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My Narcissistic Ex-Husband

Reflections on loving and living with a Narcissist.  Let our experts guide you toward the healing power of moving on and allowing yourself some time in the spotlight.  Get advice on healing from his behavior and finding yourself again.

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This is a tough topic to tackle and no doubt there are going to be those who agree and those who don’t. If your narcissistic-ex, or anyone in your life threatens suicide you need to encourage them to call a suicide hotline.

I am not a medical professional and what I am about to say is based on my own experiences with a marginally narcissistic mother, other experiences with suicidal people, and my own research. I am not giving advice in any way – just sharing what I have learned.

My Experience with a Suicidal Narcissist

I am totally happy to report that my ex did not stoop to pull this card in a serious way. I am just not the person you want to call when you are going to play this game. The only time my ex mentioned it my response was that he shouldn’t do anything until he had good life insurance in place. That was early in our relationship and he never said another word about it that I can recall.

Mommy Dearest

No, it was my mom who taught me everything I never wanted to know about suicide. The summer than I was 16 years old she tried to kill herself at least five times.  Since that was 1976 and it is now 2014 I may be a little hazy on numbers.

The first time I came home from work to find her on the floor in a puddle of vomit and spilled vodka. She had downed pills and alcohol. She’d also left a note with my name on it. It gave explicit instructions on which ambulance service to call, what to tell the paramedics, and what exactly she had taken. She had noted the time on the note as well. This was a huge help to all of us. I held her hand as they pumped her stomach, then I took her home and tucked her into bed with some hot tea and a nice shoulder rub.

The next time she called me at work and let me know she was about to kill herself. She said the most classic narcissistic suicidal line ever, “Don’t try to stop me.”

Ah, if only I hadn’t. I was young, compassionate, and it was my mom. What could I do? I told my supervisor that there was a family emergency, cried hysterically all the way to my house, burst in the front door and called the paramedics even before I went to check on her. Of course every neighbor in the neighborhood was standing out in their front yards to see what the drama was and I was both frightened for my mom and embarrassed for myself. I didn’t know whether to take a couple of swigs out of the bottle myself or plan on joining a circus somewhere.

Enough Is Enough

This went on in different forms all summer long. Finally, I had enough. I woke up one morning and I could hear her crying in the kitchen. I was supposed to go hang out with friends because it was Saturday and there was no work. I got dressed, walked into the kitchen, and she looked at me with a bottle in her hand.

“You go on with your life. Have fun with your friends today. I just can’t take life anymore. I love you and I hope someday you can forgive me.”

Something in me broke. I got so mad. This woman had been playing me all summer long. I worked a full time job, asked her for nothing, and had been trying to shoulder as much of her responsibilities as my 16 year old shoulders could hold. I was furious.

I went and got a razor blade, a bottle of pills, and my father’s pistol. I loaded it and released the trigger lock. I slammed everything down in front of her on the table. “Here! If you want to do it for real don’t F—k it up this time!”

I stormed out of the house sobbing. I know I didn’t go visit friends but I am not sure what I did. The rest of the day is hazy. I remember fluctuating between feeling horribly guilty for leaving my mother that way and horribly angry for having a mother that was so self-involved, so intent on sucking me dry of every emotion I had.

I didn’t know what I was going home to.

She was in bed when I got home.  I smelled vomit and vodka as I walked into her room so I wasn’t sure whether she had or had not accomplished what she said she was going to do. I hesitated by her bed and then touched her side to check for breathing.

She was breathing.

I walked out of her room and went to bed. The next morning she called me weakly and I walked to her bedroom door. “I need a drink of water.”

“I am not doing a damn thing for you, get it yourself.”

I went to work and for the next several days I was true to my word. I did nothing for her. She got better, got up, and started doing normal things again.

She never talked about that summer again and she never tried to commit suicide again.

Suicide Is No Joke


Over the years I have been involved with more than one suicidal person. I have learned one thing – when someone is planning to commit suicide for real they almost never tell anyone. If they really want to die they are going to and there is not a darn thing you can do about it. A person who is really suicidal won’t usually make phone calls or create drama. They will figure out exactly how many pills to take or where to position the pistol and they will do it. I have had two friend die by suicide and I saw each of them just a short while before it happened. They were acting normal.

Try not to get caught up in the drama. 

Image Courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons, User: Tom Margie

All the World’s a Stage to a Narcissist

A narcissist on the other hand will make a show out of it that rivals anything Hollywood and Broadway could come up with together.

He may actually cut his wrists but you can bet he’ll miss the major blood vessels. He is calculating enough to take just the right amount of pills and make sure that someone will find him in just the nick of time.

