Help. I Can’t Let Go. I Still Love Him.

Morning friends,

I flew down to Florida on Sunday for some needed sunshine. I get gloomy without enough sun and although it’s been warm for about a month in Pennsylvania it’s been foggy and cloudy. Unfortunately the sunshine left here for more clouds and wind but I am thankful that I’m not in the 5-degree weather back home. But I am learning to be content in all things and letting go of my expectations of how things “should” be, whether in big ways or little ways.

At the end of the month, Chris Moles (a pastor and batterer intervention specialist) and I will be presenting a free webinar on Effective Counseling Strategies for the Emotionally Destructive Person. If you know someone who is interested in learning how to better work with these people, please let them know of this important FREE webinar. It will be Wednesday, January 20th at 7:30. Registrations are now open. CLICK HERE.

Also, my Moving Beyond People Pleasing class is starting soon. There is a free three-part email training on learning to say no plus a special bonus. CLICK HERE to be part of this free email training and learn more about the class in the upcoming weeks.

Today’s Question: I believe my husband has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I have been married for 16 years and after the first month he devalued me, my thoughts and actions (to the point of disdaining me for taking vitamins). I had been divorced but not married as a Christian to a Christian and was so very happy to marry this relatively successful and handsome man.

He has gone 2 through periods of ‘punishing' me by not speaking to me for months and is on the 3rd. He wants a divorce and has alienated me from any friends he can and all of his family (that wasn't hard they've never really been nice to me).

My question is: what the heck is wrong with me that I still love him and am paralyzed with fear. Am I being self-destructive?

I am older and have returned to grad school. He is the breadwinner, but I can work so it is a sick emotional attachment of some sort.

This man treats me like I am less than worthless. He has completely ignored me for months now and comes and goes as he pleases – usually returning home around 11 pm.

Someone said I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I can't concentrate and cry a lot – feel very anxious and worthless. What is wrong with me to want to stay with a man like this when it is obvious he despises me and wants out? Thanks for any help.

Answer: You are wise to recognize that your attachment to this man is not healthy and to do some exploration as to why. You have some initial thoughts or ideas about what’s wrong with him as well as you – but if you indeed are suffering from PTSD or even major depression which some of your symptoms suggest, you may need more help than I can give in this short blog.

Let me just go through the stages of being with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Stage 1: Desire – he wants you. You are everything to him. You are the best thing that ever happened to him. No one can meet his needs like you do. You are intoxicated by the adoration that comes your way and you are captured by its allure. “Gee, am I that wonderful?” “Wow, no one has ever treated me this way before.” “I love being with him, he makes me feel so alive, so loved, so important, so valuable.”

Stage 2: Demands – now that you are captured, your role is to always meet his needs, always put him first, always pay attention to him and subjugate your own needs/wants/desires/feelings to his. If you refuse or fail, you will have a price to pay. You keep hoping and trying and pleading to get back to stage one, but it will never happen. It’s downhill from here.

Stage 3: Devalue – If you try to have a real relationship with mutuality and reciprocity, you will be criticized and devalued or demeaned. You are not to ask for your own needs to be met – you are to have no needs or desires other than to be in his presence, build him up, serve him, love him, make him happy, adore him no matter what he does. When you want him to treat you like he did in stage 1 he will mock you and make you feel like you are worthless and a huge disappointment to him. You keep defending yourself, trying to get him to see you as he did in stage one but it’s fruitless. You have fallen off the pedestal he put you on as the “perfect one” who will meet all of his needs all of the time and you will never be able to get back on because it’s an impossible role to fulfill.

Stage 4: Dismiss – he’s done with you. He’s moved on. He has someone else in mind who is now “the perfect one” or as some call it “narcissistic supply” who he desires to capture for his needs. You have no purpose in his life anymore. You don’t exist.

For the woman who has fallen from stage 1 to 4 she is in shock. What happened? How did this happen? You keep remembering how wonderful stage 1 was and keep trying harder and harder to return to that magic where you were wonderful and he was so happy with you. But it’s not possible. Why not? Because you are a real human being with your own sins and weaknesses. You are not his fantasy spouse, who will or can meet his every need. You also have needs and feelings of your own that you would like to have valued and cared about.

So even for a woman with healthy self-esteem and a relatively mature spiritual life, this can seem like a huge confusing loss, always questioning what she did wrong to move from stage 1 to stage 4, clinging, begging, wanting to recapture the magic that was once there.

However, I would also encourage you to dig a bit deeper. You say you still love him, but I suspect it’s not a mature or healthy love. It’s more of a fearful love – I NEED him to love me, or I LOVE him so much I won’t make it without him. This is not mature love. It’s more like dependency.

There may be something called trauma bonding going on where we bond to someone emotionally even when we know they don’t care much about us. When we don’t have a secure attachment to our primary caregivers (as a child), we tend to become aloof in relationships or clingy. It sounds as if you’re afraid to let go, to move on. Afraid to acknowledge the truth that he doesn’t love you as much as you thought he did.

You want to recapture what you thought you had together, but what you thought you had – a person, who loved you, was probably more like a predator looking for dinner. When you were used up, he moved on. Do you really love him or your idea of him? Think about that.

It’s important now that you switch your focus from trying to recapture stage 1 or “get him to love or value you” and work on getting healthy so you can detach and build a new life. You have to be willing to surrender your idea of what you “thought” should happen, and learn to live in what is happening, like it or not

When you come to accept where you are – at the end of a marriage – then you can begin to build strength and coping skills to deal with that truth as well as begin to look towards the future (tweet that).

When you keep looking backward, grieving, clinging, and hoping for someone to love you again, you are wasting precious energy on a fantasy that isn’t going to happen.

I’d encourage you right now to get into a domestic violence support group, a therapy group, or even a self-help group to work on you so that you can get healthy, grow, and re-discover the strengths and abilities that you once had before you were sucked dry. In the process of letting go and moving forward, trust me – it’s scary as can be, but you will discover that God will not let go of you as you keep your eyes on Him and not on your husband or your marriage.

Friends: how did you let go when you wanted to cling and hang on? What specific steps helped you to stand strong enough to stand-alone even when you were terrified of doing it?


  1. Jan on January 6, 2016 at 7:57 am

    They are predators and very sick people. They can’t I’ve and leave destruction behind emotionally everywhere they go. 14 years with this one. I want a life. Not my first marriage or rodeo. Our 11 year old is starting to get argumentative just like him. Gotta get working and mi ru to get the heck out. His help us all. We deserve peace.

