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38 thoughts on “Contact

  1. Dear Dr Simon

    I’m writing to offer some insight as to how In Sheep’s Clothing has help me and I hope that what I have written here may help another person who is lost and looking for a way back to their life. I’ve read In Sheep’s Clothing several times and can honestly say it has been instrumental in my journey of reclaiming my life after a relationship with a disturbed character. After 5 years of off and on I was at wits end. I was depressed and spiralling down further after each episode with my ex.

    I read everything I could get my hands on about disturbed characters and associated personality disorders. I also read inspiring books as well as books on overcoming adversity, books of quotes, photography books – anything that was positive and made me feel good. I still carry some of them in my handbag in case I feel I need a lift.

    In Sheep’s Clothing talks about working out what makes you vulnerable to this type of person and despite my initial reaction to this suggestion I’ve learnt it really is a crucial step in gaining your life back.

    Something that made me vulnerable is my own beliefs. I had convinced myself he was ‘the one’. I thought I wouldn’t be going through all this for nothing. I convinced myself my future was with this person so I did everything in my power to make this relationship work. He knew this (I had told him more then once!)and that is what allowed him to treat me so badly – he knew I would always take him back and do anything I could to make ‘things better’ because I considered him my future. This goes beyond taking someone for granted – this is like a ‘kid in a candy shop’ for a disturbed character – unlimited manipulation and control with no boundaries or consequences.

    The last component of the book that I believe is the key to personal empowerment is accepting that not everyone is the same. Disturbed characters REALLY ARE different from other people. They know they are doing the wrong thing, they know they are hurtful but they JUST DON’T CARE! You want to believe this doesn’t apply to your situation but it does and once you accept this concept your life will be more peaceful knowing you did the right thing in leaving.

    I believe my situation is an excellent example of the importance of your empowerment tools but you need to be an emotinally healthy person to execute these tools and I was not this person. Judging actions not intension, acting quickly and putting in boundaires are all thing that could have kept my life under my control. I’m still coming to terms with this and trying not to beat myself up about it. Sometimes life lessons come at a very big cost and I feel this is what happen to me. However, I still consider myself one of the lucky ones – I got my life back. What is more important then that?

    Never in a million years did I think I would be at the point I am now. I love my life again, I can see the old me is coming back and that gives me strength and reassurance I’m on the right track. I still have low days but I handle them a lot better then I used to. I am still working on my vulnerabilities and understanding myself better and what I want from life but I recognise that I am a happier person away from my ex then I ever was when I was with him. When I look back at our ‘good times’, I was never as content and calm as I am now. I got this sort of insight from cutting off all contact and giving myself some time.

    If anyone is in the same situation I was in can I suggest:

     Accept that your life is about YOU. It’s not about ‘carrying’ someone else or trying to ‘help’ them or ‘rescue’ them. Your number 1 responsibility is to YOU. Disturbed characters lean on other people because they are not strong enough to carry all of their damaging traits and need to unload them from time to time. Don’t be a dumping ground!
     Read In Sheep’s Clothing more then once, more then twice. You will notice that different messages resonate with you at different times depending on where you are at with your recovery.
     Be determined to get through the bad times and regain YOUR life. I would read everything I could just to find one positive quote or saying or story to keep me moving forward.
     You will feel better, you will feel happier and your life will come back – just give yourself time, patience and lots of TLC

    I’m looking forward to reading the new book – can’t wait for the lessons……

    1. Hello,

      It was nice to read your comment about the book. I want to buy it also but I have problems signing in to Amazon and I do not get any help from there. So it is impossible for me to get the book.

      Anyhow, about relations I think nowadays, that a good relation and friendship should be more or less EFFORTLESS. There should not be fights all the time, not arguing, not so many bad feelings, supressed feelings all the time. You should be able to tell freely how you feel or your opinion without getting back violent attacks, verbal or physical – and the other person has a right to say his/her opinions and express her feelings, too. Whenever the relationship or friendship does not go on basically smoothly and more or less effortlessly, I think that it is better to go away. People have nowadays so much to do, they have their work, they have children, they have all kind of FUN things they can do – so why the hell waist the time with someone, with whom things are not simply going on happily??? And actually you do not need any other reasons to make that decision. You do not must look for lies or things like that to prove, that the relationship/friendship is full of nothing, because you just FEEL it. It is empty. It is too heavy – and life is not supposed to be heavy. Relationships are supposed to be joy in people’s lives, not constant sorrow.

  2. Dear Dr Simon,

    Sincere and heartfelt thanks for a great website – reading it has given me some comfort.

