Is There Hope For A Narcissist?

Morning Friends,

I want to make a few comments about the purpose of this blog. I wrote this in response to some other comments within the blog but I wanted to share it with you all.

First, I am not providing personal counseling within this blog for the individuals posing these questions. I am providing, as best I can do, a godly perspective for the person asking the question. I have not talked to the person asking. Most of the time I have never met her nor have I talked to her husband. The question is asked via e-mail.

Therefore a full picture of everyone involved and extra details are not provided nor would they be appropriate for a blog post. I respond to the question asked, I don't challenge the validity of the question, although I may pose provocative questions of my own for the person to consider.

In addition, I welcome all to participate in responding to the question as well as my response. My blog is not just a victim’s forum, although women and men who have suffered emotional abuse can find great comfort, support and wisdom here.

But as I've said many times, I think victims of abuse, especially women, need to learn to think more fully for themselves. We are often told what to think and have not developed our own discernment meter very well. It’s important that we question and evaluate what people say to us and not believe everything we read.

It's also important to learn not react to people who might be provocative or challenging and this blog provides you practice in these areas. In addition, I think it’s helpful for you to see that not everyone thinks like you do. And, just because a person thinks differently doesn't necessarily make the other person wrong.

Therefore, I want and welcome all people to interact in this forum as long as they try to be constructive and on topic. When there is harshness or name-calling, I try to catch it and ask them to stop or delete their post.

Friends, you will encounter a whole host of contrary perspectives and opinions in the world and in the church on these issues. It's a great idea for you to learn how to handle them in a God-honoring way right here in this blog.


Today’s Question: My husband was diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and my daughter and I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Our therapist professes to be a believer and understands our biblical views and is working with our pastor to bring about healing to our family. However, she is still coming from the clinical side of things, and sometimes I am very confused by her approach (validating his pain, hurt, etc. to build his trust and then patiently working with him to the point that she can hopefully open his eyes to the truth of his pain, etc). My pastor on the other hand, is skeptical of this approach and is concerned that she is just “feeding his frenzy” and that the deeper issues of sin are not being addressed, therefore, making the healing process very slow.

My question to you is this – given your training, biblical background, and experience – what thoughts do you have that a person with NPD will likely be able to truly see and deal with their sin issues? Would you be inclined to use a more direct approach? Also, if you can, what counsel would you give me in dealing with a person like this?

I realize there are many details that have not been provided to you. I am not looking for a detailed answer – just some general thoughts about NPD and its “victims” (if that’s possible).

Answer: I want to answer your question because I think many people in counseling struggle to understand why their therapist is taking a certain approach yet feel afraid to just ask him/her. As a therapist myself, if someone is unhappy with my approach or is confused by why I am doing something, I would welcome their question and I think most therapists would also. As a part of your own healing, as well as for the sake of your marriage and family, I’d encourage you to speak up and talk with your counselor about your concerns.

I am very uncomfortable making comments or giving an evaluation on the approach of your therapist with your husband because I do not know all the facts of the situation but let me give you some of my thoughts.

1. Working with a person diagnosed with NPD is a long slow process and there is not a high success rate. From the literature that I’ve read and my own personal experience, validating his pain may work to build his trust for the therapeutic relationship but it doesn’t transfer into his ability to validate the pain he’s caused other people.

For a narcissist it is about his pain and his pain only and that can be a bottomless well. If you try to talk about your pain, it may get a nanosecond of acknowledgment but it quickly and always reverts back to his pain.

Empathy for another person is lacking in NPD and an ability to view you or your daughter as separate people is minimal at best. In his mind your purpose is to be there to help him, serve him, meet his needs, and make him happy. His pain when you fail will always be a justification for his hurtful actions towards you. And because you are human, you will always fail in some way. Therefore, everything always becomes about him again and again. If your therapist isn’t on top of this, every session becomes all about him and his pain and how you have failed him and how you need to try harder to make sure you don’t ever cause him pain. Exhausting indeed.

2. Taking a more direct, confrontational approach with a narcissistic doesn’t often work either. They feel judged, misunderstood, unheard and will usually stop going to therapy unless there is a structure in place that helps him see why he needs to continue (negative consequences such as jail, church discipline, or loss of job, etc). A narcissist has selective attention and no matter how much you say it, he won’t hear it. Remember Jesus with the Pharisees? Jesus called them a “brood of vipers” (pretty direct and confrontational) yet they did not repent or acknowledge he was right. They just got defensive, angry, and more aggressive.

3. I don’t think it’s possible to effectively work with a narcissistic person when you are focused on only their pain. I think it’s crucial that the therapist also talks about their behaviors and actions that are hurtful towards others. Your pastor is wise to recognize that his “sin” or sinful behaviors and attitudes have to play a much more central role in his therapy for him to truly get better.

4. I also don’t think your therapist can address his pain while also trying to do marital therapy and treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder with you and the other family members. If the therapist validates your pain, the narcissistic person feels threatened, neglected and/or wounded. On the other hand, when she validates his pain, you get confused. It’s hard for you to understand why she validates his pain instead of helping him take responsibility and show concern and remorse about the pain he has caused you and your daughter.

My recommendations are this: If your goal is healing for the family right now, you will need to lower your expectations for the change process. It is slow going whatever approach you take. Talk with your therapist and see if perhaps you and your daughter need separate help dealing with the PTSD and learning how to set appropriate boundaries so that you can minimize the traumatic effect his behaviors have on you.

If your husband doesn’t stop his rages and/or physical abuse, continued separation is best. You indicated that you still have daily contact because of a family business but you also need  emotional separation. Your pastor may be able to help you work through an agreeable work arrangement so that negative contact is minimized. He also needs a firm but respectful person (perhaps your pastor) who can continue to hold him accountable for his self-centered actions and attitudes, reminding him that if he wants his family to be restored, these attitudes and actions are incompatible with loving family life.

You concluded in your e-mail that the “sad part is he doesn’t really understand why – he just thinks I’m acting out of anger and bitterness.”

I’m not so sure he doesn’t understand. I bet you’ve told your husband “why” again and again and again but he chooses to not get it because if he got it he would actually have to take responsibility and change. It works for him to act like he doesn’t get it and to make it your entire fault. Don’t let him. You must also learn not to engage or take in his poisonous barbs when he directs them toward you.

You both need some help, however, the difference is that you are aware of your failures and are willing to take responsibility for them and change and grow, he is not. Until he can look at himself and acknowledge the behaviors that have been hurtful, nothing will change. Until he can learn to empathize with you and your children for the pain he’s caused, nothing will change. And until he can allow each of you to have your own separate feelings, need's and choices as well as cope with his own hurt and/or disappointment when you don’t do what he wants you to do, nothing will change and there is not much hope for true healing in your family.

There is a lot of work to be done but the first step is acknowledging the real nature of his and your problem. If your husband can get to a place where he sees that he is part of the problem and not just a person in pain, and is willing to work on himself, then there may be hope for your family. If not, then don’t build up a false hope.

Friends, how long do you wait to “see” if a destructive person will accept that they are part of the problem? (tweet that)

Are there people in his life (outside of you) who will speak the truth to him? If not, then what? (Hebrews 3:13).


  1. Natalie on December 2, 2015 at 7:50 am

    I waited for 22 years for mine to “see” before finally separating. A year and a half into our separation and hours and hours of counseling with elders and a therapist, mine still doesn’t see. Is there hope for a narcissist? Pretty sure now that for mine, the answer is “no.”

    • Jen on December 2, 2015 at 11:34 am

      I waited just about as long… seemed like longer! Now, 2 years divorced, nothing has changed. I’m still treated with the same level of disrespect that I always was. Now I just don’t have to put up with it. Get sole custody of the littles, if you can Natalie. Sadly, the kids will be used to continue the abuse.

      • sunflower on December 2, 2015 at 7:27 pm

        Thank you Natalie and Jen for your reply. Sadly, many people do not change. I have a rather peculiar circumstance that my husband did change. The change took many years. It included multiple setbacks and tens of thousands of dollars spent on counseling. The difference, I think is that my husband owned his behavior and sought diligently for help. He was entitled in thought and was verbally, physically and sexually abusive. He was not a narcissist, he was not mentally ill, he was self centered and prideful. Programs for men are almost non existent. It takes consequences to break their behavior and even then very few to none every change their attitudes and beliefs. I fulling support leaving an abusive, destructive spouse. If you don’t see them changing and hear them hunger and search for help, cut your loses and get out. My husband would say to look for a repentant person who walks in humility. Having accountability people and a written contract is essential.

        • Angelina on September 19, 2016 at 6:22 pm

          Pardon my ignorance – but what’ what’ difference between a narcissist and being proud and selfish?

          • Judy on October 6, 2016 at 11:56 pm

            Not much difference that I can see…proud,arrogant snd extremely sel-centered to the point of every one else in the world is wrong and only their opinions should be everyones reality!

    • Peg on December 8, 2015 at 10:49 am

      Just wondering what you all think of NPD as a result of a child being left to himself?

      2 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,[a]
      Phil. 2:1-5.

      The few narcissists that I know were allowed to grow up like weeds as children, are not challenged to obey parents, and to consider others. As adults do not not submit themselves to others or God and His Word.

      The problems that occur are not marriage problems per se, but character problems resulting in marriage problems, and general problems in life due to their sinful, stubborn, self-centeredness.

      If they humble themselves and admit they truly need a Savior, there is hope!


      • Sarah on December 9, 2015 at 6:57 am

        I agree. My husband’s parents responded to his behavior as a child with a wild swing between being catered to & over-indulged and shaming him for it. What they were missing, was that his “abnormal behavior” was actually a normal response to a drastically dysfunctional & abusive home life. It wasn’t until we got married that the full impact of his childhood neglect, now in combination with his unhealthy learned coping mechanisms (self-indulgence, self-centeredness, drug addiction, paranoid thought patterns, abusive actions, etc, etc, etc.) came into the light. We have been together now for twenty years – about as long as we had each spent with our families of origin. It has been only over the past five or so years, that we have finally found the right combination of help, where we are able to go throught the process of uncovering, processing & healing our past wounds, by way of a brutally honest evaluation of our current patterns of sinful behavior. We could not have reached this point without the gifts that God has given to each of us, to see us through this struggle. That is; His grace, forgiveness, wisdom, knowledge, compassion & patience beyond human capacity. In other words, the moment by moment intersession of the Holy Spirit.

      • Sandy on December 22, 2015 at 10:11 am

        AMEN Peg!!

    • Gina on December 8, 2015 at 10:51 am

      22yrs for me also. Just separated in September. The hardest thing I’ve ever done, but the peace of not living in the chaos, confusion and constant arguing about his joblessness, lack of integrity or my role, submission and obedience as a wife are over. The raging over my wanting to make a minimal decision are over, praise the Lord! I found counseling together to be frustrating and a waste of time. I am thankful for a church and pastor that are equipped to handle a biblical separation. It’s a slow but grace giving process. And unfortunately I do not see my bi-polar husband repenting in the least. He has no desire to fight for his marriage or wife. He wants to rule and that’s what he will do.

      • sunflower on December 8, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        Thank you for sharing Gina. It is easy for 22 years to slip by as one tries to figure out incident after incident that just doesn’t make any sense. I was just reading a Lundy Bancroft commentary about the abusers ability to create confusion. I am so glad you see clearly now. Life will finally be so much better.

        • Sal24 on January 1, 2016 at 9:21 pm

          Sunflower, Where can I find this Lundy Bancroft commentary?

  2. Cheryl on December 2, 2015 at 7:54 am

    Wow. This is almost exactly where I am. My husband has just quit marriage counseling for the third time after remarking that it wasn’t fair that his work between sessions was to work at recognizing when he was feeling anger and choosing not to act out and “all she has to do is work at being real.” And no…he will not pursue or even allow a pastor or anyone else in to help because, as you said…its just about his pain -avoiding it and getting me to comply to his demands so he can avoid it.

    I’m accepting more than ever that this marriage will never be healthy and mutually satisfying. What I need to wrestle through now though is what this marriage should look like then? I’m sensing that this “being real / authentic will feel like and will be, a seperating and I need to be ok with that and not let feelings of guilt, either self-imposed or put on me, drag me back in.

    • Beth on December 2, 2015 at 8:43 am

      Thank you so much Leslie your response helped me just at the right time as I have made contact with my husband after several months of separation (third time I have had to move out in three years!) I know he has NPD from childhood trauma I think and after 20 years of marriage I also developed PTSD. Despite years of trying to get him to counselling (didn’t work) we both still love each other but I am coming to terms with reality of his inability to accept any responsibility for his toxic and controlling mindset which is heartbreaking. What I find so hard to deal with is knowing he truly does love and care for me on one level but is so broken he swings back into abusive words and selfish behaviour if he feels threatened or cannot control. He just cannot seem to do the reflection and repentance required to change but is tormented as I know he wants us to be together. I have learned how to put in boundaries and care for myself (to survive) and to put myself first now. Moving out I have found now my own identity which is awesome but I still wish he could find healing somehow and continue to pray for his deliverance. I am now navigating tricky waters of next phase of separating our assets (family home) without WW3 through courts and being left with nothing. My internet research on narcissism indicates they will stop at nothing to win… Any tips on that stage Leslie ?

      • Maria on December 2, 2015 at 9:42 am

        There is a book about divorcing a narcissist that may give you insights as to how to navigate your attempt at separating assetts.

      • Robin on December 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm

        Beth, I think it’s good to fact find when you discover your spouse is Narcissist but it’s also going to lead you to one thing I found out to be truer than I wished- A True Narcississt only does what will cause him to WIN. Even where it might seem things are improving, I found they were all play acting to get what he wants.

        • sunflower on December 2, 2015 at 7:58 pm

          Robin, your speak the truth!

        • Vicki on December 8, 2015 at 11:02 am

          I agree. Winning is all that matters

        • Faith on December 8, 2015 at 2:51 pm

          This is entirely true. They can’t lose you. You are a source of supply and someone to meet their needs. They give you just enough to keep you from leaving. The words of love the promises that they are trying and will change, the tears that seem so real. Somewhere deep inside they may mean it, but they are unable to follow through.

          • sunflower on December 8, 2015 at 7:06 pm

            Faith, when you said “he gives you just enough to keep you to leave” chills went up my back. That is exactly what happens. Control, control and more sneaky control masked in any and every form imaginable.

          • sunflower on December 8, 2015 at 7:07 pm

            I meant just enough to keep you from leaving. Thanks.

          • Victoria on December 9, 2015 at 6:23 am

            I’ve recently had a “Light Bulb Moment” of my own pattern. I am compelled to inform the narcissists in my life just how un-empathetic they actually are. See that dent in my forehead? That’s from banging my head against the wall

        • Sally on December 16, 2015 at 4:37 am

          If the NPD will play to win then won’t they change their behavior in response to implementing ultimatums and consequences? My husband has refused to change and refuses therapy or to do anything to help the marriage and better himself. But if he thought he may loose his family and be all alone wouldn’t that be a catalyst for change? He has a fear of me leaving him and I feel I’ve enabled him for 25 years. I’m trying to figure out what will work. I know I’m not going to have my dream marriage or loving family but I really don’t want to separate or worse, divorce just to obtain peace in my life.

      • Wendy on December 8, 2015 at 7:52 am

        The court process can be just like your life/marriage with the NPD person…. A bully!
        Understand that and approach the whole process as a chance to “stand up” to the destructive way of things from his approach ! It’s a HEALING PROCESS if you take a stand for the “truth”… Instead of the lies you have bought into previously.
        The court process CAN be an arena for you to begin to live in freedom… A beginning point to the rest of your life!!! Approach it with this TRUTH!

        • Vicki on December 8, 2015 at 10:12 am

          I caution all who think the court system is there to protect you from a narcissist. My 6 year experience in the court system with an undiagnosed narcissist but referred to as such by most of my therapists did not yield anything but despair and financial ruin. Even me having a stroke due to stress was of no consequence for him or the court system. As a Christian who sought the church, a student of social work and participant in years of therapy, DV support groups and a thorough Christian class on DV I caution anyone who believes the court will be fair, protect you and your children or even enforce their own orders of support and shared parenting. Everytime I hear someone say, “Take the kids and leave!” I cringe. The court did not protect mine even when my ex violated our agreement and refused to allow me to see our youngest son from the age of 14-18. I read every book and blog I could. I had access to the university library system and used classroom assignments to educate myself on DV, NPD, emotional and financial abuse but to no avail. I still am being harassed not only by my ex but also the woman he now lives with. He has rejected the God of the Bible and destroyed our youngest’s belief inGod. The toll on our seven children has been grievous. I want to learn what God wants to teach me from this experience and be used by Him if He so desires. In practical terms I am still trying to figure out how I will start over financially at 60 after a 37 year marriage to a “scorched earth” narcissist.

          • Flowers on December 8, 2015 at 12:08 pm

            You are so right about our court systems and even the police system. Somehow all my police reports of assaults over the years were literally blacked out where his name is. The military also participated by unsubstantiating my claim even though he was arrested while active duty. He was a pastor and the churches response was to blame my unforgiveness of his ungoing infidelity as the cause.

          • Maria on December 8, 2015 at 3:16 pm

            Vicky, Was wondering why your divorce took 2 years.

          • sunflower on December 8, 2015 at 7:14 pm

            God is just. We may not really see any true justice until we get to heaven. I think which state or even country you live in, profoundly affects the outcome of marital issues. I don’t think any of us ever think about which state has the most fair family law courts. Why would we? Maybe we just have to forgive ourselves and try some how to more forward in grace and love for ourselves.

        • Lois on December 25, 2015 at 9:06 am

          Exactly how do you go through that process? And do you have any suggestions for finding an attorney who is educated in DA/DV?

    • Vicki on December 9, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      You say your spouse said, “it wasn’t fair that his work between sessions was to work at recognizing when he was feeling anger and choosing not to act out and “all she has to do is work at being real.”
      That is exactly what my ex husband said! They are cut from the same cloth. He could not accept that he might have something bigger than me to work on. Or he needed to be in the position of fixing me and it made him agree if anyone thought he might have a contributing problem. control,

      • Vicki on December 9, 2015 at 5:57 pm

        Not agree but angry.

      • Vicki on December 9, 2015 at 6:26 pm

        Maria, you asked why it took so long. My divorce was over 2 1/2 years. When finalized he was seriously in the arrears for spousal and child support. But within 5 months he convinced our youngest to stay with him based on lies so he could justify not paying me. I then resorted to a lawyer from community legal aid which I paid at a lower fee. Again it got tied up in court and after two years I had a stoke. It dragged on so long the Supreme Court of my state was about to get involved due to delays. All I wanted was for the court to enforce their own order for payment and shared parenting time but they did not. He had a very powerful attorney. Expensive too

  3. Kim on December 2, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Wow – this was my life too with the exception that my spouse was a pastor. There was no getting him to “see” that he had caused any pain. The problem was always me. I acknowledge that I had my own sin, and I’ve worked on that – thank you God for mercy and grace.

    Our marriage didn’t last I’m sorry to say. I became so unhealthy (emotionally) in that marriage and I saw no hope of change. When we separated he used our three children as shields around him and it became a 4 vs. 1 all out war (in his approach but he didn’t see a problem with this either). I wept bitterly for my kids and their relationship with me. Thank you God! He has healed that after two years. I’m now picking up the pieces trying to rebuild my life; the divorce is STILL entirely my fault even though he moved on and remarried a Chinese woman that he brought over from China within months of our divorce.

    My best advice to anyone – seek God with everything within you! Get some counseling for yourself. And let God work – He will never leave you. He didn’t promise a painless life but some how He will guide you to what you need to do. And He will be there with you every step of the way. He can turn beauty for ashes! Isiaih 61:3

    • Cheryl on December 2, 2015 at 9:55 am

      LOVE your advice. That is exactly what I am doing!

    • sunflower on December 2, 2015 at 8:00 pm

      Kim, I feel so sorry for the Chinese woman, certainly she is living in abuse. Like a lamb to the slaughter she was led to the US. What a shame.

  4. Penny on December 2, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Thank you for this!!! It is a double pain…being hurt and then being made to feel as if it is your problem because you are hurt. This is a long journey and requires grace and God’s help. The hopeful part is that God helped us to see sin in our own hearts and we can hope in Him. Our wise Pastor saw this and asked what is the bigger problem…”a wandering heart” or the attitude of ” I did nothing wrong.” From my perspective…the second area was the bigger problem. My Dad was violent and I was always made to feel like my “emotional brokenness” was the real problem. The pattern carried into adult life where I felt the need to “own” the junk around me. If I hurt…something must be wrong with me. I am very very grateful for this forum.

    • Mary2 on December 2, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      Oh, so am I Penny! So grateful for this forum and how it is helping me to heal emotionally and to grow. Being hurt twice like you describe I think is called ‘secondary abuse’ – and can happen a lot in regular churches when an abused spouse asks for some help and guidance from people in leadership – who aren’t really listening and come to their own conclusions from appearances and assumptions – we can end up feeling almost abused by God if we trusted them as His representatives, this then becomes more than secondary abuse, more like triple…….

      • Leslie Vernick on December 2, 2015 at 9:11 pm

        Yes you’re right.

    • Robin Aheimer on December 4, 2015 at 11:24 pm

      That’s it Penny – double-loss ..standing alone in the pain. How can H not see they aren’t loving or protect g their wives. God will hold them accountable some day. I’m still trying to figure out my next steps.

  5. Deb on December 2, 2015 at 8:17 am

    It sounds like someone who is narsisstic is self centered. What tools are there to effectively communicate with someone like this.? I’m separated from my husband and it fits the profile. We’ve been Married many years. Most of these years have had drama. Does Ptss go hand in hand with someone who is narsisstic. And is that why anxiety is such a problem for me.

  6. Lori on December 2, 2015 at 8:44 am

    Thank you, Leslie!

    My ex-husband never did, and likely never will, see his part of our marriage failing. Everything was MY fault. He quit marital counseling after 8 years, and his rage increased to the point that I went to court to get an Emergency Order of Protection against him. My prayer was that would be a “wake up call” for him. It was not. He filed for divorce after 24 years of marriage rather than examine his own sin and pain. Navigating divorce and co-parenting with a Narcissist is NOT EASY.

    • lee on December 2, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      there is no such thing as “co-parenting” with a narcissist.
      There is parallel parenting… but “co-parenting” is a buzzword created by a well-meaning mental healthcare professional.
      Repeat: a narcissist will not co-parent.

      • Leslie Vernick on December 2, 2015 at 9:12 pm

        So very true. It’s important that we realize this.

        • Greater Glory on December 18, 2015 at 9:32 pm

          Co-parenting… illusion. Parallel- parenting….I can see that. Undermining….definitely!

      • Melanie on December 8, 2015 at 7:20 pm

        I would say however, that while a narcisist will not co-parent, God is still the one who summons the earth from the rising of the sun to the place where it sets. My dear friend was divorced by a narcisist less than a year after she became a Christian (at the just the right time, and all in God’s mercy, she always says). Their twin sons were one year old. She has been a 50/50 parent almost from the beginning with him (he was remarried within a year to a much younger woman).

        Last summer, nine years in, she was at the country club (“He lives on a golf course, I live on a used car lot”) for the boys’ swim meet, and the new wife walking around in a string bikini. One more time my friend was crying out: Help Me God, and realized what she really meant was Change This God! But she’d been saying that for ten years. She says: I stopped, right there by the pool and said, Well, if you won’t change this, then teach me how to live here.

        Nine long years and one hard summer she says, she’s learned that she must be able to trust that God will teach her how to navigate this difficult reality. And she’s learned peace there. Then this fall, they were at a tae-kwon-do meet and one of the boys was talking back to her. His father came over and asked what was going on. You don’t talk to your mother like that. Apologize to her right now. The boys were with their dad that night, and were supposed to get ice cream on the way home, but he drove them straight home instead and made the offender write his mom an apology note.

        Last month, the boys were in her van and they found a tool and scraped up the glove box and dug holes in the seats. She texted their dad to tell him what happened, because they were going to his house that night. She said: I want to take away their technology for a week, will you enforce this at your house? He texted back: It should be a month, and they should pay for it, I’ll find some jobs for them to do here too to help. And he did.

        Her sons are 11 and heading for adolescence in a split-week parenting situation– and their dad wants respectful kids, because disrespecting him (and their mother) doesn’t feed his image of himself.

        But their mom cannot do it without him, and God knows that. She has become friends with his new wife (who is married to a narcisist and doesn’t know the Lord)… and God is taking care of her children with the means he has available to him.

        Their dad still buys them everything she won’t because of finances and to set the example that we give instead of take, but by the Lord’s miraculous work, he is making this difficult reality possible–and her sons who will be bigger than her soon are not going to be disrespectful to her. It’s not ideal, of course, but nonetheless, I think it is a testimony to God’s faithfulness to all of us.

        But it started with saying teach me how to live here and I will follow you. It took nine years and one hard summer, but her attitude toward him and his wife changed, she knows that she is honoring God no matter what her ex’s response has been.

        And God still speaks and summons the earth. I fear sometimes the worst temptation Satan throws at us in these awful marriages and divorces is the temptation to forget that too quickly.

        • Greta on December 9, 2015 at 11:39 am

          Thank you so much for this. I needed to read something encouraging. I’m married to a narcissist and I’ve learned to set boundaries and I’ve tried to stay in the marriage well but because of his recent second case of unfaithfulness and deception (I forgave and chose to reconcile the first time after I saw repentance and change) I am choosing to forgive and divorce him. I am fearful of how he may use the kids to make his unhealthy points to me but I tend to think that once separated he will do better for the kids discipline because I won’t be there for him to make a point and he is concerned about how his kids make him look.

        • Luci on January 22, 2016 at 12:34 pm

          Reading this gives me hope, though I’m not sure I have the patience to wait 9 years, but I’m willing to try. My story is different than everyone else’s, being that the narcissist is my boyfriend’s ex-wife. She has not been diagnosed with NPD, but I suspect she has it or another serious personality disorder. I keep praying for God to just give me the strength and courage to deal with her in a logical, rational and reasonable manner, but it is taking its toll on me emotionally. I try not to engage in her tactics but I find my self compelled to defend myself against her lies. The children are so little and the manipulation she puts them through is heart breaking. In addition to the fact that she claims she is the Christian of all Christians. She is more like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but only is chosen few get to see that, everyone else shines a blind eye. It’s rare to find a women who is the abuser, but I now know it is possible and very real.

