How Do You Recover from Dating a Narcissist?Have you ever felt distraught or found it hard to move on after dating someone who was self-centered? If so, your partner might have been a narcissist, or a person with narcissistic tendencies.

A narcissist is arrogant and expects special treatment — whether or not he or she does things to warrant it. If you’re wondering whether your partner could have been a narcissist, it helps to know these basic traits. In this article, you will learn how to regain your confidence and put your life back on track after dating a narcissist or someone with these tendencies.

34 Comments to
How Do You Recover from Dating a Narcissist?

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  1. Wonderful article. Very honest and insightful thoughts about a tough topic. Great points accomplished with a positive and motivational tone. Having “been there, done that” I’d say this article is spot on. And, if there is any advice I could second the motion on – it is – if you are dating anyone remotely resembling an narcissist simply get out now. A relationship with a narcisist will always be unhealthy and one-sided. Trust and be good to yourself . . . and move on to a healthier, balanced partnership.

    • I am trying so hard to get away from him…..he stalks me everywhere, braks into my house’ follows me out of town. I can’t even get on fb without him knowing what time I was on….I am not allowed to talk to men, go to the gym.
      I am a strong woman with my own business and home and its so humiliating that is can get him out of my life. My minister said its a worse addiction then drugs and alcohol , he was correct!
      Help!!!!

      • JUST GET AWAY! These people come in both male and female forms and are the most debilitating, emotionally destructive people on the planet. Mine wasn’t as bad as some. The best thing to do is get as far away as possible. Call the police if you have to and make absolutely sure you document everything. Take pictures if you have to. Some will just go away once they’ve ben figured out. Some will stick around no matter what. I was lucky, mine disappeared. My brother wasn’t so lucky and now he’s dead. GET AWAY! Best of luck to you!

  2. FANTASTIC ARTICLE! I dated a woman who I believe was at minimum a narcissist and possibly had some other disorders but as some of the therapists said, you (or they) can’t diagnose what or whom they haven’t spoken to.
    We broke up four months ago after dating for 2 1/2 years. She fits all of the categories of being NPD and possibly histrionic based on my obsessive reading on the subject with eight books over the last four months trying to figure out what in the hell just happened to me. Living with her or as I’ve come to find out anyone who comes across these people, man or woman, will make you think you are insane and will drive you insane. Before dating her I was pretty confident and moderately successful. Since being involved with her, my confidence has been shot, my relationship with my son (who she amazingly effectively got rid of and made me dislike) has fallen apart and I am rebuilding it and my finances have become much worse. I have heard and read that these people are emotional vampires and I believe it. Most therapists don’t really understand the affect these people have on their victim and even the victim doesn’t usually understand until it is well past being to late. I have moved on but the “ghosts” of this relationship still haunt me to this day. Your article is dead center correct with regard to the situation and the need to heal and move on. The mirroring and taking on the Narcissistic traits by the victim is right on. For a short article this really nails it. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!

  3. Two books I read that were amazingly helpful:
    The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists
    codependent No More, by Melanie Beatty

  4. I am a heterosexual female, who became attracted to a lesbian. I pursued her, and eventually we began to see each other. She had just gotten out of a relationship. She told me in every way that I wasn’t her type. While it hurt me. I still had hope that she would see past the physical. She did, but over a year and a half, I was criticized from everything to the top of my head to the bottoms of my feet. Nothing was good enough. As a person that had always had doubts about herself. I really never thought I was pretty enough and having someone constantly tell me almost everyday that there was something wrong with my clothes, hair…everything. Never received a compliment, except for she liked my pedicure/manicure. She was ashamed to put a picture of us together on Facebook because her friends would ask her what she was doing with me. We stayed together, but a year in, I was told I was only a friend. I didn’t know. I thought we had been in a relationship all this time. She eventually started dating someone else. All the time keeping me in reserve if it didn’t work out. She made it seem that she was giving us another chance, but in reality she was meeting other people. Finally she told me she never lied to me. Basically I knew what she liked and I wasn’t it. All the hurt she had when her girlfriend broke up with her, I loved it away. Supported her in everything she wanted to do, and all I have to show for it, is days of loneliness and hurt. Bad feelings and regret. I’m currently beginning to see a therapist. I have the worst self-esteem issues right now. Very bad. I never felt this way before. Never had anyone make me feel as if I wasn’t enough, or there was something wrong with me as a person. As a woman.