    My recent relationship was fraught with LIES (she’s just a ‘friend’), denial, put downs and anger. I wasted time, money and compromised my sanity.

    The last straw was when we went on holidays overseas for 3 weeks where he initiated fights with me DAILY. I now understand that this was a tactic he used to get rid of me as his relationship with his ‘friend’ had intensified and I was clearly on my way out. I called the relationship off 5 days after we arrived home by confronting him about her. We broke up on a Saturday afternoon and by eveneing (same day) he had announced to all at a party they went to that she was his girlfriend. I gave my ex an opportunity to walk away from the relationship we had, but he always assured me I had nothing to worry about?! Can this be normal behaviour??

    What is most painful for me now is that he has stonwalled me. I sent the last of his things to him by registered post and he sent them back to me ‘return to sender’ – clearly trying to hurt me. Also, whenever he sees my sister he runs over to greet her as if she’s a great dear friend of his and as if nothing has happened. My sister described his behaviour as if he is ‘dodging bullets’ by making everyone think he did nothing wrong. I have asked my sister to tell him off next time by reminding him the self-esteem damage he has caused. I feel so sad. I did nothing wrong.

    Thanks again Dr Simon for caring about mankind and helping us understand about these people.

    FM (Australia)

    1. Flo,

      I’m sorry for the betrayal. I went through it too. It hurts bad – for a while – and then you get angry. The anger seems to dissipate the hurt, anyway in my case. I hope you get to feeling less distraught as time goes on. Be glad you’re done (in a sense anyway) with the lying cheat piece of ****.

  3. do you know of any studies done on victims of narcissistic abuse? if so , please email me. i would travel the ends of the earth to have a professional hear my story.

  4. When you see a large white space here, think of all the cruel evils, and be surprised to learn wives are not always the victim

    Then think decades more. Pained, arrested, or dead, it’s a daily power game. Affairs or passionate love, lies or can’t recall, it’s always stealing the truth….

  5. Dr. Simon I really need your help. Ive been in a psychopathic relationship for 38 yrs. It has cost me everything. My job. (27 yrs) Down the drain, my children. Turned against me. It seems as if it will never get better. My own mother and husband set me up. The betrayal is like nothing I have ever experienced. I need to talk to someone who knows what I am talking about. Now, I have no insurance, which makes it even worse. That in itself is a problem. I don’t want to die sad. Please help me.

    1. Gigi,
      Welcome and I hope we can be of some assistance to you. We have a pretty good group of people that reply. You sound very desperate and somewhat destitute. Have you considered going to the Women’s Center ? They have counselors and group meetings you can attend at no cost.

      They are very empathetic and understand the dynamics of a CD relationship. You will find a lot of support there. You are welcomed to post here too. I am not sure at this point what I can help you with. I can suggest you read Dr. Simons books and of course read all you can in the archives.

      You will find many stories similar to yours. We try to find answers and resolutions to the dilemma many of us find in having lived with the CD.

      I encourage you to write freely what is going on in your life.

      Blessings

  6. Dear Dr. Simon,
    I read your book ” In sheeps clothing” and suddenly understood the behavior of my last boyfriend and of my mother. 50 years! I was bonded to her by manipulation and destructive behavior but in such a hidden way, that I could not identify it. She is so lovely in public und everyone trusts her, so that my own feelings since early childhood seemed to be wrong. “Be glad to have such a nice mother” I always heard from all sides.
    She uses 8 or 9 of your described technics, that is enough. Not identyfying, what happened to me all the time, I fell in love with a real bad narcissist. He opened my eyes in a real bad way. He uses all of your described technics!!! At the end of our relationship he said, that he has no feelings for anyone, including his parents.
    That is true. I saw him smiling, when his friend came out of a hospital, broken because of a very heavy desease, unable to work anymore. And my “boyfriend” smiled and was happy about it!!! He never visited him in hospital and when he heard, that his friend could not work anymore und therefore was useless for my boyfriend, he let him down, broke friendship and told everyone lies about his old friend to cover his own bad behavior. He is becoming more worse. He tries to break people, to break their soul.
    I have never seen things like that before. Such a covered hate to everyone!!!
    Now he has a new girlfriend and I think, he will behave much more worse to her than to me.
    He is glad to hurt people after they built up trust in him. This seems to be his
    hobby. Sometimes he showed very strange opinions and told me that he thinks, that there are two persons inside of him. After leaving him, I thought a long time about it and discovered, that he switches between the personality of his father and his mother (both are strange people). He has only small parts of an own personality. His parents had been together 50 years in a very bad relationship. I am a little bit afraid of this man, so I stay away from him.
    I am still very shocked. On the other hand I am glad to know now about my mother..
    If that man had not “helped” me to open my eyes, I would stay my mothers little daughter and servant until the end of my life.
    So thank you very much for your book.
    Moni from Germany

    1. Moni,

      I’m glad to hear you have come out of these relationships with a still life, that now makes sense to you. For me, once I understood and accepted the reality of the person causing me grief the hurt feelings went away. Now it’s time to recover. So exhausting dealing with these types of people, and your X sounds awful scary.

