Dealing With Narcissistic Men in Relationships

Last Updated on June 28, 2022 by Alexander Burgemeester

Do you feel alone even though your partner is right next to you? Do you sleep in the same bed but feel light-years apart?

Are you afraid of expressing these feelings to your partner because he might become angry or withdraw into isolation even more? If so, you could be in a relationship with a narcissist.

It’s easy to fall in love with one. At the beginning of the relationship, he was charming, delightful, charismatic, attentive, and complimentary.

He put you on a pedestal and treated you like a queen. You may have wondered why such a wonderful man would cut in front of the line or treat the waitress so poorly.

How his “Love” Changes

But you ignored these little embarrassing incidents. However, once you were “hooked”, his behavior turned to constant criticism of you over the most trivial things and constant self-centered demands.

You have become tense and emotionally drained from his unpredictable tantrums, personal attacks and indignation at any perceived (often misperceived) slights.

You begin to doubt yourself due to the never-ending critical comments, you worry about what he thinks, and you become as preoccupied about him as he is about himself.

Most narcissists are perfectionists and he is no exception; nothing you or anyone else does is right nor is it appreciated.

If you try to talk about your hurt or disappointment he somehow always manages to turn it around so that it is your fault. Plus he then uses that as fodder for another put down.

As the cliché goes, “They can dish it out, but can’t take it.” They are highly sensitive to any perceived judgment.

Narcissistic Men in Relationships: Is he even capable of love?

The narcissist’s relationship is with himself; he sees you as an extension of himself and you need to simply fit in.

Partners of narcissists are often times confused, hurt and feel abandoned.

They are Charming

Yet they stay with them because the narcissist will lure the partner back in by occasionally exhibiting once more the charm, excitement, and attention they initially gave, leaving the partner with a sense of hope that things will get better.

In public, narcissists display their charismatic feigned self. People are drawn to them and find them charming and entertaining.

But at home they show their true colors and revert back to belittling you and perhaps the person they were just entertaining.

You might think they love only themselves, but that is a myth.

In reality, narcissists have very poor self-esteem. Their swagger, self-flattery, and arrogance are a cover-up for feelings of self-loathing.

They do not admit these feelings to others or even to themselves.

Instead, they project their hostility toward themselves onto you and others as criticism and disdain.

Need of Control

In love relationships, narcissists tend to distort and misperceive the good intentions of others.

They need to be in control at all times. If they feel slighted, they usually withdraw or isolate themselves; they do not see how their actions make their significant other feel anxious.

This is especially true if their partner has a borderline personality disorder.

Narcissists are oftentimes drawn to partners who fear abandonment and/or who experience narcissistic traits themselves.

A borderline narcissistic combo is not unusual as people with borderline personality disorder have a very weak sense of self and difficulty bonding with others. They tend to over-invest in others-exactly what a narcissist needs.

The narcissist who is “in love” becomes enamored of someone who has qualities that he wants to have or no longer possesses, such as beauty, power, organization, strong sense of self, etc.

The narcissist tries to possess these qualities through his relationship as he sees his significant other as an extension of himself.

Common traits of narcissistic men

Narcissism traits are on a continuum from someone who is very self-centered with a few personality traits of narcissism to full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

A person with NPD would show five or more of the following characteristics:

  • An exaggerated sense of one’s own abilities and achievements.
  • A constant need for attention, affirmation and praise.
  • A belief that he or she is unique or “special” and should only associate with other people of the same status.
  • Persistent fantasies about attaining success and power.
  • Exploiting other people for personal gain.
  • A sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment.
  • A preoccupation with power or success.
  • Feeling envious of others, or believing that others are envious of him or her.
  • A lack of empathy for others.

How do I know if I am dating a narcissist? I don’t know him well enough to see the behavior described above.

There are some common traits that they exhibit during the dating phase (and beyond):

Reading Suggestion: 11 Typical Examples of Narcissist text Messages

  • You always feel like you are the one chasing them.
  • They never care about your problems.
  • He works for applause for a living. (seriously)
  • They only make a move on you when they are good and ready.
  • You can’t depend on them.
  • The only activities you do together are ones they want.
  • They constantly give you ‘mixed signals’ (they want you then they don’t want you, they are hot for you and cold for you, creating constant emotional turmoil).

Are all narcissistic men codependent?

People with “codependency” issues lack a strong sense of self and define themselves through others.

This is true for all narcissists; their self-image is so weak and insecure that they need constant validation through praise and admiration.

If you have a relationship between two narcissists, they will be miserable needing each other and fighting over whose needs come first. They will also both push each other away.

However, for people who are codependent but don’t have a personality disorder (like borderline or narcissism), it can be perfect, if somewhat painful, fit.

A codependent also has low self-esteem but theirs’ is boosted by the narcissist’s extroverted personality and aura of success.

Furthermore, their low self-esteem allows them to endure the narcissist’s abuse. They feel guilty asserting their own needs and loving/caring for a narcissist makes them feel valued.

It is also a perfect fit because the codependent doesn’t feel worthy of receiving love for the individual that they are, only for what they give or do.

Treatment for Narcissistic Husbands

Stereotypically, narcissists don’t seek help as they don’t see or admit to problems or imperfections.

Sometimes a major loss will get them into counseling. Narcissism and codependency can be helped with patience, courage, and a commitment to yourself.

Therapy would involve improving boundaries (narcissists don’t have boundaries and feel threatened when their partner tries to enforce them) and increasing self-acceptance.

Psychotherapy and joining a 12-step program are the recommended starting point.

If you want to read more about this topic I can recommend Darlene Lancer’s book “Dealing with a Narcissist


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Alexander Burgemeester

Alexander Burgemeester has a Master in Neuropsychology. He studied at the University of Amsterdam and has a bachelor's in Clinical Psychology. Want to know more?