  5. Very good article and very good advice! If you are in such relationship get OUT as soon as you can! And let go and let go of everything that reminds you of that person! It is not easy and it’s taken me over 6 months to move on and get rid of those “reminders”. In my experience do not keep them on your social media friends, delete and block! Also has taken me 6 months to remove all this. Letting go is hard and I’m in the final stages now of truly moving on. I have a few pesky items that will go in the trash tonight..
    Make sure you do things for you and that are good and healthy! At the end of the day we are the ones ourselves who we need to look after. Also we must not fear meeting someone else as not everyone in the world is Narcissistic or have narcissistic tendencies. We can learn and become stronger and know the warning signs to if we ever meet such people again to run a mile in the other direction.

  6. This article was spot on of my experience in so many ways except that after repeatedly wooing me and then discarding me, over and over and over, I ashamedly was always the one who went back begging him to give me/us another chance because I was so in love with him and sure that we were meant to be together (or so I thought). After being abused for so long I finally lost it and tried to take revenge by exposing his truth to his family but it backfired because he ended up calling me crazy and unhealthy and instituted no contact “forever” himself. We have been NC for 7 weeks now and I no longer miss him but I am SO angry and feel SO much injustice that I am suffering and he gets to walk away unscathed and with no punishment. Plus I feel ashamed and angry at myself for staying so long, going back and permitting him to treat me as he did, and behaving as I did. I do take responsibility for my actions but I also know that he provoked me so hate that this 4 year nightmare ended with him coming out on top as the one who rejected me, instituted no contact, and called me the unhealthy one. How do I let go of wanting him to be punished plus move on with my head held high when I too acted poorly?

    • Read “Gas light Effect”
      There is a 1934 movie by tg e title ” Gaslight”.

      The book clarifies the psychic warfare waged by a narcissist. Excellent depiction & analysis including how to extract one’s damaged sense of self.

  7. One more thing …I actually saw the red flags early on and did not just ignore them but I actually confronted him on every one of them BUT I then either believed his lies, let him punish me for challenging him, or begged him to love me despite how horribly he was treating me. Why? I did call him out and sometimes even walked away but he never followed me or begged me to come back so I was not strong enough to stay away. Who is this person that I became and how do I forgive myself for abandoning myself as I did?

  8. Great article but painful for me to read. I was dumped recently by a girl who I suspect was at least partially narcissistic, just when the relationship seemed at its best. She had told me she wanted to spend the rest of her life with me and I had planned to propose to her next month. She had not been the easiest person to go out with, very tempermental, moody and selfish at times but she did apologise and thanked me repeatedly for putting up with her. I didnt mind as I knew she was going through a rocky time with her career and family relations, specifically with cutting one family member out completely. I understood and was always there for to listen and give positive advice, to cheer her up by getting her presents, bringing her on romantic holidays, buying her new clothes when she was broke, and complementing her work as she was very career driven. I sacrificed time with family and friends for her becauase I felt for the hard time she waa going through. And when she was in good form she was great, our time together was amazing. She even helped motivate me with my career. And in truth she flattered my ego telling me repeatedly how amazing I was. But then she started to put me down, saying I had a drink problem when I only ever drank a few with friends every couple of weeks or a glass of wine with dinner.I cut it out altogether for her, but then she accussed me of drinking behind her back and out of nowhere that I was still in love with my ex-girlfriend. I was going through a stressful time at work, we had a small fight, and she dumped me three days after I had cancelled an important work appointment to rush to her because she was really low after a fight with her friends. She said I was co-dependant, an emotional mess, possibly narcissistic and that I was emotional vampire. That I had been the one dragging her down for months not her career or family. And I was an emotional mess at this point because everything had seemed so good a few days before, I personally was the happiest id ever been and she seemed so happy at the idea of us getting a new place together and starting a new life together. Then it seemed just when I was a little low after all the support I had given her I was dumped. She cut off contact for a whole month and then started messaging me again and it was nice friendly contact, we were laughing joking and being intimate about our thoughts again. Then she rang me and told me she had done a lot of thinking and that it wasnt going to work,because there was never room for her it was all about me, that she had sacrificed her career and her life to help me, the relationship had meant nothing, she wished had never met and she didnt want to speak to me again. She said it had been her job to make me feel good about myself and now her job was over. Now im reeling from this. I had given everything I possibly could to this woman because I truly felt she was the one. I had never ever given my heart and soul to anyone like that before or trusted someone so implicitly. And now I feel like I have nothing left to give and I still dont understand what happened. Between this and a massive healthscare I had during the month of no contact I lost a successful job and now cant afford to pay my credit card bills which for the most part I accumulated buying things for her. I now have to move out of my apartment to go live with an elderly relative in a bacwater town because I have nowhere else to turn. Her career took an upward turn just before this happened so she seems to have just reset to the point before we met. Im left wondering was I codependant, an I really a narcissist or borderline like she said? Or is it her who is a narcissist/or at least has narcissistic tendencies. Her seeming complete lack of empathy would suggest so. Im just having a hard time accepting that the sweet beautiful woman that I loved wasnt real and was actually NPD. In the meantime im in purgatory, wishing I could meet her at least once face to face so we could talk about what happened. Thanks for reading Im in pain and need help and advice.

