How to Deal with a Narcissist

There’s a lot of information about narcissists available these days.  Unfortunately, a lot of the information is still biased by longstanding but generally erroneous notions about what persons with narcissistic personality traits or disorders are really like and how they get to be the way they are.  Recently, I did some of my own searching on the internet and found some relatively good as well as some very bad advice about how to deal with a narcissist.  In an attempt to separate the good advice from the bad and set the record straight about what most narcissists are really like and how to best deal with them, I thought I’d more closely examine some of the information and advice I came across at one of the more frequently visited sites dealing with this topic.

There is a wikiHow article that several individuals contributed to and which you can check out for yourself (I have provided the link here, but please exercise caution when reading the article!) titled How to Deal with a Narcissist.  How heavily the article was influenced by traditional views on the underpinnings of this condition (views that have never been empirically validated and are mostly erroneous) is evidenced most clearly in this bit of advice (it was number 11 of 12 “tips” for dealing with a narcissist):

Try to have compassion. This might be easier said than done, but remember: in spite of all the supposed self-confidence the narcissist displays, deep down, there is a severe lack of true confidence that requires the constant approval of others to subdue. Moreover, the narcissist does not have a full life because he or she shuts down a wide range of emotion.

While the above information isn’t completely false (There is, in fact, a small minority of narcissistic characters that lies on the more neurotic side of the neurosis vs. character disturbed spectrum) it’s very dangerous to promote these notions in our day and time.  In my book Character Disturbance I make the point that because of the nature of our times and certain dominant aspects of our culture (i.e. the rampant promotion of attitudes of entitlement and ego-centrism), most narcissists you encounter these days aren’t wounded children underneath who didn’t get enough love and affection from their parents, sufficient peer validation, etc., and who therefore unconsciously “defend” against and “compensate” for the pain of their low self-esteem with a false bravado.  Rather, most narcissists you’ll encounter today really do think they’re all that!  And it’s not that they need constant attention and approval to soothe the inner pain they bear but rather that they simply want it and feel entitled to demand it to boot. Moreover, most narcissists you’ll encounter aren’t caught in a neurotic trap whereby they unwittingly deny themselves access to full life because their underlying fears and anxieties cause them to shut down their emotions.  Rather, most narcissists simply never developed the kind or degree of empathy necessary to have the emotional responses most of have to the things that affect us in our relationships.  You needn’t feel sorry for them. And the reason I insist that harboring all the antiquated notions I’ve just mentioned is dangerous business is because such thinking is exactly what so often leads people to get into relationships with narcissists in the first place, despite warning signs, and to remain in those relationships despite suffering emotional abuse and neglect at their hands.

Now here’s another wonderful (I’m being sarcastic here) bit of advice from this same article (this tip was number 12):  

Trick them into overstepping themselves socially. If you are having a problem with a narcissist lying to your friends or family, or boss, try giving them a bit of rope to hang themselves in complimenting them on their oratorical expertise. Tell them they’re an amazing communicator, a true marksman in the art of verbal assassination. They will not register it as an insult, and will overstep themselves socially because of their self-confidence being inflated. Then others can see them more clearly.

Wow!  Imagine that.  The way to deal with a narcissist is to manipulate them! And because they just can’t help themselves, manipulating them is easy. How wonderful and paradoxical at the same time!  Expose the true odiousness of the narcissist’s character by displaying bad character yourself. But don’t worry, after you’ve succeeded in making the narcissist alienate him or herself from everyone else around you, you’ll be the hero and have tons of friends and admirers!

In my book In Sheep’s Clothing, I speak to the dangers of trying to out-manipulate character-impaired people of all persuasions. Manipulation is bad policy, period. And there’s a big difference between taking practical action and engaging in tactful behavior in your dealings with disturbed characters and trying to manipulate your way into a position of advantage with them.  Character matters.  And in the end, demonstrating good character has its own rewards.

In fairness, the article did give one fairly decent piece of advice (at least in the first part):  

Figure out your own needs.[1] If you are in need of someone who can provide mutual support and understanding, it is best to limit the time you spend with the narcissist in favor of others who can provide you with more of what you need. On the other hand, if the narcissist in your life is interesting or vibrant in other ways, and you do not need additional support, the friendship or relationship can work for the time being.

Remembering to take care of yourself, to know, understand, and to take responsibility for securing your own needs is never bad advice.  In fact, it’s probably the best advice the writers of this article give. But to stay involved with a narcissist just because he or she might be “interesting or vibrant” in some ways (or, perhaps, “charming”) and because you you can get by without other emotional support is fairly risky.  The more important variable when it comes to association is how seriously disturbed in character the person is.  A lot of psychopaths (the most malignantly narcissistic individuals on the planet) can be pretty darned charming, sometimes fatefully so.

There are “experts” everywhere these days on the subject of narcissism, largely because the condition is so common.  And there’s a lot of information available about this personality type.  But because there’s plenty of misinformation and outright bad information as well, I think the subject deserves greater treatment still. So look for a follow-up article on this same topic next week.  And I might have a few words to say about these matters on my Character Matters radio program this coming Sunday night (7 pm EDT, 4 pm PDT).

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160 thoughts on “How to Deal with a Narcissist

  1. One book holding some rather questionable ways to handle narcissists is one I’ve mentioned here way too many times already in different contexts. It’s Emotional Vampires By Albert Bernstein. Then again, Bernstein’s narcissistic vampires are immature “legends in their own minds”, who think talent alone should do it all, or “superstars”. Bernstein’s vampires overall are immature children of the night and there even are some other head-scratchers(like passive-aggressive personalities categorized as another breed of histrionics because P-As also act a role, just internal(why not make P-Aa their own class of “vampires”? Also why’s borderline personality not included?). Okay book with some good ideas, but to be read with critical eye.

    1. “In my book In Sheep’s Clothing, I speak to the dangers of trying to out-manipulate character-impaired people of all persuasions.”

      LOL!!! It’s like bringing a knife to a gun fight. There is no winning because THEIR drive to win is so huge and they will ALWAYS have more powerful methods and tactics that their victim.

      1. Ihaven’t read your book yet, but am looking forward to doing so, i have a narcissistic mother of the worst kind, she has done everything iv’e read about daughters of narcissistic mothers, i have no contact with her but it came at a price, she turned everyone against me, her lies are never ending, iv’e had the smear campaign, iv’e been the scapegoat, i wonder who is now! i’m actually writing a book on narcissistics, being the daughter or son of a narcissistic mother is a horrendous experience. if i can save someone going through a lifetime of the hell the narcissistic mother creates for the child, it doesn’t stop there it goes on through adulthood, narcissistic mothers become narcissistic grandmothers, which is a big concern for me,

        1. Hi, I was surprised to see another Suzanna. Again surprised with the last name of Anderson. My last name is not Anderson, but I live in a town called Anderson.
          Thx for sharing your story. The narcissit in my life is my spouse. I was cruising the web to learn more. Be well.

        2. God bless. People suc and betray good people
          Her daughter shoukd be ashamed of herself
          Her husband a nut cheating
          If he was a decent man he wouldn’t have gone after her as she was dying. Her money
          Psycho
          What goes around. Comes around

      2. I am still trying to deal with the pain and suffering my sister felt at the hands of her ex husband narcissist.This article described him to the “T”. My sister recently just passed away so my feeling are raw writing this account. They were married for 17 years. Initially they seemed very happy and he even adopted my niece when she was a child around 4. My sister wanted to have have a loving tight family like ours for her daughter. Our family consisted of loving, caring,hard-working parents with four daughters and one son. We all feel the heartache and scars this person inflicted on our sister. Looking back we all observed some of the “red flags of the behavior”. My sister still tried to create a loving environment for her daughter, especially since it was a second marriage. Unfortunately my sister developed MS early in the marriage. She tried to lead a normal life and hide her illness so her young daughter would not see her as “different”. It worked for awhile.
        The narcissist was well off and used his money to control my sister. He did pay the bills,bought a car for her, nice schools for my niece, expensive clothes for my sister on the internet(with his approval), purchased the food for the week, and even put gas in my sister’s car. Very rarely would give my sister cash. One time at a family gathering at a restaurant when he arrived late he said “I’m glad everyone is enjoying themself a on my dime! ” Everything was his and he was the martyr.

        Eventually my sister found out he was cheating on her for about five years with six different women. This caused much fighting and she got a restraining order on him and wanted a divorce. My sister said to my niece that she wanted her to see the best of both of them so a divorce was necessary. My niece was 19 and finished 1year of college. My niece spent Father’s Day weekend with her stepdad when she came back she told my sister she was leaving and living with her stepfather. My sister said she devastated,hurt,and felt helpless. She screamed and yelled and begged her daughter to stay. What made this situation even more horrific was the fact my niece taped the whole scenario and the narcissist used it against her in divorce proceedings.
        This was the beginning if a living hell for my sister. Aside from her disease the mental abuse she endured was unimaginal. She sold all her possessions for lawyers fees, borrowed money to pay the taxes and upkeep on the home he was supposed to pay. Eventually they divorced. Since he had his own business and worked in real estate, he made it look like he had no money. Even borrowed equity in their property to make it look like a short sale. My sister said she never signed any of the papers. My sister lost her daughter, health, home,car, and most of her possessions.

        He even went after my sister’s disability for child support and was awarded it! He also never payed the full alimony to my sister. At this point was sister was very ill and was in the hospital or rehab this past year. My parents used their last savings trying to keep her apartment afloat because the narcissist would pay alimony late and never the full amount. My parents were now to his mercy. They also visited my sister every day in the hospital and the rest if us tried to fill in as well.

        The narcissist manipulated my niece that my sister was the cause for everything. My niece did not speak to her mother for 3 years. She tried to reach out to her daughter but was ignored. The devastation was unbelievable.We all tried to reach out to my niece on Facebook or cell. We did not know where they lived.

        I felt the evil of the narcissist first hand when my other sister and I found out where my niece was working and we both wanted to talk to her. We talked to the store manager and asked for her. We told the manager who we were and why we needed to talk with her. I had tears in my eyes because I knew my sister was dying. The manager was very nice and went in the back of the store and tried to call or text her. After about 15-20 minutes she said she could not get a hold of her and asked to give a message. We did and left. Went into the parking lot and sat in the car for awhile wishing that she was really in the store and would walk out since it was the end of the shift. I looked up and saw the narcissist walking in the parking lot. My sister drove over to him and called his name he whipped out his phone and called the police and said we were a “terroristic threat”and gave my sister’s license plate number. He ran into his car. I then ran over to his car and asked him to roll down his window that I have to talk to him. I said the suffering has to stop …I was pleading and crying….he did not look at me but turned and took a picture of me. I felt the evil through the window and left. Got in the car with my sister and said I now know what evil our sister was dealing with!
        We were hoping to bring our niece to my sister in the hospital but we went to the police station instead to tell our side of the story. The narcissist lied on the police report and said I dented his car and we caused a major disturbance in the store. We could not believe it! The store manager was nice and respectful to us. Obviously my niece was in the store and called her narcissist step father.
        I never got to talk to my sister again….she went under sedation with ventilator and died a week later. My sister loved her daughter with all her heart and just wanted to talk to one more time before she died and the narcissist kept that from her. I found her last text to her daughter, I love you and miss you. This should be the best time of our lives. She loved her daughter more than life itself.
        My sister died with no money. My parents gave up their crypt and we pooled money for funeral. Her daughter never came to the funeral or sent flowers. My sister was loving, caring, fun,and alway smiled which made you feel welcomed and comfortable. She was the youngest at 51 and I miss her laugh dearly. Even in her pain she could make others laugh. To this day,I cannot understand how my niece could treat her mother so horrific and stay with the narcissist.
        (Another jab in my heart: my niece just recently wanted the death certificate from the funeral home…
        Obviously for some financial gain) I also do not understand this since the narcissist is worth several million dollars. I guess they want blood from a stone.
        Sorry for being so long …I am sure you all have similar stories…

        1. So, the question I ask for this post is, what exactly DID your sister bring to the table in the relationship? Don’t take this the wrong way, but either you or your sister seem to also have a little bit of narcissism in them? From what you posted…

          HE adopted a child that was NOT his
          You NOTICED the “red flags” in his behavior and didn’t do anything
          SHE developed an illness that he has NO right trying to medicate (leave it to a professional doctor)
          HE payed the bills (from the sound of it, ALL of them)
          HE bought HER a new car (which he wasn’t obligated to do)
          HE put a child that was NOT his into “NICE” schools
          HE bought HER expensive clothes (also not his obligation)
          HE put food on the table
          HE provided HER gas for the car that HE bought HER
          HE even seems to buy YOUR entire family entire outings out together

          My god, it seems like he did everything a man was suppose to do when it came to providing for his family and went well and beyond that. Granted, yeah, he shouldn’t even married her to begin with he was still wanting to experiment with other women, but honestly, if I had a sugar-momma that did all that for me, I’d let her go out and fuck anything she wants. I would KNOW that I’m just part of a harem. I don’t think he was being narcissistic in this case man. I just think your family didn’t educate your sister enough when it comes the idea of equivalent exchange in a relationship. I’m willing to take a gander that she was a traditionalist (the man goes out and works and the woman stays home to tend to cleaning and the kids)? This guy wasn’t a traditionalist and I believe that your own emotions got in the way of seeing him for what he truly is and hoped that he would “change.” It’s NOT his job to change for a woman (especially if you think the change is going to happen after wedding bells).

