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Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder What is Destroying Your Marriage?

By Kim Cooper | July 31, 2013

Do You Sometimes Worry …
“Maybe the fighting is all my fault?”

If you live with someone who puts you down and insults you, as difficult as this problem is, we want to help you achieve peace and security in your home and your life. Take your time and read this page carefully as you will not find this information anywhere else.

Does Someone Close to You
Suffer From Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Hi my name is Kim Cooper and today I want share some of my family’s history with you, which may help if you are having problems with chronic fighting in your family or your marriage.

“Our story involves narcissism or NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) and we have gone public with our story to help you recognize and deal with this all too common problem.”

After years of us fighting, I was directed to information on-line which led me to suspect Steve was suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (sometimes called Narcissism or NPD).

“When I talked to the professionals they said there was no cure and treated me like a fool for thinking Steve could get better. I was told outright that I should change the locks and divorce him.”

But in my heart I knew that leaving was the wrong thing to do. Even though Steve’s behaviour was hurting me I refused to abandon him.

I knew there had to be answers and sought as much professional help and advice as I could find, while studying as much as I could about psychology.

When none of that helped, at last I stumbled on the first of the steps that I would take that finally ended the fighting. That first clue meant I had to start my research all over again and at the same time I began to use trial and error.

People were still telling me I was stupid not to leave Steve and that we had no choice but to get divorced — but I was determined and had even become slightly hopeful that just maybe I could bring peace and security back to our lives.

So to begin sharing what I learned, first I need to tell you a little about narcissism, but you must understand that I am not saying this was all Steve’s fault. Later in my story you will also learn all about codependence (which was my role in our problems).

These are very common patterns of behavior which, just like us, I believe you can overcome.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Looks Like This …

- Does your partner treat you (and your children) different in private than in public?

In public they may pretend they are the perfect husband, father, wife or mother (while still ignoring you and giving all their attention to others) …

While in private they are sarcastic, haughty and insulting and put people down (even their friends) behind their back.”

A person with symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder will also show little or no regard for your well-being or feelings and may act like they are superior (and more popular) than you. They may often be cold, arrogant, withdrawn and unavailable and may show favoritism between their children.

“Their criticism, insults and lack of involvement or concern for your well-being and feelings may cause you and/or your children to feel rejected, hurt, humiliated, powerless, ashamed, and angry and can also lead to mental health and psychological problems and addictions within your family.”

This person will get angry when they are questioned and will believe they deserve things they haven’t worked for or earned. They will trade off other people’s honesty and hard work and lie and manipulate people for attention … while at the same time acting charming and perfect and making most people believe they are a wonderful mother or all round great guy.

“You may fear that people won’t believe you if you disclose how they talk to you in private – or share the terrible things they say behind people’s backs.”

Both Women and Men
Can Suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder …

I write from Steve and my experience, but women can suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder too; the statistics say more men than women suffer from unhealthy narcissism and our audience is about 70/30 women to men.

Female narcissists cause their husbands just as much pain and humiliation and just as much chaos and destruction in their lives.

“But it’s not black and white or men versus women. Most of us have narcissistic tendencies which can affect our relationships badly and learning to deal with Steve’s narcissism helped me face my own narcissistic side too. It is easy to see in others but much harder to see in ourselves.”

A narcissistic partner may also lie and paint a bad picture of you to their family and friends. They will do this to justify their own bad behaviour and try to gain sympathy while kidding themselves their lies are the truth.

“You may have no idea of all of the lies they are telling you and even worse the lies and exaggerations they may be telling others about you.”

If your partner creates fights when you try to discuss money, you should know that they may be hiding credit cards or money transactions from you. They will pretend these fights are your fault, and will try to cover their guilt by doing everything they can to put the blame on you.

Nearly all narcissists are obsessed with the fantasy of a perfect relationship, and are also skilled liars, so if the above symptoms describe your partner, you should be aware that they may have secret crushes or be having affairs, using pornography and/or conducting ‘cyber’ affairs with or without your knowledge … If you notice their mind often appears elsewhere, and they show other symptoms of this disorder, this may be the reason.

“Obsession with fantasy is part of what makes a person with narcissistic tendencies unavailable, impatient and angry and is a major symptom of this disorder. You may not want to consider this possibility, I know I didn’t believe it until the evidence was right in front of me … and then I was shattered.”

Not all narcissists are physically abusive, but it’s a significant indicator you may end up part of a violent marriage …

“The physical abuse is not always perpetrated by the narcissist either as it is normal to become very angry with someone who manipulates you and puts you down.”

After years of their insults, rudeness and having them blame you for everything wrong in their life, it’s even normal (especially if you discover that throughout all of this they have been cheating on you) for you to wish them harm or even wish them dead. This is obviously very serious and so getting (the right) help and support is very important, but can nearly be impossible to find. We care and are are here to help, so if you face these problems, please bookmark this page right now (so you will be sure to be able to find it later) and then please come back and continue reading.

“We want to see you moving past feeling resentful and wanting to punish you partner (or wanting revenge) to feeling secure and good about yourself and moving into a new time in your
life where you are loved, respected and valued in your community and in your home.”

Dangerous Advice

If your partner is narcissistic there are people who will tell you that the only answer is to ‘leave and have no contact’, but this is very dangerous advice. This is exactly how to provoke and escalate rage and physical (and emotional) abuse and domestic violence in couples with these problems. It may also result in stalking. Even worse as the partner of a narcissist will often feel enraged at how callously their spouse can ‘cast them aside’, the perpetrator of the violence and stalking might be you!

“More people are killed or injured in domestic disputes when leaving their relationship (or in the two months after leaving) than at any other time.”

