“Am I The Narcissist?”

After spending time learning about narcissism and identifying narcissistic traits in people (especially in your ex or current partner) you might all of a sudden stop and go…

Wait a minute, am I the narcissist?!

This can be a shocking and horrifying especially if you start to believe what your mind is telling you, listening to the stories of when you have lacked integrity, been controlling, or even been manipulative.

I can’t tell you how many times people have asked this question. Is it me? Am I the one who is really the narcissist?

I want to state that your ability to self-assess yourself and ask yourself honestly ‘Am I a narcissist?’ means that you are almost certainly not.

A narcissist must convince themselves and others that they are omnipotent, not characterised by the same flaws that ‘normal’ human beings seem to be burdened with. To a narcissist it is everyone else’s fault and it certainly could not be him or her who has a problem.

But there are two key ingredients that a person with narcissistic personality disorder cannot have. And when you recognise that you have these ingredients you will know 100% that you are not a narcissist.

 

What Constitutes Being a Narcissist?

It’s important to realize that no matter how confused and anguished you are presently feeling, and no matter how much the narcissist has made out that you are the one with all the problems, the following two questions will allow you to realise if you have narcissism:

The first question is – Do you have a conscience?

What this question means is, are you capable of purposefully lying, deceiving and doing things that you know are malicious, lacks integrity and harms other people? Do you have the ability to secure your own agenda regardless of the methods you use to accomplish this and how they might negatively affect others? Are you capable of telling people whatever you think they want to hear just so you can get what you want  out of them?

Please know that whilst suffering the enormous amounts of abuse that is regularly experienced in a relationship with a narcissist, it is common to lose your integrity. In this state you go into ‘survival mode’ and you are willing to do almost anything to get through the day without suffering more abuse.

If this happened to you, try and remember the times when you lost your hold on your integrity. Were you disgusted with yourself? Did you feel ashamed?

This will help you identify if you have a conscience.

What is actually more likely is that you have been, or are still battling the narcissist constantly with declarations of your integrity, and being incensed and devastated when the narcissist has tried to line up examples of ‘how bad your integrity is’ when trying to offset his or her own conscienceless behaviour.

The second question is – Do you have empathy? This means real and genuine empathy, not simply feigning concern and attention towards others in order to win ‘supply’, such as approval, acclaim, recognition or favors – which of course is the narcissist’s domain.

Do you truly feel other’s pain? Do you seek to help others not from a position of wanting to feed your ego, but because you truly would love to make a difference? This could include a wide range of activities like charity, volunteering or simply helping friends or people in the community in need, or sitting with your child and truly emphatically listening with your focus being on your son or daughter without making it about yourself. Do you go to people’s aid or feel their pain without thinking ‘What payoff or recognition can I get from this?’

Genuine empathy is having concern for others without having an agenda for yourself.

If either of these two human qualities are missing – having a conscience and being able to be genuinely empathetic – then the individual is likely to have significant narcissistic tendencies. If both of these resources are null and void then an individual is likely to be severely narcissistic.

It truly is very important once realizing you are not a narcissist to understand how you lost faith and belief in ‘who you are’, and how the narcissist projected the blame of ‘being a bad person’ on to you.

 

Even Though Youu Have Lost Yourself You Can Remember Who You Are

Yes, you may be tormented now, but remember your essential nature. You will know at a deep inner level if you possess a conscience, and are genuinely empathetic. It can be really hard to ‘be’ these qualities now when you feel so poisoned with anger, injustice, and feelings of betrayal and pain.

Everyone without exception has the potential to act narcissistically. There are healthy and unhealthy levels of narcissism.

Unhealthy narcissism seeks to grab hold of approval, validation, love and self-worth that is lacking internally.

If you know about co-dependency you will know that this is exactly what co-dependents do as well.

Abused co-dependents and narcissist’s can look identical on the surface. The narcissist is always ‘empty’ and tormented on the inside, so he or she cannot hold up the veneer for long, the cracks appear and the narcissistic behaviour breaks loose.

The co-dependent struggles with a sense of self, but does have the resources to provide themselves with self-love, approval and validation within them. This is what a narcissist can never have!

Co-dependents in every day life do not act in the malicious ways that a narcissist does. However when a co-dependent is severely affected (often by narcissistic abuse), the fearful and ‘empty’ wounds are ripped open, and he or she will become manic, panicked and try to control his or her environment in order to get some relief from the pain that is ripping him or her apart. The co-dependent in this state can appear disjointed, angry, irrational, unreasonable and incredibly controlling.

When the co-dependent has reached this level of self-disintegration (disconnection from self), it is very easy for the narcissist to scapegoat him or her.

When you are suffering from no sense of self, and poor boundary function, it is very easy to fall for and stay attached to people who are highly abusive. These people affect your mind, your emotions, bring out your greatest fears and can cause you to almost lose who you are.

When you are in narcissistic relationships, it is an understatement to say that you are incredibly traumatized and confused.

This does not however mean that you are narcissistic.

No matter how crazy you may feel right now, no matter how toxic, angry, deranged and distraught you are, keep coming back to the questions regarding having a conscience and being able to be genuinely empathetic, because within those questions lies the answer.

 

The Narcissist’s Projections

It is vital to understand the following: The narcissist does not love and accept him or herself.

Any healthy human being on the way to establishing a healthy sense of self does the work to fully unconditionally love and accept themselves completely. This means the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ about oneself. This means the recognition that you’re human, you have only ever been doing the best you could with the inner resources you have, and the level of emotional intelligence you possessed at the time.

Fully unconditionally loving and accepting self means being able to take full responsibility without defections and excuses to recognise, embrace and forgive the painful parts of ourself in order to heal them and transform them.

The narcissist has completely rejected self-love and self-acceptance, and certainly does not apply it.

He or she has numerous disowned painful parts that the narcissist wishes to avoid at any cost. This is why he or she has created a false self, the grandiose version of ‘self’ that is not real and is positioned to defend mercilessly the painful inner parts that the narcissist has no intention of looking at, embracing or transforming.

This is why the narcissist has severe issues with being accountable, admitting he or she has behaved poorly, being genuinely remorseful or taking responsibility for unacceptable and pathological behavior.

This is why the narcissist projects on to you that you are the bad person, you are the cause of the problems, and makes you out to be the scapegoat.

This is why the narcissist will, if you bring the term ‘narcissist’ to his or her attention, declare that you are the one with narcissism.

The narcissist’s deep wounded inner parts have been rejected by him or her and are unattended to. They have not been healed. They are unnatural, they are not ‘love’, they are ‘fear’ and ‘pain’ and they are not aligned with ‘true self’. These unhealed parts are intensely painful, and they erupt for the narcissist constantly.

The narcissist has two options to stop this intense emotional agony. He or she seeks a ‘feed’ of narcissistic supply from outside him or herself to try to prop up his or her false self again – to try to override the internal agony, or he or she will have to line up someone else to dump the emotional torment on to.

If you are being narcissistically abused, you will receive the pain of both of these forms of abuse. The betrayal of the conscienceless behaviour the narcissist does outside of the relationship in order to receive his or her ego feed, and the blame shifting and condemnation of the narcissist’s disowned parts on to you.

 

Taking Responsibility

Traditionally whenever I have written articles about ‘what’ the narcissist does, or how he or she thinks and behaves, this creates posts from my audience going into detail about what their narcissist did and what they endured as a result of this behavior.

I want to discourage this – adamantly. We all know what narcissists do, and I promise you from this side of the fence the stories are almost always virtually identical. Narcissists do the same stuff, in the same ways because they are an empty self who has numerous disowned parts that he or she refuses to take responsibility for, which can only manifest as behaving in conscienceless ways.

All narcissists are the model of ‘I have been hurt, it’s now all about number one, and I’ll pit myself against the world in order to get my needs met’. Everyone else comes off second best.

So please I don’t want to hear your stories about how bad narcissists are. The reason is because it does not serve you. None of us have got well or healed our own unhealed parts by staying focused on what the narcissist did.

The reason I wrote this article is to help break you out of the illusion that you are the narcissist. Because eliminating this illusion can lead you forward to your own self healing.

Your healing now is about taking responsibility, and fully claiming and embracing that it was your own unhealed parts that led you into a relationship with a narcissist.

You are not a narcissist, because you do possess a conscience and empathy, however you do need to realize that it was your disowned parts, the parts that you didn’t like about yourself, your own lack of self-love and self-acceptance that caused you to lack boundary function and look to the outside for love, validation and self-worth rather than providing yourself with these commodities from within.

This is what co-dependency is all about – seeking to get from the outside what we are failing to grant ourselves. This is what painful relationships are all about – they show us the unhealed parts of ourself that we have not as yet taken full responsibility for. They show us that we have not as yet learnt or applied ourself to totally unconditionally loving and accepting our own wounds in order to transform them.

I would love it if you stated your claim that you are not the narcissist in the comments below, and use this knowledge to start putting your attention on the task at hand which is embracing yourself unconditionally (good and bad parts), taking full responsibility for self, and transforming your unhealed parts that led to painful experiences.

Remember you, unlike the narcissist, have the power within to fully come home to you. You can do it!

 

 

 

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Melanie Tonia Evans is an international narcissistic abuse recovery expert. She is an author, radio host, and founder of Quanta Freedom Healing and The Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program. Melanie's healing and teaching methods have liberated thousands of people from the effects of narcissistic abuse world-wide.

136 thoughts on ““Am I The Narcissist?”

  1. Thank you for affirming the truth that the Narcissist is only revealing our hurts to us. In my attempts to be well I have had to face my self loathing in order to have space to create what I want in my life.

    It is taking a lot of inner strength to be compassionate with myself and keep myself moving toward a healthier, happier life.

    Your information came at a time when I needed the support to maintain ‘No contact’. Thank you Spirit. It is hard but my mind is made up even if my heart is dragging the chain a bit.

    Thanks for sharing this information.
    Have a very happy Christmas.
    Lee

    • Hi Lee,

      Thank you for your post and you are very welcome.

      It is wonderful that you have embraced and claimed your wounds and have the self-humility to do so. This truly is the path to self-love, love of life and personal freedom.

      When you say ‘a lot of energy’ I intuitively feel that either you are still struggling with self rejection (which of course can be very normal if we believe that our faults make us ‘unloveable’ to self or to others), or you have been trying to work through healing at a mind level rather than going deeper to the inner identity level…

      Truly when we can love and accept ourselves unconditionally we realise how lovable and acceptable we are ‘just as we are’, simply because we are real and we no longer co-dependently expect others to fix our issues for us, we have taken responsibility and we are engaged in healing ourself.

      Working at a deeper inner level grants us this solid strength of self and progress.

      Maybe some of what I just wrote may resonate with you…

      Mel xo

      • Thankyou so much for this.. Its what i needed to read today.My life is shattered just now but i am determined to find out all the information i can to understand why i need to move on from this and the unhealthy thinking i have that maybe just maybe it was me all along.
        Thankyou again..

    • From disintegration to integration. Loving myself unconditionally good and bad. It feels good. I am so grateful to have found you! The relief I feel making the right decisions for myself is wonderful.

      Thank you, thank you, thank for giving a voice to this subject. I get tears because I know there is hope.
      God Bless,
      Allison

    • I was in a 4.5 year relationship with what I a now sure was with a narcissist. Through the years the verbal abuse was terrible and the worst part is I participated back with foul words. There were violent fights. I became pregnant but lost the baby early on. I broke up with him last year due to endless broken promises and the plain fact that he wasn’t treating me with respect.
      I was NC for 2 months when he contacted me and he loved me and all that sweet stuff. I went back and we started again. His behavior was wierd especially his phone, he always kept it face down so you couldnt see the screen and it never rang when I know he has many friends. I never felt right in my gut and my worst nigtmare came true on a tuesday morning when my phone rang and it was the OW winds up he had been with her for the past few months had started when we were NC and he got back with me knowing he was with her. Well the story gets bad with him claiming she was a nutjob and when the crazy in her started he reached back out to me because as he says the grass wasnt greener. It devastated me. On top of the silent treatments and threatening in the past the lost pregnancy without his support past the first week I was broken. He told me he still wanted to be with me, but he kept going to her and then would deny it but she showed me the texts and calls. He was trying to play us both again all the while telling me it was done with the OW. I split with him she had him arrested for smashing her phone and she said he had got violent with her as well. He denied it . We then went NC for annother 2 months he went to jail a few days from the OW. I got an order of protection. He had his friends wife send me an email basically begging me to talk with him and that he was so changed and had an epiphany those 2 days in jail and subsequent 2 month we hadnt spoken . I fell for it he promised upon my return that he would go to anger management, his idea. He went to a few classes and stopped because he said the teachings were unrealistic. He also promised a paternity test that would prove he wasnt the father of his best friends kid. Since he had slept with his bf wife when they were getting divorced. We had a fight years back when the wife had the baby and he walked out on me and said that none of the relationship matteree because he had a kid with someone else. I never put it together until this cheating thing blew up with this OW and he had a confessional and let his friend know about sleeping with his wife years back. When I mentioned his aweful comment about having a kid and this new found confession, he said he never said that to me. He did though I remember exactly where he was standing when he said it. He never got the paternity test which I expressed was necessary for me to remain with him. He has said that he has been violent with me because I do not get it and I frustrate him. I can go on and on and on. He always says I am overly sensitive. He hated my friends so I stopped hanging out because it wasnt worth his drama, then he tells me I need friends and I do nothing. What the hell. Last new years 2011he stormed out at 5 pm on Nye and wouldnt speak to me but says he went hone and stayed in bed. Hemoved in with me this year after the affair and 3 days ago decided it was over and he was unhappy and he found a new place. We had gotten a boxer 3 years ago and he needs me to watch the dog until his place is ready in a few weeks. I had him take the dog tonight because my nephew is staying over and the dog is all over the place he took him but he wants me to take the dog back tomorrow I do not want to . This guy has destroyed my home and wont fix it although he is a contractor and makes comments about what an easy fix these things are.I had to shake him down for money for the bills everytime. He would pay sometimes then not all the while knowing I am struggling. I saw him today when he took the dog and it is killing me he told me about the breakup 2 days ago and hasnt been staying here. I am devastated . I do not want to leave my house and I cant control the tears. I am so upset and know it will only get worse I am not taking the dog back he doesnt know this yet. He kept saying help me out with this and then you never have to see us again. I do not want to help him he can figure it out. He had disrespected me throughout and said such horrible things to me I am destroyed

