714 Comments to
How to Spot a Narcissist

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  1. Hi Dawn,
    You dont have the extensive experience and have done 100’s of hours of research as I have but let me say in response to your letter to Dr Sam.
    You don’t know if he is a narcissist, abuser of toddler. First of all, he is all of the above He is a “malignant” narcissist, which in turn means he is an abuser and is a child emotionally. The rest is from the core of malignant narcissism which Dr Sam calls “extreme” narcissism. But I don’t think that nearly describes how dangerous these people are. Nicole Brown Simpson is a prime example of a victim of one. Put her name into google and you will be able to find a letter she wrote to OJ. It pretty much runs like your letter except he was physically abusive. He was just on the extreme end of the malignancy road but all are dangerous!

  2. Dr. Sam,
    I believe that all of us have both codependent and narcissistic tendencies. I feel guilty when I discuss my wife vilifying me to others; because in doing so I think I am doing the same.

    I am separated from wife and feel that I am now experiencing severe manipulative parent alienation. We have three children.

    I now reside with my mother who I’d label a narcissist hence me marrying one. During the entire marriage they would either team up against me or make covert nasty remarks about each other in each ear.

    I must own to physical abusive episodes on my part. I’m passive aggressive, impulsive and sensitive. My wife has hit me in the beginning but later found pushing my buttons was a more effective tool. My mother’s beatings though not often were severe.

    I love my children dearly and I really think I am the more honest, fair, loving intelligent parent. However the transient period before I am even able to consider joint custody feels like damnation at times.

    Feels a bit better to vent……..

  3. I came across your site and am responding. After going through psychological abuse for several years by 2 family members, caused by 1 of then lying to the other about fiances, etc. and blameing me, I left the house, but too late. I doubt I’ll ever recover. Their must be NO contact, sad because I am not able to see my elderly mom. They know your weaknesses and will charm others to prey upon them also. 1 family member died, but not before asking me back for family holidays (refused-still too frightnend and in too much pain), then we made up and got things sorted out, but it was too late to change the paperwork that takes care of mom. My now ex friend is also a sociopath who very much knows better, and hides behind God words, continuing to do her worst. She knowingly continued to split the family, to take my place in it. It is amazeing to me that this town can be so charmed by such thieves and lyers. That family member and friend were made for each other, and both are dangerous as will do anything to cover what was done, and to this day continues with the abuse towards me. Another problem axcerbating my getting well is that the harrassment is extreme in this small southern town as am highly functioning with multiple degrees, which most decidely does not fit in with the stigma associated from what they learned in the 50’s, and they DO try hard to make me conform to their lesser expectations of the mentally ill. Do NOT move to this small southern town as you will NOT be welcomed in spite of the chamber of commerce. I am moving out of the state as soon as possible, to continue on the road to better health.

  4. Dr. Sam:

    I believe my ex-husband has this NPD. He talked me into dropping out of my PhD program and even had me throw away my framed Master’s Degree because it had my first husband’s last name on it. We have a 5 year old son who I believe is his supply. Also, my ex-husband’s mother appears to have this NPD and is now fighting for more visitation to get her “fix” from our son. After 3 years, my lawyer bills are at 15k and counting. My ex (and son’s father) continues to litigate for more visitation and variation of the custody terminology, so that he and his mother can manipulate the visitation to get their supply needs met. He already has 50% visitation and now wants to include his mother in it so if he is with new girlfriend (another of his supply sources), his mother can get her supply needs met with our son. I want to stop spending money on lawyers and start saving for our son’s college, not to mention my retirement and I am close to 40! I need prayers please. I just try to not make him angry and play the role of a highly respectable wife that is worthy of being one of his ex’es. That is my story. And our son’s story. Wish him luck. I hope he does not inherit this NPD like his Father who got it from his Mother….

  5. Dear Dr Sam
    I just want to say thank you! I wrote to you on the 6th of August 2008 about my narcissistic boyfriend and of course the answer was I should leave him. Well, thanks to your advice I did move out October last year. It was absolutley hell as I missed him so very much, but kept contact. This made it worse and I then tried the NO CONTACT rule. It worked. I am well on my way to emotional healing. Yes, it’s difficult financially on my own but the peace of mind makes it all worthwhile.
    I would like to encourage others caught in such a relationship. It is the most difficult thing to get out of such a relationship, but once you are free, it’s WONDERFUL. Yes I still miss him some days and still feel sorry for him. But it is not my problem anymore. It is now in God’s hands.
    Lots of love

  6. I wrote a lengthy post but it did not appear on this page. Writing this test note to see if it appears. Thanks.

  7. Hi,

    Reading this page was amazing to me. I have been divorced for two years from someone I think is a Narcissist. We have two adopted children together and I really want their parents to be together. One of them has a significant attachment disorder and idolizes his dad. He started going to counseling with me a year before we divorced. The counselor at first told me to “emotionally detach” from him as cruel to myself and my boys from a former marriage. He spoils the little ones that are adopted from our marriage. It seems to be very important to them that the little ones love him over me. It caused such strife that the RAD son saw really no need to listen, interact, nor respect me in any way. He triangulated the situation and it always ended up with me being shamed and blamed by his dad in front of him. My ex spouse did this continually. I finally after 10 years of marriage and pleads from my teenagers gave him an ultimatum. I told him that 1) he could no longer yell at me in front of the kids, and 2) had to treat the older boys with the same respect as the younger children and I would stay with him. He laughed told me I was too “thin skinned” and step all over those boundaries the next four days. I made him move out the next week.

    We were divorced a few months later. Abut 6 months later I started dating someone (another unhealthy choice)and during this time my ex husband acted like he hated me. At every interaction (no exaggeration) he cut me down in front of the little kids and electronically spied on me by looking up my on line bank accounts and breaking into email, and taking pictures of my house when I was gone. He is the type of person that is always the life of the party and he painted me to be a horrible person (though many of those same people saw him yell at me in public places). About 5 months ago I started seeing him. He started going to church, continued counseling, and I had seen some change in him. he will not tell anyone we are seeing each other, he blames me for his life being chaos when he was with me and tells me he doesn’t want the “hell” back, He throws the relationship I had in my face like it was adultery against him, and as I wanted to make the relationship work, he is considering going back to his friends he “trashed” me to to tell them he is considering giving me “a 2nd chance”. He is like a saint to his friends and he is personally mean to me and considers me my life to be a disaster so he doesn’t know if he can ever trust me. He actually admits that he cannot trust anyone. He says he is praying about it and if I have any feelings (like crying) when he says something not very nice and sometimes downright me, he tells me I am creating “drama” and he can’t take it anymore. I have always treated him respectfully and friends he disliked during marriage he is best friends with now and they do not talk to me anymore.

    He makes accusations like I am controlling and cannot come up with an example. He says the boundries I set in the marriage at the end were just my justification to “give him the shaft”. He says he was only demeaning to the boys because I put our life in chaos and pushed his buttons all the time.

    Being divorced is bad to him because he cuts me down in front of the kids which is so detrimental to them with their issues. Being with him is hard because he cuts me down to me and foicuses on every little thing I say as a way to punish me, but strangely, he does cut me down in front of the kids since we have been seeing each other. The kids have flourished with this as they cannot triangulate us anymore and they seem more secure. He admits that if we get back together, he will never cherish me because of the things I did like love another man and “create choas” in the relationship. he can’t think of any specific examples of that except “you know you never listened to me”.

    I so want my children to flourish like they are and have a good relationship with me, but I am having a hard time with his treatment of me personally. He is also better now with the older boys, but they are 18 and 20 now.

    He refuses to got o counseling as he believes I will use it against him.I am tied into knots over this whole situation.

  8. Continued…

    I wanted to add, that while I was in the other relationship he also had a relationship. His was “fine and he didn’t have any issues over it” but mine was bad and I have had to apologize over and over for it. Mine was not a good choice, but his was not either (she was a party girl that did some drugs). She actually did a lot of unhealthy things and they were going to move in together and she changed her mind a few days beforehand. She then didnt want to see him for 3 weeks and then “he” broke up with her. The issue is he has no problem with this woman like he does with me. I assume he was controlling to her and that was her withdrawal, but he just believes she was depressed over money issues and didn’t want to see him. She had an ex husband move in a month later, but he doesn’t see that as “against him”.

    Why would he just pick on me as the villian? Why would this disorder only be against me or the children of my former marriage?

    It feels like it is me.

  9. The article is truly insightful. I’m glad to see an optimistic perspective on healing narcissism. I like to believe it can be cured.

    All my life I’ve tried to understand myself, more specifically what is this persona I’ve designed and who’s the real me. I’ve just recently had a revelation while reading online descriptions of this disorder.

    I’m a cerebral, moderate narcissist and I would need some advice.

    What I perceive as problems are: the false self, the schizoid isolation, the difficulties in interpersonal relationships, the low self-esteem and virulent attacks of envy, the depression I tend to feel many times (and a few more, but I’m trying to avoid writing a novel).

    Though I have a lot of the narcissistic traits, I’m far less monstrous than you’d expect. I have strong emotions, I deeply care about some persons and causes, I am quite moral, and I’m very self-aware. Sometimes I feel normal, vulnerable, sensitive, humble, real.. but a lot of the time I’m that other person: the bold, cold, indifferent persona that I created to protect myself from abuse.

    This is why I hope I could heal myself. I’m still in my late teens. The cause of my disorder is the verbal and emotional abuse of my severely OCPD mother.

    I know I must delete the fake self and invest in growing my true self, but I’m not sure where to begin.

    How do I reach towards this true self? I feel her under my false self, but I don’t know how to bring her out, how to make her live, how to BE HER and stop being the other self. I am in touch with her and I know some things about her, but I find it hard to awaken her.

    I truly want to be healed. I trust in the real me and I know that she’s better than any fake persona. I want her back, I want to be myself. I just don’t know how.

  10. Thank you, Elsa. I responded to you via private email because I was having problems posting on this forum due to technical difficulties.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  11. Great article!

  12. Dr. Sam,

    I believe I am/was married to a woman with Narcissistic personality disorder. Actually we are just now going through a separation/divorce. We have been married 15 years and I have seen symptoms from the very beginning. The most damaging were her fantasies of importance and relationships. She created a new persona and attempted to make friends and relationships based on this fantasy life. She did most of this by email with people living overseas who could not verify her stories. I found out about it by luck when she left her email logged in on my computer. It was totally bizarre. She made up stuff that was just total fabrication but was able to keep it up for months and months. I confronted her and she fessed up and said she would seek professional help. The therapist never diagnosed her with Narcissistic personality disorder but said it was most likely caused by effects of severe premenopause. I went along with that but I was skeptical. I gave her 1 year but I discovered she was still doing it. I think there is no cure for this problem.

    I also found it interesting that some traumatic episode could trigger this problem. I think I know what that might have been in my wife’s case.

    I feel sorry for her and still care about her but being married to her is/was killing me emotionally and physically. I could not sleep or eat well due to stress and depression. Now that we are about to separate, I am saddened but also relieved. I can now eat and sleep much better.

    Anyway thanks for writing this article. It is very helpful and right on target in my opinion.


  13. Bill,

    Your story sounds and feels painful. This whole experience appears to be traumatic. If you obtain counseling I would recommend going to the original place you have experienced betrayal/lies from people you cared about. This may have an inception point with your wife/ex-wife or with an earlier betrayal/disappointment/being lied to experience with another family person, friend, ex-girl friend, etc. Reframing that place will neutralize your seeming cause of depression or let down and you might avoid experiencing it again in the future. Another reason to take care of such is that in your next relationship you will want to avoid being overprotective due to hurts. You may not be able to experience intimacy especially if you shut down your feelings due to that hurt.

    I would also recommend checking to see if your boundaries are healthy. The two books by Townsend and Cloud that I recommend for this are mentioned in an earlier post.

    Wish you a great and whole life,

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  14. Dr. Sam, I don’t think I need counseling. I don’t much trust therapists although I am sure they can be helpful to some people. I am doing fine now that I have decided to end this nightmare of a marriage. My problem was her. I am looking forward to my new life with new opportunities. I am considering all options like moving to a new area, new job, new friends, etc. Thanks for your advice but I believe best advice to someone linked to an extreme Narcissist is to simply break the link.


  15. Bill,

    No problem. I wish you great success in your new life.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  16. Dear Yana, I am the guy who posted a couple days ago. I read your story all the way through. You sound like another sad victim of NPD. I have no idea if you husband is genuine or even if he was could he actually fix the problem. From my experience it seems incurable. My wife, I thought was sincere in attempting to change but simply, over time, could not. However, if I were you I would give him the benefit of the doubt and see how it goes. Miracles do happen. You can always leave him later if things go back to before. Just my 2 cents. Good luck.


  17. Hi Dr. Sam!

    I think my ex is an ‘N’, and as many have said here, I just noticed… when it all finally ended.

    For what I know, due to a very serious economic situation, he was raised by his grandparents [dad’s side] for a few years during his childhood (from 2 to 5 years of age, so he was just a toddler when this happened). Later, he was taken back and returned to his parents, who after that, spoiled him rotten, even today at 33.

    He has an older brother, who was raised by the parents, but I could always sense rivalry and resentment between them. He once said to me he didn’t deserve to be the one taken away. He also felt his brother was his mother’s favorite. I also suspect there is much more to this story…

    Today, at 33, he is still supported by his parents. He blames the economic situation for not having a job. He lives in an apartment they (his parents) have at the beach, goes to the gym daily and refuses to get a job or have any responsibilities. He constantly lies about his achievements, in order to hide the fact he doesn’t have a job, but at the same time criticizes everyone and everything everybody else is doing. He also drinks and gambles and says he is his own HERO, because he is fooling everyone by living this “ideal” way of life! It is incredible… he is a textbook narcissist! He manipulates his parents, and they enable him.

    He neglected me in many ways, and although he denied any infidelities, I now have serious doubts about that too. Too bad I invested so much energy and time with this major jerk! He took, and takes, everything he can get. Now I know he never loved me, he just loved the ‘energy’ I gave him.

    We broke up about a year ago, but he kept me in his ‘radar’. I was the one who made the decision to end it, and of course, he also blamed me for leaving him. He even used facebook to keep track of me and my moves. I finally stopped talking to him about a month ago, and literally, deleted him from my life. I couldn’t take it any longer! He was so controlling, and a major manipulator.

    After reading about N’s, now I know I made the right decision, but I also blame myself for being so naïve, and in some ways, emotionally dependent, cause I always came back to him. What else can I do to move on? What can I do to delete him from my head?

