Living with a Narcissist

It’s Narcissist Friday!

How do you live with a narcissist?  I suppose the flippant answer would be, “With difficulty!”

Narcissists are hard to live with.  The more a person exhibits narcissistic characteristics, the more difficult he or she will be to live with.  Now, notice that this is “to live with.”  He may do just fine at work or she may be well accepted and enjoyed in the women’s group.  Those who don’t really know the narcissists usually find them to be stimulating and intelligent and superior people.  Those who live with them (or work closely with them over a long period of time) see the negative qualities much more clearly. 

 So what do you do if you are stuck with one of these people?  Once again, not everyone who exhibits narcissist tendencies is a narcissist.  On the other hand, your options are probably the same.  You can leave them or stay with them.  If you are married, you will probably try very hard to stay.  If you are in a club with them, you may want to leave.  It may depend on your level of commitment to the relationship.  But here are a few rules for your health.

Forget trying to fix the person.  Narcissism is developed at very early and usually very traumatic stages of life.  These people have learned that life only works by manipulation.  They usually do not understand the basic concepts of love and cooperation, although they are able to simulate either to get what they need.  Most of the literature offers little hope for easy fixes.  In fact, it just isn’t something you will be able to do.

Protect yourself.  The best way to manipulate another person is through his or her emotions.  Narcissists are often expert at manipulating your emotions.  If guilt works, they will use it.  If fear works, they will use it.  If love works, they will use that.  In fact, they will probably be able to find just the right combination of these emotions to trap you into doing what they want.  So you will have to accept reality, know the truth, set clear boundaries, and be willing to fight.

Let’s look at each of these.  First, you have to accept the reality of your relationship.  The narcissist does not see you in the same way you see him.  He may not even understand what it means to love you or treat you as a person.  Very often the realization of this is painful.  One author says that the most common response to this fact is rage.  It feels like long-term betrayal, deceit, and abuse.  To be fair, the narcissist doesn’t see this as deceptive at all.  He simply lacks the capacity to care about you.  Accepting that reality takes away the burden of trying to find real love or compassion from this person.  You may be able to have a relationship based on something else, a functional life that really does work for both of you. 

Second, know the truth.  So much could be said here.  If you know the truth about your narcissist, you might be able to deal with her oddities.  You might begin to understand that she doesn’t really have anything to give you and you can lower your expectations.  If you know the truth about yourself, you won’t be so open to being manipulated.  Particularly for those who understand the Christian concept of grace and God’s acceptance, there will be less opportunity for guilt and shame based manipulation.  Knowing the truth about what works and what doesn’t in your relationship can protect you from being hurt or used.

Third, understand that the narcissist is broken but don’t let yourself be manipulated by your compassion.  He is not like you.  He does not think the way you do.  You will be tempted to try to interpret her actions and attitudes by your experience and perspective. Don’t.  Something has happened to this person and his or her way of coping was different from yours.  So don’t expect what you would consider normal.  Be kind, but don’t trust.  Be helpful, but don’t invest.  Be careful always.

Fourth, set and maintain your boundaries.  The narcissist does not understand your boundaries.  If she sees them at all, which she may not, she will see them only as obstacles to be overcome.  The narcissist has no hesitation to call you at 10:30 PM and expect to talk for a couple of hours.  You will have to stop him.  Either use your caller id or tell him not to call at that time.  Cut the conversation where you want it to stop.  Tell her you won’t serve on her committee or that you won’t be responsible to pick up her slack.  Then do it.

Finally, be prepared to fight.  Just like a little child, the narcissist does not like being told, “no.”  He will continue to call you late.  If you relax, he will assume that you have given in.  If you agree, in a moment of weakness, to one of her demands, she will believe that you are back under control.  You will have to keep up. 

All of this sounds like work because it is.  But all relationships are work to some extent.  If you choose to stay with a narcissist, or if you don’t have any real choice, these are the kinds of things that will help.  You may find some help from some of the books that are coming out.  Again, Nina Brown’s books are particularly helpful. 



Filed under Narcissism, Relationship

67 responses to “Living with a Narcissist

  1. Kay

    Dave: Thank you for making me aware. This is the beginning of some understanding and hope. I see prisoners incarcerated, proving to society and themselves they have bigger problems than ‘the other person’. Even then, they still blame others for their sin, which is where I see narcissism. The warning ‘don’t try to fix’ is valid. The Potter is THE only hope they have.

  2. Mary

    Thank you for insight in handling narcissism. It hasn’t been until recently that God has revealed to me that my husband suffers from this. Years and years of turmoil and shame that God has worked through to make me stronger and I am thankful for that. At this point, my disappointment is that I no longer know how to pray for him. He claims he is a christian but I just cannot believe he accepted God if he is so unloving and unforgiving of others – no matter the circumstances. My hope is in God and that is what gets me through each day. The devil is at hand. There are days I pray that God would just relieve us all of his anguish and that does not sound very Christian-like but to watch someone suffer day in and day out and to keep you trapped is horrifying. He stifles my communication with others which stifles my sharing my testimony to others. It is a sad and lonely place for us all. I pray for my children to be protected by the blood of Christ that this will not be carried on through them. Praise God!

    • Rob

      I can relate. Unfortunately it took me many years to figure this all out about my husband. He is exactly as you describe, so reading your letter helped me feel better. I will search for articles on this subject even though I have stacks of them saved, in search of more hope. If we don’t help one another we feel hopeless and then the evil one wins a battle in our relationships to narcissict spouses. My situation also has hordispending issues and addictive behaviors all rolled into one person. Now he wants me to leave and be gone. I have been loving, patient, but truthful. It has gotten me no where. However God has grown me too, and I am so much healthier because of what I have had to go through, and going through with my spouse. He has many occassions to seek professional help and has refused believing he is okay, but I am the problem.

    • prov31woman

      Wow, I could have been reading my own response. I too have just come to the realization that I am married to such a man. The hurt, anger, and hopelessness that I have felt for so many years has almost been unbearable. But coming to this conclusion has almost been freeing. I realize now that it’s not all my fault, that I’m not a “bad” wife. He is broken and only God can heal him. I am still trying to figure out where God would have me go from here, but in the meantime, I’m going to continue to lean on His word and His promises.

      • Susan

        I have realized I can no longer stay in an empty marriage. I am only a care taker, nothing more, nothing less. I feel totally used up. It’s really a matter of moving on and being a survivor of a very sad and lonely life. I stayed in this marriage hoping, for him to change, it never has and it never will. It’s time for me to take care of myself, and with Gods help I will be happy again. I have always been kind, generous, and did all things from my heart, keeping love in my heart. It was never appreciated. I was ridiculed, and nothing I did was was ever good enough. I do have my plan to leave and I know My Lord will be with me every step of the way because he wants me to be happy and I want to be the beautiful women HE wants me to be. Jesus will always be at your side, you can count on HIM…

    • Cecilia K

      My ex-boyfriend also stifled my communication. In fact, the cause of our first break-up was that I shared with the pastor’s wife that I thought he could be controlling. His main beef was not so much that I told her, but that I told her AT church, in the sanctuary. I did agree with him that I should have kept it more private (I did whisper it and hoped that no one heard, as most of those nearby were probably age 80 or above, but I still felt bad); the Lord had already convicted me of that before he said anything, and I apologized, but that was not good enough for him. He still ended it anyway. He accused me of wanting to turn everyone against him. There was some relief in his ending it, of course, but I just hated the WAY it ended – all messy.

      I hadn’t gone to church that day with the intention of saying anything, but I was really hurting, because we had just had a fight the night before (I shared with him for the first time that I thought he could be controlling, and he didn’t take it well), and when the pastor’s wife asked how I was doing, I felt the need to share my pain, and I said too much. What hurt even more, though, was the fact that “Eric” saw me crying as I was talking to this lady, and instead of feeling compassion because I was hurting, he was only concerned about his own reputation. Of course, on the flip side, instead of being concerned about his reputation, I was only concerned about my own pain, so I guess we were both acting selfishly.

      But it makes more sense now, though…now that I know that narcissistic people lack empathy and don’t care about other people’s feelings, and that they are only concerned about their image. That describes this man so well, as it does so many others, unfortunately.

  3. Anonymous

    Thank you for insight in handling narcissism. It hasn’t been until recently that God has revealed to me that my husband suffers from this. Years and years of turmoil and shame that God has worked through to make me stronger and I am thankful for that. At this point, my disappointment is that I no longer know how to pray for him. He claims he is a christian but I just cannot believe he accepted God if he is so unloving and unforgiving of others – no matter the circumstances. My hope is in God and that is what gets me through each day. The devil is at hand. There are days I pray that God would just relieve us all of his anguish and that does not sound very Christian-like but to watch someone suffer day in and day out and to keep you trapped is horrifying. He stifles my communication with others which stifles my sharing my testimony to others. It is a sad and lonely place for us all. I pray for my children to be protected by the blood of Christ that this will not be carried on through them. Praise God!

