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.

Do I Stay or Do I Go?

This was a difficult decision to be made. Not as easy as it may seem to most. After years of emotional cruelty, you may feel depleted of confidence in yourself, and you may be afraid of the unknown. I was.  At least there is some familiarity with this devil you know, verses the devil you do not. However, if you stay, you are doomed to more inevitable abuse. If you leave, you will have challenges to face, but you will be free to breathe again, to just be…again.

It all changed for me when I discovered what Narcissistic Personality Disorder was and learned that it was incurable.  I had no choice but to leave.  I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I had faith that it would be worth it. It has been four months since I left my narcissist, and I am so glad that I did. I still am waiting for my divorce to be final. In the meantime, I am living at my parents house with my two children trying to save up enough money to build a house of my own. I am struggling to both homeschool my little ones while making money to help sustain us.

When I was with him, I felt like I was drowning, I could never catch my breath when he was around. Thinking back to how I felt when we were together, it was as if he and I were stuck in a boat out in the ocean, all alone. Then he would push me off the boat into the shark infested water and I would struggle to keep afloat, and plead with him to throw me a life preserver. When he had enough listening to me beg for help, he would rescue me begrudgingly and then tell me how lucky I was that he was around to come to my aid. That is what narcissists do. They drive you to the point of desperation and then when you crack, they use it against you later. It is mind boggling really. If I had never gone through this daily misery myself, I could not really understand it if someone would have tried to explain it to me.

When you are in the thick of it, it is difficult to see through it. Looking back, it is crystal clear what he did to me. But at time, I was so immersed in the emotional torment that I began to think that everything must be my fault. That was before I knew about the narcissist’s weapon of projection. That is when the narcissist accuses you of doing what, in fact, THEY are doing.  The narcissist will control every decision and every action in the relationship. They may make you feel like you have a say, but in reality, you have been conditioned by them to know what to do or say as to not provoke a negative response.  So, really you have no actual say in anything.

He also enjoyed making me feel like I was ungrateful if I ever suggested doing anything by myself. I could not visit my family by myself, but then he did not want to go with me. So, he cut my family and old friends out of my life. Then he accused me of not being a good wife if I ever suggested getting together with a mommy friend without the children. He would say that we are married and why be married if we wanted to do things without each other? He would also famously claim that “he was not a babysitter” and that if I wanted to do things with my mommy friends, it can be when he is at work and I can take the kids too. Because when he was home, it was “family time” despite the fact that it meant we do whatever HE wanted to do. Or if he was around me and the children, he was tuned out sitting in the corner on his IPAD instead of doing one on one things with our children. Ugg!

I must say that I am doing better every day and I am so thankful for my parents and friends that have taken me back into their world with open arms. I feel so embarrassed that I let that monster take me away from them in the first place, but the sheer fact that they see past it and are glad to be here for me and my children makes my heart explode with gratitude. To think that if I would have stayed with my narcissist, my children would have grown up not ever experiencing the nourishing, loving grandparent relationship that they get every day now.  Also, my brother is an awesome influence on my children too.  They adore him because he actually takes time to do things with them.  Something that their own father rarely did.  My children are able to be themselves, to be silly without being micromanaged, to be able to pursue what they want without judgement.  They are free to be children now.

So, the moment that I voluntarily jumped off that boat, which held me and my narcissist, was a pivotal point that has moved my life in a positive direction. I had faith that I could swim to safety on my own, never again looking to my captor to appear the savior. Now, instead of fear of the future, I am excited to see what it feels like to find myself again.

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.

Narcissists Rationalize Their Mistreatment of You and Belittle Your Concerns

I have come to the conclusion that a narcissist has the emotional equivalent of a 4 year old. It is as if they are a child trapped inside an adult’s body because everything is all about them. They are the sun and the whole planetary system revolves around them. They walk all over you as if you were no more than a blade of grass under their foot. If I ever had a legitimate concern about my health, (for example, I would experience strange pins and needles in my extremities) my narcissist husband would dismiss it as nothing, however, his plantar fasciitis (annoying heel pain) seemed to be the end of the world!

