Narcissistic Emotions

It’s Narcissist Friday!  

I have watched narcissists joke and laugh and even praise people, then turn away with curses in their mouths and disgust on their faces. I have seen them act caring and supportive, even pray with people, and then make jokes about them later. The ability of the narcissist to morph into whatever they think they should be at the moment is impressive.

In our discussion of mourning, the unexpected and inconsistent emotions of the narcissist were mentioned several times. Just like some have noted that their narcissist did mourn, I have been told that a certain narcissist was very empathic. Often narcissists become counselors or helpers to those who are hurting. Professions in medicine and the church are choice bastions of narcissism. But how does a person become a pastor when he sees people as tools to use for his personal gain? And how does one become a doctor or an elected official when he really doesn’t care what happens to others? The emotions needed to connect with the hearts of others seem so inconsistent with narcissism.

Almost by definition, narcissists don’t care. We wonder if they have the ability to care about others. Yet, they cannot move forward in the relationships they need without convincing people that they do care. So narcissists learn to do what it takes.

I believe that narcissists are some of the most practical people we will ever meet. Because they are actually quite free of emotional ties, they are able to look at situations without the same complications we experience. That ability gives them freedom to make quick and strong decisions and to make difficult decisions.

Who can look on the employees of a small business and choose which has to be let go because of the budget cuts? The narcissist can, and without consideration of the employee’s needs or tenure. The decision will be practical and ruthless. But it can’t look that way or the other employees might cause problems. The thinking narcissist will feign a struggle, let everyone know how difficult the choice was, and even shed a tear or two. Of course, if you watch carefully, the narcissist will look bigger and better because of the phony struggle. None of it will be about the employee.

Spouses of narcissists often comment at how the narcissist, who cared little about the children before the divorce, becomes the perfect parent after or during the proceedings. Suddenly he/she is attentive, patient, giving, and empathic. But these same emotions go away when a new lover comes into the picture.

Emotions are useful to the narcissist. He knows that the way into the heart of another person is through connected emotions. He will be upset about some injustice with those who are feeling abused. She will be attentive and loving with those who need a friend. I have found narcissists to be some of the best listeners in my life, accepting and instantly grasping my own feelings. But all of this is an act. The same narcissists who have been so gracious in times of need will produce much greater struggles for their victims in the future.

Understand that emotions are risky for the narcissist. If he cannot control his feelings, he may reveal the weakness he knows himself to have. He will betray the image if he is not careful. So the narcissist learns early not to cry, not to express too much enthusiasm, not to hope. He cannot look weak. He must be in control. Even the covert narcissist, who seems much more willing to express vulnerability, will share only those emotions that will be useful in relationships. She might cry, a lot, and she might show fear or anxiety or disappointment; but all of that will be for the purpose of manipulating those around her.

I really can’t close this post without mentioning the most difficult emotion for the narcissist to control—anger. Anger betrays the narcissist often. Whereas sadness or grief are handled by the depersonalization in every narcissistic relationship, anger is about the narcissist himself. When he is frustrated or afraid or disappointed, it will often come out as anger. Part of the reason for this is that the narcissist will see anger as power. Others cower and back away when he is angry. They give him his way. So anger is useful, of course. But part of it is also due to the intense cost of maintaining the image. There is no option to show real fear or weakness, yet the narcissist hides in the cave hoping others will be distracted by the superior image. When that falters, the stress and inconsistency rises to the surface, sometimes with dangerous results.

Whole books could be written on the way narcissists use emotions. Just remember that those emotions are tools in the narcissists’ hands. Don’t be distracted or deceived by them.


Filed under Narcissism

47 responses to “Narcissistic Emotions

  1. Several months back I found this site in efforts to better understand the narcissistic personality and avoid future traps. As I read, I began to realize that we all have narcissistic traits to some degree that we can only see them if we are willing to examine our own hearts and not just the motives of others. From this thought process, I wrote this poem that I’d like to share.

    The Conversion of a Narcissist

    I think I was a narcissist
    At least that’s somewhat true,
    Cause many times I thought of me,
    I did not think of you.

    With time and a new perspective,
    I see what I couldn’t see.
    People hurting everywhere,
    and life’s not all about me.

    I think I was a narcissist
    It grieves my heart to say.
    Looking back I now recall,
    my many selfish ways.

    Have I changed? I know I have.
    His compassion now abounds.
    His mercy for me, extends to you.
    And I love this joy I’ve found.

    I think I was a narcissist,
    This I’ll say no more.
    Cause as I sprout, new eagle’s wings,
    From this place I’ll soar.

    Never looking back,
    Never to return ,
    to the vomit of selfishness.


