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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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It's very obvious what's happening in the lead image, isn't it? Most narcissists are much more subtle than that. Invisible abuse is one of their best techniques.

Last night I was watching a television show that my husband and I like – you know, one of those crime dramas that has enough humor that you don’t bite your nails right down to your elbows. Anyway, a criminal was going to testify against another, very powerful criminal. One of the next scenes was the first guy hanging in his cell and his daughter’s necklace on his cot. The investigators were baffled. The guy had struck a deal, why would he kill himself? And why was that necklace on his bed?

The second guy had sent a minion to take the necklace away from the daughter while she was sleeping and deliver it to the father. The message was clear, if you testify we’ll get your daughter. It was clear to the people involved but meaningless to the onlookers and the investigators. The man knew what it meant and he acted accordingly – he hung himself.

Problem solved.

Except it looked like a random act of suicide when it was really a pointed response to subtle terrorism.

Narcissists and Mind Games

Narcissists are very good at mind games. They are intelligent and quickly learn what your triggers are. A narcissist will ignite a potential drama right before guests walk in the door. That way, when he gives you that, seemingly innocent, tone of voice an hour later you explode and your guests think you are nuts. After all, they didn’t notice a thing.

A good example of this, or rather what I believe is a good example, is the video of the woman losing it because her husband wouldn’t take her to the lake. She began crying and screaming – basically having a toddler tantrum. The husband videotaped it and you could hear him speaking to her in his “reasonable adult” voice. His words seemed to be rational unless you start wondering why a loving husband would video his wife’s obvious breakdown and why a wife would carry on like that over missing one day at the lake.

I can’t know what happened. I have always thought that he had been pushing her to the edge for some time, promising her time away and then breaking that promise. I think that she thought they were going to the lake when she got in the car. Maybe she had spent the day prior creating a picnic lunch in anticipation of some couple time. In any case, she gets in and they take off and out of the blue he tells her she isn’t going to the lake because they have to run errands. Then he switches on his video ap.

I think in that video you clearly see the effects of invisible abuse but I’ll admit that I could be wrong.

It Can’t Be That Bad

How many times, when you’ve been fighting for control over your emotions, have you heard someone say, “Oh, it can’t/couldn’t be that bad!”

People, even family members who have been around you, don’t notice the looks, the tones of voice, the words and phrases with double meanings. You are seen as being overly sensitive, over re-acting to his actions, and borrowing trouble. It’s abuse, all right. It’s just that it’s invisible to those outside the not-so-magic circle.

I love this quote from Crying Out for Justice, Non-verbal communications — the winks, the nods, the silences, even the choice of where to sit in a social setting — are also incredibly devious because the real message they express is clearly recognized by the victim, but not by others.

Can you identify? I can.

We’re All Tired of Being the Crazy Ones

I cannot express to you how many times I have had someone criticize my responses to my ex-husband only to come back weeks, months, or years later and  apologize after he has removed his mask in front of them. It helps a little but honestly I’d just like people to believe me the first time. After all, if you ask these people which of us tends to be the more honest one they will immediately point to me. My ex has “repented” with crocodile tears many times for his lying and deception. Why then, when I am battling with anxiety/PTSD responses from something he has done or some meeting we have where I will have to be in the same vicinity as him, why do these people all of a sudden change gears and assume that I must be over-reacting?

  • Stop playing the victim
  • Let it go, it’s in the past
  • You need to move on with your life
  • Forgive him
  • He’s changed

Here’s the thing, it’s a fact that chickens will peck a wounded chickens to death. Apparently humans are a lot like chickens.

If I could talk to them at a time when they would actually listen and actually hear me I’d like to tell them something like this:

I am not a victim, I have survived, I have fought to survive, and I will continue to do so. A victim accepts the travesty that has/is happening to him and believes it is what she deserved. A survivor refuses to accept responsibility for someone else’s behavior. It is in the past and yet he continues to do the same things, have the same attitudes, and pull the scabs off of areas where he has wounded me. That means it’s also very much in the present. Healing takes time and you have to rest the area to allow it to heal. That is nearly impossible when a narcissist is involved.

I have moved on with my life but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be affected consciously and unconsciously by the things that have happened. People who lived through the Depression, or the Blitz, or any traumatic experience are changed forever. Just because I don’t want to be around him doesn’t mean that I haven’t forgiven him. Forgiveness is saying that I will not get revenge or require compensation for what I have experienced. It doesn’t say I have to like him or even tolerate him in my airspace. He may well have changed in his new relationship – I can’t judge that. However, my experience with him leads me to believe that he has not changed when it comes to me.

Stop Trying to Convince People

I don’t try to convince anyone of anything anymore. I wish I could say I don’t care what they think but that would be a lie – and I don’t lie.

Still, I know I am not crazy. I have a friend that saw him throw a metal crutch at my head, an old boss of his told me of the things he bought that were delivered to him at work when we had “no money”. I have kept the emails between his new narcissistic extension and himself that clearly show infidelity just in case the question of me “making it all up” ever arises. I am the one that is called unreasonable and crazy but I have so much proof of his actions that there should be no question of my mental state.

And yet people still judge me on my responses to him – even as they refuse to look at the evidence of his abuse. I hope they never become jury members. I have recently stopped trying prove anything to anyone. They’ll eventually find out on their own and they’ll eventually have more understanding than they could ever dream of.