    • Oh, just so sad sitting here reading your story. I am so sorry. These people have no feeling, love or remorse for what they have done to us. You will move on…you have to although you feel as if this will be with you for ever. Me too. Mine was very short…thank god but has left me doubting myself and bringing up things about me I had thought I had dealt with about my past. Obviously not! lol but I am working hard on myself by doing the things that make me ME!Maybe these people are sent to us to teach us lessons about ourselves and grow into the people we are supposed to be. That’s what I think. I have spent too many months now numb from this terrible experience with this man (if I can call him that!) that I was left wondering what the hell just happened to me.Dont try to make sense of all of it, it will destroy you even more.Im done with this. Move on…do not let this woman ruin your life. There is a wondeful real woman out there who will love you with honesty.Please be ok. :)

    • I had a lump in my throat as I read your comment. I am also in Ireland and it sounds awfully like we dated the same girl. I left her several times because she withdrew quite severely several times but because I didn’t chase she hoovered me back. She also triangulated quite a lot using references to other potential guys who were chasing her. I hope we weren’t used against each other by the same woman!!! For reference – she was a 40+ blonde working in the child charity sector. I so hope yours was not the same marc!

  9. To add to my last message Ive been seeing a counsellor, tried meditation, seen a clinical psychiatrist, im taking anti-depressants, I even checked myself into a psychiatric hospital for one night when the pain got too bad but I realised that I would find no solace there. Whats tearing me apart is that she said still loved me and only wanted the best for me. I cant bring myself to think she is full blown NPD so I think she must be hurting too. I have seen her weakside and hard she took problems with her family, friends and her career. But why then the lack of empathy? Is it really me who is codependant? Im not suicidal but I am barely functioning at this stage, I cant eat and can only sleep because of the prescribed sleeping tablets. I wake up and I alternate between crying and sobbing for 12 hours of the day. Replaying past menories ofbthe relationship. I think maybe if I had been less emotional at the initial breakup it could have been sorted out. And then I say of course I was emotional, I was heartbroken. Im having panic attacks and I dont see anyway out of this because I had left my future life with this women take over everything that I was. Im having trouble accepting that its over for good and dont know how will ever trust anybody again and theres the fact that I know nobody will ever measure up to this woman. Even if this was just an illusion. What also is killing me is she seems convinced that I was the one with narcicist tendencies when all I ever did was show her love.

  10. I was never like this after any other relationship. Heartbroken yes, one time badly so. So why would I be codependant now? But Ive never felt this lost. As for hindsight and Red Flags, there was a few instances. But not all typical NPD characteristics were there. But in the end claiming she had given everything to the relationship and I had sucked the life out of her, that there was a darkside of me that hated women, that I fed on her misery, when all I had ever done was supported her emotionally, financially, showed her love and tenderness and wanted her to be fully independent. This doesnt ring true. Its like she created an iverted picture of the relationship. I had ended a previous relationship because of someone being needy so Im not an emotional vampire. Sorry im rambling on Im just so confused! Im still madly in love with her, I hope Im wrong that she was NPD, and I do wish her all the best but I still think maybe it could have worked but then again maybe not.

    • I am sorry to hear your in so much pain and this is a truly sad story. Its impossible to say without knowing more about the person but it does sound like you came to be dependant on this person and you are suffering from some sort of shock/sudden situational change disorder. This is treatable with time, keep going to therapists and believed in yourself, you can dig yourself out of this hole your in. Believe me, I have been in you’re situation where I was left emotionally, financially, and medically unstable from an encounter with an NPD who really did not care about me although they told me they did even after leaving me. This was their way of maintaining control! You sound like a genuine caring human being but you need to learn to be in control of yourself for yourself.

