If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.
My print books can be found at the link below…
If you have been interested in getting the print version of any of my books, now is a good time! My publisher is offering 15% off when using code SPRING15 at checkout until May 7, 2021.
My print books can be found at the link below…
After ending a romantic relationship with a narcissist, they are often quick to get back into dating. They seem to think this makes them look like they weren’t the one with the problem in the relationship. Or, maybe it is an attempt to make the one who left them believe they were the problem in the relationship. After all, in their opinion, if the narcissist was really the problem, how could he or she find someone else so quickly?
What most people don’t know is behind the scenes, the narcissist is acting out of a narcissistic injury. Narcissists seem to think their victims will tolerate their abuse indefinitely without complaint. It’s just assumed that the dysfunctional status quo will continue to be the dysfunctional status quo forever. When a victim finally says enough is enough, & ends the relationship, they are genuinely stunned. I have yet to know of one narcissist who wasn’t stunned when their victim ended the relationship with them, no matter the nature of the relationship.
When a relationship is ended against their will, narcissists seem to think something along the lines of this: “This wasn’t how this was supposed to happen! What is wrong with this person? I’ve been nothing but good to them! After all, I put up with them for so long! I just don’t understand why this person would leave me! It makes no sense! I financially supported them &/or put up with their trivial needs &/or listened to their whining (in other words, confrontations about the abusive behavior. Never mind the narcissist didn’t change it).”
Ending a relationship with a narcissist creates a huge blow to their ego! While any normal person receives a narcissistic injury to some degree when another ends a relationship with them, it is a great deal more devastating to a narcissist.
Also, when this narcissistic injury happens, narcissists don’t respond to it as a normal person would in this situation. A functional person would take time to mourn the loss of the relationship & figure out how to be a better significant other in their next relationship, if they want one. Narcissists instead plot their revenge against the person who broke up with them.
Maybe the narcissist had another relationship on the side, so it looks to those who don’t know about this person that they found someone very quickly. Only the ones closest to the narcissist know the truth in this situation. No narcissist wants to be seen as a cheater, since many people look down on such behavior. However, that won’t stop a narcissist from having a “back up” boyfriend or girlfriend. Even if they don’t expect anyone to break up with them, having another (or several) romantic partner makes them feel more desirable & builds up their ego. Either way, having someone else on the side is a win/win for narcissists.
In this situation, if the narcissist doesn’t have someone else on the side, they may want to get into another serious relationship quickly. They seem to think that if someone falls in love with them, it proves they are good people. They fail to realize that it’s all too easy to fall for the good person act narcissists put on, but in time, there will be times they slip up in their act & let their true colors show.
Other narcissists prefer not to get into a serious relationship, but date a lot of people. Maybe in their mind it proves that they are desirable because they can attract many people. Attracting one person may not be a big deal to them, but attracting many makes a good case in their minds for them being very desirable.
It can be easy for victims who see this to think maybe they really were the problem all along. Maybe they’re not worthy of love. After all, the narcissist has moved on quickly. It must be them.
Nothing could be further from the truth!! If you are or have been in this situation, please know that whatever the narcissist has tried to make you think is wrong. Sure, you’re imperfect. All humans are! But that doesn’t mean you are unlovable or bad or whatever the narcissist said you were. If that person is moving on quickly, that isn’t a good sign! It’s a sign that the person most likely is a narcissist trying to make you look & feel badly. That is no reflection on you! It is, however, a reflection on them.
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Whatever narcissists do, they believe is ok. Yet, if someone else does the same thing, that person can be wrong in the narcissist’s eyes. Narcissists also use that behavior to shame & manipulate their victim. Examples of this are especially clear in a marriage to a narcissist.
When a marriage is rocky, it leaves each person very vulnerable. It can be so easy to compare your spouse unfavorably to that handsome new coworker or that pretty cashier at the store who always smiles. It also can go farther than that. Sometimes a person will look at sexy pictures of other people on social media or even pornography. If this were to happen in a healthy marriage, it would be a warning to both partners that they need to work on their marriage. Not so with narcissists. If they are the one looking, they justify it by insulting their partner. They make sure their partner knows how much more attractive the person they are lusting after is or that if their partner was just better in bed, they wouldn’t have to look elsewhere for satisfaction. If the non-narcissistic partner is the one looking at others, the narcissist will use this to shame their partner so badly, that partner will do anything the narcissist wants. They will make the partner feel as if they have to make it up to them for the pain they have caused, yet nothing will be good enough.
Your narcissistic spouse does activities without you. Most couples don’t share all the same interests, & do things separately periodically. Narcissistic spouses are different. They tell their partner they are doing things & the partner is not welcome to join them. It may even happen often. And somehow, the partner feels guilty for not attending with their narcissistic spouse. If the situation is reversed & the partner wants to do something without the narcissist, the partner is accused of being selfish, heartless, & more. Often, this ruins the event for the partner who feels guilty enough not to attend the event they once looked forward to.
Having secrets is ok for narcissists, but no one else. Narcissists are very secretive. Their cell phones are locked & no one is allowed to touch that phone but the narcissist. If their spouse does the same thing, the spouse is berated, accused of cheating & other things that the spouse is not doing.
Narcissists will wait a long time to tell someone they are married. Everyone gets flirted with sometimes, married or not. Healthy married people may enjoy the flattery, but quickly tell the person flirting that they are married, so thanks but no thanks. Narcissists aren’t that way. They may not tell the person they’re married. They may even have an affair with this person who has no idea that this person is married. Again, narcissists will find some warped way to justify the behavior such as by telling their partner the partner is physically unattractive or boring in bed. If the narcissist’s partner did this same thing, even if the end result wasn’t an affair, the narcissist will rage. There will be no excuse for not telling the flirting person that the partner is married the moment the flirting person said hello, according to the narcissist.
Narcissists may stalk an ex’s social media or even keep in touch with an ex, but their partner isn’t allowed to do the same. A lot of people are a bit curious about an ex. They may check their social media once in a while. Or, they maintain a friendship after the relationship ended. If their partner has a problem with this, they alter their behavior accordingly. Narcissists are different, as usual. They are allowed to stalk their ex either on social media or in real life & allowed to keep in contact with that ex. If their partner is upset by this, the partner is accused of being jealous, insecure & other things. Yet, let that partner simply say hi in passing to an ex who just happens to be at the grocery store at the same time, & the narcissist will be livid.
If your spouse behaves in such ways, you are most likely dealing with a narcissist. These behaviors are NOT healthy & NOT normal! You need to recognize that these behaviors are abusive & protect yourself accordingly! Remember they aren’t personal or true. They are about the narcissist only. Learn & set healthy boundaries. Learn about the Gray Rock method. Most of all pray & let God help you learn what you need to do.
January 12, 2018, I had an odd experience. It was my father’s birthday, the first birthday after his death. I was thinking about that when I felt strongly that he wanted God to send me a message.. “Encourage the weak, like me.” I immediately knew in my heart what that meant.
At that point, it was just over 2 months since my father died, & in that short time, God showed me a great deal about him, including why he didn’t protect me from my mother. One of those things was that he felt trapped in their marriage, unable to escape. I believe that was what he meant by “the weak”, other people who also feel trapped in their situation.
Every January around his birthday, I try to encourage those who are still in relationships with narcissists as a result of that message.
If you’re still in a relationship with the narcissist in your life, I don’t think you’re weak at all. I think my father used that word because he felt weak for not protecting me & wanted me to know others in similar situations also felt weak. I get that, but I still don’t think you’re weak. If you were, I doubt highly that you would have any interest in reading this post or anything else about narcissism.
Maybe you’re forced to stay because of financial reasons. Narcissists abuse in every way, including financially. Many narcissistic parents & partners steal money from their victim, ruin their credit, get them fired from their jobs or even forbid them to work.
