The Aftershocks Of A Relationship With A Narcissist

“I think  I should be better by now, that’s the problem.” I looked up at my therapist, the one I reluctantly finally made an appointment to see and shrugged…”I mean it’s been nearly two years.”

 

She jotted something down in her notebook and then asked me the one question I hate being asked “Do you still love him?”

 

“Love has nothing to do with what I feel now. No I do not still love him.” I tapped my fingers on the leather chair as I tried to verbalize the emotions. “I loved him, yes, once upon a time I loved a man I believed to be the person I would spend the rest of my life with. But that man was a myth. That’s the problem, how do I sort out the fact that he was not real, that he lied, that he abused me? Then…” I paused, hating to say the words out loud…”How do  I understand that some of my greatest memories and moments came from that very person, real or not?”

 

“He fooled you, you bought into it, of course you are confused.” She nodded at me as she jotted more notes down in her notebook.

 

“The good was good but the bad was worse, I know that. He was spontaneous, fun, we went on so many trips, I rode some of the best roads you can on a motorcycle and we laughed, so much… but he hurt me and my kids so greatly, it’s almost as if he were two people and in the long run I cried more than I laughed.”

 

“You will heal from this Erin, he was just a very bad con man. It happens to people all the time. And he was in actuality two people, the person you needed at the time and the same person who wanted nothing more than to use and abuse you.”

 

I left the session feeling just as confused as I was when it began, therapy is great, I recommend it but I feel as if no one, not even someone who specializes in such matters, truly understands unless they have lived it.

 

The aftershocks of a relationship with a Narcissist or Sociopath are sometimes harder to deal with than the relationship when it was going on.

 

When you are in the relationship you are so distracted by the abuse, the mind games and the constant drama, you barely have time to comprehend what is happening on a daily basis. When you are away from the relationship it sends ripples into every action you take, every relationship you try to be in, every moment you try to move forward. I have likened it in past posts to coming out of a coma.

 

This is nothing like healing from a normal relationship, you are healing from trauma and in some ways addiction. Sometimes it is hard to understand that. The flashbacks, the sleepless nights, the fear, the mistrust you offer every new individual you come across, nothing is believable anymore.

 

When I started my relationship with E I believed everything he told me, blindly, I followed his lead. He was in charge at all times and for some reason I was okay with that… until that became the control that hurt me and my children. He believed he owned me and I am willing to bet still to this day believes he owns me in some way.

 

When I left the relationship it was hard for me to understand that I am in charge of my own life. It took me a long time to not feel like I had to ask permission to just do simple things, for me to understand that if I was late I would not get yelled at, if I had a tiny mishap it would not be an argument and a way to make me apologize for days. That I did not have to fear having stuff thrown at me, being spit on… being raped or physically abused. I also had to begin to slowly trust people around my children again. To this day they have not met a man I have dated since E but I have begun to allow my friends to be in their lives.

 

Things I had buried below the surface of our relationship just to cope with them haunt me now, this is the aftershock effect. It will hit me randomly how many times he cheated on me, how many times he lied to me and just how much he used me for. It’s almost as if you are having a normal day and suddenly you lose your balance and your environment changes. You try to talk yourself out of the panic attacks but it is not as easy as it seems. You try to do the things you are supposed to do but some days you just want to hide away.

 

In my case it does not help that some of the people from his “camp” as we will call it still harass me. Yet it’s not them I fear, it’s him, the cold expressions, the constant drama, the way he so easily had me hooked. I fear meeting his match, I fear my choices, I fear my ability to see the Sociopath or Narcissist inside someone when I meet them.

 

I have become a very outspoken voice against this type of abuse but that does not mean I have healed entirely.

 

The aftershocks are inevitable.  I tell anyone who writes or calls me that, when they ask what to expect after the relationship is over I tell them to expect to have to face a lot of what they did not understand while the relationship happened.

 

I tell them that they are almost going to have to relive each memory in order to heal from it. They will have to see the relationship for what it really was for the first time and it will bring them anger, depression and yet somehow in the long run strength.

 

E does not own me now, he has no say in my choices, yet he still ripples through my life. You can not forget the abuse, you just have to learn to balance your past with your future. By that I mean you have to open your eyes and mind and see the reality of who you are now and who you were then.

 

You have to learn to trust yourself again, this is something I am working on each day. I need to trust myself to make the right choices for my children and myself.

 

The aftershocks are going to come, steady yourself and hold tight to the beauty you bring to your life when you leave these monsters. And be patient with yourself, you are after all the victim of a disaster.

explosion

 

 

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115 thoughts on “The Aftershocks Of A Relationship With A Narcissist

    1. i did leave 6 yrs ago i never got over things not for 1 second but i just want to add i am no sucker n yes i am inlove with this man n though it has been very difficult , i am back with him as of a few months ago, he has realized his problems n made big big changes in his life n clamed down we still argue but in a more normal couple sort of way n he is very attentive n thoughtful of me n my needs these days , it is no longer all about sex n control n insults ect infact we rarely have sex he wanbts to know me as a women a humanbeing n friend first, these r all things he would never have considered in the past, he holds my hand now a days n kisses me n holds me when i am sad, n reassures me when i am scared n though i always wait for the other shoe to fall it has been very rewarding for me this time around so far.. he see’s the way he was n has appologised which is something he wpould never do his anger is slowed his paitents risen n he has allowed GOD into his life n asked for forgiveness as he has forgiven himself n those who have tresspassed against him, don’t think i am sayin it’;s perfect, it’s not, but it is healthy n off to a good start for the rest of our lives…. thanku n sorry about your experience…. love Leila xoxoxo