  2. Brenda on January 6, 2016 at 10:18 am

    I can so relate to your pain, confusion and heart ache. I was married for 14 years in a very similar marriage. Once we were married he began tearing me down in my thoughts, feelings and my identity as a person. If I liked sweet pickles instead of dill pickles, something was wrong with me. He devalued me in so many ways. He thought he could come and go as he pleased, even committing adultery on at least two occasions. I was so confused and fearful because of his emotional abuse. He had a really bad temper that I now consider physical abuse. I had to separate myself from him to think clearly and to heal. This marriage was not good for my two sons and I am so glad I got out when I did. It affects them so much more than you realize. I could not talk with him because of the fear and emotional control. It was a game to him and all about winning. Narcissistic people do not care about your feelings, wants or desires. After a year of separation we were divorced. It did not end there. It’s all about winning and not love at all. He followed me to church trying to manipulate me back for 8 months. Thank God he intervened and my ex left and never came back. I have now been married to a wonderful Christian man who has honored, valued and loved me unconditionally for almost 22 years. I wish I had Leslie’s material years ago, it would have spared me a lot of heart ache. Please remove yourself from him so you can gain back who you are as a person who has been fearfully and wonderfully made by God. As a side note God can redeem your children from the chaos. My sons are Godly men who love their wives, honoring them, and are very involved with the help of the home and the lives of there children. I pray that you will be bold and courageous, walk in strength and dignity, and get the support and help you need. Jesus would not be happy with the way His bride is being treated. Lean on his love, because His love is greater than any other love.

    • Debbie on January 6, 2016 at 11:12 am

      Thanks for sharing, your comments are very meanful. I am in a difficult marriage, he isn’t narcissistic but there are other issues. Always made excuses why to stay, now I am 56 and I am so tired of everything but I guess it is so hard to start over.

      • Samella on January 6, 2016 at 12:06 pm

        56? You’ve been an adult for about 30 years and you probably have another 30 years. It’s NEVER too late to start over!

      • Robin on January 6, 2016 at 8:11 pm

        But it’s never too late. I am 61 and restarted my life 3 years ago. Daily I say to myself, I’m so thankful I didn’t think it was too late for me. I can’t believe all God can do in just one year. Find yourself a good counselor, commit to getting health and start advocating for YOURSELF. God has a plan for each of us, no matter what our age is!!!!

        • Shar on January 7, 2016 at 9:08 pm

          Thanks Robin for the encouraging words!! I’m so happy for you!! xoxo

      • Lorie on January 6, 2016 at 11:12 pm

        I filed for divorce at age 57 after 36 years of marriage. It’s been hard, since of course, the problems in our marriage are all my fault. It makes me sad that our marriage is over, but I know that I couldn’t go on another day being ignored, blamed, shamed, and ridiculed. I’m looking forward to healing and being happy once again without always worrying what I will do to set him off again.

      • Leanne on January 20, 2016 at 6:17 pm

        I am 54 and have been married 32 years and finally saw the light. I never understood what was happening until I had a near nervous breakdown. Run and don’t look back. What I have learned is acting out of fear is a sin. I stayed for fear of what he would do if I left and believe me he is putting me through the ringer to get free and he does not want to support me at all, but the law will hopefully hold him to some accountability. I still have more peace even dealing with all of his shenanigans with the divorce than I did trying to dwell with him.

      • Marie on October 6, 2016 at 12:29 pm

        It is so hard to start over. I’ve been separated for a year and the divorce will be final in a month or two
        I am so codependent I blame myself even though I left him
        I cry for him because he knew no better he just couldn’t change
        Now we are getting divorced he is so good to me
        I’m just confused because I love him but I love my cats too
        I think I need to be taken care of (my codependency)

        • Leslie Vernick on October 6, 2016 at 5:49 pm

          I encourage you to work on you. Do your own work to be the person God wants you to be instead of looking for a man to take care of you or to take care of.

    • Brooke on January 13, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      Thank you so much for your post. I am in an emotionally destructive marriage. We have a 1 year old and a 3 year old. In the last year his alcoholism has increased, he got a DUI, an affair, and filed for divorce. Now he’s wondering if he should drop it, stay….

      I keep struggling with “should I stay or go” for all the reasons we do (he could change, maybe this time there will be sustainable change, our kids are so young, they need their dad, i don’t want to be a single mom, I don’t want to be a full time working mom when my kids are this young)

      Reminding myself that God can REDEEM my LIFE and my children’s LIFE. GOD is BIGGER than marriage & divorce and HE will guide me, lead me, and do the same for my girls.

      I can’t say that I’m not STILL vascillating, but when I come to these comments I am reminded that some people don’t change….and that I can’t have a fantasy….I need to accept reality and let God lead me

      • Brenda on January 14, 2016 at 9:04 am

        Brooke praying God will lead you and you find your strength with him in whatever decision you make. Either way you need a plan and direction. You will always deal with your children’s father so you must get healthy and stand firm on your convictions on what you expect. Don’t be moved by your emotions or be controlled or manipulated. Get support around you, Godly counsel. Study Leslie’s material and decide what is best for you and your children. Set boundaries and don’t settle. Most of all trust God that he is more than able to meet your needs. Stand on his word and promises. Peace, strength and blessings to you and your girls.

  3. Theresa on January 6, 2016 at 10:29 am

    I too was in a emotionally, verbal abuse marriage. He had an affair and left after 24 years of marriage. I was devastated but finally realized what had been happening to me. Once I realized what kind of man he was I had to pray that God would remove him from my heart and mind, so I could move forward and heal. I am emotionally and physically better off.

  4. Lori on January 6, 2016 at 10:36 am

    I was married for 23 years, he is a narcissist. I thought once we divorced, he would fly right an we could date while he earned trust back. He is also an addict. He also has bad heart an health issues. He was supposedly on streets, although think he was living with a friend. He made up stories unbelievable to try to come back home. Said I chose kids over him. He called me an told me goodbye, an I am heartbroken. I know it’s best, but like article Its torture. I have kids at home, an he just walked away to never to be heard from. I can’t believe I still love him, but I do. I know he is probably on his next victim. I am trying to move on, but I can’t stop thinking I am jealous of her. Crazy!? I am in divorce group. I am going to a naranon group. I have a support group online, but it’s still very very hard.

    • Toni on January 19, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Dear Sisters,
      I just read your posts and share your hurts and the end of dreams. I had to leave my husband (who I believe suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder) of 22 years in May, 2015. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and it took me a long time to do it as well. I just kept praying/hoping that things would change…but they only got worse. After taking care of my father-in-law for 11 years, and then nursing my husband through cancer, I can only guess that he was under the anesthesia too long – but my brother assures me my husband has always been abusive, and long before his cancer too. Then the threats began and I made nothing of them. But then detailed life threats started, and a light went on for me: if he was speaking so much about it, he was giving lots of thought to ending my/our lives. With many weapons in the house and always one (loaded) on his person, I planned my escape – slowly. There was no where to go; my city has very little social services. Then my son’s roommate moved out, and there was light at the end of the tunnel – but that wasn’t apparent at the time. One morning my son (who’d witnessed and received abuse from my husband) showed up at the front door and said, “Let’s go…now.” Thankfully I made it out alive and with some of my belongings. My son has taken me in, and as I am disabled, he has been providing for me too. My husband filed for divorce quickly, and has been extremely difficult to work with; neither he nor his attorney will communicate with my attorney. I am maintaining “no contact” in any way. The divorce is costing a LOT of money; I thought it would be so much easier than this. Two weeks ago, I returned to college for my Master’s Degree. What was I thinking? It’s almost overwhelming and I’m in class with students younger than my son. But this was God-led and I have to trust Him: He knows what He’s doing especially when I don’t! For years I thought it would be a sin to end this marriage (not my first) in divorce. Then I realized that as God’s child, He didn’t want me treated this way. When that sunk in, the era of change began. Our pension has been funneled to his ex-wife and other family members, and I can’t live with my son forever so school is my answer. Life is getting better even though my house is in foreclosure, while I am squeezed in to a very small apartment – but am so thankful for a roof over my head and a bed. Many women have much less, or are still stuck in hellish situations. I have to believe God will redeem all things. I’m learning to care for myself and trying to be healthier. The haunting questions are how…why did I stay as long as I did? Why did I accept and tolerate such horrible behavior?