Many victims feel a sense of obligation to the narcissist. My ex husband made me feel as if I owed it to him to be with him, even when I was miserable with him. He hardly the only one who has done that to a victim.
Many stay because they mistakenly feel as Christians, it’s dishonoring their parents to go no contact or it’s a sin to divorce an abusive partner. Sadly, many victims are encouraged to think this way either by narcissists & their flying monkeys or by those who don’t understand the Bible very well.
Another possibility is that you can leave, but feel so beaten down, you don’t think you can leave. You don’t trust in yourself to make it on your own without the narcissist telling you what to do, how to think, how to feel, what to wear, & on & on. You don’t think you have any marketable skills to earn a living that could support you & maybe also children.
Staying in a relationship with a narcissist takes a great deal of inner strength. Fighting to keep your sanity in a completely insane situation day after day isn’t easy! It takes a TON of courage & strength.
In spite of what many people say, no contact isn’t an easy solution that fixes all of your problems. If that is your goal, know being prepared for it won’t happen overnight. It takes time to build up the courage to do it, & courage to face the aftermath. The narcissist most likely will create a smear campaign against you & send the flying monkeys. Mentally preparing for all of that takes time, learning all you can about Narcissistic Personality Disorder & boundaries, a great deal of prayer & leaning on God to show you what do to, when to do it & how to do it.
No, Dear Reader.. you aren’t weak. You are strong. The fact that you are looking for solutions to your situation shows you have strength. Know that you will survive this with your sanity & dignity in tact. Until you know what you need to do, always practice the Gray Rock method, keep & enforce healthy boundaries & focus on your healing. You can get through this!!
A common feeling many people experience after narcissistic abuse is grief. It makes sense since there is a great deal to grieve! If the narcissist in question was a parent, you grieve the loss of your childhood, the pain of having a parent who didn’t treat you right or love you, the years wasted trying to please your impossible to please parent, the parent you wish you had & more. If the narcissist was a spouse, there is grief too, because that person married you not out of love, but out of wanting to use & abuse you. There is also time wasted with this person that could have been spent in much better ways. You also may grieve the loss of the person you thought the narcissist was at first. If you passed up a good person to marry the narcissist, there is regret & grief over losing that good person. If you had children together, no doubt there is also a great deal of guilt over giving your children this terrible person as a parent.
Whatever your situation, if you’re grieving after escaping narcissistic abuse, please know you are normal! It’s awful to experience but it’s also very normal. Grief isn’t only something to be experienced after someone dies. It comes after all kinds of losses.
You need to experience & process your grief after narcissistic abuse just as you would after losing someone you love. It is healing to cry & be angry about the unfairness of it all. Ignoring it, pretending it isn’t happening or even shaming yourself as if something is wrong with you for feeling this way isn’t healthy at all!
Rather than do those unhealthy things, why not try accepting your feelings without judgment? They’re not abnormal, they’re not wrong & you aren’t crazy for feeling the way you do. Stop criticizing them. Accept them for what they are- your feelings that are completely valid.
As you accept them, sit with them for a while. Cry or yell if you need to. I know this can be difficult for those of us shamed for having feelings by our narcissistic parent, so if those are too much, then try writing things out. If you don’t have a journal, it may be an excellent time to start one. If you want to be certain no one ever reads it, there are online journals that are private & password protected. I use Penzu’s free version, but there are plenty of others as well if it doesn’t meet your needs.
I’ve also found writing letters to the narcissist very helpful. I wrote out everything I thought & felt about what they did, not censoring myself. The especially important part of this is I never sent the letters. I wrote them to purge myself of the awful things I felt because of the actions of a narcissist, not to tell the narcissist how they made me feel or to try to make them see the errors of their ways. Doing such things is a complete waste of time & energy with a narcissist. In fact, if you do them, chances are you’ll only feel worse after instead of better because the narcissist will try to convince you that you’re oversensitive, overreacting or even crazy. Instead, I’ve found ripping the letters up & throwing them away or burning them to be very helpful.
If you have a safe friend, relative or even counselor, talking about your grief or praying with them can be very helpful as well.
You also need to be aware that grief doesn’t have time limits. You can’t expect to get over the trauma in a set time. In fact, a part of you most likely always will grieve to some degree, just like when someone you love dies. It does get easier in time though. You also learn to rebuild yourself & adapt to your new life without suffering narcissistic abuse. Whatever you choose to do to cope isn’t important. What matters is that you deal with your grief & accept it as a natural part of the healing process.
Not long ago, something crossed my mind. I thought it may help some of you who follow my work.
During my first marriage, I was so dysfunctional I wasn’t sure exactly why it wasn’t a good marriage, but I still knew something was wrong. My ex said it was fine, but I didn’t buy it. I took my vows very seriously so I spent a lot of time reading marriage books & trying to figure out what I could do to fix these problems that I couldn’t identify. It was always my job to fix things in relationships, as is often the case of those who have narcissistic parents. Plus, it seemed logical at the time that if I was the only one who had a problem, I should be the one to deal with the problem.
After my reading & contemplating things, I came up with a solution that I was certain would fix everything. If I could just ignore any of my own identity, needs, wants, opinions & feelings in favor of his, I just knew that would fix everything.
Obviously, this didn’t work. Although I was successful at doing this for a while, even that wasn’t enough. By the time we got a divorce, I felt like an utter failure & carried the guilt & shame of that for quite some time.
I mentioned this to my best friend recently who admitted she had a very similar experience when married to her ex husband.
If you are married to a narcissist, I would love to help prevent you from going through this pain. Please, listen to the voice of experience when I tell you that although it seems like simply giving in to a narcissist in every way is an “easy” way to keep the peace, it’s not.
Losing yourself in this way is a lifetime job, not something you do once & it’s done. When a narcissist sees you are willing to do this, he or she will expect you to do it over & over, every single day of your relationship. It makes you miserable & erodes you into a shell of your former self. As the saying goes, it’s like a death from a thousand cuts.
Narcissists also are like endless voids when it comes to things that provide them with their narcissistic supply. Nothing is going to fill that void. You simply can’t give a narcissist enough supply. Even when you give everything to a narcissist, it isn’t enough. I was basically a robot that my ex could control, & it still wasn’t enough to please him. He still wanted more even though I had nothing left to give, & was angry when I wouldn’t give it. This is typical!
Also, behaving in this manner enables the narcissist to be the abusive monster that he or she is. There are no consequences when someone tolerates abuse, so abusers naturally see no need to stop. In fact, they often step up the abuse because they know they can do anything they like without fear of repercussions. In the end, this will destroy you. It may not physically destroy you, although the stress of living this way certainly has the potential to create an overabundance of health problems, but at the very least it will emotionally destroy you. By the time my ex & I separated, I lost so much of my identity. I had no idea who I was, what I really liked, wanted, felt, or needed. I was well aware though that I carried a great deal of guilt & shame for being entirely at fault for our failed marriage. If I had any doubt, his friends & family were glad to remind me that everything was my fault.
Dear Reader, if you are in this unenviable situation of being married to someone who wants everything from you while giving nothing in return, please don’t give that person everything! It doesn’t help the marriage & only creates problems! Learn from my mistakes & don’t give in. Instead, take good care of yourself. Question everything your spouse says about you & demands of you. Surround yourself with healthy, functional, caring & supportive people. If your spouse has isolated you from friends & family (as abusers do), there are online support forums full of amazing people who can help you. And most of all, stay close to God. Lean on Him, & let Him help you in this painful situation. I wish you all the best!
If you are in a long term relationship or are married to someone & at least one of you has narcissistic parents or family members, there is something you should know. Standing up for your partner to your narcissistic parents is one of the most important things you can do in your relationship.
When a couple makes a commitment to each other, a big part of that commitment is taking care of each other. Part of that involves not tolerating anyone hurting your partner. If you stand up to someone on behalf of your partner, you show your partner that this person’s well being & safety are extremely important to you. You prove that you love that person & will do your best to keep them safe. This is incredibly good for your relationship!