Anyone can get suicidal. Anyone can get to that dark place when life seems hopeless. The narcissist will use it as a manipulative tool and he’ll use it as many times as it works. In fact, if you come to the point where you are ignoring his threats of suicide he’ll often step it up a notch and threaten social violence – a mall, an office, or whatever.

That usually will bring you to your knees and he gets whatever it is he has been trying to manipulate you over. Here’s a thought. The minute he threatens to harm someone besides himself you just need to call 911 and report him. Let the police handle his drama because you don’t have time for it.

When a narcissist threatens suicide it’s often emotional blackmail. They are counting on you being empathetic, concerned, and worried that they will do it. They can use that suicide card over and over again just as long as you keep letting them play it. Your life and your responses will be under their complete control until you let them know that you are finished.

But What If?

Sometimes a narcissist will do it. They’ll commit suicide or bomb a government building just like they said they were going to. As we used to say in school, Listen up, y’all.

Remember? It isn’t your fault. If someone really wants to kill themselves you can’t stop them. If they really do decide to blow up a government building it won’t be because you didn’t bring them breakfast in bed. Once again, it has nothing to do with you.

Not giving in to the demands of a narcissist is risky. Maybe they will kill themselves like they say they are going to. Giving in to their demands is not risky, it is sealing your fate. Once you allow yourself to be manipulated they will keep on manipulating, they will find more intense ways of manipulating, and your life will continue to be controlled by the remote in your narcissist’s hand.

It really is your choice. It’s a hard one to make because you’ve been convinced that everything that happens is your fault but that’s a lie, remember?

It’s time to cut the puppeteer’s strings, don’t you think?

Has your ex tried to pull this? Let’s talk about it. Join First Wives World todayto be part of this caring group.


Lead Image Courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons, User: Christopher Harte

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  • Comment Link Elizabeth Thursday, 15 March 2018 01:44 posted by Elizabeth

    My ex is playing this now, saying no one will care or notice he is gone, he says that its his last resort if i dont want him back, but then says its not my fault in the same sentence. I told him to grow up, stop being so weak , its the cowards way out.... and that his life is not and "after-school special", im done with his manipulation

  • Comment Link A surviver not a victim Tuesday, 13 February 2018 23:35 posted by A surviver not a victim

    My soon to be ex, extorted an manipulating me with committing suicide so I'll keep enable his new sex positive pan sexual poly (excuse of poly) new lifestyle of me. He disregard all my feelings, gaslighted me and not only raped me from all my values, but did it all without feeling any remorse. After 21 years of marriage, the last two years were a nightmare, then finally I put my foot down and stood on my values. A day after he left, and few days after he publicly started dating in rotation, no remorse whats or ever. Told me he left two days ago, so I should get over it. NPD in his best.

    I'm so happy he left, and I dont need to leave under his cloud of manipulations anymore. The world looks brighter.

  • Comment Link Anonymous Sunday, 28 January 2018 19:50 posted by Anonymous

    My husband always pulls this card every single time hes upset, and he still has not done it. I love him, but enough is enough. Im tired of always feeling like the guilty one, especially in moments where I didnt do anything.

  • Comment Link SH Sunday, 14 January 2018 19:23 posted by SH

    My narc husband is doing this right now. He is frustrated with his life, with me and the kids - says we are not upto his "Mark". If he commits suicide, he says things will get complicated for me. Uses up most of my money and saves his - even though he earns much above me. He blamed me initially for having married me, now when i turn the table, he blames himself. Oh, he is such a hypocrite too. I think all narcs are one...

  • Comment Link Michelle Wednesday, 14 June 2017 21:18 posted by Michelle

    I am caught in this drama right at this very moment. He knows i want to leave and has just pulled the suicide stunt. I havd no idea what to do... on my way home from work to see what i find.

  • Comment Link Lalena Ybarra Thursday, 18 May 2017 11:42 posted by Lalena Ybarra

    My ex is doing this to me right now and I feel like I can never get away from him. I don't want him to die. I just want peace.

  • Comment Link Tristan Sunday, 07 May 2017 17:40 posted by Tristan

    So have any of these assholes actually gone through with it? My ex friend did this to me for 2 years saying that he was trying to kill himself but was afraid of death. Do you know how pathetic that sounds? I was getting disappointed that he would talk and talk about he would do it and never go through with it.