    Seriously Dr. Sam, thank you very much for the information you posted here. At least this makes me realize I’m not crazy, and apparently, I’m not alone either.

    Please receive warm greetings from San Juan, Puerto Rico.



  18. Dr. Sam, there is no doubt I have traits of narcissism and this has manifested in self destructive behavior. In a recent test I took my narcissim was not funnelled via vanity or but more in power, control and superiority….hiding my real feelings of inferiority. I think many of us NPD types would give their left arm to correct this personality flaw. Are there any basic guidelines / steps one can take to improve?

    Thank you,

  19. Tim,

    My personal belief is that Extreme Narcissism can be cured but it can only come when the person:

    1. Realizes he/she is an extreme narcissist.

    2. Realizes that he/she is hiding inside as a protective measure.

    3. Realizes that hiding produces the creation of one or more outward distractive personas used as a shield to cover the wounded person/child inside.

    4. Realizes that he/she must find the root trauma(s)that created the original wound(s) that caused him/her to go inside and hide.

    5. Realizes that he/she must then reframe/process and heal that wound at that place so that the person can again move forward in his/her emotional development as they develop healthy adaptive boundaries.

    6. Realizes that he/she must then learn how to connect with others in a healthy way. Healthy intimacy will need to be a thing that is gradually learned.

    Hope this helps.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  20. WOW! That describes my husband exactly. I have struggled every day, trying to understand. God is good, I got to your site trying to get help for my children. I have been married for almost 8 years and I have been to several counselors and ministers. All to tell us that my husband needed alot of work. The minister told me that my husband needed me to fulfill his goals, and it feels just like that. He did tell me, matter of factly, that he did what ever he had to to get me and could keep it up for as long as it took; however, once we got married that was not who he really was. I have decided to finally seperate, because it is more thatn I can handle. I have to be a PH. D. to deal with this. My concern is that we have very young children and this is greatly effecting them. I am not comfortable leaving my children with him because of his lack of emotional support for them and he does not protect them when his needs come first. Could you please advise.

  21. Nancy,

    Your situation is not an easy one. If you feel that your husband is an extreme narcissist and that you cannot stay married to him then I would try to get most of the custody time awarded by a judge. I would also get help for your own life to correct what caused you, in the first place, to attract an extreme narcissist. This way, hopefully, it does not happen again with your next mate. Your kids deserve the healthiest mom. If in the court process you both have to undergo psychological evaluations, demand that he get tested on narcissism. The test is called the NPI (Narcissism Personality Instrument).

    I hope this helps a little.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  22. Thank you! How do I find people who are trained to deal with this type of stuff. What do I look for and what questions should I ask?

  23. Nancy,

    That’s a tough question. If you are asking about you getting help either with marriage counseling or individual counseling, then I would look for those with an ample track record. I would also encourage you to use professionals that have a trauma model similar to that used in NLP, EMDR, EFT modalities. I personally believe that the trauma model used for healing is probably the best one for fast and effective resolution of issues.

    If you are asking for purposes of divorce issues, then I would find a psychologist that is amply experienced dealing with narcissistic populations and can even administer the test if needed.

    In any of the above scenarios, you have the right to interview the therapist to chose the best one. I would do that. If they don’t have the time of day for you then move on. I once tried to get a psychologist for a family member in another state and I was surprised at how horrible some psychologists were in getting back to me. I struck those off the list since that shows how responsible and caring they truly are.

    Just my two cents!

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  24. I have been married to a narcissist for almost 23 years now and I HATE IT!

    Although he is not the type that dresses all fancy and wants me to make him look good, he is very emotionally immature, refuses to wear dentures (he yanked his own teeth out as they systematically rotted), dresses like a slob most of the time, doesn’t care what people think of how he looks (that’s THEIR problem, including MINE)…his entire family is screwed up and now it’s being linked to a possible chromosome lack at birth.
    This man’s father was an abuser and an incestuous child molester of both husband’s sisters. Of course, husband thinks the man was WONDERFUL in how he raised them…beating them for their own good and “look at how good it made ME turn out!”
    Husband is quick to call me a hippocrite because I make choices and set boundaries about who I want in my house, etc…but he doesn’t practice any faith whatsoever, except to “use” God as a genie in a bottle to “pray” for whatever he wants…and then, blame God when he doesn’t deliver!
    If I could, I’d get out of this relationship or lack thereof, but it’s complicated. If I found a friend who would walk with me through a separation, I’d have left long ago, but nobody would seem to want to be involved, but instead would wish me well and say they would pray for me. Those words are so EMPTY to someone who has spent years in emotional/psychological torment!
    I’m currently working toward my degree in Psych…Bachelors. Go figure…I feel like an expert on personality disorders by now.
    Living with this man has been miserable most of the time, a “fantasy” of his own making the rest of the time. I still wish someone would just come here and kick him out and rescue me. I know that’s not reality and that it will have to be ME who finally gets out, but like I said…complicated.

  25. Laura,

    Your story is very typical of women married to extreme narcissists. You can see the traits in your descriptions. He loves to turn the tables on you, etc.

    Here are my recommendations:

    1. Maintain and improve your personal boundaries in such a way that your relational processing grid filters out abusers, manipulators, controllers, extreme narcissists, etc.

    2. Make sure your boundary grid criteria only attracts persons that will return and reciprocate your kindnesses and that it grows with time. Make sure others value you and appreciate you in every way.

    3. Get yourself a good woman lawyer who understands you and start putting your affairs in order so that you are protected and provided for. Get her advice or from a good accountant friend, about how to manage your financial resources or how to obtain them via your husband’s income production. You are entitled to it. Then, without warning, separate.

    4. Once separated you can decide if you want to give your husband a test (go get counseling, get new teeth, get a makeover, court you and win you back, and forsake the dysfunctions of his family side, etc.).

    5. If he does not want this or does not pass this elaborate process, then move towards a permanent separation.

    6. Continue your journey to being the healthiest, beautify yourself, pamper yourself, have firm and healthy boundaries that will not be compromised. Then watch how you start to attract very healthy people to your life, including a better man.

    My two cents.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  26. Hello Dr. Sam

    I am fairly confident that my ex-fiance was, too, an N. He was educated, and presented himself well (of course) and we got along exceedingly well. Early in our relationship he mentioned his irrational dislike of disagreement, but we nearly never disagreed so I unknowingly was staying on his good side. I did notice small things he did that exemplified his control issues: he has a mild OCD when it comes to grooming for the day, and he once got very upset when I danced with another guy. Prior to meeting in person, we spoke online and had an uncanny chemistry. Despite this, he told me later that he almost managed to talk himself out of calling me. From then, I knew he could potentially be a self-sabotager. He made a huge ordeal about planning his proposal to me, choosing the ring on his own, introduced me to all of his friends, took me to his college reunion, etc. but now I realize that I was only a trophy to him. He loved surprises, but I think that was also more because it made him feel good to give the gifts than anything else. I honestly think he is a good and sincere person. He is the type of guy who always gives to the homeless, and volunteers his time in the community. He was always very, very thoughtful and kind (until he proposed, of course). We rarely argued, but whenever we did it was always the same pattern:
    him: “(something that hurts my feelings)”
    me: “babe that really hurt my feelings”
    him: “why are you always criticizing me?” OR “why do you have such negative perceptions of me?”

    None of that ever made any sense to me, and I quickly grew tired of apologizing to him for inflicting pain on ME. Whenever I would tell him that he was “cold” or “distant” he would become very angry. At one point, early on, when I expressed how I felt he asked if I felt he would ever abuse me physically, and I said no. Sexually, and I said no. Emotionally, and I said I don’t know. He didn’t have any comforting words to offer. He never offered up bits of info about himself or his past and became irritated when I asked. It was like he took me places and bought me things to compensate for his inability to give of himself.

    After our engagement, the communication all but ceased. He began picking arguments and at one point told me he didn’t want to be “dominated by my perceptions” (i.e expected to change anything at all!) when the only thing I ever wanted this man to change about himself was the way he spoke to me. He was mildly pretentious, but nothing more than the average male ego (so it seemed). He insisted I was trying to control him when really I was generally very happy with him and had no complaints. He can be very outgoing, and has many friends- but he looks down on all but one of them. He idolizes his best friend, who appears to be very well adjusted emotionally. The best friend is about 6 yrs older, met his fiance around the same time that we met, and seems to be a genuinely good guy. We did not have intercourse as I don’t believe in sex before marriage, but I was a bit put off by how he seemed to lack consideration of the fact that I was a virgin when we were intimate. He didn’t respond well to even the mildest of suggestions, much less true criticism and became very defensive. I was often put off by his disgust when married guys would jokingly tell him that he needs to “learn to say yes, dear” or things like that. He loathed hearing such things and expressed a sense of pity for them…and this was AFTER we were engaged!

    Our relationship ended when after nearly 2 months of his refusing to speak with me more than once a week (for 5 mins), to see me, to tell me he loved me, or even come to my graduation (when I was there for his and got him a $1,000 watch); I finally gave him his ring back unable to take his emotional abuse any more. When I tried one last time to talk it out two days later, he said that he felt it was all my fault (again) that things were as they were. His face had a staid, stoic look that was unfamiliar to me, and even when I playfully flicked a piece of paper at him (because I wanted so badly to touch him)- he was quick to say it was an act of aggression against him. He looked me in my face, and told me how he had lied to me about silly things (which was no secret to me), and other hurtful things while I struggled to contain the tears. He had no real explanation, nor did he act like he cared much- he even said he was “happier w/out the stress of our relationship”. One strange thing that he said was “I wish I could say something that would make you really angry at me, throw that water in my face and leave”. WHAT???

    After that, he simply vanished. He temporarily succeeded in making me feel it was all my fault, and I went on a campaign to let him know how sorry I was. He told me to not ever contact him again. I know that I deserve far better than that, but I loved him and what we had so deeply. I would love to think I could email him something to suggest he get help, but in addition to being a narcissist, he is also a therapist (so there’s no telling him anything!) I feel like my story is so textbook, but is not the same as most of the posts here. Or perhaps I broke it off before it got to that point? Does this sound like cold feet or do you suspect its narcissism too? My mom is a therapist as well, and although I’ve not spoken to her about him possibly being a narcissist, the only negative thing she had to say when she first met him was that he was “extremely cold and emotionally detached”. Also, is it possible to develop this disorder from an unhealthy relationship with the father (who’s not the primary caregiver)? Is it delusional to think that if he were only able to address this that we could have worked out?

  27. I am attracted to N men. In reading articles like Dr. Sam’s and posts here the majority of my relationships with men have seem to be with Ns. I am attracted to their seemingly confident personas and then gradually the emotional abuse starts, control issues and finally ending when I leave. I don’t seem to be able to trust my judgment any more when it comes to men.

  28. I just stumbled on to this board and all of this
    is really hitting home. I’ve been in a nine-year relationship with a very well-liked, respected, church going man in my community who has emotionally about done me in. I had been married to a man for 25 years and the whole time was totally told what to do, even down to how I should wear my hair. I finally couldn’t handle it any more and divorced him. I stayed in the marriage as long as I did for the children (2) and because I’m a Christian and felt we were suppose to stay together.
    Along came another charming man who made me feel wonderful in no ways my husband had ever had.
    Here comes the problem: I knew he had been separated from his wife for years and years. I never would have gotten involved with him, but he kept telling me he was going to get it done and even now the proceedings have been filed for a year but have not been finaled. All through the years I’ve tried to break up and he literally comes to me on hands and knees begging me to take him back. I’ve tried to go out with other people and he hears of it and the pressure is back on. We’re split up at the moment because of my concern that he has other “friends” and of course, I’m told that I’m being unreasonable and that’s my problem. I’ve even been told that he doesn’t think
    if he got a divorce that that would even make me happy. My plan now is to just try to cut off all contact, but I know he will try to worm his way back because that is the nature of the disorder and he has done this to mean too many times to count.
    Do you have any insight or suggestions and I’m sorry this got so long.

  29. I have been married 34 yrs. to a man i believe is a narcissist.We are both educators,I just retired after 32 years. Soon after marrying him,two years, he became physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive. He would accuse me of having affairs with different men. Everythin he accused me of were things he was doing, many affairs. When he’d get angry, he would take the car keys, and I would have to rent cars many times. I also would have to hide at friends’ homes to get away from his abuse. I did file for divorce from him twice, but rescinded because he promised to do better. If something goes wrong, I am always to blame. He nags and fusses so that it was very hard to do my job. We moved to his home state 28 yrs. ago when he again said he’d do better. He also continued to have affairs. I was also being accused of having affairs with his brother, my brother-in-law, and whoever else. I came home from work one day and he almost jumped all over me saying I was out driving a man around and paying for hotel rooms. He also argues that he paid for everything we have, and told me to stay out of the car. He also took the key to the car that I’ve been driving for years. Our house is beautiful, and we also own real estate. He worships material things too much and likes to gamble. He also writes me notes and leaves them on the counter: Remember to clean all the grease off the counter, etc. He has also called me very hurtful things such as mf, bi, wh,which is very hurtful. Our daughters have completed college and Masters Degrees abd are very successful. My daughters and I are christians
    and attend church every Sunday and believe the Lord will sustain us. He puts on a different front around his friends. I pray daily that God will deliver him from his evil and hate ways. It’s scary to think that someone like him can function daily, Knowing how he’s mistreated me through the years.”You reap what you sow.” After this last incident, I lived with my daughters for 3 months.
    Thank God he’s always been loving and kind toward our daughters. If the laws weren’t changed, he would still be hitting, kicking, and biting. He never attended or congratulated me on my retirement. When he retired, I gave him a surprise retirement party. I am sad because I have never been unfaithful to him, and have always tried to be a good wife,friend, and partner. By the way, our oldest daughter is the one who suggested that he be narcissistic.
    Thanks for listening.

  30. Patti,

    Just because folks go to church and call themselves Christians does not mean they can back it up. Some of the sickest people hide in churches. I know because I was a member of the clergy for 25 years. That does not mean that there aren’t good people there.

    My advice to you, if your husband does not get help and show change for at least 6 months to a year I would move on with my life. Apparently you must have some reason to think he has been unfaithful. If so, more the reason to move on. You even have Christian permission to do this in the case of adultery/fornication.

    You need to get help yourself so that you are strong enough to say “no.”