    • This is such a wonderful site! It has also brought tears. I have wondered if I am the Narc. I will admit to having a very low self esteem and most definitely being co-dependent. I used to wonder how or why he could not have empathy towards people or animals and reading your article lets me know that I am normal in feeling heartache for animals and other people. It helps me realize that I am not the narc but I most definitely got swept away by one about 6 years ago. I adored him. Every single thing about him. I got counseling and told the counselor that he refused to come. That he came right out and told me that if he did he would have to deal with things in his life that he didn’t want to. She said to me that his statement was probably the one truth he had told me. It has been over a year of trying to heal and my family has told me I just have to move on. I am trying so hard and I wish it were easier to just forget everything of the past 6 years. There were so many beautiful memories also and the counselor said I need to stop “glamorizing” him. I guess I do but my mind so easily wants to remember the beautiful things and not the bad and I get so sad and heartbroken again. I am trying to move on..trying to just push it all away and it is so hard. I truly felt he was the love of my life and that I would grow old with him. Now, I avoid anywhere I might run into him because I fear I will just break down crying if I see him. We have no children together. I fear any time I walk into a restaurant that he will be there and I am at times paralyzed with fear. I used to torture myself looking at his Facebook site and seeing his happy life without me. He used to tell me that I got all of him that he is able to give and I guess he was telling me the truth. I guess I just thought that if I loved him enough, it would all be okay. Lately, reading all I have about Narcs, I have worried “what if it is me” and your blog here helps me so much. The hard part is trying to build back my self confidence and not blaming myself for everything. I have a long way to go. I can see that. But, it helps me so much to read that others have suffered this too and have gone on to find the joy and love they so desire. Thank you :)

  2. Thanks Mel-
    Your words have helped me feel lots of relief. As you posed the questions and I was able to answer yes to all of them…with each one that proved me not to be a narcissist, I breathed a sigh of relief. Thank you for that.

    I have been focusing on me somewhat, but being very hard on myself. And now recently after finding some relief from the depression I’ve been battling, I am now able to much more fully focus on me and not always be so hard on myself and forgiveness of self doesn’t seem so elusive.

    I am also finding I am able to stop the rumination of my blaming thoughts, the replays of things said and not said and even feelings of anger toward the other. That is very freeing.

    I can feel it as well as know intellectually after a year apart, that my happiness depends on me. In addition I need him to be GONE in order for me to work out my stuff.

    And that’s the most important thing. Much different than needing his validation to move forward.

    I am seeing more than flickers of light and I am breathing sighs of relief more often these days.

    For this I am grateful.

    Hugs,
    Laura

    • Hi Laura,

      You are very welcome, and I am so glad that you have experienced the relief of knowing you are not a narcissist.

      It is very true that the dance with a narcissist can throw individuals into feeling ‘if only I did or didn’t say this or that he wouldn’t he or she wouldn’t have taken offence, abandoned me, reacted so badly, run off and done awful things etc.’ when all of us truly need to understand – decent people who have a sense of self just don’t have the reactions or do the things narcs do.

      In virtually every case a narc is mated with someone who has a conscience. The acts in no way (from the codependent) deserved the punishment the narc delivered. None of that is real or healthy love.

      It is wonderful you are claiming your truth and your healing!

      Mel xo

      • Thank you for this article, Melanie! I also thank everyone who has posted about it- I am also coming to grips with what it was that I had not been taking care of in my own psyche, which led me into a relationship with a narcissist. I just want everyone here to know what it is that I am finding out about myself:
        You are OK! You are a good individual! You are now on the upcurve of learning some tough things that no one had ever told you about before. Yes, they are hard lessons, but lessons well won! Remember: when you find yourself starting to emotionally beat yourself up, remind yourself that at any time, we all do the best we can with what we have- in terms of skills, knowledge, information, situational aspects- at any given moment. Learning to love ourselves unconditionally is a whole new thing. Our society does not teach this. So, onward and upward; keep going; you are getting there!
        Cheers,
        Kay

  3. Hi Mel, today I felt so happy as I know I have come home to myself. It has been three months of no contact and I am really happy and realise that whilst I was with my ex ( Narc ) my behaviour was not normal. I did wonder if I was the horrible abusive person he claimed I was on a minutely basis. Every one comments that I am now relaxed and my children are so happy and calm. My oldest daughter has lost weight and it is amazing how many people smile and say hello and chat. I used to project such an energy of unease and sadness that it repelled people. I have been doing the NARP program of your of course and it clarified so much for me. I am definately not a Narc! XX Jane

    • Hi Jane,

      Your post made me smile and filled my heart with joy!

      It is so lovely that you have been able to shift out of the inner pain into your true self function.

      It is so true that when we reach this state of love, truth and solidness within ourself then life on the outer also loves and supports us abundantly.

      Keep up the great inner work.

      Mel xo

  4. Mel,
    Thank you,thank you,for the work you do.Many folks do not get it,unless they experienced this nightmare firsthand.I eliminated the lies and shame this narcissist put me through.The people I surround myself with love and care about me.I give in return.Wonderful.Happy Holidays to you and yours.

    • Hi Bill,

      You are very welcome, and thank you for your post.

      I so agree! One certainly not comprehend narc abuse and behaviour ever unless they had experienced it – because it is not ‘human’ (consisting of conscience and empathy). In fact the only people who can comprehend it are narcs – they actually believe most people either do have the potential to act like them, or actually do on a regular basis…

      It is great that you have been able to see and know your own truth and values and escape the narcissistic ‘ink ‘.

      Lovely you are surrounded by love and genuine connection and beautiful souls these holidays.

      Best wishes and thank you for yours

      Mel xo

  5. This question has been haunting me for a while and I couldn’t answer it on my own….AM I REALLY THE NARCISSIST!! I see know that my intense codependency can mirror some of the “symptoms” of narcissism and that’s the confusion…plus the narcissist is so good at “saying what I want to hear” that it felt empathetic. I am still trying to figure out whether my ex husband is a narcissist or whether his alcoholism is what triggered his narcissistic behavior. He’s been sober 6 years but still cheating….lying to me and telling me that he would say anything to me to have me shut the “f..k” up when I would cry about the affairs. Don’t know whether his behavior was his anger/guilt about affair talk…him deciding to divorce me because I was no healing fast enough from the affairs by being stuck in the pain…or narcissism. It’s complicated I guess…….and ultimately doesn’t matter except for looking at resources to heal!! The bottom line is he treated me terribly for 35 years….and I STAYED….and would take him back today!!! but he’s moved on to the next woman!! I’m still a sad mess!! Self esteem is below a rock and depression about my lost marriage is so terribly sad and tragic. I guess his mom’s 14 marriages should have gave me a clue!! still ….I guess not knowing what love really is, I want the only thing that felt “close?? to it!!….the crumbs are better than the starvation I’m going through now!! Thanks Melanie for the insight…

    • Hi Suzie,

      Thank you for your honesty and your post.

      Suzie I want to be really straight with you. Someone leaving you for another person can be in the realm of ‘acceptable’ behaviour, and no matter how hurtful that is – if this person has a sense of self they have enough respect for themself first and foremost to be honest, and possess integrity and honour others in the same capacity.

      Lying, cheating and being deceptive is totally unacceptable behaviour, it is not adult, it is not mature and you simply cannot have a healthy relationship with someone who operates like this – because point blank there is no ability to trust that they can or will operate with integrity – which is the essential foundation to all real, safe and healthy relationships.

      Additionally his inability to have remorse and take responsibility for lying and being deceptive is a huge red flashing neon sign. No-one ever transforms bad behaviour when they do not have the conscience to take respinsibility and be humble and genuinely remorseful. This man does not value his own self conduct as a ‘good person’, he doesn’t value you, and he doesn’t value the relationship.

      There is ‘no’ real relationship under these conditions.

      Now let’s shift the focus to you. Yes you are suffering from severe codependency, and this means that you have not as yet committed to healing your own wounds, and establishing self-love, self-acceptance and self-value within yourself.

      There is no possibility when we don’t commit to and live ourself of receiving true connected and committed love from another – it just doesn’t happen.

      You have admitted you would take him back. This is not about his mother’s 14 marraiges- truly this man is a catalyst in your life showing you what you ate prepared to accept as a reflection of how much you don’t live and accept yourself.

      My love you won’t know what real true love is until you become that to yourself. And when you do (which is a job between you and you first and foremost without a man) then you will never again accept the basement ‘worth’ of deception and lies…

      The starvation of love you are feeling can never be filled by another person. The starvation you are feeling is the love, commitment and acceptance you ate not partnering yourself with.

      This man has done you an enormous favour by leaving. He had left you with you, and the intense pain that he is not going to relieve you from so that you can commit to healing yourself.

      Truly Suzie it’s no one else’s job – it needs to be yours.

  6. Wow thank god ! I’m thinking the devil himself ! Thank you I was really thinking can I be !( narcisstic ) .but I’m codependent text book . I thank god for working threw you to renew my spirit .I lacked the knowledge . Now I have weapons to protect myself . God bless I pray that you touch those that suffer as I did to be free!

  7. What a great blog! I can’t tell you how long I have wonderedif I’m the narcissist, the crazy one, the one with all the issues. This is exactly what I needed to reaffirm I do have a concious and feel true empathy. I know somewhere inside me I didn’t feel worthy and searched for some one to love me when I now know I need to love myself. Im well on my way to that and living my life with my two kids. I used to stress about the future but now I try and live in the now and cherish my life with the kids and not will it away or will things to change. One thing I have learnt less is more. Xx

    • Hi Victoria,

      I am glad this article has allowed you to understand that you certainly are not a narcissist.

      It’s wonderful that you are creating you as the centre of self-love and self-acceptance now rather than trying to get the ‘fix’ from the outside.

      Beautiful that you are focusing on living in the now – that is an enormous benefit of self-love and self-acceptance, the coming home to our true nature of being ‘oneness’ – at one with ourself, life and others. The knowing that everything is in perfect and divine order, without emptiness, neediness, or expectations (certain things have to be a certain way for me to feel whole, worthy and ‘love’).

      This is what true love really is….Keep up the great realizations and progress :)

      Mel xo

  8. Thanks Melanie,
    For putting my feelings,(and I’m sure of many others),doubts,all those many questions,into the right words!This is so very helpfull and important,in the healing-process.

    xx

    • Hi Erika,

      You are so welcome, and I am so pleased this article had helped you clarify and assisted your healing path!

      Mel xo

  9. Hi Mel…I have been guilty of the “he did me wrong” brigade….I sincerely apologise! As I pack up the last of our belongings here ready to move back to our home country by myself (obviously no support from the Narc) I finally know I CAN do it! I came across some “schoolies” the other night- young kids celebrating graduation in a foreign country with little supervision, and whose ambition obviously exceeded their abilities in the alcoholic beverage scene….I placed him in the recovery position, held his head and stroked his hair while he lost everything and wiped his mouth with a flannel from a neighbouring restaurant while his mate got his guardian from their hotel. I KNOW I am not a Narc, (despite thinking I may be for a loooong time) as I want to know that this boy is okay…and I felt unconditional love for him while all this was going on…no disgust, no judgement, just caring and empathy. I could not have done that without your NARP program. Thank you Mel…we all wonder at times, and without healing ourselves, we’d probably still be confused….I know I was. I am finally getting back to me, and shedding the Narcs false projections like snake-skin. Love, empathy and strengrh to you all xxxxx

    • Hi Indogirl,

      No need to apologise. It can be very easy
      to escape our necessary transformations by blaming what the narc did!

      It’s wonderful that you now deeply understand there is absolutely no value, growth, relief or healing our unhealed parts by doing that!

      What a wonderful great deed! And how wonderful you were able to care as you did..

      I am so pleased you are working with NARP and shedding the pain and the illusions.

      It is lovely watching and having the honour to be a part of your progress IG!

      Mel xo

  10. Thank you, Mel!

    And thank you for mentioning the work of Susan Jeffers in one of your recent blogs. I had never really understood the power of affirmations in the healing process until I read the information on her website. I guess I was finally ready to hear it, because you have often written about this power and your good advice just didn’t penetrate my fuzzy thinking. I have ordered some books and am practicing what I’ve learned so far, and it is making a huge difference. I’ve never had much experience with truly positive self-talk, and now I’ve got a good script and many new ideas.

    And, just for the record, I am NOT a narcissist! I AM responsible, loving, generous, hard-working, and self-affirming. “Only I am responsible for the quality of my life. Whatever comes, I can handle it. One step at a time is enough for me. I let go and trust that everything happens for the best. I focus on my many blessings.” I LOVE being able to say these things to myself and really mean them!

    Yes, a tiny part of me still wishes that the earth would stop and the narc would realize how special and wonderful I am and come running back to me and tell me that he has become the man he claimed to be. But that’s ok. This longing has faded into background noise. I didn’t know when I met him what I know now. I gave myself unwisely but that’s in the past. I can take care of myself now. I trust myself now. I am safe in my own care now. I am drawing good things to me now. I am healthy now. I can validate myself now. Thinking this way makes me feel fantastic!

    • Hi EJ,

      You are very welcome!

      Yes that extreme pain absolutely is the addiction and our unhealed parts. It is an incredibly consistent symptom of being narc abused and having forfeited ourself and believing the narc is our ‘source of self’ before we come home to being our own source of self-love and self-acceptance.

      When we clean that up as well as our unhealed programs that are attaching us to abusive people, then there is no longing, there is no attachment, and in fact there is no desire to be a part of that energy again.

      We are simply vibrating at a completely different frequency than where the narcissist ‘is’.

      Yes even the seemingly most sane and good person can act like a needy maniac in the midst of narcissistic abuse, but only if they have self-love, self-acceptance issues and fear of abandonment and rejection programs to heal.

