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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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Sometimes when I am going over past situations in my head or someone questions whether or not my ex is really a narcissist I get pulled into a whirlpool of doubt. What if I am remembering things incorrectly? What if I am wrong about his narcissism? What if I am misrepresenting him?

What if?

Those questions pull me away from my focus on health and healing and back into that thick, bubbly cesspool of guilt and second guessing myself. Ultimately does it really matter whether or not he is a narc?

I don’t think so, and spending time worrying that I have labeled him incorrectly is self-defeating.

Labels Help Describe a Set of Actions

What is the point of calling someone out as a narcissist when you don’t have a “professional” diagnosis? After all, you could be wrong.

Terms like narcissist and sociopath are a simple way to describe a predictable set of actions that occur in various degrees.  Those actions have negative consequences whether or not the person has been diagnosed as a narcissist or not. Gaslighting will cause the same destruction in your life whether it is done by a clinically diagnosed narcissist or someone that your dad refers to as that jerk you married.

One thing that is common among narcissists is that they cause you to question your own perceptions. When you are trying to disengage from the relationship he will turn everything topsy-turvy until you feel like you don’t know what they truth is. When you find articles on the Internet that describe his actions and attribute them to narcissism he questions your findings because a doctor didn’t make the diagnosis. It is a way to get the focus off of helping yourself by causing you to doubt your information.

Ask yourself, does it really matter if it is diagnosed or not?

Why It’s Important to Understand the Symptoms of Narcissism

So, if it doesn’t matter whether or not the narcissism is diagnosed why is it so important to know the list of actions that define narcissistic behavior?

When you understand that what you are experiencing is common to almost all women who have been married to a narcissist you suddenly realize that you are not the one in the wrong. You are not alone. It has happened to other people, too. You realize that those actions have a common, predictable effect on the people in the narcissist’s life. Most importantly, you understand that you don’t have to put up with that behavior anymore.

Knowing that a narcissist is brilliant when it comes to manipulating you by guilt, for example, helps you to refuse to allow his sighs, expressions, and words to force you to do things you don’t want to. Since it is common to all narcissists it is obviously a matter of manipulation not need.

Understanding the behavior is the key to being able to rise above it. It’s not personal in the same way a mosquito biting you is not personal. It’s just what they do. Do you need an entomologist to tell you that the insect that is biting you is a mosquito before you smack it?

Of course not!

What If I’m Wrong?

What if you are? What if he has five out of seven symptoms but the psychiatrist says that he is not a narcissist? Will that make the things that he does any less destructive?

Defining someone as a narcissist based on how they have treated you won’t usually cause them to lose friends or lose their jobs. In fact, it is unlikely that it will hurt them at all. They are more likely to be thrilled that you have given them yet one more thing to use against you, make people think that you are crazy, and make them feel sorry for your ex.

Remember, narcissists thrive on pity like maggots thrive on rotten meat.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that it isn’t about whether or not he is a narcissist. The bottom line is about how he treats you and how he acts. You know the old saying, if it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and swims like a duck it’s probably a duck.

Don’t let yourself be thrown off course by irrelevant arguments. Your focus should be on identifying the tools in his arsenal and learning how to protect yourself from them. You have no reason to defend yourself – you aren’t the one causing the problem.

Do you feel like you are alone? The only one who has dealt with this? Join First Wives World today and meet others who have been where you are now.

Image Courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons, User:  Francesco 

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  • Comment Link Cheri Monday, 23 October 2017 06:38 posted by Cheri

    I'm the second wife. Can I still join?

  • Comment Link kari41560 Sunday, 12 March 2017 21:26 posted by kari41560

    I think the reason i want to know for sure if he is a narcissist is because I feel like he's , very disrespectful, an unbelievable amount of lies I uncovered, even loved bombed me in the beginning, telling me his wife was abusive, walking out on wife of 30 years to move immediately in with me. When I said "No" he became nasty and to this day doesn't let me forget how much I hurt him by "rejecting" him so badly. He has now remarried and is posting all kinds of selfie photos of them together on facebook saying how much he loves her and how he's the happiest man in America, etc. But guess what? he is trying to get me to see him is telling me how much he misses me, thinks about me every hour of the day. So confusing how this man has the nerve to do this knowing I see his facebook posts. How arrogant! Anyway, just HATE this new wife is so wonderful and they look so happy. I KNOW i shouldn't care! I do., but at least if is narcissist I'll know it wasn't me . Can anyone give me their thought on this? Would be appreciated!

