Understanding that narcissists are driven by shame caused by abandonment doesn’t mean we should pity them.

Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) behave as they do as a result of the trauma of abandonment in childhood. But does that mean we should feel sorry for them and brush their shitty behavior aside because “they can’t help it?”

I say, “Absolutely not!” If anything, we should make them more accountable for their behavior and call them out immediately.

As a person who has suffered from the trauma of physical abuse and violence and intense emotional abuse, I hold no one to blame for my bad behavior or poor choices. It took me many, many years to come to terms with what happened to me at 18 at the hands of an abusive boyfriend and several months to deal with the emotional abuse I suffered at 38.

My early refusal to face the trauma and instead tuck it away resulted in a number of mistakes and self-harm over the years: bulimia, alcohol abuse, delayed education completion, career delays, family planning delays, marriage counseling and separation. I stunted my own growth in so many ways and caused pain for my family and friends. But I never blamed anyone except myself, and I actually forgave my abusers.

I struggled to understand what I must have done to cause someone to treat me so poorly. No matter how long I spent punishing myself for not doing X,Y, or Z, I never reached a place of healing. I never forgave myself for blaming myself.

Finally, I learned that the victim of intimate partner abuse should NEVER be blamed. EVER! Not even by ourselves. How can you blame yourself for being caught unsuspectingly in an ambush? You can’t. Domestic violence/intimate partner abuse is an ambush. It’s not a two-sided disagreement that goes wrong like so many believe. The abuse comes from no where except a dark and ugly place within the abusers twisted and delusional mind. Once we start believing and realizing this and stop blaming ourselves, the healing begins.

Back to the narcissist. Why blame him? After all, he was ambushed, too. He was abandoned, neglected, or in some way abused as a child. He can’t help himself, right? He needs guidance, right?

Wrong! Not everyone who is abused, neglected, or abandoned ends up being a narcissist who abuses and tortures others with actions, words, and deeds. “Suffering” as the narcissist does is a choice, just like my suffering was MY choice. However, unlike me, the narcissist refuses to acknowledge the damage done and continues to blame and shame everyone, including himself on a subconscious level. It’s a recipe for a sad existence and one that can’t be pitied. Otherwise, you will get sucked into the mess like I did and threaten your own sanity. (Trust me. You do not want to do that. No martyr can fix a narcissist.)

A person can only be guided and directed for so long. That person must choose to accept who he is and what happened to him in order to change. The narcissist refuses to acknowledge his past for what it was: shitty and out of his control.

Instead, he glorifies his childhood and distorts EVERYTHING! His true self is too ugly for him to face. His mind is so warped and focused on material and outward appearances and perceptions that his true self is lost in the abyss of the narcissist’s mind.

But what the narcissist fails to realize is that as he glorifies his existence through his storytelling and over-dramatic hand gestures, good people can see through his act. We see the sad, lonely boy who desperately wanted a normal childhood free from abuse and abandonment. We see a boy inside a man’s body begging for acceptance and love. In the end, unfortunately, due to his unbending control and abusive nature, we can do little else but walk away. We are added to his long list of people who chose to abandon him. According to the narcissist, we left because we can’t handle the truth. The reality is that we simply choose to love those worthy of our love, and the narcissist is truly unloveable.


abuse, Alcohol, Child abuse, Children, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Forgiveness, Friends, Health, Journaling, Lessons, Mental Health, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD, Peace, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Relationships, Self Improvement, Sociopaths, Spirituality, Writing

Join the conversation! 51 Comments

  1. I saw this post it it seems to be very similar to the situation I am experiencing.

    I broke up with my bf in the end or May. I did no contact for a month. The only reason I broke the no contact is because I want to get my belongings.

    When we were together he had moved out of the house we were living at together and we put everything in storage. He agreed when he starts to move into his new house he would tell me and I would be able to get my stuff back.

    I emailed him : with a specific day to pick up my stuff. All he wanted to do was engage in a conversation. I replied to the email saying I did not wish to engage in the conversation, because I am trying to focus on myself. Also, saying again that I wanted to get my stuff on a specific day.

    He has not responded at all now, it’s been about 4 days. I just want to get my things back.

    What do you reccomend I do?
    Thank you,


    • I would visit the storage unit to be certain your stuff hasn’t already been sold or thrown away. When was he planning to move? He’s paying for the unit?


  2. Wow, thanks for this article. I’ve married a narc and after so long, I realized that I was the one giving and expecting love and affection. She just accepted it and I thought she loved me in return.