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      1. t/y Erin , but i happen to believe anyone can change if they have a good enough reason to n i have seen some positive changes here, not in leaps n bounds ok it’s not perfect but the desire on his part is to recognise what he is n is doing n seek help from his community, n doctors designed to deal with this sort of illness, but i am no fool i can assure u n i do have a legal member involved to make sure my safety is not an issue n he will act swiftly, he will take a lot of work but the desire is there n it won’t happen over night, it took him a life time to get to this point n the progress will be on going as well as the effort n recognition that he is a sick sick man in need of much help n support, it will probably never end for him but as long as he is making this good progress i have to be supportive but not at the risk of my life, should he slip back to old ways i will leave at once, but i do t/y for your imput Erin i really do n GOD BLESS U!!! xoxoxo 😉

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      2. I really pray he has truly changed. My heart goes out to you and the trust you are having at this time. In my personal experience I left my ex husband three times and went back and there was brief change and bliss temporarily and the he’ll would always return. Now it has been a yr since I left and my “aftershocks” are with me for real….. I breathe without him, but I struggle with this healing process. May God protect you always and I really do hope this change is for real.

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      3. Don’t let your guard down. I did believe mine changed too. The second round left me even more destroyed. These people are pros at deception. Demons rule them.

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      4. I wish you all the best. Something to tuck away in the back of your mind: narcissists are never wrong. If for a brief moment they can’t deny it, it’s someone else’s fault they’re wrong. I did the back and forth thing with my ex-bf for 5 1/2 years. After each break up and some time apart, he’d come around, wanting to work on things, new promises. Before I knew it, I would get sucked in all over again. Please watch for the signs. Those with NPD are very successful and sad to say, almost never change.

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      1. Thanks for sharing this. I am going through the same thing and also realized that I have some good days and still some pretty bad days after leaving the N over a year and a half ago. You described it perfectly as feeling like coming out of a coma. I was totally numb and more confused after separating from the N this final time then when I was living with this toxic person. I also had seek therapy which didn’t help me. I didn’t understand what or who I was living with at the time and neither did my therapist, All she would ask me is why are you staying? or tell me, “you know what you need to do.” If I knew what to do and the answers to why I stayed, I wouldn’t have needed to see her. I don’t want to date again, at least this is how I feel now, The pain is still real, the fear is almost crippling
        .

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    2. It is a constant struggle. Real people show emotions, care about others and feel pain when they cause grief on others. For the moment I can only cry for I can not grasp what happened. I inflict the pain on myself, cry myself to sleep as the sting in my heart crushes my self- esteem. I adored him In every way, but all I got In return were lies, cruel words, mind games and the constant tornement of feeling inferior to the narcissist. The trouble is as long as you are In the game, you trust them and adopt yourself to their world. Once you try to free yourself you realize part of you is missing as they stole your trust in mankind. Even after all these months I intelectually loved a monster who adored crushing people to increase his self- esteem, emotionnaly I feel I Will never heal because I keep forgiving and my heart is unable to feel that people like this are actually real and have no remorse or empathy.

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  1. Thank you for verbalizing the struggle. I didn’t have the physical abuse but years of crazy making, manipulation and emotional control with making me feel bad, disappointing and then building me up in the idea of “at least HE loved me”. I’m now two years out too with two sons after 17 years and I feel like everything he does or says under the “being nice” category is still a mind game or a setup. I don’t today anything and I always free he might eventually physically hurt me.

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    1. This is the best summary I’ve read about what it feels like after you leave. Very few understand which makes you feel even more alone. It’s almost harder when the relationship is over, you are right about that because you are so distracted by the daily drama that you don’t have time to process what’s really going on. It’s the worst feeling of betrayal to know the person you once loved wanted to destroy you and they did a really good job. They continue to haunt you after. It’s been three months and it still feels raw. I hope someday to be over this and never think about him again.

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  2. I’m going through this now . almost divorced . it hasn’t been a year since we separated . but this nails it . some days I struggle more then others . thank you writing this

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    1. Same here. Exactly the same timing. I understand what you’re going through and the most important thing you can do in my opinion i surround yourself with loving understanding people. Have that one person who you can go to who will let you cry on their shoulder and have that other person who will get angry on your behalf and give you strength when you are so used to “playing nice”. I’m struggling to let the anger out – it always comes out as crying and pain. I guess in time it will come.

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  3. Wow. 10 years later, and I still haven’t dated again. I refuse. I could never ever trust another man after what the last 4 put me through. I’d rather be alone & content than with someone that makes me so lonely & miserable with the lies, the drinking & the games…. It may never fully go away…

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  4. I’m in this spot now, two years and I feel exactly liked you’ve described. I can’t talk to my friends because everyone expects me to be over it by now. What they don’t understand is the abuse is so deep, it takes a long time to process it. Thank you for writing this!!!!

