Monday, February 7, 2011

How I got sucked in by a narcissist

It happened just like this: he swept me off my feet. I was older and wiser (I thought) than the average first-time bride, but he fooled me completely. We were married within two months of our first date, not enough time to properly "vet" him, as was his unintentional intention.

I say unintentional, because it is my belief that a truly narcissistic person does not know that he is. In my writings, I will use "he" because approximately 75% of narcissists are male and my experience is primarily with a male narcissist.

In my readings, I have found it is typical behavior for a narcissist to quickly propose love and marriage, before the "victim" can determine she is dealing with a predator.

Definition
By Mayo Clinic staff
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
Narcissistic personality disorder is one of several types of personality disorders. Personality disorders are conditions in which people have traits that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing ways, limiting their ability to function in relationships and in other areas of their life, such as work or school.


We were married much too quickly. As I said, I was swept off my feet. He was everything I wanted, and I waited 47 years for the perfect match. Perfect he was--too good to be true, which should have been my first clue. I was so ecstatically happy, I felt like the luckiest girl on earth.

We didn't have a honeymoon, another clue. We stayed at a hotel for one night, then drove on home (to my home, which was now our home). And the "honeymoon" was over, that fast.

The first weekend he spent drinking and glowering at the TV. I was horrified and so was my teenage daughter. She asked me what was wrong with him. I told her I thought we were looking at an alcoholic. If only it were that "simple".

The next weekend he had his first tantrum. Once again I was horrified and filled with disbelief. Where did my prince go? We'd only been married one week!

I had made it 30 years on my own, raised my own family (three children by myself--and yes, that is weird), bought my own house (in an expensive resort area), and did it all by working odd jobs from home: seamstress, babysitter, dog sitter, stock market investor, etc. I never made much money but I didn't have to pay for expensive child care and I was always home. My children learned what "working" meant and they learned not to clamor for my attention when I was working. They turned out very well, in part because they learned at a young age what it took to earn a living.

I was having a tough time when "my hero" came along. I actually had a friend staying with me, helping me financially, and he was helping me a lot. I shall call this friend "Bob". Then along came the man of my dreams! (whom I shall call "Hero")

I told him about my situation with Bob, that his help was very valuable to me and that I couldn't do anything to jeopardize it. I didn't think Bob would appreciate another man swooping in to take advantage of his largesse. I told Hero this, many times, and I impressed on him again and again that I wasn't in a position to lose this financial help at this time.

Hero assured me that he made lots of money, he still had money left from the sale of his previous business and that he had many, many assets. He was more than capable of taking care of me, even better than Bob was. He wanted me to tell Bob that we were becoming involved. I warned him that Bob might be uncomfortable with that and want to leave. Hero assured me once again that he was the man I needed, that he was the one who should be helping me financially because we were in love.

So I told Bob about Hero and as I feared, he wanted to move out. I pleaded with him to stay, assured him that he was welcome to stay and that we both wanted him to stay but he felt he would be in the way and he left.

Ok, Hero, pony up, I just lost my life line. I was to find out it wasn't going to be that easy--Hero was not going to be forthcoming with financial aid.

The weeks went by and I was getting into serious trouble. I started to gently pressure Hero to remind him that I had lost my financial help and that he needed to step up to the plate as promised.

He told me he had an idea and I was excited. But then he proposed that we marry! I was a bit flabbergasted but I thought that maybe he just needed the formality of marriage, that he was uncomfortable giving money to "just a girlfriend". So we wed, within a week.

And guess what? Still no money. I was getting really frantic by this time, wondering if I was going to have to sell my house. It had been three months since Bob left and he had been giving me $2500/month for room and board, a very generous amount. I was really getting into trouble without it.

I couldn't understand why this guy, my Hero, wasn't giving me any money. He made a killer salary and he had sold his business for $3 million a few years prior. He should have plenty of money and I was drowning here! Where was my husband?

Unfortunately, that was just the beginning of the lies. I was to find out that he had no money, he made nowhere near what he said he did, he was not the high-powered executive at his company like he claimed he was, he was not entitled to the company car (he just stole one every night, after hours--went to the bar for a couple hours and drove home drunk; got to work early the next day {by 4 am or so}, and no one was the wiser).

He had no vehicle, no driver's license, no assets of any kind and I was in big trouble. Then he lost his job. I had to buy him a car so that he could find work. I put it on my credit card.

Two long months went by. He finally found work as a diesel mechanic and was pulling in the big bucks. Now, I thought, everything will be OK. He's giving me piles of money.

Because he's having to commute 70 miles each way to work, he needs a better vehicle. He needs a top-of-the-line Dodge Ram diesel but now's a good time to buy because there is 0% financing. That makes sense to me and he is making plenty of money. He promises me he will go right away and get his driver's license, something I have been nagging him to do. How can someone not have a driver's license?