    All that you have described is truly describing her. She’s always blaming even if evidenced is staring back at here eye to eye. Everyone’s life is miserable who is close to her. Fam. And she neither sees it, nor care about them, or again, blame them for reacting to her ownsh!tty attitude. Wow wow wow


  3. Hello Paula,

    Finally I found your blog to heal. I just got out of the relationship with my ex Narc. Since then I have searched lots of articles to figure out why he left me and found a new girl so quickly. And finally I noticed he has NPD. I found that lots of women have had the same story as me. I’m not only one and their advice here totally helps me a lot. Thanks God.

    However, I’m still struggle with the feelings for him. Yesterday I had really positive thinking to move on, but today I’m obsessed with missing him. Everyday my feelings are insecure like this.

    My problem is that I still pity him a lot. At the beginning we started the relationship, he told me that he had OCD. I said to him that it wasn’t his fault and I wanted to help him and make him comfortable, get over his OCD together. I tried to work hard for him and tried not to put too much pressure on him. We had a great time together for a while but all of a sudden, the situation turned like a hell. He met a girl who just came here to study English for two or three months, even we were still dating. One day I noticed that and we had a big argument. First of all he told me that just let him have her until she was back to her country. I denied that. Then he said that he liked her. At the same time he told me that I’m very important to him. If I let him have her for a while, he would back to me after she was back to her country. It is insane, right? How he knows her well for a few months??? Especially she doesn’t speak English well, how he could say that??? I’m not a native English speaker as well, but at least I graduated from a college here and have been here for a long time. I met her twice… I told her that It’s her choice to be with him but be careful with him. She went back to her country but she was supposed to come back here for him. I haven’t contacted her since I met her before. I don’t know why, but some reasons she didn’t come back. Then he texted me that it was all my fault and I ruined his life. I couldn’t believe what he said! He yelled at me and blamed me. He was doubting me that I contacted her again. He said why he kept texting me was because he had OCD. And he told me that I used his OCD and manipulated him. I DIDN’T. Every time I tried to make it clear to him, then it brought big fighting and getting worse and worse.

    One day he told me that “I’m sorry. I was very mean to you. It wasn’t me. It was OCD. ” and he started to explain how his OCD annoyed him. I felt sorry to him and I was crying. But next day he blamed me again and kept saying I ruin his life. I pity him a lot because he suffers from OCD. I know it is not because of OCD. I shouldn’t feel pity him. How can I forget him? I still need some advice….

    Thank you.


    • Y, You’re allowed to pity him from a distance. Also, the only way you’d be able to forget about him is if you could somehow wipe your memory clean of your past. It’s simply not possible. I’ve learned to accept what I experienced without blaming myself or shaming myself. I also find forgiving myself a bit annoying considering I didn’t make conscious choices knowing they would lead to me and my son being harmed. I focus on acceptance and detaching myself from the past and living in the moment, the here and now. My abuser can’t touch me or my son today. I have total and complete power over how memories of him affect my daily life. I choose not to allow those memories to destroy my joy. I look around at the family and friends in my life today who may have distanced themselves from me while I was unhealthy but have returned to my life after I fought to be healthy again. Recognize that the pity you feel for him was planted by him as a trap to keep you hooked. Shift the reason you pity him. Before, you pitied him because he had OCD and you thought he could be “fixed”. Today, if you must pity him, pity him for not being mature and open enough to have love and compassion for himself and for you and the relationship. You can’t teach a person how to be compassionate and loving. They either understand and “get it” or they don’t.


    • Hi Paula,

      Thank you for your reply.
      I totally agree with you. Yes, I should pity him for not being mature. He trapped me. A couple weeks before I posted my story here ( I didn’t mention it on my previous post!), I saw him with a different girl by accident. He noticed me and I was so upset and sent text message to him. He said ” she is just friend”. Now I realized he repeats the same thing again.

      Sometimes I still feel missing him, but I’m feeling much better. I will always keep in mind your advice. Thank you Paula!


    • Don’t feed him, they usually have a supply of women to feed off of emotionally. When u stop feeding him the mask will drop for the new woman sooner. They need others to feel emotions that is why they jump from one to the other so quickly. Be wary of any story he told you they were probably all lies


    • Thank you for your advice, Evol.

      Yes, I should stop feeding him. He is always thinking just about him and I just would get misery. Feeding him just starts bad cycle again…

      I really understand it intellectually, but it is still hard to move on emotionally. He still sends email to me just like “How are you feeling today?” and then he starts blaming me and yelling at me. He always has another supply though why he keeps sending such messages to me? I’m always confused… Last week I finally said goodbye forever to him. I won’t contact him anymore. I am still hurting deeply and it takes time to heal. I really want to enjoy the beautiful summer here, but on the other hand, I’m scared of going out because If I see him with another girl… I’m always obsessed with those feelings. It makes me stay home even I really want to go out and find something new to change my life…But I will keep reading this blog to feel better and will get over it.