          As for her illness, that was NOT his fault/cause and he isn’t exactly obligated to deal with it. Do you thinks it’s fair to hold someone back from experiencing THEIR life to the FULLEST extent just because something happened that was unforeseen. That’s like asking someone NOT to move on with their life after a spouse has died.

          Sorry sir/madam. I’m not trying to sound like a heartless monster here, but in my eyes, your argument is somewhat invalid here. Sorry for your loss and all that has happened. My advice here is next time, (your posts – not your sister), look at both sides of the coin and see how much the other person actually did for the other. Man’s job is no longer to provide for women anymore. We are living in the 21st century now. It takes TWO to live in this world of increasing poverty, and if she wasn’t established before she met an established man, then she should have taken the relationship for what it was and left, or put up with his bullshit.

          1. You are about 3% right…surely, because no one is 100% wrong-but don’t ask me where the 3% is…I’m just sorry for this lady who lost her sister and is clearly totally and thoroughly heartbroken that you got on here and attempted to address the situation:( In a nutshell (an apt term in your case, methinks) him paying for things and possibly getting taken for granted does not warrant him ABANDONING his wife when she’s ill, turning her own flesh and blood against her and treating her and her family in sucha vile and unforgivable way. And your post makes me think that must have gotten on here to read about narcissism because you were probably told you are one and you read this poor lady’s post and projected your own resentment at being cast in an obviously ill-fitting role as the main breadwinner of the family on this poor, sad lady who had the misfortune of receiving your callous and off-base accusations masquerading as what-advice? about the whole heart-breaking affair. You, Sir, like this evil man who hi-jacked the sympathies of this woman’s niece, should coume with a WARNING LABEL. Go look at yourself in the mirror and quit trying to make yourself feel better by peddling your nightmarish commentary to victims of OTHER narcissists. I usually pride myself on being civil no matter the forum but what you said to this lady makes my blood boil. Good Luck with yourself.

          2. How could this be taken the wrong way? Were you trying to say that it is diabolical what happened to them? Because it is, and that is the wrong way to say it, for sure. Or were you afraid we might think you had an ounce of logic in your ridiculously flawed conclusions and opinions when you base them only on a hunch, without enough knowledge even to have a hunch. You are not welcome to think, or speak. No broken brain puts anything worthwhile to the public out there. Ever. And ditto what C said, except I don’t give you enough credibility to make my blood boil, I just wish you would disappear without a trace. Bam. What was that? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

          3. I think we have just heard from THE Narcissist himself! The “sweetheart” must have forgotten that it is very probable everyone reading this site has experienced the pure joy of having at least one of their own (narcissists, that is) and can’t be duped so easily. Spending “quality” time this very evening with my most proficient one makes me laugh at “Mr. Amateur Hour” here.

          4. Very heartless, and very telling. You sound like a person we’d all do well to disregard; to be clear, I’m talking about this “Anendlessloop” person.

        2. D,
          I am sorry for your loss. I believe that love ALWAYS trumps anything else. Obviously I do not know the parties, but it is apparent you love your sister. People can take/abuse/manipulate etc but they cannot touch the relationships of those who love each other. Even the neice may have been manipulated, but under all this is the truth. Love and authenticity is something that is not controllable. I wish you all the very best.
          RS

        3. D, I’m also sorry for the loss of your sister and for the painful experience you and your parents have been through over this. It’s so frustrating to be on the inside of these things when people on the outside, who don’t know the truth, can’t see it for what it really is.
          You never know………your niece may come around someday and be able to sort out the truth when she is a little older and wiser. I hope so for you and her.
          RS, very nice response.
          Anendlessloop, I think your comments are a bit out of line, insensitive and extremely judgemental.

        4. Dear,reading carefully ur story,only one thing came to my mind.I think the narcissist is in a relation with ur niece.nothing could make her hate ur sister this much other than rivarly.I think he manipulated her,and that’s why she wanted the death certificate just a proof that he is a widower.he might have promised her marriage. I’m sorry for your loss dear.

          1. It’s sick..maybe he was getting a little from the daughter..I hate to say that, but it sounds fishy to me and she’s adopted so
            wtf?? Mama has died..it’s sick I know..but we live in a cruel world people..just think about it? Seriously..peace, Achilles servant of the light..
            A.H

          2. that explains the expensive clothes and money you were talking about him giving your niece . even if there is no relations .that would be enough to control a kids mind ? having him in her life since 4 years old. jas given him enouph time to contril her brainwash her. sorry for your loss . one day this girl will wake up . dont give up on her . she needs help god know what she us going threw . what kind of abuse .

        5. The story I have is true and I am still dealing with this even tho we have not been together for years, he stole my child, he is well connected, has family backing all as bad as he is, he also now has a job making much more than I do. I have other children I raise thank God not by him but he has even threatend to get them taken to get what he wants, he recently also went to court I was not notified until after that he got full legal and physical custody 480 in support, he gets awarded legal and court costs, taxes, medical, etc… Day care, my son does not go to day care, he is in public school and my his father has his grandpa and other relatives on watching my boy so I can not get him back… I have been threw all hoops and no one will help, I am a good mother and have a clean record yet days before I filed to get him back after failing physically time after time and was dismissed with out a chance.My son’s dad is a criminal and a registered sex offender (baby raper, his own niece of 3.5 years of age) and it is admitted to in the papers along with his lies. Oh and the next hearing they set for more final steps is affidavid only evidence. He has called and texted trying to offer for me to see my son then not followed threw but set his terms anyway, and then says I do not want my son but I do desperately, I just have no connections and am broke and not evil. I have tried all supposed help and no one will no one!

          1. OMG Laura, that’s disgusting that a court would put a child in the care of a registered sex offender! What the…is going on when this can happen. It’s shocking! The legal systems everywhere need an overhaul in my opinion. Everyone should be entitled to good legal representation no matter income, it’s such an unfair system. I don’t know what to say as I don’t live in your country I don’t know how things work but I would keep working to get your son back and try every avenue. There must be some free services, women’s services or even human rights…honestly I don’t know how a judge can award the custody of a child to a sex offender I can’t get over that!

        6. My heart goes out to your family and your sister. Very sad. One day hopefully your niece might understand how manipulated she was.

        7. I’m so sorry for your loss of your loving sister. Your niece was roped into a good life from her step dad by giving her things and showing her what could happen to her if she went with her mom. That’s how narcissist gets their way, its very hard to find one person who believes the person getting abused emotionally and mentally. I’m having the same problem with my husband, we are going through the divorce right now and he wants half time with our daughter. I don’t want him to have half time only for the fact of what he would promise her and never receive it. When I met my husband he has two other kids. His oldest was a girl and youngest was a boy. His boy was disrespecting his sister because my husband showed him how to treat anyone. My step daughter was having insecurity issues, low self-esteem, anxiety issues, and treated badly by her dad and her brother. This is ridiculous, so I helped my step daughter to understand the difference and not allow it to continue. She started to get better about it but since my husband and I have to get divorced then I know there’s nothing I can do for her since she isn’t my daughter. If I could get his kids to be in my care all the time would be awesome cuz those kids deserve a good,happy, healthy life. I also have a lawyer who doesn’t want to help me fight him she wants to allow him to win cuz I have no money to very little money so she’s always sending me bills instead of giving me advice to help my case. Its very hard to find decent people to see how these narcissist are at work and prove it in court is very hard. I’ve done a lot of research to help my case but it would be nice if I had a lawyer to back me up. I really want my daughter to have a good fighting chance since I can’t help my step kids. I know I will find a lawyer who will give me and my daughter a fighting chance to stay away from horrible people to get their way. My daughter is young still so I know it would be easy for her get roped in since she won’t know the difference. I have faith to know this will go good for my daughter in my care full time. Keep all the letters notes from your sister to give to your niece because one of these days your niece will find someone who sees what you see in her step dad. She will come around just don’t give up on faith and hope. God bless your family.

        8. I’m so very sorry about the lost of your sister truly your story brought me to tears, he’s a nasty person, n believe GOD will take care of him in your sister’s favor BELIEVE ME!!! May God bless you.

        9. This is a horrific story. I feel awful for you and hope you are coping. You did all you could.
          I am begining to open my eyes to the destructively masterful skills of manipulation from someone with narcissistic personality disorder.
          They are very powerful. I hope he gets his comeupance.

        10. He also never payed the full alimony to my sister..

          Some other person noted, and i concur, your family is somewhat messed up too. It seems everyone in your family is predatory and had put their baggae and weight on this man.

          I come from a dysfuntional family so i know the meaning of everyone acting like toddlers and expecting someone to carry them on their back.

          The place to start seeking for answers, because obviously that is what you seek, is to study your own family and indeed yourself. Your entire family seems dependent and i can only imagine the man was tired when he said “you are eating on my dimes”. Everything in your post leeks of self entititled family members who get annoyed when the target refuses to do as expected.

          I know this dynamic. Because i was always tapped to be the one paying for everyone elses needs and clean up the messes they made.. To pay for their children welfare when they were out there getting themselves pregnant, or manufacturing babies way more than they could take care of as if they did not know what birth control was all about.

          So look at yourself. Look at your family. The man you call a narcist does not look like a narcist to me. You and your family seem to be the ones sick.

          1. What a piece of shit you are to say such things about this grieving family ! You are definitely a narcissist ! Sociopath ! Where the fuck do you live punk ? My mother was MURDERED by a fucking little punk like you and my family has suffered to no end ! I would love to line all you motherfuckers up and put a bullet in each one of your fucked up minds !

          2. Out of curiosity, if he really had a problem with providing for his wife don’t you think he wouldn’t have? And btw being manipulated by the bread winner isn’t unheard of. I can imagine that she probably felt obligated because he did so much for her. It’s pretty similar to battered women syndrome you honestly believe that your only worth what he says your worth.

        11. Hello,

          I too deal with a narcissist ex. We have a 13 year old daughter now who he tries to buy her things, promises things to her, takes her to high class places, etc. Its all an act and its to get her to move down where he lives and to take me back for support. See, he (my ex) had an affair when we were first married and left me and our 8 week old daughter, yes he left when she was 8 weeks old. When he left us, the woman he was seeing he got her pregnant 4 months later and then we decided they are going to live together. He didnt give a damn about my daughter until she was 11. Now he is trying to punish me for his wrong doing.

          He always somehow puts the blame on me and ALWAYS ALWAYS makes me the bad person. I tell my daughter as much as I can that is approiate for her but she is starting hopefully to see how he is. I know how you feel and UNTIL YOU YOURSELF (referring to the other posts) are in the situstion that we have been you have absoutely no idea how it is. I have much empathy for you and i try to tell myself he is sick with this disease and its not my fault and i try to move on, but it is difficult.

          He has manipulated me through the courts, does what he wants and gets away with it, and like i said before buys my daughter what she wants, you know the Disney dad!! best of luck to you. So sorry for your loss. Your niece will regret her decisions one day.

          My daugher will not see the light for a while since she favors her father, but maybe one day she will see or experience (which I hope she never does) what i have gone through and realize what I have been dealing with. The unfortunate thing is that she and I can not get the time back that we lost.

          1. Watch out for these men who look for women with young children especially girls ! Or if you have children with a man like this , NEVER LEAVE THEM ALONE WITH YOUR DAUGHTERS !! Pediphiles also run in this sick group of people ! Trust me , I was sexualy abused by one ! Protect yourself and your children at all costs from this person ! They don’t love you ! In fact they don’t give a shit about you or anyone else ! If you can’t get rid of them , KILL THEM BEFORE THEY KILL YOU AND YOUR FAMILY !!!!!

        12. Please email me …my name is Heather…I can relate to your story.My father died and his sister took the will and contested it. She never let me see his dead body. Whole family turned against my sister and I. This is scary!