Not tolerating someone hurting your partner also shows the abusive person that you are well aware of their actions, & there are consequences for their behavior. Not doing so only proves to an abuser that they can do anything they want without consequences. This means that they will continue what they have been doing & in time, their behavior will get even worse. And, your partner will be left feeling abandoned & alone, which is potentially relationship ending. No one in a committed relationship should feel that way!
If you struggle with defending your partner to your abusive family members, then please consider a couple of things.
If it is your family that mistreats your partner, this means they are your problem! It is NOT your partner’s job to deal with your family. If your partner confronts your family rather than you, your family will be highly upset. That happens in many families, but especially in narcissistic ones. Chances are they will tell you what a terrible person your partner is, how he or she isn’t good enough to be in your life or other nonsense as a way to deflect your attention from their terrible behavior. If you are the one to confront them, they still may try to deflect & criticize your partner, but there is a better chance of them listening to you than your partner!
Also if anyone in your family mistreats your partner, they have absolutely no love or respect for you. If they had any respect or love for you, they would manage to be civil to your partner no matter how much they disliked this person. If your partner is abusive to you, any children you share or your family, that is a different scenario. They should civilly address their concerns with you, be loyal to you & care more about your safety than civility. However, if the reason they dislike your partner is because of simple differences in personality, your family should manage basic civility at the very least to this person out of love for you. When you love someone, it’s not that hard to be polite to someone they care about even if you can’t stand that person. I have done it & while it can be hard to be polite to someone you really dislike, reminding yourself of the person you care about can make this much easier.
Dear Reader, if you are in this position of having someone in your family mistreat or even abuse someone you love, then please consider what I have said. Protect your loved one! It will protect their mental & physical safety but also help your relationship! In fact, protecting your loved one will increase the bond you both share.
Often, two people who were raised by narcissistic parents marry each other when they grow up. Ideally, they understand each other’s past, offer support & help each other cope if their parents are still a part of their lives. Sadly though, this isn’t always the case.
Sometimes when two adult children of narcissistic parents marry, they learn each person is on a very different page. One is trying to be healthy while the other remains in denial of just how toxic his or her parents are. This is hardly an easy position to be in for either person.
If you are in this painful situation, I hope this post can help you today!
To start with, you need to pray. Ask God for any help you need to cope with the situation, whether it be patience, understanding, wisdom or anything. Prayer is always the best place to start in any difficult situation, & situations don’t get much more difficult than this one!
Next, you need to accept that you & your partner are in a different place. Your spouse may never see the truth about their parents. They also may never see the truth about yours, for that matter. You can’t change this, so you need to accept that painful truth.
You also need to accept that you can’t change your partner. As much as you’d like to, you can’t make him or her see the truth. We all have to face the truth as we are able. Forcing someone to see the truth before they’re ready isn’t good for their mental health.
You may need to stop discussing anything about your parents with each other to avoid conflict. I know this is incredibly frustrating because you should be able to discuss any topic with your spouse. In an ideal world, that is how things are. Unfortunately though, when dealing with two fallible human beings, that isn’t always feasible. If discussing anything about parents causes strife, it may be best to find someone else with which to discuss the problems. A close friend or relative, your pastor or even a counselor may be a much better option for you.
If you have issues with your spouse’s narcissistic parent, unfortunately, you can’t expect support from your spouse if he or she doesn’t see that parent is narcissistic. Don’t expect it from him or her. I realize this goes against what is natural & is very painful & hard to accept, but you need to do it anyway. Accepting this painful truth is hard, but it is easier than to be disappointed in your spouse repeatedly.
You also will need to find ways to deal with your narcissistic in-laws on your own, & chances are slim your spouse will approve of how you deal with them. This is tricky. There is no way to avoid your spouse’s anger in this situation. The best you can do is to remain calm when dealing with your awful in-laws & your spouse. Also be logical when your spouse gets angry. If he or she says you’re hurting the narcissistic parent, for example, you can say that parent has hurt you too. Why was that acceptable behavior but you setting a reasonable boundary to protect yourself wasn’t?
Never forget to take care of yourself & your mental health. A spouse in denial can be very good at making the healthier spouse feel as if they are wrong, over sensitive or even crazy. Don’t buy into this gaslighting! You are doing what is right by facing the truth about your narcissistic parents & in-laws. Don’t let anyone, including your spouse, convince you otherwise!
Ending a romantic relationship with a narcissist is tough. Months or years of the constant gaslighting & abuse destroy a person’s self esteem while somehow leaving victims to feel as if they should appreciate the narcissist settling for loving them. By the time a person ends such a relationship, their thinking is damaged, but they do realize that the narcissist was abusive. At the same time, there is often a lot of guilt & doubt involved for ending the relationship. I experienced it myself for quite some time after divorcing my ex husband.
After the relationship has ended though, you will feel so much better. Time & distance from a narcissist give a person clarity & make room for healing to take place. You may be wondering what signs you can look for that you have moved on from your narcissistic ex, & this post will explain some of them.
If your narcissistic ex tries to contact you, you have no desire to respond. Narcissists are known for attempting to “hoover” their victims, in other words, lure them back into the dysfunctional relationship. If you cringe when you see your ex’s phone number or email address rather than get excited, this is a big sign you have moved on. And, if your ex reaches out to you constantly to the point of harassment, be sure you document everything. Harassment & stalking laws are changing, & you may need that documentation if you have to get the law involved.
Having no desire to know what is happening in your ex’s life is another sign you’ve moved on. It can be common when a couple first breaks up for at least one person in the relationship to want to know what the other is up to. They may discreetly check out their social media or ask mutual friends about them. Losing the desire to do these things shows you’re over that ex.
Another sign of moving on is when you no longer compare yourself to anyone that person is dating or has dated. Narcissists love to compare their victims to others they deem more attractive, smarter, etc. Being romantically involved with someone who does this, it can make you feel as if you have to not only measure up to their other romantic partners, but be much better than them. Losing that baggage is incredibly freeing!
Their opinion of you means nothing to you anymore. While it’s normal to some degree to want an ex to think you’re doing well without them, it can be easy to fall into the trap of wanting your narcissistic ex to think you’re doing a thousand times better without them. When you stop thinking that way & couldn’t care less what he or she thinks of you, you have moved on.
Severing ties with toxic people is another sign you’ve moved on from a narcissistic ex. After dealing with someone so toxic in such a close relationship, it’s easy to become tolerant of toxic people. Deleting them from your life is a very healthy move in any case, but if it’s done after breaking up with a narcissist, it’s also a sign that you have moved on.
Gaining self confidence is another sign of moving on. Narcissists do their best to obliterate their victim’s self esteem. They even destroy their victims’ ability to trust their instincts, feelings & perceptions through gaslighting. Learning to trust such things takes time, & is a big sign you have moved on.
When you end a relationship with a narcissist, you may feel like you’ll never get better, but you absolutely will! Be patient with yourself & don’t try to rush your healing. As time passes, you’ll notices these things happening, & they can reassure you that you are going to be just fine.
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The term sexual narcissist describes a narcissist who thinks they are incredibly gifted in the area of sex. This attitude makes them feel entitled to anything they want in that area, no matter the pain & suffering it may cause their partner. So long as the sexual narcissist gets what he or she wants, that is all that matters.
There are some signs that show you if you’re involved with such a person. Some people are guilty of such behaviors from time to time, but when the behaviors are a constant, that is a big red flag that your partner is a sexual narcissist.
In the beginning, the narcissist is extremely attentive, flirtatious, & complementary. Granted, this is sort of the norm in any relationship. However, narcissists take it to an extreme, leaving a victim swept off their feet. They also stop this behavior suddenly & with no explanation, leaving their victim confused & willing to do anything to regain the narcissist’s attention. This makes the victim easier to control, which is why they behave in such a manner.