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    1. Reared by narc parents,in and out of narc relationship s the aftershock s ,they are are sooo startling and intrusive,Lm crippled with anxiety,thanks to this article l see its part of healing,”the things you could not make sense of,tje
      confusion,starts to make Sense,in the after shocks”walking away from the war,leaving the scorched earth behind//

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      1. I was raised by a narc mother, grandmother no father, from 17 all my relationships have been with narc men I now only no this by splitting with my previous partner who has damaged me terribly, the only positive is I’ve recognised this pattern in my life that my mother was narc and previous partners, up until now it was my normal 😦 34 years of my life abused by these people now he’s triggered my whole life I’m suffering with PTSD g.a.d depression and total loss of identity!! Its horrendous, I pray we all find a way out of this hell and live the lives we deserve x x

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      1. Thank you for putting into words what I’ve been feeling for years. Most of what you wrote here was my life. Even though he left 9 yrs ago, I’m still reminded every day by something- be it good or bad… you do understand. Thanks Erin.

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  5. 15 yrs later and I’m still living it. I did not realize the impact it made in my life until I read these articles. He still calls me names and tries to control me and yet wants me back (NOT) I have 2 children(whom are grown) from my ex husband and what a mess are they. If only…..:(

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    1. My Narc too lately has been making claims supposedly that he wants to make good, which is crazy and just his game. It is so hard to understand the damage they do to us.

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  6. I am getting divorced next week. When I read this I could say : “this is me”….exactly
    Thanks so much for your writing. You put words of what I have in my head!
    I am going through hard time.
    I hope to feel better and hope to never meet again a narcissistic person.
    Love live life😍

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    1. To all you wonderful ladies and men affected I recommend you look up and sign up to Kim Saed Let me Reach blogs and YouTube clips. She nails it and the more you learn about these people the stronger you feel against the games and manipulations. But learn to go no contact,love and put yourself first. I am 2 years on 4 months divorced. And educating myself about the impacts and the fact that these situations bring to the surface – abandonment and insecurities we have had since earlier in our lives helps you to heal yourself to and avoid such negative toxic influences. Xxxx

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  7. I was abandoned on January 1st of this year. I had no idea what was happening. My husband is a British citizen and faked a reason to travel. He had a woman waiting for him and he moved right in. I have been subjected to the most cruel and taunting behavior from him since he left. I am slowly moving toward acceptance but it is mentally and physically difficult. The man I loved so much for 12 years totally discarded me and blamed me entirely for the marriage falling apart.

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    1. Try to love yourself. I think unfortunately that love make us suffer. And the best think to do is to love ourself. I know it’s hard. For me also it’s really hard. I made a decision to try to live for myself and not for man. Most of them are like your husband and my ex husband. May be we dreamt too much in our childhood.
      The best “vengeance” is to live for yourself. do what you love to do. Don’t forget no one can protect you exempt yourself. Life is hard. We are in this planet not for so long. Don’t cry for man. If you are strong. And you love yourself you will feel better.
      Take care.

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  8. I divorced my first husband 8 yrs ago, however we have 3 children together. I recently divorced my 2nd husband (alcoholic/drug addict). Both have narcissistic behaviors. The first one it disgusts me that I have to still deal with him because we still have one minor child left. My 2 older ones refuse to talk to me, because of the lies their father has put in their head about me. Now my teenager for the past 2 yrs has been displaying the same types of narc behaviors since she primarily lives with him. Recently I have been able to put my foot down and fight back against him. The only thing is its not helping my daughter and I right now. I had to restart her counseling sessions this week to get her the help she needs. I feel like I’m reliving the hell I lived with for over 15yrs of marriage with him all over again. I would coward down and back off when he would attack my every being of my soul. About every 4-6 months both him and my daughter have a really bad habit of starting drama with me to make me look like a psycho (their words). I am learning daily how to not react or react when I feel that I’m being manipulated again. If it wasn’t for my higher power and prayer, I don’t think I would have made it this far. This man has multiple personalities, major ups & downs, yet he projects them onto me to make it look like its me who has mental problems. Never been diagnosed, he seems to get out of counseling when it gets to personal with him. My days of feeling unbalanced have been very few and far between now as long as I don’t have to deal with him. Thanks for letting me share.

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    1. Thank you so much for writing this, the part you wrote ” expec t to have to face a lot of what you didn’t understand while in the relationship” .It’s so good to know others understand exactly what is happening to you!! X

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  9. I feel your pain. Six months ago I left a 31 year marriage to a Narcissistic man. Emotional manipulation was his specialty and bedding other women as it was his right (some as young as our daughter). I’m struggling more since leaving because whilst there I knew what to expect.
    I’m in a vortex of grief.
    I pray that one day I will heal and be truly free of this pain.

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    1. Actually Mike, me as a woman have to admit that woman sociopaths are worse. Simply because woman are “wired” to be more intuitive to emotions, body language and insecurities. I’m really glad to see that men like you are speaking out on this subject, it will take a long time till society sees that it’s not only woman that becomes victims to this kind of abuse. But I applaud you for commenting, because the attitude that “real men don’t cry” and the pride/ego factor causes men to stay silent. Thank you!

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      1. i have toi admit Erin u r sooo right again, n may i add that it is i who have switched rolls with my ex now boyfriend again after 6 loooonbg years , much has happened n i went from the silent victim to the almost abuser this time around n as i said he seeks counsel n i also i can see i have myself slipped into the abiss of illness of this nature n do actively seek help to save us n bring us to a stable co exsistance, u r 1 smart cookie, n to Mike listen to Erin she is very wise n fair in her assessment of the world as it exsists ….

