The Show Must Go On…

We have all heard the phrase, “the show must go on.” But the ones who really understand it are those people who lived it by being stuck in a toxic relationship with a Narcissist. When you find that you need to put on a show whenever your partner is around, that is big sign that you are being controlled by a narcissist.

I am now three years removed from being submerged in a suffocating marriage with a narcissist, however, when I think back to what I went through and how I felt, I had an epiphany. I distinctly remember whenever my ex walked through the door, I had to prepare my 3 year old and 6 year old to treat their father a certain way in order to stall their father’s bad moods, suspicious antics or lecturing behavior.

I found myself telling my children that “Daddy’s going to be coming home soon and they better smile, and give him a big hug” and I would plead with them to be on their best behavior. I quickly learned that we had to go through this role playing because in the past, if my narcissist were to come home and we were all doing something other than waiting there to greet him with smiles on our faces and our full attention, he would be offended and feel that we “did not appreciate him.” He would then go on a pity trip and lecture us, scold us and say that we did not love him, etc. It was ridiculous, but true. It would put a dampener on the rest of the evening and we all walked on eggshells.

So, I would find myself trying to prepare my little actors to put on a show for Daddy. A show that would hopefully, delay the narcissist’s antics for a later time. But it was never for long. The children and I were always in survival mode, just waiting for the next little thing to set him off.

During the marriage, I didn’t actually see what I was doing, or how his behavior truly affected us because when you are living it, it can be difficult to see through it. However, now that I am safely away from my narcissist and in a healthy relationship full of mutual respect and adoration, I can easily see what lengths I went to in order to try to protect my children from their narcissistic father.

If you find that you need to be anyone other than your true self when your partner is around, that is not a good sign. Be aware that all of life is not a stage, or at least it shouldn’t have to be. My advice as someone who has lived through it, lower the curtain and walk away and it is best to ignore the curtain call, let the narcissist get the bows he craves from someone other than you or your children.

Image is everything to the Narcissist

Narcissists are extremely aware of their outward appearances as well as their supply’s appearance. They are overly sensitive to how others view them. They want to be perceived a certain way at all times, usually powerful, successful, and attractive. My narcissist ex-husband (we are divorced now) was so finicky about what he would wear, that it was laughable. He would fret about his clothes all the time, however, it was comical because he would usually be torn between two similar pairs of khaki pants and Ralph Lauren polo shirts. I would try to be sympathetic, but then it would get ridiculous and I would think, “Just pick one, throw it on and be done with it already!” But I could never actually say that or else he would be insulted and make me suffer his wrath.

Before I met my narcissist, I had been known to run out of the house with no make-up, my hair in a messy bun, and a pair of baggy sweatpants on to run an impromptu errand. I didn’t intentionally try to look like shit, but it happened sometimes, and I didn’t feel bad about it! However, that all changed after I married my narcissist. He always had something to say regarding my clothing choices. This was especially the case when we were going out in public, however, even the inside of our own home was not off limits.
If we were going out to dinner, he would want me to get really dressed up every time, even though I would be more comfortable with the type of crowd just wearing jeans. Honestly, who dresses up to go to casual restaurants? He would rather we be more dressed up than under-dressed. I like to look nice too, but there was never a let down, I had to be on the mark at all times. It became exhausting.

Even in our own home, he controlled the clothes I wore. There were so many arguments over me wearing my juicy couture sweatpants. Don’t get me wrong, he liked when I wore them, but I dare not wear them around anyone else. Whenever we were set to have housework done, or a plumber or painter scheduled to come to the house, my narc would tell me that I needed to put on some other pants because my sweatpants were “too revealing.” At first, I laughed at him because I didn’t think that he could actually be serious! I mean, my other pants fit much tighter and were more revealing than my juicy pants. What the hell? Well, that was the standard rule, I couldn’t go to the store or even go running in those pants according to his standards. It was ludicrous!  If I protested, he would then accuse me of wanting to be provocative in order to attract other men. How could I win an argument with a person whose mind was twisted enough to even think those kinds of thoughts? You cannot argue with crazy.