      Thank you.


  4. I have Extensively researched NPD and this is the area of my dissertation topic. Individuals with NPD have not only structural abnormalities in their brain but neural connectivity deficits as well. This is new research and does explain their failure in treatment and why they compensate using destructive behaviors by using primitive defense mechanisms. This also explains their inability to express emotions and show no empathy towards others. There lies no fault with these individuals or the victims. I am currently recovering from NVS and believe eventually I will have apathy for my ex NPD and then indifference. We must let go and accept we cannot be in a situation that could literally kill us emotionally, psychologically, and physically.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Carin! The apathy and indifference for the NPD comes with a lot of hard work and re-discovery of ourselves. But you know that. :) <3


    • “Individuals with NPD have not only structural abnormalities in their brain but neural connectivity deficits as well. This is new research and does explain their failure in treatment and why they compensate using destructive behaviors by using primitive defense mechanisms. This also explains their inability to express emotions and show no empathy towards others. There lies no fault with these individuals or the victims.”

      As a 50+ layperson who has LIVED it (not “extensively researched” it as a dissertation topic), I respectfully disagree.

      Narcs are made, not born. Children of narcs — children who later BECOME narcs — CERTAINLY feel emotions!! So the “brain abnormalities” you mention are not inherited/genetic. (We all know that the brain is plastic, right? So the brain anatomy/physiology alterations may be SECONDARY TO the trauma. E.g., ADHD is now suspected to be TRAUMATIC in etiology by many in the field.)

      Even adult narcs feel emotions — they feel hatred, sadism, loathing, disdain, frustration, anxiety, fury, rage, insecurity, and even FEAR (e.g., of law enforcement) and SADNESS. I have witnessed narcs in my life crying over DOGS and, on one occasion, even a human being. What you call “primitive defense mechanisms” are actually OFFENSIVE.

      Then there are the CRIMES — incessant lying, cheating, stealing, gaslighting, murder, etc. — committed by these people as well as the resulting COVERUPS. Most of the time this stuff is PREMEDITATED, sometimes YEARS in advance, not just some “reaction.”

      The adult narc’s ability to cease some behaviors when the law is coming (or, God forbid, the neighbors find out about some “dirty little secret”) is evidence that they *CAN* control themselves. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the a-holes usually have total control (especially in the home) so have no INCENTIVE to stop their destructive behaviors.

      All adults — narcs or not — have CHOICES, and they should be held responsible for the CHOICES that they make. (Especially in this day and age of increased awareness.)


  5. Where to start… I met my ex a year ago, I was in the midst of grieving the loss of my younger sister having already lost my parents 10 yrs previous . despite this I was getting on with life I was getting there, feeling more optimistic about my future. I had a great support network of friends most of all my son’s love and I knew I’d be ok. Until this man came along and changed all that I won’t bore you with the gory details safe to say he did the love bombing as everyone describes convinced me I was his soul mate that he was my night in shining armour he said he was gifted and people could speak to him from the dead he told me my parents in particular my mum wanted to talk to me. I believed him. At first he was nice about my parents and sister but then he said they didn’t like me and I was an attention seeking liar.. The emotional abuse had started and before I knew it I what was happening I
    was under his spell and felt like I couldn’t function without his guidance, he was violent but clever with it, he would make me play fight with him and subject me to a beating with my consent. He sexually abused me repeatedly and would call me perverted afterwards… He put the fear of go into me by convincing me he had a secret life like he was some sort of gangster and talked incessantly about how he only did bad things to people who deserved it, he told me he had a gun and gave me impression he had killed someone before. He said he had bi polar, this was is get out clause because I put all his bday behaviour down to that felt sorry for him and forget him made constant excuses for him. I’m away from him now and I found the courage to talk to his ex who validated what I went through she suffered the same. I called him out but she denied to him that she spoke to me. Now I feel lost again.. He’s won… Now he has not nly gotten away with abusing me he is laughing at me… I feel suicidal… What’s the point. Maybe he was right maybe I am the crazy one


    • Georgia,

      He did not win. You did not lose. Justice will never be served in the societal way justice should be served. He’ll never be charged with a crime or spend a second in a jail cell for what he did to you. It just won’t happen.