    • Ireland,
      I am sorry but I can’t help myself. I am finally moving on from a 13 year relationship with a narcissist. It took me a marriage therapist yelling it in my face before I believed what was really going on. I think because he didn’t know he was narcissistic. At least he said he had no idea. He truly thinks all those nice gestures are everything and that he should be praised. Several thousand dollars later in counseling we have both moved on in upward direction. He is dealing with his past and I have started my life again.

      I can swear that everything you are saying is something he would say. While, everything you say is true. You are hurting to the extreme about her leaving. It seems as though her biggest mistake in your eyes is her leaving you. You even blamed your credit card debt on things you bought her. You made the purchase, you bought the item. It is your debt. Just because you bought her things and helped her through a tough time doesn’t mean if she feels the relationship is hurting her she can’t leave. There is more to a perfect relationship then things you buy. The comment about her feeling for her family and feeling hurt about having to move on from one seems like she is showing empathy. This would mean she has empathy. Again, it reads as though you are upset that she isn’t showing it to you. Not that she doesn’t have it.

      I can remember the days where I would get in trouble like I was a horrible wife because I would give my girls tickle backs every night. He would get mad and say that I am cold hearted and uncaring. It didn’t matter what I did, I was a horrible person in his eyes. I showed in no love. Yet, he would say that I was amazing. You say it just like that. You say she is amazing and you don’t think you will find another woman just like her. What about what you can do and offer to another woman?

      To this day he still doesn’t realize what he has done to me. You may not ever realize what you do to make her feel that she needs to move on. I would bet that she did and does love you dearly. Please let her move on.

      Overall, what my point is: If she feels that you are narcissistic or co-dependent or you aren’t the right person for her, what is so wrong about her moving on? If you can’t let her go so she can be happy, then yes her move was the right move.

      Again, I am sorry that you are going through this. May you find happiness in yourself and not depend on others for happiness.

      • Hi there and thanks for your response. First of all I wasnt blaming her for my credit card debts, this was mine to give and I gave freely out of my own choice because I loved her. I blame myself for being too weak to continue with work and have landed myself in a financially destitute situation. I was just explaining that because it is very hard receiving repeated phone calls from a credit card company when you are nearing a breakdown.

        Secondly, I have seen numerous therapists, counsellors, psychiatrists since the relationship broke down. The unanimous conclusion is im not a NPD or codependant, my fault was in believing I was in a loving interdependent relationship.

        Thirdly from past communications and stories I have showed and told said medical professionals their conclusion is she was she was the one who is codependant for many many reasons with possibly some narcissistic traits developed out of self defence.

        Furthermore, your suggestion that I will never what I did to this woman? I think you puuting your own on to someone else. I did nothing but care for her, show her love, understanding, and try to encourage her in her career and to interact with her friends more. She acknowledged this herself before the split. And before you say it, yes there was definite sexual atrraction from both sides and the sex was great so it wasnt that old stumbling block. The presents etc. were just add ons. I come from a family who like to give surprises, presents. Thats notbthe point, its the love, support, and empathy which is my point.

        The reason I am so upset is the suddeness of it all as there were no real warning signs. The morning before the fight she was telling me I was the most amazing person in the world. She was telling her friends and family I was amazing. Then suddenly its over, no contact, no real reason. Then suddenly we are back in contact, friendly contact where she contacted me, which was amazing, then suddenly I am dumped again, told alternatively im a psycho but also that im an amazing guy who she loves, which has broken me. The doctors have diagnosed me with Post-traumatic stress and sudden situational change disorder. And yes I had hoped for more, a reconciliation, but at the very least a civil face to face meeting to talk about what happened.

        As for empathy, empathy is when you understand someone has been through a hard time, medically for example in my case, and you empathise with them, not add extra guilt to there plate telling them that the fact I am upset over that is a sign that they I am weak.Empathy is when you comfort somebody love when they are going through a hard time. I empathised withnher and supported her through her hard times with her family. To totally crush someones spirit when they are at a low point, that is not empathy. Caring and understanding at a hard time is empathy.To tell somebody a relationship meant nothing, except forbthe other person fulfilling their job to save me is not empathy.

        as for moving on, yes I have to leave this woman move on. Although I fear she is moving backwards into a place of mental isolation within herself while using casual sex and v.short relationships to satisfy primal needs. She admitted this to me before, but told me I (we) were different and had a deeper connection. Ive come to understand all this was motivated by fear, and she did say she feared I wouldnt be so caring and understanding ten years down the road.