      How we forgive ourselves is by doing the deep inner work to heal our unhealed parts and by coming home to the attention and commitment (the care) to ourself by doing so.

      That’s the greatest loyalty and love we can ever be for ourself. As well as the daily self talk and affirmations that reflect choosing to love, accept and partner ourself.

      The NARP program facilitates this deep inner identity work, and module 3 in the program is specifically about this deep inner forgiveness work.

      It is so beautiful that you are partnering and affirming you being a source of love and care to yourself! Gorgeous…

      Mel xo

  11. Hi Melanie,

    Great article. Your article is so timely and it is almost as if I have asked you to do that article just for me. Has given me great insight to a question I have asked myself so many times.
    Is it me? Deep down I know I am not a narcissist but some of my behaviours from co-dependency and trauma within the relationship have cause me to act out. I know I have empathy and compassion. I agree it is not good to focus on what a narcissist is and the things they have done. However, I feel shame and guilt at some of the things I have done. I was just wondering Melanie how do I start to feel better over some of the co-dependant acts and behaviours that i have committed. For example the worst things I have done is begging, pleading, crying,& all of that. However, I have made numerous repeated phone calls in one evening on many occasions because I am in PTSD mode about him having left me yet once again. He then accuses me of stalking him from phone harassment which is akin to what I feel is like a panic attack at the time from the thought of losing him. At the time my constant phone calls and my harassment and begging of him feels out of control and obsessional. I never verbally abuse, just beg. I feel so ashamed afterwards and plead for his forgiveness. I always feel remorseful aftrewards. I feel so ashamed. I have this behaviour under control now but still struggle with wanting to contact him. He then threatens me with a restraining order and is vebally horrific to me. Then a short time afterwards he contacts me & is nice to me again and I feel hysterical that someone I loved could threaten me and verbally abuse me when all I was doing was trying to say I love you please don’t leave me. I am getting much better at the no-contact now and realise my behaviour was wrong. However I feel so ashamed that he has called me a stalker from the incessant phone calling even though that was what I was doing. I know my behaviour was wrong. How do I get my dignity, self-esteem back after acting out like this. I don’t normally act like this with other people. How do I forgive myself? I also sometimes feel that if I haven’t acted like this I would still be with him. However, I think he would have moved on as he is a narcissist and I wouldn’t have given the supply. How do we co-dependants get over what we have done and our bad behaviours? He abuses and I have turned into a stalker!! (i.e phone calls, not physical). He makes me out to be the crazy one and I have been I must say. My behaviour and phone harassment has been devestating to my dignity & pride.

    Thanks for all your great work Melanie. You have given me enormous insight and I know I am getting there with healing myself but it is still such a long and painful road. I still have much work to do on myself.

    So I guess my question is “How do we co-dependants forgive ourselves for our actions & bad behaviours?”.

    Much love xx

    • Deborah,

      The extreme panic you felt when trying to separate from your narc is soooo familiar to me. I felt it many times, and many times I just could not face the separation. I’d go a few days, then a few weeks, then a month. I had to dump him and then return to him again and again. This gave him golden opportunities to carry on about my lack of commitment and insane behavior. I finally got tired of being told how insane, helpless and hopeless I was and I walked away for good.

      I believe the panic comes from two sources. One is the very powerful peptide addiction. There is a grueling physical withdrawal process to go through. The second source is your unhealed wounds.

      Melanie has written some great blogs on forgiving yourself and the narc. You didn’t know about all this when you met him, and it takes time for the truth to sink in. Don’t define yourself by anything you did in the relationship! You were fighting for your sanity and your life. Narcs could make Mother Teresa into a stalker!

      I used to wonder if the obsession would ever go away. Well, it has for me and it will for you, too. It’s no fun facing all this, but the healing is worth the price.

      How do you forgive yourself for struggling to survive in narc world? By treating yourself with the same compassion and kindness you would treat any other person who got caught up in that situation and came to you for help!

      Love to you,
      EJ

    • Hi Deborah,

      I am so glad that this article showed up at the right time for you! Synchroniscity is a powerful and beautiful thing and truly a confirmation that you are moving forward into your soul truth of freedom and healing.

      What you are experiencing is very normal shame and pain as a result of acting out the agony of narcissistic abuse.

      If you see my post above to EJ this will grant you some insight re the answer to your question.

      My highest suggestion to you is the inner identity healing processes with NARP.

      That journey will provide for you self-forgiveness as well as the healing of your unhealed patterns that created your co-dependent triggers and acting out – so that you won’t find yourself in similiar relationship dynamics again.

      Mel xo

  12. Hello Melanie. Your recent article is timely, as i have just been asking myself the question “am i also a Narcissist” and “have i acted this way”, or worse “is initiating the very recent separation and restraining order a narcissistic way of solving problems in a long-term marriage “! It’s truly saddening to see how much the narc’s hooks infiltrate your mind to be reflecting on this situation in this manner. so insiduous! it becomes more painful when others in the family or friends, ask “if this (separation and intervention order)were really needed to be done”, and “not to be selfish, and think of the kids”. well of course if we are talking about the ‘mr nice guy’ charmer, superficially helpful and wise, good citizen and humourous character that was portrayed to others, then no the solutions above were not warranted. but people don’t know the true, deep ongoing cutting reality of living with a narc. if they actually did and genuinely wanted to understand the co-dependent’s emotions and rationale, they would say that yes, the above solution was appropriate! and this outcome comes from a place of consciousness and empathy for one’s own spirit because the narc sure as hell doesn;t offer this to their partner! i always maintain that no-one is an expert on your own reality and inner feelings. and that they have not been in your shoes dealing with the toxic narc directly and daily!
    in going forward, i try to use this quality of empathy, and wish good things for the narc that was in my life, so that he can try and heal himself on his life journey, a journey that i cannot mentally, spiritually, physically share with him anymore. I have my own more empowered, free, strong, lucid, loving, generous, helpful life journey to travel on! And i really hope this helps others. A big thank you to you Melanie, your articles are amazingly insightful and very supportive!

    • Hi Teresa,

      Again I am so pleased of the synchronicity of this art I’ve for you!

      Yes it is insidious and very confusing until you can truly detach reclaim yourself and get clear.

      Yes, your actions are appropriate, it truly is whatever it takes to retain your right to live an abuse free life, and place boundaries which clearly state ‘no more’.

      It is lovely that you wish the best for him, and yes you are not responsible for another individual just as he is not responsible for you.

      We can only ever assist others who do take responsibility for themselves, and if we try to ‘help’ and ‘support’, we only ever be scapegoated and projected on to.

      It is lovely and so empowering that you have chosen your own path of authentic love, decency and sanity!

      Great job, and you are most welcome :)

      Mel xo

  13. thank you for this article ,at times i have wondered too is it me by the thoughts and reactions i have felt to what has been done to me and my children .i have always been a very spiritual person and worked and helped many people with problems through meditation and intuitive advice and i was very strong and happy before i met the narc ,over the 15 years being with him i began to question myself as to whether i was confused and was really like him and not spiritual and helpful at all and i gradually gave up teaching meditation and self help and i totally lost my identity and spent all my time trying to heal him forgetting about myself and i began to believe his words that i was judgmental uncaring and controlling .since march when i left i have been reading lots and doing as much self help as i can and i am feeling much stronger ,he still tries to control me even though we are thousands of miles apart and occasionally i feel bad for a reaction that comes from me to his words etc ,but i now see it as his lack of self control and not mine and gradually i am finding myself and the person that i used to be and it is no longer important that i make him see that what he does is his fault,i dont need to have him tell me he,s wrong . my trophy is finding me my children,s happiness and knowing that i am a good person .so today is 12.12.12 lets make today a release from our bird cages day and learn to fly again .hugs and blessings to you all find your peace and live in it .thank you melanie for all the advice and this website x

    • Hi Karen,

      Thank you for your post, and you are very welcome!

      Many spiritual people end up in narc abused relationships – it is incredibly common. Narcs go after ‘light’ and they gravitate to healers and givers.

      The truth of the matter is many spiritual people are fabulous at espousing and helping others to establish self-love and self-acceptance but did not fully anchor it for themselves.

      This is what you need to understand and embrace honestly. Truly Karen you do now have an opportunity to really embrace you and become a person at a far higher vibration of ‘self’ than you were even before your narc abuse experience.

      He came into your life for a reason, there were no mistakes, and ultimately it was to grant your soul the ability to evolve, and to create genuine love within and without – and the knowing of your true self and deservedness, and not just for the people you assist to heal.

      Thank you for your lovely 12/12/12 blessings for everyone :)

      Mel xo

      • thanks mel for the reply ,yes you are right many spiritual helpers healers feel the need to make people feel better we dont want anyone to suffer that is how i met him he was a student of mine that progressed into me being a 24 hr carer of his needs ,at the time it was subtle and i didnt notice for a long time how i was being changed and of course i kept on with the care even though it hurt me as he was so good at playing the wounded bird and projecting the blame to me ,i felt that i had to excuse him as he was sick and couldnt help it thats how they play on good hearted people as we dont want to let people down and so we keep trying to heal them without realising that by us healing them it is making us sick and weaker .i am now back helping people and the thanks and good responses i am receiving are doing my confidence the world of good i feel like my old self and a lot stronger inside and out .i think you are right about the soul needing to learn a lesson too and i truly hope mine has learned the lesson and finished the exam haha.thank you again and for taking time to reply to every one .have a wonderful christmas and may 2013 bring happy times and peace and contentment to every living soul x

  14. I am still on the fence whether my “ex” is a narc or not.
    He doesn’t lie or cheat but i am a different person with him. I have become jealous, insecure and we fight alot because of it. He has anger issues when we fight but he doesn’t see it as a problem because that is just how he talks. Not one of my friends or family members thinks he is right for me. He says he loves me but has no idea why he cant verbally tell me. He thinks being together is validation enough. I have alot of concern and a gut feeling that i am a different person because of what he brings out of me in this relationship. I just dont know why i cannot just let him go. I do care for him and wish we didn’t fight alot but i am starting to realize it is just a toxic relationship and he is who he is.
    Having a very hard time letting go and being alone…..
    I should add that i left my husband, a man that would do anything for me. I am still having a hard time dealing with guilt for leaving him and wondering if we should go to therapy and try to save our marriage. The one thing making me do that is not knowing if i want to be with the narc or not.
    The narc has a very good way of manupulating the situation and making me feel guilty for it all.
    I dont even feel comfortable posting this because I dont even know if my situation applies the a narc behaviour.
    thanks for listening….

    • Hi MW,

      With your post what stands out for me is your statement ‘I am having trouble letting go and being alone’.

      I also feel that things are getting so bad with your present partner that you are. Inside ring going back to your husband so that you will not be alone.

      My suggestion is you do need to be alone, and you do need to ask yourself some very important questions regarding how you a feeling and what you are are experiencing.

      You rejected a man who sounds like a wonderful man, and it even seems like he would take you back even though you left him for another person.

      But what is it within you that is rejecting him, was bored with him or couldn’t accept his devotion and love.

      What is it within you that wants to stay attached to man who can’t even verbally express that he loves you?

      What are you own levels of love and acceptance within yourself that are manifesting these scenarios for yourself?

      The truth is that if we don’t love and accept ourselves, the outer love situations will always reflect this back. We may blame others for not loving us at the level we wish, but what we really are perceiving about how they are treating us is really what we feel about ourself.

      And if we don’t love and accept ourself then we will reject someone who does have the resources to truly love us.

      It all comes back to self and establishing the most vital love relationship there ever is – the one between us and ourself, because every outer love experience can and will only ever reflect this.

      I hope this helps…

      Mel xo

  15. Thanks Melanie, like so many others the I’ve had those thoughts about being a narcissist as well. In fact I took the NPI a few times LOL just to make sure I wasn’t. Don’t know why I felt the need to take it over those few extra times except that it probably was a symptom of questioning my own integrity. Your advice to focus more on ourselves is very healing and valuable, though it does take effort to keep our focus where it belongs. I started thinking about that when I read your Learning About Narcissism isn’t going to save us (my paraphrasing) blog. Once I put focus on my own issues I felt so much better and so much more powerful. Thank you for all that you share with us!

    • Hi Lisa,

      You are very welcome! It is very. Ommon and normal after having the narcissists unhealed parts continually projected on to you to feel like you are the ‘bad’ person who lacks integrity.

      This shame and fear are universal narc abuse symptoms.

      Keep your focus on you and the incredible, joyous and fascinating journey of transforming self and you will be walking on the golden path!

      Mel xo

  16. Good essay!

    What’s worked for me is Changing The Rules Of The Game by first changing my mindset — something invisible to my narcissist (who isn’t really bad compared to many).

    Basically, I see her as an “idiot” or “dingbat.” As noted in the essay, they all do the same things in the same way. Just like kids with Downs Syndrome will often act (though they can learn & respond) — you only expect so much and expect some irritations…and knowing they can’t help it makes it easier to deal with.

    Ditto for the narcissist. They can’t help it. And even though you know they often do things to provoke, if one can stay calm & objective and accept their assertions at face value one invariably sees ridiculous behavior patterns. Point those out and the narcissist is given negative narcissistic supply.

    In other words, they expect you to respond to their provocations…and instead you respond like you’re too dumb to realize that & only see their behavior for what they’d like to pretend it was about.

    Not only don’t they get the payoff of you getting flustered…they get a negative payoff of setting themselves up to appear like an idiot.

    My approach is to pretend I’m the “manager of my house” – a role that is inherently objective…like I’m the hired butler. Get into that mindset & from that perspective they look like idiots because they are.

    For example, my wife occassionaly likes to rearrange things…partly because she’s a disorganized slob and partly to irritate me under the noble banner of “cleaning up” or “getting organized.”

    Most recently she set piled a bunch of stuff in my workout area, making the treadmill inaccessible for example. The expected response was for me to counter a personal attack in which I complained about how I need & used that equipment, etc. …to which she’ll say I can wait & I’m being selfish, etc.