      However, he is the loser. He lost you. He lost the other woman you mention. Goodness only knows how many other wonderful women he lost due to his lack of conscience or remorse.

      These desperate feelings you are feeling are normal at this stage. You are standing in grave disbelief at how someone who once claimed to deeply understand and know you could possibly now disregard your existence. Nothing you say to him, no matter how many people you find that validates your emotions, will allow him to feel or see any of his own wrong doings. In his mind, he’s powerful and perfect and you are weak for not complying to all he preached to you.

      I recommend that you seek the guidance of a trusted professional and not reach out to your ex moving forward. He’ll simply strip you of your dignity further by denying you answers, honesty or any type of compassion. He is a monster in the true sense of the word. If he has an opportunity, he will take you to court for harassment and make you look like the person who needs to be punished, not the other way around.

      He will be judged one day. I believe all of these monsters eventually get what’s coming to them. But it’s out of your hands and it’s out of my hands. All we can do is focus on finding and keeping our peace. Life is worth living. There are beautiful things it offers up to us everyday. You matter. You deserve more.



    • Ur Not Crazy….It’s what that wortless monster want U to believe , he’s still controlling U , Don’t let him continue feeding off of U ….. Inform Urself well about the NARCISSISTIC Monsters n kick his ass out of Ur head , he’s not paying rent n so Evict This Worthless Leach n U r not to be blamed for the Mental Fuck , U didn’t see coming ….. I made it my business to know his mind n how he works n I’m suing him for Mental Anguish n I have threatened to destroy him by showing his Narcissist boss all pics , videos n texts , of all the business trips he took me on , in company van n company time , n I have texts where he hated on his Narcissistic Boss n called him aweful names , so I called him on it n The NARCISSISTIC Monster begged Me not to destroy his life by exposing his Truth identity because his kids would suffer , if he lost everything. …I love his kids , that I Never met , just pics n I bought them gifts n I feel for them because their father is a monster but I told him , the kids have nothing to do with his evilness n I told him , that his kids weren’t in his mind , when he was destroying me n he has to be accountable for his evil choices…..He made all kinds of excuses n blamed everything else n everyone else for his evil choices…..We settled out of court n I made himreturn to me Everything I bought him , that he wanted , even my engagement ring I bought him n my apt key , later I found out , he was married n he swore , he had told me from the start….lmao….But then at the same time , we planned our wedding or rather I did n never got my engagement ring , that he supposedly bought me……So fucking predictable n typical…..It’s Not my place to have mercy or forgive him , I leave him n his kids in God hands , I’M FREEEE AND EMPOWERED ONCE AGAIN…..I’VE ALWAYS TOLD HIM , EVEN WHEN I LOSE , I WIN……U WON ALREADY , BECAUSE HE KNOWS , THAT U SEE HIS TRUE FALSE IDENTITY. ……..U WON , PLS BELIEVE ME….


    • Yes!!! We win because we see the truth!! Absolutely!! Thank you, Elvira. :)


  6. Thank you so much Paula for responding. Its great when someone else ‘gets it’. You are absolutely right when you mentioned the fact that when people encounter this type of abuse they have no idea what has hit them. I also think there is a problem of language for those of use who have not encountered this sort of abuse before. Terms such as love bombing and gaslighting were totally unknown to me. It is difficult to describe something without the vocabulary. Also many people treat these sorts of relationships as if they were just regular relationship breakdowns and they are quite different from that. I have been tremendously lucky in the support I have received from friends and my doctor who has never doubted my ‘story’. Nevertheless there’s still a tremendous sense of the injustice of it all. Do others experience this? I know the best ‘revenge’ is to live well – which I do despite the PTSD – but I mourn my old life which, while not perfect, was enjoyable and fulfilling and experienced real peace of mind. As I mentioned in a previous post I had not had a happy childhood so the fact that I had been in such a good place personally and professionally for many years when this person came into my life meant a great deal to me. I had never thought I could have achieved so much. Then he seemed to set about systematically trying to destroy me. I hope that doesnt sound paranoid but that is genuinely how it felt. Anyway, thank you so much for listening. I have never posted anything before. It feels strange to be sharing this but would welcome any responses, especially anyone who has had a child with one of these sorts of people.