Even issues I had about our relationship were played down by him. One time, I expressed concern to my husband by saying that I can’t help but feel like I am “walking on eggshells around him.” He looked indignant at me and callus. He scoffed at me without any concern for my feelings and said, “that sounds like something your Mother would say.” Then he asked, “Has she been filling your head with this kind of psychological jargon?” This is just another example of a narcissist showing his lack of empathy. He never asked me any deep questions about WHY I felt the way that I did. He was just offended that I had anything to say that made it apparent that our relationship had issues that he was ignoring.

The vasectomy talk went much worse. When we were first married, he told me that he would have a vasectomy after we decided we were done having children. Well, when that time came after our second child, he refused to get the surgery. He put it off and said maybe in a year. Then after that year came and went, I brought the topic up and he said that he still was not ready and that he didn’t appreciate me pushing him!  I was sick of being on birth control pills and they were making my hair fall out in clumps. So, I expressed my sincere concern about the serious side effects of pills, like cancer as well as stroke and deep vein thrombosis for women over age 30, but he did not care. He is even a doctor and knows the risks but still downplayed them. He made me feel like I was making a big deal over nothing. He insisted that I just stay on the pills anyway. He was really upset that night, so I just bit my lip and let it go. I waited yet another year, then all hell broke loose.

The night I dared to bring it up for the third time in a 2 ½ year time span, I was in tears because I already knew how he would respond to me pleading for him to get the surgery. He reacted with no emotion except irritation and anger. He was offended, indignant and upset that I brought the topic up on a “weeknight when he just wanted to relax and watch TV with his wife.” I was having medical problems at the time and serious anxiety symptoms that I contributed to the pills, as well as the continued hair loss. I was really meek and tried to convey my depth of concern for my health by continually taking the pill. I humbly asked him to reconsider and have the surgery. He responded with no concern for me, no hugs, no understanding, no empathy. Obviously. Instead, all he thought about was himself and how this conversation was “ruining his night.” He even went as far as to say, “we have discussed this before, you are pushing me again and now I may never be ready to have the surgery. But if you want to go ahead and have your tubes tied, then be my guest.” I was horrified, not because of the $10,000 price difference between a tubal ligation vs. a vasectomy, but that he would suggest that I was the one being unreasonable.

He had a warped way of thinking that I could not wrap my head around.  I then asked him why I should continue to risk my health by taking the pill and he responded by saying that “he risks his life every day driving to work” and he has a much higher likelihood of getting killed on the road than I do of having complications from the pill so I should just “take one for the team.” I was flabbergasted at his comments, then it got even worse. He continued to elaborate that if he got the surgery, I would be able to get remarried and have more children with someone else if I ever decided to leave him, but that he couldn’t if he wanted to. I could not believe what he was saying!  Up to that point, I never even considered that possibility as an option. He thought so little of me and did not trust me, which was the real reason he refused the surgery he once promised to have. He was a liar, a fraud. He thought only about himself and his needs and wants. It was abundantly clear to me how our marriage would be moving forward at that point on. It wouldn’t.

I then said that if he refused to get the simple procedure, I was going to go off of the pill, and we would just have to use condoms. Boy, he hit the roof!  He was horrified that I would even propose such a solution. He said that he would not even consider using condoms with his wife. So, I was held hostage, I had no choice but to stay on the pill because at that moment I realized that he did not care one ounce for me, for what I wanted and whether I felt healthy or not. It was his way or no way!  As such, I decided that as much as I love my two children, the only thing worse than staying on the pill was having another child with that man who cared nothing for me.

The whole night was an eye-opener, my narcissist had the cunning ability to rationalize his mistreatment of me in the most despicable ways. I learned that I may have no choice but to leave him at some point, but the final straw was yet to come.