    Hope this helps.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  31. I recently broke away from a narcissists after having a relationship for less than a year. So reading these articles I feel sorry for people who weren’t so lucky. I had been by myself for a long time so when this confident, financially secure man came into my I thought all of my Xmas’s had come at once. Pretty soon, I realised that he had no empathy about anyone and everything revolved around him and how he presents himself to the outside world. He is so consumed about his outward appearance that it takes a back seat to how he treats his loved ones, including his children. He manipulates his way around every situation. Often telling me that he would ‘break me’ into submission. He either ..buys what wants, takes it…or ..will wear you down to get what he wants. At times it was like dealing with a whinging child trying to get his own way. He said I was a challenge and therefore one to conquer. He was very forceful and at times I was frightened for my safety, this was towards the end. I was very scared about ending it as he believed he owned me and would not dare leave him. Luckily I saw my out and ran with it, telling him never to contact me again. I consider myself a fairly strong person yet he was able to fool me for quite a while. I am interested to know what sort of people do narcissists usually attract as a partner. How can I protect myself so that it doesn’t happen again?

  32. Wendy,

    The best thing you can do to protect yourself is to get healthier more and more.

    I would suggest that you look at your criteria for establishing boundaries and who you consider a safe person. Two principles that are critical in healthy relationships is:

    1. They need to consistently reciprocate your kindnesses as proof that they appreciate you. This must happen increasingly in a relationship. If this is not happening, then shut down the relationship because it is one-way only and you will lose and get used, trashed, bankrupted, etc.

    2. Keep your power to say “No!” The moment you cannot say “No” in a relationship and be respected and loved still then run for the hills. That person is forcing you to disappear and become him/her.

    I also recommend you read the two books by Townsend and Cloud called:
    1. Boundaries

    2. Safe People

    Hope this helps,

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  33. Great books! I just finished reading them. Thank you for sharing Dr. Sam. C.

  34. Hi I have contacte you in the past. I know you are busy but it is said so often how one sibling can escapes the effects of abuse/abandonement or whatever it might be. Or just the not “good enough” mother. I no for a fact my ex has malignant narcissism I have a 27 year docterate in his condition. Lately after speaking with his sister and seeing some of her life pattern she is 41. I am believing she might have the lesser disorder borderline. What she has told me is very compelling to fit this personality disorder. I don’t want to diagnose her but am thinking it might be a real answer for her. She has been diagnosed with bipolar, anxiety, add and I have read where they coexist and the root personality disorder doesn’t get diagnosed. Pleae tell me what you think. I am not someone who has spent a short time like many people above with a malignant narcissist. I have been married to one for almost 25 years total 27 years together. We have a complete history together so I really know what I am talking about. It is so hard to figure out the conditions I don’t even think someone involved with someone for a short time would even be able to do so.
    Have you encountered sibling with same cluster personality disorders. Let me know what you feelings are on this.

  35. I apologize for all the grammar mistakes in the above. I do realize it makes it harder to understand and read.
    Next time I will do a better job proofreading.

  36. Catherine,

    Assuming I understand what you were trying to say, I would be of the opinion that a person who grows up in a family where both parents are extreme narcissists can turn out as a Borderline Personality person… or as an extreme narcissist. As a matter of fact, Borderlines exhibit high narcissism also. If you have a group of siblings with narcissistic parents it is no surprise that you can get the whole gamut. When you have parents that use the children to meet their own needs and who tell their children that they have to “look good” and are to be seen but not heard, the children do not develop healthy. They do not learn how to bond, cope with difficult life situations, do not individuate well, and/or have identity and gender issues since those two go hand in hand. What comes out of a family with narcissistic parents is more narcissism. The resulting persona created in the children is one where true genuine connection cannot be attained and the real person inside hides. They end up using others for their own needs, just like the parents did.

    This is just my opinion.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  37. Hi there ! Im in desperate need of help ! I think ive discovered today from this amazing site what the heck is going on with my , now EX !

    I met him 2 yers ago – he was EVERYTHING i wanted in a man, I met him on an internet forum and we hit it off instantly ! at the time , i didnt know he was making plans with a girl in australia to meet up and go on holiday in a years time – I noticed them flirting alot online and questioned it , and he said nothing was going on – they were just flirting when he was single and shes a bit obscessed …. so ok , i dismissed it ! … Feb on this forum she attacked me for being with him basically ! I had no clue !! He hadnt told her he was seeing me and the plans they made had gone down the drain … i didnt find this out untill all became revealed and he had told a lie! …..

    So when we met online – he was EVERYTHING i envisioned – we chatted he said he wanted kids in the future , what his definition of being in love was , and it was my image too !! …. 2 months down the line , i had already fallen totally inlove with this man – he dropped the bombshell on me that he doesnt think he could see me and him committed because he wouldnt be able to accept my son , its too much , but he loves what we have (Long distance , once a fornight) and could do this forever …. so of course i wasnt happy , i felt reeled in , and as soon as i let my barriers down that he dropped it on me ! …. So of course i hoped he would change down the line , and we could stay as we were for a while – dating ….

    He then tells me a month after he has a child which he has never seen , he was tricked into a pregnancy – and he ran whilst preg and this was the reason he couldnt accept my son …. i loved this man unconditionally and accepted what he had told me , even though i didnt agree with what he had done , being a loving mother myself !!! … i hoped again we could work on these issues , and i suggested counselling ?? He said we will see , and has never bothered , and i dont think has any intention of doing !! …..

    his dad also died when he was 13 , he looked after his mother when he died , and she admitted to me new years eve that noone was ever there for him – she was so in love everyone looked after her !! she too said he needed counselling – what is weird though , is she only admits this infront of me ?? I was once there at her house and when i was sat next to him whilst he was worrying about his job , whether he would work abroad – i was 18 motnhs into a relationship with him , and its like i never existed even though i was sat there !!! … hes there at her every whim – she lives on a “bad” estate apparantly , and rings him if there is a fire across the road for example ! hes there in an instant stressed , and even though he has offered her to move into his untill she gets a move she wont !! yet he stayed there for a week the other week and said there was no probs whilst she was away ??? …. also , she never encourages him to pursue a relationship , and i was apparantly “the love of his life” … as soon as theres a bumpin the road , she tells him to be friends with me ….

    Anyway , the main traits i had had this year with this background info – he wants a long distance relationships forever and have felt hes dangling me , he cant accept my son – we were bed buddies at some point last year when we broke up for 2 months – when we broke up i started to move on , as soon as i did he told me he was in love with me and wanted to do more stuff with me and my son – quality time – we got back together but still said he couldnt be committed and it was too tough , everytime i defend myself and try to communicate our relationship im told im attacking and battering him – he told me being around my son makes him physically sick – i went through a traumatic experience with my son this year , and he said it was too much to emotionally handle – his little mind cant take it in (sometimes he talks like a baby and hes 37 !!!!) – he continually asks me why is it only me who has a problem with the way he is – and my responce is because your friends are not as intimate as me , and dont expect the same sort of love !! – he responds , oh yeah ! i must be mental then ! your psychology degree is really paying off huh ? I say to him i dont have a degree on HIM! i tell him how I feel and EVERYTHING goes back to him ! and how he feels , “the poor me’s” – i felt totally emotionally isolated … that is the major stuff of our relationship …

    lastly , we broke up 4 weeks ago – because he had arranged to see his friends in scotland without inviting me and keeping it secret for 6 weeks ! I saw his friend counting down on msn , and wondered if he had been making me out to be bad to her for wanting more out the relationship and i hadnt been invited !! I was Hurt ! :( …. he cried all week when i was asking for the truth , and i think its because he didnt get away with lying , im a bright person !! … he told me i was attacking again and broke us up … he said he was taking time out and turning his phone off – my friends said he HAD a new number … however his walking away lasted a day and he was texting every 24 hours swapping sims it looks like – he still hasnt admitted a new sim card ! he says he wants us to be friends , which i agreed to – and vry hard i might add , because HE keeps constantly telling me to move on when im trying , yet can get nasty and laugh psychotically down the phone at me when i get upset about something or defend myself from his verbalness at times !! he tells me i was a massive part of his life , but he enjoys being on his own more , says i battered him and attacked him for 2 years !! So why does he want me in his life as a friend ?? i tell him im going off doing my own stuff , and he gets defensive and tries to act hes pleased for me – but at the same time acts peed off ! Is he a narcissist?? I have been over and over his selfishness the last 3 weeks and think i may understand now ! I also feel him and his mum’s closeness is almost unhealthy ! … i always felt second best … help :( i dont know what to do anymore regarding contact as he continually says even now the relationship ended coz it wasnt right for him – yet i did everything a GF could ?? love etc and loyalty ?? Thanks

  38. can i also add , his mum still does his washing for him as he lives in a flat , and one time she said she had a dream she was dying , and all she could think when she woke up was who will do his washing !!! he also said to me one time when we were talking about our future – when his mam goes it will be a lonely life and it doesnt seem nice being alone ….. he also asked me to move closer to him new years eve …. which i was thrilled about considering his issues !! … a week later he said well is it a good idea? we may not stay together ?? …. i said to him thanks for the optimism ! …. i got told off for attacking … again !!! … lastly the other week , he told me i was obscessed ! even though its him who reads MY social networking sites ! … when were talking as mates too , he always says to me when we are talking about our previous relationship , that i want to get back together and havent accepted !!! I dont even incline that !! is he enjoying this ?its seeming pretty sick and abusive :(

  39. Does anybody know of any discusion groups/meeting places or even phone numbers of other, that have also suffered from narcasistic people… as i have suffered years of abuse from my Dad and have spent years in councilling trying to explain the ways he is, and i find it really difficult because i think people tend not to believe me or think im exagerating, but im not..so for me to talk to others that know what im talking about and will believe me, would be a great help to me..Please help, ive only just recently worked it out the he’s a narcasist. my email address is [email protected] and would really appreciate help.

  40. Hi, Dr. Lopez. I appreciate your information, and I am sad over my relationship. I have made many excuses for him over the past two years, as he was working through the trauma/attacks/stalking of a previous relationship. Now, through therapy, he is better, but MY urgent needs (financial, physical, emotional) which have grown over the two years are seldom discussed. When they are, hearing about what I need usually “makes” him mad, feel threatened and are seen as an attack on him. He lacks empathy, although he believes he is good at listening, communicating, and understanding. I am speechless when he says this. When he WANTS empathy, there is no warmer person in the world. When I need something, there is always a reason why the “timing” is wrong. Then he says because he loves me and I am so important to him, he does want to give me the attention I deserve for such an important topic and so it should wait until he is not so distracted. Those moments never come. Our physical intimacy has ceased as his trauma over the past has re-emerged in the last few months as the ex continues to stalk and harass him. I can’t get him to address this part of our relationship. I know he has trust and intimacy issues. In his therapy he is not dealing with his and my relationship, however…he is only dealing with the past…I know one must do this, but I fear he and I cannot make it through the present while he is mired in the aftermath of his past trauma. He is also by his own actions actually keeping the trauma alive, as he has had the God-like idea that he could CHANGE the ex if he could only communicate with her effectively and make her nice and stop tormenting him. This has made her harassment worse, of course. I struggle with the idea that we are, through further unusual circumstances not explained here, bound to each other versus the idea that we helped each other, but that now, when he shows he really is the center of his own universe and expects me to revolve like the moon around his sun, it is destructive for me to stay. Over the two years, in coping with his trauma, he has shown intermittent rage, emotional, verbal, and physical violence toward me. He is also brilliant and gifted. These too, are part of his charisma. I struggle with feeling life is not worth living at this point because of the limitations of the relationship, even as I know how ridiculous it is to make it so important that it strips me of myself. I have had long-term wonderful relationships before and am still on loving terms with two ex’s. It’s hard to un-bond and “abandon” him. It’s hard to throw away the good with the bad. We work well together on projects. We have loving times together. Sometimes I look at the loving times and am amazed that we achieve those in spite of the frustration of no physical intimacy. Other times I look at the loving moments and think they are all on his terms and only happen when he feels like being that way. Other times, when he calls me selfish, I think that I am the one who is a narcissist and that he is more committed than I am. I feel enervated, sometimes despondent, and confused about what to do. He has never been married and has no former girlfriends who want anything to do with him, except the obsessive ex who is still stalking us. Any insight you have will be appreciated. Thank you, Helena.

  41. Dr Sam:

    I am married to what I believe is an N for 24 years. His parents were both alcholics. His mother said she was always “me, me, me”. stepfather always yelled at her and home life was not good. He said he always felt like he never fit in, moved to grandparents later in life; who also watched him and his sister when parents were in bars.

    My husband is self employed and I stayed home after children were born. I have a great childhood with unbelieveable parents. My mother catered to my father, but marriage was 50/50, no yelling he helped her, she helped him. So, I turn did the same and assumed would have the same.

    Well, guess what, marriage is 99/1. He told me in the beginning he new seeing my mother the way she was I would be the same. “enabler”. I am a giver and always have been to my famiy to anyone. Just my nature.

    My husband:
    -his way or now way
    -yells, never talks
    -you can talk to him, and it’s as if you are not there, you NEVER get a response other than “oh”, and off to another subject, IF you even get that much
    -would do the same to the kids, (now in early 20’s and still home)
    -told him for years how he was with the kids and to talk to them, said you don’t want to have same relationship with them you did with your parents, said he didn’t care
    -if you disagree with him, he has a tantrum
    -you critize him, he goes off the deep end
    -never ever asks me how work was (just went back two years ago), or if I go out, where did u go with your friends, what did you do, NOTHING????
    -self-absorbed to the MAX (you can be with other people have a conversation, and his reply will be on a totally other subject – totally random)
    -belittles me and kids
    -micro manages
    -NEGATIVE to the extreme, everyone, everthing I say he is negative he says he is a realist
    -blames everyones for anything going wrong NEVER does he admit to ANYTHING
    -it’s like we don’t exist unless he wants something,
    -speaks and asks me questions about my day “only” when he wants sex I have told him he is so transparent
    -memory forget it, only if it has to do with real estate, money or something he is interested in, other than that goes in one ear and out the other
    -refers to me as “my wife” never my name, even to people who have known us for many years

    went to marriage counselor said if he doesn’t change I will leave, told me to say to him to be in the “here and now” when he doesn’t respond to me, he did it for a few days and said no more. I have tried to tell him nicely how I feel and kids, and get no where. His time, thoughts, wants and needs are important, ours are not.
    Also, he can see other people and what they do wrong but not in his own house. My kids don’t even bother with him anymore. My son has such anger toward him.

