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Toxic Relationships: Recovering From a Narcissist

Updated on September 1, 2017
Narcissists look cute on the outside, but they're all predator on the inside.
Narcissists look cute on the outside, but they're all predator on the inside. | Source

There is Nothing More Toxic Than a Narcissist

My relationship with a narcissist changed me for the better. I’ve come a long way in the two years since that relationship ended. My wish is to offer hope to others who are in a relationship, or trying to end a relationship with a narcissist. It is undoubtedly one of the hardest toxic bonds to break. However, it can be done, and I’m living proof.

There is nothing quite so humiliating and hurtful as an intimate relationship with a narcissist. I dug around online in the aftermath of my breakup. I wanted to see if other people had recovered from the psychological fallout of this type of toxic relationship. I was surprised to find very little about actual recovery.

What I did discover online was a wealth of forums and articles about how to get away from the narcissist. There were plenty of tearful stories about the wreckage and psychological ruin. Unfortunately, there was very little about how people actually recovered successfully.

So I came up with my own plan to recover and move on from being psychologically mangled. The person I was with was incapable of treating me with dignity and respect – a typical narcissist trait.

I determined to rebuild my self-esteem from the inside out, so that I would never again be susceptible to an abusive relationship. I also wanted to reach a place where I was narcissist proof. I needed to appreciate my real value so that I could turn away toxic people and not look back.

Narcissists Have No Remorse

Waiting for a narcissist to change in to a decent human being is like waiting to spot a unicorn. It won’t happen - and your time and energy could be better spent on other things.

I spent two years hoping she would change. Two long years enduring someone who couldn’t really appreciate me, and who emotionally abused me on a regular basis. My self-esteem was in tatters.

At the time, I was unable to disconnect from this soul-crushing relationship. I just couldn’t find any detachment, even while things were getting worse. I knew I wanted out, but I couldn’t reach the exit.

The End of a Toxic Relationship is Like an Atomic Blast

The night of her holiday party was my wake-up call. Her behavior was so horrifying that I vowed to sever my connection to a person who didn’t seem human. I think everyone has a defining moment when they’re involved with a narcissist. In truth, there are usually many defining moments, but we tune them out. There’s usually a horrific event that alerts us, once and for all, that we need to go and never look back.

We were in the process of a breakup. The problem with a narcissist is that making a clean break is almost impossible. There a are a lucky few that are strong enough to do it - but mostly, by the time a break up is on the horizon, the partner of a narcissist is has been so beaten down psychologically they are unable to move.

Around the time we were attempting to break up, my ex narcissist decided to have a holiday party and invite a circle of acquaintances we both knew. She had invited me to spend New Year’s Eve with her, and I thought she extended an invitation to the Christmas Party. It never even occurred to me that I wouldn’t be welcome.

Even though I was tired from a long school year, I decided to surprise my ex -narcissist by putting in a surprise appearance at the party. It was a two-hour trip by train in sub-zero cold, but I was ready for a fun night and was willing to brave public transportation and the elements. I bought a nice bottle of liquor and a box of cookies and embarked on the trek.

I arrived with my gifts and a big smile on my face, ready for a good time. When I arrived, my ex took one look at me, and I knew immediately that something was wrong. My stomach knotted up. She looked at me like I was a homeless drunk who had just crashed her party. She clearly didn’t know what to do and was appalled that I was there. She ran into the other room to hide behind her guests.

I spent the next half hour milling around trying to figure out what to do with myself. The other guests could tell that my ex didn’t want me there, and they didn’t know what to do either – they were friends with both of us. I could not remember when I felt more uncomfortable, or awkward. I had been part of her life and welcome in her home for two years. Suddenly, I was an unwelcome intruder.

She actually stood in her living room with her back to me the entire time I was there. My time at the party didn’t last long – I lasted one half hour to be exact. It finally occurred to me that another partygoer was a person of interest to my ex. Before our relationship was even over, she had already picked out my replacement.

It's all about the narcissist.
It's all about the narcissist. | Source

Narcissists Don’t Understand Love


This is a common, and disturbing, phenomenon amongst narcissists: They are unable to form healthy attachments with other human beings. So even though they may say they are in love, they always have their eye out for the next best thing. And there is always a next best thing.

The narcissist is incapable of settling down with one partner. Even if they are in what appears to be a committed marriage - rest assured they are dabbling on the side. They are consummate entertainers looking for devoted groupies. They are always on stage performing their one man, or one woman, show – because it really is all about them.

If there is the opportunity to get more attention and adoration from a potential love interest, the narcissist will take it. Anyone who thinks that their narcissist is capable of being faithful is fooling himself, or herself. They are always on the lookout for something better no matter what they say to the contrary.

When I realized I was not welcome at the party, I remember grabbing my coat, calling a cab to the train station and standing outside in the freezing cold. My emotions kept cycling through numb, horrified and heartbroken.

I felt like I was in a bad soap opera – standing in the freezing cold, sobbing over someone who had never been worth my time or energy from the very beginning. In that moment, I felt like the biggest fool on the planet. I vowed, in that moment, that this was really the last time. I would never attract, or be attracted to, someone this disturbed again.

She came running outside before my cab pulled up. She kept hugging me and she told me everything would be ok, that I shouldn’t have shown up to her party. She wasn’t expecting me, and she had wanted to spend the evening mingling as a single woman – never mind that our relationship wasn’t actually over. She was already in the market for her next conquest. She assured me that since we were spending New Year’s Eve together she would make it up to me then.

I stared at her in disbelief through my tears. I couldn’t believe this woman actually thought I would ever go near her, or her home, again. I knew that was the last time I would ever set foot in her house.

She gave one last big hug, handed me a tissue to dry my tears and put me in the cab. It never occurred to her that her behavior was abnormal. In her world, my part in her little play had ended. I was merely an extra who was no longer needed on the scene.

She called and emailed for three days. I refused to respond. She finally realized I was not returning for New Year’s Eve and gave up. What disturbed me the most was the fact that she actually thought I would return to spend time with her after my private, and public, humiliation.

We continued to stay sporadically in touch after the nightmarish party scene. She kept trying to explain behavior that was unexplainable. I still harbored a slim hope that she would somehow miraculously change into a caring, compassionate person. On my end I believe that’s referred to as magical thinking.

I spend a lot of time during our relationship hoping that would happen. However, waiting for someone to change is a sure sign of danger. They won’t, and I wasted a lot of time waiting, wishing and hoping.

As time went on, I noticed that she was repeating the same sad excuses over and over in her emails. I finally realized that she was never truly sorry to begin with and that she would never be sorry. I finally had to accept the truth.

The refusal to let go of the emotional connection was part of my own emotional fixation. I had the choice to walk away. I continued to hang on despite all evidence that I was better off shutting her out and moving on.

I wish I could say it ended there, but with a pathological narcissist it never ends right away – they like to leave a trail, and an opening, in case they need you in the future. Our communication continued off and on for a year, before I discovered that she was actually in a couple of relationships with other people while she was still communicating with me. So I would get emails about getting back together some day, while she was sleeping with other people. The reality of her manipulation finally set me free. I ended communication with her completely.

Even though I’d like to believe that my self-esteem was in fairly good shape, my relationship with the narcissist taught me that there were holes in my self-esteem that I was unaware of. Patching up the holes became my primary concern over the following year. At long last, taking care of me became my priority.

There were places in my psyche that needed healing, and the toxic relationship brought my most painful issues right up to the surface where they could get some air. I was able see what I was doing to myself by allowing such toxicity into my life. Anyone who’s with a narcissist is suffering from similar issues.


Sometimes, Contact Helps You See What You Need to See

The constant email and Facebook reminders that she really believed her aberrant behavior was out of character, and that she really believed herself to be a kind, caring soul became tiresome after awhile. I was listening to the same prepared speech over and over.

While no contact is ultimately the way to go…for some of us staying in contact almost builds our emotional immunity. The more you hear, the less you want to hear as time goes on. In my case, by the time I cut off contact it was just a relief. There was no longer sadness about the loss.

You’ve heard the same thing with your narcissist. Whether parent, friend or romantic interest, you’ve heard the speeches that rarely change except for a rearranged word or two. The speeches are designed around the same themes and each narcissist has their own special theme based around their unique brand of delusion and insanity:

*No one appreciates them or how wonderful they are.

*No one appreciates how much he or she suffers at the hands of others.

*Everyone else has a problem - they are perfect.

*They are just trying to do some good in a world where everyone is out to get them.

*Because they are special, other people must understand when they get upset and shut down or lash out.

*They don’t remember that they got upset then shut down and lashed out, and you must be crazy for accusing them of such behavior.

If you’ve experienced any of these scenarios with a narcissist, then you understand the how empty and desolate it feels when you finally realize who, and what, you’re dealing with. You have to come to terms that you’re dealing with a monster, but with that realization comes true freedom – because you can never go back, only forward.

You’ve Been Trained to Throw Yourself in Front of the Bus

You may have been raised in a home with an alcoholic, an addict or a narcissist. In those homes the parent and their issues come first. The spouse of the damaged parent spends a lot of time worrying and trying to change their spouse. With everyone putting the narcissistic parent first, there is little energy left over for the children.

There is little positive emotional energy in homes like these. What is being modeled in these families are unhealthy, unsafe relationships. The children suffer the most, because the scars from childhood repeat for them in adulthood through an attraction to abusive relationships.

It is impossible for an adult child of an addict, or narcissist, to enter adulthood without serious emotional problems, including codependence. The pathological narcissist thrives on a steady diet of adults who have trouble believing they deserve to be treated well.

I woke up to my own emotional problems when I read the wonderful book Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents. The book made everything clear in an instant. Through real life stories and the gentle narration of the author - I finally understood my magnetic attraction to self-absorbed, Narcissistic people. I feel right at home with them for a reason, and I don't want to give away the insights of the book here. It's better to just read and absorb Ms. Gibson's wisdom and clinical expertise.

The book has tremendous value for anyone who's grown-up with troubled, self absorbed parents and the impact it has had on the lack of quality in their friendships and romantic relationships.

The relationship with a malignant narcissist forced me to face the real issue: Did I really believe I deserved to be in a healthy, loving, reciprocal relationship, or did I, deep down, believe I was doomed to unsatisfying relationships that were destructive, toxic and unsatisfying?

A Toxic Person Will Remain Toxic

If your survival as a child required you focus on every nuance of a parent’s mood – then you probably have a tendency to be over vigilant in your relationships. Growing up with a narcissist is literally growing up in an emotional minefield.

In other words, your primary love relationship takes up an extraordinary amount of your mental and emotional energy. Your brain is hard-wired to be so tuned in to someone else that you can’t take care of your own emotional needs and safety. It’s one of the primary symptoms of co-dependence.

You expend so much mental energy on the narcissist that your other relationships, interests and goals go on the back burner. When everything else takes a back seat, your life becomes unbalanced, and that’s when true misery settles over your soul.

