Emotional abuse is VERY subtle. The victim may not know she is being victimized until it is nearly too late.

Read: Sharing what is happening to us. Believing us. Why is it so hard to believe?
(One of my most-read blog posts that may help shed light on what happens to someone in an emotionally abusive relationship and why it hurts just as much as a punch to the gut.)

Emotional abuse is often inflicted by those who suffer from mental issues, specifically personality disorders described as Cluster B disorders. Men (and women) who suffer from Cluster B personality disorders like Narcissistic Personality Disorder, often appear, at first, too good to be true. They are charming, agreeable, and engaging. They love (or seem to love) everything about you. They hook you. Then they break you through insidious means like lying, manipulation, and control. The results of their abuse can cause severe emotional issues for their victims. Many victims suffer depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some may become suicidal or even homicidal.

Few studies have been conducted to support the connection between personality disorders and domestic violence/intimate partner abuse, because most victims are too ashamed to admit they were abused/are being abused and often think they did/are doing something to cause the abuse. Victims are silenced by their own fears of being revictimized, making break throughs in research and understanding difficult if not impossible. This lack of research hinders the jobs of law enforcement, mental health professionals, and social workers who desperately want to recognize the signs and know how to interact with victims more effectively.

I am here to provide my story and hope others will be encouraged to disclose their own. Our pain and suffering may help others end theirs sooner or allow such pain and suffering to be avoided completely.

I was in an abusive relationship with a man whom I can only describe as being a narcissistic sociopath. (I have a page dedicated to recognizing narcissistic sociopaths. Reading it may provide some clarity and insight.) My mental, emotional, and physical health detriorated quickly over a short period of time, just months. Luckily, I was able to escape through careful planning and determination to save myself and my 5-year-old son who was also abused by this man. I wrote a story based on these experiences. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel as an e-book and in soft-bound format. Learn more about my book and how to purchase it on www.storyofasociopath.com.

Signs You May be Dating a Narcissist or Sociopath

(Thanks and acknowledgements to Sam Vaknin, author of “Malignant Self-Love“.)

Abuse is an integral, inseparable part of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The narcissist idealizes and then DEVALUES and discards the object of his initial idealization. This abrupt, heartless devaluation IS abuse. ALL narcissists idealize and then devalue. This is THE core of pathological narcissism. The narcissist exploits, lies, insults, demeans, ignores (the “silent treatment”), manipulates, controls. All these are forms of abuse. ~ by Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.

Is he too eager? Does he push you to marry him having dated you only twice? Is he planning on having children on your first date? Does he immediately cast you in the role of the love of his life? Is he pressing you for exclusivity, instant intimacy, almost rapes you and acts jealous when you as much as cast a glance at another male? Does he inform you that, once you get hitched, you should abandon your studies or resign your job (forgo your personal autonomy unless he needs the health insurance your position offers)?

Does he respect your boundaries and privacy? Does he ignore your wishes (for instance, by choosing from the menu or selecting a movie or planning an extended vacation without as much as consulting you)? Does he disrespect your boundaries and treats you as an object or an instrument of gratification (materializes on your doorstep unexpectedly or your parents’ doorstep and calls you often prior to your date or before you return home from work)? Does he go through your personal belongings and cell or e-mail messages while waiting for you to get ready?

Does he control the situation and you compulsively? Does he insist to ride in his car, holds on to the car keys, the money, the theater tickets, and even your bag? Does he disapprove if you are away for too long (for instance when you go to the powder room)? Does he interrogate you when you return (“have you seen anyone interesting”) – or make lewd “jokes” and remarks? Does he hint that, in future, you would need his permission to do things – even as innocuous as meeting a friend or visiting with your family?

Does he act in a patronizing and condescending manner and criticizes you often? Does he emphasize your minutest faults (devalues you) even as he exaggerates your talents, traits, and skills (idealizes you)? Is he wildly unrealistic in his expectations from you, from himself, from the budding relationship, and from life in general?

Does he tell you constantly that you “make him feel” good and that you are “the love of his life”? Don’t be impressed. Next thing, he may tell you that you “make” him feel bad, or that you make him feel violent, or that you “provoke” him. “Look what you made me do!” is an abuser’s ubiquitous catchphrase.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Defined (opens in new window)

Join the conversation! 34 Comments

  1. I’ve been very interested and quite shocked with things I have read here… I’ve recently realised that I too am a statistic – a victim of emotional abuse. The irony is I’ve recently learnt this in therapy… Therapy I’ve HAD to attend as my partner said I had mental health issues that needing sorting. However, in me being “forced” to have my mental health issues seen to – it’s awoken me so completely… But awake is not how I want to be as all the emotions attached to being awake are too intense and I don’t know how to cope with them. I have been feeling worthless and fearful to the extreme – to the point of near suicide but my counsellor managed to pull me back… I don’t know how to interpret all I feel.
    How do you deal with the emotions when realising your actual truth? Realising how your very life has been devalued so completely that you feel death is the only thing that you’re worthy of?
    Any advice would be grately appreciated….