  • Comment Link Just a Dad Sunday, 18 December 2016 14:55 posted by Just a Dad

    I appreciate this piece. It actually describes perfectly how I came to terms with my ex-wife (sorry, divorced dad again). She had/has a habit of deferring blame on me, and because of my personality, I tried to sort out what I did, and how to fix it. Only once I realized the symptoms of a narcissist, I realized that the problem was more than likely with her feeling inadequate, losing control, or something I couldn't possibly explain, rather than something I legitimately did wrong. Thank you for writing these pieces. I know that I don't fall under the target audience, but they're speaking to me just the same.

  • Comment Link Marhta Sunday, 18 September 2016 03:56 posted by Marhta

    You are correct. No labels needed anymore to explain to others...just had to get away and be away from the behaviors with no names. They are behaviors his father had and has, unnamed. Good piece!

  • Comment Link reneeb26 Friday, 16 September 2016 20:39 posted by reneeb26

    I'm reading all of these replies and it definitely sounds like text book narcissism. I have spent the last 3 years coming to terms with the fact that I fell in love with a narcissist. All of your comments could have been written by me. Narcissists are masters at disguise and they prey on empathic people. They destroy the good because they constantly have to have the drama and what is even worse is that they wear masks. I was so attached to the "hurt and release" behavior that I often struggle with the normal relationship I am in now. Narcissists take any power you have away from you. Take it back. Don't play into the games anymore. Turn the table on the narcissist.

  • Comment Link Lynette Saturday, 20 August 2016 01:48 posted by Lynette

    I'm not sure if was with a narcissist or not but thought I found my soulmate. If I bring anything up he doesn't like or we have any arguments over other women he just walks off withing 5 mins and ignores me for days weeks dosent answer phone then when he ready texts with have u calmed down yet??? Then it has to be left. If it's not all fun fun he is out the door. Constantly blames me for everything says um crazy. Twists everything I say and somehow if questions turns it back onto me. Sends texts like I will tell u again it's all your only u u are mentally retarded. Is this a sign of narcissist as I feel like I'm going crazy

  • Comment Link Sara Sunday, 03 July 2016 20:55 posted by Sara

    After reading all the information online about Narcissistic behavior. I believe both my husband and my dad were like this. Everyone keeps saying I'm crazy when I find out fact and get angry about lies and I even question my own sanity and fact. But after reading this I am certain I have been living with this my whole life. It is so sad how strong I try to be and then get knocked down time and time again. They both tell me its a pity party for me when I'm down. They will never go to counseling and yet I have to go when things get rough. And it is depression or anxiety for me all the time. It is a losing battle but at least I have some answers.

  • Comment Link anna Wednesday, 23 March 2016 04:52 posted by anna

    To Kelsey I am feeling the same way

  • Comment Link Kelsey415 Monday, 20 July 2015 19:35 posted by Kelsey415

    I know this sounds silly, but I WANT him to be a narcissist because it makes me feel better that it wasn't me and there was nothing I could do. However, I DO NOT wish him well and hope Karma catches up to him. He has recently remarried to the woman he was seeing all the while he was telling me he loved ME and that they were "just friends". My worry is that if he is NOT a narcissist he will treat her better. I don't want him to be happy after all he put me through with lies, gas lighting (telling me I imagined they were more than friends after he would post photos of them on social media going places together), silent treatment. When I would question him, he simply would ignore my concerns and not speak to me for days. Will he treat HER better if he's NOT a narcissist?

  • Comment Link angle Saturday, 18 July 2015 20:21 posted by angle

    This is for jenk1.. you can and must! leave your husband. Trust me there are ways of doing this but you have to be clever and start planning your escape!
    I don't know if your in the UK... if you are then speak to women's aid. they are amazing and helped me escape from my horrible ex. I cleared my flat the minute he left for work.. 4 years took 2 hours to pack and i took me and my 3 year old and left! womens aid spoke to the police and served him a restraining order that very day at his work. BEST move I ever made and I don't regret at all ( at the time i though i would). I felt free and happy and now i have a life! and my child has one free of his shit!
    I hope you leave him... if you don't you will regret it!