  7. Thank you so very much for this post. I knew nothing about narcissim/sociopathy until I met my ex-partner. There were red flags flying from the outset but also love bombing and declarations of love. I have a history of not listening to my gut and I certainly ignored it in this case. By the time I realised what was going on I was pregnant and then felt I had no choice but to make the relationship work and believe me I did everything I could. However, the abuse got worse and worse – never physical but emotionally and psychologically abusive – and by the time I gave birth I was exhausted but had adopted a position of denial as a coping mechanism. After my child’s birth yet again the abuse worsened and eventually resulted in my having almost a complete psychological collapse. The shame I felt was extraordinary. I judged myself harshly for getting into the mess and also for being too weak to cope with this behaviour. I became almost mute because everything I said was wrong. As sick as it sounds now I even thought about trying to strike a bargain with him to have certain days when he was abusive and then days when I could have a break from the abuse. I never did suggest such a thing. Why? Because when I tried to talk to him reasonably about his behaviour he became either verbally aggressive or simply said that I was ill and delusional and he hadnt said the things I claimed he said (gaslighting). Eventually I got out. I could not move on and heal though and quite a long time after the relationship was over I was diagnosed with PTSD. Despite a difficult and fairly traumatic childhood, I always held myself accountable for my behaviour, no excuses and worked hard to never inflict my issues on others. Indeed prior to meeting my ex I had enjoyed many many years of sucess both professionally and personally. It was as if he could not bear my happiness and joy, particularly after the birth of our child. I am still healing all these years later. Even though the relationship was short lived (Im now proud of myself for getting out quickly) I have wasted years trying to heal and learning to deal with PTSD. Of course he moved on rapidly. I remain the woman who falsely accused this ‘charming’ man of abuse. Sorry for such a long post but it feels so good to know there are people out there who will understand and I thank you all for posting and wish everyone much love and happiness.


    • Thank you, Anonymous. Many who experience abuse of this type wait too long to talk about it or simply don’t even know how to talk about it because they have no idea what hit them. The hope of this blog is to ease that frustration and help each of us put a name to it so we can accept it and move on through healing, real healing. Hopefully, you can talk to someone who can help guide you out of the debilitating pit of your PTSD. Thinking of you.


    • Hi. Everything you said in your post could have been me writing it except that I have endured 35 years of it. I finally at 65 years of age said enough! Be happy you got out when you did. Be kind to youself. What I am going through now, is the worst time of my life but I will get through it. I am thankful my kids are grown and successfull. They say to me Mom you will be better off. Without my saying, they know what we have endured walking on eggshells and enduring never ending control and the endless looks of contempt for no reason. Anyway, stay strong. This to shall pass.


  8. I just can’t believe the way the universe brings you what you need WHEN you need and when you’re ready to hear it… even if you’re not quite at the acceptance stage yet, you’re at least ready to hear. I wasn’t ready to hear for YEARS. It’s only been in the last several months that I’ve started hearing and seeing. I can’t say I understand, because I just don’t. I find myself speechless and just shaking my head when I try for words on this subject, (narcissism, my ex…etc). Casual aquaintances at my job who know a little of this or that about what’s been going on in my life will have the best intentions when asking about “things”; but I find I can’t even figure out how to put things in their mildest form to translate it to the language of the general public.
    I just find it interesting that after all my months and months of searching the internet for info to try to pigeonhole my ex into this category or that, that tonight I find and start following this blog! TONIGHT! When I had my first court appearance just earlier today to start what I believe is probably going to be a lengthy series of appearances… actually our story spans 2 courts in my county, both family court and a separate domestic violence court. This oughtta be fun…. >:-P
    Nearly every line of this blog spoke to me to some degree. I tried for so long. It’s like treading water. You can do it for a while…and you probably even make it look easy. But you sure can’t do it forever… some can tread longer than others, but the amount of time you’re able to tread doesn’t really matter. All treaders know the same fatigue and agonizing mental conflicts (WHY am I treading water still?! Well… I DOO love water… it’s a vital source of life afterall! So how come so many normals out there don’t need as much water as I do??! How embarrassing… I hope I don’t really have to come out to my friends about how dirty this water actually is– I’ve been in it so long that I’m starting to prune but if I get out now, I”ll be cold, and…. wait, why am I treading water again?? ) AM I RIGHT????!!!

