitely not a blessing), and religion isn’t being brought into it.
    where the end goal is “solution” and not “dissolution” with God’s blessings
    thanks again,,
    I’m gonna bookmark the page


  130. Camilla said

    Hi, the love of my life deals with narcissism as well as other mental conditions. The poem you sent out “the song of a narcissist” is a great description of our interaction. He lives in so much fear I do not see him much, in fact he moves around a lot as he is in fear of people knowing where he lives. I have a deep spiritual bond with him,I believe he feels this too. If he ever comes close to me I will join your program. But thank you for the poem, it may have not been the right thing to do but I sent a copy to him via e-mail, the only way I am currently allowed to communicate with him.

    Doesn’t God work in wondrous ways!

  131. Inga-Lina said

    Hello! Sorry for my English, I live in Sweden. I just want to say that you probably safed my life a month ago, when my husband tried to commite suicide. The psychiatrists diagnosted him as suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, and I started to seek information on the Internet. (That is how I founded you). I realized that NPD can be a lifethreathening condition, and I aknowleged my responsability. Thank you for information and support:)

  132. JoAnn Johnson said

    I wrote many months ago and Steve answered. I came home one day and my husband of fifty years was gone, all the money spent. With the help of my children I am living and surviving. I was not physically abused but believed he was a sex addict which he refused to address, saying it was my problem. I am convinced his mother was a narcissist and his dad very weak, although pillars of the community. What happened in that house stayed there, with his sister being a paranoid personality. Everyone has a difficult time believing this has happened, if he hadn’t left such a financial mess they wouldn’t believe it at all. I ordered your books back then and it has helped me have a working relationship via e-mail with him. He is aware now that I will never keep anything “secret” again, but he still does not take any responsibility for his behavior. He lives with my son and four grandchildren–hence my need to have a relationship that works with him. I take responsibility for not being aware of his difficulties and am using all the information I can find to support myself and my ability to accept “what Is”. I have been to so many web-sites, but find many people after many years still bitter, bashing and angry. I don’t want to be angry, I find it destructive and contributing to my own dysfunction. This is why I return here. Thank-you. Jo-Ann

  133. sharon said

    Hi kim and steve not sure why im bothering to even do this as most of people say is leave him except 2 who say we support your decision. I even think my partner thinks I am absolutley nuts. I know I have a gut feeling about the man I love and I do have the ebook but initially getting into trying to fix I realised that it was not changing anything, so now I am just looking after myself and saying to him you do what u have to and I will do what I have to but If u want to be with me act like it. So I go sadly on knowing that eventually if I am looking after myself and not him if we dont stay together I am going to be ok

  134. It’s my son who is the narcissist. I have three loving, caring, empathetic daughters, so I don’t think his pd comes from our parenting or the other kids would also be narcissistic. My son also was diagnosed with ADD. Ten years ago he and the rest of our family objected to my daughter’s involvement with a bi-sexual man who had a male partner with AIDS. We were all on the same page back then. However, my daughter married the guy and they have two beautiful children. They have a good marriage and are living a pretty normal middle class lifestyle. We have all moved on from our initial misgivings and have accepted my son-in-law and in fact have a very good relationship with him. My son, on the other hand, will not have anything to do with my daughter, albeit he said “time will tell.” How much time, we all wonder. While visiting him last year, we were alone and I told him about my daughter and how she has turned her life around and is living an exemplary life. He just erupted. Told me he doesn’t care about her, or her children, he has his own life and family (a wife who is an enabler) and beautiful 4-year old daughter, and his life is “perfect.” Since then our own relationship has been tenuous and he has had difficulty forgiving me for telling him that his sister is now someone he can be proud of. His wife also wrote me a 6 page letter telling me what a horrible mother I am because I don’t realize how wonderful my son is and I don’t compliment him enough. She made it clear that unless I stop talking about my daughter, I will not be welcome in their home. My husband will be, but not me. That means I won’t be able to see my adorable, wonderful granddaughter. So, the rest of us have knuckled under and I’ve eaten crow just to be able to see her. There is no reasoning or compromising with them. It’s their way or the highway.
    My son has also made comments like “homeless people have only themselves to blame,” and “factory workers are a bunch of unmotivated losers.” He is a status seeker who only buys brand name products he can brag about, like his new Mercedes convertable.
    I’ve seen counselors, but I realize there is nothing I can do to put my family back together again. It is heartbreaking, maddening and so frustrating to have these two people behaving like the tail wagging the dog – the dog being the rest of us.
    Any advice?

  135. Gloria said

    Dear Kim & Steve,

    When I googled narcissim I found your ad. I am thinking this is too late I am divorced and my former husband seems very hostile. However, we are still in and out of court. I am sure I have done things to that could have avoided the break up. Yes, counseling did say that there was nothing I could do to save my marriage. However, since we are still battling over some issues of alimony and personal property I am hoping some of these articles will help me in doing that and possibly maintaining a civil form of communication. The attorney’s do not help they try to keep you apart and from talking, but of course they have their own agenda. I have lost everything, house, rental properties, 3 businesses, due to his lies. I wish I had this web site available to me 3 years ago, not only may I have saved my marriage but everything I worked my whole life for.

  136. alissa said

    I just wanted to say thank you Kim and Steve for teaching me some very important things that I needed to know about myself!

    With your help I was able to learn that I wasnt as put together as I had thought I was, it turns out that given the proper catalist (a partner with NPD) I can become a very “co-dependent” person and display ALL the awful charactoristics of that disorder! I guess I thought that if I ignored him or showed him how angry his behavior made me or how much it hurt me and made me cry that he
    would “learn” and stop doing all the awful things but now after learning exactly what NPD is I see that my
    actions simply fed him his NS.
    I responded to him as I had responded to people in other relationships that I had had (one of which lasted 14 yrs) and even though I turned into an extreme co-dependent with my behavior I still believe that if “he” hadnt had NPD some of my responces would have been a normal turn in a relationship, after all people get mad or sad acording to others behavior and to teach them to STOP you tell them that your hurt or angry and proceed from there, I really had no idea how far I could be pushed to become so irational! How co-dependent I could become! But it was made clear to me as I listened to one of your radio broadcasts, you had a guest spreaker who was talking about if you find yourself saying “this person makes me so mad, this person makes me crazy, if this person could just understand” AND “this is the only person in my life who can make me this way, this person knows all my buttons” then you may be living in a co-dependent/NPD relationship. LOL! Not funny but I can laugh at it now.

    So I took what I could from every website you offer, every radio show and your books and I learned so much about myself and my partner and I started out on this path hoping with all my heart that I could fix us, praying to god for the strenth to be the “repairative relationship” that he needs. Thinking that, afterall that is why he chose me as a partner because I am a strong, together person and he wants, needs me to be this for him!
    I found ways to sooth myself and gained back some composure, our fights lessened and our bond grew back a bit but unfortunatly it really was too late for us or maybe for me.

    I cant be the person he needs me to be, I cant get passed all the lies told about me to all the people in our lives that I care about so very much! To know that these people think Im simply crazy (must be bi-polar is what he led them to believe) and now for them to think ontop of all of that stuff that Im trying to keep “him” from them which couldnt be further from the truth is really just more than I can endure! Iv given up so much for this relationship, so much to be with him and yet none of it has ever been apreciated never mind aknoledged, I have been his constant “scapegoat” for all his bad behavior and his constant belittling of me has worn down my self esteem to nothing!
    I fear for the impact its making on my childrens lives, that they see me as such a pushover, I fear my daughter will grow up to find herself in simular relationships or to find herself as the one who has to do the endless compromising just to get a small pitence of what she desired, I cant do that to her! She needs to see a strong woman who doesnt take abuse! From you, I know now that she needs to see that the way to deal with that isnt by the typical co-dependent responce to an N but by the mature, lets talk about it and solve it aproach but I cant teach her that in this disfuntional relationship, I need to be with someone who doesnt have NPD to show her these things and that has to be the biggest thing Iv learned from you!
    Even though it might not be what you intended for me to get out of it all, it is what I got and I will forever be greatful for it!!!

    Through careful manipulation, some of which you sugested, I feel that I am able to move on from this relationship without fear of future
    stalking/harassment/abuse and Ill actually be able, someday, with the other things that you have taught me to find a healthy, strong,relationship where I wont reduce myself to poor behavior but rather grow and be happy!

    I simply cant thank you enough!!!

  137. Jeannette said

    Hi Kim/Steve,

    I’ve been married for nine years now, and for the past 6 years, things have only gotten worse with my husband. He definitely has some OCD issues, but the worse things was his hair issues and how it had to be perfect every time. We would actually arrive late to places because sometimes he would wash his hair and restyle it! That would drive me nuts. But it was more than that; his inability to own up to a mistake, responsibility to some things, like doing well at work, but then wanting to let things go at home. His wants, desires, expectations, etc., were first and foremost. I’m not saying he never has done anything thoughtful, but more and more over the years, he had to come first, no matter what. If I tried to talk to him about certain issues that bothered me, he just shrugged them off, or said it wasn’t as bad as I was making it out to be. Almost everything that you described in your books, related to him. It was a scary thing, but in a weird way, a relief, to finally find out what was making him act the way he does. Well, after many years of threatening to leave me, he finally did a couple of months ago. We are Christians, so it makes this problem of ours look even worse. After reading your books and articles, (and thanks to my pastor who said that he sounded like a narcissist the night my husband told me he didn’t love me anymore), I realized the day he left, that he must have NPD. It figures I would finally find out after the fact, but at least I know now what do to about it. There are certainly things I need to change about myself; namely how I reacted and responded to all his issues. We have had some bad times, name calling, slamming doors, punching walls and such, mostly because of his “cycles” that he would get in. He would get a haircut, and if he didn’t like it, he would start to get all nervous and anxious, and would waste so much time, energy, and emotions over something as trivial as his hair. I tried everything that I knew of at the time to encourage him to get him out of that “cycle”, but to no avail. His next step would be to get testy, complain, lash out, play the blame game about whatever, worry about what clothes he was going to wear, and how he looked in them as well. No amount of talking to him worked; he denied ever having a real problem up until a couple of years ago, when I noticed that he was cutting his own hair!! What a bag of worms that opened up! He saw a counselor only twice, but both times I couldn’t go, so who knew what if he was telling the doctor the truth about his problem? His leaving this time (and it almost happened in January, but my pastor successfully intervened then)is blamed all on me, and he has become bitter, angry, and resentful towards me, my pastor (who has tried in the past to help him with his issues), and anyone who tries to tell him what he is doing is wrong. It’s all about him, and what he wants; he has not wanted to see me, or even barely has talked to me over the phone. I finally have sent him a letter with other things, in the mail, and I was told by a family member that he did receive it. Whether he reads it or not, is up to him. Being a Christian, I am hoping and praying that God gets a hold of him finally, because his NPD is just killing this marriage. He knows better; he knows what he is doing is dead wrong, but because it’s all about him right now, he couldn’t care less about me, or anyone else for that matter. I am going to go to a Christian marriage counselor, who also has dealt with people that have other issues such as NPD. I am hoping that in time, he will go as well. But for now, I know from all that I have read on your site, and other sites that deal with marriage, I have to take care of myself, and change myself for the better, with or without him. I have in the letter, apologized for some things I am not proud of that I said or did, and also of things that I was doing wrong, and didn’t even realize it. Life is full of choices, and I am choosing to continue to love him no matter what. I just hope that he finally gets some help. I pray that the next time I write, it can be on a more positive note. But thank you so much for all your help. I am so glad I found you guys.

  138. Sandy, said

    Thank you so much for introducing me to the traits of a narcissist. My husband of 47 years is a text book case. I have tolerated his behavior all these years and stayed with him for my family’s sake. I wanted them to have a stable life. He traveled constantly so I was able to be the main influence and I am proud to say they are four healthy, adjusted adults. They are smart enough now to see their father’s faults. He of course, uses gifts to win their attention and loyalty. At my age, I will never leave him. Because of his terrible emotional abuse and infidelity over the years, all the love I had for him in the beginning has been killed. Of course, now he wants the love and companionship any one would expect to have at his age. He caused me so much pain over many years and I just can not forget or forgive him. I absolutely do not love him. I do care for him because we have a home together and children to share. Thank goodness for you and Steve, you have given me tools to live with myself in peace and not let his cruel words and actions hurt any more.

  139. ivan schou said

    i dont know anymore what happenend was it me or her.
    i can admit were i was wrong but she has not.its just crazy for me right now.i cant figure it out it seems the courts are more concerned about money than when the last time i went fishing with my son.
    any more i dont even know what abuse was,is,or how it affects the whole family.i dont even know anymore!was it me,her,who knows?

  140. Jennie said

    Hi all.

    I posted May 7 to report some encouraging progress. I guess that should have been my warning that a crisis was just ahead. Kim warned about this, yet it took me by surprise. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to keep my cool initially.

    Right now I am wondering how to deal with the issue of my husband’s “mind reading”. When he feels strong negative emotions, he tends to interpret my behavior in a very negative way and believe that he knows what I am thinking. My experience with most people is that when you tell them that they were mistaken is that they believe you. Unfortunately, my husband’s belief that he knows my thoughts and feelings better than I do persists even after I explain otherwise. He may go as far as saying I “might” be right about what I was thinking. He said that if he can’t read others’ minds with much accuracy this indicates some sort of deficiency in him.

    I am at a loss in how to deal with this. It’s like he is from another planet. Can anyone relate?

  141. Valleri said

    I have been with my so-called “boyfriend” for about a year and a half, and it started out wonderfully. I was in a horrible, ten-year marriage and have two children, seven and ten, from that marriage. I had finally succeeded, after trying so many times, to leave my husband, and almost right away I started seeing a wonderful man who lived on our new street, in the neighborhood where I had grown up.

    He was truly too good to be true: he was fifty (I was forty), had never been married, and had no children but loved my own. He lived with his younger brother, and they were both high ranking public officials with excellent jobs and community standing. His face lit up every time he saw me. He was charming, funny, charismatic, perfect.

    Immediately after we started seeing each other, there were challenges. He would tell me he was going to come visit at night but “I’ll be there in fifteen minutes” turned into an hour, two, even three almost every time. He almost never took me anywhere and, when I teased about it, he seemed hurt, as if I should feel lucky just to call myself his girlfriend. If I did not answer the phone when he called, he would punish me by not answering when i called back, or by “leaving his phone in the car” when he was with friends.

    Last Summer, after I took my daughters on a trip without him (a pretty brave feat that I was very proud of), he was a prince when we returned. What followed were two months of being together every night, enjoying wine and conversation in his backyard in the evening, being taken to his friends’ parties and his brothers’ houses (where he’d never invited me before), and–best of all–talk of marriage, having children, and moving into the house he was rebuilding on our street.

    When I asked about the marriage, he told me, point blank, that I would have to propose to him because he was afraid, but that he would buy me a “giant rock” when I did. I took him at his word and I planned the engagement and was ready to go when, after these months, quite out of the blue, he annoucned to me that he was taking custody of a four-year-old foster child in two days.

    He had never before discussed foster parenting and, as mentioned, we had been making plans of our own for a family. When I expressed shock and told him it was unacceptable for him to make such a committment without me, he told me it was going to be fine, the child would be “ours” and that, if it came to it, we would adopt him together. I went into the kitchen and got down on my knees and said, “Okay, Lord, but you have to help me.” I knew if I told my boyfriend no he would have left me. I realize now that that probably isn’t true.

    The child came and, for about a month, my boyfriend clung to me for dear life, never having had a child around. We had dinner together at night, I babysat him when my boyfriend had obligations, and I tried to get my children to make friends with him, though they were feeling a bit overwhelmed, too.

    After my boyfriend got his bearings with the child and we got him his shots and into school, that was it for me. He put locked gates on his backyard, never gave me the housekey he had promised, took the child’s hand, went in their house and closed the door behind them. My children rarely saw him and wondered why, if he didn’t love them anymore, but when I tried to explain that this was a traumatic situation and they needed him to talk to them, he would roll his eyes and say, “they’ll get over it.”

    Since then, ten months have passed and my life is a living Hell. He lives forty feet away from me but has totally alienated us. He goes out with other women who “I don’t need to meet,” and goes to all the parties and friends’ houses with the child but not my children or me. He ies about where he is going and will be out every night but takes me nowhere. If I ask him if we could go to dinner, or if he would come and visit, or if I could come over and see him, he rolls his eyes and sighs exasperatedly and says, “Oh SURE honey! What else can I do for you?!”

    He hides his phone from me and goes out “to smoke” or “to the bathroom” and makes phone calls instead. Once, at a party, I saw a text he received that said, “Hi, honey. I’m thinking about you and can’t wait to see you again.” Rather than tell me who it was, he let me walk out. He did not speak to me again until I came crawling to him the next afternoon via text begging for an explanation. He claimed she was just a friend but would tell her not to text him anymore. He agreed to come over that night to talk about the event. He never showed up, but instead went out with another woman until eleven p.m. with “our” foster child. When I called and called, he finally answered and laughed at me because I was so upset and did not know where he was. He thought it was so funny that I was so upset and couldn’t find him or find out who he was with.

    He also lies about other things. I asked him what we should do for his birthday and he said, “I just want to have a cookout.” On the morning of his birthday, I called to ask him where he wanted to have it, and he said, “oh, yeah, I don’t know about that” and did not call the rest of the day. I left messages that my daughters had made him a cake and presents, and were so looking forward to spoiling him, but he did not call or come. I found out later that he had gone golfing with his brothers and, instead of simply telling me, had ruined the whole day, even though he was home by five.

    The holidays are the worst. He has no family but his equally N brothers, and they spend holidays at friends’ houses. If I say I want to go to my mother’s house or to see my brother or aunts and uncles, cousins, etc. he says, “Fine. Go” and won’t talk to me, as if I’ve rejected him. I would try to reason with him and say, “my daughters should see their grandmother, it’s Christmas!” He says again, “Fine. Go. If you don’t want to be with me, that’s fine!” even though I obviously mean that we should all go or at least stop by. He always says, oh honey, you know I wouldn’t go.
    After Thanksgiving, Christmas Eva and Day, New Years Eve and Day had gone by this way I told him, “Look, Easter is my mom’s big holiday. We HAVE to go to her house.” He said, “Okay.” Then, on Easter morning I told him what time we would go and he said, “Oh, honey, I’m not going to that. My family is coming over for dinner. You are welome to stop by.”

    When my brother got married, he played with me for weeks and the whole morning, pretending he might have to work, and making jokes about not showing up on time to take me, not going to the reception, etc. When my nephew got married last month, he did not get a babysitter and told me the morning of the wedding, “Honey I don’t have a babysitter” and that was that. Like, “What can I do? How can you blame me? I don’t have a babysitter.”

    There is a woman down the street who is an old family friend of he and his brothers. She cuts their hair, cooks for them, has them over for cookouts, hosts their birthday parties, etc. She has also become the surrogate mother of “our” foster child. I am not longer allowed to babysit. When I ask why, he says, “I don’t want to impose.” I remind him that we are supposed to be a family, and he says, ‘Oh honey, please stop with the drama.” The woman and I have mutual friends and she has told them that she is trying to break up my boyfriend and me. I did not say anything until she lied to him about me on several occasions, and then I did tell him. I asked him to talk to her about this and he said she wasn’t important, that it didn’t matter.

    She then started refusing to talk to me or even to my daughters when they said hello to her on the street. I told my boyfriend she was behaving this way even to my children, and he still refused to confront her or stop going to her house, getting his hair cut by her, and taking the child to her for babysitting several days a week.

    This is the situation now. My daughters and I are dumbstruck remembering what a wonderful Summer we had last year with this fun, loving, devoted man. We are now locked out of his house and his backyard, are not invited anywhere with him, and he spends much of his free time at the house of a woman who refuses to speak to us. When we see the child outside, who were were going to adopt, he sometimes has to think to remember our names. Yesterday was the child’s birthday, which we knew–not because my boyfriend told us but because this woman had decorated my boyfriend’s house with birthday decorations, posters, balloons, etc. Of course, as I mentioned in the beginning, my husband and the child went out of town without us to celebrate.

    This man continues to tell me he loves me, wants to be with me forever, but that he just can’t please me. That I am so difficult and nothing is good enough for me. He will go days without returning my calls and then text me something suggestive or loving. When we do get together, it’s awkward and strange. He does not like to make love, but only wants the satisfaction of other kinds of play. He has slept overnight with me only once, under the strict condition that it was “just sleeping.” I wasn’t allowed to touch him, just lay my head on his chest.

    The “other woman” and I used to be friends until she turned on me, and she used to tell me that the three brothers think of her as their mother. She said one of them said she even looks like her, with blonde hair and two different colored eyes. I also know that my boyfriend was the one who was most babied, though he is the middle boy. The mother would do whatever he wanted and defend him to the father, who did not stand up for himself.

    Anyway, I don’t know what to do anymore. I have run my business into the ground, missed several book deadlines (I’m a writer) and negelected my daughters, crying almost all the time in front of them, not taking them anywhere, and keeping them from their grandmother, uncles, etc, in the interest of demonstrating to my boyfriend that “we are here for you whenever you need us.”

    Everyone is sick for me. I don’t know why I stay with him, except that I love the man I met and know he is in there somewhere. I keep thinking he will come back to me, and every few days he gives me reason to hope, for just a moment, and then turns away again, worse than before.

    one question I do have is after reflection on another woman’s post: I have already confronted this “other” woman–the mother figure– and him, several times. In the beginning, I told her to say no when he asked her to babysit, because I felt he needed a stable environment, and she refused to turn him down, saying my problems were none of her business and she would do whatever my boyfriend ask if she was able to. I also told her that her refusal to speak to me was coming between my boyfriend and me, and she still refused to break her silence. I then told him that if he did not resolve the issue with her I would not stay with him, but he has withdrawn even more. I told him he is not to get haircuts from her anymore, but he still does and makes jokes about it. I am trying to handle the situation by forming boundaries with this woman and with him but it doesn’t work. I don’t know what to do; I have no dignity left and am not sure how to progress or if I should just go.

  142. Jennie said

    Valleri, from my experience and reading Kim’s books, I would say that Job #1 is learning to take care of your own emotions and your own life and cut off from caring about what he is doing. If you feel like you have no dignity left, you need to regain it. You will not make any headway with him unless, and until, he sees that you are strong and in control of yourself and that he can’t knock you off balance.

    It is hard to do when you are involved with someone who is doing so many hurtful things, but it can be done.

    Taking the focus off him, and putting it on *you* is the best things you can do for your life and for him.

  143. Valleri said

    Thank you, Jennie. Your advice is right on, but it is so, so hard to follow. Just now he has been gone all day again, without a word since this morning. I asked him early today, after he had been gone two days without me (who knows where) if he wanted to stay together and he said, “I love you.” I told him he had to answer the question. He said yes and I told him I knew it was hard for him to answer questions and he had done a great job and I loved him. I told him that sometime this week we would sit quietly and figure out a few small things that would make us each feel safer and bring back our closeness. He seemed to be okay with that. I also asked him if he would fix a broken window in my apartment and he said, “It would be a pleasure.” So that seemed like it went really well, and I felt that sort of parent feeling and felt a little relief from him but, a few minutes later he got in his car and drove away and I haven’t heard from him again, despite just dropping a line to say “Hi, honey. Hope your day is happy. I love you” six hours ago. It’s the total lack of communication, lack of connection, lack of give-and-take, and wondering if it is on purpose or that he just doesn’t care. I do all the things I’m supposed to do: do my work, play with my kids, visit their grandma, work on things I like. Still, when he does not respond to me or reach out to me, I start wondering: where is he? Why didn’t he ask me along? Who is he with? Are his friends asking where my daughters and I are? Did he tell them we broke up? Doesn’t he miss me? Why won’t he call? And why is he doing this to me if he doesn’t want me around? Why not let me go? So then I get agitated, and worked up, and angry and bitter and jealous and sad. And then I start calling him again, looking out the window again, yelling at him in voice mails again, crying again. My heart ached for the woman who said, I go everywhere and see couples and families together. We know they aren’t perfect, but at least they are together, spending time, enjoying life a little. I see people at the movies, at plays, at the park, the beach, biking, skating, walking together, at restaurants and concerts, at church. And I think, where is he? Why aren’t we together? Why? Why? Why?

  144. Valleri said

    Jennie, I wanted to tell you also that I have had experience with the “mind reading” too. There was a day about a year ago that my boyfriend came over to visit and he went on and on, in a weird, teasing way, about how I didn’t love him anymore. Totally out of the blue. I thought he was being flirtatious and I said I love you over and over. He would not stop. It went on for more than an hour. I was absolutely baffled. Finally, exasperated, I said, “Fine! Okay! I don’t love you anymore!” Well, he walked out. I followed him out, in my nightgown, in the snow, and begged him to stop. There were tears streaming down my face and I was pleading with him to tell me what was going on. He closed the door in my face and would not answer the phone the rest of the night. Also, for months we had discussed marriage and children, even names for the baby we wanted to have. I went to my OB to have a fertility test and talked with him about the results. When he took in the foster child, he claimed it was because he did not know if I wanted to have a child with him! After the child came, I begged to babysit him every time my boyfriend went out, but he would take him to this other woman and, when I demanded why, he would say, “you don’t want to watch him. you are always too busy.” It’s insane and maddening. Insane. I am sorry you are going through this.

  145. Anna said

    Gosh Kim, you’ve got your work cut out for you here!! But I know this is what you’re passionate about, and you are gifted to be a source of much help for us :-). I for one am grateful!!!

    A little note for Judy: I must admit to chuckling when you said you ‘didn’t know how to do this'(i.e. ‘receive’). A big pat on the back to you for choosing to do so – well done indeed!! I feel that this is exactly what God is wanting you to start practising, for how can you receive from Him all He has for you when something inside you resists receiving anything from anybody? I love your honesty and your spirit and I think new things are starting to happen for you. Enjoy your new lesson of learning to receive from others. I suspect that as you do so, you’ll start to realise that you are loved and accepted for who you are, just the way you are. We all have faults, we all muck-up – but love overlooks all that. And we have hope!

    Personally, I think you’re amazing.


  146. kimcooper said

    Thanks so much Beth and you are doing great! I think it is also really worth wile you sharing how things usually do get worse before they get better, you explained that very clearly and I am sure that will be of use to many people reading the posts here. I encourage you and everyone that feels they are getting stronger at this to share and help other people here. Particularly as I will be away working on two new books and getting my other 4 into print (not just ebooks) for the next month our so (as well as doing some newspaper interviews and also some TV). Steve will still be around however to help answer questions as will Sanjay (with technical and customer service issues) and I may have a new helper or two to introduce here shortly, but it is really women like yourself that are finding this new inner strength and balance, that (if you have the time) will have the most to offer giving others here a hand.

    As for gap work it is simply a matter of really getting inside his head and thinking what does he need to master so that he feels more solid and proud of himself (rather than what you want the most out of him), and start challenging him to work on that in very small and doable steps. This is going to both help him and also show him that you really know him and care about him, rather than him feeling that you are demanding things he cannot give. The Love Safety Net Workbook will give you a hand with all of this and I am sure Steve can help if you do have any more questions.

    Hang in there and good work Beth!


  147. kimcooper said

    Thanks Mark and I am so sorry to hear about your divorce.

    I certainly would never be so presumptuous to say that I knew what
    God’s will was, and particularly if that involved a man losing his family!
    I think that it is all too easy for someone not involved to claim that
    divorce is the answer when in my experience it usually isn’t. I mean I am not
    against divorce per say but if a couple lacks skills in emotional intelligence
    it is like lacking driving skills and changing cars is not going to fix it, but will just
    create more chaos and further damage. Similar to driving too, it is not something
    that prayer alone can fix. If you are lacking driving skills you might pray to find
    the right instructor but once you are there religion has nothing to do with it at
    all just knuckling down and learning how to drive well!

    All the best,


  148. kimcooper said

    Thanks Camilla,

    Hey I wonder what he is up to? I would do some finding out if I was you?
    Much better than to be left in the dark. That doesn’t mean worry about it
    just see if you can do a bit of research, there may be a lot more to this man
    than you are now aware of.

    I hope he liked the poem too, I will try and find the time to put it up online
    somewhere soon.

    Hang in there Camilla,


  149. kimcooper said

    Hi Inga-Lina,

    I am glad that we have helped. It is not very common for someone with NPD to try and commit suicide.
    I wonder if this is the whole story with him? You learning how to be stronger emotionally
    and how to set clear and solid boundaries will be good for you both regardless of his diagnosis however
    but I would make sure they really know what they are talking about.

    I am sure you will find a lot of support here even when I am not around (-:

    Hang in there and take care,


  150. kimcooper said

    Hi Joann,

    I am so sorry to hear about your troubles, it is really to your credit however that
    after all you have been through you understand that becoming bitter would only hurt
    you and make things harder.

    I am sure you will get a lot of great insight and guidance on this blog in your
    ongoing struggle with this. It is a hard road to journey down but when I look
    at the strength dealing with Steve’s disorder (for all of those years) has given me
    now I can honestly say it was worth it. I still had so much back then I hadn’t
    learned yet and so the journey was in the end just what was required I guess
    even if at the time that was very hard for me to accept or understand.

    Hang in there Jo, you are not alone …


  151. kimcooper said

    Hi Sharon,

    Well that is a huge realisation in itself!

    You hang in there Sharon and I am sure there is a lot of advice
    and help you can gain by reading other peoples stories here,
    it might take a little while but you know I think that soon something
    might just click and suddenly you see things from a different perspective
    on why he does the things he does.

    Having your own goals and knowing how to take care of yourself and not let
    him push your buttons will certainly make you more attractive and improve
    your own mental health! You just stick with that and what will be will be for
    the best I think and if you need help there are plenty of people here who I am
    sure will offer you a hand.


  152. Tracy said

    Hi Kim and Steve,

    Wow! What a huge number of posts in a short space! Has someone done some SEO homework or been on the radio promoting? So many stories!

    May I ask if it’s possible to reconfigure the way the messages appear in the browser easily? The white bar in the middle is so narrow and it’s easy to lose your place and these stories are priceless!

    I can’t wait to read your books – I’ve read the ebooks!

    Just wanted to tell you that my life is full of hope right now, thanks to your heaven sent advice. I’ve been strong in my boundaries and been trying my hardest to keep my cool. We are working together every day and he’s asking me to do more things and even “made love” to me (without protection, something he never does! I want another baby soon and he’s always been dead set against it!) Not to be crude, but he didn’t go so far as to ensure I’d get pregnant, but…) I also put ‘made love’ in quotes because it felt real, like we were there together.

    The next day he was as proud as a peacock at work and just started treating me differently, subtly.

    This is huge change from the last 6 months of my life, where our sex life went to zero. We’d always been maniacs and really shared sex as almost a hobby! It was the toughest time of my life. He kept not wanting to do it because it ‘meant something’ and he didn’t want to ‘lead me on’.( i assure not because of me, I do my best to keep very fit).

    His ‘crisis’ may have peaked or may be yet to come. The situation we are facing now is that a woman at his work that he is the boss of, whom I shared my concerns with as part of the initial ‘community support building’ part of the program, is now complaining about his way of speaking to her, that he is short, and erratic. Ironically, this time it’s not because of his behaviour (I believe, because I’ve seen him deal with her lately) but because she messed something up and can’t handle it. Remember, I’ve spoken to the company owner in the recent past as well in the way you instructed. I’ve known them for 5 years. Thing is, the female company owner had to get involved in this situation too and we don’t have a clear picture of what’s going on. Like – what the lady who has a complaints issued are and how the situation will be handled or viewed.

    You told me to be strong and be fit and ready to protect what was mine/his/OURS. How can I do that in this situation when that woman may be using my heartfelt attempt to help him against him? Any clever advice?

    I just want him to know that no matter what has happened (nothing would surprise me)or even if he simply wasn’t nice to her, that he will be ok, and that we are in a new, better place now and he can trust me. That I have his back, especially when he is working hard with me on a one to one level now.

    I also want to be able to support him with practical advice in dealing with this situation. He doesn’t know I ever spoke to that woman, but his boss may. What can I do to help?

    All my love and best wishes to you both. Honestly, we have all been transformed by finding you.

  153. Tracy said

    Also, just to add, I KNOW he is telling the truth in this instance simply because I was involved with the incident as it unfolded from the very start. We all work together. He isn’t telling porkies to please me. He was genuinely not to blame and she’s saying ’emotional’ things in order to cover up ineptitude.

    grrrr! lioness coming out!

  154. kimcooper said

    Hi carol,

    I think that you would really benefit from the advice in
    “The Love Safety Net Workbook”. The problem is that if you
    are wanting to help your son you will need to strengthen your
    attachment with him first and work on building trust as will
    his dad? Is he around to help with this? Our program once you really
    understand it is a bit like good cop bad cop. You can’t keep
    playing anything like the bad cop to his arrogant behaviour but will
    need others to perhaps help you with this.

    So I would say don’t mention any of his siblings if he is jealous of them (which
    it sounds like) and make sure you say his name like you love him
    and are glad to see him and do your best to lay aside any judgement
    for awhile while you work on all of the attachment exercises in “the Love
    safety Net Workbook.” You will then need to also learn how to end conversations
    quickly that you find distasteful and also how to keep your cool even when he
    is being a jerk. All of this while you also keep an eye on him (like a hawk
    I would say) and get the authorities in to play bad cop if there is ANYTHING he
    is stepping out of line with. If you have built trust he will eventually turn
    to you when the heat is on and you will then be in a better position
    to start perhaps introducing him to some older men that he would admire
    and respect but who might also display some better values to him.

    Your daughter in law sees you as the problem at the moment because it is
    easier for her to blame you rather than him for his poor treatment of her
    and their daughter (which is nearly certain to me) and I think you must do
    your best to understand and forgive her for this. She is not in a good
    situation and winning her trust too may be important if she needs someone
    to call on for help once his arrogant and obnoxious behaviour becomes more
    that she can stand.

    I know this is not easy advice and certainly not easy for me to explain in a sentence
    or two here. Even though our books are written primarily for couples I got most
    of my ideas from parenting advice and so there is plenty in them that would help
    you I think.

    Rather than saying that your daughters are fine and so his problems are not because
    of your poor parenting (which I do understand), perhaps you could reframe this in your
    mind into “there is something different about my son to my other children that has made
    his deep emotional needs harder for me to recognise or understand”. The fact he feels so
    inadequate that he needs to criticise defenceless people and cannot bear to hear about
    others doing well tells me there is a huge gap in him somewhere and that he feels unable to
    live up to yours or perhaps his sisters or his fathers expectations of him and if you can
    somehow figure out what that gap is with some compassion you might be able to start
    encouraging and helping him take the small steps to fill in that gap. If he drives a Mercedes
    convertible he obviously makes money, but how does he make it? Stock brokers for instance
    spend a considerable amount of money in S and M parlours and most are not there so much
    for the sex as them trying to assuage the guilt that the feel for making so much money from
    doing something that is in reality so worthless to society (this was the finding of a fairly large
    sociology study done in New York some years ago). This is obviously not really going to help
    these men in the long run and they would probably do much better if they had a respectable
    and likeable man who was perhaps a friend of their family encourage them to do a
    first aid training course together with them (for instance) or something that would
    improve their feeling of value to their community. I know it is hard to imagine men who
    will pay women to insult and dominate them because they feel so bad about themselves
    but I assure you they are out there in droves and with how shallow societies expectations
    of men have become I must say that I do actually understand.

    I hope these suggestions give you some ideas and help you find a productive course
    of action here, I know it sounds like a lot of work but really your son’s problems
    have just begun and without some wise intervention things will most likely
    get further and further out of hand.

    Hang in there,


  155. kimcooper said

    Hang in there Gloria,

    Wow you are right up to your neck in it aren’t you? I would say that it is very important that you play as smart
    as you can now. You need to study night and day and fight to win! This is your life that the courts are dividing
    up and you need more than ever to learn how to keep your cool and win others support and bring his bad side
    out for public display.

    I would also be doing a lot of detective work. There are things he is hiding that I would be sure that the
    knowledge of will give you a lot more power and solid ground to stand on in this case being settled in your favour.

    Far from make him hate you – you playing as smart and as tough and as cool as you possibly can will
    win his respect in the long run – even if he is completely angry and amazed when you whip his dirty laundry
    out to be aired in full view of all!

    You really hang in there Gloria!


  156. kimcooper said

    Hi Alissa,

    I am so glad that we have been able to help (-: If you feel back in control of your life
    well that is the intended result!

    Just for clarity I would like to explain however that our program should never have left
    you being seen as a pushover! I know that you will certainly benefit from learning to
    be less co dependent and not using your emotions to try and evoke a response in
    others but it is very important that you learn to set boundaries too.

    I will give the most simple explanation of this I can by using the example of the many
    women who have written to me over the past two years and said “I can’t tell the police/
    his boss/our pastor/etc what he is doing, because if I did he would lose his job/go to jail/
    etc. Well I say “Let him lose his job or go to jail!” If he is behaving in a way where that is
    warranted you cannot protect him from that and to try to do so is a huge mistake.

    I used to protect Steve form all sorts of consequences of his behaviour and stopping
    doing that was vital to our marriage improving. He might have lost his job and got
    into all kinds of trouble there for awhile but in the end it was the best stuff that ever
    happened to him and all of us!

    OK so I am not saying that you shouldn’t leave if that is what is in your heart but please
    don’t think that learning to stay calm and how to self soothe means that I think you should
    be a push over! I say grow some teeth and don’t let him get away with a thing! Just
    don’t you be the one handing down the consequences and let that come from someone
    else, more than anyone people with NPD need to face the consequences of their own

    Good luck with your new life ahead Alissa, I am sure your new found EQ will help
    you be a big success in all you decide you want to do.

    All the best,


  157. kimcooper said

    Hi Jeannette,

    Wow it sounds like you husband has some pretty major anxiety he is dealing with
    and a bit more than NPD is going on there. Do you think he might be open to
    listening to Sarah’s Anxiety Audio? I don’t know but it sounds like he is going to
    need some huge trust building and a truck load of understanding from you if this
    is ever going to resolve itself between you two.

    Yes it is very important that you take care of yourself and you need to get to be
    very good at working on your own goals and meeting your own emotional needs
    because your husband sounds like he has some very big demons of his own that
    he is not sure how to face and you can not really play counsellor to him but only tell
    him that you will be there for him and try and be more understanding if he decides
    he wants to try and work things out between you two.

    As irrational as what ever his fears about his appearance and his hair might seem to
    him they are very real to him and unfortunately when people are dealing with anxiety
    that extreme it is very hard for them to be aware of any one else’s needs.

    Would you be able to encourage him to take fish oil I wonder? In one way or another
    he needs some help and perhaps compassion for his anxiety is all that I can see.


  158. kimcooper said

    Thanks Sandy and I am glad you feel more secure in your home. You are obviously a strong lady and I hope that time will perhaps bring you to a place where you can forgive (but perhaps that does not mean ‘love’ him!) if only for yourself to be able to move on fully and feel free of his neglect and abuse of you over all of these past years.

    Take care and hang in there,


  159. kimcooper said

    Hi Ivan,

    You hang in there and take care,


  160. kimcooper said

    Thanks Mark and I am so sorry to hear about your divorce.

    I certainly would never be so presumptuous to say that I knew what
    God’s will was, and particularly if that involved a man losing his family!
    I think that it is all too easy for someone not involved to claim that
    divorce is the answer when in my experience it usually isn’t. I mean I am not
    against divorce per say but if a couple lacks skills in emotional intelligence
    it is like lacking driving skills and changing cars is not going to fix it, but will just
    create more chaos and further damage. Similar to driving too, it is not something
    that prayer alone can fix. If you are lacking driving skills you might pray to find
    the right instructor but once you are there religion has nothing to do with it at
    all just knuckling down and learning how to drive well!

    All the best,


  161. kimcooper said

    Hi Jennie,

    I just wrote answering you and somehow lost the whole post! Oh well I will try again …

    Please read my advice to Dori on setbacks because I am nearly certain this is the same situation
    as with you. He is probably lying to someone about you trying to impress them or get their
    sympathy and your job is to figure out who.

    As for this mind reading nonsense this is exactly the kind of conversation you want to learn to
    put a stop to. Have no time for this kind of BS and something better to do!

    You could also get some empathy cards and say well if you think you are so good at reading
    people lets see how good you do at this game. You make sure you bring this up in the right time
    and space and not in reaction to him carrying on about this nonsense.

    You can even leave the cards with him when you go to do something in the other room
    (and let him cheat!) if it helps him get interested and take pride in playing this game (which
    will be excellent practice for him even if he is cheating LOL) and you can play along
    like you don’t suspect a thing and say “Wow you are good at this!” Learning to recognise
    other peoples emotions from these cards will help him greatly and him saying he ‘should’
    know what people are thinking (when obviously he is usually wrong) is I think a clue
    to a big gap with him.

    Take care and hang in there Jennie,


  162. kimcooper said

    Hi Valleri,

    There is so much for you to learn here and I don’t want to
    discourage you, but only say that to let you know there is a lot that you
    can do to improve things for yourself but it is going to take a lot of work.

    You will really need our full program I would say and to read everything carefully
    and I would also recommend to you the audio on co dependency to self esteem.

    A few points I think to consider specifically however are these …

    1. Where did this child of his come from and why isn’t he with his mother?
    To me it seems very likely that your ‘boyfriend’ is most likely his father but
    if I was you, for my own peace of mind I would certainly be finding out.

    2. You cannot tell him or this woman down the street what to do or who they can
    talk to and this is not setting boundaries. Also you imposing ultimatums that
    you don’t follow through on only makes you look weak.

    3. You MUST get back on top of your writing and your business and not have time
    to see him until you do. This is the only way you will rescue your self respect.
    If you lose him you lose him but in reality you have already and he is never going to
    respect you if you are so weak that you let your whole life slide because of his
    ‘naughty boy’ games. Use our audio products or just splash some cold water on your
    face and give yourself what ever you need to to get your resolve back. Imagine
    how good you are going to feel when the work is done and you are solid and keeping
    your own ship afloat regardless of his and your other neighbours bad behaviour.

    4. OK there is tons more I could say but you need to get much tougher about
    this and keep your eye on your own life for as long as it takes. Be courteous and respectful
    to him and your neighbours but you are very busy now and not going to get caught
    up in anything that is not about you standing firmly on your own two feet.

    Down the line I think it is going to pay for you to have as much dirt on this man
    as you can, especially if you plan on taming him (LOL) but you are going to need
    to get a lot tougher before you can even contemplate that. Doing a bit of research
    or getting a PI is not the same as you fretting about it however and you will need
    to use your ‘magic scissors’ often and not think about him while you get your life
    back in order.

    You also need to build a strong network of friends who are supportive of
    you and your family and think about how you present yourself so you earn
    a bit more respect. Is there a local church you can join or some other
    solid community group or activity you can take part in with the kids?

    Stop worrying what he is up to (but find out) and please get working
    on the steps and info in our books. You are walking into a lot of danger
    (it sounds like) trying to tell these people who I would say are obviously
    not your friends or people you should trust what to do and being upset
    that they don’t like or ignore you when in fact their intentions may be
    much worse than that.

    Do you have someone older in your life who is solid and trustworthy that
    you can spend some time with? A mother or father perhaps? I really
    must suggest that you wake up and see that you really don’t know
    these people who are your new neighbours very well and you need to
    get much better grounded and set some real boundaries by not needing
    their approval or them to behave how you want them to for you to feel
    in control of your life and also by you taking back your sense of yourself
    and your goals and your time and start putting a fence around these that
    you do not let others cross. You saying to yourself “I am spending tomorrow
    writing and making sure you don’t let anyone or anything interupt that
    is the type of boundaries you now need to set.

    Hang in there Valerie you are in for a bit of a scary time and probably
    a bit of a rough ride now I would say but life can really get a lot better
    for you than this.


  163. kimcooper said

    Hi Anna,

    Yes I am ha ha ha! I do love it however but I guess now is a good time to announce
    that I will be off working on two new books as well as some big media interviews
    over the next month or so and so I wanted to give everyone a lot of time today
    and stuff to read before I go.

    I really hope that you will all keep this new ‘forum’ up and running and Anna that you
    and others like you who have big hearts and some understanding of our program
    to offer will jump in now and then and lend others a hand.

    Steve and Sanjay will be around while I am gone and Steve will also be introducing a
    new team member this week (something to look forward to) and I will drop in now
    and then so I am sure you will all do fine without me!

    Even with our teams help these pages are really just a safe space we hope to hold
    for all who need it and we do really encourage the main activity here to be that you help
    each other because that will also teach yo lots that will help yourself. It is funny how
    other peoples stories are so much easier to see what is missing or needed than it is
    own own.

    Hold on and hang in there!


  164. kimcooper said

    Hi Tracy,

    I just did it again and cancelled my whole post! If anyone knows anything about how
    to get this to display better please let us know here we are open to any advice!

    Great work with your man and you just keep building trust and attachment with him
    and show him that you love him as much as you can by your smiles and tone of voice!

    As for this other woman I am not sure what to say. Perhaps you need to let her know
    whose side you are on so she thinks twice about dragging you into it? Or maybe you could
    have an honest heart to heart with his boss? You know better who you can trust and what
    is appropriate here but it is great that you can genuinely say you are on his side.

    OK so I hope that everyone has fun helping each other out here while I am off writing
    new books.

    All the best,


  165. Anna said

    We will definitely miss you, Kim, but it’s a wonderful thing that you are doing – there are so many of us who have perhaps always had the best of intentions and desires in our relationships but who have lacked the depth of insight and/or strategies needed to make a significant difference in our ‘narcissistic trap’. I loved your analogy of ‘needing driving skills’ as well as prayer – I believe God heard my cries and led me to your site so that I could be equipped to know how to move forward.

    All the very best to you over the next couple of months (and good on Steve for releasing you and taking on more responsibility here!).


  166. Tracy said

    I am so proud of you and Steve, Kim.

    Your mammoth posting session was invaluable and a feat of nature. You are more than likely exhausted right now!

    I am sure that we all feel the same when I say I feel like crying! You are a lifeline to so many women! Having a forum for you and STeve’s voice that had a much wider/bigger reach is so important though, so go forth and spread the message and prosper. There are so few people who actually believe in ‘holding on’ to each other these days – or rather – it’s not what we, as a society are conditioned to do!

    Some thoughts for you: your message (as you advise us in the book) was to focus on the behaviour, not the disorder in order that we didn’t look batty. Your message is invaluable to any human being – not just those looking for advice on dealing with npd.

    Also, I write ads for a living (tv, print, web) and we have some pretty massive clients. As/when/if you need it, I’d love to volunteer some of my time as a way to say thank you for changing my life.

    I also know a hell of a lot about online strategy, so I’d love to chat with ya’ll. It must be difficult marshalling all the different blogs/site/and content you’ve generated.

    If you’re interested in discussing it in future, let me know on this forum and I’ll email the other email address.

    Once again, thank you and GOD BLESS! Please announce on here when you have ‘gigs’!


  167. Stephanie said

    My husband and I are now seperated and haven’t spoken in months but I have to say that I think your advice can work no matter how bleak things might seem.

    We recently started communicating via email because we have some logistics to work out. I am currently in our house and I have no idea where (or with whom) he is staying. I have been told he may have a girlfriend. Last time I saw him he was physically abusive to both me and my daughter so I made him leave and filed a restraining order. I allowed it to expire as long as he agreed to stay away while I made arrangments to move myself and my kids from a previous marriage (he has two kids of his own) to a “safer” environment. He has stopped paying the mortgage or any of his bills and keeps talking about filing for bankruptcy but won’t follow through. It will all come to a head later this year, I imagine.

    I have been working and putting myself and my life back together and have expressed via these emails that my kids and I deserve better and will not put up with his bad behavior any more. I have also spelled out how I see things going with strength and determination and ended it with “if at any point you would like to make some better choices, let me know”. I have received no response from him because I think he must be completely dumbfounded that I am not pleading, crying, begging or any of the other things I used to do to try and get him to show that he cares. I have told him I am taking control of my life and if he would like some help sorting his out, he can let me know. In the mean time my kids and I are focused on building a life with or without him.

    Thanks again Kim for helping me see how I was pleading with someone to do something for me he really can’t. I see my co-dependent behavior for what it is and am determined, whether he comes back into the picture or not, never to be that person in a relationship again.

  168. Anna said

    Good on you, Stephanie!

  169. matty said

    Hi Kim,

    You are doing a great work.
    I seem to draw narcissists into my life. I have taken a test and find I have no narcissistic traits which really surprised me. I never received honest compliments growing up and was determined to give them to others, which I have done, so I guess I have created my own dilemma. In my efforts to be supportive, I have allowed my own needs to go unfulfilled and don’t know how to change that. They are family members, so it is not something I choose to walk away from.

  170. Helen said

    I’ve been reading about Narcissism now for over a year, since I found out that my partner had the condition. His dad told me, as he, himself, had a wife and 4 children with varying degrees of it, and was really just trying to explain to me why, by investing money in a van so that my partner could start his own business, I had precipitated him leaving me – which he proceeded to do in a very hurtful way.

    I was completely devastated as I truly believed he loved me, and I did, and still do, love him very much. After several months I made contact with my ex, as I heard that he had calmed down and was thinking of contacting me. He eventually made it clear that he didn’t want to get back together as he had ‘just stopped loving me’, but thought I was wonderful and wanted to be friends forever. He said that everything had been right about the relationship, but that at the end there had been nothing worth saving, which is why he didn’t talk to me about it, and he couldn’t help just stopping loving me. His dad basically said that by buying him the van he simply did not need me anymore. I had to face the fact that perhaps the whole relationship had been a sham.

    I have continued reading the mails as I have been very interested in the whole subject of personality disorders, partly due to my work, and just wondered if there was any possibility of winning him back. I still care very deeply for him and would love to help him get ‘better’ and begin to form healthy, mature relationships. Maybe I’m not the one for him, but we were very good together when it worked, and I have truly never felt so loved as I did by him at his best. He was the love of my life! I feel as though I found out too late, when he had made up his mind to leave. Everyone saw him change once he had the van. I was able to get it back by the way, and got some of the money back that I’d paid out.

    Maybe I am being stupid by even thinking these things, and of course all the advice would say that I had a lucky escape. I still miss him very much, and although I know he has started seeing someone else, I have been told that he is still quite unstable and things aren’t particularly rosy.

    Should I just forget him, or is there a possibility that by using the right strategies he would want to be with me again at some point?

  171. Reba said

    I’ve been studying all the information in Kim and Steve’s site for over two months, subscribing to everything. I’ve been married for 19yrs and filed for divorce two months ago knowing he had another one on the string. He quickly found his miserableness with this other woman and has expressed a possible want to come back. Trouble is we can’t even talk about anything relational. His comments are shockingly empty of any rational or accountable reasoning. Same as all the other times, and I can see how I am going to have to totally self-sooth and be self sacrifice to make this go forward. He has gone to counseling once, and I have been going for myself. I understand the best results come from a reparative relationship, not counseling. This is a huge challenge and I hope I can do it. My friends and family all think I need a ball bat to my head. None of them understand it except my brother and his wife. Right now, he is moving out from his adulterous relationship, but not moving in. I think that is way too early. He wants thirty days, but just trying to ask him what takes place during the thirty days got into his accusation of me being “controlling”. It is so shocking to hear of his total lack of empathy for his wife in the simple asking of ground rules about this thirty day period. I told him I wanted to begin to put together quality time. I heard from him that he thought I should begin to date others if it presented the opportunity. I would not do that because I am still married and it is not right and God would not bless it and I don’t have the heart for it and have no desire. But it scared me that I might have to deal with yet another woman in the thirty days. This to me is not committment whatsoever. I’m left with “what am I dealing with”. Is this the beginning of a reparative relationship or is this the beginning of just more cruel bad behavior he will do? I just don’t want this to be the beginning of more of the same. I am going to have to just show my strength in ‘letting go’ while building Trust and Attachment. That’s pretty hard to do if all he wants is to be alone for 30 days. He is very lost and confused. Any comments?

  172. Annie said

    I’ve read about narcissism for years and just came across your site recently. My NPD ex left me on Mother’s Day 3 years ago. Prior to leaving he took a ton of savings including what was saved for my sons’ college. His public charm masked the awful abuse for many years. I went to counseling and did learn many of the strategies you suggest here such as setting boundaries and remaining aloof and calm (most of the time), etc. He’d been seeing someone and bought a house with her right down the street from me a year ago. They are getting married in a few weeks.
    After all I’d gone through with him and the real truth was revealed, I simply did not love him enough to ever consider the anguish of ‘re-parenting’ him and am actually shocked that so many are willing to do so. Maybe in those cases, there’s some level of ownership of the problem, but my ex did not and still does not accept who he is on any level.
    My real concern is my sons, now ages 15 and 16. I have not seen the younger one in 6 months. His grades as well as his negative attitude fell to the toilet, and I insisted on some constrictions of privileges due to this. So he went to dads’ house and refused to come back. There are no restrictions at dads’ home. He makes a lot of money and has succeeded in buying the kid with money and total lenience. His older brother’s grades have also fallen significantly, not quite as bad, and for the most part we do have a good relationship. I have no interest in dad, but am dedicated to my sons. Yet dad has created a situation that allows me very little input. How do I keep them from following in dad’s evil footsteps.
    I do not know the woman, still have never met her. I figure she’s been charmed and lied to and is enjoying the same magic carpet ride that I once took. Still she did date a married guy and soon after moving in with him, one of his sons refused to speak with his mother. Aren’t these obvious red flags?
    Wishing for advice regarding sons right now. Both are extremely bright and used to be in programs for gifted kids, now making C/D grades. That says to me they should go to summer school. But dad planned his wedding trip/vacation on the east coast right in the middle of summer school session. He just took them to buy custom fitted suits for the occasion, not to mention all of the expensive restaurants, clothing, sporting events, etc. I really care little about the dad, my biggest fear is NPR sons. Help!

  173. Annie said

    Oops, on that last sentence I meant to say NPD not NPR, but hopefully you knew that. I appreciate what I’m learning here SO much! I used to spend SO much time on various websites and books related to NPD, then took a break from it for awhile. Nice to see a fresh perspective here.