  • Comment Link Lindy hammond Monday, 25 May 2015 16:04 posted by Lindy hammond

    I am thinking about leaving my boyfriend of 5 years. He can be a great guy and has a really good heart. I helped him open his own business, so now he is successful and can pay his bills end enjoy his life done time down the road.
    The thing is right now he isn't happy. He says he works hard all the time and blames me for for not contributing. I started working for him last year and I am his full time book keeper. I work for a very minimal Daily salery and it's just enough to get by because I don't want to take too much from him. I pay for the grocerys and I cook at least 4-5 nights a week. I make his lunches, do the laundry and clean our house. I take the dog out to the bathroom, and now I am starting to mow our 2 acres weekly. At his request all of these things he demands a wife should do. But he still blames me that he has to do everything and discounts what I do saying I never cook, or clean etc. he devalues me.
    Also when we try to have conversations, he continually shuts down what I want to say and over talks me. Or says he doesn't want to ruin his nether etc. so I just have to stop talking. This happens all the time. Then when I push his buttons too far he gets really mad and storms away and doesn't talk to me at all. He says he can't take it, even if I haven't really even said how I feel. He just doesn't want to hear it.
    He also seems very selfish. And says When we have company he likes to be all sexual in front of them making me feel weird. I have to push him away and tell him to stop at the point of biting him or hitting him or giving in to him. He's very disrespectful of my boundaries.
    He is also unhappy all the time. He seams like one of the most miserable people I know except when he's around his kids or doing something he really wants to do like hunt or fish. He seams so selfish. He hates shopping, coffee talk, traffic, Seattle visits, anything I find fun . He hates all my friends with a passion, and my family he says takes up too much of my time. I have 6 siblings, he has one that he can't stand.
    What should I do, he wants to get married, and I don't want to get married. I am afraid of being miserable my whole life, and I don't see things ever changing.
    He will probably go through my email and see this and I will get in trouble for writing it.

  • Comment Link MM Saturday, 23 May 2015 23:33 posted by MM

    I have been going through this same anguish. I have read tons of articles about narcissism and all of them describe his behavior to a T, however, because of the shame and guilt he managed to dump on me I keep asking myself if it was not me who was unknowingly provoking his behavior? If indeed I took him for granted, disrespected him and "didn't know how to love" (all the things he accused me of, mostly following episodes of me feeling sad, dropping some innocuous joke or comment, or me just "teasing" in what I thought was an affectionate way...). I don't know... there are times when I feel some relief in the thought that it was not me, and there are other times when all my doubts return to haunt me and I keep rehashing everyhting in my head and thinking if things might have been different if I had behaved in a different way. By the way, he dumped me after a terrible rage outburst and despite one short "hoovering" episode when he re-contacted me but then suddenly backed out again as I took the bait ("Do you want to meet? -Yes, sure (hopes up after a month of silent treatment) - Oh, sorry, on second thought, I don't have the time...") he has totally deleted me from his life, more than 6 months now. I don't know why I still miss him and this self-doubt and nagging regret that I could have screwed up something good (although I was not feeling persistently happy in the relationship) is really killing me. I have lost all my joy in life and things I used to love doing bring me no pleasure anymore. I find it hard to let my guard down and trust any man again.

  • Comment Link Charlotte Thursday, 21 May 2015 23:29 posted by Charlotte

    I truly believe my husband is a narcassists by reading sooo many articles. But what makes me wonder is number 1 that he left me usually from what u read they are not the one to leave first ( has girlfriend) an they r out all time in public doesn't mind hurting me with that an knows it does , number 2 it's me that is calling him or texting him , he's not. But has kept contact with me on an off an found reasons to come by for sex few times an next time he's kinda stand off. I havnt spoken to him in few days it's killing me ... Not to tex or see him. He hasn't filed for divorce yet.. But I'm thinking I will get served my papers when he an girlfriend go on VACATION .. Which he never wanted to do with me... So I am totally devastated hurt scared . It's been 7 1/2 months since he left.

