Relationships with narcissists are about blame: “I feel bad, and it’s your fault.” What is a narcissist? Narcissistic partners are self-centered with an excessive need for attention and admiration. They control with anger, violence, criticism, irritation, righteousness, invasive energy, and emotional drama. They use both blatant and concealed control to get the attention he or she wants and hold others responsible for their feelings of pain and joy. It is your job to make sure that their needs are met. All forms of narcissistic abuse results from failure to feel compassion. They don’t care about how you feel. Failure of compassion is abuse. Trying to prevent outbursts, the victims of narcissists “walk on egg shells” to keep the peace.
You might be asking yourself, “How could someone who felt so right in the beginning of the relationship be a total mistake?” After the discovery of your partner’s true character, emotions are usually intense. The hurt, bewilderment, and numbing shock are overwhelming. Acceptance of anger is not pleasant, but it is necessary for ending the abuse. Anger will guide you to decisions that are important to make. You will find it difficult if not impossible to leave and get better until you get mad. Denying anger eats away at your innermost spirit and feeds depression. Hidden anger does not go away; it sits waiting for you to become strong enough to deal with the mistreatment. It is very important to acknowledge the anger that you feel or you will continue to accept behaviors that hurt you. Staying in denial, it is likely you will suffer from fear, emotional pain, or shame. It is far more effective to assert yourself with anger to motivate an escape from purgatory. By repressing emotions and disregarding needs you stay victimized and become stuck in the nightmare. Some victims of narcissists stay in quiet desperation for years, secretly wanting out and then they die. Their emotional work is left to their children to complete. You have the right and responsibility to feel and learn from your anger.
It is important to understand that not all anger is unhealthy. Anger can be used constructively or destructively. It can be a warning signal to protect ourselves from being dominated or manipulated by others. It’s a defense mechanism that protects. Anger can give us strength and courage to stop abuse done against us or to others we
love. However, when anger is unexpressed it becomes destructive taking control over the mind, body, and spirit. Most people under the control of a narcissist cannot clearly comprehend the abuse or make good decisions. The person acting codependently is unable to think rationally and emotions take control of their actions. They make excuses for the abusers behavior, feel trapped and uncertain how to take care of themselves or their children. Anger may be denied because the person feels too guilty about it or are afraid of it. You may speak of being disappointed, frustrated, or let down, unaware that these expressions may indicate repressed anger. Becoming angry at the abuse is an effective means of utilizing the emotion in overcoming fear. Constructively used, anger can give strength both mentally and emotionally. The open expression of anger towards the narcissist will not solve the problem and could be dangerous. Anger and threats usually provoke further hostility and rage. If you fear for your safety, please click the following link: National Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Safety Plan for Leaving an Abusive Relationship http://www.ncadv.org/protectyourself/SafetyPlan.php
What do I do about feeling my anger? Recognize that you are angry and admit it to yourself. Awareness is much less harmful than unrecognized or unadmitted anger. It is essential that you uncover the feelings first. If you are feeling depressed, ask yourself what you might be angry about. Are you afraid to face the situation? Are you afraid to face your anger? Understand why you are angry so you will figure out ways to handle it. When you recognize the destructive behaviors of the narcissist, your frustration and discouragement, you will find the source of anger and what to do about it. Dealing with anger is easy to describe, but less easy to carry out. Life is complex. Once you leave you must make a personal search to discover interests and what can be done to express them in your new life. Remember you have to make changes because you are the one who has been made sick by the relationship. If you don’t make changes you are likely to continue to be frustrated and depressed.
Ending a relationship with a narcissist means we need to make a choice to take care of ourselves even though we may fear in our ability to do so. You cannot change a narcissist (anyone) or be responsible for their insatiable needs. It is time to feel your anger and release your partner to think, feel, solve problems, and take care of his or her self. Your work is to believe in the ability to competently deal with feelings, solve problems, and take responsibility for your life.
Thank you for reading my post. I’ve dedicated my personal and professional life to the importance of non-violence and self-compassion by teaching from my experience. As a result, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to express needs and put an end to relationship abuse. And, as I learn and grow, I teach self-compassion and give advice I use myself, in the hopes that it helps you to improve your own life.