    Can you tell me, without going on and only with examples in your opinion is he a narcissist?

    Thank you for your time :)

  42. Fascinating stuff here. I recognize my ex-wife, a girlfriend or two or three, my wife’s entire family (oddly, she’s practically perfect), and my father and brother (fortunately, I’m adopted). Most of the women I have known have been this, but only a few men. What can I learn from that??

  43. Very interesting article, I fit your description almost to a tee, except I have to add a religious, dare I say, cultish environment(Jehovah’s Witnesses) in my you early youth. I think this adds another facet to my personality which may be both negative or positive at times. I’m an artist and recently did a drawing titled the same as my Pseudonym use here. I really don’t see any way out of my personality type. I do feel guilty much of the time even if I am self-centered.Even with my insurance (which I no longer have)I could not afford counseling/a therapist. I went to a therapist for two sessions for depression/suicidal thoughts. As I mentioned I could not afford it at the time. I also live with a very insecure mate who has a tendency to crucify me for whatever perceived or real wrongs I’ve committed.She immediately becomes the victim after my crucifixion. This definitely makes me shutdown emotionally. What simple things can I do to change for the better? I doubt that it is possible but am willing to try.

  44. Cathy,

    Your husband is an extreme narcissist. He is also disconnected from his feelings in my opinion. To feel is to hurt. Unless he sees his problem there is basically no hope. It will take a lightning bolt to get him to see his selfishness and the destructiveness of it. You may consider separation as an option to try to get to his senses. If that does not help, then you either live like you have another child in him or that he is just another person in the house or you divorce him. The last is the last option. I don’t usually recommend divorce unless a spouse is in danger or all has been tried to save the marriage.

    Hope this helps some.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  45. TheNarcissist,

    For a self-help I would recommend you read all you can on the subject and then start looking for your dysfunctional moments or traumas of your young age (when you were a child) and see if you got your narcissism from your parents or from them ignoring you, or from your attempts to earn their love and attention. Whatever is the case and whatever are your child emotional wounds then embark to heal them. Look for the first cause event that imprinted you with a wound and/or a belief about self, the world, and others. Go there and try to imagine you, the adult, talking to your younger self and negotiating releasing the hurt (anger, sadness, abandonment, etc.) and then forgiving the parents, and then adopt new beliefs about the world (not selfish ones).

    I hope this helps some.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  46. This thread hits home on so many levels I am almost at a loss for words. I am grateful for the candid stories and wisdom of the people here. It makes me think there have been some dues paid to learn all of these things.

    I have spent most of my life trying to overcome wounds from my brother who was disabled and very cruel and my mother who made us responsible for keeping the peace with him at any price.

    I see a counselor and am working overcoming the effects of this in my past.

    I have often drawn narcissists into my life. But I am learning how to set boundaries now, which I believe will help.

    There is little doubt that my brother was very disturbed and a NF. He had brain trauma. Also, my father was cruel to him. This affected him deeply.

    He was the oldest, and his mental and emotional cruelty toward us when we were children is almost indescribable. Much to my relief he recently passed away. I never felt totally safe until he was gone.

    When children my mother chose to make us responsible for his bad behavior. If you tried to talk to her about it she exploded and treated you like a traitor.

    It was hard being held to such an impossible standard of perfection. It was doubly hard having no where to go for emotional safety.

    It took a long time to figure out her control tactics. Now, when/if she tries to control me I leave her house and go home.

    But I have learned to forgive her. Because she can only do what she knows how to do. I cannot expect her to change if she cannot comprehend what that means.

    If you are a person who has been through such trauma, are you automatically a narcissist? What if you want a salient, normal life and are willing to work hard for it?

    Working through all this may never end. All I can do is take it one day at a time.

    That’s about all I can say. Except that I am very glad for your website and your understanding of these problems.

  47. Thank you for your response, however,the most difficult part of this is the “so called memory or should I say lack of hearing”. It seems like he hears only what he wants when he wants, I can say something and then be told I never said it or I didn’t hear you. A lot of times I get “I didn’t know you were talking to me, when he is the only one in the room. It is very noticable to people around also. We can be on one subject and the comes up with something totally different and everyone looks and me and laughs. I know it’s not early altzheimers, I know he does not have hearing problems because if you discuss something he is interested in he hears it all. What is it, it is driving me nuts!!!!!! My tolerance is wearing very thin. As usual I said to get it checked, maybe hearing or other types of help, he says he has no problem. When I asked something to get repeated he yells because he has to repeat himself. It’s gotten to the point that if I do repeat myself I speak a lot louder which makes him upset he says I don’t have to yell, or I just don’t repeat myself at all, in which case my one sided conversations are becoming far and few in between. Also, forgetting things, but that is okay unless I forget something. Please, tell me what you think it is, is it just the lack of interest????
    thank you again for your time and answering my questions.

  48. I wonder if this is what is wrong with me. Isolation for sure, and obsessed with my own suffering. Trying to control those close to me thru fear, while fearful they will leave. So many horrible attributes, and fighting to believe there might be something good in me. The best news was that there is HOPE, I just don’t know where to turn. I have lost the most important person in my life recently, in part by my own choice. 50+ years of fighting for myself….for what reason?

  49. hey all. I had the dynamite experience in 1993. I was forced into anger management. I began to seriously ask myself why I was angry. As i kicked down door after door in my mind i began to remember horrific abuse. I went for a long while displaying all the symptoms of narcissism, histrion? sociopathy, etc…I have finally got to the last door. When you knock on the last door You meet God almighty. Peace. Anyway, there is hope. I find myself crying now for victims and even perpetrators. I’m no longer putting on a show or trying to perpetuate the delusion that my family was perfect. I have forgave all and feel wonderful sometimes. What is’nt a Lie, wasn’t the truth. I wish I had thought of that. God only knows how much suffering fathered that brilliance. That statement is like a Laser. Your aim was good and your shaft was swift.(ben Casey) lol. I’m not crazy. I’m just psychologically damaged. Picture spongebob and patrick in the restroom. Spongebob says…”Hey Patrick, were not ugly, we just have rancid breath.” ha ha ha ha ha ha. I enjoy this site. I feel pity for the N. See, they were left behind. They exist in a playpen. Entire families of grown up folks still run a horse race at family reunions. I enjoy this reality pool Dr. Sam and wish You all the best. We are what we Eat. Every word matters. Some folks are hating Narcissists and have all kind of games they play on them to toy with their mind. I think that is child abuse.

  50. can you trust a narcisist in a business deal?

  51. Nil,

    If you do business with an extreme narcissist, make sure you have a contract with big teeth in order to protect yourself.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  52. I do have a contract but it is not strictly binding. It could be interprated.

    When I told that the contract was not trusted and that a new one with clearer terms was requested,he had a fit. Told me I shouldnt work with him if I did not trust him and the company where he was the sole owner. And declared that once he gave his word nothing could change that.

    Will he try to walk out of his word even if there are witnesses?

    He has no intention of making a new contact with clearer tems.

    And the worst part of it we are emotionally involved. We have been playing the push-pull and hot-cold and loving caring-cold distant games for the past 8 years. No sex involved.

    He did make an attampt but I refused because I was in a relationship, but when I was free and showed interst in him he pulled away.

    Never lets me go and close the door for good, but does not let me get any closer then an arms length either. He even geve me book once on “seduction”. I really wonder what the message behing that was since he showed no interest in physical involvment.

    ı know he is exploting my affection for him.But at this point I have to keep cool and get through with the busieness and close the deal

    Please let me know what u thing about the contaract.

  53. Hi Dr Sam, You are actually an unusual entity in that you believe there is hope for those with NPD. But I was wondering what you think about this. I, as you do, believe this results from a trauma/neglect experienced before the age of 6. Which as I understand is “the age of reason” and people are pretty much who they are going to be by this age. Such as morally. I was just wondering as I have read on the net that the person with NPD doesn’t really have a “normal” to go to since this disorder, coping defense mechanism is established by such an early age. How can an extreme narcissist get to a place emotionally that they have no idea about? Or do you believe that they do have the emotional resources somewhere but supressed to the subconscious?
    Thanks for your time!

  54. Okay so this is a very old thread per se but I just had to chime in with a Narcissistic happily-ever-after story for balance.

    Not all narcissists are damned to a life alone (except perhaps those at the exteme end of the spectrum). Just a simple matter of pairing up the right yin and yang humans for the growth of all involved.

    I find aspies deal with narcissism rather well. We don’t tend to take things personally and we also don’t care much for others’ opinions in a different sort of way (including the narcissist). We can out-logic the non-logical. I mean hey, we’d RATHER speak in logic but if the going language is illogic, then we are used to adapting to the humans around us ’cause none of ya’ll make sense when put through aspie paradigms. ~winks~

    “blah blah blah always find fault; always your fault; defense defense defense…your fault, you make me, you make me crazy”

    “yeah and I’m also loving, loyal, easy going and attractive so if that’s all you can see then it means either your narcissism is showing or you’re a masochist…which would you rather be?”

    “…..,er..wanna go get some ice cream?”


    ~walks off hand-in-hand into the sunset~

    Why do some of us like narcissists? Because they are different, unpredictable (within reason) and interesting. However, I will admit there was a significant turning point at 10 years when once during a fight I mentioned that “damn, at least Penelope got to quit weaving after 10 years; give me a break!” (I love an Odysseus freak).


  55. I finally figured out after 11 years, my ex may be a narcissist. I was 21, He was my first love, so charming and sweet, so I thought. He lied to me about having a vasectomy. He lies about everything, and I mean everything. He dumped me pretty much after I told him I was pregnant. He didn’t have a reaction to me telling him this either. He then started seeing another girl not even a month later, after he stopped calling me, ignored me, and not returning my calls, and just plain treated my horrible. Spent many, many nights crying myself to sleep. He wanted a DNA test, needless to say it came back positive. We were together every waking moment for 6 months. Needless to say, it was a positive result. I always wondered how could a he tell a me how much he loves me, and adores me, then discarded me like trash. One night, he called me at 3AM while I was 41/2 months pregnant, screaming at me saying that I sent my friends after him, I didn’t even know they were going to be where he was that night… I was absolutly a mess. No apologies ever. I always thought it was me that did something wrong, now I know it was not me. He has a way to manipulate, and con you into believing anything. Not only was he my first love, but I got pregnant by him, dumped, and replaced in less than a month. It took some time to get over all of this, sadly I still had feelings for him even after all of this happened. I am now married with a son. My husband is the polar opposite of him in every way! That girl he was with while he I was pregnant..oh they were together for 5 or so years, she left him after he would not commit to her. I feel bad for his current gf, for she is under the narcissist’s spell now. I still have contact with him, and get along with him because of our daugther.

  56. What a load of misleading rubbish.A true narcissist, the term used here is meant to imply dealing with a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and all the statements made here from the causative factors to the potential of healing are essentially innacurate.

    There are a number of people who use defences and exhibit some features of this disorder through a form of reactive narcissim caused by traumatic events who while difficult to treat are potentially treatable, but they are not a “true narcisst “(NPD).

    Have the professional ethics and integrity to be specific about the forms of narcissistic behaviour according to their etiology you view as treatable distinguishing them from the forms that aren’t (aside from Hare’s pragmatic model for NPDs in the criminal justice system).

    I don’t think I need to elaborate on the problematic aspects of misleading those who are involved with the untreatable forms like NPD. You may be excusing yourself in the belief that you will attract those affected by involvement with true NPDs in then enlightening them about the truth of the matter then wheras before seeing you they would be unaware of the damage NPD persons will cause and on the other hand helping the reactive feature group heal.

    The problem is there will be those wether by financial or geographical constraints will never consult with you remaining at risk of further damage, imagining that the NPD can be cured through your unclear misleading statements.

    Technically you have not lied – by comission – as nowhere do you say you can provide treatment for recovery for those with NPD , but you have lied – by omission- see ( from “The Psychiatric Times)
    The Ethics Inventory
    Cynthia M. A. Geppert, MD, PhD
    This recently produced inventory is actually very timely for your need to review aspects of your practice that ought to include for you a greater level of exercising responsability in the promotion of treatment options.

  57. Kaypet,

    I appreciate your comments. I suggest that in the future as a ethical professional that you first ask questions of a colleague before making accusatory comments. Also, your spelling mistakes need to be addressed.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  58. I just read your reply about my brother again (Oct. 6, 2008). Thank you so much for your response. Things have been going so much better for me since I have been maintaining my boundaries for a couple of years. I used to attract scores of N’s. My brother refused to contact me for a very long time, even deleting comments from me when I tried to confirm if he was engaged. He then sent me a private message, chewing me out for what he perceived as an inappropriate comment (asking him to get in touch with extended family if he was really engaged because none of us knew about it -but his whole church did).

    I think he was stubbornly waiting for me to make plans to get together, which I will not do anymore. He did a lot of damage at a family reunion last year, and I had relatives calling me and asking me why I am so ‘mean’ to my brother. If only they knew that I’ve done nothing to him, while he, probably out of paranoia, has returned gifts, lied about me, and told people that I am ‘not right,’ and pulled out the rug from under me every time we were working together in the past. He managed to charm his way out of these work incidents of losing things, ruining key plans, not informing me of meetings and things that he was supposed to tell me (so I looked stupid to other people) etc.

    Recently, he called as if nothing had ever happened and wanted to get together with us with his fiance (now barely 20 and seemly over her anorexia). He seemed to really enjoy telling us how great everything was going for him. I’ve learned not to give much information to N’s, so I just basically smiled and listened. He is now trying to communicate more. My instinct is to not respond unless absolutely necessary. Is this right? I dread being caught up in his ridiculous games again (passive-aggressively late, charming me into making plans, and then doing something to undo everything, ensuring that he is the center of attention). He sure was on his toes for this 1st meeting. What bothers me is that I feel like he feels he has ‘punished me enough,’ and now wants me back. He still doesn’t bother communicating with our sister. Is he is making a show for me because he still sees me as his ‘mother’ figure? Would you believe he brought pictures of our mother to give to me as a gift?

    You were right that he was extremely pampered at home. My parents also seemed to give him a type of “God complex,” making him believe that he was extra-special to God. The church he is in has leaders that are as N as he is. I’m in a new church with humble leaders. I’m so much better at spotting N’s and keeping them from being intrusive in my life. I’m learning to undo some defensive behaviors that I picked up from living with N parents. I trust my husband and am so blessed to be living a normal life.