Once the newness wears off, the victim’s sole purpose is to please the narcissist. As a narcissist becomes comfortable in the relationship, their focus changes from being this perfect partner to “What can I get from my victim?” Any degrading or deviant fantasy the narcissist has is demanded of the victim. Nothing is off limits, even if it causes the victim physical or emotional suffering. When the victim protests, the narcissist shames the victim for being a prude, immature or not loving the narcissist. Sometimes they get violent & force their victim into doing what they want, & other times they use manipulation & shaming to get it.
The victim is not allowed to have needs or wants. At this point, the narcissist’s mask is off. The victim knows that he or she is there to please the narcissist. The victim also is learning that his or her own needs & wants mean nothing to the narcissist. In fact, victims are often ridiculed for having their own wants & needs. Sexual narcissists think of their victims as inhuman, without needs or wants. How can a thing, an inanimate object have needs or wants? It’s ridiculous. All that matters is the narcissist’s needs & wants. The victim’s are at best shrugged off, at worst mocked.
Narcissists are more focused on their performance than their partner. Since narcissists are so deathly afraid of criticism, they focus on avoiding it at all costs. This behavior extends to the bedroom. They often even focus more on how they’re performing than their partner.
Many sexual narcissists engage in extremely unhealthy sexual behavior, such as pornography or infidelity. Your average person realizes there are unhealthy sexual activities, & avoids doing them. They also realize they can enjoy sex with their mate in many ways without going near any of those unhealthy boundaries. Narcissists however are different. Nothing they want is wrong or unhealthy in their minds. If someone is hurt or offended by their actions, clearly that person has a problem, not the narcissist.
If you’re involved with a sexual narcissist, the best advice I can give you is RUN! They’re dangerous to your emotional health. If you do as they want, your self esteem will be obliterated because of the degrading things the narcissist forced you to do. If you refuse, they will destroy your self esteem by making you feel like the most awful, unreasonable & ugly person in the world for not being a willing victim to their depraved ways. They’re also dangerous to your physical health. They frequently get sexually transmitted diseases from their cheating ways & infect their partners.
Rather than deal with such dreadful outcomes, if at all possible get away from this person! Protect your physical & emotional health!
Many people hear the term “soulmate” & assume it means someone romantically connected perfectly to another person. This couple is assumed to be perfectly compatible in every way – comparable intellectually & sexually, sharing the same perspectives, feelings, likes & dislikes, & always agreeing with each other. The perfect fairy tale love, in other words. It also is a common belief that people have only one soulmate in their lifetime.
I don’t believe that this definition of soulmates is accurate at all. I believe it’s actually better & more varied.
For one thing, I believe there are different types of soulmates, & they aren’t always romantic. My best friend is my soulmate. My husband sometimes finds it hard to believe just how much she & I have in common. My husband is also my soulmate. Both relationships are very different & neither relationship is perfect.
My husband & my best friend share much in common with me. We all think remarkably similarly & share similar views on all kinds of things. All of us are Christians. We all grew up in similarly abusive, dysfunctional environments. Yet at the same time, we’re all very unique individuals. Each of us works in a very different line of work. My husband is pretty interested in politics while my best friend & I have no interest in politics. I love to crochet & knit while my husband & best friend have zero interest in either. My best friend has no interest in cars while my husband & I both are pretty car obsessed, in particular with old classics.
While I consider my husband & best friend to be my soul mates, you can see obviously we aren’t perfect fits for each other. Sometimes we even disagree with each other. The cool part is that it’s totally fine! We all respect each other’s differences. We’re also willing to learn about the things that interest each other. And, although we don’t always agree about everything, we have enough respect for each other to be perfectly fine with that. We don’t have to agree about every single thing.
They both bring a great deal to my life, & I hope I return the favor to them. They challenge me to be a better person. There is no doubt that both are committed to the relationship with me. I know if we have an argument, neither will abandon me.
The reason I’m mentioning soulmates is because many narcissists will try to convince their romantic partner that they are the partner’s perfect soulmate. No one could be as good for them as the narcissist, or love them as the narcissist does, at least according to the narcissist. In fact, my narcissistic ex husband once told me that no one would ever love me like he did. To his credit, he was right – no one else has “loved” me as he did & that is a fact for which I am VERY grateful! They also want their partner to think no one could understand them as well as the narcissist does, which is partly why they are the perfect soulmate to the partner.
If a romantic partner ever claims to be your soulmate, I want to encourage you to consider this person very well. Does he or she show narcissistic tendencies? Did this person mention the topic of being your soulmate early in the relationship? When this person mentions the soulmate topic, does he or she only talk about how good they are for you, not that you’re also good for them? Does this person use the phrase my ex used, that no one would love you like he or she loves you? If so, these are some serious narcissistic red flags! I would strongly encourage you to end the relationship! Functional people don’t feel the need to convince their partner of their greatness for the partner. My husband & best friend have never done this. In fact, both tell me I’m good for them & that they appreciate me.
Functional people also don’t try to make a relationship very serious too early. They realize it takes time to get to know each other enough to decide if this relationship has the potential to be serious. Talking about being soulmates or discussing marriage early in the relationship isn’t normal! My ex husband proposed to me only a bit under 3 months after we met.
Just remember, Dear Reader, that although it’s flattering if someone claims to be your soulmate, that also can be a red flag. It can be the warning sign of a narcissist.
Some time back, I was watching an episode of a true crime show on tv. The show is called “Evil Lives Here” & is about people who lived with someone who did terrible things, like being serial killers. This particular episode was about the Truck Stop Killer, Robert Rhoades. His ex wife was interviewed. She told the story of how they first met & about what it was like to be married to him.
Normally stories like these are disturbing yet fascinating, but I found this one especially disturbing. So many of Mr. Rhoades’ behaviors reminded me of my ex husband. The way he manipulated & shamed her was exactly the same as what my ex did. Even the words he said to her were the same as my ex said to me. Their behaviors were so similar that it really shook me up for quite some time. I didn’t even tell anyone for a while, because I was trying to process it all.
I didn’t plan on blogging about it, but recently I thought it might be a good idea. If these two abusive men used the same behavior, no doubt others do as well. These behaviors are also not really discussed openly. Most people know of the obvious abusive behaviors like hitting.
One behavior my ex & Mr. Rhoades shared was having extremely definite opinions on how they wanted their wives to look. I would guess most married folks like to see their spouses looking a certain way more than others, but both of these men took it to an extreme. My ex would make me feel as if what he wanted was the only thing looked good on me. What I liked didn’t matter. Mr. Rhoades took the behavior further. He did that plus laid out clothing for his wife to wear. I remember his ex wife saying he would lay out clothing on the bed & tell her to wear that specific outfit because they were going out. He wouldn’t tell her where they were going. While that could be a nice surprise, his wasn’t. One evening, his “surprise” was he took her to a swinger’s club.
That brings me to the main similarity these two men shared. Sexual preferences. Deviant sexual behavior like they shared is a red flag in a romantic relationship, but that red flag turns into more of a giant flashing neon billboard when they demand it from their spouse even knowing she objects strongly to it. Both my ex & Mr. Rhoades used the same tactic in order to get what they wanted – shaming. Both said comments like, “Any other woman would be glad to do this for me.” “Every other woman in the world does this!” “You’re so immature/prudish/boring in bed!” “You should be glad I want to involve you in this instead of just going behind your back to do it!”
When someone wants something so badly that they will shame someone else for not being willing to participate, that is abuse. Someone is putting their selfish desires ahead of their spouse’s, even though they know what they want will cause the person great physical or emotional pain. This shows a total lack of empathy, because no one who truly loves their spouse would want to hurt them or not even care that they are hurting them.
If someone you are romantically involved with behaves in these manners, they are definite warning signs of narcissism. If at all possible, get away from this person as soon as humanly possible! You need to protect yourself!