This is what was happening to me during my time in my toxic relationship. The narcissist in my life was draining me to a point that it took all my strength to function at my job and other areas of my life - never mind a social life. My ex made sure that I was so busy attending to all of her emotional needs that there wasn’t much room to maintain healthy friendships with other people. I didn’t know how to disconnect from her drama. I wasn’t able to set good boundaries.

This a common problem for people who grow up to be codependent – an inability to set healthy boundaries with other people. I had spent most of my life not knowing where I end and someone else begins. It started to dawn on me that I was not responsible for anyone else’s feelings or problems.

The Beginning of the End: How do You Really Feel?

It was not my job to repair another human being. My new mantra became “I didn’t break it. I can’t fix it.” By continuing to accept responsibility for things that were beyond my control – I was actually the co-creator in my miserable relationships.

Learning how to feel my feelings became imperative, because I realized my ex-narcissist was slowly destroying me emotionally. I started tuning in to how I really felt when I heard from her. The knot in my stomach was a sure sign that I was uncomfortable, but I was mixing up discomfort with love.

I realized that feeling nauseous when dealing with her was a sure sign I shouldn’t be dealing with her at all. Once I got the feelings and thoughts straight in my head – I realized that what I had felt towards this person wasn’t love, it was more like pity and fear, but it wasn’t love.

Anyone who’s spent a lot of time with a narcissist knows, deep down, that the person causes them pain – especially if it’s a love relationship. If you’re still in a relationship with your narcissist, you may be thinking there is some hope. Maybe you’ve given up years of your life trying to keep your sinking ship afloat.

Until you release your need to make it work with someone who is pathologically focused on themselves, you will stay stuck. The breakup forced me to decide: Save myself, or stay in something that would eventually destroy me. I chose me.

The minute you become willing to acknowledge that you’re in a toxic relationship, and you don’t feel good about it, is the first stepping-stone to regaining emotional freedom and peace. Feeling my own feelings and taking responsibility for them was painful but necessary. I was truly serious about forming healthier attachments and attracting a relationship that was actually good for me.

If only the inside showed on the outside, we'd never go near them.
If only the inside showed on the outside, we'd never go near them. | Source

The Healing Begins: Seeing The Narcissist For Who They Really Are

Sometimes it’s easier to idealize people and look the other way when their behavior is less than stellar. Everyone deserves a second chance. In a healthy relationship we sometimes accept certain qualities in our partner that we may not love – but aren’t serious enough to end a relationship.

I had to open my eyes to what I was really dealing with, before I could make peace with the fact that there was no future with her. The selfish, self-absorbed, entitled behavior made a reciprocal, healthy relationship impossible.

She would feign flashes of insight about her behavior. She would cry and apologize – then she would quickly turn it around and blame me for her bad behavior. Then she’d wait a few days and do it all again, an exhausting cycle with no respite. This is what narcissists do; they are incapable of true empathy or insight.

Where Can You Turn When You’re Climbing Out of Hell?

My Buddhist practice has saved me on many occasions. The type of Buddhism I practice requires chanting – an excellent form of active mediation. While I was still suffering the after effects of my toxic relationship, and harboring fantasies that she would show up at my door and apologize, I turned to my spiritual practice. I reached out to other Buddhist friends, went to meetings and participated to the best of my ability.

Whether you’re Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, or Buddhist - your religion is there to help. Prayer works if you’re willing to admit you need healing. You just have to ask. Even if you haven’t participated in your religion for a long time, you will find a welcoming community that’s willing to support you. It certainly helped me in during my darkest hours.

Accepting Responsibility For The Choices You Make

There’s a famous spiritual quote that circulates on Facebook. It says: “Let go or be dragged.” It sums up the connection to a narcissist or any other personality-disordered individual. You have to be the one to disconnect because they won’t. They will mingle on the outskirts of your life for as long as you’re willing to communicate or leave the door cracked open. The door has to be completely shut.

It’s easy to blame the narcissist, but the truth is we’re choosing to engage. We are making a conscious choice to take on an impossible relationship with an impossible person. As adults we always have the choice to let go.

Once I had assumed responsibility for throwing myself under that particular bus, my angst began to lessen. I reminded myself regularly that what I participated in was always my choice, and that each new moment of each new day presented a fresh opportunity to make better choices.

Taking Responsibility: A Toxic Relationship Takes Two

People who are not codependent do not get involved with narcissists. The reason for this is that a person who’s used to a healthy dynamic would be unable to tolerate the constant abuse.

Codependence is a reliance on relationships that hurt. It is an inability to trust our own feelings and get out of our own way. When you’re codependent, you hang on to bad relationships for dear life – not acknowledging that you’re causing your own pain.

Reading some books on the subject helped me deal with my codependent nature and the pain it was causing me. I was picking the very people who would hurt me the most, and I was unable to set healthy boundaries with the narcissists in my family.

Melody Beattie’s book “Codependent No More” is a classic for a reason. Keeping this book handy and referring back to it when I felt myself slipping into wanting and needing my ex was a tremendous help during the healing process.

I also read several books on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Between reading and attending Codependent’s Anonymous meetings for a while, I slowly began to heal. Once we understand ourselves, and our codependence better, the less we are willing to tolerate toxic behavior.

Redirecting Your Energy and Focus

When a relationship with a narcissist ends it creates a vacuum. So much of the relationship revolved around you and the narcissist obsessing over the narcissists needs, that you forget how to focus on other things, including your own needs.

Focusing on other things helped me work through the healing process. Renewing some of my personal commitments to myself, such as doing my writing and daily hiking, helped me feel that I was accomplishing something. This helped boost my self-esteem back to normal levels.

Rediscovering what you’re good at and devoting some time and energy to doing what you love will help you through the breakup with the narcissist. It will also make room for people in your life who share your interests and passion. I naturally started to attract quality people.

I made a lot of new friends during the healing process. Reaching out to make new friends and reconnecting with old friends was a welcome diversion during my narcissist recovery program. Before I knew it, I no longer had any desire or secret fantasies about rekindling a relationship with the narcissist. I was too busy and having too much fun.

You Can Change What You’re Attracting and What You’re Attracted to

Getting out and pursuing my own interests, rediscovering my spiritual practice and making new friends helped me get a better handle on what healthy connections looked like. As soon as I started “doing me,” everything else fell into place. I was able to be more discriminating about the type of people that I wanted around me. I did run across another narcissist in my new circle of friends. It took about a month to realize I was dealing with another toxic person, and I ended the friendship immediately.

The universe or God, or whatever you believe in, will provide you with exactly what you think you deserve. Changing a mindset takes some time, but it’s not as hard as you might think. It is well worth it to spend time alone getting in touch with what you want and need.

It has now been two years since the relationship with the narcissist ended, and I can honestly say I’ve never felt stronger, happier or more at ease with myself. I am dating and socializing and keeping an eye out for the healthy person who’s worthy of my time and energy. Next time, I’m no longer accepting crumbs.

© 2014 Macteacher



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      Anisa 6 days ago

      I read this article with complete shock. I felt like it was describing me and what I've been through. I never thought my ex was a narcissist. Not until today. The way you defined it made so much sense.

      Thank you for writing this beautiful healing article. It won't be the last time I read it.

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      Kirsty Stanbrook 2 weeks ago

      What an encouraging and inspiring read. Thank you so much. I am disentangling from a narcissistic relationship in which my role has been an excessive codependent. Life is really only just beginning as I do the healing work on myself. I am older and hopefully wiser in how I envision my life to be. Your testimony is wonderful and gives hope for many of us who are still in the early stages of recovering from narcissistic relationships. Thank you.

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      Stuart 2 weeks ago

      I can relate to an ex narc, was together for 2years. 2children from my ex 1of her own.

      She changed to be a webgirl comprising our relationship and a child of her own adding (she lived with ex) for us while my feelings and beliefs were just gaslighted, so I left. Fueling narcissistic behaviour more...

      2weeks she came back and it ate at me for months. repeated behaviour lack of contact 1on then off push pull, hot n cold no empathy.

      Then my 36th birthday on holidays was dumped on my bday, 8hrs of silence in the car on the the way home. Gaw it ripped at me. 18th May 2017 crawled back had suspicious ideas and gut feels she was cheating. I would ask then manupulated that I was. (Gaslighted)

      I guess my penny dropped when I finally realised that she wouldn't change, we got engaged in our 2nd anniversary I wanted it to change. when It didn't I thought love was what we wanted and knew deep down I would not ever be able to have a normal relationship. Love and normal people don't do this.

      I was surrounded by children at a park and she would go off over ex issues and blame me for the behaviour patterns of her own turmoil. Ie drugs, self blame projecting every people's to me why we can't move in together it was but an excuse.

      I extensively researched narcissistic behaviour and gaslighting to better understand why I felt the way I did for months.

      She said the very last thing Il never be happy your right I replied walked over, took the ring and walked away. as I got in my car 18th August 2017, 3months exactly of repeated behaviours, victimisation and emotionally abused, The universe was telling me something and 3weeks of no contact to date.

      I walked away, I get good and bad my days, I want to go back but cannot, thank you for the net and experiences go through. I will stand for my me and my kids, what cannot kill you makes you stronger-our willingness to forgive and forget.

    • primpo profile image

      Primpo 2 weeks ago from Brooklyn, New York

      I can relate totally!! It's been 20 years but they were the worst of my life and the mental anguish and scars took such a long time to get control of . I had nightmares for a long time. I gave birth to two children from that relationship and that in itself was another story but he left long before they turned 2 and never supported them. moved onto another woman who had 3 girls and stayed with her and raised her kids. I have suspicions of what happened with them but too much for me to think about . I am settled in my new life now and basically happy and content. I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It really affects everything you do in your life and I could of been a professional by now, instead the after effects from that relationship and the beatings took a toll on my body and mental ability to handle things. I am going to finish school to get my bachelors degree to help abused women. so I am going to study behaviors.

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      Susanna 3 weeks ago

      Thanks for this. Related on so many ways. I got out of the relationship thank God. Healing myself now

    • macteacher profile image
      Author

      Wendy Golden 4 weeks ago from New York

      DonnaAnne,

      I feel your pain, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I saw the ex-Narc at a party a few weeks ago. I had no reaction, and we chatted and it was fine. I saw her for the damaged person she is. Someone who is ok to chat with at parties but is completely hopeless as a close friend or romantic partner. They cannot help themselves, they are damaged, children.

      I've learned over the years - it's been about five years since I wrote this article - that inner peace comes from knowing who we are and we are willing to tolerate. It also comes from knowing we deserve a kind, decent human being for a partner, and don't have to settle for anything less. Good luck on your journey.