We get to the car dealership and they tell us we need to co-borrow the money (I had set everything up by phone, all we had to do was go in there, sign papers and pick it up). I really didn't want my name anywhere on his loan. Then they tell me we'll get a better interest rate if we leave his name off the loan. What about 0% financing? We don't qualify for that but if we leave Hero's name off this loan, we'll get you a good rate.

We got 7% for 8 years. I must have been out of my mind. Here's a guy driving a truck in my name, with my insurance, with a commitment for 8 years, and he has no driver's license. Get to the DMV and get your driver's license!! I'm beginning to get a little pissed about this because I am now realizing that I am taking a big risk by having a non-licensed driver (read, non-insurable) driving MY truck.

A month at least goes by and still no driver's license. I'm also realizing that even though he's making piles of money and giving me anywhere from $8000 to $10,000 a month, I'm still working just as hard and barely keeping up. I should be swimming in the riches! I should be living in the lap of luxury with that kind of money.

So I do some financial analysis and then I understand. I try to tell Hero that while he gave me $10,000 this month, I paid out $16,000, which means he gave me nothing. You gave me $10K, but you spent $10K, and I still paid $6K for the household expenses, which I have already told you is too much for me.

Now I get called names--foul, filthy names; and I'm told I'm effing crazy, I didn't spend that much money, you took it all, you effing crazy effing b.........., etc. I'm horrified! I had never in my life been treated that way. And I was still assuming most, if not all, of the household expense. I kept thinking longingly of Bob, who had been truly helping me and was happy to do so, and I threw him away. Perhaps I was getting what I deserved.

So I moved on to the driver's license. Let's at least get that done. He still won't do it and I don't know why. I have asked him many times if there is some reason why he CAN'T get his license, like DUIs or tickets or crimes. He drinks more than is healthy and he drives all over the place, drunk, even though I have begged and begged him not to. I remind him that my home is at risk, and I have put 20 years of very hard work into having what I have.

I did tame down his drunk driving but I couldn't get him to go get his license. I decided to do some investigative work. I discovered that he did indeed have a hold on his license, in several states: unpaid moving violations, multiple and unsatisfied DUIs, reinstatement fees that had never been paid. I was sick to my stomach.

I'm in so deep now I really don't know what to do. I have this $50K loan in my name, that I can't possibly pay. He tells me I'm crazy when I try to show him that he's spending all the money indulging himself (I've never known a more self-indulgent, selfish, self-centered person). I'm really screwed now--it's too late to back out.

And I know, many people will think, "How could you let these horrors go on for so long, and how could you keep digging yourself in deeper? Everything you did was just getting you more entangled in his web!"

And I agree. Seeing it on paper, and I've told the story over and over, it sounds so stupid, but that is the power of the narcissist. Not just any narcissist, because there are varying degrees. I'm talking about someone with deeply seated Narcissistic Personality Disorder, someone who does not and will not ever know that he's very, very ill. His presence is a terrible poison to those who love him. And he does not love, he can't. He just sucks. He doesn't even know he's doing it, that's why it's so hard to talk to him. He really thinks I'm crazy, and believe me, there are times when I wonder if I am.

One of the disturbing "side effects" of this disorder is that the victim, who has been terribly abused, can look like the crazy one in the relationship. And yes, I know, I look like I must be crazy.

A malignant narcissist, definition follows, has more power than a sane person could believe is humanly possible. He has charm to initially fool and entice his victims into his web. He has no moral knowledge or awareness of manipulating and using his victims, yet that is exactly what he is doing. He has grandiose dreams, that he himself believes so completely he is able to convince others of their truthfulness. He exaggerates his accomplishments to the point of lying. In fact, generally he is a compulsive liar, without even being aware that he is lying. He has lied to himself for so long and so well, that he has come to believe his own lies. He truly believes that he has accomplished much more than he has.

There are many more terrible traits of a narcissist, which we will look at later.


Malignant Narcissist
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the Rush instrumental, see Malignant Narcissism (instrumental).
Malignant narcissism is a syndrome consisting of a combination of aspects of narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder as well as paranoid traits.[citation needed] Malignant narcissism is a theoretical or 'experimental' diagnostic category; although narcissistic personality disorder is found in the current version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR), malignant narcissism is not. Individuals with malignant narcissism would be diagnosed under narcissistic personality disorder. Malignant narcissism can be partially treated with medications and therapy, helping to reduce aggravating symptoms.
The malignant narcissist differs from narcissistic personality disorder in that the malignant narcissist derives higher levels of psychological gratification from accomplishments over time (thus worsening the disorder).[citation needed] Because the malignant narcissist becomes more involved in this psychological gratification, they are apt to develop the antisocial, the paranoid, and the schizoid personality disorders.[citation needed] The term malignant is added to the term narcissist to indicate that individuals with this disorder tend to worsen in their impulse controls and desires over time.[citation needed]
Malignant narcissism can be comorbid with other psychological disorders not mentioned above.