    • Thanks for your note. I have answered directly because your name will go on the comment and I wanted to be sure that you were willing for it to be out there for others to see. If you would like, I can try to post it anonymously for you.

      I have found that there are many Christians who have been dealing with this for a long time with almost no one to talk with about it. Few people understand. Most of those who do understand come from a perspective outside of our faith and will simply tell you to divorce your narcissist spouse and move on. As tempting as that is, many Christians will not do it and choose to suffer through. If I can be of some help, I am grateful to be used in that way.

      God understands the pain you suffer. He does not judge you for your feelings and frustrations. What could be more natural than to want a way out of such pain? You are a rare person to be able to say that you have been made stronger through this. Many are broken and defeated. I believe that God can use even this to mold us and make us into the person He wants to use.

      Is your husband a believer? I get that question a lot and I have tried to address it, but the truth is that no one but the Lord knows. Believers can continue in so many sins, but we would hope that forgiveness and love would shine through at least occasionally. Trust that the Lord is dealing with your husband. The walk the two of them share affects you and your children, but you really can’t influence it. Just trust that the Lord is working with him. I believe it is right to pray for brokenness in the life of any narcissist. Only when he actually sees the truth about himself and the love of the Lord will he yield to Jesus. Prepare yourself for the extra struggle that will come with that. Sometimes people fall a long way before they yield.

      You are so right to be praying for your children. Children of narcissists have special problems. Sometimes they live as defeated adults, giving in to others when they should not. Sometimes they become narcissistic themselves and hurt the others in their lives. I will join you in praying that any bondage will be broken and the Lord will bless each of them with freedom and joy.

      I won’t post your comment with your name unless you tell me to. If I can find a way to post it anonymously, I will do that. It seems to me that others can learn from what you have said. Either way, I will wait a couple of days in case you have any concerns. Please feel free to write to me again. I do care.

  4. such a wonderful post.
    really liked it~

  5. Cathy

    I enjoyed reading everything here. I am married to a narcissist who has been sober from alcohol for 1 year now. He is a dry drunk. I am very lonely and hurt. God has not released me from this marriage yet. I am waiting. I pray for God to bring him to the end of himself so that he will have no place to run except to God. I also ask for God to remove all his idols that he worships. It has been a long and difficult marriage. My hope is in the Lord. I know that He will meet all my needs and provide for me no matter what happens here. I am praying for deliverance an His divine intervention.

    • Cathy, you are strong. Many cannot do what you are doing. I believe that God can do anything, so your trust is certainly not misplaced. God loves you and He is with you. Thanks for sharing. I am praying for you.

    • Rob

      As I read your reply, I weep. My husband grudingly provides for me in part, as I have to pay for my own health insurance, doctors, personal needs and the like. He has gotten real mean, and even begrudges paying for groceries in our home. Now he has demanded that he will no longer allow me to stay in his home as he calls it. I have refused to leave, although he has tried so many tactics to discourage me, hurt me, and tells me he does not love me in hopes I would leave. This is so sad. I don’t think life is suppose to be like this with your husband. This is evil. He does not love God anymore and his so angry at him, and is so bitter it is like venom pouring out of his mouth at times. Then othe times he is nice. It is scary.
      I hope you all will pray for me. He is also an ordained minister of God, which makes it even worst because he knows the bible well. God is with me and HE has assured me HE will take care of me. I trust God.

      • “Rob”, I know that many here will be praying for you. As I read your comments here and above, I wonder if your husband is suffering from some mental illness. His behavior seems so abusive and unreasonable. I do not disagree that he is narcissistic, but there may be some other cause. I hope that you have someone you can talk with, a counselor or someone who understands these things. I also think you should find ways to protect yourself in case you do have to leave quickly or face some physical abuse. Do you have a place to go and the means to go? If he refuses counseling, you should get some for yourself.

        Also, if he does something, don’t cover for him. God may allow circumstances that will force him to get some help. Be very careful for yourself, but don’t get in the way of what God does.

        I do believe you and I care. I will be praying for you. You are welcome to contact me directly to discuss this further. Please stay in contact.

      • Donna

        You story sounds so similar to mine. His house, his money. I know things really started to go down hill when I started valuing myself again and finding strength in the Holy Spirit. My husband could not handle that I was growing strong in my faith and that my self-esteem was returning. My husband will not attend church. He recently start verbally abusing my in efforts to get me to leave “his” house. I have no idea what tomorrow will bring but my faith grows daily and I know He is preparing me and my children for something greater. Through our suffering we become more Christ-like and that thought helps to carry me through. You will be in my prayers!

      • Faith60s

        Rob, its like I’m reading what i am going through now. We actually sat down and talked rules (all of his rules of course thats what Ns do) Been with mine for 20 years. tries to course fights…I’m knowledged up now on NPD. I also trust in God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus and believe in miracles. Blessings to you on your journey with a NPD spouse, yes, it is hard to shut my mouth, but I know now….its NPD. So negative in deed. Moaning, criticising (omg – criticism…sheeeesk) etc.

    • Chez

      My husband is a dry drunk also…a very painful, isolating experience. He is a believer who loves the Lord, and certain members of our church are praying. God has promised we will see his deliverance. 15 years of prayer and waiting on God. Thank you Jesus, you never forsake us.

  6. shannon

    all this is so familiar. i dated a narcissist for 6 yrs. he had total control of my life the whole time. it was my fault for allowing it to happen. it happened in baby steps.i was divorced with two children. in debt, no money, on food stamps, i was a mess. and coming from an abusive childhood and no parents to turn to, i was alone. he knew i was a christian. i sang in my band at church. i felt like he was my my knight and shining armor the first year. we would walk everyday tgthr, exercising, but he would talk on those walks about his dreams, our dreams as a couple. that he had been so abused in his first marriage, and finally he wanted to be the man God called him to be. that he could even see himself pastoring a church. and how we together could reach other people. i felt so sorry for him for so long for how he was hurt in his first marriage. i would’ve done anything for him to make that up for him. but then reality came. too much to mention. years of being used and hurt. used and hurt. cant say it enough. rages that would come from nowhere. i am not a fighter, so it would catch me off-guard everytime and totally ruin me for days. i turned to alcohol to numb myself from his mouth everyday. i ended up working for him, lived in a home he owned,(separate from the home he and his children lived in), he had control of my bank acct, he actually kept my debit card and i would have to come to him for mny, i never got a paycheck, lived off my tip money, the list goes on and on. i was always afraid to stand up for myself, because his temper was so HOT and i was afraid to be kicked out of the house, lose my job, therefore not be able to keep my children with me due to those issues. i lived with him lying to me constantly, talking about our problems behind my back and at our workplace and everywhere else, with his exwife, children, etc. he created a life for me that i had no peace anywhere. i finally just couldnt go one more day. i cried out to God to just take it all from me. told the Lord that i would be obedient again if He would just take it and lead me. i gave all my furniture away, packed the little things in storage, got my children settled with their dad temporarily, and i moved out of state to live with people who loved me, go back to school, to be able to come back and take care of my children alone. narcissists are so clever and good. after months of being away, i started reading emails from him, got suckered back, he promised me the world, promised me he would make things right with my kids, his kids, he would be the spiritual leader of our home finally, and so much more. i gave everything up again to believe him. came back, my son disowned me for it and i dont blame him. poor sweet boy. he left for college last week and i couldnt be a part of that. kills me. my son saw how i was hurt all that time, i finally broke free, bettering myself, and i allowed him to manipulate me once again. so, now i’m married, he hasnt changed, i’ve lost my son, i’m in a place where i’m really not loved, i’m miserable. i find a church that asked me to be a worship leader. i love to sing for the Lord. i was doing that, and so happy. i even cleaned the church every now and then because there was a need for help and i stepped up to the plate. it made me happy. he keeps me from doing that now. and keeps me from taking people food, and visiting people in the hospital, and developing relationships at church. this crushes me. i resent him. i’m angry and bitter. i’ve had to step down from singing. i want out of this marriage. and my 13 yr old daughter that is with me half the time, wants out of here also.
    what should i do?

    • Oh, Shannon, I am so sad to read your story! Yet, this is a familiar story about narcissistic relationships. You were vulnerable, taught to be kind and gracious, and trusting. A perfect mark. Please don’t beat yourself up for being taken in, even for the second time. As I have said many times, this is the narcissist’s super-power. They are amazing at how they are able to manipulate emotions and sound so sincere as they lie.

      What do you do? I make it a point never to tell someone to divorce because that’s a decision you have to be able to make in your own heart. If you separate from him, you have to be prepared for his anger and evil actions. Once again, if you go, you will have to go far away to some protection. Narcissists aren’t often violent, but when the rage comes over them you really don’t know what they will do. Please be careful.

      Yes, you need to get out. For your health, for your daughter’s health. Whether you divorce or not is up to you, but as long as you are connected to him there will be trouble. There is a life for you apart from him.

      Please keep me posted because I will be praying for you. I know others here will pray as well and they will probably chime in with encouragement and advice.

  7. Karyn Held

    Leaving him would be best.