If you want to leave, please get our advice first on how to do this safely and how to get closure. You need to consider that setting up house somewhere else may put you on even less sure footing than you are already and is no guarantee that the fighting will cease or that you will be safer. Instead statistics show that it will often make the fighting worse.

Narcissism is blind to itself and so don’t expect your partner to see this or want to fix it. Instead we offer you training and skills that will help make you emotionally and physically safer and will help bring you love and respect in your home and community.

Confronting your partner with evidence they may have this disorder is NOT the solution

Do you sometimes worry that yourself or your partner will need years of therapy to get better? I once believed this was the only thing that would help Steve, but I was wrong and it was very different steps that turned our marriage around.

I struggled with this problem for years on my own and it was one of the hardest times of my life.

There is a lot of evidence that therapy is not successful in treating narcissistic personality disorder anyway — and so don’t worry – you won’t need to try and coerce your partner into therapy. Personality disorders are best helped with a reparative relationship. This is why we sometimes call our approach ‘parenting the adult’; Just as learning new parenting skills can help your child feel safe and learn better behaviour, you can learn new ways of responding and relating to your partner that will help de-escalate the fights.

Will you keep letting what your friends and family say direct your life? Everyone told me I should leave Steve, but when it comes to love you need to listen to your heart. I can’t tell you whether you should leave or stay, but I will give you solid advice either way.

I will share exactly what to do and I will give you each step in detail with all the common mistakes you should avoid.

I hope that sharing our experience will protect you from some of the mistakes we made and the bitter and nasty people I ran into when I first discovered Steve’s NPD. We have information you can put to use immediately and advice on how to find the right professionals to help.

I look forward to sharing the steps I took to fix our marriage even when everyone said it was hopeless.

“It took us a long time to go public with our story, but after things had been better with us for a few years we decided that we just couldn’t stay quiet any longer.”

We saw so many people suffering that we decided we just had to speak up. It was embarrassing at first, but getting thank you emails every day has more than made up for this.

The First Step

If you haven’t already – please subscribe to my email list. Once you do you will gain instant access to tons of free information and you will also get access to our introductory specials on our books. Your subscription is a portal to a world of information which if applied to your life will improve your relationships and help you move towards a new time of peace self confidence and emotional security.

Immediately after subscribing you will gain access to the (free) private pages which will give you 3 vital questions you need to answer to know if yourself or your partner have narcissistic tendencies. I will also share 3 things you need to stop doing immediately which only make the fighting worse. Your subscription will also give you access to lots more information – including a check list of points that will help you better see what narcissism (and codependence) look like.

All of this is completely free.

And if you have subscribed already – just enter the same details to see these private pages again (and once again become eligible for our introductory specials).

I also look forward to sharing what I have learned about codependence (which we prefer to call emotional dependence), which explains why some people are repeatedly attracted to people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Narcissism and Codependence are sometimes called ‘a dance’ (of destruction and despair) …

- Have you had difficulty forming happy and peaceful relationships?
- Has attracting lasting love been painful for you?
- Do you often feel emotionally neglected and in despair?
- Have you had more than one troubled relationship in your life?

I want to share with you how I put a stop to the abuse and learned how to stand up for myself better and how this changed everything for me and also helped Steve.

3 Questions to Know it’s Not You Causing the Fights
(Plus - 3 Things that Only Make the Fighting Worse)

Join My Mailing List For Free Instant Access!

NOTE: If you have just discovered that your husband or wife has narcissistic tendencies it is very important that you don't confront them with this information without first subscribing and getting our advice.

Topics: | 32 Comments »

32 Responses to “Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder What is Destroying Your Marriage?”

  1. Kitty Hanson Says:
    August 2nd, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Thank you for all your tireless work. I think you are doing a great service and contribution.

  2. Julia Says:
    August 2nd, 2013 at 11:05 am

    Forgotten everything

  3. Terry Says:
    August 2nd, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Wow, Kim… The timing of your email today was perfect… It arrived right in the middle of one of my husband’s condemning tirades. I glanced over at my iPad and there were your words of wisdom to help me break the circle of defeat in process.

    God bless you and thank you for your regular reminders… We need them!

  4. Anthony Hurtado Says:
    August 2nd, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    I think it so cool to watch you and your husband work together. The respect you have for each other on the videos are proof you have what it takes to change our issues. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

  5. suzan Says:
    August 2nd, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    I have not been able to break from my narcissist emotionally. I hurt really bad inside and he is so clueless, it is making me weary. I promised myself I would leave him behind if he got abusive with me again. Of course, he did. He’s probably a 5-6 on a 1 to 10 scale of narcissistic personalities. I felt like it was worth the investment. But I am weary. And he strings me along but does not love me. I am so tired. I am going to give up and go on. There is someone else who wants to care for me. I believe I will let him.

  6. suzan Says:
    August 2nd, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    P.S. For those who wish to know…I believe this is one great website. It has helped me tremendously and I adore Kim and really truly want to tell Steve I am grateful for his sharing his story in spite of the discomfort he felt. It gave me hope. Kim and Steve…thank you.

  7. Stef Says:
    August 2nd, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    great work as always, I think its worth mentioning complex PTSD which is what narcissists and co-dependents are suffering from, the narcissism is a result of the trauma which has been labelled complex PTSD. My partner is having flashbacks of his abuse the closer we get as he was physically beaten by his mother. Its terrifying to see, his face as a terrified child. Knowing about C PTSD has helped us understand whats going on.

  8. Cindi Says:
    August 3rd, 2013 at 4:10 am

    I have gotton into a S-Anon meetings and with these group meetings you totally change your attitude to you’re evil husband. Most of them have other problems like addictions. Look online for the nearest meeting and this will change your life. Trust me I am a living proof!