Once captured by a narcissist, it becomes very difficult to get away. I used to have a somewhat haughty attitude about people caught in an abusive situation. While I had compassion for the abused woman, I couldn't understand why she didn't just get away. Well, now I know.

For one thing, your self-esteem plummets. You are married to a person you love more than anything, you believe in him, you jump into his fantasy. Then he lies to you, lies to the point where you're not even sure if you're sane; he calls you awful, filthy names and tells you you're crazy (reinforcing the fact that you're already questioning your sanity). He keeps you in the role of beggar (begging for money) and telling you some more that you're crazy, "I give you so much effing money, you effing b...." or "I've given you enough money this year, now keep your effing hands off my bank account!" This delivered as a bellow.

There are periods of happiness, that is part of the problem. There are times when he's a true Hero again. He's gentle and funny and horny. In these times, he'll pull another fast one. Those of us who are abused are quick to forgive and believe that the worst is past.

Also, I had not yet "diagnosed" him as NPD. I didn't even know what it was. I thought all our problems stemmed from the fact that he was an alcoholic and that all I had to do was get him to see that. So I began a campaign to try to force some awareness on him. It didn't work.

I finally reached the end of what I could tolerate. He was still drinking. I could see his health deteriorating. He was becoming even more of a bull (if that's possible). I knew I was totally screwed and I didn't know how I was going to pull myself out of the hole I was in but I was going to make one last attempt to reach him and then I was going to leave him. He had already "left me", AGAIN, having one of his many tantrums. It seemed the perfect time.

I wrote him a letter, about 10 pages long, and entitled it "The Final Stand". I sent it (via e-mail) to him, his family members and his friends. He never did see it this way, but it was basically a love letter in which I begged him to see what he was doing to us, I needed him to acknowledge that he had a problem and promise that he would seek help for it.

Nothing happened. I started getting calls of support from his friends and family; they were all behind me for the most part. Unfortunately, he was having a heart attack. When I finally reached out to him, he was nearly dead. He had not sought medical care. I could tell there was something really wrong with him, so I dropped everything, drove the 70 miles to retrieve him, and took him to the hospital. He came close to dying that night.

He spent a month in the hospital. It wasn't clear whether he was going to make it or not. Of course, I was devastated and really didn't want to lose him. I still love him, probably always will, and I certainly felt it then.

He pulled through. "The Final Stand" was on hold. I gave it to him to read but failed to reach his soul. He did quit drinking (hello, it was killing him) and I thought, again, FINALLY, we can now begin living.

We began seeing a counselor. I wasn't going to let him off easily, even though he had nearly died. A couple months had gone by and I wasn't seeing what I wanted to see. During one of the sessions, he stormed off, leaving me to talk privately with the counselor. I wanted to know why I wasn't seeing some improvement in his attitude and outlook. He responded that it can take several months for the alcoholic fog to lift and for clarity to begin. I thought I should be seeing some improvement so he said this, "Perhaps there is also an underlying personality disorder". And something in my brain said "Bingo".

I had already suspected that he had some sort of mental disorder. Not just him, but all addicts. I have had too much experience with addicts and mental illness (addiction and mental illness run in my family; in addition to that, I seem to be a magnet for people with "issues"--I say jokingly that I "collect them"). Given my experience with these sad people, I had already reached the conclusion that addicts have something wrong in the brain, which leads them on the path to addiction in the first place.

How many of us have played with alcohol and/or drugs and not continued on to completely mess up our lives? I can tell you that I have, and I don't think that I'm not an alcoholic or drug addict because I'm better, stronger or smarter than Joe Blow Addict. It's because my brain isn't wired that way!

So that was the first bell that went off in my head: there is a personality disorder--I had been calling it a brain malfunction.

Shortly after that, I was reading Dear Abby and there was a letter from a mother whose daughter had just been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Some of the "symptoms" were listed, if I recall: extreme selfishness, inability to empathize and pathological lying. And Bingo, Bingo, Home Run!

I was so excited I ran immediately to the computer and began devouring information regarding this disorder and knew that I had my answer. It helps immeasurably to be armed with information.

Knowing what I am up against has not solved my problem, but I know now at least that my Hero can't be cured, he can't and won't ever see what his mental disorder is doing to me and has done to his wives and children before me.

To save my mental self, I have to get away from him. Too bad I had to destroy my financial self before I figured this out. I now have $100K in loans in my name and no way out of that except maybe bankruptcy. A narcissist did this to me. If it's not too late, don't let him do it to you. GET OUT! Run for your life. He will destroy you, then he will move on to his next victim, like you are no more important than a piece of trash.