        13. Oh my God. My ex husband is a covert narcissist. My 3 children won’t have anything to do with me. Unlike your sister, my family, don’t believe me. They believe his lies. God bless you. We need more awareness about these type of “creatures”. Mary

        14. I am so sorry for your loss! Your story is heartbreaking. Probably the “daughter or niece” is being taken care of and this man surely has made her think his side is true. I am the wife of a minister and have heard some really ridiculous situations, some sad and some absolutely unbelievable. I, myself, have a younger brother who is narcissistic but different than the way your describe this man. You are in my prayers. God can sometimes bring peace to us even when people in the world can’t. Hang in there — don’t give up. You have more strength inside you than you know. As far as your niece, she may someday realize how wrong she was and how much she gave up to listen to this man. God bless!

      3. I agree. There is no winning. The narcissist never gets bored with manipulating and terrifying you. I became wiped out mentally, I had no personality left, I shook with fear, I became suicidal. And that was the point at which I saw I had nothing to lose. Whatever he did, I did back. This came as a nice surprise to the narcissist in question as they love this kind of game. I persevered out of sheer desperation and upped whatever he did. In the end he was extremely cautious around me, whereby I could back off a little. The cost of all this is my sanity, my trust in everyone, and isolalation in the midst of shared acquaintences. A narcissists game never has an end, they relish the cat and mouse aspect to relationships. My advice? Stay away. As far as possible. Have a good life.

        1. “The cost of all this is my sanity, my trust in everyone, and isolalation … A narcissists game never has an end…”

          truer words have never been written … i say this having a similar experience. the issue with trying to “play the game” back at a narcissist (imo) is that the narcissist/disordered character (N/DO) doesn’t FEEL anything back other than a rush to do more at you.

          i am in a never ending loop. Take any of the Dr Simon books and list out the tactics used by a N/DO and this is what I live with …
          – N/DO runs through tactics 1 – n
          – then when reaches nth tactic, starts back at #1

          I am exhausted mentally. Shattered socially. Disgusted by everyday society that does not SEE the behavior. I can’t even watch a movie where a character has those narcissistic traits. There is no humor/drama to be taken from the movie just a pain that people cannot and do not see the absolute harm and danger of these characters.

          My N/DO refused to respond to 4 emails requesting a needed signature. When a response came it was that the signature wasn’t needed. This negates the reality and fact that email #1 detailed WHY the signature was needed in a concise manner.

          1. “My N/DO refused to respond to 4 emails requesting a needed signature. When a response came it was that the signature wasn’t needed. This negates the reality and fact that email #1 detailed WHY the signature was needed in a concise manner.”

            His gloating need was met after 4 emails. Sounds like you changed the content of email in each mail, till he could forget #1 and reply to #4 saying that signature is not needed. If might have been more effective if you had just repeated the exact same email again and again, a sort of broken-record playing exact same song. Not that it will work more effectively every single instance, but it is worth trying out.

            On lighter side: The day you get signature, you can be very confident that you can climb Everest if you set your mind to it.

      4. People that have these behaviors are no different than pre meditated murderers. Most likely spoiled as a youth or Not paid attention to as a young child. They are MASTERS at manipulation and they do not care who they hurt, even if it is their own Mother, Father or siblings. Remember that they are never wrong and they are never responsible for their own behaviors or failures. It is always someone elses fault if they screw up. I live it daily with my youngest son and his girlfriend.

        1. John,

          True words. They’ve lost their soul. I don’t know how they got there, could be many reasons, but they are there and it seems like they will never go back to being a decent human being.

    2. I have been in a relationship with a man that portrays everything I have read about narcissism. It’s been two years and the first 2 months were great until he shut his emotions off from me completely. I didn’t know anything about this until I have been so emotionally abused especially recently. I see the article as ways of dealing with a narcissist but it doesn’t really paint a true picture of how evil and manipulative these people can be. There must be different levels on how people act with this disorder but if anyone has any advice for me that would be great. We just moved into an apartment far from my work and family for his job. And I feel trapped. I love him but I’m not sure how I possibly could considering he has been making me cry multiple times a day for the whole month we have been living here. Constantly blaming me for everything going on in his life that’s not positive. Calling me horrible names, slut, drunk, idiot, stupid, fucking bitch, shut your fucking mouth, calling me controlling and manipulative. This is all while I’m on the floor crying because I don’t understand what I did. I have given him all my money pretty much because he has manipulated me into feeling like I’ve had to provide and help him because his family lives in another country. I gave him about 10000 for his new car and clothes, food , and paid for his flight to visit his parents. Always promised to pay me back but never does. And then tells me he takes me out to eat enough for him to pay me back when I always have to pay for my own meal and drinks when we go out. I’m 27 and he is 24 and Moroccan. I have about a 6 ounce glass of wine with dinner 2 times a week and I get called an alcoholic. He constantly tells me to leave him alone. He won’t talk to me about fixing this relationship. He says he won’t change until I am the person he first met 2 years ago. He constantly is accusing me of cheating on him or talking to someone else because I’m always telling him how sad I am in this relationship. He has started sleeping on the couch. He refuses to speak to me and always has an excuse not to talk about what is going on. He tells me that it’s all me. That its my fault. That its all in my head and I’m an emotional wreck and crazy. And then when I’m crying and upset he tells me this is why o don’t want to touch you anymore. I’m so hurt. I don’t know what to do anymore.

      1. Anonymous,
        There certainly are some serious red flags like, getting called alcoholic, money, etc. I do not know, but you just may be too emotional to think through things straight. Maybe you should share things with a trusted and good friend to put things in perspective. Share things with a friend who calls a spade a spade, and who does not find excuses (maybe he is under pressure or likes) for bad behavior. One thing I would suggest is that you decide quickly, to stay in or move out. If you do move out, move out quickly before kids get involved. Spend some time on this blog, read around even if your immediate problem “seems” to have been resolved. Whatever happens in your current relationship, you need some permanent resolution, like learn to avoid problem people, and learn to deal with those problem people that you cannot avoid.

        1. Hi Anonymous,

          These are words of wisdom from Andy.

          Even if you get up tomorrow and feel better and there is calm – don’t be fooled.

          Keep reading. Learn as much as you can as fast as you can. Knowledge is power.

          Protect yourself.

          There are too many red flags in your story.

          1. Hi Anonymous,

            I read your post and my heart goes out to you. This is very serious behavior and it is wrong. It seems you are in dire lack of support. A person that cares for another does not treat someone this way. It is very unhealthy and sick.

            The above posters gave you good advise and yes stay posting on this site read as much as you can and feel free to post comments anytime you need to. It sounds like your very alone in this. This is a great community of supportive people and you can post here anytime. You are not alone all of us have been hurt by these kinds of people.

            I would highly suggest going to the nearest Woman’s Resource Center. They offer a lot “resources” such as support groups, one one one counseling and if you needed a place to stay they have safe houses.

            No one deserves to be treated like this, this is so sad, situations like this only escalate. You are still young and have your whole life in front of you. Put all your time and effort into yourself, learn to take care of yourself and love you first, not someone that will only hurt you and is incapable of love.

            Go back to your family if you have to, and whatever, you do DO NOT GET PREGNANT! Surround yourself with people that treat you with dignity and respect! If you decide to keep posting I can guarantee you will be treated so differently than you are now. What is going on now will only get worse. Whatever, you do not threaten him that you will leave, don’t fight or argue with him just plan your strategy to get out. DO NOT TELL HIM ANYTHING. Leave and go NO CONTACT. The last word is NO WORDS.

            I would encourage you to read through all the Topics and read the stories that are like your and educate yourself. Strengthen yourself with knowledge, but don’t tell him that.

            The kind of person you are describing is heartless and only cares about himself. He is nice until he gets what he wants and then reverts to his twisted sick self. Its a repeating cycle of lunacy.

            Take what you can and learn from it and decide you will never let this happen again. Rise up and be the best you can be and believe me you will attract good people.

            My prayers and thoughts are with you and I truly hope you can find the strength to take care of yourself and leave. God be with you.

  2. I think we need a campaign in this country (USA) to bring good character back in vogue. Dr. Simon, you would be the perfect person to head it up. I’m sure you can get a lot of volunteers to spread the word.

    1. Thank you, Noel. In fact, largely because of the blog readers, book buyers, and an incredible degree of positive word-of-mouth about my work, I’m carrying the message through all sorts of new venues, including the Character Matters broadcast, a newspaper column (a debut column starts in 2 weeks for a small regional newspaper as a “pilot” for a possible future syndicate) and other venues. Slowly, surely, over time, and with continued word-of-mouth, and a combination of workshops, media appearances, etc., we’re going to make the case for how much character matters and how so many of our social and even economic problems can be solved when we make the commitment to tackle this issue head-on. I’m so proud to have the “army” I already have. But it needs to grow!

      1. dr simon. right on.
        So long coming.
        After all manner of glorifying schemy characters.
        And praising the imoral.
        This is not about religion.

        I always thought.
        We should have mandatory dance classes in our primary schools.
        Show young boys and girls the joy of treating each other well.

        To know how it feels.
        For someone to like you.

        Then may be we can arrest all these low self esteems that seem to
        be the source of these madness.

  3. Dr Simon, I’m reposting a question here.

    You’ve said that when folks tend to see a little neurosis in a significantly character disturbed person and assume that person is more like them than really is.

    Back then, in reply to the article http://www.drgeorgesimon.com/conscience-development-in-the-aggressive-character/#comments

    I posted this comment:

    “Aren’t there some people, who actually see themselves as messengers of a higher power, don’t merely profess but actually believe in their cause, and commit horrid actions while justifying them as service to their higher power, the old “ends justify the means”? I’m not talking about covert aggressors, who profess loudly, but in their hearts are all out for themselves, first and foremost(EDIT: although these true believers can be covert aggressors or have significant covert aggressive traits). I’m talking about fanatics, who actually think of themselves as servants of a higher authority and think they do right, even if it’s the vilest act imaginable.

    How is this to be interpreted? Is it explainable by the neurotic-CD -continuum? Can it be a matter of different blends of personality types and clustering of different personality traits? Is fanaticism like this a matter of buying into an extreme, irrational belief system to which an individual is attracted because of pre-existing twisted world of thinking or because of which an individual’s thinking becomes more distorted as time goes on(EDIT: In a similar way to indoctrination processes)? Is it a matter of lying to oneself, so this supposed “submission” is, in this kind of case, actually [allowing] oneself to feel self-righteous without needing to care about “useless moral issues”? Can it simply be that they have invested into some self-created lie so much they’ve started to believe it themselves?”

    I don’t know how long the answers to these questions would be. Would you handle these, too, in your upcoming book? If people are prone to assuming traditionally, so to speak, then a trap’s as easy to fall into, if there’s some actual neurosis. I don’t know how easy it is to ignore character issues and for how many people and thus I do think addressing what I’ve presented here is important as well.

    1. Also, even though hurtful aggression, evil, is about defiance of higher power, what if someone actually thinks they serve a higher power(when in fact they don’t)? I think that can confuse some people.

      1. Yes J, the movie Seven, the TV show Dexter, Hitler, all examples of what you are saying I think. I’m sure there were things about me and the way he interpreted me (accurate or not) that server as some kind of self justification to treat me the way he did. I don’t know and never will. I’m sure he and his minions have a list of things real and imagined, true and false, accurate and falsified by him that in their minds condone what he did. I know better and the people who truly know me, based on years of knowing me and not just some small snapshot of who “I am” in HIS mind, know the truth and I did not deserve, in any way shape or form, what he did. He himself said countless times that I was a good person so if i was so terrible that he felt justified in trashing my mind and heart in the way he did then he was liying when he said he thought I was a wonderful person. These are the kinds of things that twist the victims minds and sense of themselves and reality in general. That’s why they call it mf’ing someone. It is covert and insidious torture and emotional and psychological rape.

  4. Puddle, I’ve noticed we move on different levels in these conversations. I’m more speculative about details, theorizing about different dynamics can mingle and play out, like a student of psychology. So are you, in a sense, what I see, and you take your own experiences(which, make no mistake, I think is okay).

    If someone believes that higher power justifies anything, then they aren’t truly submitting, if I’m correct. That’s not being guided by higher power. I’ve mentioned Robert Moore’s book Facing the Dragon and at one point it calls this ego-spirituality.

    Then again, I guess someone can lie to themselves they are about serving a higher power when in fact they are on an unbridled quest of aggression.