  9. Jo Says:
    August 4th, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    Wow Kim. I have had the worst 3 days if my life in this relationship, and honestly I wasn’t sure what’s was going to do…. Everything I had read and learnt previously from your blogs, books etc, just seemed to go out the door and I found myself in a very horrible position. Then on Friday I looked AT&T emails and there it was, releif!!!! Thank you your timing was impecible!

  10. Defeated Says:
    August 5th, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    Dear Kim, I came across your website a few years ago and have been so grateful for the advice you and other readers have shared – I have been in an on/off relationship with an NPD partner for over 8 years – last month after another out-of-the-blue barrage of insults, threats and emotional abuse, something broke inside me – hope – and we eventually agreed to go our separate ways. Amazingly, after that agreement, he came to me and said he wanted to give it another go. I say “amazingly” because an act of need for us to exist as a couple is unheard of coming from him – but I must say that it is more than anything a result of my efforts more than his – because of all the techniques you write about and I trialled and practiced over and over, that this amazing expression for our relationship to exist must have occurred. I must admit, other than surprised, I did not hold any faith in the words… I was honest with him and told him I couldn’t do it any longer, the stress has had such an impact on my health and my physical well-being, I look in the mirror and I don’t recognise me anymore. I miss the fun-loving, joyous, vital, energy filed happiness that used to smile back at me just under 10 years ago – the woman who believed that love was the energy that could overcome any adversity, any struggle and would bring change. Last week, I was running late after work (we don’t live together for various reasons) and i had an important meeting at work the next day – i got to the car and realised i had left my dress and coat hanging in my cupboard – i honestly forgot it (packed everything else into the car but overlooked those two items – crushable material so let them hang until last minute – which in my rush out the door i didnt remember or see). As iI knew he was going to be in prayer (Ramadan) I decided to drive to my place first and pick them up then go to his unit – I rang him at around 7.30pm when I guessed he would be free to take my call so I could fill him in on where I was and what I was doing. He answered the call and asked me how I was and how was my day, I answered and told him about some stuff that had gone on – before I could continue with the reason I rang he asked me where I was – I started to tell him I was on my way home but never got to explain why because all hell broke loose in him – he started to yell abuse at me, calling me names, saying I was disrespectful, inconsiderate, why hadn’t I come over to cook for him, how dare I call him at that time, insulted me, swore at me, told me he didn’t want to see me – by this point I had tried over his yelling to explain I was on my way home to collect the clothes but he didn’t care or want to listen – by that point I didn’t want to go back to his place either. About an hour later I rang him again to see if he had calmed down and wanted to make peace but he was still in a fury and started to tell me (as he has done 1000′s of times in the past) that I was not to speak with my “shit mouth”, I was to listen and obey his wishes on how I should behave and respect him – I tried to calm myself aware that I should not engage but he suddenly threw in the line that if I repeated my behaviour in the future he would “break my f$&@ing neck”. At that, I asked him to please calm down and acknowledge that those insults and threats were not acceptable, I reminded him of his promise to be peaceful and of protecting me only days before when he wanted us to try again and that these words were not in keeping with that request/promise. He told me in no uncertain terms that he meant everything he was saying now and that if I didn’t like it to bugger off. I was defeated – I reminded him that I had called up to make peace, not to fight, but as he posed the question I answered : I will not accept any more abuse – I will bugger off. We didn’t speak the next day or the day after – I tried to call him twice but he has a habit of “punishing” whomever he feels has disrespected him so I was not surprised. I wanted to speak with him about simply collecting my things at his place so on Friday morning tried once more to ring him – I could tell he was in the company of someone else because 1. His demeanour to me was chirpy and 2. I could hear someone else in the background. I made my conversation short and unemotional asking him when on the weekend could I collect my things – he was surprised and asked me what for – I reminded him that our last conversation was pretty clear and that I would not tolerate any more abuse or threats and that if he was sorry for what he said now would be a good time to tell me. He said that he wasn’t sorry for anything and I deserved everything he said. He was starting to get worked up saying things like “you just ring me to provoke me”, “don’t call me”, “go find yourself some other man – there are plenty of them out there that will f$&@ you” etc. I said to him he needed to stop insulting me and that I just wanted to peacefully arrange a time on weekend when I could come over, preferably if he wasn’t there so we could walk away in peace. He began to rage at me and repeated his threat of breaking my neck so I said “please stop this – stop threatening me – or you’ll end up with an AVO against you and I don’t want that. I just want to get my things in peace”. When I said the words “AVO”, I heard a high pitched “Whhaaaaat?” from him …And then I was screamed at and threatened to be put in jail myself, how dare I threaten him, no woman in his life had ever had the guts to say anything like that to him, ….” And south more. I tried to repeat that all I wanted was for him to stop abusing and threatening me and that at this point I just needed to collect my things, but he was screaming blue murder on the phone and I said enough was enough, and hung up. My heart was jumping out of my chest by then, I started to shake and felt a tide of tears coming on but as I was at my work and needed to face colleagues somehow managed to meditate my way into a state of pretence that looked like calm. I text messages my request to collect things on weekend asking him to respond when he could. A few hrs later I started to get text msgs from his phone, which I could immediately tell were written by someone else on his phone – they were in perfect English – my NPD partner is non-English speaking and in 8 yrs has never sent anything that was spelt or grammatically correct like these messages – they were written in a way that he doesn’t speak – they were calm and begging me to stop abusing him, wishing me a life of love and respect with someone else and to please leave him alone. I was floored. He was setting me up as the perpetrator of abuse – he had often talked about how he advised friends of what to and not do when breaking up with partners so the police and courts could point the finger – he was doing it to me. I knew he would record our conversations also but I rang him that evening to get a straight answer on when on the weekend could I come over – he started off sounded wounded and begging me to stop calling him – I told him I just needed a day/time to collect stuff and he wouldn’t hear from me again – I reminded him that this was not my doing but his – he then told me he had sought legal advice during the day and was taping the call – I told him that was fine and that I hoped he had told the truth so that he would be given accurate advice – when he asked me like what – I answered him with the obvious : he had threatened my life, to hurt me, insulted me, abused me – not the other way around. Once again, pointing out the facts sent him into a rage so I had to end the conversation as being yelled at is no longer acceptable to me – I can’t believe I let myself be yelled at for so many years. Like so many NPD partners, mine always blamed me for everything that went wrong in his life – regardless of what the issue was. He was absolutely charming in front of friends and family – his manner would turn an about face the moment we were alone. I often wondered how anyone could swing temperaments so quickly and on the early years I would be very anxious about what I may have done to be the cause of such moods but have been able to manage my anxiety through different techniques you have written about.
    Unfortunately, this last rampage of abuse has sucked the balance of whatever energy, hope, patience, tolerance, understanding, compassion and care I had – no more. It’s long overdue but I give up. It’s long overdue but I am going to focus on me now. I’ve spent over 8 years pampering to the needs of an extremely selfish, emotionally absent, nasty, arrogant, abusive and unaffectionate man who I believed could be tamed with enough care, love and understanding. My emotional and physical health has been decimated and I’ve even questioned my spiritual health often wondering whether God had abandoned me and my prayers for us to be a healthy happy and loving couple. I resign myself to the fact this is not an NPD I can help – I have no other qualifications to make things change for us other than the love I gave every day. It was not enough and I need to run in the direction I never wanted to – away from him, his abuse, his threats and lack of empathy with the pain he causes to not just me, but anyone who tries to get close to him (including his family). I have tried to write down values I find attractive in him – I used to do this regularly to remind myself of what I was in love with – but as at this week, I have nothing on my list. I want to thank you for all your dedicated hard work and for always lifting my spirit when I read your blogs – they may not have saved this relationship – but they kept me sane enough from week to week and provided hope. I wish everyone who reads this better luck with their NPD than I have had – I pray your suffering ends – I pray you keep your strength, sense of humour, capacity to love and will to live. I am looking now at a future where I will rebuild my life, my heart, my health and my dreams. I wish you all well.

