Married to a Narcissistic Husband? Proceed with Caution!

Certainly all relationships have challenges. But being married to a narcissistic husband can be a very complicated and thorny journey. A narcissistic husband can be vain, insensitive to your needs, violent, and exceptionally critical of you. Living with a person like that can be destructive and demoralizing. It can leave you feeling confused and hurt by their seemingly incomprehensible actions. Theoretically, it is possible to negotiate a relationship with a narcissistic individual; but keep in mind that most narcissists are unlikely to recognize or take responsibility for needing to adjust the current unhealthy relationship.

If you cannot leave a narcissistic person, or choose not to for whatever reason, then your only other option is to learn to cope with him. You cannot change a narcissistic person; that is almost impossible as narcissism is a deeply ingrained personality disorder. However, you can learn more effective ways to deal with your husband. Of primary importance is your attitude toward him; you must truly believe that they are ‘difficult to handle’ people, but don’t develop hatred toward them. He is not evil or purposefully trying to hurt you emotionally, verbally or physically. There is a difference between narcissistic abuse and sadistic abuse; when a narcissist hurts you, he is oblivious to your pain but when a sadist hurts you, he does it to see and enjoy your pain.

How did I get myself into this?

The story is the similar for most women who marry a narcissist: Boy meets girl; boy sweeps girl off her feet; boy marries girl; boy changes soon after. A narcissist can be very intense in the beginning of a relationship and bombard you with love and attention, and placing you on a pedestal. It’s easy to fall in love with a narcissist. However, his true personality starts to reveal itself as the wife endures his criticism, insults, possible beatings or other forms of abuse.

Loving and living with a narcissist takes a heavy toll; the wife takes years of abuse and loses her sense of self-worth and remains submissive to his demands. Being married to a narcissist is like walking on eggshells. You don’t know what will cause an outburst or provoke his wrath.

After the honeymoon period, the narcissistic husband starts berating his wife, criticizing her behavior and pointing out each and every detail that bothers him. His wife stays with him at this point because she feels trapped and helpless, still in the throes of the emotional “hook”. Over time, the relationship disintegrates but by then her self esteem has disintegrated as well. This is where the wife usually decides to leave, or if you are reading this article, decides to stick it out but knows there has to be some changes to make their marriage last.

How do I know if he has narcissism? What are the signs?

There are primary traits that most narcissists display, although they probably won’t exhibit all of them and they will differ in intensity from individual to individual. Only a mental health professional can diagnose a personality disorder, but you can suspect it if your husband shows at least five of these signs:

  1.  Lack of empathy toward others. Your husband has difficulty putting himself “in someone else’s shoes”. His behavior seems callous, unemotional and selfish. He may be able to playact the part of a loving husband or father to outsiders, but you will not see that behavior at home.
  2. A sense of grandiose self worth. This is an over-inflated ego to the point of exaggerating or lying about his accomplishments and worth.
  3. A sense of entitlement. Your husband expects preferential treatment from you and all others. He expects things to happen according to his wishes and expects total compliance from his spouse at all times.
  4. Idealized fantasy. Your husband may be obsessed with ideas about “perfect” love, beauty, or power. Although you were most likely put on a pedestal during courtship, you will have had to disappoint him at some point and then you become worthless and possibly discarded; there is very little room in between these two states.
  5. A haughty and superior attitude toward others. The narcissistic husband feels he is “special”. He often must have the very best of everything and feels he can only associate with others at his level or at his preferred institution (club, university, etc.)
  6. An excessive desire or need for admiration from others. Admiration and praise act like a drug that he craves and he will go to extreme lengths to get it.
  7. Jealous of others and thinks others are jealous of him. He is envious of other people’s accomplishments and may even get enraged at hearing about the successes of others.
  8. A willingness to exploit others for his own benefit. Your husband may be comfortable with the idea of “stepping on others” to get ahead and sees no harm in it; he may even brag about it.
  9. Lying. Many narcissistic husbands are pathological liars. They will try and manipulate you with a complex web of lies and half-truths. Their highly selective memory will filter out the truth. They will blame you and not take responsibility-for anything. They will lie about everything in an attempt to justify their behavior or maintain their inflated ego. If you question their version of the truth, they may get enraged and lash out in anger or come up with an even more absurd lie to explain it away.
  10. Violent tendencies. Your husband may experience episodes of uncontrollable rage. His bouts of anger may include screaming, hurling obscenities or even physical violence. He may force himself on his wife sexually even if she is not consenting. He will try to modify his wife and children’s behavior according to his wishes by criticizing.

How can I deal with this behavior?

In relationships where the husband is self-absorbed, the scales are always imbalanced. The narcissistic husband assumes he is always the focal point of the family and the marriage. If you want to try to address some of the imbalances, you can try the following:

  • Convince your husband that giving you what you want reflects well on him. Narcissists are very concerned with outward appearances.
  • Always apply flattery before suggesting something your spouse can do for you. He is more likely to be generous if his ego tank is full.
  • Use positive reinforcement. At any time your spouse supports you or does something unselfish, reinforce that behavior with praise so they will want to do it again.
  • Don’t dismiss his grievance even if he is being irritable. Listen. Then use echoing (paraphrasing what they said) or mirroring (let them know you are familiar with the feeling they are having) to show them you understand.
  • Check in often. Your spouse will be more tolerant of you doing things on your own if you periodically touch base to remind him that you love him.
  • Flirt. This is good advice in any marriage to keep an element of fun and mystery alive. But narcissists actually crave this kind of sexual attention.

Above all, be sure not to lose sight of who you are. Remember that your goal is to create a better relationship.

What are some other things you can do for yourself?

  1. Create a support system outside of the household, whether it is friends or a mental health professional. They can provide you with accurate perceptions of you and your actions.
  2. Maintain connections to the outside world. This will help counteract the negative feedback you get at home.
  3. Maintain your self esteem. A narcissistic husband will often belittle you and put you down. Members of your support system can assist you if they know what is going on.
  4. Establish personal boundaries and communicate them to your narcissistic spouse. It is important to be consistent with these boundaries-if you do not, he will exploit that fact. If you give in just once, he is likely to disregard all your preferences.
  5. Keep an eye out for escalating abuse. Although it isn’t that common for a narcissistic husband to turn physically violent, it does happen. He is already in a verbally abusive relationship so it can happen. You need to take a serious look if he suddenly becomes more possessive and controlling, the verbal abuse increases, criticism intensifies, he requires all control of finances, or if he isolates you from family and friends.


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About Alexander Burgemeester

67 Responses to “Married to a Narcissistic Husband? Proceed with Caution!”

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  1. Lena says:

    Thank you for this article. It is really helpful to have some pointers on how to make it work. It is tough, but love is tough. I have come to see that I need to be clear about what I need to do, and then just do it. Stop trying to change him, and change myself instead. Thinking in terms of him having a disorder or disabiluty rather than being difficult on purpose is helpful as well.

    • Atul jain says:

      Hi, i have a friend whom i think is going through this. I want to help him and his family, his behaviour is like he does not communicate with ppl at home, lives a very scheduled life and has a drinking problem too. He does not understand how to behave when in the company with friends. Please help

      • Pernella says:

        Hi I married my husband at 40 all my single friends were so jellous of this devoted suitor. I thought I was marrying my soul mate we dated20 years before and I knew it ended when he saw me find cracks in his armor and he was interested in someone else after being crazy about me. The day before we married I experienced the first of many violent outbursts pointed at me and my bad behavior, reckless nature. Need for more of him than he could give. The first outburst was him getting upset that he couldn’t make the music at the wedding right for me. I was too needy. Didn’t know what I wanted. My siesta instinct after the first attack ws to to not marry at all. But I was so happy. I have spent two years pushing my friends and family away while he has shown displeasure with me his children my family. He really has no need for his own. I’m so lonly and broken. I think about suicide a lot and can’t imagine the shame of letting everyone know what a fake life I’ve been living. I’m scared a the time no he even gets mad when I beg him not to get mad at me. I think he is reaching out to get validation frim other women and it kills me. I don’t have any self esteem j don’t know how it could be better or how I could get out.