If you are unable to get away, start quietly planning to do so. If people like this change, it almost never is for the better. I’m sure Robert Rhoades’ ex wife would agree. So take care of yourself. Protect yourself from further abuse. You don’t deserve to be treated this way! xoxo
After ending a relationship with a narcissist, the narcissist will NOT take it well. No one likes rejection, of course, but narcissists take that dislike to an entirely new level. Many have been known to stalk & harass their victims to punish them for rejecting the narcissist. Most however, do something known as hoovering. Hoovering is when a narcissist tries to lure a victim back in to the relationship. It is yet another very good reason to have nothing to do with the narcissist once you end the relationship.
Narcissists have many ways they try to hoover in their victims. All are sneaky & confusing for a victim unless the victim is aware of what the narcissist is up to.
Often, they will have their flying monkeys talk to you. They will explain how sorry the narcissist is & how miserable life is without you. When I broke my engagement to my now ex husband, several people told me I should get back with him because he was miserable without me. No one cared how I was without him, only about him. The guilt I felt was intense, which obviously was the goal since it made me return to him.
The narcissist may “accidentally” run into you at the coffee shop or grocery store, & use this supposed chance meeting to tell you how much they miss you as an attempt to hoover you back.
Narcissists may use special days to their advantage, such as sending you a lovely card & gift on your birthday, or reminding you that today would have been your anniversary. This is to make sure you think of them favorably & give them an excuse to talk to you
Narcissists aren’t above using a crisis to their advantage either. If you have had a serious problem & the narcissist learns of it, he or she may try to contact you claiming to be concerned about you. Or, if the narcissist has had a crisis, he or she may let you know, saying they thought you would want to know. These are only about getting their foot in the door.
Items also can give a narcissist an excuse to contact a victim after the relationship is over. They may ask if you have some item of theirs, even knowing you don’t have it. It’s merely an excuse to reach out to you.
Sometimes narcissists may use technology to hoover. They may text you, claiming it was for someone else, then try to start a conversation. They may call you, asking if you called them, then when they say they look at their phone, they mistook your number for someone else’s, but since you’re talking, how are you? Some will even send a message, then ignore your response.
If they can open the door of communication in any way, they absolutely will do it. Doing so probably means they will tell you how miserable they are without you & how much they have changed.
When things like this happen, don’t be foolish as I was with my ex! Be aware of what is happening. They are only trying to hoover you back for their own benefit, not because they love you. Remind yourself that they don’t miss you, per se. They miss how you made them feel. They miss how they could control & manipulate you.
Never forget that the primary interest of any narcissist is that narcissist. No one else really matters to them. This means they only want you back because you can benefit them in some way.
Remember the tactics & why the narcissist is doing these things. These things are done only to manipulate you back into the relationship so the narcissist can abuse you further.
I came across this really interesting article about what a mother in-law wants in her daughter in-law. My curiosity was piqued, so I read it. It got me to thinking just how different a narcissistic mother in-law is from a functional one. I thought I’d do a side by side comparison of the two based on the article in case anyone reading this is wondering if their mother in-law is a narcissist.
As you can see, there are many differences between healthy, functional mothers in-law & narcissistic ones. I hope you aren’t dealing with the narcissistic variety because they are incredibly difficult to deal with at best!
I recently caught an episode of the true crime show “Evil Lives Here” on the ID channel. The episode was an interview with Debra, the ex wife of The Truck Stop Killer, Robert Rhoades. He is suspected of raping & murdering over 50 women from the mid 1970’s to 1990.
His ex wife mentioned how he was very particular about how she dressed & would tell her what to wear. She told the story of how one night he told her to wear a particularly sexy outfit so they could go to dinner. He failed to mention it was at a swinger’s club. He continually pushed the swinging issue even though from that night at the club she told him that wasn’t an option. He told her she was immature & “No other woman would feel this way” about it.
Her story horrified me because that is almost exactly how things were with my ex husband. He wanted me to look & dress a certain way. He also wanted me to participate in some sexual activities that I refused to do, then told me that “no other woman would feel that way about these things.” I also remembered how at the time of our separation, he was becoming quite fascinated with weapons & there were signs he had a real potential for violence. This made me thank God for getting me away from him safely!
This also made me think of the signs that a romantic partner is dangerous that he displayed. No doubt other narcissists display those same signs, so I thought I would share some of them today.
In the beginning, things are good, then suddenly they aren’t. In or out of the bedroom, the person you’re involved with wants to please you. Then suddenly, they lose interest in working so hard to please you. No explanation or evidence of why, they simply stop.
When the narcissist stops wanting to please you, & you ask what changed, they act like (or say) you’re imagining things or you’re crazy. They claim they haven’t changed, so since you think they have, obviously something is wrong with you. This obviously makes you very confused & willing to do what you can to please them so hopefully they’ll want to be that great person they were at first.
The narcissist wants you to look a certain way when you have sex. Many people want their partners to wear sexy lingerie, which naturally isn’t terribly uncommon. What is uncommon is how some narcissists pretty much demand it.
The more time progresses, the more unusual the sexual proclivities of the narcissist become. At first, the sex is pretty normal. Nothing really kinky. Then little by little, they try introducing new & more deviant things. The desire to have sex more often happens as they become more interested in these more deviant behaviors.
When you refuse to participate in the desired activities, the narcissist shames you. As I mentioned earlier, my ex would tell me that no other woman in the world would feel about doing what he wanted to do as I did. They also may call you immature, oversensitive, close minded & more.
If the activity causes you physical pain or risks your health, the narcissist won’t care. Since all that matters to a narcissist is what they want, if their desire causes you physical pain or puts your health at risk, that won’t matter.
No is never an option. If you’re sick, tired or simply not in the mood, that won’t be important to a narcissist. They want what they want, when they want it, & nothing else matters. I remember my ex punching walls when I was sick & told him I wasn’t in the mood.
Forcing sex isn’t too low for a narcissist. After all, what narcissists want is all that matters to them, so they have no trouble using physical force, manipulation or guilt to get whatever they want.
If your partner exhibits such behaviors, these are big red flags! Please protect yourself & get away from this person as soon as you possibly can! You deserve to be treated better than this & to be safe!
People often think it’s necessary to have some sort of closure at the end of a relationship, & it’s impossible to move on without it. Sometimes, however, closure isn’t a possibility. When it comes to narcissists, that is absolutely the case.
When an average relationship ends, it comes after two people have tried to work out their differences yet were unable to do so. They agree that the best solution is separation. Maybe some harsh words are said & the people decide to move on, each in their own direction. Each person also grieves, but in time, they do move on.
When a relationship with a narcissist ends, none of this happens. Narcissists see this as a rejection & narcissists’ simply can’t handle rejection in any form, ever. It’s a narcissistic injury. In other words, it is a direct blow to their self esteem. Rather than risk feeling not good enough or people finding out someone thinks the narcissist isn’t good enough, narcissists rage. The rage may be either a physical or verbal attack on the person ending the relationship, creating a smear campaign to discredit anything their victim says, recruiting flying monkeys to attack the victim, harassment & stalking or they simply pretend the victim never existed & meant nothing to them.
However the narcissist handles the relationship ending, it leaves no opportunity for real closure for the victim. The reason being the victim is too busy trying to process the trauma from the narcissist, survive the pain of people the victim thought cared turning on them, dodge the flying monkeys’ attacks, finding ways to protect him or herself from the narcissist’s harassment or stalking or processing the pain of the narcissist moving on as if the victim never existed. Such situations prohibit victims from being able to get closure in the traditional way.
None of this means that a victim can’t have closure after ending a relationship with a narcissist, however. It just has to come in different ways.
One way to help get closure is to accept the fact you won’t get it in the normal ways, & there is nothing you can do about that. Narcissists are far from normal people, so why would getting closure after ending the relationship with one be normal?
