Everything is your fault. Even if the Narcissist forgets something, it is your fault…

Narcissists are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions, unless it is advantageous to them. They will ALWAYS take the credit when something good occurs, however, if it is something undesirable, they shirk their responsibility and shift the blame to everyone else. It is a mind numbing experience to witness. Every time this occurred during my marriage I felt like I wanted to bang my head against the wall, somehow I was always the one to blame.

Well, I am separated now and going through the divorce process and I still undergo the same treatment, however less frequent. The latest head banging occurrence has to do with my narcissist’s daily phone call to our two beautiful children. He has difficulty remembering to call our children on time, and when he is late, he always asks me why I did not call him to remind him to call. He blames me!

I have repeatedly explained to him that it was not my responsibility to make the call and remind him that is was his time to speak to our children. However, he sees it quite differently. He said that I am “mean” for not having the children call him if HE forgets. One night, he forget to make his call and the kids were already in bed. He actually wanted me to wake them up after I had tucked them into bed 30 minutes before his text. After I refused, he went on a texting diatribe blaming me for not reminding him to call his own children. He vilifies me for not being responsible for him.

In the early days of the separation, I would call him at his appointed time if he was late and he chastised me for “not being patient” and said that I was “pressuring him.” At the time, I thought I was doing him a favor. So, I stopped. I realized that it was HIS responsibility to remember to call our children, not mine. Then later he got mad at me for NOT calling to remind him to call. So, I gently explained to him that I had tried to help remind him before, but instead got yelled at by him for “not being patient.” He denied ever reacting that way.

So, this is just another prime example of how you cannot ever win with a narcissist, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

Top 13 Signs that you are in an Abusive Relationship with a Narcissist

1-You find yourself constantly making excuses to friends and family for him and his behavior. That is what I did. When my parents or friends would question me about my narcissist’s statements or actions, I would find myself always trying to explain away the reason behind it. He could never interact in a normal way with my dearest loved ones. He seemed distant, but would be overbearing and dominate the conversations if it was on a topic that he liked. My mom would try to be nice and ask him questions and his eyes would glaze over and he would act if he didn’t hear her and walk away. (If I was not present that is, otherwise he was on good behavior) I found myself saying things like, “Oh he is just sensitive about that topic.” or “He just loves me and wants to spend a lot of time with me.” or even “He works hard and he is worn out, he is stressed.”

2-You don’t see friends and family much anymore because it is easier not to, since he will ruin your time with them anyway. So you stop going to avoid his guilt trips, or he sucks the fun out of it if you do go. My narcissist would make if feel like he was sacrificing so much by going to visit my parents, a few times a year if that. He would give me glaring faces if he felt annoyed there. He would give me the silent treatment when we were alone in a room together when there, or he would accuse me or my family of making statements to “upset him.” He would ask me things like “Why did you mom say so many nice things about your cousin‘s husband? I think she likes him more than me, maybe your parents would rather you be with him instead.” Crazy talk!!! Then I would have to spend the rest of the trip there trying to reassure him that my parents did like him, and that he was reading into their statements too much. They were nothing but wonderful to him, my mom would even spend hours cooking fancy meals just because my narcissist liked particular dishes. But he still saw them as an enemy. They just wanted to spend some time with me, and he resented that. He wanted me all to himself.

3-You find that you are becoming a super sleuth. You are hungry for information on why your partner is behaving so erratically. You research online, go to the library for books on personality disorders, reading people’s blogs for clues that could help you understand what you are dealing with. In my case, I could not put my finger on it until one phone conversation with my mom. She said she thought my partner was a narcissist. I did not even know that that meant, besides loving oneself too much. Boy, the next thing I did was Google Narcissist Personality Disorder, and my life was changed forever. I finally discovered what it was that was so vile in my relationship. It saved my life.

4-You find yourself constantly questioning yourself “What did I do that offended him so badly? Am I really such a bad person?”

5-You are shocked and rendered tongue tied during arguments with your partner because he turns it around on you and he always ends up the victim and you apologizing to him. Narcissists are so good at this manipulation because they remember every little thing you tell them and store it in a mental tally and use it when they need to get one over you. It is not a way to play fair, but it is what they excel at.