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  10. I am still trying to get from from him but the confusion – putting his face next to all this cruelty and destruction … How can this man I loved be this man that said to my face he will bully me to death? How can you reconcile that? Was any of it real? What did I do so wrong to make him want to hurt me? Why won’t he stoo making us suffer?
    It would all be so much easer if I hated him, I know I should and I want to but I don’t – I miss him, I miss him so much some days I have to remind my heart to beat and my chest to breath I just miss him ….. I don’t understand and it’s shit as all I’m ask to do is constantly explain it as in the surface family and friend and police and doctors see the perfect man I saw none of them see it’s not just one thing it’s the thousand one things he does to keep me in a constant state of panic and fear and confusion and powerless – so so very powerless. No one understands to the point it’s not even safe to try and explain it as I then an attacked again and told I’m crazy as they can’t see the relentless weight he puts on me or I’m the abusive one when I snap and yell at him or that is all my fault and I’m letting him have control and just need to move on as they can’t see the threats and how much control he has – it’s not even safe to ask for help or tell the truth…..
    I wish I hated him – I wish I understood – I wish someone would believe me and help me …… I wish I didn’t miss him so much….. I wish I didn’t love him.

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  11. Raised by narcissistic parents, and tumbled into a pattern of abuse. To break that pattern takes years, tears and many failed relationships. Some never recover. I never recovered FULLY. 30 Years later and I accepted that some ghosts will haunt me till I die. It affected my trust, sex life etc. Depression, anxiety and so many other psychological issues taunt the innocent that experienced being in love with a sociopath/psychopath/pathological lier and abuser. I’ve lost years of my life which I cannot remember. Memories lost which cannot be replaced. Some Memories I wish I never had, degrading, abusive. No therapy helped. What helped was to help others who went through this. It made me strong. Today I am me, happy with who I am. But one rule I made at age 21 I never broke, and it was my savings grace. “I will bend, but no one will ever break me again”. Believe me, many tried. Giving up my personality is not an option, and the person trying to manipulate me to do it will get no where. I have a scars, but I also know I am strong. I’ve learnt, I’ve lived, but I had to accept many truths, most difficult. Who chooses a relationship like This! No one. But I get asked the same question time and time again, why did you not get Out. They will never understand, not unless they lived it too. It takes women like us, talking, supporting and understanding that helps with healing. Never be ashamed, or guilty. It was never about love, just control. A pitiful inferior man, breaking a butterflies wings, so he could fly. Your wings will grow back, stronger than ever, you might just have to accept that it may never be the same colour again. But you are beautiful!

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  12. Finally left the man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with…30 years is a long time to look back on and realize you weren’t ever really loved. They are the monsters we were afraid of, only no one believes us. I don’t know if I will ever love again or be the same person I was…trust will be an ongoing issue, but I am stronger and I’m a survivor, it finally my life now.

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  13. I am actually in tears right now reading this. It seems as though this is my exact story. My hell came in the form of a man named Jason. He was my best friend for quite awhile before our relationship started. I was in an abusive relationship before and he made everything seem great. He promised me the world and swept me off my feet. He raised my 2 girls as if they were his and all. 7 years. He had me fooled for 7 years. Every argument was my fault. Anything that went wrong was my fault. He cheated and lied constantly. Yet I still loved this man. He knew exactly what to say and what buttons to push to get me back. Regardless of everything. We had built this life together. We shared everything. A house, cars, dogs, kids, a life. One day in March he just left. He just never came home from work one day. When I had finally heard from him (when he had come to get his motorcycle), everything was my fault. I was this crazy person he couldn’t deal with anymore. Every tiny bit of blame was put on me. When myself and others clearly knew none of it was. He lied about me to friends and his family. Made me out to be this horrible person. He completely flipped the script. To me it’s still a fresh wound. It hurts knowing a man I thought loved me so much and thoughts of spending our life together could be this monster.
    Thank you for this article. It shows me that one day.. Maybe not today nor tomorrow, but one day. This pain in my heart and soul will pass.

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  14. You write what my mind and heart have gone through for 35 years!! Always felt like a single woman, single mom, he would love bomb, then back off just as quietly -just enough to make you feel you were the problem-deserves an academy award for BEST SCHMUCK OF SCMUCKS of the Century!! People say its been 9 yrs since divorce anf his “war” scamming me of every cent and using our then 3 teen sons minds-manipulating them to think it was all my fault, they know now, he was alwats so jealous of our tight bond and so he decided to try and destroy it…its repaired, but will never be the same. I feel their pain in their hearts, they don’t want to even remember any of it whenever it gets mentioned. We all suffer PTSD moments from.his horrendous violent, mentally abusive tactics. He is a true Monster,a Beast, a tyrant, needs to be stopped, but Karma will come along his path little by little. I suffer with triggers, try to put healthier visions and statements in their place-thank God I am not in that space anymore and thank God my son’s are safe and healthy. I try to educate them in little increments of NARC abuse. Of course they resist that their father is one..So did I…but I can see they are listening to me. I pray we all heal much more, takes time I know; it is just so devastsating. I compare it to a war soldier’s PTSD-it is a “war”. One day at a time, I just want to feel emotionally healthier and I will, I’m a SURVIVOR. No-one understands it unless you’ve been through it yoursrlf, just like any other situation. I NEVER envisioned my babies to go through this and my guilt takes me f own at times. But I have to be stronger than that low gutter mentality. I am WORTH IT!! So are sons!! It’s a terrible scar.

