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My Friend is Married to a Narcissist – To Tell or Not May 12, 2013

Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Tags: , , , , ,

I had to laugh when I saw this. It’s available through Zazzle.

I’m afraid I’ve been hunkered down in the trenches at school, so it’s been a while since I’ve posted. But, this week a discussion started up about the wisdom of telling a friend that they’re married to a narcissist.

Some of my regular commenters dished up a serving of humble pie and some things to consider before you speak the truth. As someone who’s been known to put both feet in my mouth, I can appreciate their reluctance to say yah or nay before you take this very big step.

When someone is involved with any emotional abuser (whether he/she be a narcissist or not), especially during the Idealization Phase, that adrenaline rush, the feeling that this person is The One, my soulmate, is overpowering. There can be a zillion Red Flags a flyin’, but the person will just put on their rose-tinted glasses, so those Red Flags fade into the background. Any mention of the N’s faults or quirky/odd behaviors will usually be explained away. The person “in love” with the N is telling you what they’ve been told. They want so badly to believe this is real. Even if the situation is clearly dodgy, they’re often convinced that contrary to all that’s happened before, they are the exception to the rule. Their love will cure all. If only.

One commenter last year had a neighbor whose husband fit the bill. There were children involved and she knew this woman’s life was miserable. But what to do? Talk to her face to face?  Leave an article about narcissism in her mailbox?

Let’s face it. Most of us don’t appreciate unsolicited advice, no matter how well intended. Even when someone is telling us the truth, our natural inclination is to become defensive. We perceive the advice as a judgement, an intrusion. How dare someone presume to tell us what’s going on in OUR life! And what do you know about this disorder? Since when are you an authority? I think you might actually be the one with the problem!

I do believe in many cases the person you’re telling already knows that the person they are with is damaged. Something is amiss. But they’ve been living in denial, often because they can think of no alternative or are reliving a dysfunctional childhood dynamic. It might be ugly, but it’s familiar.

So, let’s say you DO tell someone they’ve been sharing their bed with a no-good narcissist. If you think their eyes are going to light up and they’ll say, “OMG, that’s it! That explains so much. Thank you for figuring out what’s wrong with my life. Now, I’m off to call a divorce attorney. Can you watch the kids while I start packing?,” I’m afraid you’ll be disappointed.

More likely than not, you’ll be told to mind your own business.”You know your life isn’t so perfect either?” You can expect to be shut out of this person’s life altogether. More likely, they’ll shoot the messenger and bury you in a shallow grave after they delete you as a facebook friend.

Maybe though, you’ve planted a seed? Maybe after your friend/neighbor calms down, they’ll google narcissism? Maybe. But don’t count on it.

I wouldn’t have the same trepidation telling someone new on the scene that a certain someone is bad news. Of course, it helps if you don’t appear to be speaking as the jilted ex. I believe if you speak from a place of honesty and wisdom, it is possible to “warn” someone. Whether that warning will be heeded is anyone’s guess, but at least you tried.

On some level, I believe those who’ve had a Close Encounter with a Narcissist want to spare others the pain. Sometimes it’s for selfish reasons. We really are afraid that the Narcissist will find happiness with someone else, but of course, this is only an illusion. We’ve seen through the Narcissist’s bag of tricks and want to expose them for who they really are/aren’t. I realize it’s natural to want to warn others, but at the same time you want to avoid looking like the crazy one. It’s a fine line to walk.

If you see a child playing on the train tracks and the headlights of an oncoming train, do you hesitate?  In this instance, I do think we have a moral obligation to speak the truth as we know it. The results might not be what we expected, but we at least we were true to ourselves.

If you’re reading this, I’m curious as to whether anyone DID say anything to you. If not, what could someone have said that might have helped? Or maybe nothing anyone said could have changed the course of what was to come next. You had to learn the hard way.



1. Catherine Sherman - May 12, 2013

It’s a tough call to make. A person married to an N can’t easily walk away. But if this friend is asking for advice, it might be helpful to point out some of the N traits and how to deal with them, even if you don’t label the spouse as an N. Hopefully, the friend doesn’t kill the messenger. Since Ns can’t be cured, it’s a bad situation. You can’t say, “cut your losses and get out now,” can you?

After I complained about a long-time friend’s increasingly terrible behavior, my husband told me that this friend sounded like a Narcissist. I was surprised that he had given it any thought, because he rarely discusses people’s personalities or motives. After he made that “diagnosis,” he dropped the subject. I looked up the definition and was surprised to see that my friend exhibited many of the NPD traits. I was able to deal with her much more easily, which mostly consisted of backing away whenever she behaved badly. This was a little before the time you started writing about Narcissism, so your writing was incredibly helpful. The timing was also fortuitous. And not just with dealing with Narcissists, but with people in general. Many of us have a little N that threatens to rear its ugly head from time to time.

I do remember how your friend’s behavior had you wondering what on earth was going on. And I remember how your husband’s comment on narcissism sent you off to read up on this disorder. I’m afraid the people who knew the N I came in contact with had rather limited contact with him – no one really got up close, so they didn’t get the D&D that I was “treated” to. They just thought he was an a$$hole, never knowing that he had a personality disorder. I think the most freeing thing about reading about Narcissistic Personality Disorder is to understand that it can NOT be cured. This allows you to give up any notion of a “cure” and move on. Jan


2. Mark - May 12, 2013

Sugest you read the following: The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists, The Unfoldment and The Untethered Soul just for starters. I was with a woman for 7+ years and after the engagement ring I was discarded. Never knew I had an expiration date. I take responsibility for filling the supply lines, but I thought this woman truly loved me. They are simply not capable of feeling anything. As Jan told me, “She’s a pretty package wrapped around and an empty box of human being.” How true that was. And be alert to “empathetic failure” as it is a very true signal you’ve been trapped by a true N. Good luck. I know it hurts but it does get better because it’s really a blessing to be set free. And per Jan’s advice, employ the no contact rule because they take great satisfaction from toying with you as they attempt to reel you back in. The amazing thing is, she’s angry with me!

The “anger” is merely her projecting her own emotions onto you. I do believe that the lack of empathy was for me was what I found most troubling. It does get better with time and understanding, which you’re finding out. Best of luck! Jan