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      DonnaAnne 5 weeks ago

      I have not yet completed reading this article, mostly due to tears. This article is so spot on I feel like I could have written it myself. I experienced the Atomic Blast this past weekend. I felt like I was going through a check list and every box was marked. This has been an emotional week and I am preparing for the second atomic blast when all of our common friends will be hit with the "she is the toxic person" and she will give them notice to stop all contact otherwise they will be the next one off the team. This was one of the patterns I had seen before and tuned out. I am also a child of a narcissist parent and many scars from a childhood riddled with abuse from an emotionally disabled brother. I have forgotten who I was and until this week did not realize I had given up the things in life I loved. I am afraid tho that as I look deeper and begin to heal that the problems in my marriage are also due to my attraction to a person who I thought I could rescue and change. Today is a new day, I have some rough days ahead but I feel that I now have the information to help me get through those days and to start healing and moving forward.

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      Josh 2 months ago

      Just a message to say thank you Wendy so much. I have related to your story so deeply and I now have a name for me ex, a narcissist!

      I wish I got rid of her when I felt unhappy.

      In the first 2 months of our relationship, I felt unhappy becuase of her narcissist behaviour I was getting myself in to, but they're we're not big enough for me to end it. When I brought it up she cried and I felt bad and all of that bs they make you feel. However at the time I would have brushed this behaviour off at the time and put myself first, as I've never came over a narcissist before (I'm 21) and I was very attracted to her, so I brushed them off and accepted that I can deal with them. As time went on we had a great time, I fell in love. But a year later she ended it. I won't go into it, but it was a horrid breakup ammungst other awful things I was trapped in what was a relationship off and on for 6 months straight. She was keeping me from moving on as I was still trying to fight for her and us. finally I got some of the closure I needed where I did not agree with the behaviour and that was getting with other lads. Even when we were not together, but when she came crawling back after telling me she got with other lads. She did this twice in out 6 months off and on period and the second time was my wake up call. The penny dropped when she came back saying she still loved. This is where my wake up call was. (In my world, if you love someone you will not go out your way to hook up with other people and even more so come crawling back! No no).

      My true closure came when In sum I said I had enough of feeling like this now and that I realised nothing will change. I gave up on her. She continued to message me but I ignored it for 3 days, then still continuing, I contacted her parents and asked her to stop this behaviour. She did everything her parents told her, so this was a good trait which worked out in myfavour.

      Again Wendy, thank you for your post. In this 6 month period, I've been blind with what I was experiencing and it's amazing to be not the only one going through what you described in your post. Again thank you thank you.

      Josh

    • macteacher profile image
      Author

      Wendy Golden 2 months ago from New York

      Dear Molly,

      Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I don't know why your ex blocked you on FB. It is impossible to know if someone is truly a narcissist or just an asshole. I'm not a licensed therapist, and a lot of people are quick to diagnose when they shouldn't. Your ex may not be a narcissist, she may be a sociopath - and while there are similarities - sociopaths rarely look back. A sociopath would cut ties and not give you a second thought. Please seek out counseling as this sounds like a very destructive dynamic that you don't want to repeat.

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      nancy monohon 2 months ago

      been married 21 yrs in toxic marriage seperated for 1yr in half tied up in court should be over soon and still trying to figure my life out who i am this is really hard i do on line counceling making friends and trying to move on this is challenging every day for me

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      Sara 2 months ago

      Probably the most helpful article I have read on this...(and I have done a ton of research) Thank you.

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      kathy 3 months ago

      thank you, i just broke up with a narcissist, who immediately told her friends and family that she ended it with me. i can relate to the void that was felt, we spent 24 hours a day together for 8 months. even moved to arizona together, we are from canada its especially hard as its one of my first same sex relationships. and the last man i was with was exactly like her.a narcissist. im sure she has a list of people waiting in the wings for her.. if not already.. thank you again.

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      bjordan02469 3 months ago

      Wendy, thank you for sharing your story. I've been feeling trapped because it feels like everytime I try to sever, I'm always running back. Lately things like not answering my calls/facebook or not texting back have been happening a lot recently but then hours later he ends up replying something kind of like "hey sweetie. hows your day? :(" ignoring all my attempts to reach him as if I never tried making contact. He's not giving me any reason to run back to, but everytime he does reply I'm relieved. The fights we get into are always my fault and when I apologize for forgetting to do something even though I haven't and made an effort to contact him, I still feel like it's my fault and have to say sorry just so he can forgive me and make me feel loved. He's never been this distant before and part of me feels like I've got to change just so he'll like talking to me again. Months ago I'd get texts all day long and spend so much time with him but now I feel like I'm only loved when it's convenient and it hurts.

      Surely therapy would be the answer, but I'm afraid of getting called stupid or paranoid and that's one of the reasons why I feel so trapped. I love him so much, but I don't really have much going on without him in my life. I feel my heart breaking typing this down and part of me knows it's awful how I'm treated, but talking to him will only make me feel like nothing's wrong and at that moment I'd feel like he does love me until the next day when I'm ignored all over again.

      Would couple's therapy be better than just severing and getting therapy for myself? At least, a step closer to the right direction instead of just ending it? I'm not as strong as you Wendy or the many other survivors, but I also don't want to lose him in such a hurtful way.

      Thanks for reading and thank you for the moving article. I'm hoping to free myself from these emotions, but in a less messy way.

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      dalilah 3 months ago

      I've been dating a man who is divorced and has two children. He is 40 years old. I am 31. We've known each other for a long time. Our story was beautiful. In the beginning I could not believe I could deserve such happiness. How could I feel so happy and truly in love. He said in the beginning that he would not want to have any more children but then assured me that with me he would have another baby but that's it. I felt so loved. The world stopped whenever I was around him. I lost my virginity with him in November, and a few months after I found out that he was having sex with this other girl at the same time. I cried but his excuse was that we were not sure where we stand. I forgave him 15 mins later and we moved on. A few months after I read his text to his ex-girlfriend telling her how much he misses her. I left and he came over the next morning showering me with love and apologies and I forgave him and we moved on. He would often tell me what a good girl I am and the next week he would call me unappreciative, messed up, crazy, needy, too sensitive, insecure... Up and down, up and down. I moved in with him... I asked him a year down the road if he meant it when he said he would have one baby with me. He said.."No, I was drunk but I totally understand if you want to leave and meet someone else." I was crushed. I felt deceived. He told me I should go on some pills and that I need help. I left again, he apologized and we were right back together. Up and down, up and down. It came to a point where I knew I needed to move out. After moving out, I cried for days and days and finally broke down and wrote him a lengthy email, pretty much begging him to come back. He replied saying he loves me but it’s now my responsibility to work on the relationship. My gut feeling was telling me he is so not right, but I was happy he replied and we can give it another shot. Everyone who knew me suggested me to leave him forever. Six months later we started arguing again. We were supposed to attend an event together and he changed his mind at the very last minute. He texted me that there is no reason for us to go and that we do not have a good relationship. I replied to him with "I understand, thank you for everything." He replied a week later asking me to spend Christmas with him. I was taken aback... Because he never apologized but sort of gave me an ultimatum.

      Of course after that incident we somehow got back together. But this time I started to set boundaries and would not put up with his insults and control. I was at his place last Wednesday and we had sex. Two days later I get a text from him saying he’s leaving town for a month to take a class of some sort. I was upset because he never talked to me about. And now he’s gone, haven’t heard from him in over a week. I am sitting here, writing you this email. Doubting myself. Is it my fault? Did I mess this relationship up? I love this man more than anything. But I need peace in my life too. What do you think?

      Thank you so much and I am looking forward to hearing from you.

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      LP 3 months ago

      Hi Molly - I bet without a doubt within two to three weeks this person readds you and attempts to reconnect with you. I would not be surprised at all. You've wounded their ego and they know doing this to you would hurt you deeply so they are doing this so when they reconnect with you, you are flooded with relief they are "allowing" you back into their lives. My narcissist ex did the same thing and the relief i felt that we were back together kept me in a relationship of cheating and lies for an extra 6 months.

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      molly 3 months ago

      Hi Wendy, A toxic relationship I was in with a Narcissist has finally ended. I am not over it, but the relationship has ended. I would like your take on something though. It was a classic co-dependent (me) / Narcissist (her) relationship for many years. However a few months ago we decided it was over and I found a place to move to(she owned the house we lived in together), but hadn't moved out yet, I had 2 weeks to go when we got in a fight and I was kicked out. I had 32 hours to get out with all my stuff. I did it, I have been with family and friends until my place is ready the end of this week. I have made NO CONTACT with her, but did still have her on facebook. However, today for some reason I decided to see if she had any recent posts and discovered that she had blocked/unfriended me. This is not in keeping with what I have read about these situations, even in your article you wrote" They will mingle on the outskirts of your life for as long as you’re willing to communicate or leave the door cracked open. " but she didn't leave the door open at all and for some reason I fell apart when I realized she hadn't left the door open at all. But also, that is not in keeping with everything else I have read about this type of person? So, even now after all the reading I have been doing this person still managed to catch me off guard and have me fall apart one more time. I know there is no going back and I know we can't be together, but how do you explain that she did that and I fell apart? According to EVERYTHING, I have read she would have left that door open a crack but she didn't? Can you just make a comment to me about this? I am so totally confused once again when I thought I was making headway. Thank you

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      Wendy Golden 3 months ago from New York

      Hi CBL,

      I'm glad I could help. Many blessings coming your way. :-)

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      CBL 3 months ago from USA

      Thank you for this article Wendy. This article finally broken the thick wall surrounding my heart. My heart will have a chance to be heal now.

      I can't say enough "THANK YOU"! for saving my heart & soul.

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      Wendy Golden 5 months ago from New York

      Hi Danish,

      You do what works for you. You might want to ask yourself if staying on contact with him on social media is creating any value in your life? If the answer is no...well, there you go.

      I know for myself, when I find myself obsessing over a narc, it's usually because something is missing in my own life - and that's what I need to work on.

      When our minds are engaged in a new activity or hobby, that's what we focus on. The human mind is a wonderful thing - keep it busy with something productive and fun, and it forgets all about the toxic person. We can heal pretty quickly, if we allow ourselves the space to focus on other things. Good luck, you can move on! :-)

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      Danish 5 months ago

      Thankyou for this article Wendy so insightful I left my ex narc over a year ago but have still been in contact over social media, FaceTime etc. Everyone says no contact but it's incredibly difficult as you know, and that was all the support I had, like you I have spent the last year trying to counsel him and encourage him in his new hiking pursuits but as you say there's always some other woman sycophant indulging him, and I thought today why am I doing this?! Spending all this time and energy encouraging him and building him up to have it thrown back in my face! I've never heard it written the way you did, but you're right we accept what we think we deserve and I know I am guilty of trying to fix/help people but instead of taking care of someone else it might be nice to have someone to take care of me for a change your story was so insightful and really made me think I have read many articles on narcs trying to understand hoping he would change but yours made me see it through new eyes that statement you made about being dragged was particularly poignant I need to let go I'm the one prolonging the pain and blaming him! I need to choose me without sounding like a narc lol, so do I just block him on everything with no explanation? Sorry I was just asking for clarification on what you did thankyou for your article

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      MarLoe 5 months ago

      Thank You Wendy. It is most helpful to hear of other people's story. A river Cruise sounds wonderful. Yes I got away. Licking my wounds right now and feeling bruised but this too shall pass. Eventually will get back on track and starting to like my life again. There must be a gift in all of this somewhere. Ideally speaking I would like to walk away feeling stronger and more competent. Thank You again. I really enjoy your style of writing and your truth telling...