      1. Hallo Lucy,
        thank you for your comment. Sometimes I have to look for the vocabulary, because this is my old School English. I think, he is really scary, I found some hints, that he was sexually and emotionally abused in his early childhood. I am not sure, but he gave me some hidden und weird hints. I am like a detective to understand what happened. I think, that it was his grandfather und perhaps his own father, and his mother closed her eyes, so that she could have a “family.” But nevertheless, there must be some natural awful traits in him too. Thank God, that he is not a child abuser in a sexual way. I am sure about it. And I am really sure, that he does not know about his own abuse or he denies it.
        Once he spoke with the voice of his father, asking me not to smoke so many cigarettes. He did not only speak like his father, he “was” his father at that moment. He has a deep hate against women, therefore I think, that his mother was involved in it in some way. I really hope, that he has no personal crisis the next years. He is not physically violent against women, “only” sadistic in his behavior (not sexual behavior). But he has been violent toward men in the past (Beatings). It is the first time, that I write about my suspicion and discoveries. And I really hope , that his new girlfriend will not be emotional destroyed by him. As far as I know, she had been married to a man before, who betrayed her about 18000 €. So, she is a very good victim for him. She thinks, she has met her dream partner. It will be the hell after a short time. I hope, you believe me. It sounds so crazy and so dangerous. If my suspicions are right, he is an explosive mixture of different personality disorders.

        For me, it is getting better. I know, he is not normal at all. It is not my guilt. I will have strong boundaries in my future and be more careful with people. It is not my task to rescue people, it is my task to become happy. But it is still a long hard way and I am 51.!!!!

        I am just discovering my own wishes, my own life and change a lot of things. So many of my workmates say, I have changed the last months in a very positive way. It is not only to recover, but to develop my own personality, which was repressed by my mother and X.

        Thank you for answering so fast, I was happy, that there was someone listening to me.

        I wish all the best to you on your way.

  7. Moni,

    I’m listening. So are others, as you see, even Dr. Simon. Dr. Simon has so many enlightening articles in this website as are his books.
    You have lived with a person with severe mental disorders and I’m glad you came out of it and looking forward to your new life. I know a good life is out there – minus the disordered people. There are so many kind people. We just have to beware to not become victimized again.
    I hope to keep hearing from you.

    1. Dear Charlie,
      thank you for believing. Yes, and you “hit the ball.” It is a german expression, that you are right in your opinion.

      Dear Lucy,
      I will write again. But at the moment I have to work. I did not sleep well last night, because it is still upsetting (exciting). I hope I found the right english word.
      Sometimes I think, I have been part of a really cheap TV-film, which I called nonsense before I had this experience. Now I know better.

  8. Dr. Simon,

    I recently attended and enjoyed one of your workshops. You mentioned that people could request the relationship partners version of your “Errors in Thinking” and “Responsibility Avoidance Behaviors” worksheets. At your convenience I would be interested in copies of them.

    Thank you,
    TWBTC
    (the woman behind the curtain)
    A Cry for Justice website

  9. Dr. Simon,

    I need help.
    Can you help me.
    I am a manipulative person.
    I live in the Chicago area.
    I’m having a hard time finding someone to help me.
    Can you refer me to someone there?

    1. Robert Kemper,

      Another way to get help is to simply help yourself.
      You may want to confess the same to your near and dears who may be having difficult time with you. Simply tell them that you are manipulative person and everyone will be better off if you get treated as such. Or, just simply point them to this blog, and they should be able to help themselves, and in turn help you indirectly.

      It is good to see that you are honest and forthcoming. I am sure you will eventually find the kind of help you are seeking.

  10. Dr. Simon,

    My situation is that I have had gaslighting for the past 42 of my 42 years. I know that my grandfather was worse. What happens to generations before that one?