Ricki - May 11, 2017

My daughter married a narcissist but is in total denial. She explains away every bad behavior for him. She and I were closer than most moms and daughters because I had her so young, but the minute she married him she slowly began to avoid me or call to say Happy Birthday and when she did she would make an excuse for why he didn’t get on the phone. As years have passed he has never said my name, had a conversation with me, emailed or texted me and when I do go to visit, (another state from me) he walks by me as tho I am not there at all. My daughter is always angry with me and I cannot remember the last time she came up to be for no reason and hugged me and said I love you mom. If we have words via text or email her response to me is always, “OMG, you don’t even know mw,” and she is 100% right. I do not know this person. Also, her N husband makes A LOT of money so he can whisk her away anytime he wants. When I am coming to visit it is so obvious that my daughter has been dealing with his complaining about me coming so by the time I arrive she is ready to attack, God forbid I point out anything he has done wrong because she has a quick answer for his behavior. She has two children with him and wants them to have the Ozzie and Harriet life but what she doesn’t get is that kids see everything. He buys his kids the best of the best toys. He takes them on lavish vacations, A LOT. If we come for Christmas he won’t even say Merry Christmas let alone even make eye contact with me. I guess he only wants his parents in her life. They say most N were raised by a controlling mother but his is the opposite. She raised him and his brother to do whatever they want and they both treat her with little or no respect which my daughter has learned to do to me and his mom. Before my daughter married the N she said I know he has trouble handling negativity especially when things don’t go his way but she said she thought she could help him. She has always thought she can help anyone. Now she is wound so tight that I am afraid she is going to unwind very quickly one day and how can I support her when she is in TOTAL AND COMPLETE DENIAL. I have now decided to remove myself from going to visit because when I am there she is on such eggshells that she gears up weeks ahead and by the time I get there she is beyond rude and cruel to me. This is a child that we were always each others bestie and when she was in college or traveling Europe she always wanted her mom. Now, Im like this person she hates. The saddest part is she used to tell me everything and always said that she realized whenever she didn’t listen to me growing up that it turned out I was right but with this N I am the enemy. What is really sickening and troubling is his parents wait on him hand and foot but she bills him monthly for EVERY LITTLE THING. Even if she picks up milk for my grandkids she blils for it along with babysitting, gas, food she cooks on a holiday, etc.. DISTURBING!!!! Its obvious he does not want me around and has somehow convinced my daughter I am bad for her but why would this loving daughter turn on me. In the VERY beginning she confided a few things which she now denies having ever said about him. I started seeing a therapist and she would talk with my daughter on the phone because we are in different states which my daughter said was a good idea, however, the minute my daughter started telling lies to the therapist about actual events that I had told her about I decided I was wasting my time. This is a girl that I can say for a fact never lied to me but rather told me everything. Even once as a college girl she had gotten drunk at a party and called me to tell me she was drunk and asked me to pick her up and hide it from her dad which I did because thats how close we were. Why would she now hate me and treat me like I am the worst person in the world? I have chosen not to go visit anymore starting this year because she only pays for it with him that I am going to be in his house, not because she tells me this but because its so DAMN obvious. Plus, I have to endure her rath for me that I just do not understand. She actually went to France with her husband once and I babysat and it was the first time I was in their new house so when I saw a cart full of clean laundry in her bedroom I didn’t want to go into her now ‘Marital” bedroom without her asking me to before she left so I didn’t fold her clothes.
When she was single I use to go to her apartment when I visited her out of state and when she was at work I would clean her apartment from top to bottom so she was used to it and liked it. But because it was “THEIR” bedroom now I felt I shouldn’t cross that threshold. About 3 months after I had returned home she and I were arguing on the phone about something and all of a sudden she went off and said, I cannot believe you didn’t fold my clothes. I tried to explain why and said all you had to do was ask and then i wouldn’t have felt it was wrong to go into your room. I said it was no big deal so why not just ask me and next time I would know. But she chose to make it something bigger than it was. She is learning his behavior so well it scares me to death. How can I help her when she thinks I am the enemy. I want to save her but HOW. PLEASE SOMEBODY HELP ME! I want my sweet girl back!

I’m afraid that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want your help. This reminds me of Parental Alienation in which one parent turns the child/ren against the other parent. There are so many red flags here regarding this man, but it sounds like your daughter has bought into this and is essentially now on “his team.” My sister-in-law was married to a N for 11 years and he attempted to control her and alienate her from her family. It took years to extricate herself from this marriage and it was only after he became physically violent that it was DONE. I’m curious that your daughter initially agreeing to participate in therapy. Did she agree that your relationship could be improved? in other words, what was it that brought her to the table, if only to show that she wasn’t interested in being part of the solution.
This has got to be a heartbreaking situation for you! There was a typo in your message and I believe you meant to type that your daughter said you don’t really “know me?” (It was typed mw) If that’s the case, if she’s at all inclined, you might ask her to tell you about herself so that you DO know what has changed. You need to see a therapist on your own to help you sort out the myriad of emotions you’re feeling – confusion, anger, and abandonment come to mind. His mother sounds like a real piece of work. This sounds like a transactional relationship and not anyway related to “family.” Ugh! I’m so sorry as I can hear your pain. I also would not go visit her again as this sounds like a well laid trap that just stirs up more anger and resentment. I will be thinking of you. Always, Jan


Tracy - June 23, 2017

“I’m so sorry as I can hear your pain. I also would not go visit her again as this sounds like a well laid trap that just stirs up more anger and resentment. ”

Agreed, Jan.

The worst thing is that IF an NPD is able to “set the stage” (absolutely, in this family) then nothing Ricki does will actually help things. If she goes (misses her daughter in spite of it all), she’s subjected to the above. If she doesn’t go, she gets the ultimate smear-campaign for “abandoning her daughter”….Personally, I’d go & visit, but stay elsewhere & meet up with her daughter for lunches, etc, outside of the home. Let her know this is what has been decided & if the daughter says she can’t (the NPD boss says “no”), then it’s awful, but Ricki has lost her daughter. At least, though, it’ll be the “other side” ending things & not her. It’s crazy to have to think of all of this, but that’s what crazy people cause sane people to do, isn’t it?

Yes, it is. You’ve laid out an excellent last ditch scenario to see if the daughter IS even willing to meet her mother on her own. As a mother, you would go to the end of the earth for your child, but as you say, the NPD boss can always say “no.” He can even say “yes” and then say “no” at the last minute to twist the knife. At least she’d know how utterly controlled her daughter is by this crazy man. Jan

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Lyn - November 7, 2017

My daughter is married to a narcissist. He is Iranian, does not work, is very ill, has a daughter that my daughter supports as a full time college student, and they have two babies. Every thing is on his terms. Every. Thing. Where they live, what they drive, when and what they eat, how the house is furnished and decorated, and how the babies are being raised.
Our family has been excluded, insulted, disrespected. I’m done. I can’t take being hurt any longer. It’s been 8 years. My daughter is still in denial. We’ve been excluded from every birthday of my grandkids. (Not intentionally, of course).
Grief in this case is continual. They are still present. But the reality is that I’ve lost my daughter. I need help dealing with this grief. It’s been 8 years.


Nancy - October 17, 2018

WOW WOW WOW This could be EXACTLY talking about me!
I have been in the same position for 8 years .
My daughters “partner” I won’t degrade myself here by swearing …. has left her for the second time recently but as I predicted is at the moment conducting a smear campaign and trying to woo her back….
I am -again -on my iPad desperately looking for help and answers as I have kept my mouth shut for years and years but finally caved and warned my daughter how very dangerous he is and how deeply concerned myself and my husband are.
She is now not speaking to me or answering my calls after telling me she’s never been ble to talk to me and I’m a know all.
We have been through absolute HELL the past 8 years.
We also were very close and happy before she met this “man”.
Myself and my husband have jumped through hoops to placate this man as he stops us from seeing our grandsons that we adore at the slightest problem.
My husband and I end up at each other’s throats when we babysit as I am so scared of upsetting their father and I am constantly saying -oh don’t do that or don’t say that -frightened to death of upsetting their father.
A small example -the boys loved what we call “dippy eggs “ for tea -bread and poached eggs followed by fruit etc.
We were told they couldn’t come again if we didn’t feed them something more substantial….
I could go on and on and on…
He is a bully who has done terrible things to my grandsons and daughter but she won’t have a word said against him.
I so so so feel your pain as I am lay in my bed trying to relax as my head is banging having cried for hours.
I am sure one day she will see through him but it doesn’t take away the pain and heartache we are experiencing now.
Massive massive hugs xxx

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3. Lynette d'Arty-Cross - May 12, 2013

A good friend of mine – a therapist – decided to tell me that in her professional opinion, I had married a narcissist (she hadn’t spotted any symptoms of narcissism before we were married – he was very adept at hiding them). I was nothing but grateful – I was finally getting a sensible explanation for why the man I had married suddenly became a totally different person within days after our wedding. She ( along with the therapist she had recommended to me) was also instrumental in helping me to extricate myself from that “relationship” and through the fallout. Sometimes, the messenger is thanked! great post, btw! 🙂

How lucky you were. As you say, Ns can be very good at hiding their true nature even from a trained therapist/psychologist/doctor. I have one friend who was told by a friend that the man she was involved with was a narcissist or possibly a sociopath. This woman was a close friend and had been married to a psychopath, so her observations were invaluable. Another friend was talking to her cousin who’d gone into therapy due to her marriage. Her cousin confided that the therapist thought her husband was a narcissist. When she ticked off the traits, my friend realized it was HER husband she was describing. Jan


4. Tim - May 12, 2013

I think if you put on rose-colored glasses, red flags would naturally fade because of light physics.