    The “manager of the house” approach was to note the highly inefficient process used–why move all that stuff around knowing you’ll have to move it again, and maybe again–before getting rid of several major items she decided to give to charity/sell/trash (she’d mentioned that a day or so before)? Now she’d thinking about how dumb she’s appearing–getting “organized” via a process so disorganized it was creating much more work for herself — pointing that out was naturally embarrassing to her. That made her want to go about it differently–for her sake.

    There’s the saying something like, ‘there’s a good reason and a real reason anyone does anything.’ The trick is to find the reason that works–communicating with them on thier level without actually getting down to their level.

    I first got this idea from a book by M.Scott Peck, “People of the Lie,” where toward the end he was describing an exorcism–the Devil being the ultimate narcissist, with very personal attacks at those trying to get rid of the demon (if this really was a demon or not is immaterial here). He reported someone in the group simply observed that all the tantrums & accusations & name calling & thrashing around by the demon-possessed person just looked silly. … And I though to myself, isn’t that really all that matters! Engaging is pointless, left on their own & observed on their own merits they simply look like idiots.

    The trick is to see another human in this way.

    Most of us have no trouble making such a revision in our outlook to a dog that’s become rabid, to a person with serious post-stroke brain damage, etc. So we can all do so with a person we realize is a true narcissist.

    I suppose a psychologist might call that a “boundary” – building technique. But it works.

    • Hi Ken,

      And thank you for your share!

      True NPDs unfortunately have the volatility and impulsive reactions of having to ‘one up’ and escalate if they are not able to dump their tortured self and get a reaction, or not the reaction they sought with the original behavior.

      This inevitably can lead to atrocious behavior that evokes such threatening, vengeful, heartbreaking and damaging betrayals that it is truly impossible to live under such conditions. People who are capable of taking behavior to extreme levels are undeniably unsafe to reside with or have relationships with.

      It is great that your situation is manageable for you, and you are happy to live with it.

      Mel xo

    • Hi Ken – i can see where you are coming from with your ‘trick’ and im really happy that it works for you but i tried EVERYTHING over the 8 years i spent with the ‘idiot’ – your trick being one of them. The only response I would have got from my partner is extra violence, agression, anger, blame, disrespect because probably the main thing that you cant do is make them look like an idiot or question anything they do – very dangerous in my experience. So pleased it works for you – maybe its the male/female reversal in the situation?

  17. Dear Mel,
    I’ve been a loyal reader of your newsletters and blogs over the last 6 months after my then already-ex casually admitted to having been diagnosed with narcissism several years before he met me. Your advice has been very helpful: it allowed me to break off contact, get un-hooked, and start re-building a more healthy life.

    I was always a happy-go-lucky man with co-dependency issues and in retrospect it surprises me that I made it to the age of 36 before I met my first (and sofar, fingers crossed, only) narcissist to exploit them.
    His abuse did turn me into the disjointed, angry, irrational, unreasonable and controlling person that you describe – a person that I could not recognize from my “usual” self. I have at times wondered whether I have my own narcissistic issues and took your narcissistic self-test a couple of times to re-assure myself that I’m not a narcissist.

    Conscience and empathy indeed are the crucial difference, but it is scary to recognize this because a) these are the two that were ruthlessly abused by the narcissist when he attacked my integrity, and b) these are also the two that I used to justify my own co-dependent behavior. For all things related to narcissists, I am now reluctant to listen to my conscience, or tune into my sense of empathy, because I’m scared that I will slide right back into co-dependent behavior or onto the narcissist’s hook. Nurturing conscience and empathy as qualities that help us be “good” people is obviously important but we need to be aware that our co-dependent thinking patterns may overrate them as factors in our judgment.

    You’ve already written some excellent stuff on co-dependency, but it would be great if you could provide some more practical guidelines or exercises on how to dare to tap into conscience and empathy again, without fear of falling back into our old co-dependent behavior. Many thanks!

    • Hi Peter,

      I am so glad my material has been able to help you break free.

      It is so interesting that many co-dependents don’t come across narcissists until their 30s, 40s or even 50s. I believe the lesson of the narcissist comes into our life when it truly is time to heal, and become a true source to ourself.

      And if we don’t get the lesson firmly narcissists still keep coming!

      Oh yes, until we are a true source to ourself, and are no longer seeking outside approval a life with a narcissist is all about declaring indignantly that we do have vital human decency and trying to get the narc to ‘get that’.

      It is a powerful tussel of wills and lines us up to stay attached and trying to prove we ‘are right’. This is distinctly codependent behavior that most of us have been very guilty of.

      Conscience and empathy are not codependent behaviors when we have healed our unhealed parts and come home to self-love and self-acceptance.

      First we apply these solid values to ourself and we honour ourself first and foremost. Then we assist and give in appropriate ways that are not self damaging. And we no longer need to win approval or fix others who are not taking responsibility and self ownership of their own unhealed parts.

      Peter have you looked into NARP? Because within my program is specific healing modules that will untangle, heal up and clarify exactly the dilemma you’re speaking of.

      Mel xo

  18. I wondered if I was the only one who had this question run through my mind. Reading these blogs makes me feel like I am not crazy – which is how my Narc would like me to feel. I am waiting for for NARP to arrive. I plan to focus on self love as I do think I have co-dependent tendencies. I just don’t want to ever be in a relationship with a Narc again. Reading Melanie’s blogs and the comments reminds me that at least I am not alone. There are others with children who have to manage their Narc for years to come. Best wishes and strength to all of you.

    • Hi Molly,

      It must be a wonderful relief to know you are not alone!

      Please no that NARP is automatically downloadable links it is not a physical product.

      Can you please send an email to info@melanietoniaevans.com so that the links and download instructions can be sent to you again….

      It is great that you are going to work the program and commit to your inner self….it will help so much,

      Mel xo

  19. Oh my Gosh!

    Melanie,

    Thank you so much for this article. I’ve have been so tormented by this question for the last couple of months. Pages in my journal have been filled questioning my motives and behaviors. Once I get it out onto paper, it comes back around to the reality that No. A narcissist doesn’t keep giving, a narcissist doesn’t follow through on responsibiliites REGARDLESS of how loved ones treat them. The narcissist doesn’t forgive seriously bad behavior from others time and again hoping for peace in the family. No, I don’t belong to that group and I am grateful for that. However I do fit the co dependant role. This article came at the right time for me. You have made my day!

    My childhood was filled with abandonment, agony, abuse and fear. I was never accepted by my family and I grew up knowing I wasn’t ok. All I ever wanted was a family and that want led me straight into an abusive marriage where I accepted behavior that destroyed my soul. It’s been 10 years since I ended it and for 10 years the abuse has continued including by my children whom I love dearly. But a year and a half ago, I started to take a stand. While reading a book about manipulative people the man I was in a relationship with started to act very differently. Im sure it had to do with the fact I was behaving differently with the tools I was learning in the book. Anyway, it didnt take long (weeks) for our relationship to fall apart. I being the one accused of being emotionally unavalable. But while packing my belongings I came across his hidden webcam and microphone… Validating my intuition of his internet activities while I was at work! YAY for me and my best friend – “Intuition”!
    I was crushed and I felt suicidal. I was completely convinced I was unlovable, cruel, ugly, selfish and incapable of having a relationship. But somewhere deep down inside was a little voice that kept telling me how well I did in this relationship by not mixing money, by not discussing marriage until 3 years had passed. By not engaging in petty arguments that served no purpose. After coming across your website and reading your articles as well as a few weeks of therapy, prayer and reaching out to others, I have found so much healing. My mind is still screaming at times. Full of self doubt, fear, and the all too common woulda, shoulda, coulda’s. But somewhere inside is a quiet voice that says, “This guy came along to help heal from the past.” He was just a vehicle to bring about the change I had prayed for. All this pain and all this work has nothing to do with him just as his leaving the relationship had nothing to do with me. It has to do with prayers being answered. He moved a new woman in 3 weeks later and the only thing he had to say to me after I left was that I didn’t leave him any sheets and he couldn’t find his thong panties (I guess because I had always found them disgusting and I threw them in the trash as I left).
    That told me everything I needed to know about how superficial and unreal the whole thing had been on his part, and what a waste of time it would have been for me to stick around a second longer. It’s taken all year for me to come to terms with this. But it ripped the scabs off of deep wounds that I needed to heal. Im not about to write him a thank you letter, however I can work on forgiving him in order to be free of him. I’ve also been doing the work to forgive myself too.
    You have helped me to understand that and to make sense of some of the insanity.
    Thank you

    • Hi Debby,

      I am so pleased this article has brought you relief!

      It is great that you bringing back ‘all that happened to self’ in order to get your healing and iner relationship right with you – because truly that will be an end to relationships with abusive others.

      You are so right in that our greatest self dream and wish is ‘real love’ and it must start with self, regardless of our programs, regardless of our childhoods, and regardless of the painful relationships we created and endured in order to see and claim our unhealed parts in order to heal.

      All of us, including you have a glorious and real life of true love, acceptance and joy to claim – and when we become that to ourself there will never again be any need to create or endure any less than that again.

      It is our birthright and true essential nature.

      Mel xo

  20. Thank you so much for the wonderful article. From childhood I’ve carried around the vague feeling that something was wrong with me, that I was for some reason basically unlikable or unlovable. As a result, I have always let potential friends and romantic partners “pick” me. I was always so excited that someone wanted to be my friend, or wanted to be with me, that I failed to fully evaluate whether or not this person was someone I actually wanted to have in my life. Now, I’m trying to develop a sense of self love to pick for myself people who will be good for me. It’s been a real eye-opener, to see as I am going through this divorce process, to see how valuable I am to other people, and that the people in my life who genuine love me and want me to be around them far outnumber the people who do not.

    • Hi Mary,

      Thank you for your post, and the honest and humble sharing you have done here.

      I am so not surprised that you being so real with yourself is creating such a powerful shift in your life toward genuine self-love and the true creation of ‘more of that’.

      Mel xo

  21. I am so gratefull to you, Melanie as I am four years into recovery. It was a double blow realizing I had been so emotionally abused by two men I had loved deeply and discovering I had been Co-Dependent with a thirty year gap between them. I am still being held up with property settlement I have discovered much about myself Thank You.

    • Hi Irene,

      You are very welcome, and I am pleased you are coming home to self.

      Please know ‘who you are’ right now is not determined by any outside forces, not even property settlement. And the more you work on being true love and self acceptance to yourself, the outer things in your life will all start falling into place.

      Mel xo

  22. Yes like others ,I too thought that maybe it is my issue and that I am the one with mental concerns,and when you try to understand you realise that it is absorbing and self defeating…LOOKING AT THE NARCIS’TUG PULL AND PUSH GAME OF MAKING OUT THAT I AM THE ONE WITH THE ISSUES. Thank you for the reminder that it is partly my issue for letting this thing eat me,and yes self worth and steeping back realy lookuing at what is gone on or is still going on is of my doing also,Yes self acceptance and forgiveness finding my balance again…Not wearing nor dragging it around in my head is important.I wish my older sibling well in life and do feel empathy toward his condition.However and thank you.For reminding me, that although I let all this occur in my own participation of such nonsense,that I can heal and get on.
    Thank’s Mel’

    • Hi Al,

      I am so pleased that this article has allowed you to realize ‘what is yours’ and ‘what is his’ and that you can break free and focus on creating and living your true nature.

      You are most welcome!

      Mel xo

  23. Dear Melanie ~ What a gift your website is and all the information you have given us. But the best gift is YOU. For us to see and to know that you have conquered and overcome the terrible narcissistic situations gives us all hope!

    Today is the 5th wedding anniversary, 12-12-12,with my narcissist though I am not with him any longer. I was tempted to send him a card along with my mother’s obituary…but after one full year of “no contact”, I slept on it and looked back over the worst things Ilived through with him, unspeakable treatment and injustices, and I tore up the card and made a new commitment that today begins another year of no contact…forever. I am healthy today after going through months and months of prayer and meditation on the Word of God and with His help and the help of a precious therapist friend who was willing to be there for me, I know I am not the narcissist. Too
    much caring and compassion and pain for that person I loved and for the situation but I had to leave it as there was no resolution for anything together. Now I’m learning to give the caring and compassion to myself and grow healthy spiritually emotionally and physically once again. Thank you so much for your love and your sharing with us. I love you and I know that there are countless others who feel the same way. Bless you dear friend. With love, Joy

    • Hi Joy,

      That is so wonderful that you did not send the card and risk hooking yourself back in.

      It is so wonderful that you are expending your gorgeous and divine nature where it is mean to be shared, with yourself and other people and pursuits in your world that are a match for your life and truth.

      Thank you sharing your divine energy and light here and please know I love you very much too.

      Mel xo

  24. I totally love your topics of discussion, Melanie! And this one is very appropriate.

    I remember my narc sister (in her attempt to discredit what I was saying when I was holding her accountable for her behavior)once declaring to me [in an insulting voice] “You always TALK like a psychologist!”

    …to which I laughed and said “yeah, and you think your complaints are so important that everyone should just kiss your ass versus being able to separate themselves from your perspective and think for themselves.”

    She (and other family members attack me for setting boundaries-of course- and Because of their narcissism- they continuously try to make me feel bad about following the “no contact” rule) because in their minds I’m not allowed to think (or live) for myself. Regardless of any insults they throw my way, I always speak in ways that holds them accountable for their behavior and do not allow them to tell me how to live my life.

    I always try to put things into perspective based on the narcissistic abuse they’ve done to others, which also helps me keep a sense of humor regarding their “power plays”. For example, this sister I mentioned packed up all of the items in her household that she deemed as “hers”, took the kids and moved into a new condo, and moved out while her (now ex) husband was working. She never informed him ahead of time that she would be “stealing” everything, including his kids, and simply left the guy a “dear john” note versus talking about her problems with him directly–as HE was obviously her only problem in her mind. This type of abusive and dramatic gesture was seen throughout her entire relationship with this man, who was clearly her scapegoat.

    So, when she tries to turn the tables with her blaming language on me, I respond by saying something like “and this coming from someone who did ___”.