So, the moral of this memory is…if you feel like your concerns go unheard by your partner, than it is time to consider the worst. He or she does not really love you or respect you, this is a common indicator of a narcissistic relationship.

 

 

 

 

Narcissists Have Unrealistic Expectations and Do Not Believe in Change

One of the biggest indicators of narcissism is a preoccupation with things staying the same. They operate the same in every relationship they enter and narcissists do not believe in change as an individual. The reason for this is because they feel that they are perfect and have no reason to change. One time, I made a comment of how “relationships change and people grow as they go through life” and he could not comprehend what I was saying.  Instead, he got irate and said “I like what we have, our relationship should always be in the honeymoon phase!” I responded with a gentle laugh and said that he cannot be serious, but sadly he was.  It is nature’s truth that nothing stays the same, even a child can figure that out by witnessing the leaves changing from green to brown, and falling down.  I went on to say that it is not natural to never alter your views on life as you grow older. The people you meet, the places you visit, the successes as well as the failures all teach us about who we are and how to better ourselves. Personal growth leads to a more fulfilling life.  But in that moment, he looked at me like I had spiders crawling out of my ears.  I knew right then, that it was going to be a bumpy ride!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A typical trait of narcissism involves the “preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love” according to Sam Vaknin, self proclaimed and clinically diagnosed narcissist. This preoccupation manifests itself throughout everything narcissists do. Their view on life is considered by them to be the “correct” view, no matter how distorted their opinion of the world actually is. Thus, we the victims, must go along with the narcissist’s beliefs or else face punishment which may consist of silent treatments, rages, attacks, put-downs, pouting, guilt trips, etc.

Whatever your situation, the narcissist is obsessed with his or her idea of success. Whether the success be financial, supreme intelligence, gorgeous looks, or even relationship status, the ultimate control is key. In my situation, my narcissist was certainly obsessed with his retirement portfolio. He researched stocks and bonds every day. He spoke about retirement a few times a week despite the fact that he was 43. He defined success as retiring at 50. He was in a big hurry to go nowhere.  I always supported his goals, however, my family does not believe in retirement and feel that when you retire, your mind shuts down and you die sooner. Anyways, the thought of him not going to a place of work during the day and being around me even more, I admit sent shock waves throughout my system. I would push that thought as far away from my mind as possible. I desperately clung to the hope that he would change his mind as he was so prone to do.

We must learn to recognize that narcissists have a preoccupation with things staying the same. They are stagnant, repetitive creatures. Have you ever noticed that your narcissist constantly repeats him or herself? Mine was so predictable, I knew what he was going to say before he even opened his mouth.  And if you choose to stay with yours, it is a certainty that you will never be able to change your situation or to grow as a human being. I needed to break free from the chains my narcissist clamped around me, so that I could be unrestricted to grow and thrive as an individual has a right to.

 

During the Relationship With a Narcissist, You Become an Expert at Lying…Mostly to Yourself

How have you allowed yourself to stay in this abusive relationship so long? The answer is really quite simple, you lie to yourself. You fool yourself into desperately believing that things will get better, that he or she will change. How could those glimmers of greatness that your partner exhibited in the early stages of your relationship have faded away forever? It is because he or she was never that person to begin with. It was all a façade to snag you in the first place.

Also, it is due to the cycle of the “pedestal and the pit” that I discussed in my post, The Ways That Narcissists Abuse. For example, he isn’t terrible all of the time right? If he was, it would surely be easier to leave him wouldn’t it? He is smart enough to realize that if he is bad for too long, you will get fed up and go. So he will throw a bit of sweetness your way, just to wet your appetite to keep you hoping that he may return to the wonderful person that you thought he was in the beginning. You lie to yourself every day. You do not trust your gut feeling that he may just be a terrible person, a narcissist with no soul.