  11. Hi Dr. Simon. Last year sometime I was reading your series on Developing Character, the Ten Commandments on the web site Counseling Resource. I somehow thought you had published a book on this topic of Developing Character. Is this information in the book, How did we End up here? I am looking at different resources towards that end of character development in myself currently. Thank you for your books. I have the first three and have given and lent my own copies to people. I have also read many of your posts on a variety of web sites and thank you for that as well. I have shared with people that there has been a paradigm shift and they look at me like I’m from Mars. That’s okay. I Know what I have experience in life. Kathy

  12. Dear Community,

    I just found this page cause I was looking for how to deal with emotional manipulative surpression. At the moment I m that kind of confused that I don’ t really know if I am the manipulator or the other person. Fact is we try to lead a relationship but for me it was obvious three monthes ago that there is someting wrong. I couldnt really completly fall in love cause it was strange that at the one hand he jzst daily visoted me, than put a lot of pressure on me cause he was always in hurry getting my complete attention, time and love. Meanwhile i was than kind of trapped in my own traumatic believes having fear beeing dominated by another person. But just the expression: a person has to “earn” his freedom just let me think…what the f* is that? Every time I didn’ t react the way he wished me to react there was this deep felt anger that bursted out with a kind of sarcastuc way he turned around and left me. I just stood there mouth open not really knowing what I did wrong. After a certain time I turned into a toxic person either and what turned out is not the best side of my character. So i pleased him to stop relationship cause even if there is still a deep loyality and understanding for each other, I don’ t trust the evidence that we are not really doing good to each other even we try to help each other. I m kind of depressed meanwhile too cause he just starts making drama out of everything and its just strssing to calm wverything down, clear it out aso. I like this person cause he had really several troubles in his life but neveetheless he s the kind of ENJT-A Person concerning Mayer Briggs…is very attentional as well as assertive, and reliable. But at least he s not reliable for me cause everytime I refused seeing him the times he “ordrered” to see me, complaing i would just waste hus time by arguing for my “me- time” to visit friends or do things I really enjoy…he started to play this on off games until I said ok if you really like to quit i quit, cause I dont like those manipulative actions. At least it ended up into another manipulative action…and he got me again caring for him and his wish to wanting a relationship. I just told him its certainly better to stay friends cause it doesn’t really work out the way we both see a good working relationship. He knows his faults as well as I do. But I don’ trust these changes cause I dont know when this manipulating games start again? Meanwhile I find myself trying to find the “right decision”…what means I dont want to hurt at the other hand we see potential and i want to decide in a moral way not wanting him to recall his traumatic experiences of severe treason that was threatening his life mentally and phisically but luckily surviving (war). But at least I guess I have to decide personally out of my own gut feeling and perspective. But well asking myself if I am manipulating as well. Especially in that case? Or is it part of this pattern…for me its no game, and its not about winning or loosing…its fighting for equality and respect…but he uses this words when something turns not out as he pretends it to be. Any recommenndations? Thank you so far…best wishes to all and the power for change. AL

    1. Thank you for such nice words, which I’m sure the community would like to hear. But commenting on this page is not likely to reach many. Best to comment on one of the articles. Or use the “contact” box on this page to send me a personal message.

      Again, thanks so much for your comments.

      gs

    2. Alexandra,

      What you write sounds like a complicated and troubling relationship. Ask yourself some questions:
      Do you truly enjoy being with this person?
      Does this person cause you much grief and confusion?
      Do you find yourself constantly questioning yourself, your actions, because of what he claims you do?
      Was your day to day life better before you met this person?
      Do you want a honest, loving relationship or a project?
      You know the answers. If this person is toxic and things just don’t feel right, then they aren’t.
      I think you need to get away from this person and go No Contact, which means don’t speak with him anymore, block his calls. Get him out of your life and start fresh and anew. You get too deep with someone like him it will become harder and harder to leave as your self esteem diminishes. Get out now.

      1. Dear Lucy,

        Thank you very much for your reply and the kind of right questions. It’ s true that I know the answers and it’ s true as well that it gets harder and harder to get out. So it’ s simply on me now to develop selfresponsible and selfcaring action. Best wishes sincerely Alexandra

        1. Alexandra
          You have a good head on your shoulders and are thinking clearly. You are onto his game. Like you say, it’s now about self care and I’m sire you know deep down what needs to be done
          Please join us in the current topic section. You will learn much and get much needed support. We’ve all been through and/or still are going through troubling times with the CDs in our lives

  13. Hello!

    I have been searching for answers that I have found difficult to come by even on the internet. It could be because of a lack of the correct terminology.

    How common is it for a person with a personality disorder to commit suicide as a punishment for the surviving family?

    Or would it more likely be as a result of shame after exposed incest, or perhaps to escape jail time?

    Please help

  14. Annelie
    You will get much more in the way of response if you post this question in the comments after Dr. Simon’s most recent post. Good luck! Sounds really bad!