        • love thy self says:

          Dear Pernella
          You are afraid of the unknown-can I support myself-do you have children-think of there well being- Can I walk away without getting hurt-the list gone on-Yes you can-after 20 yrs. Did you know him-be honest with yourself-then you married him-Sometimes we are blind and then we see-is this the life I want to live -No one can answer that but you-don’t be the one that walk around soulless and never heard from-don’t give up who you are-just to be with some one that doesn’t give you what you need to grow and love-people like that are users-they would take your last breath to save themselves. tell you, will you are dieing you didn’t need it.
          Don’t wander or worry about what other will think-it not about them-it all about you and what you need to be stronger. Let it be about you for once.It wasn’t a fake live – it was a nightmare maybe-abuse life- one sided live- Fake is the wrong word to use-you have to rebuild your self esteem- rebuild you life and have a live the way you want-it no crime being alone -loneliness is just a state of mind-that you can change-do something you love-cooking class-yoga-the list is endless – all you have to do is put one feet in front of the other and go-if you fail get up and try again. The answer to your question is time-How much more time are you giving away.Don’t give no more then you are welling to loses and never miss it. There no shame to give up something that you don’t need-It’s your live-Believe me -He knows his live is more important then yours. Wake up and put your big girl pansy on and do the work-it there for the taking-bet he does- Sorry I seem mean and rude and heartless-for I can,t leave and here I sit – with my eyes wide open-I am free-

    • lkanony says:

      Definately….this article has been a GREAT HELP and EYE OPENER for the wife that truly wants to “try” especially if divorce is NOT an option. My mother has always said it better too in reference to “stop trying to change him and change myself”….indirectly, I’ve begun to make MYSELF the priority considering he makes HIS needs and wants priority over the overall needs of the family. In other words instead of battling it out over a petty issue over what he should’ve, would’ve, and could’ve been done, I’ve thrown myself into things that builds MY credentials so that I WOULD NEVER NEED TO TOTALLY DEPEND ON HIM OR ANYONE which works for not only this motive but IT’S A GREAT DISTRACTION so you don’t even have time to worry about ANYTHING ELSE he may or may not bring your way. Second, getting out of the house to just catch a good movie ALONE has been a peaceful mechanism. TUNING HIM OUT when he feels the need to downplay or critique others THAT HE DOESN’T EVEN KNOW or when he feels the need to question MY endeavors with a skeptical, condescending or critiquing manner even if he says he “supports” what I’m doing and “let’s me” go back to school. Well….I must admit that by learning how to “stroke that ego” and using some of the tactics I’ve just noted, there’s been more better days in the later years of our marriage (married now for 12 years) compared to how it was in the beginning because YES….you’re darn right I felt like I was bamboozled…on that pedastal BEFORE we were married and then all of a sudden, VERY SOON after the wedding, all bets were off the table (???)…..and certainly, although things can be going well, one set back (which does happen occasionally) can be exaggerated by these types of individuals so it’s like you have to regroup and start all over again to get back in a good zone….sometimes it’s over in just a few minutes and sometimes he may ignore you for days. But well…since arguing with these types of individuals are TRULY NOT going to benefit you (me) and yes…can indeed turn manipulative, FIND THINGS TO DISTRACT YOURSELF which perhaps can even be something that will boost your credentials to get you to a different financially DEPENDENT bracket so worse comes to worse, if finances are used to tickle HIS fancy, you won’t feel destitute, AND no matter what, YOU are the one that’s making HIM look good….hell…I’ve even told him that I was enhancing my credentials in order to be able to help him support our family life and make our plans and goals come to par but the bottom line is the primary reason is FOR ME…MY FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE, MY SELF-ESTEEM, MY OWN EGO-BOOST AND PRIDE and again to enhance MY CREDENTIALS….with all this going on and by the grace of GOD you simply won’t have time to deal with his episodes….not to mention, you’ve made an interesting point….by accepting him as what he is (considering you can’t change it…you have to change yourself) I just listen to what he is saying before I speak and basically I change/adjust my approach based on what he is saying….and then indirectly put the focus and energy back on ME.

  2. Wanda says:

    To the person who said “love is tough” with regard to her narcissistic husband… I’ve been there and done that. I spent 8 years with one. The biggest lie we tell ourselves is that he actually “loves” us. A man who has narcissistic personality disorder is NOT capable of love. He doesn’t love you because he can’t love you. It’s impossible for him to love you. I wasn’t aware of this until after I left him and got into counseling. It really felt terrible to know that I wasted so many years on someone who was just a “thing” who could never love me. Don’t believe me – then ask yourself if someone who “loved” you would ever treat you the way he does. Get yourself into counseling with an abuse specialist – regardless if you are with him or not.

    • Bonnie says:

      Wanda, you are so right. I am more than convinced that I am married to a narcissistic person after 18 years of marriage. All around me is destruction. A family is suppose to grow in relationship; but he destroyed our family, kids on a path of destruction because of verbal abuse, etc…the list goes on and on. I came to the realization, after making excuses, when I called to let him know just 3 weeks ago that the doctor told me to go straight to emergency hospital due to the symptoms I was having; she felt I was having a heart attack. I called my husband to let him know what the doctor said and he told me to let him know what the doctor said. I couldn’t believe my ears. This was the first time I ever have been to the emergency room at the hospital in my entire life and he leaves me hanging. Shows up 2 hours later with tears in his eyes. From that moment on and even to this day – I AM DONE!! He proved to me he doesn’t love me – it’s all about him. Now I know how my children felt – empty, void of love, numb, no feelings, I can’t go on – I don’t even want to be in the same room with him. I stopped communicating with him all together and he just acts like everything is fine. I told him first about why I wouldn’t be communicating with him because of what he did to me. Love is an action word and he proved to me that he doesn’t love me, having no empathy for anyone…I don’t have it in me to try anymore. I’m totally empty – I’M DONE! I just don’t know right now how to move on. I know exactly what I’m dealing with. I’ve read one book after another on this subject. Nothing is real and never was for 18 years. How do you move on?

      • Mel says:


        I know your pain. I spent 5 years just simply trying to work up the courage to leave him. 5 years! That’s how afraid and confused I was to confront this ugly man and finally walk out. He wanted desperately to make me feel that way, afraid, confused and hopeless, that was how he kept me with him for so many years and that was how he was able to control me. I had no idea where I was going to go or how I would take care of myself financially. This fear kept me with him for 30 years. I am here to tell you, you can get out. I know it’s hard but you must believe that you can do it. I had nothing but a garbage bag full of clothes and my laptop when I left. I waited out on the street at 1 o’clock in the morning for a friend to pick me up but I made my mind up earlier that evening that I MUST GET OUT! I honestly didn’t even think about how I was going to do it or the future or anything. I just knew that I could no longer live with him anymore and the rest GOD took care of for me. I stayed with my son for 2 1/2 months than got a job and got my own apartment. I got my GED and went to community college. I found a good therapist who is helping me build up my shattered confidence and slowly, I am able to put back the pieces of myself and my life. The divorce is in process and there are still times I have to deal with him but I am in a much happier place and you will be too. You really need to stop listening to the voice in your head telling you you cant do it. Find the courage and the strength to reach out to someone who you trust. Have faith in yourself that you will be okay. I believe you can do it. Just think about if you stayed with him, will anything change? Will he change? Will your feelings about yourself and your life change? Most definitely not. Men with Narcissistic Personality Disorder do not change and you will continue to remain in an abusive and selfish relationship that will not flourish or give you peace. Trust me on this. I stayed because I was afraid and had zero confidence in my self. I hoped I could change him and I thought if I could change myself to fit him better it would all be ok but it wasn’t. They have what’s called a mean/sweet cycle. They give you just enough kindness to make you hope things will get better than they slap you down again. It’s a tactic that is well known for Narcs. They will not ever change. Get out while you can. Reach out to family, friends whom ever you can trust and just go. I wish you the best.

        • lkanony says:

          Dear GOD it’s funny that I’ve truly come to the realization today 12/27/13 that I myself have to face facts that I am truly married to someone that yes….is truly narcissistic. I’ve speculated on the idea long before today but than….I started to have my moments of doubt and uncertainty because of that “mean/sweet cycle” INDEED….THAT was what had blindsided me all this time into not concluding that he IS a narcissist tried and true. You’ve described it EXACTLY how it can be which makes the person difficult and confusing because you NEVER know when the sweetness would end or when he just feels like being/acting like a “bitch” FOR NO REAL REASON AT ALL.

    • Marie says:

      12 years of marriage and I found out the day before Thanksgiving that he was texting and emailing his ex girlfriend for the last 2 years. Tried to tell him day after thanksgiving to stop communication. Instead of being worried about his wife, he criticised me told me everything that was wrong with me and told me that he would date her if we got a divorce. Wasn’t going to tell her no more emails as it “was the holidays” Tried to look at the glass half full and gut told me he was still talking to her so managed to get into his computer and sure enough an email from the summer where he went to her home and you know the rest. Needless to say that was the last straw and I filed. He still keeps trying to tell me that it is my fault that he talked to her. I made him “vulnerable” He still talks and emails her but wants me as well! I am running as fast I can for divorce court! Too many years of mental abuse. And note to your file most men that are narcissitic are totally into Bill Clinton type of sex as it is about them!

  3. Ken says:

    I was married to a narcissist for 15 years. He tore me and the children apart from the inside out! By the end of the marraige, I found myself being afraid to buy myself a stick of lipstick, winning a game while playing with friends, going home after work, etc. all of these things, plus many more, would send him into a rage. I couldn’t leave our children with him if I went on a weekend vacation, or shopping. Because he would abuse them while I was away. Not knowing that he was upset about my leaving because he would tell me it was fine for me to leave, then act out his true feelings while I was away.
    By the time I finally made up my mind to leave, I was a mental reck! Needless to say, he remarried a couple of days after our divorce was final. He made sure I knew by sending his wedding announcement to my house.
    Now, 7 years later, he’s still trying to manipulate our kids into hating me for leaving him. He blames me for all the problems he’s had in his life since. I’m remarried and very happy with my present husband. And this alone, drives my ex crazy. Even though he lives in another state, he still keeps track of me and my life.
    My only regret is that I didn’t leave him sooner. He almost destroyed me

  4. Terry says:

    I got out after 30 years. Its very difficult!!!! At Fifteen I was a fashion model, a perfect trophy at that time. He showered me with gifts and attention. It overwhelmed me!!!! I was too young to see the signs. Things happened so fast. The rules did not apply to him. Peeople loved him and I felt lucky to have found this wonderful man. We married when I was eighteen. He was able to buy us a great amount of worldly possessions; big houses, cars, status well above our upbringing! He would show off everything he accomplished, wore his success on his sleeve. I was very embarressed by this cockiness!!! Between us there was no intimacy. Everything I would confide in my husband was shared with others. Personal things a married couple would discuss. The stories changed and were full of lies, making me look really bad and unappreciative of our life. Eventually, I was a basket case, no friends, jealousy, I stopped trying to reason with him because you cant win with this disorder! I asked him to leave after 27 years. He was the victim and called everyone in the family, friends. They believed his lies. They thought I had lost my mind. His stories of my actions varied greatly with everything but the truth. They still do!!! This has ruined many relationships for me with loved ones. I never felt so alone. I found a fantastic therapist and she gave me insight, tools to survive this. My divorce is in process still after three years. I’ve learned so much. I can finally breathe a bit better. His disorder stems from his treatment as a child with a controlling mother. Inside he has stayed a little scared boy. I never stood a chance as awife with someone this damaged and defensive. Its a bit easier to understand now that I know the facts.