But then that has other consequences, you start to question your own judgment. How could I have made such a bad decision in choosing this person to share my life with? I know that I sure did. I couldn’t come to grips with my awful luck with men until I faced the cold truth and realized that I had been lying to myself all along. I chose to ignore the red flags waving in the breeze when I first began to date him. The fairytale blinded me! I do not blame myself nor do I blame you for falling prey to the unobtrusive spider. However, I want to open your eyes to what I recently discovered, you need to ask yourself the hard questions. You need to figure out what your weak spots are and wipe them clean so you never get stuck in this situation again.

As if lying to yourself was not bad enough, you begin lying to all those people you hold so dear. You don’t lie to be malicious, you lie to keep them from worrying about you. Or you lie to make them see your partner as a good person. You would hate for your friends and family to see him as he really is, so you make excuses for him, you cover-up for him. That is what I did. I felt ashamed that I was trapped with this manipulative and uncaring human being, so I overcompensated with tales of his good deeds or nice words, and conveniently left out the bad parts, and the hurtful comments that he dished out.

This kind of editing is not all that different from what people do on social media sites, I guess. But, I could not live a false life like that anymore. I needed an escape, I needed to live an authentic life where I was comfortable living the way I wanted. The truth, no matter how much it hurts, will come out. Nothing will scare off a narcissist like the truth. So I say, let the truth rain down and clear those muddy waters!

You are replaceable to a Narcissist

First of all, if you have left your narcissist, congratulations! Your life has just begun! It is an incredible journey, that I am only just embarking on, but it is worth it. On the other hand, if you have found that a narcissist has abandoned you, congratulations! Your life has been spared! I will go on more about this later. What I want to discuss in this post is how replaceable we all are to a narcissist. So, no matter what, don’t feel bad that the narcissist is now on his or her own. Because they have no empathy, or real emotional attachments, or even appreciation for us as individuals and what makes us unique and amazing, the narcissist can just move on when it is convenient for them. They will do it quickly, make no mistake about that.

Due to the very nature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, the narcissist must at all times be in a state of idolization. They need a continuous dose of Narcissistic Supply. They depend on it to boost their insecurity and it allows them to function. Without their supply, the narcissist goes into crisis mode and their whole world shuts down. They are incomplete. The victim is used by the narcissist like a mirror, he projects what he feels onto that person and expects the person to reflect a perfect image back at the narcissist. However, what happens when that mirror does not cast a reflection any longer? Without that false vision and constant reassurance, the narcissist will go to any lengths to replenish his supply. He will look in odd places to scramble and fill the void.

In most cases, the narcissist will look in places closest to him, for example his workplace, at a bar, a commuter train, or online for his quick fix of narcissistic supply. They become hell bent on showing the ex-victim how easily he or she can be replaced. In my case, I spent the past seven years being a superb supportive wife, mother, housekeeper, homeschool teacher, cook and maid. I devoted every waking minute to taking care of our believed children all the while walking on eggshells to make my husband happy to keep the peace and to try to make the house a happy home for my babies.

I was sacrificing my happiness for everyone else’s and I never complained. I packed and unpacked boxes for six moves in six years and decorated each house and made it a home. I was forever putting out fires when my husband got home and he felt he was not getting enough attention. Now, as I have left him and moved myself and my children into my parents house because I have primary physical custody, my ex has decided to cut to my core by showing me just how easy it is to replace me. One month after I left him, he hired a live-in 25 year old au pair that he flew into the country from the Ukraine. Despite the fact that he only has two weekends of visitation a month, he felt the need to hire a woman to help take care of the kids for those select few dates. Unbelievable.

When I have told my friends about this awkward situation, they all say the same thing. He is living all alone with this woman 95% of the time, they must be having a relationship. I hoped that would not be the case and I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, however, I must look at the surrounding facts.

1st – He refused to give me her cell phone number because he said that “he did not want me to mess this up for him.” There is no landline either, so I only wanted to have the ability to contact my children when they are in her care in case of emergency. However, he refused twice. Strike 1.