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  15. Help, I’m happily married but I’m watching a dear friend go through this. She’s not being abused, but she’s hooked on this idiot and getting played. Her mom is a narcissist, she intellectually knows it’s wrong, and can’t stop.

    I won’t abandon our friendship, how do i deal with this?

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    1. Just be there for her. Trust me it was my one friend who stood by me through the worst of it that got through to me in the long run. Keep reminding her of her worth and telling her that she is better than the situation she is in. Also know it takes a long time to “detox” and change our thought patterns when we are in these relationships.

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  16. 20 years now……..I’m just learning about narcissism for the last few months and it’s tearing me apart……..All these years I felt bad about myself, felt guilty towards my children…..even lost my children because they put all the blame on me.
    In a way, it is my fault, I was their mother after all. She wasn’t.
    She was just a woman who, in a way, imposed herself to me because I was the one she wanted to have, to use, to dominate, to lie to, to betray, to humiliate, to step on and on and on…….
    In the 5 years I had a relation with her, I totally repeated my childhood. That’s what I always said, and now it looks like I was so very, very right.
    My mother was a narcissist, always playing the victim and always putting the blame on me for every rotten thing that happened to her, even before I was born.
    So there I was, growing up with a narcissist, coming out of a marriage with a narcissist, searching for a way to cope and giving my children a better life I’d had………struggling with the realisation I was actually very attracted to women………….and there she was……………………
    I loved her, hated her, feared her, tried to do everything to please her and nothing was good enough for her. She made me feel crazy, made me feel like I could do nothing right, she made me feel worthless, stupid, a very bad mother, a bad lover, even a worse person. She made me feel my mother was right, I had no right to be on this earth, no right at all.
    O, how I struggled to give myself the right to be here on this very earth, to give myself permission for existance, to build up from scratch what she tore apart……with my kids and I did a dam good job………until first my daughter blamed it all on me, then my son, and now I have to face it all again without them, with the pain of missing them because this is something I can never explain to them without taking my own responsibility and guilt.
    So maybe,someone can learn something from this, take good care of yourself and your children…….they never asked for anything like this to happen to them. Get out while you can, for them and for yourself.

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  17. Thank you for verbalizing the after shock in terms that others who haven’t been in such a situation can get a bit of understanding from. Though they will not truly grasp the situation, they at least can give you a little more breathing room with somewhat less pressure to move forward quicker than you are able too.
    It’s horrific the struggle you have to fight to get strong again.

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  18. I don’t know why but gradually my ex husband became a narc. He was verbally abusive. Controlling & yet uninterested in doing anything with me. After 26 yrs of marriage I took the leap. He blamed me for everything, the failed marriage, money woes, parenting, etc. Our teen sons have bought into his drama & disowned me. It’s been hell. The 3 yrs post divorce has become the divorce that won’t end as he keeps pursuing me for $ even though he remarried & got everything in the divorce household wise. I don’t think the after shocks will ever cease. I’ve moved away, started over & keep trying.

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  19. This is the most accurate account of the damage done to a narcissist’s partner. Thankyou! I am currently going through a spousal support claim against me and even though I supported him for 10 years and allowed him to control me and my finances he still thinks I owe him. They will never see it any other way. I have hope and faith so I know to be kind to myself and keep moving forward as hard as it is some days!

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  20. I have spent some time this afternoon reading all these comments and I know that there are ALOT of people in the exact same situation, it is very hard to deal with a relationship like this, I’m out of this type of relationship now nearly 4 and a half years, best thing I ever did, for the sake of my children, I had to leave. I couldn’t handle his drinking, the lies, the other women, the temper, the total disrespect that he had for myself and the kids. I still have to see him every second weekend purely only for giving my youngest to him for weekend contact, at this stage in my life things have got a lot better, I am no longer afraid of him or his mis treatment of the very people he was meant to love and care for. I’m not even dating at the moment as I am not ready to take the chance of letting someone else get close. NO CLOSENESS, NO HURT. I still have to find ME and find the person who I WAS long before I got into this train wreck of a so called relationship. To finish, everyone of us that has had to courage to leave a bad relationship WE ARE ALL READY SURVIVORS. Be strong and do what is best for YOU AND YOUR CHILDREN, they deserve to have a mum who is physically fit, healthy and strong enough to look after their needs, REMEMBER: YOU DID NOTHING WRONG. YOU FELL FOR THE WRONG PERSON. That’s all but things get better. EVENTUALLY. Trust me, my kids and myself are living proof of that. Get out, stay strong and SAFE Xx

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  21. I am one year divorced from a Narcissist who is completely passive aggressive. I am still feeling like I have PTSD from the last year of our relationship. Reading this article only continues to confirm what I already know. I sometimes need reminding because he can still manipulate me and knows exactly how to push my buttons. I remind myself when I have to deal with him that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing and that he ultimately wants to hurt me. I can never turn my back and am always on guard. It is exhausting. It’s very hard to extract yourself from a relationship with a Narcissist, especially one tells YOU that YOU are the Narcissist! I began to believe that it was all my fault, I’m the one with the problems, and he was the best possible husband anyone could ask for. He comes from a nest of Narcissists and they believe they are always right, no one is ever good enough, and they can treat people any way they want. They also will cut people from their lives and pretend they don’t exist. Having a daughter in the middle of this crazy makes it worse. I try now to only text or email. It is the safest way for me to protect myself and continue to slowly heal and move on. It’s very, very difficult. I continue with therapy which has really helped to reinforce that I am not crazy, he is. Please, if you are not in therapy, please find a therapist to help you sort this out.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. My heart is breaking for you. Remember that you have already done the hardest part of all this: you have lived through it, you had the courage to leave, you are finding your way forward, you are taking care of yourself and kids. Figuring out your future and finding yourself will come. You are awesome! Big hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. It’s going on a year and a half. More unreal horrors to be lived through in the divorce process. Not a surprise though.