    I also forgot to mention earlier that my brother owes me money that he has conveniently forgotten about. Also, I have financed (with great sacrifice) some of his projects in the past. Perhaps he is trying to tap into us again? My husband and I are on credit counseling and we can’t even afford to send our teenager to college next year. We are actually still paying off our students loans and my brother isn’t going to be seeing anymore $ from us, ever.

  59. Dear all,

    I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the language used in the article and in the discussion is very loaded (it is very accusing of the person whom it would like to characterize [the ‘narcissist’] and uncompromising in that it sees extreme humility and unquestioning acceptance of such heavy accusations as the only acceptable[healthy] attitude on the part of a person that somehow came to be characterized as a ‘narcissist’). I would also like to draw your attention to how easily conclusions about whether a particular individual is or is not a narcissist (and usually s/he is one) have been drawn in this discussion, mostly on the basis of one personal narrative of no more than 500 words from a person with whom the commenter has a problematic relationship–the very definition of partial, subjective material. I believe Dr. Sam will endorse my caution that a full and careful diagnosis is the only way in which one can become justifiably convinced that somebody is a narcissist (assuming one does not have a problem with NPD as a typology of mental disorder)

    I do have such a problem with this typology. The diagnostic criteria mentioned in this article and in the plethora of extremely similar material on the topic have an extremely evaluative basis (that is, they rely on impressions of how someone generally is as a person, on what his/her life generally is and how it has generally turned out). Such judgments do tend to vary quite drastically for any single person being evalued. The substance and meaning of such judgments depend on who is evaluating whom, the relationship between the one who evalues and the one who is being evalued, the state of that relationship (good or deteriorating), even on mood. Just think about the wildly different ways in which we can evaluate our entire lives, our personality, character etc. in the course of a single day! One makes a succesful flirt and suddenly feels so socially competent, one fails an exam and suddenly one’s whole life seems to have been a prelude to that failure and the “failurer” that it exposes.

    I do not mean to say that the suffering of the people who have linked, after reading this article, the behaviour of the persons that they love to their supposed narcissism is not genuine, that the people that were mentioned here as narcissists are wonderful persons suffering a cruel lack of appreciation, that the friends/spouses/relatives of the persons described should just “get over it” because they are exaggerating–none of these things. By all means one should object to what one sees as unacceptable behaviour and one should leave people that hurt one. What I’m getting at is that there are many ways of telling a story, and that one that goes “I realized that X is a narcissist” may not be the right way to go about it in terms of its consequences.

    The characterization of the narcissist as given in the article is such that many people (especially a group of people with low self-esteem and high introversion–quite a different lot from “the narcissists”, if I may stress so) will think it applies to them when in fact it doesn’t. The implications of this characterization to which the article leads as are such that they “feel” right on the emotional level but fail to convince once one takes an in the least critical approach. Finally the characterization is such that it is capable of instigating the virtual witch-hunt that we have witnessed here, and this by well-intentioned people.

    Causes many extremely distressing false negatives?–check. Assuming in its implications and ineffective in its practical applications (I’m referring here to the general ineffectiveness of therapy in the “cases” of NPD)–check. Disturbing emotional tone and inviting of uncarefull acusations?–check. I think we should open our eyes and see that “X is a narcissist” just isn’t the right kind of story to tell of someone, of anyone.

  60. I appreciate your knowledgeable and balanced comment, Dan. Does codependency lie within the narcissistic spectrum? I am wondering why some of us naturally attract those at the higher end of the of the narcissist spectrum, in terms of significant, life-long, overt narcissistic behavioral traits-whether or not they have a dx. I’ve read articles which contend that narcissism is much more complex than what is indicated in scope of the DSM criteria.

    My other question: is therapy effective for those who are at the right end of the specutrum, who against many odds, may in fact wish to change? If so-how so, in terms of therapeutic orientation?

    In general, are therapists willing (and/or able) to help those who suffer from this? Or are those deemed to be narcissistic labled with the stigma associated with borderline, and subseyquentl rejected from therapist to therapist, decresing their opportunities to heal?

  61. When co-dependent’s die, someone else’s life flashes in front of their eyes instead of their own. Narcisscissts hang around forever because they can’t let go. Hope that helps!!

  62. Thank you for your article about narcissism. I’ve been married to a narcissist for 20 years. Is that a record? You indicated you are a believer. My problem in staying in this relationship is what I understand about what the Bible teaches. Can divorce be an answer if there has not been unfaithfulness? Believe you me, if I did not feel so strongly about this, I would be out of here. What are your thoughts? … Tired and Lonely

  63. Tired,

    I understand where you are coming from. I would say it all depends on whether you are being abused by your narcissistic husband and how intense and what kind it is? If it has crossed a threshold that cannot be tolerated morally then the first step I recommend is to separate along with obtaining qualified and effective counseling for both parties. If that does not improve things over time then the last resort is divorce, unless you can tolerate indefinite separation. It is hard to give advice not knowing details.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  64. There is a video I made on Narcissism on YouTube:



    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  65. well i really love psychology its a way for me to get to know more of myself and other… people are great and our thoughts and minds are amazing… i discovered that mayb i might have a little narcissist inside of me and i admit i have to find help to become more at peace with myself. thank you…

  66. Dear Dr.

    How does memory play into NPD? He has pretty good memory with what he is interested in, but anything not “directly related to him”, he doesn’t remember in the day-to-day life. Simple things. I can tell him to bring the recycling box out, he will forget, I will remind him and he said he never told me. Can it be early altzheimers? Again I ask myself, then his memory would have problems in all areas not just those that interest him, right? I would appreciate anything you have to say about memory because it drives me crazy!!!! Too much stress maybe, but I have the same amount of stress. Please give me some insight,
    Thank You

  67. I was recently used/taken advantage of by my favorite musician! Crazy right?!? Not only was I a huge fan but he’s famous enough that I was shocked when he contacted me on an ‘official’ fansite and wanted my help. Without getting into all the details, I had a skill he needed for a project. I slaved away, completing this huge project for him, in which he agreed to pay me compensation. We met numerous times and of course, when he had my work in his hands, he started treating me rudely in e-mails and everything he told me regarding compensation were lies. In the few times we met, he displayed every narsissistic trait (very defensive, actually belittled my college-degree since he only completed highschool) Strangest of all is when I joked around that I thought he might take the work I did and take-off/never speak to me again, and he acted ‘appalled’ that I would even think that of him. He reassured me that he would ‘never’ do anything like that!
    Anyway, I’ve contemplated revenge (the revenge would belittle his skills, which I know would bother him’, but it would also show that I took it kind of hard. Should I even bother doing this or is silence better? I guess I want to have some kind of impact. Are narcissists capable of feeling guilt? Or is silence really the best impact in terms of revenge?

  68. I watched the video. Very straight forward and enlightening, thank you.
    I have been researching NPD for about a year now, ever since looking up the definition after watching a morning program with a segment on narcissism.
    That was the best and worst thing I had ever done in my life. The best part was finally understanding my marriage and divorce. My x-husband was mirrored in everything I read about narcissists. I could finally put it to rest that there really was NOTHING I could have done to save my marriage. (because, lord knows I tried… counseling, self help, behavior modification… nothing worked)
    But… Now I also saw almost everyone else in my life within everything I was reading! How could that be? How can almost everyone I am friends with be narcissistic??
    You helped me answer that question… I had no boundaries. If someone ‘acted’ like they ‘liked’ me I was thrilled! (yep, I have very low self esteem, mom died when I was 10, dad was incapable of love…basically raised myself… etc…) I forgave these ‘friends’ over and over for pain they caused me, because I needed to be needed.
    My ‘best’ friend for 18 years recently turned on me. Just like what you said about when you got your degree, I found a healthy relationship and married a man who loves me. My ‘best’ friend was always there for me during my bad marriage but once I found happiness she was gone. Didn’t return calls, txts or emails. Didn’t come to events I would invite her to. Blamed me for isolating her! (that’s another chapter, EVERYTHING was my fault)
    So, for the past year I have been afraid of EVERYONE! Anyone who is nice to me I think is going to use me, hurt me then throw me away. But, by trying to protect myself from one type of pain I have caused myself another type of pain, isolation!
    I recognize a few ‘safe’ people in my life: my daughter (24 years old), my current husband (really loves me, just for me) and 1 friend. Oh, but I can’t lie… I’m afraid of them, too.
    So… my question: How do you know someone is safe and what are the boundaries you speak of???

  69. Dear Hard to Believe,

    I know some extreme narcissists (patients) who remember most things about themselves but hardly at all with matters not about them. Another one I have known for about 20 years exhibited these traits and now officially suffers from dementia but is sharp on what concerns his comfort. I have a non-scientific theory… I believe that what you do and feed into your subconscious mind eventually becomes your reality. You subconscious mind is like a little child that wants to please you. If you have a selective memory where you avoid negative realities and only accepts “nice” things that make you feel good, eventually your subconscious mind will make you “lose your memory” in order permanently make your “happy.”

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  70. Liz,

    Your musician “friend” is an extreme narcissist in my book. Can he feel guilt? Maybe but probably not. He might feel shame but maybe more like remorse. This is like Judas who felt “bad” for being exposed for betraying Christ but could not face the shame of society towards him so he committed suicide. Judas did not look good anymore. To not look good or god-like any longer is devastation to an extreme narcissist. In the future get a contract with teeth, otherwise stay away from these types. You will get hurt.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  71. Meg,

    You said, “How do you know someone is safe and what are the boundaries you speak of?”

    You can know if someone is safe if you test them first. They will want something from you. You just give them a tiny little favor, thing, etc. Then you wait to see if they reciprocate in kind. If not, STOP! Do not give any longer! As you give more they HAVE TO give more back to you! If not, STOP! The relationship is constantly under revision and can be upgraded to greater trust from you or less trust from you depending on if they reciprocate and if they do it with increase as you give with increase. Your trust in their safety is constantly being evaluated and must require commitment from them in the form of giving back to you. If not, move on! They are not safe at all.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  72. See a video I made on “How to spot a narcissist” at


    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  73. Thank you for your reply.
    I also have this issue…
    What if one suspects that their own daughter has become narcissistic?
    My 19 year old went to live with her father 3 years ago. He has all of the characteristics of NPD but when I let her go live with him I was not familiar with NPD. We barely spoke for about a year and during that time he spoke quite ill of me (as he did during our marriage, and she confirmed his ill spoken words) She failed at school and became very rebellious (smoking, drinking, drugs, sex).
    She lived with me again for about 3 months until today. I couldn’t bear her icy cold attitude toward me anymore. If I would try to discuss with her anything more personal than the weather I was facing the eyes of a shark, cold and blank. And the looks of disgust she would shoot at me. She left to live with her father again.
    She went to therapy for about 8 months and stopped about 2 months ago.
    She is still drinking alcohol and I found 2 bags of vomit in her room (I didn’t know she became bulimic).
    I just don’t know the difference between “normal” 19 year old rebellion and the signs of a narcissist in training. She acts the same as she did at 14 years old… I don’t know if she is in training or if she has graduated. I’m so afraid I’ve lost her.
    (she really freaked out on me this morning when I tried to discuss her childhood with her and what may have precipitated her current behavior. I tried telling her that in order to feel better today we have to identify when the problem started. She said she didn’t care and doesn’t want to care. She doesn’t want to go back to therapy.)
    i’m sorry, don’t mean to clog your site with my woes… don’t know where to turn…

  74. Meg,

    You are losing your daughter. You have to do what you can to rescue her.

    I would take her to a woman therapist that is specialized in eating disorders and also has certification in using E.M.D.R., http://www.emdr.com/ …in order to neutralize trauma memories. If she acts still as a 14 year old that tells me she is stuck at that level of coping. That is caused by a trauma about that time. I’ve seen, over and over, how people get stuck at an emotional age and when we look at memories of that time, we discover major trauma freezing them there.

    My heart goes out to you and her.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  75. I was married to a narcassist for 20 years without realising. I got it when he left.He is extreme and still in denial, stilll playing mind games. I recently dated another one without realising. I felt safe for the first time in years. Briefly. I worked out early on that despite a front of charm and confidence he was a man that was extremely damaged. Very successful with the emotional responses of a nine year old. there was no intamacy for 2 months, finally after hours of conversation about everything feeling right. we both, at the time appeared to have been bowled over by a huge scary connnection. He gets intimate three days later the shutters comes down. Then he ended it. Coldly. At one point I put a question in his head about his dating (he is a obsessive serial dater (I lasted longer than most). I created no scene, simply told him that I did not see him as a happy person and that he had created a self fulfilling prophecy of loneliness) He know all this.
    He sees me, he has a second of sheer terror and then his body goes rigid and he pretends he has not seen me. I have left him alone in the hope that he will deal with it. I know he gets it and I know his behaviour is learnt and easier.
    However. The side I saw, the side he shared before he got to close felt like a life long meant to be moment. I am a together, logical person. I fell in love with him and despite this all happening 5 months ago, I cannot get him out of my mind and have been having panic attacks. It’s ridiculous. How long can someone stay in denial. I think he showed me his real side and that is what freaked him out, like he gave me some kind of power over him that now he has to avoid at all cost. I think I may be going insane!

  76. To add. He saw a counsellor once with the words “I do not need to see a counsellor but I have made an appointment” He saw her, we talked, he thanked me for my understanding and two days later – guillotine

    Is it a bad thing to hope that a seed was sown that he will not be able to walk away from

  77. Thanks for the reply. My musician friend has suddenly made a reappearance after 14 days of silence (and after I was convinced he had taken off) I know it’s common for narcissists to disappear and reappear when they want to use you again, so I’m conflicted between answering or just ignoring him. I guess I should get into more details. I’m a poet (with publishing credentials) and this musician also writes poetry (very mediocre poems on a blog, although he thinks their brilliant) but because he’s so famous (a regular on David Letterman..etc) he can easily put his poems into a book and sell them to fans. What I’ve been doing is reading, selecting his best poems, and editing them for him. I’ve put together one ‘potential book’ for him already and we’ve agreed in person, that I’d work on two more books averaging out to three books altogether (with a 10% compensation of sales)

    I want to get into editing as a future career so from my perspective, I’m looking at this as experience/exposure for myself, BUT, if he is really narcissistic (and I’m 98.9%) sure he is, how can I continue doing business with him. Can you even reason with a narcissist? He already doesn’t like the idea of a contract (big red flag) and disappearing for 14 days and suddenly reappearing is also not a good sign. He left a voice mail, aplogizing for the absence but that he’s still interested in another book and we should start soon….hmmm, I guess what I’m asking is if there is a way to ‘test’ out if he’s genuine before I waste my time again? And is it better to be firm (demand a contract kind of thing), or try another tactic?