I believe you know this because you’re wearing a pair. LOL A, Jan


5. renetia - May 12, 2013

I posted an article to someone I know, highlighted all the important parts. I don’t know what came of it, but I hope it hit home. I would like to know why do people get more than one child from a narcissist? Didn’t they learn their lesson after the first time?

You did what you could. This is what I view as “planting the seed.” Maybe sometime down the line, the article will be reread and of help. Regarding children, my SIL had eight children with a N. She thought that by providing the perfect family, he would finally appreciate/love her? The only real love she received in the marriage was from her children, so that kept her going. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s why we refer to their behavior as “crazy making.” Jan


6. CVL - May 12, 2013

My sister tried to tell me once that there was something wrong with my husband, I told her to back off. Many years after, I finally realized I was being horridly abused. I left the marriage 5 months ago and I’m starting to live again. My experience; it was hard to accept others telling me I was in a rotten relationship, I just woke up one day and found myself wasting away. There’s always hope, turn and walk away, it’s the only way to start living again.

Happy Mother’s day btw, it’s the best mother’s day I’ve had…away from my tormentor! 😉

Happy Mother’s Day to you! Yes, everyone told my SIL that her husband was emotionally abusive. After 14 years and eight children, she could take it no more. It had also become increasingly obvious that her ex was an indifferent father.
Sometimes, just as with any addiction, you have to hit bottom before you can see your way out of a situation. Congratulations on moving forward toward the light.

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7. lesley - May 12, 2013

I wouldn’t have listened. After it was all done and dusted, one woman came to me and apologised for not saying something sooner about his track record….it helped to put things in context.

She had no need to apologise though….I would have rationalised her warnings away(particularly early in the relationship)… I was intent on seeing his awful behaviour as the result of ‘faulty attachment’ in childhood,something I could manage or that could have been changed?
I think that getting over a Narc is a combination of accepting the absolute incurability of a cluster B Narcissism disorder and being prepared to do the work on yourself….that is…why did you enable this person into your life/or why did you stay in the relationship?
Both this acceptance and introspection can only be done by you….a messenger may open the floodgates but you yourself have to mop up the mess?

As always, so aptly put! The prognosis for someone with NPD is so utterly bleak that you’d have to be crazy to continue on in a relationship with a N. Indeed, we need to do the hard work of mopping up the mess and understanding our part in it. Always, Jan


8. bettylaluna - May 12, 2013

Nothing quite like the ‘ownership’ of learning from experience hey?…Personally I too believe it’s futile to try to help someone through the rose colored glasses phase, it’s just how this thing works…you’ll be labeled bitter, the enemy, jealous, EVERYTHING but walking in clarity…maybe just make a note to be there when she falls, whether it’s two years or two decades eventually depletion and misery takes it’s course…I personally think that is what’s behind the Zombie agenda, but that’s just me…great article! Thank you for the work you do…bit by bit each of us who have survived this have much to offer those who are in need of the support, everyone comes to their own truth in their own time…I clearly remember the days I’d be so good at justifying and defending the crap I was surrounded by…you couldn’t tell ME it wasn’t chocolate…UNTIL…at some point you either end up sober or dead…even if the latter is figurative. I thank God and those who gave of themselves bearing their own souls when I was too blind to see…

Yes, bit by bit. I’ve added your site to my blogroll. Jan


9. shoutabyss - May 12, 2013

In my experience it’s hard to tell someone anything about their spouse. It is dangerous, dangerous waters. If they say something negative on their own about the best you can do is nod in agreement. Even if they ask for an opinion, it’s dangerous to provide one. I know many couples where things seem so lopsided you pray your friend will get out or they’ll do what’s best for both of them. At the end of the day, though, you can only do so much. The person involved has to be likeminded or the attempt will probably be wasted. Good luck dealing with it!

So true…when I tried to tell your wife about you, she was in total denial. 🙂 I couldn’t figure out which of your posts made it onto Fresh Pressed. One less thing to whine about? Haha! Jan


10. Corinne - May 13, 2013

Hi Jan, Thanks for you eloquent post. I’m the one who posted the original question last week, and so I am very grateful to read everyone’s comments. I think I’ll break my comments down into separate parts just as a way of organizing my thoughts.

Planting a Seed. First, when I was involved with my N two years ago. Someone started telling me stories about him that truly went to how he treated people. She was someone who had been involved with him in the past. While she would not have used the term N (I would not have understood the term at the time anyway), she did use the terms “entitled” and “clueless.” At first, I thought she was exaggerating. But those stories stuck with me. After that whenever, he would put me down either directly or indirectly, I would think of her stories. Although I continued to justify his behavior to myself, I started to get a little more snarky with him. As a result, he turned the volume up on his nastiness and eventually caused me to walk away much, much sooner than I would have.

She did plant a seed. Of course, at the time, it was excruciatingly painful to hold such contrasting views of him in my head. Someone I loved so much yet at the sometime knew he was indeed clueless about how to treat people. I thought of him as having the emotional bandwidth of a little boy. So, even though I knew nothing about Ns, I knew both from my experience and the other woman’s that it would not be a long term relationship. Yet, for a long time, I continued to doubt myself: he had called me evil and here I was thinking such terrible thoughts about someone I thought I loved even though we did not seem to get along. We continued to be friends – no benefits – and eventually I asked him about the stories this woman had told me. He did not deny them, nor did he malign the woman, rather he attacked me for bringing them up and making him “feel bad” and “having ulterior motives for doing so.” That was the real light bulb for me.

I was in therapy at the time, and it was my therapist who told me about Ns. Anyway, I finally heard the diagnosis from a trusted source and was able to read up on it. It has been incredibly liberating. I will no longer doubt myself when I see those red flags, nor those who try to warm me.

However, I was not his spouse, nor was I living with him.

“Having the emotional band width of a little boy” really resonated with me. Yes, the N I got close to exhibited all of these traits. It’s a long story, but he knew someone who could do bodywork on my car. He could give me a ride home. But when I called him to come pick me up, he asked that I instead get a ride to his apartment. This was a first. Would you believe that he had an 8×10 photo of himself (when he had hair) hanging over the inside of his front door? That’s when the word narcissist popped into my head. Gee, I wonder why? I have to laugh in retrospect. You were so lucky to be in therapy with a therapist who knew about these emotional vampires. Jan


11. Corinne - May 13, 2013

Warning the new target. Second, I agree about warning unsuspecting new targets. As I indicated in earlier posts, I warned a woman about my friend’s husband, an N. She was grateful, as indeed he had tried to kiss her at a party just a few days prior. She had been ready to give him the benefit of the doubt at the time.