I know from experience.

I've learned many more things. In my next post I will tell you about a malignant narcissist who admits he is one! But he also admits that he can't and won't change. He's a fascinating man.

Thank you for your interest and remember, I need people to interview about their personal experiences.

32 comments:

  1. It is nice to know that I am not alone.. and not CRAZY. :)

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    1. Definitely not crazy, although it's scary how close we come to thinking we ARE crazy, that there is something wrong with US. And you're also not alone!

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  2. you are a gold digger

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  3. I am married to a narcissist, but, unlike you, I have no money of my own and no way to leave, unless I wanted to go live with my 75-year old mother whose house is basically wall-to-wall trash. I need to find another solution. He claims that he doesn't have any money to give me (I am unemployed). It seems to me that the only way to find out how much money he actually has is to file for divorce. But then where do I live in the meantime? And what about my 14-year old daughter? I can't break up the family. I have no idea what to do or how to do it.

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    1. I am in your same boat. I have 4 kids, One a junior in hs and the youngest a 2nd grader. I am a stay at home mom and simply don't know what to do. Did you receive in feedback?

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    2. I am so sorry--I have been ignoring my blog. I thought I would receive notifications for comments. Heh heh.

      It's been since September since you wrote, and you both have probably figured something out but here is the best advice I have: Take one day at a time, and make one small step at a time. Things come together. The best thing you can do is get away from him! You will start to experience hope if you can just get away, and a path to take will begin to become clear.

      It takes a long time to come out of the darkness that your narcissistic husbands have kept you in, but you will find your way!

      I'm sorry I didn't reply promptly. I have much more to say to you if you are still there.

      Write again, and I promise I will check daily for replies.

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  4. I left my increasingly narcissistic husband of 30 years (!) two years ago and have been living on my own and working. He is even more hateful, assuming this is possible, and threatening than he was before. Our two daughters, 23 and 27, are devastated -- and I'm really worried about our older daughter, she is terribly confused as one might imagine. Her entire Reality turns out to be a sham -- he was so sweet when they were little, but can't bear them now that they're grown (and more educated than he is).

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    1. I'm sorry, I know this is month's later but if you are still there, here is what I have learned: Probably the best thing you can do for your daughters is explain that their father is not well and feed them as much information about narcissistic personality disorder as they can absorb.

      My husband's first wife (who tried to warn me about him but I didn't listen!!), did not handle it this way and she unknowingly helped poison her children. She was bitter and angry (understandably so) but made sure that the children remained bitter and angry also, which is not the best thing for them, of course.

      Write again--I'll be checking regularly.....

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  5. I am married to a narcissist and it took me 15 years to figure it out. But I still don't know what to do.

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    1. I'm sorry for the delay in replying. I will be checking regularly from now on.

      Write again and I will help you as much as I can. I have learned so much in the past year--both from research and from talking to others who have experienced the same thing. It's astonishing how similar the stories are.

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    2. I Am Married To One As well. He is mentally abusive as well as pysical. I am stuck. It's so horrible. I want to die. He has stripped me of my self esteem. And my self worth. I really need some help.

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    3. Hi Anonymous,

      Write directly to me at narcissismathome@gmail.com
      If your husband is physically abusive, I would strongly recommend seeking help from your local women's shelter. Here is a source I found online: http://findlocalshelter.info/women_shelters.htm, but I'm sure you can call any government agency in your town and they will direct you to your local resource. Don't delay!

      These men are scary, they're toxic and a physical abuser is dangerous to you and your children.

      Of course you feel trapped--that's what a women's shelter can help you with. Call as soon as you get the chance and let us know how you are doing.

      Delete
  6. I find there's many people on the net who appear to just have learned a word, 'narcissist' and feel it's very useful to stick it on whomever they get enmeshed with in a toxic relationship. The criminal pseudo-science of psychiatry doesn't understand narcissism and interestingly, will apparently remove it as a disorder from its DSM5. So many victims won't be able to complain about this 'personality disorder' anymore, since psychiatry's standard manual won't be considering it a 'disorder' anymore and, as a result, NEITHER WILL THE VICTMS. Why? Because they have no clue, at least most of them don't.

    Quite frankly, if you marry an alcoholic, and it turns out AFTER A WEEK that you don't know this individual AT ALL, then you really shouldn't be concentrating on trying to establish HIS 'personality disorder'. You really should wonder what's wrong with YOU, to get it so wrong, and to see love in a situation where it didn't exist at all.
    Rather than blaming HIM for being so 'crazy', and thinking he's so bizarre, manipulative, unloving etc, you REALLY should be wondering about why YOU fell in love with him.