46 thoughts on “Dealing With Narcissistic Men in Relationships”

  1. This is a great article! I have a client who is dealing with a man like this. If I can get him to come in, where do I start with him? And if not, what do I tell my client who has strong feelings for him, but not married?

  2. Thank you for this article. Now I know what I am dealing with because all these years I thought it was me but now I know what is wrong with my husband. He is my 2nd husband and I feel bad for putting my children through this. They are grown ups now and at least they will understand everything better now after reading this article. Hopefully I’ll find more articles on this and how to deal with it.

  3. I disagree with the following statement about dating a N: “You always feel like you are the one chasing them.”

    In my experience, the N comes on strong and pursues, sweeping you off your feet. This is because the N likely believes you are the “one”, because you reflect to the N all the traits that he wishes to possess. In my case, my N emphasized how much we had in common, basically gushing that I was perfect for him, everything he wanted. This is certainly compelling, especially if the N is attractive and appealing. The N will likely pull out all the stops on your first few dates, based on what you like to do. Grandiose gestures of romance are common. The N is addicted to the initial rush of the possibility of a new “soul mate” who has all the right qualities.

    Only later will the N start to see the imperfections and reality of the relationship, and begin to criticize and find fault, then withdraw himself. He will gradually pull away, or just simply disappear into thin air. Likely, as in my case, he is already dating other women or seeking out a new exciting Of course, he’ll likely later return to you to gain attention (narcissistic supply.)

    There is a great book called Narcisstic Lovers that has helped me a lot in getting past my recent “relationship” with a N.

    • I just ended a 4 month relationship with a Narcisstic man. Wow…what a ride!!! Swept me off my feet when I wasn’t even looking or wanting a serious relationship, pledged his love in so many ways, took me on 3 vacations, fabulous dinners, dancing, romance, total gentlemen and good lover. He told me that in his 50 years on this planet, no woman has EVER loved or adored him the way I did. He spoke the most incredible heart-felt emotions to me, backed it up with actions too. BUT, the entire time I found he was still keeping his options open to other women and then finally he started distancing himself from me big time. After I broke up with him, I found that he’s dating a 26 yr old. He and I both have daughters (mine is 25 and his is 23), so the fact that he’s dating a girl this age make me wanna throw up. He kept telling me that he was so in love with him that it scared him…I began to read into this and decided I wasn’t up for this emotional roller coaster. Sucks because now I’m left with sorting through what was real and what was fantasy. I feel bad for him because he’s always looking for a higher high, sprinkling a little piece of himself onto every woman he meets, falling in love with the idea of love, throwing himself into woman, selfishly to gain their love and attention only to abandon them, lie to them and cheat. People say he’s gonna try to come back to me after the thrill of the 26 year old wears off. I’m not so sure about that because he’s so self centered and has many options to occupy his thoughts of me or what I thought we had together. However I’d love it just for pure satisfaction of telling him to go pound sand. So happy I saw the warning signs early on and bolted.

    • OH boy is this the truth. You feel youre on a rollercoaster and cant get off. They like you , just enough to get you to do something for them or \march to their beat
      If they want to do something, they do it and it dont matter if you just spent 200 and had a reservation and lose that deposit..or what excuse it is, if its not what they wanted they dont care and they dont care whose feelings they tromp on or who they make wait and most narcissists will make you always wait on THEM…After all, its THEM who counts

    • Actually I have met Narcs that do like to be chased as well then also acting as the one who chases. It all depends.

      We have to remember that it’s all on a spectrum, nothing is absolute or black and white for these people.

    • Your absolutely correct. I dated a Narc for 2yrs and it was a challenge. I am a self-proclaimed expert on Narcissism if I do say so myself.

  4. I have had the opportunity to read so much about being in a narcissistic relationship. I have been involved with a man for three years. This is the shortest relationship I have been in and it has caused the worse damage to my self esteem and I still haven’t figured out how to walk away. I used to think that I could make him feel secure and I ended up being filled with doubts. This article is spot on… and it’s almost funny.. I have always felt like I was the one chasing him from the beginning. And it doesn’t matter how beautiful he always says I am. He just uses it against me by showing his lack of trust in me with any man. I have done so much to try to make him see that I would never hurt him in that way, and I know it’s for nothing. I have always felt like I have to be so strong with him and that I cannot break down emotionally. He just is not willing to be there. I just want to be able to stop trading the emptiness I feel when I am alone for the emptiness I feel when I am with him. I know that I am better and can do better than this. There is always that hope though, that things could be right between him and I.

  5. The article is brilliant and spot on. and so are the responses. My guy and i were invovled for almost 2 years. started off wanting to impress me. That was shortlived. He cheated continuously on me with his ex’s. Criticised me. insulted me. Never complimented me even though people around him told him he was so lucky to have me. Although he spent money on me i think he did it to make himself feel great. Grandiosity +++. Always talking about money and all great things. Thrifty spender, gambling too. But i was lonely. With him yet so alone. And he showed very little empathy towards me…if any. After insulting me publically i decided its time to walk. And still he did not feel the need to try and fix things. He may come back later…and hopefully i will be even stronger to stick to my decision. But the emotional abuse is just too much.

  6. My wife tells me and all her friends that I am a narcissist. I have looked at a number of articles on narcissism and I can see traits that I have. For one thing I do sometimes judge her behaviour and struggle to empathise. I do try to charm her to make her like me and give me an easier ride. I am quite a detached person and find it difficult to share things emotionally. My big problem is that when I read articles on narcissism I see strong traits in her (blame, rage, projection, boundaries) and I can’t work out if that is me in some kind of denial, refusing to look at it by projecting back on to her or the other way round. We have looked at articles together (only about me) and some traits that I just don’t recognise in myself (I think I am being open-minded) she can work at and sell to me as being absolute extreme traits of mine. How do I know if it’s me?