      • Victoria on December 9, 2015 at 6:42 am

        So true, they aren’t capable of co-parenting. My ex either disowned his children that disappointed him or was completely possessive of his favorite. Reading all these comments have been a good reminder of why I left 5 years ago. It was difficult but I stayed until our youngest was in college. Mostly because I needed to stay & protect her as possible. Her senior year of high school was awful. He went baserk. He was acting more like jealous boyfriend than a father. Creepy! She was his sports star and his life was totally wrapped up in hers. I knew he would never co-parent divorced. He protested whenever I wanted to be involved in her life. I left while he was on vacation with his parents. And that was a whole other part of the dysfunction. I took what I had bought second hand over the years. Not much but enough to get started. I knew that negotiation was not an option for me. It wasn’t in the marriage either. Winning, or his twisted idea of, was EVERYTHING. God, my close girlfriends, The Boundaries book, bible study & (separate) counseling was how I made it, one day @ a time, for 30 years. Freedom is sweet!

    • sunflower on December 2, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      In response to the abusive H saying things are your fault. I have been told that the abusive spouse is never an accurate judge of our motives or character. Ask a friend what they think. Chances are their opinion is a lot more valid.

      • Kimberly on December 8, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        This has definitely been my experience with my now ex-husband. He was constantly accusing me of an agenda I did not have, feelings I did not have, and strait out character assassination. Still does for that matter. He could not accept that someone good actually loved him. (I would assume this was because his own mother – his MOTHER, can you imagine – abandoned him at 16. I never met her in the 10 years of our relationship.) And then he started dating before we were even divorced. And he still blames me for the problems in our marriage (I didn’t hem his pants, while he spit in my face, put me in a full nelson, called me f-ing B over and over, chest bumped me, the list goes on). But we went to counseling, and because I didn’t open my mouth to express these truths, the counselor just treated us like we needed to learn to communicate better. There would have been hell to pay as soon as we left the office if I did. And NOW he has told the boys (8 and 7) that it was MY choice to leave the marriage, when I told him I needed him to go to individual counseling to work on his stuff, or I would be leaving. He chose his PRIDE over his family. I was seeing a counselor myself at the time. I will be the first to admit that I could have done much better setting that boundary, but I was emotionally exhausted and so incredibly angry with him. I don’t know what to tell my boys at this point. Funny how he wants to be “truthful” to the boys, but he doesn’t want them to know that he is dating and who knows what else with these women. A little venting here, all this has just happened in the last year, and I’m also dealing with breast cancer, diagnosed 2 months after the divorce, so I’m emotionally everywhere right now. I remember the thing he said to me after I told him I would be receiving chemo and we needed to make arrangements for the kids depending on how I tolerated the chemo. He said, and I quote, “This is YOUR thing.”(!!!!) He did come around and was actually very helpful through the 3 months of chemo, but to make a statement like that, to someone you claimed to have loved, the mother of your children, as though I asked for breast cancer at 33 years old. Vent over.

        • sunflower on December 8, 2015 at 7:29 pm

          I hope you are growing stronger everyday. The boys need you to be well emotionally, even as you struggle physically. Can you find a source of comfort and joy as you heal? With a chaotic household, every measure of peace you can create is less fearful for the precious children. You marriage sounds terrible. I am so sorry you have been treated so poorly. Vent away friend. We hear you.

    • leslie on December 26, 2015 at 5:05 pm

      My story too. Filed for legal seperation before I went crazy and hoping for it to be a “wake up” call. He countered with a divorce and it’s all MY fault and the lies he tells people, his attorney are unbelievable. He’s the poor victim. He tells me he can’t wait until I’m on my own and not taken care of anymore. Hoping to see me struggle and fail.

      • Michelle on January 21, 2016 at 12:23 am

        Wow, I’ve heard those same words before!

      • Tracie on April 12, 2016 at 5:36 pm

        I’ve heard the same things also….it’s amazing how they become the “victim” and how he was hurt so much. That he loved me, he wanted to make it work, that I was the crazy one who left and deserted him. I did leave only because I felt like I was going out of my mind with his “gas-lighting” and other mental games.

        We tried the counseling after our first separation, but that lasted only a short time. Then the mind games started again.

        He hated my family and both my girls (from a previous marriage) with a passion. Tried to alienate me from them by his silent treatments and cutting remarks how they were just using me.

        He pretty much wrote off all his family except the relationship with his daughter which was strained anyway. That should have told me something before we married.

        He even twisted the truth around so much, even my best friend believed his stories and she accused me of deserting him and playing the mind games. Thank goodness for my church counselor and family.

        My counselor recommended “Boundaries” to me…after I read it (and some to him) he told me later that was the worst book I had read…that’s what destroyed our marriage (plus the fact that I was friends with my daughters’ father. We forgave each other and are now friends).

        I’ve been No Contact with him or our mutual friends for three weeks now. It hurts so much, but it’s time I quit trying to please others and work on my own self.

        I encourage anyone who has/is going through a divorce/separation to look into the program “DivorceCare”. It’s Christian based and very helpful.

        I pray we all can heal and learn to trust again.


        • LL on September 19, 2016 at 1:19 pm

          I looked up the DivoreCare info after seeing your comment, and I will be starting soon. I am so hopeful & fortunate, thank you!

  7. Ava on December 2, 2015 at 9:03 am

    My NPD ex husband and I spent years and years in counseling, close to $30,000 in therepist’s fees and went through 7different counsellors (Christian counsellors and others not affiliated with any particular religion) All of that and nothing ever changed within my husband. He would get angry…. Or maybe he would get really sorry….. Or maybe he would cry and carry on about his pain….. His words were all over the place from loving and what I wanted to hear to out right evil and designed to hurt me and our children. His behavior never changed. I finally divorced him. He is still the same person with his kids and in his other relationships. It is very very sad. What you want is good and praiseworthy! It’s what God wants for you!!! A healed and restored God honoring marriage. BUT your husband will probably never ever get it. If he doesn’t participate you can’t have that. If he won’t obey God he won’t do his part. I agree with Leslie…. He totally understands! He is just NOT going to do the work to make himself safe for you. I decided in hindsight that all my couples counsellors were just trying to find some way to help this woman who was determined to not get divorced. They tried everything …. But I’ll never forget when one said. “I think this is as good as it gets with him and you just need to decide if you can live this way.” I’ll be praying for you. I know where you are. More importantly God sees you and knows. No one can tell you what to do and each marriage is different, but there are some rather large consequences for kids who are raised by narcissists. You are teaching your daughter how to handle people who treat you badly as you walk through this. Whether you stay or go, your husband has all the benefits of free choice. your choices don’t determine his. He can go to a psychiatrist at any time and get help for himself without requiring you to do anything. But my own personal counselor told me once that “with wise people words work, but with foolish people only consequences work”. If you love your husband you may need to love him enough to show him that the world doesn’t exsist for him and that when he behaves in sinful evil ways he will suffer the natural consequences and God may remove the blessings of his wife and daughter from his life. I firmly believe that a person with NPD only makes changes if the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of making the changes…. And for some even that won’t do the trick. Stay strong sister and know that God is just and fair and loves you!!!!!!! Trust Him to lead you and if he leads you out of that marriage sister RUN.

    • sunflower on December 2, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      This is excellent advice gleaned from some difficult times. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

      • Leslie Vernick on December 2, 2015 at 9:10 pm

        Thanks Sunflower

  8. Mags on December 2, 2015 at 9:23 am

    When there is no one to hold him accountable for his sin, sinful behaviors, and cruelty, and he refuses to seek help, then I finally had to concede that there wasn’t hope for healing inside the marriage. I hope that one day he will come to a saving repentance, for his own sake. But, that no longer includes me.

    • sunflower on December 2, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      I am so encouraged by your wisdom. Oh, how I could have used this kind of help a decade ago!

  9. Maria on December 2, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Well said!

  10. Mary on December 2, 2015 at 9:51 am

    My husband is overcoming NPD. Paul Hegstrom, Freedom Life Skills is what did it. There is a new class, The Trek. He had to learn about is childhood and how his angry father damaged him. He learned survival skills and stayed with them. After 20 years of marriage, I now have to learn to trust him and stop the co-dependency skills I developed. I have to learn to have a voice. That is is long process and I still live in fear of his triggers. He triggers but he recognizes them and works through them. My world no longer revolves around him. I have a life! I missed out on so much in the 20 years my world had to revolve around him. He truly grieves that.

    • Sister320 on December 2, 2015 at 5:24 pm

      Wow Mary. Thank you for sharing this victory. My husband is in one of his “good” seasons right now, on fire for the Lord, going to church, bible study, reading and praying with me and the kids, etc. But I wonder how long it will last this time? In almost 2-decades, I’ve seen this before. I just recently learned what narcissism is and it hit me like a ton a bricks when I saw all of the similarities in my husband. I honestly have zero hope in my marriage and it ever being biblical and healthy. Even though we are doing “good” right now, I am just waiting for things to go bad. Even when we are doing well, my husband still very “lovingly” and “gently” tells me about my faults and what my errors are and how he tried to prevent things and I never listen, etc. I love him a lot, but I don’t want my marriage anymore. That makes me so sad to say. I don’t know what it will take, but at this point, like many of the sisters on this blog, I need counseling and help now. I have never been sinless, but I know that nothing I’ve done has been deserving of how my husband has treated me through the years. God bless you Mary.

      • Mary on December 2, 2015 at 9:30 pm


        The problems come when your husband triggers. He probably doesn’t even know what sets him off. Dan Allender’s methods of psychotherapy are good as well. I hung in for 20 years and I am glad I did. My husband and I did “family” really well together so I wasn’t willing to give that up. I paid dearly but I am glad I hung in there. Honestly, had I left him, I wanted nothing to do with men anymore anyway so I just decided to stay. My kids were worth it. Paul Hegstrom has some videos on YouTube if you would like to investigate.

        • Sister320 on December 3, 2015 at 10:35 am

          Thank you Mary, I will look into that. My husband has a lot of damage from childhood that I see has led to the narcissistic behavior. I just want him to heal and be free but for himself, not for me.

          • Leslie Vernick on December 4, 2015 at 7:22 am

            But he has to want that too, even more than you do or he won’t do the work.

          • Remedy on December 4, 2015 at 11:48 am

            So if they don’t want it, Leslie, or worse deny they have a problem, then what?

            My pastors would say, too bad, so sad for you. Try to love him more or else I haven’t owned my part in the destruction of the relationship. Pushing 26 yrs of this relational heartbreak. Having church support would certainly make things safer for me to separate. The terror of what danger could happen has me still paralyzed.

      • Mary2 on December 9, 2015 at 1:37 pm

        I do hear you Sister320, I have lived a marriage like this also, and “back then” also wondered what it would take to get things to where I had always hoped they would naturally be as we were both Christians who believed that God had brought us together. And I agree with Mary that things can be fine until there’s a trigger – and issues that have been placed on the psychological shelf of “too hard, but one day….” start clamouring for attention. Hubby needs some self awareness and some ‘ice-axes’ he can cling onto to prevent sliding down the slippery slope. How open do you think he is to gaining deeper self-awareness towards furthering your mutual aspirations? This might be a good place to start – I know it is what has saved us and our children can see it for which I am eternally grateful to God. Blessings and strength, sister

    • sunflower on December 2, 2015 at 7:34 pm

      My husband also benefited from Life Skills International and Paul Hegstrom’s work. It took close to a decade of counseling to work through his painful childhood.

      • Leonie on December 4, 2015 at 2:32 pm

        Remedy, what do you thing will happen if you separate from your husband?

        • Remedy on December 4, 2015 at 10:23 pm

          Violence is totally possible. His temper is terrifying.

          • Robin on December 6, 2015 at 12:07 am

            Remedy so it’s easier to live daily knowing violence could go down on you or your children’s head, then waiting??? I’m wondering what waiting will do???

          • Maria on December 7, 2015 at 8:44 am

            Remedy, According to many experts, the most dangerous time for a woman is when she leaves. You know your situation better than anyone else. If you decide to leave, it would be wise to listen to you gut and formulate a well thought out plan of action. Be careful of acting in haste. I don’t know your story, but sounds like your husband is a dangerous individual.

          • sunflower on December 8, 2015 at 7:31 pm

            I agree with Maria. These situations don’t get better on their own. We will pray for wisdom in this decision.

      • Sarah on December 15, 2015 at 3:02 am

        Count us in as another couple who has benefitted from Lifeskills International, after years of counseling (both christian & secular) with very little progress. I personally suggest that women whose husbands are willing to go through the program, also go through it themselves. I say this for the simple reason that when living with a Narcissist it is hard not to see ourselves as “the good spouse,” but the truth is that we are ALL wounded and there are reasons why we have chosen wounded partners. Through the program, God has uncovered areas in my life where I was also triggering in response to his behavior or otherwise acting out of my own fear & shame. While my own responses may have seemed “reasonable” at first glance, in reality, they were unhealthy in their own right, and only acted as gasoline to the fire of my NPD husband. Learning how to acknowledge my own triggers in order to process my core wounds has enabled me to set and KEEP boundaries I never would have been able to otherwise. After LSI, my husband entered psychotherapy and has made great progress at detangling his heart & mind from a life wracked with trauma & abuse. We will begin with the Allendar material later this year. We’ve been together 20 years. Began seeking help 15 years ago. But the real changes have only come in the last 5 to 10 after finding the “right” help. This path is not for the faint of heart. I never imagined it would be this hard… But God is using it to heal both of us. God willing, we will not pass this on to our children.

    • AD on December 3, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Thanks for sharing that resource – and enjoy the victory!

      • Mary on December 7, 2015 at 5:22 pm

        It is a long process. Thank you!

    • Riding the Rollercoaster on December 8, 2015 at 9:08 am

      I am wondering if narcissism can be learned behavior if a child is raised in a home with a parent(s) that have NPD and the family dynamic is to dance around and never hold the parent accountable? My husband is the oldest in a family of 7 children (he’s 55). He has some really good qualities (he’s a “moral” man) but uses all the coping mechanisms he learned during childhood from his NPD and alcoholic Dad, who the whole family still protects. On the outside they appear to be a large, close knit Christian family, but on the inside there is so much destruction and evil. There have been times where I feel like my husband is so close to breaking down and recognizing that his life was far from normal and it has affected how he relates to people, especially those close to him. Are people more likely to be able to recover from narcissism, if held accountable and they recognize their negative behaviors, if these behaviors are learned? I just find it hard to believe there could be such a large family with a long history of widespread inherited NPD…or maybe not and in his family it is a genetic brain disorder?

    • Vicki on December 8, 2015 at 10:25 am

      Paul Hegstrom’s “Learning to Live, Learning to Love” changed my life. What is “The Trek?” Did Dr. Hegstrom create it?

    • Vicki on December 17, 2015 at 2:05 am

      Paul Hegstrom’s ministry was very instrumental in my life. It did not save my marriage. My husband refused to go. But it did help me to understand what was happening to me.

      I have been unable to locate The Trek. Could you supply a link? I am interested in finding out what it is about. Thanks!

  11. Free to dance on December 2, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I prayed and waited a decade to “see” if my narcissistic husband would take personal responsibility in our declining marriage. Sure, I could have waited longer, tried harder, prayed more and hoped for a miracle that he would change. I was really good at doing that, all while carrying the crown of long-suffering! And I honestly thought that was all that I could do for 10 years! Well, God did eventually answer my prayers! In the form of, a friend who gave me Leslie’s name and website, along with another friend who had just separated from her narcissistic husband and a counselor who told me that I was being verbally and emotionally abused. I woke up! I began to ferociously read on abuse in all its forms, along with how to change the pattern of abuse. Then began a two year journey of setting boundaries, accountability in the form of family, friends and pastors, counseling (first, individual then, as a couple) and separation. I’m sad to say, none of that changed him. He would talk the talk but he would never walk the walk. I now believe he can never walk the walk, unless he wants to heal his past inner wounds. He says he wants to heal from his childhood wounds, but he won’t do the work necessary. I have made the decision to divorce. I don’t believe this is the right decision for every marriage where a narcissist rules, but in mine, it was the best decision. I didn’t want to continue the script of exposing his indifference, and abuse in hopes of reconciliation. He never respected the boundaries I set, and I can’t expect him to change that response, unless he changes his heart.

    Today, I’m working on my healing and moving forward with my children. I have a job after being isolated and out of the workforce for 10 years. My children will be transitioning into public or private school after being home schooled for 5 years. I’m attending a divorce care group and a single mom’s Bible study group on a weekly basis. Sure, I still need to set boundaries with my narc because of the children and custody battles, but I’m not dealing with him on a daily basis and exposing my children to the destructive behavior. I’m glad I left for my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health!

    • sunflower on December 2, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      Free to dance. i am happy for you and love your choice of site names. Freedom to be all God created us to be is delightful living. To walk in joy is the benefit of having labored so long in pain and sorrow. Seize the day my sister!

    • Enjoy the journey on December 8, 2015 at 11:42 am

      I am so much in your same shoes. I’ve been homeschooling my children as well. Taking the leap of providing for myself and figuring out another school option for the children has been very hard on me… I have not yet moved forward in this. I need to.

    • Vicki on December 8, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      I understand. Like you I waited. I waited for about 32 years before i realized what was happening. We home schooled for more than 20 years and led support groups. He was a deacon. He decided we needed to sell everything to minister to Russian orphans in Moscow. I followed for 3 years. He was headmaster of a Christian school. I helped him start a business. He had delusions of running for public office. But behind the scenes there were affairs I was expected to forgive and abuse I was expected to cover up so he could pursue church leadership. In the end, I left after 35 years of problems. By then he had left the church, was pursuing false teaching that fed his narcissistic supply and women the age of our oldest daughter. It made no difference to the court. I will only recieve 75% of what he will receive in Social Security. He has successfully modified support to half within 3 years. Providing financially for myself scares me to death. Without God’s mercy I am without hope.

      • sunflower on December 8, 2015 at 7:46 pm

        Vicki, How frightening to be in a foreign country, stripped of all support systems and be dependent upon an untrustworthy man. That sound so very scary to me! At this, point money would seem the least of your problems. 🙂 I bet you will have exactly what you need and things will fall into place better than you ever could have imagined. I find God does that for me all the time. Not that I deserve it, he just seems to meet my needs year, after year, after year.

  12. Alene on December 2, 2015 at 10:13 am

    I have found that the hardest thing is the distortions his perspective or lack thereof brings to life, crises, and relationships. I used to describe it as living in a fun house of mirrors. He is currently getting some help…but this blog post reminded me, that it will be a challenge for him to truly hear. It is a good reality check and I find I need that so I can stay realistic.

    • Vicki on December 8, 2015 at 11:07 am

      What a great description of life with a narcissist! And you feel like the walls are closing in too!

      • sunflower on December 8, 2015 at 7:52 pm

        I would like go add that although I do not believe my abusive husband is a narcissist, I can relate to the fun house and the floor falling in. I would add that my husband was very sly. He is very intelligent and his deception was so convincing that he often fooled himself into believing his entitled attitudes were just. I might describe my household as living in a powder keg with a man dropping matches as I tried to blow the matches out before the house blew up.

        • Sarah on December 15, 2015 at 9:47 am

          Sunflower, I wonder if you would be willing to share with me why you don’t feel that your husband is a narcissist? I ask, because I have wondered this about my own husband. I was challenged with this by a counselor who, after doing my intake session declared my husband a narcissist, but back-pedaled on it because “most, if not all narcissists are unwilling to get help, and if they do, it is only on their terms.” This *was* true of my husband, and still can be, during times of improperly managed triggers, where he chooses denial & blameshifting over using the tools we’ve learned. But, over all it has been a slow (very slow) but steady process of forward motion. After all the help we’ve received, only about one quarter of it having been meaningful (which continues to be the core wounds portion & the trauma work because it allows him to feel safe enough to risk being open), I *would* still say that my husband is narcissist…but I am more than willing to be proven wrong about that 😉 Would you be willing to share your perspective?

  13. Celeste on December 2, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Friends, how long do you wait to “see” if a destructive person will accept that they are part of the problem? From personal experience, I recommend continuing with setting appropriate boundaries while grounding yourself. Are those personal boundaries being continually crossed or are they becoming respected? As you push those boundaries more, is there a willingness for the other person to comply eventually? If you are not making progress, I would take that as a sign the other person has no ability or desire to care for others and move towards taking care of myself financially before separation.

    Are there people in his life (outside of you) who will speak the truth to him? If not, then what? I always wondered about why others saw the obvious in our marriage but never spoke up. I believe it would take several other meaningful relationships to speak truth into his life to have an impact. But in reality, can a narcissist really let people into their lives who speak the truth and hear what is being said? I often wonder how my former spouse became a narcissist. I continually looked for a reason why he became this way.

    Now divorced and living a distance away, I rarely have to deal with him; but when we do have brief encounters, it is sad to see someone in so much self-anguish that he perpetuates.on himself. Each time I wonder how did he become that way?

    • Tracie on April 12, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      I don’t think a destructive person/narcissist even acknowledges they have a problem, at least my ex wouldn’t admit to it. How they think and act is a norm to them and we are the crazy ones or are the ones with the problems.

      When I tried to set more boundaries as to how he is to treat me, it just got worse. The silent treatments, gas-lighting, blaming me for everything that has gone wrong. He didn’t physically abuse me, but emotionally and mentally, he worked his “magic”. I actually wished he did hit me instead of the emotional stuff. At least the bruises go away quicker.

      Celeste, I know you still probably care for your ex as I do mine. I questioned all this myself…what caused him to be this way, what could I have done more? We have to stop worrying and trying to fix them and focus on getting ourselves put back together.

      Best of luck

  14. Refined on December 2, 2015 at 11:24 am

    I was pretty selfcentered myself until I got ahold of a self help book on cognitive behavioral therapy to understand my grandfather who I now believe had Npd. It also helped me to work through step 4 in al-anon. Unfortunately for my spouse, any psych lingo only seems to justify masked punishment and blame. My counselor and I are pretty sure Npd in my spouse is my marital problem. I’m certain the truth I ask him to see, however respectful and gentle it’s stated, terrorizes him. It’s very sad. We are at the point where he wants me to share in the responsibility for his rage. I’m not doing that. I see how he can manage good behavior enough for intermitent parenting and work or casual friendshps especially with the right motivation but I can’t see how any of it would be long term or how he’d become emotionally and physically safe enough for an intimate relationship, even one that’s more ministry than marriage. Since we are separated, I’m not rushing decisions but I am working to accept this. My counselor is more hopeful than I am.

    • Michelle on December 8, 2015 at 9:59 am

      may I make a comment about the hopefulness in a relationship?

      There is a wonderful book about by Henry cloud, called necessary endings. In it it talks about the definition of hope. Hope, by deffinition implies that there is a certain expectation that life can change or at least be different. In absence of an expectation of change, when it really can’t be different, then what you really have is the absence of hope, or hope – less. and what you’re REALLY doing is wishing.

      For a decade, I thought I was hoping, really what I was doing with wishing that life would be different. There was no reasonable expectation for change.

      I should not have given that man 10 minutes of my life never mind 10 years. I regret not setting proper boundaries early on. I regret not leaving this relationship at the curb earlier.

      I cant get there years back, they should have been wonderful years, but instead were hell on wheels. I kick myself for tolerating such behavior.

      One of the pastors in my church says, “boundaries without consequences are not boundaries at all”. encourage you, set boundaries, and stick with is reasonable forus to expect that our boundaries be respected. People who genuinely love us, will respect the boundary.

      I wish you all courage and strength in your respective situations. May you be truthful with yourselves and use the proper words.
      Are you hoping, or wishing?
      are you hoping, or is it hopeLESS?
      Call it what it is and act accordingly.
      wishing you peace,

  15. Aleea on December 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

    “Friends, how long do you wait to “see” if a destructive person will accept that they are part of the problem?”

    Many, many months back I would have said to “work, wait and see” but anymore I don’t think you want to wait because more data has shown me that most have just sadly waited their precious lives away. I would wait because I have seen the value of that when professionally structured but that approach is extremely costly, time consuming and involves lots of professionals and very willing, broken participants. I think in the normative case, very sadly, the probabilities and longevity evidence are against waiting. “What is the Holy Spirit telling you to do?” I asked a women in my church recently. “He is not telling me anything!” —First, thank you so, so much for being honest and second then go with the probabilities and longevity evidence against waiting but keep seeking His wisdom everyday. —Of course, realize what I told her, that suggestion, comes from someone who has absolutely nothing together and very often needs Christ’s help just to get across the street. Lord here I am, would You please help me. . . . —As I told my mother recently, if He is a “crutch” I am going to lean on Him.

  16. Finallyfree on December 2, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    After being married to a narcissist for 28 years, and waiting and waiting and doing and doing….the Lord made it very clear to me that I must stay close to Him and hear His voice above the din. He gently but deliberately led me out of the marriage. It did not have to be this way – my ex had choices to make and he made them. So – with my boundaries in place, the Lord made it clear that I was to divorce him. It was painful and difficult and at times very dangerous, but now I am on the other side and life is beautiful.

    My point is that if we stay close to Him, the Lord will show us each which way to go and how and when to respond. He loves us and wants so much more for us than we want for ourselves. He is good. I am so thankful to be in His kingdom!

  17. Survivor on December 2, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    Wow!! Just WOW!!!!!! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for addressing this topic!!!!!! I have been asking this very question for a very long time!!!! My counselor has worked with both of us, and he has stated that he sees evidence of NPD in my H. Just this week, he told me that the behaviors H is exhibiting show much evidence of an unteachable spirit. He ‘says’ that he wants help and that he wants to change, but every time he has an opportunity, he controls the situation and manages to wiggle out of it–precisely the way you describe–by getting people to focus on his pain/hurt! Just last week, on Thanksgiving Eve, I told him that I am sorry that he is hurting but there is nothing I can do to change it for him as it is a consequence that is a direct result of his choices/actions. He had been speaking badly to me and I had asked him to stop and told him that I felt hurt. He kept going. So I told him that I would need to retreat until he was able to speak more kindly. I went into the bedroom and locked the door (because SOOOO many times previously I had just left the room and he followed me. If I simply closed the door, he would just open it and come in anyway. This time, he became angry and accused me of trying to control him. I told him that I know that he is hurting and I am sorry it is this way, but I cannot change it for him. He has not respected the boundary of a closed door, and so now I am left with no choice except to lock it.