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      Wendy Golden 5 months ago from New York

      Thank you Marloe,

      Most of us who grew up with alcoholics or any kind of addictive personality are moving targets for narcissists. I'm glad you got away. You cannot reason with him because he is mentally ill. It is very tempting to try to state your case, or let them know what they're giving up...it doesn't matter. They will keep doing exactly what they are doing because they don't know any other way to exist. I've been to therapy, and CoDA meetings. I also have a very supportive Buddhist community. Getting involved with something that gets you out of your head, might be just the thing. Stay strong. Better things are coming your way.

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      MarLoe 6 months ago

      Wendy. Just read this article. You have a powerful way of writing. Yes out of a relationship with a person like this. Very much. Never had heard the term before, now Narc Abuse and Narcissist seems to be everywhere. I knew it was a bad situation but fell badly for his very charming and caring ways first, then when he knew he had me he started retreating out of the relationship, very subtlely, but tell me I was the one that was not engaged. He was terrible on my self esteem, but somewhere in there was something where I thought this is not me you are talking about this is a mere projection and also a lot of crazy making behavior with it as well. I knew it was not good, but did not get out or was working on a way to end it, when he did. He stayed in contact via text msg and wanted to meet up to "catch up", I just was not willing to go there and share a meal and hear about all his glamorous stories and things hes been doing. He was very abusive psychologically, and I told him that and about the toxicity. He made it all about me. I wasn't capable of loving and I am the one that does not know how to be in a relationship. He got the message now that I do not wish to spend any time with him. Now he backed off. I am feeling the loneliness now. But now that there is no more quiet all the crazy shit that has been going on over this past year and 4 month is breaking through. I am having flash backs. Started writing it down as my mind still tells me I do love and only in my quietest time do I think maybe he'll change maybe he'll come back to me. He'll realize what he had in me. Then the other side breaks through when he was lying, not very honest at all. Made me feel just terrible about myself. It's a crazy ride in the head and there is lots that needs sorting out here but perhaps having no contact is a very good beginning. The rest will come. Once I stop hurting and obsessing. I cannot believe this has happened to me. Powerful and very honest communication from you. It is much appreciated for us that are still recovering and trying to get healthy esteem and self respect back. Grew up with an alcoholic father. Lots of recovery to do still... Thank you again for your frank and honest sharing.

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      Veronica 6 months ago

      Really good article so so true , I have just left my narcissist after 30!years very difficult time still going through some difficult times but after reading this it has gave me a lot of hope , as everything you have said I cAn really relate to and it is comforting in a strange way that it's not just me who has felt like this , I no it happens to lots but not everyone can come out ü damaged , I myself am so tired of it All and like you said there's lots of stories but hardly any on recovery that's why this article has highlighted so much to me and for the first time I got to think of me I could say so much more but I hope I am where you are in two years as I am just starting my road to recovery thankyou

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      johnpaul 6 months ago

      This article helped me to make the right decision today. It's as simple as that.

      I had an interesting few months with someone who couldnt see anything from anothers point of view - a truly bizarre experience.

      A hollow person, makes me sad. Not sad enough to waste my pity however.

      I always said that Lesbians maje good friends for men - they put up with the same flakey tarts that we have to... princesses/queens, modern delusions are so very tiring.

      Thank you Wendy, sincerely. You're a gem.

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      AGirl 6 months ago

      Wendy, thank you very much for this article, it's reading stuff like this that's been giving me the strength to stay away.

      In my case, the realationship lasted almost ten years. I knew all along that was something very wrong with him, but I couldn't quite put my fingers on it. It was very hard for me because I met him very young and naive and I dedicated myself completely to make him better. It took me a very long time to realize I couldn't and even than I was unable to leave, regardless of how much I wanted it.

      He was very emotional abusive with me and in more then one occasion even physical abusive, and still I wouldn't leave. It took him leaving me to give me strength to move on!

      Now it's been a little over a month and I really don't want to come back at all, but all of a sudden he started looking for me, telling me everything I always wanted to hear and asking me to get back together.

      I'm determined to stay strong, and I won't, but it hurts me a lot to see him in a bad shape, despite everything I care about him still and I don't want him to suffer, and that part is really hard on me. Besides, I realized he won't let me off the hook so easily, and I'm afraid of what he could do.

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      Cathrine 6 months ago

      I'm now in the process of leaving him. It's really hard even though you have given this handbook. My mind and soul is in pain. My mind is conscious and clear about everything been said and written but still my heart is anxious. I'm in despair!!!

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      Wendy Golden 6 months ago from New York

      Hello ImJustMe,

      Your situation sounds awful. It's ok to walk away. You will make new friends and a new life. Don't worry about what other people will think - her new circle is fleeting anyway. Once people catch on, they will usually move away from a narcissist - the ones who don't have their own problems. Good luck!

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      ImJustMe 6 months ago

      Thank you for your article. I swear there are parts of it that I could have said word for word in describing my situation. I am with a woman who I finally realized after a few years is toxic, manipulative and very clearly a narcissist, and yet I cling to her for dear life, doing all the things I thought would help make things better. I feel crushed by the weight of it all, the realization of whats been happening is killing me and have become a diminished version of myself. Only just recently has she seemingly lost some interest in me coinciding with her discovery of some new "friends" that are more exciting and giving her a head start on her next victim. But she isnt the type to just let me go, though I wish she would. As a result, I am not quite out of it yet. I am standing at the door marked exit and I am STILL afraid of walking out of it because of the uncertainty of what awaits. She is the type to lash out and possibly cause me harm in my community. I need to get out.

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      No Name 6 months ago

      Wendy- thank you for talking about your journey so openly with all of us. I'm so glad I was able to read this and will keep it bookmarked for reference...you're story is incredibly enlightening and strengthening for me. It has been around seven years since my split from an extremely manipulative narcissist with an unfathomably sad and lonely interior. I have since found an incredible, supportive, loving relationship beyond words but I still feel the sting of my ex relationship and feel as though a part of me is missing. I will use your strategies in my own journey...once again, thank you so much.

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      Dan 6 months ago

      This reads like a version of my life. I finally ended my own narcissistic relationship, after nearly three years the day before yesterday. Having someone else clearly explain what has been in your heart for so long is very helpful. Thank you for the road map out.

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      Eamonn 7 months ago

      Wendy

      Brilliant stuff really inspired me to make that choice and try to move on thank you so much ,best wishes Eamonn

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      Wendy Golden 7 months ago from New York

      Hi LJ1207,

      That is rough when there is a whole group involved. There are lots of Meetup groups, so if it was me, I would look to join other groups and expand your horizons. It's a fact of life, friends come and go. The good ones stick around, but sometime it just takes a seeking spirit to keep going and find the people you feel comfortable with.

      I had a similar situation with a Meetup group. The organizer was an overt narcissist and when it became clear she was grooming me to replace her ex, I called her on it. She ended up banning me from the group. Which was ok. I was upset for awhile, but I moved on. I've learned that I am my own best friend, and as long as I'm happy with me, the right people find me. I've also learned to be very selective about who I trust.

      You will meet the right people. Just keep putting yourself out there, and don't get discouraged. Thanks for sharing your story! Good luck!

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      LJ1207 7 months ago

      Hi, thanks so much for your article. I'm recovering from a short but traumatic relationship with a covert narcissist. My main issue in trying to do so is that I met this guy via a meetup group. Becoming part of this group all of last year was a joyful thing for me and a big deal as it was part of my healing from a relationship with a sociopath the year before (yes I know!). Long story short I don't know whether to exit the group now because of course certain key people seem to not be talking to me and I very obviously have an issue with him, blocked him on everything, and avoid the same events as him. It makes me really sad, and I don't know what might have been said to certain people if anything, but I have a sense that it might be a toxic group,after all. No one has reached out to me except the woman who is his new supply (albeit in a platonic sense at the moment at least). It struck me as condescending and disingenuous so I didn't respond to that. The Organiser of the group is someone I thought I could confide in but I have this feeling she was really just stirring things up and doesn't really care about me. She was content to allow me to beleive he was probably getting together with this other woman, yet when I pressed her to warn her about this guy she backtracked and then said they could just be friends for all she knew, this felt rather unkind. I'm feeling left out of everything because I can't go to much as he is there. Do I have to accept that my time in this group is now ruined? Was this group of friends also not what I thought it was either? I have him pretty much worked out. But with friends I'm finding it really hard to make sense of things. Thank you.

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      Lex 7 months ago

      This is such excellent guidance. I've been through most of hes stages. It's been a week since I broke it off finally with complete certainty. Now I'm doing the deep thinking on what this relationship revealed about me and my codependent nature, and how it got there. He's right: The only way to protect yourself is to be your true self and protect it from anyone who wants to change or chip away at the core of it. The last year has been painful, but I think that, in the end, I'm grateful for my wake-up call.

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      Wendy Golden 7 months ago from New York

      Hi Marline,

      You have plenty to offer, you just fell in with a bad person. Please consider some therapy - it will help a lot. Connect with friends, take a class, do something you enjoy, learn something you've always wanted to learn. Focus on you and healing, and the rest will fall into place. You're welcome to look me up on Facebook.

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      Marline 7 months ago

      Thank you so much for sharing this. It has given me so much hope. I used to be fun and confident and now I feel that everything I loved about myself and that someone else would love about me has gone. I have nothing to offer. Being treated in this way has caused me so much pain. I am distressed and traumatised. It has been the most humiliating and degrading experience of my life and yet I only have myself to blame.

      I you have a private account and are willing to then it would be good to chat

      Kind regards

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      Wendy Golden 7 months ago from New York

      Hi Bon,

      What I'm hearing from you is that your daughter is more afraid of being alone than continuing a friendship with a toxic friend. I don't know you or your daughter, but I'm wondering if she's had some kind of trauma that has left her with tremendous abandonment issues. I had a toxic friend in high school. Looking back she was probably a narcissist, but mostly she was just unpleasant, moody and difficult to deal with. I also was afraid to let go of this friend.

      If my parents had taken more of an interest in my life at the time, they probably should have gotten me to therapy. But when you grow up with narcissists - therapy is for the weak.

      I'm not a social worker, but it might not be a bad idea to see if your daughter is either willing to talk to a school counselor, or get outside counseling. It's not uncommon for girls her age to have low self-esteem and feel that a horrible friendship is better than no friendship.