    By the way, did I mention that she hooked up with this guy because he was interested in me in high school? Yeah, she’s definitely tried to “steal” guys from me before, but she could never see that (not only was I not interested in this guy the way she thought I was), I didn’t get hurt by her immaturity. And later in life after her divorce, she openly flirted with a doctor I was dating, claiming outright that “they” were a better match than me and him! (we laughed for months about it)

    She still has zero insight into any of it, and still looks to hold onto ex boyfriends of mine, to claim as her own. She really puts a lot of effort into it! It’s VERY amusing to watch. I’ve had many things to laugh about regarding her behavior because I rarely let myself get pulled into her manipulations, so I’m able to see much of it as entertaining, luckily.

    I also remind myself that in recovery from narcissistic abuse, we question everything, including ourselves. And I’ve found that often, because the narcs that have attacked us for so long with their criticisms of our behaviors, that it seems that we need to process and welcome trusting ourselves. And sometimes we’re lucky enough to see the ridiculousness of a narcissist’s ways (like I could easily do with my sister), but other times it takes more work to see it that way.

    Most of the comments I read here seem to come from people who believe in honesty and consideration of others…and that makes me happy because it helps me believe in the good in the world. I’m happy to see mature, loving adults sharing their trust in themselves, and openness to self-acceptance.

    I recognize that I am healing, and I own that I am a compassionate and loving person, who has never been a narcissist. I just happen to dance among them from time to time…and when I do, I do my best to smile and remind myself that there are some really bad dancers out there!

    • Hi Dragonfly,

      You know I don’t like much focus on narc behavior because it can pull us back down into the muck – but the vibe of your post does have an important and inspirational message – which is the behavior, reasoning and scapegoating of narcs is incredibly childish, non-sensical and hilarious.

      It is also very comical how when a boundary is put up to the behaviour how the narc will then try to blame shift and accuse you of being childish and non-sensical or grab any other unrelated missile to try to discredit.

      It’s like rolling around in a toxic sandpit in a kindergarten!

      Real life just doesn’t operate like that, and nor do normal people.

      If you are ever in a relationship operating like this – there is no real relationship. The only relationship a narcissist ever has is the construction and defending of his or her own grandiose false self.

      Leave them to it!

      Mel xo

  25. I just want to say thank you also. This is the question that I have been asking myself since I first realized several weeks ago that narcissism had been the root of our relationship problems. I kept thinking of her actions in terms of the “golden rule” and asking “how could she have behaved this way, I would never have done that to her.” How could she not intuit that what she was doing was hurtful? Every expression of hurt by me was met with: “what about me? How do you think I felt having to break up with you … (pick a stupid reason)?” Still, I recognize that I also have a big ego, and have been successful, so first reading about this disorder I wondered about myself. I also think I have a conscience and was happy to apologize when I could see that I was insensitive or wrong. I usually knew it as I was doing or saying it. If, for example, she had a fit and started an argument for no reason, I would be the one who apologized for getting upset. I don’t recall ever receiving a simple apology from her – even when I asked for one – when that is all that it would have taken to resolve an issue. Thank you for this very timely piece.

    • Hi ST,

      Thank you for your post, and it is wonderful that you have admitted that you have an ego. Most successful, intelligent people do have ego issues.

      Truly the deal for everyone is dissolving our ego, letting go of control, expectations, judgements, indignations and the illusions of separation, fear, me versus you, and all the painful stories about ourself, others and life that the ego (pain body) constantly manufactures.

      When we take responsibility, be accountable and accept ourselves warts and all (which always begins with humility) we come a long way along the path of dissolving our ego – knowing that is does not serve love, it is fear and not love, and it is never real or authentic. It is a fabricated self trying to appear ‘perfect’ and creating unreasonable conditional love for ourselves. When we don’t believe we are good enough, then we will always project these parts on to others and blame them for ‘ourself’

      It is great that you are self reflecting and on your way to establishing your authentic true self of love, which egoic programs by their very nature can’t achieve.

      Mel xo

  26. Melanie! So very eeeeerie how you read my mind! Thank you so very very much…. I have been wondering if I attracted my “mirror” and have more than a few common characteristics of the Narcissist….flaming codependency yes yes yes… that’s me… thank you for answering my deepest fears that I couldn’t admit out loud to a n y one…..I have at least stopped the “euphoric remembrance” and know that you mention recovery from addiction… as a love addict…and now with the Narcissit most likely a fantasy addict….coming to terms with my own insanity…I accepted the “essence of a crumb” at the banquet of life… thank you for your help and support…(you always know our nagging fears and doubts..without you I would still be a ball of self hating snot…your blog, love talk radio and books saved my life.. I am alive because of your work… I have 4 children plus me who are grateful Mel…it seems so little to say… thank you.

    • Hi Donna,

      Thank you for your post, and you are so very welcome.

      I am so happy that my material and work has helped you and your children, and you have been able to claim your life back!

      Big hugs and love

      Mel xo

  27. I have been out for 3 months, my husband has for the most part left me alone, we still run our business together, see him every few days at work. During Thanksgiving break, i did hear from others of his narcissist behavior with his side of the family and with our son. But is it possible for him to leave me alone for this long? He really confuses me. I know he has told others that he is going to win me back. After 20 years with him i have nothing in my heart for him, can he be just playing me, if he is true narcissist, which i believe he is (or some other personality disorder, like BPD) stop his behavior towards me for this long? Any advice from you I would appreciate. I thank God everyday for the peace and joy i feel being away from him and serving others instead of him.

    • Hi Nancy,

      Narcissists tend to what will hurt and confuse you the most. If he believes not contacting you will push on your unhealed parts that is exactly what he will do.

      What you need to do is heal, discover what it is about what he is or isn’t doing that is triggering you, and close up those wounds.

      Then you will be able to create boundaries that say ‘no more I’m honoring me’ if he does try to make waves.

      I hope this helps!

      Mel xo

      • Thanks Mel, i have healed so much already over these 3 months… what he does or doesn’t do really does not effect me like it use to. I am finding joy and great comfort in my new life. I will not, could not go back to the old life.

  28. Hi Mel

    Thank you for this post. I have been wondering about this for a while and it was exactly what I needed to hear. But I’m still stuck. Why am I still focussing on the ‘what could have/should have/might have been’ when I was hurt so much? I still swing from intense anger to tears of pain even after six months. I’m still codependent on someone who couldn’t care less about me – am I mad?

    There is no contact from him, that’s part of my punishment, but I still try to get answers. What is wrong with me? Why can’t I stay rooted in my belief that this person is not a good person? Why can’t I get rid of photos and emails? I feel so stuck. I think I’m doing ok and then something triggers a memory and I’m off again. This is why I thought I was the narc because I thought I was trying to get ‘supply’, although I don’t do it by being selfish, devious and uncaring. My natural personality is to be kind and helpful and giving; I gave, he took – everything. I’m just needy I guess.

    I feel so stuck – but at least I know I’m not a narc, just codependent – not that that’s much of a blessing either. I hate the fact that he was so nice to me in the beginning because my mind wants to hang on to those memories and really I just want to be free.

    Sonia

    • Hi Sonia,

      You are very welcome. What you are going through is all the normal anguishing symptoms of narc abuse.

      Your answer to get out of this torment is rarely logical. Your liberation from this will come when you commit to healing, your unhealed parts which led you into a relationship with a narcissist and are still playing out and making you feel like you are still emotionally hooked.

      Now that you know you are not a narc, truly there is a way forward.

      Mel xo

      • Thanks Mel.

        How does one commit oneself to healing? I thought I had already done that ages ago…but it seems not? Sigh!

        Sonia xx

        • Hi Sonia,

          I can relate as can many people in that we had thought we had done the work!

          Have you looked at NARP? It is specifically created to address Inner Identity healing. To the right of the blog is the details. You can read there what other people have achieved on the program.

          Mel xo

  29. Brilliant timing as always but im still questioning whether its me or him today because of something that happened yesterday which has set me off again. He beat me quite severly 5 months ago – i took 3 months to report it but was too scared until i managed to get him to leave 2 months ago. For the first time in years i have felt calm, even tranquil sometimes, i dont care whether people leave stuff around the house, whether the washing up is done, my friends say im back to me again and even my voice has changed back to how it was – however yesterday the police told me that they couldnt charge him because even though they have photos of the bruises, hospital records that back my story up, texts where he states he ‘belted me’ there needs to be evidence beyond reasonable doubt that my bruises werent caused by his self defence and in a criminal court he has to be proved guilty and is innocent until that happens. Since hearing this ive felt out of control – i want to text him, email him, go to see him, show everyone the photos, go and inform his sister of what really happened and am so distraught that after waiting months not retaliating when hes telling everyone im crazy/mental/vindictivbe etc etc etc i now actually feel that i want to be vindictive and i do feel crazy and out of control again – just how i did when he used to do the things he did within the relationship. Its not about winning or losing but i just feel that hes gotten away with it AGAIN and where does that leave me. Is it me who is the Narc? im feeling so angry/tearful/sick with all these feeling inside me that i dont know what to do with them but i do want to do something to hurt him .. not physically but destroy his friendships/family relationships by telling them the true version – i just thought that the courts would do that and theyve let me down.

    • Hi Sally,

      Truly it is perfectly understandable whatbyoubare feeling. That would feel like a huge injustice totally.

      You poor thing, retaliating unfortunately will only draw you into the narc muck again.

      Sweetie you need to heal and release this pain, and then truly you will get up to an even higher level of feeling good than you were previously – even though it doesn’t feel like that right now.

      Hugs,

      Mel xo

  30. Thank you so much for your blog. I have been with my husband for 11 years now, and it has been good and bad. As is typical with a narcissist, he swept me off my feet with kindness and outpouring of love and romance. I had 3 children when we met, and we have 1 together now. My kids have been through hell with us through the years, but in all honesty I’m scared to leave him. I’ve tried twice to leave, and the first time he stalked me, even with a restraining order, and the 2nd he tried to kill me when I was leaving work. He is very crude and vulgar when he speaks to me in front of others, but then at other times he can be the most loving man in the world. I know he is a narcissist. I mentioned to him that maybe we could go see someone about it, and he did some research and told me that he wasn’t the narcissist..I was. I know that I am not a narcissist. I have empathy. I have feelings. I feel love. I am human. I want out of this so bad, but I have no where to go. We would be homeless, and have nothing. But then maybe happiness and freedom is worth that? I don’t know what to do….

    • Hi Amy,

      You are very welcome.

      Yes you are in a difficult situation but many people have been where you are and got out please know that it is possible.

      What you need is support, you need people around you, somewhere to go and the right protection and advice. Please reach out and go and see a domestic violence officer and tell them about your fears. They are trained to assist situations like yours and present you options.

      Love and safety

      Mel xo

  31. I once told a friend that as a co-dependent seeing an N was like a moth to a flame, I knew I was going to get burned but couldn’t help trying to see if I could avoid it. No matter how strong you are or how hard you try each time you get a bit closer the flame gets higher. Just as a moth will die if it gets too close so too can the co-dependent unless they learn how to heal themselves.A lack of conscience and empathy are clear signs that a person cannot engage in a reciprocal, fulfilling relationship. I’d also like to add ‘the ability to take responsibility’ to the other 2.whilst an N is unable to do so the co-dependent is likely to take responsibilty not just for themselves but the N too. I certaiinly found for myself I had several encounters that clearly wwere crying out for me to take more care of myself but I ignored them all until eventually the N came along to show me if I didn’t I too would be lucky to escape with just singed wings. I was very lucky that’s all I suffered but the gift of finally giving to myself, to make difficult choices and changes was the most valuable lesson I have learned.
    I wish everyone who has had these encounters to look for the gift in their experience no matter how hard that may seem so they can emerge a freer and much more self assured person who knows their value and worth and can recognise what real love is.
    For everyone who has been touched by these people your courage, joy and strength is what these people wanted from you and what paradoxically enabled you to stay. You can change that courage and strength around so that you give it back to yourself and reclaim/regain you power. That is surely a gift…
    xx

  32. Melanie,

    About 5 weeks ago, I ended my relationship with a man I’d been involved with for almost 5 months. On that same night, after he was gone, I realized he is a narcissist. By the next morning, I had found your website!

    Thank you so very much for being a lifeline. The resources you provide allow me to deepen my understanding of this extremely painful experience, my part in it, and what I must do to move toward healing. I know I don’t have to say that I really do not want to repeat this type of relationship!

    My answer to your second question is causing me a tremendous amount of grief. Not only do I feel empathy but it’s consuming me! I believe I am an emotional empath and this has exacerbated my crisis. Not only was I sensing the underlying feelings of my former mate while in his presence, but also, I am now experiencing feelings of intense grief for his plight. You wrote:

    “The narcissist’s deep wounded inner parts have been rejected by him or her and are unattended to. They have not been healed. They are unnatural, they are not ‘love’, they are ‘fear’ and ‘pain’ and they are not aligned with ‘true self’. These unhealed parts are intensely painful, and they erupt for the narcissist constantly.”

    This truth is so painful that it is overwhelming and extremely difficult for me to accept. I am struggling to find a way! Although I thought I had healed much of my very painful childhood, this relationship has been a catalyst for a load of unfinished business that I was not expecting to discover.

    I was raised by my mother, whom I recently learned may well have Borderline Personality Disorder, and an angry alcoholic stepfather. My biological father abandoned our family when I was 4. Just before and into my teen years, he contacted me and I was exposed to enough of his behaviors to believe that he’s a narcissist. I have not seen him for almost 30 years but his legacy lives on.

    My 4-year ‘love’ relationship previous to the narcissistic one culminated with a sudden stark awareness of the true severity of dysfunction in my history – even though I had explored that in counseling in my twenties for recovery from co-dependency. (I am now in my late forties.) Even though I’m relieved to be making sense of things, I am grieving past losses again in this new light as I’m feeling the brunt of my current circumstances. I have certainly questioned my own behaviors and traits amidst it all (but I know I am not a narcissist)!