12. Corinne - May 13, 2013

Telling the wife of 30 yrs. Part 3. From my own experience, I feel very strongly about empowering others with knowledge. I was warned about my N, and am grateful it helped me escape. But 30 years is a long time, plus there are kids involved.

Telling my friend outright that her husband is a N would never fly. She would dismiss it immediately. My angle would have to be his infidelities. He is the one with all of the information and would twist anything I could dig up. She’s the type to shoot the messenger.

The obvious answer is to plant some seeds. She is, however, already aware of some of his strange behaviors, as well as his emotional abuse at the hands of his mother. Except for the infidelities or attempted cheating, she has a lot of the information already. As the adult child of an alcoholic she is used to strange behavior. Pointing out more weird behavior is not going to sway her much. Ironically, her upbringing has given her all kinds of defense mechanisms at her disposal that I have seen her put to use. When he puts her down she usually dismisses it or tells him he’s crazy. So, she seems to have strong boundaries against his verbal abuse. In a weird way, this works for them. (Please challenge me on this if you think I’m being naive.)

The cheating is probably a separate issue then. When he openly flirts with a woman in front of her, she notices but does not seem to react. He does a great job of coming back to her side and giving her some attention. In fact, the last time, I saw him noticeably giddy at finding a new source of supply, the N flirted with his wife as they walked home. I know from her that he often uses sex with her as a reward or as punishment. Maybe she’s rewarded for putting up with the flirting. I don’t know. I felt he was rubbing it in her face, playing yet another mind game, getting away with one more thing.

I’m pretty certain that she does not know anything about his infidelities. The N’s brother is openly involved in an affair and she and the N make a big show of how immoral that is and feel terrible about how that is affecting the Ns parents.

She would appear to be firmly entrenched in denial. Obviously, I am torn about whether to say anything. And if I did, how to even broach the issue.
Any thoughts are welcome.

Yikes! This is such a can of worms in some ways. On the other hand, it’s very black and white. But your friend seems to have impaired vision that perhaps began in childhood? She sees what she wants to see? His behavior sounds horrible, so it’s hard to believe that she tolerates it, but it’s always hard to understand why some people put up with sh*t that would send the rest of us scurrying. If you bring up his infidelities, you can plan on her being in denial and you being branded as a traitor for telling the truth. If you’re okay with that, than you might proceed. But be prepared for the worst – a virtual sh*t storm aimed at….you. I’m afraid everyone loses in this scenario, though don’t we all hope that ultimately we all will win by recognizing the truth? That is a possibility, but don’t expect her to be grateful for you telling her how it really is. Jan


13. Corinne - May 13, 2013

Thanks Jan for your thoughts. I agree it’s a can of worms. However, reading your 2 comments above back-to-back gave me an idea. I don’t think I’ll share any facts I know about his cheating on her. Instead, I may suggest that she go to therapy. Right now she is having issues with her in-laws who have banned her sister’s kids from their house, because, the 5 and 10 year old forgot to call the in-laws “auntie” and “uncle.” There are two cultures at play here. My friend is hurt, but says she “doesn’t care, that it is all because he father-in-law is getting old.” Yes, the can of worms is quite large!

Sounds like a plan. May the Force be with you! Jan


14. Corinna - May 16, 2013

I would agree that most spouses of N’s wouldn’t want to hear that piece of wisdom even though they should. As someone who was married to one, and had kids with him, knowing that he’s an N has not been much help. Without the kids I could have simply moved on and away from him and his destructive behaviors, but instead I am and will be forever linked to him through our kids. And since he’s so incredibly charming to everyone on the surface, no one knows what he has put me or my kids through, nor do they believe it when I tell them.

I think the best you can do is be there when they realize what is really going on and they finally see the wolf under the sheep costume. Few people understand (or believe) the true nature of being in a close relationship with an N, so your help then will be much appreciated.

I think the one good thing about knowing someone has NPD is that it does shut the door to the possibility of helping/changing them. They are what they are and there’s NOTHING you can do. You also realize it’s always been about them and not you, As someone said to me afterwards, “Jan, you were SO had.” That hurt as I’d like to think I’m nobody’s fool. Think again.
Always happy to be there to listen. I do believe you. Nothing surprises me.
Shrink4men is on my blogroll and is written for men dealing with crazy ex’s (usually Borderline or Ns). There quite a few excellent posts on custody/parenting issues. My sister-in-law’s children actively sought to remove their father from their lives as teenagers. They actually went to court and requested their father relenquish all parental rights in exchange for forgiving all the back child support he owed. He was only to eager to sign on the dotted line. Jan


Corinne - May 16, 2013

Corinna, I would believe you and so would everyone else here. I think you have shared what many of us are/were afraid of, namely others thinking we’re crazy. The N has told us that very thing so many times, we start to believe it. I just remember how incredibly confusing life with an N was, how they snatch one’s inner power away as a means of control. I so want to empower my friend who has been married to an N for 30 years. Every time I see her, she brings up a new story about the N and I can see her struggling to make sense of it all. I realize that telling her outright about what I see will mean nothing to her, she is entrenched in her denial.

Do you think it would have helped you if a couple of girlfriends had sat down with you and encouraged you to go to therapy? Like a kind of intervention without naming the drug of N. It might take sometime before she accepts the facts, but at least she’ll get there and with a professional to help her. I just have a hard time giving up all hope that there is no means to help her, even if only in small and incremental steps.


Corinna - May 17, 2013

I would suggest being very careful about suggesting therapy. By the end, my inner voice so closely matched what my ex (the N) was telling me about how awful I was, that I tried to commit suicide. He had me believing that his behavior was my fault. The suggestion that I go to therapy was just one more thing that pointed to the fact that it really was all my fault. I was so thoroughly mentally beaten by my ex that I thought his craziness was a result of my being mentally ill even though I’m not! He’s so good at manipulating me that even now (8 years and much wisdom later) his phone calls and emails take me days to recover from.

Maybe you can instead have a movie night where you show the film “Gaslight.” A classic, and a good example of how one person can so effectively manipulate another into insanity. Good luck.



15. Corinne - May 17, 2013

Corinna, You are so brave to share your story. It is so important for all of us to hear. And I thank you for sharing. I will take your advice to heart. Know that I would never suggest that there was anything wrong with her, even when encouraging her to go to therapy. I think your story underlines why it is so important for others to speak up when they know something is wrong. This should not happen to anyone. It is a very delicate matter and I appreciate all of your insights. Do you think, like an addict, those living with an N have to hit bottom before they see the light?