Another helpful thing you can do is accept the fact that the relationship meant nothing to the narcissist beyond what you could do for him or her. There was absolutely nothing you could have done to make that relationship healthy or loving, & that is NOT your fault! The blame for that lies on the narcissist.
It’s also common for people to beat themselves up after ending a relationship with a narcissist. Whether the narcissist was a spouse or parent, people often get angry with themselves for tolerating the abuse for too long or making excuses for it. That is nothing to be ashamed of! Any normal person wants to believe the person they love is a good person, which makes it hard to believe otherwise. Plus, narcissists are excellent manipulators. By being good sometimes, it thoroughly confuses victims. It makes them want to think the bad times aren’t the norm, that the good times are. This is known as Stockholm Syndrome or trauma bonding.
Since narcissists are so good at manipulation, that is why even some people close to you go to the side of the narcissist. If someone has their own issues, they may blindly fall for the narcissist’s manipulations. Someone abused as a child yet not facing their pain may side with your narcissistic parent because siding with you reminds them of their own pain & issues they fail to face. Or, they may be cowardly & see siding with the narcissist as the easiest path. The narcissist may benefit them somehow & not being on his or her side would mean losing that benefit. People like these are easy for narcissists to manipulate.
Lastly, as always I recommend praying. Ask God to help you. He will show you what you need to do as well as help you to heal. He will do so gladly, so why not let Him?
Closure with narcissists is difficult, but it is possible. It just isn’t what most people think of when they hear the word “closure.”
Many of us who grew up with at least one narcissistic parent ended up as adults, romantically involved with another narcissist. Unfortunately, it is very common. I did it myself. My mother was a very overt narcissist, my father a covert narcissist & my ex husband a very covert narcissist. Since he acted so differently than her, I honestly believed he was ok, even good for me at first. It took some time after our divorce when I learned about Narcissistic Personality Disorder before I learned about covert narcissism vs. overt. When I did is when things finally clicked, & I realized how bad he was for me.
If you too have thought the faulty way that I have, you are not alone! Below are some ways you can tell if your significant other is a narcissist. I am writing this from the perspective of a woman with a narcissistic male partner simply because that is what my situation was, but the information fits no matter who is male or female in the relationship.
It’s his way or the highway. Narcissists simply must have their way, always, period, end of story. If your mate pouts, uses guilt or anger to make sure he gets his way, this is a red flag.
If he acts like he is the one who knows what is best for both of you, this is another big red flag. My ex husband was convinced he knew what was best for us. The truth is, he knew what was best for *him, not *us.
Every conversation comes back to him. Looking back at my first marriage, it astounds me how every conversation came back to him. When my mother abused me when we were in high school, rather than him caring how it affected me, he talked about how hard it was on him. When he lost yet another job, it was all about his panic rather than what we could do to survive.
Manipulation is a constant. Overt narcissists are obvious in their abuse. They use threats of physical violence or yell & belittle to get their way. Covert narcissists are much more subtle, using guilt, shaming & gaslighting to get their way.
Are you always to blame? Another sign of a narcissistic mate is when you are to blame for everything. He lost his job? That is your fault, even though you were never there. His car broke down? Also your fault, in spite of the fact you have not driven the car since 2007. Why? His reasons will be creative & highly inaccurate.
Does he think way too highly of himself? Regarding my ex husband, my granddad said to me, “It’s a shame he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was.” He was right. My ex was convinced he was much smarter than pretty much anyone else on the planet, but especially me. He also seemed to think he was doing me a favor by being with me.
Does he lack empathy? A hallmark of all narcissists, overt or covert is that they lack empathy. If anything hurts another person, a narcissist cannot understand it. They also lack the ability to see things from another person’s perspective. Emotions & different perspectives are well beyond something they can understand.
Feeling like you can’t be good enough for him is another red flag. No matter what I did or how hard I tried, I always knew it was never enough for my ex. He made me feel ashamed for my shortcomings, too. This is very typical of narcissistic partners.
Emotional abuse is the norm. You are accustomed to him making you feel not good enough, stupid, ugly, etc. You also make excuses for it, blame yourself & justify what he said.
He isolates you. Ok, maybe he does not hold you hostage in the basement, but he does say negative things about your friends & family, which leads you to sever ties with people you were once close to. My ex pressured me from very early on to sever ties with my mother, then later my grandparents, & even my best friend. He used subtle means, too such as, “She isn’t a good friend to you since she doesn’t call more often…”
If your significant other is doing at least some of these things, then please, Dear Reader, be careful with this person. Chances are excellent that you are dealing with a narcissist. I urge you to pray about your situation, & ask God to help you. Reconnect with those with whom you severed ties. Talk to safe people. Ask for help as needed. You can survive this situation!
Most people who hear of someone being abused think of someone weak. A small child, an adult with low or no self esteem who isn’t very intelligent or even mentally or emotionally stunted. Maybe someone who has a very gentle nature, lacking the strength & courage to stand up to an abusive person or thinks that tolerating abuse is the Godly thing to do.
While it’s certainly true that people like this are sought out by abusers, they aren’t the only ones. Highly intelligent, strong & confident people are also sought out by abusers.
Have you ever heard a story about a wealthy person being charmed by someone who stole most if not all of that person’s money? Or, maybe a strong person ended up abused, & turned into an empty shell of their former self not long after marrying their abuser. That person isn’t someone you would consider weak, but even so, they clearly were abused.
The natural response most people have is to wonder how this sort of thing happened? They think that person was too smart or too strong to be in this situation, & it doesn’t make sense. Their opinion of that person often drops because they feel that person must have been weak or stupid, in spite of how they appeared to be.
Such thinking couldn’t be further from the truth!
Abusers are often like prey hunting animals. Sure, they’ll hunt the wounded, young & easy prey sometimes. It’s there & they need a meal/victim so why pass that up?! But, that doesn’t mean they have an aversion to the more challenging prey. If a lion is hungry enough, he’ll hunt that healthy & strong antelope even though getting that antelope is a lot of work.
The same thing goes for narcissists. They don’t have an aversion to abusing a victim that is more of a challenge. In fact, they enjoy it. Easy victims are good, but conquering someone who is strong, confident & successful is big time narcissistic supply. That challenge makes them feel very powerful. It makes sense in its own dysfunctional way. It shows the abuser they are able to destroy the un-destroyable. They must be powerful to accomplish that, right?!
If you are someone who has suffered abuse, that doesn’t mean you are weak. It means the person is an abuser, & often abusers seek out a challenging victim. If you were sought out, that means there is something about you that appealed to the abuser. Your strength, success, intelligence, kindness, faith… whatever it was, it was a good thing to make such a horrible person want to destroy you.
And, if you know someone who has been abused, this also applies to them. That person must possess some very good qualities if that awful person worked so hard to destroy them. That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the victim. Quite the opposite – there is something very right with that person!
Leaving a relationship with a narcissist is so hard! Whether the narcissist is a love interest or family member, it’s always hard. They can make you feel obligated to them as if you owe them something, like no one else would “put up with you”, & you’ll lose everyone you love if you end this relationship. It takes a lot of strength & courage to end a relationship under those circumstances.
It’s hard to end any relationship. It’s sad eliminating a person from your life that you once cared a great deal about. If that person is a family member, it’s even harder simply because that person is family. Family is supposed to be full of people who love & support each other. It’s hard to wrap your mind around the fact someone in that role in your life isn’t that way at all, but is an abusive monster.
There is also the fact that narcissists make their victims feel like they’ll never find anyone to love them. My ex husband told me once, that I’d never find anyone who loved me like he did. At the time, it was terrifying! I was sure I’d be alone forever. The more years we have been separated though, the more I realized he was right. No one else has so called “loved” me like him & I thank God for that!