    • Hi Andy,

      I know it’s been a long time since you posted this but maybe the reply still helps. If you are not sure who is what, it might be worth while to go to relationship counselling?
      I can only imagine it must be painful to be called a narcissist. However, I know from own experience that it is a defence mechanism of some sort against unresolved pain and for that, relationship counselling could be of benefit.

  7. This may help a lot of you. Just suppose that the person you are calling a narcissist never did love you and he had his reasons as he learned to know you as a person. You did not except the fact that he did not love you and pushed your way into his life. Now that you are there he is just telling you why he does not love you so you can change or go away.

    • Don, but if the person who doesn’t love someone just wants them to change or go away, he can leave her. Why must there be all the abusiveness? No person with adequate empathy could allow themselves to continue doing harm to another just for the sake of it.

    • My N ex-bf was the one constantly pulling me back in. I was very careful about not “pushing my way” into his life in any way and can honestly say this never happened. I think most N would never allow a woman to do that anyway. They have very distinct ways of keeping women in their places. Never did he express he didn’t love me, quite the opposite. I know he loved me so much it scared him and I did love him but didn’t like how he distanced himself from me and the sick pleasure he got knowing he was hurting me by being aloof and distant. This was a game to him and he loved every minute of it.

      From a psychological standpoint, I understood his need to distance himself because of the abuse he suffered as a child. It was this understanding and desire to help him (thus called co-dependency) that kept me in the relationship because a person can’t be normal after what happened to him as a child. I had so much empathy for the damage this abuse did to his inner soul yet his total lack of empathy totally creeped me out.

      Nevertheless, as long as he knew he had me hooked, he distanced himself from me but as soon as I was ready to walk or distanced myself from him, he was all over me like cat hair on navy blue fleece! There were times I had to literally peel him off me.

      I think you’ll find this scenario is more typical of a N relationship than what you are speaking about. He kept reeling me back in for 12 on/off years until I began reading about N. It was then that I saw him for what he was, understood why he was doing what he was doing, and realized his silly junior high school games (that’s exactly what I often told him they were) would never end. That’s when I suddenly cut all communication with him and ran from him as fast as I could. I know I will never go back. He is crushed and I can finally say…I really don’t care.

      You want distance? I served him distance on a silver platter. The difference is, I’m. Not. Playing. Games.

      • Wow, good for you! I really like your comment. That’s where I want to be when I finally end my relationship with my N Fiance…”Not Playing Games” anymore. When I leave….I don’t want one single tiny inkling of a molecule to care….not caring about where he is at, what he is doing, nor with whom he is doing it with or what’s being said about me by him to anybody in his life through his eyes. To not give a rat’s fat a**. That’s my goal…!

      • It’s now 6 years. And I now know what’s been going on. Yes like a rollercoaster!

        I’ve stand for my kid’s and been living this life of emotional abuse.

        Yes I’m tired

      • OMG!! I am so akin to you and your situation! Thank you soooo much for posting. I am in another country and have had another ex-pat “love” me. At first I thought he was Asperberger’s, then passive/agressive but now realize he’s full blown narcissistic. I am crushed, probably codependent and just like you,, when I gather my things and leave, he reels me in: “You just leave to hurt me.” Ha! Everything, absolutely everything is about him! His double talk his confabulations (he doesn’t remember things often, so he makes them up) his gift giving and then taking them back because they’re HIS…He even invited me out to dinner early in the relationship and KNEW he didn’t have the money to pay for it!! Manipulative, arrogant, charming proclamations of love, insisting I’m perfect and beautiful. Unwilling to talk about next years’ visas for the continuation of a job in China… ignoring texts, then he finally denied me to a person who asked if we were “together” (this person knows we are) and he said, “The American woman? Perhaps you’d best ask her!” We were even on Skype with his mom a few months ago and he said it’s the best relationship he’s ever had in his life! And she said she must meet me…why? To tell me what a pushover I am? I also realize I’m too nice. No more.
        The denial was the final straw for me. I heard myself saying it was OK…it’s NOT OK! We were together for 8 months. Rollercoaster? Holy cow!
        Thank you so much for your post. Congratulations on freeing yourself! I am free now too!

    • Here is my question . My ex Narc and I were together for 14 years. I knew he wasn’t normal, that is to say, I knew he either had some kind of personality disorder, or was in love with someone else and just stayed with me so as not to hurt me? I left him numerous times and he always found me and professed the same bullshit behavior he did at the beginning, ” oh I love you ” or just plain unemotional ” get your ass back here” which I at the time thought was so endearing being he had such a hard time revealing his feelings. Although not a day went by that he didn’t tell me he loved me, or gave me a hug before leaving for work. I now know what he is, and always was, though at times there is a niggle of doubt residing far back in my mind. Lets just say the symptoms, outweigh the doubt. I sometimes wonder who is the bigger fool. Me for staying with someone who I THOUGHT loved me, or him for staying so long with someone HE didn’t LOVE?

  8. I was married to a N for 25 years, which ended in divorce.

    He was basically a Mother’s Boy and had an older brother that could do everything perfect in the eyes of his parents. The older brother joined the Army and was a POW and was killed.

    When I first met my husband he was just wonderful to me and after 6 months dating we became engaged and married within one year.
    I witnessed many arguments with his father, an alcoholic, mostly about how he was treating the marriage. The mother remained silent to the fights.

    I tried talking to my husband who also drank alcohol and stayed out many nights after work with the boys. The only time I had to talk to him was at night when he came home. His reply was “Why do you start these fights every night?”

    I was living with a N. man, an alcoholic that made a decent wage at his job and trying to raise two girls by myself with little or no money or job.
    After a few years I began to not see his paycheck and most of the bills were paid by him. The clothes and functions the girls attended I got a small job and paid for myself. Most of the clothes I sewed for them and myself and even then the N said I was trying to live in “High Society.”