    • ManyRivers, that is a beautiful poem and many people could learn something from it. I am sure Grace for my Heart will have a better explanation but we all have narcissistic traits, we have to in order to function in life, we have to have some ego, and act in self preservation at some time. And different times in our life we may be more Narcissistic than others, but we can reflect on those times and we will feel bad and we can change.
      A true narcissist does not see he has a problem, he doesn’t care he hurts people, to him the fact that he can manipulate others through their emotions just shows he is stronger and more powerful than them. His emotions never cloud HIS judgement. He views his victims with disdain because in his mind they deserve anything he dishes out for being stupid and weak enough to believe his lies or trust him.
      They never change, they know what they are doing, they simply don’t care and never will.

      • KT

        Carrie, that is awesome and oh so true! I loved my Narc, but I had to amp up my pride. I don’t like being prideful, it causes strife, but I had to look out for me!

    • MeganC

      That is beautiful, Many Rivers. I understand struggling with wondering whether or not you have narcissistic emotions or tendencies. But, I think (from what I understand and have been told), just the fact that you wonder says otherwise. Narcissist don’t wonder about that! I do not know if a narcissist is at all capable of giving himself a good, hard look in the mirror and then confessing and repenting of anything he finds . . . or of asking God to search his heart and then, honestly, trying to takes steps forward to correct behavior or thoughts. We have all sinned. We all make selfish decisions now and then. But (and I am no expert), it seems like the narcissist LIVES in that world of selfishness and anger. As if he/she has a very black heart and every decision, word and actions spring forth out of that blackness.

      Mr. Orrison, this post just oozes with truths, in my life. Lots of lightbulb moments.There have been people, close to me, who showed me almost nothing but anger. I could never do right. OH, goodness . . . I have wept so many times alone, in my life. Even MY emotions seemed to spark their anger towards me.

      And, what an awful, awful feeling it is to open up to someone and feel they are listening, only to have them turn around and use it against you somehow. When that happens over years or a lifetime, it is so incredibly difficult to ever open up again.

      Thank you for this post.

    • We do surrender ourselves to our self-centered and myopic perspectives from time to time and, in those times, we often hurt others. This happens in times of stress and pain and when we are afraid. But almost all of us are aware of these feelings and we hate them in ourselves, and not just for the consequences we suffer. We actually feel bad for hurting others. I don’t think that is the same as being a narcissist.

      Your poem is great. Thank you.

    • Dave your e-mail address listed on this site is not working. Please advise. Thank you.

  2. Carolyn

    Do narcissist persons feel stress? You refer to that in your writing…….

    • Stress makes their illness worse, chng of weather, time chng also. Any change in their daily routine will cause an episode.

      • KT

        Carrie, that is awesome and oh so true! I loved my Narc, but I had to amp up my pride. I don’t like being prideful, it causes strife, but I had to look out for me!

    • I think narcissists are under stress most of the time. They pass that stress on to others by blaming and abusing, but they never really get away from the inconsistency in their lives. That inconsistency, feeling that they are weak and inferior while portraying themselves as strong and superior, takes a great deal of energy.

      • Recovering

        True Dave.

      • Rachel K

        I agree with this. My N seems to be in a state of constant stress and/or fear. David, you mention that ordinarily we can fall into narcissistic behaviour when we are stressed, in pain or afraid. Do you think Narcissists are constantly afraid? Of being found out maybe?
        I am finding it very healing to read your blog and the very insightful comments from others. Thankyou.

  3. Sunflower

    I’ve seen a lot of ’emotion’ from Ns, but you have to look closely and know the person fairly well to recognize that it’s all about them. They will cry crocodile tears if they’re caught. The tears are not for how he hurt you, but for what he may lose, though many who don’t know him well are fooled by the tears…..another perk for him. I often thought that he would dance on my grave if he could, but would cry buckets to get sympathy from others. How they can turn on those tears so easily is beyond me. Maybe they really are crying for their ‘loss’, maybe it really hurts (I’m not feeling sympathy here, just thinking).

    • MeganC

      Sunflower, I wrote a blog post called “Crocodile Tears”. For what it is worth. 🙂 I think it goes right along with what you are talking about. I hope it is OK to post this and it won’t hurt my feelings if the link is removed!

    • Megan

      Yes Sunflower i have seen this over & over with my husband and i do believe that the tears sometimes can be real due to the fear of losing a relationship or being found out etc so it is more out of fear of losing. Sometimes i have seen how fake the tears are and so easily switched off but other times i have thought he may well be in real anguish at a situation being out of his control and again him losing or being exposed.