When that happens I will be there with a shoulder for them to cry on because I know how it feels. Can you identify with any of this? Join First Wives World today and become a part of our vibrant community. Let’s talk – how do you handle those times when people accuse you of overreacting?

Lead Image Courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons, User: Thomas Leuthard

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41 comments

  • Comment Link anonomous Wednesday, 22 November 2017 16:52 posted by anonomous

    No one "loves" or deserves abuse and it is not a style Its not a fashion statement. Stop tantalizing abuse of girls and women.

  • Comment Link Lindii Saturday, 23 September 2017 01:15 posted by Lindii

    I feel for every single one of you! I think it's hard enough being a woman who has been abused,but even harder if you are a male.We as people think that men can stand up for themselves.But if you are a kind and caring man with morals and values and a woman abuses you,it must be shocking.You take it on the chin! I have much empthy for every one of you...so much so that I would love to start my own blog!

    I'm am a survivor of domestic abuse.I am a strong woman and I stood up to him which made me question whether I too was abusive? Mutual abuse I have since realised is a myth.
    I am a 56 year old woman who had been married twice before meeting up with someone I had known in my childhood.
    We were both Married at the time...me for 13 years to a dear man who loved and respected me. he had been married for 25 years but had been in separated bedrooms for 8 years and from the outside looking in no one knew!
    Mine is a long long story. I reconnected with my abuser after 38 years. He was the boy across the road when I was a young girl growing up. We lived there for four years and he was the older boy accross the road.I was 12 and he was 17 and I was in love. He was too old and I used to dream that one day we would be together. I loved him and it was a secret that I told no one.I moved away and 38 years later we reconnected via his niece through social media.
    I told him I had a total crush on him when I was a child..what was he doing now, was he happy and have a lovely catch up...
    What he said blew me away...he had always loved me and he thought that there was something wrong with him!
    really, really....this gas progressed quickly after that...
    I realised pretty soon, after we spoke on the phone that I was still in love with him( or what I thought he was). And I'm still struggling with that today 8 years later...the person who he is and the person who I thought he was...They are not the same!

    Anyway long story cut short,we finally got our ducks in a row both got divorced and came together...It took 3 years with he in the USA and me in Australia, so lots of skyping and a few visits here and there...

    I saw red flags...like if I bought up something that was bothering me, he would ignore me or turn it around and blame me, anything to get the focus off himself...it felt like I was in a straight jacket. I am a huge communicater and the more I tried, the worse it became... and then, because I was a communicator, I would be the one who would try to fix it...It was always me, the "fixer uperer". he would use the " silent treatment " and basically WAIT for me to come around, and I always did. I wanted this relationship so so so very badly and my heart was invested since I was a child and this was a dream come true.My knight in shining armour, my secret love was back in my life and he loved me too, he wanted to be with me forever! WOW!

    But it soon turned out to be a nightmare! I made excuses, oh it's because of the frustration of being apart, it's because we are both strong personalities, which we are.This is Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor all over again...ra ra ra

    No this was not a communication problem, this was an abuse problem...
    This was not real love, this was control, this was manipulation, stonewalling and gaslighting and physical abuse, this was a hamburger with the lot!
    He would say things like I don't like being touched and I don't like touching people...
    And that was a cue that he didn't like me touching people and didn't want people touching me...

    One day while I was visiting the US...he had managed to secure a transfer to Australia and he was to arrive in a matter of months...
    We were talking about what he should bring and he said, " you are a pathetic excuse for a human being"
    No one had ever spoken to me like that, ever...I was hurt. " I don't like the way you just spoke to me I said, he then tried to say that he was saying WE are pathetic excuses for human beings. I said , no you said I am! He then tried to say it was just a joke! I just say there...he then walked off and said " I think we should just be friends"
    I knew he didn't mean it, but I knew it for what it was, I knew what he was doing, looking for a reaction, playing mind games,abuse( although I hadn't seen it as that until much later, I just knew how it felt)

    Then came the no contact for the whole day, the stand off behaviour, the distancing, punishing me...HE became a VICTIM! very clever tactic...
    Every time there was a dispute, it became my fault and he would abuse me, them feel sorry for himself...what a mind game!
    That night we were flying out of Kansas and we were at the airport hotel and he would not hold me...so I said why don't you hold me, again he said, I think we should be just friends...by this time I was building into a rage....I was being abused from the morning right in until the night and it was getting to me...the frustration..so I said well why am I coming with you to the Dominican Republic, I may as well just fly home to Australia.

    So he said okay I'll change your flights...I became desperate inside.I had waited 3 years for him to get divorced, a transfer to Australia so that we could start our life, we had only seen each other 4 times for a matter of two weeks at a time and sometimes less and here he was about to send me home! I freaked out, I lost it...I went around to him and I started crying, what's going on and I whacked himon his chest in utter frustration, not hard, not abusivley,desperately trying to reach out, what is happening here,what are you doing. Well what happened next was like a dream.
    he hit me back accross my face. I couldn't beleive it, so I hit him back and he of course then hit me again....I through myself onto the bed crying and I made SURE I did not hit him again...he had won!
    He got on the phone, changed my fights, slept on the couch and then without so much of a word walked out and flew to the Dominican Republic, leaving me I Kansas I a hotel room all alone( I knew not a soul) to wait 2 days for my flight home to Australia.