    1. J, i’m sure we are traveling down the same road, maybe in different vehicles going different directions but still on the same road! LOL!
      I guess I can only speak of these things in relationship to my own experience and the experiences of others I’ve met who have been through the same thing. It’s not that I don’t think about things from a theoretical point, it’s just that for me it goes around and around in my mind unless it’s connected to my own experience. Not sure if that makes sense or not. I am not a very abstract thinker I guess, if that is the right term. I’m a hands on learner so I tend to take things back to something I have already experienced to see if it plugs in.
      You ask good questions, but I don’t know the answers because in my own experience, the motivation, the truth, is his and only his to know. It may be my undoing because I WANT to know why. WHY would you do what he did and not at least tell the person why you did it to them? Punishment? for what? pay back? for what? Teach me a lesson? What was it? I can tell you this, he did me no good what so ever and I’m 99% sure that his intention was not benevolent!! What did I learn from HIM? That he is the biggest zero loser I’ve ever had the misfortune to “””know”””.

    2. That makes sense, absolutely.

      Now, I haven’t been drained by a psychopath, but I’ve had experience on the wrong end of subtle harassment, subtle seemingly innocent comments when another party wants to feel extra-potent at your expense. I definitely believed my intuition.

    3. You see, some, metaphorically speaking, devour others. Either that makes the taste even more appealing or they vomit it all out and keep on doing what they do. Then it’s the same repeated over again.

      1. Yes J, that’s a good analogy. I don’t think they linger long in contemplation about what they have done, just how they could have done it better and how they will do it better in the future. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was to me to have other people tell me what their impression of him is. Granted it was after the majority of the damage was done but better late than never. Some people have a very keen sense about other people and I am usually one of those people which is another reason I KNOW that there was something different about this/ him.
        At this stage of the game I’m sure he has grown all to fond of the taste to give it up even if he wanted to……it’s all he knows. I hope the word gets out about these people but I also know that it’s something a person who hasn’t been through it more than likely will not go searching for and even if they do come across it, it’s not going to seem real until it’s experienced. I know this because of the people I’ve talked to who don’t get it. It’s not that they are dismissive exactly but like I’ve said before…….you can tell someone what the word “hot” means in as many descriptive words as you can but until they actually burn their hand, they just won’t understand. Most people here have touched the flame and have third degree burns to prove it.

  5. Also, Dr Simon, in the comments of that link I just gave, you also mention there are some, who fall prey to delusion despite never having invited it. Would you elaborate on this?

    1. What I was referring to there are those folks who, through no fault of their own, suffer from a true delusional disorder, the pure product of abnormal biochemistry, and not the result of either dysfunctional personality dynamics or habitual lying to oneself. Such folks can believe in their divine mission with delusional conviction and not have any other self-constructed hidden agendas, and sometimes these folks do great harm, though not intentionally.

  6. Hello all — I believe there are other factors at work in these cases. Because I’m approaching from a slightly different angle, perhaps the following information hasn’t been seen by some of you. Most of these were found on sciencedaily.com, which is a science news aggregator covering world – wide sources. The easiest way to find these is to go to sciencedaily.com, use their search function, look for narcissistic personality disorder. There are a great many other articles besides the ones I mention below. Or click on the “Mind-brain” menu and see what there might be of particular interest to you. Each article gives information as to where you can find more information.

    1. “Altered brain structure in pathological narcissism.” Posted June 19, 2013. Source: Charite – Universitatsmedeizin Berlin.
    2. “Narcissism impairs ethical judgment even among the highly religious, study finds.” Posted March 12, 2012. Source: Baylor University.
    3. Narcissistic heterosexual men target their hostility primarily at heterosexual women, the objects of their desires, study finds.” Posted July 29, 2010. Source: Springer.

    4. From wired.com, posted March 5, 2014, “How your season of birth is etched in your brain” by Christian Jarrett.

    There are a great many more articles than I have time to list. They discuss effects of various events on fetal brains — various foods, illness of mother, exposure of mother to air pollution during pregnancy, offspring of dads who are older at conception (aging sperm) are at higher risk of developing mental illnesses later in life, mother’s exposure to excess UV light may destroy folate in her diet (this one was of particular interest to me since I have spina bifida occulta–I’m very very lucky that I’m not in a wheelchair), I simply don’t have the time to list all these articles. I would encourage your exploration of this wonderful source of information.

    Best wishes to all.

    1. Elva, Here’s an interesting fact as well………….alcoholics brains change from drinking and they change in a way that creates the same issues that are present in psychopaths to varying degrees. I wish I could remember where I saw this but I do remember it being a reliable source. Addicts are notoriously self centered and care little about how their behavior affects others. sounds familiar.

      1. also Elva, this has been known for quite a while……about their brain structures and anomalies, also shared with autism/aspergers, FASD, but Aspergers, FASD doesn’t meant no empathy automatically where pPaths/ pathological narcism does. I’ve also read and Dr. Simon has said that they CAN feel a certain degree of empathy….when it suits them. I don’t know if I’m wording any of this well……feel free to correct me!

        1. Hi Puddle — my personal experience with NPDs is that yes, they can mimic empathy when it suits them, but they will usually quickly revert to their customary behaviour. “By their fruits shall ye know them.” However, since my experience is rather limited in this area, because as soon as I identify a NPD person or customer, I avoid said person, or get rid of a customer (some down sides to owning my own business, but it is a HUGE plus that I can simply say “You need to find another seamstress” and show them out. Then I call the other seamstresses in town (we are friends, and refer customers to each other) and tell them that customer (name, and phone #, plus any details about transaction) so that if customer shows up on their doorstep, they are at least forewarned. While I suspect I am borderline Asperger’s syndrome, I do feel empathy for friends and customers. And I continue to tell people about Dr. Simon’s books.

          1. I too have had my taste of dating a NPD . I have watched my life spiral out of control downward. It started January 2013. I since have lost my home my job; self respect my money; pretty much everything. He takes pleasure in my pain. It’s all I can do to keep my head up. My heart is shredded my life in shambles and scared I might not make it out alive or even in a straight jacket. He. Is a vortex of lies and manipulating actions. Everything he does has a manipulative under tone. He lies to my face; has no remorse; answers questions with questions. He acts puzzled when he is confronted. In almost 3 yrs never bought me one present. When I cried and told him I didnt understand he got me a present this yr on my birthday It was “used tires” for my truck . Not 4 but 2 . I have blown through 60,000 dollars in two 1/2 yrs. Never a thank you. He is soul les void of any emotional support or feelings of loyalty. My suggestion is RUN RUN RUN they eat normal people for breakfast.

  7. I am not sure that I understand why we shouldn’t feel a bit sorry for narcissists. These are people who have empathy deficits. I used to have nothing but contempt for them, but now I’m starting to pity them. I am so thankful to be a strong, empathetic Christian rather than a weak individual who has been manipulated by the current diseased culture into thinking and conducting myself in a morally repugnant way. I agreee that we need to try to change this culture. And that in the meantime, we need to be aware of the dangers of narcissists and protect ourselves from them.

    1. Shar,,,,,,because they are predators and manipulators. You don’t have to feel empathy to not do things that you know are wrong. They know enough about wrong and right to hold others to a level of accountability that they themselves do not adhere to. I don’t pity anyone who is unwilling to be accountable for their own sins while at the same time acting as judge, jury and executioner for mine. I could write a post a mile long about that!

      1. I respect your point of view completely, Puddle. I certainly don’t think we ‘owe’ them anything. But if someone lacks empathy, why else would they care what you or I think is “right and wrong?”

        I hope my posts don’t upset you or anyone, btw. I’m not trying to be disrespectful or antagonistic in a forum where people have been very seriously devastated by narcissists. And I have tremendous respect for Dr. Simon’s work.

        Just honestly sharing my thoughts…

        1. Not upsetting to me Shar and your questions are good ones and common ones and ones I’ve asked myself.
          ” But if someone lacks empathy, why else would they care what you or I think is “right and wrong?””
          Caring about what you think is not empathy. Sometimes someone wants to know what someone thinks in order to give themselves another perspective to consider something through, another view point that maybe they were unaware of,,,,,,,,,seeking council from someone wiser and more experienced than they are. With a true CA, they might do this is some situations but when it comes to someone they are out to use, abuse, exploit and demolish, for their own gain (what ever that may be), they only care what you think in order to exploit you better. It is valuable information to them. When you tell them what is important to you, what hurts you, what you like, dislike, etc…..it draws another line on the map to the places and parts of you that are soft targets. They only care about their own views of right and wrong and stand above reproach in their own minds…….despite their “egregiously poor” performance in life. They always have an excuse and if it’s not you going into the situation it will be you coming out of it.
          I’ve been reading just about everything i can about this for over a year now and asked the same question many times, that question and more. Every question imaginable and still do. Why? Because it doesn’t make sense,,,,,,,they don’t make sense,,,,,they are square pegs that the average person is trying to fit into the round hole of their own perspectives and values. It’s like contemplating the universe………so compelling to want to understand but basically unfathomable in it’s totality and to really understand it you would have to actually be inside their heads.

          “I hope my posts don’t upset you or anyone, btw. I’m not trying to be disrespectful or antagonistic in a forum where people have been very seriously devastated by narcissists. And I have tremendous respect for Dr. Simon’s work.
          Just honestly sharing my thoughts…”

          That is very thoughtful Shar and no disrespect was noticed by me. Thank you for your posts and yes………Dr. Simon’s work is an invaluable tool, a life saver to me and to many. He is our champion and stands as an example of what real men with good character do with their lives.

          1. Your comment is awaiting moderation.
            Shar…….read about Israel Keyes and then ask yourself how much pity for him and his mis-wired brain you can muster. I just watched a show about this guy and it was the most frightening thing I’ve ever seen, mostly because he came across as normal to just about EVERYone who knew him. Friends, family, co-workers, etc, etc, etc.

            http://israelkeyes.blogspot.com

          2. Sorry- I missed your post here, Puddle. People like this are very chilling, indeed. Trust me, I have watched a LOT of Investigation Discovery. I think you are not understanding or believing me that I felt exactly like you up until 3-6 months ago. I was never a fan of ‘bad childhood’ excuses, the ‘insanity defense,’ Christian prison ministries, the Oprah forgiveness movement, etc.

            The more heinous the act, the more likely it seems to me that a person’s brain is probably miswired, or suffering from some sort of deficit. It’s not about it being a forgivable act. It’s about feeling a bit sorry for a human being who is completely missing out on that faith-God connection, as Dr. Simon talks about in The Judas Syndrome. I have been referring to it as an empathy deficit. Dr. Simon makes a good argument that God has equipped us all with the capacity for empathy… that what ‘bad people’ have is a spiritual deficit.

          3. Shar, I personally believe that they don’t have empathy because they have CHOSEN to turn their back on it due to their entitled belief that they are right not to. With empathy comes responsibility to yourself and others, they have neither.
            The brain mis-wiring is probably true…..I don’t doubt that a bit but the reason in my opinion does not paint them as a victim of some freak occurrence of nature. So if your arm or leg in in a cast and immobilized for a while, the muscles atrophy. The same is true of the brain……They have shown this in studies about neuroplasticity. In other words, if a person starts PRACTICING empathy, turning their back on their own selfish desires, etc, etc, etc, I believe their brains can start making the connections to feel things that they may never have felt before. My opinion and probably not very well worded. with these people however, they don’t want to. There is no reward in doing so because they are just fine with the way they are.
            I remember Spathtardx telling me one time, in regards to “making me happy”, this……”I know it would benefit me more than likely”. Me, meaning him. Another one of those weird things he said that put my mind into some bizarre state of confused numbness. What a mess to try to explain.
            I do believe that the bad childhood is a reason in most cases but not an excuse. I think that because of something, some condition that existed during the formative years, the brain atrophied or stopped making the connections in the area we are referring to. It’s pretty clear to me in Spathtard’s case that more then likely it is a combination of nature and nurture that set the stage……BUT, i don’t believe he is/was held captive by that and no matter what, the still has the power to choose.

          4. Puddle, I love your deep discussion on neuroplasticity and empathy, because I am very interesting in those things, too (for reasons even too personal to share here). I know from my own personal life experience that it is easy for outsiders to judge what they think we should be capable of. If you’ve ever had an ‘invisible’ health concern, you would know well what I mean. It seems all too easy, in my opinion, to judge what someone else SHOULD be capable of, with their limited neuro connections and varied intelligence, inborn temperment, trauma history, moral upbringing, impulse control (which can even be tied to diet – and is likely not understood by that person). It’s convenient for us to isolate one common factor like ‘Hey, well I had an absent father too and you don’t see me mistreating women.’
            I understand completely though how maddening it is to feel like people are capable of choosing light over darkness….and that we all have our crosses to bear, our issues to work through, and our own desires and impulses….and at the end of the day, if you choose to treat others poorly and make no effort towards self improvement like the rest of us, you deserve nothing.