  11. Kim Cooper Says:
    August 5th, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Hey Defeated – Don’t worry about your dress – it probably isn’t worth having to see him again – but if you do go again make sure you get the police to escort you to get it. They do that kind of thing often enough to know what the score is!!! I know that you say you are defeated but I would say you are sounding victorious! How much have you learned and how clear are you now about NOT taking on stuff other people want to blame on you!!! I know that there is a beautiful life and love waiting for you out there and I am sure that you will not fall for his same kind of fake charm next time :)

  12. Defeated Says:
    August 5th, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Kim, my note to you is quite lengthy and probably not an uplifting story to motivate partners of those burdened with NPD – I don’t need it published, I just wanted to say thank you and share some of the horror I have been through without simply saying “thanks, but I give up”. Up until last week, I never wanted to. Now, maybe because it’s early days, but I feel relief amongst grief and other feelings.

  13. Kim Cooper Says:
    August 6th, 2013 at 9:21 am

    Hey defeated – I am happy to publish your letter. I think it is important that people know the truth about how hard this can be. Although you may not see it right now – from where I sit I see your story as a success — and I know the many professionals who visit this site will agree. Your boyfriends narcissism may not be cured – but your have cured this problem in your own life. You see the problem with these type of relationships is that without the steps you have taken you may have NEVER have had closure. Most codependents find it incredibly difficult to emotionally detach, even with months (if not years) of therapy. And emotional detachment is necessary, whether your relationship survives or not, because you must stop needing them emotionally and letting ‘them’ pull your strings before anything can get better. But hard as emotional detachment is, in the email you sent you describe very eloquently that you have done just that – and without wanting revenge or restitution (which is much healthier for you). You have also described how you have overcome your emotional reactivity and that you are now able to stay calm even in situations that would unbalance most people. On top of all this and most important of all is that you are no longer internalizing his insults. These three steps are huge and rather than being a discouragement I think you are an inspiration. I know you may feel defeated right now – but to be able to admit defeat in the way you have is also a sign that you have healthy self esteem now because your ego is able to do that. Humility is a virtue and takes maturity and strength of character. We need to be able to admit defeat sometimes, it is both health and admirable. Because the truth is that the line between mad and just plain bad is a thin one and some people are never going to get better. The steps you have taken have given your relationship the best chance it had and you should be proud of that and you can walk away with a clean heart now. How easy would that have been a couple of years ago when you couldn’t see what a nasty immature man he was and you were still believing all the things he said about you? If you had walked away then you would have probably walked straight into a relationship with another man just like him. So please don’t ever feel that your time has been wasted! There are many women on this site who it has taken two or three bad marriages before they started to see that they were part of the problem. You have fixed your side of the story and so your relationship cannot continue now without him making a big shift. Sadly he didn’t do that – but really that is his loss and not yours. You are not responsible for that – because even in walking away you are being a positive influence on him that not everyone is going to put up with what he does. Most important to me is that you stay safe now and don’t fight too hard to rub his face in the fact that you are the one that left him. He is pretending he left you to save his pride and it is smart if you just let him have that. I say this because your safety matters to me and his hurt pride may make him dangerous. This is why I say forget the dress or make sure you have protection when you go to get it. Also if he says he wants to get back together again – be ready to play smart. Say you would love that but first you need to look after a sick grandmother for a month and that you are also getting tests for some kind of terrible disease and that you might need money for medicine and for him to look after you once you are in a wheelchair! Watch how fast he loses interest. I know that sounds sneaky and manipulative – but hey you need to stay safe now and as you have seen you are dealing with someone who doesn’t play fair, you need to ply smart and look out for yourself.