  4. Perfect line “Almost by definition, narcissists don’t care.”

  5. Great article! I made a few observations while with my ex to do with this subject.
    The showing of emotion when it is to their benefit:
    My ex and I were split for months, no contact. He called out of the blue, he had been given 6 months to live and could he come and talk to me. He came and with shaking hands, tears streaming down his face, he apologized for everything he had ever done wrong, things he had NEVER admitted before in 8 years, and he owned it, didn’t blame me or anyone else. He actually said, “I was wrong”. I thought he must have realized his mistakes, why would he admit to it if he hadn’t changed? He begged me to take him back because he wanted to spend his final days with the only woman he had ever truly loved. I mean he was sobbing real tears.
    I said I would think about it, and of course cried and my heart was breaking but i was leary also. My son had good reason to hate him, and I knew he would be so upset if I went back. So did my ex.
    He asked my son if they could talk and he put on the same performance with my son. My son is street smart, not an easy mark but he came to me and said, “:I had no idea how much anger and hatred I was packing until xxxxx talked to me. For him to give me a heartfelt true apology was like the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders.”
    He then set about welcoming my ex back into the family, invited us for dinner and said ,”Make sure you tell xxxxx he is invited also.”
    My ex asked me to move 3 provinces away with him and my son gave his blessing.
    Once my ex had me out of the province he went right back to the way he always had been, worse!! infidelity, lying, hitting me, sabotaging my truck, badgering me for money. I asked him why he had apologized and he said, “I told you what you needed to hear to take me back.”
    I said,”What about your apology to my son?”
    He said,”I knew you wouldn’t take me back unless he approved.”
    He is still live and it has been 5 years.
    The anger:
    Is always simmering just under the surface. I could feel it building and could anticipate an explosion and then things would be better for a while but that time grew shorter as time went on. He hardly ever came to bed, he would sleep anywhere but in bed with me. He would go out and spend all night in his shop, or on the internet.
    After we split he got involved with another woman immediately and had a blog. In his blog he was talked about how he had changed so much for this new woman but he was having a hard time because she wanted him to come in at 5 to eat dinner and then sit on the couch and watch tv with her and go to bed with her. He said, “It is like static electricity building. My hair stands on end and I have to get up off the couch and do something.”
    I thought yep, it is like static electricity and gasoline, one spark and the whole place blows.
    it is his aversion to closeness, if he sits there with her, go to bed with her, he has to fake emotions, he has to be “on” and it gets stressful. he doesn’t want closeness, closeness makes you vulnerable and the other person expects to share feelings with you and you to share with them and the N can’t keep up the act 24/7, it is too stressful to always have to wear the mask.
    After we split he

    • These stories are so troubling. It is hard to imagine that there are people out there like that. At the same time, they are out there and I am glad we can talk about them and the pain they cause. If we get our diagnoses wrong or generalize too much, at least we help victims understand that they are not crazy and not alone. I am so sorry for your pain. I am praying for you.

  6. This is a great article and spot on. I have been dealing with this since 2003, even though we aren’t together for 3 yrs now. He will be nice and want to visit and within the same week will turn on me and like a mad animal. He gets angry, ignores me when he sees me and is just rude. He has no sympathy for anyone. He sits at home by himself drinking and sulking or he is out all night at the casino gambling or strip club. He has very few friends.
    He is the most miserable and unhappy person I have ever seen. He cannot stand for me to be able to function without him, but I have proved to him I can. its a very sad life for these people.

  7. Savedbygrace

    Hi Dave,Thinking about what you said about anger…as I’ve wondered why some Ns eg my husband do not have the explosive anger, and do not go down the path of physical abuse… I think he has so much anger that he is afraid of it himself and must keep it under control because he knows there is so much there he is repressing and it ties in with protecting the ‘i’m so great ‘ image- he doesn’t want to blow that out of the water… but then it ‘seeps out’ ( I guess the psychs would say ‘passive aggressive’) in verbal emotional sexual spiritual abuse… and in ‘flashes’ of strong reaction where I am left wondering ‘what was that?’
    It is complicated by the fact that he believes he is exercising ‘self control’ as a Christian should by not giving in to his anger.. to a certain extent, that may be true – but because he does not realise the massive problem his anger is, he does not see how it sabatages all his attempts at relationships.
    As for stress? he is a very anxious stressed person ( tho of course outwardly confident and competent)… he is also often exhausted – especially in relational settings- I imagine this tension of keeping the anger at bay and keeping up the charade would be crazily stressful..
    thanks for your posts I look forward to them every Friday:)

    • It’s all about control for the narcissist, but not just control of others. They must control themselves as well. It does seem strange that such a low percentage of narcissists are physically abusive. Some are, of course, and some victims have been either reluctant to report or so habituated that they don’t realize the abuse is happening. But most narcissists are very aware of consequences of their actions. They plan several steps ahead so they don’t lose. Even the explosive anger that some report is not usually overt physical abuse. That’s not to say that is does no harm, however. Victims often feel like they have to pick themselves off the floor after the narcissist’s anger.