    I was given $20.00 per month for food. The times he came home drunk he would hide his money always a different place and I would find it and take what I needed. One, time he caught me and he said if I did this again, he would blow my head off. Very scary?

    We would attend parties at friends and at most of the parties, I was insulted or degraded on various reasons and I soon learned to ignore his comments or give it back to him and he would shut up.

    I thought I was losing my mind because of all this see saw of emotions, ended up on some pretty strong tranquilizers, taking me & kids to Alo-non, Alo-teen Divs. of AA and panic attacks.

    After my divorce I hugged the wall corner and quoted “Free at last, Lord God Almighty, I’m free at last”. Quote: M. L. King

    My only regret was giving my kids such a lousy father, but they triumphed in life in their professions and I know it was because of my guidance in this mess of a marriage. Maybe another wife for the N would have cracked, but my Mother always said “We came from a long line of strong German Women”.

  9. I’m pretty sure that the guy I’ve been with over the past year is what they call a Covert Narcissist. He comes across as shy, gentle and self deprecating. Not the showy bigger than life type that many articles describe. However, the love pattern that has been discussed by many here is very similar. When the relationship started, it was a whirl wind of passion, desire, excitement and almost magical moments. He made statements like “it was fate we met” and how much he admired me, etc. I was just coming out of failed marriage and he was very eager to have me take off my wedding rings. He pronounced himself my boyfriend and protector when my ex husband and I fought.

    But, then the switch came. I think it was about 5 to 6 months into the relationship. He began to question me all the time about my background and about my past relationships with other men. Then, he began to become suspicious of my relationships with male friends and colleagues. He would question my whereabouts. Sometimes I felt like I was going crazy with his twisting around of things I told him I was doing. He’d accuse me of saying one thing but that he knew I did something else when I didn’t. I became very weary of telling him anything that would possibly upset him or make him feel uncomfortable. This was difficult because of my work which is in a male dominated business (which he knew about very early on).

    After about nine months in, he suddenly broke up with me because I had dinner with a male friend. I didn’t conceal the dinner and had given him warning ahead of time so that he could air concerns or whatever if he wanted to. I guess I was testing the waters to see if he would be ok with me living my life in a normal, healthy way. He freaked out after the fact, accusing me of all sorts of mis-deeds that were untrue. I was devastated and felt physically sick from the break up because it seemed like something that two normal people could just converse about and set reasonable expectations and guidelines. After my pleas for forgiveness and tears that went on for about two weeks, he came back. When he did, he was very affectionate and became, what seemed, even more dedicated to me. Introducing me to friends and family members and telling me he loved me without my initiation of the words.

    But then, after that little honeymoon period, the shadows came back. He started again with all the questions about other men and doubting my trustworthiness. Although he had told me when he came back that he understood that the issues were his not mine, he started again with them and veiled threats about leaving me. We have another bad incident where he sees me talking with a man at a party (a man who approached me to talk) and accuses me of flirting. Saying things like “you’ll make a great couple”. It was a bad scene. He seemed to regain his composure the next day after we had a chance to speak calmly about it and it actually had given me hope that maybe we were turning the corner on this stuff. Finally, about two weeks after the dinner party incident, at our one year anniversary, he devastates me with the most horrible break up imaginable.

    He pretends that week that we are celebrating a great and amazing year. He’s coming to my home to make me dinner with wines specially selected for the night. I arrive to find flowers in my kitchen and he’s cooking for me. Kisses me like normal. Gets me all comfortable and happy for a wonderful evening to just kick me in the face with the “I want out”. To top it off, he’d gotten himself drunk and then begins to berate me with the whole dinner party situation. Making up lies about how I had been emailing with the guy from the dinner party. I didn’t even know the guy’s last name. The whole thing was surreal and very hurtful.

    Again, I went into a huge depression and kept emailing him with my pleas for forgiveness. I made phone calls to friends to prove to him that there were no emails or any bad deeds on my part with this guy from the dinner party. He kept spinning anything I said into new accusations. Finally, he agreed to meet me for one more dinner and I gave a final effort to repair us. I found a way to offer him comfort in his concerns over my trustworthiness by promising to get therapy for these supposed issues I have. He was now in a box because I took his big excuse off the table. He then switched to well….I am not ready to be in a relationship like ours. I’ve been married for a lot of years and really want to be more free. That’s when I knew he was an N for sure. He’s already got new supply lined up and I was being discarded.

    While I can see it all now and I understand it intellectually, I am still reeling emotionally. I’ve tried dating a bit and I keep thinking about him. I know it wasn’t real and that he was just pretending the entire time. It’s just really hard to let go of the dream he let me believe in. My self esteem has taken a big hit and I think if he came back again, I’d probably cave.

    I don’t think he will come back though. I did something that I hope will keep him from coming back. Was wondering if anyone knows if this would be enough of an injury to an N to keep them from coming back. While we were together, he drew a naked portrait of me. He was very proud of it. I didn’t want him to keep it after we broke up. It made me feel very weird and I was afraid he’d hang it on his wall like a trophy. I was able, after a lot of negotiating, to convince him to give it to me and to promise in writing that he would never reproduce it. He did both. I then sent him a photo of it burning in my fire pit. He’s gone completely silent since that photo was sent. So, for all you N experts out there…..did I do it? Did I send him a strong enough message so he won’t come back? I really need him not to because I don’t think I’m strong enough to resist if he does.

  10. Excellent article. It broke everything down and stayed on point better than most of the free standing articles I’ve been devouring lately.