  • Comment Link MS Thursday, 02 April 2015 05:48 posted by MS

    I think that my boyfriend (and the father of our 14 month old beautiful son) is a narcissist. We've been together for about 3 years now, i am 32 and he is 50. Most of the time I desperately want to split up with him but making that decision is just so confusing, and so scary.

    I have two main questions that I would really appreciate someones advice on:

    1. How can I leave with our son? Even more complicated is the fact that we live in Singapore, I work and he doesn't (he is an aspiring filmmaker who can never quite seem to get around to finishing his projects...). I don't understand how financially splitting up could work, especially as we both really want to move back to the USA/Canada. Also he is our son's primary caregiver and so far is great with him - other than breastfeeding manages most of the duties and our son adores him.

    2. Most confusingly - there is no question that I have some emotional issues as well - I think I tend towards borderline personality disorder. Two years ago I cheated on this guy - which was undoubtedly wrong - and he uses that painful incident as the root cause for everything wrong in our life, including his lack of career success. He acknowledges his controlling behaviour but tells me that it is to try and help or fix me to help me model behaviours and be a great mother for our son. The real problem here is that I don't trust my own instincts and feelings. Is the fact that I feel so desperate in this relationship because of my own faulty perspective on the world, or is it because he has influenced my views to be this way?

    Being so far from home and friends makes talking through this seem impossible and I would really appreciate any feedback from anyone who has had / observed similar experiences!

  • Comment Link ryan Tuesday, 31 March 2015 18:13 posted by ryan


    Ok ill start by saying I am actually a 33 year old male who found this after Google searching "why am I questioning my decision to leave narcissistic girlfriend"
    Genders ignored it was really relevent to me.

    I spent 2 years trying to fix her hurts from her past, believing with love, understanding, care & transparency she would eventually believe in me and stop keeping me at arms length. I took countless accusations and responded with loving reassuring arms, was infinitely loyal, provided, loved and cared but I never got any nearer to what I wanted for us.

    The usual narc traits were common, cold shoulder for working late as I was clearly cheating, erratic moods, feeling alone even though I was always there for her. The biggest one was her complete lack of care or empathy when I was absolutely breaking even when she knew she was the cause.

    I left a few times as I genuinely feared for my mental health, always went back with promise of change. In December I went back after she promised she will see a counsellor, 2 sessions later and it stopped, and mid January I had to go. Now she has seen a doctor and is on antidepressants, and now that means we can work, how she was with me was she she puts it "the dark cloud and not actually her" and now things according to her will be so different. I've had countless guilt trips of "you've abandoned me because I have a mental illness" and similar. It breaks my heart, but I feel going back just reconfirms to her the hold she has over me and I'm trying so hard to tell myself things wouldn't change, but.... what if? Hardest relationship to walk away from especially given our beautiful 1 year old daughter.

  • Comment Link jenk1 Wednesday, 11 March 2015 03:11 posted by jenk1

    im in a relationship with one right now - it is like hell and torture every single day. He yells and screams, rants and raves about the most trivial thing. When his gaslighting doesn't work he just keeps harassing me, torturing me and refusing to allow me to sleep until I give in finally, after days and start yelling back at him. After this it's like he has had his fix and goes back to acting innocent all over again like it was all my fault...I am of course left exhausted, dazed, confused and bereft of any hope in life...when I try to leave he threatens to keep our son from life is a prison from which there is no escape.

  • Comment Link Confused1 Sunday, 08 March 2015 15:44 posted by Confused1

    I keep thinking I have mislabeled my ex fiancé and painted a poor picture of him. I cannot rid myself of the guilt. I keep thinking if I had done something different, we would still be together. Yes I am the one that ended things but all I can think about is him. He's moved on yet I cannot seem to let go. He had a new girlfriend (ex) within 2 weeks of ending our engagement. Maybe it's jealousy...but it's such a struggle.

    Nice to know I'm not the only one that second guesses my decision!