I have several friends/visitors to this blog who did learn about their partner’s personality disorder in therapy. One woman was in couples therapy and the therapist then asked to see her separately and explained Narcissistic Personality Disorder to her. But that can take time and $.
Instead of suggesting someone enter therapy hoping that eventually the truth will be revealed, here’s a thought. The next time she tells you something awful he did, you might want to say, “Wow, that sounds so much like something I read the other day. You should google Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” Be prepared to write this down, so she doesn’t just google narcissism which seems to be everywhere in the news and related more to how many facebook friends one has.
Four words – Google Narcissist Personality Disorder. Maybe it will plant a seed. Maybe I need to write a post entitled “Google Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” LOL Jan


les - May 19, 2013

Hey all,
Corinne/Corinna,following your discussion… just wanted to add…. first to Corinne,totally get what your saying…but personally I don’t think that everyone has to ‘hit bottom’ before they see they light. Jan’s blog has many inspired/striving folk who caught on when their personal boundaries were being bashed…and acted.
I’m always referring people to the discussion on ‘Close Encounter with a Narcissist part three’ on the blog…as you see a remarkable interface from a group of us and emergence from the ties of the Narc during the summer of 2012?
It also introduced me as ‘Scottish Lesley’…and Jan and I will finally meet in July in Edinburgh…can’t wait!
It certainly got me out and kept me out….
Being ‘An Addict to an Narc’ is a different ballgame completely…and you’re so right ….does exist.
Sam Vankin’s partner refers to herself as an ‘Masochist’…what a relationship made in hell? Imagine it then pass the sickbag!
If you do the searches we all do ….you’ll find that Borderlines sit well with Narcs, other Narcs love other Narcs and of course those with co-dependency issues.
However, Narcs can hit anywhere at anytime…. I was in my forties,with adult child, long marriage behind me(and we ended as friends) and I was Narked by high end cluster B….and I’d done much work on myself,had boundaries…was a coper…?
Narcs are skilled,long experience at being what you need,clever,erudite,switching,morally bereft,entertaining,needy…swines?
Do not beat yourself up about being with a Narcissist. Let it go!
You are concerned and caring,intelligent and on the ball.Enough.
Your post moved me for many reasons but here’s the bit I feel acutely. You are a Mum/Mom…live it. You know them and value your kids right?
Let them be them but stand in the way of anybody who effs with that.
I partially left my husband (Who was no Narc) because of differences in parenting…my son is 23 now and great!
My ex husband had entrenched values that he would have passed on…We have a good relationship but my decision was the right one..my son is a qualifying law student working in social justice,lots of friends,emotionally intelligent and focused.
He is confident, kind and outgoing.
I had to go.I surrendered material security in doing so..bigtime.
Yet, I got myself back as well. People make these calls all the time,some do,some stay?
So your call is a good one.Trust your instincts.
Yes! to Gaslight the film…it’s brilliant, have you ever seen’ Of Human Bondage’ the film or read the Somerset Maugham novel…
Bette Davis is remarkable as the irredeemable female Narc.

With apologies for any Brit/Scot refs that are unintelligible…Jan usually translates!!!!!!!!
Light Shine,


Corinna - May 21, 2013

Indeed. My kids are the reason that I am here today. And I know I cannot let my ex do to them what he did to me. It is a hard battle though since people STILL think that I’m the crazy one. He is so adept at, as you say, being the person someone needs him to be.

It is slowly dawning on my children that they cannot count on dear-old-dad for their needs, and that he is only interested in himself. The hurt is big for them sometimes, but mostly they are just very puzzled at his decision making. His life choices just seem odd to them– like making out with his new gf at their birthday party. Oy. If he wasn’t my ex, and their dad, it would be funny.



16. Vivian - May 22, 2013

Jan: Read your column a few weeks ago and just now have some time to myself to respond. The question that you posed at the end of your thought provoking article: Yes, I was told by a friend who had previously divorced a N that she suspected my “interest” was a Narc. I totally disagreed. I told her he wasn’t clever enough…not book smart at all….After several months, she kindly suggested I read up on somatic narcissists and talk about the light bulb coming on…my entire soul was flooded with light and understanding. I like Les’ term morally bereft….emotionally bereft is more like the person with whom I had an encounter. I recall mentioning somewhere on Jan’s site about him watching in wonder and waiting to see if I would ever weep. He just had no experience at all with any emotions of that kind at all. It is called , “no conscience!” Good luck to all( Hi Frida and Les and Jan!) and thanks again Jan for all of your sage advice .Viv


lesley - May 24, 2013

Hey Vivi,
Hope you are doing well…

You are dead right about the correction to ‘Emotionally Bereft’…and they do have that ‘head on one side’ wonder when we express emotion as if they are viewing a talking cat? Ha!

I do think it’s crucial to have ownership of the light bulb moment you mentioned…no-one can do that for you entirely- although your friend is to be thanked for her push in the right direction.

Sadly, if you check the forums around Narcissism there is so much ‘Searching’ for alternative solution,pathologies and saddest of all cures for Narcissism…
So much time being lost by victims in search of the incurable?

Three Cheers for the moment of enlightenment…
Have a lovely weekend,

Excellent advice/encouragement as always, Les. I, myself, remember reading about clinical Narcissism. So many things clicked, but then again…I even considered Asperger’s as “Joe” was so emotionally clueless. But it always came back to NPD. I think it was when I read the description and traits on the Halycon blog (on my blogroll) that I truly had that lightbulb moment. Also, reading the chapter on Confusing Communication in the book Stalking the Soul. Oooh, that was the nail in the coffin. I was actually overcome with a sense of relief! Jan


17. Corinne - May 22, 2013

Hi all,

Does anyone have any thoughts on what the narcissistic husband might do if I told my friend, his wife, what I see happening to her? He’s a somatic N. My friends are worried that he will lash out or take revenge on me and/or my family. They’ve been married 30 yrs and he’s got a nice thing going, wife takes care of every little detail of life so he doesn’t have to. Personally, I think Ns are cowards, but really don’t know what to expect.



barb - May 22, 2013

Can always suggest some reading materials. Bring up a “friend” that you are concerned about. Unless she is truly unhappy and darn near screaming for help – it may do no good other than get filed in the back of her mind somewhere. I knew something was wrong with mine. Would have welcomed information. Found it on a forum somewhere and sat in my room – alone – for days in complete shock. Few years later, I finally filed for a divorce. He is in hoarding NPD panic. He’ll show me. Wants to charge me with identity theft. I don’t care. I need to get away.


18. Corinne - May 23, 2013

Thanks Barb. Identity theft – I must say that’s rather rich. It’s exactly how they operate: assume an identity because they don’t have one themselves. Fight with all you have. They expect weakness. Show him that being human means being strong beyond anything a Narc is capable of!

I’ve been off the grid camping, just to remind myself why I only go camping every 20 years. Yes, I agree that most Ns are cowards. More bluster than anything else. Jan


19. frida - May 29, 2013

hi everyone!
just adding my cents:
i would probably not have believed any messenger/kind soul pointing me towards NPD in the early stages of my encounter. partly because once you´re “in”, it plays on your own psychological trap-doors (rationalising, denial, vulnerabilities, what-have-you) but mostly because i guess most of us were/are under a very common misunderstanding of the term “narcissist”. those super-full-of-themselves, a hyperarrogant, extraconfident tank of a personality. a nuisance but harmless. well, woohoo! NOT! the real deal and meaning of “narcissist” just dawned on me when i googled (that search most of us did, eh?!) “emotional abuse” and then, some long nights later, that lightbulb went on.

and definately not harmless..that´s why i would gingerly suggest to be careful with exposing an N. even third party exposure. (tho i still daydream about it occasionally.) you never know what´s in the mix. i would agree most Ns are cowards but ultimately one doesn´t know how much psychopathy´s in the mix (the N in my life showed some rather, ahem, weird behaviour and i still wonder to this day if he´s got real murder in him. the bloody red flags were chilling enough.). it might turn out to be just powerplaying, controlling intimidation but i´ve seen and been thru stuff that made my gut feel “you´re lucky to be alive!” while my brain was already rationalising away “oh, come off it..he wouldn´t dare, he´s just playing you.” well, i still wonder and that unknown mix is all the danger..so, careful.

identity theft? hm, that aspect still bugs me..the N has been a real copycat..stealing my hobbies, interests, taste, style, literally words, sayings, complete phrases, even my works that i meant to s h a r e with him, etc.etc…and putting it out as his own. still does it. (kills me with rage still!) is it because they´re so empty and, because they once idealised you, want to be like you? or fill their void? or just mirroring you to draw you in? i can´t separate the one from the other. but it really angers me to see him still use my style and works to make him shine in the public eye and use my words, interests, phrases to draw new supply in..

other than that, shouts to everyone..les, jan, vivi..:) hope you´re all fine and nothing beats fresh coffee off a wobbly camp-stove! 😉 peace! f.