  8. Angela

    oh Shannon, sweet girl, I so understand your feelings of being so trapped. I know what you are going through so well. You can do this. So can I. You can get free (again), and so can I (again). A little wiser, a lot stronger, more joy that we stayed strong and climbed out of that pit again, and by the grace of God, never to have to endure this again. I will be praying for you too, like so many others. I will also be praying for your son. I missed my sons wedding for this same reason, and neither he nor his wife have forgiven me..but one day I believe we will have a testimony of strength and faith and endurance. I cannot believe that God will waste your kind, loving and generous heart, no, I refuse to even think that way! You might not be a fighter in the worldly sense, but you are a warrior in the spiritual sense, proof is that you did it once, you can do it again. More proof- you wrote to this blessed site! You are not a quitter!!! God bless you!

  9. Alexis

    I didn’t want to put a “label” on my dad as a “narcissist” until the past year or so when my parents moved to live with me in a tiny apartment. My mom had always told me about my dad being selfish and not having any care toward the family, I always thought she was exaggerating and didn’t appreciate her badmouthing my dad to me. Granted, I left home at a young age to study abroad, I didn’t really know my dad very well (I’m closer to my mom) I was pretty much on my own through my high school years and on (i’m an adult of late 20s). I did not grow up in a Christian family, my parents are not Christians yet. I came to know God in college and it was a long journey to forgive my dad being emotionally absent in my upbringing and having to witness the abusive relationship between my parents. I thank God for His love that is active and moving to draw me out in my wounds and shame and becoming more of a person He has made me to be. I’m praying for God to touch my mom and heal her from the hopelessness and the trapped feeling of being married with a narcissist. But it’s a challenge for me to pray for my dad, and to live with him…
    Last year, my parents decided to come to US to stay with me (we are from Asia). After living with them for a while, I realize that what my mom said about my dad was not crazy talk. He is very selfish, I don’t understand why he would even have a family if he had no interest in investing his time and energy in it. When he sent me out to the US for school, he did not support my financially, but placed me with his relatives in the US. He lied to my mom that he was paying for my expenses as a way to get out of being responsibilities of the expenses at home. I lived through turmoils with my relatives here in the US in my high school years – I was so naive, I wondered why my relatives treated me so poorly. He had an affair about 3-4 years ago, my mom was very heartbroken, as she poured her life into this family. Although my dad admitted he had done this to the family, but his actions never showed that he’s sorry about this horrible act, let alone turning away from it. In fact, he continues to have affairs (not the physical kind) via internet, looking for desperate women to chat and commit emotional affair every other day. He is super sensitive, he reacts to suggestions or comments as if they are horrible offenses toward him; I know he is so wounded that he has to put up a defense to anyone who comes close, even those who want to help him; he would shout and scold at the very simple and trivial things. (I think one of our neighbors moved away because of the noise of the frequent quarrels between my parents). He often makes threats to hurt my mom or curse her to be run over by a bus or die of cancer; if he’s not doing that, his gazes and nonverbal body language shout hatred (no, there’s not even an abuser’s cycle, no nice things from him to my mom). There’s a period of time I was so concerned of his threats, I would make emergency escape plans with my mom; and I would be scared to find out what my mom looks like when I come home from work. He does not bare any responsibility of the family (I am the provider for the family now), yet expects to be treated like he is the king. I know that respecting yours parents is not because they have earned or deserved to be respected, it is the command of God; but I certainly do not appreciate his attitude. He is not forth front with anyone in his decision makings, it’s like he is hiding behind someone’s shadow, and not be proactive or straight forward because he does not want to be the one who pays for dinner, etc (anything he’d have to sacrifice, he’d hide in the shadow)… There is no fun living with him; all day long, my mom would be walking on eggshells but still trigger a bomb. Even my dad would say that if no one triggers him, he would not be bombing people; even he knows he’s like a can filled with filth, but he thinks if no one opens the can then everything would be alright. I tried to speak to him the truth about his situation, it does not work because he wears his weapon daily to hurt others before the possibility of him being hurt, no matter if I’ve done it lovingly truthfully, or cut & dry truthfully – he would treat it as a offense to his walls – just like a seriously wounded bird laying on the middle of the road in high traffic and refuse the help from the passerby to move him to the side of the road, a safe place, because it hurts so badly to be moved.
    In this past year, I have come a long way to understand that forgiveness has to do with the past, so I can (by God’s strength) forgive my dad for the things he’s done to the family and to me in the past. But to whatever lays ahead of me, I must fight to protect from being hurt again, even if it means walking away or distancing myself from the relationship. So I have come to accept the reality of how he is, know the truth about who I am in God and sit in His protection, know that my dad is broken and is in deep need of God’s love, I have set boundaries with him, but I have a hard time keeping it and fighting for it…
    Although I would love to just live with my mom (and without my dad), it’d be inappropriate to make a decision for their relationship – they will have to make a decision about their own relationship. So I have given my “ultimatum” to my parents, that if they continue to be in this pattern of quarreling & abuse, I would have to live on my own. Low and behold, there’s no change. But in my culture and this situation, if I were to ask my parents to leave my apartment, it’d consider very dishonoring and disrespectful, it would almost mean disowning the relationship forever. My mom is supportive of me to do this, but my dad would consider it disowning the relationship. (he may have played the culture/emotional card with me…) That is why I have been very reluctant to carry out the consequence of my ultimatum. But he’s got no plan to leave. I am now trapped to provide housing for him (in my apartment) indefinitely, and live daily in such tension with no joy and freedom in such living situation. Whenever he goes outside of the house, my mom and I would be relaxed and just talk about anything together but when he is back, we would be so tensed and no one speaks, because he would dart his bitter comments about anything we say, or would be so self-pitied that we weren’t talking with him (but he doesn’t realize how difficult it is to talk with him)… Anyway I really don’t know what else to do; I know I need to uphold my ultimatum one way or the other, and he may never be talking with me again, and badmouth me to a village of people. I appreciate you reading and any comment is appreciated!

    • Alexis, I apologize for being gone when this came in and not answering until now, although I would have had to take a couple of days to digest it and give you a thoughtful answer even if I had been here. I am trying to determine whether your situation is particularly challenging due to the cultural influence or whether this is simple narcissism. Your father may actually believe that it is his right as father to have others serve him unquestioningly. Authority and honor are very impoortant in some cultures. Any challenge to his position may be seen as offensive.

      However, as you describe his lying and cheating, I have to think this goes beyond any cultural aspect. There is certainly no honor in his infidelity or his deceptions, nor in his abuse of relatives and the effect that had for you. This sounds narcissistic to me.

      To be blunt, I wonder why it would be so difficult to break a relationship that is consistently painful and shows no hope of changing. If this were anyone other than your father, you would probably do it easily. Why should he get by with his abuse and still expect your kindness and respect? I know that there is a desire to honor your parents apart from their actions, but there may be another way to do that. Are they unable to provide for themselves without your provision? There is something that makes him think he has you in his control. If you make enough money, you might be able to get an apartment for them separate from you. That way you uphold what you feel is your responsibility, but you don’t have to be directly under his control.

      If you are stuck with providing for them at your place, then you will have to find ways to create boundaries for yourself. Even something as simple as a stop at the coffee shop after work, something for which you will not account to them, can give you a sense of freedom and strength. Time with friends, time for yourself, spending some of your hard-earned money on something you want, eating some food you like – these are all ways of affirming yourself as a person and that’s important in these close relationships. Don’t let yourself be lost in all of this. It is important that you establish more and more freedom and identity.

      There is much more I would like to say, but I need to ask more questions first and I am not sure this is the best place. Please write to me privately. I am praying for you and I do care. You can reach me at dave(at)gracefortheheart(dot)org and I will answer confidentially.

      • Alexis

        Hi, thank you for your comment! I tried to send you an email with the address you wrote, but it has failed several times. Is there any other way to write to you?

  10. Angela

    My sons daughter is in her early teens, I almost totally raised her for 9 years. Her mother, mothers mother and her mother before her are all malignant NPD, and wanted my grand daughter either aborted, or given up for adoption. These women have been the cause of much heartache and pain in all our lives. They didn’t want the girl, but the thrill of the power of being able to cause terrible pain and upheaval in our lives was too much for them to resist. Recently the maternal grandfather, although long divorced from the wife passed away. He barely knew this girl, and didn’t want to. Because the girl didn’t want to travel hundreds of miles to go to the funeral, these women have ganged up on her, and have made her an emotional wreck. Actually, I guess from what I am learning about NPD- they used the excuse of her not wanting to go for an opportunity to “beat her up”.
    The miracle is this- this girl, the light of my heart, although very hurt, is unscathed. She seems to be able to make the distinction of what love is and what love is not. What she learned in her short life it has taken me over 50 years to clue into.
    My mother was also a narcissist, but very different from these women. She was wise, perfect, almost worshipped by her friends and anyone who met her. She made sure everyone felt good around her but always beneath her, and the guilt she heaped on people was the variety that made them adore her all the more for her gracious way of handling the hurt they caused by their ineptitude. She never made mistakes. She was competent in everything she did. Even in keeping the rug always in the process of being pulled out from under me. After she died, it took over 10 years for me to be able to be left alone for 5 minutes without literally falling to the floor crying in agony of the love that never was, and never will be.
    Jesus said “whoever does the will of God, that is your mother, brother and sister”…WHAT????! I had read this a hundred times in my life and finally the light came on. Jesus Himself gave me permission to come out from under emotional enslavement? my situation was also cultural, I can relate to the above post. It is very difficult to even see- let alone get over the horror- of thinking you CAN. That it’s OK to begin an emotional divorce process from these relationships.
    Love is a free gift. Love is not something we have the right to demand, or be forced to give. Love builds, it doesn’t tear down.
    I also am adding my prayers to that young womans situation above. I am hoping that she will find strength in knowing that many are praying for her, and that God does answer prayers, like a truly loving parent answers the call of their children.