  • Comment Link SSS Saturday, 17 January 2015 04:56 posted by SSS

    I couldn't agree more!
    I think it's important to understand who you are dealing with even if it's not diagnosed by a Psychologist. The fact is, most are never diagnosed because they either refuse therapy or manipulate the therapist to thinking you are unstable and he is the victim.
    I got lucky because my soon to be ex took a personality test that showed all the traits of narcissism. When I saw the results, it was the first time in 4 years I stopped thinking I was crazy.
    Labels help you understand what's happening to you.
    Once you understand the tools they use like gaslighting and projecting, they become ineffective.

  • Comment Link DayDay Thursday, 01 January 2015 19:27 posted by DayDay

    Just wish I knew if the problem is him or me. I don't care if he is or isn't a N....just want to know what the problem is.

  • Comment Link Sonia Wednesday, 17 December 2014 01:05 posted by Sonia

    it is common for people involved with narcissists to think that they are narcissistic as well. You sound like a nice genuine person....why would someone think that a 'thinner' person would be better than you? How shallow. My Narc. boyfriend would tell me that my age didn't matter and he couldn't tolerate immature young girls (I'm 20 years older) but then would 'quote' his friends who apparently asked him why he wasn't with someone his own age. He would tell me he was faithful to me but hated me for it, telling me I was controlling and not allowing him to have other girlfriends. I'd tell him he could have whoever he wanted but not me at the same time. Triangulation was occurring all the time, causing me much pain. If I told him to go off with whoever he was talking about, he'd say 'No, I only want you.' I couldn't understand this. If he only wanted me, why was he talking in this way about other women? It felt like torture and I couldn't relax in the relationship.

  • Comment Link Karen Tuesday, 25 November 2014 06:34 posted by Karen

    Trying to make sure... If I am right

  • Comment Link Kimber Wednesday, 05 November 2014 18:37 posted by Kimber

    I really need help here because I am desperate. I started going to a therapist and she is the one that told me that my ex boyfriend was a narcissist. What I am having trouble with is, maybe I misrepresented him and if that is the case, then, am I the narcissist?

    We broke up in mid-july because, as he put it, "I wasn't ready." I was basically too fat and my weight loss program was not working fast enough, I didn't wear short dresses all the time, I couldn't afford new lingerie for our role playing etc. When he broke up with me, he insisted that he was not going to see anyone else and that he would be, "there to un-wrap me" when I got to my goal weight. He then proceeded to tell me that the people at his work didn't understand why he was with me and they found someone who was a better fit for him, an ex cheerleader who works out four days a week, and then he showed me her facebook photos.

    He insisted that he was not going to date her and that we just needed space so I could, "work on" me. We were basically friends with benefits for the next two months when he told me that her dad was in rehab and that she needed him but after the 30 days was over, he would dump here and we would get back together. In that month he told me that he loved me and that I was the most important person in his life and that he didn't want to lose me and that we were soul mates.

    After the 30 days was up, he was still seeing her and me. I told him it was either me or her and then he said, "I chose no one. All of you just leave me alone." a couple weeks later I initiated no contact. He left voicemails saying that I was "launching a slanderous campaign" against him and that he didn't even want to be friends with me anymore and that I drove him closer to the new girl and that he didn't know me anymore and he didn't know why he wasted so much time with me but then at the end of the voicemail he would say that if I valued our relationship/friendship, I would stop ignoring him and call him. The new girl and her friends are stalking my Facebook and my pinterest now and that is definitely freaking me out. I know that he is too, but he is much more inconspicuous than they are.

    It has been ten days of no contact and he has not contacted me in seven. I messed up and peeked at his facebook today and he has a picture of her and him all happy together but he changed his cover photo to a picture taken on of one of our adventures together. That really messed me up.

    I really really miss him. I guess my questions are: Is he really a narcissist? Did I mess the relationship up? Is he ever going to contact me again? Is there a chance that I could fix it and he would come back to me? Is he really happy with her? Am I bat-chit crazy?

    I know that some of you are saying that it doesn't matter whether he is one or not, but I feel like I really need to know. Because if he is not, I am the one that destroyed this relationship and I am the crazy one and I need to make changes in my life to avoid making this mistake of destroying my relationship up, again or I will be extremely lonely and unhappy for the rest of my life. This whole situation has put my life on hold and is slowly dismantling my life piece by piece. I feel desperate and hopeless.