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    1. You are laughable! People put a fake self out alot to attract someone. And N are good at it! They are so alluring, and charming. Unlike you, from your comment! They know what to say, what to do to make you feel so good. Love involve trust, and most of us want to trust in the person. And in normal relationship, it works. But with a N, when you knock one wall down, a higher one is behind it. It gets to the point where you actually get happy to see a little wall sometimes. I do not care what some human being behind a title gives name to this madness, or erases a name for it; it is always going to be! And people are gonna be hurt from being sucked for their emotional health, finances and dreams! I can only say to you sir, you must be a prize to the woman in your life. Or maybe there is none.

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    2. Thank you anonymous #1 and #2 for your replies to Harry. Anonymous #1, I like your analogy of "a wall". Very true and very apt. My husband's wall I referred to as "The Dead Zone", the place where he stored all his lies. If I were foolish enough to probe "The Dead Zone" (i.e.--question anything he said), he would become explosive and frightening.

      And anonymous #2, I also believe that there are qualities that we "victims" share that draw these toxic beings to us and keep us with them far longer than seems sane.

      I'll admit, I married an alcoholic against my better judgment. I still remember my sister saying, "Wow, he appears to be an alcoholic" and I said, "Yes, but he's a NICE alcoholic". I paid dearly for my stupidity!

      Harry, you can't know unless you've been there, which you obviously haven't and most likely never will. It's OK, you're not the first person who just can't "believe". But those of us who have been there don't just believe, we "know".

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  7. Harry has obviously been 'tagged' with this disorder--he's too hypersensitive for someone who hasn't been...(and too nasty!)
    Well, Green Girl, I wish I'd known all this a long time ago. I was married to a narcissist for more than 20 years. I kept thinking that if I could only find the right words, he wouldn't get so angry...or be so selfish...or spend so much money...It wasn't until he started to get violent that I finally realized I had been verbally abused all that time, and was on the verge of physical abuse. Even then, I tried to get help--for oh-so-many reasons. 1) we had a history of most of our adult lives together 2) we had a family 3) I was a homemaker, taking care of literally every aspect of our lives except the actual paycheck--I had given up my career to move every two years for his--somebody had to be there for the kids and he traveled all the time--but how would I support myself now, in my 50's? 4) It wasn't horrible the entire time--as I'd told my kids, 'when its bad, its bad--but when it's good, it's sooooo good! (that's actually part of the cycle of abuse--now, I know...) 5) I was sure no one else would want me. We went to counseling, and strangely enough, (3 different counselors) ALL said 'verbal abuse is a 50-50 deal'...WRONG!!! I searched online for information about verbal abuse and there are very few resources--but Patricia Evans is probably the foremost authority on the subject--every book of hers described my husband to a T. I still tried to get help--and then he just wasn't interested in me anymore. I have to tell you, I never 'let myself go'--my house was clean, my kids were great, I gave great parties, am a wonderful cook, a great lover, can fix anything, handle the investments, corporate events, the perfect executive wife....But then I finally found out about the other woman...women...where all the money was going....why he would disappear for 8 hours on Saturday and Sunday afternoons--not look at me, touch me, sit outside by himself night after night...or blow up and scream in my face (scary) for no reason at all. I wasn't a nag--I was too well-trained. I was almost a doormat--but not quite. I was afraid of my husband. After I filed for divorce, I realized in about ten days that I would only be alone if I wanted to be....and the next three relationships I was in were each more abusive than the last....So, to be fair, I really think it IS something in US that draws that kind of energy. I took a year off of dating and consciously allowed myself to grieve and to reflect on what it was about me that attracted that kind of man. And things changed.
    So I had another relationship (this time with a really nice guy) and realized that the truth is I don't know how to just be ME, with no need to facilitate, or compromise. I don't know how to be comfortable around a male that I'm attracted to--I go right into 'nesting' mode, adjust my schedule, needs and wants in order to accommodate his--I don't think I was always like this; I think I was well-trained. But for now, I've decided I like being alone...really.
    I wish you well--I'm so sorry this happened to you after you waited so long for Mr. Right...Get the truck back from him and take it back to the dealership. It will hurt your credit but it won't destroy it. Then, you'll find a way to chisel the rest down. I'm in much the same boat, but I have hope. I'm smart and healthy--and so are you.

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  8. My story is very much the same as yours. I was a single,hard working mother who owned her own home,had my own credit, and while not wealthy, I managed to get the bills paid. I had been single for 10 years. my youngest child was married, and doing well. It was time for me. I met a man.A very handsome man, I am now embarassed to say now, I met him on line. he hid behind that " christian" man ideal. In fact he was the only man that I believed was a " good" man out of the 172 profiles I received. What a joke !!!!!