  11. Rene Seymour

    Hello all,

    Even though my husband has never been evaluated by a doctor, I am convinced he is a narcissist. he decided to leave and has devalued me. the Bible has sober warnings about making a vow before God and not keeping it; you are better off if you never make a vow. It is my sincere desire to meet with him and repent in person for where I failed him as a wife. It’s what I need to do for myself inorder to bring closure. I don’t feel as though I can move forward until i have done this.

    He is also obsessive compulsive and has a child by another woman. this precious child is his new obession.

    i have tried to contact him so we can meet and he doesn’t return my calls or emails.

    any suggestions?

    • Rene, I appreciate what Angela has said. The Scripture makes it clear that if your husband leaves you, you are free. As much as I hate divorce, there are times when it may be best to let go. I do not believe that God will view you in any negative way for staying separate from this man.

      I understand your need for closure, but the skill of the narcissist is to make you think you are responsible for his failure. You didn’t fail him. He failed you and God.

      And if, in the future, he returns to you after he tires of the other woman, don’t let him back into your life. Let him go. If you must grieve, then do it apart from him. He has used you enough. If you need Scripture to support this, I can give it to you. You kept your vow. He broke his.

  12. Angela

    I do have a suggestion. Be very thankful he isn’t returning your calls. You can repent to the Lord who knows how to forgive… If this guy is a narcissist he will see your repentance as weakness to either exploit or laugh at. Don’t beat yourself up anymore. None of us are perfect. Give yourself time to grieve and grow. Sometimes these guys are like an addiction, they seem to invade our very DNA until “they” are more “us” than we are. There is much to read re hope, peace, a new YOU on this site, let this wash your heart. Take the urge to call, the hope that he will call, the things you would say- one minute at a time, like getting over an addiction. Replace it consciously with a hymn or a verse from the Bible, or a “thank you Jesus”. One day you will find you have spent a whole day happy without thinking of him and the would have/should have/could have beens.
    I don’t want to sound bitter, but if narcissists are the “tares” the Bible talks about…then there is nothing you or anyone else can do to make them become healthful “wheat”. They stay tares.
    I pray for all those reading/writing to this site. I pray all will find true freedom, true peace, true joy..and that only comes from the One who knows us, loves us, died to make us free.
    And that..THAT IS LOVE.

  13. Rene Seymour

    Thank you Angela for caring enough to write. I will still meet with him; it is my earnest desire to do so. I will keep my eyes on Jesus, regardless of the outcome. In Him we live and move and have our being.

  14. rene

    Thank you for your kindness and care.

  15. michelle

    I also am a devoted Christian and have searched the internet for the past 2 years for answers and some sort of comfort. I am thankful to have found this site. I divorced my husband after 23 years of marriage and suffered a complete breakdown. I thought I had lost my mind. I had cared for my ill mother for a few years at my own home and had moved her into a nursing facility – over the years she slowly faded away from Parkinson’s. I was the only child out of 3 that cared for her needs and devoted myself to see her every other day. Emotionally it took a huge toll. Also during this time my husband took a buyout from his job and couldn’t find another job. We filed bankruptcy, and he insisted we let the house go back to the bank without any effort. Our home of 20 years was gone. I suffered horrible verbal abuse all the years of our marriage and while my mother entered the final phase of dying I was forced to seek professional help for myself because he said I was a mess and I’d better get help! While he drank as soon as coffee pot was empty in the morning til he couldn’t stand up. When I needed his compassion and shoulder the most, he stayed drunk and in a foul mood. He continued to rage over things like locking us out of the house. Somehow… it was our fault. Our two kids suffered from his outbursts all their lives too, but I was always the main target. I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, panic attacks and had dissociated completely at one point. I came home from mom’s bed side to catch him talking sex with an old high school “friend” on the computer. Once caught He went into a rage that lasted for about 10 days and the kids and I had to leave home again. He told me I was F****ing stupid for marrying him in the first place and for being crazy enough to think that fat B**** meant anything at all. Everything was always my fault. Over the years we were together he got 4 DUI convictions and was without a license for about 10 years. I had to drive myself to the hospital to miscarry 2 of 3 lost pregnancies. I could never be devoted enough. I could never satisfy him. I walked on eggshells and tolerated such abuse! Even now after almost 2 yrs divorced he lies to me and tries to convince me that I’m crazy. Most days, I think I am. I cry every day. I feel I have failed at my life, marriage and God. He has won the sympathy of every one, including most of my own family. He was diagnosed with Borderline (high functioning) and Narcissistic. He has had many women but tries to keep me hanging on to false hopes. I am in counseling and just now learning how manipulative and abusive he really was. I was married to him so many years that I didn’t realize the true damage to myself. Finding out the grasp he gained on me has been some the most hurtful of all the truths. I have faith in God but struggle to believe that I will ever really be free or whole again. Or that maybe I never was and that’s how I came to tolerate the abuse in the first place. If prayer and love and tears could heal someone, my ex husband would be here with us right now. You can NOT stop a run away train. All you can do is get out of it’s way. I once described the grief this way, I felt like a trapped animal. I had a choice of which pain to suffer. Chew off my leg to be free and live maimed or stay trapped. I chose to get out. But I am maimed. I still think of him and have to fight his “charm”. He lives and works out of state and just “pops in” to surprise the kids when ever he feels like it. Since so many blame me for being so hard on HIM I feel wounded and shunned. But, I believe God is with me and died for me to live a life of peace and joy. I am in pursuit of finding it. Also, our 17 yr old son is really a daddy’s boy and I feel if I try to give him insight into the chaos that was our marriage, he feels I am demonizing his dad. The hurt continues.

    • Michelle,

      I am so sorry that you have had to go through so much pain. All I can say is that I believe you and I know Jesus loves you. What you have suffered is too much for you to handle, but there is hope in the Lord. I never say that lightly. You will get through this. Please continue counseling and writing your thoughts and talking to friends and family who love you. Find the way back to health. Narcissists can be experts at convincing their victims that the victims are crazy or wicked or sick. It’s a lie. Tell yourself over and over that he is the one who is sick. He is the one with the problem. He has hurt so many people and will continue, but you can walk away. I know that you have to continue some contact with him because of your son, but make it as little as possible and don’t invest anything of yourself in him again. Don’t listen to his lies or believe his words. Plan the contact when you are strong enough to handle it. Don’t answer his calls unless you want to.

      Boundaries are part of the path to health. Remembering who you are apart from him is another part of that path. A good counselor can help you with both. Also, know that you are lovable and loved, valuable and valued. He may have tried to knock you all the way down, but he didn’t win.

      I apologize for taking so long to respond to your comment. Please know that I am praying for you. You are welcome to write to me here or privately through the contact link anytime.

      • Michelle Smith-Gersky

        Thank you so much for the words of encouragement. I need them. I am praying every minute of the day. I struggle and wonder why? I am a Christian and believe in the power of Christ, so then how do I find it so hard to recover? My daughter is suffering. She has so many issues from the years of living in that sickness. She now has decided that she loves a man 17 years older and he is an atheist! My heart just continues to break. I believe she receives some sort of fatherly security she could never get from her sick daddy. I feel so weak. I blame myself for allowing him to convince me that I was the one with the problem. If only I had done something differently. Maybe we would not be such a mess today. Thank you for any and all prayers.

      • Angela

        Michelle, please please, stop beating yourself up. God forgave us the second we came to him, like the prodigal son..his father ran down the road to meet this sorry kid whose heart was repentant. What good would it have done if that kid stayed with his tail between his legs for the rest of his life? We must go on from here, trusting that God can restore the years that the locusts and mice etc have eaten. I am preaching to myself, because I go through the same thing, but I try to catch myself before I get lost in the enemies lies now.
        In the Old Testament, remember Passover- ONE LAMB per household was enough to save the whole household.
        I hang on to that for dear life, Jesus is enough! I am still living with the anger of my kids, they are almost 40. No matter that the decisions I made at the time I made thinking they would benefit, their lives would be better. They still resent me for those decisions.
        BUT GOD!!!
        We must look to God, we must hang on to His promises, because..after all, what else is there? I pray so hard, and am learning to lean on God for everything. Please be gentle on yourself. You have enough people not being gentle, don’t join those ranks. Gods love for you is so immense, and He is does not beat up His Beloved daughters.
        Something a preacher said once stuck with me- if you don’t “feel” it, it doesn’t mean its not true. Go with what you KNOW. and know you are blessed and loved, and God has not forgotten your daughter!!