How can I legally get my narcissistic husband out of the house when he states he’s not leaving? I have divorce papers that he refuses to sign, and I don’t have the money to pay for a nasty divorce. I just want him out of the picture so that I can live a peaceful life with our children. If it helps, it’s my mother who owns the house. Also, if I do have to live with him for a period of time, do you have any suggestions on how to deal with this extreme anger and frustration that I feel for him? It’s not healthy, although I do believe that it helps me to have the strength to leave him, as I’ve worried about having two kids (and one on the way) with no family to help and he’s the one that works. But as of now, I don’t care and will figure something out. I just can’t stand to see his face and to know that he could care less about what he does to our family. It’s something new every day and it has made me physically sick because of the stress. I just need to find a way to get rid of the anger, sadness, disappointment, and frustration that I feel because I know that it will not change.
I hope my response to you finds that your husband is out of your mothers house. Your best way to empower yourself is through legal channels. I would search for free legal aid and contact your local Women’s Domestic Violence Services/Shelter as a resource. Domestic violence is more than physical abuse and includes financial, emotional, verbal, sexual, mental violence, etc. I am wishing you the best. Thank you for commenting.
I’ve been married 20 years and I don’t know if my wife is narcissistic or not but from reading so many articles including your I think she is, but some things I read sound like me as well. I have adult Add which makes life hard as it is . but I’m not a fault finder and I’m sympathetic to people’s needs above my own. I gave dealt with years of my wife critisizing everything I do and everything I don’t do, nothing is ever right. Nothing is ever good enough, I’ve been accused of cheating for first 10 years of marriage and isolate from family and friends and finally I did cheat and I am deeply remorceful for doing so. That was 8 years ago
And I am still dealing with repercussions from that. U have counciled for 2 weeks with 1 counselor who dropped me cause he wasn’t in my network. But he made my wife and me tell him why we loved each other and it was awhile until he accepted my remarks, however my wife never got the chance to answer as we were dropped. She refused to go again. I began with another counselor on my own, he told me he believed my wife was having a open relationship without me, and much more.
My wife never liked counselors saying they are all quacks and that she didn’t have a problem it was all me and the way I was raised. After our counseling sessions we would go to the car and she would yell at me for what I said in office, I don’t get that.let me be blunt I’m not a perfect person I’ve made a lot of bad decisions in my life and my marriage and I’m not proud of it. I’ve learned a lot from my mistakes and I know I’m not free of guilt from my mistakes, but I’m not a monster as my wife proclaims me to be. I’ve apologized for everything I’ve done wrong from grocery shopping at discount good store to foldingbthe laundry wrong to adultery and everything else you can think of. She has never apologised for anything. She left me on our anniversary and went to a bar with a ex boyfriend tobplay pool. She left me in a bar to go buy cigarettes with a friend only to end up hanging with her friends in there four wheel drives in the dead of winter, I went looking for her and found her and demanded she come home, we had a 4 year old son at home with his grandma. We should have been home not at a bar. Her male friends gave me a hard time but I had a friend with me who made the situation alot easier. To say the least this has happened more than once. If I had done such a thing I’d be divorced no questions asked. Never a apology for this incident cause she did nothing wrong. Our sex life was never great what I mean is there was never any real intimacy from her, and now she is frigid. She says we can have sex but she already took care of herself, but I can have sex with her. And I can’t do that it’s just wrong to me. When I can’t get turned on from that she immediately thinks its someone else and or she says what’s wrong with her, I know she’ll respond I’m fat and ugly and no one wants me. Or shell say you always have a problem with keeping a erection, you just never wanted me I’m not good enough for you , you like skinny hoes. What I like is someone who is emotionally connected to me. It’s like sex with a blow up doll. Throughout our marriage I have tried to communicate my problems with my wife and it does no good because she doesn’t communicate everything is one sided with her. Most times it just creates arguments and she will push all my buttons to try and get me to snap and lose control and if I do she uses it against me. And again she looks good and I’m a monster. After awhile you start to believe you are a monster. I work 60/80 hours a week every week and I give my wife money for her bills and pay what I can on my bills including I pay for her vehicle and insurance for 4 vehicles plus gas etc. She works also including overtime and every week proclaims she has no money so I give her more money
But a few days later she has more money than I gave her, I don’t ask cause I don’t want arguments. We both use fbook but I recently shut mine off cause of her complaining of who I talk to or who I have as friends. She has guy friends that’s OK, I have female friends not OK.