    Becky: Your story was very similar to mine, and it helped me to read it. From what I’ve read, I think that while he’s still getting his source from somewhere else, you need to be educating and finding support for yourself in order to strengthen your resolve to resist him. Because chances are very high that he will try to contact you when his other arrangement inevitably falls apart, no matter what you may have done with the picture. He views you as a backup source, because he left you in shambles wanting more. That was the point, by the way. If he tries again and finds you non-responsive, that is probably the only way to know you’ve actually and truly shaken him for good.

  11. Becky, it would seem that your N and mine were the same person, the stories are so similar. The insane jealousy, the snide remarks, the dumping of me and then coming back again making promises of how he has CHANGED. What a joke! I have been discarded again. This time I actually was living with him so I had to move. That was two months ago. I know he will be coming back again. They always do. This time I am not taking him back! Oh, and to what others were saying about how they know their Ns loved them. Sorry, but they didn’t. Narcissists do NOT know how to love. They have no human emotions except anger and envy. Nothing else. I know, it’s not their fault. I feel sorry for them, never being able to actually experience love. But that does not mean I have to live with it.

  12. Wow this article was really eye opening for me. My boyfriend of 7 years called me during his break at work and cancelled a trip for me to see him and then said he thought we should break up for awhile. Understandably, I am heart broken but this article made it easier for me to see this is for the best. Since the day we met he was really into his looks and his overall appearance. He was desperate to make more money so I stood by him for 5 years while he went back to school for a better job. I put my career on hold and moved with him across the country for school, supported him emotionally and financially and put up with a lot of the N traits. I’m skinny but he called me “skinny fat” thin but not in good shape. He would lecture me if I ate a candy bar. He always told me how my mother never told me how to do chores right and I would be berated for not folding his jeans right. He said I used too much water when doing the dishes. He got upset with me if I didn’t take his advice on something (my mechanic said I needed new tires, my bf said I didn’t and when I made the appointment he bitched me out). He belittles my job as a teacher telling me what an easy job it is and asking me why I went into a profession that pays so little? I’d take the dog to the vet for shots and he’d say that was a waste of money. Clearly, I didn’t always listen to him which would cause arguments which is why he broke up with me for “fighting all the time”. Having written this I realize how lucky I am to get out of that relationship. It just hurts to know he exploited me for financial and emotional support for five years while he went back to school for this high paying dream job. I helped him get to where he is and he just dumps during a four minute phone call and I haven’t heard from him since. Not that I would respond to any communication. Its tough bc I want him to realize what an N he is but being a 100% N he would never allow himself to admit his flaws. So these people just get to go in living their life as if they have done nothing wrong, hurting people along the way. Totally unfair 🙁

  13. What a great article! After reading books and articles, I feel so stupid. After 8 years of being in a relationship with an N, I finally get it. Thinking back now, I always knew something wasn’t right, but I just couldn’t wrap my brain around what I was experiencing. I met my N ex husband on After 4 months of dating, he proposed and we married 3 months later. I had three children and he had 1. I relocated to live with him. After a few months, nothing I did was ever good enough. He constantly put me down. It all had to be about him. His feelings, his appearance, his happiness, his weight, his looks, his friends, his plans, his way or no way etc. I didn’t have the right to question anything or he would get mad or put me down for being non social, introvert, making a long list of everything I did and do wrong, put down my kids etc. I just was supposed to go along with whatever he wanted and to look good when I did. I was there to make him look good and to fill a void that he had inside. I intercepted an email he sent to one of his many, many ex gf’s stating he had married the wrong person. Once I confronted him, of course he denied it lol. Long story short, he was not able to look beyond himself, ever. After I had caught him back on, we divorced and I moved back home with my 3 children. Six months later, I received a text from him that he wasnt ready to let our relationship go. I tried my best to stay distant from him, but the texting wouldn’t stop until after months, I answered his text. We did reconcile for two and half years. He told me of how he had changed and he great future we would have together, I am his soul mate and THE ONLY ONE WHO GETS HIM!! I moved back into his house with him with one of my children. I had to get a new job, my son start a new school again etc. He made it sound like the future wa right ahead and theres nothing we cant get through together. Well, after 6 months, I went from zero debt to 8,000.00 debt. I was emotionally broken, and fighting constantly. He didn’t help me one bit while I was transitioning and said I had to figure my financial situation out on my own. All the while, he was out with his friends, bought a new sailboat, vacations, new clothes for himself, new car for his son and the list goes on. Well, it all happened again, I caught him on and out dating, so here I go again, I moved back into my house (where I came from) with my son and started my life over again. I went back to my job I previously left and moved on. Now, I did a lot of research on why a man could be hot and cold, loving, but in a second turn on me, put me down and basically act as if I never existed. How a man could love only himself and no one else. To never see beyond how wonderful he was and the nice things he did for everyone (except me!). Eight months later, the texts started again. This time, he was moving by the beach in Dana Point. My first thought was, oh lord, what do you need from me now? Well, he was fired as a Middle School Principal and felt alone (even though he lived through his match dating site) . Well, he got in touch with me. I slowly just tried to be adult like and tried to help him through his situation. I felt bad for him because I had grown stronger and more wise and he was sad and alone. He had tried to rope me back in to the same patterns that had happened 4 times before. This time, I was the more wise and well informed on a Narcissist and how they work. He could not handle the fact that I worked extremely hard to get my life back together. My kids, my job, myself, etc. I was the more stronger. He tried to reel me back in again. What he needed was someone to fill his empty pathetic heart and space. He wanted to try to make it work yet again, because he had no family, his friends were all older and he was alone. The only things he does is, use women for sex and to fill a void he has inside, hang out at the bar and of course on his new sailboat. I think when he realized I was not going to drop my whole life for him and be there right when he wanted me there and put him first, above my kids, my job, my life, etc, he said he was staying on that there isn’t a connection any longer. It took me a long time to realize what I was being out through because an individual whos mind doesn’t think the same way as a N, takes forever to try to figure it out and make sense of it all. I continue to read articles and grow stronger. I m looking forward to a long healthy relationship when the time is right.