        Yeah I know she still loves me and I still love her. I know she misses me as much as I miss her.

        However the only thing ive learnt from this is that genuine love, caring and understanding, are not worth a damn. And this is the reason I personally cant move on and never will because I after.many relationships and despite her own issues she was the most perfect imperfect person Ive ever met. I just wish she hadnt been so afraid a d ran away. Oh yeah Ill have a career again, Ill find happiness of a sort again, but I will never truly love again. She will I have no doubt, go on to have a dazzling career and will have no shortage of lovers and I donhope she does meet someone who values her just as much as I do.

      • By the way I never got mad at her ever, even when she was at her most unreasonable, even when she cancelled things we had planned to go do things with things with her friends. I always said plenty more time for us. The only time I got mad was when she falsely accused me of drinking behind her back when I had radically changed my life so that she coukd be assured I wouldnt die young. And I wasnt an alcoholic orbheavy drinker just a social drinker.

        And yes she had some degree of empathy towards her family which was the reason she was upset about breaking ties. But should you not show empathy towards peple you supposedly love rather than attack them. However, I also think you may be confusing emotion with empathy to a certain extent.

        Finally this is meant to be a support website not a field for accusations ie. you accusing me of being just like your ex husband. I would advise a little bit more candor in your future posts because little things can be catalysts for fragile souls to take final steps

      • But thank you anyway for your best wishes for my future

  11. I just currently got out of a 3.5 year relationship with a man who I now know has a NPD. For years I made excuses for him and always thought he was just struggling with his own demons and needs to get help. It wasn’t until the last 6-8 months of our relationship that I realized something more was going on. I did some research and also spoke to a friend who had a similar relationship. Since I knew what was going on I knew I had to get out. I love him so much and I know he truly loves me so this was the hardest thing for me to do. But I did move out, a little over 3 weeks ago. I told him how I felt and why I needed to leave. He said he understood and convinced me to try to work on things with him. I said ok because I love him and I’m heartbroken. I saw him for the first time 2 days ago. He seems to be doing better and going to therapy. I was happy to see him doing so well and also taking accountability for his actions and admitting that our relationship was destroyed because of him. BUT after a few days of really thinking about the conversation I’m starting to realize and see things. First he was way over the top with “change” he literally changed the whole house and was like a completely different person. It was almost like overboard. He was saying that he’s a different person and now he’s going out being social which he never did before. It’s strange because what normal person can actually act and be like that within 3 weeks and try to convince you they are completely different and are a better person?? He wants to go to dinner in a few days, I said ok. I know when I see him I’ll have the same feelings and it will most likely make me feel worse. I’m very depressed and very messed up from this relationship. I do need to seek help with a support group of some kind or see my dr. This whole relationship has completely taken a toll on me. I’m trying to do the “right thing” but it’s so hard but you love someone so much even though you know how sick they are. Apart of me feels like I just need to see him a few more times to see that he’s what I saw a few days ago… The other side of me say cut it off and run for the hills. The hardest thing is that I’m close to his family and love his family like their own. We still want to have a relationship. I’m very torn, broken down and confused. Any advise/support would be appreciated. Thank you!

  12. I am a year out of dating a very vicious narcissist. The first 2 years of our relationship was amazing, although there were signs of lies and cheating but he was very convincing. Then the put downs started about my breasts not bring big enough and at 50kg I was fat. He was a bodybuilding competitor and became insane if he didn’t win and instantly had me competing and convincing me I had to take steroids to win and he always told me I was a user and he had always supported me. I was completely broken down to the point that I pretended I had money and then he started being nice again until I had to come to terms with the fact I didn’t have the money to give him the big house and expensive cars and a life of no work living on my money. Once that came out he became so incredibly nasty I still am not even close to recovering from him. He found himself another girl in his gym within months and he was constantly telling me how rich she is and how she buys him all of these holidays and a new car. When he found out I was earning money he contacted me and told me he was confused and not in love with her. I should have seen the warning signs as he used to say the same things about his ex to me and call her a fat pig but still kept contact with her. He started sending me messages saying he wished he never moved in with his new girlfriend and led me on whilst he was telling get it was me hassling him. When she contacted me I sent get all of his messages but she happily stayed with him and now they are engaged just 2 months later. I can’t help but wonder will he do the same thing to her or because she gives him everything will he change? I still can’t understand why I deserved to be treated so nasty.. When he was beautiful he was amazing but I know realise it was all about money. Will her having money spare her from his narcissism or will it come out after a few years like it did with me?