  174. Caroline said

    These stories and responses are helping me very much. Just today,reading some of this helped me to get control of my emotions. I look forward to making progress in my emotional intelligence and in trying to use some of my new knowledge with my recent ex whom I still love. (Not strong enough to try yet but close) Perhaps down the road I will be able to help someone else renew their life!
    Thank you Kim, Steve and all of you

  175. Zoe said

    I am so sick and tired of this, I feel like I’am going to lose my mind. I love this man, from the moment I first met him. He was clean cut, polite, articulate. WOW my dream has come true, I thought. This has been a living nightmare. The beatings, oh my God I should be dead, but I covered them up, until I had just had enough. I stood by him in his mess, being in jail for 6 months. There I was on the other side of the glass, stating my love for him. yet I notice, after time I became more at peace, I missed him beside be in bed but I had the whole bed and it felt good. I started to become Zoe again, in controlof my life, not having to be your end all, because he can’t read well, I did it all, and yes he is very articulate, when he isn’t drinking or using. Oh when he came home it was being in love with him all over again, then he needed me to drive him here, make his probation, his meetings, oh then he needed me, but not for long and he was back to his old self again, the lying, oh my God, do I really appear to be that stupid to him? How did I find myself in all of this. I work fulltime, had dinner ready before I left for work, half the time he was not even their or come home. But there’s no one else. “I left my home here” I didn’t have my charger.
    I think I can almost take the beatings, it’s when he is that “demon” and he sleeps next to me and doesn’t want me to touch him, the rejection. When he is home and I still feel I’am all alone. I can’t seem to find the man I fell in love with. I’am wishing that this one would just die. I never thought I would say that, I hate the demon. I am so drained, and it is showing in my work, I work with the mentally ill and I come home and still work.
    How do I fight for me now.The engery that I put into him I need to put into me, but I have so little fight for me now.
    I am so glad that I found your site, because I feel no one understands, the man I fell in love with is not the monster I face daily. There are days when I just pray not to wake up in the morning, because I don’t know who I am going to have to face, the man of many faces, who are you going to be today.
    Please help me. Help me help myself.

  176. Valleri said


    I don’t know if you are still here but I wanted to tell you that I am having an amazing day. I finally, finally, finally made a stand and, yes, he is like a little boy. He is hinged on my every word. He would never tell me he needed me before but all I had to do was to say, “I have to focus on my life now. I would suggest you do the same” instead of “baby I love you I need you too but it just doesn’t work” (which is what I usually said). He wanted to get together tonight and I said I was too tired. He has not taken me out for four months and he asked me what night would be good for me this week. Rather than caving, I said, this week is really busy and I really need to concentrate on my work and my daughters, who are getting out of school for the summer this week, so maybe over the weekend. He said, what night would work for you?
    I am a bit baffled. I have an amazing feeling of control, freedom, happiness, peace. I also feel nothing but compassion for him. I feel bad for him, but it does not affect my own life. I pray for him a lot. I pray for his foster child and his family and the other women. I’m happy, Kim.

  177. Robin said

    I have been married now for 6 years. In the beging my husband was perfect. I already had 2 daughters from a previous marriage and he treated my daughters as if they where his own. He was attentive to my needs showed me he loved me, seemed to cherris our relationship and truly protrade him self to be this family man. When I became pregnat with my son everything started going down hill. He started staying out with his friends all night and lying. When I would confront him about it he would get mean, one time he even treatin to leave me when I caught him and his brother out with some females when they where supose to be playing basketball. We never communicate because when I try to talk to him he sits there like I’m bothering him, and he ignors me. I could be crying and he will not flinch. Last year he left me and the kids, he says because he couldn’t stand to be aound me. He just disregaurded me. His mother passed away around this time so I still tried to be there for him. Her funeral was on my Birthday and he left me at his family’s house to go out with another female. He even tried not to sit by me at his mothers funeral after I paid for and made all the arrangments so our whole family could be there. After about 6 months or so he came back. He aked for another opportunity and promised me that he was ready and willing to change and wanted to be with me and the kids. It went well for about 5 months ontill I found that he is still in contact with some of his girlfriends from the past and he has been lying to them that he is not even married. He only claims my two youngest (his biological children) but lies about me and his 2 step daughters and acts like he is a singel dad. The part that kills me the most is that I go to work and school full time, he has not worked for the last year and while Im at work and school he is sitting at home on the phone and computer or God knows where eles denying he even has a wife. If I have not done any investigating this all would have sitll been going on. I know some thing was up, he with draws him self from me, when I go to touch him pulls away, when I go to kiss him he gives me his cheak to kiss, but then he walks around as if nothing is wrong, and when I want to talk to him about things he blows me off. I don’t know if there is any help for us, he lives in the fantisy world away from reality, we aren’t even on the same page about things. He is selfish and inconsiderate and knows it. Now he says that he loves me but it would not bother him if I left him because he just dose not care, and it would be easier for him to walk away than to deal with our issue. I can’t go on like this any longer and do not know what to do anymore.

  178. Robin said

    I have been married now for 6 years. In the beging my husband was perfect. I already had 2 daughters from a previous marriage and he treated my daughters as if they where his own. He was attentive to my needs showed me he loved me, seemed to cherris our relationship and truly protrade him self to be this family man. When I became pregnat with my son everything started going down hill. He started staying out with his friends all night and lying. When I would confront him about it he would get mean, one time he even treatin to leave me when I caught him and his brother out with some females when they where supose to be playing basketball. We never communicate because when I try to talk to him he sits there like I’m bothering him, and he ignors me. I could be crying and he will not flinch. Last year he left me and the kids, he says because he couldn’t stand to be aound me. He just disregaurded me. His mother passed away around this time so I still tried to be there for him. Her funeral was on my Birthday and he left me at his family’s house to go out with another female. He even tried not to sit by me at his mothers funeral after I paid for and made all the arrangments so our whole family could be there. After about 6 months or so he came back. He aked for another opportunity and promised me that he was ready and willing to change and wanted to be with me and the kids. It went well for about 5 months ontill I found that he is still in contact with some of his girlfriends from the past and he has been lying to them that he is not even married. He only claims my two youngest (his biological children) but lies about me and his 2 step daughters and acts like he is a singel dad. The part that kills me the most is that I go to work and school full time, he has not worked for the last year and while Im at work and school he is sitting at home on the phone and computer or God knows where eles denying he even has a wife. If I have not done any investigating this all would have sitll been going on. I know some thing was up, he with draws him self from me, when I go to touch him pulls away, when I go to kiss him he gives me his cheak to kiss, but then he walks around as if nothing is wrong, and when I want to talk to him about things he blows me off. I don’t know if there is any help for us, he lives in the fantisy world away from reality, we aren’t even on the same page about things. He is selfish and inconsiderate and knows it. Now he says that he loves me but it would not bother him if I left him because he just dose not care, and it would be easier for him to walk away than to deal with our issue. I can’t go on like this any longer and do not know what to do anymore……….

  179. Kim said

    It’s been so long…….and I wanted to wish you all the best. My relationship is now over, but your compassion and insight made a huge impact in helping me to understand what I was dealing with.

    I still believe your advice is best for those who are married into this situation, and it’s very difficult for those who are not to effectively deal with it. (Hey this is hard for anyone) That said, I know your heart is in this, and you have a genuine concern to help others.

    I am much happier now, and fully admit I try to recognize and completely avoid entanglement with an NPD person now as I move forward.

    But still the things I learned from reading your material were invaluable, and they helped me “get my own head straight” so to speak.

    My Best Wishes and Thanks,

  180. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Helen, It’s Steve here, I’m really sorry to hear about your story and I’m sorry that you are not sure what to do now.
    From what you have said, it sounds wise for you to have recovered your money. I am sure that it hasn’t made you feel much better, because there are still unanswered questions and unresolved issues in terms of what your relationship meant to him, or means to him now and in the future.
    I know for a fact that guys can run hot-and-cold in terms of affection for his partner, and I strongly advise all women to allow for that sometimes, within reason, and certainly do not get personally offended by it. In your case however Helen, there seems to have been some clear manipulation and perhaps even fraud. That needs to be resolved before you think about winning him back. He has created a conflict and that must be resolved quickly. From what you have said, he has played a power trip on you and thinks that he has got away with it. If he thinks you are a pushover, he will behave in a similar, or worse, fashion in the future. So resolve this issue with the van ASAP, then you can move to the next step.

  181. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Reba,

    It is very cool that you understand so many of the concepts from Kim’s eBooks. It should be pointed out that you have a chance now to assert yourself in ways that you may not have again for a while. This 30 day period and let’s-see-what-happens plan of his is a bad plan. It is a stupid idea that he knows is only going to upset your equilibrium. I see it as a power play of his; he wants to destabilize you because that suits his lack of accountability. If you really want him back, it is time you make the plan and stick to it. If he is open to you in any way, you can use the challenge technique that Kim and I talk about. Kim is much better at giving specific examples than I am, but if you can challenge him to take back his role as head of your family, supported and forgiven, he will want to take it I am sure.
    The ground rules have to be clear. You have the right to be his only love interest, if you have read the Love Safety Net Workbook you will notice that in the exercise section (part 2) there is an exercise called, The Personal Bill of Rights. Your number one right is to be his only love interest, it is not a demand to put onto him, it is a right that you intend to keep and is about your physical and emotional health.
    Some self-soothing techniques are very much a priority for you now, his behavior will only change once he sees that he cannot play these games with you any longer.

  182. Shandy said

    Hi Kim and Steve, I’ve only recently come across your site, and can’t believe there is a name for the behaviour my ex showed for years.

    I have not yet proceeded to get the full information, as money is exceptionally tight right now, but I am fascinated by what I have seen so far and I’m thinking this could still be of benefit to me when I can manage it.

    I am not remotely interested in getting back together with my ex, but as we have children together I still have to deal with him, and I am sure your information would be of benefit there.

    Funnily enough after years of making my life hell, things are reasonably civil between us now. Funny because eventually he was charged over his violent assaults on me, which of course made him furious beyond belief and was ALL MY FAULT… he then tried a number of other ways to punish or “get to” me (none of which succeeded as I was too happy to be free of him)… but ultimately he has treated me with a lot more visible respect. I am still fairly sure he hates me for exposing him in that way, but he also knows (through trial and error) that he can’t push me around at all, and there is a noticable difference in the way he speaks to me now.

    However, he is what he is, and I have seen how when he is confronted by something he doesn’t like, he reverts to previous behaviour, so strategies to deal with this would be great.

    My main reason for writing is that I am now looking at whether your e-book can help with 2 rather different situations.

    One is my children. They spend each Sunday with him, and I do not want them to model his behaviour, so I am looking for help to recognise how it begins, and how to effectively alter it from the start. Also how I can best conduct myself in front of them, to offset his example.

    My second situation is to do with my boyfriend, who unfortunately lives a long way from me so we have to conduct a great deal of our relationship over IMs and phone calls… He is in general a lovely man, very different from my ex, and I have satisfied myself that he is not a N. Ego is definitely not a big part of his makeup, he is gentle and caring and very outward-focused.
    However as with most people he has a flaw or two, and in his case, it is to do with him sinking into despair over some of the issues he faces in his life (trust me, he’s got reason to be stressed! But i believe in finding solutions, whereas he gets so he can only see problems).

    When he gets like that, he withdraws from me, and can in fact become very selfish, although I know he would be horrified to hear it described that way. In his mind, he is just trying to survive the crises by battening down and cutting loose anything non-essential. I understand that. However he has cut ME loose at those times, as if our relationship were non-essential. This is very hurtful, and although he comes back apologetic and telling me how much he wants me back, it’s not enough to make up for the rejection, no matter how stressed he was at the time. I know he does love me, but he is not taking care of us when things get tough, and it can’t continue like that.

    To clarify, when I say he becomes selfish, I mean that he can only see how HE feels, how upset and stressed HE is, and things like that. He is never rude or intentionally cruel in his “cutting loose” but says things like “I just don’t know how I can make everyone happy” and “it’s so hard knowing how long it is before I can see you again, I just can’t do this”, or my personal favourite 😦 “I need some time to think”

    Hopefully you see what I mean – he thinks he is being kind and caring and sensitive when in fact he is pulling the props out from under me, and ultimately himself too since he leans on me a lot.

    Is there anything in your methods which could help me to encourage him out of brooding and into action?
    This is obviously as much for my sanity as his.

    Anyone who can shed some light is welcome to comment, please.

    Sorry I didn’t mean to go on so long 🙂 Thank you for letting me vent.


  183. Valleri said


    Oh my lord, you and I are living the same life. I had two daughters from my marriage and I, too, met the perfect, loving man who turned out just like yours. Out with women, lying about it, and blaming me for getting mad and “ruining the evening” when I would see the texts from them or become enraged about their phone calls late at night, or when he would go out with them behind my back and tell me he was too busy for us to go to dinner or for a walk.

    The ignoring me, treating me like I am an imposition on his life, the exasperated sighs when I see him, as if he would rather die than talk to me.

    And then, of course, the professions of love, devotion, promises of marriage and children, etc. etc.

    If you read my post, way above somewhere (!), you read that he takes his foster child out with him and his friends, on trips, to parties, etc. and leaves us at home–because his friends don’t even know we exist. They fawn all over him, about what a selfless, loving man he is for taking in a foster child, while we are left at home without him even telling me he was going anywhere, and sometimes it’s for days at a time. If I complain about it, I “don’t have enough love in my heart for a helpless little boy” as he puts it. And when my daugthers ask him why he didn’t take them along, he tells me they should “get over it. they are so dramatic, just like you.” Last week was his foster child’s birthday, and my daughters were not even allowed to see him, even though they think of him as their brother and made him a cake and cards (they are six and nine). When I told my boyfriend, he rolled his eyes.

    Today he put a love letter in my car, promised to take care of me forever, and never go anywhere without us again. Tonight I saw him put luggage in his car and found out, from his brother’s girlfriend, that he went to visit a friend in California. When I called him in tears and asked how he could leave again without telling me, he said, “Oh Honey! You were mad at me!”

    I am so sorry you are going through this. The pain is unknowable to anyone not in the situation. The idea that we don’t just leave is not understandable to anyone else, either. I wish you so well.

  184. Dori said

    Hi Steve,

    I wonder if you can give me some insight into my guy. After a nine year relationship, that was mostly good until about a year ago, he has become deeply entrenched in porn.

    So much so that he just stays at home and has cut out most of his friends. He rarely calls me anymore…I have to do ALL of the contact.

    And even then, he is short with me, and makes up excuses to get off the phone. We don’t live close enough to see each other every day, so it’s not like I just drop in and take his attention away.

    Why do men do porn at this level when they have women that love them in their lives? When I am there, he will stop for a while and go out and do things, but I can’t be there all the time. Why do men look at porn when they have loving REAL women who care about them? I am not a nag, but I am not a push over either, I am intelligent and engage him in conversation to discuss things, not all the time, just enough to make points or open windows in his mind. I really feel I am losing him to this dark world. I think it has altered him.

    Also, I think I have discovered recently that he is also PA, passive aggressive…I didn’t know what to call it before, but I have been reading about it. He does things like keep me waiting, with really trivial stalling tactics, when it’s time to go anywhere…even if it was his idea to go out. I always wait on him. I am pretty patient and don’t really mind, but lately I have figured out it’s intentional, not because he really has something to do.

    He never gives direct answers to anything anymore, he ignores me when I am there working about his house, never notices that I clean up, rarely says thank you, and doesn’t seem to be interested in anything I do or in my life. He is sneaky and dishonest and acts nice, but really is very nasty in a subtle way.

    He is also very selfish and takes bigger portions of everything when we eat. I don’t mind that either, for me, but it makes him look selfish and small, as he does it wherever we go. He even pretends like he is taking the smaller pieces, when he clearly is not! And ask him to cut something in half…he makes a big deal like he is measuring very carefully and eyeballing it, and one piece always still ends up bigger and always ends up on his plate. And he acts like he gave me the bigger one! It’s really sad! I would give him the bigger piece on my own, he doesn’t have to do that, it’s just the idea…that I don’t rate in his mind or life. He never buys me gifts, and I often give him nice things. My thought was that he would “learn” by my example. But he never has.

    I know I sound like an easy target, a fool, but we really do have a great time when I pull him out of whatever it is that takes him away from me. It’s just so hard to keep brining him back and I always have to start from scratch. Sometimes he becomes almost normal again. But it always takes time to get him over this hump every time I visit.

    He will tolerate this for a few questions…but his standard pat answer is “one question always leads to another” and refuses to deal after a few moments. He is usually good for 3 to 4 good questions, and then he is through. We never get to the bottom of anything and I am not sure I get honest answers anyway, so what’s the point?

    Can you give me any insight Steve? I NEED to understand! Can you see how frustrated I am? I am self soothing now, it helps me very much, but I can’t plan more re-parenting, if I don’t know what I am dealing with.


  185. Adam said

    I like reading about this stuff to some extent because I’m very interested in silencing the crap in my head that torments me from day to day. I’m sure I’m NPD to some extent I can answer fully yes or partially yest to most of the diagnostic criteria. I don’t cheat or lie, have a great sex life with a terrific woman but do exhibit most of the others. I find it difficult to extract any real help for my problem here though, most of the helpful stuff is more geared towards the spouse of the screwed up in the head individual. I’ve tried to get help but therapist’s tell me that I probably don’t have NPD during the first visit, then several visits later mention or elude to prescriptions which I’m not willing to take. This happens and to me I’m just starting to trust and actually open up about the real truths.
    I know I’m very far from perfect & I know I get ticked off and spout out of control and my words sometimes hurt her. I realize that no matter how terrific she is I can not stop thinking that any day now I’ll find out she’s cheating on me or developing an (overly) friendly relationship with someone else of the opposite sex, Heck I’ve even been paranoid about her involving herself with someone of the same sex and she has never given any indication to being anything but repulsed by that idea. She takes my issues with trust as a ding towards her credibility another way I hurt her. Everybody has turned their back on me at some time in my life so it’s only natural for me to fear with great paranoia that it will happen again and honestly I’m pretty much at my wits end with all the loneliness since I feel pretty lonely & isolated in or out of a relationship. I guess if I didn’t realize I had a problem and she was trying to figure out why her man is so screwed up we’d be on to something but that’s not the case in fact in some ways she thinks I’m not that bad she’s very sympathetic though not like me.
    If I can’t find any one that will listen to me and hear me out without wanting to send me home with maintenance meds how can I get help with the things in my head that constantly torment me and my way of life? Once they say I don’t have NPD I loose some of my confidence in them for not even being through 1 – 1 hour session and telling me that since I’m very complicated and complex in what goes on in my mind so if I’ve only told someone less than 1% of it how can they say that it doesn’t apply to me? Then if and when they mention prescriptions I loose trust and become less willing to admit or discuss certain thoughts, it’s like the feeling that they don’t really understand who I am, what makes me tick and my personality traits but want to send me home with pills out of concern that I’m going to hurt someone or myself and it’s not like that at all.
    I have tons of things to be despondent and pissed off at life for, actually most of my whole life to be more specific. I’m not looking for help because I feel suicidal I just want to find some peace and correct the messed up crap in my personality that has negative impacts on her, our relationship together and ultimately impacts my entire life and all my decisions.
    I’m a problem solver naturally and happen to paid everyday for those skills but I can’t solve my own problems for some reason. I can see that it is a problem but can’t fix it myself or find any help making it go away. I feel like relationship tools would help in our relationship but will not fix all of my past or all of my major personality problems. Sure I want a great relationship who doesn’t and honestly the one I’m in now is way better than my previous marriage was anyway but I want to be fixed all the way around and not have to struggle with this nasty monster that shares the same name with me. My only gripe with the messages posted here is that I typically leave feeling terrible after reading the stories of all those people like her that are victimized by people like me and how malicious it all seems. Nothing intentional on my part with my behavior in fact seeing it and realizing it 8 or 10 months ago did help a tiny bit but not a whole lot and not enough to change my life in anyway. I can’t just be different everyday and believe me nobody dislikes me or behavior more than I do myself but I’m stuck here and don’t know what else to do.

  186. Helen said

    Hi Steve, Many thanks for your reply.

    I’m not sure how to resolve any conflicts, or even exactly what the conflicts really are. Any advice on this would be really helpful. I am only now, after over a year, able to make more sense of it, and not get so upset about how he was able to hurt me so deeply, when I really thought he loved me so much. How can I resolve the issue with the van? In one sense it is long in the past. How do I deal with the issue again without causing him to make out that I have the problem, not him?


  187. Hi Helen,

    I thought the conflict was that he used you to acquire funds to purchase a van? This is unresolved because you were under the impression that he would continue to be your lover, even after the acquisition of the van? To me this is an unresolved conflict because he is now pretending that you were not in love? I believe (i could be wrong here) that he needs to know how you have felt about this episode, he needs to at least be aware of what he has done. He may be a horrible user, but the problem is not just his. The problem is between both of you, because there was a misunderstanding, or a lack of communication about each other’s intentions. The other end of this spectrum is that he has committed a fraud. That is, he built trust with you, in order to gain an advantage (money for van), and then broke that trust while keeping the benefit. This may be something local law enforcement can help you with, but as Kim insists, dress nicely and be well-spoken and be ready to ask to speak to someone else if the first person you speak to is rude or dismissive in any way.

  188. Hi Dori,

    The issue with your boyfriend and his porn addiction is very upsetting to read. Kim and I have had radio shows produced on this subject, including your very good question on why he would want to pursue porn when he has a lovely REAL woman by his side. The radio show is called “Steve answers the big three” at under the ‘Love safety net radio’ tab.
    Just quickly I will say that it is an issue of attachment, or lack of attachment between you. It is true that porn is addictive, but it can be overcome. Many men are exposed to (or seek out) pornographic material during puberty and have their whole sexuality messed up by it. This happened with me, and scores of other men who have told me the same. I have often thought that boys(and maybe girls too) should have ‘pornography education’ at the same time as “sex education’ in school. The difference being that a powerful sexual union between a couple will continue to build into amazing levels of personal growth and understanding, compassion and other virtues of the heart over time. Porn on the other hand spirals into depravity and humiliation for the user, building no strong attachments with others, and as you have experienced, into anti-social and dangerous mental health issues that are hard to tackle.
    In our workbook, we have an exercise called ‘the personal bill of rights’ that we talk about often. One of the most important rights you have is to be his only sexual interest. This includes porn if you wish; I would certainly recommend it.

  189. Hi Adam,
    I am so glad you dropped in to our blog here. I really hope we can help you make sense of some of these confusing dialogues you have going on. First of all, I think you sound like someone who is at the beginning of a long and scary road trip that you are not looking forward to. Maybe that is the truth?
    You sound to me like you are ready to go. You have faced that your behavior is unacceptable at times and that your partner is the one who is copping it the worst. So this needs attention, but remember that your behavior can be changed, your behavior is not you. You can be yourself.
    Your paranoia can be a healthy process if you can be mindful of your own behavior. For instance, you can be honest with your girlfriend that you are worried about fidelity, show that you feel a little vulnerable about this. I am sure she will respond well if you can be honest about it, without coming across as too needy about it. It isn’t about her, it is about you. If you can be honest and clear, I am sure she will have something very special in return.
    In terms of meds, I can’t really say, except in my experience that the process of maturing into a more stable adult was more than just a little rocky, and that I was lucky to have a good woman by my side challenging me to continue to grow.
    One of the most important things to remember is that you are a human being, imperfect, and have the capacity to change and mature. I know loads of people in their 30’s 40’s 50’s acting immaturely- or narcissistically- and hurting their loved ones. This, far from an epidemic, is a community issue that can be resolved, one-by-one if need be. You can do it.
    So in a nutshell, turn your weaknesses into your strengths, be careful with drugs, and continue this path you have taken of asking for help. There are lots of people on this list and elsewhere who will be willing to help you. Especially your girlfriend, she will admire you for being willing improve.

  190. MR said


    I have been reading this site for at least 9 months, and have always said that at some point I would make a posting with my story. I also hope to take the time to respond back to others, as I feel that I have gotten a lot of help from Kim and Steve’s e-books and other materials.

    First – I am a physician and a psychiatrist, specializing in young children. As such I recognize and value the truth behind Bolby’s attachment theory and the whole idea of reparenting. However, despite all this training, I still needed to come across this website during a very dark period in my own relationship to help refocus my perspective, help me to re-see my husband’s strengths and weaknesses, and _MOST IMPORTANTLY_ validate for me that it was not my fault but also give me strategies for getting our relationship to a better place. Despite working with a strong marriage and family therapist (without my husband,) this site helped me more. Therapy helped get me a little stronger, but kept encouraging me to have an exit strategy (after a lot of aggression, threats, and 1 episode of physical abuse without any clearly expressed remorse.) This site supported my view that there was hope and there had to be things I could change to change the relationship dynamics.

    I have been a competent person, but after my 3rd child in 5 1/2 years, along with several major relocations and job changes, I was left an exhausted and barely functioning shell.

    My husband is clearly NPD. Sometimes he can still get me to question if I am the narcissist and therefore I must be the problem. He has a lot of good qualities, in many ways is a very good father, but he has holes in his empathy and his understanding. (Not that I am without flaws or haven’t made mistakes:) In my lowest points it was hard to see everything clearly, because he is very educated, professional, and has been successful at building his business. However this has been done with years of my supporting the majority of our household, and now times where everything but his work gets shut out of his attention or awareness. His work fuels his self-esteem, and has an element of self-promotion and flattery – he is the organizer, director and the center of everything. Sometimes he fears it is all a charade and it will all fall apart – irrational anxieties which lead to trying to control pointless things, hyper criticism and nit picking of me, or shutting everyone out.

    I share all this to say if at my most depressed, I could feel hopeless, feel like maybe my kids would be better off without me, feel like it was my fault my marriage was falling apart; then hopefully others will not feel ashamed at feeling worn down. I also can say with confidence that things are a lot better – not all fixed, but a lot better. Knowing how much it helped me to find hope and a strategy toward improving our relationship, I want to endorse that as well.

    BTW – regarding the videos on your front page – I have been told they are produced indirectly through Scientology. There is some truth in them, but many of the clips and quotes are presented way out of conext. I _strongly_ agree that some psychiatrists are WAY TOO QUICK to prescribe, and that the pharmaceutical companies skew data, and engage in questionable marketing tactics. I do think that there is a role for prudent use of medications along with many other therapeutic approaches – not in isolation or without close support. Personally I try and run a multidimentional practice. I’ve given some patients info for your audiotapes, and find mysef echoing some of your ideas, but am not yet ready to pass on your website directly (feels too personal still)

    Finally – I am curious about how many NPD persons are self employed. My husband is, and it seems that others have also commented about this. Part of our downward spiral began when I agreed to help out with his business in order to have a post-partum break from work. In my gut I know this was really not a good idea, but I wanted a break and wanted my husband to feel supported. I would strongly advise anyone in a relationship with an NP to refrain from this. The change in our dynamic was bad for me, and looking back I realize despite his asking for my help and wanting me not to be working, he needed me as the professional, confident doctor and the stable income (to weather his income fluctuations.) His father, who in his youth probably modeled the put downs and NPD behaviors, in his 70’s was able to help me recognize my husband really needed me to be strong and independent.

    Kim and Steve – if I have more energy as my boys get older, I may like to link to your information with my own parenting materials. Time will see what I can do.

    Thanks for everything.

  191. Tammy said

    Dear Kim, When I first came across your site I read the behaviors of a person with NPD. My husband has all of these and more. He has OCD, boaderline personality disorder, I was told he could be bi-polar by a mental health professional and the icing on the cake he is a full blown socio-path with a sex addiction, I tried to save our marriage for 8 years and during this time he has progressed in his disease, I can’t tell you on this website the horrific things I have experienced with this man as it is very personal and I suffer from PTSD and depression from the abuse I have undergone. If you e-mail me personally perhaps I could share with you on a one-to-one basis as you will find my story to be a hit seller for a book all on its own. Sincerely Tammy

  192. Helen said

    Hi Steve, I can see what you are getting at, and so I will explain a bit more of what happened.

    We had been together about 2 years and during that time I had been the one paying for everything most of the time (yes I was a fool!). I understood he had some psychological problems, and thought that my love and support would help him. Everyone who knew him felt that he had calmed down and was alot better. Now and then he had some work, but his real love was driving. I helped him get his licence back after a 3 year ban for drink-driving and put forward the idea of funding the van so that he could start working for himself. He was happy to agree, and assured me that he wanted to do that. I basically paid for the van, his insurance and everything he needed, to get going doing courier work initially. He had agreed that he would pay back as much as possible each week, and then when paid off the van would belong to him. We were looking (I thought) at around 18 months – 2 years. He promised that when he had made lots of money he would make sure I had everything I wanted. He told everyone he was going to spend the rest of his life with me. At the time we got the van there was no doubt on either side that we intended to be together for the long haul.

    He claims that he just stopped loving me, that he had thought I was the ‘one’, but then he realised I wasn’t which broke his heart, and so he had to leave me! He hadn’t told me that, in fact even up to when he left he was still telling me he loved me and this was the first place that had felt like home to him. He has justified it to himself. He did nothing wrong, all he did was fall out of love! He cannot tell me when. When we got the van he still loved me, he says. He claimed that he would have carried on working and paying me back if I hadn’t ‘repossessed’ the van. The fact that he hadn’t actually paid any of the original debt back in the first 5 months was irrelevant to him. Again I thought it just needed time for him to settle down into his new situation. He feels justified, and seems to think he has done no wrong.

    His dad told me that as soon as I had called to tell him we had bought a van, he knew it was the beginning of the end. He didn’t tell me that till much later, but he had seen the pattern before. I know that people saw his behaviour start to change, and his attitude to me changed. He engineered some huge rows over the next couple of months, and I was under extreme pressure in other ways – with my own business, money pressures and a very unpleasant lodger. I was not in a good place and his behaviour towards me made it worse. He decided he could earn more by finding his own work than working for a courier firm, and was out in the van alot, always just rushing in and out, no time to talk, demanding more money for fuel and drinking more. He was more aggressive, was always telling me to do things, and would give me more and more hoops to jump through. The death of his dog, partly through his own neglect, added to his ultimate narcissistic breakdown. He went away for a few days to visit a friend and made a point of finding someone to sleep with, to mark the end of the relationship with me. The first I knew was his dad phoning me to tell me he had turned up with his new ‘love’, saying that we were finished. With encouragement from friends, I went the next day with a friend and a spare van key to take it back. After I had taken the van back, he went through a manic spell, which ended with him living on the streets for a couple of months, and snapping his Achilles tendon which left him on crutches for several months. For him it is all in the past, he meant no harm, he simply stopped loving me …..

  193. Carol said

    My husband is in prison for beating me up. He has been diagnosed with intermittent explosive narcissistic personaly disorder.
    He has been sending me letters and wants me to take him back when he is released. I would do this, if I thought he could/would change. What do you think?
    Note: This is second time he has been in prison for assaulting a woman (another wife the first time) and has been charged with assault on female 7 times in the past with other. I think our future looks pretty bleak

  194. Adam said

    Yes you could say I am ready to go and you could say that I’m not looking forward to it very much. It’s the process I guess that I’m not too sure about or reluctant over. I don’t believe that I can not change only that I lack the power to make it happen by myself. It sounds so simple but it’s far more complex than that. It’s hard for me to engage in something that will automatically require someone else to help. This is so very rare for me I’m in a position where I have to make things happen quite often it’s the impossible or what’s viewed by my superiors to be the impossible. I get tons of evidence daily that I don’t need help most of the time, can convince people to go to extraordinary lengths for my project & that I over achieve in my field. My family disintegrated when I was 15 which left me performing labor work to support myself and rent a room this is when I stopped being a teen and had nobody to back me up in case I didn’t make it. There’s that and so much more really that is a bit easier to talk about these days but is still left unresolved I guess. I just don’t know how to get over that and resent just about anybody that has it better than I do. If you dealt with me on a daily basis you may not realize it but I probably hate you for what you are (more successful than I am) because all of the things giving me trouble in my life right now lead back to that one event which I had no control over and was too young be doing what I was doing. Now most of the time I feel like my life is just one gigantic mess far to complex for me to sort out. Sometimes I wonder how much it will really make a difference if I’m more emotionally stable about all these things since what I really want is to start my life over & get the chance to just grow up and into what I’m supposed to be and not have to do it overnight and then screw up my life for 2 decades while my head is still spinning from the shock of it all.
    So yes Steve thanks for the reply and you’re right I’m not looking forward to any type of process I am more looking for something like a magic wand affect even though I am a realist and know that’s just not possible.
    Funny though at the same time the reason I quit the 2 different therapists I went to was because it was all talk and no action. For a 25 dollar co pay once a week for an hour I had a paid ear to talk at, it felt a bit like paying someone to be my friend for an hour. They provided me no tools or exercises or anything they just listened and said the occasional comment like “you certainly do have a lot of pain caused over relationships”. So I figured if I really wanted I could go to bar nearby and not have to go to the city use less gas, save time, spend the 25 on beers and get several free ears to talk at and that’s just as ridiculous a thought to me as going back to either one of those therapists again. There has to be some type of action here backing up my desire to “be different” I can’t simply talk about it all the time and will it away or so imagine my frustration with either one of them after a couple months of nothing. I just don’t understand what I need to do and how difficult it’s actually going to be for me. My woman and I do have a much better open communication about both of our issues and I guess that’s another facet to my challenges. Her and I have some similarities in our past family relationships, don’t get me wrong though we are two different type of products from similar experiences you know we’ve both reacted nearly opposite so we aren’t affected the same way. I don’t think she’s NPD or no where near as much as I am if she is. Me finding your online information on NPD lead to my discovery last fall that I was this type of person. Talking to her candidly and just being frank about how I feel about the way I make her feel when I’m in “monster” mode is terrible and not a good representation of how important she is to me somehow opened her up to some soul searching too and realized that she is actually affected by points of her upbringing and feels like she doesn’t know how to fix the ways those events have affected her personality. The world war 3 type arguments have pretty much ended at that, we both tend to stop to cool off and talk about it later now that we understand that on that level of feeling the exact same way about a lot of things. I’m really working towards two goals at this point, fix myself and help her and have the same to expect from her along with us both screwing up a whole bunch a long the way.

  195. ann said

    I have been drowning in sorrow and slowly dying of a broken heart for the last 20+ years of my life. I think it’s only recently that I’ve been able to come to grips with the fact that I am not THE problem. I have a narcissistic mother who has continued her bullying of me far into my adult life (I am 45). I have tried to confront my mother once in my life regarding her cruel behavior, and I was physically assaulted by her publicly and my father just sat there supporting her, since he’s afraid of her, too. I’m the only one (I”m the eldest) of my mom’s five children who has allowed her to act this way. I have always struggled to understand my value as a human being and that I don’t need to be others’ punching bag. I was well primed for my marriage of 22 years. My husband was severely abused and witnessed the extreme abuse of his mother at the hands of his violent father, and when I met him at 20 yrs old, I was praying about becoming a nun and was extremely devoted to God. I can see now, after reading these blogs and everything Kim has to say as well, that he became exactly what he thought I was looking for and saw in me a person that would give him the adulation and praise and affection and attention he craved-a faithful woman who would never leave his side, partly because of my devotion to God and desire to be selfless. I have been abused on every level, emotionally, physically, psychologically, spiritually (my faith used against me), mentally. . . I have five beautiful children who have suffered as well. We are all basket cases. Yet, to the outside world, we look like a high-functioning family. My husband has huge issues with power and control, especially concerning our actual behavior toward him. He is exceedingly generous and never buys himself anything or really goes anywhere with “the guys”, but if one of us argues with him, disagrees with him, or gives him the slightest attitude, it IS ALL OVER. . . we will pay dearly. He has labeled me a “Jezebel”, saying that I am demon-possessed by that spirit, which wants to have power over and control men. If you met me, you would be sad for me that that’s the label my husband has placed squarely on my forehead, because I am quite the opposite in all of my relationships. I feel alone all the time. My husband seems absolutely incapable of loving me, trusting me, showing me real affection, or really “seeing” me. I feel like he doesn’t know who I really am. Thank God I know He sees me. And I believe He does. And that He cares. My husband has said throughout all these years that he loves God more than anything. I have to say, thought I feel nervous saying this because I myself fear and reverence God and am so imperfect. . . I just don’t see how someone can love themself SOOOO much and love God at the same time. He has a very strange relationship with God, if he really has one at all.

    I am concerned about my four sons becoming like thier dad in their future marriages. I pray against it every day and talk to them all the time. I am concerned that my daughter is becoming very bitter over how I”ve been treated. I don’t want her to have a dysfunctional relationship in the future. I have give teenagers.

    I am thankful for this site. To say that I am discouraged and at the end of my rope is a severe understatement. I have had to go to God and ask him to help me not place any blame on Him for my husband’s actions over the years. It’s not God’s fault. I believe He wants men to be as tender as Jesus was when He walked the earth. It’s not His fault that men choose otherwise. The scapegoating, crazymaking, and emotional/mental abuse I’ve been through in my married life is outrageous. I can’t believe I”m still sane and functioning. Even when I was on my deathbed a few years ago, bleeding to death (literally), my husband left my side to go home to make sure “the computers were shut off”. The attending physicians and nurses didn’t even know what to say to me. He said I deserved to be sick and that God was punishing me for being an “unsubmitted wife”. All I can say is, WOW. I’ve walked down the path of three difficult separations where I ran with the kids, one lasting 1 year with a restraining order. I’ll never be the same. It sucked the life out of me. We are together, but we are not TOGETHER. Because a true narcissist can never be “with” anyone but themself. So, here I am, alone, confused, tired. But, still believing that God is the God of miracles, and I’m waiting for one. . .

  196. Jampo said

    Hi MR… thankyou for sharing. Showing your honesty and human-ness, no-one is free from these pains. A mum’s struggle is a mum’s struggle, good on you.
    It is a familiar thing to hear someone talking of those low moments where (I even said to my husband) ‘I can’t mother these children, you have to find someone else to bring them up, I’m a failure, as mother, a wife, a friend, a buddhist..etc etc’ I was low, exhausted, had enough…
    ..He now uses it against me in my (2 yr) custody case where he has alienated my 9 yr old daughter from me for over a year (she has ‘denounced me’ he tells me.. ‘sorry if it hurts!’ he writes to me). He now is working on my 4 year old. His unbelievable stories about my abusive controlling parenting are very ‘believeable’ (to his family and friends, & even my own family for 1 year until they woke up).. and now many professionals who don’t see through his charm and ‘seriously concerning fatherly’ love. My 9 year old even lied to him of a time I picked her up from school for a visit saying I dragged her by her hair, punched, scratched her… so off to the police he goes, now ‘I’ have an Interum AVO on ‘me’ against my own beautiful angel. (The other worst thing about it is that she was actually punching and kicking me like you wouldn’t believe!)
    I talk of this because I want to say beware of those ‘N Boys’ and what they are capable of… if they don’t get that ‘love’ from you the way they want it, and need it. Their ability for hurtful intense revenge is massive.
    I had fallen out of love with him for years before I left. He knew I felt I needed to leave as I told him many times. (and tried countless times to fix it, help it, counselling etc) Clearly this is in contravention to your advice Kim.. (but I only found your site 6 months ago & I wanted to leave him since not long after we got married 9 years ago).
    It’s too late for me.. I have to work with where I’m at. If anyone has any advice or direction to web sites that can help, please share.
    I guess I’m saying be careful when kids are involved. I know you and Steve have kids Kim, and you have some awesome advice in handling all these issues.. the application of help needs to be careful and one step at a time.
    We are playing with ‘fire’ of sorts.. volatility..!! it’s no light issue.

  197. breeeanna said

    Howdy: I can’t help but feel the tremendous pain and anguish some of you are feeling..Almost like being between a “ROCK AND A HARD PLACE”……I noticed that Kim said she incorporates EFT into her healing process which means EMOTIONAL FREEING THERAPY…I had really difficult…harder than a rock issues and they weren’t budging..Sometimes pain reactivated from long ago or our evolved EMOTIONAL PAIN BODY as Eckhart TOile talks about…or just from our childhood……and when pain is there…as it stated in the “SECRET”..”.LIKE PAIN IN OUR SUBCONSCIOUS MIND ATTRACTS >>SAME IN OUR OUTSIDE ENVIRONMENT”…..Whta we feel for the most part …”WE ATTRACT”……Let me post a site that can help with EFT…It is a therapy that taps on the Meridian points of pain in the body and frees emotional charge……I never believed in it …but gosh, it works…..Joan

  198. Adam A. said

    Hi Everyone,

    Adam here from Steve and Kim asked me to help moderate and encourage the discussion, so that’s what I’m here to do.

    This post will be brief, but I simply want to say that I am humbled by all of your stories and experiences. For many of you, the fact that you are here, reading and posting on this blog, sharing your wisdom with others is a testament to your strength and resilience.

    Please continue to help one another by answering each others questions and offering your advice and stories. As Kim mentioned in her email last night, the community wisdom and insight here is phenomenal.

    Thank you all for being an important part of the most supportive and human online-community related to NPD around.

    Hang in there!
    Adam A.

  199. dila said

    hi to all.i would just like to say that kim and steve youre both miracle workers. at one point i gave up complete hope on my relationship and was trying to find ways to strengthen myself so that i could leave.even after readin the ebooks and trying the excercises i wasnt succesfull at first and i even gave up doing all the excercises mentioned in the ebooks.however with out even realising it the more i read the ebooks and the many times i practised the excersises i subconsciously began changing my attitude and i started strengthening myself with out even realising it.Before reading the ebooks i would often burst into fits of anger and frustration and would throw things around and behave like a mad person but since reading it i havent even felt the need to be that angry.i havent allowed myself to loose control of my emotions and i dont feel helpless anymore.its amazing!!! i never thought it would be possible but it is and its all thanks to kim and steve. my partner has even begun opening up to me and sharing painfull childhood memories with me.we havent had a fight in ages and he is being great towards me because he sees me as a friend now who wants to always support him.thank you for the amazing advice!!

  200. Helen said

    Sorry, for bothering you again, but he has said he would like to come to see me next week to get the rest of his stuff, and borrow an inflatable jacuzzi that he bought a couple of weeks before he left. I gave him half the money for it, £100. I have suggested he give me a £100 deposit after giving it some thought. At the moment I feel terrible because I decided to tackle him on the whole subject of how he left me. He got quite agitated and said he has never meant to hurt anyone in his life. He feels completely justified because he said we had grown apart in the last few months, but was hard pushed to give me an example of it, except one incident the day before he left where he pushed me into a corner, by coming to my business to do a job he had promised to do but chose, as ever, the worst possible time, and was making me late catching a train. I got stressed and he has always used that as a reason for leaving.

    I have been left feeling really bad again, and he has said that he doesn’t love me, never can again, we could never get back together, and in his mind has done no wrong – but he thinks I am a wonderful person and wants to be friends for the rest of our lives. He always says the same things.

    I need to stop doing this to myself, but his calling today, and the thought of seeing him in my house for the first time since he left, has brought up so much stuff again.

    Do you think there is any chance at all of rekindling anything, and helping him to resolve his issues? If you tell me to forget it then I have to accept that. Many thanks for the work you do. At least I can feel that there are people who understand why I feel so messed up by it all.

  201. Linda DeRyder said

    Hi, this is my first time writing. I have just read thru all your posts. I have been following your site for a while. About a year ago I realized my mother was a narcissist. All my life I knew she wasn’t like other mothers but could not figure out what made her different. A friend gave me a book Wizard of Oz and wow! There I was!!
    In reading and learning about my relationship with my mother, I have discovered I have the same relationship with my husband.
    We have been married 18 years. At first he was everything I ever wanted. Then it seemed, slowly, everyone else was more important to him than me. And now I feel there is no connection between us at all. I have turned off any emotion and feel anything he tells me I have to question, as I have caught him in several lies. I feel he is not the person I thought he was.
    I have tried therapy ( of course, he knows more than the therapist) he went to 1 session and told me the therapist said it was all my fault! I didn’t hear that!
    We ended up separating for 3 months and made no progress in coming to some kind of terms.
    He is back home now, but does not want to go anywher, do anything with me. We are civil, talk politics, work around the house, but there is no closeness.
    He does not want to discuss anything, we are just supposed to forget everything and not discuss it.
    I have not read hear how anyone handles their se life in this kind of relationship.
    I am having a hard time wanting to “give” anything to him when he is not willing to ” give” anything to me.
    I feel like I am stonewalling after listening to your radio program.
    I am sorry for ranbling on, but really need to find some kind of direction.

    Thanks, Linda

  202. Adam A. said


    Thanks for sharing your wonderful story of hope and overcoming your relationship problems. I am hopeful that you continue to grow in this journey, and I invite you to continue to visit this blog, and share some of your wisdom with others who may be in a similar place to where you were in the past.

    We can all learn from, and help each other.

    Best wishes,
    Adam A.

  203. Steve Cooper said

    Hi MR,

    Thanks for your post, you have raised some really interesting topics. I can totally understand that you are reluctant to directly spread the word about our website, this topic is far from pretty, so please know that we understand.

    In regard to the clip we once had on our site, that has been removed and replaced with another clip, a little more on topic. You raise a good point that there are honest and sensible physicians out there, and thank goodness for that.

    I am also interested in your comment about narcissistic people and business ownership. There seems to be a solid link there, and I admit to learning some very narcissistic behavior patterns from my employment background (service and hospitality). In many jobs, my narcissism was rewarded, to the point where the ‘act’ of sales was encouraged and developed into an art form. There was a line that I crossed when I returned home to my family however, because my family didn’t want the salesman, they just wanted Dad. The line I crossed was superimposing my reality from work onto my home life. It didn’t work, and I wondered why I was not getting the same rewards I was at my place of employment. This led to misunderstanding and frustration. The two realities, (work and home) are so different for men. So often men are convinced that the ‘real’ world is the world of work. It is a shame because we so often need to be fake at work in order to succeed.
    The real world is at home where we eat, sleep, make love, make joy, make shelter and gardens, and where we can be real about who we are, our fears and hopes. I only learned that after Kim brought me close and offered a safe space for me at home to be real.

  204. Annie said

    To Linda DeRyder,

    I also lived for years within the emptiness you describe. My ex is gone now, but I remember well how difficult it was to live like that. I did find a good counselor during that time and some of her advice worked well… far easier said than done, but I made it my goal even if it took awhile. Eventually he gave up when he could no longer GET to me.

    Set personal boundaries and lay them in concrete, but with dignity and strength. Regardless of his behavior, remain aloof and calm. If you need to cry, then do so but NOT in his presence. Spend time with friends and nurture your own life separate from him. Focus on YOU!

  205. Adam said

    I’ve been thinking long & hard about the porn question posed a few days ago here. Hopefully I shed at least a small bit of light on the subject but also would like to expound just a bit.
    Personally I’m kind of on the fence with the whole porn issue. I find it hard to believe that porn is absolutely a destructive force. From a relationship perspective anything part of your life that your partner is not comfortable with could cause considerable strife. But what if a couple experiments or visits porn on occasion together?
    We view porn sometimes at home it’s something we do together but this is new experience for me that came to me along with my current woman. But doing this together has actually broken the spell and captivation that I’d been mesmerized with in the past.
    Let me start with before any relationship in my life as a young adult. Now looking back I would have to say I used or viewed porn in some of my lonely times. I want to theorize that I was replacing “no intimacy” with my own intimacy the only kind I could supply myself with.
    Flash forward to some of my relationships prior to my current one. My partner could not (of course) fill all the gaps and always be there for me so yes secretly I sometimes held on to porn to make up for what I perceive to be lonelier moments. The way I started using it and then kept it secret from previous partners made it a very destructive element to getting along with previous partners. The spouse I had would interpret that as a smack in the face that I’m looking at pornography because I’m more attracted to that then I am her but that’s actually backwards from what I was thinking. I ended up training myself (inadvertently of course) to be more aroused or more easily aroused when left alone so as soon as my spouse went to do something without me I would cover up my loneliness and how left out and rejected it made me feel by indulging myself in some pornography. This may sound pathetic to some but I’m not the cheating type so going out for some casual sex is just not my style.
    Now flash forward to today, we have some pornographic videos at home on DVD. They stay in our bedroom under lock and key so completely off limits to kids. We have watched these from time to time together maybe get some ideas of trying it this way or that way. I no longer think of porn when I’m alone, I think about my woman and how much I truly miss her. I would never watch the porn alone because I feel like it is ours and something we do together and only to better our experiences together & with each other.
    Non the less I guess the bottom line has a lot to do with moderation and how prone one is to becoming addicted to it or not and if it can be included in a relationship or not. For the most part I can say most of my relationships with women pornography was not welcome there fore I was incredibly wrong for secretly trying to indulge myself with it. If I started doing that now in this relationship I still believe I would be incredibly wrong for doing it since it’s ours together. Incidentally if she suddenly became uncomfortable with porn and wanted it to go it would be gone I’ll completely follow her lead there. I’ll call my situation a very rare occurrence though and in no way intend to encourage anybody to try and pressure porn cooperation out of their spouses and just for the record my woman is very human, very compassionate, not a swinger, stripper or a porn star either she’s just very secure about her sexuality I guess.

  206. Louise said

    I left my boyfriend a few months ago. He was verbally and emotionally abusive for almost the entire relationship. We were together for 3 years. He drank too much and was snappy and bad tempered most of the time. But I still miss him so much?

    What should I do? Should I leave things as they are? We don’t have a lot in common, and are common values and beliefts are quite different. I’m really confused….

  207. Valleri said

    I have had that feeling for a long time: that my N boyfriend in the beginning was crazy about and close to me because I was a diversion from real life. Now, I AM real life, and so he is now seeking to hide himself from me, associate with other women, keep his activities secret from me. It’s funny, but in the beginning, I was afraid to talk seriously with him; when I did, he would get upset and I would be afraid I would lose him. So I walked on eggshells. The last few weeks that I have been speaking my mind, saying I love you but need to focus on my own stuff, he always comes back. Is that what you mean? Do you think he is starting to feel that he can be himself with me and that I won’t stop loving him but won’t be walked on either? On the other hand, he told me on Wednesday things he never has, in response to my not having time for him for a day: he needs me, he can’t lose me, he even wrote me a love note and put it in my car. Nonethelss, the next day he went to California to visit “a friend.” I asked if I could go and he said, “No.” BUT he did something else out of character: he bargained with me, saying, “When I get home we will figure out our future together and I will never go anywhere again without you, okay?” Normally he just blames me for having a problem with his outrageous behavior and doesn’t talk to me for days. I said okay but that I was disappointed that this was the way he was starting out our “new life.” Then I told him that a boyfriend gives his girlfriend the flight information and calls when he lands and checks in each day. He has done none of those things but texts me saying, “I love you; don’t leave me.” I call and he doesn’t answer. I text and ask if he is with another woman and he says, “I love you.” It’s just insane. I have been living my own life, though, and last week I got to a point where he was asking to come over and see me, and I usually cave in but stood my ground and said, “NO. I love you but I have a lot going on. We should concentrate on our own issues.” ONE DAY of that reduced him to a begging little boy. I just don’t know if any of this will last. Anyway, thanks for all you do.

  208. Louise said

    Oh, some things I forgot to mention. We didn’t live together and we’re still talking.

  209. Adam A. said


    Thanks for writing and sharing your stories. Hopefully others with more experience will chime in and share some of their insights, but please allow me to say this:

    A lot of what Kim talks about in her books and writing is setting healthy boundaries and learning to self-soothe, so you do not need your partner’s approval or attention to be happy, and so you are able to stick up for yourself in a way that is direct and to-the-point. Interestingly, for many of us, it is only when we learn to be happy being alone that we are able to be truly fulfilled with a partner.

    Since you mentioned that you still talk with your ex-boyfriend, I encourage you to think about how you might set healthy boundaries and stick up for yourself in your current friendship with him to see how this goes. It is just as possible to practice Kim’s advice with a N friend as with a N partner/lover.

    Hang in there,
    Adam A.

  210. selina said

    hi kim,
    my biggest problem is trust. you see my partner has an ex who has been the main problem in our relationship. i know he doesnt want her anymore but she feeds his ego so well at the same time disrespecting our relationship but he allows it to happen. i realise i cant force him to do anything against his will in regards to stopping her contacting him, as believe me i have tried many times only to have him turn on me in the most awefullest ways and i end up feeling like the nut…
    i know he feeds off her as our reltionship has been a roller coaster because of his N behaviours.
    i know i have to build his trust in me as he says he doesnt have any and that i shouldnt make demands etc..i know how i have handled us in the past has been sooo wrong to the point where i end up giving ultimatums and getting so wild because he does nothing or becomes emotionally and sometimes physically abusive.
    my question is how do i let go of this jelousy and fear that this other woman has his trust more than i his partner does.
    ps she lives in NT we live in VIC so it is by phone and email only that she speaks to him.
    this woman and his behaviours have been the demise of the last few relationships he has had

  211. Steve Cooper said

    Hey Adam (without an A),
    Thanks again for your post, I do have to be honest and disagree about porn. I think a case can also be put for other addictive substances like heroin, marijuana, cocaine etc, that, within reason, and in the hands of responsible consenting adults, small amounts in controlled environments are not necessarily harmful. This is -kind of- what you are saying about pornography. There are larger problems here on our list with our readers because, (even though you seem to have a cautious attitude toward it), many of the partners of our readers do not have any kind of healthy attachment to their partners because of their ‘option’ to use porn and have thus been sucked into a fantasy world, where truth and honesty become the losers.
    I believe that porn is degrading for men, it promises the world and delivers little except shame and guilt. A great sex life with your partner is a million times more rewarding than porn could ever be. In our work we encourage attachment between men and women and believe that porn has no place for that, especially in the rebuilding stage where most of our readers at.

  212. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Valleri,
    I really can’t put my finger on what this guy is up to, but I think you are right to be suspicious and question it. We believe that guys love a challenge, but when we see adult men who have never really accepted responsibility for their actions and try and make everyone else ‘fit’ into their own false idea of how things should be, (one indicator of narcissism), this guy will still want to accept the challenge, but may have another agenda, one that may not be beneficial for everyone else around him.
    You do have to allow for some mixed messages from guys, just a little. Just like women, they have varying emotions and will not always be easy to read. This is not always nasty, even though it is hurtful. When these mixed messages get to the point where you are at with this guy now, I am hearing alarm bells. I would be ready to say, in your words, calm and cool, that you think his idea of going to California without you and not taking calls, STINKS. If it has made you have doubts about him, i think you need to also say that. Don’t be emotional about it, just explain in plain English that you think it is immature, bulls*^t, poor form,______, (please insert your own, unambiguous adjective)
    Keep an eye on your goals at all times, don’t let it destabilize you, you are above that (even if he is not).