There also is the problem of flying monkeys. Whether the narcissist in your life is a relative or romantic partner, chances are excellent that this person has some devoted flying monkeys who think she can do no wrong, & you know they will attack you if you are “mean” enough to abandon their precious narcissist. That can be pretty intimidating, especially when you’re already beaten down by the narcissist.
While these can be upsetting scenarios, it’s still best to abandon the relationship with the narcissist in your life. You will NOT regret it! I have not once heard anyone in this type of situation say they wish they had stayed in the abusive relationship. Not once! In my experience, I have absolutely no regrets either.
When you do end the relationship, you are going to love your new freedom & realize it was worth it.
Suddenly, you will feel as if a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. No longer do you have to seriously consider every word you say for fear of upsetting this person. You no longer have to worry about how you style your hair or how you dress being a reason for this person to put you down. You can do whatever you want, have your own opinions, listen to whatever music you like & even eat whatever food you want without the fear of being mocked. It’s so freeing!
When stuck in a relationship with a narcissist, it is hard to see just how bad things are. You’re so busy trying to survive, that takes up all your thoughts. It doesn’t cross your mind that things are really bad. Once you leave it though, your thinking will be much clearer without the narcissist taking up so much of your thoughts. You’re also going to see exactly how bad the situation was, & be incredibly grateful you left it.
If you’re considering ending your relationship with a narcissist, but are afraid, I want to encourage you today. You can do this & you won’t regret it! Ask God to give you strength. Talk to your supportive friends or a counselor & let them encourage you. Look at your past successes, all the times you dealt with the narcissist in your life or her flying monkeys & they didn’t get their way. You can do this, Dear Reader! You really can! And when you do, you are going to be incredibly grateful you did it!
When a relationship ends, the average person is sad for some time. They may fondly remember special times with the other person or great conversations. They miss such things, but in time, they’re ok. They move on & get involved in other relationships. This is a healthy way to cope, because it allows a person to heal.
Nothing like this happens with narcissists.
Narcissists are incapable of truly loving. Because of this, a relationship that has ended doesn’t affect them in the same way as it affects your average person.. They don’t miss the person they love, but instead, they miss their favorite source of narcissistic supply. This is why they act differently than functional people when a relationship ends. Narcissistic supply is like a drug to them. When a relationship ends, they’re losing their “fix”, if you will. That isn’t an easy thing for any addict to handle.
To start with, narcissists don’t usually understand why someone ends a relationship with them. To understand, they would need at least some empathy, which most people know is something that all narcissists lack. They don’t understand why their ex would object to them cheating, why that former friend complained that they took advantage of their good nature, or why their adult child was hurt when they cut their child out of the will for simply telling the parent, “no.” Narcissists are incapable of grasping such concepts. In their minds, they’re entitled to whatever they want. Besides, the behavior didn’t hurt them, so it isn’t important to them. If it had hurt them, they’d change their behavior at the speed of sound. Since it didn’t though, they are left baffled why their partner, friend or child ended the relationship. What the other person wanted or felt wasn’t so much as a blip on their radar. All that matters to a narcissist is what they want, which usually boils down to their precious narcissistic supply. Since the wants of the narcissist & victim are vastly different & the victim’s are not even considered by the narcissist, usually the end of a relationship catches them by surprise. Their victims often warn them for months or even years in advance that they won’t tolerate the abuse forever, yet still, narcissists are shocked when someone ends a relationship with them.
Narcissists also don’t like rejection. No one does, of course, but narcissists are infuriated by it. Rejection is a narcissistic injury. It makes them feel badly about themselves, so the person who rejected them must pay for making them feel that way. Rather than walk away from the failed relationship with some semblance of dignity, most narcissists opt for revenge. Overt narcissists often harass & stalk their victim, & get their flying monkeys in on the process as well. They also will unleash a very impressive smear campaign, lying about the victim being the cause for the failure of the relationship because of being selfish, crazy, controlling & even abusive. This often isolates the victim from friends & even family who believe the lies. Covert narcissists are much less likely to harass & stalk their victim, since they prefer to look like a good person, but some will or have their flying monkeys do their dirty work for them. They also don’t have any trouble creating a smear campaign, but it is much different than their overt counterparts. Rather than say outright their victim is crazy & abusive, they phrase their smear campaign in a way so as not to sound critical, but concerned instead. They may say something along the lines of, “I’m not surprised my ex left me. She got so mean when she took drugs. She just wasn’t herself. I hope she’ll be ok…” See how this smear is? It makes the person saying these things sound concerned & as if he isn’t trying to destroy the reputation of his ex girlfriend. People will believe this type of smear campaign very easily, even if they know the ex in question & know she never took drugs.
There is also the likelihood of the narcissist trying to “hoover” the victim back into the relationship. When this happens, the narcissist may do their best to make the victim believe they have changed. They may make promises that they have no intention of keeping such as they won’t do whatever the victim complained about anymore. Some other empty promises are if the victim would only take the narcissist back, he or she will be faithful, they’ll be less selfish, they’ll think more of their victim’s needs. The narcissist also may shower the victim with expensive gifts or love letters. They may send their flying monkeys to tell the victim how miserable they are without the victim, & how desperately they want to resume the relationship. This is a tough one, I know. When I first broke up with my now ex husband, it seemed like everyone we knew was telling me how sad he was, how miserable he was, how much he missed me & how I really should get back together with him. I felt so incredibly guilty at that time that I agreed not only to return to him but to marry him after only a short time apart.
Sometimes, narcissists fall into depression after a relationship ends, too. They have no coping skills & aren’t fully aware of their emotions, plus they just lost their narcissistic supply. It’s normal they wouldn’t handle any break up well when you consider these facts. This can be so hard for the person who ended the relationship. When people tell you how sad this person is or he says he doesn’t want to live without you, it can be incredibly hard to take. It can make you feel incredibly guilty & responsible, which is truly unfair.
If you experience these things after ending a relationship with a narcissist, I urge you to remember that the narcissist is acting this way not out of a genuine & healthy love for you, but because he or she is a narcissist. They are incredibly dysfunctional people. You stick to no contact, & remind yourself often exactly why you came to that decision. Write things down if it helps, since writing can be an incredibly useful tool. Also remember that person’s emotions aren’t your responsibility. Don’t forget to document everything in case you need to involve the law at some point. Even if you don’t, the documentation will help you a great deal to remember why you’re no contact. It’ll also help you to see the way this person tries to manipulate you. And, if the narcissist creates a smear campaign against you, never, ever react to it. Any reaction would give this person narcissistic supply, so you deprive this person of that supply. In time, he or she will get bored with your lack of reaction & give up the smearing. Lastly, if the narcissist sends the flying monkeys after you, remember that few are truly innocent people who are fooled by the narcissist. Most are also narcissists, I believe. Treat them accordingly. Remember to tell them nothing that you would object to the original narcissist knowing, in particular anything about the original narcissist. Chances are the flying monkey will share everything you say with that person, so give them no material to work with. Most importantly, pray & lean on God to help you get through this. He truly will help you!
I’ve been working on a book for a while now about toxic/narcissistic in-laws. I’m struggling to write it for a few reasons. I’ve been really distracted by things going on in my life since I started this book 2 years ago. I also felt that I needed to put it on the back burner to write other books. The topic is such a hard one for me to write about too, because I honestly have been through hell because of some of my husband’s family, & I’m still healing. And, in spite of taking frequent breaks, I’m pretty burned out on all things narcissism. These issues make this one tough book to write. That being said, I believe the topic is an important one so I will finish it. It just may take some time.
Since my book is delayed, here is a post to help identify whether or not your in-laws are toxic. I will write from the perspective of a daughter in-law with a toxic mother in-law, since that is the bulk of my experience as well as the bulk of the experiences of people I’ve spoken with. The information is good for toxic sisters in-law, fathers in-law, etc. though.
Does your mother in-law ignore you? The purpose of this behavior is to show you that you mean nothing to her.