    • Ruth Whetsel says:

      Dear Terry
      Please forgive my awkward phrases at a difficult time, but thank you for writing this. I’m sorry you have gone through so much pain. I wish you strength building back your “health” (since this kind of stress can tax the health they say) and your spirits. You sound very able, Terry.
      I’m going to save your post to give myself courage since I too must try to find my way in a not totally dissimilar situation–minus the fashion model beginnings and the worldly possessions. As you know, living this way takes your breath away at times. All the more so when you feel isolated. A post like yours helps. Thanks again. Ruth Whetsel

    • Melissa says:

      Would you mind sharing some of the tools your therapist provided? I am trying to get out after 14 years of marriage and sometimes I feel like I’m crazy. He frequently goes on the “mean/sweet” cycles as mentioned above…I feel like I’m just too high maintenance and expect too much from a husband. He is not physically abusive so I sometimes feel like I’m being selfish by wanting someone who loves ME. Anytime I complain about something he does or a way that he acts, he turns it on me and rationalizes everything away. Any advice you would be willing to share would be greatly appreciated.

      • E says:

        Get a therapist that knows how to deal with narcissist. I have been married 43 years and never realized he was a narcissist until she brought it up. I knew that our son was, but had no inkling. My husband is a narcissist not of the same realm that our son is. I love him and thinking about leaving him is not simple (never is). I’m confused and sad, very sad, but at least I have the knowledge and knowledge is power, so I feel empowered. My therapist is encouraging me to take care of me, and that means not jumping to do anything or everything for him, especially if he can do it for himself. I’m not used to this. Doing what my gut says, and my heart, listening to that, and not what my head says, is making me feel better. I was exhausted before, but after lots of rest (he was gone out of the country for weeks) and doing just what I wanted to do, I’m doing better. The most important thing from my therapist, is to be true to yourself. Take care of you. YOU, not him. But get a therapist yourself. You need that support, we all do!

  5. evette says:

    thank you everyone for your comments. I am just discovering after 36 years of a desperate unhappy marriage what the problem is. it is so hard to spot and my husband draws people in with his lies and deceit. I am thinking of walking out but have to find a way of living. it is impossible to discuss anything with him I have tried over the years. I thank God for supplying me with friends who believe me but many people don’t. it has come as a bit of a shock but I don’t think I can live with it any longer. He has moved into the spare bedroom but that is to keep me in the house, I was disappearing to friends as often as I could. I have tried marriage counselling in my ignorance but it is all a waste of time and I got very upset when the counsellor told me I haven’t thought it through and it won’t take much to fix it.

    • Mel says:

      Hi Evette,

      The Narcissist is extremely subtle in his ways and because of that it is very difficult to understand what is exactly happening. Most people on the outside rarely see the real person they are at home. This is because a Narcissist is very intelligent and knows what he/she is doing. They thrive on admiration from others and to have people look upon them in a good way is crucial. So the abuse that a spouse suffers is insidious. No one believed me when I told them how he really deals with me. They all thought he was the kindest, most generous person. He would use that to back up his behavior against me and tell me, “See! Everyone thinks I’m a good person except you”. ” You just don’t appreciate anything good from me”. And then it becomes my fault.

      I asked him to leave the house but he refused. He told me he wasn’t the one with the problem, it was my problem and I would just have to learn to change the way I thought about him.That is, I had to learn how to agree with him on everything, tell him he was always right, hide my depression and frustrations so he wouldn’t have to see it, basically, just put on a smile and keep going. I actually did that for a while but I discovered that all it did was ate away at my soul until I become nothing but an empty mindless shell inside. I think his refusal to leave is exactly that, you are his source of supply and he wants to keep you near, also, he honestly feels that it’s you not him that has a problem so why should he leave?
      You are not the problem. If you feel like it’s difficult to express your feelings to your husband and when ever you do, he just puts it back on you then this is a problem. Does he ridicule your feelings? Do you feel hopeless that no matter how good you try to be, he still deals with you the same way? Is he nice to you sometimes, compliments you, buys you gifts and then turn around and insults you and blames you for things? Does he tell you how much he loves you but then does or says something that is the opposite?Narcs will be nice enough to give you a little bit of hope that all is well to keep you in the relationship but if they see you are too happy, then they turn on you in very mean ways. The goal is to control and manipulate your emotions. They use projection. They do or say something wrong but somehow twist it so that it looks like you are the one who did it or they simply deny, deny, deny, which is how my ex-husband did it. Do you feel he never takes responsibility for his bad behavior? Most Narcs have a way of weaseling their way out of things. Do you try to bring up something to his attention and you end up just feeling worse than before? Does he control most or all the finances? I couldn’t spend a dime without him knowing about it. He would say things like ” You can go out and buy what ever you want for yourself” and he’d hand over the card. When I got back, he’d yell at me and tell me I spent money on foolish things I didn’t need. I stopped shopping.
      If you argue with a Narcissist be very careful to not let yourself get upset. My ex used to provoke arguments with me and he would play with the words to the point where I would get upset and either cry or yell back at him, then he would shift the focus to my behavior and away from his by saying, ” Look at yourself, I can’t believe how you are acting? All the while he caused it. This was very, very, very, common.
      I’m telling you….they will make you feel like your crazy. They will give you hope and then knock you straight down. They are very keen on your weaknesses and they have no problem using it against you. They will sabotage your emotions and they will never take responsibility for what they do. Most professionals, therapists, psychiatrists, will tell you to get out of the relationship before it’s too late because Narcs will not change. They don’t have the ability to see their own wrong doings. They truly are very self=centered and focused only on themselves and their own needs not yours. It’s a one way relationship. So unless you plan to cope, which is what you will have to do if you stay, then I suggest you try to leave him to save yourself and kids. If you have children it makes it harder but there is help. Go to a shelter, a family member a friend, tell them you want to leave. Make a plan and get out.
      I hope I have helped you. I have been through this and have tried to learn everything about Narcissistic Personality Disorder that I could find. I knew just from living with him for 30 years that things would not get better so I finally stopped telling myself that. I was not willing to live a life that I had to cope with. That is not marriage.Marriage is two-sided not one, and I wasn’t about to sacrifice anymore pieces of my soul to a person who I know was never going to care about anyone but himself in the end.

      • Yvonne Zeef says:

        This is exactly my story. Thank you. I am recently divorced after 35 years marriage. Always thought everything was due to me. After reading about NPD and all the sites I came to understand things and it is so helpfull. Because only people who have lived in a life with NPD understand. A lot of friends, family etc think you are the one, but then if you have believed and lived that life, how can they believe what you are telling them. They simply think it is your depression etc.

      • Marie says:

        Mel, I just felt like I wrote this story about me! A Narc is truly a persson with passive aggressive behavior. My husband lost his dad at 13 from drunk driver and his mother is very manipulative and controlling so the apple didn’t fall far from the tree although he is good at saying his mom is queen of denial! After I filed for divorce a couple of months ago I recalled a conversation my sister in law had about her dead husband, when he was alive her parents kept a file on him. She told me her parents were not very nice people but they were all she had. Interesting she has been mind melded and controlled by her mother too. Mom thought daughter could never do anything right as a single mom but grandma was always right! In the end, I am the only outsider in the family and I see that my mother in law is as bad as my husband and she would like complete control of her son so I am sure is fueling the flames of misery for me thru her son! I remember each and every day that God is standing beside me as I walk thru life, that is how I cope these days. God is my best friend! He helps me thru the pain as my husband won’t move out of the house and is torturing me with the nice guy/mean guy. I never know who I am going to come home to and avoid him! My counseler told me that everytime he does something mean to immediately do something that makes me happy to counter him. This has also helped. I go out to the garden and look at my roses when he is abusive. Good luck ladies. The breath of fresh air, the freedom of mental abuse and the relief of the stress is worth the move away!