Then every Christmas we would get into huge arguments over what we were going to wear for the family photo Christmas card. He would make nasty comments when I would make suggestions on what we could wear. Regrettably, one time I dared to suggest that we could do what most people do and have a casual Christmas photo where we all wore jeans and he hit the roof! He said that “We weren’t white trash, but knows that I would rather look like that.” He intended to cut to my core with his nasty comments, scaring me silent.  Then the photos would have everyone looking awkward and nervous because of the tense environment he created during the photo-shoot. So every time I look at a past Christmas photo, I remember the fight that ensued before taking the photo. It is sad.  That was also the case for most of our family photos.  I look at past photo albums and see so many great pictures but all I remember about that day was the fight that took place over some stupid thing the narcissist was unhappy about.  It is a shame really. Narcissists are superior at sucking the joy from your life. They make everything about them.

Also, my narcissist would insult me if he thought I was not dressed appropriately to see his family. He would first make a hint, saying, “Oh, you are wearing that?” Then if I chose not to regard his hint, he would then skip being settle and would ask me to change. I once made the mistake of standing my ground and saying that I liked what I was wearing and he got insulted and irritated in a split second and said that “I looked like a hippie and he couldn’t understand why I would not want to try to even look nice for his family.” I was so upset to hear his comment, because I was wearing one of my favorite knit sweaters from free people and believed that I did look great, but he hated my boho style.

So, even the mundane decisions of what clothing choices you make could be propelled into an argument in the wild world of a narcissistic relationship. It was too much for me, every day was a struggle to get by peacefully. What a person chooses to wear should be their choice, not anyone else’s. At the time, I thought that placating him was just a compromise, but when a compromise turns into something that takes your free-will to a place of no, then it is not a compromise. This was yet another warning sign that I was in a controlling narcissistic relationship.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, Narcissists are extremely concerned about outward appearances. They want to portray a certain image to the world, and if they don’t think you measure up to the image that they want to project, they will make sure you conform. Since the moment I left my narcissist and have moved on, I live each day on my terms. Now, even the smallest decisions I make give me great happiness.  I am free to be me, with no apologies. After I left, one of the first things I did was to get a family photo taken of me with my two children, and guess what??? We all wore jeans! Those photos are the best ones we ever had taken together because both of my children and I were relaxed and happy and full of hope for the future!

Narcissists treat you like a child

When I was a little girl, I remember thinking that “I cannot wait until I grow up because then I can make my own decisions without always being told what to do!” Well, now that I am a woman in my mid thirties, you would think I had been living the childhood dream of ultimate freedom. However, up until one year ago, I was not. I finally put my finger on it! My narcissist treated me like a child at all times. He continuously questioned my choices, making me overly cautious and dependent upon his opinions. I felt like he knew better, not just because he persistently said that he did, but also because I was always wrong in his eyes. When narcissists continuously abuse you to think that you cannot even make the smallest decisions without their input, your confidence and sense of self is stripped away and your inner voice becomes childlike.

When I was married to my narcissist, I lived in a state of constant frustration. I was frustrated at not being heard, I was frustrated at never being right, I was frustrated that I could not make a normal, healthy choice about my life without his “permission.” He had overwhelming control over every aspect of my life. I even had to ask him for his consent to visit my parents, or go to the store, or even to the bathroom. If I didn’t, and I started to walk out of the room, he would shout at me “Where are you going Mommy?” Then I would get irritated after being so micromanaged in every instance that I wanted to scream!

The reason that the narcissist treats you like a child is because s/he is threatened by you. You outshine them in every way and they know it deep down because narcissists have low self esteem despite the fact that most display an overabundance of confidence. It is just for show. The narcissist chose you to be their victim because they thought that you were a valuable asset to their image. They were so impressed by your amazing qualities, they wanted to capture you and bottle you up in order to keep you all to themselves. Then they chip away at all those qualities that drew them to you in the first place because they are intimidated by you. You are their property now.