    I am in the beginning stages of digging out of not trusting anyone, at all. There are a few people in my life that I trust, some I don’t, and every new person I meet, I do not trust at all. My life has become a solitary existence with my children. I am ready to change that. The tears from the pain have started. Listening to Sarah Mclachlan on never-ending repeat in back in full-swing. She heals me. The song, Building a Mystery… read the lyrics… it’s about the/ our narcissist.

    So, that is where I am. Looking at the terribly thick and high walls, built to keep new people away. Taking each brick and learning what it is meant to teach me. Letting the pain, tears and brokenness leave my body.

    Thank you for your post.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I did the same, it took me a while to realize that the walls I built to keep people out, also kept me prisoner inside. No one in, then no one out. No entrance or exit to meet the right people, friends and allies. I wish you many broken bricks, and freedom! Keep at it.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I myself am a survivor of a domestic violent narcissistic man. Four years out and I still have panic attacks, still fear, and hide. It had been a long process including support groups, therapy and lots of tears. I am learning to trust again, but yet hard to fully trust. I’m learning. What an article. Thank you for being my words.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. I spent 23 years with N husband. My T said I have PTSD from that marriage. A year into the divorce I met a man who seemed to be different – he was personable and funny and fun and a great lover. When I met him (at the wedding of mutual friends), I felt I had known him forever and would be with him the rest of my life. Fool me twice, shame on me. He’s been disregarding and disrespectful most of the 18 months we’ve dated. He’s been withholding and come here/go away. He was very open emotionally last evening – the most ever – and the meanest he’s ever been tonight. I blocked him. First time. Tomorrow is my birthday. My gift to myself is a new beginning. I am sad and disappointed and disillusioned. I am also realistic and part of me is relieved that I won’t be disregarded and disrespected again by him. It will take strength to stay on this path. The only way for me is No Contact.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. First be honest with your God, then yourself, and then others. I prefer all three at the same time, but it took to get to 38 to realize that. Now, at 50, I look back and shamelessly say, I WAS IN A CIRCLE OF ABUSE. Not by my choosing, but having two parents being narcissists. I left school unpreperaded for life, fell in love with a psychopath and endured the emotional and sexual abuse with extreme cruelty. Why, because I lived with emotional abuse all my life. It was what I knew, a comfort zone. Then, 2 marriages to two other men, I repeated the pattern all over again. Only now I had a child from my first husband. And it was that child that was my saving grace. Every time I considered taking my life, I was prevented knowing I had a responsibility. And yes, it took a long time to SEE. See me, my habits, my parents, siblings and life, and owning it. And instead of shying away, I decided to learn more. So at 31, still married to the last abuser in my life, I started to study Psychology. And at age 47 I got my Ph.D. In Psychology. It taught me a lot, but that’s books. Nothing comes close to experiencing anxiety disorder, disassociation disorder and PTSD. But, I can talk about it today, hoping that maybe just one person out there will be encouraged. And truth is, I’ll never totally get over it. I’m now married for 12 years to a gentleman that treats me with respect, the action of love, not the words. Sexual abuse tainted my sexlife, forever. I accept that. Emotional abuse, well, I just refuse to fall for that again. No emotional blackmail, no guilt trips, no criticism can get to me anymore. I love my parents, and see them, but honestly, they will never change. But I changed how I deal with them, my boundaries, my life, my child. Yes, I heard the, “you are not fit to be a mother, we know better, if do this or that, you will break the bond between us. Leave my home….etc” but you know what, I’m not like them, and I’ll never be. I feel sorry for them, it must be a miserable life to live your whole life a lie, backed with just image to keep face. I lost my twin brother, because he became a sociopath and I cannot have a relationship with someone I know lies when they open their mouths. I chose my friends to be my family, an that they are. Just a few, but with enough acceptance, love and care to last me a lifetime. I’m happy now, content, peaceful and have all the serenity I wish upon others. I also have to deal with medication, migraine etc. for the anxiety. But I love life, and now I live it, fully. Not even my husband, asking me time and time again why woman don’t leave, and explaining it over and over, can understand how we feel, think and do. But you, the other people out there, because men also suffers from this, do understand, and I’m not alone. I lie, in my heart I know I’m alone, but in a good way. The way you are when you fit just nicely in your skin, knowing who you are. It’s a long long road, but it does end. Only I choose how it ends. No one can make choices about me, my personality or life. I’m in charge of me, but I work at it everyday, because the baggage we all carry or carried, still sneaks up to us when we slack. It is so easy to fall into familiar patterns. Floor mats, I call them, me. I’m not a survivor, I’m not a victim, I am a woman, I’m me, I’m strong. Some memories never leave, other’s I have no recollection of. Let it be. I’ll double cross that bridge if it ever rears it head. The narcissists never go away, it is just your heart and mind that leaves them. My tears, fears, anxiety, shame, guilt and loss of self esteem could fill truckloads. Ditch the truck, and walk into your future with your head held high. You cannot change the past, but you can choose how you view it and your future. And I hope that one day I’ll be 100%, but I know that’s not true. My past made me who I am today, that’s enough for now!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You wouldn’t have written this if you were unsure, the problem with us is we don’t want to know. And no, you are not lost without him, but he will keep you believing that. The manipulation is subtle, yet deadly accurate. It not about hope for him, it’s about hope for you. That you don’t end up like the rest of us scarred and sacrificing years of your life to end up really lost. He will make you believe he is the only one that loves you, and that the rest of the world, family and friends, don’t care, only he cares. Then he will isolate you so he could have more control over you. Till you are no one, nothing and without a support network to help you. Don’t go there! There is so many signs that you can recognize if you know them. If you need more information, an ear or just want to talk, contact me. But please look after yourself, you are special!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. 9 months out, so I’m still in the thick of it. We have a child too. He rejected our child over and over but in the last 6 months his talk is that he’s a perfect father and even though he can’t pull it off people are buying the bs. And most friends are literally being bought; he’s hiring them for this or that. These NARCS are so practiced. The manipulation will never end. My child is all I care about. How can a normal person fight against someone who manipulates as often as you and I breathe oxygen? No contact is not an option. I’m worried for my future with my child. I’m worried what my ex will do to our child.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I was raised by a physically and mentally abusive sociopathic mother. I knew my wife cheated before we got married and continued to cheat so we moved around a lot. Seemed like a perfect marriage until after our daughter was born in 2000. I caught her cheating and through her out and was drug through domestic violence court where they believed her lies and kept me from seeing my daughter. I later discovered, after losing my new house before divorce court, that she was seeing a police officer. That explains how I was put though the ringer in court and never made it to divorce hearing. She came around two and half years later to finally let me see my daughter and was very sorry for what she did with the promise to spend the rest of her life trying to make it up to me. Our son was born a year later. She started cheating again and telling me I’m crazy and it’s all in my head. She always played victim with her friends and family which made her even worse to our children and I. My second divorce from her was over in April and I have custody of our children, she still acts like she’s better than me and belittles me still. She tries to act like the perfect parent and tells our children that I was her problem. She continues to manipulate them. Wish I could remind them of everything she has done but I won’t. Wish I knew what to do there. I tell myself all day everyday that I will heal and be wiser and stronger and find a nice woman even tho I feel discouraged I know it’s incredibly healthy to tell myself to push forward.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I just came across your article. Ive been leaving/returning for 23 years. Where it finally hit me that the next time he raged, someone would be digging me a 6 ft hole in the ground. Its hell. Its sad. 5 kids to answer to makes it a little easier to stand my ground. Ive studied psychopaths and malignant narcissistic disorder along with the traits of cluster B personality disorders. However it wasnt until I truly understood trama bonding that my eyes were opened. Ive been 1,000 miles away from the hated love of my life 10 days now. Some days Im okay. Some feel like my guts are being torn out and my mind is blown. Someday though, some distant morning, Ill be okay. Grieving hurts, we lost something. But we cant go back to the cemetery and dig it back up. We have to let it die. No one truly does understand. I keep it all to myself. Who would believe it anyway.