  14. MD Says:
    August 8th, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Hi all,

    This is the latest in my saga after getting an AVO out on my husband for pushing me and forcibly wrestling my handbag out of my hands to take my keys off me. Prior to last night I hadn’t really heard from him for about 6/7 weeks. Earlier this week he emailed to say he wanted to ‘talk about finances’. I assumed that he had come up with a settlement and wanted to discuss it. I was sad because I was hoping this wasn’t the end of the road for us, but I was reasonably calm. He came over (I’m living at home, he’s moved out) last night and the conversation was horrible. He asked me if I’d given any thought to finances (this is someone who kept our finances separate and secret and never wanted to discuss money). I didn’t say much, I was more interested in hearing his proposal. It actually appeared that he hadn’t given it much thought, but he basically wanted me out of the house (luckily I had some legal advice prior to this so I knew I didn’t have to leave) and was offering me very little. He conceded some money to help with rent and to keep the health insurance going. When I brought up that I had contributed to the mortgage (what I could) he said this was overridden by him paying for x, y, z.

    Anyway, as the conversation progressed he started to blame me for humiliating him by taking an AVO out, making him nearly lose his job, etc. etc. I managed to remain reasonably calm and to say that I was disappointed that he couldn’t see the other side of it – that it was his actions that caused this. He then implied that the police thought I was crazy (when speaking to me the police certainly didn’t give this impression – in fact they were encouraging me to press charges), and other people thought I was crazy and so on.

    I didn’t say a lot, but did make it clear that it was his temper that got him into this and that I had been telling him for years that his temper was a problem, had tried many other ways of handling it (like getting our marriage counsellor to talk to him – this is one of the people he said thought I was crazy – again completely not true) and that this time he went too far. I also made it clear that I would be getting legal advice prior to agreeing to a settlement. He then tried to pull a guilt trip on me over this, claiming I was trying to dragging out the process of divorce and make it more costly.

    Other than a debrief, what I’m trying to work out is whether I achieved anything by getting the AVO? It didn’t make him take responsibility for his actions, made him even more angry at me, and now it appears we are in for a bitter settlement battle. There isn’t a lot of money to go around so I certainly don’t want to spend much trying to get what’s fair – as that will be counterproductive. Because his pride is so badly damaged I can imagine he’ll do whatever it takes to get me to move out (I can’t afford the mortgage alone) and ensure I get as little as possible (I wouldn’t put it past him to hide money or do whatever it takes). There are no fault divorces in Australia, so it’s not like I can use the AVO in any way to help me (we don’t have children together)…so I’m just wondering what, if anything, this has achieved for me or for us. Maybe it will make him think twice before taking his temper out on others, but he certainly wasn’t very respectful towards me last night and still after all these weeks is in blame mode.

    Any feedback would be welcome.

  15. Defeated but not Destroyed Says:
    August 8th, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    Hi Kim, thank you for the kind words and the advice. As hard as it was let go, i find considerable peace in the knowledge I only wanted (and still do) the best for my ex.

    The old saying “it is better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all” when dealing with an NPD partner may be debatable but I did love him and having that feeling for someone in so much pain does give me comfort of my capacity as a human.

    From my experience, my life with him was proof of the ability to give unconditional love, regardless of how much i didnt like him at times, i still loved him and wished the best for him. It devastated me that he could not validate my feelings or empathasize with my pain and over time i realised i also needed to love myself unconditionally and not be afraid of tomorrow without him if it came to that (which it has obviously). I used to think in God’s eyes I would be judged for giving up, that walking away was a sign of weakness – but when I realised that was a false belief I was holding, I knew that letting go was a sign of my strength. I sincerely feel like hugging myself for taking care of ME this time, for defending my rights, for taking a stand on how I deserve to be treated.

    I’m not high maintenance – I don’t need material proof of affection – but I do need a sincere exchange that involves conscious caring for the other’s well-being. The things I want are simple : respect, consideration, reciprocity in affection, laughter, playfulness, LOVE!

    Ive got scars in my heart from words, actions or the indifference i was often shown. Some of these scars will fade, others will still be tender if revisited too often, hopefully the rest will just be absorbed by this wonderful vessel we have been given with so many healing capacities : sad memories that can be replaced with thoughts that bring us happiness; a heart which can forgive and love yet again; and a body that can regenerate – just like i believe our minds can, when we focus on a better life for ourselves.

    i honestly believe we all have an ability to let our scars fall in love again – the capacity to love in abundance is within us. That doesn’t mean I’m going to knowingly put myself through another unhealthy relationship again – i think of the saying “pain is inevitable, suffering is optional” – where possible, my eyes will be wide open so suffering can be avoided!!!

    For everyone that has become part of this world we have walked in, the world of existing alongside narcissm (not in the shadows, alongside!) i wish for you a tomorrow that is bright, bold and beautiful like those awesome breathtaking rainbows I’ve often admired after heavy storms.

    Kim has helped me, immeasurably, by allowing me to see my (ex) partner in full light and myself in the spotlight – have the courage to see the truth, and be true to yourself. We’re all different and only each one knows what type of wrong we can bear. Good luck, be safe, keep your humour, have faith in the knowledge that tomorrow has possibility – it’s up to us to make it happen, whatever that may be.