    We only communicated by email for the first couple of weeks. Once we met he pushed for a relationship quickly. He had a steady job a nice truck and introduced to to the only 2 normal people in his family. He is the youngest of 7 brothers, and none of the brothers are in a relationship. In fact I was wife #3. I just thought #1 and #2 were Crazy for letting such a PRINCE go. I was sooooooo happy, for a short period of time. Then the inconsistency in his stories started, his lies were daily and over "small stuff" mostly, like telling people he paid more for stuff than he did. He needs constant reassurance of his looks, his ability to make me feel "protected" ( it grew tiresome). The more I needed to tell him he was handsome the less handsome I saw him.He pushed for marriage quickly. I felt loved and treasured, I couldn't believe how lucky I was. His libedo did not meet mine, but he said that he would be more comfortable AFTER we married, it was the christian thing to do to make it right in God's eyes. We married,and immediately there was a change. He was angry, quick to slap, push and grab me. He would grab me by the face hard, if I questioned anything!!! He was accused of child molestation of a former step son and I defended him. I feel so foolish. After two years of court he accepted a plea....really???? What happened to my good looking, steady employment, good christian man ???? he is actually a predator ( still claiming " I damn sure didn't")and a wife beater ( I left after 2 years) but had to get a protective order ( he claims he is not violent...I have X rays to the contrary). I know that there will be another women, like me who will think that her prince has arrived, I wish I could spare her the hurt, pain and financial losses ( yes me too....my loss was $9K), But there's no way to warn someone that will be charmed by a N. At least anyone moving forward , if they are smart will do a background check and find " Mr. Wonderful has a criminal history now. I was smart enough to do a background check when we met ,but at that time he had a clean criminal record. That was 1 of the 2 parting things he had to say to me when I left "who is going to want me now with this s*** hanging over my head?" and why did you go go the Dr. and what did you tell him? ( i had 2 broken ribs). I only lost $9K and 2 1/2 years of my life, it could have been so much worst. If I could help anyone else I would say trust your instincts, don't be charmed into marriage in a hurry, take your time. because N's won't take the time and will move on to another victim.

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  9. Hi anonymous Jan 23: Oh man, oh man. I was wife #4 and thought the exact same thing--that the women who let this "prince" go were crazy and/or fools. My exact words! I also believed him that his first three wives took all his money and destroyed his credit.

    My husband wasn't physically violent but, like you, if I questioned ANYTHING he said, he would become explosively, verbally violent. It was scary. I learned not to question him. Just like a good doggie. Which is exactly what he wanted.

    I also championed my husband to his children, who hated his guts. I had a long conversation with his daughter before we wed and she begged me to "Run! Run from him as fast as you can because he will break your heart!".

    I thought she had been poisoned against him by her mother, his first wife, because, according to my darling, his wife had broken up their marriage by having an affair.

    A lie, I was to discover. He actually left his wife and kids, with no money, evicted from their apartment, no food, power turned off, etc. and went to another state to find work--and then promptly sent ALL the money he made home to his wife and children. Not. He abandoned them in dire circumstances and then blamed HER for breaking up the marriage.

    She did ultimately marry his friend (two years later), which led credence to his story. He always wove an element of truth into his tales, which made them easier to believe.

    Anyway, his kids hated him, with good reason, and I was not to discover the truth for a number of years. All along, the truth was there, I could not or would not see it. I was blind until I began to see.

    I'm ashamed of myself for trying to facilitate a happy reunion with Dad and kids--I just stirred up painful memories. They both claimed that they went through hell with their dad and they wanted nothing to do with him. As I began to live the hell with him, I knew very well what they meant.

    You're also right that you can't warn his future victims. His first wife tried to warn me, his daughter tried to warn me, and I did not believe. I was lost in the wonder of his fantasies.

    I tried very hard to warn people after he left here but it just made me look crazy. I tried.

    In short, you are not the first to be fooled and you won't be the last. All we can do is spread the word as best we can and be there for friends, acquaintances and even strangers, to try to help them pick up the pieces.

    Thanks for writing.

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  10. With him for 15 yrs. now! Every day is a yo-yo. I'm in my late 30 and feel like a damn baby to be sucked in by his charm and manipulation for so long. Just when I think things are ok I'm abruptly proven dead wrong. He can make Anything a fight, or strange or a failure. And somehow come off the victim.
    Last night is a typical example. He mentioned that our mattress is too soft. I said yes it is and it's already sagging and that our warrantee covers sagging. Good news right? Wrong. He then asks if I put a mattress cover on the bed, knowing full well we have a cover on our mattress. Yes I said. Well, he says that's the first thing they are going to ask you, and he getting slightly aggressive. I'm a little confused so I ask what a fabric cover over the bed has to do with the sag. He just keeps repeating and getting angry 'well, I'm just trying to help, that's what they'll ask you, what don't you understand... and closes with, 'see this is why I don't talk to you."
    Really, he has to be the best, the most, the greatest and the center to every good idea. This has resulted in a life of constant compromise and uncertainty. I know I need out.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I can't tell you how many times I heard those words, "See, this is why I don't talk to you". And always when I'm trying to be reasonable and understand. Or when I'm trying to point out to him something that isn't right (and I've learned to be reasonable, non-confrontational, doesn't matter). Always, he can't talk about it.