Looking back, I still remember the sick, sinking feeling I endured when I knew my narcissist was displeased with me. Which was a daily occurrence. I felt like a child who was in trouble with it’s parent and was awaiting the punishment that was sure to follow. I wouldn’t treat my own two children like he treated me, I respect and trust my children and love them for the wonderful individuals that they are. That is how love should be, unwavering and forgiving. It is sad but true, if you are involved in a toxic narcissistic relationship, get out! They will suffocate your soul and reduce you to a fraction of yourself.

Narcissists are Extremely and Unreasonably Jealous

I have always tried extra hard to make my Narcissist feel like he was the most important person in my life. He told me at the beginning of our relationship that his ex had cheated on him which made me feel really bad for him. Because of him “playing the victim card” I always felt like that was his way of one upping me and the reason he was so suspicious of me. I reasoned that maybe his heart was wounded so badly that he was incapable of trusting anyone. I thought that his controlling behavior and suspicious nature would cool off the longer we were together. But that was not the case. As it turns out, I don’t think his ex ever did cheat on him. I now know that narcissists play the victim so that they get you to feel sorry for them, making it easier for them to manipulate you.

This is a very common move in the narcissist’s playbook. They then accuse you of being insensitive of their feelings. However, they never once stop to consider your feelings along the way. It is always about them. I would beg and plead for him to trust me and not be so suspicious when my cell phone would ring when we were together. If it was a wrong number he would interrogate me. “Who was that?“ “Why were they calling you?” I would then go as far as to Google the phone number and show him that it was a telemarketer. I was a nervous wreck when he bought me a new phone and new number and it turned out to be a previous number of some party girl who got calls from at 2 am from drunk guys at a club. They would ask for Shanikwa or someone. Then my narcissist would he would get mad at me, as if it was my fault!

I never will forget when my narcissist told me to dump every male acquaintance on facebook before our marriage, he even made me cut ties with my gay best friend. He said that it wasn’t who he wanted his future wife to be socializing with. The sad truth was that he didn’t want me to hang out with ANYONE other than him. Even my own family were enemies in his eyes. He saw my Mother as a threat because we are extremely close. He would make jabs at her on the rare occasions when we did get together. He did it in a sly, sneaky way that my Mom would later ask me why he said those odd things and I would shamelessly try to make excuses for him. I would say that maybe she misunderstood him, or that maybe he didn’t mean to offend. But she was onto him.

My narcissist was so jealous of anyone who took any of my attention that even just the act of sitting next to my Mom on the couch when the only other seat in the room was a comfy recliner where he had to sit, caused a serious fight. Later that night, my narcissist was dark and broody and confronted me as to why I would not ask my Mom to move so that he could sit next to me on the couch? He said, “your Mom should know that your husband would want to sit next to his wife.” I looked at him like he was bloody insane! At the time, we were living three hours away from my family and were back for one weekend visiting them at their house, I didn’t think anything of it when I sat next to her and not him. I wanted to be able to visit and talk with her. So from that moment on, any future visit at my parents house was ruined for me. I never knew what he would find to get mad about. I always had to put him first, so that he didn’t feel “neglected.” It was exhausting. I couldn’t enjoy the visit because it would create tons of arguments between us, so eventually it was easier to just not visit them. He couldn’t comprehend that I would want to visit with any of my family, because whenever we would visit his family, he would sit with a baby on his lap, avoiding his whole family and would make ME entertain them. He didn’t know what it meant to be close to his family, although he would swear up and down that he was “very close” to them. Liar.

So, if your partner keeps close tabs on you, vies for your constant attention, and puts down your family and friends in an attempt to steer you away from wanting to spend time with them, be forewarned!  It is a toxic relationship that will NEVER get better.  The narcissist is out to destroy you, he or she will burn everyone and everything you care about down to mere ashes.

Enjoy the Holidays Your Way…

For the seven years that I was married to my Narcissist, I was never able to have the Christmas tree that I wanted. I am allergic to real trees and all that they entail. I love the idea of a real tree, don’t get me wrong, however, the pollen and the rotting tree water play havoc with my sinuses. A few days after having the tree in the house, I would be miserable with itchy eyes and nose, and would suffer with img_4900sneezing and congestion. I would tell my husband year after year that I cannot tolerate a real live Christmas tree in the house because it makes me feel awful for weeks on end, however he never cared a fig about how I felt. It was always about him, as was everything else.