  8. Annette

    „I have found narcissists to be some of the best listeners in my life, accepting and instantly grasping my own feelings.”

    Are you sure they weren’t borderlines? On this blog all Cluster B characteristics tend to be attributed to narcissists. There are quite a few overlaps, but there are also differences.

    One way to tell that a narcissist is play-acting is that they are overdoing it. In other words, their excessive emotions are not called for by the given situation. I was raised by a narcissistic mother. Whenever we met someone she knew, she would display soooo much concern that I could just tell that she was not being real. As soon as those people were out of earshot, she would start slandering them. Even as a rather small child I found this behavior very disgusting. Surprisingly, hardly anyone else ever seemed to notice that she was being dishonest.

    • At one point all the “Cluster B” disorders were considered borderline. They do overlap and are probably only really discernible by professionals, but even then there will be disagreements. Borderline, histrionic, anti-social, and narcissism will look much alike. My impression, and I do not consider myself to be a psychological professional, is that borderline patients exhibit more self-abusive behavior and are less in control of emotional swings. There is a significant risk of suicide among BPD sufferers, much more than among narcissists. Borderlines are also more open to counseling and respond more to treatment.

      Now, as I say all this, I want to stress (as I have many times) that this blog is not diagnostic nor clinical. The definitions we use are more of what professionals would call popular. I own that and do not apologize for it. If we waited for the people we know to be diagnosed by professionals we would never have our answers. Narcissists are among the most difficult people to diagnose, partly because of their strong aversion to any responsibility for negative behavior and for their ease in deception. Instead, I write about characteristics for the sake of those who need to understand what is happening in their home or relationships.

      So, could I be wrong about the people I know? Of course. Am I? Probably not. When I wrote the sentence you quoted, I probably should have made it more clear that both their acceptance and understanding toward my feelings were deceptions. They accepted what I said because they didn’t care. They understood only because they were serious students of human behavior. The prevalence of narcissists in helping professions is well-documented.

      Thanks so much for the question!

  9. Penny

    If seems many, if not most, of us have been duped by the tears. In her book, Martha Stout, Ph.D., author of The Sociopath Next Door*, says “the best clue that you are dealing with a sociopath is the pity play”. The pity party. The crocodile tears (Thank you MeganC), the collapse-on-the-floor drama worthy of an Oscar.
    I am not saying every narcissist is a sociopath but every sociopath IS a narcissist, so beware the tears. And, if/when the tears fail to produce the desired outcome that the N is really pursuing, be ready for the anger. Be ready for a nuclear meltdown, for revenge, retribution, and the power play of the century. It’s almost diagnostic.
    As Dave has said, it’s all about power & control. Recognize the tears as a performance, ignore the pity party, but be prepared for the anger.

    • Kitkat

      This is spot on, this is what the narcissist in my life did. I tried to get to the bottom of what was wrong in our friendship and asked for help from our pastor. The pastor’s wife set up a meeting between us. While I was there to see if we could mend fences, she went there for revenge. She poured on the tears, almost from the beginning. When that didn’t work, the anger she spewed was incredible. She told the pastor later that she felt that I hand run her over like a truck, so she went back to the pity party to try and convince the pastor how I had so wronged her. Fortunately for me he didn’t buy it. But I have had to leave this wonderful church because of her. The pastor, however, is aware now of what she does, so he will be able to spot trouble before it gets too out of hand.

      • Penny

        Personally, this seems “backwards”: why does SHE get to stay while you had to leave? Why is that okay with the pastor? Why is she rewarded & empowered to remain unrepentant & divisive? If the pastor is now aware of her antics, why not remove the troublesome meddler (I Peter 4) rather than waiting until it gets out of hand? These are questions that seem perfectly legitimate to me, yet the pastors I have known are unwilling to do this. Like I said, backwards. Perhaps Dave can enlighten us!

      • Kitkat

        Penny, I know what you mean. I had hoped that she would be confronted and asked why she can’t seem to be forgiving because that is what we are supposed to do as Christians (even though I didn’t do anything to warrant forgiveness). But that didn’t happen. When we had the meeting with the pastor’s wife, she couldn’t give me one valid reason for her behavior towards me. And at the time she told us that she was leaving the church, but that didn’t happen either. Since that time, she has poisoned other people there and I was accused of some additional things that I did not do. When I expressed my concern for this latest accusation, nothing happened. It was then that I decided it was time for me to go. I am finishing up the projects that I had been given to do before all this happened and then I am done the end of December. I have already told the pastor and the head of our church council. Neither of them want me to go, but I can see the divisions getting worse and I don’t want that. This is not how a church should function. I have had so many people ask why I haven’t been coming to church, expressing their concern. But this N will sit in the back of the church and sneer at me, or make snide remarks. Have a little drama here and there and I just don’t need this in my life right now. Some have told me to ignore her, but she makes that very difficult right now as my son and his family are preparing to leave for Africa as missionaries for 4 years and I am already on a knifes edge. I have told the pastor that, “If I can’t be forgiven for something that I didn’t do, what happens if I do something that needs forgiveness?”, this is not what Christianity is all about. He would always say that church is a safe place, but this one is no longer a safe place for me. This woman also has other family members who attend here occasionally, (holidays and such), so those special times would also be ruined for me, because they have made it a point to jump into the fray and have expressed their anger at the pastor about me. So I figure it is a losing battle for me and I just cut my losses and have to move on.