      What your daughter may not realize is that other girls seeing her hanging out with Ms. Toxic and are afraid to approach your daughter because they don't want to deal with the N either. High school is a tough time to be alone. But sooner or later we all have to learn that alone is better than miserable. Good luck!

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      Bon 7 months ago

      I have a daughter that is involved in a narcissistic relationship with a girl at her school. This girl controls my daughter's every move. My daughter says that she doesn't want to be friends with this N, but she says that she has no other friends so she continues to stay involved with the N. They laugh, and seem to have fun together until this N doesn't get her way. Then, the N will bully my daughter, and even threaten to throw her down the stairs. As long as my daughter is doing things the N's way, everything is okay, but one little upset, and the N goes off on her embarrassing her in front of the whole class. My daughter has told me that she doesn't want the N in her life anymore, but the N won't let her get away. The N continues to meet her at her locker after every class, and gets mad at her when my daughter tries to seperate herself from her. Please help! I don't know what to do! How can my daughter seperate from this N when they are stuck at school all day together? I really can't call the principal for help because my daughter still continues to make this N a part of her life because she fears having no one. The principal, and the teachers see them together all the time so they think that they are best friends. My daughter is continuing to give mixed signals to everyone. What can I do as a parent to help my daughter? Please help! Thank you!

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      Wendy Golden 8 months ago from New York

      Hi Lauren and CrysNay25,

      Neither of you are crazy. You cannot make sense of the mentally disordered - that's why they have a personality disorder - they drive everyone crazy, except for one group...they surround themselves with people that are even more dysfunctional than they are, it makes them feel better about themselves. They collect groupies. Once the groupies catch on, they're usually discarded. CrysNay25 she picked an unemployed druggie because she sees her as someone she can control. If the druggie ever cleans up her act and gets healthy - their relationship is over. When they are together, I can assure you, the fighting and drama and craziness is non-stop. You both deserve better, and you both can find healthy people to spend your time with. Life is too short for toxic people. Thanks for sharing your stories.

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      Lauren 8 months ago

      I am so glad I came across this article! I have read a lot about this but your article has given me so much reassurance that I AM NOT CRAZY!

      It took me a really long time to really notice that my ex-girlfriend was narcisstic. I started making excuses for her when she would treat me badly, make nasty comments, and constantly made me feel small.

      Like every start of a relationship I was completely head over heels. She made me feel so special, important and wanted. Six months later it was a complete 360. We would fight about everything and I always ended up apologizing, wondering what I did to anger her so much. I became super sensitive, scared that we'd fight and I'd upset her. My friends started to notice that I was not being myself and was hurting so much.

      I kept telling myself that her behavior was acceptable when it wasn't. She was allowed to do whatever she wanted but if I did something she didn't approve of I would get yelled at. Additionally, if I was upset with her, I was too sensitive, needy, and had to just suck it up.

      So many days and nights I've spent trying to understand why I would stay in such a toxic relationship. I wasn't happy. Yet somehow I found myself always wanting to just "fix things" when I wasn't the problem. She was.

      I was apparently the more attractive one in the relationship which would cause problems. We couldn't go out without me being hit on, instead of her being proud of having a pretty girlfriend, she would blame me for being too flirty. I even got blamed for dressing inappropriate.

      It took me 2 years to really walk away. We would break up, cry together, make up and it would happen all over again. I am almost done with college, working full-time, I started to become drained with being in such a dysfunctional relationship. I realized that this was not true love and certainly a love I do not deserve. I deserve someone who would be appreciative of everything that I do not complain.

      For example, I went to her mothers house and dropped off a box of donuts and she looked at me like I had 8 heads. Everything I did was never good enough.

      This article made me realize that I'm not alone. That I'm not crazy. That I can be strong enough to let go of this all and build myself up again.

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      CrysNay25 8 months ago

      Reading this article was like reading the story of my most recent relationship. I'm still dealing with all the abuse trying to heal from it. My ex claimed to have PTSD but now I'm seriously thinking it was more narcissism rather than ptsd. She did the whole triangulation phase which tore me down to the core and she knew it would. Looking back I can see all the games she played not only with me but her friends and family as well. I still ask myself daily (it's only been just over a month since the relationship ended) what I did wrong, how can I change her mind, why is her new target so much better than me even though she is an unemployed druggie who cheated on her several times in their last go round. Now I see it has nothing to do with me at all. I have never in my life been a confrontational person and I had told her that repeatedly and every time she would tell me that's not healthy that for a successful relationship fights and arguments are necessary. Expressing feelings are necessary. I should have known then that this was a toxic relationship. After the first time "I made her explode" she left and got in contact with her ex (her now target). But as a "friend" that was supporting her through the pain I caused. When we worked things out she wanted to keep this person in her life because they were such great friends even though this bothered me I allowed it because I'm not a controlling person. They started talking all day everyday. When I went out of town they hung out. Whenever I "did" something to upset her she turned to this person. On our finally break up she exploded at me and then blamed me for her son being scared. Less than 3 days later she was in a relationship with the person I "never had anything to worry about" but the devaulization didn't stop there. Just a few nights ago I received a message saying how much better this person is than me, how much better they treat her, and she has loved (my ex) more than any other person ever has and that's not something you can look past. Which sent my emotions back in to a tailspin. I started researching why this was such a hard break up to get over and the more I read the more I see the exact same thing that happened to me. Thanks for posting this

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      Sofi 8 months ago

      Such an insprational article... Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

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      Jan 8 months ago

      Your article was informative and enlightening. I am very concerned in recognizing her narcissistic behavior, I am recognizing those traits in me. Is it possible to take on the traits of the other person to survive. Thats what it has felt like for months, is trying to survive. I have left her and would love to go "cold turkey", but all of my things are still in the house, and we are filing for a divorce and I am filing bankruptcy and she is crazy angry because she will lose items through this. a really big mess, but I am determined to move on and heal.

      Thank you for your wisdom.

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      Alia Zeenat 8 months ago

      I have gone through the same toxic relationship. I ended that and I now I'm feeling so strong. I have felt each and every word of this article. Thank you for sharing your views.I really loved reading it.

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      Wendy Golden 9 months ago from New York

      Hi Yooli,

      First of all you didn't do anything wrong, you are still wonderful and lovable. His behavior has nothing to do with you. Like me you are a loving, caring person who's radar is a little off when it comes to toxic people. For whatever the reason, you feel a strong bond with someone who is incapable of love, and who has always been incapable of a truly equal partnership.

      That being said, you sound like you could really use some help and support. I always recommend CoDA meetings (Codependent's Anonymous) because most people who fall in love with narcissists and sociopaths have an unhealthy attachment to hateful people and hurtful relationships.

      You can rebuild from this and attract a partner who is deserving of your love and devotion. Take care of yourself right now, start an exercise program, cultivate your hobbies - take care of you while you heal. I'll send you good energy.

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      Yooli 9 months ago

      Hi. I am going through a breakup with my husband of 5 years. He left me without any warning, just left a note and removed all his stuff while I was at work. I really do not know if he is a narcissist, I know that all the important decisions in our life were made to suit him and what he wanted: where to live, where to go on holidays, he told me initially that he wanted a family and children with me and then changed his mind. But I was happy to agree to all that (except the family part, but then I agreed to that too) just to be with him, I thought that's what people do for their loved ones (i even forgave him cheating on me in the past). I thought we had a special bond and we were best friends, we spend all our time together. I did my best to show him my love, to care for him, to encourage him and support him. That is why I was so shocked when he just disappeared (we did not argue, things were a bit flat for a while, but I though it is because I was so tired after work). We spoke after he left and he cried like a child and apologised and begged to forgive him, he said he'd do anything to make me happy. We agreed to travel and he left a bit earlier to surf and wait for me to join him. When I arrived he told me that it was all a big mistake and he did not want me anymore. He asked if I could be his friend. I was so obsessed chasing him, I really thought that he was in trouble (he said he was very depressed and that he was hiding it from me and that's why he left) I just wanted to be by his side and help him through the hard time. I later learnt that he met a woman while waiting for me and their relationship escalated very fast. He told her all the things word-to-word he used to tell me when we just met. He tells her that they will get married and have a family and beautiful children and everything else. I was completely crushed by the man I adored and who I thought so highly of, by my best friend. I searched the internet for some help, I feel that I am shattered into million pieces and I do not know where to start to pick myself up, I just exist from day to day, with no hope, no dreams, no plans. I learnt that there are narcissists and sociopaths out there, it kind of comforts me as I think he could be that. But in my darkest moments I think that I am just looking for an excuse to cover up my failed self. I find it so hart to grasp that he might a bad person ( i've learnt some really strange stuff about him) and that I have not done anything wrong to deserve such a devastation. I was a strong believer that two loving people can achieve and overcome anything, if they wanted to, that everything can be fixed. He told me he loved me till the day he left.

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      Wendy Golden 9 months ago from New York

      Hi Destiny,

      We are all worthy of relationships that enrich our lives, not wear us down. It sounds like you've been through hell. Good for you for realizing that its him, not you. Nothing will make him happy in the long term, he's going to treat every other woman the same way.

      If you haven't looked into therapy, you might want to - it sounds like you could use the support. Stay strong!

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      Destiny Y 9 months ago

      I am on the road to divorce with my narcissistic husband. We've been separating and getting together on and off since 09/11/2015 the day before my birthday when he left. We've been separated since maybe mid the end of September of this year and it has been hard for me. He left me because we were not getting along at all because throughout the 3 1/2 years we were together everything was always about him and he never took care of me or our boys the way a man with a family should. He would sexually abuse me and emotionally and mentally put me down very frequently. Once he left he had another woman within a week and I'm not even sure whether they were talking or not before he left. It has been a rollercoaster ever since. He left her and came back to me over and over and I never knew why I couldn't just put an end to the relationship. I yearned so much for us to have the family life I dreamed of but it just wasn't what he wanted, he was only looking out for himself and what made him feel loved and good which was no longer me. I am healing from the relationship finally but having to see him for the kids sake and talk to him for them really wears me out even just a phone call or seeing him for a brief moment. It gives me anxiety and I have to take a minute to myself in the restroom just to regain myself. Reading this was very helpful in making me feel strong and like I am good enough and realizing who he really is. Thank You!

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      Wendy Golden 10 months ago from New York

      Hi Karin,

      I"m so sorry to hear of your health issues. Huge amounts of stress will break down the body, your case is a good example. I hope you are doing self care and have access to people who support you. You might want to seek out a CoDA meeting in your area - they are a great support with people who've been through what you've experienced. I'm sending you good energy.