          5. Shar,,,,,,it’s HUGE isn’t it?? We are all such complex individuals. I do have an invisible “disability and it’s only recently been diagnosed so I have spent my whole life being judged and judging myself with this important factor not put into the equation. There are SO many things that can go wrong and right in a persons life from start to finish that COULD set the stage for bad character development. I know that when I was still drinking my halo wasn’t exactly gleaming! But I also know that my intentions were not anything even comparable to what his character strength (lack of) allows him to do without compunction!
            I might have an empathy deficit myself actually……It’s something I really struggle to understand…..just the real meaning of the word and it’s manifestation in a person I guess. I know I make choices to the best of my ability to do the right thing though. I try to keep other peoples perspectives in mind and to consider them in the equation of a choice and I feel badly when I don’t accomplish that.
            It’s their intention to knowingly use and abuse others. This is the type my comments are directed towards. As Dr. Simon says, there is a continuum here and they come in all sizes, shapes and degrees. Spathtardx is at the bottom of the pile. I think that my comments might be hard to plug into for some people who possibly have been dealing with a different “type”.

          6. I think part of the problem for me is that the narcissistic character still has some capacity to choose how they will act, as well as to whom. The narcissist in my life can appear very charming to some (some will quickly work her out and she knows so will avoid), will demonstrate a degree of compassion and empathy to many on the outside who will consider her to be a wonderful person BUT for those that really know her, she will act completely different. Two faced (or even three faced) characters will more generally struggle in gaining sympathy from others. Not to mention the lies, deceit, manipulation, threats, intimidation, mockery, ridicule, etc etc…..that will generally go alongside that kind of narcissistic behaviour.

    2. I don’t feel pity for the mosquito biting my arm, I smash it. I wouldn’t feel pity for a vicious dog that bit my child, I would have it distorted so it could never bite another child. With a dog you can do that, the law even steps in to make sure that animal never injures another person/ child again. With a covert manipulator and abuser, you have no such option. I would never feel pity for someone who brings devastation, pain, trauma, etc, etc, etc, into the lives of others intentionally, with no remorse, to serve their own agenda.

      1. I actually feel bad when I smash a bug. The mosquito is just doing what it is wired to do to survive. I wish they didn’t exist (because it’s inconvenient for me) and I do smash them. But I also feel guilty for aggressively killing a weaker, more vulnerable species for inconveniencing me when it is simply trying to survive.

        The vicious dog may have been abused, or have lacked adequate nurturing or training. Or, it may have been born with a bad temperment. Or maybe it is a dog that had everything going for it, and it just wants to prove its dominance (a dog with bad character, lol). In any case, I totally agree that a dog like that may need to be put down (worst case). But I still feel a bit sorry for the dog. I’m sure it would have been a happier dog if it were well-adjusted and loving… for whatever reason, it’s not.

        I tend to think that there is something very defective about a person who intentionally brings pain and destruction into the lives of others. They may not be damaged from childhood (I have read Dr. Simon’s books!) But they may have a relative empathy deficit due to genetics or perhaps immaturity or ignorance? However, even calling these people ‘defective’ is very subjective. On a spiritual level, if God made them, can they be considered defective? Why do we expect all humans to be equally empathetic – or meet a certain baseline. Perhaps ’emapathy diversity’ is an unfortunate reality of the human condition. (And animals, too, for that matter.)

        Please understand that I have really always despised selfish people who hurt others. I’m not saying we should give their destructive behavior a pass. But something is lacking in these people compared to the rest of us. Whatever it is, I pity them (quietly). And I protect myself.

        1. Shar, I know what you mean about the mosquitoes! There is a part of me that feels bad about squashing them too and to be honest, I catch and release most any bug i find in my house. A mosquito does not have a choice. It is not plotting and planning on distorting you when it bites you. It’s not biting you because it finds it entertaining, amusing,,,,,,,,it’s not biting you because it thinks you deserve it…….it is biting you to survive. There is nothing that these monsters do that is connected with their survival and they do have the ability to choose. They might not understand right and wrong in the same way you do but they know what it is. How many of them have walked into get help ON THEIR OWN ACCORD because they know what they are doing is hurtful to other people?
          No, a lack of empathy does not at all explain what they do. They do it because they WANT to, not because they HAVE to. they know exactly what and why they are doing what they do and think that they have the right to.
          Some are damaged from genetics, some from childhood, etc. etc. etc……So am I. I have a laundry list of reason I could be a monster and while i do have my issues and my shortcomings, I know right from wrong and choose to do right.
          It’s their intention Shar……their intention to harm others and their belief that they are entitled to do so, that is the dividing line not their lack of empathy. A lack of empathy does not a monster make.
          Honestly I don’t care why they are what they are at this point. I think they need removed from the gene pool,,,,,,,,I wish EVERYONE knew about them and they had to wear a scarlet letter S on their forehead so they can’t bread and reproduce because it is people ignorance of who and what they are that allows them to do what they do.
          They are not vicious dogs that have no ability to think and act differently and can only REact to the abuse or temperament they have been dealt. They are humans with minds, most of them extremely intelligent.

          1. LOL…..Not bread (breed)
            distorting (destroying)

            Sorry if I’m not being clear enough this morning! I’m a little pressed for time. 🙂

          2. Puddle, I agree that we don’t need to try to ‘figure out why’ they choose to hurt people – they simply don’t care. I am contemplating your point of view about empathy and entitlement. In my opinion, an entitlement attitude is very indicative of a lack of empathy for others. There’s no consideration for others because there’s a lack of empathy. As you mentioned, they can be highly intelligent. So it’s not that they are incapable of considering the feelings of others. They don’t because they have an empathy deficit (in my opinion). I’m not talking about a deep understanding and compassion for others… I mean, not even a basic respect for the feelings/rights/lives of others. They chronically demonstrate that they lack this.

            Have you ever tried to imagine what it would be like to be one of those people? To know that society says you ‘should’ care about others and not be so self-interested, but you just don’t? I have actually run across posts of people who seem to know that there is something deeply wrong with them. I think that there may be an empathy spectrum. I have come to realize that MANY people feign empathy to a degree. I guess I see your point now – many people avoid hurting others out of feigned empathy. Maybe it’s just that they don’t want to look or feel like bad people, even if they don’t REALLY care.

          3. Shar, Being self interested is not the problem. I had an ex boyfriend who was extremely self interested and ambitious, etc. My own father really isn’t exactly what I would call an empathetic man, he’s pretty self centered, self focused, etc but they are not NOT a monster out to get what they can from the people they target. They are both “good people”. My dad is a hard one to describe, emotionally stunted? He was adopted, this adopted father died when he was quite young and his adopted mother was not exactly the warm fuzzy type. So for example, I have never heard him say “I love you” to anyone, not me, my brother, my mother……there is something pretty major going on there but is he a monster? No way. He is extremely intelligent, yet he seemingly adopted some good values and has lived a clean life.
            Also, there are people who have a certain degree of an entitlement issue but are not destructive towards other people. What is it when you go 10 mph over the speed limit? I do it all the time. I suppose I must feel entitled to violate that law? Yes, I know the sign says 50 but I feel like going 60, so I will!
            The thing is, I believe empathy and compassion CAN be developed. There are stories in history of people who have done pretty significant 180 changes. They don’t want to because it suits them just fine….
            There are so many variations on the theme here. So many different backgrounds that at some point it becomes almost impossible to say why they are what they are and why they choose to stay that way but I don’t feel sorry for them Shar, I don’t pity them one bit. I think they are pathetic excuses but i don’t pity them. Not after what I’ve been through. If someone broke in my home and forcefully raped me, the last thing in the world I would do is pity them and he did rape me…….on more levels than if he would have broke in my home and forcefully raped me. What he did was vile and heinous assault to my mind, body, heart, dignity…….he didn’t leave one box unchecked. He deceived me, manipulated me and then destroyed me……like someone luring a stray puppy to their door step and then kicking it in the face. Over a year ago and I still can’t stomach the whole reality of it.
            And they are capable of treating people “”kindly””…….when it suits them and benefits them or doesn’t impinge on them.

            ” I have come to realize that MANY people feign empathy to a degree. I guess I see your point now – many people avoid hurting others out of feigned empathy. Maybe it’s just that they don’t want to look or feel like bad people, even if they don’t REALLY care.”

            Again, you don’t have to have empathy to CHOOSE to not hurt and exploit other people. Do I have empathy? Maybe not sometimes…….I don’t know. if someone is threatening someone I care about and feel protective towards I wouldn’t let empathy get in the way of getting them out of the picture so they don’t hurt my family member. I wouldn’t physically hurt them but i would make sure they were out of the picture as soon as possible. I actually had to do this with a “caretaker” of my parents. I felt ZERO empathy for her and still don’t….

            Sorry if my post is a little disjointed……I feel a little bit like that today!

          4. Puddle, I’m so sorry that this happened to you. I can’t say that I’ve experienced that degree of trauma from one individual (but trust me, I’ve had more than my fair share of pain). Like I said, I completely respect your point of view. This is such a complex subject (in my opinion). It was very interesting reading your thoughts – thanks for sharing. 🙂

          5. Shar, thank you! It’s all so hard to put into words in this format! It is so complex and your questions are understandable. No one who hasn’t had their eyes open to the devastating things these monsters can do to another person will never understand. It’s crazy that even having been through this I still don’t understand, not really, it leaves so many huge questions unanswerable. maddening.

        2. I’d like to chime in on this discussion, if I may, especially because the issues you and Elva have been discussing are exactly the reason I felt compelled to write The Judas Syndrome. None of us can help what attributes were conferred on us by birth. Nor can we take responsibility for any environmental factors that traumatized and otherwise damaged our early growth and development. But we can not only overcome but also rise above our innate and environmentally-induced deficiencies, and by taking the leap of faith, be truly saved from the prison that can otherwise perpetually enslave our spirit. We’re all “defective” in that we fall short of what we have the potential to be. But unlike the bugs and lower creatures who act according to program, we alone can choose to embrace and serve the love that frees us. But as all of life teaches us, this simple truth is far easier said than done. Real faith is a most daring leap!

          1. Thank you for mentioning this book, Dr. Simon. I’m very much looking forward to reading it. I have thought about this subject deeply – it’s very troubling and confusing. And sadly in the current culture it seems almost taboo to even mention, let alone discuss. So I feel very alone in thinking about it (my husband ponders these things with me to an extent, but not quite as deeply). I have your other two books. I have so much respect for your work.

        3. I disagree that some people who hurt people don’t care. Some people will hurt people with intent.

          Wish I had the link but a neuroscience article described a study measuring some pleasure area of the brain and discovered some people have that area light up much, much more that other people when they witness people or something suffer.

          It’s sick but it happens. And moving from “they hurt people because they don’t care if the person hurts” to “some people will hurt others because it gives them some sort of high” made the whole agressive/neurotic continuum click into place more. It also helped in some of these fine line questions, suck as a political leader can be aggressive in seeking office but be more empathetic than another politician who is aggressive in seeking office but apathetic about how well they execute the job once in office.

          1. I’m not understanding your comment Claire. Did I misread something?

            “I disagree that some people who hurt people don’t care. Some people will hurt people with intent.
            Wish I had the link but a neuroscience article described a study measuring some pleasure area of the brain and discovered some people have that area light up much, much more that other people when they witness people or something suffer.”

            I’m not understanding the first sentence. Are you saying that there aren’t people who don’t care if they hurt people??

          2. I agree completely with your comment Claire. What concerns me most is that some (if not all) narcissists will actually target those to whom have planned to direct their ire, their bile, their nastiness, their general nastiness. This seems to me to be a completely different kettle of fish than simply pro scribing their actions as “unfortunately the result of lacking empathy”. Their actions become far more insidious and destructive. I would previously explain the actions of my wife as someone who was a bit thoughtless in her speech and actions, until I understood the patterns and attitudes. It was only then I realised she actually got a sick sense of pleasure from doing things to people that she knew was painful for them. And then when challenged, she would explain why she would not stop and how much it was the fault of the insignificant other why they deserved the particular act of mistreatment.

          3. Hi Danny,,,,, again,,,,, it’s their intention to do harm, their knowledge that they are doing harm and there utter disregard for the harm they cause others. They are not innocently held captive by this lack of empathy. You don’t have to have empathy to not destroy another human being.
            I’m afraid I still don’t understand Clair’s first sentence of the comment. I keep rereading it and I’m not clear what it means. :-/

          4. Hi Puddle. I read Claire’s opening line as effectively saying ‘it is not that those who hurt do not care – it is that they care enough to WANT to hurt’. In other words, they are careful in targeting their victim and getting a pleasure from seeing them suffer. To me, that is NOT a matter of not caring.
            I could of course be wrong. Sorry in advance if I have caused confusion.