6-Your “gut” doesn’t feel right. Something about him doesn’t set right with you but you cannot put your finger on it because he has too many other good traits that you weigh more heavily in his favor. This is because you are an “empath” a person with highly empathetic tendencies, you give people second chances or figure that he will “get better” the longer you are together. However, it never gets better, it just gets worse. Mistrust is embedded in the narcissists code. I swear, my narcissist also had the markers of Paranoid Personality Disorder.

7-You feel like maybe you are too “negative” or not “grateful” or that maybe the problem in your relationship is actually you! This is a hallmark of how narcissists make their victim feel. Because the narcissist honestly believes he is the superior, perfect mate, how could anything be his fault? Therefore, it must be yours. Don’t fall for it.

8-You keep thinking to yourself that things will get better if… you just move to a different house, state, job. These are all just distractions.

9-You hide (or lose) parts of yourself that they don’t approve of. Over time you find that you have lost so much of yourself that you don’t even recognize yourself and feel empty inside. You lose confidence to make even the smallest decision without their input.

10-You walk on eggshells (more like shards of glass) that are littered with landmines. No matter how carefully you tiptoe, you are bound to trigger an explosion sooner or later, usually when you least expect it.

11-You have been absorbed by your partner. Your partner wants you to be his family, his friend, his lover his everything, but does not want to share you with anyone. You have become so isolated from friends and family and hobbies and yourself that you cannot function happily. Even when we visited my family, if I did not sit next to him on the couch he became indignant and furious with me when we went to bed that night. He was so upset by it and couldn’t understand why my parents would want to sit next to me instead of him. I told him that he was crazy. I only see my parents a few times a year because my husband moved me so far away from them. He expects unreasonable closeness in all circumstances. It is suffocating.

12-You become anxious and nervous in the presence of others while around him. You don’t want other people to see him for what a vile person he is, so you overcompensate with attention towards him in the presence of others to keep him under control. Because if he feels like he is not the center of your attention, he will either act out, whether people are around or not. Or he will make your life a living hell with silent treatment or rages when you are finally alone together.

13-You can’t do anything right. You never win an argument. You are always the loser in the blame game. When he loses something, it is your fault, when anything does not go his way, it is your fault. Need I elaborate?

So, if you are experiencing any of these feelings, please open you eyes and trust your gut and leave your narcissist relationship. It is not healthy. It does kill you slowly, body and soul. Gather strength, knowledge and courage and save yourself. I am so thankful that I did. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, and I am still in the process of a divorce with children, but I have faith and hope that I will make it… one day at a time.

Victim has false sense of control in a narcissistic relationship

It’s beyond my control…I realize that now.
You cannot control someone else’s behavior, you can only control your own.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist makes you feel that if you behave differently, it will stall or stop their maltreatment of you. You feel that your actions can help to control their cruel behavior. This is a false sense of control. You are stuck inside a cage.  The narcissist is the one holding all of the cards, they are the puppet masters. You are merely a pawn in their game. Even if you do everything exactly the way they want, they will still find something wrong, something is your fault, or you could have done something better.

Nothing will ever be good enough for a narcissist. Therefore, you walk on eggshells because you never really know what will set them off. However, along the way, you have learned some of their triggers. Because when a narcissist feels offended, slighted, or not in control, they will struggle to regain that control by using a multitude of tactics like belittling, challenging, denying, raging, gaslighting, lecturing, pouting, threatening or giving the silent treatment.

As a result of this schooling, you are determined to avoid making these “mistakes” in the future and subconsciously go to great lengths to avoid stepping on these land mines again. This is how narcissists use abuse as a way to gain control over you. They may do it obviously or they may do it subtly, for example by saying “You look so much prettier with your hair down.” A seemingly innocuous statement, however, it lets you know that they want you to wear your hair a certain way. If you don’t conform to their expectations, then they keep mentioning it and eventually may even say that you don’t care if they find you attractive because you refuse to wear your hair the way that they like it. You are basically a dog to them. A dog that they don’t particularly like. They want you to be subservient to them. The narcissist is omnipotent, a god (in his own eyes). They expect ADMIRATION, RESPECT and COMPLIANCE at all times.