  213. Adam said

    I certainly see your point since I too once abused pornography. I am not trying to convince you to relax your standard on it either (hope it didn’t sound that way).
    I’m not sure why or how it changed for me exactly but my perception and use of porn anymore is very limited and no longer a private secretive type thing. All I know is that the woman I’m with now is fantastic (I won’t mention her name without her permission) so I’m giving her all the credit just for being who she is.
    I guess the point I was trying to make is a bit meaningless here or a lot like trying to suggest that 2 drinks once week with dinner is OK to forum of recovering alcoholics.
    This is one area of my life that is no longer out of control though. Thinking about all of this I realize I was a bit proud of that so sorry for bragging about it. I guess that’s what was really going on for me.

  214. Adam said

    In my opinion he knows he isn’t well and hears a little voice inside about how he hurts you. He sounds very lost and confused and hopefully on the right track. He’s in panic mode now because you’re behavior towards him has changed and it’s obvious. His greatest fear (loosing you) is teasing his thoughts constantly and dancing around in his mind with the internal dialect that he already hurts you and can’t figure out why he hurts you and can’t loose you at the same time.
    There was a time that I was so paranoid about my woman cheating on me if I couldn’t find her I would have to fight off a panic attack sometimes I lost. Part of what I heard in my head (believe it or not) was that if I don’t stop obsessing out of control on fidelity and where she is or if she was being honest with where she was going or not that I push her so far away from me that I myself make it come true. Unfortunately having those thoughts had no impact on my knee jerk behavior anytime one detail seemed odd or out of place.
    Non of this suggest he’s getting better in my opinion, I don’t feel like I am either. I think it is indicative that he could be close to having a break through where he really gets a glimpse of himself like looking in a mirror. In my current relationship all the best moments that are pinnacle to us being closer and stronger than before are moments where we have a huge breakthrough and really see things from each others perspectives. To understand someones point of view is one thing it offers up a certain level of respect but to see it clearly for yourself and understand it is a powerful combination in a relationship.
    I think you should keep working with him and remain cognizant of the fact that this could really go either way but seems very promising at the moment. Just my opinion though, in case you haven’t read other stuff i’ve posted I’m NPD not a spouse of one.

  215. Anna M said

    Hi Kim,
    I have bought the ebooks and started the work. I have suggested to my husband ( separated at present) that we undertake marriage counselling as ordered by the courts and he has cracked it. (entirely predicatable)
    He has threatened to walk away unless I remove all legal action and lawyers which would be reasonable except that he has done some very weird things with family finances and he also, hello, hid my car for 4 months.
    Are some cases just not salvagable? Even with one partner doing the work. He will never agree to do exercises in workbook.
    Please advise.

    Anna M.

  216. Linda DeRyder said

    Hi Anne,
    Thanks so much for the feedback. It is comforting to know that I am not alone in all this and someone out there does understand. I have been reading the stories about the porn.
    My husband and I in the beginning used to watch a porn tape together occassionally. It was fun, exciting, he enjoyed it and I so desperately wanted to be everything he wanted me to be!! So much for falling in the trap of a narcissist! I was always pleasing him. When I began to say what about what I want there was a huge shift.
    Now that we are in this impasse of just “being” I know he looks at porn everyday on the computer. He doesn’t know how to delete the sites and when I go to do something on his computer there they are.
    I have not said anything, because at this point, I feel that keeps him from approaching me and I know I am sending the vibes that I really don’t want to be with him in that way because I do not feel the closeness between us. I am just serving his needs, never mine.
    It is a cold, empty way to live. We are both in our 50’s, both divorced before and don’t want to go thru it again. I think we are both lonely but he will not admit he has problems and face them. That is something that is hard for me to respect.
    I am going today to our grandson’s graduation party alone, as he sees no reason to go. We went to his graduation a week ago, he got his present so why go again.
    The only reason he went to the graduation is his son called him and shamed him into going, it certainly wasn’t because I asked him.
    Always the same. If I asked it is No, if someone else asks he has to save face and put on the fascade and do what is expected of him.
    I have read about the inner and outer circle of the narcissist. The inner circle are the people that know how he really is and the outer circle are the people he can still charm the pants off.
    I wonder if anyone else has read that theory.
    I really love this site. I feel I have a place to retreat to and see that I am not alone. I can find some peace hear and some coping techinques.

    Thank you all, Linda

  217. JM said

    Hi Kim, I can not access the talk radio links on your emails. I tried googling them to no avail. Global talk radio sends me to a funky list of radio sites. Could your emails include a link to a site that might then allow me to access the radio program?


  218. Rick Shepard said

    So much of what we label NPD is simply old-fashioned self-centeredness. People who were regularly given into as children by care-givers who were emotionally inadequate to be parenting naturally would be self-absorbed and see their wants, needs, and desires as primary to those of others.

    I stumbled upon the topic of ‘maternal gatekeeping’ that contained some very good reading. It seems that not only men have egos. While its obvious that if a boy doesn’t have his father present he is very apt to have some problems growing up, even those with fathers who are there but so weak or preoccupied to usually defer to mom will often suffer the same consequences.

    Without a strong male figure in the home to provide protection for mom’s protectiveness, boys grow up soft and scared, resulting in falling back to the default position of me, me, me.

    This is certainly a blow to the female ego but if you want more strong men, you have to let go of your boys and let strong men mold them. Not violent chauvanistic men but bold, confident men that don’t mind disagreeing when they are in the right.

    Thanks so much for you work,


  219. Camilla said

    Hi, I was very interested in what Adam was saying in these posts. It is like you are explaining to me how my friend feels. He is in total fear even of me; I really feel bad for him. Your explanations really helped me to understand what is going through his mind. Thank you very much, Camilla

  220. Hey everyone,

    The guys from Global Talk Radio have upgraded our site so that the shows open in a media player, (like iTunes). Please go here for our most recent show.


  221. Hi Rick,
    You raise some great points. There is so much about NPD that can be simply be attributed to immaturity. Raising boys is a topic close to me also as Kim and I have two boys(and a daughter).
    There is evidence to suggest that the selfish, immature, narcissistic qualities displayed by so many men these days can be put down to ‘over-mothering’ and pampering method of parenting, but interestingly enough, it can also be caused by the abusive, neglectful and hostile method of parenting, that unfortunately still exists in this world.
    Having good solid masculine role models for boys is so important. In Australia in the last decade or so, a trial has been undertaken to facilitate these intergenerational connections. In the previous budget, our Federal Government announced more funds for an expansion of the scheme. Goodness knows it is needed.
    For me personally, I know there is room for improvement for me to connect with my boys, my focus over the past couple of years has been with Kim. Part of what I want to teach my boys is to have a good understanding and relationship with your partner, and I think they see that.

  222. Hi Adam,
    I’m glad we agree, and I hope I didn’t take you to task too heavily on your comments about porn, you are welcome to raise controversial topics here.

  223. Hi Anna M,

    It sounds like he is trying to blackmail you, and has also broken the law by “hiding” your car. He might be kidding himself by thinking that he is ‘negotiating’ with you but, hiding your car(theft), meddling with finances (embezzlement, theft, misappropriation,etc) and threatening to abandon you unless you sever ties with your legal representation are all against the law as far as I can see (I am no lawyer BTW).
    If you can prove any or all of this you are holding all the aces, and if you trust your legal team, you must stick with them. He must face the consequences of his actions if you are to ever build a strong bond with him.
    There sounds like there are issues of trust going on here. He doesn’t trust you and you do not trust him. Are some cases unsalvagable? I definitely think so, but don’t let that get you down. Remember the four-legged stool exercise in the workbook?

  224. gypsy said

    I broke up with a man that I am sure suffers with NPD and it has been 3 months. He never could commit and never did trust me. I didn’t know at the time that he is N and so I was upset and angry often with his behaviour. At first I had been really patient with him and he trusted me to show him how to be in the relationship but it didn’t take long that I was repulsive to him and he shamed me and set me up to look bad. I would just get so angry with him and of course this didn’t make things better. We went to counselling but he convinced the counsellors that I was messed up and impressed them with his charm and knowledge.

    It all fell apart when he told me he loved me on Valentine’s Day and our anniversary and then right after told me he was repulsed by me. I couldn’t do the dance with him any more. I would have loved to know that I could have done something but I was told by my minister that he was narcissistic and to move one and that he was unhealthy and unwilling to do anything about it. So I did. I turned to Kaleah’s website and she helped me alot.

    But, I still think that maybe it could be different. I still communicate with him and I am not supposed to. He is still blaming me and I am probably not doing the right thing by trying to tell him about his need to cover up his shame and how it is projected onto me. He agrees he is doing this but then he gets upset and tells me how f—up I am again. I guess it is over and it is too late.

    Is it too late? I do need to learn how to stand up for myself in my life in general and I still want to be able to do it with him if he still is in my neighbourhood and friends with all my friends. I am torn as to what to do. I feel my old self coming back and I laugh and have fun and sing again. I don’t know if I can face the idea of putting up with his crazy making. I do love him and at one time thought he was my soul mate, I think he is but…..what do you have to say about this?

  225. Hey Selina,
    Kim is really really good at coming up with great messages for women like your partner’s ex. If this trouble-maker has sway over him and is de-stablizing your relationship with him, well, I would be thinking that this is war.
    Kim posted something very humorous and effective on this post recently about what someone in your situation should say. I’ll see if I can find it and post it soon.
    In the meantime, you have to be ready to have the courage and the valour to stand up for yourself and stick the (proverbial) knife into this woman while being sweet to your guy. She has no business contacting him from thousands of miles away and causing him doubts. You need to be ready to take her out of the picture completely, (again, proverbially). I am sure that your boyfriend will be thanking you, rather than being ‘thingy’ about you being ‘thingy’. Get ready for some action Selina, Let’s roast this bird in the NT, who else on the list has some ideas?

  226. Tracy said

    Hi Everyone,

    I’ve posted here many many times seeking advice and to share my ongoing story with my narcissist. I’ve received an immense amount of support and found a new way to cope with the negative behaviours and pull him close.

    We were broken up on and off for months if that helps you but still in contact Gypsy. As long as you are still speaking, there is room to maneouver. But, it’s a slow, drip drip process that you have to be committed to and you also have to be MORE committed to making sure that YOU are happy and focused on your own goals and secure. Trying to gain self-sufficiency (often damaged in the long, drawn out confabulation/fighting/abuse) while also supporting your partner is the greatest challenge I’ve ever experienced.

    I have a real difficulty at the moment that I’m hoping someone can help me with. Steve, if you’re there, some real expert advice could really help.

    I’m now working for my N partner and he’s made some integral shifts: asking me to spend time together again, being affectionate, even truly making love to me again. We ride to work together each day and for the majority of the last few weeks, things have really been good. But, we’ve had a few conflicts over work this last week.
    1.Day 1:There is someone there I ‘used’ to be jealous of (my issues from past) but not anymore. However, she is an idiot and disrespected me and my partner in the workplace as well as made my new job more difficult. My partner, as her boss, handled it in the way he saw fit, but I had an opinion that she should be handled differently. When I voiced that, he exploded, shouting in the car on the way home and telling me it was over. We someone manage to get over it (me basically just stepping back and saying I didn’t care anymore).
    2. Day 2: He tells me that he’s going to try and bring his best and only friend into his business. I was jealous, because this individual is a confirmed long time bachelor (though not a playboy – he’s almost celibate), and already gets to see my partner 4 out of 7 nights a week. He also badgers my partner if my partner says No to any activities (and as we know, N’s have trouble saying No). This friend is a lovely guy in most ways, very intelligent, and would be a real resource and support to my partner at work, but I’m sad as I didnt want to share my partner’s and I’s newfound connection through work with him. I tried to express this to my partner and he exploded. Once again, he said I’m trying to control him, that I’ve done this our whole relationship, that if I want to spend time with him/live with him/get him to marry me, that I’m ruining my chances because I need to just keep my mouth shut. Is that correct? I thought I should be able to express my concerns and have him reassure me in some way… or at the very least, perhaps not like what I’m saying, but certainly not shout and threaten to leave me again. So, I invite this friend to my home and ‘school’ him in all that I know about our industry thus far, to give him a good head start in the company, because I think that maybe I can win him to my side and ask for his support. I won’t be able to eject him from our lives, besides which, he’s a sweet guy for the most part, just needs my partner as a single sidekick because he has noone else to spend time with. He also knows about my N partners behaviour over time (and has observed my craziest, reactionary moments). But when I try to broach the subject of Npd in the past, he just says, no, I think he has issues but you’re making too much of it. Will he be open to my pleadings to let my partner go, at least some, and help support us? How do I ask for this?

    3. After 3 days of fighting, we get to the point where my N partner requests to spend time with me again. I felt really happy that for the first time in a year, he’s still reaching out after things are so bad. Before, he’d run and abandon. So, I do my best to achieve what I need to do all day yesterday. When he arrives, things are not ‘perfect’ (the kids aren’t in bed – it’s summer here, and they all play outside together late). Plus I didn’t have all the food ready or look as pretty as I normally could. But I’m so busy and was hoping he’d be relaxed and able to join in. Instead, he made me feel uncomfortable and it was apparent that he was somewhat annoyed. I then started getting annoyed too, but kept it under control until eventually I said he should maybe go home. Also, that I couldn’t do this anymore (4th day of fighting in a row) and that it extended to work too. I’ve been there 3 weeks full time and the whole acceptance of the job for me hinged on the fact that we would make a proper concerted effort to be together in a relationship. If that wasn’t going to be the case, then I couldn’t work there because it was too unhealthy. I said he’d have to cope with the conference I’m due to give on Monday on his own. (Was this a step too far?) Then he got abusive. I then said if you speak to me that way again or push me, I’m going to speak to the police. He then calmed and spent the rest of the evening telling me how I don’t listen to him, that he never feels heard, why can’t I leave work at work and keep my mouth shut about it to preserve the relationship, that he’s scared of committing to me because he has now (by asking me to work there, but nothing is ‘good enough’ for me. Also, that ‘it just clearly isn’t working between us’ and he doesn’t understand why I want the relationship so bad, that I want to get married, especially under these conditions. I say I don’t. I say that I love him and want to be together but I can’t help but have my own opinions on things but that we should be able to discuss those without rowing.

    I have threatened to leave that company several times now because it seems the only leverage I have to get him back on the track of us. He’s now saying I’m strong arming him. Maybe this is akin to threatening to leave, because it would definitely shame him, and ruin my already precarious financial situation, but to be honest, if the crazy behaviour in the car on the way home from work continues, I will have to go because I’m miserable.

    Most of the time, i can handle his idiosyncracies with calm and grace. I use Steve and Kim’s techniques to calm the situation and get through things. But sometimes, I do feel strongly about something and get swept up in my own emotions. I’m not Mother Theresa! This inevitably results in a total meltdown.

    I then threaten to leave work (which is a real threat, not a joke) and eventually, he comes back with more of a humble approach.

    But I’m losing my cool over these things and questioning my own behaviour. I’ve come so far now, it feels stupid to blow it all apart. I’m really looking for guidance about my own behaviour and his and how to cope!!!!

    Good luck everyone and bless you all. It’s a long road, but one that has to be walked down to find truth.

  227. Tracy said

    May I also mention that I’m due to get on the plane for this conference in 3 hours (the one I said I’m not doing) and I don’t know what the heck to do!!!

    He thinks that no matter what happens between us, I should handle leaving work with dignity and responsibility to other people. Clearly, I agree with this in principle, but what has happened in the past convinces me that it’s his way to stall and stretch it out. For instance, I will just do the ‘last bit of work I’m committed to’ and then he’ll somehow change or act nicer or something and then I get hooked into another round of work committments. So there is never an appropriate time to leave (which really, I don’t want to do!). But I can’t continue my life like this! It’s got to stop somewhere. Also, I always tell him that he’ll have to mop up the mess and tell everyone because I just can’t bring myself to ‘save face’ for him and make up an excuse why I can’t do the job. Also, the people I’d have to tell already have an inkling of our volatility and some of his issues, so they’d know I’d be lying or they’d ask questions and I just don’t want to deal with that. I feel that me leaving there is actually his decision, because he is making the relationship intolerable. So he should have to deal with the consequences.

    Is this messed up thinking? I really don’t know!

  228. Tracy said

    PS. Hi Adam, and thank you for your time helping on this site as well.

  229. Tracy said


    Kim’s suggested in the past to write a letter to this woman detailing your relationship with your partner, his flaws and behaviour and how this ex fits into a pattern. That her destabilising effect isn’t really welcome and that she’s out of her depth, because she doesn’t understand the problems that your partner has. She also suggested included a photograph of the two of you together. I’m sure there was more detail, but if you look back up the posts, it wasn’t too long ago.

    Good luck!

    I had a similar situation before at the beg of my relationship. It didn’t end until I forced him to go to her house and tell her that they couldn’t be friends anymore and to stop calling. Which she did. Until the day she found out were were in Venice and he was proposing. She sent a stupid text about something else and he lied about it (to protect me and the delicate situation) and I got angry at him and it ruined our moment. Since, I’ve never heard from her again. I guess she got her fill.

    But had it continued, I knew where she lived and I was fully prepared to go there myself, armed with photos of my children and him and tell her the whole story and appeal to her sense of morality. Who knows what effect it would have had… But as angry as I was at her, I knew that threatening her would only lead to her seeing it as a ‘challenge’ because that’s what humans are like. Even if she didn’t want him, she’d have put up a fight because she’s a strong headed woman, like me.

    I think it’s just about really establishing your ties with him, the depth of his difficulties and how she really doesn’t understand and isn’t helping your situation.

    I’m not sure if this is correct advice, though. 🙂

  230. Sydney said


    I am grateful to have found your materials and taken a chance on buying something before I could read excerpts or reviews of it. I have found it very helpful, at least in principle, though I am just now starting to put your plan into action. After a brief courtship, I married a much younger man (17 years) who was trying to immigration process. This was a small, sweet relationship for me, after two big romances had gone awry for different reasons. As things started to get serious, he pressed me to get married, so that he would feel more secure. I was surprised at the proposal, and worried that he only wanted his papers, but I understood what a terrible ordeal he had been through while trying to emigrate and how precarious and exhausting it had made his life and I wanted to take away some of his pain. But I was in a difficult financial situation at the time, and I raised the issue and he quickly offered to help with some specific problems. At the same time, I wanted to do a pre-nup so that, until a future time when we agreed on it, the general principle was that we kept all of our finances and property separate. He did not care for this agreement at all, but I was concerned that I didn’t know him well enough and as I owned a house I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get entangled in something that would cost me my home if we split up. Though I truly cared about him, and wanted to do something good for him, I was afraid of being taken advantage of and he rejected my suggestion that we let it play out a little longer (which I thought would be to his advantage because I was getting very attached to him). I was aware that I was mostly interacting with his public persona and suspected that that would change if we go more intimate. I tried to reassure him about the immigration and said that whatever happened between us, I would support him. One time I ssid, “so long as you are not abusive, because I have been in abusive relationships before and my mother was very abusive and I couldn’t do that to myself.” When he heard that, he got kind of mad and said that must be trying to manipulate him. I started to notice strange things, like being criticized like having to be dragged to get the required blood test, even though we did it within 5 days of agreeing to get marriage. As soon as we married (or a little before), he became a totally different person and revealed this furious temper and demanding personality. Perhaps it was a mistake but I moved him into my house, and immediately things took a catastrophic turn. I had taken a job in another city based on the promise from him that we would split the communitng and he would come and visit me as often as I visited him. I had also asked him if he would travel with me on the weekend I had to move, and he said yes but then reneged just befoe I was supposed to leave. I said he could’t say no at this point because I was relying on his yes and things went fom bad to worse, even though we went on the planned trip. The lesson that he took away is that HE shuould “never promise anything; therefore you won’t be disappointed.” Another thing that happened when he moved into my house was that he promply announced that he could not live iwth cats and that if I wanted to keep cats he would have to find another space (some cultural stuff going on). One thing I have gotten from you books is not to threaten abanadonmet to NPDers. I do find that it only confirms his expections. For a while I became the face of his immigraiion, a government agency he loathed and distrusted. When we had to livig apart because of a job in another city, weekend visits became a knightmare as he clearly communicated that he felt more at home in my house when I was not there and I resented loosing my daily routines to non-stop CNBC and Bloomberg News (the financial channels). He demanded the house be spotless and revealed that he has s super sensetive nose that can smell bad smells (including bad breath) in miute quantities. He has blown up or angry and upset at one thing after another that I do — being disorganized, leaving a door open when I leave for another state, not cleanig th ekitchen sufficiently — that I am almost traumatized and certainly exhaused. He is 34 and I am 50 (maybe I would be considered a cougar but I just look young). For fleeting moments, he can be lovely, but culturally he does not believe cats should live indoors and my outdoor neighbors have started to complain and I love my cats so much and they are beautiful and sweet and I would even consider getting rid of them except that there have been so MANY issues (though this may be the biggest) that I am doubtful this would solve it and he would just find new reasons to be upset at the quality of “home.” We have clashing tastes, none of which he informed me about before we got married, and all of which he has insisted on since living together. He has juvanile (to me) autonomy strivings and needs to go off to things without telling me where he’s going (he comes back that evening). He tends to explode when the house isn’t just the way he’d like it. When we go to things together, he often just ignores me when we get there, and acts as if i am little more than an acqqaintance. His anger is very contemptuous and emotionally abusive. I am at my wit’s end and most of my friends don’t understad why I haven’t already left. I was pretty healthy on my own before I met him, but now I do fee that my emotional life has been overtaken by him and I am working on the “SNIP”! In my husband’s case, he had a really indulgent mother who totally devoted herself to his needs, but then he lost that and developed deep distrust when he emigreted. I see in his case why narcissists fear abandonment above all else, and I have stopped using that as a threat in fights. He is away right now (on a trip he planed without me, though I guess I am invited alone if I so choose and it is giving me some time to see the difference in my life since we started living together.) At the same time, I have always wanted to be married and when he is decent it can be okay.) He just doesn’t seem to be able to deal at all with my asking him for somehting, for negotiating so that we both get something out of an arrangmenet, with reciprocity in general, and I am getting very tired. Thoughts anyone?

  231. Valleri said

    I was intrigued by your reference to the inner and outer circles of the narcissist. No, I have not heard of this theory before, but I have told described to lots of people my boyfriend’s inner circle–his two brothers and a female friend down the street–who enable his behavior, protect him, and even laugh off what a huge liar he is, how unstable, how untrustworthy. They refer to him as “one-of-a-kind” and “his own person” and when I’ve approached them begging for help in our relationship, for support, for answers, they ignore me or, worse, “tell” on me to him, at which point he asks, “How dare you put them in the middle of our business?” Then I am further purnished with more alienation until I learn my lesson and beg him back, promising to mind my own business and “just love him.” This is the kind of stuff that has made me go over the edge: this group of people that makes me feel like I am the crazy one. For those who remember the show, it reminds me of the old “Twilight Zone” episode where nasty little boy has the power to kill people with his mind and his family, friends, and everyone in town, being deathly afraid of his wrath, affirm everything he does, even his killings, saying, “It’s good that you killed Mr. Brown. You’re such a good boy” even though Mr. Brown just told him to push his chair in or pick up a piece of trash or something. Ugh!

  232. Adam T said

    I’m thinking maybe I’m contributing to some confusion here. A day or two after my first post here Adam A. came along to help (moderate I presume). Hopefully adding a letter to my name as well will help, I’m going with “Adam T” from now on and hopefully that will help tell us apart. There is a story behind the T but that’s not for this post.
    I feel so bad reading the spouse stories, I wish I could apologize collectively for all N’s. But I can’t speak for all N’s, I personally do feel bad when I do something idiotic & hurt her feelings, I always have. I notice sometimes that it happened again and then find myself struggling with ways to apologize to her. Sometimes it’s far more complicated then just mouthing the words “I’m Sorry”. Anymore these days now that it’s out in the open it’s much easier to just say sorry since she is aware that I’m struggling with my new found friend NPD.
    I can fully relate to a few things recently posted. My first marriage ended in Divorce, now one thing you have to know is that even people close to me that have seen the dark NPD side of my personality say she was a worthless human being and still is. But I picked her and at one point obviously didn’t have much of a problem with her at some point. Our disputes became so clouded I honestly was having trouble determining who’s arguments were closer to the real reality of things. One of my 3 conditions to staying with her and sorting out all the BS was that we stay sober and go to counseling. She wasn’t interested and her main fear was that the counselor would side with me. I was floored by this coming from her and even offered her the power to choose the therapist. Looking back I think she had seen my convincing powers in action and genuinely feared that regardless of what reality is any therapist would side with anything I say because I tend to ground everything in realistic terms. Just for the record though I didn’t think I was 100% in the right and figured I’d need to at least make some adjustments in my behavior in order for us to get along.
    Relating to some things Rick just said, My folks were one of the couples that decided they were “staying together for the kids” or so they thought. While we were still pretending to be a happy normal family my Dad kept busy and preoccupied (looking back I think he did not like kids at the time), his motto was “children are to be seen and not heard” oh and another one “I’m supposed to be his father not his playmate”. I’d notice him changing the oil or fixing the lawn mower and I’d go to him and ask “dad, can I help?” His answer was generally something like “sure you can be a real big help, go inside, hang out with your mother and stay out of my way that would be a great help!”
    My mom easily recognized the sadness that left me with and heavily over compensated for me. This has had a seriously profound negative impact on me as an adult. The over mothering put women on pedestals for me. My mother taught me to respect women unconditionally so I have a very negative outlook towards any type of poor behavior toward women and towards women that tolerate it. Unfortunately this over mothering screwed up my perception of women. I have a lot of issues approaching women, I’ve developed hatred and resentment towards women on a whole over my own perceptions. For a boy to learn what women want and what they are all about from his mother is not very healthy. I only learned the innocent stuff that a mother would be willing to tell her little boy. For a lot of my adult life I observed men saying disrespectful things to women and instead of slap getting her attention, meanwhile in the after math of such a**hole suitors they would cry that they only find jerks for boyfriends. Confused about who women are really, I pretty much learned to hate and despise most of them over what I perceived to be them saying they wanted one thing but will only respond to the exact opposite. There came a time that my eyes were opened (I think, I hope) and that makes it a bit easier to understand but not any easier for me to handle. I’m still pretty much useless for meeting women that I don’t already know and still struggle with feelings of hate and disgust towards certain behaviors in women. (Many that know me close will tell you that I have woman hater issues) Like the ones that fall for the “player” type. A guys talks so much BS his eyes practically turn brown before your very eyes and all the women fall for it hook line and sinker every time. I don’t want to play the game, I don’t want to talk BS and get you to believe that I’m the better candidate. In my N mind I shouldn’t even have to compete with the “player” since I’m clearly the better candidate and maybe that would disgust me more than anything else. But as I’ve already posted I am N so what does that make me anyway? Someone that hurts the woman I love so how much better am I anyway.
    Well needless to say when the blinders came off for me last September I had a nervous break down that cost me 2 days from work. Seeing me for who I really am/was devastating & a whole lot to swallow to say the least.
    Tracy, it sounds like to me that deep down inside he knows he hurts you sometimes. I would guess that he listens to lies NPD creates for him things like he’s sorry you got hurt but your too soft skinned, or it’s not really his fault if you are so uncomfortable around people of his level of confidence and determination.
    One epiphany I had towards the close of my first marriage was that I’m only an Ogre at home, everyone all day in my professional life loves me but I go home and am made out to be a big bad ogre (hello!) My conclusion was that she resents everything about me. If I was on her about doing better around the house she couldn’t shut me up by saying well if you think you can do better prove it, because I did once and would do it again if she dared me. Her family didn’t like me either, it was mutual. I perceived them all as spineless pushovers that wouldn’t even know how to start standing up for themselves or their own ideas. There I was convinced that since they are so meager they can’t stand being around someone like me with so much confidence.
    Confidence is a weird subject with NPD too. I seem to be over flowing with it in certain area’s and this makes people think I’m Mr. Confident in all areas of life. When it comes to my career and my professional knowledge and things that are easily considered black and white I’m very solid. I have no confidence with women what so ever, I think it’s by sheer miracle that I have such a good woman in my life now. I feel socially inept most of the time. I can meet a stranger at a bar and have a pretty meaningful conversation with him/her for hours. I don’t try to meet someone though, I could go out and not talk to anybody all night except for ordering a drink. I prefer to let meetings and/or conversation happen versus appear to be craving or hungry for it, I view it as a weakness for some reason. I don’t need anybody and I don’t need a new friend tonight if I meet somebody cool that’s always a plus though. I could get what most would recognize as cue’s to make a move from woman actually I could get a small handful of them and not recognize any of them. For some reason I don’t fully understand nor practice “flirting”, seems like a meaningless waste of time to play games like that. The results of these things about my personality is that people generally go out of their way to steer clear of me. I guess I carry that stuff in my walk or the way I carry myself. I’m basically unapproachable and don’t fully understand why and not sure that I want to change that a whole bunch. I walk in a semi crowded mall or shopping place and notice everyone in front of me getting hit up by people with clip boards, take the survey or apply for a credit card and get a free stuffed teddy bear or something similar. I never know for sure what the promotion is because I get singled out by every person with a clip board as a “skip that guy” type. Maybe this is the one positive thing about my NPD that and in a very crowded environment my family and I go single file with me in the front I make better time and everybody hurries and practically jumps to get out of my way. I guess the 225# with shaved bald head may help a wee bit though.

  233. Adam T said

    Spouses don’t forget, us N’s truly expect to receive the best, like gold & diamonds but we also feel we just keep receiving deliveries of cow dung for some reason. We’re angry, We’re confused about many things like relationships and how to properly maintain them. Some of us lie, some of us cheat and I guess all of us keep hurting the people that love us. But please don’t forget the one struggle that can put any of us in a panic is the thought of losing your love and companionship. My theory is that the panic is because deep down inside we all recognize the fact that are spouses are getting hurt and we can all sense the ultimate outcome which is that if we continue at this rate we aren’t going to make it to “till death do us part”. We’re so convinced that it will happen we make it happen sometimes with our behavior. None of this is us trying to send the message that we don’t love you, the real problem here is that we don’t really know and fully understand how to love you.
    I’m trying my darndest and it’s just not easy to change decades of learned and practiced behavior.
    OH yeah Tracy, I’m no expert but maybe you and your man shouldn’t be working together. That arrangement has never worked for me in the past.
    Also a Doctor posted here and is suggesting a link between self employment and NPD. IF you’re taking votes or a count you have to count me on that one.
    I am a workaholic, within the last 10 months I’ve noticed a pattern in my life where I immerse myself into things to silence all the chatter. of course this doesn’t silence anything only allow me to ignore it. A lot of times in my life the distraction has been moving or a job change. I think I could recall a different address and job for every year of my life if you challenged me.
    I am always juggling some type of self employment, for years it was side work, then my own sole proprietorship, now these days I work my day job 9 hours a day and run an internet store sponsored by a huge global online auction site where I sell new & used media books, cd’s, dvd’s etc. Sure I want a better life for my family but deep down inside I know I’m closer to being a basket case without something to keep me busy and somewhat distracted.
    I hope I’m not sounding like I’m trying to be a know it all or anything I just think that hearing what goes on inside the mind of a NPD person is very relevant and nobody really seems to be coming here to share that. Additionally as I’ve said before I can be more honest here than I can with a Therapist so it does do me some good to let some of it out from time to time. I don’t think I’m a good representation of a “classic” NPD case though since so many have the issues with honesty and infidelity and that’s not part of my struggle. I guess it could have been though if I were more open to talking to women and my spouse turned out to be a serial liar and since we’ve split others have told me that she did admit to them that “what I don’t know” wouldn’t hurt me. I only hope that something I say opens up something for any of the spouses here or helps one of you understand your N spouse better.
    I think it’s interesting how this one thing can exhibit itself in so many different ways and areas of any given relationship.

  234. Annie said


    Your comments DO help to understand what in the world is going on inside the heads of NPR people, so thanks for posting.

    About this…”the real problem here is that we don’t really know and fully understand how to love you.” yes! …and worse is that no matter how much the spouse tries to help with that, the NPR is not likely at all to listen since it all has to be about THEM.

    and about “a link between self employment and NPD” YES and maybe due to that feeling of entitlement and need to control, easy to see why a NPR would prefer self-employment. My ex made huge efforts there for many years, and eventually returned to corporate ratrace after our divorce. My take on this is that he was completely unteachable, a know-it-all to the point of making really foolish errors yet just blaming others for them rather than stepping out to learn from the mistakes.


  235. Anna said

    Adam, I agree with Annie that you sharing your thinking does help, so thank you. I love your honesty (and that you’re faithful) and despite all the ‘stuff’ about yourself that you struggle with, I suspect most of us on this site would prefer to be dealing with that in our spouse than the deceptions and lack of self-awareness, etc.

    A thought I had when reading about your opinion on women, and what you wrote about your Mum: There’s obviously a connection here (which you do realise). Have you looked at the concept of being proactive about forgiving your Mum? I believe forgiveness is a crucial key towards our freedom and I suspect that it would be a real help in time re your issues.

    Speaking from my own experience, a few weeks after the shock of learning that my husband had been unfaithful with several women over several years, I knew I’d be better off ultimately if I went about the business of forgiving everyone involved. I knew each of the women. They’d all been around home, shared meals with the family, Christmases, picnics… much betrayal involved. I know what forgiveness is, and what it isn’t. It certainly is not excusing anything nor is it a way of brushing it under the carpet. I wanted to do it simply and purely for my own sake – nothing noble about it. I knew that holding on to unforgiveness would only poison me with bitterness and that it would only grow over time. I also knew that forgiveness is not a one-off event. My strategy was to exercise my will every time I thought of this one or that one – to ‘catch’ the thought, to stop, and then to recite (out loud, if nobody was around!)’I forgive ………. for ……….’. I started doing this only after a few weeks of trying to get my head around it all. During that time, I feel I actually had a need to remember everything, to look at these times, these people from my new perspective, and to feel the feelings. But after a while, I could see that obsessing about them wasn’t doing me any favours, and my little strategy helped big-time with that. I NEVER felt like doing it. I didn’t even FEEL that I meant it, but again I knew that it didn’t depend on feelings. It was an act of my will. In Christian circles there’s a saying, ‘First the natural, then the spiritual’. I knew that if I persevered in this discipline, the feelings would follow in time.

    It’s been just over 18 months now since my world was rocked by this news, and I am just so grateful that I knew to take these steps. With everything else going on, I haven’t had to deal with the heavy burden of bitterness as well. I find I don’t think of these women very much at all now, and when I do it’s pretty fleeting. I still recite a forgiveness towards them, specially if I feel emotion welling. I forgive and ‘snip’! I have had some sort of contact with every one of those women since ‘the news’. I was under no delusion that I had to be ‘sweet’ with them but I’m grateful that I was able to be strong as well as honest. I feel I kept my dignity. With my husband (we’ve been apart now for about 10 months after I eventually asked him to leave) but are seeing each other and working towards getting back together (my ‘working’ is largely based on Kim’s workbook!). It’s been harder with him – and longer. But it’s so paying dividends! Our children (in their 20s) and others comment on my strength and my joy. Just yesterday, my eldest (25) commented that she knows I could handle anything now. And I really do have joy, it’s amazing. They know that I’ve had much much anguish as well and I don’t try to deny that. I’d never want to go through anything like that again – and it’s still hard. I still have ‘moments’, you know what I mean. But I can also say that I love life and know that there’s so much good in my future and I feel mentally and emotionally healthy. I’d also add that I’ve needed this website to learn heaps about emotional intelligence, still learning! – all the strategies and hints specific to dealing with an N. I admit I’ve been very emotionally unintelligent over the years, not recognising that ‘reasoning’ was never going to work, etc. But I still maintain that doing that forgiving work is one of the smartest things I’ve ever done for myself and has freed me of so much baggage. That’s why I’d recommend it.

    Re the ‘self-employed’ survey, I’d just add my bit and say that mine isn’t and never has been. Perhaps my N is a bit unusual as far as Ns go in that he was never ambitious and although he’s always been very reliable and actually very good in his job (as a Prison Officer), he has tended to get his ‘needs’ met by being a ‘wonderful person’ to others rather than other common outward achievements.

    Anna (the one without an initial!)

  236. Linda DeRyder said

    Hi Valerie, I had read about the inner and outer circle in book ” The daughter of a Narcissist, Will I Ever Be Good Enough”. This book was an eye openter for me. Especially with my Mother. This fit here to a tee. I am starting to see this circle thing with my husband.
    The inner circle is the group of people that are the closest to the N and they know his good and BAD sides, so there is really no reason for the N to try and impress them anymore. The N actually starts to despise their inner circle because they know a lot of the bad about them.
    It explains why when you first meet an N how they are charming, you are entranced by them you think they are wonderful( at this point you are part of the outer circle) as you learn more and start to see their flaws, you move into the inner circle. Once there you never return to the outer circle with them.
    With my Mother, she will be so nice to me if someone is present that she doesn’t know that well. But as soon as I leave she will just trash me.
    I see in my husband, how in the beginning he wanted to take me everywhere, show me everything I had never seen. He took me out to eat, we spent all our time together. As, I have learned more about him, the more he can’t pretend to be this great person, he has to be himself more and more.
    I wanted to address the self employed issue, too. As that applies to my N. He had worked all his life. Always a hard worker. He had always wanted to rehab houses, so I came into some money. Thought if I let him live his dream somehow he would finally be happy. Well, I was the one having to find the houses, buy the supplies, check on him constantly to make sure he was staying busy. I became the oger in this, as he looked at it as being the big shot, talking to the neighbors, taking smoke breaks and beer breaks. And the breaks became more and more frequent.
    I worried about the money, the selling of the house, and everything else. I had created a monster. He wanted the prestige of having his own business, but not the responsibility.
    I finally sold the last house and said no more with the way the economy was. I learned a good lesson. I cannont do it for him. I cannot make his dreams come true. Only he can. I can support him and help, but I can’t do it all. I set myself up for being the blame when anything went wrong.
    I started a floral business and shipped on line. My N helped be do the shipping.
    I hired his niece to help ( this was 3 years ago) She is in her late 20s. Well, one day she didn’t show up for work. I couldn’t figure out why. She had left me a message on my cell phone(not the home phone) to call her. I was busy caring for my Aunt so I asked my N to call and make sure she was alright.
    Well, ends up he had made a pass at her and she was so upset she didn’t know what to do. Should she tell me. She talked to her Pastor and he told her to tell me. The sad thing was my first reaction when she didn’t show up for work was ” what had he done!!”
    He would not admit he did anything. Blamed it all on her and here we are 3 years later and he still has not apologized to his family.
    We used to have get togethers for every holiday. This has just torn us all apart. I have kicked him out, asked him to quit drinking, begged him to apoligize to his sister to no avail. We have went to therapy, but as I mentioned in another post he knew more than the therapist.
    At one point he asked to see his sister and we all thought he was going to apoligize to her. When she arrived he began to tell her how awful her daughter was and that this was all her fault. She had ruined our marriage. He actually scared his sister to the point that she said she didn’t even know who he was.
    The thing is his family is a loving, forgiving family. His sister was ready to forgive him and repair the family.
    She even shared with me that she blamed herself because as kids she had initiated “playing Dr. with her brother and sister” He at one point had said to me” Why don’t you ask my sister what she did to me and my brother” But then he would never tell me anymore.
    So I have tried counseling, talking, crying, screaming, and asking him to leave over thanksgiving. He was gone until the end of January. coming back with the conditions that he could not change. So I said I will go and do what I want and I guess he lives here as my helper around the house. He seems content with this. He is content not seeing his family, just staying home, no interest in traveling.
    This is where I brought up the question of how to deal with him wanting to get”close” to me only in bed. I have lost all desire.
    I go and do what I want. I go to supper with my daughter, we take small trips together.
    But I feel really short changed, because in the beginning he promised we would travel when we got older. Go and do all the things we had dreamed of. I guess he just told me what I wanted to hear.
    The only way he does anything is if someone from that outer circle askes him, then he has to become that person he wants them to think he is, so he has to say yes.
    I still love him. I can see the good qualities, but I just don’t know what to do anymore or how to get him to see what he is doing.

  237. Caroline said

    I want to help my now ex-husband (I still love him and think of him as my husband) and see if our relationship can be renewed and changed to a healthy one. We were divorced in January after filing in October. I really didn’t want to be divorce but did’t know any other way to deal with the abuse and disrespect.

    I have been away for six months and in a couple of weeks will be returning home where he lives across the street from me. For the past two months I have been seeing a counsellor to work on my issues in order to become healthier myself and become a stronger person. I still have uncertainty and caution regarding contacting my husband but yet have the desire to turn things around if I can and try some of the things suggested in
    back from the looking glass. It also is difficult because I think most family members would be against me doing this so I then have doubts about doing the “wrong” thing. I am willing to press on even though I have fears.

    I am in the middle of “Hold on to your Kids” and wonder how I can foster dependence and attachment with him while not living together. We haven’t been in contact for a long time except for a short phone call that I initiated the other day. He was civil.

    My question is can you give me some examples of what I can do at this point? Is it best to wait for him to initiate contact? I would appreciate any suggestions.

    Thank you

  238. Steve Cooper said

    Linda, how you described the inner and outer circle is really accurate. It sounds like everyone relates too. I just want to add here that I think we need to allow for just a tiny, teenee, tiny bit of this to occur within a family, but please let me explain.
    No-one ever gets upset with me more than Kim. No-one upsets me more than the kids and/or Kim. My inner circle of Kim and the kids *do* see my most frustrated, unhappy and inconsiderate side more than anyone else. Having said that, there is no way anyone from outside (outer circle) will get anywhere near upsetting my family. In this regard, I see myself as the ultimate protector of my family. Once upon a time, this was not the case, I would allow anyone from the outer circle to upset my family’s equilibrium and then side against my family. They were dark days for all of us.
    Additionally, I think that Kim and my kids get my best these days. I don’t look to impress the outer circle anymore(like I used to), because I feel at home in my role here, I feel welcomed and needed here by everyone and I won’t let them down.
    It isn’t always that life here at home is as pleasant as it is on Sesame Street, but often it is, and Kim and I know that the kids need us to keep that happy feeling energized as much as we possibly can. You can never be too nice to your inner circle because there will always be times when the pressure is on and tempers fray. Learning the emotional intelligence techniques we advocate are the safety net for those high pressure times.

  239. Cyndi said

    I’ve been reading these posts like pages out of my diary and this newest thread hits so close to home I’m hoping others will comment and share with me as openly as freely as they have above.
    My story is pretty much the same reason we are all here. And yes I will have to admit, I was one who also went into business with my NPD and when I learned of all the fraud, hording of funds, lies, plans to work overseas, he abandoned the business and our family (no kids) and left me with all the debt. 4 months later, he then comes to “get all his stuff”. I say NO. We will liquidate and split the assets. Even though I have mortgaged my home,etc. and supported us for 5 years I am willing to do this because he contributed a lot and no one person is entitled to everything. He tells me “morally and ethically I deserve nothing”. I have now been served with a lawsuit from him and his “mommy” who I believe is also a NPD” or at the least fans the flames. He actually thinks he owns the business which is in my name, where I am the only one authorized for signatures or credit, and where I hold title to all vehicles, this man has gone so far as to file a suite.

    Here’s my questions and maybe Kim or Steve might clear up the first for me. What is the difference between a N and a Psychopath or Antisocial I believe they are called now. I liken my N more like a Ted Bundy type charmer. I hear the P forms no attachments. He would laugh or look in utter disdain if I needed help or injured myself, he showed no emotions or enthusiasm with his kids, called his daughter who was 12 a little “B”., 2 of our pets had “accidents” resulting in death when I was gone on trips, and the last one who died of cancer he said “you take care of it” and tried to use money for chemo to get me to sign over a cars pink slip. What a prince. P’s just bail when they feel a better opportunity presents or services no longer needed. No muss no fuss. This guy after nearly 8 years just walked. Coldly. As soon as he secured a job where he made some big cash and didn’t need me to put a roof over his head, or buffer the IRS or child support issues he was gone. The war in Iraq and Afghanistan is a N playground. A big boy Disneyland. There just was no reaching him once he got there and got so much power and freedom. They say about 70% of the populous from the US that are over there are N or display a lot of their behavior. I wonder, why some personalities do thrive and congregate under certain conditions and if they are necessary at certain times in history. Kinda creepy to think about.

    I also was able to get into his emails and laptop. I am an id savant at computer hacking. I know that it might not have been a shinning moment of my life, but I’ll tell you that is when I finally saw the light…like lightning had hit my heart and scorched the earth where it fell. I think it is true all the crazy making is in the denial stage. I knew. Intuitively, always, but to see it in print and far more horrific and cruel then I had even thought. Well it took me over a year, of grieving, devastation, and meditation(the best), to finally realize what I did have. PROOF.

    So that “Dear Diary” is where I am today. I have so much that I never told. Documented. Pay stubs, Fraud. Perjury. Child Support, Tax evasion, coworkers, family, friends all lies he told them. Broken Sobriety, Sex addiction, Porn, His private video sessions. All downloaded to my computer. And now he is suing me.

    I have emailed him (I just call it mean mail now)asking for mediation/stating some of my intentions with some of Kim’s helpful phrasing. I can say that after 2 year of him gone and myself so much stronger and living my life, my truth, that I forgive him, for me. I do see things we both did and didn’t do. It is an illness. I just want to split things and go our separate ways. I wish him peace. But without any attachment to me or response on his part to any of my suggestions or willingness to mediate and settle, I am going down a road that leads to the same old dead end.

    My checks say “Pain is Inevitable, Suffering is Optional”. I try to live that. Any ideas on how to start communication so I can make this just a little deter and not a destination?


  240. Cyndi said

    Hi Caroline

    Although I do not know you. I do know by the sound of your beautiful heart and all the hope in your thoughts, that it may be still a little too fragile and a little too soon for full on contact with this man. Take care of yourself first, build a life you are happy and joyous about just to be in. Live your truth. You’ll be invincible.

  241. Rick Shepard said

    In my inner search for some level of peace and happiness I have come to fully understand a universal truth.

    People often say there are two kinds of people in the world and its true. There are people that mattered and people that didn’t matter as children to the adults charged with their care.

    All the pain and suffering in this world is produced by human beings who, as children, were seen as nuisances to their ‘parents’. Children feel this and turn inwards to a fantasy land, often without realizing it, to deal with the pain. The problems start when they reach adolescence and adulthood and enter a real world not based on fantasy and doesn’t care at all about their ‘needs’.

    Men and women labeled NPD by psychology and the men and women attracted to the selfishness were simply children that didn’t have sane male and female adult role models in their lives. Every time I see a 50-yr-old homeless guy on the street in the middle of the day with a bottle of beer I see a innocent boy 45 years ago who, instead of being able to play, run, fall, cry, laugh, etc, was forced to meet the unmet needs of those adults who took care of him and I fill up with grief.

    I’m the most selfish bastard on the planet because I was an accidental birth 38 years ago who’s parents, and grandparents, were kids themselves. As an only male child squarely in the cross-hairs of two very selfish women and one very scared grandfather I didn’t have a chance. As I advance in age, my bad traits only worsen, as I fear is the same for everyone. I have begun to really look at why people do what they do.

    For example. The friends that moved away from our hometown were the ones I know were given freedom as children to experiment and fail. I know this because I know their parents and can imagine them as 5 year olds allowed to be 5 year olds.

    The ones that stuck close to home (like me, living next door to my mother and hating it) were not allowed that. Think about your circle of friends and I bet you will see the same pattern.

    Here’s the rub though and something each of us will someday come to realize. Your messed up parents will never admit it. Their ego will not allow it. Its the great irony of life. They may not admit it but they know how they are but just blame their parents just like we blame ours.

    Of course if you asked a parent if their children mattered to them, you would get that look that says ‘what a stupid question, of course they do’ even when ALL evidence points to the contrary.

    You must understand that EVERYONE does the best they can with the tools they were given in the first 4 years of life and even the most introspective enlightened person cannot change the basic nature that was produced during this time.

    Ted Bundy often said he always felt like he was on the outside looking in, never learning how to fit in to regular society.

    The ironic thing is, people attract the opposite of what they are. This pull is so strong and our fear of change so great we often never break free. My wife should’ve left me long ago, after all the drunk nights and womanizing that I’ve even admitted to. But her need to take care of me and feel responsible for my soul (her words) is just too strong for her to break free. I’m not a phsycally violent person with my family (words are my thing) so she’s not afraid for her life, she just can’t break from the guy she ‘loves’ who is the father of her children because her ego won’t let her be the one responsible for breaking up the family.

    So you see, ironically the rightest things are always the hardest, and the later you wait the harder it gets. Hard reality. Your partner will not truly change. They will just learn how to put the face on that keeps you around as long as possible so as not to disrupt their fantasy world. If that works for you stay, if it doesn’t ‘man up’ and hit the road. Its your choice and no one elses.

  242. Rick Shepard said

    Please excuse the additional post and try to think about things this way. The natural order is for the mother’s attention to be on the father primarily and vice-versa. Now this doesn’t happen as much nowadays as it may have in the past but if one, or both, parents have their attention primarily on the children and not on each other, you are heading for major problems. We, as parents, are to watch over them, protecting and providing and modeling correct behaviour. NOT trying to be their FRIENDS. Major problems are coming if you are trying to be your child’s friend. Sure if little Johnny shows an interest in helping Dad with the car, Dad should not send him away with shame but he also should never let Johnny think they are equals in attempt to be his friend. Johnny and little Jane need leadership. They have their friends.

    Parents, go get your own friends, of your generation and let your children have theirs. Let them learn how to interact with their generation, arguing, making up, fist fighting, all that. Let it evolve, allow them to learn things the hard way or they will be soft and miserable adults.

    This is the biggest problem with families headed by ‘NPD’ males. He is so self-absorbed that for companionship she often focuses her attention on the children. I see this dynamic with my wife and oldest son (10). They are too friendly because I am so distant. She is looking for companionship and he is resisting this unnatural state of things, albeit unconsciously.

    If you look at the family systems in your own circle, the ones with a father who drank, and the first born, or only born, was a male, that boy is your classic NPD. His mother couldn’t reach his father so she focused on the boy. IF another sibling comes along it takes the focus of the mother off him a bit but for the time he was an only child, the damage is done.

    The point is this. If you have children, you absolutely MUST, especially you mothers, get your attention off your children. Just like you will drowned a plant by watering (loving) it too much, you will break your boys spirit by doting on him and not stepping out of the way to let Dad or some other good male, fill that gap. You absolutely MUST do this if you really care about your sons and daughters and not just how they make you feel.

  243. Adam T said

    In regards to the inner and outer circle (again I can’t speak for all N’s) the two different versions of me aren’t as malicious as you may think. The differences in my behaviors are not intentional differences on my part. I don’t look at it as pretending to be someone else for the outer circle. It’s more like not willing or too private to show outer circle people more private parts of my personality. With that being said though genuinely having something to be ashamed of or embarrassed about would obviously be made private by almost anyone. Not revealing or concealing those parts of my personality could easily be labeled deceptive and I’m not even suggesting that it isn’t just that I don’t have conscious thought about how I need to switch this and that off now or how much of a show I’m going to put on for somebody. All those kind of things are happening, I regret that they are actually part of the reality that makes up who I am but it’s all happening at such a subconscious level though that it’s very difficult to see it and face reality about. Dealing with NPD has been a very extenuating circumstance for me all through my life. I’m not just suffering with NPD I too am one of it’s victims. The deceptive & elusive parts of me are a result of the lies and deception I’ve endured. The inner circle see’s the closest to who I really am, the outer see’s another version but that’s not solely built on wanting to impress them, there’s a lot of it that’s also built on fear and insecurity. This is a survival instinct for me really and not as much about charming the socks off of anyone per say.

  244. gypsy said

    Okay Gypsy here again…..I didn’t get any replies and so I will change my approach here….it seems everyone writing is or was married to a N. I could not even get a commitment of any kind from my guy. We were together for 3 years and he couldn’t say I love you and mean it and he couldn’t even say we were a couple for a long time. He wouldn’t take us to the next step of just being together. We were always on a date and I never measured up. I didn’t know what NPD was in the relationship so I didn’t treat him like he had it. I was angry because he acted to strange and so immaturely. I was patient in the beginning and shared info. with him. He did’t know much about sex, relationships, how to think of others, and he mostly acted like he was single. I loved him so much though. We had everything in common and I mean everything except the difference in maturity and there was a wide gap. I overlooked it because he was the first person I had met that I could honestly say was my soul mate. I still feel this way about him but it is over and I mean over. We don’t communicate unless we bump into each other and the last time I saw him I told him it was hard for me because I missed him and he said it was great for him, NOW meaning I was out of his life. That hurt big time. He wrote me a nasty letter telling me not to talk to him any more unless I was willing to take responsibility for the conflict in our relationship. I wrote back saying I will not take any responsibility and that if he wanted to experience love and happiness in his life he will have to own up to his irresponsible behaviour. I was told by my minister and Kaleah-both whom I deeply respect (their understanding of N. is extensive as well and they take the camp of ABORT) but, I want to not give up so easily. I am stubborn and definitely codependent. So it is difficult. I am getting from Kim and Steve that there is hope but only for people who were married?

    There is nothing to keep us together, we didn’t share anything except dinner. My guy never trusted me. EVen when I tried compassionate communication with him he would take a controlling and superior role in our relationship. He was always the superior and if I tried to create equality he would find some way to dominate the situation.

    We are finished and it bothers me that I didn’t know about this help. What can I do? Is there still hope? Steve could you please answer? Thanks.