      • michelle

        Thank you so much for those beautiful soothing words. What a wonderful reminder to my soul of how God sees me! I tend to beat myself up regularly. I’m working n that. One of the most hurtful facts of my life was that I thought I was doing what God wanted!!! Staying in abuse, and trying to love him to the cross. Praise The Lord! I’m free from that wrong thinking now. I would never want my daughter, who I love more than my own life, to be abused. I have to remind myself, how much more does God love His daughters??? Thank you so very much.

    • Lucia

      Your son one day will see the truth. He is still young and is not able to understand. He will understand through you becoming the best you. Remember the chaos you speak of is what your son thinks is normal. This is all he knows at this point in his life. Show and start teaching him a new way to live. Teach respectful boundaries by listening to his request. Do not say a word about his dad unless he asks? A young man does not separate from his father`s identity until mid to late 20s. He will see the unhealthy traits in his father in time. They will show their ugly heads. It is hard not to say something because you feel you have to warn your son, you may feel responsible to stop this cycle from affecting your son later and or it is hard to control YOUR emotions when they are so DEEPLY hurt. You are feeling very alone right now. It is all natural responses. .. ..Be careful,If your son is all wrapped up as an adulthood being angry at you for not respecting his boundaries when he was 17 and still fragile, he may miss God`s voice telling him the truth. …GOD has got your back girl… stay in HIS discipline. 🙂 Your son is HIS not yours to protect. 🙂 Feeling alone and shunned is the aftermath of being in an abusive relationship. His charm still tugging is what started all of this in the first place. They are masters of manipulation.

      Sing in your head the whole time you are around him

      ” Jesus loves me this I know…. ” Remember what you were like as a little girl and what you want to be like now as an adult…. He will no longer be charming!!! Mark my words; it works.

      You only have to answer to GOD and do not worry if others understand or not. Let Jesus be your husband, friend, charmer and comfort. The friends that are healthiest for you will see it for what it is and often that is not but a few in your church family. They still love you but are hurting as well or they are judging you. That is their loss not yours. Have faith, GOD will bring you the type of healthy friendships needed in your life right now if you stay in HIS discipline. Positive energy builds on itself. 🙂 Do not fed the negative energy you just left. GET THEE BEHIND ME.

  16. Fellow Survivor

    When I read these post from everyone it makes me think there could be a school or something where all these people go to learn how to be narcisists. As a general rule whenever I run across someone like this I just stay away from them, but when you are married to one, plus you love her because of her brokeness, its not that easy. I my case the first full blown rage happened 5 years ago. Apon reflection on the first 15 years, before the first rage, I always backed down and did whatever she wanted, to keep the peace of course. But 5 years ago I was standing up for my daughter and I never back down when it comes to children. So the last 5 years have been a real rollercoaster. Incredible highs and then miserable lows. When my business was doing well she would tell me to do such and such, and now that the recession has come to my door she tells me to do the opposite. Which is it? It had nothing to do with the business but all about control. Bend to her will or else. I finally told her in a letter that all this screeming, verbal, mental, and emotional abuse must stop. Its not good for me, its not good for you, its not good for the children, its not good for our marrage. Period. I told her it has worked for the last ten years but no more. She had escalated the attacks up to and including physical violence and that was more than I could take. I had to put my foot down. She next tried to use sex as a tool to control me, a tact that has worked very well in the past. But I was not going to be intimate with her until she first admitted that she hit me, say she was ashamed that she did it, and promise it will never happen again. What was next? Blame shifting. She pointed out all of my flaws (I do have many) and told me that was the problem, not the violence because I made her mad. Basically because I made it clear that I would no longer be controlled and manipulated by any type of abuse or sex, she has filed for divorce. Anyway, like all of you, I still miss her terribly. Go figure? Why do we love the one that hurts us? I think that we actually miss the person they appeared to be when we met them, that glorious knight or princess that captured our hearts and very souls. I think the pain we feel is our souls being torn apart because we sincerely “became one” with them. Its like our souls merged wth theirs and now it is being ripped apart. Then you have to reconcile all the things we did for them out of love when we were actually just being used. I’m the guy that brought her coffee every morning in bed and had her breakfast ready for her as she walked out the door. I’m the guy that took our daughter to 95% of her after school events, dance, youth group, all of it.

    My suggestion to all my fellow survivors is to bury yourself in God’s Word. In the morning try reading the bible at least 5 minutes. Around lunch time another 5 minutes. At night as long as you can. Jesus heals all wounds but we have to trust him. Instead of seeing ourselves as the spouse of the crazy person, see yourself as one of God’s children. I stuggle with that every day but it does help me.
    I am so gratefull for this site where we can “tell” our stories and see that we are not alone, and we are certainly not the crazy ones.

    • michelle

      God’s word and love is the only reality! We love the one’s that hurt us for many reasons. First, as Christians, we accept peoples flaws ans readily love as we feel we are called to do. Second, we love them because by the time we are aware of the deep their illness runs, we have already devoted to this person everything we have. But my therapy is teaching me that I accepted such poor treatment because my childhood prepared me to accept poor treatment. I grew up in total dysfunction and to me this was normal. Also, it is teaching me that I can not get free or become whole while staying close to the source of my pain. There is something in me that is deeply desiring some kind of validation from my ex. I don’t want to believe that the person I loved and laid my own life, wants, needs and heart aside for, could really be this cold manipulative person, who to the rest of the world is so warm and charismatic. I always thought it was me! But I’m learning to come to grips with the fact that this person, behind the closed doors of home, is the REAL man I married. The other guy I loved, is just his mask that he wears to the public. I pray for him always. That he will have his own turning moment with the power of God, but I can not help, change or save him from himself. These people are ill, but they are able to function in the world. Therefore, they are capable of getting treatment if they WANT help. Like a heroine addict- they must get to the place where they are ready and willing to do the hard work to get better. God Bless you and your family.

    • Fellow Survivor

      I am answering myself here. It has been 30 days sinse this previous post and I have gone “no contact” with my soon to be ex the best that I can. I am happy to report that more days are good than bad, although I still have those really bad days, so there is hope. I have written down all the nasty stuff she has done over the years and that helps me remind myself that “I don’t need this nonsense” (OPPS just got a call from her as I am writing this, have not seen or spoke with her for 3 weeks) We are selling the house and just got an offer so I had to take the call. Monday next is our mediation and I hate that I am going to have to be mean to her, which translates into “standing up for myself” She has lied to me and hid money from me for so long it just became common, standard proceedure. When she decided to divorce me she started cleaning out the office and throwing stuff away. I would grab that trash and take it work and go through it. Its amazing what you can find in the trash. I have evidence that can bury her if I must, but all I want is a fair and equitable division of our assets, nothing more. Why do they think they are so smart? Maybe they devalue the spouse so badly that they think the spouse is as stupid and they imagine them to be. Who knows? Anyway, for all of you out there thank you for letting me get all this off my chest so to speak. I read all of your stories and grieve for you. God really does care and Jesus is really on the case. My open and honest prayers have been answered and he is healing me, I can feel it. The pain has gradually been lessened and I can see the light of a new begginning.

      I am not big on revenge, only justice, but Monday one sick Narc is going to see the wrong side of a Thermal Nuclear Missle. The trash, the trash, the things you find in the trash.

  17. Yvonne

    I JUST found out that my husband of not even 2 years, was diagnosed several years before we got together with NPD. He just mentioned it casually in a conversation. All of a sudden, everything made perfect sense! The way he manipulates and devalues my emotions. The rage that comes out of nowhere. I’m glad I know because I was really starting to think he may be demon possessed. I don’t mean that literally, but for those of you ladies who have been/are married to a narcissist you know exactly what I mean. I am not ready to give up on this marriage and I am thankful that I came across this site. The letters I have read are so sincere. I am still praying that God will heal him, deliver him and save him and this marriage. He seems to have faith and says he is saved. But the more I try to get him to join me at church, the more resistance I am met with. I will not give up and God is on my side.
    Now, having said that, how do I make this marriage work? Do they only get worse? Where do I go for help besides the Lord? I don’t want my marriage to fail, but I also don’t want to sacrifice myself to someone who will never love me the way I love him.


    • Yvonne, I am sorry for your pain. It blows me away to think that he had this diagnosis, but failed to tell you about it. Yet, it makes sense. Why would he tell you? You might not accept him. But it does help, I am sure, to have some explanation for what is happening.

      I always wish I had more help to give. It hurts so much. But there is hope in the Lord. Maybe the Lord will work a miracle in your husband’s life. Maybe He will work in your life. I believe that He will give you special grace to handle your situation as you trust in Him. Not everyone can stay with someone who doesn’t know how to love, but some can. You have to seek the Lord to be sure that you are following Him and then trust Him.