  5. Stacy on January 6, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    Help I am having trouble with this now so I moved out and am living in my own place with our kids for 3 months now. My husband is telling me he misses me he wants me back and is really having trouble without me in his life he says. During our marriage he was physically and emotionally destructive. He says he wants us to go to counseling a good Christian counselor. We have been to many Christian counsellors and his most recent counselor said for us to go to someone we have not been to before, here we go again telling the entire story over. Do u think that it is possible he is changing since I left but I tell my self he has not done anything to change has not gone on medication for his anger or seen his own counselor. Am I being blinded. He calls his anger frustration and doesn’t even recognize it is anger. But wants us to move forward together. I badly would love to do that but am cautious of this help need advice

    • Michelle on January 6, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      To Stacey, I’m sorry for your difficult situation. I’ve walked a difficult journey as well and I have familiarity with the confusion that results from being in a challenging marriage. I suggest that he should be first working on himself with a therapist for several months before you attempt couple counseling. If he is not working on himself, you will likely be further traumatized in couple counseling. This can be verbalized by boundary formation with words such as “I need you to work in a committed, consistent manner with a therapist…” for a certain number of months or until God shows you there is consistent change before you will attend couple’s therapy. Pray and ask God to help you formulate your boundary.
      It’s important to see congruency between his words and actions and ask God for discernment regarding manipulation. If he is truly recovering, you will see an attitude of humility and a broken and contrite heart over the destructive affects YOU have experienced, not merely sorrow over the consequences he is experiencing as a result of his behavior.
      I also suggest you work with your own therapist because injury has come to you as a result of his behavior that is necessary for you to process for your own healing.

      • CMack on January 7, 2016 at 10:10 am

        Well said! Great advice.

    • Marie on January 6, 2016 at 2:00 pm

      This sounds so familiar! Especially because my husband would “work” the counselors, convince them the opposite of what I said was really the truth, cry on demand, and just make a mockery of the whole process –while pretending to be sincere while in the counselor’s office. (He told me the above, so it’s not just my opinion or experience, but also his words.) This went on for over two decades. I was somewhat in denial, but was always drawn back by his manipulation and my desire to have a good marriage and not divorce. When we finally did separate, one of the things he would say (on days when he was expressing desire to get back together) was that there were 2 sides to every story and we both needed to change. Those statements, while true, were his subtle way of avoiding taking responsibility and admitting how wrong he had acted and treated me. Learn to trust God to give you wisdom and discernment; ask Him for that. Then, trust what you see with your discerning eyes and use that Godly wisdom to respond with appropriate action. God will reveal if there have been any real, sincere changes. Otherwise, do not return to the same place you were in before.

    • Connie on January 6, 2016 at 2:03 pm

      Stacy, a huge red flag there is in that he calls his anger frustration. My 1st h would say, “I never get angry, you just make me so depressed.” Yet he was always angry, and if I got angry once a year he would ‘have to protect the children from me’ because I was so unsafe. You say he doesn’t know he is angry. He knows. When God told me, “No more excuses” I started to see how many excuses he was making, and how often I fell for it, and even made excuses for him. I’m sure he’s been told he is angry. He knows. If he has yelled at you, he knows. He does not want you to move forward together, he wants to use you so he can move forward by himself with a maid/slave. I’ve been seeing thing on FB that says,”If I say you hurt me, you don’t get to tell me how I’m not hurt.”

    • Robin on January 6, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      If he has not acknowledge his abuse or how he created so much pain for you, or has not seemed for help from a counselor- you would be wise to be cautious. Every woman wants her marriage to work but it’s only a false hope if he has not made a move . Henry Cloud has a book – NECESSARY ENDINGS I highly recommend. It helps us to understand when our hearts want it to work – is not the same thing as when a man repents, turns from his damaging behaviors and chooses accountability to keep him on right path. Henry says it so well- look for a TRUE REALITY and not what you wish your relationship is.

    • roxanne on January 6, 2016 at 10:42 pm

      Lundy Bancroft has a section in his book, “Why does he do that? that list signs that a man has changed.” It is a very important list. I suggest you read it and can check off EVERY item on the list before you consider giving in to any of his pleas. If he changed you wouldn’t have to ask yourself IF he changed, it would be so obvious. Also marriage counseling is never appropriate for destructive relationships. Is he attending a men’s batterers class? They are the only programs that seem to really make a difference. Other abusive men can cut through the smoke screen and call guys out on their games. Marriage counseling just gives him more ammunition to manipulate you and he knows that!

    • Valerie on January 19, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Stacy, until he acknowledges and takes ownership for the abuse there is no point in joint counseling. It will only further cause you trauma. He will use the counseling sessions to see what areas his abuse is working in and also take note of the areas he has made his abuse too obvious. Counseling for the manipulative person is like handing them a textbook on the most effective ways to abuse. If he thinks you are gaining strength and starting to (rightly) question his abusive behavior he will twist your words and situations in counseling so that the counseling starts to focus on what you’re doing wrong or how you’re making it difficult for him. Any strength you’ve gained will likely be turned to dust as you expend energy trying to defend yourself and break through the FOG of abuse once again.

      Until an abuser takes full ownership for the abuse- no blaming, justifying, dismissing- and until they are willing to earn your trust back by being transparent and loving in their interactions with you, there is NO point in counseling. He’s not going to get a softened heart in counseling. The rich man wanted Abraham to warn his family of the torment of hell but he said that if they didn’t heed what was already spoken to them, even someone coming back from the dead wouldn’t convince them. The abuser’s issue is not lack of awareness of what he’s doing. He is very well aware. He is able to abuse effectively because he is so aware- aware of your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, aware of what he needs to do in public for impression management to hide his abuse. Someone on the autism spectrum doesn’t act differently depending on who is with them. They don’t turn their mannerisms on and off. Someone with NPD can and does because they are aware.

      The manipulative disordered person uses the things you want most to abuse and confuse you. You want him to want counseling, to be more (supposedly) self aware, to care about the health of your marriage so you want to believe that his “desire” to go is true. But just like you can likely look back and see evidence of unfulfilled promises, this is just another example of future faking these people do. They get you to believe the life you want with them is possible but its always off in the future and its always faked.