      It's hard to break away. I would probably still be in hell with him if he hadn't just up and left. He left because he was creating a nightmare all around us, I just didn't know it. I knew he was creating a nightmare for me but he was conning many people besides me.

      So, I was lucky. Otherwise, he might still be here, making misery for me. Once he left, the sun began to shine again. It took awhile, but once I wasn't subjected to his daily poison, and your silly argument with your husband is a very good example of how degrading and awful life with these guys can be, I began to emerge from the darkness and into the light.

      You have been subdued, abused, degraded and put down for so long you have forgotten about the sun. It's still there, but not when he is in your life.

      It's not easy to leave, I know, but when you do (I suspect you will), you will be amazed at how much better you feel.

      Keep us posted. Many, many people know what you are talking about.......toree

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    2. Your story reminds me of a trailer story of my own. My husband bought a used trailer for $3500 early in the marriage. He used his money but since he paid cash, that meant that he didn't have anything to contribute to the household expenses that month. Which meant, of course, that I really paid for it.

      Fast forward a couple of years.....he ends up GIVING this trailer to his first wife to satisfy his unpaid child support. He did not ask me my opinion on this matter. He just did it.

      Furthermore, he took a road trip, lasting several days, costing hundreds of dollars, to bring it to her.

      Then, she won't sign the papers to release him of his entire obligation (which totals $50K) unless he gives her another $5,000. He has no money, of course, so guess who paid it?! (He did pay me back later for this one).

      I didn't even bother to complain about this affair because there would have been no point. It would have just gotten ugly, I would be called unreasonable and selfish and a bitch.

      When actually, this situation was terribly unfair to me.

      I'm glad you're rid of yours, Robyn, and eventually all the loose ends will be tied up and you will be completely free. I wouldn't wish these nightmares on anyone!........toree

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    3. This was posted by Robyn....but I accidentally deleted it (my reply above, is a reply to this post)
      :
      Have they all read the same manual?? How many times was I told "No-one can talk to you", "This is why I don't bother talking to you". Funny that no one else had ever had a problem talking to me but him and communication is my JOB!! I win positions because of my excellent communication skills and warm personality!!

      Your mattress story reminds me of just how they can turn the most petty thing into a full blown argument. In my case, we had given our rusted trailer away and I had completed the transfer of registration paper to say the new owner had paid us $50 for it. When they transferred reistration into their name, they would have to pay a fee, based on the sale price. In this case, $2.

      N couldn't believe how STUPID I was!! What was I thinking?? Why had I written a price?? How incredibly stupid was I?? All comments he made. Big deal.
      They say it takes 2 to have an argument. I stopped believing this years ago. You just need one N because they'll follow you from room to room to continue their abuse and you don't need to say a word.

      SOOOO glad I'm out but unfortunately still dealing with his legal threats, bullying and attempts to intimidate.

      Delete
  11. Been with an N for 13 years. Every day is a surprise and usually not a good one. Like your living with dr jeckle and mr hide. Trying
    to get out but you have to be very strategic
    with them as they will suck you back in with
    the fake charm. I have lost myself in this one sided relationship and am desperate to take my life back asap. Good luck to all who are going through this. I feel yoir pain. Be strong and focus on taking back your sunshine.

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  12. Hi Anonymous,

    Thirteen years is a long time. I only endured mine for four and I felt withered and spent. It sounds like you are making your break? Once you make that decision, it gets better from there. You will start to come back to life and feel human again, little by little.

    Thanks for writing.

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  13. I'll tell you how I wasted 9 years living like this. At first I was impressed by him and believed his front. He was so convincing, so charming, and so sweet at the beginning with huge dreams. Then over time I saw his promises were empty and how withdrawn from me he really was and what a compulsive liar he was. It took a lot of my time trying to process WTF he was doing since he was making me feel crazy. Then I would try to make excuses for him to myself and would believe he was "working on it" as he would always say when I would bring up an issue. After the excuses would come denial and me questioning myself like maybe it's me who's overreacting. Then I got to a point where I felt after all the time and love I invested, I might as well stay and work harder so I'm basically stuck. Well this is the year I've decided to take action and remove myself from this unhealthy situation. I am scared and I have a lot of challenges ahead of me. Wish me luck!

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      Amazing. In one succinct paragraph you have summed up the process of life with a narcissist, beginning to end. Exactly what I experienced and many, many others, in that order.