However, now that I left him earlier this year, this is the first Christmas without him, and the first in long time where I am free to make my own choices about the holiday. Therefore, I bought a phenomenal replica tree that I can use year after year that is pre-wired with both white and colored lights that my children can merely press a remote to change the mood of the tree on a whim. It is awesome! And it doesn’t make me feel terrible physically.

It is funny how those little moments after you leave your narcissist remind you of the countless things you had to give up while just being involved with your narcissist. They really add up, maybe at the time you thought nothing of it, but once you have left, you slowly begin to realize just how many things about yourself that you gave up, or gave in. Innumerable moments that you acquiesced because it was just easier to rather than to fight a losing battle with him or her.

Decorating the tree this year was better than ever before because I could do so with my children without him rushing the process, where 2 or 3 of my glass ornaments would get broken because of his impatience. And for the first time this year, I placed a new ornament on the tree that I bought with my children when we went to Frankenmuth Michigan for Labor Day weekend. I bought them each their choice of ornament and I bought one for myself, a beautiful glass monarch butterfly that is proudly perched near the top of the tree. It symbolizes my life and the changes I have undergone this year. After being stuck in a cocoon during the marriage to my abuser, I have metamorphosed into a winged creature free to go where she was once forbidden. I gaze at the tree this year and can’t help but to feel proud for how far I have come in a short time and I vow to never lose sight of myself again.

I wish you all a happiest of holidays! Take care of yourselves and enjoy your loved ones.

Narcissists Offer Faint Glimpses of Human-like Behavior to Keep You Holding On.

When in a relationship with a narcissist, you quickly learn the predictability of his or her reactions to certain circumstances. That is why you walk on eggshells, so that you don’t accidentally trip one of those hair triggers and set off an explosion. (Even though you are NOT at fault.) You tiptoe around as to not make them upset somehow because you know the awful reaction that would happen if you do, but every once in a while the narcissist will withhold that terrible predictable reaction and you are shocked and feel instant relief. You even feel gratefulness to your abuser that you had been spared his or her fury.

Subsequently, you then see a faint glimmer of hope that the narcissist has potential to change his or her nasty ways and slowly transform into a human. However, that is part of their great deception. Narcissists are incapable of change, incapable of having empathy, incapable of truly loving another person. So, narcissists throw you a bone once in a while to confuse you and keep you off track to think that all of their previous overreactions were just misunderstandings or “in your head.” These fake-outs keep you dangling by a thread.

Those very limited instances where the narcissist doesn’t rage at you when you were certain that he or she would because they commonly did in the past, confuse you greatly and help you maintain hope for the relationship. But this hope is futile. See the narcissist for what he or she really is, a soulless monster. No amount of abuse, whether be it emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, sexual, etc. is worth putting up with because a good person who truly loves you would never attempt to abuse you in any way.

How to Leave a Narcissist?

It is a terrifying yet defining moment when you discover that the person you have loved, trusted, and confided in, is actually a controlling, selfish, emotionally empty narcissist. Then you find yourself scouring the internet for answers. I know I did. I became obsessed with arming myself with as much information about narcissistic personality disorder as possible to better understand what I was up against. It was horrendous to realize that he never actually loved me, but just used me to serve up his narcissistic supply. Then, once I understood that he could never change, I braced myself for the upcoming fight.

Leaving any relationship is never easy, but leaving a narcissist is even harder. I used to believe it noble to end a relationship with someone to their face. However, leaving a narcissist can cause a tremendous backlash. Narcissists do not handle rejection well and cannot abide being challenged in any manor. They lash out at the slightest perceived insult or injury and are known for disproportionate reactions to events. Therefore, the act of leaving a narcissist triggers a huge wound to their ego, it is unthinkable to them that you would ever chose to leave them. If you feel that you are in danger, you must find a way to get out of the precarious situation as safely and as quickly as possible. For me, I boiled it to The Seven P’s.