  13. Further to my previous messages, the passage of time+counselling+psychiatrists+anti anxiety medication is not helping. I feel like im sliding down into an even darker hole. I have heard nothing from her in a long time and I think (because she was codependant with npd traits) she has instituted a no contact rule because she thinks Im the narc/codependant. Anyway ive reached a low of suicidal thinking. I have to move out of my house this weeks due to the debts incurred by my career failure and move to an elderly relatives house as I have nowhere to go. I wont kill myself while they are alive but when they do pass there will literally be no reason left for me to live. This relationship or at what I thought this relationship was has destroyed me, she built me up told me I was amazing, before twisting my mind and dumping me suddenly. As a result I am no longer the strong, confident and successful man I used to be, im a professional failure,an emotional mess, sleep brings me no solace as I just dream of her, anti-anxiety meds dont work, meditation is ok until I stop meditating then wave of anguish hits. Ive tried going out meeting friends, going to dinner parties etc etc Ive been invited on a couple of dates. I put on a brave face whilst with friends double doses of anti-anxiety meds, as for the dates theres no way I could go on them: I still love her despite the cruel way she dumped me and still am not finding myself attracted to other women (they just aernt her) and I feel I have nothing to offer these other women. I gave my all to this one women and now I feel like i have nothing left, Im a broken person and these other ppl are best off looking elsewhere. Besides im.moving in a few days to the middle of nowhere to wait and meditate on death, hopefully acceptance of the end of everything within the foresseable future will bring sone solace from this anguish

    • So sorry to hear you’re having such a hard time. BUT don’t give up!!! I know it NOT easy at all. Have you tried support groups? People that can relate to you could possibility help you feel better and more at peace. Do you go to church? If you don’t maybe you should try… Therapy?? I know it’s very hard but you can’t let one person destroy your life. I know you love her and you thought that she was the one but she’s not, no one deserves to be treated that way. You have to understand that someone that truly loves you wouldn’t have hurt you that way. Down the road when you’re ready and you find true love you’ll then realize she wasn’t “the one.” Being depressed and at a bad place in your head is very hard to deal BUT whatever you do don’t give up on life. Stop trying to date you’re NOT ready. You need to do some serious soul searching and work on your mental and emotional health. And work on getting your life back on track. You have to remember you were not the problem or the one with the issue she was. I completely understand how you feel but you have to control your mind to start a new thought process. Start journaling if it helps. In order to find true recovery you need to understand with her sickness and understand it wasn’t you. Pick yourself up and push forward, to rebuild your life won’t be easy but have faith in yourself enough that you can be a true survive of your horrible journey. She’s already done enough damage take a stand today that you won’t allow her to control anymore of your life. This is your life not hers and it’s her loss she’s not with you. Love yourself enough to help yourself, good luck! Remember you can do anything as long as you believe in yourself!

    • U canny give up. I nearly did because that’s how low these folk leave u feeling. U actually beleive that u have nothing left to do but die without the narcissist. I am luck to have a fruens who was studying counselling who has helped me to realise this is all mind games and You really are an amazing person with so much to offer, u just haven’t found out what your meant to do yet but that is the joy of your life, finding out what u are here for. We all have a purpose and sometimes these narcs make us feel so worthless about ourselfs but it is not true you are amazing. You could start by getting a wee pet dog and learn how to look after it and I bet that dog will show u more love than the narc. You have to stop letting this controller have any power over you. I know how it. feels to be left feeling like why couldn’t they have shown me any love. I dont have the magic wand U want me to wave one n make u forget her overnight. That’s not gonna happen but u have to realise u are “addicted” to her or the way she makws u feel. Read a book by Allen car. This is to help u see u can’t just keep doing the same thing n expect results to be different if what your doung isnt helping. The book is called- The easy way to give up smoking but insert her name instead of smoking. U have to do certain things like be eager to get out of the grave ye decided to dig there. My narcissist has ruined my head so I know how u feel and I also. Know u will get thru it. Just start somewhere. Decide to either do something or die because if u lie down to it n die ur next life u will have to live thru it again untill u learned. We are all on a journey and your. Obviously a wonderfully kind hearted person. u just cant see your worth yet but u will. 8 wholeheartedly swear you will look back on how ur feeling and u wont feel like this any more.