    24 hours before I was to fly, he sends me a message...it's time to check in..
    Oh so he does care? I asked myself...and then I rang him..I said come back...he said o I can't, I'll change your flights and you come here..
    And I did.. and that was the start of it, the cycle of abuse!
    And because there was months and. Otha between us being together, this was drawn out for longer than it perhaps would have been, because it was subtle. He had blamed me and said that I am the abuser, to him. I had hit him first...so I guess I took the blame. I know know that he had been beating me up through the mind all that day...knowing that he was coming to Australia, had the visa, but was playing with my head, rejecting me, hitting me and then abandoning me! Shocking...I should have left and stayed away....But it was almost like the marriage plans were in place!
    I had to try US! We hadn't even come together yet!
    I got back on the horse!
    When we finally got together in Australia! I saw that he did touch people and it made me so jealous and angry. I realised that he was trying to control me and was doing a pretty good job. But me being the character that I am I would go into " battle with him" Question, get up in his face, demand answers...It always went bad, We never got anywhere. NO grievance I had was EVER RESOLVED. he did t want anything resolved, I realised.

    He wanted to control me. he wanted that little girl that he once knew, who was under his spell, to be there for him, to meet his needs and love him forever. It was not about my feelings ever, it was only about his feelings. I would say, you are a Jekyll and Hyde.
    I wish you would treat me the way you treat everyone else..Even though I knew it was fake, I actually wanted the FAKE side.The charmer, the one people loved..so I would watch him operate around work colleagues and think to myself, if only you knew that this man had hit me! They would not believe it. Here were were, the fantasy couple that had come together after loving each other all those years ago.

    It looked like a true love story.
    He never outright abused me unless I had an issue. He showered me with gifts, told everyone how talented I was. USED TO SAY TO ME, " you always fight with me"
    As though it was my fault.
    Things got worse, he moved back to the USA but we kept trying!
    My last visit I knew it was over..He hit me and said " that was your fault " and the penny dropped! I knew then that this would never get better no matter what I did, he was sick, he was 60 years old and he would never change. I spent the next

  • Comment Link Seth Friday, 22 September 2017 23:16 posted by Seth

    These Words Came Out Of The Narcissists Mouth.

    "I USE THE VERY THING THAT MEN ENTRUST ME WITH THEN I EXPLOIT IT AGAINST THEM"

    She was talking about being loyal to just one person.

  • Comment Link Daniel P. Tuesday, 12 September 2017 16:42 posted by Daniel P.

    Thank you so much. I stumbled on this site while looking to see if there was an identifiable disorder that could be connected to my spouse.

    I'd forgiven my wife many things such as the beatings and the destruction of some of my personal belongings but the last straw was when she 'turned' my son and her family against me. I get to see him every so many years.

    My ex-wife is the sweetest person you will have ever met: sweet mother, sweet grandmother, friend, even stranger. But whenever it was just the two of us it was Mr. Hyde. It was fascinating to watch but frightful to live with.

    I've lost friends and have an unfounded reputation due to her deceptive allure.

    I don't think no one will ever know her as the wife she is unless it's her next husband. My only grace I believe is that some day someone will begin to see a pattern in her marital lives (married 3 times).

    Thanks for the opportunity.

    Daniel

  • Comment Link Sharanya Wednesday, 02 August 2017 22:14 posted by Sharanya

    I am going through the exact same thing...everything in this article describes my husband down to a t.But no one believes me! Everyone thinks I'm crazy or want attention...it just breaks my heart that after everything he has done and how he has broken me...he is surrounded by people who love him and think he's amazing and even feel sorry for him because of his ' crazy' wife whilst he has chased away every single person in my life even through physical threats and I am alone and hated...how is this fair...

  • Comment Link Justine Wednesday, 26 July 2017 17:54 posted by Justine

    I am so glad to have found this. I feel I could have written this myself and my soon to be ex has the same problems that so many of the comments have stated. No one believes the emotional abuse I have gone through and they tend to suggest I am overreacting or "having a mid-life crisis" since I have decided to leave. Like others have said my husband was always the life of the party and very charming. I think I stayed so long because as one comments stated there were good days and my partner always made promises of change. I am now thousands of dollars in debt due to his online shopping addiction and I have two very young children but I am determined to get away, stop blaming myself, and heal.

  • Comment Link MareBear Wednesday, 07 June 2017 23:37 posted by MareBear

    Spot on. You feel so alone because no one believes you, they believe HIM. "He's so nice, you're so lucky!"

    He's been gone for the past 3 weeks for work and it's been heaven. My son misses him but my daughter and I have been like: WHEW. He's coming back in a couple days and I'm dreading it. Every phone call we've had in the past 3 weeks has been forced and usually ends with a terse "Love you. See you soon." We had a disagreement almost every call.

    Today, he sent me a picture of a pretty waterfall he saw between appointments. Aww that's nice! So I called him, we talked, told him what me and the kids did today, etc. Asked about his day, and what he wanted to do this weekend when he came home? (My nieces/nephews are having a birthday party on Sunday.) He started getting really testy and used the infamous line: "I don't care, whatever you decide." DUDE. I need a partner, not a 3rd child. HELP me make decisions.

    I told him that I wanted to have a discussion, not make a decision on my own. He said "Well someone has to." That's true, but it's me 99.9% of the time. Then he said "Well, have a nice day dear" in this really sweet, syrupy fake voice. Ugh, I hate that voice. I said "You too" in the same voice and then we hung up. UGH. EVERY call has some form of this in it.