    • Janel on January 24, 2016 at 7:08 pm

      I was married to my husband for 18 years when I realized things would never change. I had been going to a support group for a year that gave me tools for setting boundaries and coping in healthy ways. After 3 years of intense conflict and many hurtful discussions that reinforced the fact that our relationship lacked mutuality in esteem and respect, I made the painful and difficult decision to separate. The conditions of the separation were clear: I would continue to receive personal counseling, he needed personal counseling to find out what his issues were and work on them (he told me he had no issues and would go to counseling to prove it) and once we both became whole, we could go to marital counseling. It was communicated the only reason I would speak to him was if he had learned something about himself and wanted to share that with me or if he had made an appointment to see a counselor, or if there was something about our children that needed to be discussed.
      Because I had been the one who mainly carried the relationship throughout our marriage, prior to the decision to separate, I decided to let go of the rope and do nothing to see what would happen. He didn’t step up to fill the void and nothing happened.
      He went to counseling once after our separation and told me the counselor said he is fine and we need marital counseling. (This after actually attending marital counseling for 4 months with someone else who told me my husband was not a good counseling candidate because he’s not introspective and not open to feedback.)
      Once divorce was requested he started working on himself and started doing all of the things I asked him to do when we were married. Nevertheless, they were external changes that did not translate to how he treated me. Actually, he now acted as if I didn’t even exist.
      At one point in the process of trying to make sense of everything, I asked a counselor if asking leading questions would work to help my husband see things from my point of view? His answer was “Your husband is an emotional toddler, and you are asking him to run a marathon.” That was a powerful statement. A woman in my support group was talking about a struggle she had with her husband over their 20 years together and that it had finally come to an end when she caught him yet again in repeating old deceitful behaviors. When I explained something my husband said in response to a situation, she said “That’s what my husband used to say.” The bottom line is…define what you need and don’t deviate. Hold him accountable and if he can’t follow through, you have your answer. It’s not an easy road, but, it is the path to life.
      When we were together I was depressed and anxious and had a couple bouts of high anxiety that left me incapacitated. I finally figured out it was the relationship – or lack thereof that was the source of my anxiety and depression. While we can only rely on God for contentment, willing subjecting yourself to abuse is not something God wants for us. It’s not your fault your husband is the way he is and only God can change his heart. I encourage you to find a good Christian counselor to help you work through your feelings and the situation. Prayers are our lifeline to God. Please seek His face. He loves you so much and wants to show you.

    • Nancy on February 3, 2016 at 12:48 pm

      Stacy, My prayers are with you. Like so many others, I share your story. Until finding Leslie, I felt truly alone in all I was going through. One of Leslie’s articles addresses an ‘evil heart’. I am attaching the list she has in the article as it helped me see my husband as unrepentant and someone I needed to move away from. I suggest you google the rest of the article if you are interested.
      From Leslie:
      Below are five indicators that you may be dealing with an evil heart rather than an ordinary sinful heart. If so, it requires a radically different treatment approach.

      1.Evil hearts are experts at creating confusion and contention. They twist the facts, mislead, lie, avoid taking responsibility, deny reality, make up stories, and withhold information (Exodus 2:1; Psalms 5:8; 10:7; 58:3; 109:2-5; 140:2; Proverbs 6:13,14; 6:18,19; 12:13; 16:20; 16:27, 28; 30:14; Job 15:35; Jeremiah 18:18; Nehemiah 6:8;Micah 2:1; Matthew 12:34,35; Acts 6:11-13; 2 Peter 3:16).

      2.Evil hearts are experts at fooling others with their smooth speech and flattering words. But if you look at the fruit of their lives or the follow through of their words, you will find no real evidence of godly growth or change. It’s all smoke and mirrors (Psalm 50:19; 52:2,3; 57:4, 59:7; 101:7; Proverbs 12:5; 26:23-26; 26:28; Job 20:12; Jeremiah 9:34; 12:6; Matthew 26:59; Acts 6:11-13; Romans 16:13,18; 2 Corinthians 11:13,14; 2 Timothy 3:2-5; 3:13; Titus 1:10,16).

      3.Evil hearts crave and demand control and their highest authority is their own self-reference. They reject feedback, real accountability and make up their own rules to live by. They use Scripture to their own advantage but ignore and reject passages that might require self-correction and repentance (Romans 2:8; Psalms 10; 36:1-4; 50:16-22; 54:5,6; 73:6-9; Proverbs 21:24; Jude 1:8-16).

      4.Evil hearts play on the sympathies of good-willed people, often trumping the grace card. They demand mercy but give none themselves. They demand warmth, forgiveness, and intimacy from those they have harmed with no empathy for the pain they have caused and no real intention of making amends or working hard to rebuild broken trust (Proverbs 21:10; 1 Peter 2:16; Jude 1:4).

      5.Evil hearts have no conscience, no remorse. They do not struggle against sin or evil, they delight in it, all the while masquerading as someone of noble character. (Proverbs 2:14-15; 10:23; 12:10; 21:27,29 Isaiah 32:6; Romans 1:30; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

  6. Aleea on January 6, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    “Friends: how did you let go when you wanted to cling and hang on? What specific steps helped you to stand strong enough to stand-alone even when you were terrified of doing it?”

    Leslie, as always, thank you for the excellent post. —Lots to think about. . . . I have never really done that (stood strong/ stood alone) successfully so I don’t know. . . . I do believe we bond most with those that abuse us repeatedly and with the greatest frequency. I have totally let go of my mother (—my childhood abuser) before (—superficial independence) only to then run back terrified. The rubber band only stretches so far before it snaps back. . . .The only way I can describe how it feels are experiences written about by psychologist Dr. Valerie Tarico describing letting go of God *completely* for a month or two and quickly running back very, very soon for fellowship, confessing, asking forgiveness. To me, it sounds very similar. I assume the moments of denial and self-protection are coming from my defense mechanisms. I definitely have trauma bonding and I am clingy. . . . . —Idols, everything is an idol that promises satisfaction and certainty: a marriage; a job; a family; a certain amount of money; a program. This very pursuit is, however, itself destructive (—as all of you know), for we either don’t get what we seek above all else and thus always long for it, or we do get it and discover that it is *actually* unable to offer us what we sought (—like my honeymoon and early in my marriage. —My then idol! —Now, thank God, that is better but my mother is worse than ever or I just notice it more.). . . . . Also, I think we have a natural and destructive disposition to seek out certainty but anything that we believe offers this type of happiness and confidence (—marriage, religion vs. a relationship with Christ, is actually nothing but an idol that offers, ironically, the opposite: dissatisfaction and uncertainty. . . . . I am not sure, but I am experimenting with totally embracing brokenness and not pursuing happiness, satisfaction, certainty, . . . Somehow, I think when we pursue fix-it programs and the next supplement (—seminar, behavioral model, we have failed before we start. For me, I get hit the hardest when trying to run or hide. Life is very difficult and we are in the dark on so much. Any product that will render you complete, remove your sufferings, etc. is illusion. . . . . I will embrace my brokenness, try to resolutely face my unknowing, and courageously accept the difficulties and —Lord willing, that may be what truly robs it of its sting and where we enter into the fullness of life. Maybe the ordinary becomes extraordinary when we really let go of satisfaction and certainty because when I am honest, those are illusions.