I recently friended someone she works with, female I met with my wife and her friends from work for drinks I am fb friends with some of her other work friends as well .there is nothing going on there just fb friends. Of course I sent happy holiday messages to all my friends on there pages so now I’m doing my wife wrong because of this. So I deactivated my fb page and lose all my contacts from fb including my work friends and she says I didn’t tell you to do that. True she didn’t but better than being accused of ruining her fb friendships. She told me that girl is her friend and I had no right to friend her cause I don’t know her, but she says she doesn’t know her much either and proclaims. The girl sleeps around. Excuse me if im wrong here. But I didn’t ask this person for anything other than fb friendship . what did I do wrong??? My wife has told me before she doesn’t take me where her friends are because I embarrass her, one of friends asked me why I never come around and I told them what my wife said, and they said not true your a nice person and we like having you around. I may seem callus for speaking up about my wife’s true feeling without her present but she would have denied saying it and yelled at me all the way home and threatened divorce. We talked a little today and instead of hearing me out u get the same thing maybe we should just get a divorce. She would rather do that than let someone find any faults in her as for me I have many faults I’m not perfect, and I guess maybe I’m not meant to be happy. After airing my laundry who would me anyway. Thanks for letting me vent, actually I could write a 3 inch thick book maybe even a sequel.
Thank you for commenting. I apologize for the long response time. I am hoping your healthy anger (“venting”) has helped you to take the right actions. What you describe is a painful existence and a powerful lesson. I encourage you to seek out a therapist to support your healing and help you create a relationship worthy of your love. I am wishing you much strength and clarity.
Do you have any resources on co-parenting with a Narc who is (after being caught in many lies by many people and then losing those energetic connections) now on the warpath to redemption and blatantly lying to the kids and to the in-laws and slowly turning them against the other parent? How do you handle that with the delicate fact that the kids love a facade while the real person is a monster out to destroy? How do you handle the lies to your family and friends without looking like the “crazy ex” that he’s made you out to be?
You are in a tough situation where you are the only one capable of changing. Not allowing the opinions of others to be more important than the truth you know is a tremendous challenge. I suspect you would be the kindest to yourself by walking away from the insanity and creating a new life. This will require you to stop fighting, leave the door open to your children, and do your best to stop thinking about the family drama. You will no longer allow them to require you to be a victim in order to have a relationship with them. You have a right to say “no more”. How much more pain do you want? I am sending you much acknowledgement and understanding for the difficulties.
This site is so enlightening!! I have been reading about how to end a narcissistic relationship for months now. And I have finally started that process two weeks ago when I found pictures in my front door when I got home from work. But he still denies having another relationship and blames everything on my son… Just as he always blames everything on everybody else. Nothing is ever his fault. I have been in this relationship for 6 years now and have seen many red flags as they are easy to recognize now. And although things are still complicated right now because all his belongings are still in my house and we have finances that have to be fixed. He will not be back in my life ever again. But it is so hard and depressing and I am so angry. I keep asking myself what it is that I keep doing wrong. He was such a loving and good person when we first met. And I was so full of life and now I feel as if the life has been sucked right out of me. I have no motivation…no life…and he is the one responsible for this. The only life I have is going to work everyday and I have to put my happy face on because I am retail manager. I have to bottle all this anger up when I go to work and it is so hard sometimes. And I feel so cold hearted. I haven’t shed one tear since that day. I just feel so numb.
The anger you feel given the newness of the relationship break-up is part of the process. Use your anger to empty your home of his belongings and try to resolve your financial issues without having contact. This will eliminate his attempt to hook you back in. I would change door locks immediately and block all paths of communication (i.e., phone, text, social media). Otherwise you will be allowing him to continue to play with you. You are facing a tough lesson in self-love. Show-up for yourself and your son; you deserve a life that is not filled with pain. Eventually you will feel the immense relief that comes from stopping the insanity and by placing a priority on your well-being. It will make you stronger to get help from a professional and a healthy support system. Invest in yourself by continuing to learn about what has happen and how others in narcissistic relationships have stuck to “no contact.” Taking this action will help you heal and begin to feel whole again. I am wishing you much courage. Thank you for writing to me.