    This is one tiny, tiny example. I feel so alone. I want out! He's like a child I have to take care out. I just want peace.

  • Comment Link annamarie Tuesday, 02 May 2017 17:09 posted by annamarie

    So glad i read this,i did need it i am over 3 years away from my ex husband ,but even now i struggle with the fact that no one believes me even my children say they believe me but all go out of their way not to make him feel awkward,next month my son gets married i have to be in this mans company watching every one talking to him after what he did to me,he had a new woman within a month but true to himself he did not want her at the wedding,she will be told we did not want her to keep us apart,but the fact he never suffered any consequences sickens me new woman jetting of on holidays family still all over him, me i am left in a real state of poverty never get a holiday and on my own,why does no one believe me my family even admit i am honest moral decent, and he isnt but still give him the benefit of the doubt , which means they dont believe me it hurts , hurts, hurts,

  • Comment Link Kbanks420 Tuesday, 11 April 2017 16:44 posted by Kbanks420

    I can't describe how familiar this is to my experience.. although I'm still going back and forth from blaming myself to realizing that it wasn't me. We have been broken up for a few months now and he still contacts me on a weekly bases, doing something to either try to sleep with me or to upset me/rile me up. He's losing his power over me because the more space I take from him, the more relaxed I am and the more I remember that I AM a good person and didn't deserve to be treated as his emotional punching bag.. sometimes his actual punching bag. Every day I am a little more free.

  • Comment Link Cadence Friday, 10 March 2017 02:18 posted by Cadence

    This article is dead on with my past experiences. For so long now I have always felt alone in this because no one seems to even want to understand which is just as difficult. Thanks for the article.

  • Comment Link Ren Tuesday, 21 February 2017 11:39 posted by Ren

    Very much needed to read that. While my husband was not physically abusive- though at time's it felt that was just one step away - he was verbally n emotionally abusive. His hair trigger temper made it very hard to relax n enjoy life alot of the time. I'm not saying it was always horrible, some days/nights were wonderful n kept hope and love alive. But they were fewer n fewer as time went on. He's very charming and the life of any party, whereas I ended up being subdued n quiet as it was easier than dealing with the aftermath that noone else ever saw. Occasionally he would slip n others would see his temper but noone really thought he was like that with me - he proclaimed his love loudly and adamantly for all to see. I've since found out his infidelity n lies n debt n loans and have lost it in emails n text. Proof he says of me being the terrible person. Maybe I am, maybe not, or maybe I'm just full of questions and doubts and am now so angry at myself for still caring. There is still a part of me that wonders whats wrong with me, and I kick myself everytime that thought arises. Its like I've been conditioned to blame myself. Sorry for rambling =/

  • Comment Link Em Sunday, 22 January 2017 01:06 posted by Em

    How about this: he strangled me, threw me against a glass mirror, picked me up and threw me out into the street - breaking my wrist. Then he took off because he was afraid a neighbor saw and might call the police. All this right before friends were coming to stay the weekend. They came and I told them that he left because we had a physical altercation. Our goal became trying to get him to come back, to not feel bad or guilty or embarrassed. The couple spent the weekend avoiding me (the wife wouldn't even come out of her room while she and I were alone in the house). The husband has repeatedly tried to get together with my husband for coffee since. Neither has reached out to me. It's all about him. I feel lonely and like something is wrong with me! The couple are psychologists. Weird, right?
    But he is such a nice outgoing guy everyone is in his corner.

  • Comment Link Olivia Monday, 16 January 2017 02:28 posted by Olivia

    Oh my.. I could have written this article!!! It is so like my husband... Video tapeing me, nice to others...chicken pecked by friends.
    Gosh so glad I came across this article. Thank you. I don't feel like I have gone mad!

  • Comment Link frogmom Tuesday, 29 November 2016 15:52 posted by frogmom

    Omg this is all so accurate. No one gets it. No one sees it. No one believes you because everything a happens behind closed doors without witnesses. Trying to explain it to anyone makes you look desperate and un-level. You do appear to be the crazy one, and he knows it and uses it against you. He talks it up to everyone you know and to new people who don't know you -- they' become his flying monkeys and just serve to affirm his accusations. Been divorced 9 years but because we have children together the abuse never really ends. I never know when the next shoe will drop, what the next accusation or demand will be. The children have become his pawns and his loathesome live-in girlfriend is perhaps worse than he is with the condemnations and accusations out of nowhere with zero merit. They turn all the legal terms on you and set you up to appear to be the "crazy" one or abusive or alienating the kids or whatever else they can drum up. Eight more years and our youngest will be 18 and I pray I never, ever see or hear from the ex again after that.

  • Comment Link Joanna Chamberlain Monday, 28 November 2016 20:48 posted by Joanna Chamberlain

    Thank you for this article!!! I too, like you have so many nasty emails from my abusive x that to me and the people that are close, its so obvious, but to the rest of the world, the courts, the school I'm the crazy one! I don't get it. My x who physically abused me and continues to mentally abuse me ( because we have kids) got a restraining order on me! With absolutely no proof against me. The only thing that he had and I didn't was a lawyer. Justice isn't something anyone can afford I guess.