  245. Adam T said

    Thanks guys/gals for the positive feedback regarding my posts. Anna, I wasn’t brushing that thought off only sometimes I need time to digest a thought before having a comment. I needed some time on this one because at the time my knee jerk reaction was “hey I already forgave my mom”. That is sort of the truth, I have forgiven her for the opinion I had a few years ago about what screwed my life up so much. My opinion is changing now more and more but for the most part I have a whole new reality about what my real problems are. It’s unfortunate that she seems to be more of the problem than I originally suspected. My problems relating to and understanding women are compounded by how socially inept I feel. Just like what Rick was saying about Ted Bundy, for as long as I remember I’ve felt like I don’t fit in and typically describe myself with terms or phrases like; Socially inept, Socially challenged, Social misfit, I hate everyone, even Anti Social.
    I still don’t think that I harbor anything ill towards my mom but did want to at least consider it. It may be possible that you’re right though but since I really have so much resentment for my Dad and his hands off approach to being a Dad, I doubt that I would be able to see if there was still something small I need to clear up with my mom.
    I’m not talking to my dad anymore these days but when I was like back in the days of my first marriage I would notice him pick up one of my kids and start horsing around with them. I would leave there pissed beyond belief every time. Watching him doing things with my kids that he never would have even imagined doing with his own kids was a bit tough for me to swallow. I felt like he totally screwed his chance to be a good Dad and now thinks bouncing one of my kids around for 10 minutes twice a month should make him feel like a model Grandparent. I also felt betrayed by all the years of his crap about children being seen not heard and not wanting anything to do with me. Parents you may think your young child is too busy playing and in his own world to notice you don’t have much time for him but that’s not true at all. I knew my Dad didn’t want to be around me as early as 4 years old. I remember asking my mom why my dad doesn’t want to do anything with me and all my friends dad’s take them places and do things with them. My mom & dad fought pretty bad that night which further alienated me from my dad and made me confused about my parents and what type of relationship I should have with them both.

  246. Annie said

    to Rick S…

    Thoughts on your perpectives …

    I wonder about this “All the pain and suffering in this world is produced by human beings who, as children, were seen as nuisances to their ‘parents’…” since you later describe how loving too much can cause damage as well.

  247. Caroline said

    thanks Cyndi

  248. Adam T said

    Sorry I can’t help you gypsy. I just don’t know enough to offer advice on how to deal with an N. Sometimes I have trouble dealing with myself and my own thoughts so I’m certainly no authority there. I’ve always known I had a strongly selfish side to me. Sometimes I think about everything my woman puts up with and I feel terrible and then feel double terrible. The first terrible is because I act out that way and put her through all this crap, the second terrible is because I can’t definitively tell myself that if the shoe had been on the other foot I would have stuck around, saw her point, saw everything that she is struggling with and agreed to stay and struggle through it a bit more every day. I’m a bit embarrassed to say I can’t honestly answer that question with a firm definite yes.
    That is what she does for me though and by the way we aren’t married, I’ve never really said either way but Steve managed to pick up on it somehow.
    Gypsy, no offense but it sounds like out of the 2 of you that you were the only one that considered what you had a “relationship”. I’m thinking you were used by an N versus abused by one. Again I mean no offense to you just something I’m reading off the words you typed or the way you’ve typed them.

  249. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Gypsy,

    I must honestly say that in your situation it will be very difficult to implement any of our suggestions, simply because you do not have a close relationship anymore. Having said that, there is still unfinished business between you and this will be causing you considerable pain and I want to help you with that if I can.
    I do want to make clear that Kim and I have a very solid view on the concept of soul mates. We think that this archetype is a fantasy and we have produced material on that topic. Anytime you feel someone is your soul mate there is danger at your door. Relationships take work, and continuous flexing, like a muscle, and all of the heart virtues to be in constant use, (appreciation, compassion, forgiveness, humility, understanding and valor). You also need a good dose of luck.
    I don’t want to sound like I am pouring a bucket of cold water on your affection for him, because I really do understand that if your heart and soul is longing for him, I am no person to judge. You and he were close and that is something that no-one can take away from you or deny.
    I *do* however want to alert you to the danger of where you are at now. Please do not try and make him face his faults again. You haven’t built any trust or attachment with him and he will play his superior games even more now that he thinks he has broken your spirit. I would love to hear what some other readers would suggest, but from what I am hearing you have an uphill battle.

  250. Linda DeRyder said

    Thank you Steve for your insight and to Adam T I appreciate reading your inner thoughts on this, too. I am learning so much here. It is really helpful hearing from people who are actually living this and are able to recognize their thoughts and feelings.
    Any of the other sights I have been on just gives you general theories or what might be going on with an N. But to hear from actual Ns’ is very enlightning.
    It is actually helping me have some empathy for my husband. To think of what he may have went thru of not knowing how to cope.
    I just spent the day taking my mother to the Dr. She is an extreme N. She lied to me all day, about taking her pills, what she is eating, etc. etc. Just think of an N with some dementia!!!!!
    I am learning my boundaries with her and she doesn’t hurt me as much anymore. But still days I wish she could show me some feelings. I know it will never happen. I am just hear to serve her needs.
    My husband has more compassion then she. I know with my childhood I have my own issues and it has made it crazy seeing these traits in my husband.
    Steve, your explanation of the inner circle helped me step back and stop thinking all my husbands actions are directed at me. And Adam made me see that this is not something done purposely and something he is struggling with inside and not having the information I am starting to learn.
    I have a question about a recent action my husband did.
    There is a family reunion coming up and when his cousin asked if his daughter was coming, my husband told him no cause she doesn’t get along with me. I heard about this from someone and don’t understand why he would say this, as his daughter and I get along fine. I just seen her and asked about the reunion and she knew nothing about it! My husband never asked her and yet said she wouldn’t come because of me.
    It is things like this that drive me crazy!!! Why????

  251. Ruth said

    Even though my boyfriend and I are apart, it is “haunting’ me to know if he still loves me as he told me he did. He said he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, but he left because it was “too hard.” I am having a very hard time thinking that maybe he “conned me.” Would asking him help, should I let it go, or deal with this driveness in some other manner?

  252. Anonymous said

    To Gypsy:
    I can very much relate to your story. I’ve only seen your most recent post and it touches me. I’ve been dating this guy for about 2 years, not married and just in the last few months (when in a time of extreme difficulty with him I sought out information and found this site) realized what I’m likely dealing with – a Narcissistic Personality type man. Though it’s not been so long that we’ve been together I feel extremely attached. As I see is the experience of most, he just swept me off my feet and was so damn perfect that, with his certainty about our rightness for each other and persuasion that we should be committed, I agreed to commit to him after dating a couple months. We very conveniently had almost entirely identical belief systems and values and concepts of life, love and relationships, which he was either flatly lying about to manipulate or was so swept up in the moment that he went temporarily insane and believed those things at the time. A month later he was living with me and I think that just by nature of spending so much time together in the months that followed I developed a very strong attachment. His bad behaviors slowly started to show in the first month he was living with me, but they seemed forgivable (especially because he was apologetic in the beginning) and I was so bought in to his initial persuasion that I believed that that person I “fell in love with” would resurface, and he did off and on. At any rate, over the last 6 months he’s become more distant and every time I try to end it and move on he pushes his way back in. I feel stupid for tolerating some of the things he’s done and said and for making it too easy for him to come back to me when he says “the right things”. I’ve gone through much of the same as you with realizing his difficulty acknowledging the relationship as a relationship. I really kind of saw it as a joke when he’d say things to the effect of me not being his girlfriend because we lived day in and day out like we were… until it would slap me in the face. He contradicted himself by saying things like “who are you? You’re no one.” He’d compare me to people who are nothing like me. He’d say he didn’t care about me, I’m stupid, I’m pathetic, I’m retarded, no one will ever love me because I’m so retarded, that I’m stupid for not wanting to use other people who are vulnerable, that I’m the only person living in my reality, that I really am insane, everyone I’ve introduced you to says your weird before they say you’re nice, I can’t be with no broke b@#$% (even though I’ve largely footed the living expenses with little contribution from him and have never thrown it in his face because he’s contributed generously every time he’s had money) blah blah blah and then literally in the next breath say things like “I’ve never spent time with someone like I spend time with you.” or “I’ve brought you around my friends and family more than I did my child’s mother who I dated for years. I didn’t meet her family till a year after our kid was born, but I met yours already.” or other varieties of things that were supposed to make me feel special despite the absurdly hurtful, invalidating and rejecting things he was saying. (Sorry to focus more on the negative comments than the positive, but the negative stick in your brain much more and I had to stop myself because the list does continue…) I really did begin to view it as an illness in him before I had a name for it, because it was just that absurd. I could probably go on forever because there really isn’t anyone in my personal life who has insight to see what I see in him. I stopped talking about him to other people months ago when I started trying to be more strategic rather than using
    sacrifice of my own needs, my own vulnerabilities. I will admit here, if no where else, that I really thrive off of encouragement and reassurance and intimacy (or perceived intimacy). I don’t think that I’m needy, but I am “soft” of heart and really long for that sensitive, sweet, considerate, attentive man that I met him as. I have my own issues, not big horrible nasty ones, but struggling with things like trust which probably make me a poor match for this guy because I have a strong desire for validation which most decent men would acknowledge is appropriate for a committed relationship even if they have a little difficulty here and there. Back to the point, (of wanting to relate to your experiences) this guy is still in my life, but he has begun to distance more and more over the last 6 months or so. There have been some good times in between, but more absence than ever before. He went on a trip that was supposed to be for one week and turned into 2 months. He then returned for all of 3 glorious reunion hours before he began to turn on me (treat me like the enemy)for truly no fault of mine and within a week just took off for 3 days. This is generally how things have continued for the following few months. I’ve been trying to implement things suggested around here and have actually seen some positive response when he is home. We fight less and enjoy each other more and I feel a bit less “crazy”. Still, I’ve noticed that he has found other reasons than a fight to leave for a few days every 2-3 weeks. He just left again 4 days ago for a trip from which he was supposed to return today. He had the curteousy to let me know that he wasn’t coming home yet because there is other “business” to tend to but provided no indication of when he will actually return. (He’s not working. This is not really a business trip. LOL) Anyway, I know he will return at some point because all of his things are still in my house, but for how long is the question. I imagine that before long he and I will likely be like you and your ex-boyfriend so my last thought is this. Perhaps in situations like ours they just don’t build the same attachments and when we thought they were, there was an element of fakeness, manipulation or just simply that they wanted to feel that love at that moment. I’ve not really felt justified to put my voice here or invest too much money wise into this because we aren’t married and though I keep allowing him back and trying to use better boundaries and be more self-confident and be more logical rather than emotional and try to do my part so that this will work there is another voice that sometimes whispers and sometimes screams WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS???!!! I feel like I am so much smarter than my actions would indicate. I don’t know exactly what I’ll do. I know what I deserve from a man who I’m going to share my life with and I’m done talking to a ghost of a man. If he was going to “get it”, he’d do so without you explaining it to him. If he’s going to get it, it’ll be because of your actions not your words. When you all met, I’m certain you didn’t have to explain to him how to be the perfect guy. He did it because he wanted to. I don’t want to force or trick anyone into being with me or being a good guy to me. I want him to do it because he wants to. So no matter how bad I hurt, I’m just not going to explain it to him (unless he were to ask me to) otherwise I keep it moving and use strategies I’m picking up here. I’m very close to actually desiring an end to the relationship but feel hesitant due to some history of threats and actual violence when I exert too much independence or have made the mistake of even having a flaw of character myself of becoming too righteous about my rights as a human being and stated intent to end the relationship. I’m also hesitant because I want to be sure that I mean it. I don’t want to be a “flake” or breaking up just so that he will make those efforts to get me back. Anyway, truly last words, your pain will subside. Don’t know how old you are, but I have had my heart broke and been through a devastating break up before, survived and loved again. (That was actually a pretty healthy relationship that lasted 8 years). Perhaps it’s a bit dramatic, but I try to use some self talk and say things like, “I can walk with my pain till it eases.” Pulling from the substance abuse treatment world, “I’m gonna fake it till I make it.” “I’m going to love the memory of him that I know were our truest moments and perhaps in another lifetime we will have another chance.” There’s alot more, these might not be my best, but you get the idea. Whatever you need to tell yourself to let it go and do something else is wonderful and your anguish and frustration will begin to ease.

    Good luck with living the life you love rather than loving a life you live. (Not my words… saw it recently and loved it.) Seriously, keep what are the best parts of you and whether you return to this guy or get involved with another, remain as positive and hopeful (hopefully a bit wiser each day too) and your bound to draw positive things to you.

    It’s okay to move on. It’s okay to stay/return should he come back. But you’ve always gotta be okay in the big picture, doing what’s right for you. Especially when we aren’t married and don’t have kids and don’t have money issues all emeshed with one another. If you return do it because you really see there being possibility for a happy union.

    In the spirit of belief that it’s okay to believe in the good of mankind and remaining a person of love and virtue despite our own mistakes and imperfections and the imperfectness of others,

    (I can’t think of a witty name to sign off as. I’ve been trying for like 15 minutes.)

  253. Sydney said

    Test — the other night I spent 1 1/2 hours writing a post but when I hit “submit,” I got an error message saying the message was a “duplicate” and that I was repeating myself. So, I would like to see if this will go through before writing such a long post again. If someone reads the posts beforehand, could you let me know? Thanks.

  254. Adam T said


    My only guess would be somewhat obvious. He doesn’t want her there but didn’t want to get into the specifics of why with that person (maybe it’s embarassing)

  255. Sydney said

    Okay, that went through so I’ll give this another try, but will keep it short at first. I am in my early 50’s (don’t look it) and have a much younger husband (who is in mid 30’s). He is also an immigrant who is dependent on me for his status. This seems to drive him completely crazy and since we agreed to get married about a year ago, he has been completely acting out and making my life miserable. It is hard for me to know if he is narcissistic, just very immature, or normal for his culture (he is from the Indian subcontinent). There is a long list of things that cause conflict but I’ll start with a core one — if you express a need or a desire, especially if its something you are really feeling hurt about so you are emotional, he reacts by saying you are “pushing” him and that he needs to do things out of his free choice and not bc you “want” him to and then he blows up. He seems to have tons of autonomy issues — needs his own space, needs to go off and do things on his own to prove he can, doesn’t like to tell me where he’s going and why. Most of the time it’s fairly innocuous, but right now he’s on a vacation and though I’m supposed to join him in 10 days, I have no idea where he is at the moment. I can relate this to narcissism in that he seems almost a self-enclosed bubble — he’s very distrustful of me and he seems to fear that I’ll pull the rug out from him immigration. The self-destructive irony is that the only risk of that is the risk he causes by being so abusive, Iwill not be able to take it anymore. Okay, I’ll let this post now.

  256. Adam T said

    Anonymous just reminded of a situation I had previously found myself in.
    I’ve been in a situation before where my girlfriend at the time loved me. I guess I loved being loved and didn’t genuinely lover her as a person that’s the only way I can describe it. When she made a mistake (drop something, break something, cut herself) I would get mad because I wanted her to be better than that. In some ways I liked her and in others found her quite annoying. Certain situations she could easily embarrass me. Most of the time I felt like I had to settle for her because I was to socially inept to score a more sophisticated woman or lets say the type of woman I felt I should be worthy of. Most of the time I remained and grew angrier and angrier over my situation and the world for putting me there. I stayed with her for much longer than I should have, she lied and manipulated me to no end, I couldn’t see it at all I was blind. I also felt like she was the only person I know that loved me since family ties for me are little to none. Being pretty desperate for love I hung in there too long allowed her to chew me up and spit me out. Yes I was a nasty a***ole back then too but wasn’t ever going to see it clearly with her. Like I said before I didn’t love her as a person I loved the thought that she loved me I loved having her love (or at least thinking that I had it). That’s more like being addicted to someone not loving them. While all this was going on there was a part of me that despised her and the rest of the world. “WHY ME?!”
    Anonymous, Sure I say some pretty s*** headed things some times to my love but I can’t ever imagine saying those kind of things to her but do remember saying those kinds of things to the ex girlfriend I was talking about above.
    I’ve made a ton of mistakes with relationships and really can’t stop making them. I pretty much have no friends, I have a laundry list of people that are willing to associate with me and I seem to get most peoples approval. Some how these relationships always stay at some kind of a distance. I’m not sure how much of that is me keeping my distance or if most people read me as a certain way like good to associate with but better to keep at a distance, I don’t know. I know I feel like a terrible person to have as a friend most of the time. I don’t remember birthdays or anything important to you in your life, I don’t do introductions most of the time and can’t even tell you why not It just doesn’t cross my mind till someone else starts doing it at which point I feel like a gigantic oaf. I can’t even be a good friend on a site like My space because I never think to go drop comments like how are you doing I hope you have a good weekend. I won’t remember that one of my closest associations has big plans this weekend till after this weekend so I’m usually saying things like “oh yeah that’s right you had the thing last weekend how’d that go?” instead of “hey good luck with the thing this weekend”. It’s things like this that I hate about me, why can’t I be more considerate and thoughtful? Most of the time not having any real friends on top of not having any real family ties to lean on adds to the overwhelming feelings of loneliness but it’s weird because I couldn’t manage becoming friends with a handful of people or even taking one of them on as a best friend. The obligation of having a friend (the give and take) seems far more overwhelming than I’ll be able to endure for a long period of time. Sure I can manage while things are going well but when I have dark days or am struggling with things I may not or may not stay in contact.
    Today is much tougher for me than it was yesterday. She just doesn’t think that I have that much of a problem or isn’t really interested in getting involved with the information here. It’s tough I already said I would prefer to just be better versus not have to do any of the work to get there. I feel it would be a thousand times easier if she were involved in this and think her learning more how to deal with me will help some of her family relationships from back home. She is a good woman though if I sat her down and pleaded with her that I need her to help me through this I know she would do anything I asked her to do. I really needed & wanted her to genuinely take interest though and she did not. I feel like I’m trying to study for a spelling bee all alone and what I really need is someone that’s willing to read the words so I’m forced to visualize them in my mind and spell them. Without that help I’m left staring at a list of words repeating the letters as I see them on the page.
    The worse part of this is she has no idea how wrecked I am right now over last night. I wanted to slip out of the living room last night and just go crawl into bed (withdrawal?) But I didn’t want her coming after me to pry out of me what’s bothering me (again!) but I did just really want to not be in the same room with her anymore. I wanted to go hide because I felt pretty stupid for bringing any of it up in the first place. I wanted her to feel alone too, I guess you could say I wanted to punish her and maybe another day I would have acted out or created some other disturbance just to get her back. I want another outcome I don’t like the one that I left with last night. I wanted to say thanks for nothing this morning instead of I love you and have a nice day today. I want to pop off a nasty email today blasting her about how she totally put me on a shelf last night. I know she has no clue how bad it hurt and made me feel last night. I’m seeing these things separated right now but I can’t always see things from this perspective. It’s hard to notice a difference between just plain ole being in a bad mood or aggravated compared to being hurt and wanting to punish her for it. Today is one of those days that just the morning has felt so long much less the entire day I just can’t imagine dealing with this inside me for the rest of my life. It almost seems like I stood better odds at letting an argument blossom last night, there would be a good chance that we had made up before we went to sleep and that seems like it would be a better outcome than this. What we have now is I feel like crap and she’s oblivious that she has even hurt me sounds like some kind of sadistic shock therapy or something. I’m sure i’m doing something wrong here, probably everything, at least I did NPD correctly and I knew where I stood with everybody. I’m such a mess! 😦

  257. Adam T said

    I was thinking that Rick was referring to my earlier post with the parents treating their kids like nuisances comment. Really I had both, my father viewed us all as nuisances, went to work came home where he planted his butt in his recliner and hid behind the newspaper and a cup of coffee every night. My older (adopted) brother was treated better than I was. My dad referred to him as the responsible son and me the irresponsible son. I guess both comments are meaningless coming from him an irresponsible father! My mother then in turn over compensated for my sadness and broken desire to have a relationship with him with too much love.

  258. Adam T said

    Sydney you did post on June 14. The only thing I was thinking after reading that is how strange NPD can be. There are so many different faces that could be created by it. I would never plan a trip somewhere without my woman. If that impresses you I doubt the truthful honest reason why wouldn’t so much. If I plan a trip without her it gives her the right to do the same. I know I wouldn’t cheat on her if I went to something like a “guy get away” or whatever, there is no question in fact she probably is pretty confident that I wouldn’t either. I don’t know how to approach women and when one approaches me I’m so paranoid about what her ulterior motives must be I basically tell any of them to beat it and leave me alone. This would give her a pass to plan a “Girls night out” which I have a lot of trouble dealing with. If she has any girlfriends I certainly don’t know who they are. I’ve witnessed some of my “player” type buddies take women home that started out with their first responses being “not interested” and/or “I’m married”. I’m so defective I’m barely keeping her interest at this (IMO anyway) point so the thought of her going out with a bunch of other women (who are probably all evil lying vixens) and getting hit on by intoxicated horny lying men all night doesn’t have one slightest comforting affect on me.
    Outside of that the few times I have went somewhere and left her behind (we have kids it does happen) I don’t enjoy myself. I see couples wherever I’m at enjoying together what I’m there to see with a couple of my bonehead accquaintances and all I can think is how I wish my woman was here with me instead and why can’t that be me here doing this with my arm wrapped around my love instead of standing here with my hairy buddies.
    Now that I see this side of me it’s not making me a whole lot better. I feel like such a brat, I want to have friends not work on relationships, I want to have a wife not work on my marriage, I want to feel sane and healthy not work on getting better, I want to have the things in my life that I desire not struggle every day just to try to visualize what I desire so I can hopefully keep wanting it. Why can’t I just live day by day like every other person instead of struggling to deal with myself all the time?

  259. Tracy said


    If you scroll back up and read my posts after your initial request for advice, I did mention that I was in your position prior to now – no commitment/broken up/etc with my ex.

    We have moved forward using the techniques, but are in a new phase of ‘challenges’.

    I hope my story helps you, it’s so disheartening when you don’t have the ability to practice all of the techniques due to proximity… I’m happy to exchange emails with you to discuss privately too.

  260. Tracy said

    Hi All,
    I am in a crisis situation with my partner and desperately seeking advice.

    As you might know from earlier posts, we work together.

    Thank you Adam for your input around not working together, but surely, if Steve and Kim can do it, so can I. Plus, for various reasons, I don’t have alot of choice.

    My partner is known for his sharp, bordering on abusive tone at work. (let’s not even go into our private life!) According to Steve and Kim’s advice, I’ve spoken to the owner of his company before I joined nearly a month ago. We;ve known each other for a while previously, so I trusted her. She responded to my concern by getting him on a mgt ‘training’ course which he treated with derision. It wasn’t the right kind of help really.

    She also warned me not to speak to other members of the business and to go to her directly with my concerns.

    I’ve been involved in a project with an individual who has created a big stink around some mutual work we’re all involved in.

    But, my partner has been severely aggressive, rude and abusive to me at work, even in front of someone today (who has refused to ‘get involved’ when I asked him if I was going ‘crazy’).

    I don’t know where to turn. If I go to his boss again, what changes will she be able to exact that won’t threaten his role? He’s a board member/director! Also, the individual witnessing this event doesn’t want to be involved in any way as he is scared!

    Will this woman actually be able to help me? Or will I be damaging his position? There is no real ‘HR’ function at work – all the confidential info gets fed back into the business anyway!

    How can I stop the abusiveness? How can I deal with it? I’ve remained calm in situation, but it’s affecting my work and my own line manager is seeing this! She has an inkling as to the cause, but …

    I don’t want to shield him from consequences, it’s just that, practically, what will those consequences be?

    I am begging you all to respond, only because I really am at my wits end now.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  261. Tracy said

    Let me just be clear:

    My partner hired the individual whom he’s now protecting: he’s voiced on a number of occaisons that he ‘made a mistake’ hiring her and that he was ‘only 32’ and had a lot to learn.

    So I think that all the furore surrounding this work problem largely revolves around his own sense of responsibility. So, to act decisively and formally warn this person involved would mean admitting defeat for him.

    Additionally, the woman whom I will be confiding in, the owner, might be being fed false information around my involvement in the project by him, to make himself look better.

    I’ve been told many times by him to do a bunch of work, but let him ‘own it’ so that he looks good. Now, if we were in a happy, stable marriage, I could understand letting him get the ‘glory’ because I’d be benefitting from this directly, but instinctively, something tells me that he will NOT be singing my praises and giving me credit. HOwever, he DID negotiate getting me a role in the company and worked hard to protect my role and offer me lots of potential.

    He is a very conflicted man. Prior to our ‘abusive’ meeting today, he’d made me a lovely latte, was very sweet and in a good mood. It wasn’t until I’d challenged his knowledge/direction that I became the brunt of more abuse! Just before I left to the conference I posted about before, he was at my home helping (with glee!) my 8 year old doing her Roman homework – something her own dad would shirk. He has good intentions. I know and feel it. But I’m more concerned about how he deals with me when he feels that I have more knowledge than him or am calling him to task!

    How do I speak to his boss without damaging him, but also let her know the detail/truth of the whole situation so that I don’t look ridiculous and petty?

    Bless you all and good luck.

  262. vickie said

    This is for Tracy … I suggest you choose your words very wisely, precise and specific … dress professionally, act professionally, VISIUALIZE yourself as trustworthy, confident, sincere professional soul doing the right thing.

  263. Tracy said

    Thanks Vickie. Do I say:

    “He’s setting me up to be the fall guy at work because he has issues and I’m worried it will affect my standing/perception of my success in the workplace”? That he’s doing it in front of a few people he doesn’t respect or thinks won’t dare say anything? That when they leave the room he’s grabbing my arms, calling me horrible names, and grabbing my face or patting me on the head like a child?

    Doesn’t it make me sound crazy?

    What is it that I want her to do? If she called him up on it, he’d be disrespectful. He TOTALLY doesn’t respect her, when I first broached the subject with her, she confirmed that she too was cowed by him in board meetings, even though she’s the MD!

    Also, remember, I want to do this in the context of helping him by standing up for myself, so I’m keen not to totally destroy him! As far as I’m aware, if I report all of that, she is obliged by law to do something!

  264. Milla said

    To Tracy:

    I suggest following your boss’s advice and not talking to anyone else about it. I wouldn’t say things to people in your search for validation that you are being done wrong. You ARE being done wrong and you know it. You don’t need their acknowledgement of that. Believe me when I say that his actions speak for themselves and those people are seeing his manipulation.

    I suggest that if you simply do the right thing and just let this play out he is going to “hang himself”.

    I have seen this type of thing play out with my significant other. While at times I’ve felt the need to appeal to other people’s sense of reality because I can’t believe the inappropriateness or unwarranted behavior my significant other is displaying, it does clearly make people feel uncomfortable (not just in professional settings) and they also begin to view you as a bit dramatic even if you are completely warranted. They just don’t want to be involved in something so complicated and negative, as you pointed out has actually been one person’s response to you. There’s also the point that other people may be fearful of his aggressive personality that you also mentioned as an issue in your workplace. What are they really going to do about it? They may just be glad your his target instead of them. Also, you may be surprised at those who do take up for you, perhaps when you aren’t present.

    There is only so much harm he is likely to be able to do to you unless you play into his “traps” which is possibly what they are. Your reactions and excessive explanations could make you look worse. It can make you look bad if you show that he makes you come unravelled. As you said in your description, the boss herself has acknowledged seeing this behavior from him. This isn’t your personal life, it is a place of employment.

    Leave it alone and just do well for yourself.

    That’s not to say that there won’t be times to provide more clarification to others in the workplace, but as a general rule, I’d just do what you’re there to do… your work… and not allow him to distract your energy and creativity into relationship issues.

    Others will almost certainly see the truth without any additional action on your part. Then you will truly appear a strong, professional, confident, capable woman.

    You also expressed concern about doing him harm and if you continue to push the issue it may turn into a harrassment suit because it may not be something that the boss or the company overall can manage without a formality. If you make a big enough deal of it, they may begin to become fearful of a legal obligation to protect their employees (which you also pointed out yourself).

    While you could possibly do things to make this work, you may also want to consider finding alternate employment if you can’t maintain your focus on your job while you are there.

    Good luck.

  265. Milla said

    Sorry that I’m not really giving ideas about how to help him… Only thought is that if you take yourelf out of his “game” and you do still acknowledge his strengths and the work he does legitimately deserve credit for, you may build his confidence and decrease his interest in this cruel treatment towards you to make himself look or feel better.

  266. Sydney said

    There is a continuation of my earlier post but there is a comment to Vickie at the end of it and a response to Adam T’s comment.

    Adam — which Adam are you? — that was an interesting comment about your ‘unadmirable’ reason for not wanting to take a vacation alone. I myself don’t really like traveling and have spent so much time alone in my life that I don’t really feel I need to do it ever again. I have heard the adage that you can’t really be with someone until you can be alone and I buy it up to a point. I lived alone for many years before this recent experiment in marriage and although I got used to it and it stopped making me crazy (I had lived with someone for 11 years just after college), I never LIKED it, not one day. It always felt wrong to me, like I was not meant to live that way. But I must say that having my space back — I had the house before I met him but it feels like he’s taken it over — feels like a relief in some ways. I feel like I am starting to enjoy the little things that I lost touch with during the year that he has been here and finding the life I had before I got into this mess. He had spent a lot of time at my house before we got married but as soon as he moved in, he wasn’t happy with anything. It was too messy, too chaotic, and he really, really couldn’t stand the cats. (I can’t even begin to talk about the cats right now…)

    But now I turn to Vickie… I liked many things about Kim’s book but maybe the most important thing she wrote about was getting financially independent. I am not totally independent right now, and I notice how it weakens me. I have been in the past and I’ve made a resolution to get my finances in better shape and one of the things I’m doing while he’s away is starting to look for a new job or ways to supplement my current income. It’s hard to know from your posts exactly what is going on in the situation but I would suggest really really trying to find a different work situation.

  267. gypsy said

    Thanks Adam T and Steve and Tracy.

    Yes, the relationship was one-sided but I have been reading about other people’s relationships and they also seem one sided. By the sound of it, I am glad that I didn’t share resources and assets!! He spared me that much. This fellow had never been in a committed relationship, didn’t own anything and was just learning how to keep the same job. I didn’t judge any of this because he was spiritual and intelligent and psychological. Unfortunately, these attributes made him better at manipulation, disillusionment, twisting truths, confusing and charming and many other things.

    Soulmates are not a romantic notion at all. I tell people you don’t want to meet your soul mate. Usually a soul mate relationship is when one partner is more evolved than another or one partner is challenged phenominally or is even palliative. Soulmates challenge us to our core, they push us to our edges, they will bring out the best and worst in us and they know us very well and can take advantage of our weak areas or push us to achieve more than we thought we could.

    This certainly happened to me. It is all good in the end. I didn’t get intimacy but I did get closer to my dreams and I am taking lemons and making lemonade. It is all positive in the end. I am sad though because he had so much in common with me. We loved to read poetry to each other after exploring in nature and finding some sacred place. We hiked to the top of mountains, shared our journals, gave each other massages, shared the same taste in music, attended many dances together dancing all night, we both were deeply affected by the moon and its phases, we were psychically connected and would call when the other was thinking about the other.

    We both liked the same food and would cook up amazing meals, we had amazing sexual chemistry and we were both very affectionate and liked holding hands and touching each other all the time. We would just gaze into each others eyes and we would cry sometimes. But, he was repulsed by me and that I did not understand. The more intimacy we shared the more he went into crazy making. He started shaming me and excluding me from trips into nature and go without me….ask someone else to go….he would plan a trip with me and then tell me I couldn’t go because he needed space and then tell me he just didn’t think I could handle the trip. He undermined and would start to tell his brother about me, soon his brother ignored me, then his friends and sponsor…..oh yes….a 12 stepper he was NA…..drugs=lies……he wasn’t doing drugs but he wasn’t doing the steps…..when he was asked to write down how his behaviour affected others he couldn’t think of anything… chin hit the floor….he seemed to be telling the truth….that angered me the most…..I knew I was in trouble….he was a confused man, indecisive, procrastinator… plans for the future…..and lived in the past a lot…..psychoanalyzed everyone and told stories to people he met about how much pain he was in and how he was suffering due to his past…..I thought I would take the good with bad because the good was fantastic…..but soon I realized the there was mostly bad and that as time went on I was the cause of it all…..we had mutual friends and he was talking to my closest friends about me….they would feel sorry for him and want to help him…..he would be all lovey dovey in front of them and then cut me up once home.

    I gave up out of sheer exhaustion after 3 years…..the constant need to psychoanalyze my every move made my life so dismal and my friends told me I was no fun any more….I was a fun person before….lots of fun…..I have my groove back now so I guess it is Hasta La Vista Baby!! Bye, bye, love…….you got what you wanted…..I am out of your life……hope you are happy and yes he is folks……back to finding others to psychoanalyze and dys….glad its not me……

  268. Anna said

    Adam T., I think you\’re being way too hard on yourself, honey, and taking yourself way too seriously. You really don\’t have to be bearing such heavy burdens. I think you basically have one decision to make here – just one. You need to decide whether you want to be happy – or not. That\’s it (in my humble opinion :-)). If you decide you don\’t want to be happy, then that\’s easy – carry on doing what you\’re doing. But if for some reason you decide you do want to be happy, then that\’s actually simpler than you thought too – but it will indeed require some effort. But not much. For starters, I\’d recommend you download Kim\’s Little Book of Empathy for some helpful hints that are really very simple.

    Please, I\’m not trying to minimise what you genuinely feel. Your feelings would be sincere and real, and your thoughts would have validity to them. I\’m not saying you\’d be wrong. I guess what I AM saying is that you don\’t have to stay where you\’re at if you don\’t want to. And I reckon you\’d have loads of support just on this website if you decided to start making some small changes.

    Here\’s a few suggestions if you wanted to try them: If you feel like a \’gigantic oaf\’ because you forgot to make an introduction, I suggest you lighten the moment by exclaiming, \’Oh, I should have introduced you! What a gigantic oaf I am!!!\’ And then – most important – give a little chuckle! People like people who can laugh at themselves. And it\’s so simple!

    If you want to avoid feeling bad about maybe forgetting So-and-so\’s weekend away, why don\’t you write a little Note to Self (in a notebook or on some techno-gadget – whatever will work best for you – which you\’ll know you\’ll see on the appropriate day). You\’ll feel good when you remember to say \’the right thing\’, and so will they. And it doesn\’t take much! I have always struggled with a poor memory, and I absolutely depend on my little notebook plus my wall-calendar. It doesn\’t cover everything that comes up but it helps. And when I do forget things that I wish I hadn\’t, I have learned not to cry over spilt milk – and settle for saying something like you might, Adam, like, \’Oh I\’m sorry, I forgot about your weekend! How was it??\’ But I\’m not going to waste my time beating myself up over it. Hey, I\’m human, just like you. I\’m riddled with weaknesses and inadequacies. I\’ve learned it\’s okay not to be perfect, or even as good as other people seem to be! It\’s okay – it really is! Especially if you\’re teachable. Who can relate to someone who\’s perfect anyway??

    Apart from making little changes like these, I reckon the biggest benefits would be made by changing the way you talk to yourself – about yourself and about others. I give you a challenge, Adam, if you\’re up to it. I challenge you to stop in your tracks whenever you catch yourself telling yourself what a rotten person you are. (What\’s the POINT in it anyway?!) Then start talking to yourself as if you were someone else who is feeling the same way; or better still, pretend that the grown-up \’you\’ is talking to the hurting-child \’you\’. Then go about encouraging that hurting-child \’you\’. Go easy on him. Tell little Adam that he\’s an awesome wee fella; that he\’s actually doing really well with what he\’s got to work with; that he\’s got a lot going for him… and then tell him all the good things about him that you can think of. Exaggerate if you want to – and have a chuckle; make it fun. I guarantee you\’ll start feeling better about yourself and about life in general. And people are attracted to that. I have no trouble noticing a few good points about you myself and I don\’t even know you so I bet you have heaps more, if you let yourself go there. For one, you\’re very talented at expressing yourself and using creative analogies. You have great self-awareness and sensitivity. I detect a sense of humour in there too (I had to laugh at all the \’evil lying vixens\’ your poor partner has to associate with). You have a good heart, Adam; good desires. You\’re faithful – big tick from me!!! You\’re intelligent. You\’re successful in your work. And you\’re blessed! Blessed with a good woman and beautiful (I bet!) children. You can change the \’bad\’ thoughts you have to \’thank you\’ thoughts, eg \’Thank you that I can see/walk/hear/work…\’

    THEN – let\’s see if you can also apply the same principle to others. Eg, you can have fun deciding to declare to yourself that the ladies you see are probably not ALL bad, underneath it all. Some of them, anyway. You can wonder if they\’ve ever been kind to anyone; gone out of their way to help. Maybe the occasional female you encounter has been incredibly hurt in her life, and yet can manage to laugh. Maybe there\’s someone who could do with a bit of encouragement. Maybe there\’s even the odd one who is feeling really insecure about themself, and working hard to cover it up. Maybe there\’s someone in that group who struggles the same way you do even.

    I reckon you can do it. Yes, it will take some remembering – but honey, it isn\’t really that hard, not once you get going. After a while, if you keep at it, it will become second-nature to you and you won\’t even have to think about doing it. Your partner sounds quite secure in herself but also compassionate. I think you\’re wise not to offload everything to her, and I think she\’s wise not to \’rescue\’ you. But it would be alright, I reckon, if you asked her to help you out in little, specific, ways. Eg, you could ask her for some ideas to get you started on your new \’thinking positively\’ project. Perhaps she could check up on you every now and then; see how you\’re going. But I\’d suggest you keep it light and easy.

    So – what do you reckon, Adam? Are you going to accept my challenge? What does everyone else think – good idea?? Got any other ideas for Adam? Do you reckon he will actually take this on?

    I can\’t wait for some feedback!!


  269. Anna said

    Tracy, I think Milla has got a good handle on your situation at work – what she wrote makes sense to me. So the only thing I\’ll comment on is when you said that if you were in a \’happy, stable marriage\’, then you wouldn\’t mind doing work for him so that he could get the glory for it. I would suggest that if a husband were to ask/demand that of his wife (or vice versa), it wouldn\’t indicate to me anything healthy about their relationship.

    One more comment – to say that I\’m sure Kim is very strong on the importance of our Ns suffering their own consequences, no matter how severe it is. We can\’t rescue them – it doesn\’t actually help them in the long run. We\’re to stick by them no matter what the consequences are though. Not easy, honey, I know!


    P.S. How come there are slashes all through my previous post??

  270. selina said

    hi Kim and Steve.
    i read Dori\’s blog and cried all the way through as this is MY life….
    kim i read your response and the other responses too. i have tried doing this with this woman but the more i try the worse she gets and she DOBBS on me to my partner and then he pays out on me and of course tells me i deserve it that she is playing a game with me and that i wont win.. i dont know when and how often she calls him as he wont tell me honestly (which is all i want)
    i had a long talk with his mum last night about all this and the work i am doing and like everyone she wonders why i put up with it and she also said that this woman will always be a part of his life
    i struggle with jelousy knowing that she has access to him, i struggle with the fact that a couple of nights ago when he was saying that she rang him and asked \”are you happy\” he told me that she knows him so well and that i should know when he is down but only think of myself, that everything is about me…i know he doesnt trust me …but if i write to this woman she will send it on to him and say \”see what kind of nut case you are with\” and he will blame me for \’bringing her into our lives\’ (as if she hasnt been calling him)
    how can i tell her he has problems and that she is out of her depth when he doesnt know he is this way…when all the problems we are having is because i wont \’lay down\’ and \’relax\’ and \’stop being a bitch\’…how can i get him to see that this is who he is, when his mother aggrees with me but told me if i tell him we spoke she will deny everything..which she has before….how do i keep working on US when he believes he is right and it is ME…..we have been to a psychologist(who by the way deals with male abusers) but by the end my bf had convinced him that i was the one with teh issues….he still see\’s this guy for, i think, PTSS(he is in the army)
    please tell me what to do?
    do i just ignore this woman(as i am never there when she does call him anyway) its my gut instinct….and the fact that when i have the courage to ask if she has rung sometimes he will say yes…but he says he hates telling me because i react badly …because i tell him to tell her to F off..because she has no rights to him and us .
    what do i do? how do i relax? i am doing the exercises..i have become aware of my codependency issues that have been formed and am working on this at the moment which does seem to be making him want me…i struggle internally with the guilt he makes me feel when i dont drop everything for him or am not home when he drops by etc…but when i sit at home alone when my kids have gone to mind starts on me… i hate this, its soooo hard…i just want him to be open and honest and loving all the time not when it suits him.

  271. adam T said

    Thanks for the tip and your very kind words. I think I can handle working on that. Yes it will be a challenge I’m not even trying to say “no problem I can handle it” but this does seem far less overwhelming than trying to fix all that’s screwed up inside me at once. This is why I quit therapy a couple different times already. There was no challenge, no tips or exercises for me, how can I grow as a person if there is no progress? I would just go to this ladies office talk and sometimes cry for an hour then get a bill for it. I don’t need to pay for that I can cry and talk about my problems at home for free and do sometimes but it doesn’t fix anything long term it only lets a bit of the pressure out of the bottle to keep it from exploding. Both therapist said I wasn’t NPD after 20 or 30 minutes of the first session. To hear that and know what I know makes me laugh at them inside. I’m not just going to tell them my darkest thoughts and baggage within 30 minutes that may take a couple months of meeting with them convincing myself to trust them.
    Oh funny thing I thought of regarding lists. Weird for me to be getting that advice I’ve been called the list king before since I’m pretty organized. I’ve never made a list in regards to remembering those types of things. I take that as a clear indicator where I place relationships on my importance scale. There is something seriously wrong there huh? (I already knew that)
    I’m going to have to come back and keep reading what you typed to really try to keep my thoughts in check though. This crap in me is so deeply rooted I just can’t believe how much of a hold it actually has on me. I’ve until recently lived a life proud for having such a strong will & strong mind. I’m not feeling so strong in either area at the moment though. It’s hard to put to words but realizing and accepting that most of the description of NPD does apply to me is a very bitter pill to swallow. I’ve had to accept that there is something wrong with me and that I’m no where near as perfect as I’ve always believed. NPD has been hiding inside of me protected by lies and half truths that I couldn’t see.
    I have gotten as far as thinking that part of my mind needs to be re programmed but usually stop there since I don’t know what that means or how to go about that. It sounds like what you’re suggesting is a good start there.
    Funny you bring up the little book of empathy, I didn’t say it before but this is what started our whole misunderstanding the other night. Again coming out like the oaf, open mouth insert foot, I think judges would give me a 10 or at least a 9.9 for poor delivery, no tact and no originality. I came to this conclusion in the last few days that she is a perfect fit for an NPD like me, I thought of her oldest (15yo female who does not live with us anymore). All the problems we had with her when she lived with us started coming back to my mind over the last couple weeks and well late last week it dawned on me if you take out the “she”, “her” & “hers” some of it could describe my behavior at my worse times. Geez when I feel exceptional scared about a lack of intimacy or a perceived hole in my relationship with her I act like a 11 year old girl??!! So I’m thinking she would really benefit with her relationships with a few other people (one being her oldest) if she picked up some of this information and to put it bluntly learned how to deal with me better. I wanted her to read the little book of empathy for this reason. My ridiculous social skills had me saying something about attracting empathy which came out sounding like she needs to be more attractive or something I don’t know. At any rate I didn’t freak out on her as much as my instincts were telling me too. She ultimately came to me to apologize just in case my feelings had been hurt which is what opened up the lines of communication. I realize I should have been able to talk to her about it but can only take one step at a time and not freaking out over it was a really big step for me that required constant suppression of what have always been routine thoughts.
    You’re 100% right about me taking me too seriously, I take everything seriously, I’m highly analytical. I’m pretty serious minded most of the time and do get told occasionally that I need to lighten up. I perceive a lot of mixing work and play with most people though and in my mind there is a clear division there. While at work I want to focus there, do the best I can do and be the best I can be. When it’s play time I want to have fun and not talk about work but can’t always enjoy the moment though depends if I’m stressed or not.
    I will work on what you suggest and certainly welcome any more tips or challenges and if you’re looking for feedback on how I’m doing, good because I wasn’t planning on keeping any results secret.
    Thanks again Anna and all of you I will find a way through this eventually.

    PS. she read the booklet last night, she agrees it’s great advice and will try to start implementing it some. She said it shouldn’t be to hard since she already recognized that I already do most of those things. I’ll read it to I guess but my big empathy problem is having any for anybody else.

  272. AJ said

    Wow! This has been mostly inspiring, a little discouraging and very educational reading all these posts. I am learning alot (not fast enough though and not without many blunders!) But I am encouraged to continue on in this quest of learning to navigate around this NPD system.

    I would like to find more resources on Attachment, Collecting, Fill-in Parenting, and Gap Work. I’m starting to understand the concepts, but am still in a bit of a fog. I do have ‘Back From the Looking Glass’ and its Workbook and am working through them. They are very helpful and I have read several times now. Also Kim, I am looking forward to your book that you’re working on explaining how to “challenge” my guy rather than complaining, whining and demanding.

    Thank you for the work you are doing and for all who are sharing their stories. I can relate!!!


  273. Sydney said

    I thought my last (second) post was up, but I see a message saying it is awaiting moderation, even though later-posed messages are apparently cleared. So, anyway, I will try again. I thought that Adam T’s comments about my husband’s solo-vacation were interesting and I have a question for anyone out there.

    I was okay with him taking off for a couple of weeks to Europe, especially when he said I could meet up with him in a couple of weeks. But since he has been gone, he has emailed me a number of times, not every day but most days, and has carefully not mentioned where he is or what he is doing. I care less about what he is doing than about the fact that he is obviously not disclosing it. Especially since he left me a task to complete on his behalf…

    He had been waiting for a job offer to come through and had told me he would take it whatever the salary offered, but when he got it and had to accept or decline he declined (without telling me in advance) and came home and said he was going to take a 3-month vacation. I flipped and said if he did that, I would not be there when he got back, and he marched into work the next day and accepted the offer but negotiated a five week delay in his start date. I said that was okay and we started planning a trip together but after a week of peace, he made a demand that I didn’t want to agree to and then we had a fight. That was on a Saturday, Sunday I went to a conference, and on my way home on Tuesday he told me he had booked a flight for Wednesday and was leaving for vacation the next day. He told me that I could meet up with him and to let him know when I’d be there and when he arrived he told me he could spend 2-3 weeks with me. But he hasn’t told me where he is or what he is doing, which ask I said bothers me (and seems pathological if nothing else does) and now I am wondering what I should do? Get angry (that never works)? Tell him I’m not coming? Or say that I’m not comfortable with his not telling me and see how he reacts? I think it’s normal that it bothers me but that is probably what he wants. Any suggestions would be helpful. I feel like I am dealing with a teen-ager.


  274. Steve Cooper said

    Hi All,

    I’ve been a bit quiet for a while but have been reading and enjoying your posts. I *do* hope that those of you with partners are saving your best for him/her, and not getting too carried away with the attention on this blog.

    I’m not singling anyone out, but I need to mention it as it is part of our overall message of saving your best for those closest to you. I love these blog discussions too, but I know how easy it is to give too much…just a friendly reminder to all of you….with all the best intentions for continued interesting discussions.

    Much love 🙂 Steve.

  275. Adam T said

    Funny Sydney this seems to be the topic of choice at home lately too. Last night we were discussing “The rules” and how they tell us both to “have our own lives”. My initial reaction to that one rule is not very cool at all. Reading that invokes fear from inside me. It’s not a logical reaction and it’s based on my own interpretation of that statement or me making a bunch of inaccurate assumptions. The other rules don’t seem to have this impact on me.
    So anyway we both agree with the concept of that rule. Luckily we both for the most part agree on our interpretation of that rule as well and that’s a good thing. I have 2 concerns though which I did admit to last night and need input if I’m out of line or not. She didn’t seem to object but there again she could just not object over not having enough energy to go against me so I’m a bit unsure. My two concerns would be, who she will be out with and if it were a routine exclusive type outing, for instance “monthly girls night out”. Why? what’s the point of having a label and a rule that it has to be the 3rd thursday of every month (just an example)? I have went out 2 or 3 times for a few beers with a few buddies (after much encouragement from her to do so). It always ends up that I’m not enjoying myself and want to go home and not because I can’t stand beer, no I pretty much like beer but not every day or anything. I just don’t have the desire to talk over happy hour beers about work and whatever these guys want to talk about. I’d rather save the time, money and energy till we have a sitter and could both go out together. I am so far from scheduling a boys night out at any regular interval, again if it were so regimented that it seemed mandated what’s the real point? why is it that important if it’s just a few beers over happy hour now and then.
    I clearly made no objections to any one thought or idea only used the word concerned to describe what I was thinking. I’m not sure she understood where I’m coming from exactly but she didn’t object and we didn’t argue about it. So what do you think? Is there any part of those 2 things that’s out of line? I’m trying to face a lot of things right now and could really use constructive feedback (even it hurts a little).
    To change the subject just a little bit. I kind of turned my back on this information originally. I mean finding your web info (Kim & Steve) is a large part of what brought me to my knees on my behavior and what’s inside of me and how it hurts and will ultimately drive away the woman I love. It’s not that I discounted anything you guys have to offer at all. I told myself that I just wasn’t ready to try to fix me on that level. I choose to try a therapist because I felt at that time not only did I need to get fixed somehow but I needed to get a lot of this crap out of me. I couldn’t use my woman for that since she’s heard my story and all the things in my past that hurt and torment my thoughts already we still talk about this subject pretty much daily. She heard me admit and apologize for my daily poor behavior past and present but I just really needed to get some things off my chest or maybe I needed to feel if I admit it to enough people I can’t keep lying to myself about it I don’t know. That quickly fizzled out though when I got a bunch off my chest and wasn’t making much progress, then we had to move and who can think about anything else while they are trying to move? Right now posting here is helping me stay focused on me and the things that need to be corrected. This also keeps discussions about the same subject going on at home every evening which is must right now. I just want to be better and behave normal, this thing has been affecting my happiness for far too long. She reads 4 or 5 books a week and I have the internet store plus my full time job so it can be to easy to forget about things we should be working on daily all the time so keeping the subject in the fore ground seems to be a good way to train ourselves into regular maintenance type dialect with each other. Funny impact this has had at our house this week. The TV is the one getting neglected, we didn’t have one TV on in the house last night. The kids were playing with their toys and we were talking
    Yesterday was a pretty good day and I hadn’t even needed to practice anything towards my challenge but today is really testing me. Have you ever heard the saying “the proof is in the pudding”? This is what makes this challenge exceptional difficult. It’s not just that I have the negative thoughts but they all seemed to be backed up by so much proof!
    I will be picking up more and more of the material here from Kim & Steve as my pay pal account balance will allow. This is much better served than my $25 per week co pay ever did for me.
    I don’t know enough about NPD to advise you Sydney. I’m still figuring things out about myself. One thing I do know (I’m not necessarily implying anything here since I don’t know him). I struggle with loneliness probably the most if I could be somewhere else and not around her for 5 or 6 weeks and not be terribly lonely and calling her 3 times a day and emailing her and sending her text’s and IM’s it would mean that I’m somewhere where that hunger is already being fed regularly. For me this wouldn’t have to be sexual in nature but would certainly be emotionally inappropriate. An old high school friend found me online a few years ago. She was only ever a friend and when I was in school I was not sexually attracted to her or anything. I maintained a secret internet friendship with her and felt it was nothing because we weren’t even so much as having cyber or phone sex or anything.
    Let me explain myself though. I can’t get closer to her, she lives thousands of miles away. I don’t have much money so it would never even possibly become an option. Months before realizing that I’m NPD I actually told her that what I liked so much about our friendship is that I couldn’t really ever have her. She’s married and very far away from me. If I can’t ever get closer to her I will never destroy her feelings or our relationship since everything always seems to change after the newness wears off a relationship. So you see I noticed the symptom but put my own creative diagnosis on it and not what was really going on. It’s like I was dancing all around the fact the I’m NPD practically tripping right over it but still never saw the true reality. You may think to yourselves how can anyone behave that way and not realize what they are really doing. Uhh, we all do that folks I noticed it long before ever even hearing about NPD. I labeled it “self preservation mentality” I saw it often in tradesmen and musicians. It doesn’t really matter how crappy a musician is most of the ones with little to no talent are convinced that they have this secret undiscovered talent and as soon as the right pair of ears hears them they will be instant super stars. It’s the real pro’s the ones oozing with musical talent that say things like I’m not really that good or I’m so rusty you’ll just laugh if I try to play something right now.
    So yeah just like any other human (I presume) my brain was protecting my feelings by allowing me to keep seeing the illusion instead of the reality.
    That’s all for now, Thanks again for just being here!

  276. Margaret said

    Hi Kim and Steve,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to make a transcript available of your radio talk. I have a slooooww dial-up, and cannot access the audio.

    My husband has been separated from me for over a year now. After trying to get help from police, friends and community, (the domestic violence division with the State Attorney General’s office was no help), I had to tell him to leave our home. I tried to stay in contact with him from where he was in the community, but he didn’t want to have anything to do with “the new me”, rather kept trying to pull me into the dance again. I wasn’t dancing his dance anymore, and he didn’t like watching me dance my own free, joyful dance while he sat in the corner, so he left the community.

    I have told him that I love him, and am willing to stay in the marriage until he decides to have a healthy relationship with me. I told him that I won’t divorce him, but that I am unwilling to be abused, manipulated or controlled any longer. I required that he take a domestic violence course and find a counselor before I would have any contact with him whatsoever, and that I would be glad to be in touch with him as soon as he had done this. I challenged him to demonstrate his respect of my safety boundaries.

    That was six months ago, and although I have heard word that he has been in a DV course, he has not contacted me.

    Should I hold out and wait? I can do this indefinitely if it’s the right thing to do. Should I contact him?
    I am concerned that if I do, he will think that I am chasing him, and start running away again. If he’s working on stuff himself, then I don’t want to steal that sense of self-control and accomplishment that he might be building. I don’t want to chase him, or give him an opportunity to manipulate me. I want him to trust that I mean what I say, and say what I mean. I want to give him do-able challenges that help him develop a sense of competence and confidence in his ability to relate in healthy ways. But right now, because it is not safe to have physical contact with him (and the police are not as cooperative as what you found) the do-able challenges have to be from a distance, and only when he is ready to dance a new dance with me.