No matter what you do, you just can’t seem to get it right. You are desperate to please, you find yourself constantly going to the narcissist for their opinion or help because you become afraid to make even the simplest decisions for yourself. This inability stems from the constant struggle you have with the narcissist not approving of your past decisions or opinions. So, to avoid any future issues, you just go to the source, so you “don’t have to hear it” if they disapprove of your choice, because they are going to be the final say on the matter anyway. For example, he would question my clothing choices for going to see his family or out to a restaurant. He wanted me to wear a dress every time. Even if it was a casual restaurant. He hated when I wore jeans, even though I always looked fashionable with high heels and a fancy top. He also hated anything that looked “like a hippie.” Well, that killed me because I am bohemian at heart and love that style. He tried to make me into something I am not. Narcissists strip away the strongest parts of you that they used to admire because it threatens their control over you.

It was exhausting to be involved in a narcissistic abusive relationship. Talking to a friend about my decision to divorce him, I compared my relationship to that of a horse with a broken leg. I believe that as difficult as it was, and how I hated to, there was no other option but to kill it and walk away. My hand was forced, it was beyond my control. For if I had stayed, I would have surely died inside. It was me or him. As much as I loved him, (the illusion of what he was and our future) I love myself more.

The Narcissist’s abusive control can cause physical illness in the victim

The Narcissist’s abusive control can cause physical illness in the victim

The control they exert over you is so smothering. To me it felt like he had both hands cupping my heart and would squeeze it when he was asserting his will. I could not catch a deep, fulfilling breath in his presence. I felt like I was drowning on a daily basis.

The constant pressure of perfect performance gets to you after a while. The stress is ever present. I have always prided myself on being a “type A” personality, I get things done. I am a perfectionist, I am a neat freak, I cook and clean and do what is asked of me, and have not had a babysitter in over 3 years! I am a non-practicing attorney because I much prefer to stay at home with my children and watch them grow into amazing individuals. So I have been a full time homeschool mom these past 7 years. That can be a strain at times as any woman knows, but it is worth every minute!

However, if I ever voiced any of my tensions from that day, my narcissist would say “What’s wrong with you Mommy? Can’t you handle the house and the kids, or is that just too much for you?” Then he would go on about how stressful his job was and that my job at home was not stressful and that he would gladly trade his job for staying at home with the kids and putting me to work anytime. He belittled me so often like this that I could never have a qualm or complaint without him accusing me of being “ungrateful” that I got to stay at home.

All I wanted was to vent and to be able to talk to him about how draining it can be when you have a toddler throwing massive tantrums and a 5 year old fighting for attention all day long without even a second for me to decompress. He never wanted to hear about my day, even though he would ask sometimes. His eyes would glaze over and he would not pay attention to one word I said. Then he would ask me questions that I had already answered earlier in the conversation. I became furious with him at the drop of a hat because I was so horribly frustrated at not being heard by him. I felt like I was talking to a hole in the wall. It is a sad truth that narcissists don’t listen or pay attention to anything that is not related to them directly.

Believe me, I know pressure, I know stress! I went to law school and even passed the bar the first time. However, the pressure and stress that the narcissist applies was a dose that I could not withstand any longer.

My health was suffering and I started getting tingles in my legs and arms. I thought I had Multiple Sclerosis. I had five MRI’s that said nothing was wrong, thankfully! The neurologist asked me if I was an “anxious person” because he could only deduce that my body was responding to extreme pressure and stress with physical symptoms. Knowing what I know now, I believe that I had a nervous breakdown from all of the worry and upheaval that we have had the past 7 years of marriage. I noticed that the tingling got worse when my narcissist was around me, especially if he had “an issue he wanted to discuss with me.” That was one of the ways he framed his abusive diatribes.

During those times, I didn’t know what Narcissistic Personality Disorder was, but now I wish I had. It would have saved me so much pain and worry and youth. Time is something that you cannot buy and if you choose to waste it, you can never get it back.

Ways that Narcissists Abuse

What are the ways that narcissists abuse their victims? Where do I begin? In my relationship, his preferred abusive tactics included belittling me, challenging me, denying, raging, lecturing, over-reacting to perceived criticism, pouting, threatening me or giving me the silent treatment. The abuse was not continuous, there were times where we got along great (as long as we were doing what he wanted to do.)

I began to notice that the abuse would occur in any circumstance where he felt like he was losing control over me or the situation. Thus, he abused me to control me. In each of these circumstances, he made it seem like I was the one at fault, that I was the unreasonable one. The abuse would continue until I apologized to him for whatever he felt that I did wrong.