1- Plan your escape carefully. I officially decided to leave my husband when he flipped on the lights at 6:30 am and hovered over me while I lay naked under the covers in bed, curled up in the fetal position. He then proceeded to give me the same “ultimatum” he had used in the past to get me to cower. In his booming and intimidating voice, he told me that he was tired of me be being sad about how he interacted with my parents over the Easter weekend, which also happened to be my birthday. He informed me that if I wanted to continue to act sad, that I can just leave with the kids and move in with my parents and he would file for divorce. (The incident that precipitated his reaction happened two days before, where my parents drove 3 hours to visit us for the holiday/birthday weekend and my narcissist picked a fight with them after a dinner that I had just spent 3 hours to cook. It was nonsense really, my parents thought it would be nice to take me to get Dairy Queen blizzards for all of us for an after dinner treat. But my narcissist did not want to stay home with the kids for the 20 minutes it would have taken to bring it back, and he flipped out! My parents were stymied by his overreaction and asked him why he was so upset? My dad tried to talk it out with him, but then my narcissist continued to say that they were bad grandparents and told them that I was “unaccomplished little girl.” My parents didn’t know what to do and knew that they did not want to argue in front of the children, so they decided to leave and drive 3 hours back to their home thus missing my birthday and Easter the following day.) I was devastated, horrified and embarrassed. I pleaded with my husband to apologize to them but he refused and claimed that they were picking a fight with him, which is insane. He was smug when they left, there was a glimpse of happiness on his face.

I knew that this interaction would change everything, the cat was out of the bag. My parents would see how he really was and I couldn’t cover it up anymore. I knew that if I stayed with him, it would not only kill me but kill my parents with sorrow over watching their daughter fade away. So, when he turned on those lights two mornings later and gave me that ultimatum that I was to either let go of my feelings of sadness and just be the “happy wife he wanted” or I could just take the children with me and go live with my parents and he would have papers drawn up for our divorce. You see, I had no choice but to leave that miserable, intimidating, despicable shell of a human being. I chose life. The next step is crucial in leaving a narcissist.

2- Prepare Make your preparations thoughtfully. Mental and as well as physical preparation are very important. First, you need to be in the right state of mind to be okay with the life changing decisions you are about to act on. Leaving an abusive relationship is one of the most difficult things you will have to do. But you can do it, I did. My preparations involved booking a moving truck to be picked up when he was out of town, and asking my parents and friends to help me with the move. I also had to meet in secret with a divorce attorney to understand the implications of taking our children with me and to initiate the divorce process. I had one month before his week long trip that I knew I could make my escape safely. I knew if I would have told him that day he gave me the ultimatum that I did want a divorce, he would have flipped out and who knows what would have happened. I did not want to find out. So I used that entire month to make lists of what I needed to do before I left. I was advised by my lawyer to photocopy important legal documents, mortgages, bank statements, car statements, retirement documents. Etc. I complied, but couldn’t help but feel terrible in doing so, with all of the terrible things he had done to me, I still felt vile to be sneaky, but then I realized that it was not just for me I was doing this, but to protect my children and I will not apologize for that.

3 & 4- Placate & Prevent arguments during the final stages- Before I made my escape, I had a month to co-exist with my narcissist. I intended to do so as cautiously and peacefully as possible because the events leading up to my deciding to leave him did not make the living situation very comfortable. He was quick to argue with me over anything he perceived a challenge to his authority. However, I suddenly realized that if I engaged in any more arguments with him, it could easily escalate into me needing to vacate that day and I knew that if I had to, all my planning would be for nothing. Therefore, I needed to go along with the program to please him and make him feel like he was the all mighty unchallenged one. I laid in wait for the moment when he would be gone on his trip and I could then safely make my move out of the house.

5- Patience I kept my eye on the end goal. Every time he made me feel bad, I would turn the other cheek. I felt that he was always trying to goad me into an argument, so I would pretend that I wasn’t bothered by what he was saying. I knew that I would be free from him if I could just stay calm and play my cards right. Patience is a very crucial element of the escape. You know what I am talking about if you have ever seen the movie “Sleeping with the Enemy.” That movie always makes me quiver when I see how her horrid husband abuses her and accuses her of cheating. This movie hits a little too close to home for me and was definitely of an inspiration for me when I was enduring that last month with my narcissistic husband. Each morning that came during that final month I was mentally counting down till I was far away from him. I felt like I was holding my breath for 30 days and nights.