2nd- Then when I finally got to meet her, I noticed a bouquet of flowers sitting beside her in the car. Both of my children said that “Daddy got the flowers for Irena.” Strike 2.

3rd- Then I was looking at my Kohls membership rewards account online (which he uses) and I accidentally discovered that he had made a purchase for her, including a bra, yoga pants and a camisole top. Strike 3.

To be honest, I have always tried to play fair. I don’t like to jump to conclusions. However, looking at the facts makes it hard for me to see it any other way. He is obviously in stage one of wooing his next victim. Now, I honestly ask myself…Self, does this make you jealous? Me… Not one bit. Then I ask…are you surprised? Me… Not really but the reason I am perturbed is because of the children. They are young and will be confused and don’t deserve to be caught in the tangled web of deceit that their father continuously weaves.

So there you have it, another example of how far a narcissist will go to secure his next vile of narcissistic supply and when that vile is all dried up, you better believe he will look for it elsewhere.

Narcissists are hypersensitive, easily offended and have no sense of humor about themselves

The narcissist is not able to handle any kind of criticism, whether constructive or not. They are hypersensitive. They can dish it out but cannot take it. They make jabs at you or your loved ones and then pretend that they did not. For example, he may say that you look fat in that outfit, then when you react to the hurtful comment he says “I am just kidding, you are so sensitive!” Narcissists quickly turn it around and make you the one with the problem. Or they flat out deny that their statement was meant to be offensive and say that you are reading into their comment negatively.

Narcissists do not “fit in” when around a group of people, no matter how hard they appear to try.  The narcissist is like a stoic rock post standing amongst the trees.  It may try to mimic the height of the trees, but it cannot ever become a tree. It is simply not made of the same stuff.  Because narcissists are not able to feel emotion, they cannot identify with people’s feelings and needs.  When you think back to his sense of humor, you may remember him being fun and silly and able to laugh at jokes, trying to blend in.  However, he reacts differently if the jokes are made at his expense. He may lash out at the joker, or act wounded and as a victim.

The narcissist views himself as perfect and does not want to be seen by anybody as less than so. Therefore, any joke that is aimed at him will make him react in a oversensitive manner. The narcissist is easily offended because jokes at their expense puts them in a less than perfect light. My narcissist could never even be called a pet name that he viewed as undignified. Once I sweetly teased him that he could get lost coming home from the grocery store. Then he overreacted by saying “That is not nice! Why are you being so mean to me? I cannot believe you would talk to me like that!” Even though, he routinely missed his turns so often that it became comical. However, it was ok for him to make jokes at my expense, and when I spoke up, he would accuse me of “being no fun, or too sensitive.”

My narcissist was almost a prude about certain things, he would never pee when I was in the bathroom, he was terrified that I might see him in an vulnerable position. I wouldn’t have looked, but I thought that after seven years of marriage we could let the boundaries down a little bit. Who cares? But he always made a big deal out of it and kicked me out of the bathroom, even if I was busy brushing my teeth, so that he could use the toilet.

God forbid if I had stressful day and would be a little bit testy. He felt that I should have a smile on my face at all times. If I didn’t, he would make comments like “Why don’t you just be happy?” Well, nothing irks me like someone telling me how to feel. I felt that he was trying to strip away my rights to my own feelings. He never let me just be cranky without serious consequences. He would call me out and start a fight with me, instead of just giving me some much needed space, which would have made me in a much better state of mind. Then after the brawl, I would have no choice but to “put on my happy face” or else face another dispute. So in the end, he always won.

Heightened sensitivity to people’s remarks is a trait of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It is a type of paranoia that is difficult to live with. My narcissist always took offense to even innocent comments by coworkers, my family, and me. It always made me unsteady when he would ask me what I thought other people meant when they talked to him about something that day. I would have to constantly bring him back down to earth by saying that people are not out to get him, or to take jabs at him, but that he reads into their ordinary conversations. He still did not believe me. He would accuse me of being too trusting and naive. I touch upon this kind of paranoia in my other article, What are the signs of NPD?