    He was not happy with my response and continued to say things to guilt me. I simply told him that those things don’t work on me anymore–I’m smarter now. Obviously, he was not liking his situation, but he refused to see my pain–except to pretend to acknowledge it for a brief second so he could claim that he had apologized and I was refusing to accept his apology!!!! This stuff just blows my mind!!! It is incomprehensible to me how someone can live their life this way and convince themselves–and other people, too–that THEY are the ones being victimized!!!!! I was just talking to my dad this morning and told him that the things I am learning will probably make no difference to H, but they are for me! They help me to see individual situations more clearly and help eliminate the confusion of what is whose responsibility. So discouraging to think that things might never change, but so thankful for what I have been learning in the last year and a half!!!!!!!!!

    As far as how long you wait until you decide they aren’t going to change…….I have no answers–only questions–on that one!! I have been asking the same thing!! I spoke with my pastor about it and he said the difficult thing about it is that it is different in each situation. He still believes at this point that there is help for H because he believes that H really wants to change…….unfortunately, there is a 10-year history of him saying this and never acting on it………

    • sunflower on December 2, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Great job moving to the other room and locking the bedroom door. My abusive spouse smashed down the door when I set a boundary like that. Each situation is different and some of us need to physically remove ourselves from the abuser. I am glad you were physically safe. Good work.

  18. Carolee on December 2, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    My h and I have been married 23 years. I found out he had NPD about 20 years ago from a very wise Christian counselor. She told me to leave right then and there. I just didn’t think I could and did not want to give up on my marriage. After all these years and a couple of other therapists later I see that there is no hope. My h has promised to find a therapist so many times. A nd says he doesn’t know why he acts like he does. Truth is he never follows through. My therapist now says she doubts there would be enough time for him even if he truly did want to change. He is in his 60’s as am I. I too am curious about how one gets ptsd from a narcissist spouse.
    I am not waiting for the h to change. But I am waiting on God. I am learning so much and I trust His plan.
    Thank you Leslie and God bless you. Thank you too dear sisters who share their stories and encouragement.

  19. Leonie on December 2, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Yes, for me, waiting and praying and hoping just lead to increased PTSD symptoms. I could do nothing but get out and get away. There are some great posts here from women to really get it. It’s hard, it gets you beat up psychologically and emotionally. Thankfully we have a God who does lead us out of these destructive relationships and cares for us as we make our way back to sanity and normalcy. Thanks Leslie for this post!

    • Maria on December 2, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      Looks like there’s another Maria who posted higher.
      Leslie, Was wondering if there’s a difference between having NPD and being a narcissist?

      • Leslie Vernick on December 2, 2015 at 9:15 pm

        I think the narcissistic tendencies are on a continuum with the diagnosis being NPD but also further along the NPD diagnosis moves toward malignant narcissism and psychopathy.

  20. Laura Di on December 2, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Dear Aleea,

    I waited way too long myself, almost 29 years. I prayed, meditated, saw counselors, consulted clergy, was hospitalized 3x’s, spent way too long in depression, shed a river of tears crying, suffered anxiety attacks, suicidal ideation, lost weight, gained weight, lost sleep, read self-help books, attended domestic violence groups, a Christian 12 Twelve Steps and another a non-denominational group, suffered parental alienation, now have a restraining order of protection to keep me safe from a vulnerable son who learned to model dad, and the list could go on. I stop here because I get PTSD just thinking about the difficulty. I calm myself to repeat a life-changing experience. After many sessions of couples counseling I vividly remember the counselor standing in frustration after I relayed a upsetting story saying how abused I felt, only to not hear my ex. actually not verbally deny my account, but then annoyed and without missing a beat, he proceded to look her in the eye, gave me a glance as if I was crazy as she stepped close to him and then it happen. With eye to eye contact, leaning in with hands on her hips, she spoke directly and face to face emphatically repeated three times,” Peter you are abusive, Peter you are abusive, Peter you are abusive.” He never went back to counseling. It still took me about 4 more years to get my act together to leave him. I will never forget, she spoke the truth to him, he’d even told her how much he liked her months before, now no additional critiques. What did that moment do for me? It was validation, it was a recurring memory a repeated thought that eventually helped me to draw closer with God, and to invoke the Holy Spirit to speak life into my ears.

    Aleea I hope a number of woman see our responses and are encourage to realize Christ already shed His blood for us and not one more tear is worth shedding if you’ve done your best. You’ve got the support of Jesus and He’ll hold your hand saying, “Run child, run!” AMEN


    • Aleea on December 2, 2015 at 7:22 pm

      Laura Di,
      . . . . 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.

    • sunflower on December 2, 2015 at 7:45 pm

      Laurie, thank you for sharing your turning point. I applaud your counselor for her courage to speak the truth. Your husband may not have heard the message but I am so thankful that you are finally free of his abuse. Richest blessing to you as you heal and glow!

  21. Leslie Vernick on December 2, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    Great points Aleea.

    • Aleea on December 3, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      I learn so much from you and the people here and I like spending time here during my travels. You do deal with very, horribly hard, heartbreaking topics that are enough to make everybody cry but that is real life. I value your insight. I don’t always like reality, but it is the only place we can get issues solved and possibly fix what’s broken. Reality, real conversations, they so foster u-t-t-e-r humility. —Hopefully, one day, those coming after us will have a much better understanding.

      “It is no accident that narcissists and altruists often have a magnetic attraction to one another. Can you see how perfect the fit is? The altruistic feels the need to selflessly serve others and this is just what the narcissist wants. Narcissists want to be worshipped and gratified in every way possible, and this is just what altruists offer, thinking it demonstrates their moral virtue. . . . . There’s a reason narcissists don’t learn from mistakes and that’s because they never get past the first step which is admitting that they made one. It’s always an assistant’s fault, an adviser’s fault, a lawyer’s fault. Ask them to account for a mistake any other way and they’ll say, ‘what mistake? . . . Anyone who wants you to live in misery for their happiness should not be in your life anyway.” —Dr. Isaiah Hankel, Cell Biology.

    • Aleea on December 4, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      . . . It is very good to see your smiley face! I understand a little bit about just how serious these matters are but I also really worry about it being so heavy and so hard and on our hearts. . . . .Anyways, the big, old Federal Government (IRS) has electronic access to the second and third largest international book publishing companies in the world: Thomson Reuters Corp. in Canada and Thomson Reuters PLC in the UK. I’m sure one day soon everyone will have access to all of that too, even though people already have more than they can ever read. . . . . Anyways, smile when you can, it is inexpensive medicine and carbonated holiness, especially when the best is yet to come.

      “You have as much laughter as you have faith.” ―Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (—And I don’t really understand that, I’ll I have to think about it some more.)

  22. Karen on December 3, 2015 at 2:01 am

    I have not been on here in a while — started a new job — but this post and the one about mental illness were very helpful. After 38 years of marriage the one thing I want to mention is that NPD can also be in the form of Covert or Vulnerable Narcissism which often goes hand and hand with a severe passive aggressive personality and/or pathological lying. If you are a woman reading this and thinking that the rages, anger and physical abuse is not something your “self-centered” and selfishly manipulative husband would ever do but you have often felt like there is something horribly wrong so that you are often left to think it must all be your imagination. To nearly everyone else he appears to be a sweet, funny christian leader and a loving Dad. Then the longer you are married you come to realize more and more that he is a pathological liar (to you) and manipulating you and controlling you emotionally, financially, and many other crazy making ways — but somehow you always blame yourself because ultimately that is how he makes you FEEL then you may also be dealing with NPD in one of these more passive aggressive and sneaky forms. That is the story of my life and I only wish I could have recognized and addressed it head on the first 10 years of our marriage — but it was just too difficult to pin down because it was not the “normal” dysfunction that you hear about all the time with NPD. It took a very wise nuero-psychiatrist to figure this out in detail about 6 years ago and now it is probably too late to change much and, of course, my husband is not interested in changing anything at nearly 60 years old. Don’t let the obvious forms of NPD discussed in all the posts above convince you that it must not be the case for you — that it still must be all your imagination — it REALLY might not be. And you do not want to find yourself trying to set boundaries and live through a second separation after doing everything you possibly could and taking every trick, lie and manipulation he could dish out for 38 years……….please pay attention to any and all “red flags” in your relationship and get help quickly. Do not cover for him and enable him to fall deeper and deeper into his “pain” just because he will not or cannot acknowledge that he has ever had any pain and it must all be YOU. If the relationship is causing you pain and making you feel, used, controlled and manipulated repeatedly it is NOT all you and you may be dealing with the constant “gaslighting” of a passive aggressive covert/vulnerable Narcissist spouse who truly has no idea or conscious memory of WHY he is this way. Mix in a little Dissociative Identity Disorder to boot and, heck yeah, the spouse being “gaslighted” will develop PTSD or co-dependency or something else just trying to survive! I had not looked at PTSD as something I was experiencing but the anxiety, depression and insomnia that might go along with that seems to fit……..The truth is finally starting to come out about a severely abusive childhood from his siblings but my husband may never have an actual memory of this ………….not sure if he will ever begin healing. Until he does I HAVE to stay in a safe place and try to heal myself — that has been impossible while living with him. GET HELP before it gets this bad — please! Do not try to “fix” this yourself — it can NOT be done — no matter how hard you try and how much you pray (believe me I know) and you will be left looking like the crazy one to your kids and family as his behavior destroys your emotions and rips out your heart time and again — while no one else ever sees anything but YOUR emotional pain and has no concept of the cause. I repeat — Get help now please. .

    • Charlotte on December 3, 2015 at 9:29 am

      Karen, I agree about the covert narcissism. It is very insidious and crazy making. I will be married 35 years in January. It is validating to read posts from others in this situation although I am sorry that anyone has to suffer through this. I have slowly come to the realization that he will never change. About 12 years ago when I realized something was seriously wrong, I asked him to go to therapy and he refused saying that he didn’t want anyone to tell him he was a SOB and he didn’t have the money. I should have run like crazy then and never looked back but I thought I could work on myself enough to make things better. That has proved to be very wrong. I have no illusions about the reality of my situation and feel pretty hopeless at this point in my life.
      I am now 66 and he is 78. He retired in 1999 and has mostly been at home 24X7 since then. He has taken over our home as his territory. I have felt pushed aside. We have no children. He has two but they have very little to do with him and he has no insight as to why that is. I am an only child and both parents are deceased. I am very alone as far as family and other support goes. All of our neighbors and everyone he has contact with thinks he is great. (He’s very “helpful” to everyone – see later comments). They would never believe what goes on in our marriage. It is an extremely isolating position to be in because no one would ever believe it and few are willing to hear it. I retired from a long career in 2003 and that’s when I started to realize how bad things really were. I have had a part-time job for 8 years and I would prefer death over not having this job and having to be at home with him. I realize that’s a pretty strong statement but reflects the gravity of my situation. I have been looking for a place to live for several years because I know I would never be able to get him to leave and it feels heartless to try to put a 78-year old man with prostate cancer (diagnosed about 2 years ago) out on the street. I found a condo in early 2014 that seemed suitable but soon after that I had two compression fractures in my back and it took me all summer to recover. That put me in the unfortunate position of depending on him to help me because I had no other choice. That’s always one of his choice comments “I’ve busted my a__ to help you” or “I’ve bent over backward to be good to you.” As I said earlier, it is very insidious. He has used being helpful as a means of control and a cover for the reality. He has helped so much that I feel like a stranger in my own home and on top of all that “I don’t appreciate anything he does.” I have lost so much of myself that I barely know who I am anymore. I have been in therapy for a number of years but am feeling very stuck because I can’t seem to make the move to leave even knowing what I know. I have gone over the scenario of “how to leave” hundreds of times in my mind but can’t bring it to reality. It is very daunting at this age to be completely alone. I have lost a lot of hope for my life. I continue to have problems with my back and am not sure that I am physically able to move now and am concerned about my future health. I cry out to God daily for help and to show me a way out. That’s all I know to do at this point. Although it is not something I would ever pray for, many times I feel like if he could just die I would be free of all of this torture. Please pray for me to find a way out so I can have a few years of peace before I leave this earth.

      • Karen on December 3, 2015 at 6:12 pm

        Hi Charlotte,

        I am so sorry to hear about your experiences with yo ur husband. Please know that I will be praying for you. If you have not already done so go back and find/read Leslie,s blog post title Consequences in Action what worked and what did not. A lot of my story is in there but so are a lot of good recommendations. I will not lie and tell you they will work to “change” the husband but I can tell you what it will do. First it will give you the peace of knowing you have done what you could and help prepare you for anything that may be coming down the pike. It may help strengthen you to know that you are not alone and others are fighting this battle in one form or another as well. Although I have “felt” alone and am spending much time alone now I don’t know what I would have done if I was 100% alone in this as I am still blessed to have my Mom and my 2 children……..and have been absolutely honest with them now —- only in past 3 years though. You need to find someone who can be a support to you and a prayer partner. One person at church or work who you can trust implicitly — or a Celebrate Recovery group or just a Counselor for yourself at least. Leslie’s online core class may be a huge help as well. DO NOT continue to go through this alone and allow depression and hopelessness to overtake you. I have been there and sometimes still drop back but God has taken care of me and He is my real husband and provider and He will be for you also. He does not want this for you — read Leslie’s books and reach out to others for support please! Father, In the name of Yeshua I pray you will hide Charlotte under your wings and fill her with your peace as she waits and heals and gains strength and hope as you speak YOUR desires and will and protection into her heart…….I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers……..

        • Charlotte on December 4, 2015 at 10:37 am

          Thanks for your kind words & prayer, Karen. I have accepted that he will not change. Communicating with him about anything other than the most trivial is impossible and honest communication is necessary in any healthy relationship. I fell completely shut out.

          I think being so alone magnifies what I have to deal with in my marriage. Unfortunately, most people only want to hear happy things and I have learned the hard way how hard it is to find someone to confide in and trust. I do have a therapist and I am very grateful to have her. I continue to pray for guidance and to be led to someone who can reciprocate in providing support.

        • Rose J on December 13, 2015 at 11:19 am

          Karen & Charlotte, I believe I remember Karen’s post on consequences and how much it helped me. Karen, was it you who spoke of how you became ‘granite’. Your words are blessings to me & a good reminder for me today. Your prayer for Charlotte made me melt with gratitude, my sisters make me so proud.
          Thing is, dearest little child Charlotte, and all the rest of us, there probably isn’t one thing any of us have gone through that the others cannot relate to. Therefore, the wisdom is here for all of us and from all of us. Under the inspiration of Our Holy Loving Father, we iare being guided through this darkness, through this Valley of Death. Charlotte, I am 64 and have back problems and so many other health issues that I can relate to how hopelessly scary that feels. But, take one day at a time and follow Karen’t advice re: Leslie’s Core class, her books and postings. There are lots of useless counselors out there, use the wisdom you find from these postings and from Leslie to find a wonderful one. I know at our age, money can be a real issue. Living with a narcissist gets extremely expensive because they do try to put us into financial corners, big time. Just focus on your self-care, reach out, pray and know that He that created you only wants what is good for you. It is these so-called ‘husbands’ who inexplicably try to rob us of the goodness God has planned for anyone who chooses Him over that other choice. If we don’t feel so good today, it doesn’t mean that the situation is permanent. God isn’t bound by the narcissist’s desires because, let’s face it, you know who is the ultimate narcissist and Jesus has already won that war. Until God’s final plans are put into place, we are still manifesting the temporal realities of good vs evil as it plays out in our lives.
          I am glad you are reaching out.
          You might also want to consult with a very good and compassionate lawyer. I don’t know the exact facts of your finances, I do know that for me, I need a lawyer to make sure my so-called husband doesn’t put me into yet another and final financial crisis. He has more secrets than anyone can keep track of and he has fooled me into poverty so many times. I used to work like a mule to try to make up the financial losses, but I am now forced into retirement by my health, so I am working closely with a lawyer to get my share, whatever that will be, and put it in a place where he cannot get to it, nor have anyone sue him for it. It won’t be enough to sustain the lifestyle I now have (which is nothing luxurious), but at least he won’t be able to keep frightening me about money.
          In the meantime, you are not alone & I am sorry for how you feel in your own house. Ick, I can’t imagine retirement with my so-called husband. I hope he works till he dies because that could be the only thing in his life after he gets done alienating anyone who ever cared for him.

          • karen on December 15, 2015 at 4:53 pm

            Rose and Charlotte, Have been out of town with my daughter and my g-babes (I have new one!) so apologize for late response. Yes, my story is a crazy one Rose and the financial corners and secrets you mention are real and unending it seems. I do not live with him currently — going on almost a year now but God has provided. One thing any woman might consider as a possibility in stretching the limited finances these men try to leave us in (and make us dependent on) is the “miraculous” way God has allowed me to stay in the “safe house” I mentioned I was nearly forced to leave when I was preparing to move n with my Mom and husband was pressuring me to move back home (to pay most of the bills again ultimately). In prayer one day I heard God ask me why I was looking for another place (with a roommate) to stay when he had already provided me a home with 2 extra bedrooms. So I posted that I was looking for a roommate that week and by the end of the week the two Christian ladies that I am “Golden Girling” it with now had responded. Bottom line — I live in a all bills paid rented house (despite the way he has ruined my credit) but since I ended up with two roommates instead one it is only costing me $400.00 per month for absolutely everything — all utilities and yard work included. That is how I KNOW it is God taking care of me and that I am somehow still in His will and being protected/provided for by Him despite “feeling” like I have failed in marriage/ministry. Feelings are often a lie from the enemy and primarily rooted in fear. It is that “fear” that I had to allow God to overcome for me to even have a little peace and time to heal away from my husband. Still have a long way to go though, as do most of us. Whether it was me who mentioned becoming “granite” Rose I don’t think soo……although I have often said the only way I could survive my marriage was to be like a rock and show/have no feelings at all. Which I Iearned just seemed to make my husband more determined to find a way to blow things up worse than ever — to FORCE me into a reaction/meltdown so I could be seen as the “bad guy” or the unstable one. He would do things that were so hurtful and shaming he “knew” I would never tell anyone the truth. THAT is what I do not do anymore and he KNOWS I will speak the truth and no longer protect or hide his evil and manipulative games. Thank God for his strength to finally be honest about everything and no more pretending. Thank you all for your prayer support during that time — while looking for work a place to stay and the emotional upheaval. I am looking for work again (that was just a consulting contract that ends soon) but because of how God came through last time I KNOW he will do the same again. I am still praying for Charlotte and each post I see on here and hope we will all continue to support each other in this way 🙂 — There is more power in THAT than any amount of counseling!

    • Lynn M on December 26, 2015 at 9:46 am

      Thank you for introducing the concept of the Covert Narcissist. This concept finally allowed me to “end my search” as to what was going on in my 16 year marriage. My research on pathological passive aggressive led me to emotional abuse, which led me eventually to the description of the covert narcissist, and I said, “Bingo!”. Everything fell into place. The tricky thing about the covert narcissist is that everything they do is so under the radar, and you are left shaking your head, thinking “Is it me?” I have been doing therapy with EMDR for a year to find myself after drowning in this insidious form of abuse.

      Today marks the one year anniversary of the day I told my husband I was leaving our marriage. The final straw was my daughter (14) stating at Christmas Dinner, “Mom, dreams die in this house” and him calling our son (12) a “freaking idiot” at the table. I went to bank on the day after Christmas, withdrew half our savings, and told him I was done. So one year later our dissolution is final, I am rebuilding my life in a lovely condo, my part time job has turned full time and the things I thought I would never be able to do, I have done. I am seeing my children becoming healthier day by day as I try to model loving, affirming and healthy connections. They are still damaged by their dealings with him (shared parenting) and my heart breaks over that, but I do what I can do to show them what normal looks like.

      I agree that if you cant quite put your finger on the problem, and you feel like any dealings with your husband feels like nailing jello to a wall, you may be in the clutches of a covert narcissist. It is insidious and soul destroying.

      At the risk of making my post too long, I was also add what step I took to determine my H was actually a narcissist. I read the Patricia Evans books about verbal abuse, and presented what she calls “The Agreement” to him — I cataloged his verbally and emotionally abusive words and actions and ended up with a three page single spaced list. said these things are soul destroying for me and I wont tolerate them any more. He continued to do the things, just going WAY below the radar so it was almost imperceptible he was doing it. After reading the narcissists lack empathy, and I asked him a simple question. I showed him the list again and said, “How would it FEEL to have the person who stood before God and promised to love honor and cherish you do these things instead?” I told him I would stay and work on our marriage if he answered that question. I asked him once, then again after a few weeks. No answer. After two months I asked him again and told him it was the third asking. He told me he had already answered it. I told him he hadn’t. A few weeks later I asked again and told him it was the fourth asking, and reminded him that I would stay and work on the marriage if he could answer this one question. He got furious and glared at me and said “Oh, you just want to see how much I’ll do, don’t you?” I said, Nope! I’ve already seen…… and I went to the bank! Not a scientific test, but it was what I needed.

      Life is better on the other side, believe me.

  23. Celeste on December 3, 2015 at 10:02 am

    Is there a known cause of narcissism?

    • Dawn on December 3, 2015 at 11:12 am

      The jury is out on what causes narcissism, but most studies agree that it’s a childhood wounding of some sort that impacts self-esteem. I would guess it probably effects attachment as well.

      • Leslie Vernick on December 4, 2015 at 7:18 am

        That’s the traditional thoughts but there is also some lack of character development that makes one feel more special and more entitled and it’s not a cover for a poor self-esteem but actually an inflated self-esteem.

    • Maria on December 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      I’m not sure what causes narcissm, but I think it’s possible to raise kids to be selfish although our intentions are good. Just because we model selflessness as parents, it doesn’t mean that the kids will pick that up. If we pamper them too much and don’t hold them accountable when they are selfish we could end up raising some very self centered kids.

      • Sister320 on December 3, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        I’ve read online that childhood trauma (molestation, physical, mental & emotional abuse, criticism, etc.) is a big factor. My husband had all sorts of abuse and neglect happen to him as a child so I was not shocked to find the types of things that can lead to someone being a narcissist and seeing him have a lot of the symptoms.

      • Leslie Vernick on December 4, 2015 at 7:13 am

        Good point Maria and John Townsend just wrote an excellent book called Entitlement which addresses this whole new crop of kids who feel entitled and don’t take responsibility.

        • Maria on December 4, 2015 at 2:17 pm

          I am going to read the book you mentioned, thanks.

  24. Dawn on December 3, 2015 at 11:22 am

    My husband is a covert narcissist and our counselor took a very similar approach using empathy, etc. I was also consistently confused. After my husband stopped going, I continued to meet with the counselor individually. I got to ask all of my questions about the approach he took and why he did one thing or another. It was very helpful me to understand. The counselor was honest, and said that in hindsight, there were some things he would have done differently, and that was also helpful.

    I would also say this – you are a partner in the counseling process. You should be able to ask about what is happening and why.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 4, 2015 at 7:17 am

      Your experience with your counselor was exactly what I was talking about – even the fact that he could reflect and on hindsight he would do it differently shows he was a good and self-aware/not perfect counselor.

  25. Mary2 on December 3, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    My story of hope for nacissists……… I take full responsibility for having given the appearance of one in the past, (before God showed me in His mercy, that there is still hope for them by virtue of His redemptive workings) – but did this mean that I actually WAS one, or only that this was the appearance I projected and a label people wanted to give me? I don’t know…..? The set up was easy – birth circumstances which I could not control to a mother who had been an only child with an absent father in her very early years, but emotionally absent on his return from the services after the war. Funny how patterns often repeat. She had me (almost out of wedlock) and left my father who I was never allowed to meet “for your own protection” when I was 4. Therefore, as a fatherless only child of an only child I had no one to guide me properly or knock the rough edges off of me – I did not know the depths of the dysfunctional results of this until my own marriage threatened to go south and I realised answers needed to be sought for and healing obtained, if we were to fulfil the vision of marriage we had been brought up to believe in. When I went about doing this, seeking at church (as had been my formative training) – in hindsight I now see that I used the “I-word” too much – and people turned against me because of (in their opinion) my sin was pride…..
    Hence, the label narcissist. I try my hardest not to live up to it, but realise my thinking is still stuck on trying to work out who the heck I am as some respected preacher I heard once said “people do not really know who they are if they don’t know who their father is”. God married me to someone who could have been described back then as a well-meaning altruist – but not really…. after years of marriage being confronted with the reality that he was also stuck in his emotional and spiritual development because of his own emotional inheritance from his God-hating mother – it all became a confusing melting pot of thwarted aspirations which have been like a mountain to overcome. But, standing back and seeing the mountain at a distance often means you can see the whole thing more clearly. Only has been possible by Grace intervening, for sure. But for our lives and marriage I have come to accept that this has been God’s will……. and the law of sowing and reaping will reap its harvest, if we do not give up (Gal.6.10) – I was so determined to get to the bottom of it, even though I had to make myself unpopular with people who didn’t understand and who wanted to twist things according to their agenda. It was more important to learn how to trust God as He could see my heart – and now I know His purpose in it has been, along with the hymn line “humbled for a season, to receive a name……” which is for me now (boasting in the Lord and what He has done for me): Overcomer only by Grace 🙂 “I-trouble” blinds the vision, but God still cares – He is the only hope for a narcissist, really! 🙂 (imo)

    • Karen on December 3, 2015 at 6:19 pm

      Thank you for the story of hope! I wish everyone could get this eye opening experience and address this earlier in life ! I have read of others who have successfully over come it — but you do have to acknowledge and desire to be changed and work HARD through the process. I congratulate you on your commitment to that! For others who may be interested I have learned a lot and gained some help from this website as well:


      • Leslie Vernick on December 4, 2015 at 7:08 am

        I think she has some helpful tips in narcissism cured, – especially for the woman to stop enabling the behavior, but I do not think these techniques work for all types of narcissism. There is regular narcissism where the person is just oblivious to other people’s needs and feelings, and then there is a more malignant narcissism where he or she is aggressively hurtful and harms those around them. The second type are those who are more physically abusive and psychologically abusive and I don’t think her message or strategies applies to that kind of narcissism.