Hi – I left an abusive NARC husband after 22 years. The light bulb went on one day after one of his fits of rage. I have been divorced for 1.5 years now and still suffer from repressed anger. I can not dig down deep enough to get it out. I feel that I must to move on. WHY? Help!
PS: Other’s would say I have moved on…however, I feel that I am depressed, questioning my decisions and not over the relationship I left. My ex continuously reinforces how great his life is, how he has worked with a counselor, how great his girlfriends kids are, how free he feels of the burden of having a house to take care of, etc…. It just makes me feel worse; as I am not over the relationship yet. Our divorce only took 7 months and cost a small fortune due to the resistance on his part – $350K I see him for the exchange of our dogs.
Thank you for writing to me. Getting over 22 years with an abuser can take many years. I would do my best to not speak with him. Maybe arrange for a drop off and pickup of your dogs without being present. You don’t mention getting support for your recovery. I would encourage you to invest in yourself by seeing a therapist. You are worth it. I am wishing you much healing.
Thank you. Yes, I saw a therapist through my divorce and shortly after. I just went back to see him 2 weeks ago and he has me focused on myself and moving forward. Though it is very tough! Good suggestion not to see him, but really don’t understand myself as to why I want to continue a relationship free of anger/abuse. Which is what it has been – unless his sharing what is going on in his life and his healing journey is considered abuse. Guess this is what I need to ask my counselor about next!
Thanks for this. It helps to understand why I was so angry when I broke up with her.
Thank you, knowledge can be a real help in letting go of anger. Be good to yourself!
I moved across the world to get away from the relationship when the cruelty and endless infidelity got too much to bear and another of his women was about to give birth to his kid so it wasn’t just about us any more. Me being aspergers didn’t help, he was my obsession, I don’t give up easily! Taking control and emigrating was the hardest thing I have ever done but allowed me to start from scratch, I was single and celibate for many years (and very happy in my own little world) before getting married. However, we got back in touch 8 years ago after a 22 year break and have had regular communication, last month we spent a lot of time together soul searching while I was “back home” for a visit and I can tell you that it would have been the easiest thing in the world to tear up my plane ticket home and get back on that roller coaster, back to my addiction. When I got back I had to read back through all the old Pandora’s Box of letters, diaries, cards, the old engagement ring etc to remind me just how toxic the relationship had been..stuff I hadn’t looked at since we split. It was very confronting as I realised all the signs of NPD were there.
He got his karma, he ended up with a woman who was even more of a narcissist than him (I knew this from knowing her, not one of his stories) I know that even though we have such a laugh together, can read each others minds and still find each other mind blowingly attractive, I had learned by reading back that the stupidest thing I ever did in my life was to stay with him after the first “other girlfriend” three months into our relationship. In fact we were better as mates, we also played in a band together. Friends, parents (both my parents were marriage guidance consellors) all told me GET RID OF HIM! I was a teenager, I wasn’t going to listen to them was I; how was I to know that I would sink low enough to comfort the endless supply of naive broken hearted and sometimes pregnant teenage girls he left in his wake and drive for several hours through the night to his house from uni whenever he clicked his fingers, sometimes to find him in bed with someone else when I got there…I even forgave him when he gave me venereal disease. so many other stories I could tell that many of you would recognise. So…what I’m saying is that hold they have over you can last for decades and huge distances. Beware, like giving up smoking, “just one” kiss can start it all up again. I am having to keep reminding myself that the pain I feel now is mourning the lost years he took from me with cruelty and bullying and not actually missing the love of my life. I’m now in my 50s and not a naive kid but the fact he is back in control now by for the first time ever not replying to texts and emails, hurts as much now as it did then, long long before either were invented and we sent hand written letters!
Keep away from them for good!!! Never go back ,not even a facebook message.