      I would say that now that you have made a decision to leave, you will start feeling better, stronger and more like yourself. You gave it your all, you now know that there is no hope for a normal life with him, and you are getting away.

      Your journey is not over--it takes awhile to recover from the damage that these guys do, but you will! I do wish you luck. You are a strong person, we all are, and you will get through it.

      Thanks for writing and keep us posted........toree

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  14. Robyn said is beautifully "They say it takes 2 to have an argument. I stopped believing this years ago. You just need one N because they'll follow you from room to room to continue their abuse and you don't need to say a word."

    I'm married to one such dude for 11+ years and am quite helpless coz I have two kids... both girls... and in a country like India its looked upon when the bride is from a broken home (especially among christians since we place so much on family values). I'm well educated and can take care of the family expenses okay even if we split but Its a very scary thought to take a step in that direction because I've already messed up my own life by eloping and marrying a "no-good-charming-witty-externally-super-dude-who-is-shit-to-live-with".

    So true about many of the points mentioned - they almost convince you and make others feel that you are the crazy one and not the victim. You do truly loose your own identity if you aren't careful about what you internalize. I'm suffering from underlying depression but I get over it when the kids are with me... The onset of utter loneliness I sometimes feel is bizarre though, have any of you felt that?... I feel I'm developing my own mental illness coz I just cant leave and there must be something wrong with me.

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    1. Hi Anita,

      Please don't despair. We ALL feel like we are going crazy when we are under the spell of an N and most of us have a hard time cutting the cord and breaking away.

      These guys have a powerful hold on us. It's easy for me to say that you would just be so much better off if you would just leave him but.....I knew that myself when I was living with my N, yet I could not take the steps to get him out of my life.

      I was like a deer stuck in the headlights--I knew that train was coming but I could not get out of the way.

      I agree, it is different in other countries. I hope that our world is evolving and this won't always be the case. But try to not let the stigma get in the way of doing what is best for you. You are a strong person and somehow you will overcome the stigma.

      I was foolishly trying one day to talk to my N's mother. She told me, "It takes two to tango". Meaning, of course, that I was somehow responsible for the way that her son was acting. This was not the first conversation I had attempted with her but it was the last.

      Unfortunately, this premise that we have somehow "caused" the atrocious behavior of the N, exists. Many people are skeptical. My own sister rather smugly taunted me with the fact that she was smarter than I because she intentionally chose a good man. I tried to tell her that she was just lucky (she was fresh out of high school when she wed and she wed the first one that came along). She did not believe me and still maintains that she was "smart".

      Alas, most people who have not experienced what we did will NEVER fully understand. So you must not think about those people; there is nothing you can do to get them to believe the horrors that you experience with your "man".

      If you can support yourself, Anita, please just do it. Things will work out. You'll be amazed at how much will seem possible once you are away from this person who is injecting you daily with his poison.

      And let us know how you are doing. I hope this message finds you......toree

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  15. What can I do to get out of this funk? My story is long and humiliating. It's similar to the many others I've read. Now I'm trying to start over & rebuild but it's so hard to lift myself up. I'm lost & just making it day to day. Living off the system & what little I can do but I feel I should be capable of so much more. I feel that I would be capable if I could just get out of this 'funk'. I was doing better when I first left. But it's been almost a year & while I stay away from my abusers I can't get out of the victim mindset. I want to be stronger. I've seen stronger in those who've been through similar circumstances & I wonder how do they do it.

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  16. Hi Anonymous,

    I feel your pain. It is not easy and you feel like you are chugging uphill most days. It has been almost three years since my "darling" took off and I am still trying to right myself.

    These guys do a lot of damage to us. There is also that part of us that allowed it to happen. So we have to deal with both of those issues.

    Take one little piece at a time. Say to yourself, "Today, I am going to _________". Fill in the blank. Choose a task or goal that you can accomplish or take a step toward, and make a step.

    Do that every day for a time. Even something simple like fixing your hair super pretty. Painting your toe nails. Something that you can say you and you alone accomplished that makes you feel good.

    Try not to dwell on the negatives, because there are many. Take a bit of joy in listening to a bird sing. Now that it's spring, look for a bud that is emerging and track its progress.

    I'm with you, Anonymous. I'm still struggling too. I just try to put a pretty face on it. Sometimes if we pretend long enough, it becomes the new reality!

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  17. Speaking about "that something within us that allowed this to happen", I just came across a post by another very insightful blogger and will share with you a link. If you haven't signed up for her blog, you should. She's amazing.

    She blogs on a regular basis (like I don't) and has some really good stuff to say:

    http://ladywithatruck.com/2014/03/17/the-victims-responsibility/

    I can't figure out how to create a link in a comment so just copy and paste.

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