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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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If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist for a while you already know that every single thing that happens is your fault. If there is absolutely no way that it can be your fault then it will be his employer’s fault, the pastor’s fault, or even one of the kids’ faults.

It’s called the  Blame Game and after a few years of being blamed for everything that happens you really do begin to take responsibility for everything whether it’s something you did or  not.

It Isn’t Your Fault

It’s important for you to reprogram your brain to believe the truth – it isn’t your fault.

  • His anger
  • His rage
  • The loss of his job
  • His lack of success

Not one of those things is your fault, but he will be proclaiming your guilt for as long as anyone will listen. A narcissist can’t do anything wrong, he can’t fail, and he can’t make a mistake – it would crush his fragile ego. It’s much easier to find a scapegoat and pin it on them. That makes all the bad feelings go away.

And he can rationalize anything.

I got to the point where he didn’t even have to blame me anymore. I just accepted that it was my fault whatever “it” was. 

  • He lied because I over-reacted to everything.
  • He cheated because he felt neglected, unloved, criticized, or all of the above.
  • He gave up on our relationship because he couldn’t make me happy.

Blah, blah, blah.

I still tend to apologize for anything that happens. We upgraded our Internet and cable today and I apologized to the guy who came out to do it because there were problems and it took him six hours to get it handled instead of the one hour he planned. Was it my fault?

Of course not.

It’s Called the Blame Game

It is called the Blame Game and your favorite narcissist is a master at it. A narcissist will tear you apart emotionally and then when your feelings are shredded and you are in a heap on the floor he will sneer at you in disgust, “You are overreacting.”

He will show up for a lunch date an hour late and lament how inconsiderate you are because you have to leave. Once my ex-husband and I were to meet for coffee. He had a quick errand to run so I went ahead and ordered coffee for us both. I watched his coffee get ice cold as I sipped my cup, and then another cup. Over an hour later he sauntered in just as I was leaving. He totally couldn’t understand why I was angry and upset.

Obviously it was my fault because I had gone on ahead. By the time the day was over I was apologizing for overreacting and having a bad attitude.

You Experience a Constant State of Stress

When you are constantly wondering what you are going to be blamed for next you are in a constant state of stress and anxiety. Not only does that do awful things to your blood pressure you also end up with adrenal glands that are shot and weight gain from all of the cortisol that is being dumped into your system.

Since you never know when you are going to be blamed for something you become very insecure. Eventually, you can even start to accept the idea that it is your fault. You start to feel guilty and it just spirals downward from there.

That Evil Ex-Wife Black Magic

Even after he is out of the house things will continue to be your fault. The failed marriage is sure to be your fault. Any problems that the kids may have will be your fault. Even his financial problems will be your fault. You might as well get used to the idea that you will be the crazy ex-wife and every time he tells his story it will get more and more pitiful. Remember, he thrives on people’s sympathy. He positively sparkles when he gets those pats and “you poor thing” comments. He does it so well that those people he has collected since he left really do believe in your evil ex-wife black magic.

I have been accused of turning the kids away from their father. It doesn’t matter that he chose to move out of state, doesn’t call, and rarely visits – it is my fault. Me, and my evil ex-wife black magic.

Change Your Way of Thinking

It’s imperative that you begin to change your thought patterns. It isn’t your fault and it’s important that you stop allowing him to shift the blame over to you. It’s time that he shouldered the consequences of his own actions – you’ve shielded and protected him long enough.

He’s held the same cards and had the same opportunities as everyone else. It’s time to throw him in the deep end and let him sink or swim.

It’s best to keep your distance if possible. Tell your friends that you don’t want to know what he writes on his Facebook page. Deal with him through your lawyer whenever possible and when you do have to see him in person keep it businesslike. At first it takes concentration and constant vigilance to monitor your thought but it gets easier as time goes on.

Deflect, Deflect, Deflect

If he does happen to decide to blame you for something the most effective way to deal with it is to ignore it. This has taken me some time and I am still not great at ignoring his pointed comments and accusations. I’ll admit that sometimes they hurt.

The thing is? I am learning to remember the source. This is the man that changed jobs every couple of years – in 30 years of marriage I think the longest he held a job was 7 years. It was always someone else’s fault. I know from experience he can’t accept the blame for anything he has done and I also know that it won’t change.

Well, with one caveat. I have known narcissists to take the blame for something when they can do it in such a way as to get sympathy. They will say things that are exaggerated enough, and pitiful enough, that their audience is spellbound, hearts full of sympathy, and words of reassurance and comfort.

In the long run even when they do take the blame they somehow insinuate that it was your fault.

When these things happen, and they will, any way you react will feed his narcissism. If you get angry he’ll feed off of that energy like a hungry vampire. If you deny the accusations he is making you give credibility to what he’s saying. Ignoring it is your best bet.