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    • Cazmaz, Embracing your ability to realize you were, in fact, devalued, will help you get back to also realizing that your life does have value, meaning, and purpose. When we are struck by a person like this, we are presented with the gift of knowing and experiencing the true dualities of life. We appreciate love more, because we felt true hate. We appreciate beauty more, because we have experienced true ugliness. We’ve seen these things not only manifest in our abuser, but within ourselves as a result of being impacted by the abuser. Once we are outside of the sphere of influence of our abuser, we are empowered to focus on the good…the love and the light and the peace. Have you ever tried guided metta meditation? I have a playlist on Youtube. Consider trying video number 4 on the list. Peace is within us, and once we realize how to access it, our life becomes enveloped in it, protecting us from future sociopath/pathological influence. XOXO https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLd0kSfSRNz364mQjhbOUeUD8OSd8u3U-n

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  2. I am married to a n.s.I live in England.We have been together for 27 years!,married for 25.We lived together for 2 years at his parent’s place before we were married so I thought I’d been sensible and seen him long enough to not be making a mistake in marrying him.He was text book case n.c. at beginning of a relationship…Yuo’re beautiful.talanted Brilliant ,clever etc.He put me on a pedistal.After a whie,once we were married he started the abbuse.He became obssessed with my previouse relationships,clling me a whore .He’d had loads of sex prior to me ,his mother told me so.If I’d been a virgin when I met him he’d have said “no oene wanted you but me ,there must have been something wrong with you”.I was 30 when we mwet and he is 11 years younger than me.We have 2 sons ,he used to tell them “your mother’s a whore.” He said it so often to them that I had to keep throwing him out.He couldn’t see or care that this was abbuse of his own sons.The irony of the sittuation is that ,while he was calling me a whore he was having an 8-10 year affair with my only “friend”.He is also a chronic alcoholic .Does this commonly go hand in hand with being a n. c ? Is there a link with the two?I am new to the computer so forgive my bad typing.Becoming computer -litterate was part of my way of breaking my isolation.We lost 4 babies in all and 1 was adowns syndrom baby,my only daughter.I decided to have a termination with his agreement and spent 2 days giving birth to a dead baby. He then decided not to take any responsibility for the decision and told our 2 sons “Your mother murdered your sister” the youngest was only 8.He couldn’t see this was abbuse to them.Later he put his face up close to mine and kept saying “big fish,little fish swimming in the water,come right back and bring me my daughter”.His abbuse has been sinister ,like something out of a hitchcock film.It would take me a long time to tell you all the vile things he’s said and done to me.He has no insight at all that anything he’s said or done to me is wrong and he never says sorry.I spoke to the “friend” he’s had the affair with because I suspected he would also be abbusing her by now and also because he didn’t want us to talk to each other.He’d set it up so our phones were blocked from each other,but I’d got an itemised phone bill sent to me from his mobile and all the calls were to her.So I called her number and we talked and he’s abbusing her too just as I thought .Using her for sex and to pay for bottles of scotch to fund his habbit .He also calls her a whore! I

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    • Michelle, I am so sorry about you loss. And from my experience, these people are meaner when they are sober. And to sing that line from PJ Harvey?!? That’s sick. Honestly, if you and this other woman can exchange notes, that’s great, because it could serve to provide you with the clear validation you need to finally put this despicable person in your past where he belongs. Once you accept, really accept that there is no hope for him to change, you can begin to heal.

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  3. I spent 25 years in a relationship with a narcissistic man and had four children with him. I have told friends and family different tales that make up the jigsaw puzzle of our relationship and I have now realised, divorced and happily in a new and reciprocal relationship (yes it can happen!), that sometimes the over-telling leads us to minimise. I told my sister for the first time yesterday that her ex brother in law once offered me money to have sex with him a prescribed number of times in the first 24 hrs of the first family holiday we had been on since he told me he had been unfaithful. I had told this story to my therapist and to close friends and to me it is almost funny. Her reaction showed me the real horror of his behaviour. We all minimise. Stop doing it. You don’t have to get used to these things. I eventually got out once I realised he was a classic NPD man by letting him abandon me. He went back to her so willingly it has become laughable. She, 13 years younger and desperate for a husband, got pregnant and now he is nearing 50 with a toddler on his hands and I am looking at a quiet life with Mr Unambitious but totally lovely and a true sense of self. I know who I’d rather be. If you are with someone toxic you need to leave or accept that self-sacrifice will become your first, middle and last name.

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    • You’re so wise. Yes! Over telling can lead us to minimize when it should actually lead us to being more solid in our convictions. When we over tell, the anger slowly dissipates. Time helps our anger but it should never mask the fact that the anger and pain came from a place of real abuse. That’s why it’s important to document our feelings either through writing or talking to a trusted friend or counselor. .)