    Do you think that he is still pouting in the corner, or is he working through stuff, or is he waiting for me to invite him out on the dance floor again?


  277. judith collier said

    Been reading my e-mails and noticed something in a lot of the threads. First let me say we have 2 choices when confronted with a problem. EFFORT or COMFORT and I don’t see much effort with some people. One guy said, “why can’t I just live my life and not always have to contend with myself” We,, duh!!!! WE ALL HAVE TO CONTEND WITH OURSELVES, THAT”S THE ONLY CONTROL WE HAVE. WHAT”S WITH ALL THE BABY MANIPULATION PLAYING??? Judy

  278. Adam T said

    Why don’t you just grow up!!
    Has anybody ever said that to you? That’s the way I feel anymore, like someone just told me to grow up and I’m shocked to hear it. I’ve heard that said about others in the past so when I heard it about me I made the mistake of comparing myself with the individuals I had heard it about before and thought, well I’m nothing like that at all he/she has totally got me all wrong and doesn’t even realize what I’m all about. That’s me making the assumption that there is one specific set of behavior that classifies immaturity but I’m realizing now that there can be tons of maturity in your personality and still be a tiny place or two you’re holding on to immaturity and I never saw it from that perspective before. I am quite the mature man about many things I won’t even get into the environment I work in everyday. Sadly I am very emotionally immature, in that area it’s true I need to just grow up. That’s not all that’s going on here though, I feel trapped or stuck where I am at. Hearing the words, admitting the words heck even saying the words doesn’t force me to grow up. I honestly don’t know how to grow up emotionally, I’ve obviously perceived this area of my being as having some deficit for quite some time so having the hole there is nothing new but it’s still remains a hole even though I realize it now. I know I will eventually figure out how to grow up I’ve already pretty much raised myself in every other area of life so I’m sure this won’t be impossible but in the meanwhile I’m spending some time very confused about a whole bunch of stuff.

  279. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Judith,
    Although I agree with your sentiments, and I even approved your post, I do need to ask that you use more appropriate language in your posts here. I know that ‘duh’ has kind of entered our modern lexicon, but I find it a little aggressive.
    But, please Judith, let me add that I totally agree with you. To be constantly questioning yourself (effort) is how you become ethical, and use ethics as a tool to improve your own life and the society you live in. It isn’t always comfortable, and there is no certainty in life where we are constantly questioning our decisions.
    Especially, there is no certainty in a relationship. We have to adjust and question and sometimes even grieve parts of ourselves and our behavior, there is little room for heroics in these simple steps, but the rewards are immense. And yes Adam T, sometimes we have to grow up, and be a little ashamed that we were so immature. Embarrassment is such a great indicator of growth, if we can see that we would never repeat such an embarrassing moment in our life, we know that we have taken a step further into being a responsible adult.

  280. Tracy said

    Thanks Milla and Anna for your responses about the job situation.

    He started coming back from the edge after 4 horrid days… he started to tell me how he hadn’t started/intended to fight (true from the actions surrounding) and recognised and explained some triggers and said he was sorry. I also said I’d have to get HR involved too, if he decided to go down that path.

    Then miraculously, he kept trying and trying to resolve and get to the bottom. He said “If I continue on like this, I’m writing my own suicide note” and started being … less angry!

    He did other sweet things too the last few days. So hopefully, we’re shifting. However, I need to learn to just walk out of meetings PUBLICLY if he does that again. I can say “I will continue with this meeting when you speak to me respectfully”. Also, I’m going to this lunch with his boss and I’m going to make real friends with her without talking overtly about it at this point. I will give him a chance over the next few weeks and see what happens.

    Thanks again!

  281. Adam T said

    Well actually, the word I used wasn’t “contend” and my point didn’t really have anything to do with questioning myself. I was just expressing my frustration at “trying” to fix me. It’s really odd most people here that are frustrated are posting their frustrations over dealing with their NPD spouse. I’m NPD & frustrated with dealing with me. I’m experiencing a compound frustration in my relationship because I feel pretty firm that fixing me is the best thing for our relationship but it’s so incredibly difficult and my woman as terrific as she is about most things just doesn’t see this as all that serious. What I’m sensing from her is similar to Judith’s sentiment like if I want to be different just be different, if it were that easy it would not be classified a disorder and have all these wonderful resources online to help with dealing with it. I will manage to get myself through it like I have with everything else but it would be awesome if she were at bit more interested in the process to help with keeping me in check (my woman, not Judith!).
    Other than that if you read all my posts you should kind of get the idea that that pointing out that I have developing to do is kind of a mute point. However, healthy criticism is duly noted as advice & suggestions will be to. I do need a friend or two to point out when I’m getting a little off track. But, everyone can just read my posts if they want to know how awful I’ve been or how much of a baby I’ve been (i already admit to all of that) and when it’s all behind me I’ll be doing the exact same thing and it will be nice to see how far I’ve come and feel the accomplishment. Those of you that think I can just snap my fingers and wake up tomorrow a different person than I am today can’t and probably won’t appreciate how that will feel when I get there but I’m pretty sure most of you here will get it.
    Thanks 🙂

  282. Adam T said

    Could you elaborate on this thought?
    “there is little room for heroics in these simple steps, but the rewards are immense”
    This has been echoing in my mind repeatedly, I’m not really sure what to make of it. I was following the thought until that part and now I’m lost.
    The sentence is written correctly and stuff I’m not trying to imply it doesn’t make sense or is illogical I’m just stuck there trying to understand what it means. What heroics? I’m thinking if I can’t make the connection of what that means than there’s something about the text leading up to that point that I’m obviously missing as well.

  283. Valleri said

    Adam, and others–

    One of the scariest things is trying to find that balance where the hoped for “partner” has his or her own life but remains connected to you. With the N it’s so hard to believe that we are not being duped through our trust. We analyze every move the N makes–it’s a beautiful morning and I want to call him. Should I call him? I want to, but he went out with his friends all day yesterday and did not keep in touch. etc.
    The “Rules” tell us to not call; Kim and Steve’s stuff tells us to maintain contact and simply state our feelings. I have found that it’s hard to strike a balance. The “guys’ nights” (and days for that matter) are hard for me to swallow, too. My N is a prominant public figure–his whole life is a few hours at work each week, with the remainder committed to golf outings, weekends at friends’ resort homes and breakfasts, lunches and dinners with any number of mysterious friends, colleagues, etc., most of whom I’ve never met. It’s pretty maddening. My goal with him is a little one–the only one that seems likely: getting him to realize that our time together is at least as important as his time with the others. He takes me for granted, which I am starting to see as more of a foundational thing than a liability or a sign of indifference. I have known in my gut from the beginning that my N was cripplingly unconfident, but no one else believed me, as he comes off as a heartless, arrogant jerk. I don’t know what to tell you about your girl, Adam. I am simply not interested in being by myself with friends or anything like that anymore. I want a family life and a partner. It’s work. It’s a process. I don’t think we have to give it all up, but we have to figure out how much we can handle.

  284. Caroline said

    Dear Kim and Steve,
    I really am in need of some guidance. I was just divorced in January from a man who I believe is a N. I preferred not to get divorced but didn’t have the knowledge of how to limit the emotional abuse and it is what he wanted, so he said, and I had to believe him. After reading back from the looking glass several times, along with the little book of empathy and the workbook, I feel that I have begun to learn different ways of coping and acting. I have regret that we divorced and have deep remorse for my part. I am trying to sort this from that and am not clear in that dept. yet. I believe my husband was unfaithful and don’t have proof just some “murmurings’. (He denies it and is very angry that I accused him.)He definitely kept secrets and information from me. Information that I had a right to as his wife.
    Anyway, he lives across the street from me and I just got back from being away at a job for six months. We have had very little contact, just a few e-mails and short phone calls. The phone calls were initiated by me. He is short and cold with me but has managed a bit of civility.
    After also reading “hold on to you kids” I want to try some of the things you suggest but wonder if it’s possible. I of course want to respect his boundaries if he doesn’t want to see me but also soo want to try to develop attachment and trust, while also wanting to “fact find” so that I know the truth.
    The main thing I want to know is would it be wise to stop and see him when I see his car there or to initiate contact at all? He knows from my e-mails that I should be back by now. All of my friends and family would say “don’t” but they would all be of the just leave and move on school of thought.
    I have been going to counseling to work on my gaps and personal development. I am stronger but wonder am I strong enough. (I think making attempts is how I will find out how strong I am instead of doing nothing because I fear not being strong enough.) At the same time I also don’t want to let too much time go by as if there is a time frame that would render things hopeless. Or am I denying the fact that it is already hopeless?
    I have been able to gain control of and recognize my emotions quicker than in the past and I am doing pretty well at remaining in forward motion as far as what I need to do for my life. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated as I really want to see him but do not want to do the wrong thing for either of us. I do still love him and have genuine concern for him. I know through his family that he is just being surly and it APPEARS his angry behaviour has worsened. Please help if you are able. Thank you.

  285. Anna said

    Adam, It was encouraging reading your response to my challenge. It sounds like you’ve been coming to terms with not being Mr Perfect. This does not mean there’s something ‘seriously wrong’ with you! Just means you’re at that crossroads where there’s room for humility, room for learning. I like that you can acknowledge that incident where you made a step in the right direction. I’d be interested in hearing more ‘success stories’.

    Steve, I must admit to feeling a bit unsure now since your comment as to how much ‘interest’ is appropriate on this blog. Can you elaborate for me? Thanks.

  286. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Anna and Adam T,

    Sorry that it seems I left a cryptic message, that was not my intention.

    Very simply, I wanted to make sure that everyone on this list who has a partner, and especially kids, keeps this list as a low priority. It is very easy to build the wrong types of attachments on a forum. Our whole message is about giving your best to your loved ones and those close to you.

    The immense rewards are in the gap filling work. There is not room for heroics in mundane daily drudgery of learning new simple steps like taking care of your domestic routine better, learning to take turns in a conversation or supporting someone else’s goals in a positive and healthy manner. These are not heroic deeds, but bring us closer to our loved ones and make the real difference as outlined in our eBooks.

    Sorry I haven’t been around much lately to answer comments, I have been attending to a very busy time with my kids and my family chores and tasks. It is winter here now and there is not much daylight. I do love dropping in and helping out where I can.

  287. gypsy said


    Gypsy here again. So….since I have been on this forum I have let go of all hope for my broken up relationship with a man I dearly loved but was verbally abusive and shamed me constantly. I did have some hope left when I found Kim and Steve but the feedback I got told me that I was the only one in the relationship and I already had that same feedback from my kids, my mom and Kaleah from her narcissism free website.

    I still want to change my ways. I didn’t know how to handle my ex at all. I was married too, twice before this past fellow and again, they were also different shades of N as well. I am a magnet for these types. My son is borderline also. We are talking but only now since he had a run in with the police. It shook him up quite a bit. He is back living with me and I want to practice with him what I can. So, I want to hear from others if it worth investing the time and money into Kim and Steve’s books or methods or whatever it is they offer.

    Steve, can you tell me if you can still help me?

    Thanks ever so much for your sharing and Steve, a big thanks to you for owning up to your side of things. I wanted so much for my ex to see how he contributes to the conflict in this way and it just isn’t a reality so it helps to know it is possible. Thanks to Kim for being strong enough to take a stand and to persevere as you have. I too, believe that world peace isn’t about just abandoning others who we loved because they don’t know how to love. Many people have prophesized about how women would become strong and lead the world into a peaceful place. I am still old fashioned and like men to be strong and protect but I have found the old model for how men need to be is outmoded. I love men because they are strong, I just need to either find one that has true strength or help one claim that for himself. I didn’t help the past 3 men in my life with that one and lord knows I tried. I don’t want to give up. Thanks again.

  288. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Gypsy,

    I really feel your pain, I hope this is OK for me to be frank.

    The last thing you need to be taking on is the role of making him see his(i.e. your future or past lover) errant ways. I know that most women take this on, and Kim and I go to great lengths in our material and even our advertising material warning women to leave that off the agenda. Kim didn’t make me see my errant ways, she just took responsibility for her own direction in a way that was a bit scary for her, trying new methods that she wasn’t comfortable with. She had a considerable amount of anxiety to overcome and that wasn’t easy for her. But it made her stronger. I might add that she never rubs my face in it (the fact that I was a chauvanistic-narcissistic trouble maker) , interestingly, she actually acknowledges that she played a role in the trouble.
    I am so glad that you want to see men take their rightful place as the head of a family. A man as a kind and loving father and husband, focused on the well-being of his wife and his children. This is a very masculine model that was once the norm. We now have masculinity undermined in so many different ways by society, especially by the media and entertainment industries. This is no excuse for poor behaviour, men are ultimately responsible for themselves, but it is the people closest to them that need to be centred and grounded. If you are not centred or grounded, he will not be either. This is all intended to help with your next man.
    My point is that even though you dearly want him to own up to his part of the problem, this is unlikely to help even if he does. He has feelings too, and even if he is completely out of line for being abusive toward you in the past and even if his behaviour was unacceptable, he was actually feeling something. I do not want condone male aggression, and our eBooks are about limiting this behaviour, but I do know that he feels *something*; it is not that he is feeling *nothing* or being callous for the sake of it.
    There was a power imbalance (amongst other disruptions) in your previous relationships and you will never gain anything, Gypsy, from laying the burden on him. His behaviour must be limited and his compassion switches need to be turned on, but this may be a long process and is not easy.
    Our message of setting goals for yourself is about shifting the dynamics of this abuse you suffered. He may have disregarded you for many reasons, but if you can keep your sights on some realistic, attainable and healthy goals for yourself, no-one is likely to give you any crap. You must be able to self-soothe and become centred again, getting ready to take the next small step towards your goals for yourself.
    Your goal has to be exclusively about your own self. Don’t set a goal of finding Mr. Right who will finally treat you right, and it certainly should never be to make Mr. Wrong see how wrong he was.
    I’m sorry to take a long handle here, I trust that you can do better next time because you are asking good questions about what the future might hold for you, I really hope it goes well, and yes I think our program will help you.

  289. sydney said

    Hi —

    I feel like I must be in the right place because there are certain themes that I’m seeing in other posts that resonate — like, being excluded by one’s partner from trips, outings, etc. Being on my own for a couple of weeks right now does make me realize that I was really okay on my own — like someone else said, I used to be a fun person — but this relationship has drained a lot of my energy (which I really need now to focus on other things). I am not sure if my husband is getting narcissistic supply when he’s off on his own (probably, as women tend to hover around him, bc he’s cute), but I do know he’s more comfortable when he can have his “public” face on and people are not getting too close. BTW, interesting tidbit, he has a very fancy signature that he developed when he was very young — my father has a very fancy signature and I always associated it with people who are one way in public and another in private. He did finally call and because he was calling in front of someone, he had to let me know where he was — he was at the office of a mutual friend’s girlfriend who lives in Europe. That’s okay, but I don’t feel very enthused about going there.

    Adam T, I notice a theme in your posts that you seem unhappy that your girlfriend doesn’t take more interest in your efforts. I am not there of course but it is first and foremost something for you to do for yourself and not because she helps or because you want to feel appreciated. I think what people are hearing is a lot of what is going on in your head, your dialogue, but what is actually happening in your life? What have you done to try to make a change? I’ll bet there is material there.

    A question for Steve and Kim. One thing that really struck me when I subscribed was the advice not to threaten your N partner with leaving. That is particularly an issue in my marriage bc of the immigration aspects, and I admit that I sometimes threaten leaving, though I try never to threaten divorce until his immigration comes through. I have tried instead to start reassuring him that I will not divorce him and that he is in a safe place, at least immigration-wise. Kim says the narcissist’s biggest fear is that you will leave — but my question is, why is that? I often feel that my husband is “testing” me and that he is so freaked out that I may leave him that he has to act in ways that will at least enable him to control the timing of when I do leave (because he’ll drive me to it). Why do N’s fear abandonment? And why does that fear make them act the way they do?

    Best to everyone,

  290. Stephanie said

    My thoughts on Steve’s last post are this; the more I tried to convince my husband HE had issues, the more I was devalued. Right? If you focus on degrading them (how they see it) you only become more devalued over time. We are seperated and I am moving forward with plans for a new life but have been clear that I will not file for divorce. If ever he chooses to change his behavior, I would be willing to listen to what he has to say. My kids and I need to be safe and away from the physical and mental abuse (they are not his kids but mine from a previous marriage). I owed it to them and their dad to make sure they are out of harms way, but I have made clear that I love him and if he chooses to change, I would be willing to help him. Other than that, he continues to see me take steps to improve my life and the life of my kids. I don’t know how it will all play out but do know that I get stronger every day and eventually and if he never comes around, I know I will not make the same mistake again.

  291. gypsy said

    Thanks Steve:

    Your frankness is appreciated Steve. I think my ex was trying to tell me the same thing too, but he didn’t know how. Yes, I have this drive in me to get men “to get it!” or to get that they are basicly wrong if they are abusive with me. It comes from having a very abusive father who abused me physically, mentally and emotionally. Once that begins to happen I am triggered. I am more patient now then I was in the past but it is still a trigger. Yes, I have made “making him see his errant ways” my agenda. You would think I would see that this approach hasn’t made any difference and that I need to “GET IT!!!” that he won’t GET IT this way!! Well, I GET IT now and I guess because I am ready to hear it. It isn’t easy to hear. But, I can hear it here on this blog where it is safe. Thank you.

    Thanks for sharing about your wife being uncomfortable about having to take responsibility for her own direction and how she had a lot of anxiety and was uncomfortable at first. I am now taking steps to do just that and it is because of what happened in my relationship that I have been scared silly to do it. I wanted to take these steps with a man and I just kept finding men that are afraid to take these steps in their own life. I have realized that there is no Mr. Right and that I have to be the one who takes these steps solo. I have committed to doing this for myself and yet, yes I am resentful that none of the men could do it with me. But, you know they were not supposed to do this!!! Ugh!! And like Kim I will gain the strength I need if I stop chasing men and trying to get them to get responsible for their lives and just provide for myself. It is a tougher road to hoe when I now have to do it at almost 50, in debt and still 2 boys at home. But, everyone has their own challenges, I am no different and I guess I can do it. I know I can.

    Of course, I played a role in the problem in our relationship. If I admitted this to my ex and I did numerous times he scared me with his reactions…..he would be turned on by my submissions, but he would never be pleased with me and he would start on something else and it was always something psychopathic and twisted in his mind. I think I could have tried all the things that Kim suggests and I probably would still not feel comfortable staying in the relationship. This guy played psycho mind games with me and he had to be in control and dominating the situation. I find it hard to believe that for me to just go on with my life would make any difference in his behaviour. But, maybe it is difficult to comprehend now because I am sitting in the dark and can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I will never know now anyway. You mentioned that if I was not centered and grounded then he would not be either. Well, he liked to knock me off my center and he succeeded. It happened very slowly without me noticing. I was centered and ground at the beginning. My minister likens it to the frog in the pot example. Put a frog in cold water and slowly turn up the heat. The frog doesn’t jump out and cooks. I was that frog!! It’s hard to see that he did feel……but I guess your right…..he doesn’t feel nothing.

    But, I guess I have to trust that you would know that anything is possible and I just wished I knew about narcissism and your website at the beginning when we were seeking help. He was my buddy and my love, my hiking partner and I loved him. Still crying over him…yes….it is painful. So, I will look into your program and do what I can to self soothe and make attainable healthy goals for myself. And just face things on my own….and be strong. Good on ya Steve….your reply reached me and I GET IT! It doesn’t feel good right now but…I have to let go of the fantasy……I am the handsome prince who comes and takes me on a magic carpet ride……it’s a whole new world…..a new fantastic point of view… la la la…..

  292. Adam T said

    Wow, where should I start? There’s so much to report! We made it to this point this weekend ourselves, “interestingly, she actually acknowledges that she played a role in the trouble.” There is a certain element to this that is act & react or cause & effect for lack of better terminology. She’s actually been getting into more of the information here than I first suspected and that surprised me. We had some visitors from out of town this weekend family on her side. This is usually very challenging for me in several ways. We’ve always fought about it since it could appear that I hate these people that she is related to but that’s not it at all. She reverts to some old patterns while around any of them. Seems they’ve all been damaging to her in their own special way. Their presence and what they do to her makes me sick and we have been discussing this more and more over the last several months and she’s been opening her eyes to a new perspective. She forgets that we are a couple sometimes once they get her on the run defending herself constantly, certain things could take place that have in the past left me feeling emotionally abandoned by her while she defends herself from their incessant attacks. They start picking and never let up and do it with such a loving sounding tone of voice, to me it’s more diabolical than my poor behavior at least you can tell I’m aggravated when I’m aggravated. Anyway since she’s been opening her eyes to this new perspective she saw the whole thing from beginning to end this time. She managed to put her foot down and not let them control her, granted it didn’t come like an instinct to her but it’s still a personal victory for her so I let her know I felt that way about it after they left.
    Neither one of us were perfect through any of it but we were paying very close attention to our own attitudes and feelings. Since she didn’t allow them to control her this time I didn’t feel abandoned and didn’t feel like she put our relationship on hold till they were gone. I was much better at keeping my behavior in check, again not perfect but can’t say I followed the same old typical pattern again either. Funny thing too, they left early and seemed disappointed (imagine the types that revel in other peoples misery). This isn’t a one person journey, we are both very aware of each others issues now and we work on them in parallel with each other and be there as support too.
    We come out of this weekend feeling great both of us. We’ve both witnessed our first real defeat of the old patterns and have a small taste of success that it’s hard to not feel like we are approaching a bran new life together.
    Anna I would have told everyone here that I’m a miserable failure and would never get it right had I posted anything Friday night. I was having a total negative dialect day. My issues were challenging our relationship to such intensity that I just wanted to give up! I love this woman and being with her has make me see that I’ve never loved before. I was so scared of my own lonliness when I was younger I married the wrong woman. I couldn’t see this until this year but I married my ex wife because I loved her loving me! Nobody else did, if they did they certainly weren’t around to prove it to me. That made it easier for me to be hard on her in those typical NPD kind of ways. Granted she gave me plenty of ammo for being such a slacker but if you can have a feeling like “she’s such a slacker” then you probably don’t love that person. She did read me like a book and manage to exploit the crap out my insecurities and other personality problems I’d been having which has only made the damage worse.
    I’ve stopped giving the kids so many warnings at home, warnings tend to lead to yelling and it just sounds so terrible. I told them yesterday that we will stop all the yelling (they are only learning to yell at each other not to listen faster anyway) they get one chance anymore to listen then it’s punishment time, no negotiations, no yelling and only one time discussion volume warning. They can’t have control of this part of me any longer. When I decide to yell there is some trigger to anger so yelling the same thing 2 or 3 times makes me madder and madder. I always felt like I was giving them an extra chance before they receive my wrath but they don’t need the wrath part either, they just need a little closer to zero tolerance and to not be yelled at for tripping up and a lot more “atta boy’s” and “way to go’s”!
    I want to start one of the other e books, we already got the little book of empathy. I was curious what if any kind of input you folks would have about which one I/we should go for first? Any opinions out there?

    Sydney, Exactly 1 year ago I couldn’t have told anyone the things I’ve been saying here now. I fear abandonment for an assortment of reasons but in short there has been a terrible amount of abandonment in my life already. The world I knew as “my family” disappeared for me at a young age. I started my adult career life when I was 15. I was never really taught by my parents how to communicate, I entered the work force and suddenly all my friends were in their late 20’s early 30’s. After work I had no relationships my own age since my dad was a in the military and I hadn’t even went to school yet in the new city we had just moved to when my parents relationship fell apart.
    I think NPD was very stuck in me by age 15, I earned sympathy and praise from my older friends for being as resilient as I had seemed back then for my age. Sadly I was very confused about women and desperately wanted one in my life with me since it was the only way I could conceive that I would ever have love again. Well I got it way wrong a small handful of times. By the time I met my ex I had only 11 previous partners a few were just sex but not many since I wanted a lot more than just sex. My ex totally took advantage of my vulnerability she was very well versed in handling men and getting what she wanted. I guess I let her get away with far too much not wanting her to take her love back from me. Ultimately she did though, I remember we had come into a small amount of money. I wanted to put some toward a better vehicle and a new computer, she wanted a boob job. Am I supposed to be a control freak and tell her that she can’t do that with her portion of the money?? Man I wanted to but wanted to be fair since I was doing things with my share and didn’t feel like I have the right to tell her she can’t do what she wants. Well on the way home from having the procedure done it finally dawned on me that this is 100% about her feeling better about her physical appearance and she didn’t want to look better for me since there was already a pattern there. Well I ended up being right about that one but it was too late. She fell in love with all the attention she now got from surprisingly enough not only men but women too! She pretty much forgot I existed, our relationship was being tried with more intensity than it ever had. She rejected my request for us to find marriage counseling and basically the relationship dissolving into nothing progressed from there. I was a wreck, a complete basket case but not willing to take the way I was being treated any longer. I was seeing the kids on the weekends but she lied just enough to me to cover up the fact that she was really planning to move and take them far away from me to another state making any type of visitation nearly impossible for me to afford.
    Abandonment for me or fear of it I should say isn’t some subtle feeling, it’s more like a panic attack. It’s a little different now in that I can see it and recognize that it’s happening but I’m not at the point of not having the panic attack feeling just in that I can tell that’s whats going on and work on keeping it under control and to keep telling myself that just because I feel that way doesn’t make it the reality of the situation.
    I’m getting better I can feel it, mainly because I’m finding ways to keep myself under control thanks to the fact that I see myself clearly now and have accepted the hurtful truth that I’m not Mr. Perfect, all my friends when I was younger were having sympathy for me and my situation not telling me that I’m better than anyone else they’d ever met. I really needed to believe the latter at the time though. It’s high time that that part of little me go home and let adult me take over though.
    I can see the road ahead more clearly too now but can’t see the end yet so I know it’s probably going to be a very long journey but I’m OK with that.

  293. Adam T said

    All work and no play makes Adam T a dull boy!!
    No! Adam T drowned himself in work over being very confused about a few areas of life. Relationships and social interactions were on the top of that list. Now that I look at this part of myself again I don’t have to be offended by that statement. I am a “dull boy” in a lot of ways but I made myself that way not my work.
    Work and Career? That’s the easy part, I achieved respect and my own professionalism with relative ease. People admired how I could be 15 years old work 50 – 60 hours a week and then maintain what appeared to be a normal functional adult life. Paying rent and my share of other associated costs as a roommate and having to use my own earning to feed and cloth myself. I received nothing but praises for years of my life I convinced myself to just keep doing what I was doing that’s what was being approved so much. Having “fun” or play as the saying suggests really works a whole lot better when you have sustainable skills in the relationship and social interaction areas.
    I’m looking way ahead to future right now since I’m starting to feel success in getting rid of the Monster version of Adam T. I realize that I will have to work on retraining myself about what’s hot and what’s not as far as “fun” or “play” is considered. A year ago I would have told you that I’m just a very serious minded individual, a month ago I would have told you that I’m starting to fear that the truth is that I don’t know how to have fun. Both are true sort of but I don’t know the same definition of fun as most of you may. Fun probably should not be defined by whether something is feeding my personality/ego or not.
    This one is really going to take some self examination and re learning on my part since I feel I never made most of these decisions they were sort of defaulted in the midst of everything that was going on in my life while I raised myself. Simple stuff to some of you I’m sure but let me give you an example of what I mean.
    What are my hobbies? Well I don’t really have any other than I like to listen to music and I have young children right now but didn’t give up any guilty pleasures like hobbies by having kids either since I didn’t really have any.
    Well what do I like to do? (this usually comes next since it seems I don’t cooperate with the hobbies question) I like to work, I like to perform the description of my job, I like the industry I’m in and conquering a noticeably challenging project, I like the autonomy I earn fixing the nightmare project after the person totally destroying it’s productivity gets cut loose!
    Well what sports do I enjoy? (usually the next angle to convince me that I do have at least one hobby) None! I do watch the Super Bowl because come on it’s the superbowl but (unlike most people) I hate the commercials, the last few years we watch the bowl on DVR and start it an hour or so after it starts so we can skip all the commercials I really do hate all commercials regardless of superbowl day or not. I don’t play any sports either (I was never allowed to for fear of being fatally injured or something as if that’s not a possibility smoking pot with your buddies behind the arcade at 13 years old), not into anything like jogging, baseball or playing soccer either. If it doesn’t have to do with the industry that I work in I don’t have a whole lot of interest in it.
    I think I’ve killed the part of me that wants & needs to have fun so I could silence him. Silencing him has helped me stay less confused about what I should be doing at any given point of any day.
    We won’t be having very much family fun together if I don’t get this corrected. I never thought I could change that part of me honestly but now I know I can as soon as I take care of these other things that are higher on the list right now, like relating to my woman and being in control of myself for her she’s so terrific and making remarkable progress working on herself so yeah she’s totally worth all the effort!
    I will survive, Thanks for all your support!

  294. selina said

    kim and steve,

    i really need help. i had to call the police on saturday night as my partner became violent and abusive…i was so horrified…amongst other things the thing that has broken me the most is he continually spat on my face..saying “how does it feel to love someone that hates yr guts” i hurt so bad. the police put an AVO on him and we went to court monday in which my partner contested it and we have to go back in 3weeks..he glared at me at the court waiting area in which the sucerity guard picked up on…then he had his lawyer ask if i would speak with him for 10min that was denied as he scared me even then..then they asked for mediation…it was all to try to settle this so he wouldnt loose his job as he is in the army.. so yesturday i had 3 messages from his mum telling me he has fallen apart is crying, feels disgusting loves me and realises that he needs help and that he needs me to hold his hand through this and wants me by his side that he wants us etc..he has booked in and saw a lady for domestic violence and also his psychiatrist and they are working with him to get the services he needs.
    i am struggling with this in so many ways.
    i want to believe him that he does love me.. but i cant..
    no one will let me near him.. i had the biggest fight with my parents about him and they are sooo angry that i still feel for him and asked if he was more important than which i closed down..i know feel the control i have faught against with this man has been passed over and my parents are taking over.
    all the DV councellors are telling me its the cycle he is doing continue on witht eh order that he has to learn and if i drop it it will happen again.
    i am hurt and so confused and miserable and scared that he is lying in what he has said to his mum… i want him to get the help he needs… i want someone to finally stand up to him and make him see his behaviour is a disorder.

    how long do i stay away…how can i show him that i am by his side when i am not allowed to… how do i deal with the negative people now in my life that are angry with me for loving him

  295. kimcooper said

    Hi Selina,

    I am sorry that you are having such a hard time. First things first is that this is your life and not your parents
    and you did the right thing by calling the police. The second is it is not up to anyone except for you whether
    or not you decide to work this through.

    This is not the same cycle of violence that has happened before because now you have the police involved.
    If he is truly sorry he will accept the terms of the AVO regardless of how that effects his job. He created this situation
    and not you and you must be very clear about this, if you stay with him you must proceed with the AVO. If you are
    in Australia that does not mean that you cannot live together it just means that if he intimidates you again
    he will go straight to jail and this is protection that you need. You must make this clear to his mother as well.
    Insisting that he accept the AVO is the only way you can stand by him as it is vital to his own interests that he
    begins to take responsibility for himself.

    So it is up to you, but if you decide to stay with him I would say that you need to tell him you will stand by
    him and follow all of the steps in “Back from the Looking Glass” and “The Love safety Net Workbook” which will
    really help you now. It is vital however that he accept the terms of the AVO and that his employers know the truth
    (as they should) about his temper problems. If he is honest with them and is getting help and accepting the
    process of the law I doubt he will lose his job. If he does that is that, he needs to learn the consequences of his
    own behaviour.

    As for your parents I think that you need to explain that you are taking steps to make yourself safe and that is
    why you called the police in the first place. You need to reassure them but also you need to make it clear that
    this is your life and while you would like them to stand by you at the moment you are also working on not letting
    anyone push you around and they must let you act and make decisions as your own free agent.

    OK so Hang in there selina and through all of the court stuff please make sure that you keep your composure and
    do all that you can to be on good terms with the police and the judge. Be as polite and respectable as possible
    in this situation and also try and stay very grounded. It is very important that this process is not a fight between
    you two, but a demonstration to him that the law is on your side. I doubt the court will take kindly to him contesting
    the AVO, but that is just a guess. I would also if possible let him see you speaking with the police and other officials
    in attendance (if it is appropriate) showing mutual respect, but where he cannot hear what is being said. This is very
    important if you can make this happen and was actually taught to me by the police. For some people knowing something
    is different than seeing it and he needs to see that you are on speaking terms with the police and that he is not in
    control of what you say.

    Most of all please get yourself very grounded and calm before you talk to anyone about any of this. If you are calm and
    centred no one can take your power away.


  296. Tracy said


    Best of luck. My thoughts are with you. You’ve reached out – the first step. Please know that there is much support and knowledge to gain here.


  297. selina said

    the AVO order the police put on him means he cannot come near me or contact me… can i change this as it was put on by the police.
    we dont live together nor have children together…
    how do i know if he means what he says about needing me to hold his hand through this and that he loves me when my head is saying that he could be manipulating me knowing this is all i have wanted to hear so that i might drop the order….(i am taking your advice and continuing through the process) how do i know that he is finally being sincere(through his mother) he knows i love him..he even told his mother that while he was abusing me i said to him “i love you please stop”
    do i wait for him to prove his love now????
    can i ask for the avo to not include the restraint of contact and distance?

  298. selina said

    how can i support him and be by his side if i have a restraining order for 12months….i live in victoria australia

  299. kimcooper said

    Hi Selina,

    I cannot give you private counsel on this and you will really need to get advice from the police in your area and if you
    haven’t already please get Back from the Looking Glass as it will really help you in your dealings with the police. It would
    be impossible for me to give you all of the same advice here.

    If the police have issued the AVO I imagine that you can still request provision be made in it that he be allowed to see you.
    I doubt you will be able to drop the charges however because it is the police issuing the AVO and not you.
    This is good because you only need to say to him that it is not a matter that you have any control over except to
    perhaps ask that you two still be allowed contact. You can say this to him through his mum for now.
    So if he really wants to see you and work through this (which is going to take time and you should know what you are in for
    if you do not have much invested in this relationship) he will ask that you contact the police with this request (through
    his mum) but he must know that it will not influence the charges. I hope this is clear to you now? You and him both
    must realise this is not about you dropping charges it is about him facing his own behaviour and accepting the consequences.
    If he wants to work things out with you that is separate. So you will know! As soon as this is clear to him you will see
    if he needs you standing by him anymore or not.


  300. Anna said

    Funny how quickly things can turn sometimes! My husband has returned home suddenly, after 10 months apart, and I wanted to give you this very quick update. I have to admit that it certainly did not happen in the way that I’d rather hoped. HOWEVER, our dynamics are totally different now and I am able to operate with empowerment as well as love and respect (well, apart from a glitch yesterday afternoon – but I’ve since studied up how to better handle those scenarios and I’m back on keel again!!) The principles I’ve been learning here are proving absolutely invaluable, and I have much hope.

    So anyway, I won’t be able to spend quite as much time on this site (you’ll like that, Steve :-)), especially at the moment. Maybe one day I’ll be able to share more about the incredible events that led up to it, etc., but for now I’m saying THANKS and sending my love to everyone. Adam, you’re getting there, man – I know you can do it!

    Bless you all

  301. Valleri said

    I am in the worst place yet. My boyfriend came home from his week-long trip last week and I found out (from his five-year-old foster child) that they were not visiting his friend, Andrew, as claimed, but stayed at the home of a woman. This is the man who refuses to sleep overnight with me after two years and who cannot go away overnight or even on a date with me. I told him his behavior is very disappointing but that I would not leave him. I told him I would be here when he was ready to discuss where he was and who he was with and how we could avoid these secrecies in the future. I told him I loved him. He proceeded to text message me all day regarding sexual things he wanted to do with me. I continued to tell him that we would have to discuss the situation before we could be intimate again, but he just made fun of me and continued to make the sexual comments. Out of exhaustion and anger and humiliation, I went to his house and physically confronted him in the vestibule. I slapped him, punched him, scratched him, etc. It was the worst, but I was so tired of trying over and over and over to be understanding of his obscene, outrageous, disprespectful behavior with nothing in return. What do I do now? Is it ever just hopeless? I apologized for my reaction and the violence, and now we are out of touch. I am ashamed, but also horrified at the lengths he went to to see this other woman when he gives me nothing. Feeling like the crazy one and being seen as the crazy one is the worse feeling ever. No one knows the insanity I have been through, the pain and crying and ridicule, while he comes out smelling like a rose every time.

  302. kimcooper said

    Hi Valleri,

    Hey don’t be so hard on yourself. This guy is a specialist in provoking people and
    so don’t get down on yourself if you have fallen for his game.

    Only you can decide if you want to continue seeing this man but I would say
    that you should not expect him to tell you where he has been or what he has
    been doing. You need to find out for yourself by doing some investigating
    and so you know that truth without thinking you can get him to be honest with
    you. Also the obscene text messages might need to be forwarded to someone
    who has some sway over him. His boss perhaps? I would highly suggest that
    you listen to our latest radio show at
    You learning how to stand up for yourself and take your power back is the most
    important thing here, you can do this; he is not stronger than you or better
    than you, the part of him behaving like this is a very bad child! It is very important
    that you see this and vow not to let him get the better of you again. If he is sleeping
    with someone else it doesn’t take anything away from you but it says reams about him!

    Hang in there Valleri, and you make sure you give yourself lots of caring and love now.


  303. Angie said

    Hi Everyone,
    My name is Angie, and I have been secretely reading these blogs and following the program for about two months now with my NPD partner. You all may have read his posts, I know I have and I have to say, I was quite blown away by most of them. Adam T is my partner, and even before he and I realized he was NPD, he was still the greatest man I have ever known. With that being said, he was also the most cruel and uncaring man I have ever met as well. It is really difficult to explain, but if you read all about NPD, then you will understand what I mean by those few sentences. With everything that I have read on this website and put forth into my relationship, there are stil many set backs that we both have from time to time. Like last weekend, there was a lot of misunderstandings and miscommunications that caused a huge aguement. Like Valleri above, I did my absolute best to use the tools I gained from the website and radio shows to not fall into the anger trap that NPD’s love for you to do. I too, like Valleri, ended up angry and falling into old patterns and habits that I thought I had overcome. After I fell into the anger, it was all Adam needed to validate himself and continue with his behavior. It was an intense, emotional evening that lasted into the wee morning hours because no matter what I did or tried to do to soothe myself, the anger would come flowing back and I would continue my rage filled arguing and blaming. He eventually locked himself in our bedroom and baracated the door so that I couldn’t come in and disturb him. I have to say, even though it was the best thing to do then, I really hated that he did that. I don’t know what it is about people not talking to me, but it drives me insane. Like being rejected. Anyway, he did the right thing and well, by morning he had had the time he needed to think a lot of things through. His stonewalling me, although I hate that, was the best thing to do FOR HIM. I understand that NOW, after reading and listening to the radio show about Stonewalling and The Rules. Up until then, I really thought that Adam not speaking to me was just his way to be cruel and mean to me because he knows how sensitive that is for me. Yet, what I failed to realize was that he was just on overload with his emotions and he just COULDN’T talk anymore. It is really hard for me to see him as anything but who he is, the strong, confident man that he displays himself to be, with little to no empathy. I guess, over time, that has rubbed off on me because there are times when I have no empathy for him simply because, and I know this is wrong but this is how I am, he hardly ever shows any empathy for me. I can remember one time when I stepped on a tack and asked him to take it out. I expected him to be a bit more caring with me because you know how it is when you get hurt, you need some comforting to help you feel better. Well, whne I winced and whined as he was reaching for the tack, he said something along the lines of, OK, if you want it to get infected and you have more problems, then I can’t help you. He went to return to bed and I asked him not to b/c I couldn’t get it out myself. He came back and pulled it out, and instead of hugging me and making sure I was alright, he went back to bed. I was shocked at his lack of empathy and caring for me after I had been hurt. It hurt me deeply, but I got over it and pretty soon, became used to not receiving a lot of empathy from him. That of course allowed me to become close to having none for him as well. I just want to thank both Kim and Steve for their dedication and their wonderful approach to this disorder or what ever you want to call it. Both Adam and I are using the tools and suggestions from your website and they have helped us both so much. Even though I am not NPD, I did have a bunch of insecurities that helped not only feed his NPD, but also enabled him from receiving any kind of help! Me, I guess you can say that I am a pleaser or a person that does their best to please everyone around me. I never knew just how damaging that was to everyone around me. Especially to Adam! I wasn’t doing either one of us a favor by my behavior at all. Yet, now that I am using the tools and resources here, I am seeing a great deal of change not only in my relationship with Adam, but with everyone! So, THANKS to you Kim and Steve! I will always be so appreciative. You two are truly a great team!!!

  304. sydney said


    Your program on Bringing them Home was great — I listened and read the transcript. But what is the advice if your partner is not actually doing something that is illegal or for which the police can legitimately be brought in (i.e., psychological abuse or just being as difficult as he can be about everything? Any suggestions?


  305. AJ said

    Today has been a very difficult day. I have been using alot of the tools that I’ve been learning. It’s been interesting to watch some of the responses I’ve gotten from my husband. He’s tried and tried and tried to provoke me to anger but has been pretty unsuccessful, which is very frustrating to him, I can see it on his face. I have felt hopeful that I was on the right track. All the while trying to figure out how to attract him, collect him, and build attachment toward our relationship…

    But today, he pushed the right button, by telling me he was going to rekindle an old friendship with someone who has never supported either one of us individually or our marriage. It just baffles me that he thinks this person is a true friend. HE IS NOT!!! But he says he wants to do this because he thinks it’s the ‘right thing to do’. But what I think is really going on is he (my husband) is feeling very lost and lonely. He used to spend hours and hours with this person, escaping his responsiblities and obligations. I got very angry at him, tried to reason with him, saying he’s not a true friend, he trashes you, he trashes me, he trashes our marriage, etc. To no avail. I ended up hanging up on him, saying I had nothing more to say on the topic. Now I don’t know what to do. I went for a walk, went shopping, saw a Movie, and mowed the lawn… which has all been helpful, but as I finish each task, the anger and despair all return and I just want to scream, throw something, and cry and cry and cry. I feel so discouraged that I don’t know how to attract him to this marriage life-style. He is like a married bachelor. And he thrives on activity and chaos!

    Today feels saaaaaaaaaaad!


  306. Linda DeRyder said

    Hi Angie, I just read your blog and seen so many similarities I had to write. Not having any empathy from your partner is so hard to deal with.
    My husband seems shut off from the world. I see similarities to Adam T from his blog about not knowing how to have fun. That is my husband. Nothing seems to interest him. If he has been somewhere he sees no reason to go back. He tells me if I want to go somewhere just go. He says if I really want him to go he will. Well, what fun is that doing something with someone who really doesn’t want to be there. I have started to just go and do what I want to do. Trips with my daughter and joining some groups that meet once a month.
    But it feels so lonely not having the person I thought would be my lifelong partner not wanting to be with me.
    Another subject I found interesting is the link between NPD and being self employed. We were fortunate enough to come into some money and I let my N quit his job and go into rehabbing houses. I think I talked about this earlier. Well, fast forward to now about 5 years later, he doesn’t have any initiative to work. He has just wanted to live off the money and now with the economy has dwindled. During this time, I have built a small business and make enough a month to cover my half of expenses, but I have to keep using the extra money to pick up his half.
    He feels he cannot find a job, even though he doesn’t look. He does the chores around the house to “earn his keep” (his words) but I see nothing more. His theory is to use up the money we have put away cause he feels he won’t be around that long anyway so no need for money for retirement. But what about me? I am trying to work while I can so I can look forward to retiring and enjoying myself.
    I am getting more and more resentful.
    I also have to take care of my mother. I pay a lot of her bills, too. My N doesn’t even have a clue how much is spent a month.
    Is this an N thing? I don’t know how to handle this. Last week he did a couple odd jobs and made the comment “if he can just make enough money to cover his expenses, beer, cigarettes, and gas, then that is all he needs” I wanted to scream WHAT ABOUT the house payment, elec, gas, phone, cable, credit cards!!!!!!!!
    How do I approach this? I do not handle this right cause I am just holding in and getting madder and madder. I know i am going to blow up again and tell him to get out.


  307. Steve Cooper said

    Hi AJ, and Hi All,

    Kim is ploughing through a new website and new book, and is very quiet because of it, our apologies for being so quiet.

    AJ, we think this may help you; please take a listen to our radio show here,

    Or read the transcript here,


  308. Valleri said


    I totally feel for you. It’s so frustrating, trying to kindle a desire for the home life and family but these Ns are like fourteen-year-old boys. Honestly, they literally are like the little boys that get on their bikes in the morning during the Summer and are gone all day with their pals, playing baseball, hanging out, doing nothing rather than be at home. When they do come home it’s at the last possible moment–actually always a little later, just to show us they won’t be given orders.

    My N is like that. He will seem to be enjoying a lovely dinner I make, we will spend time laughing and talking after dinner, put the kids to bed and have some intimate time. The next day he will call from work to say he loves me–then disappear off the face of the earth until late at night. God help us if we ask where they’ve been.

    I am exhausted trying to “live my own life” while he is doing his N thing alone. LOL! I go out with friends, trying to stay out later than him so he doesn’t see my car when he gets home (we live on the same street). I drag my kids all over the city, from museum to movies to batting cages to parks, etc. etc. I make sure we are in church every Sunday morning and that we spend a lot of time with my mom, gardening and talking about books, the things I used to enjoy before he sucked all the life out of me. But when each activity is done, yes, the tears, resentment, anger, bitterness all return. When I close my eyes the images are like a film that plays over and over in my head: him leaning over to kiss my daughters goodbye before going on a trip that turned out to be a romantic one; him texting me “I love you” and then, two minutes later, driving away in his car for the rest of the day, on a holiday. His never showing up to my daughter’s birthday party, my mom’s eightieth birthday dinner, Easter lunch. Him leaving me with all the dishes at midnight after I made HIS friends Christmas Eve dinner at MY HOUSE and after he promised my daughters he would spend the night so we could open presents in the morning.

    I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to live my own life. I am obssessed with this mysterious woman he went to see last week on the West Coast (of USA). What did they talk about for a week? He and I can’t have a conversation for twenty minutes before he becomes bored and agitated. What did they do for a week? He won’t so much as go to dinner with me, though he said he and his friend toured the countryside, went to the beach, to some galleries (!?!) and other normal things that people do when one of them isn’t a controlling, self-absorbed N.

    What does she have that I don’t? Well, at least I realize now that she is still idealized because she’s not actually a part of his life. If she was actually here, she would be done soon, too.

    My instinct, after finding out I was cheated on, was to beat the @#$! out of him, which I did. Then I had to face whether I was going to get back in the fight. It seems so pointless, yes, sometimes. All the effort and tears and misery, only to have them leave again.

  309. Valleri said


    I totally feel for you. It’s so frustrating, trying to kindle a desire for the home life and family but these Ns are like fourteen-year-old boys. Honestly, they literally are like the little boys that get on their bikes in the morning during the Summer and are gone all day with their pals, playing baseball, hanging out, doing nothing rather than be at home. When they do come home it’s at the last possible moment–actually always a little later, just to show us they won’t be given orders.

    My N is like that. He will seem to be enjoying a lovely dinner I make, we will spend time laughing and talking after dinner, put the kids to bed and have some intimate time. The next day he will call from work to say he loves me–then disappear off the face of the earth until late at night. God help us if we ask where they’ve been.

    I am exhausted trying to “live my own life” while he is doing his N thing alone. LOL! I go out with friends, trying to stay out later than him so he doesn’t see my car when he gets home (we live on the same street). I drag my kids all over the city, from museum to movies to batting cages to parks, etc. etc. I make sure we are in church every Sunday morning and that we spend a lot of time with my mom, gardening and talking about books, the things I used to enjoy before he sucked all the life out of me. But when each activity is done, yes, the tears, resentment, anger, bitterness all return. When I close my eyes the images are like a film that plays over and over in my head: him leaning over to kiss my daughters goodbye before going on a trip that turned out to be a romantic one; him texting me “I love you” and then, two minutes later, driving away in his car for the rest of the day, on a holiday. His never showing up to my daughter’s birthday party, my mom’s eightieth birthday dinner, Easter lunch. Him leaving me with all the dishes at midnight after I made HIS friends Christmas Eve dinner at MY HOUSE and after he promised my daughters he would spend the night so we could open presents in the morning.

    I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to live my own life. I am obssessed with this mysterious woman he went to see last week on the West Coast (of USA). What did they talk about for a week? He and I can’t have a conversation for twenty minutes before he becomes bored and agitated. What did they do for a week? He won’t so much as go to dinner with me, though he said he and his friend toured the countryside, went to the beach, to some galleries (!?!) and other normal things that people do when one of them isn’t a controlling, self-absorbed N.

    What does she have that I don’t? Well, at least I realize now that she is still idealized because she’s not actually a part of his life. If she was actually here, she would be done soon, too.

    My instinct, after finding out I was cheated on, was to beat the @#$! out of him, which I did. Then I had to face whether I was going to get back in the fight. It seems so pointless, yes, sometimes. All the effort and tears and misery, only to have them leave again.

  310. Georgia said

    Hi there

    I would love some advice on the following…

    My boyfriend (of 4 years) is a classic N and so it is probably not surprising that he has become addicted to Twitter, as this gives him the perfect opportunity to get adoration by his ever increasing number of “followers” who think that he is incredibly funny and tell him so – talking about fuel for the fire! Never mind that a lot of the time the girlfriend or “bird” (me) is the butt of the jokes and that some of the stuff he writes about is simply made up (which of course those followers don’t know…) It’s hurtful enough that he flirts outrageously with some of the women on there but when he (as a 48 year old man) writes to a girl who is obviously at most 12,13 years old that she is the cutest thing ever I actually think that he has gone completely insane. For for all his bad points, he is not a paedophile, but this definitely shows a complete loss of sense about what is appropriate, all to make himself popular.

    Anyway, the situation is this. He has been away from home for a couple of weeks (ostensibly to try and sell a property that belongs to his mother, but in reality more of a holiday). We don’t speak much on the phone and when we do it’s pretty mundane stuff, but of course by reading his tweets I know to some extent what he is thinking and doing (partly by reading between the lines) and I am rather upset by it all. Whilst I so far did not suspect him of being unfaithful or even wanting to, I am now pretty certain that this is just a matter of time and opportunity, he is clearly going through some sort of midlife crises and wants to prove to himself that he hasn’t “lost” it yet. As much as I can understand this, I still don’t want it to happen as I am not sure I will be able to forgive him.

    I know that he likes having me in his life as I give him support and stability, but quite frankly I am rather tired of playing the mother. I am really not sure he actually loves me (maybe that’s not surprising given that you need to be able to love yourself first of all) and I find his tweets very disrespectful to me. I have tolerated a lot of bad behaviour from him, but this I do not want to put up with, also because I think deep down he does feel guilty about it, so it is certainly not doing our relationship any favours.

    To cut a long story short, my dilemma is how to handle this situation. He does not know that I have been reading his tweets (just how naive can you be) and I suspect he will go mad if I admit this and will no doubt accuse me of snooping on him (and of course he has point there…) and he will quite likely just tell me that our relationship is over. Even if he doesn’t, could any good actually come out of it? Would he really be able to see that what he is doing is just wrong and that he must stop it? Somehow I doubt it.

    Should I just pack my bags and leave, without saying anything? In terms of practicalities, I am currently living at his place in the country, but I have my own flat in town and I am not financially dependent on him, nor do we have children.

    I probably should also add that until not so long ago I was madly in love with him, but now my feelings have certainly cooled. I just feel like a mug.

    Oh, what to do…


  311. ana said

    hi, i’ve been reading so much here and am really identifying with so much. tracy your story is my story more or less without the kids. for the past 5/6 years i have been trying to make sense of something that doesn’t seem to make any sense, however my partner thank god knows something is wrong and has been to 3 different shrinks with me. the last one told me he is NPD after 2 sessions and is of the school forget about it, they don’t change you can’t do anything.

    a typical altercation is the following – we were house sitting and a goldfish died during that time. i asked him should i throw it out or would it be better to keep it for the kids to bury when they came home. a simple question turned into a tirade about how it wasn’t his problem or responsibility, it was my dilemma, i should make a decision, and a back and forth about how he couldn’t help me. i’m only now beginning to see how he wants to provoke me to get angry and how he wants me to lose my composure, how little empathy he has and in reality how he turned a convo about what was best for the kids into ALL ABOUT HIM, how he felt about it and it was nothing to do with him.

    in the course of our 5/6 year relationship we have broken up maybe 5 million times, rarely at my behest. the next day its as if nothing happened.

    he has never raised his voice at me or been in any way physically agressive i just always feel like he is on the verge of an emotional meltdown 75% of the time and he’s looking for ways to diffuse the tension by fighting with me. over nothing. literally nothing. i guess that’s the confabulation.

    he is an amazing man, really unique; and he is really unhappy with who he is. he hates himself for treating me this way, and yet because i’m a really nice person, this is a big part of the problem. if i’ve learned anything in the past few days reading here it is to stop not holding him accountable for his actions. and to start telling people the truth, such as his family.

    i could write a book about all we have been thru. what a roller coaster. like nothing i have experienced. right now we are in that horrible place of being broken up the past two weeks, he’s looking for attention from anyone who will validate him, from people who don’t know him. the people who do know him and are closest to him are often totally and utterly infuriated by him.

  312. Tracy said

    Hi Ana (and all!)

    Just to clarify – I do have children – two young ones actually! He’s been part of their lives since they were old enough to remember (nearly 2 and 3) which is part of the reason I’ve hung on so long. When he’s good – he’s very very good, when he’s bad….. My daughters look up to him but are at the same time frightented to invest too much love because he has been back and forth so much and they’ve seen me in lots and lots of pain (which was my responsibility).

    We are doing ok at the moment, but last night, he came over and ended up jumping into a situation where my child was being really rude (and he was fine to do that!) and after he was shaking like a leaf for about 40 mins. I could see that he was clearly not enjoying his time.