Yes, I’m constantly disturbed/distressed at how the term “narcissist” is tossed about so casually, usually relating to the rampant outbreak of “narcissism” on facebook. People envision a person who’s “so full of themself,” while with NPD, the person is actually an empty vessel.
Psychopaths and Sociopaths all rate highly when it comes to narcissism. It’s this overlap, or comorbidity, that has sparked all of the controversy over the new DSM-5. Unfortunately, most people associate psychopaths with serial killers, while the majority of psychopaths only kill people’s spirits. It’s so hard to know if the person is “just a N” or there’s something more going on…something even more sinister. So, if one does venture an opinion, one has to brace for the blowback.
Ah yes, the blatant stealing of your identity, which at the time seems to confirm that you’re in sync with the N. Copying is the greatest form of flattery?
Thanks for your always insightful input, Frida. Yes, the campfire coffee was good until I stepped in a hole and injured my OTHER leg! Came back a day early and spent Sunday night at the ER getting my leg “immobilizer.” ARGH!
Always, Jan


20. trapped no more! - June 16, 2013

I haven’t been on here for a while, but a friend recently sent me this video. While I know that psychopaths and narcissists have different things driving them at the core of their problems, there are so many similarities. The beginning of this video and at around 15-16 minutes really resonated with me. The bee in the bottle.. That’s what I was (and his current girlfriend still is, despite finding out about his multiple other affairs, she is still with him).

Trapped No More,
I once likened Narcissists to being Baby Bear, with Sociopaths being Mama Bear and Psychopaths as Papa Bear. Now that’s one effed up family dynamic! Psychopaths have strong narcissistic traits, so in a sense they’re just further along the continuum. Now I’m going to watch the video. Thanks for checking back in. I’m off to see Lesley in Scotland in July. How cool is that? Jan


21. Trapped no more! - June 17, 2013

Sorry to hear about your knee(s)!! Hope you have a wonderful trip to Scotland despite. Something to really look forward to!

TNM (as “Trapped” gives the wrong impression),
At least my right knee, which is now titanium, is doing fine. I’m spending most of my time in England then flying to meet up with Lesley for a couple of days. Her thoughtful and hilarious emails really helped me get through the 10-week recovery at home after my first knee surgery – we’ve moved way beyond narcissism. It’s been almost a year since that flurry of comments that involved you. Hope you are continuing to recover and thrive. Always, Jan


22. Sara - September 26, 2013

I tried to warn someone. This man had cheated at least twice while they were engaged, one of them a 2 month affair where he was professing his love to another woman and bringing her into their new house. She didnt believe any of it, he made the other women out to be crazy and she married him 8 months later. I knew he was a full blown narcissist from experience. I have cut off contact from the situation. She is too much in denial and thinks marrying him fixes the issue. I tried!

That’s really all you can do. When people are in denial, the “truth” only makes them dig in their heels. We all see what we want to see. Marrying someone fixes nothing. That’s like the belief that having children will help a marriage that is in trouble. It’s all rather sad actually. Removing yourself from the situation – even any news of the situation IS the best way to go. Jan


23. Denise - December 20, 2013

I tried to warn the lady that I caught him cheating with. I sent her text messages from him professing to love me and wanting to be with me forever and pictures of the two of us kissing and holding hands as proof. She called me on the phone and we spoke for hours and I told her everything….she agreed with me on so many things and said that she was thru with him also. She was crying on the phone and I felt really bad for her.

She came into town and stayed with him during a time that he told me he was going out of town. She left groceries in the fridge and I told her what they were….she gasp/moan and said “there is no way that you are making that up….those are exactly the things I cooked for him.”

I called her a few days later to check on her and she had totally turned on me….she said that I was trying to destroy her happiness. She seemed like a sweet girl but she is still in the first stage and cannot believe that he is two different people.

He got mad at me for contacting her and stopped cursed me out and stopped contact with me.

I feel so sorry for the woman. I wish that I had,had someone to warn me. I feel sad that I lost 2 years of my life


Unfortunately, you are the wounded messenger. I’m sure she initially was intrigued by your stories…she obviously had some doubts, but as you’ve discovered, she is in denial. It’s easier for her to turn on you than him, and that’s just what she’s done. So sorry. There are people who’ve spent DECADES trying to understand a narcissist. Be glad that you’ve served your two-year sentence and are free of this craziness. Hopefully, you’ve planted a seed of doubt, so that eventually she will see him for who he is/isn’t. Here’s to the future! >clink< Jan


24. Carly - January 19, 2014

Thanks to all who posted here. This has been very helpful.

I have a good friend (male) I’ve known for 40 years. He just re- married a narcissist who left him six years ago after an 18 month marriage.

It appears that during their first marriage, he finally started standing up for himself, she got upset, marriage counseling didn’t work, and she packed up and left him with no warning while he was working out of town for a few days. He was devastated. They divorced.

She returned six years later and he was hooked right away. His family and I were horrified. I reminded him of all the bad things he told me she did during their marriage. Somehow I stumbled on an article about narcissism on the internet and it sounded like her.

I bought and mailed him two books on narcissism. I sent him numerous emails about narcissists and warned him to be careful.

He never responded to the emails. I doubt he read the books. They were remarried a year ago.

It’s painful and frustrating for his family and me to see how he’s being abused. I hate being powerless to help him.

All I’ve read about helping the victim of a narcissist says just be there for them and don’t complain about the narcissist or the victim’s behavior. I do that, but I desperately want to extract him from this terrible situation.

This site has given me direct responses to my question about whether or not there is anything I can do for him. Sounds like defensiveness and denial are almost impossible to overcome as an outsider.

I guess I’ll just keep in touch and occasionally let him know I think he’s a great guy. His mom and I are SO hoping this marriage doesn’t last any longer than the last one. Any predictions?

Thanks everyone. And good luck to you!

You’ve done all that you can as a caring person. My SIL had the N out of her life for some time (though they had yet to divorce) and then he returned for an encore. We were all just horrified. But then he showed his true colors and the attorney was called. I’m sure this guy thinks that in six years time, this woman has changed. If only.
I’ve also met several men who were subjected to verbal and psychological abuse. I believe that often men are more reluctant to tell others what’s going on as they feel if makes them appear weak? They’re embarrassed/humiliated and afraid that no one will believe them.
It’s so hard to watch people willingly jump into the volcano. Your plan to keep in touch and let him know what a great guy he is sounds wise. Especially when she turns on him again which she will. Jan


Carly - January 22, 2014

Thank you, Jan. I appreciate your comments.

I’m not sure what it will take for this marriage to end–considering what we’ve already heard–which has to be the tip of an iceberg.

His family doesn’t hear much about his wife. But they did hear his wife talking to him repeatedly in a very disrespectful way in front of guests at a party at his house. One of his adult children who was there was very upset about it, but didn’t tell him.

And I was shocked that he didn’t see through his wife several months ago. He and his wife had planned a casual day out together on her day off work. But he had to cancel it.

His elderly, widowed mother had a relatively serious problem that required a doctor visit. She wasn’t able to drive herself and didn’t have anyone else to ask for a ride but her son. He tried to reschedule the visit, but the doctor’s office couldn’t. He took her.