    • KC, I went through very similar situation as you. It all blows my mind. I cant wrap my mind around the thinking process of an N. Its crazy!!

  14. I have been with a narcissist for the last 3 years. It has been the most fulfilling relationship I have ever been in until I realized I was being played. He is a successful lawyer at “travels” to NY for business a few times a year, or so I thought. I started to notice when his travel pics labeled “my morning run” were exact images I found on the internet by doing a simple search. I drove by his million dollar home only to see his television on in the front room. The lies have become more elaborate like “baby I’m going to Panama for a business deal” which so happened to be over his birthday. We travel a lot together and have the greatest time until he begins taking insulting jabs at me . Which I shyly laugh off. We also have the best sex imaginable..I don’t ever ask questions because I’m afraid to lose him but I am very devastated and beginning to hate myself. I have a very successful career myself and feel like a complete idiot for staying. “sosuckedin.

  15. thanks to you all and am very happy and sad crying at this moment too. i see my last few years of life right here. and i know i have to get out and just cant seem too.

  16. Frankly I am tired of hearing how if he fails it’ll be my fault. How I’m treated like the help..if I object or don’t go along with whatever I’m fighting fussing or being difficult…He treats his 14 yr old daughter like she’s above me as a rule… I’m tired… I know he wont change so I’m making moves to leave him. Although I wish I could just punch him in the face…

  17. WOW! my N boyfriend exhibit all symptons. 1 1/2yrs into the relationship and he’s showing signs already. He’s the president and leader of a group of people who love him and praise him like he’s a god. He hates to be criticides. He’s always praising and worshipping himself. It was not a problem with me until he started trying to control me and I resisted. I’m leaving an emotinal rollercoaster with him. he blames me for everything. The name calling, the lack of respect, sympathic for my feelings. the game playing like he’s 16yrs by calling me and hanging cell before im able to finish the conversation. the silent treatment he plays when things dont go his way. wow! he has never expressed his love for me only ” i do care for you”. I know from the beginning of our relationship the that there was a lack of personality and self steem but I couldn’t point my finger to the issue. I knkow now!

  18. As of 5 months ago I broke up with my N but he keeps coming back! Why?I have no clue! because I always tell him “leave me alone!” And I never write him except to say leave me alone! But he keeps popping up on my email account for school where he knows I must go to everyday despite me saying leave me alone I changed my phone numbers and I made it unlisted but he keeps asking for it I don’t answer I just wonder why to myself? since I’m fat,according to him I’m bald,my body is disgusting and I’m stupid and attend a “college that’s a illusion”and I’m the only one that is dumb enough to attend online university and give them money.I stupidly told him I have PTSD from a former relationship and he took on the same character and brought back memories that gave me a heart attack during surgery for a hysterectomy in May 2016.instead of him saying poor baby to me he said “why stop yourself from having my baby my baby won’t hurt you it’ll heal u? My medical situation was very painful I found out I had a lot of fibroid tumors in my uterus and it was causing me to hemmorhage and to the point I needed a regular blood transfusion.The surgery was necessary I had to quit a wonderful job because of the pain and he was mad because I told him to pay me back for two years of tagging along with me and my daughter I let him know ahead of time that I was not taking care of him but he seems to think I was and so I kicked him out of my home for not paying me back. I don’t get it 2yrs straight of saying this money is not a gift and you need to pay me back soon! only to hear….”how do I owe you when I stayed home a cooked and cleaned?” How is it I say you need to give it back I can’t take care of you and he agreed can get misunderstood???and by someone who is so wonderfully educated at NYU and was a double major in areas of chemical engineering and psychology? And also a 2ND LT in the US Army who was shot in the ankle and received a purple heart for a gun shot wound that never received surgery and was so strong he basically walked the pain off to lead his troops out of Afghanistan.I’m sorry people but I’m so angry I don’t want this man to contact me no more but it’s not getting through!I’m 36 with heart disease and I’m tired and just want to be left alone! I cry because I’m so mad, why would any self respecting mother prefer their bum roommate/bf over their own child ? he doesn’t like my 12yr old he hates my other family members and friends he constantly lies and he put me in serious debt believing he would finally get a job and contribute as my roommate.out of all the symptoms of a N he fits the character of all traits .

  19. I have been seeing a guy at my job for the past two months and I can already tell that he’s a Narc. This is not my first time experiencing one so I can sniff them out quick. After noticing those signs for the first few weeks, I have decided to let him go. Mind you he hasn’t officially agreed to letting me go even though I have him. So I know that at some point he’s going to come and try to win me back. I just don’t know when to expect that because he hasn’t been speaking to me for about a week. I blew up at him which caused him to stop speaking to me but I made no apologies for what I said. Everything started off great as everyone else said…He is an amazing charmer, knew exactly what to say to make me fall in love with him, acted like he really knew how to treat a lady…but the thing that stood out to me is that we only ever went on one official date and that was when we first hung out. After that we hung out in his car and twice at his place. He’s also a workaholic and is always busy, he says, but I wasn’t fooled one bit. I am not a nagger and I don’t believe in nagging a man for anything. If he loves you then he would do what he’s supposed to. He would tell me that he’s coming to spend time with me and then almost always blow me off and then when I ask him where he is, he says that he’s at his brother’s house, hanging out with one of the boys or out with one of his five kids (by five different mothers) etc. The last straw was last weekend when I invited him out for drinks to meet one of my girlfriends that I’ve told about him and vice versa, but when I called him to see where he was…he said he was at his brother’s place without an explanation for blowing me off.