  • Comment Link Desp.1 Wednesday, 19 October 2016 06:05 posted by Desp.1

    What do you when you do get the nerve to leave and the husband has convinced the landlady that you where the one who trashed the place? And she publically humiliated you in front of everyone on social media? No matter what you say or do they will not listen. I'm in desperate need of advice/help.

  • Comment Link rose Tuesday, 16 August 2016 20:49 posted by rose

    Hello, my name is Rose, I am 23 years old and recently got married with a 30 year old korean guy. He left his country to come to Canada and married me. He gave up the biggest opportunity in his life to study in Australia in order to marry me. I know being in country where he knows nobody and has no legal statues yet can be quite stressful. I always consider him to be a nice guy and sweet but recently my mind has change. He has totally change. I always knew he had anger issues and he struggles to control his stress level at times. He is very hard working and loves to take care of me by buying me things and looking after my health. He helps me a lot with house chores by cooking at times and helping me do laundry especially when I am sick and not well. But, he has a big problem and that is his stress and anger issues. He gets mad easily and when things don't go well for him at work he blames me by saying how much he hates me or how much he hates being in canada and etc...I also caught him watching porn and I confronted him and he apologize for it and he actually quit watching porn. I helped him overcome such addictive behaviour. But, at times when he gets mad or feels stress or feels sad because of our current finical situation and his legal statues he saids things like, I want to leave canada and go back to australia and that he misses porn. He also tries to get me involve with it but I push him not give up on his desire and to be strong. It has been so difficult for me since I am christian and he is not totally into chritianity. I also have a child with a previous partner and it is hard for him to be a father model for my 6 year old son who has ADHD. Many times he has told me he wishes I never had a child. He tells me how it wishes it was just me and him because my son causes a lot of problems. I know is hard for him since he has never been around kids. Anyways, I have notice a change of personality, I know he has anger, stress, and emotional issues because he constantly wants me to tell him that i love him and that i won't ever leave him, but when I do tell him I love him he saids no you don't and he thinks eventually i will get tired of him. Sometimes, he doesnt want me to touch him because he saids he hates people and that he only gets involve with others only for his convenience not because he likes them. He saids he doesn't trust anyone and that he in general hates people. Although, he seems very social and has friend in reality he is very antisocial. He likes to take advantage of others and likes to critize others a lot. He only thinks of becoming successful and rich. He likes to swag a lot and likes to dress very fancy and thinks he is very handsome. He always sees himself being better than others and always thinks others are judging him even when nobody is judging him. He doesn't like seeing hoers being successful and envies others a lot. The other day he told me not to expect that he will stay with me forever because he really hates people in general. He said he is being honest with me because he knows I am a good person who loves him a lot. Many times he has told me he hates me and no longer likes me. I don't know what to do??? could he be struggling with narcism personality disorder. ????? He always plans things for himself but barely hear him thinking about our future. When he gets mad he always saids he wants to get divorce..which breaks my heart. The worse part is that I beg him not to go since I feel like I can't live without him. I am always scared to make a mistake or make him mad. but sometimes i don't do anything and he gets mad and starts blaming me for his current living situation. He saids he hates my parents and family at times too. He has lie to me many times about his past relationships. He has told me though that in the past he visited prostituation houses...his sexual desires are very extreme but i have been able to change him in that area and he has realize that somethings are not okay. He has apologize a couple of times but he has a big ego and pride. He likes when I tell him how proud i feel about him..Is his behaviour normal or does he have some sort of narcism personality disorder symptoms?????? he has never hit me but he always hurts me with his words and attitude..

  • Comment Link jessie Thursday, 04 August 2016 13:12 posted by jessie

    Thank you so much for this post. I was having such a hard time this morning, and it's just a little bit better being reminded I'm not alone.
    I recently was divorced from my husband of five years. The only people who believe me about what he did are people who knew me before he was in my life. And it's not that they ever saw anything happen between us, they only saw how I changed while I was with him. But otherwise my credibility concerning the events of my marriage is non-existent. These people who don't believe me are people who would tell me how reliable and honest I was. People know how self-serving my ex can be, but they still don't grasp it. I have lost so many I thought were close friends, old Army buddies whom I should have been able to talk to for the rest of my life, because he has everyone convinced I'm crazy.
    He gets away with the facade of: "My ex-wife is crazy, but she's the mother of our child, so I'm doing my best to be civil." And I didn't know how to explain how he's still abusing me. The worst of it all is that he managed to take my daughter from me. When I left him, out of fear for my life, I flew back to my home state with my daughter. I had successfully taken out a temporary PPO against him. That didn't stop the state of Alaska from granting him emergency custody before our divorce. And when we worked out custody in court I was told by the judge that I wasn't abused because, on a day there were two male cops at our house, I didn't inform them I was being abused.
    Every day I struggled with thoughts that maybe I actually wasn't abused. And after the divorce hearing it's even worse. I have trouble believing myself some days. I have way too much trouble coming to terms with the fact that it is somehow okay karma-wise for a man who treats women in the manner he does to end up with my daughter. The man who couldn't be bothered to watch her for an hour while I got groceries while we were married. And on top of it all I won't get visitation until I can make 2 trips to Alaska to visit her without taking her away. I had to restart my life when I left him, I've still got a year left in school, and I'm not exactly rolling in cash. I had no support, in the legal system or on a personal level, because everything I did when I left him looks like I'm crazy since he's convinced everyone he's normal.
    Articles like this, it's not like they make what happened okay. But they remind me that I remember out marriage correctly. I remember what he did to me correctly. And I know the little things he says or does are his was of still trying to control me, even though anyone else can look at it and say I'm being paranoid. Just, thank you for reminding me that even though things are really pretty bad right now this wasn't my fault.