He later told his mother that his wife went crazy screaming at him for cancelling their plans that day, even though she knew why he had to cancel. He said it was awful and he never wanted to face that type of reaction from his wife again.

He’s also mentioned that his wife always has to get her own way.

If her selfish, abusive behavior hasn’t created any serious rifts yet, I don’t know what will.

It sounds like the writing is on the wall, but he’s choosing not to read it? What you describe are BIG red flags. How sad that his mother can’t count on him for a ride or he’ll “get in trouble.” Jan


Carly - January 23, 2014

Yes, it’s very sad. (By the way, I’m so happy that your SIL called the attorney! I don’t even know her and I feel relief.)

The problem is even after they divorced, my friend didn’t understand she has no feelings for anyone but herself. He probably still loved her and thought she was “normal.”

He’s a very thoughtful, sensitive, loving, but stubborn guy and this is his third marriage. He felt guilty for breaking his wedding vows after she left him the first time.

I told him even God couldn’t have made that marriage work.
But I’m sure he’s desperately trying to keep this one together by dodging the bullets and rationalizing the nastiness.

I just hope her continued verbal and mental abuse overcomes his ability to absorb such cruelty. If he finally yells back at her or tells her she’s selfish or thoughtless, that should be the beginning of the end.

Or maybe she’ll meet a rich guy at her job and move on to “greener” pastures. My friend is retired and has to watch his pennies. She is a Hoover when it comes to money.

I just keep praying he breaks free somehow.

Thank you again, Jan.

You’ve got to wonder if people stay with people because “it’s the devil they know.” We often remember the good and minimize the bad. It should be interesting to see if this is basically a replay of the first time they were married. Sometimes people will put up with an abusive relationship because at least they’re not alone – they fear the great unknown and that often includes being alone. Jan


25. Mia - October 24, 2015

I was married to a narcissist for 25 years. There are 3 children. It was a terrible marriage, with great moments. Due to abuse in my childhood, and truly, religious beliefs, I stayed thinking it was all my fault and that divorce wasn’t an option, because I couldn’t hurt my children. Fortunately my sister and a dear friend who had lived with us (we had many people live with us through the years, which created a false sense of safety), said, “that’s abuse”. It was the comments in the moment, or quickly after the moment that resonated. I was completely depleted. I had been the only one working for the previous 8 years and yet was blamed for all of the troubles in the marriage. The years of isolation and brain washing had convinced me that I was the problem. It wasn’t until those words were spoken and I began therapy that I was able to access the outside world in a way that helped me see that I had become a prisoner. It took another 8 months before I left, having called the police twice. I still held out hope, erroneously, that we could work it out. I suffered the hatred and verbal abuse of my two older sons, as they were used by my husband to manipulate me. I held firm and never returned. It’s been devastating. But I’ve rebuilt myself. I’m divorced. On respectful speaking terms with my sons and my daughter wants to live with me.

One tough aspect as been all the people/friends who have come to me once I left, to say they’ve known all along. The good news is they supported my decision to leave, the bad is that there was no way to help me see the hell I was living in. I don’t know the answer, but I want there to be some way to help women who are in the same boat. I know you only hear what you can when you are ready, but how I wish I had gotten out so much earlier. Speak the truth to your friends. It could save their lives.

Your letter so reminds me of all my SIL went through (only she had 9 children). We loved her dearly, but no one could convince her that this was an abusive relationship. Actually, I think she knew, but also had the “I can save him” mindset. It didn’t help that she also had a lot of religious beliefs and already felt guilty for divorcing her first husband. She was determined not to divorce again. It was a horrible situation and made worse by living in an isolated area far away from her family.
It’s interesting that you had others living with you and can see how that gave you a false sense of security. But ultimately that were witnesses to the abuse. I think people are so worn down by the abuse that they become convinced that they deserve it or at least don’t deserve better. Congratulations on realizing that you deserved better and getting out of this horrible situation. Also on moving forward and working to restore healthy relationships with your children. It can be done but it takes courage and the desire to be treated with respect.
Thank you so much for sharing your story. Always, Jan


26. Taylor K - November 8, 2015

I had a great friend who pushed away all her good friends because they told her the truth about her N boyfriend in college. The N typed out a letter threatening legal action over a dog squabble (two dogs nipped at each other- it was stupid and menial) to the girl’s best friend who was the most vocal about his abusive and manipulative behavior. This achieved his aim of keeping her away. I unfortunately stayed close with this couple, because the girl and I became close friends. Really it was just my friend who was awesome, the guy was a creep who looked better by being WITH her. I unfortunately made a huge mistake of doing drugs in college and looking at him wrong (romantically), and then I got mixed up in their web of manipulation. My friend would relay all information back to the N, and she would communicate FOR him, even if it meant relaying his flirtatious compliments to other girls. I witnessed how their lack of boundaries meant to HER that people found the TWO of them very attractive, and that people wanted to sleep with them- although the N would blatantly flirt w/ other people, while degrading the gf. He opened the letters I sent her (although I didn’t realize that at first), and they shared passwords online, but he easily made secret emails for communicating with others, he was able to “punish” me by blocking me online if I ever “confronted” him somehow, but would stalk me through her fb. It was a mess, and the one time I ever spoke up against him and told her he was an asshole, she definitely looked at me as if to say, “How dare you” and ran back to him. I quickly learned that saying things clearly and straightforwardly was NOT conducive to maintaining denial and manipulation, and they left me feeling confused, sick, and scared. I tried to be as honest as I could but was aware that there could be “punishment” for being too confrontational (aka normal), I cared about them genuinely, and was deeply hurt and sickened by the relationship I shared with the girl, who seemed completely absorbed by the N. I cut them both off completely, which was very hard and took a couple years and help of my friends & family (waking me up). Being close to these people is like being close to a black hole, they want people around to admire them and then they suck you in and give you NOTHING despite their grandiose statements and supposed success.

Last time I saw, they were engaged, and I have no doubt that they are now married…they moved hours away in a crappy town isolated from her friends/family and he is doing great as a professor in chemistry. I truly feel for my friend but I saw how everyone in her life TRIED to reach her, and she pushed them away the harder they tried. I pray that some day she wakes up and starts seeing how her own misery isn’t unrelated to the N’s awful behavior, and that despite his unhealthy control of her and their supposed EMESHMENT, he doesn’t actually care about her. If she ever stands up for herself or speaks the truth, she will just be punished, because a Narcissist doesn’t know what love is. He will try to keep her around but only on his shallow and superficial terms.

So yeah, I still believe that those good friends who tell the truth are POWERFUL. It’s important to say things straight, even if someone doesn’t want to hear it. Obviously the Narcissist will cajole the victim into demonizing anyone who is “against them”. It’s up to the victim to wake up- the good people who speak the TRUTH are the ones who are truly loving and their words and actions will hopefully resonate years later to give the victim support to GTFO.