  7. Kathy on January 6, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Leslie, is there a diff between an abuser & a narc? Does a narcissist go back n forth with desiring you and devaluing and dismissing you? My exp has been the desire and then definitely devaluing and dismissing, only to “seem” like they want you again. If they are a true narc, will they keep you dismissed permanently?

    • Hope2 on January 19, 2016 at 9:01 am

      I’d like to know this too. My husband is abusive. He seems like a classic narcissist, except he goes through this cycle w me over and over.
      I separated from him a month ago and he’s in a “you’re the most wonderful thing” mode right now. Before I left, he told me I have a Jezebel spirit and am a rebellious wife who runs ahead and doesn’t submit to his authority.

  8. Dea on January 6, 2016 at 6:49 pm

    Hi All,

    Wow, this is the pattern I went through, I left after four months, as I realised I had married a bad man.

    Can anyone (qualifed please) tell me if this pattern is common to other personality disorders? I think the bad man I married had a passive-aggressive/avoidant type (but I am no psych). The pattern was very similar.

    I feel encouraged ro seek more support for my healing. The bad memories torment me, especially at night.


  9. Laura Di on January 7, 2016 at 10:30 am

    Dear Leslie,

    This question brought back so many memories and reminders. The listing of the 4 stages of Narcissistic Personality Disorder all began with the letter D. This resurrected a recollection of one of the monumental confrontations I had with my ex containing all D words because he’d treated me with all 4 of the stages of Narcissistic Personality Disorder mentioned by you Leslie. In that action I stated my desires, I set my demands that I refused to allow myself to be demoralize, diminished, defiled, degraded, dismissed, devalued, dumped on plus in fairness I shared how those characteristics were destroying our’ marriage. He sat speechless and stunned.I left that moment looking for a change. Instead of falling back into my bad habits of always settling back into my old habit of excuses to fall back into the cycle of abuse I set a plan, including all your listed suggestions to the writer. These processes to recovery helped me to begin a new way of behaving. It takes work and when you look toward living the joyful life God paved the way for it get’s clearer, that it works if you work it! Joining, “ a domestic violence support group, a therapy group, or even a self-help group to work on you”, are great resources because the more you branch out the more help you will find. Actually, I learned about you Leslie through my pastoral counselor, what a blessing! Also I found the more I set my mind to reading, rereading scriptural passages and depending upon those passages, pure biblical truths, I bolstered me to be better supported in overcoming any personal behavioral weaknesses I needed to challenge. For example; 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous, it does not brag, and it is not proud. 5 Love is not rude, is not selfish, and does not get upset with others. Love does not count up wrongs that have been done. 6 Love takes no pleasure in evil but rejoices over the truth. 7 Love patiently accepts all things. It always trusts, always hopes, and always endures. 8 Love never ends.” But abusive marriages do!
    A reminder to all who have dealt with these issues is that in life, change is always occurring BUT God is our’ one constant Stage 1: God’s Desires Rule! Stage 2: God Demands,” He Wants YOU! You are everything to HIM! YOU are so loved, so important, so valuable! ” Stage 3: God Values You! Stage 4: Don’t Dismiss God! Realize what has already done by the sacrifices of Jesus Christ! Moved on! You are FREE to God’s purpose to know YOU matter to God! So run with it! BE JOYFUL! Be true to God’s words and be freed from lies and deceptions!

    Philippians 4:4-9New Century Version (NCV)
    4 Be full of joy in the Lord always. I will say again, be full of joy. 5 Let everyone see that you are gentle and kind. The Lord is coming soon. 6 Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. 7 And God’s peace, which is so great we cannot understand it, will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Brothers and sisters, think about the things that are good and worthy of praise. Think about the things that are true and honorable and right and pure and beautiful and respected. 9 Do what you learned and received from me, what I told you, and what you saw me do. And the God who gives peace will be with you.

    LOVE and RESPECT to all in this New Year and forever more!


  10. Annie on January 7, 2016 at 10:31 am

    This is a timely article for me. I separated after five months of marriage and we have been separated for a year and a half now. There was emotional, mental, verbal abuse and much cruelty. My husband showed some signs of change after our separation but has gone back to his old ways. I saw that one of the commenters mention her husbands claim of ‘We both need to change!’ That’s my husband’s slogan. He says it’s unfair that he’s being told to change and yet my sins are not being addressed. That’s not true. He tries very hard to maximize my sins while minimizing his.

    Like the questioner in the post, I still love my husband very much. And even though we are separated, we still meet up to just hang out and he is very sweet. He is thoughtful when I’m not feeling well. He makes very sweet gestures and is quite generous to me. We do have a good time when we meet and do not fall into conflict when we avoid high conflict topics. And yet, he refuses boundaries and accountability. So…his actions make it very confusing for me because he is sweet but he also does things that hurt me. I guess…this isn’t real love?

    Sometimes I feel like a fool not actually filing for divorce. But, I also worry that if I go through with the divorce I might regret it. What if his change is slow?

    I’ve been meditating on why I can’t leave. Thinking about not being able to see my husband for the rest of my life is so hurtful to me. But like the post says, I wonder if it is a healthy love. He treats me sweetly and also treats me horribly. Am I being manipulated by his charm? Am I in denial? How much room have I given him in the throne of my life, a throne that belongs to the Lord?

    I still pray for my husband’s heart to change. I also pray for God’s wisdom and courage.

    • Aleea on January 7, 2016 at 11:22 am

      Certainly you still love him very much. I still love my mother very much but her kindnesses are only staging to draw me in and abuse me. . . . . .It sounds like you love Christ and have a high need to selflessly serve others (which is very good) but this is just what the narcissist wants. Narcissists want to be gratified in every way possible, and this is just what altruists offer, thinking it demonstrates their moral virtue. Anyone who wants you to live in misery for their happiness should not be in your life. You know you really have something worth saving when he wants to change independently of you, even if you never reconcile. . . . .What is the Holy Spirit telling you to do when you pour your heart out to God about this? What would you tell a daughter to do if she asked you the questions you ask? . . . .As an adult, you are in your own care. What would you tell a much younger “you” to do in this situation if she just asked these questions? . . . . I am praying for you both!

    • Leonie on January 8, 2016 at 7:13 am

      Hi Annie, pray for God to show you the truth and pray for his will. He will guide you. You will know in your heart whether the temporary sweetness and kindness is really from the heart or if is from an unhealthy place that hooks you sets you up for him to do more evil against you. With my 1st husband he was also cruel and there was a lot of payback but when we divorced he didn’t leave me financially destitute and always paid support for my three kids. I am at peace though because I had to remove myself from the cruelty and payback that I always got for perceived offences. I am still glad I did so. He confessed his addiction to pornography to me but that didn’t change him. He still kept involved with it for years, My big kids now come home with statement of dad having a strong moral character but I don’t know if those are words from his mouth as he rewrites history or it is based on their observations of him but at the time he left me it was for a girlfriend and then he was shocked that I didn’t want him back! It was because I realized that he was also abusive and addicted didn’t want to change. I was so exhausted from being abused that I could not take anymore.