    I have tried, with great results, your healing process on youtube. I intend to keep repeating to heal my layers of pain but what do I do about the agony I feel for others – specifically my mother and the man I just broke up with? I understand that they have a slim-to-no chance of recovering but hopelessness has always been impossible for me to accept. I’ve come through so much in my life and have experienced many miracles along the way. Hope is one of the few things I can rely on. How do I resolve this without lying to myself? Please help me find some peace in all this sadness.

    Thank you, KC

    • Hi KC,

      Thank you for your post, and it is really good that you want to heal, and recognize how you childhood has played out.

      KC it is great that you got relief from the healing. Do you have the resources to get onto the NARP program, because it can take your healing to a verybdeepmlevel for you.

      The agony you are feeling as well as the codependent hooks are all addressed with specific healings in the program.

      That is the greatest tool I have to help you.

      Mel xo

  33. Thank you for this blog post. This is a question I’ve also wondered about and this after having been in recovery mode for ten years. I have only been going through your program for about a month, however, and even though the other methods have provided small amounts of healing, nothing else has brought me back to myself. Thanks!

  34. Hi Mel,

    I am the one who sent you the statement explaining that I thought a Narcissist was like a robot a while back. You asked me if you could use it. I never heard anything back from you. I hope you will send that article to me some day. I have been healing ever since and it is still very hard at times.
    What I have realized and learned from you and your web site (Which by the way I am very grateful to you for and your help)about all of this painful experience is that even though I did not cause my ex to be and suffer from her NPD, that I was not responsible for her behavior for the most part, is that we do not accept responsibilty for another persons inresponsible actions. We should not try to control anyones behavior because they refuse to do this on their own. I think most of us do not do this intentually, its just slowly over time we get sucked into it because we are trying to help more then we are trying to be control freaks.
    I am now aware of this unconsious controling and I no longer step in their place to do this. I lovingly point out their responsibilty; their accountabilty for their behavior and actions. If they accept then that is great, if they dont then I have set already in placed boundries to protect and love myself when someone I love is not being responsible enough to love me back.
    I am no longer with my ex, I divorced her.
    But now I have found someone I love very much and that is myself, but not in a narcissistic way, just in a healthy way. I will never abandon myself again.
    Thank you for all that you do.
    Eric

    • Hi Eric,

      I am so sorry I receive so much correspondence and it may have been passed on to my team for consideration.

      Could you possibly send it again?

      This is so wonderful that you have empowered yourself, have great loving boundaries and a healthy healthy relationship now.

      A wonderful success story :)

      Mel xo

  35. Hi Melonie

    Thanks a lot for the post, and your lovely website. I have been following your advice for about a month now. I have been focusing on myself and becoming the creator of my own happiness. I don’t know how to explain this, but the outside circumstances are changing automatically as my self confidence increases. The N is longer able to get at me. I am able to maintain my equilibrium even when the N tries to put me down in front of others (most of the time that is). I understand the essence of the Energy law you are talking about, and I am staying focused on that. It really helps. Just by changing my thoughts, the others things are getting taken care of by themselves.
    Thank you very much once again.

  36. Hi Mel

    the fact of this matter, is i am not the Narc. i have rebelled for sure, and been very defensive, but ultimately that was me trying to lay my boundaries to unacceptable behavior, in childhood, in teenage years and in adulthood.

    The fact of the matter I now deal with is that I have come face to face with the problem that I have always only offered myself unhealthy relationships, and I now have the opportunity to resolve that, thanks to you and your program of energetic healing. so it doesn’t matter if they are or are not Narc’s the point is, if i am always being true to myself, wholeheartedly and without fear of anything, then everything should be fine.

    I am unlocking my beautiful caring qualities and my freedom to be me full of self esteem and self confidence with humility and self respect, day by day, and one by one, the bricks in the walls built up so very strong around me shall crumble away for good this time. My life is shorter by the minute, and it is my life for me. I am a very good person who never harms or means to be hurtful in defense. Live alot of love

  37. Wow.
    I have never been on your site, and I am very happy to have found you and the wonderful people who are so honest and struggle with this debilitating issue.
    My core has been broken.

  38. I realize now, after spending time extracting the knowledge on this site, that I used to rationalize her destroying my spirit as “she’s just getting it out of her system” instead of seeing that she wasn’t. She was rebuilding her system. It’s making me understand which makes me realize my decision to bolt was the right one. This website has made this one of the easiest heartbreaks I’ve ever dealt with. I’m continuously taking my feelings, understanding them, and blessing them. I think I’ve already worked through the hardest part. I can’t thank you enough Melanie.

  39. Melanie,
    Your recovery program has BY FAR been the most helpful thing I have learned. I can feel when I am clear, and when I am not. Before I was just never clear at all since I can remember. Thank you for your work.

  40. I very much appreciate your work Melanie, and would like to see you cover different kinds of narcissistic relationships, not just couples. My father is a narcissist, and so is my ex-husband who I have two children with. The idea of no contact is not always possible when family or children are involved. I have also worked with a sociopathic narcissist boss. Sometimes narcissism has to be managed, and cannot be walked away from.
    Also while narcissists do operate in similar ways, they can behave quite differently. Some are covert (closet narcissists). I didn’t see the rage and hatred of my ex-husband until I left when he went into a spiral of narcissistic injury. Some highly functioning narcissists are actually quite subtle and can be hard to spot – it is after all a spectrum disorder. So I guess, I would like to see you address some of these issues. And again, I would like to say, that I think your work is great and necessary.

    • Hi Julie, poking my head around the corner to say a quick hi :)
      FYI Mel has addressed narcissism in its entirety within her articles and does not just focus on ‘love relationships’ not at all. The disorder stems right back to our parents and DNA where we choose our partners in some cases based on what we didn’t get or have from one of our parents. My father was a narcissist, extreme high end abuser (not physical) but enough to drive my mother away as advised by his psychiatrist who said he couldn’t be helped. I was two when mum left him. My last relationship was with a man who ‘mirrored’ my father and he had what I didn’t get from my father. I know I am not a narc as it is learned behaviour favouring the male moreso than females who are prone to become ‘borderlinePD).
      In my opinion and from my insight into narcissism, ‘managing a narc, a true NPD is impossible unless you want to end up with nothing of yourself left and a shell.
      Mel has covered this as well.
      Modified contact is possible when kids are involved.
      I hope you find your answers and the answers for me were inside me, in that I was co-creating the abuse.
      Mel covers much more than just ‘couples’ and I hope you find the answers. ((Hug))

  41. Thank you so much for that. This is what I needed to read so much right now. I have thought that my partner was a narcissist since the beginning of the relationship. I was only 2 months out of a relationship with a sociopath, and my current partner wouldn’t leave me alone despite my repeated telling him that I wasn’t ready for a relationship and had a lot of healing to do after being with a sociopath. He claimed he wanted to help. Even in that moment when he said it, there was a flash in my mind, “Right. You mean I am an easy target!” I’ve been reading up a LOT on narcissism and every time I was always questioning if I am the narcissist. This constant self-doubt kept me in a stand-still where I wouldn’t allow myself to move forward, because I kept thinking that maybe I needed to take the blame and be accountable. It never let me see myself as someone who deserved love–from within, as you say–because I was always focusing on the possibility that I might be the bad guy who needs to shape up and be nicer. This internal thinking has led me to becoming more of a doormat to him. I never allowed myself to call blatant abuse what it is for fear that I was somehow the one at fault.

    Thank you thank you thank you. I needed something to click into place so I could move on to the next step. If I am not the narcissist, then I can finally start to deal with healing.

    I am going to hold on to this clarity and try to propel myself forward into the next step of healing. I am so happy to have found this site. After a psychologist told me I am “severely diseased” and would need to be on medication forever (I have C-PTSD and agoraphobia as well) I was so defeated. I felt that not even a professional was going to help me. I am absolutely committed to learning from people who have been there (you and other survivors…errr thrivers) to learn what the psychologist couldn’t help me learn.

    My best friend keeps telling me I need to learn how to be selfish. That just sounds so selfish to me!!! But after listening to all the nonsense coming out of my partner’s mouth about how sick, deluded, and nuts I am, maybe I should listen to my best friend for a change, huh!

    :) Thank you so much.

  42. In my above post I meant to clarify ‘I am not a narc because I feel empathy, sympathy and care a lot about people’. Narcs don’t have the brain wiring to posess empathy, they can only learn the emotions needed to feel genuine empathy from others. Like an actor in a movie, rehearsed and copied so well, it is difficult to know what is real with them, They make brilliant actors. You know without a doubt when you know what to look for. Listen to and feel the uneasiness in your stomach, it is trying to tell you something. I am pleased to say I am not a narc.

  43. Melanie, you just get better and better, and your`e doing so much wonderful healing work, it`s incredible. You`ve helped me, and now you`re helping me help my friends and I just can`t thank you enough. This has been probably the happiest and certainly the most productive year of my life, thanks to you (and that nasty slimy son-of-a-bitch bastard I can`t quite bring myself to forgive).
    Happy Christmas, happy new year, may all you wish for yourself come to be, please stay what you are, which is “wonderful”.
    Love
    Jane

  44. I didnt mean to post on this blog with my full name. But since I have I mind as well go full on. This good guy I met I am finding really is a good guy and the “major” issues I find with him are not him but actually my issues and his responses to my maladaptions. There really are well adjusted good men out there with simply human issues. Not what I have grown accustomed too. But it is what I want now. I also have to Thank Melanie. Despite my years and years (2 decades) of personal work with all kinds of healing methods and therapies and work on myself. She tapped into a method that is Magical. I am processing at lightening speed very major blocks to my innerself and true healing that I wanted to heal before but not one method had that Magic key. When I became unemployed I had an option to take this time to really work on personal growth like never before. I finally had time and money saved. Because I had spent years and years in college and working. I had buried issues that I simply had no time or energy to truley process. I am glad I did not give up that all my years of personal work were waiting for this method or understanding. I access you tube and read and re read her material. I cry at night with suffering sometimes because I have opened old buried wounds that need to be released. I hope for a better and happier year and my hopes are on this great guy. Time will tell. No job and lots of innerwork. Painful. Tedious. But the pay off immeasurabley good. I realized as a Massage Therapist/Reflexologist I could not help my own clients any further without helping me. Merry Christmas and Thanks Melanie. I am so used to diagnosing my clients in my mind to try and help them that I do that to partners. Love interests. Very helpful and not helpful because I dont want to have my work carry over my private life. As the song goes…It’s My Turn. I am a healer by nature but …Its really my turn too.

  45. Melanie,

    I want to thank you for taking my hands in this painful jouney toward freedom and self discovery. I have read tons of books, website, blogs about narcisist and “victims”, but none is so releaving and “hands-on” helpful like yours. If I can make it is also thanks to you. Lovexx

  46. Happy Holidays… I have had the most spectacular BreakThrough this week, I feel WHOLE again… my Loving, open and honest nature feels no pain, sadness or suffering and largely due to discovering you and your amazing information… Thank you for my healing as I have always had the self love and personal inner strength… I just did not know that people could be so cruel and I trusted my heart to a narcissist and I enabled him to rip it to shreads… but I have completely detatched and can have empathy for him… as he will never know what he is missing…Narcissism…What was THAT?.m4a

  47. great info im trying so hard to keep sane this narc im with has me locked into a bussiness that i am trying to sell he also has an ex that he trys to make me jealeous of he has children to her says its all about the kids i think he plays her to i hav never been so confused .angry and frustrated in my life if it wasnt for these articles i would probably blame me but i know deep down im loving and kind but he throws all the blame at me but im finally thanks to this information seeing through him so il keepreading and hopefully sell soon thankyou for my sanity

  48. My narc discarded me 2 months ago on halloeen I did not bad for about 1 month I was either in total denial or shocked numb now I have gone backwards I can’t eat have lost weight and all interest in life I try to do the sessions but its like I have a block and can’t get through them I am trembling and feel totally incapacitated what can I do I do not want to go on drugs but I am feeling like I cannot cope anymore

  49. Recently niece 16, was returned to my sister her Aunt,after Aunt packed her bags dropped her at our front door and insisted she would never come back. I am sick, as while my niece was with us we discovered that (not clinically diagnosed)Auntie has classic NPD, my question is how do we support my niece I feel as if I returned her to the lions den, she is supposed to get counciling, is it a blessing she knows at her age? I basically told her to plan her escape she gets a financial benifit when she turns 18. Niece is in line for a scholarship for her soccer and Aunt is purposing to thwart her effeorts, I hate to see that happen it would truly be a travesty. How to protect and encourage a minor in the throws of this insedious predicament? Thanks for listening, Cara

  50. I was so happy to read this post. Our “circular” fights that seemed to go on and on forever, and his outrageous statements to me and to my kids got me searching on the internet to see what was up with him, because I knew it wasn’t normal. We are from 2 different cultures, but I knew it was more than just those differences that was causing me to seethe with anger when he would speak arrogantly and flippantly about me, my family, or just others in the general public, or do things that were extremely disrespectful without batting an eye. I came upon narcissism, and all of the criteria rang true of his actions. Now that I am reading more on your blog, I am learning so much more, and realizing that it is definitely a disorder. I often would tell myself “Next time, I won’t be dragged into the stupid bickering he seems to thrive on…” but I would be so furious at his outrageous comments, and thought processes, I could not help but try to set him straight. Afterall, I was thinking I would have to live my whole life with this nonsense, so I should stick up for my values and rights as a human being, should I not? Now I know there is no other strategy to use other than no contact. Anything else just fuels the reason why they do what they do. And yes, one of the things he loved to do to me was try to humiliate me with the mistakes of my past, the sore spots I still feel guilty about, my short-comings, my insecurities…etc…and if I raised the narcissism issue, “No”, he would say, “It’s you, not me.” I am so relieved to read that this is normal for narcissists, and no, it really isn’t us. Further, cutting off contact cuts off the opportunity for him to point out that we are the “crazy one” when we get so angry we lose our cool. Thanks so much, and keep posting more info. It’s so valuable.

  51. I have a question, Melanie. How do you suggest handling a narcissist father and his interaction with his kids? Right now, our break up is fresh, and I’m sure you can imagine all the mudslinging going on. Of course, in true form, he’s claiming more ownership of the kids, rather than taking into account their best interests. What do I do about this?