          5. Yes, that is a good way to put it. They care only to prolong their personal and selfish agenda, which matters most. The needs and/or consideration for anyone or everyone else? Well they can go to hell…..

    3. Unfortunately, people who have never been infected by one of these monsters don’t have the ability to understand the necessity of educating yourself in order to protect yourself against them. Even the people who have been through the Hell that these losers created in their lives have a hard time wrapping their heads around it.

      1. Shar — I too am a Christian. I believe that God gave me my particular gifts so that I could help other people along life’s way. I start every single day of my life with prayer, both in thanksgiving for all the blessings I have been given, in asking for God’s care for various people on my day’s list, and in asking for guidance in my day’s work. When I occasionally feel I must take some person to task, I spend much more time in prayer,and I also ask various professionals among my customers (psychiatrists, psychologists, licensed clinical workers) for their input and counsel on my problem. In doing this I am following Biblical injunctions to seek counsel of wise men.

        If you will go back up to the top of the current posting, where Dr. Simon discusses some information currently found on the web, such as “Try to have compassion [pity] for these poor souls…” — he explains why this is a bad idea. In Dr. Martha Stout’s book “The sociopath next door,” she discusses at length, particularly in chapter 6, exactly why these people WANT your pity, because then you are so much easier to manipulate. I personally have come to realize that when someone I have just met starts in with a pity party, watch out! Everyone I know, without exception, has gone through some difficult times in their lives. But if they are of good character, they don’t parade it so you can feel sorry for them.

        Every person on earth is given many choices in life. Each choice we make carries consequences with it. Narcissists don’t care if their choices hurt someone else — that hurt may be just what they ENJOY seeing happen.

        When I first found Dr. Simon’s work, it was because I was at the time dealing with a difficult customer. I found the chapter excerpted from In Sheep’s Clothing and realized that it described this particular customer right down the line, including her attempts to “guilt trip” me when I had done NOTHING to feel guilty about.

        Having experienced much pain from covert aggressive and narcissistic persons, I am willing to pity them ONLY FROM A DISTANCE. I will also mention here that 2 of these difficult people have been ministers of the gospel — one website I ran across while researching NPD stated that those with NPD were very likely to seek positions in the ministry and/or with charitable non-profit organizations because, once installed, they can be “the voice of God,” and can manipulate people at will. I have sought counsel from people, such as Dr. Simon and Dr. Stout, to whom God has given wisdom and insight into these sick characters. Since they tell me that pity is not warranted for these people, and since I have found in my own experience that keeping my distance is best for me, I will continue to stay away, and I will continue to advise others who come into contact with such people to keep their distance. I do help people when I can, BUT, I am NOT a trained or qualified therapist and I consider that putting myself in danger (when it is very doubtful I could help)would only severely diminish the real help I can give to other people. When in doubt, I always ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit, and that guidance always comes. I can only guess from your comment that you have never been victimized by one of these sick characters. I have been victimized and it has been a life-long struggle to survive and to be the person I believe God wants me to be. I wish you well in your search for information, but please be cautious. The moth that gets too close to the flame usually dies.

    4. i don’t think it matters.
      If you understand narcissism then you try and extricate yourself and go and live that life that always belonged to you.
      In that life a narcissist features no where. So to pity or or not, according to me, is neither here nor there.

      Just to understand.
      Then move on to your god-given life and destiny

  8. Hi Elva,

    I agree with you about keeping your distance. That’s the kind of ‘pity’ I am talking about. I would never tell them!

    But like you said, they are ‘sick characters.’ Something is wrong with them, to enjoy deceiving or hurting others.

    I am glad I am not one of those people. I feel a bit sorry for them (I do mean JUST a bit). I have walked through many years of pain and healing to get to this place.

    At the same time, I passionately want the world to open their eyes to the narcissists all around us, especially in positions of power. We all need to learn to recognize them and protect ourselves from them.

  9. There are so many column ideas/topics I hope you write about! I know that first you’ll have to do a wave or set of columns to introduce this concept to the public.

    It’s helpful to have a more cohesive concept system (aggressiveness vs. neuroticism) and more concise vocabulary with which to discuss these types on sites like this.

    My last try at personal therapy brought me some initial results, but I grew so frustrated trying to describe my PD mother and why I should stay away from her. The therapist understood this at a fuzzy level, but when the economy crashed he recommended I go to her for help. This is when I struggled to explain to both myself and my therapist why I didn’t think it was a good idea.

    My PD mother who I can now say concisely is “at war with the truth” wanted to “talk things over” with a therapist of her choosing. I saw trouble ahead because my PD mother discusses things and draws out discussion so long so that we forget what the discussion was about in the first place. This sounded benign to my personal therapist, like I was descirbing my mother as just a little spacey. No, she draws out discussions long enough to *position* herself.

    I kept saying to my personal therapist that I didn’t see how therapy with my PD mother’s therapist would help because, as I told my therapist, my PD mother “has no intention of playing fair”. He just looked at me funny, as if trying to wrap his head around this concept. I said she lies, and he countered “how do you know that?” Maybe she was just mistaken. I said “past behavior is a strong predictor of future behavior” and again he squinted to take in this concept, as if he started to almost see my point but he countered with the CBT “that’s catastrophizing” and still, if a “therapist” was present while my PD mother and I talked, even though it was a therapist of my PD mother’s choosing, my personal therapist figured I was completely safe.

    I struggled myself and figured my personal therapist must know of something that happens in the training of therapists or the licensing standards that reassured him any professional therapist would have enough gumption to call out my PD mother’s lies.

    My personal therapist, on this one issue, was wrong, and my original hunches were correct. It’s a shame because the CBT concepts early on did help me with a lot of negative “tapes” I had in every day situations.

    1. Character vs. substance abuse

      This could be a topic for one of so many columns but: it just occurred to me the reason my personal therapist had a hard time grasping what I myself was struggling to nail down into the right words is: my PD mother had no financial problems and was not a substance abuser. In the “old paradigm”, if someone has a history of physical abuse, substance abuse, or a criminal record, then your complaints about the CA’s shenanigans were seen as “legitimate”. But if the person [now we know to call them a CA] was financially sound and had all their own ducks in a row, we had not a strong enough vocabulary to describe why one should avoid what we’d seen was a shady character. In those cases, under the *old paradigm*, the victim was seen as the crazy one when trying to describe what the CA was up to.

      Oddly, in getting out of the last trap my PD mother had drawn me into, I had to lean on and seek help from an acquaintance who had a substance abuse problem but a heart that strived to be of sound character.

      This person who also happened to be quite charismatic, and was a little manipulative, had what I could see on several occasions actual (physiological?) empathy that kept him from going over the line with people. This acquaintance wanted to indulge himself, which itself is a component of character, but stopped short of (intentionally) hurting people who did not deserve to be hurt. I met the person so shortly after my PD mother’s nuclear attack on my life that his mere charisma gave me pause, I had not yet come up with a taxonomy or system for differentiating between a CA or a charismatic friend who simply liked people. I still keep a safer distance from people but I had an opportunity to seek help from a person that I passed up because at the time I had no confidence in my ability to monitor a relationship day to day, to take a “trust is earned over time” approach; it was “all or nothing” up until that point and I ran and struggled and returned to the friend years later who sure enough, helped me solve a problem and find employment that I’d been unable to find when surrounded by more “toxic” and less “full-hearted” people of “support”.

      Obviously, base debauchery and ability to engage in delayed gratification is one component of personal character. But something I’d struggled with for three years with the “support” of toxic, positioning albeit sober friends and family to no avail was solved in four weeks with the help of a somewhat selfish, full-hearted person who loved his family and God who exercised enthusiasm for people and made a point to stay “upbeat” and talked often of giving off “positive energy” and truly meant it.

    2. Ugh! There is something so vexing about this that I cannot quite capture into words, but: while CBT was so helpful to me in correcting some negative “tapes” that worked against me and were inaccurate, what’s so regretful is the CBT therapist over-applied these techniques to things I already knew were not up for debate, one being that in times of trouble to stay as far away from my PD mother as possible.

      It would be great if CBT could come up with guardrails or checks in place so that CBT therapists do not commit gaslighting – guardrails such as “correct the client’s thought distortions but don’t distort the client’s correct perceptions and do not re-cast perceptions as distortions” and I don’t know how such a thing could be accomplished but it seems like it could.

      I guess any therapy client (or therapy patient) is already at a disadvantage having been gaslighted for years and years. But it seems like there is a way to do this.

      1. Recounting this stuff gets me in such a funk, what started out as a positive/constructive comment got me into a negative spiral, yuck, which I could just shake it off and end on an upbeat note of hope. Any suggestions? I’m also trying to let go of the past and move forward.

        1. Claire, Sorry to here you are in a funk…..it’s not surprising because the topic of these types is so triggering and hurtful. Do something extra nice for yourself and someone else. I hope you are feeling better soon!

  10. After being caught up in a seven and half year relationship with a narcissist, i found myself trying to manipulate him into a certain outcome. Its like fighting to have value or exist. I just recently cut contact once again. I find myself feeling much anger at the things he did to me and cost my family. He would alternate between sorrow and twisted blame that just blew my mind. Ive had to accept the apologies as lies and that he never truly cared about any of us. Feeling sorry for him and his upbringing really contributed to the length of time and effort i put into it as well as his manipulation and lies and my deep desire for a positive outcome so that everything i had invested wasnt in vain. Will the angry thoughts go away? We broke up two years ago but only recently stopped communicating.

    1. Michelle………..the anger is there for a reason and it’s to keep you away from him. Your words…..
      ” i found myself trying to manipulate him into a certain outcome. Its like fighting to have value or exist.”

      I never thought about it like that but it rings true for me. Thank you for putting words to it because one of the biggest struggles for me in this situation is finding words for the things I’m trying to express. I think that is one of the things that “kept me” in the relationshi*……..so much time and effort on my part was wasted on him in trying to fond words to convey what I wanted to say. All in vain because he knew what the problem was, it was not a matter of his not understanding or me not saying it right, he knew.

      “He would alternate between sorrow and twisted blame that just blew my mind. Ive had to accept the apologies as lies and that he never truly cared about any of us.”

      Again……your words are very on target with my experience.
      And again……

      ” Feeling sorry for him and his upbringing really contributed to the length of time and effort i put into it as well as his manipulation and lies and my deep desire for a positive outcome so that everything i had invested wasnt in vain.”

      Michelle…….No Contact is the ONLY way things will get better for you. It’s basically been a year for me and I’m still trying to swallow the truth which only became painfully clear once I was totally out of contact with him. The sadness, most of it, has been replaced by righteous anger and disgust. How could it not? I don’t know if the anger will ever go away but I’m sure it will lessen in time.
      Welcome Michelle. Keep reading and fortifying your knowledge base because it is easy to slip back into their web if you don’t know what they are really doing and what they really are.

      1. Thank you. Anger and disgust definitely describe my feelings. And good point about anger there to keep me away. I relocated due to the financial destruction and endless harrassment from him and his backup plan girlfriend. However i still remained in text and occasional phone contact for two years, still feeling sorry for him in a way and thinking my absence might be some kind of wakeup call eventually, ha ha, but mostly defending myself to him over his lies about me, as if insanity could be reasoned with. Another thing i struggle with is selfblame for half the time i spent in it which led to the life altering and financial destruction. I do feel like God plucked me right out of the nightmare though and while my life is peaceful and safe now i still feel like now what. I am greatful i didnt lose more though. I just keep thinking what i coulda shoulda done, like boot him on his rear 4 years sooner. Ugh.

        1. Michelle, do not confuse yourself with self blame. I understand, And he is not “insane”. The reason you can not reason with them is because they don’t have interest in your reasons. They are experts in putting you in a position of TRYING to reason with them and turning and twisting things back on you to avoid responsibility.
          You coulda and shoulda? How? How can anyone do anything different when they don’t KNOW that they are being manipulated and victimized? Towards the end I said to him…..”it’s like you keep piling “poop” in front of me and get mad at me when I step in it”. NO…….you know now but you did not know then and again I will say,,,,,,,,the strongest card in their hand is the FACT that most people can’t even conceive let alone recognize that there are people like this.
          I have and will continue to compare the manipulation and deception they use to their advantage as no different than drugging someone. Their tactics are ruthless and covert, some more than others, even though once your eyes are opened to what they are doing and have no further contact with them, you can see the little hints and “tells” that they interjected into the picture. It is so unimaginably sick. They come in all sorts of sizes shapes and descriptions but they are all quite similar once you know the basic formula they use. Please don’t blame yourself for not knowing. You know now and must keep yourself away from him like you would any extremely toxic substance.