      • Aleea on January 8, 2016 at 8:54 am

        Hello Leonie,

        . . . . I have been praying more than thinking lately but during those prayers for everyone, it keeps occurring to me that really, —truly, in this life, there is no escaping our brokenness. —BUT, we can trade Misery (abuse) for everyday ordinary brokenness where Christ is in the midst of our difficulties by leaving our abusers. . . . .We will always be broken and so don’t want to fool ourselves with promises of satisfaction and certainty from the next new, w-h-a-t-e-v-er fix-it —BUT, we can avoid obvious situations of abuse (Misery). . . . .I think the hardest, most courageous thing is to actually face what we already know. The problem isn’t in the knowing, it is in the facing of what we know. —What do you think?

  11. Leonie on January 8, 2016 at 9:41 am

    I agree!

    • Aleea on January 9, 2016 at 4:43 pm


      Thank you for thinking about that! I have not made peace with various repressed parts of my relationship with God and I can’t make peace with other elements of myself but at least I have some awareness. I just can’t come to terms with certain aspects of God. . . . I don’t think anyone would buy a book titled “Going from Misery (abuse) to Everyday Ordinary Brokenness & Unhappiness (real life) Where Christ is in The Midst” . . . . . but, to me, that is the truth. Otherwise, it is just another program, book, package, product in a vending machine promising satisfaction and certainty. I think, the good news of the gospel is that life is REALLY hard and we don’t get satisfaction and certainty BUT Christ will hold our hearts through it and somehow when we can deeply love, even after being deeply hurt, that gives everything meaning? . . . . . To me, there are NO good husbands but there are good enough husbands. We need a good enough husband not a good husband because I bet that “good husband” has so many unrealistic expectations that just guarantee failure. They are like a propaganda poster. The more they go for this clean neat totally holy image, the more they have to repress the bad stuff. All that self-policing makes it go underground. When it is repressed, it is returning to us in destructive ways.

  12. Aleea on January 12, 2016 at 5:16 pm

    Re: the encounter with God creates even greater desire for God

    . . . . I have totally lost control of what is being posted where. . . BUT, I love the idea that the encounter with God creates even greater desire for God. I never thought about that like that and I totally agree that we can make faith, and even our relationship with God, mechanistic, even instrumental, when we simply want God to solve our problems, because so often that is what I want. When God becomes largely an answer to our questions and needs, then, sure our faith is all about us, not a response to the wild and totally unpredictable mercy of God. God becomes an idol. It is a nightmare because my sin never feels like sin to me. My sin feels like life to me, plain and simple. My heart is an idol factory, and my mind is an excuse-making factory and I am supposed to find THE TRUTH? . . . . . and yet. . . . I see Jesus on the cross, giving absolutely everything for me. He becomes a beauty to me. He becomes so beautiful in my eyes that I want to be able to change the things that control me so that they have no power. . . . So, yes, God doesn’t just fill the holes we have, God often creates much bigger ones. I think, of Scriptures talking about how God has placed inside of us the desire for God even when we don’t know what to call it. Like the Teacher’s declaration in Ecclesiastes that “God has placed eternity” into our hearts, —huge. . . . .precisely because we sense that hole but don’t know/trust God alone can fill it, we are open to having our needs exploited. Shysters, marketers, even in the church, throughout history have similarly played upon and exploited that sense of need by convincing us it was a whatever-shaped hole: men, money, relationships with mothers. . . . So there it is: God both creates holes and fills them. And we can mistakenly try to fill those holes by acquiring more and more relationships and we can turn our relationship with God into one more way to meet our (mis)perceived needs and mistake the nature and purpose of faith altogether.

  13. Maria on January 14, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    There is a blog that I follow that REALLY helped me get unstuck as I was trying to recover from the devastation of what this blogger coined as a “TSUNAMI” divorce. Although she may not be a Christian, she is extremely insightful. She just posted the following on her blog Lessons from the End of a Marriage; How to Fall Out of Love I think her suggestions are excellent, practical ways to help those of us who are hurting and grieving and having a difficult time letting go, to take baby steps in moving forward.

  14. janet on January 19, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I was wondering if this woman was married to my husband. LOL. His behavior sounds very familiar and describes my relationship with my husband. this is where I am at when Leslie wrote: “It’s important now that you switch your focus from trying to recapture stage 1 or “get him to love or value you” and work on getting healthy so you can detach and build a new life. You have to be willing to surrender your idea of what you “thought” should happen, and learn to live in what is happening, like it or not. ” I am rebuilding my life while I am still married to my husband. There are a few personal phases (such as health, finances and personal growth in different areas that I am working on) that I must complete before I approach him with counseling and/or divorce. In the meantime, I am content to live alone, be alone with myself, do activities alone even though I am married, even though he devalues and demeans me over them. But I know who I am. I am a child of the Great I Am and God thinks I am great and I am his beloved. and that is what gets me through. I decided to believe that about God and no one on earth can love me as deeply and wonderfully as god can. there is no comparison. Although I have hurt and pain and am lonely, I still have joy and comfort in that experience with god. That is more than enough for me. when I am finished with my planning and growth, then I will approach him and what happens, will happen. I don’t have control over that. but I have a plan of safety and protection for myself and my future, with or without him.

  15. Mar on January 19, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    My daughter’s girlfriend has a wedding planned in a couple of months. Right now he is in the flattering stage but very selfish and does not treat his mother with respect. He is good looking and arrogant. If she gets upset with him right now he acts like he really cares.
    What suggestions/tests could I recommend for her to check, that she might be able to see things before getting married?

    • Aleea on January 23, 2016 at 8:34 am

      Dear Mar,

      “What suggestions/tests could I recommend for her to check, that she might be able to see things before getting married?” . . . . .It sounds as if this fine fastidious young man, as proud as a peacock, as gentle as a young girl would make a good catch for the devil himself!

      Leslie, has got all kinds of helps in this regard (re: see the rest of the site). . . . . Also, it sounds like you already know, but the information is everywhere (to wit: You Might Be a Narcissist If… by Paul Meier, Lisa Charlebois, Cynthia Munz. . . . .

      You Might Be A Narcissist if… pages 36 to 57
      1. you lack realistic insight into yourself.
      2. tend to project blame onto others.
      3. accuse them of doing the things that we actually are doing rather than taking responsibility for our actions.
      4. little or no care about how behavior hurt the people they “love”
      5. little or no motivation to change.

      Also, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement Jean M. Twenge, ‎W. Keith Campbell – 2010; The Handbook of Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality … —especially Pages 202 on W. Keith Campbell, ‎Joshua D. Miller – 2011; Measuring Narcissism with Alternate Response Formats; Narcissism as a Personality; The Destructive Narcissistic Pattern -Pages 29 to 50 Nina W. Brown – 1998), by the hundreds.

      . . . . . .Let’s just really, really pray for her (Mar’s daughter’s girlfriend). Lord God help her see. Let’s pray for self-awareness for him, for her and for us too! —Oh Lord, how the seeds of cockiness blossom when soiled in our stinking ignorance and unawareness. Lord God help us all we pray. Lord we have nothing unless you totally rescue us, we are just pawns for Satan to pick off.