        • Jillian says:

          I have read all the comments and many are similar to my experience. I have been in a relationship for nearly 30 years. It is always good guy/bad guy. Over the years I tried to leave many times, but kept on trying purely for the children’s sake. When my youngest son was little he would cry and get upset saying things like others with ostracise at him at school. Now my children are older, they do not care if I leave or stay, actually now my younger son wants me to leave and often begs me to leave because he is older and can see how his father manipulates and treats me and he starting to do this to him. I never have a say, only say I get is if it is convenient to him. His behaviour is what you said a passive aggressive behaviour, when something goes the slightest bit wrong, it is my fault, i am always to blame for everything going wrong. For the last few years, God has been my best friend also. It has helped knowing about this syndrome, I learnt about this from his nephew because, my husbands sister has the same symptom. For years it was like treading on eggshells but now I have learnt to manage by surrounding myself in a protective bubble and also from God and prayer. However, even today I am not sure if I should stay or leave, the only good thing is he is not violent but his abuse is all verbal with swearing and putdowns, i am never write, our relationship is always one way. He also controls all our assets and money and when I did own my own home before we were married he eventually convinced me to sell it so I am left with little. I went back to school and got a degree and now I am studying for a postgrad. Yes,like you I do something that makes me happy to counter the sadness and loneliness I often feel.

      • Ruth Whetsel says:

        I’ll finally get this right maybe: It’s MEL who wrote the post I’m responding to….See what a klutz I am…. Sorry. Anyhow, thanks for your post, MEL. I’m going to carry it in my wallet for support as I try to find my way. Ruth And good luck to everyone else too.

      • Allie says:

        Thank you! Spot on.. I made him leave. Very blessed to have God as my defender. Most difficult after 25 years of marriage- life is south sweeter:)

      • Yvonne Zeef says:

        Hello Yvonne

        I myself came from a bad relationship due to dealing with a narcissist. I can relate to your story. I was 34 years old and he was 47 years old at the time. everything was going well at the beginning, but little by little he started showing his true colors. He belittle me, consfused me in many ways. for example: I caught him many times cheating or trying to talk to other women and when i would approach him with the facts he would make me feel crazy and that i was nagging and it was all my fault. Somehow they drag you in the relationship so deep that you find yourself helpless and attach to them. although your soul wants to run out and die somewhere you find yourself jailed to them. they make you feel worthless and that they are the only one that can love you. they will aslo bad mouth you with their family and friends and the worse part is that they are good story tellers so everyone belives them. they wear you down to the point were you are no longer yourself. i started feeling unpretty. I thought I was stuck to him. its funny how my soul would tell me to get out but my mind would tell me you are set with him. you cant go no where. you cant do better. hes perfect for you. and all this because they make us feel this way not because its reality but part of them. They dont care about no ones feelings, they do not know how to love, so how can they love us? finally I was able to escape this tragedy. i would call it a nightmare, but its deeper than a nightmare because a nightmare passes once you come into realization that it was just a bad dream. but a tragedy can last a long time. Im still not over the pain and its been 2 years since i’ve been free from his abuse. so yea it a tragedy. today Im married to a wonderful man that loves me and appreciates me and sees all my qualities.

      • Betty,Betty says:

        As I read your post I kept on saying wow, this is my life and this is my life. what do I do I have only being married for 7 months. what did I do I want my marriage to work But my husband act just like you describe and I am confused

  6. teresa says:

    I have been married for 2 yrs and I never knew What the problem was. Until a friend said he is self centered and upon me reading up on it its like I’m reading just about him. It makes me so sad I’m so frustrated

    • lkanony says:

      Yeah….I feel the same way you do although I’ve been married for 12 years and even put myself in a state of denial in some time ago that I may be married to a narcissist….now I KNOW I am married to a narcissist and seriously as I read and type out my own response and replies I keep talking to GOD because it’s really making me sad the more I come to the realization of what I’m married to.

  7. Eva says:

    Now everything is clear to me and I am feeling so lucky today after reading everyone’s responses that I didnt get married to him !!!!!!!!!! we were planning and had told our families , I knew since beginning there is something wrong with this guy . after reading the articles i know its stem — his abusive and controlling mother . Till today i was grieving that things didnt happen between us but now i am feeling glad. its better to grieve for months than grieve your whole life . I always wondered how can anyone be so cruel so insensitive and lie when its just not required , He lied about everything to the extent where he showed his sister’s pic as his girlfriend and i was shocked when i discovered that noone can do that. He stole his sisters stuff and gave to me which i discovered later . he lied to me about his mother’s religion and his dad’s designation , about his past about his age . He owns a big car and feels he is superior to everyone . He treated me so well in the beginning where i got emotionally attached to him and then he totally changed like somebody has turned off a switch …I FEEL GLAD AND SO FREE TODAY

  8. Mel says:

    I was married to a Narcissist for 30 yrs. It took me a very long time to discover that there was a name for his behavior. For many years I suffered through his crazy-making psychological abuse. He blamed me for everything that went wrong in our marriage and in raising our five children. Nothing I could do was ever good enough to please him. I was either all good or all evil, there were no in betweens. I would do anything to get bring his abusiveness to his attention, even beating myself with my fists in front of him in frustration just to have him belittle me further by telling me I was stupid and crazy. He showed no compassion or empathy towards me when I would cry or talk to him about how I was feeling. He would often refer to me as a diamond that fell in sh..! I was good but I had many flaws and needed improvement. Meanwhile, trying to point out any of his flaws only ended me up locking myself in the bedroom closet crying for hours. I would tell myself there was something wrong with me because no matter what I ever did, I couldn’t make the problems and the depression go away. He would force intercourse on me while I was crying, but it never seemed to bother him. He would insult me in front of other people or just simply ignore me. All the while, he would buy me gifts and tell me how much he loved me and blamed me for not seeing it or appreciating it enough. My moods became dependent on his moods on a daily basis. If he was happy then I could be happy, if he was miserable, I had to feel miserable with him. I endured this for many years. I finally walked out on him 2 years ago and am now getting a divorce.. But the games and manipulation has not ended by far. I pray for the day to come when I will be completely free from this ugly man and have him out of my life and as far away as possible. Strength and faith in my religious beliefs is what is getting me through. No matter what, no one deserves to be treated like they have no value as a human being. Narcissists will play with your head and your thinking and try to make you lose hope and faith in everything good you believe in, they start by dismantling your soul piece by piece. Anyone who believes thay are married to someone like this, just know, there is very little you can do for them. You honestly have to start taking care of yourself and the best thing is to get out! Narcs don’t change because they only have the ability to see their own self in the situation. Not you! Get out while you still have a shred of dignity and sanity in you. Thank you.

  9. G says:

    Hi Alexander,
    Thank you for writing this article. I am married to a narcissistic husband. Everything you mentioned in your article is all true.
    I’ve experienced them for 10 years until finally leaving the relationship 10 months ago. It took every ounce of me to finally act. During our time together, he would go from slandering my being and then next, say nice things as if nothing bad happened–he’d tell me I’m broken and sick in the head just because I would express some disagreement but he would say other times that I’m the most rational woman he’s ever met, and lately, called me inhuman for not apologizing for something he believes I caused him to do (choking me to shut me up). I never could question his wearabouts either, for he says it’s not my right. He never allowed me to be alone with his family otherwise he’d get mad and accuse me of being a mess maker. No one, I mean, even his own father, sister, children and other immediate family members contact him except his older brother. Most importantly though, image is everything to him. After the courtship was over, he’s tried to convince me to remove my mole, so that I can look prettier. And the list goes on and on. It’s really sad because as much as I want to be mad and angry, I feel sorry for him. I never could understand his behavior, and all a while I was blaming myself for not being able to meet his expectations.
    I lost so much of myself throughout the years. My health also took a toll. And that’s when i said, it’s enough. I am now slowly regaining my self-image, confidence, esteem, and holding on tightly to what I know is truth. And I thought that may be this separation would enable him to seek within himself and find a way to change. May be he’ll miss my presence or realize what he’s losing or may be realize his mistakes–WRONG. If anything, he’s worse.
    Now, I’m still struggling to let go of him emotionally because after all, I participated in feeding his ego. How he praised me for that. If you’re with someone who’s a narcissist, at one point you have to realize only one of you will be happy.
    Thanks so much for creating this site. I found it today just when I’m having a difficult time. It solidifies my plan to move on with my life.

    • Bev says:

      Mine made me get rid of a mole that others considered a beauty mark! I am a pretty woman and he is an old man with bad skin and burst blood vessels in his nose from drinking. What was I thinking???

  10. ally says:

    I recently got married to a man I thought was the love of my life…he’s a narc..nothing I do is good enough. He puts me down n makes me feel like I’m the stupid one…even if its his fault.we almost split up n he said we needed time apart so that I could appreciate him more!!! No thought for my feelings whatsoever. I can’t do this much longer

  11. Tap says:

    Thank you everyone for sharing. I am married to one for these 27 years. I can’t get away from him because I know he will harm those I love who live closest to us. I can only pray that God will change him ; I will remain spiritually, physically. mentally and emotionally strong. And I tell myself not to forget that he really had a disorder instead of me. I thank God for good family support from my siblings though they can’t do much, my job, my friends . Yet, I wonder why he gets away with all the nasty things he said and done .