Everything you say is virtually textbook. The problem is that when someone is under the thrall of a Narcissist, they are essentially brainwashed. There are also those Inverted Narcissists who grew up with a narcissistic parent who are actually drawn to narcissists. This is the only relationship dynamic they know. Despite complaining, they’re actually comfortable with this craziness. It’s often the people who complain most about their job who never leave it?
Although someone might not listen to you, I can only hope that they have actually “heard” you and at some point in the future, when they’re finally hit rock bottom, they at least know what to google.
The danger in trying to help people who lack boundaries is we often find ourselves letting down our own barriers which leaves us vulnerable. Always, Jan


27. C - May 1, 2016

Yes although it was my family and they didnt know he was a Narcissist actually they just knew somehow he was a fraud. They actually physically hurt me so I wouldnt go to his sons surgery….my entire family disowned me. They barely knew him at all but somehow knew he was “placating me” . Now 2 years later it is soooo extreamly obvious just text book everything mentioned has happened I started by thinking o.k. He was just really stupid for accidentally this and that too much to tell…when his son got sick it became that and everyone else was insensitive…. He has even lied about going to the hospital to gain pitty although he was supposed to letting his five year old deal with severe dehydration ect… That evil ….(5 year old has cancer)….want to te all his friends and family but they are mostly enablers it just sucks for his kid he is creating another one and really its heart breaking

This man obviously set off alarms with your family. (I’m thinking, “Where is the child’s mother?”) My sister-in-law kept returning to her NPD husband and it had her entire family freaked out. Since I don’t know the details, I won’t weigh in on the “disowning” part. Those with NPD view their children as an extension of themselves. The attention their child receives reflects back on them. It’s hard to tell people who are not close to the narcissist because only those close get to fully experience their warped view of the world. This is a sad situation all around and he sounds like a sh*tty parent as well. Jan


28. Scorned - May 29, 2016

My sister has been married to an N for 25 years. I can not begin to tell you all of the horror stories he has put her through. He’s cut her off from friends and her family. Wakes her in the middle of the night yelling profanities in her face, cut her off from the finances, has torn her down about her physical appearance, it goes on and on. I’ve been very careful in saying too much over the years bc he has forbid her to see me or speak to me in the past. Unfortunately, within the last year, she began drinking to escape and mask the pain and anxiety. She knows what he’s doing and yet stays.
He recently filed for divorce and has told everyone that HE can no longer take the mental anguish of my sisters drinking. He has documented every argument, every drink she has and has videoed her! And of coarse has made numerous threats that if she seeks legal counsel, she will get nothing! And she believes it.
He sent photos of her passed out from drinking to our mother and their two sons!
Our mother went to remove her from their house. My sister willingly went with our mother. She now is out, has an apartment but the N has weaseled his way back in to her life with texts, phone calls etc.. She is allowing him to take her to a rehab facility.
My question is what else can we as her family do??? I don’t see anything else! He has absolutely destroyed her and it is devastating to watch it!

I’m so sorry that your sister and your entire family is going through this. My sister-in-law was in a somewhat similar situation (minus the drinking) for 11 years. She was cut off from family and would literally have to beg people for clothes because he had her under his control. He so tore down her self-esteem that she couldn’t leave and we couldn’t believe she stayed. It was all surreal, but today she is thriving with him finally out of her life.
It sounds like he’s mounting a smear campaign. Your family needs to also document and if possible, not let him be charged with her care. We had another relative whose wife was the N and she checked him into a mental facility just to make herself look like the “sane” one. I would suggest contacting an attorney who has experience with high conflict divorces who can advise you as to what to do. It sounds like you are there for her, but it sounds like she’s too broken at this point to be able to see right from left?
Always, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/virginia-gilbert-mft/what-therapists-dont-tell_b_2622776.htmlJan

Liked by 1 person

Tracy - January 13, 2018

Scorned, my N convinced MY doctor that I was becoming dissociative to the point the Dr. ordered a scan done of my head! She was also working to get custody/control of my two young children (something I didn’t see at the time- but a legal person I met with said it) by trying to get evidence that I was mentally ill! Get a lawyer, as Jan suggests. xx


29. Angela - October 8, 2016

I absolutely would have listened! I met my n online…. He was charming, almost too charming and perfect. First date I had reservations about him…. My best friend also met him while on our first date. When the date ended I talked to my friend about the odd feeling I had about him…. She said ” OMG! He is perfect, what’s wrong with you…”. I continued to date him and noticed the red flags but it was too late. Long story short, if someone would have given me a hint of his track record I would have ran! I spent 4 years with him…ugh! I did everything most partners do with their n. I was miserable, yet felt like I was betraying him if I left. I just needed validation about this evil creature!

Perhaps if you received such news at the beginning, it would have put you on notice as to what to beware of? Of course, during the Idealization Stage, the N is on best behavior. It’s only when you see them “slip” and something seems off that you can get a peek at their true nature. Four years is a long time, but it can be hard once they’ve lured you in because you hoping things can return to the way they were are first. That’s not possible. There is a “Sell By” date to all of their “relationships” before things start to really go sour. Take a bow for getting out when you did. Jan


30. Kristen - December 1, 2016

there was someone, an older family friend, who would hint that something wasn’t right, it was usually a simple, heartfelt, “you’re too good for him”, his eyes would say it all. Like he could see the abuse written all over my face. It wasn’t like that in the beginning…my husband was the one, and when things got bad I hid it, but this family friend knew, he was the only one who ever hinted in the slightest, and in hindsight, I wish more people cared enough to at least hint.. to give me a chance, instead of saying nothing…cause looking back, it was written all over their faces., I wouldn’t have listened right away, but I wish they said something to help me figure it out for myself.

I think a lot of people “know” on some level that all is not what it appears to be, but fear that by voicing their concern they will be shut out altogether. And so they wait hoping that eventually the person will ask what they really think. You’re right in that people might/don’t want to listen at the beginning. But as time goes on…. I’d like to think that we can plant a seed and when things get really bad, the victim will recall what was said and begin to ask the important questions. For so many people it’s hard to listen because the truth is just so strange and hard to bear.
Always, Jan


31. Ron R. - June 28, 2017

I sent an email to my sons friend. After listening to my son, his wife, the boy’s family members and others, it was painfully clear to me that this young man was about to walk down the isle to marry Satans daughter.

The one email turned into several. I had laid out the ground rules prior to sending the first that these were intended only for him. Unfortunately, the second email was much more blunt (really, really painfully blunt!) I really wanted to rattle him deeply. It worked.

The young man married his bride and shortly after the wedding she located the string of emails while looking for a receipt in his (delete) mailbag. As it has turned out, she is now the “victim, and I am the “crazy” man that should mind my own business. This has created quite a family mess and my intention was honorable, though my method wasn’t the wisest.

With all the fallout, she’s been placed on notice. I am happy to be the “crazy” man. Several of us give this marriage no more than two years… if that.

Do what you need to do to warn those infected or about to serve as hosts for these sub-human bugs. It is the right thing to do…. even if you take the hit.

Interesting. When I was a teacher, we were encouraged to avoid emailing and communicate with parents in person or by phone. That way there was no paper trail. Sometimes words do come back to bite you, but you seem to feel that the blow back was worth it. You may have rattled him, but he went ahead and married her. Hopefully, whatever you said, you planted a seed so he’ll be more aware of red flags. Let’s just hope he’s not color blind! Jan


32. Tonia - July 25, 2017

i wish someone would have told me — if they suspected that he was NPD — or if they knew anything that it would be appropriate for me to know.


33. Ginger - November 7, 2017

I wish I had answers for myself and for all of you dealing with an N or having lost/losing a loved one to an N. it’s pretty horrific. My sister was married to one for over 20 years, they divorced which I thought it was going to be over so she could heal. But that wasn’t the case. He “hoovered” her bk in after the divorce and now has cut all of her family off! Nothing! And a few times she has spoken or communicated with me, our parents, it’s complete and total denial. As if nothing has happened or it was ALL her fault! Praying is what I am doing to deal. It was killing me and causing health issues for me too. So sad… I have no words.
The mental and emotional trauma has caused her to have what I believe is Stockholm Syndrome and definitely PTSD.


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