    That sealed the deal for me. I have broken it off with him and he has been hiding like the coward he is for the past few days. He’s going to resurface, they always do but I will be waiting for his shallow return to ignore his ass or maybe give him a dose of his own medicine. That’s the only thing that gets under their skin. Narcs are assclowns.

  20. i was loved bombed by an N–he loved me so so much, never met a woman he loved and cared for so much and that i really got him and didnt mind him spending time with his friends. he wanted us to move in together, i was the only woman for him, we would travel here and there together and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. we would go to dances and he would request all the songs we loved and dedicate the song—i’ve been searching– by chicago, to me as his special song and sing it to me as we danced while staring lovingly into my eyes. the reality is that we never traveled, everything he promised was never to happen, he had me look at and convinced me to believe in a future together that was never to be. he rarely honored his promised commitments. he gave me weeks of silent treatment because i addressed behavior of his that was inappropriate and unacceptable. i was told to back off or he would disappear from my life. this was after he had me hooked on loving him. long story short, i caught him in a blatant lie–pixs on facebook and all— he even told me who took the pixs so i would know where to go and find them–they were on his friend’s facebook. then he accused me of googleing him and all his friends on facebook. i refused to accept his reversal of blame and that was it for him. months after we broke up he started stalking me and a protection order ensued. it has now expired and he is back to stalking but loosing steam and doing it less. in his mind, i had to pay for going to no contact and getting a protection order. i knew this man as a close male friend–no benefits– for 8 yrs before we decided to become an intimate couple. we were a couple for 10 months and i never expected this outcome and he blindsided me.

  21. Am presently living with one, my strength is falling just confused not knowing what to do. ……. I always regret marrying him just stocked

  22. This all rings true to me. I’ve lived it for 3 years. PLEASE can anyone give any help/advice on how to get over this marriage. we split up last October and I seem to be getting more depressed everyday. The first couple of months after the split I was fine almost euphoric but lately I feel I can’t even trust me friends & family. I have pushed everyone away. I am very bitter as I let him spend my inheritance of £20,000. I feel suicidal a lot of the time, many thanks, Jo

  23. I want out how do I get and stay the heck away from him? I ALWAYS end up going back to him. He has no conscience he’s having an affair with who I thought to be a friend I’m so hurt he says it’s my own fault I hurt he does no wrong ever!! I JUST WANT OUT!!!!

  24. I have been in an on /off relationship for 12 years and only recently learned that I am dating a narcissist.
    I didn’t know the signs nor the traits ( I didn’t even know of the disorder) and due to my very low self-esteem and loneliness (probably a side-effect of this relationship & upbringing), I have co-existed in this toxic nothingness – often blaming myself and making up excuses- for him.
    As mentioned – narcissism must be a broad, varying spectrum.
    My ‘boyfriend’ :-
    Never shows me compassion, empathy, love or affection. He knows that this hurts me deeply but I feel that this gives him a sense of superiority and satisfaction. Even when I tell him that this truly hurts me – he doesn’t care. He hasn’t got the capacity to feel any empathy towards me. He really doesn’t care.
    Sometimes, I have backed away – then he will show me a slither of affection ( a kiss on a text for eg)
    and because I am so starved of his affection .. this means the world to me and I see this normal, EVERYDAY GESTURE as a MASSIVE symbol of his love ! I succumb … again.
    It’s pitiful.
    If ever I dare say how I feel .. he never acknowledges my pain, he never ever apologises for his
    behaviour towards me and he is NEVER wrong.
    Worst still, when I try to explain/ talk/ improve our ‘relationship’ – I am labelled argumentative, nasty, volatile and crazy etc. If I do something ‘wrong’ he will punish me by
    distancing himself and reducing contact even more. I am the one to get in touch with him again because I can’t bear the heartache.
    There is absolutely NO COMPASSION.
    There was one time only ( apart from the first months of dating) where he actually made me truly believe that he loved me.
    On one of our breaks, I met a lovely man who showed me that he cared, gave me affection – was kind, normal and sincere. My ‘boyfriend’ found out and pursued me relentlessly with flowers, love letters, promises of a new start, lots of love and affection. He cried oceans of tears and begged forgiveness.
    After several months of a non-stop barrage of love and remorse. I agreed to give our relationship another try. For a year (until my ‘BF’ felt that the other man was no longer a threat) he stuck to his word – and treated me with 100% love and kindness. I truly thought he had changed. However – as soon as there was no threat and my BF felt comfortable again – he returned to his old self. Worst still… I am now blamed for having an ‘affair’ and we can no longer refer to that period – let alone discuss the promises he made to me.
    I am ashamed of myself for not having the strength to walk away.
    My turning point was a few months ago, when believing that I was at fault, I sought help from a relationship counsellor. She reassured me that he was the one with issues and told me that I needed help with my self-esteem. For the first time – I felt verified.
    I am now reading lots about narcissism. I am trying to build my self-esteem and make changes in my life to help reduce my loneliness and improve my network. He is still in my life but slowly, I am trying to break free.
    Unfortunately, even though he doesn’t love me, he won’t break away from me because I am a convenient relationship for him. He doesn’t have to try – nor does he have to care.
    One day, I know I will be strong enough to go ….

  25. OMG KATE,

    I feel you Kate, been with my Boyfriend of 13 yrs and 2 beautiful children is a total CIRCUS SHOW… Only blessing is our children that we share together, but other than then he is a total JERK OFF. self-centered personalities and I mean all 2000 of them… lol Hang in there and pray and you will make it thru.

    Peace and blessings!!

  26. I have been studying narcissism as a way to identify his behaviour as it’s been a rollercoaster for over 5 years. I never even knew what this was until i was told by an intuitive healer to google narcissism and that i was in a relationship with a narcisst.