      • Penny

        Kitkat: I am so sorry… really, really sorry. I think I have read your story elsewhere on this site? Now I remember, and while I still think it’s backwards, I totally understand your decision. It is devastating to be smeared like that, and to have your character assaulted. Sometimes the only recourse is exactly what you have done, and it shows strength on your part. For what it’s worth, the N will find another target after you leave, and after several episodes of that she will burn bridges and wear out her welcome….and probably move on to another church and do it all over again. Perhaps not, depending on the allies she has forged and whether or not she is a “fixture” in the community. But it IS grievous for the church to let that happen…it weakens the church and as you have said, causes division that can be traced directly back to the divisive N. But you are strong and brave to create boundaries and have a plan to move on. Good for you, but shame on all those bystanders who failed to defend you. I have provided this link before about “betrayal of the bystanders” and hope it will encourage you:

        Anna V says. “your best choice is to put as much distance between the credulous bystanders and your self as possible”, and this you have done. Embrace the truth, my friend. It’s where life resides!

    • Kitkat

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I think that there is another rationale that is going on here, and maybe Pastor Dave can give a little more insight. Because the Ns have had some abuse or trauma in their childhood, the tendency is for others to think, “Oh that poor thing…, You don’t understand what they have been through…” and all the while, their victims lie bleeding on the ground, hurt, confused and shocked. They were sucker punched, and the focus is on the Ns past injury, not the victim’s present injury. There is no accountability for the Ns behavior. It is very much the “blaming the victim” scenario. “Well you must have done something to provoke them… yada, yada, yada…”. “How could you do this to someone who has had so much hurt in their lives..”, not even giving a thought that the N is lying or playing them. My N has a minor disability. She had to wear a brace on her leg as a child and so walks with a slight limp. She was also raised by very N parents. But because of her disability, if people get too close to seeing the real her, the limp becomes more exaggerated, her face gets sullen and pathetic and all of a sudden she is in a lot of pain. If people fall for the drama, she has fooled them, but like in my case, if people see through it, the viciousness of her real personality comes raging through. Years of pent up animosity and hate come spewing out, leveled right at you. I believe my N has already found a new victim. Because this once sweet person I know from church, is now very cold to the other people who have seen what the N is like. These are the same people who have begged me to stay at the church. I tried to warn her new victim, but she was very cold to me over the phone. She is very clearly in the Ns camp, and she will have to find out for herself, it is so sad. My N also just had surgery, so that gives her even more leverage to play people. It is because of what I see happening in the congregation, that I have made the decision to leave. But I have to say, that without the knowledge of what this website has given to me, I would probably still be floundering in a sea of confusion and trying to mend this twisted friendship. This site has sharpened my focus as to what is happening and has kept me from trying to fix something that can’t be fixed. Thank you Penny and thank you Pastor Dave.

      • UnForsaken

        Kitkat, Penny: I’m deeply encouraged by your words, having gone through a bad church experience too. It takes great courage to leave and to see that God has something special in store as we follow Him away from the people we love. That’s years behind me now, but God still uses it to teach me new lessons. I don’t talk about it much because of accusations of being “stuck in the past”, but I’m at peace now, reflecting. It has also helped me see that we are stronger than we think we are……He is our strength! And it has even helped me be ( more 😉 ) phylisophical about the future inevitable troubles of life.

        Kitkat, I really appreciated your story! It reminded me of a time when God was faithful, and that He will continue to be! ❤

      • Kitkat

        Thank you Unforsaken, I fully understand, “being stuck in the past”. It is like recovering from a physical wound. Even though it has healed, the scar is still there, along with phantom pains. When you say you are still hurting, it is hard sometimes for others to know how deep these wounds can be and that they can still cause you discomfort even though the initial injury is many years in the past. I broke my leg over 30 years ago and I still have some residual pain from it. Does this mean my leg is still broken? No, but it means it will never, ever be the way it was before it was broken. And it still causes me some discomfort. Our hearts are no different. But we become stronger, wiser and ultimately better because we have learned to deal with loss and pain. And through it all, God uses it to bring us closer to Him, to rely on Him. In the end, we still benefit. “All things work together for good,”.