      I have posted a lot of things about how to set boundaries, how to control the manipulations, and how to hold your head high; but you will find that there is never enough. No one can tell you how to handle this. You will have to walk closely with the Lord who loves you. I don’t think things necessarily get worse, but I think you may discover more that you don’t like. I almost always encourage people to find a good Christian counselor, someone who understands narcissism and won’t blame you for the situation. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family and don’t let him cut you off from them. And if you begin to feel afraid, that the situation is unsafe, find a way to get out for a while. Keep your boundaries strong.

      Please feel free to write to me directly. I will be praying.

    • Fellow Survivor


      Please Please Please don’t have children with this guy. You deserve so much more. Once you have children your avenues for escape are much more limited. One thing I have learned is trust in what they “do” not in what they “say” No one should ever raise a hand against you or their voice at you, EVER. You deserve better. Read Paul’s explanation of “Love”, Love is kind, it is gentle, it does not boast….. That is the kind of love we all deserve and so do you.

  18. michelle

    Dear Yvonne, Please do all you can to take care of your OWN spiritual and emotional needs. I was married to a BPD Narcissist for 24 years! His warped ways of manipulation were so embedded into the fiber of my being that I truly believed there was something wrong with ME! Love will never change him! I still pray for my ex husband to have his own “road to damascus” experience. But I know that will be between him and God. I resigned to the fat that there is absolutely no words I can say, no tears I can cry, no more I could ever give that would make even a micro difference to him. For all of my years of suffering, all I got out of it was shattered brokenness. My own therapist said it this way, “You’re trying to get well while holding onto the nuclear plant.” His “fallout” was destroying me at the fiber of my God given spirit. Like acid his words ate away at my sense of worth and love. Christ died so that we could have life and that more abundantly! I am determined to live, not just survive. God bless you richly.

  19. prodigalkatherine

    I highly recommend reading, “Why does he do that?” by Lundy Bancroft, a trained therapist who works with men who batter women. You will know in your heart whether your husband is narcissistic in a vain but basically harmless way or if the clues you are picking up on suggest a more sinister pattern. Knowledge is power. Naming abusive behavior rather than making yourself crazy trying to reconcile the words “I love you” with cruel treatment will help you decide “what next”.
    I do think that some men become less narcissistic over time, but they are the exception, not the rule. Once an individual has power by manipulating your fear it is very hard to work backwards towards something less exploitative. But if you haven’t reached that place yet there may still be hope.

  20. Madge

    Thanks pertaining to delivering many of these superior information.

  21. Bebe

    Been married to one for 43 years. I was only 19 when I married my sweetheart. I loved him dearly and while not knowing the name, narcissist, at that time, I innately knew something went sideways immediately after the “i do” and I had to start the survival mode. Sad to say there is no way out because I don’t have a job so it is what it is. We live in the same house, separately. Who knew all those years ago an excited and happy young bride would be in our marriage bed with his back to me and tears running silently down my cheeks. All I can say to all these people is run if you can. It is a very lonely, loveless life.

    • prodigalkatherine

      I am so sorry for your pain, Bebe.
      You have gracefully expressed the true pain of being married to a narcissist. The abuse brings fear, but the true despair settles in realizing that you have not married a “partner” in any sense of the word.
      The only thing that has saved me from this devastating realization (the despair of it triggers suicidal impulses in those who have that vulnerability) is the understanding that while I may’ve been alone in my marriage, I was not alone in my life. God has always been present.
      There is a devotional book by L.B. Cowman that I have read and reread as I have “let in” the full grief of understanding the true meaning of being partnered with a narcissist. It’s called “Streams in the Desert” and is a classic- kind of like “My Utmost for his Highest”.
      I will keep you in my prayers.

  22. Whisper

    Six months ago I was pouring my heart out to a Christian sister. My marriage of 13 years was falling apart. I had married a self confident, caring, kind and attentive man who charmed his way into my heart. Over time, I realized all his behavior was manipulative and self serving. He had reduced me to an insecure & depended partner. I didn’t know what to do. Thanks to God, my friend reached into her bookcase and gave me a book that saved my life. The book is “Why is Always About You?” by Sandy Hotchkiss. This book introduced me to Narcissism and helped me understand the man I married. I praised God as I began to understand my husband’s complex personality disorder. It made me sad & angry to think that I had been trapped by a narcissist. It was so comporting to know that I wasn’t going crazy. I am praying for God’s guidance and strength as I do my best to regain my self confidence and life. It’s not easy.

    • Sandy Hotchkiss’ book is well done and worthwhile reading for anyone who wants to understand narcissism. Her “Seven Deadly Sins” section is worth the price of the book. Thanks for reminding us of it!

  23. Johanna

    Just happened to stumble upon this site and so thankful My husband, who claims to be a Christian in the past, and even been called to be a preacher back in 2010, just abandoned me and my 3 boys after 19 years of marriage. Back in 2011 he became addicted to his iphone games, to the point of spending hundreds of dollars, which we didn’t have on them. He has always had an “addictive personality”. He came from an abusive, alcoholic home until his dad turned to God and became a preacher…yet none of his family has ever been an active part of our lives…his dad is also a very nasty, selfish man… My husband has battled MANY demons over the years…in fact, it has gotten so bad, that he even reached out to a “Christian Exorcist” last March, and even after speaking to him, my husband never followed up with that. We also went to marriage/family counseling last April/May, but had to stop because he changed jobs yet again, and we were without insurance, yet he to this day claims that “we tried marriage counseling and it didn’t work”. Back in 2011 his abuse also taking a more physical turn, especially towards our middle son, who reminds him of himself. Our youngest 2 have Asperger’s Syndrome w/ADHD, and he has seemingly pulled away from them since they were diagnosed in 2009. He has walked out and although we know where he works, other than that, we have no clue where he is. He is becoming more and more irrational and withdrawn I know we should not let this bother us, but it is destroying the lives left to clean up his mess. He didn’t even take his belongings when he left…including the Bible his father inscribed to him few years back that he was given/used when he first began preaching. In fact, he took NONE of his Bibles. After shuffling through some of his belongings I found all kinds of meditation books on how to free your mind, books on Buddhism, and even rosary beads…all of which he had always been against. Oldest son also found a receipt from a supper on company business for a $10 glass of wine, less than one month that he sent me an email stating that he would never put another drop of alcohol to his lips. I keep posing this as a “which came first chicken or egg?” scenario. As a born again Believer, I pray and trust God to open his eyes and soften his heart so he can be restored back to his faith, and ministry, which back in 2011 was really beginning to flourish. But now I am beginning to wonder, is this actually more than a spiritual issue? I know my boys’ counselor (because all 3 of my kids have been openly suicidal…18, 15, 12…youngest even attempting to act upon it) even told me to consider researching Borderline Personality Disorder…seemingly seems to fit our MIA husband/father. However, he refuses to even entertain the idea of anything being wrong with him. I am trying my hardest to remain faithful to him and my vows, but most importantly God Almighty, who promises to supply all our needs and never put more on us than we can handle…however, not sure just how much I can endure at this point. Just praying fervently for him and for God to remove & utterly destroy all those influences of evil from around him. Sorting back through years of old pics and videos, and coming across more and more testifying of his verbal and physical abuse. I am afraid to go to an attorney because #1, I do not want to be an aggressor or a part of this disillusion at all…God is currently meeting our needs…and #2 I do not want certain information to fall into hands that may perhaps be bound to the law to disclose to law enforcement officials…thus taking this to a whole new level and completely out of our hands. Right now, we live day to day…in sadness of our present reality…but unlike Job’s wife raged he should do, I refuse to curse God and die. I must strive to remain strong through my sorrow and just pray that in God’s wrath, He remember mercy…because he has most certainly placed his life in the hands of a jealous and angry God. Praying for the relationship between our oldest and him as well, who husband has always claimed to be his favorite…son just hates his father to the point it makes him sick and wont even say his name anymore. Our middle one, who has been target of so much abuse, is living with my parents, and refuses to come home because hurts too much to be here. Our youngest, refuses to leave my sight…and we homeschool, which he also has so much trouble with…no concentration lately…wonder why?! :\ Even past employees, who worked with him for years have become concerned because since 2011, he just hasn’t “been himself”, yet he responds to everyone the same way, arrogant and in denial…claims he hasn’t turned his back on God…he’s just “taking a break”…and he doesn’t hate me, he just doesn’t love me…talk about a fence straddle! Oldest son actually said last few months had been better than in a long time and we all thought all was well, until he walked out the door….4 days after I confronted him about the filthy books he has been reading for last 6 months, instead of his Bible….Game of Thrones series….NO Christian should EVER find this sort of literature entertain their souls…demonic and destructive. Just so glad to know that now I have found out that our family is not the only one affected by an arrogant, self-absorbed brute, who is suffocating in sin.

  24. Reblogged this on Life With a Narcissist and commented:
    I had to reblog this. It helped me, and I hope it helps you as well.