    • "R" says:

      Hi Tap, and everyone. I’m married to a Narcissist for 30 years. I don’t say I ‘can’t’ leave him, because that would not be completely honest. I’m retired but work a part-time job and materialistically, I have everything I’ve ever wanted – in fact, thinking back on my life, I’ve actually had and done everything I ever dreamed of doing DESPITE him! Don’t get me wrong, I went through all the horrors we are all very familiar with, but being an only child myself, I guess I had in me a God-given selfish nature that has served me well and helped me not only survive, but learn, thrive and have a happy life. At this point, all my fear of him is gone – I’ve seen with my own eyes how all the rages and violence masked a complete coward, that all my fear of him was wasted. I ignore him now instead of him ignoring me, I’ve always come and gone as I pleased and moreso now that we don’t have the responsibility of children, and I always kept my own money from the first year of our marriage when I saw him for what he was. I no longer attend social functions with him, which takes away his opportunities to humiliate me publicly, yet I attend social functions of my choice, without him. I’m an INTJ personality anyway, so I’m capable and honestly, happier doing things alone, like go to a movie, shopping or dinner. He pays all the household bills – I’ve left him no choice, buys all the food and now that he’s fully retired where I do work a couple of days a week, he also does the food shopping and cooking, laundry and some of the housework. Perhaps the tables have turned in a sense … since about 2 years ago when I started reading about this and realized what kind of monster I’d married and started examining my options and choices at this point in my life, I guess I figure he owes me for the past 25+ years of sadistic abuse he put me through, and I’m happy to take it.

      • Lois Douglass says:

        Well said “R” – good on ya’ as the Aussies would say!! I, too, am married to a narcissistic husband (and was raised by a narcissistic mother whom I now take care of, as she’s 93 yo). In any case, I’m an INF/TJ (it depends – mostly INTJ in my professional or academic environments, and INFJ in most other arenas of my life). In any case, I was SO happy to read your post, and take great comfort in seeing someone really thriving DESPITE the difficulties inherent in this kind of relational dynamic!

        After accepting that my husband is incapable of actually loving me, but also loving my home, the town where we live, I began creating a life of my own which includes becoming a runner (7miles/day, 4 days/week); strength training, and martial arts training (I’m taking my test for High Blue Belt this evening). All that to say that I applaude you, me and others who’ve found ways of not only coping but regaining their lost and hurt Selves, and then going on to forge lives of depth and worth.

        Blessings and best to us all… Lois

      • Nancy says:

        This morning I was going to walk out on a 49yr marriage. I was on the computer looking up my legal rights, when i ran across this site. It’s as if all of you have been married to my husband!!!!!! How is that possible???????? Your all saying the same things, why didn’t i find this site years ago? Oh so many questions??????? I am a very lost person, knowing that I have reached my end. Every night I never knew what my husband was going to be like when he walked threw the door. As of late, it cruel all the time. Im happy all day long, he opens his mouth, and i fall apart, and it puts me in a deep depression just like being in an elavator.and the floor opens up and lets me fall.
        He’s nice to everyone else, goes way beyond being kind, he looks at me and ugly just goes all over his face. He can’t even say hello nice!!!!
        I read your out look on your life, and I like it. Its kind of been the way I have handled my life all these years until lately. I would get away from him and do my own thing. This last year has made that almost impossible to do, he has been so much more agressive than he use to be.
        When i got up this morning and planned on leaving, i know i would be have to live on a credit card and stay at a hotel till i found a place to live. I know I could never count on my husband for anything. He keeps control of all credit cards, my car is even in his name, I don’t have a clue what he makes, because i was a stay at home mom, i make very little on social scurity, and he takes that. I have nothing, he gives me an allowance to live on each week, which would stop if i leave. Don’t get the wrong impression, I have never wanted for anything, i live in a nice house, drive a nice car, live a very nice life, if i could use duck tape on his lips everyday life would be good. It’s when he opens up his mouth and the uglys fly out, i can’t take it.
        This is what he did to me one time a two years ago, I cut down a small tree that grew in a spot by itself in the yard that was to close to the house. He saw that i had done it, and totally trashed me to the point, that i got in my car for the day, turned off my phone, and went to the beach, than a movie. It was late when i got home. He had called the police and said he was worried that i would do harm to myself. What because we had a fight, and i didnt want to talk to him????? I noticed when i was coming home from the movies i had 3 police cars around me, but didnt think anything about it. I walked in my house and he was telling them on the phone that i had made it home safe and sound. He was thinking about having me bakeracted. Two of my daughters are in the medical field. They tore him apart, saying how stupid he was for doing something that alful to me, just because he was mad at me. That had i been taken in the Hospital they would have not treated me with any kind of respect. I would have had a full body search, drugged me and kept me for 2 days. I told him, i would never do any harm to myself, because the day will come when i’m judged by God. Doing harm to yourself wouldn’t get me into heaven.
        I know i have said more than i ever had intended, but if my word have help another person, like all of your words have helped me. Than i’m more than willing to share my life to help you.
        I have a feeling we are all in the same boat!!
        Good luck to us all!!!!!!!

        • Becky says:

          I have been married to a narc for 32 years and the same story…he is cheap with his money and controlling with everything.. I have worked my entire life and my retirement goes into a joint account because I cant handle money though I worked at 3 BANKS…I attempted sucide 2 times and landed in the hospital for over30 days both times he locked me out of the house when the police brought me home after I had just been in a wreck that permanently injured my hip and back for life and he locked me out of the house and screamed I wasn’t good for nothing except wrecking HIS cars.. I had to borrow a neighbors phone to call my sister to come get me as he thinks cells are too expensive…I don’t love him, but why am I staying? What is wrong with me??? Becky Smith Choctaw, Oklahoma

  12. Rebecca says:

    I can relate to your feelings. I have been married for almost two years but in the relationship for four years. He treats me like a child and is very condescending much of the time. He has been physically abusive in the past as well as forceful sexually. He says its not rape because were married and laughs at me for thinking so. He is very critical of others but would not tolerate being treated that way himself. I feel bad thinking of divorce. I don’t want to break up our family but I am not happy or in love anymore.

  13. Broken says:

    I am almost 32 years old. I’ve been married to my husband for 10 years & together total for 14 years. I have been a stay at home wife & mother for our entire marriage. We have 2 kids ages almost 10 & 7. I left him once for a few months before we were married only for him to beg for forgiveness & promise to change. He did change when I agreed to get back together. I got pregnant a few months after we got back together & he immediately changed back to his old ways & much worse. We got married as soon as I found out I was pregnant & it’s been a struggle ever since. I’ve always thought he was bipolar bc his attitude will flip like a light switch. One day/minute everything is great & the next he’s giving me the silent treatment for whatever I did to make him unhappy. At first he wouldn’t tell me what I had done, but now it’s everything I do. Not keeping the house clean enough, spending too much time (or any time) with my friends, not giving him enough sex, not exercising & losing weight, not giving him what he needs emotionally & the list goes on. Now after reading up on narcissist behavior & reading all of these posts, I’m pretty sure this is his disorder. I am the only person he treats this way. He would never allow someone on the outside to hear the things he says to me. He loves our children more than life itself & does not treat them this way. However he does subject them to how he talks to & treats me. I do not want them to learn that this is how a husband should treat a wife. He has not physically abused me, but the emotional, mental & verbal abuse is very much present. He has no regard of my thoughts & feelings. Everything I say, think & feel is wrong, but everything he says, thinks & feels is right. Just yesterday he called me a spoiled selfish lazy bitch & said that my father told him before he died that he agreed with him. I couldn’t help myself & cried all day in front of him. He showed no remorse toward how he hurt my feelings. Instead his attitude flipped to acting like nothing happened & everything was fine. I don’t know how to deal with this. I can’t turn my feelings on & off. He has hurt me so badly I feel like I don’t even like him anymore. I do not want my kids to grow up in a broken household or be dragged from house to house, but I’m not sure I can live with the abuse anymore. I’m also unsure of whether I’ll be able to support myself & our kids since I only have partial college education & have no work experience in any field except waitressing. Our marriage needs help, but everything I’ve read says there is no such help for a person with this condition. He will not agree to counseling bc therapists are crazy & he’s not the one with the problem, I am. I’m scared to stay & I’m scared to leave. He says if I do everything he says & be the person he wants me to be all will be great, but in the back of my mind I know there will always be something wrong with me in his eyes.

    • Marie says:

      You need to find the strength to leave. He won’t change and will only get worse and he is psycologically damaging your children. Contact some women support groups in your area and see where they can help you get a job and move on. Hope and help are out there! I know that you can do this. You are a stong woman that has children to raise. It is more fearful to stay then leave. Men like this don’t change and can esculate to violence. It is better to have a soul and a sunny future with no money then be a lost soul worried each day about what torture you will endure.

    • Ola says:

      OMG! Everything you described is completely my story! And i mean everything! including the words he says to you! I was called lazy c…nt for being a stay at home mum *mind we are expats in a country the language i don’t speak). I was never good enough, I needed to lose weight, to keep the house cleaner, to cook food he wants to eat and more and more. Silent treatment, moods switches all the same. In the end he had an affair in our house while I was on holidays with our child. He even gave the keys to the other girl to our place and gave her my shoes!!!
      I was done by then and now separated just dreaming of divorce.
      I have a therapy and trying to rebuild myself, my confidence my self esteem. Still trying to plan my escape back to my country and to start a new life and to find a job.
      My only advice to you is LEAVE! RUN as fast as you can while you are still young and it is not too late! They never change and they eat you alive inside. Until the only shelf is left. Sometimes is too late. Please leave him

  14. StartingOverwithoutaNarc says:

    I’ve been with my soon to be ex husband for 20 years. Looking back, I always knew deep down something was off about him but by the time that realization truly hit we already had a child. I thought he was immature and flaky but he was hiding far more sinister aspects of his character.