6- Prioritize what you must take and what you must let go of. It is almost impossible to take everything with you, if you must leave the home. If you are lucky enough to own the house yourself, I guess you could change the locks and wait for the fireworks to begin. In my case, we shared the home, but I knew I needed to get as far away from him as possible for my safety and my children. So, I only took what was mine before the marriage, and anything that I knew he would not want or miss.

7- Pretend to be dominated- My narcissist had been trying to completely alienate me from my loving, giving family these past seven years and he really thought that he accomplished it that day. But what he didn’t know was that I was stronger and smarter than he took me for.  I knew that it was an asset and a strength to be underestimated.  He really believed that he had broken me, but I have something inside of me that he doesn’t: true love of myself, real empathy and a sturdy resilience.  But by me pretending to play the part of the obedient, doe-eyed devoted spouse, he felt secure in his dominance and it gave me more opportunities to accomplish my great escape.

So there you have it.  These seven P’s allowed me to make my way to freedom from my narcissist.  I know they could be helpful to your escape.  Everyone’s situation is different I know, in yet there are so many similarities in narcissistic relationships. When I saw how unreasonable and nasty he could be to my parents, who had given us their love and support since day one, it was as if the final veil had dropped and I saw him for the monster that he really was and always will be.  The bell had been tolling for a long time, I could no longer ignore it’s ringing.  It was the last straw, the definitive answer to the question that had been eating away at me. I could no longer see what I wanted to see in him, I had to see the awful truth of what was in front of me.

Half a year has passed since I packed up that truck and left. It has not been easy, but I am so thankful that I made the decision to make my escape.

Narcissists Create a Parallel Paranoid Universe to Supplement their Pathetic Existence

In the doomed relationship with my narcissist, I noticed that I couldn’t help but feel like I was stuck living in a made-up fantasy world of his own creation. But that was before I learned about narcissistic personality disorder, I had no idea at that time that narcissists straddle two different worlds. First, there is the “real world” and then there is “his world.” But I learned quickly that I could not remind him of the “real world” or else he would claim that I was just like “everyone else” who were conspiring against him. (Yes, it was as crazy as that sounds!)

My narcissist husband honestly believed that the world outside of our “family” was full of people out to get him by being “passive aggressive” or through outright attempts to destroy our “happiness.” (For example: He would say that his problems at work were the fault of other people or co-workers.) He would blame his parents for “causing trouble” for him or his work because he believed they were in co-hoots with his ex-wife, and many times he would even cast the blame directly at my parents. I would be so upset that he would feel that way that it would make me sick to my stomach. I could not believe that he could blame my amazingly supportive parents of ever trying to cause trouble for him at his workplace. They don’t even know his co-workers, they lived in another state for God’s sake! Nonetheless, he tried very hard to get me to buy into that delusion that all of his problems were the cause of other people who were dead set to see him unhappy.

Looking back, it was as if he created this parallel universe in which he played the omnipotent victim. He wove a web of deceit that would make him seem like the lord of his kingdom. He seemed so smug about other people and would even proclaim to have a superior knowledge of how to get people on his side. He always felt that he knew people better than they knew themselves. I thought that strange because he never knew what I was thinking, he seemed clueless. I would refer to him “Captain Oblivious” privately to my parents. In yet, he acted like he had an insider knowledge of how the outside world worked. He referenced a book called “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie. He would tell me that I needed to read it if I ever wanted to get people to do what I wanted. I thought that a really strange comment. I never had problems making friends in the past and I did not use them as minions to do things for me.

He did not even have any friends other than two college buddies that lived across the country that he only saw once a year. I was not impressed with them either. One was a crazy Russian doctor who would fly across the ocean to bring back a series of young girlfriends who were only interested in getting a green card. Enough said. Perhaps he is the one who encouraged my ex to get a 25 year old Ukrainian “au pair” to live with him and take care of the kids on the two weekends a month that he does see them.