        • Maria on December 4, 2015 at 12:12 pm

          It looks like there’s a wide spectrum to narcissm. There are those who have no problem taking advantage of others, cannot hold a job, have low self esteem and have no problem breaking the law. Then there are those who crave power and control who are climbing the career ladder at work and are highly confidant of themselves and believe they are superior to others. For such people to change, first they need to realize that they are doing something wrong, and then they need to have a desire to change. It is very sad to be in a situation where people around can see a person going down a slippery path, yet that person has no clue. And the people around feel like there’s no use correcting that person because he/she will not listen. A lesson for me is to always have a teachable spirit. I talk to my kids about this a lot too.

          • Leonie on December 4, 2015 at 4:59 pm

            I think there are those who are selfish and self interested and can only see their own side of things and their own opinions and then another version who are deliberately evil and can do anything to advance themselves. They do have good careers and make a lot of money because they can do things to other employees or subordinates that you & I can’t or won’t do because of our consciences.

        • Michelle on December 8, 2015 at 10:11 am

          may I make a comment about the hopefulness in a relationship?

          There is a wonderful book about by Henry cloud, called necessary endings. In it it talks about the definition of hope. Hope, by deffinition implies that there is a certain expectation that life can change or at least be different. In absence of an expectation of change, when it really can’t be different, then what you really have is the absence of hope, or hope – less. and what you’re REALLY doing is wishing.

          For a decade, I thought I was hoping, really what I was doing with wishing that life would be different. There was no reasonable expectation for change.

          I should not have given that man 10 minutes of my life never mind 10 years. I regret not setting proper boundaries early on. I regret not leaving this relationship at the curb earlier.

          I cant get there years back, they should have been wonderful years, but instead were hell on wheels. I kick myself for tolerating such behavior.

          One of the pastors in my church says, “boundaries without consequences are not boundaries at all”. encourage you, set boundaries, and stick with is reasonable forus to expect that our boundaries be respected. People who genuinely love us, will respect the boundary.

          I wish you all courage and strength in your respective situations. May you be truthful with yourselves and use the proper words.
          Are you hoping, or wishing?
          are you hoping, or is it hopeLESS?
          Call it what it is and act accordingly.
          wishing you peace,

          • Maria on December 8, 2015 at 4:05 pm

            Michelle, What is you advice for women on how to prepare for divorcing a narcissist?

    • Maria on December 3, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      Mary2, Were you diagnosed with NPD? What practical steps did you take to change?

      • Karen on December 4, 2015 at 2:14 am

        the website above for narcissism cured offers of very practical advice for any willing to do the steps/work also.

      • sunflower on December 7, 2015 at 8:06 pm

        I guess I am confused. Is it typical for two people with NPD to marry? It would seem to me that one has NPD and the other spouse might be co dependent or a naive victim. Are women with NPD very common? Are they usually abusive?

    • Leslie Vernick on December 4, 2015 at 7:11 am

      Thanks for sharing Mary.

  26. carrie on December 3, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    As I read about others who felt isolated, “made crazy” and so forth … and whose husbands lacked accountability … I find myself going way back in the Bible, to when Moses’ wife went home to her family because Moses was a workaholic. Her father helped Moses figure out a better way to work so Moses’ family would work well.

    I think these sin patterns become entrenched in part because of our isolation in nuclear families and in churches that isolate us if we fail to present our smiling “Christian faces” at the expected functions. When no one knows anyone well, it’s easy for people to hide. And when no one knows anyone well, it’s hard for people to find either support or accountability.

    I don’t know how we can change our churches so that they support real marriages, real friendships, and real (extended) families, the way God planned things.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 4, 2015 at 7:01 am

      Great points Carrie

  27. Mary2 on December 3, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Hi Maria – I thank God I did not receive this specific diagnosis, but I did receive “acute schizophrenic attack” and “psychosis” which were bad enough. My father apparently never recovered from manic depression – God knows how I hate labels!!! Because in some cases, if they’re like mine, they can do more harm than good. they can become excuses rather than a prompt to change – they disempower people rather than empower them, as they can become our identity. For people unsure of their identity, any identity is defining and therefore welcome as it fills a void.
    I think the most practical step anyone can do is like Bruce did in the Bruce Almighty film – OK God, I give up, I throw the towel in, and You will have to catch it – attitude. I sank to attempted suicide that’s how low my wrong thinking brought me – and the scariest part of all was I just could not see why when I was already trying to follow Christ, believing this would keep me free from ‘demons’…… the other practical step was doing this guy’s school: and finding out about the Counsellor’s Tool Kit – empowering questions and Truth coaches – and being able to understand the power of our beliefs, both good and bad. It also helped me shake off toxic religious language that came with the territory of my circumstances. I am still and always will be on a journey into the light of Christ, but in circular fashion now rather than linear. The Jewish culture’s thinking is circular, what goes around comes around, which is why if/when we meet the same thing over again, we get to understand it is different than last time with the healing into wisdom for the stuff we didn’t know first time around. Western thinking is a result of Greek thought which is straight line (Alpha and Omega, beginning and end) – which opens us up to accepting hard-earned effort if/when we get to the top end of the line – something very wrong about this imo because it makes becoming whole harder and tends towards desperation – we can get to feel like we’ll never make it – so much of this in the church that is not spoken about. Hope that I’ve made some sort of sense here 🙂 Blessings

    • Leslie Vernick on December 4, 2015 at 7:01 am

      Labels can be wrong – often they are. I’m glad you got the help you needed to recognize the lies you were believing.

  28. Leslie Vernick on December 4, 2015 at 7:12 am

    Love the quote from Dr. Hankel. You do read broadly Aleea. 🙂

  29. Melissa on December 4, 2015 at 11:11 pm

    I was married to a Narc and recently divorced him. I stayed in the marriage about 6 years longer than I probably should have, hoping and praying that he would change. We went to marriage counseling, and we met with our church leadership. The blame, manipulation, contempt, lies and crazy making continued until I asked for separation. When he would not agree to a separation, and his sin was unrepentant, I chose to file for divorce.

    Marriage counseling is, I believe, not advisable with someone with NPD. We went for years, and it was truly another forum for him to abuse me. I think I have PTSD from it. Seriously. The last counselor was wise and said we needed individual counseling before he would meet with us in the same room again, then he subsequently fired my Ex. Because my Narc Ex was not going to counseling to get better – he was going to try to get the counselor to try to “fix” me.

    I am so sorry for those of you out there in a relationship with a Narc. Most evidence I read shows they almost never change BECAUSE THEY DON’T THINK THEY ARE THE PROBLEM. You are. Their false self is so carefully constructed, that to admit they are at fault would be terrifying to them. Instead they blame shift and pathologize you so that YOU are the problem.

    Dear one, you are not the problem. Yes, we all have sin that we need to address, but your spouse in not your Holy Spirit. That is between you and God. If you are being berated, criticized, blamed, manipulated, raged against, and made to think you are the crazy one, I encourage you to not keep hoping and praying that he will change. You cannot control his actions but you can control your responses. You can choose not to put up with that devastating type of abuse that only comes from a spouse with NPD.

    Blessings to you all.

    • Maria on December 5, 2015 at 9:00 am

      My friend is married to a narcissist. I’ m not sure where he falls on the spectrum. She first went into counseling by herself for a while, and after that the counselor saw both of them. They were in counseling for a number of years. She did tell me that she had to make a lot of adjustments, but the husband valued the marriage and his wife enough to work on himself too.

      • Summer on December 5, 2015 at 10:20 am

        Thank you, Melissa! You said that so perfectly, and it was exactly what I needed to hear to get me through a tough morning! I am in the process of divorcing my NPD husband. It was going amazingly well until last night. I knew the crisis would come, and now it’s here.
        But I’m getting stronger every day with God’s grace and guidance. He will continue to guide my steps and provide for me. I know I will be free soon.

        • Melissa on December 8, 2015 at 10:09 am

          Summer, It was an incredible relief when I was finally divorced. I felt delivered. Like God delivered the Israelites from an abusive situation, I was delivered from a marriage that had become an abusive torture chamber.
          There will likely be many ups and downs along the way for you, but keep your hope in Christ and continue to ask Him for guidance. Also realize post-divorce has been quite difficult b/c the Narcissist continues to fight and argue and create conflict. But by putting good boundaries in place, which Leslie is so good at coaching us on, it minimizes the abuse.
          Prayers for you!

  30. Leaning on Him on December 5, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    I feel like I need counseling to recover from the first counselor I saw. I went to her in a complete fog, not understanding what was happening in my marriage but believing it was all my fault. That I was to blame, because my husband told me I was the dysfunctional one and I needed help. My first words to her at my first appointment were, “I need help to learn how to forgive my husband.” I thought that if I could just forgive him (which I though meant forget), that we could have a good marriage.

    I explained to her the control he had over me: how he had raged over a Christian novel I had downloaded on my Kindle (he investigated all books I downloaded) because it had romance in it. He controlled the way I dressed (he went shopping with me to make sure my jeans weren’t too tight), how much make-up I wore, questioned my reasoning for putting perfume on, told me I couldn’t open the mail, couldn’t go back to college, couldn’t get a job unless I worked at his business. He even told me when I was allowed to exercise and where I needed to spend my morning when he was home getting ready for work. I gave my counselor example after example of fights we had over these issues and how I always gave in to keep the peace. I told her how my husband belittled me in front of family and friends. How I’d beg him to stop and he’d just tell me I was too sensitive.

    She recommended that I read “Boundaries in Marriage” and “The Dance of Anger”, but never once told me that I was being emotionally abused and controlled. Never once did she tell me that how I was being treated was wrongly. I needed to hear that! Back then, I was so fragile, so confused from the gaslighting and lies that I didn’t know for sure if what I was experiencing was wrong or not.

    My counselor recommended joint counseling. I called them “attack sessions”. My husband would interrupt, get really loud, wouldn’t let me talk, made scoffing noises when I was talking, would yell and jab his finger at me and tell me I was lying, and would make the ride home miserable, accusing me of blowing things out of proportion to the counselor, lying and disclosing things about him that I shouldn’t have.

    In private session, my counselor told me my husband had a “Low eIQ” and that she was “very concerned about his lack of empathy towards me”. She also said he was “immature” and “acted like a child”, had low self-esteem and extremely high anxiety. She assured me that if he could start on anti-anxiety meds, he would be much better. She also told him that he was a HSP (Highly Sensitive Person). He hung on to that HSP label and walked around telling me what a sensitive person he was when I couldn’t see a darn ounce of care or sensitivity towards me or our 4 children shown at home. He started on Lexapro and 2 years later began having an affair. I found out about it in March 2015 and filed for divorce in July 2015.

    I ended up googling all of the above descriptions my counselor had told me and was directed to Personality Disorder websites. Through them, I was pointed to “Stop Walking on Eggshells” and “Why Does He Do That”. I’ve learned so much through reading.

    When I went to my counselor with what I had found (before the affair was revealed) and told her I thought my husband had symptoms of BPD and NPD and that the book, Stop Walking On Eggshells, perfectly summed up my life with H and asked her if she thought perhaps he might have a personality disorder, she told me she needed to consult with her colleagues about my questions.

    I received a phone call from her telling me that she wanted to refer me to a “counselor who could better handle H” and though she wouldn’t confirm that she was concerned about a PD, she said they “specialized in my concerns” and could “evaluate him as he relates to me in counseling sessions”. I really had no desire to inflict more “attack sessions” upon myself and expressed to her my fears. She said she understood my concerns but felt the new counselor would be able to handle him and keep me safe in the sessions. It was shortly after this (about 1 week) that I found out about the affair, so I never did any more joint sessions. However, I went to her one last time the week after I caught my husband with another woman and I told her I was frustrated that she had been seeing my husband for a year and he hadn’t been evaluated for a personality disorder and that if he had, and had gotten proper help, perhaps we wouldn’t be walking down the road of infidelity and divorce. She told me that “it takes at least a year to diagnose someone with a personality disorder”.

    I have since read that BPD and NPD people are not very “re-habitable” because they don’t believe anything is wrong with them in the first place. It’s all everyone else’s fault.

    Now I feel like emailing the counselor and asking her why she didn’t do more to help bring me out of the fog I was in. Why didn’t she make things clear to me and help me understand that the immense burden I had been carrying on my shoulders all these years (23 years!) was not mine to bear? Why didn’t she affirm my concerns and let me know how I was being treated was neither right nor normal? I feel like I’m still second-guessing myself and wondering if I really am to blame.She tried to teach me how to set boundaries without explaining that my husband would do everything in his power to push through them. And every time I came to her in tears over another fight we had because he was trying to control something (like when I was allowed to exercise) and I tried to assert my boundaries and he exploded, I never felt like she had my back. I was trying to follow her directions, but when I did and it backfired on me, her reaction was so passive, it left me wondering if I was again doing something wrong. And she was so gentle and non-confrontational with my husband during joint sessions that he would go home feeling like he just got patted on the back for finger pointing, name-calling and belittling me. I went to her first for help and she ended up bending over backwards to try to keep H feeling comfortable so he’d keep coming back. I felt pushed aside and forgotten about.

    I guess I feel like this was a double blow–the way I was cast aside by my husband’s infidelity and by my counselor’s inability to protect me in joint sessions and affirm my concerns about his emotional abuse and control.

    • Maria on December 5, 2015 at 6:01 pm

      Leaning on Him, thanks for sharing. Your story shows how important it is to see a counselor who understands the dynamics of abuse. I was fortunate because one of my friends referred me to the counselor that she was seeing. Before that I approached some pastors and they seemed scared/uncomfortable to tell my husband he was sinning. Instead, they focused on getting me to make adjustments. It seems there’s a great need for counselors to be educated on the dynamics of abuse. I’m glad Leslie is actively working to do this. You sound like a very strong lady. It may be a good idea to ask her why she chose to handle your situation the way she did. Maybe, it will help others who come to her for help.

      • Leaning on Him on December 5, 2015 at 6:40 pm

        Thank you, Maria. I am only strong because of God’s love and grace. I have found journaling has been very therapeutic for me. I think I may just write my former counselor a letter. Whether I send it or not, I’ll decide later.

        • sunflower on December 7, 2015 at 7:48 pm

          I read your journey with sadness. I just wonder why so few counselors have the insight required to navigate through domestic violence scenarios wisely. I wonder if few counselors are interested this kind of work because of the poor rate of success. Regardless, you experience sounds terrible. I hope you have found supportive who listen to you, believe every word you speak, laugh at your jokes and affirm your thoughts and dreams. You deserve to be respected and loved.

  31. Leonie on December 6, 2015 at 6:40 am

    Remedy, do you have a safe place you can go with your kids? A friend’s place or a shelter? Can you get support and make a safety plan with your local shelter? They can advise you or even provide counselling to help you get out/away. Or even just go to a shelter to get away from your angry husband. They have all kinds of resources to help you know what to do once you get there? I went to the police for help – if he has hurt you in the past, do you have evidence of it, a close friend who can corroborate your story, pictures of injuries or pictures of ways he has destroyed your home in a rage? Toward the end of my relationship someone had advised me to call police when my ex went into a rage, he got scary and I wasn’t sure which times he would hurt me so when he was doing all the behaviours that I knew were going to result in a blow-up at me, I called them. Our version of CPS then got involved, they take it very seriously when minor children are exposed to violence and rage in the home. In the end I went to police and told them I was scared of what he would do to me because I “broke up” with him. They believed me and helped me, I was terrified, but I was more terrified of staying in the relationship and not doing it. I had started disclosing the abuse to people and about 4 different people in my life told me I should go and report to police even though the really bad incidents of physical abuse were a few years old – it turned out to be wise advice. I was beyond not being able to tolerate his abuse anymore. The prompting of the Holy Spirit was so tangible in those days and he strengthened me and really took me by the had and lead me out in so many ways. I am so thankful to be separated and safe! Please do not lose heart, you can get out and get your sanity back.

    • Remedy on December 7, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Sure Leonie…..that’s what ups the fear factor. I wouldn’t and couldn’t move across the country to put significant space in between.

      Still praying in ernest for the Lord’s timing and pathway.

      • sunflower on December 7, 2015 at 7:51 pm

        By chance have you spoken with a shelter worker? As terrible as it is, other women are in similar circumstances. I learned that my situation really isn’t that unique after all. Professionals in the DV field know how to protect you and your family. Might you consider meeting with someone just to get information?

  32. Maria on December 6, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Today, before church my son asked me why pastors never preach about narcissism and real life issues. He said pastors talk about how awful the devil is and blame the devil for all the bad stuff happening, they talk about how God is a God of grace. My son mentioned a lot of young people are turning their backs on church/God because a lot of people are so pretentious in church. It seems like a narcissist or a person doing evil would feel really comfortable in a lot of churches today. Honestly, I don’t think we’d be able to find a church in our area that makes evil people uncomfortable.

    • Aleea on December 6, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      . . . .It sounds like your son knows what he is talking about. Maybe get him: “Follow Me: A Call to Die” Feb. 5, 2013 by Dr. David Platt. If you can, read it together with him. . . . . It is easy to read but very powerful. What is it like to really, actually radically repent? People who come face-to-face with Jesus *do* experience radical change and their lives become something different. Platt is so truthful that he even tells his readers that if their pastors aren’t teaching AND modeling biblical Christianity, then their pastors lack legitimate authority. Few professing Christians will admit that authority isn’t legitimized by virtue of a person’s position in a church. Anyway, awesome understanding of the New Testament and it comes through, especially if your church leaders do not model repentance. It’s one thing to admit sin in some political way but totally different to repent from sin in utter humility by making restitution. Platt says it well in his remark that many have exchanged the blood of Christ for the “Kool Aid” that people drink when they go with the flow of respectability, take the easy way out and just keep right on sinning as if grace issues us a license to sin without genuine remorse and life altering repentance and change. It is also a great tool for showing how to share Christ without preaching at people, something I am always in need of. Platt’s approach is to get people to leave Christianity (the last thing any church needs is more false converts) so only those who are serious remain. I love that guy; mid-30s but wisdom way beyond his years!!! He understands what 1st century Christianity looked like and from everything I see, he lives it.

  33. Maria on December 7, 2015 at 7:51 am

    Aleea, my son went through “Radical” by Platt with a group of boys and adult leaders. I will look into “Follow Me”.

    • Aleea on December 7, 2015 at 11:23 am

      That is awesome, he basically has the message then (re: What is being a “Christian” really supposed to be about?) Sounds like he is in a good group of kids, that’s wonderful. . . . .That newer book just also includes a healthy critique of the church, too. If you want the non-simplified version of all this, still easy to read but way more accurate (i.e. confusing) it is: -in Google- (and it is free) Lost Christianities Bart Ehrman +pdf. That book is just as humbling but for different reasons. . . . .Never hide things from teenagers, they are way too smart and in college usually become serious thinkers. They get more aggravated, and less provoked by confusion than withholding it.

  34. karen on December 7, 2015 at 5:07 pm

    Hi Aleea,

    How do David Platts writings stack up against some of neo-Calvinism’s Lordship Salvation teaching and the overselling of the 100% Grace Gospel? Does his in any way bring it to TRUTH and a more Biblical perspective of both? Thank you — you seem like someone who will know what I mean based on some of your past posts 🙂

    • Aleea on December 8, 2015 at 5:17 pm


      Sorry for not responding sooner, I have a hard time, on a BlackBerry knowing what is posted to me where. Thank you so much for that question. I appreciate it and you. . . . . I know you are talking about neo-Calvinism Lordship Salvation vs. a 100% Grace Gospel but I want to make a comment about John Calvin first because it relates to this blog posts main topic. I think John Calvin was a despot and I suspect seriously sociopathic and narcissistic. Many, many examples could be listed but in particular, John Calvin’s butchery of Michael Servetus and planning his death a full four months before Servetus ever stepped foot in Geneva really makes me wonder. Ditto some of these other “greats” who were not constrained by the societies of their day. . . . . . . Now, I think David Platt, John MacArthur, et. al. are, in general, very good people but it could just be that they are constrained by the societies they now live in (postmodern). Here is the bottomline: With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion (i.e. Religion, not a relationship with Christ, that is different.)

      So, neo-Calvinism Lordship Salvation vs. 100% Grace Gospel . . . . . I realize that when Platt lumps justification and sanctification together it can look very confusing and almost looks like a works based salvation message that allows for no assurance of salvation. That said, faith, real faith, really results in fruits/ works. To me, (—and I know very little up against all that is out there to know), believers and unbelievers need to hear two very different things. Unbelievers need to hear how to receive eternal life which is by faith through repentance alone —in Christ alone, apart from works; believers need to hear how to live a life that is more Christ like (—you know, all the stuff Leslie is teaching in her books and blog posts. . . . .especially when she teaches us that we need to know how to trust and listen to the Holy Spirit to help us overcome our struggles with sin.) I know for me, I need to hear how to grow in my “walk” with Christ (—I say “walk” because with me sometimes it is one step forward and two or three back). —And I own it and take responsibility for it but my mother’s “training” still haunts me. I am pretty sure that if my mother commented on the whole neo-Calvinism Lordship Salvation vs. 100% Grace Gospel thing she would say something very close to: “. . . . Aleea, please, please stop with all that, if all the Christians who have called other Christians NOT really a Christian were to vanish, there would be NO Christians left.” —So, for where I am currently, there are no excuses, but there are real reasons. . . . . .Anyways, the whole thing: Calvinism vs. Hyper-Calvinism vs. Arminianism vs. You-Name-It-ism can be like riding a merry-go-round in circles. Most current positions are, in reality, a mixture of the various views. . . . . But is Christ divided? Was Grudem, Platt, MacArthur, Piper, et. al. crucified for us? Were we baptized in the name of Calvin, Luther, Wesley, Knox, Spurgeon? . . . .I just tell people and myself to cry out to Christ. I repent and keep on repenting and I try my best to believe without being intellectual dishonesty (—no easy task) or constantly engaging in special pleading (—no easy task I assure you.) All we can do is look for Christ with all our hearts and stay in the places where, hopefully, the grace of God can find us. Anyway, Karen, if I did not really answer your question, let me know.

  35. Michelle on December 7, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    Thinking for 19 years that everything WAS my fault, sick of not having the marriage that I believe God wanted for me & my husband, I humbled myself & my heart before God and asked Him to please heal our marriage. I moved in the way God said move and approached my husband and told him what I had prayed and I believed we was on our way to that marriage God wanted for us. I will be honest, married for 19 years, I NEVER really knew my husband, we never talked about “us” ( I would try & emotionally he would push me away. Thinking things was going one way (on the road to healing), God started showing me things…my husband was pretending all was good, but God saw his heart, he isn’t what he pretended to be. I started to see he had no empathy and did not understand human feelings & emotions at all. I spent 5 painfully emotional & heartbreaking years trying to get him to understand how I felt & why…it was useless. His thought was that I had a demon, although God literally showed me that he still had an issue with women, and he later confessed he struggled with “thoughts”. I believe he has a fantasy sex addiction. Last year we went to a Christian sex/
    marriage therapist, even though”he had no confidence in those kind of people”, we went twice the therapist started talking disclosure and we never went back to him. All of a sudden, less than a year later, when I started talking leaving, “God started showing him he has issues” and was ready for counseling”. I think he is lying because his mouth was moving. This is a born again man who has lied to me so many times its unreal. I believe God can do anything, but all parties have to be willing. This man would do or say anything to not look bad. Between all the lying, manipulating & gaslighting, I’m dead inside..I have nothing more to put into this marriage. He is going to counseling, but I’ve seen him look the counselor in the eye & lie…the counselor can’t help him if he won’t be honest. His counselor isn’t sure if he’s Borderline Personality or vulnerable narcissist. Either way, God could heal him in a heartbeat, but he don’t want to let go of that control that he thinks he has. So, seeing a divorce attorney on Friday, leaving after Christmas, getting our 3 kids (2 of which are now adults) in counseling for the scars he has left on their lives, going back to school in March and finally, at 48, living my life for someone other than my husband, which meant nothing to him anyway, just what me or the kids could do for him…kinda like airing up a football, if you wasn’t stroking the pump (of his ego), he had no time for you. God gave me the promise of an ABUNDANT life, the opposite of what you live if you are married to a narcissist. The Bible speaks a lot of a lying tongue (which God hates), being deceitful, and love…which the first 2 and the last do not go hand in hand at all. Approaching our 25th wedding anniversary this month, looking at it like I have learned a life time of knowledge in that time, but I look back & never see a time when God let me down, I don’t see this as being the first…I see it as the beginning of the rest of my life, and for the first time in a long long time, I’m finally excited about something.
    Good luck to all who struggle in relationships with these type of people. If God can raise the dead, how easily could be heal a personality disorder (or whatever), these people are so blinded they can’t even see where they could possibly be wrong. I look at it like this…the people who TRY to love them are so insignificant in their eyes, they wound people so deeply, but can’t see others pain…if we are so insignificant, they deserve to live in their perfect worlds with their perfect selves…I have better stuff waiting down the road for me. There is nothing that I will face today that me & God cannot handle together.

    • Maria on December 7, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      Michelle, Sounds like you and your kids have been through a lot. It’s terrible to be in a situation where someone is causing pain and grief to those around and yet have no clue they are doing it. It’s also sad that a person sinning repeatedly over a number of years feels comfortable in church. I believe the Holy Spirit convicts true Christ followers when we sin and the evidence of that is repentance. God has the power to change anyone. But the process of repenting from the behaviors you’ve described takes humility, accountability and probably years of renewing one’s mind, replacing wrong thinking with God’s truth. If your husband is playing games, manipulating etc., he probably does not want to change. Like you mentioned, it must be exciting to go back to school see what doors open up. God is faithful!

    • sunflower on December 7, 2015 at 7:59 pm

      Merry Christmas to you! What a fabulous present Christ is bringing you this year. Peace! Oh, dear sister in Christ, I am so excited for you. 2016 will be a wonderful new year!

    • Hopefully free on December 8, 2015 at 3:09 am

      So many women have shared similar pain, i can relate with most of us. How sad for so many men. These are the last days spoken of in the word when men will be blinded, and a strong delusion is sent preventing them from being able to even repent! I used to wonder what that even meant, and now i see with narcissism being so prevalent and the inability for most to escape it, that there was a prophecy even for this.