  14. What a great article and conversation. I am just a few weeks our of a nearly two-year relationship that was a daily mix of extreme highs and the worst lows and confusion. We travelled, skied and played together so well, and he payed the majority of the expenses for these adventures. But he was rarely affectionate, rarely gave a verbal compliment (most of his compliments were via text), and was ALWAYS in control. The latter was actually very attractive to me after being married to a passive man for 15 years. This relationship was a 180 degree turn from my marriage. I loved not having to make decisions and feeling like I was being taken care of. But in the midst of this, he was tearing me down verbally, in small but regular doses of disdain. I began to structure my life to please him. He was so “attentive,” keeping in contact via text all day, and always planning our next get-away. This is how he kept me on the hook.
    Most of our actual time together was not really great, however. He never engaged in meaningful conversation, and he told me directly that he wouldn’t talk about the problems I saw in our relationship because it was a waste of time to feel bad about things. The most incredible thing is that I knew during the entire course of our relationship that he was pursuing other women online. And there was one woman he knew from before we met whom he spent at least a couple of weekends and a whole week with while we were still together. He was soooo convincing in his explanations about all of this, that even a strong, smart woman like me was duped by him. I saw a sweet and tender man beneath all of it, I thought, and I was sure I was strong enough to stick it out and bring all of that to the surface.
    It took a “straw” to break this camel’s back. I was sick one night at his place, and he was more concerned with his sleep being disrupted than about coming to my aid. I gathered the physical strength to leave. After all of the cheating, lying, confusion, and small insults it was that one act, the lack of care for me when I was sick, that finally was the last straw. I finally started to care about myself.
    But the weeks since have been brutal and lonely. I miss the fun and adventure and feel like my life will be mundane forever. There are days it has felt not worth it, and he has made several gestures to try to woo me back. I just keep telling myself that he will never change, that control is his main goal, and that there is life after this relationship.
    Lastly, I want to mention that he is a 20-year-sober recovering alcoholic. I believe that he has only dealt with the habit of drinking, however, and not with any of the underlying issues associated with his illness.
    Trying so hard to move on and care for myself…I believe I will survive.

    • I’m in a similar stage to you. My life with my ex boyfriend seemed so vivid, so vital, so exciting. We were always going places and doing things. But, just like you, my actual time with him, when it was just the two of us, was not very satisfying. We would sit at restaurant tables, or next to each other while driving, and allow several minutes at a stretch to go by in absolute silence. To his other friends, he was very lively, very engaged, very animated, and of course, they loved him! They envied me for being so lucky as to have bagged such a great guy! Little did they know how much I was suffering and crying inside.

      The final straw was when he called me unexpectedly and I immediately thought that I would get to spend some extra, unexpected alone time with him. No, he wasn’t coming back to town yet, he was actually still at the airport waiting for a mutual “friend” of ours and once that friend arrived, they would be embarking on a four-day road trip together! Just the two of them! He had given no indication that he was doing this, he never ran it by me, he never even so much as asked if I wanted to come along. As his putative boyfriend, one would have thought that the one person on the planet he would want to spend the most time with, would be me, that I would be his foremost priority, that being in my company would be the happiest thing that could possibly happen to him. This unexpected and horribly unwelcome news over the phone told me for the latest and final time that what I had hoped he would feel for me, was just absolutely NOT the case…I had no choice but to leave him. Any man, crushed and heart-broken, with any modicum of self-respect remaining, would have done the same thing. I was destroyed. I still am. I broke it off via email that evening, since I was afraid I would get too emotional over the phone, and I didn’t want to let him and our “friend” know how distraught I was. He replied a few hours later, expressing shock that I wasn’t as in love with him as he was with me. He did say that he was sorry if he had “disrespected” me “in anyway” but he offered no explanation as to his behaviour, nor did he demonstrate an iota or remorse or empathy.

      It’s been less than a week and I am hurting. Though it is agonising not hear from him anymore, like I used to everyday, at least I’ve not been put through the agony of being in contact with him. I’ve been discarded because I’m sure our “friend” is now his new narcissistic supply, or he’ll very soon find another source.

      Thank you for reading my story, and I wish for you a quick and complete recovery from this very destructive experience.

  15. I have been there. the UPS and downs, the giving narcissist who alternated between love and insult, never taking care of her own affairs, but violating healthy boundaries for attention. constantly seeking adoration, yet, never understanding the basic give and take of the relationship. obsessed with altering others to meet her expectations, telling me to “suck it up” or “get a helmet”. She would then morph into a child and be completely helpless, needing everything done for her and explained. her way of making me feel like she needed me. eventually, I was destroying myself and feeling like I was going insane. she needed constant attention OR just someone who she could bully around. eventually, I knew what I was dealing with, and stopped any and all narc supply. after awhile of her not being able to get a reaction out of me, she attempted suicide. these are the lengths that a malignant narcissist will go to in order to maintain their control. my only advice: Run and don’t look back. it is too late when violence and police are involved.