  • Comment Link Claudia Saturday, 02 July 2016 15:13 posted by Claudia

    I am learning that easy does it and let it be and let God.
    I choose to change me, I haven't master it yet!
    I learned that my co-dependency attracted this man, the very core of who I became through my life experiences and learned behaviors from observing my mother is what attracted my husband and past relationship!
    Yeap I am crushed and broken! I am forgiving my self first for not being there for me, but I again, self love is also a learned behavior which was not fostered in my house hold growing up.
    At times it seems impossible to leave this relationship but I am growing new muscles and new neuropathways understanding everyday that my narcissistic husband actions has nothing to do with me! It has to do with him. If I change my behavior of codependency then he can work his tactics on me, because it will not work. He is getting bored! He is going to find another blood supplier somewhere which is sad but also part of life.
    As far as what people think, say or react towards me is out of my control. They just don't know, and there is no way to know! Just like with us, the narcissistic tactics are extremely powerful and narcissist have done this for so long that they are well trained! I must say I have no chance in going to war with this people and I really don't want too. It's a waist of precious energy which I have lost so much. I have lost even the trust of my own child who knows his step dad as being a cool guy, an kind of odd/sweet guy (his excuses for emotional cheating). Above all I trust in the the higher power, the universal law, I trust in God who is carrying me through this whole really bad situation and I trust that I am ok, I will be ok, and most of all there is a better life right here right now for me to live.

  • Comment Link Dee Monday, 20 June 2016 15:57 posted by Dee

    Thank you for this article! I totally relate!!

  • Comment Link Lori S. Thursday, 09 June 2016 22:03 posted by Lori S.

    A really fabulous, heartfelt article.

  • Comment Link Anne Tuesday, 22 March 2016 22:05 posted by Anne

    It is sooooo relieving to see I'm not alone. Constantly looked at as if I'm losing it, as though I'm crazy, meanwhile he is doing everything he can to silently destroy me. I could write a series of books yet anyone who knows him will think I'm lying because of how he has completely manipulated the entire situation. He is even working on my poor children. Thank God my 8 year old can see he's not being true and honest and sees his negativity. He attacks me verbally and mentally, through text email or silently in person. Little does he know I have recordings of everything. Oh would I love to put them all over the Internet and just scream out to all those who think I'm some nasty crazy unfair bitch! It's so not fair just like someone wrote! Thank you for all of you that have spoken out!

  • Comment Link Anne Tuesday, 22 March 2016 17:22 posted by Anne

    It is sooooo relieving to see I'm not alone. Constantly looked at as if I'm losing it, as though I'm crazy, meanwhile he is doing everything he can to silently destroy me. I could write a series of books yet anyone who knows him will think I'm lying because of how he has completely manipulated the entire situation. He is even working on my poor children. Thank God my 8 year old can see he's not being true and honest and sees his negativity. He attacks me verbally and mentally, through text email or silently in person. Little does he know I have recordings of everything. Oh would I love to put them all over the Internet and just scream out to all those who think I'm some nasty crazy unfair bitch! It's so not fair just like someone wrote! Thank you for all of you that have spoken out!

  • Comment Link determination Monday, 21 December 2015 12:52 posted by determination

    I identify with every word. No one believes me. He is so charming and careful with other people that what I say seems completely unbelievable. As for the - why don't you learn to move on - I hear it from him each time I try to call him to account for abusive behavior! I am v tired and feel sad that I've put myself into such a situation.

  • Comment Link FreefromtheJerk Friday, 04 December 2015 08:05 posted by FreefromtheJerk

    Still not divorced, he keeps finding creative ways to put it off. I haven't spoken to him in three years, drives him nuts. That wasn't my motivation, just a bonus. He would be great for a few weeks and then BAM, you never see it coming. The best thing was to break off all contact with him.

    I still hear, oh, we was such a great guy. I just love having that shoved down my throat. My response is always the same. No one's ever that nice. Have you ever worked with someone that every one thinks is so great and they're class A back stabber. Then people get it.

    Fortunately I did have a sister that saw through him, and my parents finally see it. The reason it is so important to have people believe you is because it isn't fair to have your pain denied. You suffered so much, you don't want a medal, but being told your over reacting or exagerating just isn't fair.

    Hang tough, heal, love yourself, pity their next victim, his is hitting the bottle pretty hard.

  • Comment Link Sally Monday, 19 October 2015 06:34 posted by Sally

    This happens in the workplace too, and I have to say there are plenty of female narcs out there. It is usually the most harmless, honest and decent person that is targeted by these "people". It seems people are learning more about narcissism, but they STILL don't truly "get it", and people are so unobservant and have their spiritual antennae of the "off" position that they really cannot see through the narcs attacks. They just join in so they won't be attacked. What's happened to people? We used to stand up to bullies, now we bow down to them. SICK. VERY SICK.