You aren’t alone in your experiences. Join First Wives World today and find a group of women who understand. 

Lead Image Courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons, User: Walt Stoneburner

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  • Comment Link Gypsey Monday, 17 July 2017 20:27 posted by Gypsey

    If iv been in a relationship for11 years. We. Still havecneva lived togethor. The 1st year or possibly 2. If that. Was as always is at the start
    Hechas hes own commision unit. I own my own home. He has 1 son. 22. I have 3. Daughters 25'19&12 yr olds. .
    The next or 3rd year he became diffrent like dissapearing or. Useng petty excuses that had no sense. And wouldnt ring ansacmy calls texts. For uoto. 2 to 4 weeks. .
    It took allot of mental kind of. Torture I felt over these same patterns. In. 4. Nxt years. Wich by now was 6 th year then he hadchis mum die and a brother wich he. Wasent afyer funerals or id expected hed wanted time by hiself. . Though 5 months,latervhe I noticed n i allowed as thght hed takin. Anger on the deaths. To me wich I could handle then as felt sorrow tho. The 7 th year id completly orvnear lost myself in. Alll ways crying staying isolated even from my kids wich wete youngvor 15 eldest & 9 & 2 yr old or 3 I cant remember exsctly as. I was. Lost in. Tryn to figure wat id done. Or emotional breakdown id say . Wich tho. In the next year id seen a. Councellor n my gp. Wich. Said i were being oabused verbally mentally by him. For no reasons or there guess was. Hes own shame. Hecwas apparantly fondled wth at age of 8. In a home . Though my gp said he hasent had no councelling as sees the same medical clinic as myself . Only a diff doctor .
    Id been suggested by my doctr he may have some shame that can become a personality disorder from his shame as a kid. Tho still nonreason my dctr said then to punish me or to this day. Hes still or suddenly now fr 3 weeks. Disappeared afyer 12 months stoppd doing thatbtho. Has. The past three years been getting worser by the week or. Everytime hes been to my housevhe has badmputhed my. Young adult 2 girls to a. Extent thts maybe. Made me more now im not the crying mess. I was fr years. . He is a manipulator a. Mental lieying abuser. Verbally . V badly now. Which iv said. To hom. In a. Way hed not go offf. . So kinda put it as a joke. Id said. We dont seem to go wthout him. Usen slingin bad things on anthing I do or say and maybe we reallybhate each other to c if I could get anthing out of him.or a look or tho nothing just a glare & if i dony want. Alll the. Interstate moving. Wem I sell my house. Then say so. Or. Not wanting him. In a. Nasty way. . Wich the last 12 monthes. As selling my home wth or wthput him He has not. Helped me. In minor cleanups fr selling a home or. Csrtain thi gs needed. Fixong. Leaks etc drains cleaned. In a cathedral rooof home I have plus. A. Painting in few rooms. He new. Alll my estate had. Said on dping. To get the price but. No help tho he rings and. Says. Cutting my grasss. Isent important or. Wardrobes I need to fix on rails or. Ensuite toilet fix that. . Iv. Finally or nearly cinishe my 4 bdroom home a large home insude & out. And he. A month ago. I zeen HIM.last. said. So wen he & I leave interstate hes to have his own tv room n my. Eldest user ggirls he calls them. Arent. To be. Coming up fr holidays thy can get motel etc eyc. . Oy his son. He says. Can n his. Family as mine r. Uzers n. Hes areny ? Wat I say it's my house or wat i re buy from my. Long hard. Strugvled mortgage id funally ownd my home . I have only my 12 year old living wth me as two eldest have there own. Unit & another her farm. . Iv. Recently. Suggested he needs help. Wich as always texts. Only or. Arly again and wth a. Totally badmputhing desgraceful usen my kids ? From me sayn needs hel l or it dont. Blemd or. Sense to wat iv texted. Him -? I now. Have my estate agents papers signed. Wich. I. Kind of was. Selling. To move qld. As in vic atm. . Also for his. Or he suggested it. Ova 12 months ago. N. I. Have no idea or I honesrly am started to think hes deliberatly. Talked,me into. Wat hed suggesyed. Claimed hed. Wanted live qld . Im thinking. Bes a. Nasty. Eliberate. Wants to. Saddisticly. Watch. Me. Lose on. House & move myself. Or I have said in a anger. U should he have any say. Hes. Done nothing to help it's taken myself a hole 12 months to. Have my home. As ready to selll. . N hed said. Or blamed me-??? Or my kids tgat. One child lived here. Not him or my two older girls. . I think hes deliberatly done this. . How _& wat to do or move to I have no idea. As I. No. Ges hadent hekpd is meaning no interest or hed helped hpuse . Etc. . Is he. A,saddest or. Wat does he want to seee. Me. Falll rite down again. Or. To. Rid me. From. Same suburb hes had no intentions alll along on. Interstate move I cannot. Deal or put up wth the outrages mostly. Hes. That bad I hang up I. Try ognoring hes. Werd. O sense abusen texts. And. Im finding. As I. Take endone pain killers prescribed to me hes tho. Once a,weeek. Textn. From him. Endone hes. Back. Hes knees or. Today was. His son. Tooth absesss wich hes abused me. Badly in front of. A. Crowd loudly. On. Giving his,22 yr old son 1 endone hed also then. Tho had a abseess. . I think he use to. Only. Be like. Quiet or. Gold in. Hes continuos. Abusen yekling. Till he. Got. Sum endone n. He I no also stole msny. Ges mate has been tekling me. Hes a doctr shopper & told hes mate. Cakls me. Many. Names. Or. Hes. Saix im dipppy im. A lier. Im evrthing he is to ths mate tgat also. Recently. Sneakily calls in to me. To show me. Screenshots ges. Calium hes. Gettn from docrs. & paying. For. Pills. Im unsure of all. As. Had ripped tag n names in pics offf. . Tho. Many scripts panadeine foetec hes. Sold gis,mate & hes ex mate ill say callls in to show me. Wich hes mate is 27. We r. 47. Or bf is. 49.
    Hes mate or ex mate has said hes lookd up. My bf ex mate n fits to a narcassis or sociapth on lies & betrayal to me hes not told me alll betrayals. Still tho his ex mate. And. Im. Srartng to. Lose sleep. Or. Stayn in my rooom or. Honestly feel like taking. A form of drug to block out. Alll. N. Selll. N. Dusapear myself. . Cz I dont wanto. Use any drug illegallly. I have frends thst do. And. They seem. Happy or blocks out tgere troubles . Nobody. I try tellling. Tho I hold in my cryng. N. Still on. Tellin g my mum my dtepdad ges always. Disapeard on n offf. N alll iv. Write to u . It's like. They no or they think im at A stage im. Just. Backstabbing over a argument or i dobt no theres no on e thats hearing me. .