          1. I use to wake up to his texts and rages about how i destroyed his life by moving away. Hes only angry im not there for him control and use any longer.
            The good thing is i recognize these traits immediately in people when i meet them now and i dont waste five seconds on them.
            And you are correct, it was all unimaginably sick.

          2. Michelle……good! You see it now! WHY? Because you went through it, it is experiential. no way can someone comprehend the totality of this without going through it themselves and that is my concern about spreading the word. People don’t look for the truth until it’s too late and they are desperately beat down by one of these monsters.
            The sick thing is that they don’t care. when I go off track or miss the mark, I do care and i cared when I did so in my dealings with him. how was I to know that I was being primed to do just that, to go off track. A set up to fail for his amusement I’m sure.

  11. Hi,
    I have read a lot of articles about self-centered people and non of them actually teach really how to deal with them, expect of avoiding them 100% have no contact etc. Unfortunately I don’t have this luxury and have to deal with my sister In low who emotionally drain the whole family and destroying my family and my emotional health I feel like I live in mental institute and going crazy. I can’t not even describe it I feel like it is nightmare and I just have to wake up I can’t just get my head around to understand how they operate in this world. Anyway I am looking for solution how to deal with them, since she leaves cross the street (with her parents and her mother who fully protects her and makes it all much worse) from my husband and I and our infant child whom I actually trying to protect. Please please please advise what books I have to read and what should I do.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Kseniya, Even without any details your situation sounds very difficult. I’m sorry you have this in your life. I hope Dr. Simon will have some suggestions for you. It’s difficult to know what to recommend without really knowing what the nature of it actually is but there are many books about setting and enforcing boundaries. I say that knowing full well that these people love to violate boundaries and while you are trying to enforce one boundary they simply violate another. I hear your desperation and understand how difficult it must be when you are in a position you can not just walk away from. I’m afraid I can’t make any suggestions specifically but maybe someone else will have some resources they can share. You could also contact Dr Simon personally through the contact link at the bottom of the page.

  12. I’m dealing with a little different situation. My youngest sister, 50 years old, (I now call her the ‘non-sister), has legal and physical guardianship of my Down Syndrome brother (her twin). Through my own counselling, I have realized that she is a narcissist. She has taken away ALL contact between my brother and I to punish me for some delusional reason. She has also isolated our Mother (89 years old) in the same fashion. I always knew there as something very wrong with her and had formed my own way of dealing, or not dealing with her.

    This has been so troubling to me in that my being 7 years older, I truly helped raise my brother, spent every day teaching him to read, write and math skills, and he spent many weeks with me to give my parents a break or take a vacation. We had the best relationship of mutual love and respect. After my Dad passed 10 years ago, and he passed on guardianship to the ‘non-sister’, she became an uncontrolable monster, isolating my brother as though he was her prize.

    I am deeply saddened that now, this brother is not even allowed to speak with me, let alone see me. He is no longer the loving, warm person he used to be. I am sure he is always walking on glass trying not to make her angry for she always takes out her anger on those around her. He is high functioning and easily reads people and their emotions.

    Breaking all contact with her is easy. However, loosing contact with my brother, one of the most vulnerable in our society, is extremely hard. I always felt that it was my responsibility to help protect him, and I feel like a failure. 🙁

    I know that I cannot reason with this sister, but I feel so helpless in ensuring my brother lives a fulfilling, loving, comfortable life. I know I need to let this go, but I can’t seem to do so.

    The only good thing to come from all of this, is that I can now easily single other narcissists.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. AJ, very sorry to hear you and your brother are going through this. I wonder if you could be helped by a very good family law attorney, or legal services attorney, who could make a case to ‘reinstate’ non-supervised (by the non-sister) visitation rights with your brother. If your brother is under a guardianship situation, then it seems that the courts would have some say in this situation. I think character witnesses, doctors, and others involved in the care of your brother would vouch for you, especially given the long term length of your relationship with him, and would say that your relationship with your brother is important to his well being. It sounds like the case could be made that your brother was not allowed to choose what’s happening to him, though he is high-functioning, and would have chosen to maintain contact with you. Your situation seems similar to what extended families do when they petition the court to be allowed to have a relationship with a child, grandchild, etc. of divorce. I am in the regrettable situation of having been forced to allow my child to have a relationship with a sex offender ex-father-in-law. Surely there must be family law courts that would legally reinstate your relationship with your brother, given that it is undeniably a benefit to him. If I were you I would start talking to every legal office you can think of, and don’t stop until you find a way to get this situation improved. There is an organization, The ARC (you may know of this) that advocates for folks like your brother and may be able to provide resources for how to get started. I hope you can get some help, and I don’t think you should let it go if it is best for your brother and you too.

  13. AJ, what you are going through is much like parental alienation. Very detrimental to those in society who are most vulnerable–children and folks like your brother. There are family law professionals & counselors who take alienation seriously, and it sounds like you should seek out someone who is a specialist in this situation.

    1. Another thing AJ, your relationship with your brother is equal to the relationship between this non-sister and your brother. While she is a guardian, being so does not give her any rights at all to alienate your brother from others in his life who care for him. I believe there must be professionals and organizations that can help you with this. Many readers here understand all too well that alienation, especially when it occurs in the context of relationships with vulnerable people like children and those with disabilities, is one of the hallmark behaviors of disturbed characters and the personality disordered types. Hoping you find the emotional resources to get this situation rectified for you & your brother.

          1. Seriously. He cheated on his wife multiple times during their marriage, is an emotionally abusive father to his children, and is using his position as a quasi-celebrity to bed impressionable 26 year olds. His oldest daughter is 17..it’s disgusting. He is a foul,foul disgusting excuse for a human being.

  14. Thanks Anon. Yes, going the legal route was the reason I went to a psycholigist in the first place. I needed her take on this and whether a legal fight could be successful. Because of the large family I am in, and no support from my other siblings, as well as how a narcissist deals with a legal threat, I have decided not to go the legal route. It is actually for my bro’s sake, as non-sister will take out her anger on him.

    Now me coping with this decision, is another story.

    I have never been faced with a situation where I couldn’t help facilitate a solution. So frustrating.

  15. I am married to a narcissist for almost four decades. I have gone through the battle… gone through the mill in style. I realized it was my fault for trusting my husband and supplying food for his traits. By the time I saw the full picture and understood it is too late. He is still in my life and I can picture how peaceful I can be without him around. He has made certain changes like controlling his anger and not bursting out onto me. These changes he made after I made changes and – I get guided by the book “Disarming the Narcissist”. Thank the Lord I am still sane, but I better understand him.

    I bear in mind that my husband is a little child… all his acts, controlling, anger, lack of empathy, unable to validate, lack of boundaries, financial mistakes are all present in him in a big way. But, now he fears me and I have to play games in order to maintain sanity.

    What I hate in this is that I cannot be the loving, kind helpful person that God created me as. But be firm and kind. This is a hard task.

    I see him as a very angry little child and the only way for me to keep my sanity is be compassionate. At the same time, being myself and deal with manipulative situations not taking them personally.

    Unfortunately, a huge toll on what happened during my years as a young wife – being abused.

    I just cannot have any intimate/romantic relationship with my husband who is still a little child. DOES THIS MAKE SENSE?

    Any advice ?

  16. Help. I supervise an individual who displays numerous characteristics of narcissism. Employee is a sub par performer but any attempt to address it turns into rage, retaliation, lies, law suits ect. I am sympathetic to the extent this person has an illness, but they are making my job extremely difficult and worse yet make other employees uncomfortable. Where do I start in researching effective management for people with narcissism?

    1. Hello S — don’t know about management techniques for this situation. But, follow the 3 Ds — document, document, document. This is to help protect yourself. Every interaction (whether in person, phone call, email) should be written up in a log. Also document how other people / co-workers are being affected and are reacting to this person.
      My female biological parent was NPD, I finally disowned her when I was 18. If your company has an attorney, that might be a first contact for you? Meanwhile, there are quite a few business management websites and forums, where you could ask for comments from other managers. I’ve very recently bought a book by Joe Navarro, titled “Dangerous personalities” — there might be something in there that would help you to show others just how dangerous this person might be. Sympathy to you, Peace and pe from Elva

    2. Dealing with low-performing egotistic person in office is management problem, not psychotherapy problem.
      To get rid of bad-performing trouble-maker who is reporting to you, following will be the steps (should not make more than 3-4 months):
      1. Verbal warning to employee to improve performance and behavior, and start documenting all problem episodes (past as well as future)
      2. After a month or so evaluate, sooner if applicable. Inform Human Resource department via email and send a separate written warning to employee.
      3. After another month or less, formal report to Human Resource and putting employee on evaluation period
      4. Terminate after evaluation period.
      Keep documents at each phase. Especially the evaluation result.
      A low-performing employee deserves encouragement or reassignment to different and compatible role to give him/her a chance to work to her potential. But, a low-performing trouble-maker deserves to be kicked out. No mercy. In psychology term, you can be kind enough to include ‘C’ part of CBT, but BT should be good enough.
      In case you fear a physical harm in dealing with him, then refer him to a committee.
      Oh, I wish correcting trouble-making narcissist spouse were equally easy. 🙁

  17. My problem is this. I escaped the malignant narcissist I married after 16 years of mostly hell. Went about my peaceful life for years, then met a nice guy who had also escaped a similar fate. We’ve been together for over a decade, married half that time.

    Over the years, his daughter has developed from a self-absorbed teen with a doting enabling narc mother into a full blown monster in her own right. At her last visit, she assaulted me in our home, finger to the face, claiming that she has every right to do “whatever [she] want[s] in [her] Dad’s house” and that I can do nothing about it. My husband [her Dad] told me to be nice and not to defend myself as she was a guest in our home. (Yes, OUR home. The one we bought together after selling our separate homes.) My first thought was to explain her error to her–I had thousands of reasons why that was wrong, but only three mattered: She didn’t own the place. She didn’t pay the bills. She didn’t live here. Instead I STFU as requested.

    I understand that engaging the monster is not a good solution. I also understand that pitching that beast out of our home would have felt damn good, along with the uninvited guests our uninvited “guest” brought along to enjoy our hospitality (and apparently her show of who is who and what is what).

    That incident was a year ago. I have finally released my justified anger and accepted that my stepchild is never going to be a warm and kind and thoughtful person, regardless of how long or hard I try to show her how it’s done. I get that I should not be around that fiend. My last hurdle is how to trust my husband after he basically told me to take abuse from the little shit and not only did nothing to defend me but told me not to defend myself.

    Any ideas here?

    1. Dear Anonymous, that’s a pickle.

      IMO, you have to set your own boundaries firmly with your husband. He is not entitled to demand that you put up with abuse. And, btw, the more you put up, the more the abuse is likely to escalate.

      People here can help you with that. Hang around, and read the books recommended, for example in the first or second Trust thread. (Hugs.)

      1. Dear Anonymous,

        Vera is right but I would say a sour pickle, please stay around and everyone is so helpful and experienced. I have learned so much from this site. Your step-daughter sounds like my Grandson and siblings. I really feel for you what a mess just as you finally found some peace.

        Freeing yourself from these family imps can really cause a lot of grief. I have a sister long story who will plead with me to please get along with these CD siblings which means I have to give into accepting their sick treatment. Normal family doesn’t treat each other this way. In my case I decided to say NO!
        Blessings

    2. anonymous,

      Good to know that you have moved on to some extent.

      You need to pick and choose your battle. Fight the one that matter a lot to you.
      Sometime it is simply better to treat “that” person as mad barking dog and leave it at that, especially if you do not interact often. It will be a totally different matter if problem moves permanently in your house. Then you must set boundaries. And, set boundaries with your husband too if necessary, simply stating that he somehow feels obliged to tolerate wrong behavior, but you do not feel any such obligation, neither for her, nor for him.

      Best right now is to discuss with your husband and get to common understanding. Maybe he is of opinion that good or bad she is his very own daughter, and he still needs to respect that, especially if maintaining relationship requires once in a long while interaction. It is understandable position, then maybe you just join him too.

    3. Dear Anonymous,

      While I would also be furious, it is important to empathize with our spouses as much as possible. He deserves a little credit for caring about his daughter. It is very likely he know the emotional abuse she has suffered and feels very guilty for it. Your husband is likely devasted about his obnoxious daughter and doesn’t know how to express it. I get the impression he is a good man.

      There is also the fact that you know if the “shoe was on the other foot” he would likely defend you the same way. Establishing your boundaries to me in this case means telling your husband that you understand his good intentions, but will not be able to tolerate an episode like that again. Tell him that you fear his daughter, and expect him to manage that situation so you don’t have to.