  • Comment Link chely5150 Sunday, 05 July 2015 16:10 posted by chely5150

    What is your shoe size? 9.5 possibly? LOL Because I stand in your shoes when you post about the covert abuse of a "nice" narcissist, who happens to be my husband. If you were to ask the people on the "outside" about him I imagine most would respond that he is such a great guy. I don't blame them for the response because in all honesty that's pretty much what they see. He IS a nice guy (although self centered some might think) to just about everyone except those inside the magic circle (using your words) myself and our two sons (now 19 & 23). As you say even when the abuse is dished out in front of others it is so veiled that no one would even notice UNLESS you've walked in my shoes. I know this because (more than) once while at in-laws, having a nice visit and bbq, sitting around chatting MIL was saying something (can't even remember what) when FIL added a comment/critique to MIL that seemed innocent enough but it caused her to stop, shut down, suck it in and swallow. Her demeanor instantly changed and that was it, subtle covert abuse, sort of given with light heartedness and humor but still abuse. Only those who have been there would ever be able to see it. I think it was then that I somewhat realized that this was a FOO dynamic that had been going generation to generation for who knows how long. Scares the HELL out of me for my sons-(and their future partners. Despite them not liking how he can treat them it's a behavioral model thing that perpetuates this dysfunction from continuing. The hope I have is that having me stand up against him all these years (although the sensless arguing was not good for them) I knew I was not a victim (as you stated in post) but a survivor who did my best to stand up to this crap. Don't get me wrong I have suffered but knowing that I don't have to believe the hurtful things I am subjected to sometimes. But I know myself well enough to not excuse it but acknowledge it for what it is- so it no longer pushes me off the deep end - as it used to do. Yes I have stayed married (20 years now) because he also can be a nice guy at home as well. Your article just reminded me of the years I attempted to get anyone to understand what I was going through (especially in the beginning) but really unable to because the covert, nice successful narcissist is the master at his game and instead of trying to beat him- i've simply changed how I play the stupid game. And I really don't care what others think anymore why should I? It changes nothing except waste time on something that I don't have to buy into. My real desire is to help younger men and women understand the dynamics of this behavior (see the red flags and understand them) earlier. I saw them but never really understood what the real meaning was. If only I knew then what I know now.

  • Comment Link Susan Goode Wednesday, 27 May 2015 02:01 posted by Susan Goode

    I agree with Gina's post

  • Comment Link stuck Thursday, 26 March 2015 16:29 posted by stuck

    I don't have many close people in my life. From the ones who were closest I used to hear "well that's just guys " "that's normal, he can change" I always could tell they thought I was over reacting. Now it's "you will know your limits" or "I didn't realize he was that person"(from the person who basically set us up. "The only problem is I'll probably never be brave enough to leave. I know he'll never change but we have two kids together and my 3 step children who I will lose. I have raised them. Neither parent was involved. He brings it up every time I get fed up. "Are you taking them too?" he knows I can't :(

  • Comment Link Justin D Sunday, 08 March 2015 03:05 posted by Justin D

    Yeah,
    I am the demon. I made the mistake of striking back once 3 years into a ten year relationship with a woman who made me the demon. By striking back, I mean she had this "I am going to kill you" look in her eyes and she was coming after more than just blood (I was already bleeding) - I fought back to save my life and it completely stunned her - long enough for me to escape.
    She hit me constantly. At least 10 times I remember being on the ground while she was kicking and attacking me. Probably more, but I blocked out most of the severe physical attacks.

    Today, I am the monster to everyone that knows/knew us. The one time I struck back, makes me the abuser - one time out of 10 years. Who cares that she hit me weekly, none of them believe - I don't even try to convince them. Although I am starting to think her sister is coming around. They live together and at first the sister was just as convinced that I am a monster as everyone else. But 7 months living with someone who regards your feelings as nothing, tends to open some mental avenues.
    The sister is starting to remember what it was like to live with her in the first place. But amazing how she forgot what that was like when it came to me.

    It's even impossible to get help, though I will guess that's because I am the male. In relationships, it's always the guy who is at fault. Just another tick against me. So I have been using online places such as this for a bit of comfort. I guess you could say misery loves company, though I do feel it's a little more then that. Mainly, I feel crazy - like am I missing something here and it's nice to have people that say, "that's normal". It's nice to see others comments on how crazy they felt.

    My final thought, I hope I am not screwed up myself now. At least, not beyond repair. I hope my next long term relationship or even marriage is with someone healthy and that my previous damage doesn't mess that up.

  • Comment Link winnie Tuesday, 03 March 2015 08:19 posted by winnie

    I am just browsing on this site but your email has touched me very much. The way out is to look into ourselves. It sounds absurd but we have our own hurts and traumas. When we remember sad things that happened to us (when we even admit that sad things happened) there is a power change. Without having to do anything external the partner gains strength and the narcissist loses it. That is the thing about relationship dynamics: there is a silent energy that you cant explain, it just 'happens'. But you can take that energy in your own direction when you connect with yourself and are honest about your own emotions. You sound so sweet, just be brave and dip into your own past. Take care.

  • Comment Link Gina Monday, 16 February 2015 21:20 posted by Gina

    How do I get the courage to get out and away? How can I stop myself from falling for his kind words when they are only being said to try to mend me up enough for him to lash out and hurt me again? When am I going to say I am worth more then this?

    He gets copies of every email I write or open. He has total control of my phone and activities on it. He has all the power. How do I get help when it is up to him if I have a running vehicle. Why is it so hard for me to leave? He has all control of the money and I am sure tells tales about me to resources I may want to reach lout to, cutting off my ability to get help.