    • Hope2 on January 23, 2016 at 9:01 am

      I was young and naive when I married my abusive/narcissist husband. I had two peripheral friends gently warn me. I’m sure others saw the signs but weren’t sure what to do.
      I wish that every person who had a caution would have strongly voiced it.
      If there’s a concern and people share it, even if she gets offended.
      If several people had spoken up clearly, I might have been upset, but I wouldn’t be where I am now.

      • Aleea on January 23, 2016 at 5:55 pm

        . . . . I am so, so terribly sorry. . . . I am praying for you that God will do exceeding, abundantly above all that you could ever ask, or even think in the rest of your life!

        Never pray to be a better slave when God is trying to get you out of your situation. Listen to the Holy Spirit and take back your mental sovereignty. . . . I can be crushed like a dry leaf and blown away, what am I? . . . .but the truth that Jesus came for, I see it everywhere in Christian origins —especially the very early years, “I want you TO BE FREE” should always inform us. . . . .Control doesn’t validate love; it validates the nonexistence of trust. Anyone that can’t see that has proven themselves to be unworthy of your time because why would you spend your life with someone that can’t tell the difference between a diamond and dirt? . . . .Lord God help all of us not to be fools, especially me Lord. . . . .All of this adds up to what Sociologists called the “Marriage Benefit Imbalance” . . . I always tell single women at church: it is important to really pause, really pray and really inspect why you long for it (marriage) more deeply than for God, because I see biology trumping the still small voice left, right and center with, as I always say, horrible results.

        Love to you,

  16. Rose J on January 26, 2016 at 11:56 pm

    Hi Aleea, I think you hit that on the nose. Sometimes, Aleea, you say the most astoundingly wise and caring things that are clearly from your heart. I appreciate how well you describe this acceptance of our brokenness as the most innocent, wisest & courageous response to these unwanted realities. “the problem isn’t in the knowing, it is in the facing of what we know”… and so it is from this heart-place that we give Our Lord the coordinates of our woundedness for Him to address.

    • Aleea on January 29, 2016 at 10:30 am

      Rose J,
      Forgive me for not seeing your note earlier. I am as lost as a ball in high weeds, as they say, when it comes to all these threads, separate posts, etc. I am usually doing this from a mobile device on a plane, in an airport, in a taxi and the small screen just does not allow me to keep my bearings.

      Rose J. you say: “… and so it is from this heart-place that we give Our Lord the coordinates of our woundedness for Him to address.” That is so, so beautiful. I love that thought and how beautifully that finishes my thought!!! . . . that God knows our GPS coordinates and will address our woundedness. So beautiful!!!

      . . . So, in summary, I need to really confront the reality of my situation, NOT so I will despair, but so that I will be free of the despair that already is within me. The despair that really enslaves me, the despair that I so often am told is “not really there” (—not by you or people that understand, but by others at church) and that even I, at times, I refuse to acknowledge. . .

  17. Joshua on January 27, 2016 at 11:07 am

    Help… I am in such a bind, i feel like I know which direction to move, but no idea where to start or, if I’m just crazy. Being a man, I sometimes wonder if the inverse is true (to have an emotionally abusive narcissistic wife) or if I have some other issue. I have only been married for just over 3 years and our first daughter, my little princess, if about to arrive. So I know the timing of all of this coming to a head is nothing short of awful.
    My mother went through a divorce, finally ending this past November (after 30 years of marriage), to emancipate herself from my narcissistic, verbally/emotionally abusive father. I am extremely proud of her, and how well she has done for herself. So many of your posted bring back hurtful memories. Hope2, when I read that your husband expected you to “submit to his authority” I had to write for help. My father used to and continues those rants about my mother not “respecting” him or “submitting” to him or my personal favorite “in the bible, Abraham’s wife called him ‘Lord'”. As my mother went through her struggle getting out, she would share some details of their dialogue and past experiences. What I noticed over the course over the last couple years, at a nauseating level, was that I am going through the exact same things that she did. Same situations, the same “catch phrases” or expressions, the same crazy cycle that she had been on for 30 years.
    My wife has to be in control of everything in our marriage, and consequently has to be right on everything as well. Rather than fixing an issue, the confrontation becomes whose right (or wrong) or who the blame gets assigned to, and it’s always me. She is critical of everything that I do, unless it’s done how she wants it to be. She hates my family and runs them down constantly. It is sometimes, almost not worth seeing them, than deal with the fallout for weeks/months a after a visit. She tells me all the time how she can’t tell that I love her, no matter how much effort I am putting into her. When arguments do arise, usually because I’ve done something wrong. She says horribly mean comments to me, that serves no purpose other than to emotionally wound, then she makes threats regard things I care about. Time and again I have expressed my needs to her, and she always twists things back around so the reason I’m not getting my needs met is my fault. When she gets into a “mood” everything I am doing must stop and immediately transition to focusing on her. Should that not occur, for what ever reason, she becomes hostile, saying “you don’t care about me” or “you don’t love me”. I don’t know how many times I’ve been accused of “abandoning” her.
    We have tried marriage counseling three times, and each time it has only made thing even worse. The first attempt, while the therapist was asking demographic questions about me, she stormed out because the therapist was “not concerned about her”. The last attempt, we made it to the 4-5th session, where we were actually getting into explaining things about the relationship, I was open and honest about how I felt to the therapist, and it was like she made a mental note, of everything I had said and I have been beaten down by things that I said in that session.
    She has been diagnosed with depression, but does very little in the way of getting help. Like Hope2 had said, she is very charismatic when it comes to therapists, and can say or act the right way to get what she wants. This should surprise no one that I am the “reason” she is depressed.
    I am trying my hardest to please her on a daily basis. But it seems the harder I try, the less and less effective it is. I am constantly walking on eggshells, so I don’t set her off. But my fear is that with our baby almost here, my attention will be drawn to the baby, and rightfully so, that she is going to get jealous and hurt the baby, or take out her frustrations of the baby. I’m running out of steam. I’ve been on an unsustainable pace for sometime, and I don’t know if I’m going to be able to be juggle, everything once that baby gets here and give my wife my full attention. And if I do end up leaving, how can I ensure that my daughter’s best interest will be in mind if she gets primary custody. I don’t want to stay and show my daughter that it is acceptable to stay in misery because it will benefit other people. And I also don’t want the baby to grow up learning that my wife’s behavior is allowed. I need advice on what to do. I’m seeing a therapist that specializes in narcissistic disorders. I just don’t want to end up being like my mother and wait 30 years to finally get out.
    Any advice will be much appreciated.
    Thanks and blessing to everyone who is enduring similar situations, and like with my mother, I am proud of everyone that has, that has reach out and/or gotten out