  • Comment Link Kathryn Benson Monday, 22 September 2014 23:31 posted by Kathryn Benson

    Oh my, the guilt, confusion, doubting must be talking about me, only after 32 years of marriage I am still in the process of taking my life back. At first it was one step forward, two steps back. I'm now working on two steps forward, one step back. Soon I will take two giant steps forward... keep on going and not look back. Thank you everyone.

  • Comment Link ryansmom Tuesday, 16 September 2014 17:35 posted by ryansmom

    loved it
    especially the part whereyou say , it doesnt matter if he is or isn't . If you are treated poorly. thats what matters, not the label.

  • Comment Link DayDay Sunday, 14 September 2014 18:22 posted by DayDay

    Hi, I am in a fairly new marriage of 3 years. I am 33 and he is 41. I have been married twice before. He has never been married before me. I was married at 16 yrs as I was pregnant with our first child, we then had our second child. He turned 21 started going out drinking and I left him. I started a new relationship within a year after that lasted 6 years. We also had a son together. He would not commit so I left and we still hung out as friends. At 26 I met and married my second husband. We had a son together as well. This relationship was doomed from the start and I should have seen it bc he kicked the windshield out of my car on one of our first nights out together bc I was dropping him off at his mothers home instead of letting him stay night with me. He seemed like a drunk. Growing up, my dad was an alcoholic. I just couldn't trust him after we got married bc he kept reminding me of my dad and because I had trust issues so I left. We divorced and I decided I would NEVER never marry again. At some point over the next two years I decided to just date but not with absolute committal...just for fun. Then I met my current husband. When we met it was like I had met the man I had dreamed of all my life. Didn't know if that person really existed but here he was! I was swept away! He would buy me gifts, take me out to eat, text/call all the time, we would joke/laugh together, he treated me as a princess and I thought he was my soulmate. He asked me to marry him 6 months in and I said yes. We set wedding date and I got pregnant so we moved it up and got married. I know, 5 children and how self of me to keep choosing to live life this way. It was wrong and looking back I wish I would have made better choices. So here we are 3 years later and for the past 1-3 years on and off but increasingly recently I try to figure out what it is that just seems so odd or "off" about our relationship. I feel it in my gut. I tell myself I don't need a label to leave but then I find myself longing to know 100% if he is a narcissist or at least 75% because if the problem is me I can fix it with help and I won't hurt the children again. So maybe someone that reads this would be willing to share their input on what they think or see in my story. Here is what is going on in my marriage (never experienced this in any relationship ever and didn't know anyone could be like this): after getting married everything changed. He no longer got me flowers, told me I am pretty, he stopped caring. He doesn't notice me. Never gives me attention. Sex has become a non issue...He has left several times in a rage to avoid sex. No issues in our marriage have been resolved from very beginning. He is unwilling to work on anything together. He expects perfection. If I say my thoughts, feelings, desires, wants, needs he poo poo's them. "You shouldn't feel that way". "Everything doesn't have to be so difficult". He has even flat out told me he can't meet my needs and until I stop complaining he will not. But nothing changes. He doesn't seem to care to listen when I talk, to share his life, to connect, to be teammates instead of roommates. In fact, he doesn't care about much. He seems go with the flow. He doesn't care what I do, and at the same time, I'm not suppose to care what he does including lying some major lies from the very beginning. Porn, prostitutes(before me but I had asked bc someone mentioned it and he lied), herpes (he takes meds for, that I was never told about util married when I found pills in pocket...he lied and said they were drugs), money, thinking about exes in order to have sex with me (I'm told its my fault since I want sex more than him), etc. If I can't get over this he tells me I can just leave. He is always abandoning me when I don't agree with him, don't accept his lies, what he says or does. He wants to avoid any growth in our marriage. I am lonely, empty, feel broken and ill. I wonder since I have had so much craziness in and out of relationships is this my fault? I know I have a part in it but what am I dealing with here? He admits to running away in past relationships too but he says it was because he couldn't deal with people's issues. He never admits his... He blames me, sidesteps, avoids, I'm so dizzy after any conversation with him. There is no fixing what one will not fix! I know there is so much I'm leaving out but my mind is confused these days. It might be from his crazymaking or I was just diagnosed with having low thyroid but either way, my mind is a mess. I would kindly appreciate any advice anyone could give. Thank you so much.