  • Comment Link Maria Monday, 09 February 2015 19:04 posted by Maria

    My ex and his partner video taped while he was taking my children away from me...he whispered "whore" to my ear to make me react.., in the mean time....my children were screaming as if they were being kidnapped by a stranger...they were expecting me to explode or react, but I was so shocked to see so much evil and since then, I fear for my safety and my children's....I presented this and many other situations to court and the judge did NOTHING...NOTHING...the legal system let me and my children down.

  • Comment Link chantay wadlington Wednesday, 07 January 2015 10:43 posted by chantay wadlington

    I experience invisible abuse in philly. It started, with my family. Not, so family! Behind my back, they petitioned, to involuntarily commit me to a state hospital for 30 days. Just because. For no, reason! They left me out in the cold...pregnant! I can never forgive, them muthafuckas! Also, I was homeless! And the shelter, did the very same, thing! Almost, like their connected! But the thing is...I am perfectly sane! The insult was so bad, because, I was a writer! But, it all started, when, I use to ask can friends, come over! They would deny. Then, I wanted to move...but was broke! So I got thrusted unto the streets!

  • Comment Link Intoxicated Dad Tuesday, 28 October 2014 22:16 posted by Intoxicated Dad

    Sarcastically I told my sociopathic make believe father hoe can I be like you I'm a middle aged father myself and my life is destroyed because of him he te tells me not to let anything bother me? So I'm supposed to allow people do whatever they want Maybe this is. the reason I'm this way. .

  • Comment Link AngelT Tuesday, 21 October 2014 19:50 posted by AngelT

    My abusive ex once filmed me sobbing at home after a particularly humiliating scene in a restaurant. I was already in the midst of depression (although I didn't know it at the time) and I knew there was no point talking to him about how I was feeling, he would just become more angry. So I cried for a long time, I think out of a mixture of frustration, exhaustion and despair. He switched on his camera phone and started filming me while narrating in an oh-so-reasonable-and-calm tone about how I was crying for much longer than is normal. And how concerned he was about my mental wellbeing, and how others needed to see the reality of my behaviour and what it put him through. Funnily enough, his on-camera behaviour was strikingly different from the man who was accusing, blaming, name-calling and criticising me a few seconds before. He never actually did put the video online to my knowledge. I hope he could see that, despite his reasonable "persona", a hunched, unresponsive, quietly sobbing woman is unlikely to elicit anything but concern from normal, empathetic people. For this reason I am very suspicious of the claims of the man who posted the video of his exe's breakdown when he wouldn't take her to the lake. If she was genuinely the abusive person in the situation, he would do as people like us have, and lick his wounds, trying to move on with dignity. By publishing the video of her he has humiliated her, and that is characteristically the actions of an abuser, not a victim of abuse. Judging by his detached and supercilious persona in the video, he does not seem like someone affected by abuse. Rather, like someone enjoying their clever little plot to hurt someone. Urgh. My gut says even if the lady in question had some emotional maturing to do (which I certainly did in my case) she is, nonetheless, well out of that relationship.

  • Comment Link Jinyu Wednesday, 18 June 2014 03:46 posted by Jinyu

    Yes, I had gone hysterical and given in..I gave him shares in the companies I own; and now he is suing me to buy back the shares at a rediculous price.

    The worst part of it is that he is sleeping with h is attorney, and both of them are filing lots of applications to harass and bankrupt me.

    Is there anyone out there who have gone through what I am going through and can give me some advice? TIA

  • Comment Link Freeatlast Friday, 13 June 2014 01:27 posted by Freeatlast

    Very nice article ... For the longest time I thought I was the only one who experienced this. I'm always being made out to be the crazy one because I react to the continuous selfish, self centered, irresponsible, neglectful, spiteful, yet unseen and invisible behavior of my husband. Just because he doesn't yell at me doesn't mean he's not hurting me or disrespecting me and contributing to our demise. Everyone thinks he's such a nice guy. Even he thinks he's perfect and that no one can be or treat me better than him which is total bullshit. It's such a confusing situation to explain because it's so emotionally draining. He's always right and I'm always wrong even when I'm right. He can say the worst things to me and becUse he's speaking in a calm tone people think I'm crazy when I finally reach my limit and react in an outburst. Bottom line , I'm not happy and I've never been able to really put my finger on why this relationship was so stressful but I'm glad to finally begin to understand what's going on and that I'm not nuts after all.

  • Comment Link ListeningHard Wednesday, 11 June 2014 02:43 posted by ListeningHard

    Whoa, bad flashback. Hysterical crying as I clutch my chest, sliding down the wall...kids are downstairs hearing God knows what. He had just grabbed my tbroat and squeezed. As I fall to floor, he calmly pulls out his cell phone to take a picture of me to "show the lawyers how crazy" I am. Today, his family has detached from myself, my kids. Support him and his new "supply"...

  • Comment Link Zainab Tuesday, 10 June 2014 05:39 posted by Zainab

    Good Morning

    thank you for the article. I thought i was going insane.

  • Comment Link Freedom4me Monday, 09 June 2014 19:46 posted by Freedom4me

    This truly hit home with me. Everyone thought he was such a nice guy. The torture of knowing what has happened and being unable to explain it is frustrating. You are right! The true him will eventually come out to others. Bless you for your strength and patience.