  16. Defeated but not Destroyed Says:
    August 8th, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Kim, if you ever decide to do live workshops or seminars, I know you will have success in that area too. I consider your work humanitarian – wish I could hug you – I’m sure I’m not the only one who considers you a new friend in our lives. Sincerely: Thank You xxx D

  17. Getting healthy Says:
    August 15th, 2013 at 1:44 am

    I have posted before, but didn’t feel like putting my real name today. My girls and I went on a family vacation for 8 days with my side of the family. He was supposed to come, but decided not to. I have never been away from him that long and spent it around other couples and families with “normal” relationships. I do feel for him as I can tell right now he is not capable of a healthy relationship, but it is also very frustrating to be back home. Unfortunatly I forgot to take my pill for a few days, thus we have to use back up birthcontrol. He doesn’t want to use it. Says it is uncomfortable and painful for him (even though in the past he used them). He wants to not use any protection and since I won’t he says I am withholding from him and he sees what kind of person I am since I want him to do something that is painful. This launched him into his old tirade that I am not a wife to him, that I should move out and that it is bad for the children to be around me. (Which is a mild synopsis of what all he said). I didn’t get as emotional as in the past and I was able to give several comebacks, but I couldn’t stop my legs from shaking. I got up to go sleep in the couch at one point, but got angry that I would be on the couch and told him he should go sleep on the couch if he couldn’t be quiet and let us sleep. Of course he didn’t. At one point to try and just break the mood when he couldn’t stop talking I called a friend who I knew was awake at that time and just caught up with her on her son’s graduation. It didn’t drag out as long as it would have in the past. I thought it wouldn’t affect me much today but it has. This will probably continue til we don’t need the backup. I am trying to figure out how to keep handling it. Should I just sleep on the couch? I thought about recording him and letting him know that so he would stop, but that might infuriate him more. I could let him know I will inform his sponsor. I have done that twice before to try and help him. But I think that will soon lose it’s effectiveness and what I learned last time is that he is not being honest with his sponsor about us. So it just turns into another manipulative relationship for him. I have gotten so much healthier but he has only gotten worse and angrier. I wish he could realize he has a problem and that he could get healthier to. I am probably trying to hard on that instead of just living my life and let him either catch up or not. I probably should just sleep on the couch.

  18. Kim Cooper Says:
    August 15th, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Hi getting healthy – It is very important that you learn to end these kind of non productive conversation quickly whether it makes him angry or not. I would say simply “Your the one that wants sex and so you need to take responsibility for us not having another child from it. But after last night what I need is sleep and so I will see you in the morning.” Then you go and sleep on the couch or where ever you need to go to get away from him. If he becomes more intimidating tell him that you don’t know how to handle him when he gets like this and so if he can’t let you sleep you will need to call his sponsor or the police to talk to him. This may make him even angrier and so you need a plan in place to deal with this and keep yourself and your children safe. But one way or the other he needs to face the consequences of his tantrums and you cannot keep allowing his anger to control you. I wonder if you have watched any Supernanny episodes of how the children’s tantrums escalate before they get better? This is much the same but he is not a child and so you need back up ready to come in and help you deal with his adult tantrums.

  19. Getting healthy Says:
    August 15th, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Thank you so much. I do realize I let pride get in my way the other night. I thought I shouldn’t be the one to sleep on the couch. Instead of being prideful I should have been responsible and leave the room, sleeping on the couch if necessary, because that would help end things. Thanks for helping me with a plan.

  20. Kegan Says:
    August 22nd, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    What advice do you have for people like me that feel like a split personality emotionally? Some days I feel hopeful and that progress can be made and this marriage is worth maintaining. Other days I am so angry and tired of being treated with no empathy or respect. It seems I’m the only one interested in solutions, not just maintaining the status quo. I do not have these sorts of issues in other relationships, even in my first marriage. But, he tries to make me believe I’M the crazy one and it is my faults that make our marriage difficult. He is so good at it he has chinked my self esteem armour and has me half believing it myself. I know I’m not perfect, but give me a break. How am I to find my own truth? What has to happen to finally see progress, or say enough is enough?

  21. Getting healthy Says:
    August 23rd, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    I hate that everytime I get stronger he gets meaner. Then I have to learn new ways of limiting abuse, but I get thrown off at the beginning of his new round and feel so weak and helpless even though I know I am so much stronger and smarter. I am so tired.

  22. Getting healthy Says:
    August 30th, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    It is alright to be tired sometimes. It is alright to rest when I am tired.

  23. Sheila Says:
    September 8th, 2013 at 2:40 am

    Wow… How timely! I believe God led me to your article. I am subscribing to your resources and will continue to read further…

    I apologize now that this is going to be a long read… But I hope you can read through it all… I believe it has been therapeutic to be able to write out my feelings…

    I just learned about NPD early this morning (after a sleepless night asking God to show me what is going on… “I can’t take this life anymore”, I kept thinking. I feel like I’ve been at this emotional place many times before) and I was just getting ready to walk downstairs and confront my husband when I happened to read your words not to or at least not to until I read more of what you have to share.

    I am a 47 yrs old female, 2 female children ages 20 & 15. My husband is 5 yrs older than me. I was vibrant and happy when he “picked me” at age 15. We started dating when I was16. We got married 6 years later. He is the only man I’ve known. It should have never happened but my mom was taken by his grandiose ways, seeing things he did for me that my father/ her husband didn’t do for her.. This past August 12th was our 25th wedding anniversary… so the abuse has been long.