  25. I am soooo grateful to find this site. I have been married to my narcisist husband for 33 years. I believed that if I got better, I got help, I did all the right things, that I would be loved and cherished like the bible describes a husband to love his wife. God has revealed to me that my husband is a narcissist. I am relating to several other women in the same, not talked about, pain. I have searched and read many articles.i have looked for christian support, so grateful to find this site! Putting on my armor daily! Thank you for giving me hope, will carefully and prayerful move forward. We have three adult children and one grand baby that need prayer protection. I know this is a area that needs a ministry.

    • Hi Mona, I would like to connect with you, so we could pray for each other, and for those who are going through the same thing. If you would like to, please let me know. Thank you! My response to the article is below yours, if you want to hear my story:)

  26. Thank you so much for this article! I have been living with my “narcissistic” pastor husband for 5 years…I have felt so much oppression, rage, extreme anxiety…BUT God! God has allowed me to survive through all the lies, deception, drama, etc. My husband pastors a church where he uses control and manipulation (usually subtle) on unsuspecting, naive, gullible, weak willed people. I have wondered many times whether I should expose him and intervene to help myself and these ignorant people. They are so drawn to him…he creates a spider web to trap people. He is VERY charming and charismatic, but eventually ends up striking with venom. Hundreds of people have been through the church, and they are initially mesmerized by him, but there is always a falling out. My husband has literally punched a church member. He justifies everything he does…never takes the blame. He’ll put someone on a pedestal while they are there…giving them titles like minister in training, and prophetess, but as soon as they leave, they are of the devil! I am going for my first session of Christian therapy in two days. Please pray that God will continue to give me strength and wisdom. Thank you!

  27. Cecilia K

    “Those who don’t really know the narcissists usually find them to be stimulating and intelligent and superior people.” – This one somewhat older couple at my (former) church who I respect immensely absolutely loved my ex-boyfriend, but they only had a few conversations with him sporadically at church. When I told the wife that “Eric” and I had broken up once, she was so disappointed and then excited when we reconciled. I don’t think I told the couple about our final break-up, but being smart people, they have probably figured it out by now.

    “One author says that the most common response to this fact is rage.” – It comforts me to read this, because I thought maybe I had an anger problem, which of course, my ex made sure to point out and warn me about. My well-meaning sister whom I love but who doesn’t understand what it’s like, expressed that she thinks that I think God owes me a good husband. I disagreed with her, because I know God doesn’t owe me anything…I was just very disappointed that it couldn’t work out. But it is/was more than disappointment…there is/was anger. I use the present and past tense, because I don’t really know if I am still angry or not. This blog has helped so much of my anger melt away, I feel like, so thank you again, Pastor Dave!

  28. charlotte holbrook

    My narcissistic husband is worst when he drinks. So much verbal abuse. He fights for his alcohol and denies his drinking behavior by blaming me and iur kids. The next day, he brown noses us as though he is being apologetic, but doesn’t actually apologize for the verbal abuse. He just wants us to move on.
    I am growing in my church and eagerly want to have grace and truth fully in my heart with him as I do with others. If I do, then he thinks I am back under hus control, which I hate…and I don’t like hste in my heart. He decides to put up a front and joined us at church. Then uses it against me several times a week and expect me to be Christian towards him, but he doesn’t towards me and kids.
    How do I go to church without his evil against me? I want him at church for himself, not to throw it in my face.
    How to I keep a border of my grace in my heart and live with him too, without being under his control? If I give him grace, he believes he won and I get nothing in return.

  29. Jeff

    Why does it seem that men are the only narc’s in the world? I have read several articles and papers on the topic and they ALL seem to point at the guy. This is woefully inaccurate. In my marriage many of the feelings that the victims have are also mine. Many of the actions described I have found in my spouse and , yes, some even belong to me. (I am not perfect by any stretch. Believe me, I have been told in intricate detail.) I constantly shelve my feelings and opinions on many subjects just to keep a civil home. Sometimes I succeed sometimes I don’t. For example, this past weekend, while we were visiting at someone else’s house, a visitor wanted to come see our family. I suggested that it might have been a good idea for that person to call the owners of the house prior to just showing up unannounced. That was the absolute wrong thing to think. As I was told that I should be more happy that someone is interested in seeing us than with what I considered a common courtesy.
    Bottom line – its not just men.

    • Hi Jeff!

      I think, if you read through the comments, you will find several men here who have been hurt by narcissistic women. You will also find people writing about narcissistic mothers, sisters, and female friends. We understand that narcissism comes in both genders.

      The literature says that 75% of narcissists are men. That could be one of those statistics that is simply accepted without question because it seems right. In my communication with victims of narcissists, it seems much more even. I suspect that women are more likely to be covert narcissists, which can be harder to identify. I also think that our culture still rewards male narcissism more. We almost expect leaders to be narcissistic and we still seem to prefer them to be male. So, you are certainly correct in your observation – it’s not must men.

      • Jeff

        Thank you. I truly thought that I was the only person who noticed. I agree that the numbers are more even than most people accept because men don’t express their feelings as well or at all to keep from being perceived as weak. The sad part is that even as I write this I feel like a big wimp.

      • UnForsaken

        Jeff, although the Ns in my family have been men, I have to agree. There are so many “fire eating” woman out there, but I don’t think most healthy woman want to go there( denying it ), to be identified in any way with them.

        What I had to begin to see is that it’s not male against female, or the other way around. We are the human race, and each man and woman contibutes. This has really helped me understand a more caring attitude toward people, and not get caught up in the angst of causes.

        Common courtesy is one of the Best ways to keep caring alive. We all need more of that in our lives, even when others fault us for it! Thanks for choosing thoughtfulness……spread an share it!!!!

  30. Wendy

    Does anyone have any suggestions for children whose mothers are narcs?

    • UnForsaken

      Wendy, although my N is my dad, my mom has been getting worse as a prime N enabler. I would Love some basic suggestions on this one, Paster Dave. It’s just not functional! Hugs and Prayers, Wendy! ❤

      • The best books I have found on this are “Children of the Self-absorbed,” by Nina Brown, and “The Narcissistic Family,” by Pressman. Both offer an understanding of what is happening and some ideas on working through boundaries and finding health.

  31. Lynn

    I wish people would stop saying “my husband, mother, sister, etc. SUFFERS from narcissism.” NO THEY DON’T. THEIR VICTIMS SUFFER, THEY DO NOT!!!!! Victims get little enough validation, sympathy and understanding from others so please stop making these MONSTERS out to be “suffering” victims!!!

    • Lucia

      The ” victims” are suffering now but the narcissist suffered greatly as a child. It is all a matter of perspective. What I find myself going through as I write this is not to allow myself to be a victim in a situation that I have allowed to pull me that way.

      How does one separate oneself from being caught in this web yet come out seeing and keeping the needed perspective to survive. HIS teaching is the ONLY way… Wow, is it all like playing chess when dealing with my husband who I have just recently come to accept and understand is a narcissist and thank GOD not a complete raging narcissist. We have only been married two years. I have spent the past week separating myself from all of it in a third person sense with God holding my hand. Had I done this in discipline from the start of all of this, I would not be here but… If I continue to look at this in the first person I will stay the victim I was.
      The lack of empathy and the harsh judgment especially concerning my family really turned me inside out. The lies and deceit goes against everything that has been taught to us especially in our Christian faith which hurts us out even deeper….. He in the beginning told me what I wanted to hear. Nick said to me, “you were sent to me”. I told myself I- me-Lucia can help him come to the Lord at a deeper level so HE can help fill Nick`s voids. He said he was ready for that and I myself wanted to believe I was the person to fit that bill! I was deeply hurt to find a condom in his travel bag by chance one day early in our marriage. We did not use them….. I have been struggling and was angry with the fact my wings that so wanted to serve the LORD were being clipped by his demanding ways. He has said; “you have a NEED to save the world”; implying I was a selfish person for wanting to do that and that my duty as his wife was to serve him. No, I have to serve the Lord and HE saves the world in anger was my reaction!!! Opps I just tripped over my own shoe laces again. Me needing to save the world from itself is not too far from the truth in that I did say, I Do until death do us part, with the need to save Nick from himself… This is a frame of thinking from something traumatic in my childhood. I am not so different from Nick. This is one of two areas I have to give back to God. I will now learn to serve the Lord in a different way. I have clipped my wings all by myself and even more I have been tripping over my own shoe laces and have become after a life time of not dealing with all of these unattended emotions am a mess.
      Concepts that people with narcissism cannot grasp or will only partially grasp is, true unconditional love and what honesty really is etc. They are damaged in how their brains developed as a child. All children need to feel unconditional love to develop a balanced truthful outlook on life. As a child, they copped the best they could to figure it all out without the needed guidance. A feeling of emotional abandonment at a young age is awful! For a child to become a narcissist they were emotionally abandoned on various higher levels and there follows the various levels this personality disorder. Whatever you (I) am feeling right now is what they felt tenfold as a child and subconsciously do right now. As adults they are still victims of their own lies and do not even know it. Nick at times says he does get MY valid points about his bad behavior but typing this I now understand he is telling me what I want to hear just to shut me up. I have been deeply hurt by the lies. I have been in the flight or fight mode for over two years now….. Last night God showed me this is not all about me. Again, Nick and I are not so different.