Now that I have left my narcissist, I have happily reentered the “real world.” It was smothering to live in his carefully crafted world that centered around him and his warped beliefs and entitlements. If you feel like you are stuck between two worlds while in your relationship, be careful! You are being dragged into the dark, dank, delusional hell of the narcissist where nothing makes sense. Gather up your strength, get someone who will listen to you and run to the light!  The sooner you plan you escape, the better.

How to Save Your Children from a Narcissistic Parent?

When you are involved with a narcissist, the effects on you are bad enough, but when you have children with one, it is truly a sad situation. This is the case because the children will eventually suffer the same abuse that you do as soon as they develop their own thoughts and opinions on life. So if you decide stay involved in a relationship or marriage with a narcissist, you must become aware of the harsh reality that your children will become the sacrificial lambs.

Whilst they are still young, the narcissist views the children as little extensions of him or herself and their image. The children are a grand source of narcissistic supply because whilst young, they idolize that parent. During this stage, there is no difference in views or clash of opinions. However, as soon as they grow and become little independent thinkers, all bets are off! The narcissist parent pushes his or her views onto them and expects the children think and behave exactly they way he or she does. If the narcissist does not value a particular sport or activity, the child will not get to play or engage in it. If the narcissist has certain beliefs of what job that child should have someday, he or she expects the child to pursue no other career.

The narcissistic parent will often try to have the children team up with them to abuse the other parent. They put false notions into the children’s impressionable minds that the other parent is lacking in some way. In my case, my narcissist would try to make me out to be “no fun” to the children, which couldn’t be further from the truth. He would repeatedly try to make me out to be the “bad guy” so that the children would see him as the “good guy.” The burden of the disciplinarian was always put upon my shoulders.  When I tried to have any kind of order, he found it hilarious to try to create chaos just to rattle me.  Then he would turn around and blame me for the very chaos he cheerfully created.  He hardly ever was on my side and usually let the kids get away with bad behavior because he wanted to be the “fun dad.”  Then when I would try to get the kids to behave, he would say that I was being too harsh.  He didn’t back me up, which is what good team parenting should always do.

The narcissist wants the children to “love them more” and to act as his or her minions. The narcissist is so insecure that s/he is desperate for validation and needs to feel like the children needs them more. However, the children frequently find themselves struggling to identify with that parent because of the strings-attached love.

I could see that my little ones often felt unheard and inconsequential, and tense in the presence of their narcissist father. My six-year-old son would try to tell his daddy something about his day and the narcissist would just say “Uh huh, that’s great” without actually hearing what my son was telling him. My narcissist would not even try to really listen to the children, then he would talk over them. He always interrupted them and me. I could never get a word in edge wise. It drove me to the brink daily. Finally, I just stopped trying to even talk anymore, because it was just easier not to.

While staying in a relationship with a narcissist, the children will inevitably pick up on the abuse you suffer even if they are not yet the targets. It is unavoidable that the children will notice subtle hints of your suffering, no matter how hard you attempt to hide it. They will witness you walking on eggshells, they will see how you strive to avoid conflicts with Daddy or Mommy. They will learn how to play the game. Those eager little learners will eventually observe how they have to “perform” in order to reduce the negative reactions of the narcissist parent. And even more tragically, they may also learn from the narcissist parent how to manipulate others to bow down to their will. Regardless, the result of staying in a narcissistic relationship has terrible consequences to the children. Either they will be taught how to become the perfect victim for narcissistic abuse or they will become narcissistic abusers themselves.

This was a big reason why I chose to leave. I had to save my children from being groomed to be future victims of narcissists, or becoming narcissists themselves. I realized that leaving my narcissist was the only option if I wanted to save my children. At least they will spend the majority of their time with healthy, unconditionally loving relationships, which will help make up for the little amount of time that they have to spend with their soul sucking, emotionally absent father.

The Narcissist’s First Impressions & Typical Grandiosity

The narcissist knows how to make a great first impression. That is how they begin their grand deception. They will put on the charm, ooze intelligence and seem so considerate that you just can’t help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world. You ask yourself how you could have landed the “last good man” to have walked this earth. However, if he seems to good to be true, then he most likely is.