  78. Liz,

    Be careful about being attracted to a “Crazy” as Julia Cameron calls them in her book, THE ARTIST WAY.

    Yes, I would test this guy. Ask for money and a contract. A friendship is one thing and a business relationship is another. Don’t get bitten by an extreme narcissist. The only thing they respect is “teeth” because they don’t want to get hurt. Show him some teeth in a contract and if he is truly a person who has a shrivel of integrity he won’t mind signing a contract that pays you for your services. Don’t fall into the self-talk where you convince yourself to let him off the hook. Play it safe and cover your back. You deserve it. You are worth it!

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  79. My child’s high school Coach fits the profile of a narcassist. I’ve become good friends with his wife over the years, so it’s difficult to accept. We have observed all of the signs of his callus behavior through our child’s feedback and our own observations. He is a master at breaking down teamwork by pitting players against each other, criticizing players in front of their peers, while building up others whether it’s deserved or not, sabotaging games by making changes that create bigger losses and then ignoring it and refusing to make adjustments. It seems like he does this to frustrate parents in the audience even though it makes him look incompetent. His pattern has been to charm players parents when their children are incoming freshman and then slowly tear down their self esteem as they get older. He quickly disgards the parents of the older players and then he begins charming a new group of parents. He likes to tell new parents that the parents of the older players don’t like them in order to create division. It took us a while to recognize these things. When we have had issues to discuss with the Coach, he gets very offended and extremely angry. If I player trys to talk to him directly, that player can expect to be shun and criticized among their peers and lose play time. He mimics caring when it’s useful to him with certain parents, but most of the time he shows a complete lack of empathy for anyone. He also gossips viciously about players and their families. The challenge is that I have another child in the same sport who will have to attend this school and I have had a hard time figuring out how to manage the friendship with his wife. My husband thinks that I need to cut the tie because she is blind to his manipulations and she is constantly feeling that he is being treated unfairly by crazed parents. He thinks that we should try to find an alternative school for our younger child. I feel torn because I like his wife and I feel that she will be in need of real friends in the future when she finally comes to terms with the kind of person that she is married too. Is best to cut the friendship off and just let her think that we are just another couple of crazy parents? Our children have spent time together socially so this makes it akward, but we don’t want our younger child to experience the frustration and highs and lows that this narcassistic coach has caused.

  80. I was in a relationship with a guy I suspect had NPD. He was crazy about me in the early stages of the relationship and said ‘I love you’ over and over again. He kept making me tell him that I loved him too – found this really strange – my response, I will tell you when I’m ready!

    He was so charming and very funny. Extremely intelligent and well educated. And very handsome too.

    Not long after we started dating, he started catching up with an old ‘friend’. At first he caught up with her for coffee and over time it escalted dinners & the movies and parties. I was never invited. Slowly I started waking up and questioning him about the contact with this women. He ALWAYS insisted that she was only just a friend. We started having fights over this woman
    and he would assure me I had nothing to worry about!! We had planned an oerseas trip together and my gut instinct was NOT TO GO and get the hell out of the situation. All the while I thought that he would stop seeing her and we would be happy and together. While on holidays we fought terribly, from the first day. He mocked me and minimised anything I did or said. It was a nightmare holiday!!! He always belittled me with anything I said. I can remember a raging argument we had in the streets of San Fransisco over I book I once read. He rubbished the author and just wanted to be proven right.

    Well, we split up 5 days after we got back from 3 weeks overseas and he fell right into the other woman’s arms…openly declaring his love for her at another party days later for all to hear!

    This man lied and chated on me. He concealed his relationship with her, accused me of not being interested in him, despite me begging him to stop dating her – I actually gave him the choice to choose her if that is how he felt. LIES, LIES, LIES!

    I hated that he always made fun of me. If I stayed in the relationship much longer I would have killed myself – he just broke me down.

    Today, I feel really upset and hurt. And starngely, I still miss him.


  81. I’ve read all the posts and still a little confused over if I have been dating an N as you all seem to refer too.
    I my my boyfriend 2 years ago online – very well educated, I just got out of a 20 year marriage and went online and in walked Mr. right. He was everything I ever wanted fast and furious. We didn’t even meet for 7 months, but when we did it was love at first site. altho’, after that we didn’t see each other again for 7 more months. He has always been very mysterious. I hear from him now and then and he always talked about trust. It has been hard trusting him because he comes and goes so frequently, but he always has a great excuse as to where he is. He is a V.P. for a big company and I’m not use to someone with such a high position, so feel at times it is me acting childish asking more of him. I can tell that he is very insecure and I KNOW he had a horrible childhood. He has 3 children, which after 2 years I have never met, I had not pushed until Christmastime when I finally asked if he was hiding something. He said he felt we really needed to trust each other and when the time was right he would let me in. I’m so crazy in love with him that I overlooked all the little pieces of why and when and where, so finally pulled out the card and said I need to know what’s going on, why I can’t meet his kids, and if he didn’t feel I could fit in then maybe it was time to end the relationship. Now up until this time I was spending several nights at his house, been away with him, had a wonderful time so I figured our relationship was strong enough to be firm on what I was asking. Well, instead it back-fired and he threw me under the bus. Said I was being paranoid, stalkerish, pushing when he wasn’t ready and if I wanted to go then go. I did, thinking he would ask me back, and he hasn’t. I tried to write to him and he said it was my fault, I played a game and lost and to go away.
    Question is, I see this wonderful human being and feel like I am deserting him and know all the sadness inside his heart, but wow, from what I’m reading, is he someone I really want to get involved with and if so, is there really help for someone like him?

  82. Pam,

    At a bare minimum, this guy is hiding stuff. Get out! He is using you. He won’t disclose. Disclosure and honesty is the evidence of trust. He is not trustworthy. You have not mentioned if his is still married. If so, DANGER! Get away! If not, then why did his marriage fall apart. If this is serious in terms of future marriage, put a Private Investigator on him. He may have many women like you! This guy is not good for you the way he acts. Narcissist? Sure looks like it but if not, he’s a liar, hiding stuff.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  83. Dear Dr Sam,
    My wife and me have 2 beautiful children. She got pregnant very shortly after we met, and half a year after birth of our 1st son she would be pregnant again. I excused her behavior (which was incredible bad, selfish, childish, no friends, devoid of empathy, no remorse/ guilt/shame (towards me), twisting every word, always mad at me, scanning every word for insults and belittling, and simply inhuman and wayyyy to much to even pan out here) with pregnancy, then postpartum, the pregnancy, then postpartum again.
    Not only that she shows pretty much all of the NPD characteristics, I also show now the classical features of somebody who got served 1st class emotional abuse.
    Now, she had a bad child hood, biological father left, stepfather was psychologically and possibly physically abusive and also violent towards her mother. On the other hand, she had to take care about her siblings as a girl. That would explain where this disorder might come from.
    We have 2 kids, and although she behaves like somebody without any empathy, it appears she loves them, although, like a 5-year-old she would not see what she is actually doing to them by abusing the father right in front of them, by discarding our family. She takes care about their well being, and genuinely loves them (I think). Now, ironically, after I wanted her to finally make a decision in regard to us (she declared the marriage for over on a monthly basis) SHE wants to divorce me (I spent every single second in the last 2 ½ years at work or with our family, supported her in everything and every business she wanted to pull up).
    At last, I gave up on us as a family, particularly after I realized that I very well might be in the hand of an NPD abuser. Now it is about the children, and I would like to know: Can a Narcissist love her kids? Will she turn around them when they realize that she is just trying to be admired? Given her family history, what are the chances of therapy? What might be the time line for therapy? I am almost at the point to fight for full custody via court ordered psychological evaluation, but I am convinced that my children will need their mother. But will she be there? Now, the kids are 2y and 1/2y old. I am a bit of loss what to do.

  84. I have two questions:

    1. You are saying narcissists are made, not born: it is parents’ pampering or a psychic trauma that makes a narcissist. But it also can be the other way round, i.e. narcissism can be to a large extent inherited with the genetic makeup and the resulting biochemistry. Are there any twin studies for narcissism as for schizophrenia?

    2. In the same vein, concerning narcissists who have worse chances for recovery from a physical illness. There may well be a correlation between narcissism and the lack of recovery, and such correlation is quite probable, but correlation is not yet causation. Even if the correlation is there, the interpretation can run, for example, that people whose condition is worse are statistically more prone to self-pity and manipulation, while those who subconsciously feel on the road to recovery tend to be grateful and humble. What do you think?

  85. Linda,

    I am currently not aware of any proof that there is a genetic causation of narcissism.

    On your second question, I say you might be right but it is still a foggy area. I personally have seen extreme narcissists heal and become genuine and caring persons. It is very difficult and the person has to come to the realization that they are that way. Once they see their extreme narcissism and are broken by what it does to them and others then they are ready for healing and change.

    Hope this helped some.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  86. Thanks for this article! I have found it to be very informative. I have recently become good friends with a person who is now showing signs of extreme narcissism. I have found that this person is constantly bragging about himself…and much of it is blatant exaggeration. To sit and have a conversation with this person s becoming more and more difficult, mainly because I don’t get a chance to speak.
    Needless to say but I find myself feeling emotionally drained (exhausted) after this person leaves and I feel bad about this.
    I did find out a bit about his past though. He told me he was bounced around several foster homes when he was a child and that there was much abuse. Also, as you have mentioned in your article above, he really comes on strong with the “tough guy” persona.
    Anyway, I’ll wrap this up with saying that my friend has many likable characteristics and is a wonderful artistic mentor but I don’t quite know how to approach the issues with narcissism.



  87. I recently started dating someone with NPD. We were friends before we started dating, and I always used to joke about her having Narcissistic traits…. like looking at herself in the mirror for incredibly long periods of time. However, I had very little information at the time on what an “N” really was.

    I always knew she had other serious issues, as she would actually dress up as a completely different person or “persona” at random times. Her characteristics, speech, and attitude change along with her attire. She was diagnosed with bipolarity, but I now think this is incorrect. She uses these personas to attract the attention/lust of people or “narcissistic supply” that she needs at the time. It was almost as if she was shape shifting into the person she thought they desired. Then, when she got what she wanted out of them, they were discarded from her life like trash. Very few people see her without the personas or masks on.

    After doing some intense research, I am now almost certain that she has this disorder.

    She’s an addict (pill popper) and has reached a real slump in her life. Her friends (not that she had very many) have all left her because of her temperament and treatment of people. She is very depressed & has made it clear that she wants help. As a matter of fact, she wants me to go on a self-help cruise with various workshops this month. We fight a lot when we’re together as I don’t like to put up with her bull, and so I don’t know if this is a good idea…. or if I even want to date her any more…. a part of me see’s something good in her & a chance of improvement as she is intelligent and no longer content in living a miserable/isolated life. I would like to help her if she IS willing to help herself. Until I came across this article, I was ready to throw the towel in.

    Do you really think that if I confront her with this research in a safe environment and sincerely try to discuss the root of her problem, that there is a chance that she can be treated/cured? What would be the first step towards healing this disorder in your opinion? Any advice is appreciated.


  88. Alice said, “Do you really think that if I confront her with this research in a safe environment and sincerely try to discuss the root of her problem, that there is a chance that she can be treated/cured? What would be the first step towards healing this disorder in your opinion? Any advice is appreciated.”


    I would go ahead and gently confront this person. My opinion on the steps for a narcissist to heal would be something like this:

    1. Admit that I am not God, center of the universe.

    2. Admit that I am hurting inside and insecure, therefore I have issues and wounds that drive me to play image games.

    3. Admit that I am a manipulator of my image and of persons around me.

    4. Admit that I hurt those persons I use and manipulate. I create wounds in them.

    5. Get very competent help in the specific area of childhood traumas in the context of attachment issues.

    6. Make sure that this very competent source of help is skilled at dissolving the trauma symptoms at their inception point (memories). Tip off is years in practice and if the professional has advanced training status in Neurolinguistic Programming, EMDR, Emotional Freedom Technique, etc. There are many reframe modalilties like these but they all need to have the same model of treatment. That is, the model of treating the original trauma imprint event and the negative emotions, beliefs, phobias, etc., that came from it.

    Hope this helps.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  89. Dear Dr.

    Can a narcissistic husband be so self-absorbed that he really hears nothing even though he seems as though he is looking at you and listening? Also, my daughter will say that she is going to a party, granted he was in the room only the three of us, she was telling “US” about the party and said it twice. He turns around after this conversation and says “where is she going”? They now have learned not even bother to repeat things. This is how they grew up. We “all” would talk to him and he never hears a word, not unless of course the conversation has something in it that interests him. I always thought it was a memory problem, (50 yrs old) but I am convinced that he has no interest at all. He cannot understand that the kids don’t bother with him and act the way they do toward him. (wonder why). Another example, I hurt my finger at work and said “boy I smashed my finger bad today”, he looks at me and proceeds with a totally different topic never commenting at all about my finger. I told him that and he said “I nodded”. That is how 25 years of marriage conversation went, I talk and never get a response……why?
    Last question, our friend is a pediatrician, he has known us for 22 years. When I first learned of NPD I spoke to him on the side and he told me “I could have told you that a long time ago”, even though he is not able to make a true diagnosis per say, and does know about personality disorders (and also knowing him for so long he would see more than any therapist or specialist and sees him in the real world) would that diagnosis hold true?
    Thank you again for your time in helping me with my questions :)

  90. My husband was never diagnosed to have NPD however a friend of ours is a pediatrician. He told me when I first learned of this that he could have told me years ago that is what he has. Now if you take someone going to a therapist or specialist to see if this is true, wouldn’t someone who has known him for 25 years or so be able to make the same diagnosis because he seems him in the “real world” and what he is like compared to being in an office? In other words what I am trying to ask is my friends statement a valid one? I had asked him again recently and he said definitely!!!!! Everything is about him and all conversation go back to him etc. etc.
    Thank you for taking the time to answer my question, it is so greatly appreciated to have someone like yourself who takes time out of their own life to help us who are trying to understand and help ourselves. Thanks :)

  91. I stopped talking to someone because I felt they acted like this: http://www.lifescript.com/Soul/Self/Growth/How_To_Deal_With_Narcissistic_Behavior.aspx.