    He became more arrogant and entitled as the years past. Everything was about him. Everything was my fault. He began drinking daily. It was exhausting and slowly but surely I lost myself. I became depressed, anxious and lost my joy for living. Gradually I withdrew from him. I always thought my depression was my fault but after going through the details of my marriage with my therapist, I’ve seen how his put downs and blame shifting slowly but surely damaged my self esteem and destroyed my soul.

    My husband thinks he’s a good man that simply made bad choices. His bad choices include spending 20 years telling me our relationship issues were all my fault, we were not compatible and that I was not right for him. I tried to make it work for the kids but discovered recently that he’s been living a double life for almost our entire marriage. Numerous affairs, online hookups, one night stands with bar sluts, group sex, even sex with married couples. He was placing ads for married couples online. In his mind, this was all because he wasn’t getting enough attention, or I withdrew and he didn’t get enough sex or for the cheap thrill. There is always some excuse. He’s pathetic, immature and vile but it’s hard to unravel 20 years. I feel horrified to have wasted the best years of my life on such a deceitful loser. These men think they are wonderful, so special to be wanted by so many women but the frightening part is that the women were ugly and unappealing to the point where friends and family have been shocked at their photos. I don’t understand the kind of woman who would think that a known cheater would be a good choice for a partner. They’re quite simply as my therapist says bottomfeeders. The desperate and needy, the personailty disordered, the addicts and the homely women with limited options. This is what he traded a lifetime of family memories and a woman with integrity and morals for. His children have no respect for him. I will never for the life of me understand what motivates a serial cheater. He says I never will because he lived it and he doesn’t but still claims to be a good man who made “bad choices”. The only bad choice was mine — I married him.

    Now of course he wants me, loves me oh so much and claims he never wanted a life with any of the “losers” as he refers to these women. Narcs are a strange and scary bunch. Always looking for attention from anyone to fill that bottomless pit of need. Then again because he’s a narc, I trust nothing he says. His remorse is likely an act intended to keep me around as supply.

  15. ngege says:

    I am married to a Nacs for the past 11yrs, you guys have opened my eyes, I have tried to make thIS marrige work but to no avail, he is a pathological liar, , unfaithful and and an abuser both physically and emotionally. he refused having a joint account, he will not spend his money on any household thing, he rather spend them on women. He is very critical of me, blaming me for everything while he comes out as the good man.
    the kids are aware of what is happening but they asked me to stay and work things out, I want to leave him, but my kids are still very young to understand, please HELP ME.

  16. Niffy says:

    Thank so much for this. have been married for the past 6yrs just get to know am married to a Nacs, he always beat me, destroy things he buy for me and when i try to explain things to him he don’t accept he always make me look like a fool at the of the discussion and now his not having s***x with me like he use to and not giving money for getting things for household and if tell him this he don’t accept he always give excuses he said is me that is feeling that way now i get confused i always think am the bad one here please help me am frustrate now already i don’t know what to do because i don’t even know myself anymore.

  17. Amy says:

    Thankyou for this site, I’ve read a lot about NPD after being married to one for 19 years. I divorced him three years ago and since then I have valued the freedom and peace I feel everyday. He swept me off my feet, very romantic at first until we were married. As I got to understand more about him by researching on the web (only in the last year before the divorce) I asked myself how I could have been fooled by this man. For most of the marriage he lied about so many things. He didn’t pay up and lost friends over it and at the same time lied to me so I had no idea what was going on. Until I started asking friends what had happened and I began to piece things together. Inside the home with me and the children he could be a monster and when someone came to visit he’d be charming with them. He could flick like a switch. He would always find fault. Watch me carry 10 bags of shopping in from the car without helping, watch me unpack it all and then tell me the one thing I forgot to buy. He had an ebay account and obsessively chased positive feedback for hours everyday. It didn’t occur to me that he wasn’t doing it for profit, but because he wanted adoration from others through high positive feedback. If someone left bad feedback he’d abuse then back and ask ebay to delete their account! He stole from me and the children, sold gifts that others had given us without us knowing. He was intimidating including over sex. And if things didn’t go his way he’d give the silent treatment for days. He developed a few special friendships with older people who think he is wonderful. They have no idea what he’s really like. He works very hard to show perfection in these relationships and would be devastated if they found out the truth. He’s told plenty of lies about me, but I’ve decided that doesnt matter. I can’t let it worry me. When going through the divorce, keeping my silence over what he’s like became a bargaining tool. He wanted the marriage to end with no blame. I agreed since it allowed things to be calm while I worked out my exit. I was the keeper if his Narc secret so with that I had power. I also found that choosing to ignore him rather than waiting to be ignored gave me power back. I got on and did things on my own rather than being a victim. I really believe nothing would ever have changed him. He hated it if I got upset, would be aggressive rather than show empathy. My message to those of you in relationships with guys like this is “get out”. You may not think its possible financially but you can’t put a price on being able to sleep with peace in your mind. Everyday I am grateful for the freedom I have. Occasionally I get a text from him. But I have blocked him on my phone now. Life is precious. Be strong. God speed on your journeys. X

  18. Layla says:

    This site has been very helpful for me. I recently ended a relationship with a man with NPD. I have known him for over 30 years as a charming and very good looking man. We met in our 20’s (I am a few years older) from work. We both flirted with each other for a couple of years at business functions. He finally asked me out (we lived about 30 to 40 min. apart). The date was wonderful, and we got hot and heavy pretty fast. I remembered that I had had an infection, and turned him down for sex at the last minute. He never called me again – except he started contacting me when we were both married to others about 5 years later. All he did was complain about his wife. This has gone on for the past 25 years – he would ask me to lunch or just want to catch up several times a year. He is still married to her – and all of these years I believed him. Last year he left her and chased me quite diligently. My husband passed away several years ago. Within the first 2 months, I started to feel very sad as he would give me the silent treatment. He is a triathelete, has an expensive yacht, but he is out of a job and is having a pretty hard time finding a job that can sustain his lifestyle. He also started blaming me for his issues, showing no empathy for anyone. I had thought I had found the love of my life, so I overlooked things. One of the first things he asked me when we were alone together after 30 years – he asked me why I turned him down for sex so long ago. He said it in a way that it was eating at him all of these years. He thought I rejected HIM – when in reality he really rejected me by not ever calling so I moved on. During that same conversation he said he had loved me all of his adult life. My son told me things he said to him – like that I dumped him years ago – and my son should have been his. Fast forward for 7 months I was tortured and unhappy with him in my life. He wanted to move in with me – and when I said no – let’s date exclusively – he went nuclear via e-mail. Then he would not speak to me, or respond to my texts, calls & emails. We have not spoken since. I am grateful for that as I started looking up the NPD characteristics. He knows I won’t ever be with him – My first husband had the same NPD problem, as did my Mom, sister and especially my brother. Because of all of those years with crazy people who picked on me and tried to kill my soul – I recognized the similarities pretty quickly. I was lucky that 30 years ago he thought I rejected him. I truly would have married him then. My heart goes out to all of you who have been married to one or have a parent with it.

  19. Sad says:

    Gosh, I’ve known this for a long time. But now I’m facing the reality of what to do. I’m 3 yrs married to a man who I believe has npd. He is emotionally abusive and has been physically intimidatory on more than a few occasions.
    I’m so scared as we have a 2 and 3 yr old sons who adore him (and have said ‘no daddy’ and ‘stop being naughty at mummy’ when he lays into me about something trivial, usually about control. I’m scared he’ll manipulate my children. In fact I wouldn’t feel comfortable with him being with them alone, as he only makes an effort when there is an audience around. His parents are dysfunctional sync controlling mother so perhaps this is all he knows. But I’m 34 and this us my second marriage to a jeckyll and Hyde….shame on me! Help….

    • Zofia says:

      I am in the same situation but my kids are 22 months and 4 months. I fear for their safety. “He” also only does any thing when there is an audience. This site opened my eyes, after years of hoping and trying to make this marriage work, i see now that is will always be one sided just like it has been. He always has to be right, has full control over the family finances, only buys things that he wants, cars, tiers, ect….
      I fear for my children……I too need help…….I have moved out and will be divorcing him but im afraid he too will manipulate my children and tell them that I broke up the family, when he is the one that is ruining us.

  20. Tryingtoleavemynarc says:

    I am married to a Narc! We’ve been together for 10years and married for 3.5 years. I too believed he was just immature and selfish because of his upbringing. I believe his mother depended on him heavily while her husband left her feeling abandoned and lonely in their marriage. I believed that’s what kept him from being able to have a real marriage with me. I now believe different. I am starting to realize that his actions are no one else’s fault. He is the reason why we are so distant. Like many others have experienced, he too often complains about me, never deals with the error of his ways, and has little to no empathy for me during my moments of distress, when I am pouring my heart about how id like to be closer to him and have a better marriage. He ignores this and says I’m always complaining. He’s belligerent and dismissive when he doesn’t agree with me or share my point of view on a topic. It’s hard to communicate about the smallest things.
    We rarely watch movies together because he says he doesn’t like what I want to see. There’s always an excuse. After racking my brain about why there’s so much dysfunction in my marriage, I’ve become to believe that he likes it this way. I feel like since day one of marriage he’s spent more time pushing me away than trying to be a partner. He never apologizes for any wrong doing or hurting my feelings. We have 3 children and I just really want out at this point. Sometimes I just wanna slip away and act like none of this ever happen. Talking is just exhausting with this man. I feel like I’m married to a 4 year old. I just don’t believe that he could possibly love me if he’s okay treating me like this.