    Later, when it came to be time for bed, i said ‘you’re welcome to stay here’ and he replied ‘i’m not ready to be here when the kids wake up – yet’
    I let it slide and have said nothing yet, but to be honest, I feel very sad and disappointed.

    I’m ok to have sex with but not to ‘be there in the morning for the kids?’

    If you’re around Steve, do you have any comments on this/what to do?

  313. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Tracy,

    Yes I am around, but very seriously need to get some sleep now. But I do want to say this to you, (even though I am sure it will not help too much!)

    An old Greek guy told me about a Greek saying that goes something like, “A man who has just finished eating never complains about being hungry”. It very much had to do with sex, and so I am someone who is very lucky to not know that hunger very much anymore, I have a very close relationship with Kim and we have the luxury of being able to earn a living together. So I cannot speak for the man who is hungry for sex.
    The fact that he is wanting to make love with YOU is a great sign, and if he is reluctant about being around in the morning, that shouldn’t be too much of a sticking point. If you want him to be there in the morning, it is great that you tell him that, let him know.
    If you think he is trying to have his cake and eat it too, you can let him know that you know that too (or suspect that). But don’t be too hard, try and keep it light.
    I am sorry to hear that he still might be playing games, but from here it doesn’t sound too bad. I hope you’re not hurting too much about it, if so, take some time for you ….. relax and let go.

  314. Valleri said

    I am waiting to see what Steve says about your situation, too. My N boyfriend of two years will not spend a night with me, even when my daughters are away for the night, but he went on a trip two weeks ago to visit his friend, “Andrew” and I found out it was to visit another woman. It’s not even that there’s another woman but that he slept at least in the same house with her for six nights (!) and spend all that time with her when he gets irritated being around me for an hour! I think I’ve gone crazy, too. At any rate, it’s somehow my own fault that he lied to me and went away for a week and, though I have used all the tools from Kim and Steve’s materials (letting him know I love him, letting him know he’s safe with me) he absolutely will not speak to me about what happened. I have told his brother’s girlfriend about what happened to set the record straight, but I am cautious about telling his two brothers and his friends because I already look like a nutcase. I know this is something I have to do.

  315. Tracy said

    Hey Steve and Valleri,

    Thanks for answering.

    Steve – much appreciated. Yes, we have made great progress in the last few weeks which is why I decided not to do my whole pouty, feeling sorry for myself, and letting it turn to sarcasm routine. I also liked the fact that he added a ‘yet’ in there. I think part of why he said that was that he was really tired from the weekend and the earlier situation with intervening with my daughter’s rudeness shook him up more than he expected (got all the adrenaline going) and maybe he expected more of the same in the morning and didn’t know if he could properly cope.

    Thanks for reassuring me that it’s ok, and that it’s ok to talk about it, just not go mental. I just keep going ‘snip’ with the scissors when it starts to bug me. It’s prob the first time that I haven’t run the old routine, or at least been biting my hand off to pick up the phone and run it.

    To the rest that may read, some more detail:
    He’s the kind of guy that needs a good routine with tons of sleep – but the problem is, he doesn’t always get it because he’s also just starting to make friends and they stay up really late on the weekends having fun. (all fairly innocent, fifa football tournaments, that sort of thing). I am encouraging of his boys nights because at the beginning of the relationship, he had only one college mate. His friends are pretty ok guys (though all bachelors in their late 30s early 40s) and they’re responible members of our community.

    However, they are weird. They’re shy dudes and haven’t had much luck finding ‘the one’. They go to the same pub on the same nights every week and it’s so boring! 🙂 But it’s their nights, so if that’s what they like, then great! I worry sometimes that they aren’t good relationship role models though in that they’ve not maintained a good, stable long term relationship (though they’re not players either! They date girls and try sometimes, but not out on town chasing skirt.) But they are sort of solidified now in their ways and it’s kind of hard for a girl to feel special with them because they’re so set in their ways and reluctant to alter that much.

    I wouldn’t mind any of his behaviour with his friends at all but for two things:

    1. The above
    2. They do drink and stay up late (though not falling over or anything).
    3. Combine the two answers above with my guy’s need for sleep to be stable (he’s really anxious and gets weird with his less than optimum sleep).

    But that’s his thing I guess and all I can do is stay focused on me and try to keep myself fit and healthy and hope he’ll be inspired to follow along.

    So, in a long winded way, I guess it’s not so major about the kids thing.

    Valleri, I wouldn’t be too happy if he wouldn’t spend the night with me at all though! That seems a purposeful avoidance of intimacy! And the situation with that other woman?

    It seems to me as if he was able to do that with her because she is other/she is ‘fantasy’ and kim and steve do say that narcissists are obsessed with the fantasy relationship because it requires nothing of them and cannot be altered. I bet he got his fill after that 6 days. Or will when she wants something as a followup or more.

    I suspect Kim might tell you to stop trying to find out what happened from him. If you need to know, find out somehow else. Approach the woman if need be. Scroll way up this blog and see if you can find Kim’s advice about what to do if you find he’s having an affair – how to approach the woman/bring pictures/tell her what he says about her etc. However, even finding out won’t help anything.

    Maybe you should just give up caring about her and focus on you. If his behaviour of not sleeping over makes you upset, then perhaps take on some more work or a new hobby and fill your time with that, so that you have something else to focus on. Then you can spend your time with him trying to build some attachment so that you can show him that you’re independent and stable, can be happy despite his weird actions and that if you’re not happy, you’ll tell him, but then you’ll take responsibility for yourself and your happiness. If you can do that for a while, then step back and watch his actions, maybe you’ll have a clearer picture of what he’s about and if you want to continue with him.

    I think you’ll definitely see some sort of slow change if you just rearrange things on your end though. Otherwise, why would he bother still being around? And if not, over a reasonable course of time, maybe you’ll have your answers.

    Good luck and I wish you the best!

  316. sharon said

    I am now at my wits end my partner has been told of his disorder but as has said by you kim that they all say leave. He does not believe that change is possible even saying that its only a money making venture on your part but I do know different. I am at a point now where he has stuck the knife in and twisted it plus put salt on the wound. I am taking the other woman to meet my father he says. My heart and soul is broken, as a matter of fact he keeps picking it up and slamming it down again and again. I don’t know why I am allowing this and knowing how callous he acts but still love this person. It is a sad situation when I continually love him and know he can be a better person but will only pretend to go through the motions of seeking help and listening to me to keep the peace until he can move out, including making love wanting to help me with things around the house it does my head in and when I question him about this he cant answer except that he knows I am the only woman he has been with that he has difficulty cutting ties with me.I feel so lonely when I read your information because I want and need him to come on this journey with me but he says and his actions concur that he will not change. I am seeing a person about my issues which include abandonment and it is like a pulling buds from a flower. Other people describe it like peeling an onion but that is not true because even though what u find under each layer it might not be nice it is a wonderful discovery about yourself and I would so wish my loved one could see it the same way but even though I think he sees his person he does not like what he sees and cannot get past the ugliness of his actions not just with our life but all of his past. I need input please

  317. Valleri said

    Oh Sharon,
    I feel for you so deeply. Yes, I think many times I day that if my boyfriend could give himself over to counseling or let himself think that there might be something wrong–what a wonderful thing it would be to see him grow. I have told him a thousand times that THAT is the main thing that kills me: that I love him so much and know that he could be truly happy in knowing himself. I wonder, too, if it’s just too late, not for him to change, but for him to give it a chance. I wish you all the best and will be thinking of you and sending good thoughts your way tonight.

  318. Valleri said

    Thank you so much for addressing my post. I have spent all day getting a better hold on my business and cleaning the house for just me and my girls. I have realized he will never tell me what happened with this “friend” he visited; I am deciding how to deal with that. Told him how disappointed I am in it; told him I’m here but it feels weird to not go out of my way to talk to him, make him feel okay, etc. There’s a lot of fear that if I don’t fall all over him I will lose him, but that doesn’t seem all that bad anymore. I’m trying to get through just one night without calling or texting him “I love you” or “Good night” as I already told him once today.

  319. hope said

    Hi kim and Steve, hi everyone,

    i have read your last transcript, it was really very informative, but what if the other person he is attached to very very much was his mother?? he prefer beeing with her or spending a lot of time with her (and his father)it is not illegal nothing to be shame of….his parents are the real narcisstic supply….they were good with him provide money and support but they are very emotionnally attached to him and they give him false pride…..

  320. Valleri said

    Well. I am such a pain but just beside myself. I turly don’t know what to do. The boyfriend still won’t talk to me about where he was two weeks ago, and with whom, he was gone again all weekend until eleven at night without me, but like clockwork, yesterday Monday he texted me asking if he could come over after my kids went to bed. Of course I said no, not until you tell me where you were and with whom so we can get past this. He refused to talk about it, and was angry that I would not see him. I don’t know what to do. Am I supposed to be intimate with him when he won’t even talk to me about his behavior? When we was on his boat and at parties all weekend and only called on Monday when he wanted sex? I’m trying to understand what to do, but sometimes it’s hard to tell. I keep telling him I love him and I know Kim told me he won’t tell me what he did and I shouldn’t expect him to, but shouldn’t he tell me something or do something before I sleep with him again? I can’t find out anything from anyone else because his brothers and his babysitter are fiercly protective and defensive of him. I have approached them before and they will not speak to me at all about him. Luckily, I found out from his foster child that he had lied, but I don’t know any details so it’s hard for me to say anything either. I’m just sort of bluffing right now, as in “I know what you did.” I think he’s holding out for how much I know and, truth is, I don’t even know her name,just that he was with her for a week. Help!

  321. ana said

    tracy hi, thanks for responding to my post. just to clarify i meant that i didn’t have kids but apart from that our stories sound similar.

    i hear so much pain in the posts above, and so much confusion, despair and frustration. i really admire that kim and steve are offering hope to people. my guy is an example of someone who knows there is something seriously wrong and is desperate for help but i think like with the parenting idea, he doesn’t know what help he needs.

    i’m going to be reading the books that kim and steve suggest and really looking at my own behaviour. i have experience with 12 step work so i know about looking at my goals and shortcomings and frankly i think that is the only reason we are still in each others lives at this point after 7 years. if i hadn’t done some work in this regard we would have seperated long ago.

    he did say something i consider provocative this morning but i’m not rising to that anymore. right now i am focusing on building attachment and trust. yes it seems crazy that i have to do that still after so long but the fact is that i do. and like kim and steve suggest i will be making a note of the provocation, taking time to consider what boundary to set around it and then dealing with it later.

    being able to self soothe is so important as kim and steve suggest. i used to feel that my feelings would overwhelm and kill me! now that i’m able to regulate my own feelings i feel more confident about helping my partner regulate his.

  322. Anna M said

    Hi Valleri,
    I lost the last post so hope not repeating myself. Nothing you describe about the man you are involved with sounds particularly boyfriend-like. Break the worsd down and you have boy + friend. He is definitely the former but the latter seems lost on him.I have been through much pain and soul searching myself with my husband of 23 years, the father of my children but what do you owe this person? What do you owe yourself?
    Be a good friend to yourself and surround yourself with people who love and support you and have your best interests at heart and those of your children.
    You obviously have a lot of energy even though you are depleted by the toxic situation imagine channelling that away form him and toward something more rewarding.
    Good luck.

  323. sydney said

    Well, I did go over and meet my husband in that foreign country and after two “normal” days we had a huge blow-out fight that resulted, over the next day, in four episodes of DV. Happy holidays… My friends are asking me at this point what good I see in the relationship to justify the work that might have to go onto transforming it. If I am honest I have to answer, that there has been nothing but difficulty (with a few fleeting nice times) since we got married. We don’t have kids, don’t work together, don’t have a lot of friends in common or common interests. I found him very sweet and sexually appealing and we met in a very romantic way — dancing tango at a party where he danced with me almost the entire night long. Since then he has generally refused to have sex with me and when he does just lies there like a dead fish and when we go to tango parties he just sits by himself and doesn’t like to acknowledge that i am “with him.” the other night we went out to a tango party in the other country and i left him alone most of the night and entertained myself. he asked me for one dance but was pretty slighting of my dancing afterward. as we left, i wanted to show him a pair of shoes (for sale) that had turned heads when i’d tried them on earlier. he said i see them. i said, no you need to see them on and i leaned down to strap them on. when i looked up he had moved across the room and had started this conversation with a pretty young woman from roumania who immediately stuck out her hand and soon they were off in a flirty converstaion. i got pissed at this, but calmly pisseed, and just put the shoes down and went over and introduced MYself and said “this is my husband and we have to go, don’t we??” i could tell he was fuming on the way home, and after a half an hour of silence i said you don’t have to be tied up in a relationship with me if you’d really rathter be free…etc. Anyway, bad as this was, what made the shit hit the fan was that in the course of the conversation, he starts telling me that he doesn’t want to dance with me anymore, he doesn’t like the way I dance (I’m too “heavy”), and he’s not comfortable going to tango dances with me. Since we met dancing tango and he seduced me dancing tango and we got him his immigration papers by showing pictures of us dancing together, this was UNBELIEVABLY hurtful to hear, and I got really angry. He kept saying you can’t force people to dance with you. Then at one point he leaned down over me on the couch and started to shake my shoulders to ask how would I feel if someone pushed me around on the dance floor. I yelled DONT touch ME and pushed him back with my flat hands against his stomach (with some force but more surprise). He started hitting and kicked me twice, one on both sides of the thighs. The next day it happened three more times, as I found out that if i called him a “f**king a**hole” he would strike. The last time I said it under my breath, deliberately, as I headed to the door, but I didn’t make it before he did. I’m okay, just have small bruises. But I am trying to decide what to do next. The thing here that made me so angry was not the girl but his telling me that he doesn’t want to dance with me and doesn’t like it. I am a very good dancer, much better than him, and it just seemed to me a made-up story that I am “heavy” becuase I am told so often the opposite. Even if so, it the kind of thing that could be easily corrected by a posture adjustment if he said so. Instead, he just stopped dancing with me and never said a word. And it has been eating at me ever since. One of my main hopes for this relations was that I would be able to have a dance partner and now the whole thing seems destroyed. But we are still in the middle of the immigration process so I don’t know what to do…

  324. Tracy said

    Hi Ana,

    You sound as if you’ve adopted a very sensible approach. I am here to talk anytime as I really like sharing positive strategies.

    On that note, I just finished listening to Kim and Steve’s new Narcissism Q & A on Global Talk Radio. There were a few very good, very valid points:

    I loved how they reminded us to go back to the exercises and work on ALL FOUR AREAS – THE FOUR LEGGED STOOL. I also thought they gave an apt analogy for considering how our N partners might be feeling which was related to children.

    Kim was saying that your job as a parent is to help children understand and label their feelings in order that they understand them and can control them. They need to know that it’s ok to have weird/crazy/angry feelings, but they have to be able to have and be allowed a language around that. The worst thing we can do as parents is to forbid the feelings, because they’re normal and it will make our children feel isolated.


    I really took that to heart. My two daughters are wonderful, 6 & 8 and I’m wondering – have I already ‘messed them up’ by behaving in certain ways with them? Were you always this wonderful parent that Steve describes? If not, how did ‘recovery look like’ for your children?

  325. sydney said

    I should add that since all that happened and we have calmed down, he has told me that it was “my fault” that it happened because I called him a terrible name and that I needed to “learn not to provoke” and that the relationship will “never ever improve” becuase he can have no respect for someone who would say such a thing. (This is after he has frequently yelled “goddammit” at me in a fight, compared me to a prostitute twice, and frequently called me “a stupid lady.”) This is classic, is it not? I realize that I got angry and gave him the opportunity for his bad behavior, but if you take it that far, isn’t it blaming the victim. I was controlled in response to the situation at the tango party, but was blindsided by his comments about me and they really cut me to the quick. S

  326. ana said

    thanks tracy for connecting.

    i have to say that i was so sceptical that something as small as greeting him happily everytime we speak/see each other would go anyway towards solving the HUGE problems we have. i cannot believe how it is proving to be successful. for starters i realized that i no longer even say his name when i see him or he calls. so that has changed, now i say his name. i used to just say hey, in an intimate way but his name was missing and being deliberately warm seems to have an effect. it seems to set the conversation up to be more positive.

    without asking yesterday, knowing that i am sick, he took the dog for the whole day and even called to ask what i would like him to bring home for me. it is SO LONG since he has done anything considerate like that. i know there will be setbacks and right now we are still officially seperated as he wants to date other people because i am so difficult and demanding and emotional.

    i think the point about allowing kids and adults to have their feelings is so important. when he doesn’t allow me have mine it makes me crazy.

    so much advice we are given is to not be their mother etc but i’m actively encouraging his dependence on me right now whereas before i thought that was codependent and i shouldnt’ be doing it.

  327. Tracy said

    Ana and All,

    Encouraging Dependence or Co-dependence: very valid question and one that I think many chew over for a long long time, especially when coming into contact with Steve and Kim’s material – or in fact, any material that actively encourages looking inwards to solve your problems.

    The Hawaiin’s have a chant called ‘Ho’oponopono’ (Hoe – oh – po – no – po- no) which is calming in itself, but what you are chanting are phrases which they claim heal all and any rifts: “I’m sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you, I love you”. The theory behind the word (have a look on google) focuses on personal responsibility as the key to everything. They take it so far as to say we have responsibility for world famine, war, etc. Whatever your thoughts on this theory, the truth remains that when we do learn to start saying bravely, like Kim does on her shows, ‘I used to be terrible, I made lots of mistakes, I still do sometimes, etc’, the moment you open up communication like that, weird and wonderful things start to happen.

    Who cares about why it works, it just works!!! I’m scared to look at my gap exercises…but excited by some new challenges too.

  328. Valleri said

    Sometimes I just want to say what an $#!@ hole.
    My boyfriend just told me that he went out on his boat last weekend without my daughters and me because I “don’t know how to act in public.” He was referring to my slapping him on the sidewalk because I found out from his five-year-old child that the two of them went to visit another woman for a week last month when he told me they were going to visit his friend, “Andrew.” My favorite Narcissist thing is being blamed for what they do. Good luck!

  329. sydney said


    I have been thinking of you as I think we are somewhat in similar situations. I think everyone who uses Kim’s materials needs to decided their level of investment in the relationship and for people who have been married a while or have kids together it may make the most sense to work on it. I am thinking about that myself; though probably my impulse would be to work on it further, I am not sure if that is the right decision, given that we have only been together 1 year 3 months.

    But, I listened to the radio show “Steve Answers the Big Three” and it was so appropriate because my husband and I had just had a civil conversation about what happened and he had tried to explain that I shouldn’t react when he talks with other women. When I said, you don’t just talk, you flirt, and I gave an example. He said, “That’s just spontaneous, it just happens, these things should not upset you.” (Just like Steve said they do.) Even before I heard Kim say what she said in response, I just really really emphasized that it did hurt me, and also that it was not part our culture to do that (maybe that was a little bit of a stretch, given how common it is!). But I was also struck by Steve’s point about how this behavior with other women is related to separating from the mother. My husband had an incredibly powerful bond with his mother, and I have read that it is part of his culture that men and their mothers are powerfully bonded. He said he had to break that bond to survive leaving home, but even now he will say that “my mom comes first, all women need to understand that.” he feels that being able to talk and flirt is “natural” (I don’t think he feels guilty about it at all), but more than that I think he sees it as a declaration of independence. I think he does see me as some “maternal” figure he has to become independent of. I do think that there is a difference between porn/flirting with other women and actually having an affair. I could not handle the latter at all, and I think (though am not sure) that my husband takes being married to mean he’s not entitled to sleep with other women.

    As for self-soothing, I think it is crucial, but what if you just can’t? I have been trying for years, decades even and nothing seems to work. This week I was in an agony, not able to concentrate on anything, until we had a civil talk, then my distress immediately went down. (Oh, also an interesting detail, the civil talk might have been precipitated by me telling him that I was leaving to go home tomorrow — if I am the one to leave, he often becomes more civil.) I am not at home right now, so I’d probably have more resources if I were, but I have been trying different things for years, and it usually is some turn in the relationship, or simply the passage of time itself, that makes a difference. But it wastes a lot of my energy. I was abandoned as a child and afterwards had a stressful, dysfunctional childhood, so I assume my body is “wired” so that loss is excruciating to me, but it makes it hard to navigate life.

    Anyway, the radio show on the big three is really worth a visit.


  330. Colleen said

    Hello to everyone. I have been reading many posts, never written in before. I am basically just writing b/c I’ve had a very frustrating time trying to implement the strategies I’ve read about in Kim’s book. I know this is par for the course, but I’m just disheartened at the moment, so sad at constantly being treated in such a mean & coldhearted way by my husband. We have only been married for 3 years, but together for 10, & it has been the same cycle of bad behavior/makeup/good behavior/back to the same old bad behavior again almost the entire time. I finally put a name on it when I stumbled across Kim & Steve’s website, but I have known he has issues for a long time. I used to think it was a temper problem & trust issues, but now I know it goes so much deeper than that. I’m trying so hard to remain un-emotional when he hurts me, but it is impossible not to feel hurt when I’m human. I feel like there is no progress being made. THings will be good for a few days (or less), & then the same old jerk comes out, blaming me for upsetting him when he goes off on me, even though we all know (here on this site) that I am not the problem. I’m writing here b/c we just got off the phone & I’m trying not to cry & I want to call him back but I know it’s not the right time & I am not emotionally calm enough to do so right now. I just wish so much that we had stayed broken up when we were, that we hadn’t gotten back together, that even though I love him & our daughter I just wish I didn’t have to deal with this. I am tired of hurting so much inside.

  331. kimcooper said

    Hi Colleen,

    It is always going to hurt and that is normal. It would be of concern if it didn’t hurt when people are rude to you! There are a lot of people here who I hope can give you some time, I am so sorry that I am just so busy right now. Most important is that you remember what makes you happy and spend some time doing that now and forget about him. Latter you can start putting together a
    support network and finding out more on what he is hiding from you. It is safer to be out of the dark now matter how much that hurts. This is not an easy journey but you need to slowly start getting some better cards in your hand.

    What always makes you feel good? Go do it now and decide on some goals of your own you are going to start working on. There are so many people here who understand and feel for your situation.

    Hang in there,


  332. Tracy said

    Ok, I’m going to try and distill this down to one short question:

    How do you get your (non-married or living together) N partner to ‘commit’? If he uses the “I need to go slow” card to stall, then his internal sense of pressure builds up about the issue, then he sabotages and those sabotages threaten alot in life (his, but particularly mine – employment as an example), I am of the view that I need to be encouraging full on commitment as a way to ‘step through the fire’.

    You see, when he throws out the ‘i’m not convinced, i need you to just ‘be’ with me – no commitment to the kids, nor a mutual life, etc, no goals ” I cannot stomach it. It gets in the way of every day enjoyment of life because he cannot just ‘be’ (the solution he proposes). He lets any step forward become a ‘big deal’, one which every caress/i love you/discussion is reluctantly given for fear that it represents ‘commitment’, something he’ll later have ‘consequences’for messing up.

    He told me that underneath it all, he has those original feelings of love, but it’s numbed out because I represent (“rightly or wrongly” in his words) someone ‘trying to make him do something’.

    Yes. I am trying to do something with him. LIVE MY LIFE! Now, clearly I realise that there’s alot of work, dedication and commitment required to work this through with someone in our situation, but how do you do it in this context? Every breeze can sway you off track. Every ‘look’ becomes grounds for him to try to confabulate and argue. Why? He’s scared we are moving forward! How can I relieve that fear? Should I be trying?

  333. Tracy said

    Let me make clearer the above:

    The only solution I can see to the two of us living a happy life together and working on this stuff is if we actually join our lives together and work on it together = make commitments, move forward.

    He thinks it’s crazy to move forward on the grounds that we have arguments and things are relatively muddled. (HE SABOTAGES EVERYTIME WE GET CLOSE – THUS GIVING HIS THEORY VALIDITY).

    So I try to do it his way, slow, patient, ‘snip’ with the scissors, but he STILL freaks out and tries to break it. But then won’t let me go!

    I’m trying to keep my own self under control, but my anger and frustration is beginning to get the better of me, not to mention that feeling all this stress is doing me no good at all!

    Sorry to rant, I’m just ….!%$£%££$%£$^%^*&^* (steam blowing out of my ears).

  334. Chris said

    So happy to read your post. I’m in a very similar situation. I will call him my man friend, since he won’t commit to the boyfriend title, sabotages every time there is a step forward. I love this man and want to spend my life with him.

    Kim, I know you are extremely busy, but I have hope someone will be able to offer advice. I have bought The Love Safety net and have been working on my own gaps. I’m very emotionally needy and looking back I always look to the man in my life to bring me joy. I’m working on finding my own joy.

    He gets so distant after we experience any closeness. One month ago, I met his dad and siblings and he has been very distant since that day. Stonewalls when I try to communicate through texts or calls. He has made comments like I deserve everything I want in a boyfriend but “he cant keep promises to himself besides promises to others.”

    He was taken away from his mother at 4 years old and grew up bouncing around foster care until he ran away. Many issues with this man, but I can see the good in him and want to be a family. I’m very loving, caring and sensitive. I’ve spent over a year with him and my heart has become desensitized to his behavior. He can go weeks without communication and then out of the blue we are spending time together.

    I want to know the same thing as you Tracy, how do I encourage commitment in this man? Is that even possible? I’m not ready to give up.

    Thank you for this website.

  335. Valleri said

    Oh you guys! I know just how you feel. My N “boyfriend” does exactly what yours do, blaming our angry reaction to their lack of committment for their unwillingness to commit! It’s maddening. I wonder every time, “Does he think I’m that stupid? That I don’t see that his rationale is insane?” Or is he trying to stall? Trying to make excuses and knows they are crazy ones? And then, yes, being punished for the closeness that comes every once in awhile–for example, we spent Christmas together at his best friend’s house, with our children, and since then have never been invited back, though he goes every Sunday with his child and stays until ten or later. We had a great time on Christmas, we were all so happy. When I ask, why don’t you take us with you anymore? He says it’s because I’m so angry and he doesn’t “know about” me or us. He always, always responds to my requests to talk with “I would tell you how I feel but you always throw it back in my face.” For example, he told me we were going to move into his new house when it was done, and then when my lease was up he refused to talk about it. I said, “but this is what we talked about.” And that’s one example of my “throwing it back in his face”–expecting him to explain himself when he changes his mind! I would love, too, to find some way of getting this man to commit. I told him just the other day, “Give me a ring. You can go wherever you want, do what you want, tell me nothing. We never even have to get married.” It’s come to that with me: I just find it so maddening that I have no “proof” that he’s really my boyfriend–I just want to be able to show people something: a ring, a key to his house, a baby–anything that will make him unable to deny that yes, we are connected. And I think that’s exactly what HE is tryng to avoid.

    Chris, that your guy was in foster care is scary to me. My N has a five year old foster child (don’t ask me why, it’s nuts), and I literally have nightmares about how this child is going to grow up.

  336. ana said

    Tracy and all, oh my goodness. I could write a book myself about the commitment issue, that is not just straight forward commitment fears. How he can only be spontaneous when we are not committed, when we are committed my expectations of the relationship sabotage it. Only after four years of having zero expectations did i realize that his expectations of me were off the charts. And right now we are seperated because we got close. That’s why these guys have attachment issues. They do not attach in a conventional way. That’s why Kim’s advice about building attachment is so essential.

    This evening we went for a walk, which I practically had to beg him to go on even tho he suggested it????? They set themselves up for us to get annoyed I feel. Anyway. Half way thru the walk he started with how I always ask too many questions (because I am worried about his health because he said he was overwhelmed with work and I naturally expressed concern) – I’m a master now at not reacting and finding ways to connect with him even when he’s like a prickly whatever ..

    Someone said above that they flirt with other women as a way of asserting their independence. I really think this is true, somehow we have come to represent their mothers who, in our case, was totally overwhelming to him.

    Anyway. I bought the Workbook and I’m going to work on the exercises. If anything it will keep me sane. But in general its a fresh lens to look at this problem thru. If I was in his shoes I would be terrified out of my wits as I watched person after person leave him. He did once say that he knew i loved him because I was still there after all we’d been thru. There are days when I ask myself why but overall I really do love him and I’ve learned so much and frankly his challenges are good for me too.


  337. ana said

    and Tracy I am DEFINITELY the person ‘trying to make him do something’ ie marry me. and he says i keep at him to do something he doesn’t want to do and then he gives in and does it and then gets angry. its infuriating.

    we definitely have some OCPD issues going on too tho where the actual stalling is the thing that gives relief, the idea is not to make a decision because making a decision could be a mistake. He was never validated as a child – I have tried to fill that gap, but at one point it got so ridiculous because in trying to validate him I had to agree that he was right to break up with me! ludicrous. this challenge requires a really strong set of feet on the ground.


  338. Valleri said

    Hi, Ana–
    I’ve been there: after a year with my N he said, “I want to marry you but you have to ask me; I can’t be responsible for that decision.” When I proposed, ring and all, he acted like he had never heard of such a ridiculous idea. Good luck to all of us.

  339. sydney said

    Well, this is really a difficult row to hoe. After our “civil” conversation, we had a couple of nice days and then decided spontaneously to go to another tango dance. Soon after arriving, the same woman appeared and she immediately made a beeline for my husband (I was already dancing at the time, because he had told me he was not planning to dance.). Then, Not only did he dance with her but she took him over to a group of her friends. At that point, I went over to and stood in front of him and said, “What are you DOING?” He replied (this was rich), “She is giving a lesson — I am supporting her.” I said, “Who is she? Who am I? Why are you doing this?” He got furious and told me to go to hell. He stormed out of the dance. When I didn’t follow, he returned in a few minutes. Then she and her friends started to leave and he got up to leave and I followed. He saw me and stopped and gave her a social kiss (!) and then I caught up with them and again put myself between him and her and said to her, “How do you know my husband?” She looked a little bewildereed and said, “From tango.” I then said, under my breath, “He can be very violent.” And she and a friend looked at me silently and then went off. I don’t normally cause a scene like this, but I was just so appalled at his behavior. He then waited until he saw that I was returning to the dance and then left when he saw me but was waiting outside and was FURIOUS with me. Actually, at the time, I felt very calm, in a strange way, and I told him I was not angry with him but I needed him to think about what he was doing. He started yelling at me to go home and finally said, “Don’t make me punch you.” I did go home and got ready to call the police when he arrived but was still very calm and made arrangements to return home again. Nothing happened when he got home a few hours later and he was actually civil again when we got up in the morning. This is so strange, I have never encountered anything like it. But before we spoke, we both slept for a long time and I had felt very calm and was making plans to separate from him. Then We talked about the evening and he said that I was trying to control him and she had asked him to dance and to help her give a lesson to her friends and that I did not understand tango dances were about fun and talking to people and dancing with whom you wanted to dance. I told him that it was very hurtful to me, but at the same time I knew I had made a little scene (purposefully). I said I was feeling like my desires were never taken account of in this relationship and he said that we could start discussing options. We ended up spending the day together and have decided to continue the trip. I am trying to monitor myself to make sure that this doesn’t become too destructive to me (I have a cold right now for instance). But we have had a couple of good talks since then. He always says I try to “force” him to do things and that will not work but he can give more if I don’t force. I don’t know, maybe I am being played. Thanks for letting me vent.

  340. gypsy said

    Hi Everyone:

    I am currently out of my relationship. It has been 4 months and I am catching up on myself. It feels good. I have gotten so busy with things that I have had no time to grieve. Each time I do think of my ex I come here and I am reminded of how difficult it was to be in relationship with him. Everything everyone is sharing I can relate to. For now I am relieved I am not in relationship with someone who has a N personality. I realize I just don’t have what it takes for it right now. But, I am curious because it is a theme in my relationships to males as I now see my mother married a N. personality. I think my sons both are borderline as well. I want to learn all I can.

    I can see a pattern of traits for both sides and wanted to just make a note of them here to see if this is what others see and if we can help each other through seeing these patterns. Maybe others can add to the list. I think it is most important to see what we the one who loves someone with a N. personality has as personality traits because we can look like the saint in this situation and we do have to be at times and that is why I want to look a little closer. What kind of actions do we have to take in order to be a better person in general regardless of whether we are in a N. relationship or not? We are attracted to another to mirror back to us our greatest strengths that lie beneathe our shortcomings. The N. knows how to bring our worst out and they can be so good at it. Maybe we need them to do this. I can tell you this, since I have come face to face with a N. my life will NEVER EVER be the same. I have definitely become a better person, though easier to do when I am not around him any more, not at all easy when I was in the relationship and so I tip my hat to any that are in one. So, I have to go and take care of myself right now and will get back with my observations of patterns that I see in myself and with others in this kind of relationship. This will give any of you a chance to see what you can come up with. Thanks everyone for sharing and being vulnerable and helping me see I am not alone.

  341. Colleen said

    Well, I’m back. Thanks for that supportive answer, Kim. I was able to remain calm that day & begin to feel better on my own, & later when my husband called me back he was calm & pleasant himself, as if nothing ever happened. I was glad he didn’t continue to be hurtful, but it’s always frustrating when the behavior doesn’t change…

    Anyway, my main issue right now is I JUST CALLED THE POLICE ON MY HUSBAND & I am freaking out. They made him leave, he said “It’s over, we will be getting divorced,” but really I REALLY DON’T WANT THAT, I just want this madness to end & for us to be happy. Things got physical only in a minor way, we were arguing about something stupid, I was stupidly trying to redirect the conversation & get him back on topic when he went off about unrelated things. He started getting irritated & I should have just let it go, but I kept trying to calm him & redirect the conversation. I feel like I provoked him on that, & I wish I had been able to stop talking & just let it go! Anyway, I was standing in the doorway, & he said he was leaving & tried to push past me but I stood my ground & said “Don’t push me, I’m standing here.” But then I should have moved out of the way & let him pass & I didn’t, so he forcefully shoved past me, slamming my arm into the door frame & leaving it red w/ a small spot of broken skin.

    I told him “This is the 2nd time you have gotten physical with me, if you do it one more time I’m calling the police.” (The first time was not an obvious incident, & I really couldn’t have called the police about it – we don’t have AVO’s here in the US). But then he didn’t show any remorse (of course), he just smugly ignored what I was trying to say, so I called the police to come.

    I feel horrible. I know he shouldn’t have shoved past me, but it’s true that I didn’t move, either, I made it hard for him & did provoke him in that way, so aren’t I partly responsible? Yet he is the one that had to leave, & he has nobody nearby to stay with, he’s driving an hour away now to stay with a friend & he has to work in the morning (it’s already 12:30 am now).

    When the officer said maybe we should just get divorced, I said what Kim says in her book, that divorce isn’t necessarily the answer, I just wanted someone to let him know the consequences of his behavior, & that he can’t do that to me. Then the female officer (there were 2 males with her, I wish they would have spoken up) did tell him in a no-nonsense tone that even if I was blocking the door, she knows he didn’t nicely try to get by, but that he forcefully shoved through. Then she said that if he puts his hands on me again that he will go to jail & it’s $1000 bond.

    And what’s worse is that I was all ready to make a phone call to one of his best male friends tomorrow in the daytime to get together & discuss my concerns, b/c some of my family/friends know what is going on, but none of his do yet, & this incident with the police wasn’t supposed to happen yet! Now what do I do??? I should still make the call, right? Or is it just going to look like I’m trying to do “damage control” for myself, & hurt my chances in the long run to gain support from his friends?

    Oh, boy. *SIGH* I don’t know if I did the right thing. Was I wrong to call the police? Am I just as much at fault b/c I didn’t move & continued to try to talk to him? He was just trying to get away from me, & I was in the doorway blocking his way… I’m so confused & upset, & I don’t know what to do next…!

  342. kimcooper said

    Hi Colleen,

    Your letter I hope may help others reading here see why I strongly recommend
    seeing the police in office hours (if your partner is physically abusive) rather than calling
    in the heat of an argument when things are always likely to get messy.

    It is very hard for me to help you with this from here, but maybe you can consider a few things,

    The first is that in your first letter you said that you wish you had stayed broken up? This makes me
    wonder if you really want to be with him? Or are you perhaps scared of being alone?
    The other is that I would really look again at the personal bill of rights exercise because I am really
    not sure that his best friend is the person to try and get to help him. As you say it will just look
    like you are trying to get him to take sides. You got the police to say the perfectly right thing to him
    and that is good but as I said last time I really think you need more information on who your husband is
    attached to now or what is going on behind the scenes and also that you really do the bill of rights

    Begging and pleading is not going to work here. If you want to build attachment you are going
    to need to be very clear in apologising that you blocked his way but also say that you don’t know
    how to handle him being rough with you and because that scares you you didn’t know what else to
    do and really, as the police said, it is wrong for him to be rough with you.

    I think you also need to be ready to say that you know that he is not happy and that you understand
    that he thinks a divorce is the only answer, but that you do not want to break up (if this is really true?)
    and that you hope that you might each work on improving things. At this point you could choose something from
    the gap finder and say I am working on this (something that you need to take more responsibility for yourself
    about and that you have identified in the gap finder) and that you would be really impressed if he might
    start working on —– (again choose this challenge from the gap finder).

    There of course are no guarantees that he will want to come back but I think it is important that you leave it
    at that for now and don’t say too much more. You could invite him to something and leave it at that.

    The most important thing is that you get more solid on your own two feet and that you show him you are
    strong and getting your own act together because this is important for you and your daughter and it is also
    important to show him you are strong, you will need to be if you are ever going to be able to help the two
    of you through this.

    Please keep reading and learning and especially do the four legged stool exercise in the Love Safety Net Workbook,

    Hang in there!


  343. Colleen said

    Kim, thank you so much for your swift reply! I can’t sleep, my insides are just all messed up right now.

    To clarify, I did say I wish we’d stayed broken up, but only b/c it would be easier right now – I wouldn’t be dealing with all of this heartache & chaos. But I do love him & do want to work things out, & I really feel strongly that I don’t want to divorce. It is just frustration & hopelessness that makes me say I wish we hadn’t gotten back together.

    Also, I did actually go to the police station during the day after the first incident, but not when we were actually fighting, & I also called before that, to see if there was someone I could speak with regarding “domestic” situations. Unfortunately, my city’s police department doesn’t have anyone specifically designated to deal with DV, so both times I was left with no names of officers & no specific person to call or reference…!

    I did do the bill of rights, but had trouble coming up with anyone other than his friend M, & M’s wife, & that’s why I was planning on contacting him. But I will take another hard look at it & see if there is anyone else I can approach first. Most people in his life he has no respect for, he is “friends” with them but he doesn’t value their opinions, & certainly doesn’t seem as though he would care if they approved or disapproved of him. But I will keep looking, there must be someone I’m overlooking…? Is it possible he just keeps 99% of people at arm’s length, or is that another facade? There’s no evidence of any close relationships in his email or social networking accounts, b/c I looked, & even his boss he disrespects b/c there is an “old boys club” my husband is not a part of, & my husband looks down on this behavior as unprofessional.

    I have not gotten to the four-legged stool exercise yet, I will take a look at that. It’s hard b/c I’m just starting to work through the workbook, but my chaotic life isn’t waiting for me to complete it & THEN approach my husband, it’s just throwing more chaos all the time! I want to say, “Could you just wait until I’ve done all my exercises & am prepared to deal with this, so I don’t keep messing it up?” But of course that can’t happen. =)

    I know you are busy, & have a lot of people asking you for help, but I really appreciate it, & I know I speak for so many others who feel the same way. Kim, you & Steve are the only ones giving me any real hope right now that I can save my marriage!!!

    I just have one more question about this situation. I almost sent him an email tonight after my first post saying those exact things you mentioned (an affirmation that I love him, an apology for blocking him, a confirmation that it was not OK for him to get physical, & a reminder that I want to work it out & that I would be here when he wanted to talk), but I thought maybe it was too soon to send it, so I deleted it. Do you think it would be OK to send it, or should I just wait a day or two or three to see what he will do?

    Thanks again, you really are a blessing. I sincerely hope that my husband & I can be one of your success stories some day.

  344. sydney said

    Hello Colleen and everyone,
    This are all very difficult and painful situations, with a lot of nuance to them! Colleen, good luck as you sort this out. I was shocked the first time my husband told me he would divorce me (about a week after we got married!) but he could reverse himself within minutes or hours. I don’t say he is typical or that your guy didn’t mean it, just that I have learned not to believe everything he says when he is really angry.

    I have been doing a lot of thinking about a plan while I have been on this “holiday” and I think that I have concluded that I am going to ask my husband to find his own place for a while. It is partly because he tends to “take over” my house (while refusing to pay more than a certain amount, even though I could rent the space on the market for a lot more, until I sell part of the house to him, which I have not wanted to do until we have a better relationship) and everything has to be just the way he likes it or he gets very angry or cold. But it is also part of my effort to get my finances under control because I lost my very well-paying job a year and a half ago and needed some financial help from him around the time we got married. (This I think was a big mistake, although it seemed fair to me at the time, since he wanted to get married much sooner than I was comfortable with. He had the idea for a while that I only “married him for money,” but that was not true at all.) I have another job now, but it pays only about half of what I made before and I have wanted the security of a marriage but a little while ago I realized that I should just give up on the idea of getting financial support from him. So I need to make more money from the house by renting out rooms to regular tenants while I get my finances in order and figure out how to supplement my income. I really like Kim’s emphasis on financial independence for women as part of the program.
    I also am thinking of telling him that I am not divorcing him and for the moment I am not ending the marriage but I am going to put the relationship ball in his court and say if he wants to have so much freedom and not report to me and not go to tango dances together, then we should not be living together and it will be easier for me to give him that freedom that way. One of my friends commented that he “oppresses” me and he certainly has changed my lifestyle, in most ways not for the better, although the house is definitely cleaner. He suggested a week after moving into my house that he find his own space — he is so particular about his living conditions, even a new male tenant noticed right away and made a comment about “living up to his expectations.” I didn’t want him to move out then, but perhaps that was a mistake. I deeply wanted to share my living space with a man again (after living many many years alone), but he is really not easy to live with and when everything is not perfect, clean, spotless, smell-less, TV available all the time, cats confined to the basement, meals provided, he gives nothing and acts very dissatisfied and gets angry. I’m just not the kind of woman who can be happy constantly cleaning up the house for a man who only wants to dance with other women when we go out to parties. WTF!

    Anyway, any comments on this plan welcome. I have not started to implement it except for raising the possibility of his moving out in an offhanded, light way (to which he replied, “That’s fine, I’m looking for a workable solution” [to our conflicts]).

  345. Maggie said

    I wanted to reply to Gypsie who asked peoples thoughts on the traits of those involved with a N.

    Up to a point it’s really worthwhile question and I know I have learnt a lot about myself during the time that I have been trying to figure out my husband and what it was I was doing so wrong!. I always thought I was a lot like him but now I know he produces a lot of confusion so even that isn’t necesarily so!

    My thoughts are that people posting are surprised and shocked by their own emotions- their strong reactions to the goading and provocation they live with. We perhaps allow ourselves to be pushed much further then other women would (those who naturally get the red flags straight away). And then the fall-out is so strong and dramatic.

    Does anyone else have a sneaky affection for the dramatic person they become as a result of it all in the context of living with the N? I know well enough that the pain is very real but I wonder why I didn’t leave him!

    What about also crossing our fingers and hoping against hope that the promises made by the N are real despite all the evidence to the contrary? Is that a charactersitic?

    Living through his fantasies perhaps, validating him and sitting on the sidelines of my own life is one of mine.

    But as well as asking why taking action is where the real change happens. It was incredibly brave of you to contact the police Colleen and to try to stand up to your partner in a new way. Keep safe.


  346. Steve Cooper said

    Hi Maggie, what great questions and thanks for raising them.

    Once you have limited the abuse to a point where you feel safe in your own home, you can begin asking these very painful questions. Kim and I in a recent radio show discussed the usefulness of embarrassment and shame, and how it forces us to change, (i.e. to never do the same embarrassing ad shameful deed again).

    I think Maggie is really moving forward fast with these questions, yet the only note I would add is that no-one should feel that they have been ‘wrong’ or ‘foolish’. You may have been taken for a ride but you have done so with an open mind and an open heart, and you deserve a better ending. You can create that better ending yourself.

    PS. Sorry that Kim and I have been so quiet, we are feeling much better from the rest and we are back into our radio show this afternoon.

  347. Valleri said


    I know I’ve been aware of these embarrassing traits for awhile:

    -lack of regard for oneself, one’s own life: a “dedication” to the N is the only way to describe it
    -the belief that one will be rewarded for the blind trust, the tireless comforting and affection, the forgiveness
    -the feeling that if I just word my complaints differently, over and over, he will understand how nuts his behavior is: the feeling that he can’t possibly understand what he’s doing because no one, not even he, could do these things to someone
    -the willingness to excuse absolutely anything

    I think that the strangest trait is our own difference from normal “victims”–it seems we are all very smart, very accomplished, very level-headed and strong in the beginning. I think in some way the N’s are attracted to the strength and acomplishment and want to break us down to boost their own self esteem. I don’t think they are drawn to weak people.

  348. kay said

    i have been married for a long time to a man who always proudly said “it’s all about me”(him), and who would become verbally abusive if ever questioned about his behaviotr. he carried on a few emotional affairs (at least) with other women, and acted as if my discomfort with those relationships was wrong and hurtful to him.
    we have children and so i put up with this and other hurtful behavior for a lot of years. when i finally filed for separation he became mentally and verbally abusive, including threatening to tell our kids things about my own family’s history that would be devasting to me if told. he carried through on that threat, and now i find i can’t get over that.
    i am torn between feeling like i should be free of this jerk and feeling like i should try to heal this troubled marriage. but though he most definitely wants to work things out, i think my heart isn’t in it.
    he has tried to make it work, finally after almost 30 years going to counselling, but when i tell him i have doubts his old blaming and hurtful personality returns.
    any ideas?
    do you think a relationship like this could be healed?

  349. Maggie said


    Who could blame you for having doubts? Being hurtful and blaming is your husbands habitual response isn’t it. I think you need to give your heart and your Self some time and space to heal before you make any decisions. Your kids must be hurting too having been emotionally used like that between the two of you and they might need space -a kind of emotional refuge -for a while to process it all. It sounds very raw.

    But still use Kim and Steve’s resources to help yourself get stronger in your own time whatever you decide about your marriage. There is something called traumatic bonding – where even though your husband has been abusive, you might feel you have been through so much together that you still miss him very intensely.

    If you can bring more resources into your Self and your family from your community, people you can trust or professionals who deal with abusive behaviour and know not to validate it that will help you. If you can’t think of anyone yet that would be a good place to start. Above all don’t blame yourself – you did your best just like we all did.


  350. Anna said

    Hi Kim and Steve and Everyone
    I haven’t been ‘popping in’ lately because (some of you may remember) my situation suddenly changed and I’ve had hubby back for four weeks now, after 10 months apart. And what an interesting four weeks it’s been!!! One of the interesting things for me is that I always thought I needed to see definite change – some sort of breakthrough – before I could have him back, and I used to be so adament about this. As it happened (and I can’t go in to all the details and reasons here) but essentially nothing had changed. Well, when I think about it, actually I had changed! Not changed as a person but because I’d been learning so much from this website and been doing my homework, a lot of my approaches had changed, and so things are a bit different around here now. I’ve been a lot more empowered and it’s been very helpful to know where NOT go to in conversation, and how to handle conversations that aren’t going anywhere, etc. Not that I always know or remember how to be handling things as they come up – but when I do fluff up, I’m encouraged by remembering Kim saying she did too. I find that REALLY encouraging!!!

    Anyway, a week or so after he came back, we had the most amazing conversation where he was sharing some revelations he’d been getting. For the first time ever, he could see that he’s been harbouring anger towards me for nearly two decades. He’s one of those unusual Ns who manage to remain calm and stoic but in reality they do have anger – it gets channeled by ‘checking out’ on the wife and getting needs met elsewhere. Now he can see he’s been angry for years! He reckons it started about 7 years after marriage when we moved to another city. He’d flourished and I’d struggled. I also used to get sick a lot and that also factored in. Anyway, here he was using words like ’emotional immaturity’, ‘selfish’, ‘pride’, ‘in denial’ – and he was referring to HIMSELF!!! I was astonished at the self-awareness and honesty. I was able to share some revelations about myself with him too.

    Since then it’s been kinda two steps forward and one step back. Over all, it’s better than it’s ever been in some areas. However, there’s still many occasions when he defaults to his old way of doing conversations, when it is impossible to reason with him. I know to cut these off short, telling him that I want to honour my commitment to him to not get angry. He doesn’t like this even tho I’m keeping calm and inviting him to bring the subject up at a later time (and hoping like crazy he doesn’t!. He takes offence and sees me as being controlling, difficult and refusing to see his perspective. Funny – ‘cos that’s exactly how I see HIM being!

    So it can be really hard at times. I’m wondering how long it’s going to take before he gets to the point where you did, Steve, when you just let everything go, your bubble was burst, and you became totally vulnerable. My hubby has let a bit go – but he’s still holding on tightly to the rest of it. I’m keeping the goal in sight and am pursuing ‘being safe’ for him the best I can, and to affirm him in genuine ways. Over all I’m very encouraged but it still feels pretty tough and frustrating a lot too. If you’ve got any advice or encouragement for me, I could do with some at the mo.

  351. Carie said

    Does anyone have any advice on how I can approach my husband with The Love Safety Net Workbook? I really want him to try it, but I think he will just toss it aside. He just keeps telling me that he wants us to stay together, but that I have to fix everything.

  352. Jennie said

    Hi Carie,

    I didn’t approach my husband with the workbook. I suspect he would have rejected that approach. I think he would have viewed it as my “long list of stuff he screws up that he needs to change.”

    I did the gap finder exercises the way Kim suggests in The Love Safety Net Workbook and selected one of the areas where we both needed to improve our skills. I approached him with the idea of something *we* could perhaps work on together to improve both our lives. He was all in favor of that and it has worked out very well. Both of us have improved and working together on it has helped create positive attachment and a sense of teamwork.

  353. Zoe said

    Dear Kim,
    I had to plan my escape, because I new he would kill me if he had the chance, or knew I was going to leave. It was and is the hardest thing I have ever done. I love this man to this day, but I lost myself in the process. My hopes and my dreams. I thought being and dealing with him was better than having to start the process over again.
    I did my all until I had to move out of god’s way to let him take hold.
    The beatings, the verbal abuse, the walking on egg shells, I don’t miss. I come home from work now into a home of peace and quiet. Calmness..but I still find myself so angry that I gave up my home, but to have my peace of mind back was worth it.
    I find myself crying every single night, and day before work, missing him, how crazy is that?
    But I do..4 years of his anger, beating, puch down flights of stairs, the masking tape over my mouth and legs tied. And now I wonder how can he live with himself, when all I ever did was love him, and try to help him. Now I feel like I’m dying a slow death. How do I start to live now..without him


  354. judy collier said

    Oh my God Zoe, read what you just said over and over. And then a million times a day say “I am worth so much more than that”! Your letter touched my heart so much. Go ahead and love him just stay a country or two away!!!! Judy

  355. Zoe said

    Thankyou Judy,
    I now know that is meant by time heals all wounds, and I belive I will find someone who will love me the way I know God wants me to be loved.
    I lost what I belived to be my soulmate. But I have come to realize that love doesn’t hurt, love doesnt try to kill you, rape you,hurt you. Love loves you. I know in my heart that I tried to do all I could. And with all of that the nerve of him to say to me, “stay in your place or be replaced” And I belived he has replaced me with someone because that’s how he works, someone must take care of him.I think about the love I had in my mind, what I thought love should be, you see I loved him all my love, maybe it was just the promise of him, but I remember someone saying ” a wine bottle in the mud is just that, a wine bottle in the mud. Nothing more, you can’t make it anything else. It is what it is.
    Thankyou for reading and letting me get this off mind chest.Now it’s time for me to live my life for me.To come home to my puppy and my fish and my peace and quiet. Sleeping knowing that I don’t have to wonder what mood he is going to be in, is he going to speak to me. has he been drinking or drugging. Is he going to come home tonight. Has he been with the other women. I just wonder is he missing me, was the 4 years all a lie.I just try want to belive that something I did mattered to him. But I will take what you said to heart, love him…I am so bless to have my life. I have a chance now to have the love God has for me. I belive that he’ll come I have to get in line to what I really need. Not to wear the banner of I’m here to help you. no I’m here to work together with you.for what we need as a couple.I have to stop the madness. change my way of thinking and wait..


  356. Carie said

    Please don’t go back! Do you have a friend/family you can call if you get weak and think that being miserable with him is easier than being unhappy alone? You could use some help in those moments of weakness, because it WILL get harder before it starts to get easier.

    You need to find yourself again. And if you are not sure what it is that makes you happy, THEN JUST DON’T DO ANYTHING THAT MAKES YOU UNHAPPY. A friend gave me that advice a long time ago when I lost myself, and I found it to be much easier. If someone asks you to do something that you really don’t want to do, just say NO. Eventually, you will find your way 🙂

    You are so brave! Good for you.