      • Penny

        For what it’s worth, just today I received an email from someone I trusted & considered a dear friend, a lifelong friend. This person told me that it is my “biblical sense of justice” that is hurting me, that I simply needed to “put aside the pain of [abuse]” & “identify with Christ & His pain”. I am thunderstruck. I want to scream, “It is the abuse that is hurting me–NOT my biblical sense of justice!” Why am I suddenly being hurt by God’s truth rather than by the narc? When did I become suspect? Why is the narc not held accountable? Why is my opposition to the narc’s behavior questioned, but not the narc’s actual, ongoing, habitual, destructive, malicious behavior?
        Sadly, this is yet another example of the “church” not getting it…of those in the church who place the burden back on the victim and give the abuser a pass. The narc will never be held accountable in this church, while I will be condemned as being judgmental. This church has a history of silencing the voices of truth-tellers while giving voice to abusers. It is beyond maddening.

      • Kitkat

        Penny, I think it’s time to find a new church. There are some people who are uncomfortable with this kind of brokenness and they want things to be okay, but because they get nowhere with the N, they appeal to the reasonable, rational one in the equation, meaning you. They don’t really understand what it is like to deal with these people all the time, so they just want you to fix it. And it doesn’t happen that way. There were several people who tried to talk to my N and got nowhere with her. But when they came to me, I told them I was working with the pastor on a solution. Nothing changed, nothing was mended and now I must leave. I was somewhat lucky in that my pastor has a relative who is in the field of psychiatry and he was able to better understand what was going on. I too have a sister who is a counselor, but with all that help nothing changed and the N is unrelenting in her behavior, sees nothing wrong in her behavior and everything is my fault. I will not accept the blame for what someone else does and I will not be cowed by a control freak.

      • UnForsaken

        Penny, how awful! Definitely Ridiculous.

        My sister went through a phone call a little like that. I’m almost certain this friend had been influenced by gossip and wanted to make sure we were alright, uh, with God. She had no reason to doubt her sources unfortunately. However, I believe our spiritual health/relationship with God shouldn’t be monitored like home security. ( Insert chuckle and wry smile. 😉 )

        My sis ended up smoothing things over and reassuring her, but was in a lot of pain herself. We went to this friends wedding soon after. The relationship isn’t the same, partially because we now know that a certain gossip, and doctrines/Rules, will likely come between us again without her even suspecting. It’s a Hard blow when you think you are talking to an accepting friend and they turn on you .

        I hope your relationship is salvageable! Sometimes people’s concern makes them say really dumb things, or they get carried away with an idea. Praying for your peace of mind….and Hugs!

        ( Kitkat, your encouraging words are put so well! It’s a relief to know there really are lovely people like you who understand that remembering can be a great therapy for forgiveness.)

  10. Ingrid

    Wow, this website has been so insightful to me. I read some of these things and I feel like I am reading about my marriage. I never knew what I was dealing with until recently. He left me without warning or explanation 5 1/2 years ago. Just walked out the door and said ‘I can’t do this any more’ after 26 years. I was stunned, overwhelmed and so scared and hurt. We just only now finished our divorce, because of his Narcissism it took that long to get anything settled. It was a nightmare! And yet, I still feel guilty, even after all the things I found out he did to deceive his family. he stole from us for years and lied time and time again. Why do I still feel responsible for it all and why do I feel sorry for the man? I am beginning to understand that it is because I was at the receiving end if his abuse for years and didn’t even realize it! Going to counselling to help me deal with my feelings about all that.

    • Ann

      Hello Ingrid,

      I’m sorry you were used for all those years while you put your heart into your marriage.

      He groomed you to feel responsible for anything that went wrong in the marriage; it is *false* guilt that you’re feeling. He likes it that way. He loves that you feel sorry for him too; after all that *must* mean that you really are at fault. The narcissist covers every angle. He does not care the pain he caused you during marriage, the divorce, or afterward. While he throws himself a life-time of pity parties, feel free to throw off the false guilt.