  21. Bernadette says:

    Thank you so much everyone for sharing.
    I now know I’m not alone as you have all spoken
    “word for word” on my behalf. I escaped after 30years

  22. chezron says:

    Wow! You KNOW my future ex-husband! I am lucky to be getting out.

  23. Lefty says:

    I like the article, however the article clearly focuses that the man is the one with the issue. I would like to simply point out that it can go either way or both.

  24. jessica says:

    I left my husband in December. Before that I had came across a site called “After Narcisstic Abuse there is light and love”. I came across that when I was in desperate search for answears. That was the only thing that could pin point what the kids and I were going through. Yeah, out of the list on here my husband has all 10 of the traits and also had all of the traits on the other one. He is now apparently getting councelling. I was so happy to hear that he made the attempt to get help. However, reading all of this again has reminded me what we faced and yet partialy still face.

  25. Jennifer Cocos says:

    I stayed married to a narcissist for 20 years and he almost took my soul. My advice is to cut your losses, get out while you still have a soul left, and carry on with your life and do anything and everything to build back the self-esteem that was battered down because he came first before you and the children. His needs had to be met first. I convinced him to come to family therapy with me to “help me” through this very trying time. The therapist called me at home and told me to lose this man and lose him fast. The therapist advised that it would take at least 10 years or longer to help him and therapy may not work with him at all. Narcissists are very draining people. At first, however, they are smothering you with adoration and gifts and sex but not with any love going on it is all for themselves. Then after a few years you realize that they are taking more than they will ever possibly give and have begun complaining about everything you do. Nothing is ever good enough for these individuals. NOTHING!! You are too fat or too thin, too beautiful or too ugly, too wealthy or too poor, you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t with them. They will pick you to death until their is nothing left but the bones. They are vultures. My advise before you ever get involved with someone is to take them to a professional and have them evaluated before getting involved, otherwise you will spend your life in misery and he will always use the household money for things he wants, expensive haircuts, designer clothes, shoes, new cars, anything for his hobbies and he will make certain that other people outside of your marriage know what a wonderful person he is and how terrible of a person you are and how awful the children are and how he has tried and tried to do the right thing by you. Narcissists are con artists. Mine finally ran off with a 27 year old waitress and then turned around and made me file for divorce! He badgered me and badgered me every day that he wanted a divorce, but that he wanted me to file because he wanted it to appear that I was the bad person not him. He told all of his friends that I was divorcing him and his new girlfriend had come along at just the right time and saved him from a fate worse than death. It’s been almost a year now and she is starting to look like I did after the lavish gifts and money blowing sprees were over. She looks tired, ragged, and lost. Her two young children no longer smile and it is because he is berating them every day about how they are failures, worthless, and will never amount to anything. I can’t save her because she will have to figure it out on her own. It isn’t my responsibility to save her or her kids, I tried to warn her and she went ahead and took the bait. She told me he had lied to her before and I laughed. I was lied to for 20 years. The entire marriage was a lie. At first he will tell her how bad of a person I was and how I couldn’t or wouldn’t do this that or the other and then she will try her hardest to compete with me or outdo me but she is basing her behavior on his lies. Then when she isn’t perfect and fails to take care of him he will begin telling her how wonderful I was at running his business, taking care of the kids, the house, the landscaping, the finances, etc. Narcissists don’t want to learn how to do anything because that is what they have peons for, to do everything for them. They are so egotistical they don’t have to learn to do anything, and they aren’t that good at anything either. He lied to me and told me he had a bachelor’s degree and I found paperwork after the divorce where he only went to a Technical College for 2 years. Every time I tried to go back to college he made such a fuss that I would have to quit classes to take care of him. Now I understand why. He did not want me to be more educated than him. If I had a better job and made better money then it would bruise his already fragile ego. So glad I have washed my hands of him and his problems. The home is peaceful, quiet, a refuge from the world, and a place where I enjoy being now. I can have my friends over now whereas before he would not permit it. He kept me isolated and alone always under his control. So I say dump the narcissist and learn to breathe again.

  26. troubled says:

    Wow. I wanted to get hold of an article that would show me how best i could make my marriage work.

    I havent yet been married a year. Been together just under 5.

    He is a feisty little thing whose issues run deep. We have fun together and enjoy adventuring and travelling so I would like to try and like him to try before i cast it all aside.

    Throughout the entire of our relationship, he has shown anger and aggression when he isnt able to process emotions or when we talk about finances.
    He throws is weight about, mostly at poor inanimate objects, sat navs, door frames etc. The cat used to get booted out the front door for getting in the way. (early signs I can hear you all say).

    He wants to go to counselling to improve how he reacts to situations. Which is a real positive, I just hope it will make a difference.

    He accidentally hit me when he lashed out in a rage recently and (perhaps I have been doing too much reading up on it) but that has absolutly terrified me. I dont want to be in a failed marriage, but equally I do not want to be a beaten woman. A horrid pattern is what this could be. I just hope it isnt.
    Please pull your finger out of your arse dear husband and sort your shit out!

    I think he has narcissistic qualities… definitely. He is self obsessed, has no empathy, uses me as an emotional crutch, has ideas of grandeur. He is often really rude to staff in restaurants or in supermarkets, being overly direct and forceful with his opinions and cannot see things from their perspective. I have told him off for this and shamed him infront of the oeople he is upsetting and now it seems he is getting the hint.

    Anyway, I wish you all luck and strength when dealing with these horrors. If it gets ‘that’ bad, I will leave as I have taken on your stories. So, thank you a lot for shariing your experiences. X

  27. Had Enough says:

    Almost 20 years of…
    Refused to marry as does not believe in marriage ( told me this months after we moved in together )
    Critisism for everything I have do….raising children, cooking meals, housework, the way I drive, my accent, caring for pets, my family…I could go on and on.
    He can do no wrong, is always right and has to be better.
    He flirts with other women, I was told this by a friend in the beginning of our relationship, but I refused to believe it. But over the years this became apparent, I have lost count how many times I have confronted him with this, to be told it’s all in my mind, I am jealous and insecure. Just this week I have discovered yet another woman he is flirting with, I have proof of this, have asked him the question in a round about way and he’s denied it.
    A few years ago whilst I was il in I heard a woman’s voice downstairs, when she left. I asked who she was he said a co-worker. My daughter told me that it wasn’t the first time she had visited our house ( I was unaware of this ). He claims there is nothing wrong with this and would not have a problem is I invited a male acqaintance back to the house ( the difference here would be I would inform my husband and be sure he ws there at the time).
    He controls all our finances.
    He works away a lot, says he is one place or another, but due to the consistency of his lies I believe very little.
    He has to have the latest gadget, the best of everything, we have never had a social life, given up how many times I have asked why we do not do things as a couple…his answer ‘ I am not here for your entertainment !!’
    He is an only child, parents spilt when he was small, both his parents have Narc symptoms. I was told in the beginning of our relationship that every bone in my body would be broken if I hurt him. Writing this I do not know why I did not see the red flags. When we visit his parents or they visit us, they always take him into a separate room to speak to him. He has never told me what these conversations are about.

    All of the above I have questioned him about, but he always denies or twists things to be my fault.

    I have stayed so long in the relationship as I did not want our child suffering the break up of his parents relationship. For anyone with small children, get out now. I have realised the worst thing to do was stay, the lack of respect, the lies, the deceit…I have seen numerous times in our child. I fear he has the same traits. I have mentioned a separation numerous times, to be told if I am not happy. I knows where the door is, I am told I am selfish, always wanting to be the centre of attention, everything is always about me and he fails to understand how I could ruin some ones life. I am afraid to leave, my self esteem it rock bottom, I trust no-one, most days I feel suicidal. This is not how I used to be before I met my husband, I was ful of life, happy with lost of friends and family. I want the old me back. I sometimes wonder if am the one with npd.

  28. Anonymous says:

    i had a problem with my wife 3 months ago she was having an affair with a friend of mine that happens to be my best friend, i was so sad that i never knew what to do next, during my search for a way out so i came across a spell caster robinsonbuckler@yahoo(.)com i never believed in spell casting as i thought it will not work for me but to my surprise i got positive results and i was able to get my husband back from my so called friend, if you are having a similar problem contact Mr Robinson and your problems shall be solved

    • Kate says:

      Im glad you got positive results Anonymous, and I hope your marriage goes on to flourish & improve (are you getting couple counselling to assist you to both work out what went wrong & how you can repair the damage & minimise the risk of the marriage going pear shaped again?)!
      I personally don’t believe in such stuff, but each to their own. Either way, if such a thing were to work, I pretty much doubt that a spell like that would work on a Narcissist, Sociopath or Psychopath… In fact i know it wouldn’t! Perhaps you need to read up further about how such people are wired Anonymous? If it the descriptions fit for your wife & your experience with her in relationship, i would be very wary indeed of relying on spells to fix things.
      I say this out of concern & best wishes for your wellbeing. Take care.