  52. I was about to type my story…..but i decided mid way to erase it and start again-i am in the midst of awakening….and i had mistaken my drive to inquire into self as possible narcissistic qualities because i am thinking of ME by seeing a psychologist, going to healing’s and attending meditation. This is uncomfortable for me-and i am so used to wearing the burdeon of my marriages failure-and chasing fixing it so he knows i am a good person that to deny it was ALL my fault and that i am a monster as my ex (i have only just started calling him this)so often tells me is very unfamiliar to me. I still feel selfish but i am working on the realisation that to pour effort into myself does not make me a bad person. I am in the early stages of NO CONTACT-my ex has thrown about 30 texts my way about how weak, controlling and cruel i am being and has threatened suicide-i fell for it last night only to have my concern thrown back in my face for doing what he asked me-he wanted help staying off drugs-but then told me i wasn’t a real friend because i didnt respond straight away to his numerous texts and phone calls. After taking him to the doctors but clarifying that we are not together i would just like to see him well he has sent me two texts saying “We would work if you realised i was the boss” and “See boss your way or no way” and “You do care you because you called someone to intervene you are just weak”. If i hadn’t of read this blog i would be ringing pleading with him that i am a good person and i want to help him……but the truth is “He is not my responsibility” I am my responsibility and we have a child-and i have not always put her needs before his (I feel terrible for this) which is my confirmation that i do possess empathy-not to mention i cry at world vision adverts. So as of NOW-i won’t be told i am a monster, i won’t be told i am pathetic, weak, a moron, a quitter, a control freak or that my words are cheap. Because my word to myself is that i will love myself enough to set boundaries-to not place expectations on any outcomes, to speak my mind clearly-which requires me to ask myself What do i actually want?? I have never asked myself that before-he has always accused me that everything is my way or the highway….i believed it for years-until one day i did nothing, i didnt leave the house, i didn’t study anymore, i didn’t even think i could write up a resume-look i only picked our daughter up from school, i had no friends because all of them were apparently out to get me and use me……My greatest achievement is moving back in with my mum and dad with our daughter and resuming my studies and getting help-i am not there yet, but the journey to discovering my new world-one that isn’t dominated by fear is so liberating and exciting….am i narcissistic? Its a question i have asked alot lately-especially when i ignore the phone calls and texts-I am just a woman who decided she didn’t want to be treated badly anymore….i still feel guilt and i still have bad days-but i have hope now. Thank you so so much Melanie…all you information has been literally life saving to me xxx

  53. I have just recently been the victiim of my partner’s (what I now know to be) an narcisistic rage. It took a massive display of uncontrolled rage that left me pysically and emotionally damaged……but which finally set me free . In that new and strange land of self discovery I did ask myself the question, is it him or is it me….am I the Narcississ? i angsted about that for a couple of weeks before the faiths interveened and I was led to your blog and specifcally to this particular post. That discoverr was not only was a huge revelation….but may even of saved my life. Tto say thank you and God Bless …doesnt seem to convey the dept of my feeling,,,but I know that you will understand ….for we are all survivors of of the same illness that up unitl now I didnt even know I was cabable of attracting much less murture . Thank you ….

  54. I spent 30 years in a relationship with a person with a personality disorder. I read this article.
    I think part of healing involves a bit of research and when awarness of what has happenned improves, so to the chance of a peaceful life. I researched more then most people would ever do. I work a lot of night shifts and when things are quiet I read and research. I am at peace now because of it and must say i dont do much these days.

    I say here with all honesty, the information you give is the very best i have seen. There is so much out there and much of it is far too complex, clinical and often rediculous.

    The insistance that one muct focus on the true self rather then past wrongs of an abuser is also rare and essential.

    The fact that Narcissists actually hate the self and love the person thaey are pretending to be is a fact that goes missing in many sites. So to the reality that we are attracted to abusers because we deny parts of our own true self is also vital truth. This truth is more important then we might realise. This realisation is vital if we are to establish a relationship with a well balanced partner in the future.

    Just as we find a mal adjusted personality(eg NPD) attractive when we are in denial of certain self issues, we will find a well adjusted ideal person difficult to love if we fail to deal with these issues.

    I would like to know your views on this point I raise. I now have a wonderful relationship with a fabulous complete and truely sensitive lady. But at first my denial of many aspects of myself made me blind to much of the things i now see and find so wonderful. We worked through many things and each day we grew together into a complete intimacy based on true love of the self.

    I find now that it is difficult for me to look back and see much of what was so bad in that previous life. I think of her and struggle to recall the intensity of the stress or feel the depth of the pain. i understand why this is so. I can see the facts and shake my head at the rediculous things that were done to me and the mind twisting that happenned. But I no longer dwell on these things or seek people to talk to and tell about these things. This used to be a frequent struggle to find someone who could understand.

  55. Hi Mel

    I found your page yesterday morning and was laughing and crying at the same time! I suspected my now ex partner was a narcissist for a long time but was confused wondering if he’s just plain abusive, cruel or had some kind of mental health issue. Now I know for sure. At times I have doubted myself as he repeated told me that I was the bad person in the relationship and that I told lies, twisted things and told lies which left me in utter turmoil but I know for a fact I am not the narcissist no matter what he says. I can’t do enough for people, him included although obviously it was rarely appreciated. I was always racking my brain to try and understand why and how anyone could be so horrible and not think of all the things I have done to make their life a better place. I seriously bent over backwards and I have said to him and many others that I felt I had lost my personality whilst being with him trying to morph myself into this person he wanted me to be. I am 4 months pregnant with my first child and the narc ended the relationship as I wouldn’t have an abortion. He is already a father to two grown up girls and they state he has been a fantastic but distant dad. He parted with their mother quite early on, blaming her to me, but I would imagine he treated her similar to me if not worse. He says he wants nothing to do with me or the child and at present I am exercising no contact although this is quite difficult as we both live in the same little village and frequent the same places. I don’t know how to proceed once the baby comes. He has damaged me so badly that I really don’t want him in my life at all but I don’t want to deny my child the opportunity of knowing their father. If I wasn’t 39 I possibly would have considered terminating the pregnancy so I could be truly free of this man but its not a route I have ever wanted to go down. I am about to buy your healing cd’s – I am having trouble downloading the ebooks which is a pain but I found your two free mp3′s very very helpful/ Can you or any other bloggers offer me any advices please??

    Love and Light
    Kate

    • Kate, I just wanted to say I feel for you, as I am only now (as in today) truly starting to understand my husband’s NPD issues (we separated six months ago), my own co-dependence, and I am looking towards another 12 years of co-parenting with him. Honestly I am wondering just how I am going to manage that while recovering my mental/emotional health!! I’m afraid I don’t have any good advice for you, but having finally had my daughter at 43, and now struggling with the reality of co-parenting with a NP (which frankly means bearing the total responsibility of parenting on your own, only harder), I can tell you I would not change it for the world. My daughter is the most beautiful and precious being that ever came into my life. She is the one precious gift that has come from this relationship. Your child will be the same.

      I really do understand that you don’t want to deny your child a father, and I am not about to suggest you do so, but I will say two things. One: it is very difficult co-parenting with a personality like this, even when you are married to them. I felt from the first moments of caring for my child that my husband would not let me ‘be’ a mother, he challenged me all the time, almost destroyed my trust in my own instincts, he always believed his way was better, he took stupid risks with her safety and would then argue I was being neurotic and overly protective (ie: why do I have to hold her hand while we walk beside a busy road? she was two at the time). He created a massive amount of stress in the early years of her life, and he tapped into every insecurity I had about being a good mother. And I can say with confidence now, even in the throes of depression and dealing with this miserable separation, I am a good mother and I have very good maternal instincts.

      My second point is something a counsellor/energy healer said to me: Yes, children need a stable, loving parent in their lives, but they don’t absolutely need two parents. Did you ever think maybe you are enough for her? This really helped me because no, I had not thought that maybe I was enough. I agonised over leaving the marriage because I felt I was taking her father away. He has taken jobs that involve a lot of travel, so he is gone a lot of the time anyway, and he is about to take a job in the US so he will rarely see her. So anyway, just some thoughts to ponder. Blessings to you. Teena

  56. I am not a narcissist.

    What I am is a person who was raised by narcissistic parents, then had an 18-year relationship with a narcissist, and most recently has realized that aside from the typical low self-esteem that kids of narcs end up with, I have been crippling myself and my life with ***fear that I am a narcissist.*** I got accused of it, but also was terrified of turning out like my mother.

    So this post was very confirmatory and timely for me. I already knew through my own healing work that I wasn’t a narcissist (in fact, I asked a friend and she made exactly the same point as you at the outset: “If you were a narcissist you wouldn’t be worried about it”) — but it’s good to remind myself that the conscience and empathy are very solid.

    Thanks also for the invitation to declare what is so important to me to declare. It feels very good.

  57. Thanks for this article Melanie!! It is very clear and I can say with confidence yes, I definitely have a conscience and yes, I definitely have empathy!! My particular situation is I am struggling to free myself from the lifelong influence of a NP in my older sister (14 years older) – who sees herself as a mother to me, but has always insisted I am the one who views and treats her as my mother!! – and the past 16 years married to a NP. I have only very recently (in recent weeks) become clear that THIS is my major problem!! I had thought perhaps my husband had Asperger’s, and although he shows some signs of this syndrome, after reading up on NPD I really think this is his primary issue, although it is quite possible he has both!! I cannot say they have used the word ‘narcissistic’ towards me, but then again, I have never used the word myself. As I said, my awareness of NPD is very recent. For as long as I can remember my sister has told me I am “selfish, cold, clinical, uncaring, intellectually inferior (to her), lacking in taste, spiritually unconscious, inadequate, can’t quite cope, and perhaps more significantly, has insisted that she “knows” what I am feeling better than I do myself. She doesn’t say these things all the time, only when I have challenged her, tried to establish some boundaries etc. In the same vein (when I am angry about something he has done, or when I think he is being unreasonable) my husband has told me I “am no good at communicating with people, I always get my own way, I am dogmatic, controlling etc etc” My point being although I would not have used the word narcissistic, I have always been told I am “the problem”, by both of them. I have been blamed for the most insane things by my sister throughout my life, basically anything that she could not deal with emotionally she has found some way to blame me for (including choices made by her own adult children!!). As this blaming and scapegoating began in infancy for me, as much as a part of me would try to challenge the sense that there was something wrong with me, I took it on board pretty deeply, frequently second guessed myself, and have often felt maybe they are right. I can see now that yes, I do have “a problem”, but it’s not the issues they have projected onto me. My problem is low self esteem, poor boundaries, too trusting, and high susceptibility to any and all forms of manipulation!! My mother, though I don’t think narcissistic (??), was emotionally quite damaged before my birth, and because of this was neglectful (in an emotional sense). To add to my “problems”, in the course of my marriage I developed OCD symptoms (a lot of which I managed to release, but a few have stuck). I knew even at the time these symptoms were a direct response to feeling powerless and lacking control in my life, but I could not see (or perhaps it was too painful to see?) WHY I felt powerless. I tried to discuss these feelings with my husband, who invalidated my feelings and insisted “Well you’re not powerless”. Six months ago I finally bit the bullet and separated from my husband. Although I was not really aware of NPD at that time, I realised he was utterly self-focused, and I finally came to accept that he would not change. In fact, he saw nothing whatsoever wrong with his behaviour, he saw only areas in which he wanted me to change. The first few months were difficult but doable, but over the past 3 months I have second guessed myself over and over, and, in the way of ‘cosmic lessons’ I guess, I have been slammed by disrespectful, harsh and insensitive treatment coming from others as well, family members and people I considered my friends. Very recently I have reached a point where I feel seriously depressed. I started writing about an incident that happened just this afternoon, but I have deleted the details as I know you don’t want ‘stories’ of NPD insensitivity. Long story short, he wanted to meet up for coffee and the content of the ensuing conversation (involving another woman and how he wanted her to meet our daughter, my first awareness of this) threw me into a state of shock, so that I said: “No you do not involve her with someone you have just met” and walked out. My point being, it was finally slammed into me, in an excruciatingly painful way, that this is for real, I have given all my power away for years (to some degree my entire life) and that he (my sister too) is going to keep abusing and disrespecting and treating me as a doormat unless I get dead serious about healing myself, respecting myself, forgiving myself, and creating boundaries of steel!! It feels completely overwhelming right now, I feel emotionally shattered, drained and exhuasted, but your website and program are the one thing that has given me real hope that it can change, I can heal from this abuse, and I can become stronger and more loving and more powerful than I have ever been through this experience!! Big words and I lose my faith often, but I am here and seeing things clearly right now at least, finally!! I know this is very long, thanks for reading it . . .

  58. This was one of the most helpful and insightful readings I have come across. Thank you.
    I am sitting here now getting bombarded with texts telling me what a bad person I am. And, in the way she twists it, it looks logical if I stand from the outside. Somehow when I hear this from her, everything anyone else has ever told me goes out the window. I have been obsessively seeking if I am potentially the narcissist. If I could potentially unknowingly hurt someone.
    One huge question I have…
    Well, as one small example, when I was living with her, all I did was kindly mention the boogers from her kids on the wall that I was cleaning and wondered what we could do about it. She flew into a fit, telling me I am criticizing her parenting and that I see her as a bad mother and I went to being non-existent under the roof I lived in, completely ignored, as if I were part of the background scenery.
    She at some point started convulsing in a fit on the floor, what looked like a seizure. She tells me that my criticisms (which were never criticisms, they were occurrences and feelings) are causing stress induced neurological disorder, which is making me question myself even more. Can perceived criticisms make them ill?
    I am so confused.

  59. This was so helpful to read! We have an 18 year old son who we believe has NPD. Everything I have read about NPD suggests that this had to come from one of us being a narcissist or being abusive in some manner. So I continue asking myself, “Am I a narcissist? Did I cause this?” It is so different from those who can divorce a narcissist spouse or put boundaries on a friend or colleague with NPD, but as a mother, it is goes against your instinct to take care of and want to help your child. I am relieved in reading the article that yes, I do definitely have a conscience and empathy!!