  • Comment Link dita mitchell Friday, 26 May 2017 09:38 posted by dita mitchell

    I'm just now opening my eyes to why he is so mean and how he can treat me so bad or pick on me till I crack then tell my son I hit him and tell him to call pice.i have been to jail me I never hit him and i was not drunk I was drugged
    then I had to bitch ride home from jail..boy oh boy I see his true only loved the way I ran out life's and paid his doesn't give me any credit for supporting him finacislu and emotional during the times he had do I get him arrested. I would take a bitten if it ment he would go to jail.thst means he will have violated his probation
    .im free..

  • Comment Link Mareshah Friday, 05 May 2017 00:53 posted by Mareshah

    Why do we attract Narcissi's? Why are they attracted to us? What is it we do that allows them to come into our lives?

    How can we know they are coming? How can we stop attracting them?

    These are my questions after years of experiencing them.


  • Comment Link No More Tuesday, 21 February 2017 16:55 posted by No More

    Wow my narcissistic ex husband left me and I heard all 3 of those bullet points word for exact word!!! That really opened up my eyes. I'm glad I'm not the only one that have heard those words from a narcissist cause now I truly do know theres nothing I could've done. I did everything a wife was suppose to do yet somehow it was never right or enough for him. Just the other day I confronted him about a possible affair he had with a friend of his who is a lesbian and he didn't admit or deny anything but said well it only looks sad on your part because she can treat me better than you ever did. I'm finally at that point though where I will not let him bring me down anymore. I know my worth I know I will find someone I deserve.

  • Comment Link CLAUDIA Friday, 30 September 2016 01:09 posted by CLAUDIA


  • Comment Link sally Thursday, 25 August 2016 20:40 posted by sally

    omg this is so my same situation.

    thanks for posting

  • Comment Link Healthy and Happy Tuesday, 02 August 2016 02:48 posted by Healthy and Happy