      Hi Kayla,

      I don't have kids, so I may not be the best person to give advice on this. I can tell you that Narcissist thrive on negative emotions and getting a rise out of people - so it is a good idea to keep a lid on your emotions when dealing directly with the Narcissist, remaining very calm doesn't give them any ammunition. Staying calm also models for your children how to deal with their Narcissist parent. Seek out a support group like CoDependent's Anonymous. A lot of people with kids go to those groups, so you might be able to develop a network of friends who can guide you. Good luck!

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      macteacher 10 months ago

      Hi Karin,

      Your story is horrible, proof that our bodies cannot withstand an overload of stress without rebelling. The fact that he turned your family against you is typical. I hope you continue to take measures to protect yourself. There are a lot of online groups for survivors of Narcissist on Facbook. CoDA meetings can also help. Sounds like you need a stable support system outside of your family. I'm sending you healing energy.

      Hi Kayla,

      I'm afraid, since I don't have kids, I'm probably not the best person to guide you on this.

      You might also want to seek out Codependent's Anonymous meetings to build a support group, which includes people with kids. I can tell you that when dealing with a narcissist it is always best to keep a lid on your emotions, especially around your kids. If they do or say something outrageous, stay calm and explain to your children why it is outrageous, or not true. Staying calm will also model for them how to deal with their Narcissist parent.

      Narcissists thrive on getting a rise out of people, so don't give them the satisfaction. Good luck!

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      Kayla 10 months ago

      I am so thankful i found this. It really helped me. Do you have any insight of how to deal a narcissist when youhave kids with them?

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      Karin 10 months ago

      Thank you for this great article. I have been deeply unhappy for 29 years in a relationship with a high-functioning and demanding narcissist. Had a complete physical and emotional breakdown in 2008, followed by crippling auto-immune disease. In 2015 my big moment of clarity came - I had a heart attack, not due to heart disease, but due to stress. This resulted in me losing my successful but demanding career. My body had spoken. The narc could not enter my hospital room without me almost coding and I cried nonstop for two weeks. He had to tell our adult children a story to explain this - and the story was how crazy and emotionally unstable I was and how much he had always suffered under me. So there was little support for me during my convalescence and the tumultuous months of depression that followed, only the four of them having round-eyed serious discussions behind my back on what the Crazy One had done again. One night six months post HA during a family meeting he literally threw me to the wolves and opened the discussion in Mom's depression, and encouraged them to tell me in detail what a

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      Wendy Golden 11 months ago from New York

      Thank you for stopping by Gardenfrock. You certainly have a way with words. ;-) It ultimately is about healing, and forgiving ourselves for getting caught up with someone who wasn't worth our time and energy from the very beginning.

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      Gardenfrock 11 months ago

      "...Next time, I'm no longer accepting crumbs." "Crumbs" - visceral cord raises welts raw in resonance. Uncomfortable notes pick fleshy fibres off guttural being too damn human.

      Thank you for this hard crafted work, you've articulated beautifully. Bless all those here who are valuing themselves listening owning healing growing giving.

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      Wendy Golden 12 months ago from New York

      Hi Tina,

      Great poem! Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad you got away. :-)

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      TinaCrocker 12 months ago

      I wrote the following poem to bring closure to a 5 yr relationship with a narcissist boyfriend:

      NARCISSIST

      You almost succeded in accomplishing what you set out to do...destroy me!

      Snipping away one fine thread at a time...of my sanity!

      Posing as innocent, naive, saint, trustworthy confidant...is the deceiver!

      Delivering lies carried on arrows dripping with honey...upon that which you hate! (accountability)

      Void of soul's conscience and spirit's life force...an egg without a yolk...true self revoked!

      Cloaked in goodness you fed freely in your delusion...which you deny!

      Until confusion summonded the savior and left you naked in the truth...of your disguise!

      What life I've left...though dimmed in heartache...will always shine...in loves respect

      As for you...I have compassion...the true you...you spent a lifetime to forget

      Tina Maurine Crocker - January 2016

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      Wendy Golden 12 months ago from New York

      Hello Aysha,

      Thank you for sharing your story. Getting your degree and starting a teaching career while raising three kids is a superhuman feat - you're an impressive woman. If you're looking for online forums, most of them have moved to Facebook. There are plenty of groups for people recovering from narcissists. You may also want to read "In The Meantime" by Iyanla Van Zant. It's my personal favorite, I've read it many times over the years, especially when I'm dealing with toxic people.

      I was raised not to believe what is in front of me, and to give people the benefit of the doubt till it hurts. It's a problem for a lot of people. It may have something to do with not wanting to admit we're wrong, and the situation is more than we can handle. It's called Codpendence. If you can find an hour or two on a weekend, I highly recommend going online and finding CoDA meetings in your area. They are free and meeting with other people who are struggling with the same issues is invaluable. Good luck! You're on the right path. Divorcing him was the first step, it's a journey...you've survived and thrived. :-)

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      Aysha 12 months ago

      Goodness...So many typos and mistakes in my message! Questions without question marks. Lol.

      I was so busy spilling out my emotions. The teacher in me can't help but be critical.

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      Aysha 12 months ago

      Cont...

      My reply to that was 'it would feel like killing my own child'. It was a spontaneous response that surprised even me.

      So that's pretty much what I'm dealing with. I wish I had time to seek counselling now. I have a hugely demanding job and work schedule and being the sole provider for my family, I am financially not in a position. So I take time to read articles and work through things. The progress is much slower.

      I feel I have been on a long journey where I've climbed many mountains. I've also taken some nasty falls! But I am more happy and fulfilled through creating a life that does not require him to make me happy. I am just waiting for the day to come when I can close the chapter. I've lost hope he'll ever change. The last few years I've taken full responsibility for where I've been. I've seen my own mistakes and although this message may seem itis all about what he has done to me, the truth is I ALLOWED him to do this to me. I have chosen to stay in this relationship. At one point, I was so full of self hate because I couldn't understand why someone like me would stand for so much abuse that was thrown my way. I was angry at not being able to walk away because many people would.

      However, through learning self love I now embrace the fact that I am a loving person- I am kind and forgiving. These are endearing qualities in a person. It was just with the wrong person. In my last message to him I said I was a beautiful wife who loved him deeply. He was enough for me even with his imperfections. I told him the fact that I was never enough for him was his loss. There's nothing else left to say. I've asked for a divorce.

      I waited so long for him to love the imperfect parts of me only to realise he didn't even love the perfect parts. He taught me to see myself as a beautiful human being- a phrase I would never associate with myself. In the words of the song lyrics by Tamia called 'Me'...

      "And her name is me

      She loves me more than you'll ever know

      I finally see that

      Loving you and loving me just don't seem to work at all

      So patiently

      She's waiting on me to tell you that she needs love

      And to choose between you two

      Boy you know if I have to choose,

      I choose me..."

      It's such a beautiful song and one that is apt for those walking away from a toxic relationship.

      This message (messages!) was never meant to be this long. I came here searching to see how to recover from a toxic relationship. I've had almost 16 years in it so the break won't be easy. I am predicting some tough emotional times. I wish there was a forum for pole like us.

      Inner strength, the willingness to search for answers, my faith in God (hugely important in those lonely dark times and for living in the moment) and having wonderful friends who tried their best to be non judgemental have allowed me to find my way.

      Thank you for your great and honest article. It gives me hope and also a semblance of comfort that there are others who understand the devastation of being in a toxic relationship. Hugs to all those who are struggling to find themselves and for every person whose heart has been broken. Xxx

      Aysha

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      Aysha 12 months ago

      Hi Wendy,

      I read your full article and could relate to everything you said. I've been married to a narcissist for almost 16 years. We have 3 children together. He was my first lover and I could never imagine a future without him. I started to have big problems back in 2009. That's the first time we separated. I thought my world had come to an end. He had been at fault and yet he had managed to turn things on me. He had returned to university as a mature student and was having a double life. I was at home looking after 3 young kids and running the whole household singlehandedly. He was out all the time coming home late. Sometimes 3am or 4am! In the end I got so fed up I rang a girl on his contact list and found out no one at uni knew he was married with 3 kids. He was pretending to be younger than he was, single and made up professions for his parents. He turned it on me and said I had spied on him. An argument led to me throwing his clothes out. He in turn left and we were separated for 9 months. Those were such dark times for me. You are so right when you say that we ignore the warning signs. We talk ourselves out of it. I was literally like an addict. I needed him. For what? I never even asked the question. During those dark days I reached out and volunteered in my children's school. It was a way to keep myself sane. I found myself loving my time at the school. Whilst I struggled with what had happened he had managed to fully exploit my vulnerabilities. He emotionally battered me through first going no contact with me. Then when I somehow managed to open communications he let out emotional abuse like an atomic bomb. Years later, I realised it was pent up anger towards his mother who had run away with him from his abusive father. She however, neglected him (leaving him to go on holidays when he was young) and busy leading a full social life. The truth is he blamed her for the decision which meant he grew up without a father. He grew up without love from both parents. Then I came along- the do Gooder. The person who loves to help others with my belief that love conquers all. A toxic relationship was born.

      Much has happened since then. There has been rivers of tears and pain felt so deep that becoming numb and immune to his ways was the only survival option. I learnt to live with lies. I learnt to live with omissions (which are still lies). I lowered my expectations of a normal relationship to the point where he was like a guest in my house. I had the patience of a saint. I did everything. And yet still I was never good enough.

      The turning point came when I found out he had gone to his graduation ceremony without telling me. Stupid me had this fantasy that he would want me there on that day because I'd been his rock. I'd supported him through uni. I'd lived on next to nothing for 4 years so he could achieve his dream. I'd helped him with his assignments (typing them up whilst breastfeeding my youngest child). I taken his mood swings when he was stresses with deadlines. Why? Because I lover him and wanted him to be happy and put his troubled childhood memories to rest. Finding out that all this meant nothing (because he was a narcissist who felt entitled to all this and could never appreciate my loving gestures) was like a knife through my heart. We'd been working on rebuilding our relationship and were at a really good stage. Or so I'd thought. Another explosive argument this time with full blessings from his mum. She blamed me. This time his rage was so intense (I realised it was a pattern everytime his secret plans were revealed) that he pushed me. I fell on my back and blacked out for a few seconds. A couple of weeks later I bled a huge clot and had continual heavy bleeding for over a week. My doctor said it was an early miscarriage. I never mourned nor dealt with it. I can't explain how hurt and betrayed I felt. It just went over and over in my mind. How could he? I couldnt imagine how anyone could be so u ungrateful and inconsiderate. He's a narcissist! That's the only answer. Anyone would think that would be the last straw. But it wasn't. He broken his ankle in three places a few weeks later (he'd been living with his mum since the argument) and I put my anger to a side. I buried it. I looked after him during his long recover process. What helped me deal with my pain was somehow there was justice (or karma or whatever you want to call it) because only weeks earlier he had used his strength on me. Yet here he was vulnerable and in pain and I was the only one around for him. Not his friends nor his mother who had gone off to Morocco for a holiday.