    And, yes, my ex definitely had a less-than-desireable childhood and had some things happen that just shouldn’t happen to kids… and I am working on remembering that he still has choices regardless of what’s happened in his past. It’s so hard (not that most of you don’t already know this!) even AFTER you stop feeling basic pity for their past… it’s STILL hard, at least it was/is for me, to stop feeling pity for this disease that won’t allow him to see himself for the monster he has become. Err, .. is. YEESH!! Can you tell I’m new?! Lol…

    At any rate, I’m glad to have crossed paths with your blog, at this, the (sorta) beginning to my road to pulling myself out and moving towards the life I want for my girls and me. I was most struck my your response to an earlier comment (Brian, Nov 26), that acceptance is the hardest stage to reach. Up until very recently I was, and I am still in a stubborn state of resistance to a LOT of info about my ex; who he really is and what he’s actually capable of (or not capable of, rather). I’m still in that reeeally confused and saddened place, and have only just started to open my eyes but fortunately angry enough to take action and more importantly STAY in action. Eyes opening wider every day too! He still has an impact on me but, like I said, I’m only a month or 2 in so I just keep reminding myself to take it one day at a time and that I will come out on the other side of this eventually :) I know this site will help! THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!


    • I’m glad you found my blog. Knowing there are many of us out here that “get it” and understand the emotions you are going through now and in the past should be helpful. It was helpful for me and many I have been blessed to meet along this journey. If you haven’t already, check out http://www.onemomsbattle.com and http://www.unhookedbooks.com. You WILL get through this and come out a much more informed and happier person than you can imagine. :)


    • Hi Paula,Its Marilyn here,if there is ever a time I need your advice its now….I have been strong in giving my husband no- contact ,which is very difficult as I live in the same home,but we dont talk and thats fine .I am getting therapy tomorrow,and hope some advice on whether i can move out as my finances are zilch…But my husband is seeing someone else which I dont really care,but on friday he went out with her and didnt get back till late…What is happening to me I am so angry,i think because its going on under my nose!!!!.Am I being drawn back in by him or have I just not got over him.I want to scream from the rooftops to him to get out my life.But I sit in silence,stomach churning with anger,hatred,self pity and hopelessness.I have been really strong since Feb2012 after i found out about your blog ETC.How do I go on…..I dont know where Im supposed to be .I have no one.This has been going on for 34 yrs and I never knew .I was so engrossed in my children that i got side tracked on how abusive,both physically& mentally I had been abused.Now that none of them bother that much,im alone with this man that i never knew at all.Im so mad at myself for wasted years..As i was brought up in the childrens homes after my parents died,i thought he was the ‘one’.i know now that had I had relatives, I would have left years ago,but sadly I didnt.I am emotionally drained and my heart is heavy with this noose around my neck,constantly pulling on my emotions to and fro.i have got a solictor in place but cant go forward until I have a place to live,I cannot bring divorce papers to him as it would tip him over the edge and I wouldnt be safe.I have to get the papers to him on the day I move out,but I dont know how long this will take.The one thing I will do is once im free..You can bet your bottom dollar I will be getting money off the house.The £70,000 he has just received and his golden pension that he thinks will save him.I deserve this,I have been living on £71 per week and still having to pay the bills for the house,not all but half.I hate him so much!!!!!As i am writng this he has just started. to iron his shirt for his next dalliance with the TART.The only consolation I have is when she has him ,with my blessing .SHE is in for the same treatment..All I can say to them both in my mind is….Go get him girl…hes all YOURS!!!!!!!!!!!! please give me some advice on what to do ??????????????? HELP!!!!
      Marilyn /UK


    • Marilyn,

      You are making a great first step by seeking counseling on Monday. I can assure you that the feelings you are going through due to his new relationship are perfectly normal. The anger isn’t because you want this man or want to live the rest of your life with him. The anger is because you are feeling the impact of emotional abandonment, and as humans, it hurts. It’s painful. Even though he caused you much physical and emotional anguish, the end of any relationship is painful. But being angry and feeling nauseous is how your body reacts to this necessary step. You are purging yourself of this man and it’s truly a full-body experience. By living with him, even though you haven’t been communicating directly, you are still surrounded by HIM: his behavior, his smell, his habits, his sounds, and his existence. This makes it even harder to purge him.

      When you visit with the therapist, ask about exercises that could help ease this pain. Many people do yoga, others write, others join support groups. You need an outlet other than being alone and surrounded by him. Being alone tends to allow us to wallow in self-pity when we really need positive reinforcement and support from others who understand and are willing to be patient with us as we cry and scream.

      I hope this helps you, Marilyn. If you would give me permission to contact you through the email address you used to comment, I can provide you with more support and resources. You can also contact me directly at: paulareneereeves@me.com. :)


  9. thank you Paula for another interesting look at the multi-layers of behavior patterns and what to look for!

    Speaking personally, I don’t expect any pity, sympathy, congratulations or whatever, for my life-circumstances or how I over-came anything or how I may be stuck somewhere. I am responsible for my life, every aspect of it. I certainly have wallowed in self-pity many times and wished that…. well you name it…I’ve been there too.