    CD people aren’t known for high suicide rates, but are certainly high up there in the imcest category.

    If person is CD and incestuous I can see avoidance of jail as a motivator for suicide. Although they are vengeful people, they are unlikely to hurt themselves in order to hurt others.

    Sounds like a sad sad situation.

  15. Hello Dr. Simon,

    Your posts are truly valuable and the comments were very helpful, though some of them very awful stories. It’s very strange that how narcissists can successfully create an inflated high-regard self image, and they can manipulate other people to think that the victim is indeed the guilty and disordered one. You cannot see what kind of monster they are until you get close enough to observe and get to know them.

    About my story, i think i have got away with minimum harm, but it is still hard to see and digest the truth that someone I value has NPD and how she intensionally harmed me in cold blood.

    The person i am talking about is my colleague, who i really got used to and valued very much as a friend. The mirroring capability of them makes you think and believe they sincerely care about you. Also it makes you think you have a lot in common and get along very well. There was always a sense of doubt in me by intuition or say, maybe 6th sense. I tried to be helpful to her for a long time, but fortunately maintained a boundary outside work.

    As a typical narcissist, she asks a lot of personal questions to gather personal data about people, but seeming to be a really kind and caring friend doing this. She also unnecesarily disclosed me her family relationships and problematic relationships with friends to create pity. I am learning that this tactic is also typical of the schemas they use. Through time i observed how the admiring image (inflated ego) of herself did not match with the qualities and capabilities she had, and saw that she needed constant nurturing to make things go. I talked about this carefully trying to give positive feedback and not try to hurt her, but i think i triggered a button that hit the narcissistic vulnurability and things went wrong after that. To validate myself, i baited her a couple of times to see what i was to her. Maybe that was a mistake, but my habit is to research anything that i doubt. And her response was like i was a total stranger.

    Recently i asked for the follow up a duty she was assigned, and she had no idea nor seemed to care about it. We had an argument and saw that she was keeping track of every regular or work related conversation we had, and shared everything with the management only to dynamite my reputation. And i still do not know what impression she created about me with what she told in her point of view. It’s possible that she has other CDs other than NPD (covert type), some of her statements even pointing schizophrenia and paranoia. I was shocked how she put a mask like an actress and how easily she lied to condemn me,  like i never saw her before. She threatened me not to disclose this event to any of my friends, more like an ultimatum coming from an authority figure (just to maintain her inflated false self-image).

    Carefully observing, she can disguise to many characters depending on the situation, but my observations were too late to keep myself away from harm. I know that all this disorders source from lack of care and abandonment from a parent and the deep feeling of shame it created. But i still have to protect myself. She is still in my circle of friends, though i ignore her most of the time. Recently her attempts for adulation,  attention and attempt to dominate every conversation has become so irritating and pathetic that i cannot stand. And it is unsettling to see that noone is seeing the very serious problems with her and she is continuing to make a good impression of herself, seeming like a very kind, compassionate and proper person. I cannot imagine the limit of harm she can do to others. Maybe if she’s properly tolerated, they may not even see it for years.

    In this situation, what can i do to protect myself? We don’t talk to each other, but i know that she sees me as an enemy. She has the capability to manipulate anyone, and unfortunately i am the only person immune to her tactics, currently being the Gray Rock. I read the book In Sheep’s Clothing, but things went so out of way that the behaviour patterns told in the book won’t work anymore.

    1. G.R.

      I hope you continue to read the blog and encourage you to post on the current topic. All of the regular posters will be glad to assist in any way possible, answering many of your questions and validating your experiences. They will also support you and help point you in to other resources that may help you.

      Please check back later as I know others will comment on your post. Besides reading the blog I would encourage you to read Dr. Simon’s other books, as well as, listening to Dr. Simon’s call in program on Sunday nights.