    • Aleea on January 29, 2016 at 2:10 pm

      Those are excellent insights and suggestions from Rose J. and may be more important than any insights into the issues at this point. . . . . However, I too recommend Leslie’s books. They are very helpful and very, very practical —just reverse the roles you see discussed in them. —If you can both work on the issues at the same time, read the same materials and discuss the materials that could be very helpful. I think, even when (—I know this is my case) you are seeing a specialist/ therapist, we still have to do a lot of our own work. I have no idea if this is right for you but I use information from everywhere —but, again, I have no idea if it would be right for you or even helpful. I always assume that the more I know, the more likely I am to (—with God’s help) to stumble into what works for me. I utilize ideas from A Relational Psychoanalytic Approach to Couples Psychotherapy by Philip A. Ringstrom Routledge, as well as, Evidence-Based Practices for Christian Counseling and Psychotherapy Everett L. Worthington Jr., Eric L. Johnson, Joshua N. Hook, Jamie D. Aten —2013, also Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy: An Integrative Approach / Elsie Jones-Smith. —2016 by SAGE Publications and Advanced Techniques for Counseling and Psychotherapy by Dr. Christian Conte, PhD (—I love the case studies in that book! They are wonderful!!!) and finally, Counseling and Psychotherapy: A Christian Perspective By Siang-Yang Tan. . . . Structural submission to Christ first, always and in all things is the base. To me, —and these are my own terms, behavioral (—cognitive: re: Touch the issue, release it and go) changes (—the world’s way) have a very high relapse rate. Relational changes (re: Touch the issues, stay inside the grief, the mourning, the pain until really drained and healed) are sustainable. Again, non-relational changes and techniques have a very high rate of recidivism (—just going back to the way you always were). I think what works is structural relationship submission —permanent changes via hand-to-hand combat with evil so we can get it out in the open, grieve, mourn and HEAL it, not short-term “helps”. . . . .That said, I have made a total mess of many things that I have tried even with my counselor’s help but other times I have had astounding successes. . . .I use counseling; I use theory; I use what I learn from case studies; I pray a lot and I will be praying for you too.

  18. Rose J on January 29, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Hi Joshua,
    it sounds like you are in the beginning stages of understanding that you have been hunted and trapped by a master manipulator genuine narcissist, which translates into: “you’re probably one of the sweetest, generous, empathic and thoughtful guys on the planet”. There is so much information out there right now on narcissism.
    I hope you read Leslie’s book on the Emotionally Destructive Marriage and have integrated her concepts of C.O.R.E. thinking and behaving into your psyche. It is imperative you do so.
    The reason I say this is because you are up against forces that make it necessary you DO NOT ABANDON YOURSELF! When you spend this much time and money on trying to figure out, convince and please a narcissist in order to have a peaceful and loving coexistence, you have lost yourself and have entered into a futile battle with a baffling and evil opponent.
    This reality requires you be fully present for yourself.
    I believe, and it’s fine if you disagree, that narcissism is an affliction brought about by entertaining self-centered and delusional evil spirits that the person enjoys and eventually binds his/herself to.
    You must remain strong in your convictions that she cannot be rescued or persuaded to change because she is too much in love with the false identity she has adopted about herself. She so much enjoys the sense of entitlement and superiority that only Our Lord could convince her otherwise.
    I have read so many books on narcissistic relationships, pathological character disorders, and many youtube videos out there on the topic of narcissism. I have also worked for many years with addicts and mentally disturbed persons in psychiatric settings. I am an R.N., very familiar with the DSM. Sam Vaknin has countless videos, Ross Rosenberg explains how our codependency gets us into these relationships, and Melanie Tonia Evans explains how to stop focusing on the narcissist and how to heal from the trauma. These are just a few names of helpers in addition to Leslie’s groups and blogs.
    Your baby girl – Wow. See, now the narcissist has really got you over a barrel? So I am very serious about your getting strong. Another very helpful book is by Henry Cloud called ‘Necessary Endings”. It will help you a lot, esp. in this period of time where you are still vested in talking your abuser into seeing reason.
    While you learn about your situation with your narcissistic wife through books and videos, get some referrals to excellent divorce lawyers. Make appointments with them for consultations. Sometimes they will charge 100 to 200 or so dollars for an hour with them, but it is money well spent. It will help you to see if this lawyer can understand your situation and you can get an idea of whether they can realistically help you within the bounds of domestic law in your state or if they are blowing smoke up your pants with promises of complete victory.
    DO NOT leave your home!! Your wife could charge you with abandonment. Just cope as well as you can by concentrating on your own chores, learning about narcissism and about your self. Try not to spend too much time with her, especially if you sense a bad mood coming on.
    After you have checked out at least 3 lawyers of good reputation, decide on which on you felt most heard by. Start preparing for divorce.
    Even if you stay married for a long while because of the need to be there for your baby, it’s important to know that you are ready and able to pick up that phone to initiate proceedings. Start a journal (that she can’t get to) and write down dates, what happened, who was there etc. for no other reason than to help you start understanding how selfish and uncaring she is. Also start saving any written or emailed materials that show her motivations (like spending money on herself or things that are wasteful, losing jobs and why she lost them, car accidents or any other destruction of property). If she ever hits, shoves or otherwise physically abuses you, CALL the police!!!
    Get the report for your records at the very least. Press charges if you need to. Document, get recordings, eye witness accounts or anything else that demonstrates how neglectful or harmful she is to the baby, even if, for instance she takes drugs or drinks while pregnant. This horrible female is the mother of your expected child, custody issues will be difficult, stay as sane as you can and show the courts that you are grounded and not over reactive to her craziness. The better your fit with the lawyer and the more material proof you can gather, the better your chances of a not perfect, but better outcome.
    Place all these items in a safe or other place that she cannot access.
    I truly hope your wife will not be abusive to your baby, but be prepared to notice and document all instances of these things, take you baby to an ER if she at all injures her, even if it’s an “accident”.
    I am sorry this is so long, you are just starting to realize what sort of soup you are in. Don’t let embarrassment stop you from asking for help and stop pretending you have the perfect marriage (unless doing so will help the baby). You are not alone.

    • Leslie Vernick on January 30, 2016 at 9:54 am

      Thanks Rose for your detailed and wise reply.

  19. Leonie on January 29, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Rise J this is amazing advice for anyone involved with a narcissist or any physically abusive person who is trying to take advantage if a spouse! Thank you for speaking truth!

  20. Ben on February 27, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    I have a confession to make — I am the manipulative, narcissistic husband that this blog speaks of. My wife left me six weeks ago and I hope it has served to wake me up to the point of true brokenness and repentance. God has really begun to work in my life to show me the destructive patterns of the last 15 years. I hate the demeaning, manipulative, and selfish man that I had become. My wife Becky is a wonderful, loving, selfless person who does not deserve to be married to such as me. Is there any help or hope for me? I desperately want to rebuild my life and be restored to my wife in a healthy and loving way.

  21. Kaylan Melissa on June 22, 2016 at 9:53 am

    My husband dumped me for another woman, and i was divorce by my husband with my two kids to take care of after 8 years of our marriage, i really love him, so one day as i was browsing through the internet i meant a testimony of man called Mathian who testify how dr konran help him to get his wife back after divorce and i was convinced, so i decide to give it a try and dr konran for a love spell to get my Husband back, and to my greatest surprise he cast a love binding spell to get him back for me and my lover came back in less than 48 hours of completing the spell casting. so i’m using this medium to advice anyone looking for any kind of spell should contact dr konran via email { } From: Ontario Name : Kaylan Melissa

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