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  30. Since we had kids together, my ex took me to court every 2 years until my daughter was 19, my son 18. And after that I had to see him when my kids got married, when my granddaughter was born and when my son had surgery and I will most likely have to see him the rest of my life. The abuse was bad, so bad I have never discussed it all with anyone but a therapist. However, I have reached a healthy point where he no longer has any power over me or my emotions. If I can overcome this worst case scenario, I believe anyone can get through it and find themselves again, learn to make decisions again, and best of all rediscover what makes them happy. Sometimes it may feel as though you will never get over it, but you can and you will. You are in there somewhere, focus on finding you again, and everything will be okay. You will come out stronger smarter and happier on the other side, I promise.

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  31. I lived with and loved a narcissist for 18 months and the pieces you pick up after are the size of boulders, they weigh you down but ultimately they do not crush you…love your writing

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  32. Reading these comments make me incredibly sad. I was the child, my Dad was the narcissist, my Mom was the abused. My siblings and I suffered a lot because of our parents turmoil. The constant moving out and moving back in, living with other people. After they divorced, either he watched our house or sent someone to watch us. Needless to say my parents really messed my siblings and myself up. I struggle with knowing what a healthy relationship looks like. I don’t trust. Please, don’t do this to your children. Leave and don’t turn back. Create a healthy and stable environment for them, they deserve it. The day I turned 18 I moved out and never looked back, I knew my Mom was going to move back in with Him.

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  33. Married to one for 30 years, he turns 55 and decides he in unhappy with me and our children. Moves out to think and within 3 weeks I get divorce papers. Now at 53 I am left picking up the pieces, trying to survive day by day. He already told all our friends that we “grew apart” and it was my fault. I am at a loss How do you forget 30 years of memories and go on?