    I dated a guy with narcisstic personality disorder for 9 mo, but he was so manipulative I didn't realize it til well after we broke up. Both in our 50s and divorced, I just thought he was kind of an eccentric wealthy man. I thought it was funny when he recounted a difficult 16+ hour labor of his oldest daughter, then said it was "the longest day of my life!" He had few good friends, about four withwhom he smoked dope often, and would dis them behind their back. I can't imagine what he said about me.
    My brother also was a controlling, bullying narcissist with whom I cut ties after he visciously verbally attacked me for pointing out an important decision about moving my 90 year old mother to assisted living in his town left out my sister and me. He punished my mom by not moving her, saying "sorry they wrecked it for you." Obviously my fault to complain about his process.
    Narcissists cannot be wrong, and -- like Donald Trump is now doing to everyone, including a Gold Star Father -- if you dare to disagree with them, you will be attacked. Ripped to shreds, actually. Again, in retrospect, I looked at events over the years and his controlling and judgmental actions hurt others, including his daughters.
    Unfortunately, these strong personalities (often really smart people, too) make it difficult to see the forest for the trees when you are standing in the middle of the woods. From far away, I got perspective -- and stayed away.
    They will never get help, because they don't need it! It was a shame to lose a relationship with my nieces and sister-in-law, but the alternative is never doing anything but agreeing and fearing repercussions.
    I thank my lucky stars to have "gotten out" and I try to surround myself with healthy, happy, functioning individuals with good self-concepts, not damaged individuals who drag you down to their sad, unhappy levels. Life is indeed beautiful when you are dealing with people who don't play games, shame, judge or punish. There's enough to deal with in life's journey without having that extra layer or three of narcissist's crap. Still involved? Get out -- Run like the wind and don't look back!

  • Comment Link Janine Saturday, 09 January 2016 14:18 posted by Janine

    married to Narcissist for 21 years just realised he fell under this category to a "T" We have 2 boys 20 & 18 he is great financially supportive but that is it! He has neglected them & me. Last night it was the blame game, cant take this Crap anymore, Im shaking emaotionally ran down.

  • Comment Link Irene Monday, 10 August 2015 18:19 posted by Irene

    What do you do with a lower level? Mine compares himself to everyone and since he isn't as bad he sees himself as a great guy.

  • Comment Link marye Monday, 19 May 2014 18:52 posted by marye

    Mrs. B.. a narcissist could probably change but they normally don't.

  • Comment Link dcypress75 Wednesday, 14 May 2014 14:07 posted by dcypress75

    This article hits the nail smack dab on the head. Dead on. Thank you!

  • Comment Link Mrs B Monday, 12 May 2014 10:32 posted by Mrs B

    My second husband is like this and my children and I are suffering. I am at my wits end even faced with his clearly unreasonable behaviour he's right and I'm wrong. The things he blames me for are utter madness but even going to counselling he takes what is said and blames me and feels vindicated. Can a narcissist ever change ? I don't want another divorce but I don't see another way.

  • Comment Link MissHeather Sunday, 04 May 2014 15:38 posted by MissHeather

    Thank you for writing this! I do apologize for everything anymore and am always anxious about what will go wrong next. Working on stopping these reactions but it is so hard after 14 years.

  • Comment Link InadvertentSuckerforPunishment Thursday, 01 May 2014 23:03 posted by InadvertentSuckerforPunishment

    This is my ex to a T. Unfortunately, it is also my current husband. Wth is wrong with me, right? Ugh.

    However, I need tips in dealing with current narcissist, because I've resigned myself to the fact that I made this bed and I'm going to lie in it, but I'm going nuts here.

  • Comment Link Rburie1106 Thursday, 01 May 2014 02:24 posted by Rburie1106

    This is my ex exactly! Thanks for this article. It was a great help to know I'm not the only one dealing with this in my life. I definitely need to just ignore him, because no matter what I do it's always wrong. I also need to remember that hes crazy so why do I care so much about what he has to say. I shouldn't at all.

  • Comment Link Gwynn Monday, 28 April 2014 19:08 posted by Gwynn

    Sounds like my ex. I am the evil one. I am the one who made the children dislike him. Everything is my fault. Boy, are you sure we didn't marry the same man? Lol. He has tried to put me n jail for contempt of court many times. He is still send g me emails demanding to know something about the children's do that I am breaking the law by not answering promptly and Hmong through whatever hoop he puts out there. I totally get how they get people to sympathize with them. It really is sickening. He was successful in getting the court to see me as trying to interfere with his parenting. All lies. It's the kids who suffer so terribly. It is so difficult dealing with him. I feel your pain. I Live it.

  • Comment Link Keanan Brand Monday, 28 April 2014 18:58 posted by Keanan Brand

    Wow. Reading this article was like reading my parents' relationship. Mom was always the villain, and Dad was the one who had all the sympathy from outsiders. They were surprised when Mom told her side of the story later, because she was cast as the bad guy, and it took folks a while to realize Dad wasn't a poor, put-upon soul, but the perpetrator of most of his own problems.

    The reverse is true in my brother's marriage, where he's blamed for most of what goes wrong, and his wife paints herself as the victim. I have no idea how to help stop the cycle of blame, stress, anger, and depression. How, after all, does one get a narcissist to see his or her own failings? REALLY see them? Acknowledge and change them? Not sure it's possible, outside a miracle.

  • Comment Link Ernie Monday, 28 April 2014 18:51 posted by Ernie

    I relate and agree. But narcissist can also be women. Same behavior, same result