    Thank you for your blog. It is difficult to find information on parenting a narcissist, but plenty on narcissistic parents!

  60. I want to thank you for your post. I have been told for years that I was the one that caused all the problems. I was the reason for the breakdown in my marriage and that has had me second guessing myself as of late. I could go on for hours about the debacle that has ensued since my request for divorce (not to mention the embroiled custody battle I am in the midst of). I have joined several support groups and am learning how to reach out to others in same or similar situations. I have actually been told I should take my story out on the comedy circuit because it is that outrageous (mostly to pay my lawyers fees). But my question to you is this, I have two beautiful daughters and I love them with all of my heart and want to protect them and end the cycle of abuse. If I can’t prove that he has these tendencies in court how do I protect them? They are 6 and 8. Too young to be faced with something of this magnitude. I have been doing research on books by Thich Nhat Hanh about practicing mindfulness with children and meditation, but my issue is that he was awarded a one week on one week off split with the kids. We had a Judge that did not care about the best interest of the kids and was unaware that we are having behavioral problems with them. My 6 year old is self harming and my 8 year old is showing physical manifestation of stress. How do I create a sense of stability for them? I feel like when I get them home I go through 2-3 days of decompression, I try to get the routine set, keep them engaged in social activities and then I send them packing back to the dad. My time is essential for them to begin the healing process but every time is like starting all over. How does one deal with this?

    • Michele I feel for you. I have a six-year-old daughter too, so I understand how excruciating it must be to not be able to protect your girls in the way they need. My saving grace is my husband is so utterly self-centred he is taking a job overseas, where he has recently also lined up a girlfriend, and there is no way he would commit to shared parenting as it would interfere with his career plans, with his sailing and cycling and bridge playing and other social activities. I have long struggled with his selfishness over these things but seriously, I now I THANK GOD it has turned out this way!! I’m sorry I don’t have much advice to offer, but are your girls seeing a child psychologist? I know the whole court thing is miserable, but perhaps if the degree of psychological pain your girls are in (self harming is not a minor issue) was recognised and documented you could take this back to court and fight for full custody with visitation rights for their father? I don’t know the legalities of it, but get whatever professional advice you can. I have been told repeatedly that the Family Court in Australia is focused on the well being of the children (I have just moved back after living in the US for many years). Clearly your girls are struggling. How was the judge not made aware of their behavioral problems, that seems crazy!! Your best approach might be to try to convince the courts (with the support of professionals) that shared parenting is NOT in their best interests. Just because it is the theoretical ‘ideal’ does not mean it works for every family or for every child. Whether this approach works or not, for your own self-healing look into the ‘Abraham’ books by Esther & Jerry Hicks. ‘The Astonishing Power of Emotions’ is one I can recommend. I truly believe self love and self healing is key in all of this, especially because probably every single one of the women on this site has been involved with a selfish & damaged man, yet has been told repeatedly they are the problem. Tell someone this often enough and a part of them will come to believe it. Look to your own healing & balance not just for your own sake, but for the sake of your beautiful girls. Blessings to you

  61. I do not have NPD! Thank you! Yes, that has been on my mind because, after 25 years with a narc, it is very true that I have done things I am ashamed of–pitched fits, lied, gossiped and complained, been toxically self-absorbed and acted self-destructively. But, the point is, I AM ashamed of them and have consciously worked to change. And, I do have empathy. I’m dripping with it, in fact. So much so that I bled for his wounds while ignoring how my own life force was being drained away.

    And, no, I don’t need to go into the gory details. It’s eerie what a limited repertoire of behaviors narcs have. I think NPD dulls their creativity, as well as cutting them off from their emotions. However, it is my experience that a true narc has nothing but contempt for people who are “at the mercy of their emotions” and sees his or her own lack of empathy, remorse and imagination as a strength, not a flaw.

    And, I do believe this experience is part of my Soul Recovery journey. My soon-to-be-ex-husband has been a tremendous teacher. I figure if I can survive so many years of so much crazy behavior and not go completely looney-tunes or die (though I did feel suicidal more than once) I must be a pretty strong person.

    I am now using that strength to give myself permission to heal. It is HUGE for me to actually factor my own needs and (gasp) preferences into my decisions. I literally didn’t know I had a right to either for most of my life.

    I do not believe that just anyone can be a victim of a narc. Though it is a comforting notion, it is not empowering since it implies that there is nothing any of us can do to keep from being victimized again.
    For me, this doesn’t ring true. I wasn’t a random victim. I was raised by a narcissistic mother and drilled in the idea that I only existed to please her (which I never was able to do) and so was predisposed to, first of all, have no idea what a healthy give-and-take relationship looks like, and, second of all, to have such a deep hunger for outside validation that I was willing to put up with a whole lot of abuse to get just a little stroking.

    Like Echo in the Narcissus myth, I had my voice taken away from me and, therefore, was more vulnerable to falling for my narc’s false perfection than someone less damaged. I know this is true because I am now healed enough to recognize and be repelled by narcissistic red flags, whereas, before, I was drawn in by them. (Example: I recently went out with a guy who claimed that I was the most wonderful woman he’d ever met after only a couple of dates. In the past, I would have been charmed that he was so enamored of me so quickly. Knowing what I know now, I found it off-putting–especially since he’d spent most of the time we were together talking about himself–and declined to see him again.)

    Yes, a narcissist may be able to fool pretty much anyone for a while, but I believe that reasonably healthy people can see through him or her pretensions. All the nymphs thought Narcissus was hot, but Echo was the only one who yearned for his (non-existent) love so much that she faded away until she was completely disembodied–a familiar feeling to those of us who have fallen for a narcissist.

    It’s my choice whether to continue telling myself I was an innocent victim or admit my complicity in my victimization and do the work needed to heal my inner Echo. I choose to heal.

    • This is SO true. I am remarried to a remarkable wan, but my first wife has borderline and my father is narcissistic. I don’t think I would have seen the full reality about my dad without the years it took me to accept the reality about her (and protecting our sons from it, a boundary for once). But I knew I was the common denominator! I knew I had made so many mistakes, and yet if they had so much power over me- then what? I regressed and tried to find my voice, but that ‘felt’ like becoming my father. I took it too far, at times, but I needed to hear that I was both right and wrong. There ARE these problems that I have felt in myself and that allowed/attracted destructive people and self-destructive behavior. But they AREN’T those key characteristics mentioned! I can heal and nourish even an almost extinguished ‘soul,’ but was SO afraid I was a Cassandra (doomed to be a demi-narcissist who would feel the guilt and pain inflicted without the ability to stop it). My greatest fear has become my ‘salvation,’ because though it is only a dim spark now (injured and weak)… It is the spark of the very love and empathy that is my soul and I can fan and fuel it with acceptance and compassion. I will let it grow into a fire which will warm the people around me, and I can pass that spark to my children if they see it in my wife and in me…end the cycles by finding what is weak in ME and doing soul ‘weight lifting’ to strengthen it. My sons can ‘echo’ inner strength and understanding that they are and can be their own self; no one can take that without you allowing it.

  62. Wow another amazing article.
    although my ex tried to make out I was a narcissist and he used to sign his seriously abusive emails ‘your loving co-narcissist’, I didn’t really understand what he was doing.

    I have intense empathic responses to others, and have all my life, I feel guilt at the smallest thing I do that might hurt another. I am highly sensitive to human suffering. I can not believe I once believed all the horrible things my ex said and continually tried to appease him. I feel sick in my stomach.

    I am so grateful that I have found your work. It is so tempting for me to want to write to my ex and finally stand up for myself, against all the abuse, but I also know there is no point – he wouldn’t get it anyway.

    I am also so glad that I feel there is a way out and that I need to focus my energy on my part – and healing the un-healed places in me that attracted this in the first place.
    I can totally accept the reality of this, that if I was not unhealthy in the first place I would never have allowed myself to be treated in this way.

    Thanks again

  63. I have hurt my family and friends, done things I knew were wrong…over and over. I have lived with a self-hate and feeling of being ‘broken’ for 32 years, and for 32 years I have had ups and downs…but always prove myself right and break myself and those around me. I recently realized what I know I must have somehow always known (as an adult): my father is textbook narcissist. As I came to see this fully, I knew what I needed to do to recover…but the overwhelming guilt and shame and dissociation I felt, the behaviors like my father, all of it came to a head to this night/morning on the birthday of my best friend who committed suicide. Repressed emotions have had me in years, and talking to my wife, I came to ask the most terrifying question haunting me: I searched the web, “am I becoming a narcissist?” Your article made me cry too, but out of an intensely deep relief. Thank you for helping me see that I haven’t just created a ‘make-belief’ soul which is revealed as false because of a single selfish thought or action. I feel so lost and…that’s ok I guess. It doesn’t mean I’m not here, but really it means the opposite doesn’t it? That’s what I ‘heard’ in your words and it means there IS hope and ‘I’ can accept AND move forward. Thank you for this. I hope others in ‘this place’ will find your article…and it should be the first search result for any narcissist search. Thank you. Time for some personal accountability and courage to take the next steps.

  64. I have a question: if you don’t have empathy (or don’t think you do, because what if you can’t tell for sure or don’t know how to tell), can you acquire it? I’m afraid I don’t, and I don’t want to be a narcissist. But at the same time, I recognize that not wanting to be a narcissist is still selfish and narcissistic: the focus is still on me.

    Is there any hope or way of changing, or am I just basically evil and have to accept that I’ll never care about people or have a connection with them?

    • Hi MG,

      At Soul level, you do have empathy, reverence and Oneness…it is your ‘natural’ state. Narcissism is the condition from being disconnected from that.

      IF you really do want that, and if you do wan to heal then it is about healing and getting free from the fear, pain and trauma that has disconnected you from ‘yourself’ your Soul.Then your ‘natural’ state will start flowing in to you again. If you want it and are willing to work hard for it – it is possible. But it would need to be a dedicated focus and goal.

      You have suffered trauma and more than likely abuse – that is why you are how you are – and more than likely from a (or more than one) narcissistic models.

      The answer to deeply inwardly heal is NARP.

      Mel xo

  65. I have been struggling for several years after my break up to even define what I went through. It was very difficult for me to even admit I was a victim. I have done plenty of soul searching and one heck of a roller coaster which I now see is normal for the kind of man I was with. I am working on my co dependent issues and putting myself first. It’s difficult. However I would like to know if there is any advice in dealing with the man as the father of my children. I don’t have contact with him but his kids do for the occasional visit and semi weekly phone calls. How can you help children deal with the personality of a Narcissistic Dad? I spent most of their lives putting him on a pedestal. Any help would be appreciated.

    Thanks so much for this blog.

    Suz

  66. Hi Mel. I am not a narcissist! Your word are so true…many tears were flowing down my cheeks as I red you. Tears of truth about self, tears of relief, tears of blame toward self…Thank you Melanie. Melanie

  67. I enjoyed this post for the reason you gave insight as to how one may become a Narcissist. I knew the signs and the behavioral patterns, but I need to know why?

    I knew I wasn’t the narc, but slowly figured out my husband is, but because of how much I did love him when we met and got married, his change in behavior towards me was shocking. Although I can’t say I love him anymore, I want to understand how this behavior came to be (and based on your article, it makes complete sense and validated my beliefs).

    As we have a young child, understanding the “why” can help me be prepared for any narcissist actions he may take towards my child and how to manage our now disconnected family.

    Thank you!

  68. You said it all. Thank you. I needed to cry. Boy, what a harnessed release of exceptence. (word) Now it’s time to shower off the co depent oder and walk with me. And radiate with experience. One step at a time. Oh, just one more thing. What’s with the laws of attraction to the paranormal? Good, bad and ugly. But living with two narcissis sure makes dealing with them simple. At least they don’t steal your credit cards, just hide them for awhile, and use them then take you to court petitioning against you for all they did to you. Oh, the phases of life. Next…..

    Thank you very much.

    Homeless on disability.

  69. I Know I have empathy and a Conscience. I was there for her every time she needed a shoulder to cry on. I opened up to her when she said it was safe to do so. She said a year later that she never really opened up to me. She closed the door and opened the window half way. I crawled reluctantly but willingly through knowing I was going to walk away with crumbs…the remnants of what little she.gave.me before. I put on the fake it doesn’t hurt face…While inside I died a little. The grief has been all that you described. I knew I had been replaced and yet I tried anyway.to be to give what I had left…to hold onto what I knew was gone. I am embarrassed and broken. I blamed myself…but I also recognized the.shallow openness of the window. I blamed myself because I am the one who tried to keep squeezing.through it after she had already moved on…and I even doubt that on some level. Is hard for me to not accept repsonsibility.

  70. I want to clarify that the red flags I saw this man displaying were not the flags of narcissism or PD disorders but more socially acceptable modern male dateing courting behaiviors that I find a bit brash and cause me to become taken aback some. I am getting older and I am old fashion. I never thought I would say that. My other intuition was that I knew that this “relationship” would be painful because I was going to be dealing with my dysfunctional issues. No one wants to agree to change because it can hurt. Relationships require personal inner change. Like pulling a soul splinter. My intuition knew I was in for hurt. But I survived. I am moving in a good direction in not attracting a “bad guy” narcissist or PD this time. When I point out a dysfunction in another I am pointing out their human “ness”. I was never able to say without malice to a man “these are your “issues”. I can now because he is a genuinely good man.

  71. Hi RA,

    this truly is about honouring yourself, it is about being emotionally authentic – and if you feel that something is ‘off’ being able to own and express that feeling and seeing if something forthcoming is respectful and can meet you at that level of emotional authenticity…

    People who are non-narcs who do have a healthy sense of self will respect thta nd create win / win with that. If someone is projecting on to you, and can’t hear – “I am solid in my truth, and that is your stuff’…then they are not willing to take self-responsibility, and / or can’t have empathy for you in order to create win / win….

    It’s very important to know what is or is not your ‘stuff’…honouring yourself and being emotionally honest allows you to clear that up – and allows you to draw people who are highly emotionally co-operative (more of you).

    Mel xo

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