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  34. This brought me to tears. I had a night last night and a day today where I was inexplicably sad and angry, out of nowhere. I spent the subway ride home tonight thinking about how impossible it is to trust now because everything I once believed and trusted wasn’t real. I’m a year out of my marriage to a narc and I seriously wonder if I’ll ever be able to trust again. In my relationship now, I constantly feel like I’m missing signs I should be seeing. It’s exhausting and sad and I don’t want to be like this, but I can’t not be. My ex-husband changed my view of the world. It’s not a safe place anymore, and people can’t be trusted. I hate this new reality.

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  35. This is one of the best summary I have ever read about narcissist aftermath. Thank you for sharing!! I needed it badly. I thought I was only one to dealing with grieve for so long. Though he hit me once in 8 years, but he killed me everyday with his words and humiliation and control over everything. Its been 1 year since I left the relationship but I break every single day. Haven’t dated anyone after him. Struggling everyday to put my life back. There are days when I think maybe it was my fault all along. I don’t knw how to deal with it anymore.
    But your article helped me a lot today. Thank you.

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  36. To kitty holmz and anyone else who prays or hopes for these narcissists to change, or holds onto the belief that one day maybe they will, you need to let go of that. They will NEVER change. Yes, it’s a mental illness (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). Yes, in MOST cases, long-term cognitive behavioral therapy will help those with MOST mental disorders.

    However. The key to being able to change lies within the patient.

    The patient must be able to SEE themselves as the “problem”, and then be WILLING to change.

    Narcs (as we call them) are incapable of seeing themselves as the problem. That IS the problem. They see themselves as perfect, and their disorder drives them to dispute anyone who tries to say otherwise. In a way, their disorder brainwashes them into believing their own hype, and it’s so pervasive that they cannot shake it.

    It’s just how they are wired. Neuro-plasticity aside, they’d have to WANT to change their wiring. But think about it–why would they? With some charm and manipulation and control, they easily get exactly what they want. They can get out of working for it, get out of being punished, get out of any jam they create and they can usually falsely but successfully transfer blame onto someone else. It’s like a magic superpower for them. Would you want to give that up, especially if you hadn’t been programmed to feel compassion?

    Without that compassion for others, coupled with a sick twisted desire, a compulsion, even, to harm others because it brings the Narc intense pleasure in doing so… this is a lethal combination of disorders.

    And the the Narc sees nothing wrong with that, because they are Entitled because They Are Special. They are BETTER than the rest of us losers.

    Seriously. If that was your mindset and it provided you with everything you needed, and you didn’t feel the least bit bad about how you acquired things, would you be easy to convince to change and become like everyone else? (Having feelings, feeling bad about your actions, having to take responsibility for them?)

    IF they manage to get into therapy, and IF a therapist points out that maybe they need to look within, the Narc might ACT humbled and thoughtful (because that’s the role one is supposed to play in therapy in order to look good) and say in the session that they will give it some serious thought.

    Once outside the door, the Narc snorts at the ridiculousness of that idea, and promptly quits therapy, denouncing the therapist as “bad”, “incompetent”, and “can you BELIEVE she dared to suggest that *I* might be the problem? The REAL problem is that she thinks she’s better than me, and degree from Harvard or no degree, she’s incompetent. In fact, I’d bet that’s a fake diploma. She probably went to a community college in Harvard Arkansas or something, she certainly acts like a dumb hick… *I* need to change. (snort) AS IF…”

    The Narc isn’t the problem–everyone ELSE is the problem. Everyone else is to blame for the torment the Narc endures in his or her life. Everyone else is wrong, bad, incompetent, stupid, worthless, and so on. There is nothing wrong with the Narc. And they aren’t the least bit open to change.

    This is why upon discovering that someone who has entered my realm has NPD, I back away. I disconnect. I refuse to engage. Because I know this. I know that NPD is a hopeless disease. It is as terminal as something like ALS, and just as debilitating. They are poison. They cannot be saved, helped, fixed or changed.

    AT ALL.

    No, really. NOT AT ALL. Not even a 1% chance. They are an unfortunate beast.

    The only one who CAN change is you. So, let go of false hope about fixing them so you’ll have a better relationship, and instead, focus on fixing whatever inside of you makes you appealing and vulnerable to this kind of person, and change THAT. Become impervious to them. Become teflon-coated. Become the person the Narcs will steer clear of, because they peg you right away as completely immune to their machinations.

    And then you’ll have healthy relationships, and you’ll have healed.

    (Background: parent with NPD, repetitively attracted partners with NPD, most recently endured 18 months of daily torment from a co-worker who revealed themselves to be a narcissist–not just to me, but to everyone, who thankfully eventually woke up. Currently focusing on healing myself, on being alone, on becoming immune to them.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You just described my life for 5 1/2 years, on again/off again (mostly on) with someone with NPD. On the rare occasion he couldn’t escape fault, it was my fault that he did something wrong. Of course, in time, his memory of it would change and all fault would be transferred to me. His buzz word was BPD – Borderline Personality Disorder. Everyone had it according to him. To prove I had it, he had us read a book on it together. A few chapters in, it had described him, not me. He even said that. He played it off but after that, he was no longer interested in the book. The same with a therapist, joint counseling to show I had problems. After a few sessions, as you said, he began criticizing and ridiculing the therapist outside of the office. HE decided the sessions were going nowhere because the therapist was incompetent. However, he urged me to continue on my own. lol I absolutely agree, they have to see that the problem exists before they’ll even consider fixing it.

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