  357. Zoe said

    Thankyou Carie
    No I won’t go back because I know he’ll kill me d/t the fact I had the “nerve” to leave him. He would make me pay.
    I have no family but a strong support system at work. My co-workers have helped me through this. My boss put me up in a place for as long as I ever want to be here. I have been blessed.But reading about N’s I know he is the poster child.But unlike some, he is not willing to try to change, so as hard as it get at times, I know I can never go back. Thankyou for your response. Keep me and all others in your prayers. Zoe

  358. sydney said

    Sigh, I am now in the same boat as Colleen. I know that in Kim’s program asking someone to move out is not recommended but I did it as nicely as possible and really it was because of the money situation (I gave him the option to pay more rent, market-rate, but he did not want to), then we had a few nice days (although “nice” for him includes four hours of grueling cleaning out the mess underneath the porch). So, we were doing okay. Then — because he was letting me use his computer since I had broken mine on vacation by grabbing it the wrong way and he had said not to let the computer be exposed to sunlight one day when I was using it on the porch… I agreed but on Friday he came home from work and I was working on the dining room table next to sliding glass doors and when the sun travels over the house, at the end of the day some sun comes in and just as he arrived the clouds parted and some light fell on the computer and all of a sudden he was furious because there was some light on it and (my “mistake”) I argued with him that this isn’t what I thought he meant by sunlight and I had not let the computer out into the sun and the glass doors blocked the UV rays and etc but that just infuriated him more (he called it “arrogance”) and he grabbed the computer away from me and then he started closing down a very complicated set of windows that I had opened to obscure documents and some work that I had spent all day doing (I wasn’t sure if it was saved though I thought so) and when he said that he was closing down my work without saving it, I’m afraid I said “Get the f–k out!” whereupon he lept up and grabbed my wrists and twisted them, somehow he bent me forward and I saw the edge of a chair kind of narrowly miss my eye, then (still twisting my wrists) he shoved me back against the kitchen counter. All of that was bad enough, but I gathered myself up and said, “If you do that again, I’ll call the police.” He said, without any fear, “Go ahead!” So I did. What happened next was more than I expected. He got dressed in his “outside” clothes and put on his snazzy sunglasses and got into his car but the police came so fast he could not drive off. They interviewed both of us and said if they determined that an assault had taken place, they had no discretion, they had to arrest him. Well, they did make a determination an assault had taken place and they arrested him and he spent the night in custody. I talked to the DA who urged me to let them keep the charges in place so they could put a temporary restraining order in over the weekend. They said it would not make a difference if they dropped the charges now or three weeks from now, but it would enable them to order him to keep away until I could get a civil restraining order on Monday. (They asked me if it was the first time he had laid hands on me, and when I said no, that really seemed to have some impact.) I have all of his cards, phone, computer, etc, but the police said he did not ask for an escort to pick up stuff. I don’t know where he is right now and I am going to a friend’s. The point in Kim’s book about when to go to the police is not quite as clear as it might be, because I certainly missed it when I read it. Anyway, some part of me is relieved, and some part of me feels upset, but mostly I am just tired. I do not want to make more trouble for his immigration than the arrest will do, and because I am his wife, they said they cannot compel me to testify against him. I do not want to press charges and I have seen some reading that arresting someone is not necessarily a cause of further violence. I do not know what will happen now, but I’ll just have to wait it out. I thought he would come to pick up his things, but he didn’t. Maybe because he wo=uld have had to have a police escort.

  359. Maggie said

    Hi Sydney,

    Reading back a bit in your posts it sounds like your husbands immigration status impacts more on your sense of yourself and your freedom than it does on his. As if he uses you to feel more free – and as such completely disrespects you?

    I am a bit unsure about my next step so I can imagine how you must be feeling- I went and spoke to a domestic abuse worker at the police station but as his abuse is emotional and not physical – and covert – she said there was nothing the police could do. I was happy with that as just going in there did something profound for my sense of myself as deserving of respect. With all the mind games I have lived through with him I feel saner now having spoken to an ‘authority’ figure ie the police, that has confirmed that what he is doing is wrong. Simply wrong – no messing about.

    Isn’t there something in Kim’s workbook about not protecting people from the consequences of their bad behaviour – enabling our partners to learn. It might be important at the moment for your personal safety to follow through with the legal process. It was very wrong of him to assault you and if he ‘gets away with it’ and gets you back at some point in the future when it has all blown over he may behave badly again. And continue to try to make you feel responsible – when you have done nothing wrong but try to love him.

    Mobilize as much support as you can for yourself in your community to keep yourself and your property (and your cats) safe. And take special care of yourself at the moment to get through it

  360. sydney said

    Hi Maggie,
    Thanks for your post. I understand your frustration regarding emotional abuse because (until recently) I thought that is what I was dealing with! I am not quite sure though that I fully understand your first paragraph — do you mean that I seem more concerned with his immigration than he does??? I have been doing some quick reading about domestic violence and although I think that Kim’s methods do help, it seems very hard to predict if someone will reabuse and if they won’t, if the abuse will escalate and if it will taper off. So it might work with some and not others, I’m not sure. He did come last night with a police escort to get some things — he did look at me as he passed, briefly, though the police told him not to, but I didn’t get a clear sense of the expression on his face. I would like to be able to size up how this all is impacting him — if he feels shattered or just furious with me that I got him into trouble. It is kind of sinking in to me that he has done this, more than once now. Tough day.

  361. Jennie said

    I know you don’t want your husband to have immigration issues, yet he needs to face the consequences of his behavior. *You* aren’t creating the problem by protecting yourself from assault – *He* is creating his own problems by assaulting you.

    Kim’s advice to Alissa back on June 7 migh be applicable to your situation:

    “many women who have written to me over the past two years and said “I can’t tell the police/his boss/our pastor/etc what he is doing, because if I did he would lose his job/go to jail/ etc. Well I say “Let him lose his job or go to jail!” If he is behaving in a way where that is warranted you cannot protect him from that and to try to do so is a huge mistake.

    I used to protect Steve form all sorts of consequences of his behaviour and stopping doing that was vital to our marriage improving. He might have lost his job and got into all kinds of trouble there for awhile but in the end it was the best stuff that ever happened to him and all of us!”

  362. Maggie said

    Hi Sydney,

    Thanks for your reply. Yes I did mean that you seemed more concerned about your husbands immigration than he does. But I didn’t mean that it is some kind of fault of character flaw of yours – not at all. I mean that it might be part of the emotional abuse you have had to put up with. Part of a pattern of controlling behaviour?

    Sounds like you have had a really tough day! I totally agree with what Jennie posted. You aren’t creating the problem – he is behaving badly. Whether or not he uses this experience for growth ultimately is up to him. But he has the chance to if he wants to.

    I don’t know if Kim’s methods will work for me either – but I want for my two grown up daughters (18 & 21) who still live with us to see me standing up to my husband in a way that is more like in normal relationships.

    It’s quite good common sense to look at how normal relationships work and push in that direction. Learning about empathy and being part of a community are my sticking points! They are challenges for me personally but I have made some progress. Seeing how my family is becoming a bit more relaxed is helping me to feel I’m heading in the right direction. There is a lot more laughter. But I have a feeling there are tough times ahead for me and my husband even so. I feel he maybe uses the family to let off steam about problems in his work life – but still playing the nice guy so it’s not so obvious what he’s doing.

    I’ve ended up talking about myself, perhaps we all have our own reasons for wanting to make some of these changes.

  363. sydney said

    Hi Maggie and Jennie,

    I do agree that facing the consequences is really important and in a way I am glad the legal system is taking it so seriously. I haven’t decided yet what to do about the prosecution but I am definitely getting a civil order today. For one thing, that can compel him into certain programs, require him to move out of my house, etc. I did accidentally have a couple of instances where I got to talk to the police where he could see but not hear, just like Kim recommended. I don’t know how much value the treatment programs have, but I think he could use a good dose of straight-up, old-fashioned “critique of patriarchy” feminism. I felt better as the day wore on and talked to friends, made good food, and went out to dance in one of my favorite venues. I just felt like Kim writes about in one of her books that I am just fed up with being unhappy. I would just like to be able to live my own life and enjoy the rest of the summer here (5 weeks or so) and not have to deal with him for a while. I am also searching my soul to see how much motivation I have left to help him. Sydney

  364. lm said

    Hi Kim and Steve,

    My boyfriend has N tendencies. We have been fighting quite a bit lately over the fact that I found his online dating profile 8 months into our relationship. I have tried to forget his contact with other women on the site (and via email) after we began dating, but I am having a hard time moving on emotionally. As time has gone on, other problems have emerged; he won’t respond to any questions about his behaviour, he snaps at me and belittles me and is much less affectionate than he used to be. He also takes very little interest in my life and pursuits. I don’t want to leave him but I have found myself threatening to do so because I feel otherwise powerless, which I know causes even more trouble with N men.

    I am wondering if i should be more affectionate and attentive, because I sense that he is looking for attention elsewhere as I’ve begun to pull back as his behaviour has slowly worsened. I find myself becoming irritated and angry at inappropriate times because I resent the effort it takes to be with a person who was once so affectionate and interested in me.

  365. Zoe said

    Dear Sydney
    I feel compel to say this to you. I have just left my “N” after being together for 4 years. Without having to go into all the details I did have to go to police and through the legal system. After I had hidden the black eyes, the sprang legs and arms by saying I fell into the door or something, my coworkers knew what was going on. And since I work with an abuse women shelter in my dept, I could no longer hide the fact that this was life threating.
    When he beat me the last time, I call my neighbor and he also pushed her on the floor, I pressed charges, then later felt that I wanted help for him, sitting in jail really was not going to give him the message I thought, so I dropped the charges, he was home that eve. sorry as usual, but the verbal abuse continue. He is now on probation for what he did, he went through anger management, but when it was over, it was just that. He did not have to be accountable anymore, so he was back to his old ways. I just had to come to terms with my life and say I love me better than that, I was a broken woman,with strength that remain I had to get my life back. It was driving me insane. But I’m learning to get my life back. And he is now doing what he does best, What he wants to do, use people.
    But I’ve got my mind back, my self esteem, I lost my neighbor,who was my best friend. But I have learn a valuable lesson, I have my life. I had to get a Civil Protection Order in order to leave, and now he can not bother me for 5 years, no phone calls or anything. But he doesn’t want me anymore I’m of no use to him right now. After all that..So I packed up all the broken pieces of my life and that relationship and Thank God I can put those back together again.

  366. sydney said

    Dear Zoe and Maggie,

    Zoe, I want you to know that I very much admire you for what you are doing. What is difficult in this area of DV is the unpredictability of it all. Some batterers (and maybe yours was one) are totally incorrigible, but how to know if you have one of them is the hard thing. But it totally sounds like you had one of the worst, and most dangerous, and I can assure that there is more to life than a man, especially a man who is abusing you. I think that you will find that each day gets easier, and at some point you will (trust me) not feel the pain and you will have found so many other things to appreciate and enjoy. You are obviously very strong, and I am glad to see that you are not doubting your actions.

    Maggie, good luck to you as you attempt to transform your family. I don’t have kids but I can understand that it may be very important to model being a strong women for your children.

    The local DV unit at the courthouse had a handbook that I took a copy of, with signs to look for re domestic violence. My husband has many of them — I am pretty savvy but one factor that I did not know about at all was pressing for early intimacy and commitment (which he definitely did). But he does not have many of the risk factors for “re-assault” (and, gulp, homicide), but I do feel strongly about not letting this escalate more than it already has. He does have a chance to make this into a learning experience, but I am not going to give in on anything unless I sense that he is not putting on his false front. One thing I can see (and I saw already when my husband went abroad for a few weeks without me) is that I feel freer when he is not in the house — and much as I am shocked at having gotten him in trouble with the police I feel much lighter now. (I was even asked out on two dates when I went out dancing Sunday evening, which is kind of unbelievable when you think about it. Obviously, I’m not looking for any involvements right now.) A lesson I seem continually to have to learn over and over again is that I really do have very good instincts about people and men (for instance, I remember standing in my kitchen and asking my future husband, “What’s your REAL personality like?”), but I don’t always follow them, I make excuses or rationales. In this case, it was my empathetic side, feeling sorry for his immigration struggles. And then being unemployed, because I had let a horrible, nasty boss (female) rattle me and undermine my performance. That was a factor too. I really do believe it is important to “self-soothe,” but that it is very very hard. Also, if I have to admit, I just found him very very beautiful, and I loved being held by him, but that was long, long ago and he has undone almost all of that magic with his bad moods and coldness and explosions.

  367. Penny said

    I have just recently left my NPD. He and I had been together for 3.5 years and I really look back and wonder what I was thinking. When we initially started out together, he was living with his child’s mother and they had been together for 5 years. He spent more time out of the house than in it. One day, out of the blue, he calls after a terrific weekend and says that he can’t see me anymore. No explaination or anything. It drove me nuts. (Now, I realize why) We finally talked, after me pursuing him, and he blamed me for something that I did not do. I could not believe it. We stayed together for 3 more years after this and it was hell. It has always been volatile, fearful, unsecure and unpredictable with his behavior. I did everything that i could to make the relationship work thinking that there was something that I had to be doing wrong that kept bringing me this kind of treatment. As the years passed, things did not get better. When we did connect, which was rarely, he would sabotage it. He would remain distant, blameful, no intimacy and drinking.

    I had been asking him to move for about 2 years. He was totally incapable of truly pulling any plan off except socially or going out of town. He has to have jobs that give him “power” to make changes or influence people. Yet, he cannot practice anything that he preaches. I could blow up this blo with all the details of his “stuff” and his fabulous NPD behavior. Prior to my leaving I began to really do some study on why these relationships keep happening to me and why is it hard for me to get out of them. Melody Beattie has really brought so much to light for me. She talks about Codependency No More and I never considered myself one but I realize just the opposite. We are givers, everyone of us on this board are givers, nurturers and we lack boundaries. We also have a high tolerance for pain because we thrive on it for different reasons. My source is from my mother. I recommend her books and it will shed light on YOURSELF and why we are even on this board to begin with. Then we have to be leery of these NPD’s and spot them a mile away. This is not for us and we are not suppose to leave such hell and then want to go back to it. I struggle daily not to call my ex because he acted like a 12 year old boy when I left. Telling EVERYONE that I was leaving him but not talking to me. I took all my resources with me. I will always wonder did he think this was going to go on like we were forever. And he used my resources to assist him in degrading and humiliating me. No way. I would still like a friendship but I know that it is all a lie. Just like when I met him, he was a lie. I was just a “trophy” like his job that shows everyone that he can attain something but obviously he cannot keep it…

  368. Zoe said

    Dear Sydney,
    I have read the post, it is just mindblowing to me what we have all gone through or are still going through. But I have to remind myself that I AM GOING THROUGH. I have to work with my ex’s uncle, it takes everything inside of me not to ask him is he okay, ofcourse he’s okay, he does what he does. I just don’t want to hear the answer, that he has gone on without me. Something inside of me wants him to hurt as bad as I am hurting, but he is not capable of that and I know it. But you see, I feel I need after all of this, to belive I have not lived a lie. But I did, I was lied to, use, abused, cheated on, but I have my life. I HAVE A LIFE. He use to tell me all the time, we are in this to the death, and he was almost right, it was almost my death, but he would continue just like he’s doing now. Depending on someone else.


  369. Maggie said

    Hi Sydney, Penny, Zoe and Im,

    What you describe -Im- is exactly how it is with my husband. There are a lot of resources available about N online and but I have found this one the most practical and useful- if you want to do more than just sit there with steam blowing out of your ears! I could never have imagined doing some of the things I have done now, even though I have a long way to go in toughening up!

    Penny, the source of my problems if my mother too. I find that I recreate many of the feelings I still have for her with my husband. After many weeks of counselling with the local womens aid organisation here I recognise that I am still compelled to stay close to her (through him) emotionally even though she is physically in another part of the country. I am guessing this may be one of the vulnerabilities that the N senses and latches onto – at least in my situation. He very strangely seems to sometimes become a clone of me – just in terms of his behaviour – fussing over the housework say. Then after a long ‘cycle’ of behaving like this bemoaning his lack of a life and blaming me.

    I find it hard to make friends and being with my husband seemed easy – none of the work of building closeness. It was easy to get on with him straight away. Now I recognise the false front but am still married to it so to speak. On the few occasions in our long marriage when I have seen his vulnerable real self I have pushed it away as fast as I could, trying to get him to be his ‘brave’ self again.

    Sydney – the weird thing for me seeing the handbook on DV that I was given by my WA (Womens Aid) worker was that I found that I behaved in some of the ways outlined – to my horror and guilt!! But she made no bones about it – the reason was because I was being goaded – almost all the time in a way that seems very ‘normal’ to outsiders. Yes – I love being held by my husband – as bad as he is. I feel strongly though that the capacity to love, to see someone as beautiful, is a strength, and it still belongs to you no matter what.

    Respect to you Zoe for fighting to get your life back. Reading what you wrote I felt so frightened of challenging my husband – but I suppose the things that are hurting me and my children now are the behaviours we think are normal and really aren’t. I have been going to a keep fit class at the gym called ‘body attack’ – very unfortunately named but it’s a good session and I told the instructor that my husband had sabotaged my attempts to keep up with the class last time I attended (a year ago) so I wasn’t telling him this time! I am looking for resources to become physically, mentally and emotionally stronger. Anyway thank you for sharing your amazing strength.

  370. Penny said


    I am just now reading your comment above and it really summed up things for me.
    For me, personally, when he initially reacted to me the way he has..I was blown by it. Why would someone treat me like this? I spent more time in confusion, hurt, BEWILDERMENT and then he would soothe it SOMETIMES with “guilt gifts”. I am strong person with a high tolerance for “CRAP” based on some childhood stuff. I wanted to convince this man that I was not this monster. In turns out that he is the monster and that I have my issues but I am by any means on the level that he consistently has tried to bring me to. We were living in a room in his mother’s house for 2 years and he refused to have a real talk with me about anything. I supplied the cell phone, the cars and the fun social ideas for our relationship. What did I get? No support. I was disrespected by him when he gave strangers a gift that he gives me for my birthday!! How am I special? We are not crazy. There are glimmers of things that I LIKE about this person. Not Love. The things we are experiencing is abuse, not love. Love is not this hard, neither is living. I am done being a hero. He wants to make me the bad guy, that is fine. Blame it on me, because I am FREE!

  371. sydney said

    Thanks, Maggie!

  372. Lisa said

    My husband of 7 years left me in Jan for another woman. He really wasn’t abusive. He would lie and be manipulative. I would catch him in the lies and it really didn’t seem like a big deal to him. He is still seeing the other woman and doesn’t even put effort in to see or talk to our two kids, ages 5 and 1. It is really sad. He was my best friend. I believe he has a sexual addiction along with some NPD. He is very selfish and said he can’t fight the inner struggle anymore.

    How can someone detach themselves so fast and hardly look back? Even detaching from the kids whom he was a great father and husband. I feel like he is someone I didn’t even know now. He was addicted to pornography and this was his second affair in a year. I am not sure what else I can do now that he has left and been gone for 6 months. A apart of me just wants him to go away and that way I won’t have to deal with it anymore. His time was very unaccountable and he hated me asking questions especially if it would expose anything dealing with his cell phone or emails…he thought I was too possessive. But, what are you to do when they have had one affair and you want to be able to trust them but they don’t give you the proper trust.

    I don’t know anymore. I guess I live for my kids now and God. That’s all I can do.

  373. judith collier said

    Good for you Penny! I believed my husband to be a narcissist years ago but never took the time to delve into it, well, now he is getting worse and by worse I mean he is more childish than ever. Also he is drinking more and drawing me into arguments whch last night I jumped in fully! I now have his 3 yr. old blindess which I use to my benefit. You haven’t seen rage until you see me in action, I wanted to kill him. I think a key with regards to our feelings is balance when we think of our significant other we think one sided most of the time. Compassion is my calling but we need to think not only of how much we love them but just at that moment remind ourselves how sick these people are so that we don’t get all sentimental. Think of the horror and the crazyness as much as the good. My children are grown and tend to side with me but they also love their father and I rarely speak to them of our problems as we both can put on a good act. Of course I am known as a bitch as was a woman I was somewhat familiar with. She is now dead. Her husband was a cop and got off sqeeky clean saying his gun went off when they were fighting. She left 7 yr. old twins who are now being raised by her ex husband. I know my reactions are getting worse and I need to back off when this happens. I used to be confused but not anymore. I hope you younger people are taking all of this great site to heart so that you have more yrs.of peace than I have had. You know what though, I am so freaking strong now but he went blind and I can’t dump him on my children and grandchildren. I come from the old school that said, you made your bed, now lie in it. I don’t believe that anymore and have come to the conclusion that it was my childhood that prepared me so well for this type of person and the excess of abuse I can take. For too many yrs. I was ignorant and thought if I just loved him more he would respond in kind, forget that! I am still learning and that helps so much and trying some of this stuff in my old age. Women especially of my generation and religious background were taught in subtle ways that the man was to be put on a pedestal. I was such a good wife and mother but I really believe I should have left long, long ago because nothing I tried worked for very long. I have played the part of his mother, his lover, his friend and for what? I take consolation in the fact that at least I have learned over the years and passed it along to younger women. I never knew about boundaries, abuse or manipulation, I was so naive. Thank God He(the Lord) has made Himself known to me and called me out of bondage because I am now happy and free and my husband doesn’t even know it.I have a temper though that can still get the best of me but I am working on me now, not him. Judy

  374. sydney said


    This site has slowed down, but I thought I would add an update. It has been almost a month and I have not spoken to my husband because of a “stay-away” order from the court. I have asked for this to be lifted and it was supposed to be lifted 10 days ago and then again yesterday but by mistake it is still on. In the meantime, I got a civil order that will allow contact but prohibits any assaulting, harrassing, threatening or stalking behavior. He was also required to move out of the house and right now he is not allowed actually to come to the house. That is in place now but the criminal “stay away” trumps it. I have been doing a lot of soul-searching about how to proceed. I have always wanted the relationship to work more than I wanted it to end, but I have no real faith that he has the same desire or the tools to make it work (in fact, I can guarantee he doesn’t have the latter). He has a lot of incentive now to try to mollify me because of the immigration, but I do not want to be “taken in” by his behavior that may be insincere or manipulative because he realizes what he needs to do. What signs should I look for to make sure that he really wants change (if he even does say that) and is not just conning me?


  375. Maggie said

    Hi Sidney,

    An important thing for you might be to be able to get on with your own life and your own script whether or not he is in your life. Is he going to be happy with that or immediately want you to give stuff up again as soon as you resume any contact?

    Kim’s workbook is very carefully constructed in several sections that have to be done simultaneously. Sounds very neat and tidy but they are huge really. I’m trying to re-read it but I’m don’t feel like I’m making that much progress myself but as I mentioned before it has made a difference in my family even so. Like looking at developmental gaps (I am nowhere near working on these things with him – but at least I can sort of see how they impact on his bad behaviour), looking to the community as a support (how can I get over my shyness?), boundary setting (arghhhg being with my husband is like a honey trap for me as I love the way he behaves to me even though I can now see how transparent he is).

    I just listened to Kim and Steve’s latest radio show (The Bottom Line) and I really needed to hear the bit where Kim says “the only part he wants you to play in his script is as someone who is angry with him – or needy” . Forgive me Kim if I have paraphrased it wrongly, I only listened to it once but it has made an impact. Looking back on our 22 years married that is so true. I have allowed myself to be worked ruthlessly to role-play his mother (amongst others) in his script and I wanted it for some reason. It’s morbidly fascinating de-constructing the marriage – and I had to do it. Now I have to do some less flashy more practical stuff – like boundary setting and trying to find my place in the community that I now live in. But it is so hard!!!

    Sidney – it may take a long time before your husband really wants to change – if ever. I would say keep your red flags and your ‘Safety Nets’ for the foreseeable future. If you do see a change in him over time it might even be easy to read – less ‘flannel’ – I’m guessing (with mine)? So glad you updated as I was wondering how you were getting on.


  376. zoezoedread said

    Dear Post
    I writing because I don’t feel I can go on like this.I had the Orser od Protection dismissed because I wanted to go on with my life, I now that he won’t come after me any longer he has a new supply.
    I’ve tried so hard to belive that I can made it on my own and that my journey without him was to build up other women. but it seemed that leaving the lie was better than not living at all.
    I know all the jargon of selfworth and self esteem, and loving myself. But I don’t feel it, I can’t feel anything but anger and remose. I feel so cheated, cheated out of a life that I thought I would have now to start over again, the process of weeding out the good from the bad, the rejections. Its like the devil you know is better than the one you don’t know.
    I just can’t take this, I hear his voice in my sleep, when I’m awake. I wait for him to call, he never will.never…
    I take pills to sleep when I don’t have to work not to feel the pain of all this. I have let so many people down. I’m sorry

  377. Madge said

    Dear Kim & Steve
    First of all thank you for the wonderful work you two do. Since I connected to your website I have learned so much and this has enabled me to get back my self esteem. I am alive again. All thanks to you.
    I did always wonder about the unfaithfullness and physical abuse – the two which my husband has never been guilty of. It is just verbal abuse – breaking my self esteem.
    This week I came across a book called “Men who hate women & the women who love them” by Susan Forward.
    As I started to read the book I suddenly realised that this is what my husband is – misogynist. It explains him to the T. I couldn’t believe it. They are very very attached to their spouses or partners and slowly but surely restrain their partners from other people and family until the partner just gives up on all social activities. I also couldn’t understand how could he be so jealous of his kids? This is also one of the behaviour problems of the misogynist.
    I have not finished the book yet and must still get to the part about healing myself. I believe it will probably be the same as with a narcissist.
    I have really grown into a stronger and assertive woman and things are much better these days.

    I just thought I would like to hear your opinion on this.
    Fond regards

  378. Madge said

    Dear Colleen
    Just read yr letter and I so feel for you. I’ve been there and it does hurt. As Kim says – don’t give up, hang in there – especially for your darling daughter.
    In only one year I have progressed from where you were to where I am now. If you read my letter above you will see what I mean. If it would help I could maybe tell you a little of my story.
    My husband is very subtle verbal abusing me. A lot of the times I didn’t know whether I’m going crazy or whether he is right. (I am actually afrikaans speaking so I apologize if my english grammar is not so good.)
    We’ve been married for 36 years! I am a young 60.
    About 3 years ago I started going to callinetic classes.
    As a child I was always very active and took part in all different sports and ballet and even gymnastics. Up to about 30 yrs of age we played tennis. I joined a gym but did not find this suited me. It was to unpersonal. So my daughter (30) told me of the callinetics. When I joined (3 yrs ago) I was still very shy and sort of self conscious but soon realised that I was amongst the most wonderful ladies. We talk and laugh and share things (while we exercise). This has been wonderfully therapeutic to me. My husband tried to get me to stop. But I persevered. You see what was happening was that I suddenly realised that other people see me differently than how he sees me and made me believe. Suddenly the old Madge was appearing and I started getting back my self confidence. I used to be an outgoing social person – loving people and just give love and respect to other people. Until my husband started changing my self image bit by bit by his verbal abuse. I have so much to tell you but do not have the time. All I want to tell you is that your whole life does NOT depend on your partner. As Kim says get some other interests – things that you used to love doing – whatever it is. The best way I suppose is to join a support group or exercise class. I must say that the Lord has helped me discover this wonderful group of ladies and we have had quite a few outings where we go and watch a show or do thing together. I organised my daughter’s stork party and invited all my ‘new’ exercise friens and THEY made the party a HUGE success. That is what friends are for. Also one other thing. Start giving love to anyone that crosses your path. Ofcourse I am now not talking about an ‘affair’. I am talking about love for your fellow human being. That in itself is also very therapeutic. You will suddenly find people opening up to you and reaching out to you. Try to forget about how you feel and just give love abundantly to other people and you will see you becoming more positive about life. You are a very special human being and there are people out there who will respect and love you for who you are unconditionally.
    I hope this will help.

  379. sydney said


    I got the email re Facebook but although I signed up for it, I can’t make much sense of the page and don’t see much in the way of discussion.

    I have been struggling a lot because I finally decided that there was too much at risk for my husband in any prosecution and submitted an affidavit to the police saying that I would refuse to testify (as was my right). They had wanted him to accept a plea agreement where he would take this domestic violence course and I said to them that it could be part of the civil restraining order and didn’t have to be part of criminal conviction (that would really damage him) and so I asked for the court to order him to take a course on domestic violence and he agreed to that and it was granted as a consent order. I guess that was a mistake because although he consented to the civil order, he is furious because he found out that the class involves some kind of home supervision and he hates the people and the area and says it makes him feel like a criminal and he should not be there. He is furious with me and feels like a victim because I called the police and is now saying the HE has been a victim of abuse and if he has to take this course he will return to his home country but not before filing complaints about me for abusing him and “stalking” him because of the episodes at the tango dances. He has also said that if I will not drop the civil restraining order altogether, the marriage is over. I did file an affidavit to say I consented to him not taking this course — because he said that no good would come out of his taking a class he was forced to take and he already signed up to take an alternative about anger — but I suspect now that he will continue to pressure me to drop the civil restraining order, especially if the court does not let him stop taking the class. It is pretty ugly and may even get uglier. He has adopted a “poor immigrant” story and has blamed the whole episode on me because I don’t understand that what he did is “normal” in his country and no one would ever consider it domestic violence and he just doesn’t understand the norms in the US and that calling the police isn’t the way to go and no one in his family would have even done such a thing and no one has ever hurt him as much as I have. I would just like this all to go away — and just never see him again — but I don’t know if I can get out of this mess. Even if his complaints are frivolous, it could be very awful and time-consuming to fight them. He could be bluffing, but there is no telling, because he doesn’t seem remorseful in the least.

  380. Patricia said

    To Sydney:
    I have been reading for a number of months while working on myself and my marriage and am a first-time poster on here. Just wanted to let you know someone out here is reading and cares. Wow: Sorry you are going through such a tough time–you are really in the trenches. It would be nice if your husband would humble himself and take more responsibility for his actions–I am sorry he is making this so difficult.

    You shared: “He has also said that if I will not drop the civil restraining order altogether, the marriage is over. I did file an affidavit to say I consented to him not taking this course — because he said that no good would come out of his taking a class he was forced to take and he already signed up to take an alternative about anger — but I suspect now that he will continue to pressure me to drop the civil restraining order, especially if the court does not let him stop taking the class.

    He could be bluffing, but there is no telling, because he doesn’t seem remorseful in the least.

    It is pretty ugly …”

    The comments you shared suggest he still wants to believe you are the cause of his misery, and if he can control you, everything would be fine. It is ugly because HE has made it so. Sorry he is still in this delusion. Like Kim and Steve say, you have no obligation to stay in the relationship, and whether you do or not, he will have to face his own consequences for himself. If you both choose to continue it, some things will have to proceed on your terms. Don’t cave to his selfish demands.

    Not knowing how things are going to turn out is very stressful, hang in there and keep us posted. Keep surrounding yourself with supportive people and building stronger relationships with them. You’ll need diversions from what this is emotionally doing to you as well as their social support whether you and your husband make it or not. You are learning more every day, making good decisions, and are moving toward a brighter future no matter what it holds.

  381. My husband created/duplicated a document from your website. He is a narcissist. I have filed for divorce. Instead of creating his own, why not show your article?

    I am not allowed to see my grandchild because my daughter and her husband think I am emotionally unstable. I kept my sweet grandchild for the first 3 months while my daughter worked. I am stable. I have spent many dollars on proving myself to be a stable person…they are convinced there is something wrong with me…..even tried to have me self admit myself in a mental hospital. He told his family I am crazy. His son lived with us for some time. Even though he has problems staying away from narcotics, he told his mother that I am not crazy…..he said his father is mean to me. It appears that my husband was a major component with the breakup of my relationship with my daughter…and what about my not being able to be around my grandchild. I am deeply saddened.

  382. Sonji said

    Hi Kim and Steve,
    It’s been a long time since my only post. I’m going to file for divorce very soon. The 19th will be exactly one year since I left my home. NC law states that you have to separated for one year. My husband asked me to come back, but has never offered any solutions or taken any responsibility in the demise of our marriage. I’m very close to my family and they all want me to move on with my life. At first I resented them for not being objective enough, but they feared for my actual safety. He never hit me, but I’ve been in a couple of MMA moves after he got drunk. We used to practice martial arts together. I got tired of him “showing me a move” after drinking. To go back would put all of the responsibility on me to fix things because that’s the way things always have been in our marriage. I would end up making an important decision without any help – only to be blamed later for falling short. He is still seeing the other woman, which helps me to make up my mind about staying away. We are going to have to go to court about the property because even though his name is on the deed, the entire mortgage is in my name. He’s been the one living in our house(struggling to pay the mortgage every month)with his mother who moved in at the beginning of the year. She decided to leave her husband. Even though he’s my husband’s stepfather, my husband has still inherited so many of his aloof qualities. What a mess! I feel so tired and worn of the situation. I’ve really been thinking too hard lately about everything. I listen to the “Undestanding Love” MP3 which helps to ease my spirit from time to time. I just want to feel “clear” on the decision I’m about to make – to know that I actually did all I could. How can you know?
    Oh, by the way – family and friends have really offered little to no help. They just want to make sure I stay away. Some outside people – the ones who operate on the premise that there aren’t enough “good men” to go around want me to go back. Imagine that!

  383. Stephanie said

    I have not posted in some time; since my husband and I seperated after an abusive arguement in April. I gave up on this working to some degree becuase it seemed my husband was beyond realization of what he was losing.

    A few weeks ago however, he came by to give my son a birthday card (my husband has been his step father for 6 years but due to the hostile nature of our relationship I had not allowed them to be together for months). My husband completely broke down emotionally and started crying about how he will never again in his life have what we had together and he was sorry for so many things. We have been talking since and it seems to me that although there is some denial still that various behaviors like over spending, drinking and being agressive, were a big deal in the end, I realized that now that I have my life and myself together, he is seeing me differently and mourning the loss. I got my own place, a new job and have started working out and getting in shape. I am a far cry from the overwhelmed, needy woman I was four months ago who was desperately trying to keep her family together using all sorts of manipulative tactics. The other irony is he started sleeping with someone during our seperation, and attracted an incredibly needy and dependant woman and it is only contributing to my appeal.

    I guess what I am saying is don’t give up and don’t give in. Getting yourself together is absolutely the best thing you can do and if it takes all of your focus, so be it. My husband and I did not speak a word for four months. My sons birthday came the day after our first court appearance to address the divorce and he was blown away by both how I looked and how organzied and determined I was to get this thing done. I had absolutely let him go in my mind but am beginning to see that he is really more vulnerable than I realized and he can only express that to me now because his gaurd is not up because I am not looking to him for strength.

    Also, understand that your friends and family will never understand your choice to love a narcissist. It is counter intuitive and if they love you they hate to see you try so hard and intially receive so little. It is your life, live it the way you choose to.

  384. ciely said

    dear kim & steve,
    the “bottomline” radio show addresses the kind of communication I have always had a sense of yet could never do in actual conversations as my fear would get the better of me. I have looked for communication techniques through many years of therapy never quite understanding that i needed my goals & values in place as a solid platform to speak from as well as applying emotional intelligence.
    thank you so much for your hard work. i am now doing my hard work as my relationship has ended and i don’t want to repeat it with the next one.

  385. sydney said

    Hi Patricia,

    Thank you for your kind post. I was surprised by my husband’s decision to end the relationship so abruptly, as a mutual friend had told me he was very sad and seemed to want to be back in touch, yet as soon as that was possible, he first said that he didn’t want to talk (because I had hurt him so deeply) and then, after he got his affidavit, that he wanted to divorce. The physical aspect of the relationship is OVER he says and he is going to be moving on because he cannot be with someone who would call the police on a domestic dispute. Even though I wanted the previous way of interacting to end, it really hurt to hear him say that and for a few days I was really suffering. It’s interesting to hear Kim’s new thoughts on her work because changing the hard-waring in one’s brain is what she’s really talking about. But on the other hand, these N types so actively tear down self-esteem — I’ve been told I have bad breath, that I don’t make an effort with my appearance, that I am not a good dancer, that I am disorganized, and then at the same time sexually rejected (with some exceptions) WHILE I am sponsoring his immigration process. I have managed this week by responding to his threats of finding a new relationship by saying that though I couldn’t control him, I wasn’t giving my persmission for that either and I myself had would not yet be making a similar choice. (Perhaps I’ll change my mind…). I’ve coped with the pain that he has caused me this week by saying that and then maintaining a lower level of contact with him after saying maybe we should talk to a couples therapist in order to see if he civil protection order could be dropped at some point. I don’t really wish to do this but he seems willing to leave the relationsnip unless I do. The one couples therapist I talked to at this time interestingly said she would not recommencd reconciliation now because he’s just so furious at being held accountable by the state and he is not sorry at all. (Maybe only sorry he ever med me!)

  386. Maggie said


    Last night, just before bedtime, my husband was telling me that his book was REALLY interesting. I had got him a book about the genetic differences between Chimps and Humans as he enjoys popular science books. So I perk up thinking that I might hear something interesting about genes. He said, “it’s not about the genes themselves that is the difference between chimps and people – it’s about ‘gene expression'”. I nod and sound interested as I can imagine at an intuitive level what he’s talking about. He stops in his tracks holding very strong eye contact with me and asks.

    “Do you know about gene expression?”

    Suddenly I feel like a silly girl who was only pretending she knew anything about anything! “Well I can imagine” I mumble, feeling so intensely put on the spot when I was expecting to just hear about something interesting! The unexpected in words and pictures. I felt like the picture of aspirational foolishness.

    I could add to my scripts for dealing with him: ‘gosh I feel intensely put on the spot’. But it seems so lame. Despite knowing everything that I do now – I’m frightened by how easily I can be reduced to feeling like an idiot when I’m the one with a science degree and my 18 year old daughter has just kicked a hole in the wall with her shoe at her frustration at dealing with him because he is so ‘nice’.

    Anyone else know how I feel?

  387. Anna said

    Oh Maggie – I can hear a chorus of ‘YES!!! in response to your question. You are not alone! You express yourself so very well that I’m sure many of us are just resonating in our hearts to what you describe. I know, speaking for myself, that I can be taken-aback at times by my own responses/feelings to triggers that I feel I should know by now not to ‘fall for’. I feel a bit dismayed at those times when I seem to have so easily ‘forgotten’ how to respond in the new, empowered way. And it’s back to the drawing-board – once again – to work that out, to be ready for next time.

    Keep going, Maggie. Remind yourself you are not a ‘silly girl who’s pretending’ – recognise that as the lie that it is. You are intelligent and lovely and strong and teachable and growing… Your worth is beyond price. Your hubby knows all that deep down, and he also ‘knows’ deep down that he’s very lacking – that’s why he acts this way. He also has believed lies. It’s a long journey we’re on but let’s keep encouraging ourselves – we’re worth it :-)!

    A brief update – it’s been a long time! My hubby’s been back for three months now, and I’m in awe at the changes that are happening. Yes, it’s often two steps forward and one back, but I am convinced that progress will continue. I’m so grateful for this resource – it’s been pivotal in saving and transforming our marriage. I have every hope for our future and I am heartened that it is, and will be, also facilitating healing for our whole family. We celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary next month.

    It’s so worth the effort!


  388. Maggie said

    Thank you so much Anna, what a lovely reply. It means a lot to me! This resource has been pivotal in saving my sanity, and hopefully ultimately my marriage too.

  389. Madge said

    Dear Anna & Maggie
    Yes I know what you’re talking about. Yesterday (Sunday) was one of those days again. One of his negative days. I am an eternal optimist. I kept my cool the whole day yesterday but by this morning, when I woke up and had to get up to go to work I just thought- gee, what a sucker I am. I know exactly about wanting to hear something intelligent and interesting and all you get is complaints, negativity. Yesterday was my one step back again. But at least tomorrow it is 2 steps forward again.
    So I suppose in the end it is worth the effort as you say.
    I can honestly say that I’ve learnt so much the past couple of months on this issue and I am really greatful for Kim & Steve for helping me.
    Regards to all

  390. gypsy said

    It’s been months since I have written anything on the blog. I have been receiving everyone’s comments and reading them though. It has been over 6 months since the end of the relationship. It has not been too difficult thanks to Kaleah at but I still want to see people who are working things out. I wished I could have done so but I think I did all I could at the time. For any others who are over or getting over and find it difficult to not have closure here is a song that says it all. I just came in from a great bike ride and there it was playing on CBC.

  391. Tracy said

    Anyone who is flagging or losing hope, please read my earlier posts and cross-reference them to this:

    I have experienced the ‘narcissistic wounding’/breakdown Kim describes now. It was preceded by a terrible, dark energy inclining him to moan, whine, fight and complain. Then, I started changing. Slowly, he trusted that and felt free to let it all out.

    As Kim warned, I’ve not encountered the ‘knight in shining armour’ i’d dreamed of to save me – but a real, honest, vulnerable person who loves me. It’s hard to let go of illusions, but harder still to cling to a belief that will bear no fruit.

    A massive thank you and story of progress for you, Kim and Steve! My heartfelt thanks. My ulcer is cured (naturally), I’ve gained some fat 🙂 and real love. So happy at the moment and I owe it all to your teachings! xxxxx

  392. a survivor said

    It is wonderful when a marriage is saved, however, both parties have to work at it,

    Your wisdom has helped many and many blesssings you will receive.

    However, my case was different.

    The real challenge came when I lost my high paying job. Even though the house was paid for, he had a love for money. I supported myself for 8 years. After I lost my job, my father passed away. I took care of my mother while trying to find a job. I had quite a few bills. I used money from my 401K to live. Then my husband had a massive heart attack, his sister was diagnosed with brain tumors, my mother had a stroke and I had two surgeries. I took any temp job I could get. FInally, I got sick and was forced to file disability. I don’t want to bore you with my story but the outcome was that he duplicated parts of your website to make it appear it was all my fault. He ruined my relationship with my daughter preventing me to see my granchild. He told his family I was crazy and he had two conversations with my daughter about me (which my daughter denies).

    I’ve been slandered and misjudged. In the interim, he demanded to pay for one of my life insurance policies. I told him that I would pay for it. He said he wanted to make sure the payments were made…that they will have to bury me…..then he asked me what is the amount of the policy. A week later I asked him for money for groceries and prescriptions. He told me to get them from my mother and that they can take care of me now…that he is no longer responsible for me. I could write a book on what he has done. I hope to find out exactly who copied your information and if he e-mailed it to someone or did someone do the document for him.

  393. Maggie said

    Dear Survivor,

    You really have survived a lot and I commend you for that. I don’t feel qualified to say very much as my experiences have been so different but I really do hope and pray that you are now able to limit the abuse that people would burden you with.

    As people have said to me recently – there are people who care and perhaps you could keep posting here if that would be any help.

  394. survivor said

    Dear Maggie,

    Your comment comforted me. Thank you for taking time to send a reply.

    My daughter’s father is a recovering alcoholic. I did not know that when a child reaches adolescence, they are inclined to inherit the behavior pattern of the alcoholic parent. She took his role. I feel as though I am married to her father again.

    My present husband spread rumors that I was crazy, overmedicated and had poor judgment.

    My daughter tried to have me commit myself to a mental hospital for 6 weeks at $55,000 or go to a 3 day study at Baylor where a family member attends a meeting to inform them about my behavior. The counselor told me he was referring me to another counselor, gave me the phone number. It turned out to be the mental hospital. Much more took place.

    When you said you hope and pray that I will not allow people to abuse me again, I have to be very careful in how I handle the situation and conduct my behavior.

    Place two people side by side. Rumor has it that the one on the right is crazy while the other is normal. Have the “normal” one do something a little funky. All will laugh. Have the one rumored as crazy do the same thing and people see them differently……..the seed has been planted in their minds.

    That is where I am now.

    I was not invited to my granddaughter’s first birthday party. I asked if I could see her. They said Okay but I could only see her at a nearby park. I am prohibited from their home.

    I’m living in a nightmare.

  395. Jan said

    I have been reading this blog off and on as I deal with my N husband,who just walked out on me after a week or so of arguing on the merry-go-round of the same conflicts we all have with them.

    We had what looked like to everyone, including myself, the best marriage ever.I was completely devoted, faithful, and honest, and I ‘knew’ he was ,too. He was my rock…until I uncovered his sexual addiction which led to the realization that he is a narcissist.
    That was two years ago, and it has been hell for both of us. I had been unable to let go of the past until this January. I told him I’d now focus on the present and how to deal with SA together. But then he would act out, and we’d be right back, hurling the same insults and hurtful comments until it was out of control.
    I tried to employ the tactic of mature conversation, and as soon as he would speak, he would either attack me or defend himself or his actions.
    Believe me, he was the most loving man I ever met, and I believe he still can be (he left me a note when he left ending with I love you forever).
    I know he’s hurting, I know he is dealing with past sexual abuse from childhood, and this ‘secret’ he had carried for almost 35 years!
    He must be scared and confused, but I cannot help him alone.
    Everything had come crashing down on us, and I was ill-equipped to handle something I knew nothing about. We spent the time these past two years trying to get through this, but the brunt of the work fell on me. He did a SA workshop for a few months, but did not complete it. I think it didn’t provide him with instant gratification and that the problem would just disappear.He started out with a bang on each endeavor, but got bored..he even signed up on Steve’s blog a few months ago, but he has not really done anything with it.
    Needless to say, I have been sooo frustrated to the point of tears.
    I am so heartbroken words cannot describe.
    I’ve been unable to trust him because each time he said he wouldn’t lie again, he did.
    I am in mid-life and I never thought he would or could act so careless and defensive with me when the SA came out, but that’s what happened. After so many years of taking the blame in arguments for my ‘jealousy’, it turns out that many of the things we fought about were really the cover-up for what was going on.

    I love him dearly, and I want to help him; when he refused my suggestions at what he could do to make things better for himself and for us, I was stunned.Everything became all about him, and he turned a cold shoulder to my tears, which oftentimes made me get angry and almost explode a few times.
    He has been abusive, and he apologized, but when I suggested that we deal with DV, he said he already apologized and that he has nothing more to say.

    I felt we were making progress, especially since he admitted it to me and his mom. But he hasn’t wanted to seriously commit to getting any help.

    I have spoken with my local PD yesterday, doing what Kim says to do, and it went very well.The officer said he wished more people would come to them before something happens because it gives them the abiltiy to better help families and protect the community. I repeatedly used the word intimidation and what I want from them.I felt good that I did something very positive for myself.

    My husband;s note said he will be here tomrrow to get the rest of his stuff. I am scared…I don’t know what to say or do. I do not want him to leave. I still want to work on this. I cannot see me throwing away our marriage.

    Penny said “-We are givers, everyone of us on this board are givers, nurturers and we lack boundaries. We also have a high tolerance for pain because we thrive on it for different reasons.
    For me, personally, when he initially reacted to me the way he has..I was blown by it. Why would someone treat me like this? I spent more time in confusion, hurt, BEWILDERMENT and then he would soothe it SOMETIMES with “guilt gifts”. I am strong person with a high tolerance for “CRAP” based on some childhood stuff. I wanted to convince this man that I was not this monster. In turns out that he is the monster and that I have my issues but I am by any means on the level that he consistently has tried to bring me to. We were living in a room in his mother’s house for 2 years and he refused to have a real talk with me about anything.”

    Yes, this is where I am, Penny…all the whys? We, too, are living in my mom’s house for two years. I told him in May that we need to be out of here by September, but nothing happened…well, he left.My mom is tired of both of us being here…she wants her house back to herself, and who can blame her? And as stressful my husband knows it is for me to be here at all, I am currently stuck.
    I am still shocked with bewilderment, hurt, and confusion.
    I find it hard to believe he would lay all of this on me to do….find resources, reach out to others, etc.and then refuse to want to work towards solutions to the issues of NP, SA, or DV.
    I can empathize with his situation, which makes it possible for me to keep reaching to him and give him at least some respect, but the rejection is WAY TOO MUCH TO BEAR ON MY SOUL!!!!
    This is not him, this is not the man I married.
    We went from being a happily married couple, to being homeless, jobless, and completely messed up within this crisis.
    My health has deteriorated, as the stress has affected an already serious condtion I’ve had for 11 years. I went from a size 6 to a size girls 14 slim.It’s not been easy to watch this occur.

    patricia said- “The comments you shared suggest he still wants to believe you are the cause of his misery, and if he can control you, everything would be fine. It is ugly because HE has made it so. Sorry he is still in this delusion.” That is what happened to me…the truth about SA only led me down a rabbit hole of blame, excuses, denials,accussations, mockings and abuse. I know that if at the start i just believed everything he told me, it would be fine for him. He has always been able to manipulate my beliefs of him, and this time he knows he can’t make me believe. That makes him uneasy.He indirectly or directly blames me for manyt things..and I know that he knows it’s not true. I know he’s aware of what is right and wrong….he just can’t seem to do the right.

    Everyone here, bless you all. Namaste

  396. survivor said

    Dear Jan,

    I am so sorry this happened to you. I feel your pain.

    I am divorcing a narcissist. His cruelty beat out all the love I had for him. I allowed his cruelty to ruin my health and force me into disability. He refuses to give me anything. He ruined my relationship with my daughter. I can’t see my grandchild. My daughter has no feelings for me. Her husband told me “you no longer have a daughter”.

  397. Maggie said

    Dear Survivor,

    It’s all about discrediting isn’t it? It seems to be part of what they do – big time, but how can we protect ourselves?

    When I first married my husband I thought he’d be talking about me to work colleagues as if I were the Bee’s Knees but in fact he subtly suggested that I had ruined his life and that he had married too young! He made use of this strategy loads of times to try to ‘back into’ new relationships – with limited success for him but always causing a stink and lots and lots of pain for me. OUch! He is addicted to fantasy, and we fit together very well because I work around his need for space almost instinctively!

    I met with a Domestic Abuse worker a few times last year and it did me the world of good hearing from her that it wasn’t my fault. I was telling her in all seriousness how domineering I was but she would have none of it. She reinforced the point about goading, how they do this to make us look bad. There may be some organisations local to you that understand about discrediting – I hope you are able to find some more support for yourself. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT!!


  398. survivor said

    Dear Maggie,

    It is so comforting to talk to someone who I can relate to. In our 12 years of marriage, John has never taken up for me. He always looked at me as the one being wrong. Or if I was right, he would praise the another person. Maggie, I have gone everywhere trying to get help……my name is so discredited…..I want to live in a shell. In addition, my daughter is the product of an alcoholism…..she was the sweetest child. I saw a turn in her in college. I didn’t know what it was. She and her husband sided with John. This is a nightmare. Before John left, he told me “now let your family take care of you”, I’m not responsible for you anymore”. I allowed his abuse to destroy my health, living on disability. He has the $$ to help me, but he loves $$$$. So, who out there will help us? If we were an abused animal, we would be taken care of. Where are people’s priorities?

  399. Jan said

    I am so embarrassed by some of the ways I have snapped…I came to see how no matter what subject of the crisis I bring up, he will find a way to turn the conversation into a whirlwind and my job was to identify that whirlwind and stop myself from reacting, but it is hard when you are met with stinging eyes, pursed lips, and body language that says “i could care less about you…go on and talk…I won’t listen anyway, and when I do comment, I know I can get you to blow up.” My mom has been heavy on me for my mouth.She hears me…he’s usually quietly pushing buttons, he looks innocent.

    Also, another part of this backround….for the most part throughout our marriage, I have been extremely submissive to his decisions, plans, wishes and took my ‘rightful place’ as a wife; he has admitted that he was very used to that and he surely is not used to me doubting his word.
    I feel most of our conflicts stem from this inability for him to realize that when you repeatedly lie, you’ll have a hard time convincing people your are being truthful.

    I know this is hard for him…being used to lying and getting away with it makes for a strong habit, I’d say.
    Sadly, I had to prove some his his lies I knew of before this all started crashing down. Even then it was a struggle to get him to admit to the evidence…this went on for some time, when I decided to stop telling him whatever I found out…why?
    Because I’d ask him about whatever I found, and he would lie; I’d put out the evidence, and he would deny; then we’d fight about it and a million other diversions; this would escalate to rage, either me, him or both. Then he’d finally admit, and if the sun was shining, we’d have a little lucid time of heart-to-heart. The good time would only go so far….as soon as I would try to address my questions or issues or feelings he would bristle. He would set the stage for tension. I call this process the “DENY, DIVERT, DESTROY” syndrome.

    This has been happening for so long, and he refused to give in to my one real demand: Read these next pages of his SA workshop. I asked this of him several weeks ago.These pages would deal with all that he has been complaining about.I felt it would be a turning point,towards him actually having realization beyond an ‘understanding’. I’ve learned that understanding (like my husband reading and saying he understands)is linear thinking and it is much different than ‘realization’, which is multi-dimensional which takes into account the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of feeling or connectedness. This is a 3 or 6 month course that he started two years ago, and he has blamed me for his lack of completion of it and lack of drive.

    Thank you Suvivor and Maggie….it feels good to finally speak up and let this out. In the beginning of this crisis, I was afraid of exposing him…I, too, wanted to keep this embarrassing situation a secret, but soon saw that it would be of no benefit. It was isolating us further into darkness, and I had no help….

    I first found SV’s website on narcissism, and that just fueled the fires here…that man should not be given the credit he claims.
    When i finally found Kim & Steve’s site, it was fresh air to me. Finally a solution!
    Although it has been an uphill battle for me to practice what she suggests, I feel it is a right path for me.And having Steve’s input and candidness really impressed my husband, so I thought it would be easy for him, too.
    But it takes WORK, hard work…

  400. Jan said

    another thought…
    I have been so upset by the lack of empathy from him…I have become too sensitive to his hurts, by far.

    Steve, you seem to have had such a mind change regarding empathy and family. I have tried to find my husband’s ‘love light’, and each time I thought I did , I had a hope, only to have it dashed against the wall he hs built between us.

    I don’t worry about the past…can’t do a thing about it now. I have been more upset by the lying and cunning than by what he did.
    All the lying made me feel worse, which developed into severe distrust. I found myself reacting all the time instead of acting, and I have not been pleasant at all….his lack of love and concern for my hurt made me focus on my hurt even more.I have verbally lashed out so often, it became automatic to any of the ‘three D’s’ I mentioned.

    I am ashamed of my actions…..but…I forgive myself. A loving person cannot really grasp the mind of the narcissist, and the loving person easily takes on the N behavior at tense moments, as it seems the only defense.
    I’ve found it only brings me down to a level of guilt. Me hurting him with words has only added to my pain.

    Being rejected for trying to do what’s right has been difficult.

  401. survivor said

    My daughter speaks down to me. Her husband mocks me on the phone. How does one handle responses to such behavior? I want to see my grandbaby…….
    They do not want me or my family around my grandbaby. She said I am not entitled to see her.

  402. survivor said

    Dear Jan,

    I read your comment about the lack of empathy, lack of emotions, all emotions…no love.

    I too am ashamed of my reaction towards him but his needling and condescending language and the lies and mocking of me were too much. So how does one handle this treatment? These reactions creep out into our outside world……..our work, friends……and people think we are irrational. The underlying scum uses his techniques to bring this out in us. Then he goes to his family and tells them I am crazy. There should be punishment for treating their spouse like this.