  11. I have been married for 31 years and after talking with a counselor a year ago, realized my husband is an N. The first two years of my marriage was great. Then he slowly started to change. By our 5th anniversary, he made it clear he didn’t want to celebrate it, but he waited till we were at the restaurant to let me know this. He said we would celebrate when ten years came, but it didn’t happen. The man who once threatened another man for showing attention to me has now given me permission to be with other people. He gave himself permission to see other women by doing this, even though he had done it in the past. He has had numerous affairs, even inviting women to the house while our two daughters were set in front of the tv and I was at work. He has given money and gifts to women. He currently helps a woman who owns a store who he has told that he finds her to be the most erotic woman he has ever met. If she or her family needs anything, he will be right there. He keeps his family away from them because they fill his need for attention. He has come home late and not let me know where he’s been, he’s ruined my holidays, everything is my fault, he has many secrets and has told his share of lies. When our youngest was 7 years old, I saw for the first time an anger I’ve never seen before. His face turned red and as he crouched down into her face, he started yelling at her. I couldn’t stop him, couldn’t get through to him until he was done with this outrage. He didn’t ask what was going on before he started yelling. Lately, he would get upset, call us names, and then claimed that he didn’t know what I was talking about when I brought his behavior to his attention. Several months ago, he got upset with our daughter, grabbed her by the jacket, and yelled in her face. That was the end for me. As much as I loved this man, I can’t let harm come to our children, I left him two other times and went back because he claimed he loved me and wanted to work on our marriage. It didn’t take much to get me back, but this time it won’t work. He told my sister I would be back in two weeks. It’s been 3 months, and I haven’t gone back. For a while, I wanted to hear him say he misses me, that he loves me and wants me, but all I got was that it’s advantageous for us to be together. There is nothing that would make me want to go back. When I left him I had a hard time getting out of bed and staying out of bed the first month. I find the more I keep myself busy, the less I think about him and miss him. I learned to get out of depression without taking pills to help me get by. I am working on mine and the children’s self-esteem to get it back. I have new friends, and a stronger relationship with God. I couldn’t have made it without him showing me the way.

    • Honest Abe

      Penny, YES! It is time for you to find a new church…….so many are open and friendly and will give you a warm welcome. As Forsaken said, as time goes by, you will become stronger but you need the relief of visiting the new churches and finding one that suits “just Penny”. Please let us know how it goes as you do your “travels”!

    • Diana

      Don’t go back and don’t give in. Protect your children from the N, protect your self-esteem from the N, but more importantly, protect your God-given right to be free from abuse, and loved as a woman should be loved; by a man who fears The Lord and has a heart of goodness to raise his children up with Godly principles and respect for his wife. You won’t get any of that living with an N. Be healthy, be happy, and be strong and whatever you do, don’t allow your N back into your life. They are toxic, deceiving, and manipulative. You deserve more!

  12. Penny

    KitKat, Unforsaken, Honest Abe~your replies have been a refuge. There seems to be a pattern that when we encourage others, the enemy attacks, so “beware the roaring lion” for the near future! I have no wish to be devoured….. 😦 The good news is that this church is in my home town, (where I no longer live) but have deep roots, so altho I don’t attend there the narc does. I guess the thing that has me stumped is how long the narc can be in plain view…decades in this case….and the abuse is tolerated and minimized as a “rift” or a “tiff” or a “cat fight” or, or, or…..rather than for what it is: slander, malicious gossip, unprovoked aggression, character assassination. The kicker is that this person counsels women! The church clearly does not want to discipline the narcs, the wolves in sheeps clothing, which makes me wonder about the “narcissistic organization” that loves its public image more than its people. ( Dave wrote about that here: )
    I, too have been told “you’re stuck in the past”, “you need to forgive”, “move one”, and yet with a narc, it’s a “crime in progress”: the narc never stops, never relents in the endless pursuit of power and control. The narc enjoys hurting you. If I may use a harsh metaphor, to say that “my sense of justice” is the problem is like telling a rape victim it was her fault for being a target. I think what makes it hard for those of us who “get it” is is sense of betrayal by those that we trusted to listen to us, to care about us, to advocate for us. I have always said that when you go thru the “betrayal of the bystanders” it’s a gift b/c now you know who your real friends are. But my oh my how it hurts. I often wonder if the poison of the narc has infected entire churches simply b/c the leadership will not remove the contagious one from their midst. It’s why 2 John 1:10, 11 warns us not to associate with them because their evil is contagious, causing us to “participate in their deeds”.
    Pastor Dave agrees with you too, and said this: “Eventually, the poison that held you in bondage will leave your system. Just be sure that you don’t get sucked in again. Be gracious and kind, but withhold your trust for a while. And believe that there are good churches and good organizations that are worth searching for. Think through what you learned. Watch the leaders. Listen to people who warn you. There are real people who care. Find them. And be prepared to give again.”

    Thankful today for the friends here on this site!

    • UnForsaken

      Penny, totally agree, and perhaps especially with you “harsh metaphor”.