Any time that I stood up for myself or asserted my opinion, (that was conflicting from his) he would abuse me. If I ever played devil’s advocate for anyone that he was having problems with at work, by pointing out how they might feel or why they may have said what they did to my husband, he would get offended and say that I was not “on his side.” He was incapable of understanding other people’s emotions and felt that people were out to get him. So when I tried to point out that it was not the case, he would get angry with me and say that I am defending them and not him. So how does the abuse start in a narcissistic relationship?

Pedestal and the Pit– Narcissists are fast movers. They meet their victim and groom her to believe that she is the most wonderful, funny, intelligent and beautiful woman in the world. The narcissist will shower love, attention and praise on its victim at dizzying speeds. They will want to commit quickly, pronounce everlasting and perfect love within a month of meeting. This early phase is called love bombing. The narcissist places its victim on a pedestal for all to see, but then after he has hooked her, he will knock her down into the pit. He will devalue her, belittle her, shame her into believing she is worthless, stupid, careless, and disrespectful. Then when he sees that he is pushing her too far, he will put her back on the pedestal so she stays put. This cycle of the pedestal and the pit continues for the duration of the relationship.

Gaslighting– Narcissists use this stealthy method of abuse to disorient the victim in order to make the victim feel like she is going mad. The term was named after the classic 1944 movie “Gaslight.” This film featured a husband dimming the gaslights of the house and when his wife asked him about it, he would say that they weren’t. He would hide items from her, then make her think that she did it. In short, gaslighting is crazy-making abuse. The victim feels like she is losing it because events are happening and the narcissist is denying anything is wrong. An example is when a narcissist hits the victim and then denies ever doing so. In my case, my narcissist would lose items and blame me for taking them. And if it was obvious that I was right about something that we had disagreed on, he would change his statement and claim that he was the one who was right, even using my exact language. It made me so furious! Gaslighting occurred daily in my relationship. He would use the toilet in the upstairs guest room, not flush, then when I would ask him about it, he would deny it was him. I know it was not me or my kids. Gross.

Projection– The narcissist projects his own feelings and insecurities onto his victim. If he is cheating on his partner, he accuses his partner of cheating. If he is lying, he accuses his partner of lying. The narcissist cannot accept responsibility for his own thoughts and actions and projects his own mental garbage onto the unsuspecting victim. The narcissist is the one who feels that he is the victim in the relationship.

Lectures– My narcissist would go on and on about whatever was bothering him that I did. He would find fifty ways to say the same thing until I would break and just accept everything as my fault and apologize, even though I did nothing wrong to apologize for. He would treat me like a child that was behaving badly. I always felt intimidated and scared of him when he would go on his rants.

Guilt trips & Pouting– Used as a way to let you know his wants and he will make you feel bad for not giving him what he wants. They commonly use “always” and “never” statements. For example, my narcissist would constantly tell me that he never felt that I cared about being intimate with him, (despite the fact that we were intimate at least 2-3 times a week! I felt that after 7 years of marriage, he didn’t have anything to complain about!) But he did not feel that it was enough. On the nights that I just wanted to go to bed due to the extreme exhaustion of taking care of my children and him, schooling and everything related to the house, he would pout and guilt trip me to make it seem like I did not care enough about him because I wasn’t giving him enough “attention.” Please! So he would keep pouting until I relented and just “did it.” I tell you, that when he would pressure me that way, I felt as if I was being raped because I did not want to have sex, but had to in order to shut him up so that I could finally go to bed in peace. And looking back, I really HATE him for that. This is an example of Sexual Abuse.

Financial abuse– Occurs when a narcissist has all the control over the financial matters in the household. In my case, he never put my name on the checking account. I asked many times if I could be on the account but he said that if I wanted cash, I had to ask him for it. (Which I never did.) He said he didn’t want me to be able to write checks and possibly overdraw the account. This so-called concern of his was unfounded because I am very financially responsible and would never do such a thing. So, I had no access to any money. We even had a debit credit card but he refused to give me the pin number. He let me use the credit cards and he would pay them off but if I was charging too much in any given month, he would make sure to speak up and let me know that I need to cut back. He was so paranoid about the money, he would check his banking, credit card statements and retirement accounts each day!