  • Comment Link Annie Tuesday, 02 September 2014 20:25 posted by Annie

    Yes, I was very attractive when we married. Yes, I was the family scapegoat. So, I was set up from the beginning.

    There is a difference though, he's a high functioning asperger's syndrome guy. He often does not 'get' the idea of compassion or empathy, it has to be explained. He understands it logically, but that doesn't mean he feels much of it.

    After training in social skills it got better. He knows how to act, sometimes he chooses not to. Many of the things I see written about narcissism remind me of people with autism.

    That lack of compassion. The inability to 'step into someone else's shoes'. Misunderstandings happen often, aspies often take everything you say and do literally, there is no middle ground.

    I know and get narcissistic tendencies, both my Mother and elder sister are narcissists of different flavours. The real difference between a true narcissist and an aspie is their inability to truly try to change.

  • Comment Link Runaway Friday, 29 August 2014 00:04 posted by Runaway

    Hi Marye, Thank you for your words. I am currently divorcing my husband after 25 years of marriage. I know I was in a crazy making partnership, but while trying to lead my life, I find that I have been examining myself. I know that he was contacting women on dating sites and when I confronted him his only comment was that he was lonely. I tried to forgive him and needed to communicate to try and find answers. He would just get angry and a few times he grabbed me around the neck, squeezing once. I was frightened of him after this, so communication stopped. When he sulked I would just ignore him also,It was the loneliest time of my life and I was far from my family. I did eventual leave him and have had not contact with him except through solicitors for two years, which I feel very guilty about, but it was the only way to feel sane again.

  • Comment Link Stuck Wednesday, 27 August 2014 19:23 posted by Stuck

    I am stuck currently in a marriage with what I think is a narcissist - reading this makes me realize whether I think he is or not, the fact is that he treats me and his kids badly. I've been trying to change my behavior and now I get 'you don't want to talk about this' when talking is him saying the same thing over and over and saying how we all take advantage of him and he's tired of doing everything for everyone and no one doing anything for him. He manipulates EVERYTHING to be how he wants it. If we don't agree we risk anger and silence and threats of leaving (if only), cutting off support in multiple ways. Tomorrow I take my first child to college and right now he is telling me to have fun fitting everything in my car. It breaks my heart for my child but then I also think - yeah! my child will be away from this! Now how to get myself and other child out of it.

  • Comment Link Lindsey2.0 Sunday, 24 August 2014 18:59 posted by Lindsey2.0

    This is truly wonderful....we cannot be responsible for anyone's actions but our own and there such freedom in letting go of that weight!

  • Comment Link Victory13 Sunday, 24 August 2014 13:00 posted by Victory13

    Marye, absolutely loved what you wrote! I thought I was reading about myself and my life. Thank you so much for your words, it really helped me reading them. I too have been wondering-am I wrong? did I make it all up? I really like the comment about how they thrive on pity, as this has been his modum of operation since we separated. Poor me, my wife left...he just left out the part where in the marriage counseling session he insisted I leave, looked straight at me and said when are you leaving. This was after informing the counselor he was not giving up his alcohol or porn. Geesh. I am sure he is not telling that part of the story to his sympathetic friends.
    Anyway I am new to this website as of 2 am today and your words were so comforting to me. Thanks very much for writing and sharing your pain. It is so helpful.

  • Comment Link SharP Saturday, 23 August 2014 00:49 posted by SharP

    Excellent "Don’t let yourself be thrown off course by irrelevant arguments. Your focus should be on identifying the tools in his arsenal and learning how to protect yourself from them. You have no reason to defend yourself – you aren’t the one causing the problem." I am not the one causing the problem. I have been no contact since Easter, the best I can with co-parenting. With school starting up he tried to pick a fight. I didn't bite. I am not the one with a problem. Life is better divorced and no contact. The poor ex is confused that I have new behavior and am not his supply any more.