This oversensitivity does not get better, the narcissist never “loosens up.” They are always getting their “feelings hurt,” even though they don’t have feelings like you and me, they are empty inside.

 

The Narcissist has no empathy, however, you seem to have an endless supply, even for him…

It is a big sign that your partner is a narcissist when they appear to have no real empathy for you, or others. They appear indifferent and cold as ice. If the situation or topic is about something that they do not value, they shrug it off as inconsequential. Of course, narcissists sometimes simulate empathy, by using stale words with no real emotion behind them because they have learned the socially acceptable vocabulary for particular situations, however the real substance of emotion is missing. Actions speak louder than words here.

In my case, I told my narcissist husband about my dear friend’s mother dying when my friend was just a little girl. I told him that her mother had a long battle with a debilitating illness and a kidney transplant, but then passed away. I was overwhelmed with sadness for my friend and was telling my husband how I was in awe of her amazing life story and how she kept a positive outlook on life, despite her horrible loss at such a young age. His response was a bland “Oh that is too bad,” then he changed the subject. He had no expression on his face, in fact he started eating. I again asked him what he thought about my friend’s story and he had no other response or insight. I was appalled by his emptiness.

The real truth is that you and I are people with an overabundance of empathy. This type of person is called an “empath.” Narcissists choose highly compassionate, considerate and understanding individuals as their victims. They know that they have a much easier time manipulating a person who always looks for the good in others. You are a beautiful person with a beautiful soul, that is the upside. However, you have to look at the whole picture when looking at a person and not just the good pieces. All the pieces, good and bad, fit together to make up the puzzle of the person they are.

You know deep down that you overlooked the red flags that have been there since the beginning of your relationship. You either saw them and disregarded them because you felt that he had too many other good qualities to balance out the odd behaviors. Or you saw them and was afraid that acknowledging the problematic behavior meant that you had to confront him and you did not want to hurt his feelings, or risk losing him. As a result, you find yourself making excuses for his bad behavior by thinking that everybody handles emotions differently. You look for the good to balance out the bad, thus you are fooling yourself on a daily basis.

I will never forget the huge altercation my narcissist had with my parents Easter weekend, which happened to be my birthday this year. My parents were visiting for the weekend and after I spent all afternoon cooking a homemade dinner, my parents offered to get ice cream at the local store and my Dad wanted to take me along, for a one on one for a few minutes. However, my narcissist was offended that my dad wanted time with just me. So, he picked a huge fight with my wonderful, loving parents, he belittled them, and he put me down in front of them. He couldn’t be reasoned with and they had no choice but to leave early and drive three hours back to their house, and missing out on the holiday and my birthday, because he was so horrid to them and they did not want the children to witness anymore of their father’s antics. Basically, he cut my parents out of our lives that day, then he expected me to act like it did not matter to me.

Then the day after the confrontation, my narcissist expected me to act as if nothing happened. He wanted an automatic return of the status quo after the confrontation. I was not allowed to have lingering sorrow. He said that he thought we resolved the problem and he did not want to see me sulking. I responded that he could not expect a person, especially a woman, to go about her life as if nothing ever happened. I told him that I am entitled to my feelings of sadness, that I could not simply put a smile on my face and pretend that life was ok. This is an example of no empathy, and being out of touch with others feelings. My parents are the biggest parts of my life, they made me who I am. They supported every decision I ever made and had been nothing but supportive of us, then he treats them like garbage! Well, I made a choice that day, I was going to organize my plan to leave my narcissist husband.

If you have discovered that you are the victim of a narcissist, you must be a fabulous lady, because a narcissist only chooses the best for himself. You are probably asking yourself how you could have gotten into this situation with this hollow person? It is not your fault, so stop beating yourself up over it. You were deceived by a professional liar and manipulator. The valuable lesson is to learn the traits of a narcissist, so that you will never be fooled again.

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.