    Yesterday we got back from what was supposed to be a 25th anniversary vacation in Cancun that my husband planned.  We hadn’t vacationed as a couple in over 15 years. Knowing how he is, I was concerned that this was more a show than about us… but I was trying to be hopeful/prayerful.  

    All these years I knew something was wrong but could never understand what and I feel others don’t understand as well. Feelings of embarrassment and shame of how I’ve let his disrespect and rudeness persist.

    About 10 months ago I put various topics in the google search engine trying to find something to help me understand. I came across the Madonna/Whore complex and so identified with the stories and comments shared by other women. I shared some of the stories with my husband. I got no response from him and nothing changed. During this time I told him that I no longer was going to pursue him for intimacy because his rejection and neglect further made me feel cheap.

    So we went on this romantic trip and I took his hand as an olive branch but in this completely romantic setting he still showed no interest to be intimate. Feelings of resentment began to stir again and then the thoughts that this is ridiculous…when I get home I’m going to secretly buy a dildo (sp?/ vibrator).    Then my thoughts went to constantly thinking “I’ve got to end this … ”  

    I have been at this place before. After being in bed last night in deep though I woke up to searching the internet again to try to again understand my husband. I came across article after article on the NPD and how people in relationships are affected… I’ve never heard about this. I sooo relate with respect to how he treats me and women and actually can be condescending to just about anyone.

    Yes I was feeling like removing myself AGAIN, but NOW with this new information is this evidence that God is working????  And I hear my girlfriends questions “Do you believe God can still work and what am I believing Him for NOW with this NEW information?”. But the truth of the matter is that I’m so tired and so tired of believing at this moment. I know that doesn’t sound good but that’s where I am. I’m so hurt by these roller coaster of emotions that I feel.

    Its rare that I try to share my heart anymore.  He often says things in public and private that make me sound and look stupid though I am intelligent and have undergraduate and graduate degrees in Electrical Engineering.  He has demeaned me with our children that I feel like they don’t respect me like they should because if his influence.

    Through all the hurt I feel like I’m just beginning to come to understand God’s love for ME.

    So I was at the point of wondering and talking to God, asking now that I have this knowledge of what I believe to be his condition, what do I do  next?  How do I heal?  And how can my girls heal, who don’t understand Daddy’s mood swings, or that Daddy may have a problem, yet starve for his approval/attention and who I feel have some resentment toward me….

    And then I read your article… I am hopeful that I will find further answers in your resources. I don’t know how this story will end, but just for the feeling of hope after a dreadful night of dedpair, I am so sincerely grateful. Lastly, I can’t put a monitary value on the hope you’ve provided, but I am further grateful and hopeful because you said that you have provided resources for free and others at a discount, thus making help more accesdible right now to people like me. God bless you and your husband!

  24. Kim Cooper Says:
    September 8th, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Hey Sheila, You hang in there! There is a long journey ahead for you still and who knows if your husband will come around to the changes you make – but if you study and learn what we have to offer I know that you can earn your own self respect back along with the respect of your daughters, who will need you still as a guide. 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence is not expensive (especially if you purchase it as a download) and would be a great place for you to start!

  25. Kim Cooper Says:
    September 8th, 2013 at 9:24 am

    Hey Kegan – Do you see progress in yourself? Are you better at not internalizing his insults than you were a few months ago? If you feel enough is enough I suggest you follow the steps at the end of Back From the Looking Glass for ending your relationship safely. What is important is that you have a plan of what you want to do and you do it for you. Threatening to leave to try and get his attention may work short term but in the long and short term can make the fighting worse. So you really have to ask your heart and make this decision for yourself and then play smart and play to win!

  26. RA Says:
    September 15th, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    These kinds of problems are very hard on our bodies. Our adrenal glands, thyroid, digestion, etc., all take a severe beating.

    I would encourage anyone who has had to deal with a narcissist to watch Sally Fallon’s videos on youtube. She talks about nutrition and how our modern diets do not support us. Nutritional Balancing will help restore our depleted selves so we can then deal with the emotional/relational/spiritual aspects of life.

    My relationship with the narcissist in my life almost ruined my health, but I found a way to return. It is possible.


  27. Misha Says:
    September 25th, 2013 at 9:14 am

    The first time I left my husband, he stalked me until I got an order of protection against him. After things calmed down, I caved, wanted to “talk,” and we ended up getting back together (despite an affair and elicit drug use).

    After a 14 month (torturous) deployment, the narcissist showed up full force with rage and violent outbursts that included flying furniture, television, phones, you name it. I asked him to get help assuming it was PTSD and we even tried marriage counseling. All the counselors told me to leave him because NPD was not curable.

    Because of the escalating violence, abandonment for days at a time, and crazy mood swings, I finally decided to move out. It was done in stages with packing one week, looking for a place the next week, then more packing, then finally moving about a month later. All the while telling him this was MY deployment. He seemed to understand.

    I’m now completely moved and didn’t leave a forwarding address for him. He said he wanted to see me but didn’t feel like driving the 20 miles out of his way to meet so I cut off all contact at that point and changed my phone number.

    I want to believe there is hope and a “cure” for narcissism. I still believe that God made him just for me and no one could ever love me the way he does when he’s Dr. Jekyl and not Mr. Hyde. I’ve asked him to seek help and I think that if he does then it will show me he is willing to try. But if he doesn’t, then should I write him off as another narcissistic liar who will never change?


  28. Kim Cooper Says:
    September 25th, 2013 at 11:42 am

    Hi Misha, Our advice is as much about partners curing their codependence
    as it is about curing narcissism and as far as that goes, you are doing
    very well in making wise decisions in taking care of yourself.