The psychic entrapment of the narcissist is very enduring. They are always waiting for evidence of omnipotence over their victims (narcissistic supply) forever. They exist to destroy all that is vulnerable and good. It is the only way they feel alive and vindicated. My heart goes out to you. You have the ability to transform your victimization to empowerment more than ever in your 50’s. Don’t let him win. Wishing you much wisdom and self-love.
I was so afraid for so long to speak my mind to my narc husband. He always had me walking on eggshells and he knew it. It took me 7 years to finally stand up for myself and say “enough”. He blamed me for everything wrong in his life and pretty much the world. Even the economy being bad is my fault because I don’t vote. I took on so much emotional abuse I was left physically exhausted. My exhaustion caused me to not pay enough attention to him in his eyes, he needed attention all the time all day long. I could never do anything for myself or there would be hell to pay. He would emotionally beat me down and tell me what a bad wife I was and he would keep a log of how many times we had sex. If the totals didn’t agree with him I would be punished and guilted into sex with him. If I spoke my mind he would tell me I was crazy and abnormal. I learned to keep silent and started resenting it, I just couldn’t live that way anymore. His rage was scary, he would pin me down and get in my face to tell me what a piece of shit I was. He never once apologized to me for anything and I always apologized for his behavior, he convinced me for so long I deserved it. He has people fooled, he appears to be a fun loving, good guy, but this couldn’t be furthest from the truth. He has done smear campaignes on me, convincing people I am crazy. I used to beg for his compassion and understanding only to get laughed at and told I was pathetic. He continues to get away with being a saint in everyone elses eyes and even though it shouldn’t bother me it really does. He seems to win everybody over and the more I try to speak the truth the crazier I am looked at. I am just glad to be out of the relationship and am trying very hard to forgive myself for being so trusting and stupid.
There are many people that know the truth about what you have lived through. I suggest you read the comments in my posts from those who have or who are still experiencing the nightmare. Don’t give up and be kind to yourself. Loving actions towards yourself is the biggest challenge. My heart goes out to you. Let the pain move you into a better life. I am wishing you much gentleness and perseverance.
l have always thought of myself as a intelligent and successful woman but ended up being in a relationship with a narcissist for almost 12 years! The damage that I have suffered is incomprehensible but I have finally ended it and am looking forward to reconnecting with family, friends, and myself – because I lost myself and my loved ones along the way by being in a relationship with this cruel and selfish man.
Thank you for commenting. The healing process takes time and is so necessary. I am wishing you an abundance of strength to complete your grieving. Keep showing up for yourself. You are worth it.
You are so correct about the role that anger plays in providing strength to end the abusive relationship! It took anger to give me the courage to say “Enough”! For almost 12 years I have endured verbal and emotional abuse from my boyfriend (he wanted to be married but I knew deep inside it would be a mistake). He was so jealous and insecure about every other relationship I had in my life – my son’s, my widowed and sick mother, my brothers and my friends! I sacrificed so much so I wouldn’t make waves with him! I was constantly judged and criticised by him, and of course everything was always my fault! He would get angry with me about something (often times I wasn’t even sure of what I did to make him mad) and berate me, then give me the silent treatment – it was humiliating! But this time was different – he verbally attacked my son to me and spread vicious lies around our community about my son and me. That was when the anger set in and it became so very clear that I needed to break free from this monster once and for all. That was 2 1/2 months ago and he still refuses to accept that it is over and continues his threats via phone, text, and email. The no contact is so important but eventually I will have to find a way to deal with him to settle up the property we have together. The anger you talk about is what gave me the courage and incentive to move on and leave him once and for all! Thank you so much for this helpful and supportive site!