  16. Good day
    Im looking for help and came across your webpages, which proved to be very helpful!
    A background: I was in a relationship for 3 years, when I started to realise this relationship was extremely toxic, I tried to leave but found that it was nearly impossible, and have slowly broken off contact in the last year.
    This person was initially very friendly and likeable, he was in a church leadership posistion and convinced me to join his group fairly quickly. We became very close very quickly, and in hindsight, I realised that he lied constantly so as to be appealing to me (eg, I am doing a language degree and he said he could speak 5 languages, but then I realised he could only speak 2 later on). We started spending much of our time together, and he made an effort to be close to my family (buying my mother flowers, messaging her regularly etc). He confessed very strong feelings for me, but despite these feelings, never wanted to commit to our relationship. About 6 months in, I found out he was seeing someone, but lied continuously about their relationship when confronted. This was a pattern I would often observe in the 3 years- he would befriend and become extremely close to other women, usually naive, compassionate, soft-hearted, caring, kind, and emotionally vulnerable women. While I do not think these relationships were sexual in nature, as I met many of these “friends”, I do think he had some sort of psychological need to be liked by and be close to these girls, fostering an almost dependency on himself. Yet he always maintained his feelings for me and wanted to be together when he had a better home or car or more finances or felt he was ready, yet continued to act like we were in a committed relationship with his actions and messages and told his friends and family we were serious. He also often alluded to his past, he said he was abandoned by his mother, rejected by his father and raised by his grandmother who was in an abusive relationship, his uncle who visually exposed him to both hetero- and homosexual acts at an early age also lived with them for a while. I am still unsure how much of his story is true as I have met both his parents and neither appear to harbour ill feelings. I felt very empathetic towards him and cared deeply. He often behaved irrationally and impulsively, having emotional outbursts for seemingly small things. When confronted, he would sometimes allude to his childhood/exes as the reason for his feelings or his mistrust. He maintained contact with his exes regularly and told me they had both cheated in him, but that he had wanted to try again and they rejected him. In time, our relationship became sexually involved (although we did not actually have sex). He did not always seem interested, and swung between a very strong, demanding sexual drive (8-12 hours at a time), and no interest whatsoever. It is my belief that he came to use our physical relationship as a manipulative/control tool. I initially did not want to be sexually involved, and would sometimes tell him he made me feel unsafe/unwanted etc, and sometimes he would respond very lovingly with promises of marriage and declarations of love, other times he would blame and emotionally/verbally abuse me (calling me a whore, remarking on my appearance, making jokes, slut-shaming etc,) despite knowing I was a virgin and had not even been in a serious relationship, or been sexually involved with any person before or since having met him. He could not stay in one job for longer than 3 months and would always blame the employer or external circumstances, and would manipulate me into lending him money or driving him to work. I also observed that he did not maintain personal relationships for a long period of time, even with male friends, and if he was not the victim, there would be a vague reason for the relationship not working out. Over time, I noticed a cycle in our relationship, where we would be happy, something would happen (he would ignore me completely for days on end, say something hurtful about my weight or appearance, promise to do something then not do it, lie about something, exhibit abusive behavious such as pushing me around, gaslighting, etc) which I would eventually confront him about, he would then either act as though I was overreacting, or that it was my fault or play the victim. He would also then become very close to me and buy me gifts and write love letters and try win me over again, saying he had been through a difficult circumstance or been under stress and promising he was different and really wanted to make an effort, until he would begin to exhibit the same problematic behaviour. He was also jealous without reason, as I saw and spoke to no one else, slut shaming me even thouh I said he could read my messages and knew I was with no one because I was mostly with him. He would call my mother while I was in class or with female friends saying he was worried as I was not answering my messages, even if I was. He became increasingly possesive and controlling over time, especially when I began to realise how toxic our relationship was and tried to pull away. I put all of myself into the relationship,at the time thinking it was my fault we were fighting or that he behaved the way he did, until my sister and a friend began to inquire about my relationship and tried to make me see how toxic the relationship was. They noticed because I became withdrawn and depressed, because I was hiding much of his behaviour and was constantly emotional and unsure of myself, despite having been a happy, extroverted, busy and content person. I tried to break off our relationship but he would call my mother or come to my house uninvited or message my friends. Eventually, I broke our relationship off over a year, even stopping attending the activities we did together (joined a new church, moved house, joined a new gym, etc). He is currently blocked on all social media, and does not know where I live or have contact with my friends or family.
    I sent a message asking for help because I want to know how one heals from such a person as it affects me every day and I struggle with low self-worth, and what personality disorder he had as he doesnt fit into any specific disorder. I truly hope you can help me and give me clarity. I do not hate him because I do think it is possible he had a difficukt childhood, but I struggle to understand why I fell for him and stayed for so long as I am considered fairly intelligent and independent, and struggle to forgive myself for staying even though I know it was difficult at the time to see what was happening and how manipulative he was.
    Thank you!

  17. Dr. Simon, How does one go about helping the victim of narcissistic abuse when they are unaware yet that they are married to a manipulative person? How can we make them aware? How does one go about suggesting couples therapy when they are in th early stages of the abuse?

  18. Hello Dr Simon and fellow readers,

    I am more than a little grateful to have come across the ideas and books of Dr Simon.

    I find my self in barely tolerable and relentless conflict with abusive, narcissistic personalities. I have many in my immediate family -and then encounter them in the outside world. ..Consequently, I am 40 years old and have $8 in my bank account and very little work experience or independence -I have been controlled and bullied and cut off. …And it only continues to happen.