  • Comment Link - Friday, 03 March 2017 04:00 posted by -

    My ex did this to me. He was a complete narcissist. He was cunning and manipulative and had me in his threads. He cut his arms, and would tell me "I'll be dead the next day if you leave me!" I stayed with him for 4 months too long - constantly listening to his banter. I was weak and did believe that he would kill himself. He was an amazing actor. He would make it more extreme if I did begin to leave him... I'm still traumatized by what happened. I haven't been able to fully move on, and I wish he would be brought to justice for what he put me through. After we broke up, I found out that he is married to a new victim within a month, and they have a baby on their way. I only broke up with him 6 months ago. I feel extremely sorry and terrified for the woman who doesn't know what she has gotten herself into.

  • Comment Link Jane Sunday, 29 January 2017 16:37 posted by Jane

    My husband did this very thing last night. I am in the process of divorcing him. Last night he came to my house and demanded to be let in. I said no and I was going to call the police. He said he was then going to contest the divorce etc but I wouldn't give in. So he went home
    Then I started getting voice mails telling me that he has decided to end it all. He had been researching suicide and had shown me his little stockpile of tablets. I called the police but they couldn't get in. Finally paramedics and police managed to rouse him. He is now in high care in hospital and he has left everyone feeling horribly guilty. But I am trying to stay strong and stay away. I can't give in to his manipulation anymore

  • Comment Link wei hong Friday, 20 January 2017 12:44 posted by wei hong

    how should i help my friend as one of her penpal as he do not have friend and threaten my friend to kill himself and keep call her and she is getting really uncomfortable and even cry, is there any advice to help my friend??????

  • Comment Link J2326 Saturday, 07 January 2017 03:05 posted by J2326

    I hope she is ok. I hope you are ok too.

  • Comment Link jay Tuesday, 22 November 2016 12:51 posted by jay

    BOTH my parents are this way. My dad is a narcissist and, since his adult children don't want to be around him anymore, he's taken to yelling, "I'm losing my mind. I just want to kill myself. Be ready for it, because I won't be here much longer." He's been saying this for the last two years. I usually wait till he's done with his act and change the subject to something less dark. But since he's lost control over his children, all he can do is lash out and go for the sympathy grab. "My children don't love me. No more family!" But he knows it's because he's abusive and can't ever admit to any wrong doing. The next time he starts his act, I'm just going to start taking down info for the ambulance. I KNOW he'd hate it, but he needs to learn that when he fakes these threats there will be an unpleasant consequence. And who knows? Maybe they'll help him.

  • Comment Link Charley Thursday, 13 October 2016 16:10 posted by Charley

    My ex played the suicide card a few times. I talked to my counsellor about it, she said that since he takes care of himself, and goes to his job, doctors appointments and such, that he would not harm himself, and I should ignore him.
    Two weeks later he told me he was going to drive his truck into the lake. Then he left. I ignored him like my counsellor said, and two hours later he was back, saying that "he just couldn't do it" He never played that card again.

  • Comment Link Jana Monday, 26 September 2016 16:18 posted by Jana

    Thank you for saying what I've been experiencing throughout my life, and now with an ex (who's a NPD).

  • Comment Link Bridie Wednesday, 13 July 2016 10:12 posted by Bridie

    I tried to end my marriage this past weekend. We are trapped in a neverending cycle of hurt. He threw his ring in the rubbish bin, and declared "it was nice to know you" and tried getting the razor blades out of his shaver. I stood by and talked calmly to him, telling him the kids still need him and would continue to do so. I physically removed him from the area and kept sharps out of his way. He played on a few of my soft spots afterward. Bottom line, i havent left. And i dont know if i was manipulated or not. It just doesnt feel good.
    Im the one who wants out and he claims he wants to work on things. Yet im the one who meeds to change accorsing to him
    Sorry for the rant. I don't have anyone to talk to about this.

  • Comment Link Tamara N Wednesday, 06 July 2016 03:12 posted by Tamara N

    So it has to be a "he" that does this. What if it's a "she".

  • Comment Link l.l. Sunday, 14 June 2015 14:04 posted by l.l.

    i think if your narcissist plays the suicide card, you immediately get the authorities and medical community involved with baker acting them. this will teach them, that a threat will be treated like a threat and not go on you but on them. also it will not get them more attention or get them more manipulation of you, it will further show them as a broken person who does not need you but needs a stay in a mental hospital which will confirm they should not be in a relationship with a healthy person but need to be back with mommy and daddy who created this monster... let them deal with the animal they have thrown into the world because it is their fault. no need for guilt on your part, its NOT YOUR FAULT.
    once your partner is secured in jail or a hospital you will be free to take actions to get away from them. my advice would be to get to place you cannot be found by them or contacted by them - make everything on your terms ....... complete abandonment. this is what they have earned and deserve.