This is so cleansing for me. I am finding that I don’t hate my ex husband. I feel sorry for him. Many call their abusers monsters…..I acknowledge that my abuser is a lost soul…..and I acknowledge my love for him, and also my need to let go. I’ve been back and forth with him for years. I divorced him five years ago, but continued in the relationship ever since, breaking up with him every six months or so, not even telling anyone we broke up OR when got back together because I felt like such a crazy and didn’t want to admit to people what was going on. I carried everything for him…..if he didn’t follow through with a responsibility, I was embarrassed as if I was the one who had failed. I blamed myself for everything, and even wondered if I was the narcissist. At times, my lower moments, I still question myself – the residual leftovers of the relationship. I am just eight weeks away from him now – six of them while he was still here – and two by myself. I feel free for the first time. I miss him, but I am not obsessing. By educating myself on the disorder, I am clearing my head and realizing the damage the relationship did to me; that I allowed to happen to me. I’ve been in therapy for over a year now, this has also made a big difference for me. I plan to continue the therapy until I can find a love for myself, a self acceptance. I read the comments, I see the hurt, the anger and the confusion, everything I have felt every other time we have broken up. This time, I feel sadness, sympathy, and I am releasing the negative feelings, I am clearing my head. I am accepting the love that I had for him, and I am not blaming myself, and more importantly, I am not blaming him. From what I am reading and how I am comprehending all of this, we were two lost souls who came to each other for comfort. We each had our own way of interacting and reacting. We didn’t work well together. I am so thankful that I am able to be healed. That is the joy that I will carry with me. I can’t say the same for him. I can hope the same for him, but regretfully, from what I’ve read, he will be stuck in an eternal hell, and this saddens me. I really don’t want that for him. Any other time, I did. I was angry, I was bitter and I wanted to know WHY he just didn’t seem to care. Reading through everything has helped me to realize that we both experienced the same childhood – how we decided to handle it when we grew up were two different ways. Thank the GOOD LORD I was the one that ended up codependent and not narcissistic!! LOL It’s comical that I can be thankful that I got the lesser of two evils in the mental illness world. 🙂 I am writing this for two reasons; a) I think it is good for me to help me release and accept, and b) I am hoping something I say here will help someone else. All the comments I see make me ache for the posters. I know how they feel, what they are going through, the helplessness and the anxiety….it is an awful place to be, and it takes a lot to get away from there. It took me five years and some pretty serious therapy to finally get here – my new beginning – and I hope and pray that everyone in this type of relationship can release and move on to their new beginning. Thank you for your website, I now have a new addiction. (just kidding!!)
Thank you for commenting. I think sharing your experience is helpful. You are a smart woman. You are giving yourself the opportunity to forgive and keep your integrity. Narcissistic relationships are pure purgatory. Growing through one is not for wimps or a victim mentality. More power to you! Stay strong and give yourself permission to make mistakes. I am sending positive energy your way.
I have been doing it for 22 years. I have completely lost myself in this madness. My legal career of 17 years. Family and friends….I can’t get out and have decided it is my cross to bare in life.
Thank you for commenting about your choice to stay and feeling powerless to leave. I would suggest that you commit to not picking on yourself or apologizing for being who you are. Make your focus about discovering things you love and doing them. You deserve loving kindness. I am wishing you the best.
You make so much sense. I wish I had heard your wisdom, and plain speak, a year or two ago. But I’ve finally made the break, which my spirit has been trying to make me do many times over the years. My anger and frustration would over come me sometimes and I would clear out, only to be reeled in again by him, with his desperation, promises and lies, and I would be back there feeling sorry for him, all over again. It was destroying me, and eroding any love I had for him. He did me a favour by starting something with someone else, but not telling me and I found out the hard way. It’s been heartbreaking, because I couldn’t bear to let him go, but since I’ve read your posts, all is so clear to me now, I’m feeling so much better,and I’m so happy to be rid of him, and letting go of all the negative emotion.
Thank you for your heartfelt wisdom and advice. Marie.
You are welcome. I sense you are a stronger woman and not bitter from your victimization. The healing process can be brutal at times. Holding on to negative feelings is a barrier to an open heart and getting the love you desire. I suspect you have had enough pain. Continue to let go of the self-defeating thoughts so you are free to love. I am wishing you an abundance of acceptance.
I had already ended the relationship but I found your site and every time pleasant feelings boil back up for the person I left, I come here and remind myself what a monster this person really is. Thank you so much for doing what you do!
Thank you for your support of my website. Being alone and wanting a relationship you don’t have is much easier than being lonely with a narcissist. Keep showing up for yourself. I am sending positive energy your way.
Thank you. You have affirmed what I have been feeling for over 2 years. I am going to
end this relationship, finally.
More power to you in placing value on your needs and feelings. You can stop the cycle of abuse. I am sending you an abundance of strength to end your relationship.
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