      Michelle, your comment about the Lord being able to heal a personality disorder in contrast to Him raising the dead so struck a chord with me. I say this all the time. Thank you for your post. It prompted me to open up.

      5 yrs ago, i needed to go to college to gain a skill that would provide for my family. My H had finally gone off the deep end with his addictions and upon withdrawal went into grand mal seizure and possibly a stroke. He was in ICU for 12 days. We had 5 kids which I was homeschooling.
      Fortunately gaining a skill and earning a degree was the best thing i have done for myself. The Lord has grown it into a ministry, and it has blessed my life more than i can even say. i recently found out from a family member, that H was so glad to express his delight in my new carreer and hopeful for the day when i would get rich and he wouldnt have to work anymore. During a moment of reconciliation, for some reason God allowed us to concieve yet another child. she is an absolute delightful gift from the Lord, however, it opened my eyes to the truly life sucking man I am married to. I think i believed that the more children we had the better and loving he would get, and then it became clear that the opposite was true and then I also saw that by surrounding myself with children I would have many around me whom i could love.
      He is so resentful that he has to work and provide for so many people. His hope is that my massage buisness is going to make us rich, and that i can continue to homeschool and maintain a household, and care for him.

      I have recenly seen that i need to earn enough to care for my kids and myself and that if he would like to participate, he may have to do that from afar. after 20 years of marriage and trying, praying, and seeking help, I am growing weary.

      The 2 counselors that we have seen only met with us a couple of times, thankfully. The Lord knew we couldnt afford it, and both could see through the bull. The best moment for me was when he asked H to leave the room, looked at me and asked me how i truly was. And then he said, now tell me whats REALLY going on. The tears and validation in that moment healed years upon years. Sisters, find counselors who see through it. Do your homework and find truthseekers who understand NPD and addiction. I could write so much more, but i will leave it for another time.
      Thanks so much Leslie for sharing this!!!

    • Beth on December 8, 2015 at 7:37 am

      I have found a really clear book on the dynamic I have experienced for 20 years with a Narcissist. It’s called Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist How To End The Drama by Fjelstad Margalis. I highly recommend this book as it explains in great detail the thought traps that keep us hooked in and techniques the Narcissist uses to take control and how to disarm them! It offers practical answers unlike other books I have seen. I continue to pray for my husband but have moved out and created my own life. This book is a great healing tool and I thank God He has delivered me and showed me a path through.

  36. Dee on December 8, 2015 at 10:48 am

    The answer is, the only hope for a Narcissist is God alone. Otherwise, there is no other resource to help a NPD change since they don’t see anything wrong with themselves. Only God can open their eyes and heart. They see everyone else as wrong and they always see their way as justified in anything they do… right or wrong. This is a mental/ spiritual disorder and should be treated as such. Obviously, God can do miracles but to expect change through therapy is pointless. The best course of action is for the mother and daughter to seek help for themselves outside of the husband. Including him in their therapy is like expecting a ship to sail off into the ocean while it’s still anchored to the shore!!!

  37. Robin on December 8, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Maria, my divorce took 2 years as well. A Narcissist will do everything he can to keep a struggle going and u connected to him even if u don’t wasn’t too. I have finally been released after two very long years in the courtroom. And I agree with what was said about the battle in the courtroom– it seems no one cares about the victim. I remember feeling like — does anyone believe me ??? It’s a tough tough battle to wage war against, but one we must endure.

    • Maria on December 8, 2015 at 4:08 pm

      Robin, Could you please offer some practical tips on how to prepare for and navigate divorcing a narcissist?

      • Lynn M on December 26, 2015 at 10:09 am

        Maria, I got all my financial ducks in a row before announcing it. I had copies of every account statement, every policy, every asset and every tax returns, birth certificates — everything — in a safe deposit box. It took me five months to get all that stuff copied and off site.

        What worked for me was to convince him to do collaborative dissolution, though we were not good candidates for collaborative because he was highly combative. But I used the narcissism against him. I had documented his actions, and told him that if we went to the courts all of it would become public record. He was so invested in keeping his image intact that he agreed to mediation. That strategy might not work for everyone, but I would say prepare, and use what you know about him psychologically to your advantage. For my husband it was the implied threat of his antics being public record.

        I would also recommend several meetings with a lawyer before you do anything — and be very careful about things like leaving the house or taking kids out of the house until you have sought legal counsel. (Unless you are physically in danger). I avoided anything that could be considered abandonment. I played it totally by the book and let my lawyer do the work. Find a lawyer who understands NPD. (Even though my lawyer did, she told me this was one of the worst cases she has ever seen….) If possible, structure the process so they CANNOT use the courts as theater.

  38. Mary2 on December 8, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    I think getting drawn into any kind of -ism with peoples’ names attached can be dangerous – although it seems like God has to (and does) freely allow humans to categorise things for others to choose (or be born into) as He has chosen to be relational. Those who are “2nd-generation”-ers can have a harder time of sorting out the difference between parental attitudes/opinions and the Truths which Scripture imparts, especially if their family is dysfunctional. It took me until my 40’s to understand the concept of what Grace can mean (I am still working on it!), but I had “become a Christian” using common terminology when I was 4 – guess God waits until the right time in everyone’s life’s circumstances to start “growing their tent” (Isaiah 54) – as we are all individuals and He isn’t a cookie-cutter – as much as we may have received that as an unconscious belief in our childhoods. I agree, Aleea, there needs to be 2 different types of reaching/teaching as you say 🙂

    • Aleea on December 8, 2015 at 8:40 pm

      That is a very important point you are making. . . . People are totally custom made. . . . You have women and men who need a jack-hammer to cause them to examine and repent and it would take a Jonathan Edwards (Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God) on the most inspired day of his life channeling the Holy Spirit to move these people. These people are blocks of cement. . . . .But then you have tender, ready-to-repent, very, very sensitive people who all that would do is cause PTSD. An Edwards sermon to them would be an amalgam of interpersonal violence. . . .So you are right, it is in no way one size fits all, at all. Churches do one size fits all, almost nothing is custom but people, obviously, are very custom made. That is why praying may be the most effective. Let the Holy Spirit convict of sin at the level of intensity necessary. . . . but then, of course, the Scriptures say to rebuke, to reprove, so as to convict of sin and lead to repentance. . . . I simply have no idea. . . . . .One thing I have recently noticed about Jesus in the Gospels, which everyone probably already knows, is how many questions He is constantly asking. I assume He is doing this to get people to own their own decisions. He really acts like a “life coach” or something in that way.

  39. John on December 8, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Hi everyone. It looks like I’m the first man to comment here and I hope to contribute. First, isn’t Leslie great? So level headed, calm and on point. Thanks Leslie, you have helped me. Second, I feel sorry for so many of you that have been in these long torturous relationships; they were never God’s intention.
    Someone above asked if women could be narcissistic and, of course, the answer is yes. I had a recent relationship with one who almost destroyed me but instead, I’ve learned a lot and am coming through better without her, healing up well and almost ready to trust. Yes, she was selfish, manipulative, conniving, entitled, self-absorbed and could have cared less about my feelings. On the other hand, I was too selfless, naïve, a bit codependent and a great target. I even loaned her a significant amount so she would not lose her house. When the loans stopped, she found all sorts of excuses to move on. Yes, she had an abusive childhood, 4 divorces, a bankruptcy and I just said, ‘that’s all in the past, let’s just begin our relationship fresh’ trying to show her that there are good men out there. That just didn’t work and never paid the loan back calling it a gift. Oh please.
    I had some ptsd, some codependent work to do and the sadness of a failed relationship. After counseling, time with God and reading a few good authors like Leslie, I am getting better. What amazes me most about all this is that there seem to be so many narcissists out there and the incredible damage they do and don’t care. I pray the Lord touches each of you, let’s you know how special and loved you are (no matter what anyone else says or does), and that the ugly aftereffects left by the narcissist will be defeated and you be set free. Thanks for letting me post.

    • Mary2 on December 9, 2015 at 1:11 pm

      Thank you for posting John, I am sure we are all very sorry to hear of your experience with the female version. Your testimony has answered one thing for me at least about whether I qualified for the label – and my mind has been relieved, so thank you John, much appreciated 🙂 I hope that you do find a lovely woman whose respective needs/hopes and aspirations will blossom into a fulfilling relationship for you both, wiser the next time around 🙂

      • John on December 12, 2015 at 7:35 pm

        Thanks Mary. I’m amazed at the number of posts here and how prevalent this is-so many people hurt by these sad souls. Now I see how important it is to see how people actually act and not just listen to words. I also learned not to see someone different than how they actually are, I.e. don’t make them out to be someone they are not. Does anyone find it harder to trust after having dealt with one of these narcissists? Welcome more discussion. John

        • Maria on December 12, 2015 at 9:03 pm

          John, Although your relationship with this woman was awful, in some ways, it’s a blessing you found out her true colors before you got more deeply involved with her. Now you’ll hopefully be able to recognize unsafe and unhealthy people.

          • Mary2 on December 13, 2015 at 2:07 pm

            True, this is what I’ve learned also – call a spade a spade and make learning wisdom the priority. It is a ‘balance’ thing and we need a relationship with our heavenly Father in order to not be led astray in our beliefs and motivations.

          • Robin on December 13, 2015 at 3:08 pm

            Maria, re: your comment- hopefully you’ll be able to recognize unsafe people…..
            I struggle with that statement. I lived with a narcissist for 30 years, and have been in intensive therapy for 3 years— and still don’t think I could assume I would recognize unsafe people. It takes a lot of healing and growth to gain that level of discernment, once you,ve been deceived in a unhealthy relationship. I would hope I could choose better, but I understand how easily a narcissist deceives and manipulates!!!

          • Maria on December 13, 2015 at 4:19 pm

            Robin, I agree with you- it is difficult to recognize unsafe people because they are essentially con-men/women. These people can con anyone- I was quite ‘normal’ when I met my husband. I involved my family etc., but he was able to fool them too. But I think, because of our experiences we will more cautious and on our guard.

          • John on December 13, 2015 at 5:28 pm

            Thanks to all the responders, I appreciate it. I have asked God to bless me with discernment and to even protect me from these cons. Someone has said, ‘if s(he) is too good to be true, be especially cautious and go slow. See who they are over time.’
            All of us have flaws and weaknesses so I don’t expect perfection. What I do expect is honesty. Blessings to all. I value the input.John

  40. Robin on December 8, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    I’m not feeling qualified to answer your question, Maria. My experience with divorcing a Narcissist was so all encompassing and completely overwhelming. I guarantee if he was standing in front of you- it’s highly likely you’d think he was a great guy, as that’s all he’d let you see. He had the judge snowed- and feeling sympathy for him and even my lawyer whom I was fond of- took to his side for a period of time. Till his true colors started showing, when the judge kicked him out one of the Settlement Conferences. I had so much support barricading me from his evil and yet he kept winning. I’d say be well informed. Read the books on Narcissism and understand the disease. Don’t EVER TRUST HIM not for one minute. He only wants to win and hurt you. I was deceived several times thinking he wanted peace. Nope he wanted victory. The one thing I did do well was no communications via texting or email or phone. Too easy for him to trick me. I would tell him to talk to my lawyer. I’d also say talk to plenty of women who went thru these battles and learn from them. It is a battle and he will use everything he can learn about you, to dis your character. So tell him nothing. Good advice that was given to me – you have nothing to say to him. The only thing you need to hear from him is – I repent and I will take steps to change. Never known a wife yet that heard those words from a narcissist. He will soak up all your money in court if you allow it. Don’t play his game, don’t engage. Only speak facts that need to be said. Make taking care of self and family the priority. Don’t make the error of believing any of his lies.!

    • Lynn M on December 26, 2015 at 11:49 am

      Every narcissist is the same — yet so different! I think that what works with one will not work with another. I will add something else that helped me. Once I started the proceedings, I made sure he saw there was no wiggle room with me. I had made up my mind and backed down on nothing! I think understanding their psychology is key. Underneath all their control and bluster they are terrified and have very low self esteem. I found the strength to bare my teeth, and every time I did, he backed down. He saw that he had lost all control over me, and it was pointless to try. Do not give them an inch and call every bluff.

  41. Vicki on December 8, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    I am just nervous. I married at 19 and we began our family. I have never had time to myself or supported myself. I lack confidence. In 2Kings 6:14-16, “…a great army…. came by night and surrounded the city. Now when the attendant of the man of God had risen early and gone out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was circling the city. And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”… I want to be Elisha (the master) who sees the work of God. Unfortunately I spend most of my time with the eyes of the servant who finds it very hard to see how God is moving in my situation.

    • Maria on December 9, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Vicky, I have been thinking and praying for you today. For a period of time I stayed home with my kids. I’m in a profession that is difficult to get back into after a break. After being put down repeatedly, I lost all confidence. I used to go to college campuses periodically to recruit, but I didn’t even have the confidence to interview. But God worked things out perfectly- he put people in my life who helped me get the job I have now. I interviewed with a different company before interviewing with the company I’m with- God knew I needed the practice. He took care of every detail. Looking back, I’m still amazed. He also put the right people at work around me so that I was able to learn what I had to. My confidence began to grow after that.
      When we go through tough times, sometimes it’s difficult to see how God is moving. Here are some of the truths I’ve relied on in tough times
      1. He has promised never to forsake us
      2. He may not take the tough situation away, but He will be there with us as we go through it.
      3. He works all things out for our good (if we love Him). Even our failures.
      4. He provides for our needs.
      5. He loves us.
      6. He is a good God. He doesn’t want evil for us.

  42. Mary2 on December 9, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    That is the very best type of counselling Aleea – and a prophesied name for Jesus in Isaiah is ‘Wonderful Counsellor’ – and His way was to ask these empowering questions for exactly that reason – for people to own their own conclusions and decisions. This realisation was an enormous breakthrough for me, helping to disband my thinking from its straitjacket mind-set of ‘one size should fit all because this was what I heard all the time as a child’ – but it does cause a whole raft of hideously disempowering subconscious stuff that has to remain unprocessed until we find the freedom of asking ourselves every morning: “What am I telling myself – is it the Truth?” and a lot of the time my training had disenabled me from telling myself the truth about Reality. I’ve had to do a 180 degrees turn around, which has been traumatic to my – um – I suppose – pride – but this is a good thing because God gives Grace to the humble (but knows the proud from afar.) 🙂

    • Aleea on December 9, 2015 at 3:03 pm

      Exactly. . . . I have always found that with God, at least I can humble myself without despair because God’s Grace is just like water; it flows down to the lowest point. That is where the Grace of God is going to find you and I. . . . .and I have been there so many times. . . . . Humble, but not gullible. Organized religion has tricked many people into believing that they will be rewarded for their ignorance by calling it faith, they will not. We can not be gullible bibliolaters who have not bothered to seriously investigate claims. The Bible does not say the “gullible” are blessed. Tell people there’s all this archaeological data and the vast majority will believe you without fact checking anything. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure. —Humans, humans being. —Anyways, God’s choice acquaintances are humble women and men too. God’s whole plan is to lift up the humble and cast down the proud, exactly.

  43. Mary2 on December 9, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    This is for Sarah – thank you for your awesome testimony – it is wonderful to be seeing the fruits of Galatians 6. v7-10 – a real promise to hang onto 🙂

  44. Alene on December 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    My thoughts are that ‘narcissism’ is rooted in dishonor.

    I base it on my observations about my husband along with several verses. Does this resonate with anyone else???

    *Honor your father and mother that it may go well with you”
    “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honor, and life” Proverbs 22:4
    “He that follows after righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor” Pr 21:21
    “Before honor is humility” Pr 18:12b
    and again “before honor is humillty” Pr 15:4b

    I believe that God puts such a high value on honor because honor is built on humility. Humility is a foundational key to life.

    In my husband’s home growing up, problems with people and such were treated with dishonor…whenever problems come up, there are the triggers, and there are the blindness and dishonor patterns.

    He had a choice growing up, he could have responded differently. He could have rooted it out like his younger brother and sister; it was not deeply rooted for them. He did not. A variety of things have not gone well. It is like my husband got ‘second hand smoke’ and began to smoke himself.

    Has anyone else run into a dishonor connection with narcissism?

  45. Caroline Abbott on December 9, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    Excellent advice Leslie! A person with NPD is never going to realize those around (him) are in pain because of his actions. He will only see all the ways THEY are hurting HIM! As you say, there is little chance of this changing, and unless it does, there is little hope for the family to remain together. And counseling them all together makes little sense. No one in the session is getting what they need, they are all just getting more pain, and no help. Great advice to split them into different counseling sessions (ideally with different counselors), so that they can each work on the problems that they have.

  46. Susan on December 9, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    I was married for 32 years to man who possessed characteristics of a Narcissist, Sociopath, a Pathological liar, and Bi-polar tendencies. He even faked a suicide attempt with hope of ruining Christmas; sending authorities on a 24 hour wild goose chase. It was masked for years. Then the hints of abuse began; physical, emotional, financial, and sexual. Then, they were full blown and no protection from the authorities. The seclusion from friends and family unless the event made him the center of attention and in power. It was all there a little at a time, until he was confused at his own game.He would cry at counseling deceiving all in the room. He began the emotional and financial abuse toward the children. The ‘favorite’ child was restricted from going to Church to spend time with “Daddy Disney”. I had breast cancer in 2009. At one point my oncologist asked if I was safe. I settled for an uncontested divorce, on his terms. Otherwise, he threatened to stay and make me miserable. Although, he had moved on with dating.Now, I was unemployed because my school district employer received anonymous letters defacing my character. Financial and social abuse.Three months after the divorce, he filed a lawsuit demanding ‘personal items’ (which he was given). The first 2 items of the 32 pages was the purple bathroom rug and his burgandy penny loafers.This act of CONTROL and vindictiveness cost me $36K in lawyer fees and 2 years in court. More emotional and financial abuse adding to an attempt to ruin me professionally at a new career. He used the court to coward behind.The final outcome was all God working in the heart of the judge; my ex claimed that I owed him $100K in rental property income. The judge ruled that ‘he would not allow the court to be used for a Cash Grab and personal vendetta and awarded him $380.60. Psalm 37 got me through court dates, giving it to God to work in the heart of my lawyer and the judge. My ex seems happy with a woman who looks 25 years older than him, (but is younger).He has found someone who does not take the attention away from him. He is in control. He has found a new victim. Ironically, she is a mental health nurse and counselor who cannot see the signs because he is that good at deception. These people are abusive, clever, dangerous, and destructive. They are not God fearing because they are Everything. I hold all of you in my prayers and hearts. Be a friend to the next person you see in this situation. Give them hope in God.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 12, 2015 at 3:35 pm

      Glad you have been set free.

  47. Mary2 on December 9, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    for Aleea – I saw something really great on Facebook recently: Sometimes God allows us to hit rock bottom, so we come to understand that he is our Rock at the bottom (of the pit). 18 years ago at this time of year I was suicidal and attempted – and yet, He has shown me in these years of recovery, His incredible faithfulness and goodness and just asks for my trust in what I know of His way – for the rest of my days on earth…… I cannot even contemplate taking any contrary thought seriously any longer. I never thought I would make it through, but here I still am with a bright future ahead, Glory to our Father in Heaven whose Mercy and Grace are so wonderful! 🙂

    • Aleea on December 9, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

      —Wow, that really speaks to me, thank you so much and especially for being so honest. . . . I so believe that the purest form of faith happens when we reach the bottom of our reasoning and find there is nothing that we can do that will make sense out of God. . . . It is all about trusting and obeying. No secrets left; No defenses; just a vast, dark, empty, infinite ache (—the desert of the real) an endless flight of stairs, leading down and down into the cold, dark pit of my soul. . . . . absolute rock bottom. —And there Christ is, just standing there. He’d been there all along.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 12, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Good to hear. Thanks for sharing.

  48. Mary2 on December 10, 2015 at 12:17 am

    Yes – ………..As Richard Rohr likes to say “We don’t come to God by doing it right – we come to God by doing it wrong” – and this turns everything upside down. So desirous is God for our souls to be without spot, wrinkle or blemish – He is prepared for Rock Bottom if that’s what it takes…..amazingly….

    • Aleea on December 10, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      . . . . Oh, how I get all that!!! . . .It is the doing where the fail can come. We have to cease striving and trust God to provide what He thinks is best and in whatever time He chooses to make it available. But, as you know, this kind of trusting doesn’t come naturally at all, no way. It’s a flat-out spiritual crisis of the will in which I must choose to exercise faith. Let me tell you that years of abuse tend to wring out every ounce of one’s ability to understand and adhere to faith in some standard form. Our parents were our models for God, if our parents massively failed, what does this tell us about God? Nothing logically, but it is hard to just be rational.

  49. Erin on December 10, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Wow. Thanks everyone for the input. Reading this article and your words has been like finding a room of people I lost. I recognise my self, my family and my story in so many of your stories. Your advice and experience is invaluable… I am taking notes on so many things! Thank you for sharing.

  50. lyn nielsen on December 11, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I see I am the only man other than John to respond? Why is that? There are many women narcs out there.
    Thank you Leslie for this wonderfully written piece.
    I read once that if a narc passes borderline personnality disorder and no longer see the truth of their behavior there is no bringing them to truth. I believe this is true.
    I have stayed in the terrible situation for many years and it just gets more painful with now grandchildren in the mix as they are continually lied to also. I should have left years ago.

    • sunflower on December 11, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      Are there any organizations designed to help men married to narcissistic women? I would think learning to say to “No” is the first step to freedom, whether male or female. Lyn, what are some of the behaviors you experience and how do you set boundaries with them?

      One of the tendencies of the narcissistic older woman in my family, is that she will not stop talking. She literally will not stop! Of course the subject matter is often the same, its’ all about her.

      • Leonie on December 12, 2015 at 12:46 am

        Sunflower – And the conversation goes around and around and around so that when they call they really don’t have to – you had the conversation a hundred times, you could have it all by your self now! Or at least that is what the older female narcissist in my life is like. She would never think to ask if I had been anywhere or done anything or am starting something new. There is a lot of pretending going on too. She asks about the kids and then pretends she has got too much going on in her life to remember what they are busy doing.
        She has common themes too – like why is everyone so fat, all they have to do is eat less. If you pour a large mug of coffee she saih with disgust “what do you think I am, a horse?”

        • Mary2 on December 12, 2015 at 1:22 pm

          Leonie – that’s my mother-in-law you’re talking about!

      • lyn nielsen on December 12, 2015 at 6:12 am

        boundaries have been put in place, for the extreme anger and ugly outbursts of rage, followed by unending accusations, which happens when we travel alone for some reason. I will get out of the vehicle and leave or I will have to yell –Stop–. I will not tolerate your mocking of me, etc. So the majors have subsided a lot , but the little constant dripping stuff of “the dish washer needs to be started or we have to get groceries” which all mean “you start the dishwasher, you go get groceries” That stuff goes on all day week after week even though I ignore half of the demands to serve her. While she plays solitaire on her computer, with the house a mess, the frig full of rotting food, has not bathed or washed her hair for 2 weeks. That is not the worst of it, the worst is the lies told to other family members about me that many believe, she is a master of deceit and manipulation of truth. That is the most hurtful because of the disfunction it causes in the family.

        • Maria on December 12, 2015 at 6:47 am

          Lyn Nielson, What are some of her lies and accusations? Can you come to some agreement on how the housework is decided?

        • Mary2 on December 12, 2015 at 1:20 pm

          Lyn, she is obviously indifferent to her responsibility to be a wife, and has become a ‘crazy-maker’. There is a way back into sanity but it sounds like she is wrecking the show and cannot see how she is being her own worst enemy. In that, if she gave you the respect that men need from their wives, she would feel better about herself as a need-meeter. As it is she has lost all self-respect and dives off into distraction as a way to quell her pain, with no understanding how this compounds the problems which are not being addressed when they need to be. I suppose she would not be open to any request for you both to be in counselling?

      • Charlotte on December 14, 2015 at 1:07 pm

        Sunflower – “she will not stop talking. She literally will not stop! Of course the subject matter is often the same, its’ all about her.” I worked with someone like this. Our cubicles were side by side and there was no way to block it out – even phone conversations. It was a very difficult situation and I discreetly asked to be moved but nothing happened. I think everyone including supervisors were afraid of her.

        • Sunflower on December 15, 2015 at 6:01 am

          I have directly addressed the non stop conversation and said, “You must stop talking. It is very rude to other people.” She paused for a second and then kept right on with her mantra.

          It must be very difficult to work in such a situation, Charlotte. I think you have earned time and a half and a pay raise!.

          In my situation the lead offender finally died. It was our only relief from her incessant talking.

    • Leslie Vernick on December 12, 2015 at 3:25 pm

      You’re welcome. Yes there are female Narcs out there and they do as much damage as the male versions do.

    • Robin on December 12, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      When I saw my grandchildren being pulled into the same behaviors as the rest of the family- it gave me the courage to start preparing to make my move to separate. I could not cycle another generation into this mess. I made a plan to stop it by bowing out. He had – had plenty of boundaries and warnings to make some changes to save his family, which he never responded too. Henry Cloud wrote a book, NECESSARY ENDINGS where he explains when you know nothing is changing and you’re living in wishful hope of something that will not change until you do. In answer to your question do you trust after a narcissistic relationship? I think it’s possible, but a lot of healing must take first.

    • John on December 12, 2015 at 7:47 pm

      Hey Lyn, thanks for posting. I felt like a lone ranger posting but many men may be too self conscious to post. I can’t imagine being in a long marriage like you’ve been in with a woman like this. Glad you’ve set some boundaries but feel bad for you. I have this picture in my mind of what a godly marriage can be even with all of our imperfections and the narcissist just makes it all impossible. I have asked God to help you how He sees best and to look to Him to meet your deepest needs.