      I am blessed to be able to see this from a third person this morning for the shear fact God has had me here once before. I had to let the dream of what all parents think is going to be out there for their child be changed to the reality of what is God`s and her journey while on this earth and beyond. I have a daughter with special needs. She understands her world as normal. So she is normal and is sitting at Christ`s feet. She is already home. A person (God`s child) with narcissism only understands what has developed to be his or her normal the best way they could from a very early age. Through prayer last night then waking this morning I have been reminded all things are in His hands, but to continue to see the truth I have to remove the dysfunction out of my head but not remove one of Gods children from my heart. Keeping Grace in my heart is something I have come to realize I have not done since the lies started to reveal themselves right after the ring was on my finger. Up until last night I have been running in the first person realm and tripping all over myself. I know better! That is my sin. MY dreams and MY truth is getting in the way of letting God once again show me a way to better handle any given situation. HE must really plan to teach me how to let HIM be my Husband because Nick will only be able to a point. Being able to allow the bigger picture to come to pass is not easy. This will have to stay true even if I have to leave this marriage. Leaving a personality disordered person is never clean and hurts even more if you love God and his teachings! Truth be told I got myself tangled up in all of this because out of fear and not letting God be my Husband in the first place. My first person energy attracted this personality and I let it in. I have to keep it all in perspective through HIM.

      What I am finding to be the hardest thing to deal with is how to handle Jane, my daughter. I can third person and or rationalize all of this but she cannot. She has become angry with me because she feels I am truly letting down a very important figure in her life. I have become so worn down from all of this. I even ended up in the hospital with viral spinal meningitis. His melodramatic actions throw her off and he subconsciously keeps her frustrated at me to brake me down. He is the only male to have invested in her as a person. He likes the praise he gets from others when he serves that role. “What a great man to take this special needs child on as his daughter” Pastors at church would tell him this all the time! That is a whole different writing in itself… Nick has become her father, uncle, grandfather (he is 17 years older than me) and he is her boyfriend, in her own mind, all wrapped up in one. All young girls look at their father at one point or another as their boyfriend. Jane is young in mind but has the needs of a 22 year old woman. She is a larger girl and not what Bob likes!!!! So rest assured I am watching closely!!! I am on a hard marathon but GOD will and has always been there for me in spite of myself with all of this being so over whelming.

      I am blessed to have found a balanced Christian perspective and resource here. There is a lot of stuff I have found on the internet this past week on how to get back at a narcissist… Etc… It is o.k. because you have been tricked and……..The devil is a crafty critter. I am telling ya. …

      I plan to read His word more regardless. I stopped reading around Nick realizing he would be threatened by it and become even more demanding. He is always demanding me to be right by his side. I have become an occasional closet reader… I am missing His word most… last night I came to His word. It was comforting and look at what it has brought forth today. Narcissists have a way of letting you trap yourself. Do not stop reading the word.

      I am also looking forward to reading the following two books: “Children of the Self-absorbed,” by Nina Brown, and “The Narcissistic Family,” by Pressman. Both offer an understanding of what is happening and some ideas on working through boundaries and finding health…….

      Thank you Dave for following God`s calling. May I correspond in private via e-mail? I am in need of more grounded Christian advice? Happy Thanksgiving -May all who read this have a blessed and joyful Holiday season. You can give this to yourself through Christ. He is just waiting for you to ask for it and for you to let Him show you once again how. (I PLAN to do just that!) I have been dreading the holidays up until today.  Thank you for being out there…. Do not allow yourself to stay or claim you are a victim, if you do, it only allows one more separation from the truth to win. The snake is crafty critter.

  32. Becky

    Oh, Lucia, my situation is so very similar to yours. Like you, I am relying on God to guide me through this mess I unknowingly got myself into forty-three years ago when I married my husband who was ten years older and “swept me off my feet” with his “love” for me. Our only daughter ( and I debated whether to say “our” or “my” because he has never even attempted to develop any kind of relationship with her) and I finally came to understand all the confusion in our home was because of a narcissistic husband and father only three years ago when she learned of the personality disorder in nursing school. It explained everything! After this many years, I had lost myself! He had gained so much control over my emotions that I was becoming a ghost! She, of course, had her own set of issues which were negatively affecting her life. But, finally we understood what was happening, and then we have been able to work at coming to terms with it all. She is further along than I am on that of course since she has a family and life of her own now, praise the Lord.

    I separated from him, moving out, but still had to care for his needs as he suffered a stroke in 2008 and needs a good deal of help and care, however, I did hire someone for that year to come in and assist him even though I went at least once a week to check on him. I spent that year searching for what God wanted of me in this situation. I moved back home and am now his full-time caregiver. I am progressing in understanding how to deal with the situation. Much prayer! I do not allow him to control my emotions in most ways, but I still have trouble with getting very angry when he refuses to acknowledge the truth! I have to understand that he is incapable of knowing the truth. The truth for him is what he believes it to be. I think one thing that bothers me about this, is the fact that so many people believe he is just the “bee’s knees” and believe his lies. I have to accept that I can not change this and quit trying.

    Anyway, right now I am with him and though it is so very difficult, God is teaching me so much about Himself and myself every day. To be truthful, if my husband were not so physically needy, I would probably still be separated from him. But I thank God for His love and care each day and I really appreciate this website, too! Knowing that I am not alone and having others to share with is so very helpful!

    Hang in there with your hand His, Lucia! I am praying for you and your situation and ask you to do the same for me!

    • Lucia

      Right is not always easy. The path is narrow but the rewards are great! God`s love was what had you move back in as a full time care taker. I have a total of four daughters and the three older daughters are all best friends. I am blessed by their friendship and support as its sounds with you and your daughter. What you are teaching her through your actions will be translated down through the grandchildren as a God loving woman. That is a gift that has no way to measure the inheritance you are giving your family. Continue to read, pray and educate yourself about this disorder.

      I am struggling in one major area, the effect it is having on my daughter and for the first time I am considering a group home to help remove her from the manipulation. She had a deadly gram negative bacteria that took six PICC lines, three a day IV treatments and almost a year of an assortment of extremely strong antibiotics to get rid of it. I ended up leaving my job to meet her needs especially due to her graduating and was no longer in school. I am now working part time but it is not enough to support her and I. she cannot be left alone for more than an hour with me close by. I will make local trips to the store and she does know how to call me plus we live in a gated community with wonderful neighbors. She attends an adult training program three days a week and is on the Florida med-waiver which is a huge God send. Nick not only has triangulated us three but does it with everyone who will fall into that trap. Those who do not, he quickly pulls away from and makes it very hard for me to develop any kind of friendship. This triangulation at home is the single one area that is hard to explain to a person with a 50 IQ. Our daughter(s) with average or above IQs can come to understand all of this for what it is but she cannot and her aggression towards me is draining. I resent that and I am finding myself very angry because of it.
      He insists on having a house keeper due to the house not meeting his standards and has shared with her on regular bases just how frustrated he is with me in our relationship. We were at a Greek festival and she too was there. The house keeper was drinking, pulled me aside and proceeded to share with me his frustrations and was becoming very loud with why I should not consider leaving him and that I should kiss the ground he walks on for all that his has done for my SPECIAL needs daughter and me. When one is drunk, it is a no win situation and it was all inappropriate. I just politely walked away when a man politely asked us to move as he could not see the stage. I deflected her comments by saying I do not like it when Nick shares our personal business and I apologized to her for being put in the middle. I tried to discuss the beautiful Greek handmade jewelry but she would not let it go. I was glad my daughter and Nick walked up at that time but my daughter was thrown off by Lori the house keeper`s, energy and was mad at me for now upsetting her friend Lori. She does not know what being drunk is and could not understand Lori`s erratic behavior. Helen is not use to this chaotic style of living. Helen is spoiled and that I did all by myself but the chaos this frame of thinking brings is a whole different set of energy to filter through.
      Something I have come to learn is home will never be a sanctuary. HE will have to be the only sanctuary as it should always have been. I felt as if I had been kicked in the gut and have been drained all day…. I enjoyed church with my granddaughter, Grace and Helen. I took Grace to the park, loved watching all the young families enjoy family time as I did enjoy Grace. I came home and cooked dinner with Helen. She loves to help me in the kitchen and is great with clean up! 🙂 I snuggled in with her for an hour tonight and tried to just keep a smooth calm energy around me and her to help pull both of us back to that.
      Becky be sure to look into the Council of Aging in your area. They may have good resources to help you with the day in day out care taking.

  33. KT

    What an awesome article!! Knowing what I know about narcissism now, I’d stayed with my narc (I think, lol) instead of tucking tail and running. In a strange way, dealing with my ex N has made me stronger. I dont wear my feelings on my sleeve and Im not easily pushed over like before.

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