      It was a soul searching time. I realised I'd put him first. His dreams became my dreams. His happiness was my happiness. I was living to fulfil his needs. No one was there to fulfil mine. So slowly I started dreaming. I loved being at school and decided to take mysrlf to uni. I trained to become a teacher. It took me 3 years and huge financial sacrifice. I lived on next to nothing. We tried to rebuild again. But I'd changed. Two years into my degree we separated again. Another lie discovered. He of course turned it on me. He slept in a different room for 3 months. I asked him to leave if he couldn't commit to a normal marriage. I laugh as I write this. 'Normal marriage'...I'll never truly know what that looks or feels like. This time we separated for over two years. This time I didn't beg or cry for him. I focused on living day to day. Not worrying about the future and finally getting a sense of worth and regaining my self respect. I did extremely well at uni. I left with a first. The ngot the job at the school of my choice in my first interview. People started seeing me as a great teacher and this helped a lot to rebuild my self esteem. I say rebuild because prior to marrying him I was a hugely confident and strong woman who took no nonsense. Even at work this is the picture they have of me. For whatever reason, I couldn't be that person in my most intimate relationship. I still need to discover why. Had the Aysha who was known by everyone to be strong, opinionated and hugely confident (a fighter for social justice and the one who spoke up for vulnerable people) been the same in my marriage, I would have been able to put down boundaries. I am an example of how not all codependent women are submissive, passive women.

      From the ashes of burnt out dreams, I rose. It was a gradual change, but it snowballed.

      He came back into my life and this time promised he'd changed. I had seen some positive changes. But he had me hooked in. I had never wanted to divorce. I hoped in time he would see his mistakes. Neither of us had been with other people. I'd been a part of his life since he was 20. So that played a huge part in keeping us together and the fact that we are both Muslims so adultery could never be an option...

      This time, it was different. I was a very independent person who was hugely successful in my job. I was singlehandedly bringing up 3 children and doing it well. I was also not ready to take rubbish from him. The dynamics had changed. He tried to exert control. But I withstood it each time. There were moments when things were great, but that unsettling uneasiness that things could change never left. There would always be some storm ahead. And there was. This time not an explosive one. He had an argument with the kids and eventually I got drawn in. He slept in another room for a few weeks. Stopped talking to me. Then went on holiday to Morocco. He came back and has now moved out. Last time he came to see the kids, he said he wanted to move on. He wanted kids. Of course I find myself asking what I an going to do now. When will it be enough to fully walk away. The thought has entered my mind that it is time now. Clearly he wants to move on to another life. I'd be lying if I didn't say I felt betrayed. Angry. I'm angry at myself too for just not bring able to do the final act. To get divorced. I had some counselling years ago after we separated where I expressed my frustrations of loving someone who did not deserve my love..

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      Wendy Golden 12 months ago from New York

      Hi Brandie,

      I'm sorry it took so long to write back, it's the beginning of the school year. You might want to read "Help! I'm In Love With A Narcissist." It might help give you some clarity about why you fell into such a hole.

      Yes, I had some very serious trust issues for a long time after this relationship. However, once I did some reading and went to CoDA meetings - Codependents Anonymous, I started to regain my equilibrium. I also went on Meetup and found some activity groups I liked and met some new people.

      You are right it is about setting better boundaries. I also did a couple of years in therapy to help me understand my tendencies to fall in with toxic people. My family background contributed a lot to my attraction to dysfunctional relationships - I was raised by narcissists and untangling the emotional turmoil has taken a lifetime - but it can be done with a little determination.

      I would also like to suggest my personal bible - "In The Meantime" by Iyanla Van Zant. I've probably read it at least 20 times over the last 15 years. She is very spiritual and the book brings me tremendous peace when I'm dealing with difficult people and difficult feelings. Keep me posted on how you're doing. I'll write back quicker next time. Glad my experience helped a little. It really does get a lot better. :-)

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      Brandie 12 months ago

      Hi there, this was an incredibly helpful story to read. I have been out of the relationship with my N for about a year now, but we had "re-kindled" things = a few months after the break-up, but at this point I have not seen or spoken to him in about six months. I feel better and better now that I have no contact with him. However, like you, there are significant holes in my self-esteem that I know I need to deal with. I also have issues with codependency (which is obvious since I was involved with a narcissist) self-worth, boundaries, self-blame, accepting mistreatment, etc. Although I am eager to work on these issues, I worry that I will never be able to trust a person again. Did you feel this way after the break up/after realizing what your ex was? I really hope I will be able to move on from this feeling because lately I have been thinking that I might just have to be alone for the rest of my life...

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      Alysia McAlister 13 months ago from Arizona

      it's difficult to get over the self blame, that guilty feeling for becoming involved within an abusive relationship. we must get around to accepting self responsibility for your part of the attraction however it is even more healthy when you can stop blaming yourself; it's not your fault when you get run over by a speeding train, it's your fault however for standing on the tracks and not moving out of the way fast enough. this is a fine and thoughtful blog of a person who is becoming more aware of who he is and what his boundaries are to being treated respectfully. the way I see it from here, his ex is not a #10 narcissist, or she would have stalked him and eventually even ended his life, if her narcissism had turned into psychotic behavior, which it does happen in our society. used to be called in the court system a crime of passion. don't wanna go there!!! I would put his ex at a 5 level, but then I wasn't there. I was however involved with I believe a number 10, because he was on the stage and entertainers can be very overt narcissists, simply because they feel entitled to constant attention. but not all entertainers are narcissists, just some. so in my case, I knew the end of our relationship, for me, came when in a very real dream, like out of body experience, he pulled out a knife and began to over and over to stab me. luckily, I was just getting the msg to stop loving this man, stop believing anything was possible for us, indeed he had given warning he would never change. the reason, at the moment for the knife attack was that I had eastern beliefs and I was explaining to him I would not give up my path, nor my beliefs, just to be with him, no matter how famous and rich he was. He was expecting me to do that, because most women were trying to please him all the time. Narcissist do not have empathy towards others, although they will deny this if you confront them. since they are sometimes schitzo at the same time, they are often unaware of their dark side which can kill their own fans and lovers and feel fully justified, and in this case I think he is unconscious of what took place and has his self work cut out for him. I can see where macteacher's ex may have picked up a few tips from him on how to treat another respectfully even if you are breaking up with them, most especially at that time there should be gentleness practiced, until we can get to the forgiveness part. which we do need help learning how to forgive, so we are not prisoners of the past. again, thank you for your blog, I believe it helps us all.

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      broken soil 13 months ago

      Literally cried while reading this....m 19 and i have narcissist who also happens to be my crush....

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      Caittait28 17 months ago

      Thank you so much for this, it's given me so much hope.

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      Wendy Golden 22 months ago from New York

      Hi LaughingRain,

      Thanks for stopping by. They are very draining, and very toxic. They don't change because they think everyone else is the problem. It's much more productive to get the hell away from them and not look back. Glad you didn't get sucked in, because each episode ends the same way - badly. Take care of yourself.

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      Alysia McAlister 22 months ago from Arizona

      good article and thank you much. have had much the same type of relationship. I realized I attracted it too. the sadness is gone I'm happy to say, we can get over it with the activities you've mentioned. I might add after my own narc displayed some outrageous behavior in public, he almost roped me back in with this one: "you can hurt someone and not even know you're hurting them." I was supposed to take that bait and I almost did as co dependency is like always wanting to give the benefit of the doubt over, thinking this is kind of us. however, I've read a lot about the subject and they don't change. we wait for an apology but if it comes, it's just lip service as they can say what you want to hear. You're only job at that point is to take care of yourself by withdrawing from a draining and dangerous situation, as persons who lack empathy have been called vampires on your emotional energy. so take care of number one and I'm proud of you for even writing this down.

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      Wendy Golden 2 years ago from New York

      If you feel that you are physically in danger, then you need to file a police report. You might want to speak to the cops about how to get a restraining order.

      If he's just being a pest, then the very best way to get him off your trail is to ignore him completely. Narcissists will only go away when they realize they're getting no reaction.

      If he pops up and tries to talk to you, just ignore him and keep walking. If he sends an email - delete it without responding. He's counting on getting your attention, whether positive or negative, he craves that. Don't give it to him. Good luck, be patient, stick to your guns, and he will eventually go away. Keep me posted.

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      DeterminedToWin 2 years ago

      Thank you for this article. It gives me hope. I was engaged to be married to my Ex Narc when I discarded him..I couldn't take the verbal, physical & emotional abuse anymore. It's been almost a year since the breakup & he won't leave me alone. He moved in with someone a week after we split & has already married her. I'm at the point where I'm over that & really trying to move on but he keeps interfering in my life. I block him & he calls my job or emails me...he stated that I belong to him forever & he's never going anywhere. He pops up at my residence unannounced...Do you have any tips or stratiges on what I can do...I'm really trying to move on from this & his continued presence & lack of respect for my wishes & boundaries is keeping these wounds open, when I want to close this chapter for good!

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      Wendy Golden 2 years ago from New York

      Hi Rod,

      Thanks for your words of wisdom. It's taken a couple of excruciating relationships with narcissists to make the vow: Never again. Unfortunately some of us have to get in harm's way to learn the lesson. The last relationship with a narc lasted 6 weeks. I knew what I was dealing with almost immediately, and I've learned to head for the door asap. :-) Thanks for stopping by.

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      Rod 2 years ago

      This article is spot on. There really isn't a lot of how to heal info out there. The healing part is a torturous process. The big moment comes when you realize that all the clues were always there and you knew something was off... if you knew that, then why did you allow it to continue? Co-dependent- look it up because something in you didn't take notice when you should have. Also see co-morbidity. Most NPDs have other traits like HPD or passive aggressiveness. But, you will heal, all of you, in time. It takes time. There are many books on Amazon that can help. I was seconds from suicide due my narc ex-wife. If I can get through it, you can too. You don't need external love, its already inside of you. Peace.

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      Wendy Golden 3 years ago from New York

      Thanks Southerngirl66! I'm glad my article helped a little. These relationships really do destroy your soul. Putting the pieces back together again can make you stronger and make you narcissist proof. Good luck in your recovery and definitely get as much support as you can. :-)

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      Southerngirl66 3 years ago

      Thanks Macteacher for this article, this is so true, you can find many articles on the subject but nothing on anyone ever surviving it. I know I'm needing HOPE.

      I'm currently going through therapy to help me overcome my issues with my Narc. Was involved with him for one and 1/2 years and I tell you this has been in the most devastating relationship. I WANT to recover and be back to myself again, but I'm having a hard time accepting that this person was a fraud. More than anything I'm having to look at my part in this and how it happened, because I DO NOT want to attract this type of person in my life again.

      I'm kinda tired of talking about my experience, but I felt your site was so positive I wanted to respond. I'm going to read some of the books you suggested and I'm also going to see if there is a Codependency Anonymous in my area.