      • Rose J on December 13, 2015 at 1:36 pm

        Aleea, Refined, Laura Di, Michelle …Leslie everyone,
        While I deeply mourn the experiences we have endured to become more whole, I thank God for the integrity, perseverance, courage & intelligence each one of you possess in boatloads.
        All your words put together are exactly what I need to hear today, everyday.
        Today I opened to my place in the Bible and my eyes immediately went to 2 Cor 12: 9
        “MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS”. I immediately asked Him to send me some of his people to minister to me and instantly you all were here.
        There isn’t a thing anyone has said that I haven’t thought, done or experienced. Some of us used up (only!!!) ten years of our precious lives (I’m a little envious for that) and some many more. I am 64 yrs old, one would think I would have gotten it by now. That is my shame talking and what I imagine many in my family will be saying about me for the rest of my life.
        I am grateful for the reference to Cloud’s book re: Necessary Endings. Sounds very good, I read his and Townsend’s book, “Safe People”. I will order Necessary Endings today.
        I too believe Cognitions are the steps on that ladder to freeing ourselves, to saving our lives, to ending the brutality of this idolatry we pursue: Love?, sex?, comfort and’security? Exactly right Aleea, biology has simply trumped sound mind. I often curse my danged hormones. But it is my God-given desire for love that really has me tied up.
        Yet, to be honest, my sin of addiction to manipulation has become a way of life for me, it is no less an addiction to any other substance or process- every moment of every day I am thinking – “am I doing it right? am I saying the words that will make him give me what I need? will he be sweet to me today? will we have a pleasant evening?”
        The thing that gets me though, is that I can do it right all day long, and everything will seem fine & nice until, BAM! – at the last minute, before he goes to bed, he finds a way to twist my words or be contemptuous, so that, while he savors his resentment, I am again and again abandoned to fend for myself in my despair, this familiar place that I battle with almost nightly.
        I can’t believe his cruelty, to so coldly leave me with this heaviness in my chest and this knife in my heart. I spend the night hours, praying for sleep and brewing in fear and anticipation of his punishment to come.
        But here’s the thing, the divorce papers are served, my parents have been forewarned that I may park myself with them in Connecticut while I look for permanent housing there, the step-daughter knows I may not be able to see my grandchildren (O, God) anytime I want to anymore w/o a plane ticket.
        The bruises I swore to he would/could never inflict on me are still purple and quickly healing.
        But the bruises on my heart will have to be healed by the Healer Himself and by people like you, I need all the help I can get and all the strength God can send me to navigate this sea of grief and sorrow.
        For me right now I feel only shame and fear of the future, even though I have made so much progress in the last two years. Leslie’s book is the second one I read on this journey and I am as grateful as I can be for the availability of her help!
        The first book that helped me is called:
        “I Promise to Hate,Despise and Abuse You
        Untill Death Do Us Part”.
        Like “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage”, it has the AUTHENTIC Christian view of the man’s role as priest of the household, not the Master/Slave rendition we have all been steeped in.
        Another great one is “Stalking the Soul”
        (by Marie-France Hirigoyen).
        It is very good at describing the mechanics of
        Narcissistic Abuse, it’s origins, pathology
        & manifestations. Well researched and validating of our experiences. I got all on Amazon.
        So, while I struggle to untangle the strings of attachment, I understand why ‘Refined’ has chosen that name; Because that is exactly what is going on, He is refining us to be pure gold for His purpose, not for the purpose of these demonically possessed vessels we love and care so compassionately about. How crazy is that? How weak am I? Very and very.
        For me, my weakness is all I have to give to Him who deserves ALL my love.
        That miserable sink-hole of a sad, little person who keeps rejecting The Still Small Voice is not needing my love, what he needs is something much less Godly.
        The problem is that I truly do feel so sorry for him. I need to find a way to reconcile the compassion I feel for him with the reality that he has given himself over to, the father of lies.

        So, for now I am doing the only thing I can do, which is feeling sorry for him AND doing what I have to in order to cut all ties and go “no contact”. Next move is get “Necessary Endings” and hope. Thank-you all. Rose J.

        • Mary2 on December 13, 2015 at 1:50 pm

          Blessings and strength to you Rose. Is your h aware at all at how his life is about to change? None of my business, of course, but am just wondering if you’ve kept this all inside yourself for all these years without him being made aware of your feelings earlier….. or if you tried to do that, got met with a brick wall?

          • Rose J on December 15, 2015 at 11:32 am

            Hi Mary2, thank you for your blessings, I really can’t figure out what my h is aware of or isn’t. Oh yes, I have been very clear about what is acceptable to me and what is simply egregious. He always says he will address his behavior but his words aren’t worth the air they take up.
            It’s his mixed messages of “It’s hopeless & “I don’t have a lot of hope for this marriage based on what you (meaning me!) say” that is driving me insane. He is so slippery!. I think he knows it won’t be good to have no cook, no one to talk to, totally by himself when he is at home. But then he demonstrates a bravado that makes me think he simply is tired of me and my “complaining” and can’t wait for me to go away. Basically, it is just crazy-making. Today he called from work to say “I don’t really mean some of the things I say b/c I’m just going on what you (me!) do and say”. Talk about putting all my pain and crazy feelings back onto me!!!
            He just loves to tie me up into knots and take absolutely NO responsibility of ANYTHING!
            Mary2, I am going to tell him tonite again:
            Everytime you go back and forth on whether you want this marriage or me, I’m not going to listen. The only thing that will sink into my ears is this: Will you or will you not change your behaviors? Yes or No. Period, Stop.
            Thank you Mary2!

        • roxanne on December 13, 2015 at 9:26 pm

          I am having trouble understanding why you would be thinking about your husband’s feelings? It would seem to me that it is time to focus on YOUR health, YOUR happiness, YOUR choices, dreams and desires.

          Your husband has chosen his sin and he likes it. He could stop anytime he wants to, but he likes it. He is entitled, empowered and prideful. What is there to feel sorry about? When demons invades even the most well intentioned wife needs to back off, only God is equipped to win such a battle.

          • Rose J on December 15, 2015 at 11:51 am

            Dear Roxanne, yes to everything you say. He does love his behaviors and he does continually choose them over me & our welfare. I think I am hung up on Rescuing him b/c I feel like he just doesn’t know what he is doing to himself, never mind what he is doing to me.
            My compassion for others always outweighs the compassion I ought to have for myself.
            All I can say for myself is that I am faking it until I make it.
            I am going through with the divorce, selling the house and preparing to move away.
            Anytime in the course of these processes he can say “Stop! Don’t go! I am going to show you that I can be a good husband starting right this second!”.
            Roxanne, I will add those words to what I told Mary I would say to him tonite. CLARITY is what I crave from him, so I will remind him again and again of my position till the moving vans leave the driveway.
            Only 2 things will turn this around now:
            #1) humble & convincing repentance on his part starting immediately, and
            #2) 100% acceptance of full accountability
            for his behaviors.
            Any whining about I made him act that way is a deal breaker. I’m all done with that & have not bought that in years.
            I just don’t believe he thinks I will actually go away after all this time and all the rotton stuff he’s done to me. And he is correct about that – I have been weak and groveling. But I’m going to take the advice from the consequences topic re: being like “granite”. Even if I feel weak and soft, I will ACT like granite until I actually fully can feel the granite in my bones.
            Thank you Roxanne.

          • roxanne on December 15, 2015 at 10:17 pm

            Rose J. I like your strength and conviction! A much better life is ahead. Life without abuse is blissful.

  51. Mary2 on December 11, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    I totally get that, especially the last sentence, Aleea. Hard to be rational. We come to operate out of our own projections onto God, and cannot see we’re doing it. We end up with a wrong heart-concept of God which then separates us from being able to experientially be in His presence, where there is fullness of joy. “Father, have mercy on our hearts that operate out of childhood trauma that we cannot see the extent of. Help us not to try to work it out – we give this phenomenon to you and ask that your power may do the job for each heart that has been so unconsciously misdirected – we seek wholeness and healing in this area Lord, thanking you for the journey so far, please help us in all the miles ahead in the ever deepening circle as You see it, not the straight line as we see it and are tempted to despair.”

    • Aleea on December 12, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Thank you for that also. That so speaks to me too. You have such great insights!!! . . . . .I hope not all of them come the hard way. . . . . It is very hard to operate out of my own projections onto God, and I can’t see what I can’t see. That is why I am in counseling and hopefully Dr. Meier sees what I need to see, but who really knows. The progress is as slows as molasses going uphill in Janurary, at least it feels that way. . . . .I have really thought about my heart-concept of God and where it could be in error. I also have been working more on being able to experientially be in His presence. . . . .Thank you for the prayer and the paryers. I really am such a believer in prayer. The Bible sets me back nearly every single time I touch it, but prayer, well, prayer is totally other. Prayer demonstrates my serious need for God. If feels so good, I don’t even know why. It just feels clean and freeing. Knowledge of the Bible doesn’t matter when we bow together before the God of all creation and the marker of my heart (Gospel-based vs. Bible-based vs. Prayer-based Christians). . . . .You say “not the straight line as we see it and are tempted to despair.” Nobody’s story is a straight line. The geometry of a human life is WAY too imperfect and complex, too distorted by perceptions/ projections and the bewildering intricacies of life to admit the straight line into any thinking, especially mine. —Thank you, Mary2.

  52. Dee on December 11, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    Is there a national support group for “I married a Narc or Narc Survival 101”?? Not to spouse bashing but to help encourage those who are still there, just getting out of or those who survived but with battle scars to share stories of victory or lessons learned. Those of us who innocently or naively have dealt with people like this for years can probably instruct the so called professional counselors on the subject. I especially reach out to those in the Christian community who faithfully and painfully follow the biblical ways to forgive & love but need permission to say NO to abuse when the church has lacked common sense on dealing with this epidemic.

  53. Mary2 on December 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    What an absolutely AWESOME idea, Dee – I for one would be all for it! Pharisee-survival in fact, as “church” can be the last bastion of a misogynists’ refuge – a place where they can lay down the law because it is ‘spiritual’ and of course, women are all daughters of Eve and therefore automatically prone to deceit and deception. So we deserve to be put down even more and crushed under the weight of expectations which have in fact, nothing to do with Christ.

  54. Mary2 on December 12, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    LOL – but I EXPECTED my life to be a straight line – that is the problem of childhood – the expectation I was given that when you make the simple decision to follow Christ you will understand life’s meaning and one’s life will be wonderful, uncomplicated and full of love and joy – with Heaven at the end of the line….. I accepted this scenario as a child which all sounds so biblical – but had absolutely no idea (as one can’t when they’re small) of the naivety I would be trapped in, from lack of life experience and the discernment I certainly had to learn the hard way because of the simple truth equation that Life does NOT equal God, which had been my unconscious conclusion (that it does). I mean no disrespect to my fellow believers, just fessing up here to my short-fallings due to mis-beliefs. Like you say Aleea – do not admit any straight lines into mature thinking, this must surely be wisdom (that doesn’t automatically come with age unless we search it out with genuine humility.) It’s a hard road though, if one’s identity has been formed by straight lines!

  55. Aleea on December 12, 2015 at 4:44 pm

    “. . . .– but had absolutely no idea (as one can’t when they’re small) of the naivety I would be trapped in, from lack of life experience and the discernment I certainly had to learn the hard way because of the simple truth equation that Life does NOT equal God, which had been my unconscious conclusion (that it does).”

    . . . .I don’t really understand that but I’ll tell you one thing I do know, a lot of life is repairing the damage from our parents. It is just that sad. Not only our first parents but our direct parents especially! Most children would be far better off raised by labordors and golden retrievers, versus mothers that rage. This now is so in my conscious awareness. I hope I can begin to choose to stop acting on it. But that is the hard part. . . . I really like how positive your attitude is. . . Your like, fall ten times, stand up eleven. . . .I never had a childhood. I had a starting point from which I have never stopped running. All you can do is never give up, never stop trying, and never stop learning. . . . and speaking of learning. . . .

    “Life does NOT equal God” . . . .I’m going to have to really think about that, that may be beyond me. In Acts, it says: “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” . . . “Life does NOT equal God”. Hmmm, I don’t understand that. . . . I don’t believe in anything but God. It’s all God. There is only God. God is not some distant figure somewhere in the sky. God is my own deepest nature and yours too. God is in everything playing a game of hide and seek.

  56. Martha on December 12, 2015 at 9:59 pm

    We have a saying around our house, as we have dealt with some narcissists outside of the family: “Turn down the sound, and watch the movie”.

    • Mary2 on December 14, 2015 at 1:08 pm

      That’s brilliant Martha……… and so true…… thank you 🙂

  57. Rose J on December 13, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Aleea, Refined, Laura Di, Michelle …Leslie everyone,
    While I deeply mourn the experiences we have endured to become more whole, I thank God for the integrity, perseverance, courage & intelligence each one of you possess in boatloads.
    All your words put together are exactly what I need to hear today, everyday.
    Today I opened to my place in the Bible and my eyes immediately went to 2 Cor 12: 9
    “MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, FOR MY STRENGTH IS MADE PERFECT IN WEAKNESS”. I immediately asked Him to send me some of his people to minister to me and instantly you all were here.
    There isn’t a thing anyone has said that I haven’t thought, done or experienced. Some of us used up (only!!!) ten years of our precious lives (I’m a little envious for that) and some many more. I am 64 yrs old, one would think I would have gotten it by now. That is my shame talking and what I imagine many in my family will be saying about me for the rest of my life.
    I am grateful for the reference to Cloud’s book re: Necessary Endings. Sounds very good, I read his and Townsend’s book, “Safe People”. I will order Necessary Endings today.
    I too believe Cognitions are the steps on that ladder to freeing ourselves, to saving our lives, to ending the brutality of this idolatry we pursue: Love?, sex?, comfort and’security? Exactly right Aleea, biology has simply trumped sound mind. I often curse my danged hormones. But it is my God-given desire for love that really has me tied up.
    Yet, to be honest, my sin of addiction to manipulation has become a way of life for me, it is no less an addiction to any other substance or process- every moment of every day I am thinking – “am I doing it right? am I saying the words that will make him give me what I need? will he be sweet to me today? will we have a pleasant evening?”
    The thing that gets me though, is that I can do it right all day long, and everything will seem fine & nice until, BAM! – at the last minute, before he goes to bed, he finds a way to twist my words or be contemptuous, so that, while he savors his resentment, I am again and again abandoned to fend for myself in my despair, this familiar place that I battle with almost nightly.
    I can’t believe his cruelty, to so coldly leave me with this heaviness in my chest and this knife in my heart. I spend the night hours, praying for sleep and brewing in fear and anticipation of his punishment to come.
    But here’s the thing, the divorce papers are served, my parents have been forewarned that I may park myself with them in Connecticut while I look for permanent housing there, the step-daughter knows I may not be able to see my grandchildren (O, God) anytime I want to anymore w/o a plane ticket.
    The bruises I swore to he would/could never inflict on me are still purple and quickly healing.
    But the bruises on my heart will have to be healed by the Healer Himself and by people like you, I need all the help I can get and all the strength God can send me to navigate this sea of grief and sorrow.
    For me right now I feel only shame and fear of the future, even though I have made so much progress in the last two years. Leslie’s book is the second one I read on this journey and I am as grateful as I can be for the availability of her help!
    The first book that helped me is called:
    “I Promise to Hate,Despise and Abuse You
    Untill Death Do Us Part”.
    Like “The Emotionally Destructive Marriage”, it has the AUTHENTIC Christian view of the man’s role as priest of the household, not the Master/Slave rendition we have all been steeped in.
    Another great one is “Stalking the Soul”
    (by Marie-France Hirigoyen).
    It is very good at describing the mechanics of
    Narcissistic Abuse, it’s origins, pathology
    & manifestations. Well researched and validating of our experiences. I got all on Amazon.
    So, while I struggle to untangle the strings of attachment, I understand why ‘Refined’ has chosen that name; Because that is exactly what is going on, He is refining us to be pure gold for His purpose, not for the purpose of these demonically possessed vessels we love and care so compassionately about. How crazy is that? How weak am I? Very and very.
    For me, my weakness is all I have to give to Him who deserves ALL my love.
    That miserable sink-hole of a sad, little person who keeps rejecting The Still Small Voice is not needing my love, what he needs is something much less Godly.
    The problem is that I truly do feel so sorry for him. I need to find a way to reconcile the compassion I feel for him with the reality that he has given himself over to, the father of lies.

    So, for now I am doing the only thing I can do, which is feeling sorry for him AND doing what I have to in order to cut all ties and go “no contact”. Next move is get “Necessary Endings” and hope. Thank-you all. Rose J.

    • Aleea on December 13, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      Rose J,

      It sounds as if you have taken good counsel (re: All your Amazon readings), and that you are being careful but at the same time moving in the right direction. I have been praying and will continue to pray for you. . . . I know this sounds just ridiculous right now, but ALL those wounds eventually will become your wisdom, as long as you don’t become bitter and it sounds like you are not. . . . . . . .And on your weakness, your deepest fear should not be that you are inadequate but that in Christ you are powerful beyond measure. It should be our light, not our darkness that should most frighten us (I can’t always do that but I know it is true). Jesus is about radical, sweeping, all encompassing-style empowerment. Dear God help us to have Christ-like attitudes even when it gets so hard we can’t see any way out and have too many hills to climb and too many battles to fight. Lord Jesus, you are our example, instead of eyes that burned with hate a look of love was there. . . .but I also really get that it is a rough road the Lord has us traveling. Pyrite to ››9K, to ››10K, to ››12K, to ››14K to ››18K to ››22K to ››24K Gold.

  58. Rose J on December 13, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Hi John and Lyn, my name is Rose J and I am happy to see two guys with the courage to post! Also, the two of you put another person of the male persuasion who posted before this in a truer light. W/o naming names, he was a narcissistic guy trying to justify himself, as if the comments on this blog were personal insults to him (poor guy). Anyway, I am a Registered Nurse and spent a lot time as staff RN various in psychiatric settings. I can attest to and affirm that there are indeed vicious female personalities out there who are for sure in the borderline/narcissistic/anti-social categories. Somehow they get labeled more as plain old “borderline”, so here we go with the labels again. Nevertheless, most of these women had chaotic and dramatic serial, monogamous relationships. If the guys were not unusually compassionate and patient, these relationships did not often last. (I think men may be quicker to walk away than women are, but that is just off the cuff observation.)
    I think that, while male narcissists have an easier time hanging on to partners, the females caused easily as much pain and destruction, lied just as outrageously and manipulated as masterfully as any male chess-master. In short, Tasmanian Devils could be their mascot animal. I know I was very happy whenever they left my unit!!
    Your pain as men might be harder in the sense that men may be much less willing to admit that they were victimized in such ways. That’s a shame, because the hurt is just as acute and the damage just as real as when the victim is a man.
    Hope you hang in with us, I feel timid about telling a guy what it feels like to be them! But, if you think about it, everyone on this post is an individual and maybe we often feel – right or wrong – more confident about thinking that a person of the same gender feels the same as we do??!! But, it we can offer each other hope, encouragement and insight we will all be the better for it.
    Rose J

    • John on December 13, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Hi Rose, thanks for your thoughtful response. Not sure which guy you were referring to in a prior post as a narcissist but important thing is to spot them. Glad you did. As you know, narcissists cannot stand any sort of criticism or lack of worship. Unfortunately, it seems there are many men especially and women who think it is their right to boss, control, manipulate and use others. And yes they con and some are excellent charmers. For whatever reasons, they just don’t care how their words and actions hurt other people. There is zero compassion and empathy. To me, it’s like a satanic grip. How could one not care about hurting another especially someone who professes to be a Christian! It’s hard for me to believe they don’t know what they are doing.
      The damage done to men and women is similar I think. For us men, perhaps pride keeps us from admitting it. In the end, we’re all brothers and sisters in Christ. May the healing process happen quicker than slower for all of us as God does his awesome healing. Thank you.

      • Rose J on December 15, 2015 at 12:14 pm

        Thank you too John,
        I thought about something reading your post and that is, while men are not generally seen as overly nurturing, the stereotypical woman is supposed to be! I can see how that could make it even harder to accept that her hurtful, cold-hearted meanness could be real! And how it would be so tempting to believe she is simply acting out briefly & and will come to her womanly senses if her guy gives her the correct fathering/mothering ,?. You are so right that the Narcissist is so good at making like they have no clue how hurtful their words and actions are – I’m betting that the majority of the time they not only know, they are getting a super rush of power from the sheer fun of pulling the same satanic stunts over and over again w/o anyone ever catching on! So, when we do start to wonder out loud about their intent, they double down the feigned innocence & do become very threatened & enraged if we persist in our ‘interrogation’. That’s why we give up sometimes. The out of control rage they demonstrate towards us when we try to uncover them is so awful that we do back off and start to pretend their behaviors don’t bother us after all! Which gives them the license to escalate the badness b/c it is too tempting to them to see how far they can take this fun game!
        Thanks John.

        • roxanne on December 15, 2015 at 10:25 pm

          They escalate to control us. They know exactly what they are doing. They don’t escalate to at work, at church, in public places or with their buddies do they? No, they save that awful behavior for their innocent wife and children in the privacy of their own home. Heck, if he acted like that some place else he would lose his job, lose his friends, get punched in the mouth or end up in jail. Why do we allow such words and actions spoken to us?

        • John on December 16, 2015 at 7:39 pm

          I have been reading the posts from time to time and went back and read Leslie’s post again. There is really a lot of good stuff in there. I wonder if another question would be, “is there hope for the victim of the narcissist?” we have all been the victims.
          I had a hand in letting that happen to me. I just believed what I was told, like many of you. Not being good enough, always wrong, etc. It was all a lot of baloney and it caused a lot of shame. My recent reading has shown me that the total acceptance and love we all want comes perfectly only from one place, from God Himself. Even with a great mate or spouse, they will fail sometimes. The narcissist unfortunately is like a toxic waste site almost constantly emitting harmful fumes which are poisoning and destructive UNLESS we can reject what they are saying and doing to us. This is tough to do with someone we love and that ‘supposedly’ loves us. Someone said I was blessed to not have gotten married to my narcissistic friend. I agree. I read all of these stories and it bothers me so many people are affected by this. I close by saying that part of your healing may be in knowing that you are completely accepted and loved by the One who matters above all. The narcissist is a corrupt soul and we all need to reject their hurtful words and actions and think for ourselves. God bless, John

          • Leslie Vernick on December 17, 2015 at 9:48 am

            You’re right JOhn, God is the only one who loves us perfectly, even with a good spouse there are disappointments, but the narcissist is incapable of loving anyone but him or herself.

  59. Mary2 on December 13, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    For Aleea about what I meant with the “Life = God” is toxic equation. It all rests on the meaning you attach to the word ‘Life’ – which I suppose is different for everyone. I agree that God is “IS-ness”, as in the great “I AM” – but that is not the same as how our temporal matrix in which we have to live in time/space meets our understandings from which we conclude our worldview. Fatalists often make this mistake – that if things are going well, they must have done something good and God is pleased with them and sends a reward. Conversely, God gets the blame for not stopping nine-eleven, Paris etc. This is equating Life with God and many think this way. My problem was, in my childhood naivety, I expected that everyone believed the Christian gospel because that was all my experience had been – such a limited, narrow and sheltered home life from which any attempt at legitimate ‘individuation’ was impossible if I was not to rebel against ‘God’ (which I can see now, was actually my mother’s opinions)

    • Aleea on December 13, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      Re: Our temporal matrix of spiritual misalignment comes from wearing the blinders (solipsism); (fatalism); and an incorrect picture of the Lord God who is above our gods (parents, mothers, etc.)

      . . . .okay, I think, maybe, I see what you are saying now. Either way, it got me to pray to Christ for forgiveness and true deliverance which is always a good path. . . . Thanks Mary2!

  60. Lynette on December 13, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    This is the first time I have read a blog on this subject. I am in the first year of “seeing” that I am married to a man who has NPD. After many, many years, I am embarrassed that I could not see this before. It is so confusing. Obviously, we know something is off. Putting a name to it and hearing the behavior described and defined is enlightening yet scary. Sometimes I realize that denial is a way of coping, because looking at this situation head-on is overwhelming. This is not how I expected my marriage to evolve. My husband is also a pastor. I noticed that several of the husbands mentioned here were formerly or still are in such roles. What’s up with that? Oh Heavenly Father, give us all courage and faith to face the truth of our situation and act according to Your leading. In the interim, protect us and show us our true identity as daughters of a good good Father.

    • Charlotte on December 14, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      Hi Lynette – From my experience, this is a very hard thing to come to terms with and really “see.” I understand your shame at taking so long to see it and I think it is sad to even make that statement. Why should the victim feel shame? For so very long, I have felt like I had a ping pong ball in my head which was continually bouncing from one side to the other trying to make sense of things. Am I crazy? Is he? Is it just my imagination? Am I expecting too much? Am I never satisfied with anything as he tells me? How will anyone ever understand? If I can just talk to him and help him see what he is doing but he has no ears to hear and it always backfires on me and I end up in a worse position. Even after having a full realization of the gravity of the situation, trying to figure out the next step is quite daunting because it takes a fair amount of preparation and planning no matter what path you take. Not quite like in the movies where you just throw a few pieces of clothing in a suitcase and walk out the door and never look back.

      I hope you can find some peace with your situation. I love your prayer: “Oh Heavenly Father, give us all courage and faith to face the truth of our situation and act according to Your leading. In the interim, protect us and show us our true identity as daughters of a good Father.”

      • Charlotte on December 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm

        I meant to say also that I am an empathetic and compassionate person which I think are good qualities. But it feels like I have been exploited and punished for having these qualities being married to a man who doesn’t have a clue what either means.

        • roxanne on December 15, 2015 at 6:13 am

          I identify with your post. Thank you for the visual of ping pong balls and clothes thrown into the suitcase like in the movies. I know each hardship has its’ nuances, but living with a crazy maker fools even the most intelligent men and women. I can’t help but think only Satan could be so masterfully deceptive. I see the work of demons laughing in delight as we suffer and squirm. Praise God we have the spiritual battle won in the end.

  61. Mary2 on December 14, 2015 at 1:05 pm

    Hi Lynette – your situation is like mine was 25 years ago (except my h is not a pastor) – but I remember too the scariness of coming to understand we were evolving as a couple in ways I didn’t expect or could be happy with. In reaching for help (to a pastor and an ‘elder'(deacon) as I assumed was what Christian women needed to do when she needed guidance – I began to realise that they can see their role as something elevated – when people come to them for answers – and maybe this is part (the darker side) of what can attract them into these positions…… Forgive me, this could be an erroneous judgement on my part and I hope I am wrong, but the evidence from my experience leads me to believe there is some truth to it. What a wonderful prayer at the end there, Lynette, God certainly will answer it! Blessings and strength 🙂

    • roxanne on December 15, 2015 at 6:23 am

      I think you are right Mary2. They are attracted to the position because they feel they are entitled to lead others and be in charge of any and everyone and any and everything. They know it all. Just ask them.