    The challenge and boundaries you have set are very appropriate at the moment
    considering the violence and rage he has displayed.

    It is vital you keep these boundaries in place unless he takes some very
    solid and demonstrable steps towards recovery. This might include him
    doing some charity work as well as getting himself into some kind of
    program to help with his emotional control.

    And even then I would take contact in very slow steps.

    And I think it is important for you to be ready to move on if this doesn’t

    By leaving this choice up to him you will also keep yourself safer.

    You saying “I am leaving and I am going to find someone new
    will be likely to provoke him to start stalking you again (or worse)”.
    But on the other hand – if you say I want to be with you but that is up
    to you … If you really care about me you will do this and this and this …
    Then if he doesn’t he will be much less likely to stalk you or stay mad.

  29. Melissa Says:
    October 2nd, 2013 at 6:17 am

    Very frustrated

  30. Melissa Says:
    October 16th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Just getting started on some materials. Thank you Kim for giving me a glimmer of hope. After 15 yrs of marriage and total exhaustion I was on the verge of giving up. Were it not for my 3 kids I honestly would have left by now. But now I think I understand better about my emotional dependence and more about NPD and what I am dealing with in my husband. It has been a cold and lonely roller coaster ride! Funny how things have progressed to this point. Especially him having total control of the finances. Which he NEVER wants to discuss.

  31. Want to help him AND myself Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 2:06 am

    Dear Kim

    I have some questions i would really appreciate if you (2) would answer.

    My ex, and father of my 2 children is a narcissist. A somatic on.

    He was left by his mother at the age of 2.

    His whole life he had very unhealthy relationships. He would cheat, lie, be selfish and ignore the women her emotions, needs etc.

    We were together of and on for 5 years.
    He has done some really awful things to me.
    Fast forward:
    We have two childeren 1,2 years old.
    And almost 6 months ago i lefted him.
    In all those years it was allways him who left me. Doing and saying really sad things to me.

    I couldn’t take it anymore so i break my relationship with him. In the beginning ( first month) he would begg plead. Tell me how much he loved me , that he was sorry for everything that he did to us. But i didnt buy it anymore.
    He allways would make false promises after a break up. I could not trust him anymore. Every concersation turned out on a fight.

    He told me how much he wanted the things to work out between us.
    Misses me.. Etc. He even admitted his disorder.

    He could see the childeren when he wanted to. And i was still available on some level to him.

    Two months ago he was still asking for a chance.. Telling me how much he misses us. And then all of the sudden on day when we had a appointment ( he would come and pick the Children up) he didnt come without letting me hear anything of him. When i confronted him with the bad behaviour he just ignored it..

    He would tell me he loved me missed us to ignore our needs appointments solutions to problems. He just did what he wanted.

    I sended him a email telling him this Abus has to stop im fed up i love him i Miss him but i cant take it anymore.

    He responded with : i dont want to see or make you sad or cry. I dont want to hurt you. I have to many issues cant make you happy. I dont think i can ever be faithfull . Sorry! Its sad for the kids. Wish you the best.

    Normally i would respond with that he can make me happy and blablabla
    But this time i told him. You are right.
    I wish you the best to.

    And then he didnt seek contact and do did i. I sended him a text if he would like to have a concersation in the church about it all. He told me no.

    I called him up i just was so fed up with all of it. Just wanted to be in peace. It seemed like he would just un purpose bring chaos.

    I wanted peace so bad.
    And i started to cry.. Then he told me our relationship was hell for 5 years. I cant make him happy. I he cant make me happy. That he never had any feelings for me. That he is really happy now. And i should if i love him as the father of my Children , let him be happy with someone else. And leave him alone.

    Just like that….
    He changed his prophile picture on Facebook showing his almost naked body. He is working out in the gym a lot and trains other people also..

    After this conversation my heart broke in pièces. He did tell me the same thing once when i was pregnant ( that he didnt love me etc)
    And now after all we have been though. I did for him. Two little childeren.
    He just tell me that again. Make me feel like a worthless ugly peace of shit.
    While he is allready living on in A month like i did never excist???

    Im devistated..
    Last 6 years i tried anything to help him and us but i was setting boundaries.

    How is it possible that he just moves away like that. Devalueer and discards me and now allready forgotten me?

    I want to call him crying scream but i know he wouldnt care…

    Please help me out here.
    This men shared a lot about his youth and toughts about me.
    I just dong understand why he would chase me wanted to work things out every time i did gave him a chance he would mess up.
    He would chase me 6 months and that one day i showed him tears. He discarded me.

    It hurts so much :(((

  32. Kim Cooper Says:
    October 29th, 2013 at 7:17 am

    Hey “wanted to help him and myself” once you face that he is really gone the pain will get worse, but then you will start feeling better. I know that you feel discarded now but really it was you who choose to leave and you did so for good reasons. For your own healing maybe you can look at what it was you were hoping for and wanting? You told him it was over and stuck to that for a long time but then you seem surprised when he moved on … Maybe you wanted him to keep being sorry? As you already discovered being sorry does not have anything to do with their behavior changing. Building trust is an entirely different process and with everything that has happened (and him being abandoned when he was so young) I don’t know if you are in a position to build trust with him now. As for him saying he never loved you – I wouldn’t give that too much credit. That is what most people say when they have been rejected. Look up the Aesops fable about sour grapes. The important thing for you to focus on now is yourself and your children. They are so young and really need you happy now. That may take a little time – but remember that it was you who decided you were worth something better – so stick to that and accept he is gone and then the silver lining will come and you can start focusing on your own life and giving those beautiful kids of yours all the time and love they need from you.