    Some things ring true some things don’t. He showers me with love and affection and i feel so special, then i may say something or who knows what and he goes cold and distant, leaving home early coming home late, not talking and then blaming me. many times i question if there is someone else but i just get told i’m imagining it or i’m insecure. he definitely goes through the 3 cycles of being with an N, this is something i totally identified with (this is my life) but he doesn’t appear to get jealous of other men etc.

    The trouble is not many other people see it as they usually only see the good things in him, like when my family is over so he washes my car to show what he does for me. this will get thrown back at me later about how much i owe him because of how much he does for me.

    the good cycle only lasts 3 to 4 weeks then the bad cycle can last a week. we never have a complete month of happiness.

    he is a compulsive liar and it can be over anything so then it forms a lack of trust but then i get accused of not trusting him.

    he constantly says he doesn’t know what he brings to the relationship and doesnt know I’m with him like he is constantly after the self pity.

    He totally lacks empathy and can be quite male chauvenistic towards me. He never says sorry for his behaviour no matter how much it has hurt me. Like he hasn’t done anything wrong.

    I’ve been made to feel this is totally my fault however i’m starting to see there is nothing wrong me it is him… something is definitely wrong just never been able to put my finger on it.

    i also found that every event has been damaged by his moods, family birthdays, xmas, new years but not his family events.

    i am going to leave as it is so draining it’s beyond a joke and i have found that my feelings have changed i’m not in love with him anymore and if i ask myself do i want to spend the rest of my lift with him the answer is a definite NO !!!.

  27. If I had known about the type of person he really was, I would of ran away yet alone walk !!!!!! When I did eventually managed to see things were never going to be better I was well & truly sucked in to his lies.
    Life is one big merry go round and mostly not a happy fun fair ..

    Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get over all that he put me through but he lost in the end and that I can feel some relief from …He has another victim now and Iknow at at some point she will get the same treatment as we have …..

    If you can get away from these people do ……unless you can live with a robot who can never love because that’s what there are underneath….All about them !!!!

  28. My story has a similar ending. Or should I say beginning to the ending. I eventually left after I was abused. However Narc abuser destroyed not just me but my children.
    When we first met we were friends then became best friends. I was in a relationship when meeting him. Through deceptive meddelung he was a major factor in the disintegration of my relationship. He became my white knight and our meeting was fate. We were destined to be together and I fully believed it. His wounded heart had found its soul mate, and I made him feel whole. We quickly married and things quickly changed. The idealized pedal stool he placed me on crashed quite painfully. I’d alienated my family and friends and was alone with only him. Then came the gaslighting, turning my insecurities against me, crushing my self esteem. I thought the worst was the physical abuse that shortly followed, but I was wrong.
    I worked he stayed home and took care of my children from my first marriage. Outwardly he appeared perfect. However I lived a silent hell. I thought I shielded my kids from the physical abuse that was filed out on me. Finally I make him leave. We separated and then I found out I was pregnant and reconciled. Shortly after the baby’s birth he started abusing drugs. I recognized the cycle of physical abuse. I’d had to get a restraining order previously and dropped it because he promised counseling, which never happened. Again the cycle of abuse started. I got scared and left before he beat me again. While letting him visit the baby he beat me up and I stuck to the RO this time. I got custody of the. Any he got limited visitation. His mother made a false report to child services. That’s when I found out the depths of the depravity he was capable of.
    Child services needed to see my older children to ensure they’ weren’t being neglected. Most questions centered on my treatment of them because the report was against me. However the CPS worker started askin my children about their step father. My daughter finally feeling safe told her account of the sexual abuse she’d endured by this monster. He’d instilled the utmost fear in her saying I’d be murdered and she’d be kidnapped and tortured if she ever told. Because I worked and he stayed home I didn’t know and no one ever suspected.
    Without a confession or other evidence they couldn arrest. I convinced the Narc that I knew and still wanted to reconcile but he had to explain to me what happened so we could move on. He confessed what he did to me. And I was recording audio the whole time. I turned it over to the police and told them I’d bring him in the next day for questioning. I did, saying I’d stand by his side no matter what. And he confessed to what he did. He thought I’d help him. He thought I was so beguiled by his charms I was going to stand by him after he admittedly betrayed my daughter’s innocence. He was wrong and is facing 90-170 years at his trial which should be starting by mid year. He’s been in jail for 6 months already awaiting his trial. He’s been belittled and abused because of his charges where he is the inmates consider him the lowest of the low.

  29. Wow absolutely loved this read! I’ve recently gone through a break up with a narcissist. He actually broke it off with me after 3 years. I think I’m actually grateful though. Reading all these stories, that could have been me stuck in it with him and I wouldn’t be able to get out. I’m 22 and he was my first boyfriend. He was a mummy’s boy too which says it all. She could never do any wrong. She abused me and my family on multiple occasions and he’d stick up for her. She was also a narcissist. She was a horrible woman and he would never see my side of the story when I’d tell him what she did. He would never stick up for me. He broke up with me because he said it was too stressful between me and his mum and it would never work in the future. He also put the blame on me and never took responsibility for his own actions. I was in an emotional abusive relationship with him yet he never saw what he was doing wrong, it was always me. He told me that I never listened, it was one sided, that texting me felt like a chore to him and that I always got upset when he tried to talk to me. These were the reasons for breaking up with me. He never said he did anything wrong. Total dickhead. He would always yell at me and get angry if ever I tried to speak up and tell him my concerns or worries about how I felt, he wouldn’t take it and would just turn it around on me and then block me out acting like I did something extremely bad. He did me a favour I think because I would have never gotten out of it. I was always the one planning our future and wanting to travel and move out etc. he never would suggest anything or if he did then I’d have to prompt him. No one else saw this side of him except me and no one believes me except my family and friends. He’s a totally different person when around friends or family to when he’s with me. He treated me like crap and never admitted so. Thank god im out of it


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