  29. So over it and done says:

    I’m so glad I came across this website because I thought I was going crazy! I’m recently married to who I truly thought was my soul mate (only 8mths) and now I’m planning my way out of this horrible situation. My husband has ALL the traits listed above as well as in many of your stories. The only thing he hasn’t done is become physically abusive to me. He’s 6 yrs younger than me and this didn’t bother me when we first met because of how mature he portrayed himself. I’ve always been a confident woman. I’m educated, independent with a career and self sufficient but I notice now that since we’ve gotten married I’m starting to doubt myself in alot of small ways because of the way he makes me feel. Like I’m stupid, or beneath him and not good enough. He even recently told me he didn’t think I could have kids because I’m almost 35, half of my eggs are gone already and since I didn’t get pregnant in the last few months, I probably won’t be able to give him a child. WHAT?!?! How immature is that? And how offensive? Like with most of your stories, in the beginning he was charming, sweet, romantic, caring, made me feel like I was on a pedestal and promised alot. He made it seem like he had his sh*t together. But I found out all of that was a lie once we were married, once “he got me.” His true colors came out. In the beginning of our marriage I tried to have several conversations with him about why things had changed, about how I was feeling and that I was unhappy. These conversations usually turned into heated arguments because I was “nit picking” It was as if a light switch was going off and on with him. Every promise that he made, he’s broken. Every one! I feel like he said/did what he needed to get me, and now that he has me, he totally takes advantage of my kindness and love for him. He ignores me when he’s having what I call a “silent tantrum”, and is “so happy to be with me” when he’s in a good or loving mood. He’s not capable of communicating like an adult. I can’t take the roller-coaster anymore. This is my first marriage and though I said I wanted to only be married once, I can’t allow this man to make me feel less than and depressed all to make himself feel better and secure in his manhood. I’m not staying in this any longer than I have to. Thank God I didn’t get pregnant and we have no kids!!

  30. Kate says:

    I know it can sometimes be a lot easier said than done, but if i had the choice i would leave the relationship with a narcissist. I guess it depends on the severity of their condition (but my understanding is they dont even have to be full blown to be destructive!) but I think these tactics will only work for so long in preparation for leaving…they wont “improve” or “change” the Narcissist or the relationship….all you are changing is how you are dealing with a big destructive permanently child who will never grow up…. And who will never really sincerely thank you or love you for it…they are not capable… Why would you want to waste your life on that if you had a choice??? Ive been about 1.5 years out of 15 year relationship with father of my child…as I of course have to maintain contact with him, these tactics are helpful for that purpose …but i really think it only really works because its like a courteous “business” relationship. It takes a lot of energy …i could not bear the thought of having to live like this 24/7…

  31. Shweta says:

    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for sharing this article and these stories. I finally get to know that i am living with a Narc. you all suffered same and very long. My marriage is only 2years long and it looks like forever to me. My husband is very selfish, liar and abusive verbal as well as physical. He beat the crap out of me on no reasons.. smaller disagreements of thoughts , So i stop arguing with him but he leave me in misery when i was pregnant. He put all that like its not his responsibility at all. I courage to do everything by myself but lost my child on 4.5 months of pregnancy. He blame me for that miscarriage and also tell his parents that my body is not capable. I begged him several times during my pregnancy not to abuse me but he never stopped. He abuse me and when i react he called his parents to prove that i am crazy. I never spent his single penny. He is having all financial control. I asked his parents several times for help but they told me that i am the one who is crazy. I tried everything to live in this relationship. I listen everytime that i am not good, i did this thing wrong, do this for me, dont talk to me. Recently i got ill n he said angrily that u always ill. I go by the hospital myself in fever n they admitted me instantly but when they said to call my husband n i called him, he came with lot of whining of medical bills and all. When i show him what he did then he buy me some shoes online by playing GOOD GUY. I think to let it go then he again criticize me for several things. I really dont want to live. I am not having the courage to fight back. I always used to thought that whenever we have babies everything will change but after reading the above articles now the future picture is clear for me.. you know i am gonna make my move but he is too smart that already everybody believe his side of story n think i m just a depress crazy person. I dont know how i able to fight back to that. Oh God! why he is so mean?

  32. Vincent says:

    I recently got married to my husband and its been a rather unexpected journey of pain and nursing his ego. He has this thing of saying that “you promised to do this for me” even if i didn’t. If i say i didn’t not he gets angry and goes on a silent mode for as long as he can and m forced to apologies for peace sake. I feel i have lost the man i once knew and that there is a new being in him. He always apologies for the sake of doing so later after he realizes that his is wrong but will still do it all over again. The funny thing is he doesn’t preach what he practice cause he will give his friends advice about relationships and marriage but he does the total opposite

    I always wait for him to find fault on me since in his eyes am made of them and its hell just leaving work and going home. I was looking forward to leaving my life with him but now i don’t even know what to think anymore.

    What hurts he most is i love him despite it all and i don’t know if i can ever live without him. .

  33. Heidi says:

    To those of you with children who are torn about breaking up your home, I wanted to say this: the fact that I came from a divorced home myself, and that fact that I believe marriage should be a lifelong commitment, kept me in my marriage to my narc. husband for 25 years. Our son saw the truth about his dad long before I could face it. My son has SUFFERED tremendously because I thought it was better that our family stayed intact rather than to get him away from his abusive father, who I left this year. If I could go back, I would do it differently. If your gut is telling you to leave, and especially if you have kids, please don’t beat yourself up over being “the one to break up the home” because the one truly doing that is the narcissist.

  34. Fran says:

    Read the books by author Patricia Evans. “The Verbally Abusive Relationship” and others. She also has a site you can visit.
    Her books were recommended by my counselor. My eyes were opened.
    After 23 years of marriage, and experiencing much of what others have written on this sight, her books helped me tremendously.
    I don’t have a college education and had been at home and worked retail part time. I worried, and still worry, about how I am going to get by like others have written.
    My three adult children have been my support system – my rocks. They believe in me and encourage me every day.
    You can do it too. Believe in yourself. Believe.
    It is so awesome not to walk on eggshells, not to anticipate his moods, not to try to please and pacify him continually, not to try to make peace, not to feel discouraged and have my hopes and thoughts and passions dismissed after all of these years. I couldn’t breath. I can breath again.
    I can laugh and not feel guilty about laughing.
    I’m free.

  35. sana says:

    My husband is narcist ..he doesnt care about my basic needs at all.accuses me of being miser and noncoeperative in money matters. If I complain he takes it as his insult …he has become very harsh in 8 months of ur marriage. I m a pakistani woman living with inlaws…everyone appreciate s him for his dominating behaviour towards me. I feel very bad and used up by him.

  36. weigco says:

    I went and still going through this….it exhausts me to always defend myself when the only choice my husband has is to verbally insult me and my work so worst i was losing my energy to do my best.
    20 years of marriage, he lost his job 8 times and i had done my part working while he couldn’t and instead of appreciating my effort, he just didn’t care at all.
    Raising our four children, he was emotionally unavailable in most times…yet he takes the merit raising them well….how can he claims that….
    Most times I was crazy jealous because I’ve seen how much appreciation he was capable of giving other people, other women he compares me with, whom he could treat better than me…..and he never got it why i was so jealous and instead got him angry and mad at me even more ….. i’m just so tired with who I became now….and i don’t get it when he wants to keep me still it was pleasurable for him to have me used? my children are now convinced its OK for us to be separated, because they have seen the cycle….

  37. melissa says:

    If my spouse exhibits all the traits except wanting physical touch and sex, can he still be a narcissist? He doesn’t want hugs or cuddles like he did 3 years ago, and he only wants porn. All the other traits fit exactly.

  38. christina says:

    i could really use some advice. my father is a narcissist. a very very bad one, my sister happens to take after him also. I managed to escape and completely cut her out of my life after she called child safety on me and made a lot of very bad false accusations which led to my daughter being taken away and she suffered so badly she almost died (she was 11months old at the time) don’t worry I got her back and all – this was all because I refused to do something she wanted me to do at the worst time of my life.
    anywho I moved closer to my parents not long ago because they are getting older and my dads kidneys are failing so hes been unwell. a couple months after moving here, it was easter and mum and I were talking outside and he comes out and starts an argument. Accuses mum that he is sick because of her and says it all started from 10 years ago when she put a violence restraining order (oh and im to blame for that one apparently) on him and tried to leave him, in which he manipulated his way back in. not to mention the stalking he did while the vro was in place. anyway its almost Christmas and since easter we have been given the silent treatment. hes even angry at my daughter who is 6 now because she came outside during the argument and told us all off for argueing and was tapping her foot impatiently waiting for it to stop. my mum has been staying over my house overnight every 2nd weekend to have a break. then last Saturday he threatened to call child safety on me if she stays overnight at mine again because I am “twisting her mind and plotting”. ive watched my mum become more and more depressed. I don’t know how to help her without the wrath of his rage which will inturn hurt my daughter. she went to a counsellor and she asked to see me and asked me to convince my mum to leave him. but if she does, its my daughter who gets hurt. what the hell do I do to ensure the safety of my precious innocent child!?! ive never hated anybody so much in my life. throughout my childhood I was terrified of him. he is extreamly abusive, manipulative, controlling, sometimes violent and and he has no boundary that he wont cross to make sure he can control or manipulate her. when you are near him you can literally feel the anger vibrating off of him. we just don’t know what to do. its at the point where we have found ourselves just wishing he would drop dead and save us all the misery that hes putting on us. threatening my daughter is just a serious boundary breach but he sees it as power. what the hell do we do!?!

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