I remember this such feeling. I was so excited and proud to have my narcissist over at my parents for the first time. It happened to be Christmas Eve, and he showed up at the door bearing personalized gifts for each of my parents, my grandmother, my brother and his girlfriend. At the time, I thought that it was so considerate and showed amazing generosity. I believed that he really must have liked me to want to win over my family with these thoughtful gifts. Waterford crystal wine goblets for my parents, and a leather men’s grooming dap kit for my brother and honey scented organic lotion gift basket for my grandmother. However, looking back, it was overkill. It was suspicious.

Before the night of the dinner, he told me he was going shopping to buy my family presents and I had told him that it was not necessary, especially since he had not even met any of them yet! But he insisted, he said that he did not want to appear at a Christmas party empty handed. I feel that the need to bring presents for people he had never even met was more about how he felt he appeared, rather than him wanting to be thoughtful and kind. Narcissists are very concerned with appearances and how they are perceived. This is a good example of that. This is also an example of “love bombing.” He was going above and beyond to shower me with oodles of attention with the intention of lulling me into a state of ease so that I would blindly trust him. All this effort was to make it easy for him to manipulate and control me.

I met my narcissist on a popular online dating site, first mistake. We agreed to meet at a Japanese steak house for dinner for our first date. I remember not knowing what to wear on a cold November evening.  I did not want to be overdressed, as I had done once before on a different date in the past and was a bit embarrassed, so I thought I better go more casual. I wore a beautiful knit designer sweater and a pair of great fitting jeans and high heeled leather boots, topping the look off with a fabulous, embroidered swing coat.  The narcissist was wearing a collared shirt and khaki’s (his strict wardrobe). The date went well and I felt safe dressing up a bit more for our second date, showing up wearing a more fancy little black dress and knee high boots, which he loved. He made a point of telling me at that time how he was not so sure of me the first date because of my choice to wear jeans. He laughed out loud and said that he was thrilled that I dressed the part on our second date. I found it odd that he could be so judgmental over something so inconsequential. But I just brushed it off. Next mistake.

Later in our relationship, I discovered that one of his many hatreds was of people who wore jeans. (Which for me was very difficult, because I love mine!) Well, I looked great on our first date despite the jeans, but on that second date he made sure to set the standard for me. After that moment, I knew better than to ever wear jeans when I was out with him on a date in the future. Whenever anyone asked about how we met, my narcissist always made a point to tell them that I was lucky to have gotten a second date with him on the account of me having the audacity to wear jeans on our first date. He was a snob, despite the fact that I come from a much better family background than he. But I strongly believe no one should act as if they are better than anyone. I have friends from all walks of life and am legitimately happy for others when something good goes their way. On the other hand, he does not and is not. It goes to prove another facet of narcissism, being “grandiose.” I always felt belittled for my choices, I simply could not be me. He chipped away pieces of me slowly and steadily for the next 7 years.

He always took longer getting ready to go out than I ever did, but then he acted like I took longer. I would even time myself, to prove it to myself that I was believing correctly. He would fuss over what clothes to wear and I would just throw something on. However, he had no problem letting me know what clothing I should or should not wear. I was not even “aloud” to wear my super comfortable Juicy Couture jogging pants outside the house. And if we had plumbers or other construction workers over for any reason, I was certainly not permitted to wear my juicy’s around them because he felt that those pants were “too revealing.” I thought that this was ludicrous because my regular pants were tighter fitting than those baggy sweat pants. I once tried to argue with him on that and he said that if I wanted to wear those pants (around my own house) when workers were present, it must be because I am wanting to be flirtatious with them. His reasoning was insane!

But then again, he is a narcissist, there is no sense to what they think. All they care about is their image and how their extensions of self (you and any children) help perpetuate that image. They are controlling, manipulative and do not care about your feelings because they have no empathy and are not capable of remorse. The narcissist is a shell of a human being, hollow, void of feeling, an empty vessel.  They truly believe that they are God’s greatest gift to us, but it is simply a belief of a dreadfully deluded mind.