      Yet, being a pastor requires humility and servant leadership. The men we speak of are liars because they are incapable of such character qualities. They lie to themselves, their families and their congregation. Pride makes the facade palatable to their conscience.

    • Rose J on December 20, 2015 at 10:18 am

      Thank you Mary2, I need faith to believe that I do indeed have a ‘bright’ future b/c I have failed so often at taking good care of myself. On the other hand, I have never been so clear about myself and how I self-erase.
      Karen, your description of your life right now with the roommates God sent you and the provision of employment is very encouraging to me. I feel totally unprepared for the poverty that I see awaiting me. My parents are offering to let me stay with them till I find my own place. That is tempting in that I want to move back to the state of my birth and upbringing. I would like to settle down in Middletown CT. There is a horsefly in the ointment however: The reason I am so well adapted to narcissists is that my mother is a raging Narcissist 98% of the time.
      At the age of 63, I figured this out in technicolor. Now that I am so clear at the age of 64, is it really wise for me to so intimately expose myself to her and my flying monkey father again? Not sure the pro’s outweigh this con. Advice on this score is welcome from any and all, the collective wisdom on this blog is saving my sanity.
      I have this other fantasy of moving all by myself to North Carolina. Always liked the idea of NC, but I know no one there. How would I pull that off? Any ideas on this would help, I know that’s a huge question. Thank you all, Rose J

  62. Greta on December 15, 2015 at 8:23 am

    My husband and I went through Lifr Skills Internstional also. Wonderful program!! I discovered so much about myself and my triggers and why what he says and does hurt me and what to do about it. I did this alongside with counseling also. By the grace of God I trigger less. I continued to apply what I learned. My husband got much better while he was in the LSI class and for a while afterwards but he didn’t continued to do work or have accountability or encouragement and I believe this is why he has regressed so much. The good news is that I refuse to participate in this unhealthy “dance” with him. I so highly recommend the class, it’s so empowering. But I would recommend to do it with conseling or meet up privately with the facilitator if you trust her advise because there are wounds that need to come out to the surface and our brain lets them come out easier if it knows we have a safe place to process

  63. Lynette on December 15, 2015 at 9:43 am

    Thank you Charlotte, Mary2 and Roxanne. I appreciate your insight and encouragement. Someone else mentioned that perhaps one reason these personalities are attracted to the pastoral roles is that they have a script to follow (the Bible) that no one can argue with. So, in essence, they can always be right. (of course, being human that is not possible, but it gives them a great deal of confidence.) Only God can know the sincerity of his faith, and so that is not for me to judge. However, I can and should acknowledge wrongdoing when I see it and experience it. He has moments of clarity it seems. That is why it can be very confusing. I have found my expectations of him must be lowered and my focus must be on pleasing my Heavenly Father rather than my h. That change in focus is definitely a upside to this hard reality.

    • roxanne on December 15, 2015 at 10:29 pm

      My abusive husband would say the moments of clarity are an act. He would say the real man is the abuser.

      • Rose J on December 20, 2015 at 10:38 am

        Roxanne, isn’t it weird how they sort of know that they are Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? That freaks me out. Their awareness of this ability to present Dr. Jekyll to the world but save Mr. Hyde for the wife and kids implies that they ARE more culpable for their mean selfishness than they want us to believe.
        I keep hearing that Narcissistic abuse towards wives is way more prevalent than anyone ever guessed in the Christian world. But to be in the position of Pope-like admiration would be like heroin to certain men.
        Yes, I want to imagine a life w/o the abuse brought about by these cowardly types. My lawyer says my body will feel much better when he can’t make me so afraid all the time. I sure hope so.

  64. karen on December 15, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    Hi Aleea, Sorry for delay in responding. I tried to post something from my tablet before leaving town last week but apparently that did not work. Yes, I agree with you completely regarding Calvin and find it appalling that many church leaders put him on a pedestal today as the example of theologically correct Christianity. I was trying to determine if Platt comes from that or the opposite “Grace” mindset or somewhere in the middle with a more balanced perspective wherein I believe lies biblical TRUTH. You did an excellent job of explaining the constant tug-of-war between the two mindsets and yes both are applicable in different ways and at different times in our walk. This is what has confused so many who choose to lean toward whichever one makes them the most comfortable with or justifies their own life decisions. If Platt offers a viewpoint similar to what you have espoused in your comment then he may be a good resource for me. Having worked as a youth minister 20+ years of my life I often have young newly surrendered ministers faced with this constant battle in seminaries and have seen that leaning too far in either direction can destroy their future ministries,testimonies and even their lives and marriages. I just need someone who intelligently teaches and explains the pitfalls of both and leads the reader/student into a broader/well balanced view of scripture while equipping them to “debate” and clearly support their reasons for believing the balanced view — as often necessary in seminary and Christian Colleges. While attending Criswell College myself you could not sit in the coffee shop without constantly being exposed to this ongoing debate (usually led/forced by the Calvinists students) and anyone who dared disagree was just “uninformed” or not as well studied as they were. There was a very elitist mindset and sadly judgmental or dare I say “narcissistic” attitude pushed toward anyone they viewed as “Armenian” (as if that was the ONLY option to Calvinism or Determinism as they liked to call it), So I always try to have resources on and available when someone comes to me with this question :). Thank you for your “off-topic” insight!

  65. Mary2 on December 15, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Rose J – my counsellor teaches that there is a time for “faking it till you make it” regarding resolve as a legitimate boundary to prevent you being dragged under by your crazy-maker. Separation is often a very constructive and productive time when the alternative would be to continue in what’s becoming unpalatable. It will give him time to go deeper (if he wants to) and hopefully work on himself with a view to a reconciliation if he can make that his top priority. If he can’t then you will have extricated yourself honourably. All the very best, even if your erstwhile spousal/maternal instincts will try to stop you – as he isn’t at present in a real marriage and no woman wants to make love to a son – you certainly can dismiss them as ‘old’ echoes – whereas you have a bright future to work towards 🙂

  66. Vicki on December 16, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Dear Karen,
    I have not posted for about a week. Too many life situations to deal with. But when I read your post this morning I was really touched. I have to confess I have gone through ups and downs in my life with trusting God to meet all of my needs. Things like housing seem so huge. My time is coming when I will have to move. My boys will be ready to get their own place and I will have to figure out how to pay for housing without their help. No guarantees the broken court system will ever hold my ex husband accountable for what they have ordered. I so want to walk in faith. Mark 9:24 sums up how I feel, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” I tend to limit God by responding more like Sarah when she tried to find ways to help God bring about HIs promise of a child. Your testimony was a good reminder.

    • John on December 16, 2015 at 7:18 pm

      Hi Vicki, only thing I would say is that God loves you 100% and does not expect you to have perfect faith. Most of us don’t so thanks for your honesty. Don’t beat yourself up. I pray your ex is held accountable. John

    • karen on December 16, 2015 at 7:43 pm

      Hi Vicki,

      Considering that it took me 35+ years to acknowledge the truth and develop the faith I needed to 100% depend on and let God lead in this situation — rather than continuing to make an idol of my marriage and ministry — I can only say that you are listening to God sooner and better than I did. He will be there for you and will become your TRUE husband and provider in ways you can not imagine at this time — but I needed that reminder many, many times before I got it. And still there are moments of worry, fear, loneliness and anxiety……….but we must be on our knees rather than allowing in that pain, doubt and sense of failure. Easy for me to say, I know. I will not lie and say I always turn to him before the tears unexpectedly flow but I can tell you that even my dreams at night or more peaceful and I do not wake up nearly as stressed as I have most of my life. I have a very vivid dream life/memory and when this all started to come out to the point where I could no longer pretend and live on “magical thinking”, about 3 years ago, I spent 6 months not sleeping without reliving the pain of hurts my marriage had caused throughout my life — and waking up crying in the middle of the night. This last year when I was once again forced out of my home …….my first and most desperate cries to God was that He would stop the dreams and He did. I rarely remember my dreams now and when I do they are much more positive. God will see you through in ways that are not clear now. I can only go by what he has done and is doing for me and I believe as our future Bride Groom He wants to protect and hold each one of us in the safety and overwhelming love that we have missed in our lifetime, so far. But we have to give Him the chance to do this and stop looking to our husbands to suddenly change and give us the love we need/deserve as that makes them our idol. It may happen but it will be only through their obedience and worship of God as they can not change themselves any more than we can change them through our love and sacrifice. Depend fully on God’s love, strength, care and provision for you when the time comes………and HE will be all you need.

      • karen on December 16, 2015 at 7:45 pm

        *wallowing NOT allowing 🙂

  67. john on December 17, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Hi Leslie, please help me with this. In your last post to me, you said the narcissist was incapable of loving others and only loves him or her self. Does that mean it’s not a choice to hurt others? They know what some form of love is since they love themselves, right? Incapable seems to make them unaccountable for their condition. I promise not to bombard you. Just want to get a proper understanding of all this. I was very naïve and didn’t even know what a narcissist was before all this happened to me. May thanks, you are a blessing. John

    • Maria on December 18, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      John, you addressed your question to Leslie, but may I offer some thoughts. Narcissists are not capable of loving others in the sense that they cannot give what they don’t have. A similar example is a bitter and angry person who is not able to love another person. They have a choice to love, but maybe they are not willing to let go of the bitterness and therefore don’t have the ability to love. A narcissist can choose to take responsibility for their actions and work on their issues, and then choose to love. God holds us responsible for our sinful actions even when we are blind to them and choose to justify them

  68. John on December 18, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Maria, thanks for your response. I welcome any and all responses as I evaluate this. I’m still confused by the word ‘incapable’. You say they cannot give what they don’t have. So expecting them to love makes the victim the crazy person? Yet they love themselves to the nth degree. I would invite others to weigh in here. Thanks, John

    • Maria on December 18, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      John, True, pure love wants what’s good for the other. The love narcissists have for themselves hurts them.

    • Cheryl on December 18, 2015 at 6:33 pm

      There are levels of maturity to love. A child starts out just loving themselves or those who meet their needs. Hopefully, as the grow, they mature in their understanding and ability to love. If a person chooses to humble themselves, they can learn, but narcissists choose to stay in their self serving behavior for one reason or another. Just my opinion…not an expert.

      • Maria on December 18, 2015 at 7:01 pm

        Cheryl, I like your explanation of love.

        • Cheryl on December 18, 2015 at 9:01 pm

          Thanks, Maria. I spent alot of years thinking that if I exhibited generous, self-denying love, he would catch on. I now understand that there is some block to him “getting it”. I have lowered my expectations and it has proven to be very freeing. I am learning to be myself and am not bitter or depressed about the future. It’s discernment and healing from God.

    • Rose J on December 20, 2015 at 9:54 am

      Dear Leslie & John, I also would like to hear Leslie’s opinions on the culpability of the Narcissist. This is why I am so reluctant sometimes to think of him as less than human, even though his behaviors indicate an inhumanness I can’t understand. Bottom line though, if the train saw us or didn’t see us, does it matter when we’ve become one with the railroad tracks? I guess that first, we get off the tracks & second, we can ponder their culpability later on if we still want to.
      I personally believe that the person with narcissistic brain is a person who basically has no practice at taking responsibility because they automatically go to the “they/them are bad for hurting me” and enjoy their revengeful thoughts so much that they become addicted to them. I think as this habit becomes more and more entrenched, they lose the choice to be mature even as they grow older.
      Thank you all for the Necessary Endings book by Henry Cloud. I admit I read the chapter on “wise people, fools, and evil persons” first. Simply and sensibly stated so that even I couldn’t argue with it!

    • Rose J on December 20, 2015 at 10:57 am

      John, I don’t think we are all particularly crazy for expecting a mutual love from someone who expresses the intent to give you just that. I think it is the denial of the evidence that they were lying to us that is crazy-making (like Leslie says, it is the lies we tell ourselves that do us the most harm). I believe we are guilty of a weakness brought about by the same sort of parents that produces a narcissistic child. Somehow, our survival in childhood depended on us denying all evidence that our parents truly did not love us in a way that made us feel safe. We developed ways of lying to ourselves that we could somehow control their love and nurturing of us
      Some children reacted by becoming very co-dependant (chronic victims & enablers). Their sibling could have taken the alternate available position of believing that the same parent was bad/mistaken for not adoring and serving him/her in some perfectly perfect way. And sometimes a parent has a ‘favorite’ child who grows up to expect the world to always treat him/her just as favorably no matter what (Spoiled Brat Syndrome).
      I am glad you are so curious about how this all works, it takes a long time for it to sink in b/c victims of Narcissists by definition have an abundance of empathy and compassion. That is one reason why so many nurses (as I am) & pastor’s wives are committed to hugely parasitic and immature men. There are tons of literature springing up right now on Narcissistic Abuse. I don’t ever remember that being the case in my earlier years. I hope it saves a lot of grief/lives that we are finally talking coherently about this.

  69. Leonie on December 18, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Robin often reminds us that a narcissist only wants to win and look good and twist things and lie, anything to appear to ‘ save face’ in their own eyes. It really is an inverted logic because what really truly looks good is truly good and that is what Christ calls us to. With a narcissist, everyone loses, as they all “bite the dust ” of the narcissist.

  70. Mary2 on December 20, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    Dear Rose, off the top of my head, in reply to moving back in with your parents – now you can see things for what they are, it very probably won’t be a problem (if it’s only for a time until you can move on). This has been my situation where my mother now lives in our granny flat and has done for some years after many years many thousands of miles away physically. She also is a major narc but cannot see it as a result of OCS (only child syndrome). I had to come to see my own as I am also an only child – it sets us up towards unaware narcissism big time. But having seen it for what it is, sort of diffuses it – we can tell our minds what it is – naming the “wild beasts” for what they are, and see ourselves as being in God and therefore, mercifully delivered from them needing to affect our core 🙂

    • Rose J on December 25, 2015 at 9:28 am

      Thank you Mary2. What you say is what I was thinking as well (about living with Narcissist Mom and Flying Monkey Father in order to afford leaving Narcissist Husband!!) – I do know better now how to ‘handle’ my emotions with my mother; if this is the only way I have for getting away from the h.
      None of this is going to be easy or pretty. Especially since there really is no justice in the Justice System. If I could only get back the funds I came in with 21 yrs ago, I wouldn’t be so hard up.
      Your point is important though, it can’t be a prolonged stay at Narcissist Mommy’s house. No matter how aware we are, there is no real protection from narcissists of any category except for distance, carefully limited contact, or no contact whatsoever.
      Thank you for being such a caring soul Mary2.

      • Mary2 on December 27, 2015 at 7:57 pm

        Just this morning – (hot off the press!) there was another indication that in her 80 + years of consciousness my mother still operates out of her father’s attitudes… but God gave me an epiphany afterwards when I was trying to process it – I remember her saying the way her father ruled his house was according to Navy discipline (and a picture of Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music with his whistle came to mind) – it took Julie Andrews and her guitar to turn his attitudes around! – I’m afraid I’m not like Julie Andrews in the movie and my bristles rise when I realise the damage done to my own worldview by being born into the chaotic results of her decisions and raised in God’s name to believe there was only one way of thinking……… how she treats my oldest son (36 – fortunately he only has to meet her once or twice a year and is his own person) is hurtful to me as his mother – yet she cannot see there is anything at all dysfunctional about her attitudes. When anyone tries to point it out she says “That’s right – have a go at me!” – guilt shifting……. God has given me the grace to be able to see the truth at long last after most of my inner life spent in confusion and inherited fear, down the line from Adam….. What it has done, eventually has been (thank God) to drive me into dependence upon God and the death of the ‘corruptible’ – so as to embrace the inheritance of 1 Peter 1 vs.3-9 – a space she cannot violate now, although she may try because of how she sees reality – I have my armour on…. a bit sad when it’s against my own Christian mother but that is how it has to be for the sake of my sanity and my marriage. So I reckon my strategy here is much the same as you’ve written – carefully limited contact. I thank God for helping me see it, and that He understands the highways and byways of every human heart and its aspirations. Only He can unscramble scrambled eggs, and then only if He agrees they need to be unscrambled….. 🙂

  71. Maria on December 21, 2015 at 9:18 pm

    Here is a link to a blog on narcissm. It has quite a bit of good information:

  72. lyn on December 22, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    From 20 years of experience of living with a narc. and 2 counselors confronting her behavior with no acknowledgement from her concerning her behavior. Zero! There is zero conscience of her behavior. once they past borderline personality disorder =can’t come to the truth of their behavior. They can’t be brought back to truth. I believe now that it is biblical 2 Thess. 2: 10-11; they refuse to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie. In Romans also it tells us that God will turn you over to a depraved mind.
    They will not come to truth.

    • Rose J on December 25, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Hi Lyn, wow, thank you for the 2 Thess 2:10 – 12. Funny, I already had it underlined, it must be because it so concisely describes the narcissists relationship to themselves and to what is truth. My husband first enticed me with the lie that he was a relentless seeker of truth. We would have conversations that would go on for hours sometimes on truth – I really enjoy those head trips if they are grounded in absolutes, that could be a vulnerability for me. The way he presented himself is so directly opposed to God’s assurance that anyone who sincerely seeks Truth will find it. That seems to throw some dirt on the idea that the narcissist can’t help themselves. The Creator seems to disagree with that notion, but the Scriptures also explain how a conscience becomes ‘seared’ over time. The more we grieve the Holy Spirit, the less we will hear Him or even care what He is trying to tell us. The end result: a depraved mind. Bingo, Scriptures correct yet again!!
      Thank you, Rose

    • Greta on January 6, 2016 at 3:08 pm

      I’m glad to see you are looking at God’s word for answers in how to deal with your wife. However, when I read 2 Thes 2:10 It talks about those who are perishing, therefore I think it’s talking about the truth of salvation not necessarily other truths. Any thoughts anyone?

  73. Sal24 on December 26, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Lynn m, thanks for your story. I’m married to the same thing.,I don’t know how my son (15) would react if I left. I don’t want to pull him out of school and uproot him right now. Did you take your kids out of their school? Where you able to buy a condo in their school district? My son tells me that all the kids who are ” messed” up is because their parents got divorced. ( tried to explain its the relationship that led up to the divorce that messed them up. I think my husband as some nod and borderline personality disorder as well. What is the difference between covert and Other types? Also what did your husband do when you left? Did he get a lawyer a fight you or was he passive about it?

  74. Robin on December 26, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Sal24, I think it’s a maternal instinct to listen to what our children want- but in abuse and narcissism I think it is wise to understand if we follow and listen for the Lirds guidance and wisdom over our children, God will work it all out. Our children do have their concerns but the greatest gift we can give to our children is to be healthy ourself and make choices that will improve their future, even if not immediately. Over and over on this blog I have appreciated hearing from women in all sorts of circumstances- that did the hard thing and God prospered and abundantly provided for every need- and for their children. Divorce is hard and painful, but staying in a environment where everything is a pretense, is harder. Try not to have all your questions answered before you make a move. God is just waiting for each of us to trust Him and then He will begin to reveal His Wonderful Plan for the next part of our story.

  75. Sal24 on December 26, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    I don’t think I can do it and I don’t know why. Not sure if I’m weak in faith or trust in the Lord or just so overcome with fear. I was raised to avoid change. I’ve had the same house same job same marriage same everything forever. Just don’t know how to do this…I feel like I’m blindfolded and I’m expected to find the door..

  76. Robin on December 26, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Sal24 – while I’ll keep doing my best to prepare you to leave a destructive relationship; I also understand fear. Even the night I left I was totally wrapped in hesitation, asking myself if this could possibly be right, and scared to death as if I was running from a criminal. I had a plan in place, but I was still very frightened. I loved my family, and my home, did I really realize the cost of what I was about to do?
    Here’s a part of my story.
    My husband had been overly harsh, cruel, and ugly to my son. It was more than I could keep on watching.
    I went to a lawyer and we met twice.
    Then my husband left for a month to go help my son move from St Louis to New Orleans . My son had forgiven him- I had not. I could not keep on doing this anymore. As soon as he left town I copied all papers in his file cabinet he had locked away from me. The lawyer said break up the cabinet and bring it to me. They also copied all the financial records, but included was many investments, saving acts, I.R.A’s and other accounts holding thousands of dollars I was never told about. I never dreamed he had kept so much from me. My lawyer was strongly wanting to defend my case when he saw my husband was holding all this money and I only had $200. Long story short – I left the house and left him a note he could contact my lawyer. I had talked all the talk I had to say to him. There was no more words between us, me asking him to please get help for his OCD, NPD, Sociopath disorders to name a few.
    I went to a friends house for 2 weeks – and then returned after he left. I was a nervous wreck. But deep down inside I knew I was making the right choice. My hope was he’d bow his knee and repent and desire a true honest reconciliation. The only words he ever said to me was — in trying to fight for his money. He never showed one time he’d fight for me.
    So all that to say, I believe in Gods Timing. If you’re not ready, and God still has things to teach you before you’re ready to leave, then follow your heart. My mantra is simply if you can’t do it for you, consider what it would mean for your children to have an abuse free home, and one where the people in that home really care and love one another.
    I’m praying for you and that God will fill you with whatever you need.

  77. Robin on December 26, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Sal24 – a thought the Lord gave me this afternoon is when we do decide to leave, it is not only for the one child still at home. My eldest daughter is 40 and it has been an life changing event for her, that I no longer stand with the abuser.
    She knows I may be a little late to save her childhood from abuse but today I stand for her. I will do everything in my power to see her heal from her wounds, and I am no longer pulled in the abusers direction. My life now stands firm to be loyal to my children, and demonstrate I did the very hard thing of divorce, fir their sake and mine.

  78. Sal24 on December 26, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Robin, All 3 of my kids love their dad. They know he has emotional problems. My adult daughters have a closer relationship with him then with me . Probably because he has always tried to turn them against me and made himself the good guy to them. My girls have issues but I just don’t see how a divorce would change anything for them at this would probably add more stress in their lives. They are both away at college and far away from us. It’s way too late for them and they now live with the effects of the dysfunction that was created.

    • Robin on December 26, 2015 at 11:14 pm

      Wow, Sal24 I didn’t realize till just now how similar our situations were. My ex husband worked all 4 children against me also. The eldest pulled away from him when she received counseling and learned the Truth. For me I knew I couldn’t keep fighting him — trying to earn my way back to my children. After excellent counseling and even having my husbands counselor tell me to leave and file p.o. — I realized I would never win as long as I stayed in same house and attempted to beat him at his game. I’m really glad I left. My stress is gone now. I’m so sorry you’re going thru this. It’s so awful to have to fight your spouse to try and win your children’s loyalty. I know how to pray more effectively for you!!!

  79. Sal24 on December 27, 2015 at 12:53 am

    Robin, thank you for your prayers. My h would try to turn the kids against me by calling my son a mamas boy and accusing me of ganging up on him and taking the side of the children whenever there was conflict or even without conflict. He was just jealous that I loved them and they loved me. Then he couldn’t figure out why they wouldn’t listen to him but they would listen to me. He never learned how to discipline with love.

    I am going to just spend the next week or 2 listening to God as I pray for my kids and my husband.

    • Robin on December 28, 2015 at 3:58 pm

      Sal24- a narcissist can be very successful at brainwashing children away from their mom. It’s a daily thing he does, and i certainly didn’t always catch the full extent of how he did this. It is difficult when children move away from home and take that dysfunction with them. But what choices the healthy Mom makes is crucial. There can’t be immediate healing for the children. But when the Mom starts making choices to not participate in the dysfunction, and separates from the narcissist- the children can begin healing. As long as the Mom stays with the abuser, the child will feel angry and hopeless. When I physically separated from my abuser/narcissist – I was standing up saying I’m jumping off this vicious cycle. I need help, and I’m going to go find it. I believe the Mom removing herself from the chaotic cycle- in time helps the children to see Truth and Hope.
      When I left my husband, I didn’t leave thinking this is best for the children. I left because God made it clear to me if I wanted to be healthy and be an example to my children, I must separate from the narcissist.
      I have never regretted that decision.
      My children will all benefit someday in Gods timing, not mine. All I did was ask Jesus to help me, and He did that 100 fold.

  80. Leonie on December 27, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    I recall my ex-husband talking like that too – but, what they intend for evil, God can use for good! Look to him, and step away from evil into the good that God has for you. No, it’s not easy but He walks with us and upholds us with his righteous right hand and gives us his peace as we go through the fire and the floods that we have to in order to escape from the abuse!

    • Mary2 on December 27, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      Yes, Genesis 50 v.20 is the OT version of Romans 8 v.28 – (maybe the latter is the fulfilment of the former?) Praise God that He gives the grace and provides the power when we are seeking Him and willing to trust 🙂

  81. Leonie on December 27, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    That was in reply to Leslie whose husband said:
    ‘He tells me he can’t wait until I’m on my own and not taken care of anymore. Hoping to see me struggle and fail.’
    My husband told me things like that too – “I can’t wait to embarrass you and send you home to your family divorced.”
    God hears and sees that kind of evil and I am thankful to no longer be with my husband and let him keep acting out his intentional evil towards me!
    God promises us the opposite – in Jeremiah 29:11 he tells us: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future! We can cling to these promises as we flee from evil and go through the court systems to get resolution! Over and over God reminds us in his word not to lose hope, not to give up or be discouraged but to keep our eyes on him – he will uphold and strengthen and help us! He will help us against those who are too strong for us!

  82. Wendy on December 28, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Vicki~ I wanted to encourage you as you stated that you will need to move soon… Concerned for how you will do this financially… Remember… “God is not surprised at what is happening to you.. Decisions you need to make… Let Him in… Ask for His guidance as He wants you to take His hand and He will be with you as you move forward in life… ALWAYS!
    (Isaiah 61 “He came for the brokenhearted.. To set the captive free… “) You need to make steps forward to NOT be held captive… God will meet you there… Walk with you!