Does she refuse to accept responsibility for treating you badly? Rather than say something like, “I shouldn’t have said that.. I’m sorry,” does she make excuses for her words or actions or deny them completely? This is a big red flag. Functional people accept responsibility for what they say & do.
Does your mother in-law have a different personality depending on whether or not you are alone with her or others are around? Another big red flag! Any abuser will behave differently to their victim depending on whether or not there are witnesses. They want to hide their abuse from other people.
Does she expect you to be blindly devoted to her family, even to the point of rejecting your own family & friends? Many toxic mothers in-law remind me of the Borg from the tv show “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” They expect their son’s or daughter’s new spouse to become completely enmeshed in their new in-law family.
Like the Borg, toxic mothers in-law expect their new sons or daughters in-law to adapt to their opinions, religion, way of life, etc. Individuality is highly discouraged by toxic mothers in-law. I once told my late mother in-law I hate to cook. I do it, but hate it. For Christmas a few months later, she & her 2 daughters gave me nothing but cookbooks, utensils, food & other cooking paraphernalia.
Toxic in-laws show no respect. Toxic in-laws show no respect for personal space, choices, likes/dislikes, parenting, & even boundaries.
And speaking of a lack of respect, your mother in-law makes it clear to you that she doesn’t like you. Unless you abuse your mother in-law’s adult child or your children, if your mother in-law had any respect whatsoever for her child, she would be civil to you no matter how much she disliked you. The inability to be civil even only for the sake of her adult child proves she is toxic.
Is she manipulative & controlling? Toxic people, in particular narcissists, must be in charge. Chances are, your mother in-law controls her spouse & children. Since you married one of her children, she expects you to be as control-able & easily manipulated as everyone else. When you say no, she is NOT happy.
If your toxic mother in-law is nice to you, it’s short lived & in front of others only. Very few people are cruel 100% of the time. Toxic people bring out their nice side when it can be advantageous to them. Being nice sometimes will make their victim want to see it more, so they work harder to please the toxic person. Also, being nice to a victim in front of others helps the toxic person prove to others that if you complain about the relationship, you are obviously the problem.
Mothers in-law like this care nothing of their adult child beyond what he can do for her. They clearly have no respect for him either, since they treat the person he chose to spend his life with so badly. His marriage is nothing more to this kind of mother than an embarrassment, & she would like it simply to go away. Since she can’t file for divorce on his behalf, she becomes extremely destructive to the adult child’s marriage with her abusive ways.
Your spouse no doubt suffers greatly from his mother’s abusive behavior, yet tolerates it anyway. This is because he is accustomed to how his mother behaves. This is his norm & many adults in this situation have accepted this as their permanent reality. By complaining about his mother’s behavior or even confronting her, this threatens his norm. Facing the truth can be incredibly painful for many in this position, which is why many refuse to face the truth. This feeling is known as cognitive dissonance. Rather than face this miserable feeling, many people in this situation will do their best to shut down their spouse. They don’t want to hear about the bad things their mother is doing, so they will tell their wife they don’t believe her, she is over sensitive, she just doesn’t understand Mom, that’s her problem so she needs to leave him out of it & more. They refuse to confront their mother on behalf of their wife.
Naturally, the wife in this position feels rejected, unloved & hurt. She wants to fight for her marriage, but it seems whatever she does is wrong, & whatever his mother does is right. Her trying to save her marriage only causes more problems. The reason for this is she doesn’t know that when you’re dealing with a narcissist, normal ways to cope don’t work.
For anyone in this position, you need to think of this situation more like a game of strategy than a relationship.
As always pray. Ask God to help you to know what to do & to give you whatever you need to enable you to do it. Pray for your husband to see the truth & for God to enable him to be able to cope with it, too.
Cope with your emotions as best you can by journaling, talking to a safe friend, pray.. whatever works for you. Whatever you do, don’t hold in your emotions!
Don’t focus on your mother in-law’s bad behavior when it can be avoided. Instead, focus on being the loving wife that you are. Don’t neglect to remind your husband how much you love him. If he complains about his mother to you for any reason, don’t join in. Listen quietly to him & give him objective advice if he asks for it. The reason being, the mindset of many people in this situation is they can complain about Mom, but if anyone else does, they jump to her defense. This would only cause more problems in your marriage.
Along those lines, if you discuss his mother’s behavior with him, stay calm. State your issues in a matter of fact way, lacking emotion. If you rant & rave, that too will make him feel he must defend his mother, which only will hurt you & possibly your marriage.
Limit your exposure to your mother in-law as much as possible, but especially alone. No narcissist wants to abuse their victim in front of the person they want to think well of them, so stay glued to your husband’s side as much as possible.
Keep your emotions in check around your mother in-law. Narcissists love to twist a victim’s normal reaction around to prove how mentally unstable or even abusive the victim is to other people. In her presence, stay calm. Vent later when you’re away from her as needed though, so you don’t hold in all the bad emotions.
Having to deal with toxic, narcissistic in-laws is tough. I know, I’ve been there. But, with prayer, love, patience & wisdom, you can survive it with your marriage in tact.
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Today would have been my ex husband’s & my 28th wedding anniversary. Naturally, realizing that made me think about our relationship. I thought I’d share my random ponderings with you, since many of you who read my blog have been divorced as well.
When I decided to end my first marriage, although I wasn’t yet a Christian, I still felt terrible for breaking my vows. I took them very seriously. I also felt like a total failure for not being able to make that marriage work. No matter what I did, that marriage was still not good & he was never happy with me. I was never good enough for him. I also felt incredibly guilty. Guilty for not being able to fix the marriage, for never being able to please my ex, for doing everything wrong, for wanting the divorce & more. I felt that intense guilt for a long time, for at the very least, a couple of years after we separated.
Looking back now, I realize how wrong I was.
While marriage vows should be taken seriously, they should be taken seriously by both partners, not only one. If one doesn’t take them seriously & mistreats or even abuses you, there is nothing wrong with breaking the vows to protect yourself & your children if you have them. There is nothing good or holy about tolerating abuse from anyone, period!
One person also can’t save a relationship. It takes two to make any relationship work. It’s impossible for a relationship to work when only one person is trying to make that happen, especially if the other person is a narcissist. They will do their best to sabotage your efforts & refuse to give you what you want or need. So, if you couldn’t fix your marriage, welcome to the club!
Although I still don’t like that I hurt my ex, there really was no other choice. He hurt me plenty as well, which is why I wanted a divorce in the first place. I certainly didn’t decide to divorce him because things were going well!
Does any of this sound familiar to you, Dear Reader? If so, I want to encourage you to change your thinking like I did.
Remind yourself that did the best you knew to do at that time. How can you be mad at yourself for not knowing then what you know now? It doesn’t even make sense. That would be like being angry at a year old baby for not knowing multiplication. We all learn as we go, even as adults.
Narcissists are also fantastic actors, so even if you knew about narcissism & married this person anyway, you still can’t beat yourself up because of what fantastic actors they are. We all can get fooled sometimes, no matter how much we know about narcissism. It doesn’t mean you’re stupid – it just means they are ridiculously good actors!
Don’t forget – if you grew up with narcissistic parents, you also were wounded because of your upbringing, which means you didn’t have the ability to make the best decisions. Unfortunately, this happens! You’re learning, growing & getting healthier now & that is what matters most.
Also, never hesitate to go to God. Ask Him to tell you the truth. Were you stupid to marry that person? Are you a failure for your divorce? He really will answer you & you know what He says is the absolute truth. Let Him help you! He will do so & gladly!
And never, ever forget – while you may not have been the perfect spouse, that doesn’t mean the divorce is absolutely, completely your fault. Narcissists would have their victims believe that, but it’s not true. Wanting to escape the torture & abuse isn’t a bad thing! In fact, quite the opposite. It shows you love yourself enough to know you don’t deserve this kind of treatment.