    Over a long period of time I’ve come to understand that I and only I can be happy with my life…being around people means you have to compromise, people are messy and some are messier than others. That’s when you get the hell out of Dodge and don’t look back!

    No one should make you feel less than you are, make you feel worthless or control you, period and those that do, make you feel that way, do not deserve any of your attention. There is no rule that says you have to pity or have compassion for someone who has abuse or harmed you. So they had a bad childhood/life, big deal, so have I/you! What makes them any better than you? They are looking for the pity, that’s what!

    Yes, yes, I know all about that compassion and lovingkindness stuff…I’m working on it, okay, and I know I’m flawed like the rest of the human race, but, and this is a big but.

    Just because someone has had some child-hood trauma, some teenage crisis, some early marriage crap, children that disappoint you, or turn away, or this, that and the other thing…just doesn’t cut in in my book!

    I don’t make excuses to my adult children for their growing up years…I did what I knew to do with what I had…so..if someone is so in love with themselves to think that I will lay-down and let them ran over me with their self pity-parties…they really need to go elsewhere. With certain behavior patterns…if you give them an inch…they will take that mile…out of your life. Is your life worth giving up to some narcisstic socio-path?

    Hope I didn’t go beyond the topic…


  10. I was talking last night about how much pity I do not have for my ex’s financial problems. I don’t feel sorry for him one little bit. In spite of all my efforts, he refused to pay his credit card bills, and ordered me not to include them in the monthly bills I did pay and so it is completely his fault that they turned around and sued him for the balance. I’m glad I was gone by then. He’ll tell you it’s all my fault. That if I hadn’t left him everything would have gone just fine and he never would have been sued, or got a DUI, or had to file bankruptcy.


  11. Wow, I have really enjoyed all of the responses here! What a great post. I do believe that sociopaths are actually born that way and that they use whatever abuse they can to corroborate their claims of persecution. Mine was a narcissistic sociopath. He preyed unmercifully on my empathy and compassion until I realized what he is. Thank you so much Paula for reminding me that I DO NOT feel sorry for him and his supposed abusive childhood which, by the way, was not that abusive …and also reminding me to STOP blaming myself for being kind, compassionate and empathetic. I actually get angry with my self for being angry with myself for ever getting into this in the first place. We are good good people who got “ambushed” as you say. I choose now to love only those who deserve love, who are truly honest and real. Starting with myself.


    • Thank you, Linda. You always have great feedback and insight. The anger with ourselves is often the most difficult anger to face and overcome. Loving ourselves is the best thing we can do for ourselves and everyone else who really cares and loves us. :)


  12. Paula, THANK YOU SO MUCH for writing this!!! This past week-end, Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law, my sister’s husband, was talking about “heart wounds” that lead people to cope however they can, whether it be addictions, or whatever. I have realized for awhile now that my husband must have many “heart wounds,” but after listening to my brother-in-law, I was starting to wonder if I should stay with my husband because of his “heart wounds” despite the way he has treated me. I appreciate so much what you wrote in this post!!! I, too, have a certain amount of “heart wounds,” but, like you said, the difference is that I take responsibility for addressing them and working on doing what I need to do to address them and not blame or take them out on anyone else. My husband, on the other hand, will not admit it that he has issues and will not seek help. Thank you!!!!


    • You’re welcome. It’s so important to face ourselves so others can. It’s the only way we’ll grow, and that includes growing in our love for each other. :)


  13. In the end … there is compassion with all and everything,
    but the end is very, very, very far.


  14. I shared my story yesterday, but now that this “born with or acquired” question has been asked, I want to get some opinions. My ex was adopted shortly after birth, and never met his biological parents. He has three younger sisters, all of whom are the biological children of his adopted parents — and they all seem mentally healthy. To my knowledge, he didn’t have a terrible childhood; if anything, he was spoiled rotten because a) he was the oldest/only boy and b) they didn’t want him ti feel like the odd man out, so they overcompensated by giving into almost every whim.

    This being said, would his illness/behaviors be considered genetic, learned, or acquired (because of underlying abandonment issues that he never dealt with)? He always boasted about being “chosen”, which was better than just being conceived… But I believe he was trying to convince himself.


    • Interesting, Mara. If his adopted parents treated him differently, I would say his “special” treatment helped him to separate himself in a grandiose fashion. It may have made him hypersensitive and aware of being “chosen” and “abandoned” all in the same breath! How conflicting. Did he ever discuss how he felt about being put up for adoption? Does he know any of the details surrounding his adoption?