      It’s wonderful you’re at another place of worship now! So am I, but still where Ns abound. My present church is big on counseling and one of the top leaders in it I cannot stand because they are a Narc enabler. A couple of girls I grew up with have counseling masters degrees, but have repeatedly lacked understanding in small things. This has made me turn more often to God than rely on people or myself, but it is still a very hard thing. Thank God for any acceptance/understanding He sends though my sister, or y’all here, or out of the blue. It’s like a ‘visible’ manifestation of His constant care! I’m Sooo glad you feel this too! ❤

      (Dave's quote is a keeper!)

  13. Tammy

    Oh so true. As Sunflower said – They can turn on “Crocodile Tears” to get what they want. They can turn the tears on demand, keep calm just to make you mad, show their temper if they think it will elicit the response they are looking for.

    Pastor Dave is right as always. They use emotions to get what they want. Period. It’s not real. It’s a sad reality though.

    We’ve been divorced and I’ve been relatively free from the N-drama for a glorious 15 years. We have a 15 year old daughter and a 23 year old son, so unfortunately we occasionally cross paths…

    Anyway, a couple of years ago he had cheated on his wife with two different married women. For various reasons he didn’t end up with any of them for a brief period. He CANNOT be alone, so he schemed a pretty convincing plot… Like Carrie’s story above, he knew that it had to be pretty extreme to get results. Claim to have Cancer? That’s REALLY LOW. My Ex-N plummets the depths just like that!

    So he said he got saved… He knew that if he came to my home, cried and asked for forgiveness for all he had done to me that it would be convincing. I reminded him that I was armed ;), told him that I had forgiven him a long time ago and I was happy for him. I was skeptical but hopeful that his tears were genuine.

    He kept up the act long enough for his wife to come back, take her on a little trip, get her hopes up, and Carrie knows the rest of the story.

    His new image does include church attendance, and as far as I know he isn’t parading women in front of her any longer. But that’s where it ends. He is still spewing venom, violating visitation, reeking of the all-too-familiar disgusting Narcissistic habits.

    His mom always said a leopard couldn’t change his spots.

    It hadn’t been too much earlier that he cried “Crocodile Tears” in court and bawled “I’m just trying to take care of my family”… meanwhile buying boats, toys & hunting trips, stashing cash, committing tax fraud and paying only partial child support. No matter. If God is for us who can be against us? He cried then because at the time I didn’t have evidence and he wanted the judge to feel sorry for him.

    Next time we go to court, he’ll cry because the jail mattress isn’t as soft as his new one. 😉

    Just in case you were wondering…
    1. I have LOTS of evidence now.
    2. This is not revenge in the LEAST. THIS is a college fund for that incredible 15 year old daughter of ours.

  14. Kitkat

    As I have come through this painful experience, I realized something. How much the scriptures depict this behavior and I never paid much attention to it before. The parable of the “Tares and the Wheat”. Tares look very much like the wheat, but are not wheat. They grow up alongside the wheat, look the same as wheat, respond the same as the wheat. But they are not wheat. God will one day separate them (Ns) from the wheat and the Ns will no longer be able to hide among the wheat. This gives me a tremendous sense of comfort and validation, in that while I felt how unfair this all has been, God has seen and dealt with it all before, and He will do so again in each of our situations. All the pain that we have felt, betrayal, lies, abuse etc.. He will take care of it all. Some of us may see some justice in this life, but if not here and now, there is a day of reckoning coming for these people. And all the pain that they heaped on others will come right back at them. This is why the Lord told us to, “pray for our enemies, bless and curse not”. Because they will face a harsh reality if they are not stopped. My pastor told me he was praying for both of us, for reconciliation. I told him I was praying for God to break her. Break her to the point that she hits rock bottom, much like an alcoholic must do to bring about change. That is what I still pray for her. I think of the Lord as He was dying on the cross when He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do!” Again the scriptures come alive for me. Because they are oblivious to what they do to others, and what we did to Him before our eyes were opened. I am humbled and amazed at what a marvelous God we serve. And Penny, thank you for posting Dave’s link, read through that entire post, most grateful. Also, what is good about the roaring lion now, is that when he roars, we know he is coming and we can prepare and protect ourselves. Many thanks to you all!

  15. P.S. .after 10 days of silent treatment I unfriended him…low and behold the next day I get a FB message from him….”Answer now” he says…lol… I blocked him!….indeed I have snapped the &@$?! out of it! He is done mindf***ing my heart! Maybe he IS God’s gift to women…lol….women like me who did’nt have healthy role models and need a building to fall on them before they learn…the layers just keep revealing themselves…I have come to believe my father was a Narcissist….my poor mothers life still displays the damage and she knows none of this….should I enlighten her? Is it too late? She’s over 80….and both my husbands too…..why don’t they teach this in school? Practicing some tough love today on me!

  16. joshua wright


  17. KT

    And when their cover has been “blown” they still don’t care and will not own up to who they are. And they definitely will not try and help you understand them so that you will get along with them.

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