Silent treatment– Used by the narcissist to induce your fear of abandonment by withholding his attention and affection. When the narcissist comes around and starts talking again, you feel relief and the anxiety dissipates. I call this form of abuse “Dark and Broody.” My narcissist was a professional at being dark and broody. I knew when trouble was lurking because he would get all quiet and look like a dark storm was brewing inside of him. Then after the storm, he would come out with a secondary form of abuse like rage, threats or lecturing me. During his dark and broody stage, I would get sick to my stomach at the fear of the impending doom I was about to face.

Verbal abuse– Insults, put downs, aimed to wound the victim’s self esteem. These words cut like knives, hand crafted to strike at our most fragile self. Narcissists reach into their arsenal of the victim’s phobias, weaknesses and disappointments in order to use against them to mutilate their soul. Once, when all was calm, I asked my narcissist why that when he was upset, he would say the most cruel, untrue things to me intending to hurt me. He responded that sometimes he doesn’t play fair and that he would work on that in the future. However, he never stopped using his malicious verbal daggers on me when we had disagreements.

Physical abuse

Rage– Rages occur when the narcissist yells and uses body language to intimidate its victim to get the response that he wants. I hated when he would fly into a rage in front of the children, which he did many times. My narcissist would work himself up into a rage when he felt threatened. He was like a tiger in a cage, pacing back and forth in the room, just gearing up for a feast. Then he would fly into a rage over some of the smallest things. One night, after book time with the children, I wasn’t responding to one of his requests fast enough and I commented that “I guess I cannot do anything right.” And he freaked out and started yelling at me in front of the kids. He screamed that I was “being disrespectful and that he deals with bitchy nurses all day and that the last thing he wants is to come home to a bitchy wife!” It was horrible. My 3 and 6 year old were scared, then my son asked me “Mommy, why is daddy yelling at you?” My heart was broken for them. I had to scurry them off to their bedrooms and I promised that I would be back to tuck them in. Then I had to go back to the kitchen where he was, pacing back and forth, he was physically vibrating, ranting loudly, calling me a bitch and making comments like, “Now I see why your ex almost hit you” stuff like that. Bringing up distressing moments of my past that were told to him in confidence, totally unrelated to our relationship, were designed to inflict pain. This is just one of the many examples I have of what a narcissistic rage can look like. Scary stuff.

Threats and manipulation– Narcissist uses intimidation, to get his victims
to doOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA as he pleases. By using fear to control or influence is serious abuse. My narcissist would threaten to put our home schooled children into public school and send me to work if I did not go along with something he wanted to do. If I ever had any complaints or seemed too tired during the day, he would say “Are the kids too much for you to handle mommy? You are too tired to have any time to give to your husband, maybe you need a real job so that you can see how easy you have it now, and I can stay at home.” He would tell me that he came first and the children come second. I couldn’t believe it when he said that to me. What a distorted view of a family relationship. Narcissists are the most selfish creatures on the planet. Children need unconditional love and support, and yes, dad’s should take second fiddle to the children.

Tit for tat– Narcissists will do nice things for you, but with strings attached. There is no such thing as a altruistic narcissist. There is never something nice done for someone without an expectation of a return. My narcissist would attempt to buy into his co-workers good graces, at least for a while before they could no longer stand to be around him. He would buy lunch for his co-workers once a month, because he expected that they would be nice to him in return. I told him that he did not have to do such things for people to treat him well, but he believed otherwise. Then when a co-worker would have a problem with him for whatever reason, or he considered them to be moody he would ask me, why? I told him that just because he buys them lunch doesn’t mean they are going to treat him like a king every day. He couldn’t wrap his head around that notion.

There are so many ways that narcissists abuse their victims. Abuse techniques that Sam Vaknin has also noted include: “Wounding “honesty”, ignoring, smothering, dotting, unrealistic expectations, invasion of privacy, tactlessness, sexual abuse, physical maltreatment, humiliating, shaming, insinuating, lying, exploiting, devaluing and discarding, being unpredictable, reacting disproportionately, dehumanizing, objectifying, abusing confidence and intimate information, engineering impossible situations, control by proxy and ambient abuse.” (The Mind of the Abuser-Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love)

In a nutshell, narcissists are evil creatures void of empathy, they can be male or female. However, there are 3 times more male narcissists than female. If you can identify any of these methods of abuse occurring in your relationship, you need to take warning. Only you can save yourself.

Once a narcissist, always a narcissist. They never change, but that is a topic for a later date.