      If you had a son, how would you expect his wife to treat this situation? Likely with as much understanding as possible. Remember not to take anything personally, kill them with kindness, and if all else fails, leave the house if she is around. Do not let her control you. Be happy, because she obviously thinks she can upset you. If kindness is impossible, be indifferent. Indifference destroys the manipulators weapons as they use your emotions against you.

      Good luck with everything. Remember that girl has sufferred a lot in this life and thank God she isn’t your actual daughter. Your husband doesn’t have the luxury of walking away from her, nor should he. You do have that choice.

      1. Agree with Michelle on many points, especially the one on Indifference as effective defensive tool against “once in a long while” obnoxious visitor.

        I will be careful with assumption “…girl has suffered a lot…”.
        Bottom-line is that no one can come in my house and treat me with disrespect. But, neither I will be going after every such idiot, nor I will be letting everyone get away and feel bad about it for long time.

      2. I did all of those things, Michelle. Please do not disturb me during these hours. I will be cooking a great dinner for tonight. After the fourth or fifth interruption, I called the brat on that. Then she attacked me.

    4. As Dr Simon says” passed behaviour is a good indication of future bahaviour” or words to that effect. If she assaults you. Involve the Police. My mother came at me with a 14 inch carving Knife. I did nothing. I did not report her. Things got worse.
      Entitilement. If she got away with it. Things will get WORSE. Ignor your husband. He ignored you. If she assaults you. Involve the Police

    5. How old is the daughter? I tend to believe all children are selfish until they learn the way to truly love others. My son was horrible but he is learning to be a man and is much different then he was as a teen. I think you should not diagnose a child.

  18. Thank you all. I’ve been digesting this for a long while and understand that what happened triggered my old PTSD from back when that I lived with one of those foul creatures. I think also that my husband is afraid of outbursts from his daughter and will do too much to avoid them.

    She harmed me, and he knows it. I think she wanted to break us up because her Mother can’t stand that we bought a nifty house together. There were some weird comments like “you could get this house for [a fraction] where we live.” Of course, her Mom moved across country to be sure her adult child would never have to clean a toilet. We have no plans to go there.

    A while back, my husband asked his daughter to own her bad behavior and make it right with me. He actually listed three incidents of her being a total shit. She said it was so unfair to blame her for everything she’d ever done wrong in her life, and it was all too raw for her to respond.

    Like she can feel anything. I think she can’t.

    1. anonymous,

      I think you are doing fine. 🙂
      Your husband agrees with you, it is just that he is handling the situation bit differently. Sitting comfortably away from situation, I cannot really judge what is best approach to handle the situation. It should be easy enough for you to discuss things with him.

      weird comments like “you could get this house for [a fraction] where we live.”
      > If it is untrue. Then, this is typical narcissist (or narcissist’s dumb slave) comment. There is nothing weird in it. 😉
      If it is factually correct, then your step-daughter is at least inconsiderate person.

      A while back, my husband asked his daughter to own her bad behavior [Good: the focus should be bad behavior] and make it right with me. He actually listed three incidents [Good: backing up with facts] of her being a total shit. She said it was so unfair to blame her for everything [Wrong: Attempting to exaggerate, increase scope unnecessarily, and avoiding the focus on the specific bad behavior] she’d ever done wrong in her life, and it was all too raw for her to respond [Wrong: Attempting to induce guilt in your husband].

      I am very sure, you and your husband will enjoy reading “In Sheep’s Clothing” together and get good insight into your ex-partners and children behavior. If I had known you in person, I wouldn’t mind gifting you a copy of the book. 🙂

  19. Thank you for your words.
    Everything helps. Even those who give wrong advice. Its us to try and make sense of what works and what does not work.
    Personality disordered are a real headache to some of us especially when a whole family seems to have fallen into a pit of hell.

    Same at our work places. Makes me wonder who is crazy. me or them.

    and so any well meaning support is a good support indeed.

    Thank you so much.

  20. As a final note.
    May be because of entitlement if nothing else. I have noted the narcissists in my life and even this article have this fury if the people they expect to predate on refuse them free meals.

    Its like their expectations are cast in steel.
    If you wont play they abuse you. No contact. Something i learned recently.
    Seems to work quite well.

    And of course no more free attention for these sick persons.

  21. My life has felt like I am swimming thru people lies and manipulation. I have always referred to these people as bullies but thru counseling I have realized they are more appropriately labeled as narcissists. Family members who I have thought I had a good relationship have turned on me with lies to manipulate others to like them and see me as the person in the wrong for acts they cannot take responsibility for themselves. It is sad and unfortunate to see the power of the narcissist and how so many are pulled into their web of lies and destruction. My counselor told me that my life is surrounded by narcissistic people which I can see now. Not long ago a married into family member I had not met yet attacked me calling me a narcissist and I was floored. No doubt convinced by the manipulation of others but that is how these people work. They are good, they are very convincing and some how they are able to lie and not get caught. Yet, I am persecuted, blamed and cross examined for everything I do or say? So I stay away and even that is wrong as I get more fingers pointed with accusations. I have felt like I have been in this endless trap dealing with people, hoping that one day the truth will be known.

  22. First off this condition of narcissistic is a very serious thing.And can sometimes lead to death of others who care.I have a brother who’s done tons of prison time who seems to be a narcissist person.And he’s a Scorpio.Which can be very manipulative Bcuz it’s just one of his zodiac traits.And IV also seen whereas people that are institutionalize get out of jail with this sort of characteristic.And YES it’s very terrifying.And it puts family’s through absolute HELL!! To the point of losing everything they’ve have worked hard for.And they constantly BREAK EVERYONES SPIRIT that they go around.So yes this SICK ASS DISEASE is extremely and NEGATIVELY TOXIC!!! Iv tried as far as I can remember with my brother and others like him that has this issue plenty of times and my answer to it from experience is to stay away!! And Bcuz I love my bro unconditionally it hurts me to be this way towards him.But I also understand to importance of my life and happiness .And what it takes for me and the rest of my family members who cares unconditionally to live WITH A PEACE OF FUCKING MIND!!!Dealing with this type of character can be a bit much.Best Of Wishes to all who truly go’s throw this type of situation.

    PEACE AND LIGHT…

  23. MY ADVICE TO THOSE WITH HEART BROKEN, AND HOW TO GET YOUR EX BACK ON TRACK.
    My husband left again for the last time on Jan 7, 2015. We have been married for 28 years. He left for another woman, the third since 1996 that I know of, but it’s very painful. We have two children 27 and 25 yrs old and a grandson who is 7. Our life was never stable because of his affairs. I just wanted to believe that he would never do it again. He did and every time he left it was without warning. I never want to feel that feeling of wondering when or if he’ll leave when I walk out the door to go to work. But still i was ready for a better life with him despite all this, until i cried out and a friend directed me to a man called Prophet Abulele the online spell caster, with full expectation i write him on his email and explain everything to him, within a period of 7days he performed a greater work, my husband is back to the real man i got married to 28years ago. for any kind of relationship help reach out to him now on the internet. Type “Prophet Abulele the online love spell caster” on Google to see people talked about his good works and sincerity.

      1. she is not even called joy and most likely even a man. they are con people often from nigeria.
        i am suprised you do not know these spammers

  24. I am sick. I manipulate people to destroy them. (Sometimes) Othertimes, I don’t recognize I’m doing it. I am Bipolar 1 with Psychotic Episodes, I’m Schizophrenic. I have Borderline Personality Disorder and I run at extreme levels of Anxiety all the time.

    Right now, My wife thinks I’m being unfaithful. I am not, I love her and worship her. She’s my everything. But my manipulation of others reflects on our relationship. IT MUST STOP. I need a Therapist, a REAL Therapist. Been getting therapy at the VA for 8 years and I’m no further along than week 2. Can someone recommend someone REAL.

  25. I need urgent help. I am so close to losing my mind. Please, if anyone has been in a similar situation, help me.

    I think I am being a victim of manipulation. By the nature of being manipulated, I’m not sure if I really am or have I caused all this myself?

    I have met my boyfriend 1,5 years ago. He is 45, I’m 30. By time we met, he had an injury-his achilles tendon was ruptured and he was suffering out of it. I know I always had the tendency to ‘fix’ damaged people (and after my readings on narcissist-codependent relationship, I fit very well into the definition of a codependent, starting from my relationship with my mother, a series of similar situations with different men) and therefore I never cared at that time that he was having problems. In time, as his foot got better, he started to come up with his other problems. He believes that he has an bacterial infection which doctors cannot detect in tests so he searches for different treatments himself; certain diets, medication combinations etc… He suffers from insomnia, he has multiple pains in his body, when all these things disappears, he has a flu or he is about to have flu because he is exhausted. Plus, he has an addiction problem, he smokes weed since 20+ years and I believe this is the main reason of all his problems (I am not an anti-weed person, I just know how it changes people when they abuse it on daily basis).

    We don’t fight often, but I always feel on edge. He makes me feel the happiest woman on earth. But during some of his bad episodes, he finds a way to accuse me of all his problems. He says since I am in his life, he has a sleeping problem. I feel offended and then i suggest a break up. He apologizes and then swears that this is all in his head, nothing to do with me, he is so grateful that I’m so patient with him. We have another 3-4 weeks of happy, euphoric moments – which makes me believe I will love this man till the end. As soon as I am relaxed, confident and sure of my life/love, he brings another episode on the table, saying how he started to wake up again, can’t go back to sleep.

    I have moved in with him a month ago, although all risks were blinking from the beginning. He tried his best to make me feel comfortable. He was good at it. But still once in a while he was bringing the issue of how he needs his space and alone time. So I tried to give him that, I stopped going to concerts, parties etc. with him and spent less time at home. He still can’t sleep and started to attack me emotionally, breaking my heart with sayings like; ‘I don’t think we are good together, I can’t sleep, my life is slipping out of my hands, I’m losing control. I’m not sure if I’m a relationship person, if I can have a family with you.’ —- I say, then I should be moving out-leaving. Then he bursts into tears, begging me to try harder.
    He was telling me opposite of all these just a week ago; How we are a perfect match, its the first time in his life he thinks of a woman as his potential life-long partner. I cannot believe in anything he says, both positive and negative. He swings from one thought to another in a minute. I know we all have contradictions in mind but he tells me each thought and each swing. I am exhausted, lost. I can’t believe I made a decision to move here. Now I have to look for another place. I have been moving 6 times in 6 years, due to my extraordinary living circumstances. I needed a home, where I can find peace with a man I love, and from the beginning he showered me with all these fantasies, and then pulled it back, gave it back and then pulled back again and then smashed me with accusations. He thinks I am the love of his life and treats me just like that perfect and then I am the reason of all his problems and he needs his alone time, space therefore I should go. He doesn’t let me stand up, as he doesn’t allow me to sit down.
    And as soon as I attempt to go, he falls and cries and asks me not to.

    We have sex all the time, I think this is not normal. It got out of control, both of us carry obsessive compulsive traits in our personalities so I can recognize why-how we are trying to have sex all the time.

    I see him suffering and he has to help himself. I can’t. I can’t help myself. I’m paralyzed. I can’t eat, sleep and socialize. I am an academic so I work at university, therefore I need to really concentrate. Also, I have to search for a job because university income is never enough (I’m in Europe). But I am so exhausted , I can’t even leave the bed all day. I became dysfunctional and depressed. I know all arrows point out that I should leave him but deep down I know that without him I also had these moments in my life. I feel that we are a sick match. Each time I convince myself to step out of this relationship and deal with myself alone, I remember how he touches me, how he loves me, how tried for me. His touch is intoxicating, I feel like this physical addiction is the strongest thing we have in common. Which is not healthy as well… But the moment I think of running away, all the good details of the relationship appear stronger. I get paralyzed again. I’m not sure anymore if he made me like this, or if my personality is already like this. Because as I said I had these breakdowns without him being in my life as well. But obviously his attitude is not helping at all…

    He is in a mid-life crisis kind of period and I believe I have just entered his life at this moment and therefore he sees me as a reason of his problems. He admits it and says you are the best thing ever happened. And a week later we are back on the same track; I should leave him alone. I’m ashamed that I still am here at his place, after hearing these things. Whenever I pack and start to make plans to leave, he starts to convince me not to… then we have sex again and everything feels right. Then back to the beginning.

    Please help

    1. UiU
      In your post all of your questions are answered yourself. You do know what needs to be done. You just need the strength to do it and not go back. The back and forth is no good for you. You’ve got to make your decision and then stick with it.
      You can do this. I’m doing it. Many others here have done it. You will find peace again without this man.
      Keep reading and keep posting.
      You’ve got a whole group here going through similar situations. And staying in a sick, unhealthy environment is a life sucker. The sooner you can get out the better.

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