    I think it’s healthy to leave harmful relationships, but according to your explanation, it seems that I would be the narcissist because I distrust someone enough to never talk to them again? I’m confused by your definition of extreme narcissism, and I think it should be expanded to include why it’s important to separate ourselves from narcissists, in particular, those who have exhibited damaging & violent behavior. For me, limiting contact with someone or even shutting them out completely has helped me develop a healthier self-image & control of my life. I know my father was emotionally abusive, I have a few people in my close circle of friends, & I distrust certain people for good reasons, but does that make me a narcissist if I don’t try & be friends everyone I meet? Please explain.

    • In my personal experience, I am troubled when people are not careful to look at themselves with a sincere willingness to consider all the evidences of their behavior, based on the criteria, before deciding that they do not suffer the symptoms of a given illness. This is especially troubling when they themselves are regularly making such decisions about others. Eliminating ourselves based on the evidence of having good boundaries does not exclude the potential of having the illness. Regarding the evidences of our behavior, if we do suffer this illness, how would we know? Unless we were willing to follow the “if the shoe fits, I’ll wear it” principle, then we might be open and honest enough with ourselves to humbly learn and accept the possibility of such an illness. If we do suffer from extreme narcissism, then we might not even be able to consider the other evidences on our own, as well as not accept the input or constructive criticism of others who might be in a better place than us to see such evidences.

      And if other’s input or constructive criticisms are rejected, then again it might serve us to consider why we are rejecting this input, as a narcissist will not be open, honest or vulnerable in this situation because of their being terribly wounded in the past. Do we feel people are unsafe who point out our deficiencies? Are these the very people we claim are abusive or violent, and could it be that our rejection of any type of scrutiny is upsetting these people who love us and want intimacy with us so much that their behavior might be misconscrued as violent? If this is a recurring pattern, and we believe, based on our own perceptions, that no one is smart enough or safe enough, then what would that tell us? If we have a reason for rejecting each and every criticsm, do these rejections of others fit other characterizations of the extreme narcissist, such as grandiosity, or always changing the topic around so that the one criticizing is now the one with the problem?

      I believe this last point, changing the topic, to be the most difficult symptom, because it is so easy to see other’s faults, symptoms, etc, and not desire or flatly dismiss their input. If we dismiss other’s input as colored, believing that they are unable to perceive correctly because of the problems we see in their own life, then personally I believe we all are sunk. No one’s advice, input, perception, or criticism will ever past muster, as we all have something wrong about us (except for the extreme narcissist, who is above it all), and our preoccupation with other’s issues and our propensity to dismiss our own behaviors, (despite their being so patently obvious and symptomatic to even the layman), will insulate us from taking the hard but needed look at ourselves.

  92. Suz,

    I would not say you are a narcissist. With what you explained, I would consider you a former victim of an extreme narcissist and you are now trying to protect yourself in the only way you know, which is to distrust. If you you have a good boundary system/algorithm that response would be a healthy one. If you have a not so effective one, then that response might be similar to moving to a fort where now you cannot trust anyone because you have been victimized, abused, and feel deep anger.

    Hope this helps.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  93. Dr. Lopez DeVictoria:
    I have made a “friend” who I think I have realized is a Narcissist. I began reading about narcissism when he burned me the first time in order to overcome the pain I was feeling. He is nine years older (57) and was a cocaine addict for 30+ years. I knew he was a risk to say the least. I have done fairly well in setting boundaries and have left it a friendship since the writing is on the wall–the more I read, the more I realize this. But I have to admit, I adore him, care for him–and want to be his friend–still. He is fun, funny, charming, kind–but a cut throat when it comes to women.
    Two years ago, he had a growth on his heart, had by-pass surgery (which I sure the drug abuse escalated the problems). Just after surgery he suffered three strokes. He’s spent two years recuperating. I met him about nine months ago. Can you imagine how hard this is for a narcissist? He has been successful in his career (type of engineering). And, a PLAYER… Married three times and divorced (imagine that!). He is also cancer survivor (one testicle removed).
    So, here is the charming, fun, funny, sexy NARCISSIST who I’ve become friends with. His health conditions have limited him, yet, here he has this second chance at life. He’s no longer using cocaine, exercises regularly (did NOT before). He’s a big man, 6′, 265 lbs. Adorable. Trying his best–but still that cut-throat narcissist!!!
    Everytime we have had a date (I’ve dated probably about eight times in the last nine months) he has (somehow, someway–it seems almost out of necessity) another “date” with another woman set up. One woman (who he swears he doesn’t have sexual relations with) seems to be at his house. She is VERY needy. She has MS and can no longer drive. In my opinion, I know this sounds selfish–but she seems just plain lecherous. She looks pretty road-hard to say the least. It’s almost their friends becauses misery loves company. Each time I’ve planned a date with him, she has called and required something of him. BLAGH!!!
    If it’s not her, then there was the time we spent a weekend together. He flew to Seattle, only for me to find out on my friend’s Facebook that he had dinner with an “ol’ high school friend.”
    It’s his lack of honestly. His illusivness and aloofness that I just can’t stand. I realize that with the life-threatening illness and experiences that it might make one hesitant about relationships. ButI KNOW that he has like this before his illness–from other friends of his I’ve met. He was a work-aholic and a coke-addict. I think was really confirmed that he’s a Narcissist is Facebook. That creation is PERFECT for Narcissist people who feel compelled to toot their own horn. He’s on Facebook fabricating how exciting and successful his life is (he hasn’t worked in two-years, okay). I can see he’s trying with all his might to get back on his feet–but it’s hard when you’re a Narcissist with the life-threatening events that have occurred.
    I don’t want to give up on him, but I’m tired of his burns. He acts so INNOCENT when I’ve gently approached him about some of these incidents (which seems to be a Narcissist’s forte). He’s almost comical now–except it still burns and stings when I know he’s lying.
    Anyhow this last time, I really hurt his feelings. I mentioned how I’d like to go help clean animals on the Gulf Coast due to the oil spill. He emailed me with a joke and asked if he could go with me. My reply was, “What? And leave Lisa (his friend with MS) behind? Or is she just part of your package? Wherever you go, she goes? Whoo Hoo! Uhmmm, no thanks.” Wow! Talk about angry! Sorry, but I think it was a great and appropriate comeback for a Narcissist. I sort of caught him off-guard. I’ve done this before, and after awhile, I hear from him again. It takes about a month. I hope next time, however, that I have the strength to tell him “I’M BUSY!!!” In my heart, I want to stop, drop, and run to him. I care for him. I LOVE taking care of him and pampering him. I love talking to him and laughing with him. But I do see what he is. Yet, at the same time, this bigger than life guy is so fragile. He’s suffered from two-bouts of pneumonia in the last seventh months or so. Has various complications once-in-awhile. What tested for cancer awhile back. Getting on in years is hard for all of us–but especially for a Narcissist. One thing I’ve noticed is his depression. He sleeps a lot. The last time I saw him (last weekend) he wasn’t feeling well and talking he needs to go “load the gun…”. So, yes, I’m worried. But, one reason I left earlier than I wanted to last weekend is his friend with MS was calling as I left so he could go give her a ride somewhere. So, in my email I replied that he wants her, he can have her and to just leave me alone. I care, but I can’t care. That’s what it means to love a narcissist. My life will and must go on.

  94. Sage,

    Run for the hills! Look inside to see what this man gives you that you are trying to fill. If you stay with him, you are asking for PAIN!… and deserve it. If you have been physically intimate with him, then that explains why you can’t let go in part. You have a psyche-connection that ratchets up your attraction/interest…”addiction” to him. Move on! He is not healthy and, by the way you describe him, he IS an extreme narcissist. He uses you like a toy while lying to the world (Facebook). Heal your deficits and then date unselfish and emotionally mature/healthy guys.

    Hope this helps.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  95. Hello Dr. Samuel!

    I should admit your article made me worried if you were yourself a Narcissit! Projecting the disorder on to those around you!

    But as I continued reading I have come to realize you are amazingly insightful, very professional, caring and just wonderful.


  96. Dr. Samuel forgive my spelling mistake!

    Dear kaypet I’d suggest you consult the heart prior to consulting any books, then and only then you could heal. And although you may have good intentions yet I’d suspect I’d chose you as a therapist. Everyone can change and heal, EVEN YOU <3

  97. ….The brain has plasticity…


  98. Dr. Samuel,
    Thank u so much for putting out this information. This describes my son-in-law perfectly. Even the article on the Crying Narcissist. Now, I know why it has been so difficult to maintain a relationship with my daughter and grandkids. This is so painful. I have tried for 11 years. I am Christian, and he is a Narcissistic Christian, which is even more difficult to deal with, because narcissism flies in the very face of what a Christian is supposed to be.

    I have witnessed violent abusive behaviour toward my daughter and he applies it toward me too. The problem we have is, I won’t accept his behaviour or be manipulated by it. So, he uses my daughter against me. I love her and my grandkids with all my heart, but I felt I had no choice then to move half a world away.

    I now live in Australia, and try to keep contact with her, along with other friends and family through Facebook. I sent her a webcam Christmas before last, and she never got to use it because he took it away from her. She gets into trouble with him if she talks to me in Facebook, on the phone, or any other kind of communication. He threatens me in private messages, while in public on Facebook, he puts up a front of how much he loves me. (while the venom still drips from his lips)

    The church doesn’t seem to want to be active against Domestic Violence and it saddens me greatly. So, I see religious and spiritual abuse also being used against my daughter. (Twisting of scriptures, picking and choosing which ones to accept and which ones to neglect, instilling the martyr complex,etc.)

    As for the martyr complex, that is supposed to be for the sake of the gospel, not for another man’s sickness.

    I need to know how to handle this. Everything I say to him, he twists it, is highly critical of anything I say, and he is constantly angry, distrustful, and believes that I have an ulterior motive behind anything I do. I feel that trying to stay in my daughter’s life makes it more difficult for her, and it’s so hard to let her go. It hurts, it really hurts. But, I can’t allow him to abuse me any more.

  99. I honestly have a loss of words. I want all of you to know what your comments mean to me. I feel like a cloud has been lifted from my life. Narcissism is in my opinion not as well know as it should be. Many people suffer from narcissistic disorder and cause emotional pain to others. I visited a Grandmother for years that had the prom picture of her grandson (my first cousin who raped me) on a special table in her diningroom. I will not go into detail on my narcissistic relationships with others in my life but I will say that it has been a balancing act. To keep what I thought were loving relationships I have alternated between my husband, grandmother, mother, step-father and aunt. It is nice to know they are narcissists and really don’t care about me. I no longer hope for any of them to love me and at the same time know that I can be loved. So I will heal and wait. In the meantime, I think I will learn spanish, french and mandarin. I was a child when I was exposed to all three languages and think it is time I invested more into myself. I have planted a new seed,thank you Dr. Lopez De Victoria for the water, time to get some sun and grow.

  100. Dr. Sam,

    I had similar thoughts as Sophia. Everytime I read your articles, I have wondered if you are a recovered narcissist? Am very curious. My former boyfriend fits the narcissist description to a T and I find your insight to be remarkable….maybe a bit too remarkable.

  101. My ex N lied in court that I was harassing him for years. He did so to get a false Violence Restraining Order. Why? Because I found out he was in a marriage he had DELIBERATELY concealed from me that looks a lot like an arranged marriage (Immigration Fraud); and confronted him (and his spouse)about the suffering caused to me by both deceits. He could hide the truth as we used to date but now live in different states (long-distance relationship). He is now delaying the court proceedings I have pursued to have his false VRO cancelled and expose his perjury in court. Am I wrong to want him held legally and MORALLY accountable and be punished for his PERJURY? Isn’t Tough Love the only way forward when an N will even commit perjury to trash someone who SINCERELY loves them and only ever tried to help them with their trauma? What are the chances the exposure of his perjury will crush him enough that he will reach for help (he has never had counselling in his entire life though he recently agreed to me he would. He’s a 51 year ex-soldier (Rhodesian Bush War) who I know was beaten and abused by his aggressive controlling father as a child in the patriarchal former Rhodesia during the Rhodesian Bush War. Maybe he even became a soldier to “prove” to no avail to his father that he was a “real man” because there seems nothing honourable or soldierly about the N with the stream of pathological lies that have continued over the years I’ve known him. And yet yes I too see the suffering and I see the trapped True Self and THAT’S the part I’m attached to. I don’t like suffering like this and don’t want to. I want healing for us both if that CAN BE! Any good advice on how to SUPPORT HIM BUT NOT ENABLE HIM WHILE ALSO GETTING JUSTICE FOR ME (which is extremely important to me as a Law student and person of principle and survivor of previous serious legal injustice by my father)GREATLY APPRECIATED. I have offered mediation to him to try to get an apology but I feel he is TOO SCARED I WILL USE THIS IN COURT, which I wont. He trusts NO-ONE and is so far gone as a result. How can the True Self that is there be REACHED in this SPECIFIC COURT situation that is likely the ONLY narcissistic crisis he has ever faced that has blown his cover and shredded his facade, and that actually gives him the CHANCE to heal by hitting the ROCK BOTTOM of his false persona? In the sense that we like all people who have childhood trauma “connected on the level of woundedness” (in order to learn to heal), isn’t this kind of crisis EXACTLY what is needed to make or break this relationship as one that CAN be changed to one of integrity or one (having tried everything to make healthy for both) must be let go? He even uses a proxy to try to communicate with me on Skype (while denying knowing this person)as he is too paranoid to show himself after obtaining the false VRO, but of course does not follow through with this communication or with the desired mediation I have asked for etc.

  102. After a relationship lasting almost 20 years, I finally walked away from the narcissist in my life. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done but the realization that he doesn’t love me and has never loved me finally hit. I was duped into believing that I truly mattered to him but I didn’t matter at all. I’m on the road to healing but honestly, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to trust another person with my heart. I don’t think I want to even try.

  103. VOS,

    I read your situation. You are TOO NICE!

    You have done the right thing. He has deceived you and also broken the law. He has had plenty of chances to redeem himself. He has made his totally voluntary and self-directed choices. He must live with his choices. You can not and must not “save” him. Otherwise you will go down in flames also and self-destruct because of naivety. Being nice but naive will not save a person necessarily. They can be duped and suffer the consequences of controllers and manipulators also.

    You can do much better.

    Save yourself! RUN!

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  104. Thank You Dr Sam for someone AT LAST seeing me as TOO NICE ha ha and telling me HE has BROKEN THE LAW so I have done the RIGHT THING rather than blame me. Thank you SO MUCH. Cheers.