  16. Thank you for this article. I have a boyfriend who I suspect of being a narcissist. I knew about the condition before meeting him, and some of his behavior has prompted me to do more research. I have to say I’m heartbroken, but he fits a lot of the descriptions I’ve seen.

    I don’t believe he’s a bad person though. I’m being very careful not to jump into “I have to save him” mode, but at the same time I want him to know that he may be up against something serious like a personality disorder. I know that narcissists don’t take criticism or bad news well. I don’t know if I should try to bring it up with him or not. Should I?

    We are on “break” from the relationship now (initiated by him), and I think that’s a good place to be. I also have my own issues with codependency. I don’t wanna end my relationship, but now that I see how things are going, I think it may be the best thing. it breaks my heart…but should I at least try to let him know that he might have NPD? I feel so emotional right now. I really do love him, and I really did think he was the one. :(

  17. I dated a female narcissist for three years. In that time she slowly started to show her true colors. Got the boobs, face lift and many other things to make her self to look good.One time she asked me get Botox! I told her I happy on how I looked. She had a smoking hot body! But I over looked that. She was a very rich woman and spend a lot money on me and I felt very guilty about it. I don’t know why but I did save all the box’s that the items came in. I would ask myself why is she doing this. Then one day I did ask her why. She said that I love you. It was very awkward. Then she out fitted my whole house. Thousand of dollars. So when she had a problem I would be there to help her out …..lots of times…took her an long trips….one time we went on a Caribbean cruise for a week I paid for the whole trip. She was so nice to me but one day she sent me an e-mail to saying that she no longer want to date anyone and wanted the money for everything she bought me. Next week she was with an other guy! So I boxed everything and gave it back to her! She was not happy with me. I said to bad and goodbye!….. I’m an idiot, hook link and sinker! And no she didn’t want to pay me for everything I did for her

  18. I have begun the process of leaving my wife of 10 years. We have 2 children. My wife left me three months ago and took our children. Since being married, I have been diagnosed with major depression, hospitalized four times, and attempted suicide once. After a recent incident, I discovered that my mother was a narcissist. I have lived with the burden of my mother’s conditional love for over 30 years…I am 40 years old. I have spoken to my family and discovered that my wife has treated me the same way. Nothing I have ever done was good enough for either of them. My mother does not love me, and I do not understand why my wife never wanted to save our marriage…it was her way or divorce. I feel like the biggest failure in the world even though I have two Master’s Degrees in Finance and Mechanical Engineering. I have a great job and am very successful. None of this has been good enough for my wife or mother. My wife uses alcohol to cope with her problems…she has had a drink every day of our marriage (except pregnancy). Sometimes it is 1-2 bottles of wine a night. I know what a narcissistic parent can do to their children and have noticed my wife’s conditional love for them. I am scared for my children. I want my wife to love me for who I am. I am in despair and do not know what to do? Please help.

  19. I found this article quite patronizing and full of ‘victim blaming’ references particularly around the ‘mirroring’ section. I did not do anything to ‘invite’ my N father into my life to teach me a lesson on why I attract narcissists and that it is a self esteem and confidence issue.
    I also note that the author offers no help or comments to survivors of this mental disorder.
    The one thing I have learnt from being involved with this disordered group is that it is NOT your fault and the only way to begin to heal is to go no contact (NC) and stay that way.
    There are lots of excellent websites and blogs out there to help.

  20. Was it a mutual split or did you get out of it? If it was you who decided to leave what were the behaviours that led you to do so? Did he move on since your break up? If you feel that you had developed narcissistic traits ‘before’ you met him it is possible that he was codependant rather than narcissistic. Codependants will generally apologise a lot, for everything. I should know I “was” codependant in a number or previous relationships, once with a true narcissist, which afterwards led me project narcissistic tendencies onto my next lover, who was in hindsight simply mildly codependant. The mirror can be a vicious circle from my experience.You mentioned you had a family member who was the same?

  21. You sound like you are still very emotionally attached to this man? Has he been contacting you, or vice versa? You have to ask yourself you/both of you decide to end it. You should also look at what attracted you to this guy in the first place. What changed over time?

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