    It is a nightmare.

    I am so grateful to have at last found an “expert” who actually has expertise. …I truly feel that victims of narcissistic abuse are either so beaten down, like women in domestic violence, or are otherwise too good for their own good.

    For me, it is some of both. I feel that because I in fact have some narcissism -however, I much prefer the term egocentricity and I believe that it is truly more applicable to me- I was both treated to a real lack of forgiveness from family when I was a young woman and had a hostile attitude in fact my self. …I agree with a degree of the harshness that I received from authorities involved, but feel pretty good about saying that I deserved some forgiveness nonetheless.

    …It is ironic that I should say this. And I have considered that maybe it is some over-sensitivity on my part that has led to my then being “too nice” and then an easy target for narcissists. …The other possibility that I much prefer and I think is in fact true, is that the failure of a single person to insist that it was STILL wrong for me to be abused and especially for as long as it went on (I encountered retaliation from a coworker who was pretty narcissistic himself) ….that this was difficult.

    I believe that something rather complex is at work here. That it goes hand in hand with understanding spiritual ideas. ….I believe that a sort of paradox is at work behind all these issues and that in order for a person who has a lack of empathy to truly change, they need to be able to accept two opposing beliefs at the same time.
    …Or, to put it another way: I did need a strong level of retaliation in order to get the message that I was perceiving narcissistically. However, I also needed a person in authority, especially a parent figure, who was able to model the correct and empathetic perception that “all abuse is wrong, period” ….including that which is a retalliation, because two wrongs don’t make a right.

    The right touch was needed. I did not quite get it from those in authority involved and I definetly did not receive it from my father. …Who himself is narcissistic.

    What I observe in my family is a bunch of narcissitic personalities, sadly I have to include my self in that at least in terms of past way of being (however, I would have most likely been diagnosed as an inverted narcissist, if not with female asperger’s or borderline aspergers …as this incident that I refer to above was very out of character for me, and was my desparate attempt to find some kind of boundary to protect my self around males and i had a lack of a sense of who they were with respect to me and especially of how to protect my self in regards to other narcissistic sorts of males who themselves has a lack of respect for boundaries ….it is always mostly when like meets like that in my experience I see these conflicts and breakdowns happen …which is why it is VERY hard much of the time to exist in my family if one has been the chosen scapegoat).

    I have had to repair my sense of right and wrong. Since in my family there exists a bullying culture -where abuse is pretty much acceptable, at least for anyone in a position of power or status. ….I think that it is this hypocritical contradiction that other narcissitic abusers take advantage of…. and the narcissist victim/target/scapegoat is then conditioned, most likely by their family (who are most likely to also be narcissists) to unconsciously expect abuse for how they are.

    The covert aggressive narcissists, are the ones who have gotten away with abuse, and/or they never learned to live within the paradox (that I try to explain above). Narcissistic people are very black and white because they are essentially tunnel visioned. They have great trouble seeing the whole and especially holding two opposing points of view at the same time -just as they are so hypersensitive to any conflict. They likewise struggle greatly with managing conflicts, and conflict is a part of life: we will always find those with whom we don’t get along so easily with and who we clash to some degree with.

    This is why I believe that narcissistic personality types need training to tolerate different viewpoints at the same time – to tolerate the discomfort of this.

    This is also what is behind, I believe Dr Simon’s approach: almost a forcing of the narcissist to stay with their discomfort …and it is NOT abusive to push back JUST ENOUGH to get the other person to back down and desist in THEIR ABUSIVENESS.

    But it is a delicate balance. I believe that the victim and the abuser CAN (though certainly not always) have much in common, whilst at the same time what they DO NOT have in common nonethless is worth MUCH.
    A little difference makes a BIG difference ….never more so than when it concerns narcisstic -or, I prefer the term, egocentric- characters clashing with each other. They are matched in terms of their high sensitivity in regards to their own feelings and lack of sensitivity and awareness or regard for the feelings of others.

    Narcissism is a hard nut to crack.

    Having said that, there IS room for some sympathy for these people ….among whom I have to include to some degree my self (but I believe by now at least that it is to a minor degree – ACCOUNTABILITY and the continued choice to be accountable stands for much ….and I am/was likely to be a neurotic narcissist in the first place).

    But these people do deserve SOME sympathy and SOME forgiveness ….however, only a VERY small amount and ONLY from a Distance!!!!