  • Comment Link Graycen Wednesday, 29 April 2015 17:46 posted by Graycen

    I am so happy that I found this website when I did! It explains so much! So for the past few weeks, my boyfriend has been talking about how he's suicidal and cutting and has been saying things like "I don't know if I'll be here tomorrow". He's been saying that he's been attempting suicide and that last night was supposedly his third attempt. I've been suspicious of him since the beginning, but I like giving people the benefit of the doubt, so I tried taking his claims seriously. Last night he told me that he od'd on painkillers, took a handle of alcohol, and had cut all over his arms and legs. I finally decided to call the police because it seemed serious, but when they arrived, they found a single scratch on his arm, his legs were completely cut-free, and when they tested his heart rate, blood pressure, etc. they found that he took a single painkiller and no alcohol what so ever. I've been trying to break up with him since February, but I always felt guilty when I did, because I didn't want to drive him over the edge and cause him to commit suicide. He would tell me that I'm the only reason he's still here. But I'm not going to take his crud anymore, he's been manipulating me and I've finally realized that. I'm going to break up with him tomorrow and free myself from all of this drama. Teenagers should not be forced to go through crud like this.

  • Comment Link Jamie Burns Tuesday, 14 April 2015 06:22 posted by Jamie Burns

    My ex threatened suicide, and to the point where she actually cut her wrist. And because I wanted out of the marriage. The hardest part of it all was that I loved her. And as I tried to talk to her about the incident when things calmed down a couple of days later, she denied the whole incident and claimed she tripped and feel on the floor and insist that I was a liar and it never happened.

  • Comment Link Nina Saturday, 11 April 2015 15:36 posted by Nina

    I need help. As I was writing this, my partner just told me he wanted to suicide.I tried to contact his siblings and his parents, but it was a dead end. They did not respond and it was quiet recently that I had a dry spell with them. My partner is depressed. He's been using suicide cards long enough and I knew he is capable of it. Only I manage to stop him each time,because every time he just lost it and wanted to suicide, he'd tell me. And every time he told me he wanted to end his life,he would say its all because of me, he did not feel loved by me, he did not get enough of my attention, he would make sure I would feel guilt-ridden and I just know if he ever suicide, he wanted me to live with the guilt. It's manipulative and its frustrating. I love him. SO MUCH. But it seems that he did not see it or feel enough of it. I vowed to myself to save him from his depression but day after day, I just keep failing. I can't help him. He does not want to be helped. He flushed and throw all the meds he got from his psychiatrist appointments. His family hasn't been so cooperative and his friends did not believe me he is suicidal. I just lost. I don't know how and where to get help. I can't help to feel this is all is happening because of me. What should I do. Please I need help.

  • Comment Link Just me Saturday, 11 April 2015 14:47 posted by Just me

    I'm so scared for my mom

  • Comment Link Kath Wednesday, 18 February 2015 23:52 posted by Kath

    I seperated from my husband and he attempted suicide. He didn't suceed initially and as a precaution I went to live with my parents with my children, I was actually unsure what My husband would be capable of and I was scared of what he could do. The kids had supervised visits with him until I could be happy it was 'safe'. He took his life a couple months later, he wasn't bluffing as I had thought, but it went to show how very ill he was (he'd almost got me believing it WAS all in MY head) even with all of this, I don't regret breaking free of him and his controlling narcissistic behaviour, the note he left said I had won, I just wished he would have sought help but I guess narcissism isn't that easily treatable, he believed himself right all the time. The things he told people during our seperation is disgusting and untrue, he made sure he was many many thousands in debt and gave away all the valuables, all because I'd left him for a better life. The children are my focus now, they have fond memories of their dad which is good, i do have some fond memories too, he could be delightful when everything going his way. I miss him lots but not the accusations and the walking on eggshells. I feel empowered to have broken free from a miserable life, I've freed myself and my children, we will have a loving home, I will make sure of it.

  • Comment Link IceloveandlifeAJ Wednesday, 18 February 2015 07:08 posted by IceloveandlifeAJ

    "I need a drink of water."
    "I'm not doing a damn thing for you, get it yourself!"

  • Comment Link Michaela Sunday, 01 February 2015 19:24 posted by Michaela

    What if I feel so guilty because I am the reason why they became suicidal in the first place and I can see that this person is in so much emotional pain,crying for months and being perfectly articulate when they say that life has no meaning anymore? I went through this situation with my husband( was not my hb at the time) back in 2008 when I met the love of my life but I had to put an end to it because of this situation. I was devastated for about a year, I accepted to continue the relationship because he just wouldn't let go, we got married but I never really loved him the same after that. And now I find myself in the same situation with him, wanting to separate but is like 2008 again,the pain and suffering are back,and so is my guilt and remorse. It breaks my heart to see him suffering but I am not his woman anymore, i cheated on him 3 times since 2008,my heart is not his anymore, I see him as my brother. I told him how I feel( not about cheating) but he can't live without me, I know that if i leave he will at least attempt suicide just so he can make me seem like a moster,for not loving him anymore.