  83. Wendy on December 28, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Lois~ my suggestions would be to first understand what your living in is…. Wrong! Then “stand up ” for yourself. You have the right to money and property.. And custody/shared custody of your children …. Regardless of how his attorney acts or bullies you!
    It’s not really about you finding a lawyer that understands DV or Narcissism… It’s your mind set that matters!!. Your belief in that you are worthy of better.. Worthy of so much more … Worthy of freedom..! It’s how you stand up to your husband on your way out… No more stating what you have said countless times in the marriage…
    Lift your head, cling to God, speak only to your lawyer and through your lawyer to the other party…Not his lawyer or him… Create a boundary of “no contact” with husband or lawyer!!
    This is how you get clarity… Hear yourself… See you for who God made you to be…
    It may seem “unchristian.. An unkind way to act… You may feel and some may say… But it’s not!! Plan and’s your voice raising you up from the ashes!
    A phrase you can adapt through it all is ” All questions, comments and proceedings need to go through my lawyer”! What you are doing is … You are creating boundaries as you walk out and you are taking care of yourself.. You are showing your self worth!! You are not subjecting yourself any more to the “pollution” you had grown accustomed to! If you keep “no contact” with him… You are creating the healthy environment you need to live in from now on… No more listening to ANY justification… You have eliminated that factor!! I walked my story out this way… And the hand of God showed me every step to make!!
    Take back what has been stolen from you… Your self worth!!
    I will be praying for you and for “your voice… Your self worth to awaken!!” Gods best for you!!

  84. Mary2 on December 28, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    I’ve just seen this link:

    and post it here in the hope and prayer bits or all of it may be useful to some/all – coming up to the start of a New Year, it could be helpful in the first page of a new book (kind of thing)

  85. Wendy on December 28, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Mary2~ I followed the link… “What I’ve learned in 25 years…” And though I believe you sent it to encourage women to their marriage commitment… It’s these kind of “25 points”, bible verses and encouraging comments” that can down right CONFUSE a women married to a narcacist!
    Why?? Because this post is taking it for “granted ” that your married to a somewhat mentally healthy person… So even though your working things in your marriage …. Believing and honoring God in the process… Things STILL CONTINUE TO BE PERPLEXING! This shames a women…. That they are not doing enough.. When really they are living in ABUSE… Something God NEVER intended for them!
    As I was reading the post … I agreed with most of the “points”!! However. As a women who lived for 20 years in her christian marriage…. Leaning into God ALWAYS… There was a “nagging concern” that something wasn’t right!!!
    So .. I AGREE with point # 20…
    “A marriage does not rise and fall on how much we can trust a person, but on how much we can TRUST GOD!!
    So, I trusted God and prayed for clarity and understanding… And the TRUTH… Gods truth… And with that… I lived .. And my 3 children lived in complete chaos with what I came to understand as a extreme narcicist.. For 2years.
    So I asked God for healing in our marriage and in my spouse … To RECONCILE the pain… To RESCUE …. So in TRUSTING GOD…. He REVEALED my husbands spiritual, emotional, psychological, mental, sexual, financial ABUSE… And God RESCUED me and my three children into complete FREEDOM … A way out… To stand up to it.. To call it for what it REALLY WAS AND IS!! God is for me.. To be treated worthy of who I am… A daughter of the King!!
    With hard work, healthy christian counseling weekly for two years ( with the truth of what Leslie shares), the support of healthy christian people and my “new church”… Over the the course of several years of healing… I’m waking up and WALKING IN WHOLENESS .. Going from bondage to freedom … To PROMISE!! Promise… Something me and my children never would have experienced staying TRAPPED and a “UNKNOWN CAPTIVE a PRISONER UNAWARE” to narcicism… Mental torment… Incredible crazy making!!
    I pray fervently that the truth of SOME marriages… Especially “Christian marriages” have the shining light of TRUTH shine in the darkness… God would RESCUE other women/children … However that looks to God!!
    God is for you… Trust Him to show you what to do… What is truth for YOU!!

    • Robin on December 28, 2015 at 3:47 pm

      I had the same thought as Wendy after reading the link – 25 things .
      A woman in an abusive, destructive marriage might cause more chaos for herself to read this article. But I do trust there might be a woman on this blog not in a destructive marriage that might benefit from this list. I just know I was told similar things from my church- which only enabled the abuser to abuse more.

    • Mary2 on December 28, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      Yes Robin and Wendy – I totally understand the implications…. I have been there too – and in my own case, the Lord did provide a reasonably mentally and spiritually healthy man to be my husband. What I had no idea about was the healing of the emotions that were so damaged in childhood, in both of us, that had become blind spots from which we both needed “salve” for – salvation, healing, etc. in the area of our psyches that governed the emotions.

      Absolutely, each of us treads an individual path and each must trust the Lord to show them what freedom means for them. There is no way I intended posting this list as a load of rules to have to live up to – only that some of them did ring a chord for me….. the ones that didn’t I commit to the Lord and say “show me” – I am willing to learn….. after what I know God has delivered me from I understand more about His ways than I did before. Glory to God that he respects our individuality greatly and works with it – this should be preached more in churches to prevent rule-based mis-beliefs from taking root and causing havoc.

      Like the author of the list said at the beginning – “marriage is not a breeze” – sometimes we realise we’re in a tornado and in the eye of the storm. Often that is where God meets us (I remember hearing in one sermon long ago, the place of stillness amazingly happens to be in the eye of the storm) – I just didn’t like the buffeting that surrounded it!

  86. Maria on December 28, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    Something I have found out is marriage and parenting help/advice/materials/sermons etc. that is/are geared to marriages in which both spouses love each other and want the best for each other, when used by couples in which one spouse does not have the same goals, can have devastating consequences. In a marriage in which one spouse is controlling and abusive, taking pointers from such material enables the abusive spouse and hurts the spouse who thinks he/she is doing the right thing. I have been to parenting classes at church where they emphasize that the parents should be on the same page. This is good advice when the marriage is healthy, but when one of the spouses is abusive and does wrong, supporting the spouse just to be on the same page sends the wrong message to the kids- the kids think that bad behavior is ok. Also trying to create opportunities for the kids to bond with the abusive parent usually backfires on the well intentioned spouse- the abuser manipulates the kids to go against the spouse. We would not take Tylenol which is good for headaches and expect it to work for diabetes. In the same way, we should not expect remedies for problems in healthy relationships to work on issues in abusive marriages.

    • Robin on December 28, 2015 at 5:31 pm

      Excellently said. I completely am in agreement!!!

  87. Mary2 on December 28, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    Of course – when one spouse does not have the same goals and is unwilling to see the wisdom in having some guidelines (or sees a way to twist and use them to their own advantage at the expense of the other) – how can this even be considered a marriage? An abusive marriage needs a health ‘injection’, for which guidelines that work are necessary. For the spouse who can see wisdom in surrendering this to God’s direction (as this lady’s found for the continuation of her marriage), communication and negotiation skills (which can be learned, this was also my hope – I just didn’t know how) help them to see better the ground on which they stand. Some kindly spoken empowering questions like: “Are you willing that we continue to ride this tandem bicycle” can help this along.
    Forgive my imagination for rambling – to carry on this imaginary conversation:
    “What are you talking about?”
    “OK, well, marriage is like riding a tandem bike, and I understood you to be on the front seat when we started riding – but the view’s not changing much from where I’m sitting and I’m beginning to think if I rode my own bike it would help me ……. (your add)”
    This takes it to a deeper level which gives the spouse opportunity for understanding our need better (IF they actually want to), rather than running on their misjudged assumptions. If they prefer the latter, then this becomes obvious to both.
    I post this with some trepidation, to be honest, but it is what worked for me, once I learned how 🙂

    • Remedy on December 29, 2015 at 9:14 am

      ‘IF they actually want to’ is the operative statement here. The true abuser, not a misguided person, does NOT want to understand, learn, change, consider another’s feelings, generally abide in what normals do in relationships. They are pursuing one thing…power and control. They are operating on a totally different grid that is usually understood inly after endless attempts to address in countless ways, as so many on this blog testify. The presence of evil is real and there are people who are overcome by it. For those, no amount of human reasoning is going to get through. Only the divine power of God is going to be effective here and that is by His choosing to release such a one. We can pray and speak truth, but only the power of the Lord is able to break the heart of stone and replace with a heart of flesh. Our part is to use our God given wisdom to discern the truth.

      • roxanne on December 29, 2015 at 10:55 am


      • lyn on December 29, 2015 at 11:29 am

        right on

  88. Wendy on December 29, 2015 at 11:40 am

    Amen to what Remedy stated!! NPD is real! I appreciate this blog giving an opportunity to “testify” to the reality in many people’s lives!!
    Gods word does say.. ” in this world you will have trouble, yet I have OVERCOME…”
    So, my freedom is that…
    “I will OVERCOME by the blood of the lamb and the word of my testimony”! My testimony is that God RESCUED me and my three children from this destructive way of life… By taking a stand… Making choices away from his behavior and destructive ways!
    Very RADICAL… Not too many churches would “understand”… I believe it’s because too few believers talk about Gods Justice!! Sometimes Gods Justice is allowed … This side of heaven!! God can see the heart of us all… He deemed “ENOUGH”…. So He empowered me to “advocate for myself and children” and gave me the tools, the ability and strength and the city around me to… Experience “the great exodus! ” Let my people go… To their promise land!

  89. Sal24 on December 29, 2015 at 11:46 am

    This is my epiphany. Thank you for this clarity.

    My husband has said over and over again for many years now, ” You can’t change me. This is who you married.” wow.. He should have just said ‘ leave me now don’t bother to wait.’ I failed to use Gods wisdom when the truth was right in front of me….UGH!

    • Sal24 on December 29, 2015 at 11:50 am

      Its also in the Lords prayer:
      “Thy kingdom come thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

      Wow I’m getting answers today. (smile)

      • Robin on December 29, 2015 at 1:24 pm

        You go Sal24. When we take time to pray and listen to God He is so faithful!!!!

  90. Mary2 on December 29, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Remedy – of course, I have no argument with that. In these cases, it isn’t a marriage and the sooner the yoke is broken the better for all.

  91. Wendy on December 29, 2015 at 2:10 pm

    Mary2~ I wish it was that easy to see… In my case… As many other women… My husband played the “spiritual card” ALL the time.Referring to scripture often, “forgiveness”, “as much as possible live in peace”, 1 Corinthian 13… The love chapter often…
    You see, what I’m getting at is : if people who love the Lord and see the destruction of NPD SPEAK UP…(as Leslie does)
    It will speak truth to the “spiritually manipulating” and the ones being manipulated and God can USE these spiritually grounded people as LIGHT into their darkness…
    *most women are so in the “mesmerized spirit of the home”… That they are numbed and dumbed down.., without even knowing it… “A prisoner unaware”…. So it’s not as obvious to them the “yoke issues”…. Because their in the midst of it all!! So… It’s not so obvious their predicament… And using more “spiritual talk” just glazes over them…
    “Keep speaking truth to your story “…. I say … “For the Lord IS The author and the finisher of our faith!!”

  92. Mary2 on December 29, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    Yes Wendy I have lived it too – and I couldn’t see it, as you say…… I was raised with it too, my mother unawares of the struggle I would face by her choices…… It has only been by God’s sovereign intervention on my behalf that the cords of the wicked have been broken and I have – very painfully because of my own darkness – been slowly coming into the light. Now as you say, I am more spiritually grounded and God is using me to speak to them both by my story. Pride runs very deep however, and even if both are still the same underneath the spirituality it is now no concern of mine. At least I have go that far, but I do know, for me, this would never have happened if I’d left – I dread to think of that scenario. And I’m staying because, as Jesus’ mother’s words to the servants at the Wedding in Cana before His first miracle – “whatever it is He tells you to do, do it”.

    I understand He also tells others to leave, and provides for them – there is no one size fits all way – as much as that goes against all my “formative training” – a lot of that was, I reckon, rules made by men – but then I am out of my depth as regards assessing/judgement – we can only know our own heart and by his mercy, the goodness and faithfulness of God.

  93. lyn on January 2, 2016 at 7:07 am

    Can a NPD change, question has raised alot of emotions and opinions hasn’t it? I don’t believe they can once they pass borderline PD. They are then deluded by God at that point, because they refuse truth. 2 Thess.2: 10&11. God does finally say enough is enough. If you read the bible about bad behavior you will began to see a pattern on what you should do:

    EVIL PEOPLE (NPD) by Lyn Nielsen

    II Timothy 3

    Evil people rule the land,
    when allowed and when they can;
    And they will demand control of you,
    when you and I allow them to;

    They’re deluded from selfish pride,
    they refuse and cannot see your side;
    Hardened hearts can only see,
    their side of truth, and God allows it to be;

    Where can I go, what can I do
    there must be something I can hold on to;
    Dying to self, didn’t begin to work,
    it just gets worse, cause this evil still lurks;
    This heaping, burning coals of grace upon their head,
    Works well if by the ‘light’ their lead;
    Sweeping up the pieces from last nights hate,
    “you missed a spot”, seals your unending fate;

    Write some prose with truthful pen,
    may help me, but truth is just not them;
    Love them into the Kingdom you might say,
    they will change for sure by May;
    In all humility you should correct with love,
    says my God, who I am in awe of;
    But only if they have wisdom, they will truly say,
    I’ve been wrong, please forgive me this day;
    I’m still waiting years now for that date,
    something is wrong here? there is just more hate;
    mockers and fools hate you when you correct
    what is a mocker? They disrespect.

    As jealous anger and bitterness spew,
    I opened my Bible to find out what is true;
    The proud and arrogant one is to blame,
    and Proverbs 21 says, mocker is their name;
    They behave with overweening pride,
    and your love cannot override;
    They will hate you when you correct,
    the love you show will not collect;
    Love to them is a pathetic thing,
    you win with anger, hate, and lying;
    They will worm their way into control,
    they manipulate your sins and steal your soul;
    Because what is sin to our eternal God
    is not to them, and that’s their fraud;
    Their spirit of truth is just an occasional whim,
    you will not find it deep within;

    Have nothing to do with them!

  94. leslie on January 2, 2016 at 8:38 pm

    Wow! Wow and wow! That was absolutely the best and perfect description!

  95. Sal24 on January 2, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    you should write songs

  96. lyn on January 6, 2016 at 7:34 am

    Thank you for the nice compliments. I started writing prose after being broken and changed by this messenger to my life, a NPD wife. They seem to come out of me after bible study and sadness. This one when I was organizing the bible verses about dealing with bad behavior and having just read a poem by Phil Smouse where he had a line “evil people ruled the land” that I wrote down and the rest is mainly my niv bible. So Phil has to be acknowledged here, and towards the end of the poem the line should read: “they manipulate your sins TO steal your soul, not: and. It is an important word. It is done purposely to degrade you and cause you to fall. I need to do a little editing before I let another one out. I have other prose dealing with NPD.

    • Rose J on January 6, 2016 at 12:02 pm

      Wow Lyn, so true, their malicious intent IS designed by them specifically to bring you the same misery that infects them. I truly feel that these people have invited evil spirits into themselves and are entertained by the villainous content of their ruminations. Their sickness feels boring and pedestrian to me, but it really gives them the kick they crave. How can that be normal?? All demons desire our downfall as they believe it will cause them a victory against the Creator. So we have to really ‘test the spirits’ when we hear one of these monsters speaking Scripture to us. I was thinking today that they are like Judas Iscariot. Judas spent 3 years next to Jesus, observing the Divine in action. Yet, he schemed the whole time about how to bring him down. What in the world could our Jesus have done that could offend Judas so much? I know that my husband schemes against me all day long, even as I serve him & he is smiling to my face. Demonic indeed. It’s repulsive and sad.

  97. Greta on January 6, 2016 at 2:32 pm

    Could you share the bible verses you have about dealing with bad behavior please? I think it would be very helpful to remember them when we are faced with it.

  98. Leonie on January 6, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    I like what Hank Hanegtaff days – it is not the absence of truth that condemns but the rejection of truth! Judas obviously had access to that truth and refused it.

    • Robin on January 6, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      Awesome Leonie. Have to write that one down!!!!

  99. Susan S on January 24, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    To everyone; I have heard every blame, encountered every negative action. You cannot tell them truth, because they do not see truth. Psm 27 helped me through the lies and manipulation of court. The court helped me defeat my ex by calling him out for his manipulative, vindictive behavior which has ended that battle. His new venture is manipulating my son for the sake of hurting me.Breaking the bond my son and I have had for 24 yrs using lies and doubts.Preying on my son’s need to be accepted by his father, whom was emotionally and physically abusive to him .My son, once close to my heart, now speaks the destructive words, phrases and actions of his father. I fear that he is NPD or confused; a once warm, kind, and affectionate person. Suggestions, verses and prayers much needed.

    • Vicki on January 25, 2016 at 3:33 am

      My heart breaks for you. I just spent the past four years with my ex intentionally sowing seeds intended to alienate our son and me. He had a plan to get out of paying child support and he knew if he could prevent our son from spending 50% of the time with me he could justify a modification in court. I heard every hurtful thing from my son as he grappled with the lies he was told and because he was underage I could tell him the truth even when he was confrontational or I would be violating the decree. I missed months on end of parenting time with my son while I watched him make poor choices from a distance. Then suddenly the light went on and my son called and asked to return. His father was involved in activities that revealed the lies. I lost time that I can never regain. My ex accomplished his goal and now doesn’t even call our son. He convinced the court to retroactively modify our original orders and I lost a significant amount of money too. But God has been faithful and he is “redeeming the years that the locust have eaten” in the relationship with my son. (Joel 2:25) My son has denied his faith because of the experience but I see signs everyday showing me he knows the truth and I believe he will be restored. He has six siblings and three brothers in law who pray for him. I have heard others talk of the alienation from a narcissist. But I have also heard about children who eventually see through the lie like my son. God is good and faithful in his time and I try to remind myself he is never late or early but always on time. God bless!

      When writing this post I read an explanation of this verse that may be of comfort to you.

      • Vicki on January 25, 2016 at 3:36 am

        Correction. I could NOT tell my son the truth or I would be in violation of the decree.

  100. Jewelzz on March 3, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    I have just spent the last two days pouring over all your comments and all I can say is wow, I’m not alone! It seems each of us has a very same, yet somewhat different story. Some N’s are abusive and in your face, others silently drive you insane. It’s interesting how they all are individualized yet one in the same!

    After 2 years of living in mental madness, I’ve been separated for the third and final time for a week now. The second time we separated was the most difficult for me because it had been a year and a half of him driving me crazy and me responding in the worst ways ever. I am not a dependent person by any means, I can be bossy, a control freak (especially when I uncover lie after lie), and I was starting to rage on my husband for everything. When I left the second time, however, I ran into some readings online regarding the Love & Respect series. I fell into a depression, thinking that I hadn’t shown him the respect he needed and therefore the way he acted had to be my fault.

    So after a three week separation in which I spent all my time in prayer and learning how to be a respectful wife I returned. Well, let me tell you this, the more respectful and nicer I was to him, the more he treated me like dirt! Mine was not abusive physically, nor did he get mad much (on the outside anyhow, he likes to be the victim and he can’t be if he’s the one mad). He is a gambler, sex addict (online for the most part), and mind game player to the full extreme. He loves to be the victim, and anything and everything is my fault. He loved to tell me how I felt about things, even though I would tell him myself (his version always made me out to be the bad selfish one). He would cut down everything I did, only he would do it through little comments and jokes, never give compliments, never cared one lick about me and my well being.

    Because he never acted out physically or verbally I always questioned if I just needed to change and be more to him. But he proved to me that being a respectful person to him would only get my nose shoved deeper in the dirt. Like he lost what little respect he had for me at all.

    Now that this is my third (and last!) time leaving, I feel nothing but peace about not having to live that life anymore. He is already looking for a new victim, and neither of us has even filed yet. He would go through periods in the past where he would actually admit his wrong (a miracle in itself) but nothing would ever change and I know it was just for show. His daughter once told me he has no soul. And sadly I have to now agree.

    God have mercy on him. And that’s a hard statement to make, because all I want is for him to feel the pain that he’s made me feel, but I now realize that he always has. He projects his pain on everyone else, while on the outside he makes himself out to be the super helpful giving nice Christian guy.

    I am a Christian and believe what God says about divorce, how he hates divorce. My husband used that verse on me all the time. It was his ticket to treat me like an object and not a person, and that is what he did. Don’t let yourself believe that God wants you to stay in a place where you are abused and misused, He doesn’t. Right now He is leading me away from my husband. I won’t file a divorce just yet, God is saying wait. I’m really not sure why, but His ways are not my ways. Inside I know that my husband does not think he needs to change (he’s told me many times, he’s just fine the way he is, I just didn’t love “him for him”). So the odds are not high looking at it that way. But I’m jaded and relationship burned out anyhow. God has shown me how I made my marriage and my husband’s need to change an idol. So now it’s just me and God time, and it feels amazing!

    Yes ladies and gents, when you meet someone that wants to marry you too quickly, tells you they will give you anything and everything you ever needed, charm your pants off, and make you feel like they are too good to be true, RUN! They are! God Bless you All!!

    • Brigitte T. on October 1, 2020 at 3:31 pm

      So what happened? Did you file? Did you reconcile?

      I have also arrived at the idol worship epiphany but you can actually take that a few steps deeper. We begin controlling our spouse (checking call history, message, location, etc. (because of all the lies and deception.

      The control becomes an addiction or idol in itself because in essence, we are trying to control the pain we are experiencing in an effort to avoid facing our fear of either abandonment or the unknown; thus, putting us in the center of it all.

      Does that make any sense to anyone? lol

  101. Rose J on March 5, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Jewelzz, I had the exact same experience with my husband when I retired – he began to be so much more overt with his abusive words and behaviors. And I responded by trying even harder to be the Stepford wife, and yup! He responded by escalating the abuse proportionately. I left him a couple of years ago for 2 weeks and he Repented and Saw the Light!! & love-bombed me for 7 weeks. I felt like I had died and gone to heaven. Then out of the blue, he picked a fight and kept at it till I broke down and yelled at him – BINGO, he won! Now he could be the self-pitying, vengeful spirit he’d always been. When I asked him WHY? he stopped being loving when we both seemed so happy, he replied, “I didn’t get the RETURNS I WANTED”. So, no fun for him unless he gets to be scornful, self-absorbed, self-pitying, contemptuous, vengeful, cruel and neglectful. Makes me think people like this wouldn’t even be happy in heaven – there’s nothing there that they would enjoy – NO RETURNS…

  102. joy on October 21, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    I see that this is an old conversation, but narcissism is new to me. I can not imagine being married to one. I actually have a lovely marriage and I am so thankful for this. Where I have encountered narcissism is in a former Pastor’s wife. I didn’t recognize it for years (and perhaps that is because it was a slow growing condition for her?). She was abusive to her husband, but everyone in the church believed her to be nearly “perfect”. (At least it seemed to me to be the case) By the time I recognized it, she had been lying to me for a long time and love bombing me, but when I realized she was lying she began blaming me for all her problems. I had no idea what to do or what was happening. She also tried a few tricks on my husband, but he saw through it right away and began to warn me not to be taken in by it – a bit late for me since I was on the years side of being deceived by her super spiritual facade. She was like a modern day Pharisee. Her husband has since died and I never saw her act even sad about it. Now less than a year later she is engaged to a man who she was seeing just weeks after her husbands death. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but the whole time she was acting like she wasn’t seeing him. I am trying to heal from all of this, but am having a hard time knowing how. I hope and pray that there is hope for her to change and that her new husband will be able to stand his ground with her and not let her continue her lies (though even in her engagement announcement to us she was exaggerating her religious superiority and how God did all of it, while saying how she didn’t have any feelings for the guy prior to her husbands death – I never even thought of that until she felt the need to deny it. Then because of her past lies, I actually wonder now.) Anyway, I guess this is still raw for me and I am not being very positive. I am trying to sort it all out. I don’t have to have weekly contact with her since she has moved to another town for which I am very thankful. I am trying to see her as God’s child, as I am, so that I can pray in a loving way for her.

    • Joy on October 25, 2021 at 12:39 pm

      So, is there hope for a Narcissist? Nebuchadnezzar was all about himself – God humbled him and I believe I will see him in heaven. Saul of Tarsus was definitely one before God knocked him to the ground and left him blinded for three days. Paul/Saul doesn’t use the word “narcissist”, but his own description of himself is pretty telling. (Phil. 3:2-11, Acts 9:1-9) I guess we all have to become “poor in spirit” and mourn over our sin, if we are going to be “blessed” and “see God”. (Mt. 5:3-10) This is more difficult for a narcissist because pride, hypocrisy, superior religiousness and constant lies keeps them from seeing their own sin. But there is hope.
      King Saul (first king of Israel) never did recover from his hypocrisy and lies. Many Pharisees could not see their own sin, even though Jesus called them out on it many times. But Nicodemus was a Pharisee and became a true follower of Jesus, but Jesus told him, “you must be born again”.(Jn 3:7) He (along with the rest of us) had to start over, not coming to God in his own righteousness, but in the righteousness that only Jesus can give us in exchange for our repentance. (2 Cor 5:21) Most articles I have read don’t give any hope that a narcissist can be healed – even this article isn’t as hopeful as I was hoping for, but that is because of the difficulty of a person who is full of pride being able to see that they have been wrong – that takes humility. (hope that makes sense)

  103. Robin on October 26, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    This has to be one of my fav articles on this blog. Today, 6 yrs after divorcing a narcissistic spouse, I feel I understand so much more then I did while I was living with him. So many good words on this subject I wish I would have understood earlier in my marriage. I’ve heard so many wise people say – yes Narcissists can be healed, but it’s very very rare that they will be. We all have different stories but if I was to give a strong suggestion if u find yourself in a Narcisstic relationship- I’d say run as fast as u can. After 6 yrs of being divorced, my life is so beautiful I can hardly take in all the Grace God has given to me. It just reminds me of how dangerous a narcissistic relationship is; and how God very much wants to see us rid of a lifetime of that kind of abuse. My ex husband is the same man today, that he was 6 yrs ago. He’s been given more then enough Truth and Bibical knowledge and wisdom, and yet he will die thinking he alone, is Right. No matter how many people tell him otherwise. I am praying for all of you precious ladies……..

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