  105. I have a beautiful daughter whom I ostensibly ‘lost’ when she was age 3. Following a breakdown in my marriage with her father he told her that I did not love her and was going to leave her, taking her six month old sister with me to live with my new lover. He told her that from now on she and him would only have each other and would have to stick together. I did not know that her father had said these things until my daughter told me several years later but I had noticed an almost ‘overnight’ shift in her behaviour at the time, which transformed her from an outgoing, gregarious, loving, happy little girl into a subdued, unaffectionate, dispirited one. At the time I assumed it was down to sibling rivalry following the birth of her sister, but in fact my relationship with my gorgeous girl had been badly affected irreparably e.g. throughout childhood, whenever I went to hug her or comfort her she physically resisted my love. Time passed, I divorced her dad and married my lover and naively thought that I could repair the damage through uncompromising honesty, constancy, love and nurture. I was determined to provide the proof I thought my daughter needed to heal. I was unsuccessful. In her teens a pattern of emotionally disconnected and alienating behaviour emerged that has not only caused her pain and isolation from all her other family members but seems geared to my total annihilation. I believe she is suffering from extreme narcissist personality disorder. She is now 33 and the situation has worsened since her engagement and recent marriage to a man who exhibits an even more exaggerated form of this condition. Her latest comment to me following my suggestion that they removed an insulting remark about her sister’s boyfriend on Facebook reads “You are wrong. So wrong. And so intent on destroying your family. Please stop referring to my early childhood. My problems started when I became a teenager, a woman and became my own person. Clearly you hate that, and hate me. I am not interested in Relate…I was…but not now. I intend to delete you off facebook because you turn something which is meant to be fun into something bitter and nasty. I will turn my energies now into building my relationship with Sarah if you haven’t already soured it beyond repair.” You can see that I have previously suggested family counselling with Relate but when her sister pre-arranged our first session in agreement with her sister last week, we turned up but she failed to show. What is the best thing for me to do now? I do not want to abandon my daughter but she obviously does me! Do you think that I should confront her with what I think her problem is or should I wait for her to ‘hit the wall’ in the inevitable power struggle I think is likely to ensue with her new husband?

  106. Dr Sam,

    Is it possible that my husband could have become a narcissist in mid-life?

    He lost his job, had two deaths in his immediate family and a few other horrible and unfortunate experiences in a very short amount of time. Then I found out he had been hiding a huge amount of debt from me (we ended up declaring bankruptcy) and I confronted him about it which caused a lot of marital problems.

    We fought a lot, went to counseling, and eventually made up or so I thought. And now 3 months later we are back at it and this time it is worse than ever before!

    It is like he woke up one day and thinks of me as his enemy. He can’t stand anything about me. He constantly criticizes and belittles me. He is a different man than the one I married.

    I am so heartbroken in the realization that he has all the characteristics of NPD. And he projects all of his issues on me. For instance I am the liar and can’t be trusted with money??? He even told my sister he thinks that I am a narcissist. He distorts reality, manipulates everything I say. The saddest part is that he is completely emotionless about all of this, as if he could care less if our marriage works or not.

    Any advice or insight you can offer would be so appreciated. We have two little kids and I want to make my marriage work if at all possible.


  107. Ashley,

    It is difficult to answer your question without actually being in front of you and him.

    Here is what might be going on in terms of scenarios:

    Scenario 1:
    He did a 180 degree turn into extreme narcissism as a result of his losses or something related.

    Scenario 2:
    He has always been an extreme narcissist or close to it but you have been blind to the signs.

    Scenario 3: You both have extreme narcissism and you are doing what you claim he is doing to you.

    I lean towards Scenario 2. He has always had his high narcissism and maybe it was not “super-high” before but borderline into the very high levels. He decided to take the plunge into greater selfishness.

    He, in my opinion, could be a master-actor playing the charm game well and looking good to everyone. His cover was blown with the financial losses. He looked like a fool and irresponsible, which is like death to an extreme narcissist because it taints his image of success and propriety before others.

    In him turning the tables on you he is trying to take the light off himself and shift the blame to you. That is typical game for an extreme narcissist.

    I would make him come clean on all finances with people, places, etc. connected to it. Find out his motives. Are these expenditures related to another woman or women would be another angle he would have to come clean. I would investigate his calls, text messages, and emails if he is to come clean. He has to give you his passwords and not delete anything. This way he can regain his credibility, if he ever had any. You can decide if you think the marriage is worth saving.

    I would require him to go to counseling with you to a counselor/therapist that you both would approve of that is competent, especially in marriage and narcissism.

    Hope this helps, Ashley.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

    I hope this helped.

  108. Susan,

    Though your post was long, I read it. :)

    My opinion? You have done a lot. You keep on getting trashed and attacked. Keep your self-respect and dignity. Stop helping her at this point. Let her hit any wall that awaits her… and there will be at least one or more coming. Let her come to you with humility.

    It may never happen. You must surrender that. She is not your property. She is an adult. It is what it is. Give her over to your Creator and you go and have a wonderful life. Stop feeling guilty. Celebrate the love you have and the child that is with you. Move on! Leave it in God’s hands at this point!

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  109. loved your post

  110. Thank you, Cool!

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  111. Dear Dr Sam,
    Thank you for your kindly advice. I know I may never see or hear from my daughter again and I am now at peace with that. With much love and gratitude for your insight and understanding. Susan

  112. Dear Dr Sam,

    Thank you so much. I am taking your advice, we have an appointment with a counselor this week.

    I suspect you are right and I have been blinded by love. I was so desperately hoping that maybe something else, like depression, can masquerade as npd.

    Maybe I am wrong, but I always thought that narcissists can not really love anyone?? Including their children? That thought scares me to death.

    Are narcissists capable of having a good marriage?

    Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions. It is so awesome that you do that!!


  113. Ashley,

    Extreme narcissists, in my personal opinion, can love others but that comes at the cost of them giving up their worship of self/ego. They have to stop being God in their own minds. You see, if they retain their “deity” they demand everyone around them to worship them and conform to their whims. That is mutually exclusive of what is required in a marriage or real love for another person… giving up your own will for the good of the other person.

    For a narcissist to give up their extreme ego they have to be gripped with sufficient enlightenment of the blackness of their own self-centeredness and how it tremendously hurts others. Sometimes it takes great amounts of pain for a narcissist to finally crash and see the light. That crash is the best thing because it shows him/her the door to true joy and wholeness.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  114. Tell me this, when I have had too much to drink I often start to talk about myself on the 3rd person. I never do it when i am sober.
    My new boyfriend finds this behaviour scary and can’t understand it.
    People tell me what I have been saying whilst I am drunk and it sound so weired..”sarah was sat in work the other day and….” , “sarah found it funny when….”
    It’s slowly getting worse and cacn somebody tell me why this is.

  115. Hi Dr. Sam, I decided to try to find something that can help me find what is going on with my boyfriend…. I was single for 3 yrs because I wanted to be careful with the next relationship.

    Now I met my boyfriend and he is the most amazing man I have ever met, BUT it seems that lately I find my self crying alone more and more, I read yor article and it seems that quite a few things look like they are part of his trait lately, dont know if maybe he kept it hidden… He feels that only he knows the correct answer, he tells me what I feel and nothing I say he believes, I hurt constantly because he says that he is afraid of love. but that he has fallen for me and it scares him, he showed me a sweet loving side and immediately after that he shut down and its like he looks for an excuse for the reasons he cant get close , but yet we are now living together.. I love him and would like to help him but if he does have that disorder I am not willing to break myself down for him… What can I do to make him see that he may have a problem and that it is affecting me who he claims that he loves…

  116. Hi Dr. Sam.
    I am starting to wonder if my husband is a narcissist. I don’t want to label him, but if I could figure out how to communicate with him. The prospect of spending the rest of my life with this person is daunting. We have young children and I do not feel that divorce is an option – it would devastate the kids. I am looking for any advice to make my situation bearable. Any suggested reading would be helpful. Here is a brief profile.
    He is very charming and well-liked at work.
    At home he is distant and pre-occupied – even with the kids. He does participate in things that I arrange, but never initiates anything.
    He is obsessed with his appearance – physique, hair, clothing, etc. He becomes quite agitated if any of those things are out of order.
    He is preoccupied if I attempt a conversation with him. Either he blatantly does not listen, or frequently interrupts. I have learned not to say too much at all.
    When he does initiate a conversation, it is either an anecdote about his work, his fitness routine (complete with a demonstration of the exercise), or a litany of complaints about his ailments (for which he sees a number of doctors frequently).
    He has a special diet – designed by his personal nutritionist. Yet he constantly brings home junk food and sugary treats – only to tell the kids they are getting fat! Of course, I am then the bad guy for asking them to limit their intake – and he is angry with me for mentioning that he does not want the kids to eat this stuff.
    He admittedly does not like to make decisions – big or small. I am forced to make all decisions – the responsibility of which I do not take lightly and end up researching things obsessively – or putting things off completely. Whenever I do make a decision, he is rarely comfortable with it and will second-guess the decision, or tell me I made the wrong choice – whining about what should or should not have happened. I have limited my important conversations with him to email – as it is a venue where we actually get along.
    Also he has not one friend outside work – never has. He expects me to meet women who have husbands who are compatible with him – which they are mostly not. He dislikes my friends husbands, and is resentful when I spend time with my friends. As a result, I end up staying home more often than not, and have dropped out of some groups of friends. He says his big dream is to have friends to hang out with -yet he harshly judges everyone he meets. Or, if they are really nice and pass his inspection, he says WE are not good enough, our house is not big enough, etc.
    So at this point I am feeling like a hamster in a wheel. I want to to something positive because I am sure at some point the kids will get old enough to understand and be affected too. I am past hoping for love and romance and all that stuff. I just need help finding some harmony. When he is angry with me (which is often) I then think maybe he is right, and try to analyze what I did wrong, and how I should fix it (I usually buy him something which seems to make him happy for 10 minutes).
    Thank you so much for reading this, any suggestions would be much appreciated.

  117. I am 38 years old and my brother is 42. Just this weekend I realized with certainty that my brother is a narcissist. His sense of entitlement is pathological. I can not reason with him in any way about his distorted ideas of what he thinks he deserves from people. Because he does not realize that he needs to consider what other people want to give him, he has suffered disappointment after disappointment and never accepts any responsibility for it. I can not believe that I did not notice his entire lack of interest in my emotions until recently. There has always been an awkwardness between us, but I never understood that he has a serious inability to empathize. As a teen I thought there was something “wrong with him” and did not want to include him in my life, and now I understand that it was because he had no respect for my boundaries. He does not see that there are boundaries-he not does “get” them. I felt guilty about pushing him away, but now know that it was totally reasonable. I am very sad knowing that he has had little or no genuine compassion for or interest in me our entire lives. It all makes so much sense now. He seemed interested in my female friends, but he was bizarrely interested in getting close to certain people and was really quite innapropriate at times.

    As we got older, I have become an incredible ear for him for the last ten years of our lives-comforting him, listening to him, and counseling him on all of his incessant complaints. We have been closer in these last 10 years than in years past, but now I realize that we are not truly close. We only have a relationship because I am there for him, and I think the guilt I had about not being a better sister to him allowed me to blindly continue being the person from whom he received approval. That is not closeness, that is me serving his needs! That is all that it is. I guess it is better to know that it has been happening for our whole lives than to continue to live in denial. His need for approval in regards to success and power (as delusional as it is) is insatiable.

    He has had a terrible explosion of horrible disappointment a few years ago-due entirely to his narcissism and sense of entitlement-and he has become angry and irrational and an aggressive blamer in dangerous proportions. I am truly exhausted and can no longer tolerate it. He has done a lot of things to several people (including myself) that have been extremely out-of-line due to his inability to care about other people’s feelings. I always thought it was weird that he never asked about me or my son, which is what made me look into the whole idea of narcissism. God, he needs a lot of help and has been recommended to get help by a handful of people. He has received poor and minimal psychiatric care and is worse than ever.

    I have 2 major questions about dealing with this:

    One: Do I write him a letter that is entirely honest and be willing to walk away from my brother? I truly do not want to talk to him or see him for awhile. His unstoppable selfish behavior is repulsive to me and highly disappointing.

    Two: What happens to adult narcissists? Do they die alone? Do they blame everyone for everything until they die? Do they just bounce to another person that comforts their fragile egos? I cant imagine that it is a good life. I know that he had some very tragic experiences in childhood. I know that he deserves love, and I care about him deeply. I want him to be happy, but I just have too many good and healthy people around me to spend time with a narcissist, even if he is my brother. What a vicious cycle of disappointment narcissists must live.

  118. Confused,

    Be careful. I’ve seen many ladies attract charming and good-looking guys who are extreme narcissists. Eventually they do get very hurt. I would say to have extreme caution. You have gone already pretty far in giving him your heart and living with him. I fear for you some that you are trying to “save him.” I know this would be hard but I would back off and put the whole relationship on hold until you see long-term change and him giving up those areas where you see his extreme selfishness. If he does not change and is consistent, take your heart back and put him out of your life. There are good guys out there. Why torture yourself.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  119. Fallgurl,

    He certainly has extreme narcissistic traits. You and your children have suffered enough with his selfishness and harshness. I would seriously consider a separation where you keep the kids and he leaves for months. He can visit but he has got to get professional help. If he does all those things, insist that you have to go to the first session of his therapist to give your side. And then watch what he does or does not do. Then you decide your future. Hope this helps a little.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

  120. To Now What?

    You have done enough. A famous Teacher said, “Don’t cast our pearls to the swines.” Swines/Pigs cannot appreciate the value and sacrifice that a person had in obtaining those pearls. They cannot appreciate valuable things. They will waste it. It will go into a Black Hole. You are irresponsible if you keep on giving your valuable pearls to anyone, including your brother.
    Move on. He must earn respect and trust. You have rescued him way too many times and given him mercy/grace/help over and over to your hurt and cost.

    I would not share any more with him. I would just politely distance yourself from him. If he has a temper tantrum then too bad. You are done with him. He must do many somersaults and acts of contrition that span a long time to win you back. Do you lose your self-respect by letting him walk over you. Do not grovel for his selfish love. Enough is enough. Let God deal with him, not you. You are not God. You get wasted and trashed. Stop it! Move on and enjoy wholeness and happiness.

    Samuel Lopez De Victoria, Ph.D.

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