  • Comment Link KJ Wednesday, 03 December 2014 06:31 posted by KJ

    I am going through this right now! Recently earned a promotion at work, had to come away for a 3 day training course, but accused of doing practically anything and everything but a course. My partner has said I don't care, I'm selfish for going away, asks me what my colleagues look like and what conversations I have had with them! But do you know something- the more information you give when your partner is asking unreasonable/leading to accusation questions the worse they become. Last night I was told over the phone "I'm going to kill myself and you are going to have to live with what you've done". I have been through this so many times now that it just makes me really angry. The control and manipulation in our relationship has gotten way out of hand. And it has been much easier for me to deal with as I haven't had to face it directly with me being away. Given that I want to stay away forever - I think the 8 years I have toiled in this relationship are enough and it needs to end. This is not the first time for a suicide threat or name calling or general control and mistrust - I hope others can see the light the way I have been able to.

  • Comment Link Alix Tuesday, 25 November 2014 01:01 posted by Alix

    Well, i am going through this as we speak. My husband for the past week has been saying he is going to kill himself. He had been on depression medication. His grandfater died in june and they were close ever since then he has not been himself, this past week he got fired from his job and now he has been taking it out on me ever since. Angry all the time any thing i do he blows up and starts yelling. I have been working and he has just given up on life sleeping every day away. So today he called me a bad name and i said thats it im packing my shit and leaving he said dont worry ill leave and he snapped he started taking all his clothes and ripping them i was freaked out and i keppt telling him to stop and he kept ripping his shirts then i got in his way and he told me to get out of his way and i wouldn't so he kicked the door and it fell over and he left to the living room. I know that everyone would say leave him but i need more than that i feel i married him i am responsible to fix this get him back to the person he was so any advice would be appreciated.

  • Comment Link moto levvo Friday, 14 November 2014 02:35 posted by moto levvo

    Here's the gun!

  • Comment Link Cheerwine Monday, 18 August 2014 00:49 posted by Cheerwine

    While we were separated my ex played the suicide card.
    I had text messages that said if I didn't agree to lie about the separation date for divorce (you have to be separated a year in this state) that he would shoot himself in the head. Other letters he left me at my door said he would drive the car I had paid for into a tree or off a bridge. He filed the divorce papers two months early but I never got them because he wrote the wrong address. He told me a bunch of other lies and things he would do if I didn't comply with his demands. I don't think this was the first time he tried to emotionally blackmail me but it was probably the first time I refused to do whatever he said to do.
    While we were married he tried to commit suicide about four times. The last time he tried using asphyxiation and cutting his wrists.
    Plus while we were married there were shows with certain people I wasn't allowed to see, types of music I wasn't allowed to listen to because "it's stupid" (basically he didn't like it so I couldn't listen to it and I had to like everything he did) and I couldn't pick out movies because "that's a stupid movie, you can't pick movies out", I wasn't allowed to cut my hair short or else he threatened to divorce me.
    He still can't keep a job and his parents support everything he does.

  • Comment Link SharP Wednesday, 19 March 2014 14:52 posted by SharP

    I didn't know he was suicidal. I found his computer opened to a medical page. He put in all of his symptoms. It showed three answers. At the top of the list was 1) severe depression due to bipolar 2) severe depression by a rocky relationship with a spouse 3) depression caused by unrealistic expectations in your church or religion. He cancelled his doctor appointment and flushed his medication. Number one, that couldn't be it because he is a normal functioning adult. Number two explained the speech he gave me in the back bed room. He doesn't love me never did and he kept me around only for the children. Oh and number three. Even though he was a preacher, He was now a truth-seeker (an atheist? Or Agnostic? Still trying to figure that one out)? He wouldn't be going too nor will I be give money to the church. Long fight. I filed for divorce during this crazy episode. If God isn't good enough for him, what chance do I have? Besides I deserve more than just being kept around for the children. Now I keep him around just for the child support and free child care every other weekend and on odd year holidays. Don't know if he'll hurt himself or not? It's the new girlfriends world now.

  • Comment Link Lisa Hetherington Friday, 31 January 2014 03:56 posted by Lisa Hetherington

    I'm sorry you went through that, Marye.