    • Spoiling is also abuse that changes behavior and personality.


    • Very true, Susana. In my AA experience, I have met many alcoholics who were spoiled as children and allowed to do as they please, which often led to drinking at an early age. I think many of us fail to realize that humans yearn for nothing more than love and attention and to believe someone cares. The simple act of disciplining a child shows care. Many spoiled children end up feeling their parents took the easy way out to please them with “stuff” when all they really wanted was a hug and communication. That’s just one way to look at it, of course. Thank you for sharing!


    • Great responses… I agree! I always thought that being treated better than his siblings contributed to his selfish sense of entitlement. He knows very few details about his adoption, if any, and I think he is secretly jaded at the idea of not being “worth keeping”. It would make sense, too, for him to be so controlling and manipulative over every facet in his life, as being given up for adoption might have been the only major life change he can never control.


  15. Most applicable posting to me so far. I shuddered. It’s sickening. And after two 1/2 years, I – and Laddie – are just becoming aware and letting go of the shock and PAIN!!! Oh my God, the pain. He bawled yesterday, finally willing to accept that he holds no blame and that he needs to let go of the pain…learning from it and trying instead to remember the love. And to stop making excuses.

    We’re getting there, and I’m finally ready to be open, vocal, and angry. I haven’t allowed myself that luxury. Thank you, Paula.

    /Sometimes the subject is a woman, not a man. And you describe her descent perfectly…and eerily.


    • Acceptance is the hardest stage to get to. No one wants to accept this! No one wants to believe all their efforts to help or fix a relationship were all futile. No one wants to believe there are people in this world who refuse to be accountable for their own actions and instead make up their own reality in order to gain pity and support.

      Brian, you and your son will be just fine. I fear, however, that in your journey to being fine, you’ll be sacrificing a connection with your other son, which is tragic. XOXO


  16. that is my biggest beef with the father, he refused to take a look at himself, deal with his abusive past and get help, so as to give himself and his family the best.


  17. This is an excellent post, and so true!

    I have a question though. Are you differentiating between NPD and sociopathy/ psychopathy and/or narcissistic sociopathy? Because it seems that the consensus is moving towards them all being the same thing (albeit on a continuum perhaps).

    If that is the case, then childhood trauma or abandonment is NOT the root cause but, rather, they were born with it (as much recent testing by Hare, etc. has shown). Trauma can exacerbate the condition (causing them to become, for example, serial killers maybe), but is not the only cause.

    My ex P/S/N, whatever you want to call him, has four normal siblings and they were all raised basically the same with the same two parents (my ex was the middle child). In my 6 years with him, no one in his family ever mentioned a terrible childhood.

    After the kids were grown the father cheated on the mother and she subsequently divorced him; I think it’s possible that if it IS genetic, he got it from his father.

    Anyway, I think that blaming it on a childhood trauma is wrong in most cases and lets them off the hook WAY too much.

    They were born evil and they will die evil.



    • Great comments and question, Ellen! I specifically wrote this post to address NPDs not sociopaths.

      I would agree (based on my readings and personal experiences) that sociopaths are born and are unable to attach emotionally to anyone, including their parents, even as infants. Many parents of sociopaths simply throw their hands in the air and give up. In a sense, they abandon their child (at least this is how the child/sociopath understands it). In the case of a sociopath, it’s rarely a mystery: what came first, the chicken or the egg? The egg!! :)

      So maybe, for a sociopath, the choice is elusive? An even better reason to haul ass and leave! Hehe!


    • You won’t hear ANY members of my family, ALL abusers (the scapegoats have died of misery or left) mentioning a terrible childhood either. Ask them, and they will DENY that there were ANY problems in the family! (The scapegoats caught most of the hell anyway.) Sorry, but you can’t put stock in that.


  18. I totally agree. Everyone has their own shit to work on. If you choose not to – fine – but don’t expect anyone to feel badly for you. They can’t help it? Bullshit. Of course they can. They’d just rather not. They could choose to see things differently, but they don’t. They don’t want to. They want people to think they’re a victim. They want everyone to feel badly for them so they can manipulate and twist and suck them in.
    I’ve had to do a lot of work on myself. It sucks sometimes, but frankly, its better than blaming the world for everything.


  19. I am printing this off and posting it to my desk! You have read my mind on SO many of these issues. I have spent way too long “understanding” and “pitying” narcissists in my life. You are absolutely right- they have a choice!! I love the part “A person can only be guided and directed for so long.” I have tried so hard with the narcissists in my life to do just that. Thanks for the wake up call today.


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