    I am going through a divorce. I am very upset with the Laws of Texas. I called my abuse counselor of Harris County and asked for my records she kept on me to produce in Court. She said they are worthless…..has no bearing on the case. Women and men take brutal abuse from narcissists. NOTHING IS DONE IN COURT!!!!!!!!!!! Abuse has no bearing on the case. So here I am……..I allowed his behavior to put me into disability. I have only SSI and a small dist. from a 401K (very small); here he is with $500,000 in the bank and I am fighting to keep the house because I have no where else to live. No bearing on the case. Is this really fair?

    Be abusive to animals, you are fined and the animals are fed and given to good homes…you even make the news!

    Have a women or man tortured with mental abuse, etc. and it is not considered in court?

    Where are their priorities?

  403. survivor said

    These are excerpts from an unlisted page my husband used against me and I am positive it fell into the hands of my daughter.

    The part about “Not everyone gets put down and abused. Successful people and people in authority usually know how to handle put downs and abuse”, fed right into my daughter and son-in-law’s hands because they are both extremely well educated and hold high positions of authority. They have been telling me how smart and successful they are and that I am up against such smart people. So condescinding and told in such a harsh manner to me. If I don’t mind them or do what they tell me to do, I cannot see my grandchild. They are holding that sweet child over my head because of that statment and this article.

    “I used to be really bad at handling Steve when he was rude, mean, intimidating or irresponsible. Maybe you can relate to the kind of questions and dilemas that would run through my mind …

    “Why does he treat me this way? … I shouldn’t let him get away with this! …. Why doesn’t he love me? … What am I going to do? … I should teach him a lesson!… But I really just want to make up?… If I ‘let it go’ he will just think he has got away with it, but if I ‘punish’ him he will use it as an excuse to do it again (despair is now setting in) … Maybe I should stay mad? … I will remember all the bad things he has done and hang on to these memories and stay mad so he learns a lesson! … But he is so stubborn this will take weeks and I really just want him to love me now! … He should be the one saying he is sorry! … Why doesn’t he just come and say he is sorry to me!… Why doesn’t he love me? … Why doesn’t he see how upset I am about this and come and make me feel better?… I hate it that I am so powerless, he can be as mean as he wants and there is nothing I can do … I am always stuck like this … I have to talk to him NOW and make him understand how I feel and make him stop treating me this way … Maybe I should call him and see if he will come home and talk?… But he should be calling me!!! … He should be sorry for what he does to me … I can’t stand this pain anymore but when and how will it end? … Why doesn’t he want to be nice to me?… Who is going to help me?… Who can I talk too?

    Can you see how bad I was at handling Steve’s abuse back then! When someone mistreated me or put me down, I had no idea what to do and these kind of thoughts would run round and round in my head while I felt more and more upset.

    If you have thoughts like these, can see that perhaps a lack of you knowing what to do might have something to do with the problem? Not everyone gets put down and abused. Successful people and people in authority usually know how to handle put downs and abuse. Remember the teachers in school who the kids respected and loved? And the others who would get harrassed and treated dreadfully by the same kids? When I really saw this I began to understand that the people who tried to tell me that it was all Steve’s fault were wrong. It was my problem too and even if I left Steve, I would continue to be a soft target for abuse (as I had been all my life), because I did not know how to handle people who wanted to blame their problems on me, be rude or put me down.Receive the love and respect that you so desperately want and deserve!”

    Yes, I was ignorant back then and in my second marriage. I used my strengths in the wrong areas. My focus was on raising her, only her. I put everything aside and focused on raising her… notes, house expenses, food, kept her in church, activities for her and worked every extra hour I could to make ends meet. It wasn’t easy but I accomplished what I set out to do like the millions of other women who did the same for their children.

    I am now different. How terrible of them to judge and belittle me. This article was given to her intentionally to look at me in a poor manner and they do.


  404. Jan said

    Hi, Survivor
    I reach out to you with empathy for your situation. Here is a website I’d like to pass onto you and anyone else this may help: I was told by some folks who used this that it has helped them with a few legal matters and that it is very well worth the money compared with a lawyer.

    How to handle this treatment? I have often referred to it as ‘treatment’ myself…it seems any way you handle it in their presence is not good enough. I have found that no matter what I did it has not been enough…empathy, kindness, putting myself aside…then you get beyond wanting to help them and start treating them the way they treat you, and because we feel more hurt in our hearts, our guilt for what WE did hurts us even more, hence you are brought down to level where THEY feel good about themselves. I watched it happen right before my eyes over and over. He sat there and actually took pleasure in my pain.
    The projection onto me of what he was doing took some time to figure out. When I did figure it, I stopped trying to defend myself.
    I started FORGIVING MYSELF, and I realized that he doesn’t know, realize and/or care what he’s doing. It’s his reaction to what you’re doing that counts.

    A friend wrote to another about my situation. She is in the same situation. She wrote:
    “It isn’t just about him and if that is where his mind and heart are, then that is where he NEEDS to be left. Individually ACCOUNTABLE.
    It sounds to me that her husband has become an expert at making her his “mirror” for everything he sees ugly or negative about himself. He has to belittle and demean her to make himself feel better about what he’s doing and/or has done.”

    Narcissists blame people for the things they brought on themselves. Their reactions are feelings; others reactions (unless positive) are immature, illogical, insane, too emotional, etc.
    If you’re spun out of control, they further the pain along but shutting you off, acting like they are sooo calm and you are irrational.
    It took a long time for me to see that my feelings are normal for what I am being subjected to.

  405. Jan said

    Tracy , thank you for this post:

    “Anyone who is flagging or losing hope, please read my earlier posts and cross-reference them to this:

    I have experienced the ‘narcissistic wounding’/breakdown Kim describes now. It was preceded by a terrible, dark energy inclining him to moan, whine, fight and complain. Then, I started changing. Slowly, he trusted that and felt free to let it all out.

    As Kim warned, I’ve not encountered the ‘knight in shining armour’ i’d dreamed of to save me – but a real, honest, vulnerable person who loves me. It’s hard to let go of illusions, but harder still to cling to a belief that will bear no fruit.”

    I think that is the place we are right now…although he didn’t stay to even see the changes.

    Sometimes it seems so unfair because it seems that we have to be the first one to change, prove, love, forgive, and give….and it is. But in the “beyond this life” sense, I guess we will be rewarded…right? (smile)

  406. Jan said

    In Fevruary, Sue Howard wrote:
    “I snapped and it all came tumbling out. For the first time ever I let the rage out. From that I found that people do not lose their temper, I was fully in control the whole time.”

    Man, that says it all….he can tell people how ‘irrational’ I have been, but I can honestly say that I was in control….I knew EXACTLY what I was saying, accurately, precisely, clearly…the bad thing is that I screamed and cursed throughout it.And it got to that point because I got angrier when he refused to listen when I TALKED about it. Did he hear me at any time anyway?

    Whew….that’s another one off my shoulders…I forgive myself!

    I will sleep better tonight. Thanks Sue.

    Namaste, Jan

  407. survivor said

    Dear Jan,

    Thank you so very much for your comments. That is what happened to me. My daughter thinks I am crazy, irrational and have bad judgment……because that is what my soon to be ex told her. Another conversation took place where one denies and the other acknowledges. Whatever was said, convinced my daughter that I needed to be placed in a mental hospital……….trickery was used for me to self admit myself in a mental hospital. Thank you John……..for your vicious tongue. My daughter’s in-laws told me I am sick and need help. All of their friends think I am crazy. My son-in-law made fun of me last night and said that he will not allow anyone who is “looney” or unstable be around his child, which is my great granchild. This man has ruined my life and the Courts………….conflict of personalities are the grounds here in Texas. I wrote my congressman and told him how I felt about the divorce laws in the State of Texas. I think everyone who is affected by this horrible abuse should do the same.

  408. Maggie said


    My abuse diary is so banal!

    When Mo came in from work he apologised for not ringing me in the afternoon as if he were ‘slipping up’ when he doesn’t normally ring me in the afternoon and I don’t expect him to. This is a red flag, apologising un-necessarily.

    I said “who are you even talking to? – you don’t normally ring me and I don’t expect you to”. He laughed it off

    Soon after this he asked my permission to go upstairs to change into his jeans seeming to suggest that I am the controlling one and seeking to disguise how controlling he really is.

    Our 18 year old daughter was present in the room.

    After my bath I came downstairs and he asked me if I had had a nice bath- playing attentive. Then he made a great pronouncement that he was going upstairs to put his suit away- as if he were talking to an audience and he was on the stage. It is very draining, the feeling that we have to be paying attention all the time.

    Later on he and our daughter had planned to watch Ugly Betty but it wasn’t scheduled after all. He kept repeating himself about it not being on as if it should be a great dissppointment! I snapped a little bit and said, “so what if it isn’t on – get over it!” and my daughter said to me

    “Way to overreact Mum …. I think you’re projecting”. Sweet! I realised it was the culmination of the evenings covert goading..unfortunately for our daughter she has had the wool pulled over her eyes about what is happening in these seemingly innocent exchanges.

    Keep fighting Survivior – you are so strong! Much stronger than me – I just go along with it all! We sold up a few years ago so that he could have a year out to write. Naturally nothing came of it and now we rent. I feel like I’m fighting shadows in the strange way he talks to me as if I were someone I’m not.

  409. Maggie said

    I just wanted to add:

    I thought Kim was so brave to write the passage that she did about not handling Steves abuse very effectively. For any abusers to share that passage as further ‘ammunition’ beggars belief. Perhaps it indicates what a desperate place they might have been coming from. It’s absolutely crucial not to blame the victim – but to try to help empower people is a completely different matter and I love it! For my part I would never have gone to Womens Aid or spoken to the police at all without this website. Even though changing things is so hard I am less numb than I used to be and people are starting to notice a positive change in me.

  410. Jan said

    “My abuse diary is so banal!”

    Maggie,I don’t know what emotion you wrote that with, but I concur!

    It brought a smile to my face because I, too, keep journals and so often I got so bored and disgusted because I kept writing the same things over and over and over. I remember one time just tossing the pen over my shoulder as if “what’s the use?” , my writing talents were being wasted and I was getting writer’s block. (smile)
    keep on keepin’ on…jan

  411. Maggie said

    Thank you Jan!

    It helps to know that someone else writes journals too. After I posted last night I worked out a script to tackle issue 1) apologising unnecessarily!. I thought best not overload him! I’m going to ask him not to do it any more and then try to suggest tips for increasing Empathy. This isn’t exactly my stong point either but I may be a few steps ahead of him.

    He’ll probably look at me as if I’m mad but I’ll do my best, some time when we’re out away from the girls.


  412. survivor said

    My husband called me yesterday wanting to propose a settlement in our divorce after an extended vacation violating court orders. I was in shock. He gave me his proposal and I asked for insurance for a certain period of time. He threw out some figures and I accepted his proposal immediately. He was so nice and acted genuinely interested in a few issues, it took me into a dark state of sadness. I thought to myself, why couldn’t you be like this all the time. I took a stand back and revisited our conversation. How said it is for me to think the conversation was so special, when it was a conversation ordinary to others. I’m sad for myself. I’m stomped down so far, a touch of being treated normally was royalty to me. Being on disability, I decided to tell him what what I needed to make ends meet which was not far from his proposal. I asked for him to call me today and I will present what I want. I will eat the crumbs from the floor that he throws instead of looking out for me. I’ve gone this far, it hasn’t been easy for me considering what he’s done to my relationship between me and my daughter and my sweet grandchild whom I cannot see. My daughter says I am crazy because she heard about my melt dowm of him one night. The silent abuse I can no longer take along with the ex-wife, his children on drugs, and the slander of my name, etc.. I am the only one in the family who voluntered to let his son live with us after his release from jail twice. His mother didn’t want him.

    We told him if drugs were being taken again while living with us, he had to leave. I told my husband. He said that he can stay while taking the drugs. I said he cannot. We agreed the next morning that he will be told to leave. I was in trouble with the entire family. He said it was because I didn’t sit down and talk about it. Now he is in an apartment and he will not let his son live with him. Figure this one out? I’ve done everything in my power to help his children and each time I had mud thrown in my face.

    He never in 12 years of marriage took up for me. The other was always praised. He would push me away when I tried to get close to him when we danced. He said he didn’t learn it that way. What? I was always the root of the problem he said. Now I cannot be around my grandchild after keeping her for 3 months and neither can my family. My daughter says I am crazy. I’ve spent so much money trying to prove I am not crazy and still people see me as a sick person.

    Some days I don’t want to leave the house because of embarrassment. I’ve lost my daughter and her family. I am alone. I pray the situation will change with my daughter. We were so close at one time. I dream of my grandbaby being here in grandma’s house playing, etc. I’m not allowed being alone with her. Even my son-in-laws family told me I am sick and need help.

    Will I ever be normal in their eyes?

  413. Maggie said

    Dear Suvivor,

    You sweet compassionate lady – OF COURSE YOU ARE NORMAL.


  414. survivor said

    Dear Maggie,

    I did not know I would get such kind and comforting support when I posted my comments. Thank you so much. Your response was the kindest comment and said with such warmth.

    God Bless You!

  415. Maggie said

    You’re welcome Survivor. Good luck with your settlement!

  416. judy collier said

    Pick a subject, any subject and inject this mode of conversation.
    “how’s it going with the lights in the kitchen/”-me!
    “I bought 2 new bulbs”-him
    “I know I was with you”-me
    “then why are you asking”-him
    “you seem to be frustrated getting them in”-me
    “I am using one of the old bulbs”-him
    “why aren’t you using both of the new ones?”-me
    “can’t you figure anything out”-him
    “I’m confused”-me
    “You’re always confused”-him
    ‘o.k., let’s start over”-me
    “what exactly is the problem?”-me
    “What problem?”-him
    “why isn’t this working, maybe it is the old bulb”-me
    “didn’t you hear me”-him
    “hear you what?”-me
    “it takes too many hours to light up’-him
    “what does, the bulb or the fixture?”-me
    “are you crazy?”-him
    “forget it”-me
    “right there is what is wrong with you”-him
    “because I said forget it?”-me
    “because your mind is so confused you cannot stay on the subject”-him
    Does any of this sound familiar???????
    Like I said, pick any subject!!!!!!

  417. Maggie said

    Oh Judy I had this last night with my 18 year old daughter who sometimes suffers from stomach cramps when her father is around. They were starting up last night and he was talking away oblivious then I suggested he speak in a softer tone of voice as I could see she was getting more and more sore! She has been checked out by the doctor who said it may be stress after I sneaked a note to him saying there was domestic abuse!

    Immediately, even though she was still in the room he accused me of hectoring him. After a few minutes I spoke to him outside – out of earshot -and I said if he ever did that again he was ‘out of here’ as the image of her sitting in that kind of pain made me so angry! He immediately said it was me that had upset her and I was the one speaking in a harsh tone of voice. Simply reversal of voice – it’s not very sophisticated is it. I’m still very bogged down with this reversal of voice thing but a few weeks ago I wondered how close it might be to Kim’s developmental gaps ie he is so shamed of his lack of social/empathy skills that he lashes out instead. I know exactly you are coming from Judy !

  418. Anna said

    Yes, yes – and YES!!!

  419. survivor said

    Dear Judy and Anna,

    It’s a no win situation. I was the one always blamed. Praise was always given to the other person. It was only recently I learned how they punish their victim(s). So much came together for me as to why he did the cruel things he did. He was punishing me for something I said 6 months ago,said in passing conversation or small incidences I didn’t give second thought too.

  420. judy collier said

    Maggie, sometimes i think he doesn’t know a subject from a verb but when it comes to others he doesn’t seem to have too much trouble . I have spotted it a few times.
    Rather i think it is about love. The dictionary’s definition of love is “sympathetic understanding”
    Once I looked up the definition of love because he was talking to my best friend and I was thinking he sounds like he loves her. Well he sure did because he was having an affair with her.
    I honestly think he is doing it on purpose and so I have decided to speak to him only if he makes sense and not gibberish.It will be much better than me ending up saying things like, “you ——, ——-, if you had half a ——- brain YOU would get confused” Judy

  421. Anna said

    Dear Survivor – isn’t it amazing how the same dynamics are in operation for all of us, only I guess to varying degrees and with differing expressions. You’ve obviously suffered a lot. Sounds like you’re learning a lot now too. Keep pressing onwards and upwards – you’ll get there!

    Judy – your ‘lightbulb conversation’ sums it all up very neatly – and in a very entertaining way too. In fact, I copied it and emailed it to my two support-friends, to give them an idea of how ‘crazy-making’ these Ns of ours can be. I must admit to being puzzled though. I thought your N was blind? Hope you don’t mind me asking.

  422. Maggie said

    Hey Judy,

    Re your husband behaving badly and doing it on purpose -certainly – and with a fundamental lack of respect and love. I am so sorry to hear about your husbands affair with your best friend. With mine it has only been crushes and yet he managed to make me feel so strange and lost and not really knowing what was true. That was bad enough.

    I sometimes think my tendency to try and understand ‘why’ is just a load of hot air. Akin to Kim’s advice to employ a private detective in a hard-headed unemotional way – I was thinking about buying a listening device so that I could record what he says and get objective ‘evidence’ that he is causing confusion on purpose. But I can hear that with my own ears and I know it’s true! Wouldn’t it be nice to have the resources to employ a security guard who could say “go away now, your wife feels you are playing games and doesn’t want to have anything to do with that stuff”. A girl can dream!

  423. survivor said

    Dear Anna,

    Thank you for responding to my comment.

    A priest once said that when babies are born they do not know how to love. Their mother teaches them love. This is a critical age for the sweet infant and must be handled with the understanding of just how crucial it is….how to love, how to feel love and how to show love. I think people are the same way or least I am. I kept telling my husband I am slowly dying from no affection. A little love pat on the arm, an affectionate look, a smile of love, a laugh together, just taking up for one in the presence of another, showing there is a blessed union.

    I finally died from no love. He told me to give my love to God.

    My daughter told me to give my love to charity. I was looking forward to my grandbaby but I love too much they say. They don’t like me talking to my grandbaby. They don’t want her to possess the pattern of behavior my family has… daughter says our behavior is dysfunctional.

    My husband started the rumor that I overmedicate on prescription drugs. That statement ruined my life. I will never get back what I have lost
    What I’ve learned is the realization of how much power one person has….freedom of choice. Freedom of choice used by a sick, cruel person…and the damaging effects it can cause to another.

  424. judy collier said

    Hi Anna, yes, my husband is legally blind. He cannot drive or read but if he gets close enough to things he uses his periphial(?) vision but for limited amounts of time. I do push him to try things or he would just sit endlessly. He likes to go to the grocery but gets so angry at me because I take longer than he thinks is necessary. Well,I do all the reading for prices and ingredients and he just keeps repeating how he used to go and get in and out in half the time.
    In fact, he still manages to try and control me constantly but now that the 4 children are grown and he can’t see, it rarely works anymore. It is becoming more apparent to others of his true nature. Everyone used to think I was a witch, EXCEPT for my 4 children. Kids can spot judgement and injustice.
    I used to worry how they would turn out but, in fact,

  425. judy collier said

    Don’t know what I did here but anyway, my children became advocates against those very qualities. They are very good with their children and now are great at supporting me and still retain love for their dad.I really don’t know how this worked out just that I also wouldn’t allow them to look back and judge their father when they became adults. He always provided but lacked skills and understanding, somehow that controlling made them feel safe where I was a free spirit. Once they were grown they questioned this method though.
    They love their dad but respect no, pity is their emotion. Judy

  426. Anna said

    Thanks Judy – I knew there’d be an explanation :-). It’s interesting too because I was recently shocked to learn than an ex-boss of mine, a professional, has had to close his practice because of going blind. He’s only 52. He’s also, in my opinion, an absolute and confirmed NPD – I always felt for his wife. Much as you wouldn’t wish blindness on anybody, I can’t help but feel that his poor wife will now be having to bear the brunt of things even more, and unreasonably so.

    Survivor, you’re on the right website! Hang in there.


  427. survivor said

    I need your comments on something that was told to me by my daughter’s therapist.

    My daughter took the role of her alcoholic father. She has narcissistic traits also. She and her husband speak down to me. They mock me, have me labeled with a Borderline Personality Disorder. She and my soon to be ex have had conversations about me…..I cannot believe this is my flesh and blood. What they have done could have been done in another way……..but they took the brutal way with me and my family.

    Her therapist told me that when she talks down to me, I am not supposed to say “don’t speak that way to me, I am your mother”, I am supposed to say, I understand how you feel, blah, blah, in a very soft tone. This is my daughter that I raised alone, with no child support working my ______ off 12 hours a day giving her everything she needed. Now she runs to her alcoholic dad and kicks me in the _____. I had a meltdown last night. I can no longer take abuse. She uses the type of abuse her father did with me. I can no longer be her victim or her husband’s victim. I have a grandbaby they dangle over my head. I can see the joy in their eyes when they do this to me.

    I need a grief counselor to help me cope with the fact they will not allow me to be around my grandchild. Her therapist said I have no entitlement to see the baby. They will not bring her to my house, her grandma’s house to play with blocks. They give no reason. Last week they said I give them no attention. All attention is shown to the baby. I told them they are the ones who need counseling.

  428. Maggie said

    Hi Survivor,

    You are being so brave and asking a lot of the right questions I think too. Hard as it is – and even though she is enjoying hurting your feelings – there is still a part of your daughter that wants and needs your gentle quiet love. Perhaps I don’t know that for sure but it could be a ‘what if’. But it is hard for her to take the risk and express that in an emotional landscape with so many trouble makers like your ex seems to be. That part is about power and control.

  429. survivor said

    Thank you Maggie,

    A ray of hope came to me when you said “there is still a part of your daughter that wants and needs your gentle quiet love.”

    I wrote her a letter telling her I love her unconditionally and I apologized for any hurt I caused. I let go. I hope and pray she returns.

  430. survivor said

    Dear zoezoedread,

    Where is justice? I don’t know if there are degrees of narcissism. But narcissistic people, only as you and I know them from experience and living with them, should be subject to punishment or put away. They are lethal to society. If I were an employer, I would not want them working for my company. They punish. They could ruin a company if so choose.

    I have just learned that my husband is the root of the destruction of my relationship with my daughter. He told everyone I was overmedicating when it was sleep apnea. I am devasted. He thinks nothing of it. My daughter tried to have me self admit myself in a mental hospital because of this. The damage he has done to me is horrendous!!!!!!!

  431. survivor said

    My husband told everyone that I was overmedicating on prescription drugs.

    I learned a few days ago, from him by accident, that he took my sleep apnea as overmedicating on prescription drugs. He spread this lie to everyone including my daughter. That is the reason I cannot see my grandchild. Damage has been severely done. He thinks nothing of it. My name has been severely damaged. Even the in-laws told me I was sick and needed help. So the narcissist gets off free? I am the one who suffers humiliation, degrading, etc.?
    What recourse do I have?

  432. Jan said

    I’ve not posted for a few weeks after our separation. I did spend more time re-reading Back Through the Looking Glass, doing the Workbook FOR REAL this time, and spending more time trying to put thought and decision into action.
    He called. Sent notes. We talked. He returned after two weeks with his family. He said he was ready and willing to be accountable, he said he wanted to do things the right way and get us back on track.
    Things were good for a few days.
    Today, we are back into what Judy describes above about the typical argument….ours was about tea, of all things.

    My tea was mistakenly made with two sugars, and I told him so. He offered to switch teas with me, fine.
    He got a glass, and what he did from there, I don’t know.

    I was handed my tea, and it was the same double sweet one I had before.
    “This tea is the same tea I just had”
    ~”No, it’s not”
    “Yes, it is”
    ~“No, it’s not, I KNOW i poured my tea into your cup”
    “Then why is it still so sweet?”
    ~”I don’t know”
    “Well, it’s obviously the same tea I had”
    ~”no, it, not! I know what I did, and that tea you have is not the same tea.”
    “You taste it.”
    He samples
    ~”I’m sorry, I’ll make you a new one, I don’t know what happened, but I know that I poured my tea in your cup”
    I taste his
    “Well, yours is the same one sugar tea you had started with”
    ~”No, it’s not”
    I tasted it again.
    “No, these teas are the same that we started with”
    ~”I’m not nuts, I know I did pour your into my cup. You’re calling me a liar”
    “I did not…all I said was that the tea I have is the same tea I had!” (loud)
    ~”It is not!”
    This went on and on…I really wonder how many times in a life we will go through this.
    This turns into an argument, then it is my fault, I have no reason to think that he would do such a thing on purpose. I got emotional (I have adrenal exhaustion), and then he ridiculed me for making ‘too much about it’
    I am not allowed to question his honesty~~ if I ever do, and even if I don’t, it always ends up this same way.

    The first few days he was back, he had a humble spirit…I believed him when he said he does want to be responsible and accountable in his living. We both would talk on the phone about Love Safety Net programs we were listening to and other ‘progress’ he was making on his own while separated.
    Everything is aok as long as things are smooth and he has control.

    For the first time since he’s back, I wonder what kind of help he really needs.

    Now, I’ll catch up on the rest of what I missed here…

    Namaste, Jan

  433. judy collier said

    Dear Survivor, this man is driving you insane and I want you to know that this is normal. You have to quit responding to him and what he does. You are still trying to win, let it go. Focus on yourself and quit trying to explain all this to others(us, yes) and maybe after a year or so people will begin to respond to you differently.
    If you were to start this new behaviour and say to an accusation,”this is not true” and then drop it after saying it ONLY ONCE, (HE) will get confused. When responding to others, again, say it only ONCE, eventually because of your calm demeanor others will start responding to you in the same way.
    What has already went down can’t be taken back but there is hope if you can recall when replying that old saying,”I think he doth protest too much”.
    It’s when we get sucked into their games that we lose our self. It doesn’t matter what he thinks or what others think. We can only control ourselves.
    My husband is so confused at this point because I have been doing this that he is becoming quieter and I notice others are coming around to my observations. Oh,he still thinks I am a bitch, who cares!!!
    What is that song,”freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” I think it was J.Joplin who sang it. It is true, once you don’t care anymore you will have regained your power.
    Now this doesn’t mean you don’t care forever just for now and his ignorant ways. Judy

  434. Hi Survivor,

    It has taken a while for me to respond I apologize.

    This list is for those who are seeking to improve their relationships, whether right or wrong. This space is precious for some and we aim to keep it that way. Remaining bitter about the treatment of your ex is really counter-productive. The most important message I want to get across now is that we understand the bitterness and pain, it is reprehensible to hear about what this man has done to you. However, there needs to be a point when you take action for your own direction for your own future.

    This is the idea behind these blogs, we wish to provide a space for those who have made a conscious effort to become masters of his/her own destiny. We welcome you to remain here and learn and share what you can. Our material is aimed at being part of a healing journey, we know that we cannot be the entire healing process for you or anyone else, we are just part of it- and hopefully a positive influence.

    Just the same, there are hundreds of blogs and forums where you can let it all out. These sites will provide you with full licence to dump all of your negativity about him into the blogosphere. That may help you feel better for a little while, but we believe our blog here can provide something more substantial to your continuing growth and maturity.

    I have done my best here to set a boundary while remaining welcoming and compassionate. How’d I do?


  435. Helen said

    I often read the posts that come through and it has made me realise even more about the nature of narcissism. My ex-partner was a narcissist and I only found out as he was in the process of leaving me, when his dad told me. My ex-partner was adopted, a mixed race child in a white family. His father has finally been able to really begin to offload the many years of abuse he suffered at the hands of his narcissistic wife and later, his 3 narcissistic daughters and his son, my ex-partner. Having lived with one I cannot imagine how he could have managed to live with 5 of them, except that he stayed with his wife because of the kids and is a very kind and caring man who just tried to keep everyone happy. He eventually tried to commit suicide, and then the family tried to have him sectioned to get his money, and he has now been shunned and disowned by his family and most of his friends, because of the lies told by his ex-wife and kids. He still has a kind of relationship with Sam, my ex, because he says he is the least bad of all of them, and does still care about him – Sam is a victim in his own way!

    I have stayed in touch with Sam’s dad for both our sakes – I can’t be yet another one to abandon him – even though some would say I should have had a completely clean break. I still have occasional contact with Sam and know he is now engaged to his pregnant girlfriend – though it is unlikely to last. It still hurts because I loved him more than I’d loved anyone, and thought he felt the same way. I was completely devastated when he left – and yet I also know I had a lucky escape, and reading the posts and talking to Sam’s dad reminds me of this – and ultimately helps me deal with the pain and confusion. I have learnt so much in the last 18 months about narcissism and personality disorders, which at least makes me forearmed against any others that might come my way – and I am very lucky to have had Sam’s dad to talk to, who was able to explain the way they think and the way they work. I know I will have been maligned by Sam to his new friends, even though he still is in contact now and again. He wants to keep me away from his new life, but have me in the background if he ever needs me! It’s a world of confusion and madness – I can say things about him to a few of his longer term friends who know exactly what he’s like but still love him for his good points!!

    So life does move on, but still with a few backward glances at what might have been. If only I’d known sooner I might have been able to make use of all the Kim & Steve material, but it was too late at the end to do anything. I would have gone back to him if he’d wanted that – madness in itself. He still owes me a great deal of money, and he sometimes promises to pay me!! That’s when he wants to look good in front of his new girlfriend and new friends. I play along because there is no point in trying to have a rational discussion about it, and it is easier all round. I accept that if I were to say anything against him, it would backfire on me in some way. I have learnt that much from his dad, and realise it’s true! His friends who also became my friends know he treated me badly so I have come out of it quite well – but every now and then I still feel the need to tell others – which is why I felt I needed to add something to this blog. I am educated, I am a therapist, I thought I knew better, and I still got caught!! It’s interesting now though how I can begin to spot them all around and was able to alert someone I know to one in her office recently – which has really helped them in dealing with this person. Sam sent me to the edge of madness and it has been a long journey back – you know it’s not you – keep the faith!!

  436. Zoe said

    I thought that I could live without him in my life, after my “N” and broke it off, I thought that I would be able to take that time to find myself. And it was hell, I felt like I couldn’t breathe or concentrate. After 5 months of being without him he has called and wants to come back into my life. He has not changed, he asked me what can I do for him, do I have something for him, I can’t be of any help to him.
    Same old thing. It wasn’t his fault that we are apart. (Nothing is ever his fault) He asked if I am still wearing his ring.
    I love this man I truly do, I can’t see us ever living together again, I am not moving out of the place my employer put me up in, to have him leave me or treat me like he has done before. I know there will be no physical abuse again because he doesn’t want to see jail again.
    But I tried to live my life again, start over, work on my self, but I just could never get him out of my mind. I saw him when I closed my eyes at night. I just couldn’t get him out of my mind. Now he wants to get back into my life. I said that I would never put myself into that situation again, but I can’t see my life without him. I want for things to be better I know in my heart they never will be, I had even tried to see other peoplebut it didn’t work, I know him, he owns part of my heart, he always will. How do I live with someone that I know is not good for me, will never help me, or contribute anything other than heartache. But I know him, I know what he is about. I love him.

  437. Maggie said

    Dear Jan,

    Re the two sugars in his tea interaction. I am very familiar with that sort of ‘confusional’ behaviour – you are definately not over-reacting by feeling upset. I believe he knowingly intends to cause a fuss but is trying not to appear as if he is intending to – if you see what I mean. It’s confusing to write about – never mind experience!

    My suggestion would be to write in your journal in as much detail as you think you need about each one of these incidents- I would welcome hearing more on this blog as I experience a lot of abuse like this. I feel it’s a bit embarrassing because is seems so trivial and banal – but underneath there is a whole heap of AGRESSION. I’m starting to notice my husbands non-verbals as he does this. His eyes start to look darker and more animated, he moves in a more jerky way. Even though he keeps careful control of his tone of voice – he’s gearing up for a fight early on in the interaction.

    It’s a learning curve and I think I might be getting better at closing it down early on and not blaming myself. I am trying to keep Kim’s advice to self-sooth in mind as I am doing all this.

    Please keep yourself safe even so..

  438. Survivor said

    Judy, you are correct and thank you for your response.

    I learned that my aggressive behavior has taken on a power which has become out of control. I am learning to gear back.

    This came from a learned behavior long ago called “survival”. At that time aggressiveness as such was needed to survive in order to pay bills and raise my daughter. I learned that this behavior is no longer needed and desparately needs adjustment. As the years moved on this behavior bled into my personal life and soon became me. The readjustment is hard. When I slip up, I say to myself, I will try again…and I do.

    Steve, your website is great but it has done much damage to me personally. I found that the unpublished page cannot be printed; if e-mailed, it cannot be opened. You offer secret e-mail addresses. The unpublised article portrays the woman overmedicating on prescription drugs making her husband’s behavior seem worse than it is. Where does it place men\women who are on prescription drugs. What are your thoughts on this?

  439. Hi Survivor,

    I’m very glad to hear you talking about some of the reflections you have made on your own responses, this is the beginning of better times for you, (as painful and embarrassing it might be).

    Our unpublished page is really there for subscribers only. We need to have this set up so we can continue to communicate with you. Our message can be misread very easily and so we encourage subscribers to join our list so we can ‘drip feed’ the message. If you would like to pass on this material, we need recipients to subscribe.

    Kim’s experience with prescription medication was not a good experience for her. Kim found that the medication would dull her thinking and put her at a disadvantage when it was time to deal with my narcissistic behaviour. Everyone has different reactions to different drugs, but in Kim’s experience she found that the particular script she was given was not useful.


  440. judith collier said

    ZOE, wanted to respond earlier but extremely busy! Zoe, it has only been 5 months, of course you still have feelings for him and you will always have some sort of feeling but these will change over time.
    In this age of quick response we think 5 months is a long time. It isn’t! It is just long enough for you to START your grieving. This won’t be easy and it takes a lot of courage but you have come so far, this is not the time for a decision.
    In AA a person is supposed to wait a year before major decisions are acted on. I think this is good timing as your feelings are still so raw!
    Please, please give your self a chance. Love you!!!!

  441. Zoe said

    Thankyou Judith
    He did come over on Sat. and said”is this where you want to be, you gave up my mansion, (the one mind you I paid for each and every month). He doesn’t get it,we spent time together, I missed him holding me, I missed feeling his body next to mine. And when I dropped him off he recieved a call from another woman, but wanted me to stop at the store to buy him cigs. I told him I feed him and @#@# him let her buy you cigs. It’s all about him, he will never get it, I have to see that. he calls me almost everyday, I delete his number because I don’t want to call him.
    He said he wants to find another place for us, I will never leave here to be put back in that situation.And he will not move in here to live off off me again. it’s just if I could find someone else I would, but I can’t. So I’m again I feel I only have him, I have no selfesteem, to feel that my life is to wait for this man that treats me so badly. Whats wrong with me. With him I cant live without him I feel like dying.

  442. Hi Zoe,

    I think you need to take Kim’s advice here and survey the entire battlefield as they call it in business. The entire battlefield is more than the sum of its parts. Let me explain.
    Him wanting you to buy cigs is a childish bid to start a fight (as well as his addiction to the tobacco talking and making decisions on his behalf). This is one of the many areas you obviously have been dealing with spot fires in the past. A spot fire is a smaller, apparently insignificant argument or tantrum that requires dealing with and is orchestrated and controlled by the narcissist. An aggressive confabulation of sorts.
    Kim and I recently recorded a radio show on and around this topic here,

    We know that this is a difficult new strategy to implement, especially when you are a busy person, but it is essential that you take a look at the larger picture. The larger picture takes the form of setting your own goals for your own health, safety and well-being.
    Tolstoy wrote of a character who was a general who would roam the battlefields, almost trance like, not making rash decisions, sometimes not making any decisions. He would always conduct himself admirably, but would not be drawn into any old skirmish. Until one day, he snapped out of his trance, and sent out his direct urgent orders, and ended the war.
    This is an example of how we have forgotten to use our imaginations to achieve a result. Setting goals is a part of this, but the imagining a victory, and particularly how it will be achieved, is also essential.
    I understand that you love him, and your story sounds like that old disco number, “Upside Down”, and a million other songs like it. It’s ok that you love him but not to the point where you forget who you are and what you are here for. You are not here to love him, you are here to love yourself and all of humanity.
    I know this is hard Zoe and I feel for you and I know many others on this list will also want to help you.
    Kim has another great exercise of imagining yourself with nothing. No friends or family, no possessions, no job. Can you live with yourself?, the person inside you, do you know yourself and trust yourself to be OK? If not, you have a little way to go to learning some new skills. Not a very long way, paradise is always just around the corner. It is for you too.

  443. Sharon said

    Hi Kim and Steve. Not sure if you would remember but I posted here in Feb this year – was trapped in Indonesia with my narcissistic partner (we’re both Australian) and our two children.

    Well I made it out and home in May and even managed to get a container with our belongings back to Sydney with me. My 11yo daughter came with me, but our 15yo son stayed there with his Dad.

    Despite all your advice tha techniques, nothing was working and my parnter was spiralling further into his own self obsessed world to the further detriment of those around him, who he professed to love above all else .. me included.

    Nothing I said or did was working as he wasn’t and still isn’t at the point where he identifies the need for change. He always said he did when he was in back peddle mode and trying to convince me to stay and try “again”, but the cycle would repeat over and over. Sadly he was just saying what he thought I wanted and needed to hear, but made no attempt at implementing any change.

    I had spent 20 years of my life with him; raised his two children; am raising our two children; followed him to other countries several times to further “his” career; etc. Pretty well always taken a back seat, and having nothing to show for it all other than our great kids.

    Sooo, I made the choice to leave. I am amazingly happy to be back here in Sydney amongst old friends, my daughter is settled back into her old school with old friends and, after 4 months living with my mother in law while we got on our feet, we now have a lovely apartment not far from Manly.

    It’s tough financially, as I still haven’t found work and have been diagnosed with severe depression. Probably not surprising after all the physical and emotional abuse, and being trapped in a foreign country for 2 years, then having my family break up and having to leave one child behind (he was happy to stay and see how things went with his Dad).

    However, I realised I had put enough effort into a relationship that was completely one sided, and I didn’t want to wake up in another 10 or 20 years and still be so deeply unfulfilled and unhappy. Leaving WAS the right choice for me, although I know not for everyone in that position.

    I am feeling free and independant for the first time in many years, and I am looking forward to getting my life back on track and reclaiming “me”. To be living with no one controlling everything in my life for the first time since I was in my early 20s is so liberating that I find it hard to put into words.

    We still have a tough road to traverse, emotionally and financially, but the hill is getting less steep and I’m so very glad I finally got away.

    My realisation that for him to change, he had to WANT to change was the last step in my process with him. Saying you want to do something is easy, enacting the steps that are required for that change and REALLY believing it yourself is what makes it work. Unfortunately for us, he made all the right noises when he was scared he had pushed me too far, but never actually made an effort to work on anything.

    Anyway, just thought I would give you that update.

  444. Maggie said

    Dear Sharon,

    What an amazing story. You should feel really proud. I certainly remember your original post and it sounded tough to say the last! Any insights on Indonesian peoples attitude to marriage?


  445. Sharon said

    Hi Maggie. thanks. I am quite proud at having got this far. Affirmation that I have done the right thing for all of us, is that even my stepdaughters (my husbands’ children) have told me they never want to see me back with him again. the 22 yo said “Sharon, he says he loves you to all of us, but when he is with you he treats you like shit, then every time you have left him and tried to go it alone, he grovels and crawls us your ass and is nice as can be until he talks his way back in the foor. He’s my dad and I love hi for that, but I don’t like the person that he is and he is a poor excue for a man. (jokingly If you EVER take him back I will whack you!”

    There is a lot I could explain about the Indonesian view of marriage, but as my husband and I are Australian, it doesn’t pertain to us. Also, it would take too long to go into the cultural and religious aspects of it – which all contribute to the way things work there. In a nutshell, womens’ rights are increasingly gaining strength, even with Shariah (Islamic law) courts, but they have a long way to go. I had no rights there as I was a foreigner and so was my husband, so it’s easier for us not to get involved int heir system. Even the Australian consulate couldn’t help me, despite them knowing that I was being physically abused – a consulate can only offer assistance in criminal matters involving the legal system of the country, and ours was domestic. There is a saying in Indonesia used by many Indonesians though “Lose a chicken, call the police, lose a cow” Say no more.


  446. Maggie said

    That’s fascinating, thank you for explaining. The reason I ask it because I was reading about cultural narcissism.
    Congratulations once again on that respect that you have certainly earned! I guess sitting here in small town England I can make some more progress. I wagged a finger at my husband last night and told him off for browbeating our daughter. Yes he was angry as usual, in his suppressed covert way. But then he always is – I’ve go nothing to loose by standing up to him!

  447. Sharon said

    Hi Maggie
    My pleasure. Yes, I relate to the standing up for yourself but I just decided after 20 years I was sick and tired of having to stand up for myself constantly.

    Not only did it wear me down to a point where I forgot what it was like to “not” stand up for myself (ie: being in a “healthy” relationship) it was a poor example for my children in enacting what a good and equitable relationship should be like. It was also damned scary for the children being witness to their father beating me so badly that I was black, blue and purple for 3-6 weeks afterwards – moreson being stuck in a foreign country where I had no recourse to have him charged with assault, as I would have done without hesitation here in Australia.

    Those things aside, my previous relationships were based on respect and equality, an even balance of “power” in the decision making and my partners were more emotionally mature … this one was becoming more and more like a selfish young child who would become moody, beligerant and sulk when he didn’t get his own way. And he admits it!!

    I decided that at 42 I want some healing time for myself, and the opportunity to eventually form a new and healthy relationship some time in the not too distant future. If I stayed in this one I would have completely burnt out.

    So we all stay for our own reasons, just as those of us who leave have our reasons. I just knew when it came down to it that unless he REALLY wanted to change, he never would. And I didn’t want to spend another minute living in fear, feeling intimidated, having to bite my tongue to keep the peace, or risking his wrath if I didn’t.

    I deserve better and so do my children, my step children and the grandchild I will be welcoming into our lives in about a month.

    It’s scary some days and exhilarating on others, but I know in my heart I have made the right decision for ME. We are all responsible for our own happiness, and it is not up to me to bend over backwards constantly to try and make or help another adult be happy – no matter how much I think I love them.

    Good luck with yours and I hope what you go through teaches you strength and self belief, and that your do what you know is ultimately right for you!

    My love to you, and everyone else reading this blog page who is struggling or at the point where they are deciding which corner to turn and not sure what to do for their own happiness.

    Sharon x

  448. Maggie said

    Too right – you do deserve better. You are a very brave lady.

  449. Lisa said

    I have been reading some of the book and have listened to some of the broadcasts and have really began to see the light on a few things. In the back of my mind for many years I held my ex husband up as a psycho pure and simple for all that he did to us and still tries to do today. And I realize now that that was unfair of me to think. During our marriage I became extremely passive and pretty much taking everything he dished out at me. When we got separated I was getting advise from everywhere on how to handle things and found that I was actually being told the steps you have presented in your book and most of them worked! The thing that did not work at the time was the fact that I had not attempted to change myself and how to deal with all the pain that was caused. We’ve been apart for a little over 5 years now with 2 children and I have found that me doing simple things like changing the way I talk to him has really allowed him to see that I will not tolerate his actions any longer but hasn’t set him off like it did before either. He has grown up his entire life never admitting guilt, never saying I’m sorry, always getting away with everything by using his charm and putting everyone else to be the bad guy. He plays the victim card very well. And I have decided not to fall into the trap any longer. I will never go back to that relationship and hope that one day he will be able to get better. But meanwhile, my life is about myself and my children. I have spent a lot of time trying to guide my children in the opposite direction of following his example and hopefully that will work also. Thank you so much.

  450. Jan said

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about these repetitive arguments we have with our partners. I get tired of journaling the same stuff over and over, but after a brief sabbatical from it, I returned to it because I am sometimes dumbfounded by some of the things he does and says, then denies, then will argue about the diversions he introduces in the mix until I become the target of blame, hate, and anger.
    I will give you a run down of the agreements we made before he returned to me:
    -absolute honesty
    -time alone respected
    -no threats, violence or intimidation
    -truce before retiring for night if there is dishamony
    -respect for feelings and boundaries
    -honoring marriage commitment
    -spend time daily on Love safety net work and/or SA recovery workshop
    -being open and accountable
    -have compassion
    -continue some kind of counselling or even honest communication with another man (for him){he talked with a pastor one time}
    -more phys intimacy

    Here we are almost two months later and he has dissolved all agreements but the last…
    now I think he uses LSN to find out what I SHOULD be doing, not focusing on his own improvement.
    I have been far too patient, understanding, and forgiving because I dealt with his dishonesty by ignoring it, thinking his conscience would bring him to tell me the truth himself. I want him to learn to be accountable on his own. I emphasize ‘on his own’ because once again, I find out the truth from others.Ok, so he’s confronted, I hear his explanation without being angry…I told him I need time to process the fact that he lied again.Everything is fine for him because I am still not expressing my emotions about it.In his mind, after an apology, that means the end of subject. A few days later, I went to him to express with consideration and maturity how I feel when he lies, how I hurt,how this damages my trust in his own words, why I feel sad, etc. He had no response, then he said I got whiny when I asked him why no response, and rudely he told me he has nothing to say. I should not be surprised, but I felt stunned and knocked down. It escalated from there into me defending myself for having feelings!It was the loud arguing that he said bothered him….so I asked him why he started yelling at me?
    Now he has been cave sitting for three days, and each time I have tried to make peace with him, he has rejected me.

    But I read, journal, medtitate, exercise,and try, try , try, not to think about his threats or what he is doing.It is sooo difficult because I have always hated these conflicts, I am always reaching out to him, and he makes things so hard to work through. This latest event has gotten so out of context from what i started talking with him about, that now I am to blame for our situation again, because I am not perfect.
    I asked him why he cannot forgive me for being angry or hurt, when i have forgiven him for things that I think other women would have left long ago.He responds that he forgives me, then he will threaten me with leaving.
    It’s hard for me to accept the fact that his condition is probably worse than I realize. he can seem so caring and loving until he has to face something, then he turns cold. He agrees lying is wrong, yet continues.
    He will defend another woman’s character, and if i respond with hurt he’ll say “you’re just jealous”.
    Yet he thinks nothing of lying about me to others and makes no attepmt to defend my character.

    Now I have gotten better at self-soothing, but when I fail, like this weekend, he will attack my progress towards healthy living. You know it gets pretty hard at times.When he shuts down, all progress stops or regresses to step one again.

    I have just started working with a life coach who, to my blessing, has offered her services at no charge in her efforts to obtain a higher certifcate! These are the little things that show me God cares. Otherwise, I would have no real moral or encouraging support to help me keep my mind together after he ripped it apart.

  451. Maggie said

    Dear Jan,

    Thank you so much for sharing how you feel about all this. It is so familiar to me and I really feel for you. I guess you need to work on ‘you’ and set boundaries but believe me I know how hard this can be with a man who uses such emotionally draining ‘tactics’. Protect yourself in any way you can as he is using some really low blows isn’t he. I read in one of my books about emotional abuse that when the abuser says or does something so callous and jaw droppingly cruel that for a moment you are emotionally ‘winded’, keep an eye on what they do straight after as that is the real clue to their true motivation -they are trying to distract you or cause you to become preoccupied. This and all the minor circular arguments are like the ‘grass fires’ Kim and Steve talked about in their radio show – they are his attempt at hiding what his secret life is really all about. I love the idea of the Eaglescope where you mentally fly high above the metaphorical battle field and survey the whole situation instead of becoming emotionally drained dealing with every grass fire and skirmish.

  452. sydney said

    Hello all,
    I haven’t posted in a while and this will just be brief but I found that last post intriguing and I am wondering whether there can be a “secret life” that is basically empty? I mean, my husband has many many characteristics that are commonly discussed in this forum but I have done some snoping around and he certainly seems to crave privacy — for instance, we have been separated for four months and I still do not know where he has been staying that whole time — but he keeps a really pretty regular schedule, is so anal about money I can hardly imagine him running up big bills, insists on his right to flirt with women but I honestly think that in a weird way he’s sexually loyal. But he has this intense need to build really strong walls around him, to have big boundaries, to assert his independence (constantly and boringly). It almost seems like he needs to do all that for its own sake. Does that resonate with anyone else? And what would be the reason for that? I feel like he has a very weak sense of self, like he feels threatened when anyone comes too close.
    Best to all,

  453. Vi said

    I first learned that after 51 years of marriage that this behavior is NOT normal. His twin, both 74
    now, he is much worse. I have tried to learn and then mentor my sister-in-law. She has been sucidel
    2 times, and 1100 mi. away. I did finally blow up and threaten, just one more time of his verbal rage that he will be leaving. My lawyer will tell his
    lawyer what he can have, and don’t even question
    how angry & serious I am about this. I am done!
    My being cool has kept him on notice. He also does
    not want to loose half the money. I won’t accept an
    apoligy anymore. I can see now, his whole family
    has this trait. Being the submissive wife all these
    years, stupid me, took the verba violent blows, and every single thing listed that a narsisst will do.
    Our 2 sons felt bad for me, and they got the wrath
    many times to.
    We both are hanging on, her health has been ruined
    because of the emotional roly coaster,doctors years
    ago told her to leave him. She just couldn’t. Well
    my hind sight is clearer, as I should have found a
    way. I am angry now, and I want him to suffer.
    My mom is dying of Leukemia, and that strained
    relationsheip with son-in-law, the fake,”I care”.She is also controling, so I am lifting every
    ones foot off my chest.
    I know both of us(s-in-law) are too far gone. We have been in the quick sand for too long and all she & I can do is survive. Survive in our protective shell. You compound that hurt 3 times
    stronger & longer than you have seen,we are just
    waiting for release, whether one of us die, the
    pain will be over. I know I can’t let anger stay
    in my life, but has given me power to stand up.
    Thank you for your program, It was a releaf to
    know this is not the way it should be. Yes, God
    has helped me thru all of this.
    Thanks for being there.

  454. Cathy said

    I have been in an on-off relationship with an N(mostly off) for 5 yrs now. It took me some time to understand what was going on as I was previously unaware of this personality disorder. I have since read numerous books on the subject and have found your website and ebooks very useful. I have been encouraged to think there is help available for people like me who struggle to come to terms with the unspeakable cruely which is unleashed by people who suffer from this condition. There are times I feel it is totally evil. I finally broke up with my N early this year after finally deciding I could no longer deal with his cruelty. I am a very giving kind person and tried in vain to support him in times of crisis which is more than he ever did for me. There were times I disliked him intensely. He could not cope with any critism or assault on precious ego and would punish me by not contacting me for weeks if I challenged him on an issue. We finally broke up in March this year and I was moving on with my life. In October he contacted me and I got the usual line about how much he always loved me etc.. He was recovering from minor surgery and now I realise he needed a nursemaid to look after him. I fell for his charm and the lies. He stayed with me for 6 weeks and I was beginning to trust him again. He was on his best behaviour. On the weekend he was due to leave (he works interstate) we had an urgument. He left but said he would call me. A week later I receive a text from a woman claiming to be in a relationship with him and letting me know he was with her that night. I was totally numb! I forwarded the text to him and asked him to call but got no response. I sent an email to him letting him know in no uncertain terms that he had no honour or morals. He came back into my life after all that time and led me to believe he really loved me but he betrayed me so easily and so soon after convincing me he really loved me. How cruel! I told him I was ashamed to know him and I never wanted to hear from him again.
    He called me a few days later to say he was very ashamed and apologised that I had to receive the text (she found my number in his mobile). He said he was suicidal after the argument with me, again his way of putting all the blame on me. He was very calm and said he cared about me and wanted to call me from time to time to make sure I was okay. he said he hated himself. He had been caught out in a lie. I told him I would never respect him again. It has taken me some weeks to recover from all this and I still feel very fragile. I am finding it so hard to come to terms with his deceit and cruelty. I want to be strong but I also want to help him as in some way I feel he is not responsible for his actions. It is like he is two different people. Kim, I would appreciate your advice in terms of how I should respond when he contacts me again as despite my hurt and confusion right now I dont want to alienate him from my life completely. Is there any hope for us?
    Thank you for your response….

  455. 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,


  456. Steve said

    I appreciate the courage and humility both Kim and you have had in bringing NPD to the surface so that others can step out of the shadows and the misery to a place of hope. My wife and I have been together 20 years. For many years now I have struggled with and denied the truth about my own NPD. My wife has been diligently implementing the information, advice, and literature you have provided to repair and heal our marriage. She has endured many years of oppressive, dishonest, and violent behavior from me and I thank God she really loves me and hasn’t given up. As a child I was sexually abused by an uncle that I looked up
    to becaused he showed emotional attention, my father was emotionally abscent and my mother was the compensating, overindulgent, possessive leader of the house. Never being able to tell anyone of my experience and confusion over this event until I told my wife a couple years ago. My teenage and adult years have been filled with hidden anger, resentment, anxiety, sorrow, depression, emotional illiteracy, fear of intimacy, etc. as I chose sexual compulsive behaviors, ego gratification, and emotional isolation to temporarily relieve my mind. I am striving now to recover from my addictive behaviors and have only recently seen the value of a support/accountability network of trusted friends and loved ones in the way my wife has really dedicated herself to healing from the destruction I have brought on our relationship. Absolute honesty has not come easy for me as I have usually felt the need to self-preserve my facade,false self I built for years. As a result I still find it difficult to express,show empathy and compassion to my wife after so many years of feeling sorry for myself and protecting my inner child. I am ashamed at 44 years old to be nothing like the husband she thought I was. You mentioned Steve that you had to deal with porn addiction as well as NPD. I wondered what steps you took to root that out of your life in connection with the narcissism? That might be another area for You and your wife to include in your radio show or literature, audio products. My wife and I have been using Recovery Again, she has been more diligent and dedicated than I over the past two years.I have regained a spiritual direction which has helped me be more consistant in getting the recovery workshop work completed. Also supplemented with many other articles and books. Right now we are considering regressive hypnosis. Do you, or anyone, have any thoughts or advice? I do consider it a blessing to be going through this necessary change but it has been the toughest thing I have ever experienced.

  457. sydney said

    Dear Steve and Kim,

    I posted a short question earlier, but this is a more involved update on what has happened since my husband of one year was arrested last July for assaulting me (shoving/throwing me around in my house). I am not criticizing the program, which seems like it works for other people, but I feel like maybe I have implemented it wrongly. At least, nothing seems