      Thanks again for sharing your story and for the advice!

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      Wendy Golden 3 years ago from New York

      Hi Claire,

      Thanks for stopping by. Honestly, everyone's process of recovery is different. I highly recommend CoDA meetings (Codependent's Anonymous), you can look online for a meeting near you. I also recommend therapy.

      I'm going to therapy as we speak, and talking about my narcissistic parents and understanding why I'm drawn to narcissists has helped me build some armor against them and avoid attracting them. I'm glad you have no contact. It's very smart. But getting some help for yourself will help you avoid toxic relationships in the future. Good luck!

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      Claire 3 years ago

      Thank you so much for this story. Its true - there are next to no stories of recovery or help regarding Narcs on the web. I have recently (3 weeks) left my ex-narc of 9 years. He put me in hospital a few times, once with broken ribs and a punctured lung, another girl who was over at the time is now dead. Narcs will do anything to stop people finding out who they really are or what they are truly like. Humiliation to them is unbearable and they will do anything to avoid that happening. After years of this horrible relationship, I am left with no self esteem or sense of self and the worst part is my daughter is displaying similar behaviours to the ex-narcs. This scares the hell out of my and brings tears to my eyes to think what damage this has done to my beautiful little girl. And how stupid and naïve I was to allow this to go on for so long. It was only a few months ago that I was looking on the internet about "impossible people" ; after resorting to psychology type sites for information on how to deal with this kind of 'person'. I never realised there was a name for it... "Toxic sociopathic histrionic narcissist ". As soon as I became aware of this things started to make a little more sense and made it easier (probably not the right word) - less extremely difficult- to deal with the daily onslaughts of abuse. Eventually it helped become slightly immune to the degree of damage each blow would offer. I must note, after years of mental, emotional, financial and physical abuse and police being called on numerous occasions where he was the one calling them to get his story in first, convincing them that I had attacked him and that he simply acted in self defense. At at least 40-60cm shorter than him and a tenth of the weight...finally there was a police officer who realised it was all horseshit and put a domestic violence order against him on my behalf. After all this, I finally began to believe that there was some hope on earth that not everyone would be sucked into his lies. It did not stop there - all the other abuse continued except physical for the most part; although there were a couple of occasions where he would threaten with violence to get his way, but mostly it was all the other forms of abuse. The worst part was that I did not even realise that that is what it was. Coming from an abusive alcoholic home as a child, being molested at a young age and then raped by 18 - I had trust issues as it was. Meeting a narc in that state; I was instantly sucked into his "I will protect you from the world" attitude he had in the beginning. Soon found out that meant I would be completely isolated from m family and friends. He hated anyone who looked as though they would not agree with the way he treated me. Anyway, I am rambling...education on narcs was the biggest help to me out of everything. It helped me see what I was looking at and I began to see things for what they truly were. It even got to the point where I could predict his behaviour in situations sometimes almost to the point where I think I could have manipulated him. This is not what I am, so I began to plan to leave him. Planning was no good once I was aware of every situation and his tactics...it made me sick. I had had enough. That's how it was for me - I just left one night after one of his tantrums of rage where I am usually expected to bow to him and apologise -for paying bills without permission this time- sorry was no good to him unless you had tears pouring down your face - and he even said that in those words to me many times. I have not gone back, and although it felt that no contact was the best idea; I still had most of my stuff in the home. I can definitely recommend that to anyone leaving a narc - don't wait for one of the worst moments to leave just do it and NEVER look back. Not sure exactly where to go from here and it is hard when you're in a fragile state not to convince yourself that you were in the wrong - that's not even my own conscience talking anymore - I know that much..its just echoes of his bullshit drowning out my soul..What still suprises me though is how quickly they can jump straight into a new relationship OMG. Please give me some advice on where to go from here. Thank you again.

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      Wendy Golden 3 years ago from New York

      Hi Kelly,

      Thanks for stopping by. You're never too old for real love. Sometimes it takes years of dealing with what you don't want to reach what you do want. If you haven't read "In The Meantime" by Iyanla Van Zant - I highly recommend it. It's my personal bible and I read it whenever I'm having a hard time. You'll get through it and you'll meet the right person. Don't worry. :-)

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      Kelly 3 years ago

      Wow! Thank you for giving me hope. 23 years with him, left me with suicidal tendencies for almost a year. Finally, see the truth, and very sad that at this point in my life, I now have to realize I loved someone with my entire being, was all based on lies. I will probably never get the opportunity to know what love really is, that is very hard to accept.

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      Wendy Golden 3 years ago from New York

      Hi Jules,

      It does indeed take baby steps, but you will heal. Thanks for dropping in.

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      jules 3 years ago

      I read yr blog and related to very much all of it one way or another. I'm healing ftom a narcissist. Baby steps are what I'm taking. But I'm hopeful. Thank you for sharing.

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      Wendy Golden 3 years ago from New York

      Hi Eve,

      I"m glad you recovered. A relationship with a narc is very destructive, and yes it does trigger certain issues, like being needed, rescuing, etc. I feel into a very bad place, but it was worth the experience because I will never get involved with someone like that again.

      I'm glad you've recouped your sanity. Thanks for sharing your experience. :-)

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      Eve 3 years ago

      Your experiences seem very similar to mine.

      I've been free from the ex narc for a year now. Life is more joyful these days, I'm taking care of myself and choosing who i give my energy and time to.

      It seems like narcissistic relationships have many common traits. They seem to have an 'on and off' nature that makes things unsettling and at the same time addictive. My ex narc initially pursued me intensely for a couple of months then I was hooked. As time went on, she seemed to become more self-absorbed and I became more addicted to her. I also envied her 'independence', she seemed to be content at times to watch tv and be on her own. In the second year of the relationship, i was practically living at her place, cooking for her and feeding my addiction. I completely lost my sense of self. I was focussed on her and saving her and the relationship, i became a hollow empty shell as she also exposed her hollow shell. After i was discarded for the final time, i still tried to hold on briefly by keeping up the contact.

      After discovering what a narcissist was and realising what i was dealing with, i started no contact a few months after the relationship ended. It gave me the path back to healing myself.

      There are times i have flashbacks, places we went together etc, but on the whole i feel i have my self back.

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      JadaFedUp 3 years ago

      Ive been in love with an arrogant, pompous, toxic, egotistical, pathological, lying narcissistic ass for nearly 16 years. We were together for 15 years of miserable hell before we decided to get married. We are coming upon our 1st year anniversary & the best anniversary gift that my husband could possibly give to me is a DIVORCE!

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      Wendy Golden 3 years ago from New York

      Grand Old Lady,

      If you ever find a link to that video, please send it my way. She may understand him, but it is a relationship that revolves around him. I haven't seen it, but I'm guessing her needs go on the back burner. There can only be one star in a relationship with a narcissist. Thank you for visiting. :-)

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      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      I have come across a few narcissists in my life. They are very difficult people especially when they are determined to dislike someone. I was told that it's important to establish boundaries when these unhealthy relationships exist in your life. It's sad, but being the victim of a narcissist's instability is even sadder.

      To my surprise however, I discovered that some narcissists can actually have good marriages. There was a YouTube video documentary on it, and the speaker was the highest level narcisisst. But his wife grew up with narcissists and she understood him. Guess there is hope for happiness for everyone.

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      Wendy Golden 3 years ago from New York

      Pretty Mommy Cap,

      You are right, unloved is exactly the right word. You are welcome to reference me. I'm flattered. The more we talk about narcissists, the less power they'll have. Thanks for stopping by. :-)

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      TaShike Harris 3 years ago from Georgia

      Your story reminds me of a relationship I was unloved in for many years. Funny how I was going to write involved in but the word unloved somehow appeared. Those types of people love to play victims and take advantage of those that love them. They seem to have a sense of entitlement. They are masterminds of manipulation and illusions for their own personal gain. I am new to begin with my hub and when I broach this topic I'd like to reference you. ...?

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      Wendy Golden 3 years ago from New York

      FreezeFrame34,

      Thanks for visiting. I'm glad my story helped. As an adult child raised by narcissists - I know how hard it is for the children. But you're right, your happiness has to come first. Your child will figure it out eventually. Good for you standing up to the madness. :-)

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      FreezeFrame34 3 years ago from Charleston SC

      Interesting read, indeed.

      I've experienced a lot of the emotions and situations you have described.

      The icing on the cake was when a person who claimed they "loved me more than I loved them" physically attacked me and then was mad at me for telling others about the event. He was mad because "I didn't give people the whole story." And actually told me that I shouldn't talk about it at all because "I am not a victim-just a really great story-teller".

      The hardest scenario is when you have a child who loves their narcissist parent. While a single person may break ties and move on from a narcissist, when a child is involved, it complicates matters even worse.

      To help me try to move on, I had to decide to to focus on the healing of myself. I knew the narcissist is going to call me "selfish", but they are always going to try to bring you down in order to make themselves feel better. Once you realize that no matter what you say or do to "try to make things better", things will never be "perfect" until you leave,and you can truly focus on yourself and rise up!

      Thanks for sharing your story; it does comfort to know that others have experienced it, lived through it, and can motivate others to do the same~

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      Wendy Golden 3 years ago from New York

      Dear CriSp,

      I grew up with three narcissists. It's not easy to deteach, but I had to for my own sanity. I've managed to maintain a decent relationship with my mother. A cordial relationship with my father. My grandmother passed a while back, so I no longer have to worry about her. She was a nightmare, may she RIP. Letting go is not easy, but it can be done. It just takes time and determination to be happy. Thanks for stopping by and offering feedback. :-) I'm sending you some good energy.

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      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      What if that person is your next of kin? How do you detach yourself from someone you've loved since birth? Letting go is easier said than done and no matter what, it is (very) painful and traumatizing. But then again, we have to let go and set ourselves free.

      Thank you for sharing your experience on a much sensitive subject. Well written, interesting and very useful hub.

      Best wishes to you.

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      Wendy Golden 3 years ago from New York

      Dear Adam,

      I feel your pain. The only thing I can suggest is getting out there and meeting new people. New friendships can do a lot of good. I've had a lot of success with Meetup.com. They have groups for every interest all across the country. I've made a lot of my new friends through that site.

      Good luck. Some things just take time. Just remember you deserve to be with someone who treats you with respect. You will find that person.

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      Adam 3 years ago from Overland Park, Kansas

      I read your entire article and it does speak words to a situation that I liberated myself last year; but I'm still in healing process. I was in an emotionally abusive relationship, and I would have to say she was quite the narcissist that you describe her. While she didn't many friends, her mentality of I'm always right, you're always wrong was a constancy. After 2 years of feeling battered I finally gave up. But today, I'm still dealing with the pain.

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      Attikos 3 years ago from East Cackalacky

      Indeed. It will require years for us to recover from our relationship with the narcissist, especially if PPACA survives.