    And I agree with Dr Simon’s approach that often many of us, especially if we are the targets (people who a fair percent of the time will more likely be possessed of a little more gentleness which the aggressive narcissist will try to make a weakness rather than see as the strength that it really is …or, conversely, they will try to manipulate the more giving personality into HAVING to be so VERY giving and effectively use the person as their codependent) …but I agree with Dr Simon’s approach because targets often may need help in toughening up and in waking up to how they have been manipulated, including manipulating themself, into either feeling shame for any of their own egocentricity and/or feeling pity for a person who is pretty much pitiless.

    Overall, it is a real mess and a massive headache to deal with.

    I find my self continuously asked -well, bullied in fact- by family members to take on their own problems whilst often being bullied through rankism.

    …One way that I can and WILL sympathise with those who are labelled as narcissistic by others ..as being the BIG narcissist… is that those around them in heated conflict with them (and even the average person a degree of the time) resorts to black and white thinking.
    That in fact this is NOT a phenomenon of narcissitic people per se, but of PEOPLE period. It only SHOWS up more with narcissistic personalities for the reason being that they are more sensitive (to themselves only) and therefore more emotionally intense than most people are.

    My guess is that sometimes narcissistic conflict is a lesson in the basics of spirituality!
    And it would make sense at the very least in the sense that it compels a person to go deeper within, even just for psychological survival.
    Narcissistic conflict is psychological warfare, make no mistake.

    This is my take on things.

    1. Elisa, what you said about black and white thinking, the discomfort of trying to reconcile two opposing viewpoints, and the need to dispel that discord by choosing one and rejecting the other… that’s what I’ve been reading about on the theory of cognitive dissonance.

      There’s a book I really love that explains it so perfectly in a variety of different settings: Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me) ~by Carol Tavris & Elliot Aronson.

      It goes along well with what you were saying. I agree completely that rigidity of thought, black and white thinking, all or nothing thinking, magnifying/minimizing issues…these are all thought distortions that contribute to so many problems, including narcissistic thinking. Once we learn to make the mind pliable and flexible, learning to consider many different possibilities instead of dogmatically defending just one, then we stop stunting our brain growth. We become learners. And then we stop seeing people who present conflicting opinions as attackers and enemies, which is how narcissists view people who challenge their narratives and images.

      I saw my husband, who was Borderline Personality/Narcissistic, completely change his character to where he can no longer be called that anymore. He had to retrain himself how to think, and step out of that closed circuit pattern of thinking, which was all based on those rigid thought distortions. It’s rare for a Narcissist to recover, but not impossible. I was fortunate to see it happen.

      So there is hope. I’m female asperger’s and was on my way to becoming a Vulnerable Narcissist. Once I stopped thinking in black and white the scales fell from my eyes, and I began to heal and recover. My asperger’s symptoms are mostly diminished except for some sensory issues and a bit of brain fog when I’m overwhelmed. But that was a huge lightbulb for me, recognizing that my thinking was rigid and self-limiting, constrained, stunted. A flexible mind is a healthy mind.

  19. Dear Mr, George Simon
    ,

    I am Amir Hossein Mohammadi, a teacher of life skills. I’m trying to help people with my training to experience a better life. I’m specialized in managing anger.

    I have read your book, Sheep’s Clothing….. I want to thank you for sharing that book with us. The steps you mentioned in this book to manage anger were very practical.

    Currently, I’m writing a book, anger management solution, and it’s about anger management. Abstract of my book is as follows:
    “Anger is a feeling in all of the people around world. That can cause aggressive behaviors. If anger is not controlled, it can cause problems, such as the illnesses, loss of a job and relationship. Anger management can improve relationships and then make life better.
    By learning the problem-solving skills, the person can manage more comfortable the anger.”

    Now, I just wanted to you write a paragraph about anger management and then I publish in my book.

    Best regards,
    Amir Hossein Mohammadi

  20. Dear Mr, George Simon
    ,

    I am Amir Hossein Mohammadi, a teacher of life skills. I’m trying to help people with my training to experience a better life. I’m specialized in managing anger.

    I have read your book, Sheep’s Clothing….. I want to thank you for sharing that book with us. The steps you mentioned in this book to manage anger were very practical.

    Currently, I’m writing a book, anger management solution, and it’s about anger management. Abstract of my book is as follows:
    “Anger is a feeling in all of the people around world. That can cause aggressive behaviors. If anger is not controlled, it can cause problems, such as the illnesses, loss of a job and relationship. Anger management can improve relationships and then make life better.
    By learning the problem-solving skills, the person can manage more comfortable the anger.”

    Now, I just wanted to you write a paragraph about anger management and then I publish in my book.

    Best regards,
    Amir Hossein Mohammadi

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