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  4. I remember when I met him, he seemed so kind and understanding, I should have run the other way. My ex seemed like a dream come-true to my daughter and I until the second year of our relationship. I started catching him in lies and he could always cover up one lie with another. It became such a turbulent relationship that I had him move out. We went our separate ways, at least I thought. For a year now I have been getting harassed by complete strangers. He is utilizing third parties to isolate me. I realize it is up to me to take control of my own life and leave him on his island of control. I also realize using my gut-instincts for my own protection will help in saving my life.

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    • Yes, you are so right. You know what you must do to protect yourself and your daughter. People on the outside of his inner circle are in the outside for a reason: they see him for what he is and want nothing to do with him. Stay on the outside and do not allow those 3rd party abusers deteriorate your self-awareness and self-worth and self-love. Your friends and family who know you know you’re worthy. Your daughter knows you’re worthy. 🙂

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  5. Wow. My eyes are fully opened. I am so sick of being put down for everything I like and stand for and for constantly being put on trial for my past!! It’s my past..who cares?! He does and everyday he berates me for it!

    I’m fighting alone due to how I chose my path but I assured everyone it was fine and he gave me hope….but it was all a lie. Which is why i’m here…no one else will listen. I don’t blame Em but I know who this monster is that I am with and this month…-s my chance to leave it behind. scary cause he won’t let me go that easy. Not without emotional wreckage and physical as well..he seems to want me dead. 😦

    Just can relate totally to this blog. I’m scared for me, and my kids. Just good to know there are others out there.

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    • Please be careful and consider visiting the DV Hotline page for information related to your safety plan/preparing for your departure/escape. You are not alone. You are not worthless. You are not your past. You and your children deserve to be respected and appreciated. You matter.

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    • @ currently living in nightmare . Yes, no one will listen. I am getting replies as every woman is same; it is easy to make guy happy; if you would just work with me and love me; I agree to anything to just have a peace and was lying to just a couple of days in peace.

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  6. Thanks for this blog! Between this and another site I’ve frequented, it’s helping me to identify (what really was already known) but also the devastation inside the heart and the despair and loneliness that is felt due to MS moving on to his next source. The hardes part of it is knowing he really did not care at all and it was all a game. Now that the game is over, Ihave no place in his life. Supply source was getting low and harder to manipulate. There was never LOVE but control and manipulation. Friends just don’t understand at all — you may as well speak Martian to them. This helps us to feel we’re not alone beause the stories are very similiar.

    My name is …. and I am a recovering from an SP addiction of 2 1/2 years. I thought it was grandiose love at the first stage but now that it is over and I’ve done my research have realized I was nothing to him but a supply source for his needs. He never loved me at all. The blame game, the shame game, the downgrading friend editorials, the nice guy image, the personal degradation…of which when defending yourself from the accusations turn YOU into the RAVING lunatic, then it’s all your fault cause you’re the crazy. To think,he was likely just enjoying every tear that I dropped, every frustrated rant I engaged back with due to the lack of direction and continuous blame verbalized at me, the isolation… of you have things to do in your house and don’t need to be out with your friends, the compliance because well there’s always things to do in the house and he’s right, etc. And now how when the supply source was running low and likely I wouldn’t be able to ador him (afterall it was always me where the problems layed, didn’t love him enough, didn’t cook enough (if he had a girlfriend that cooked he would spend less money, he didn’t cook cuz he did not like my pots so I ran out and got different ones, no that was the excuse. Then of course, he changed to no I don’t wantto clean up, millions of excuses why something he was to do was not done but always accused you of having excuses if you did not do what he said.

    He’s now onto his new targeted victim, the woman that he allegedly did not know when we got into arguments months ago about her. He’d already established his next victim and was all over her when I last saw them in a public place just last week. My heart sank when I saw him and her… but specifically when I saw who she was. Another woman standing next to me grabbed my hand and held it telling me to breath deeply (this was at a nightclub), I was just stunned when I finally realized what was going on. Ieft. She knew we were together so if she thinks she’s stolen a gem, she’s going to realize eventually that she has a fake diamond. However, I have no compassion for her either because she’s unethical as well. It hurt so much to see that and sometimes the visual cannot be released from my mind but it’s also the ammunition that will turn my life around. No wonder he no longer wanted to make love to me, I’d gone to my parents home in another state (he resented that) and when I returned, you did not want to touch me, really? The following weekend we had my daughters beach weekend planned which was a 3 hour drive to include his own daughter. He couldn’t go due to work and when I returned still no love…. he’d merely moved on. True love doesn’t move on like that. He will say it’s because I kicked him out several times which is true as I couldn
    ‘t standthe non sense. BUT I truly just wanted us to be right and in the crazy things are just that…. and I know if you ‘ve been with a SP you know exactly what I’m talking about.

    My heart is still yearning for him and all I want to see is him walking through my door with his arms open. This will never happen as he has no use for me now. My $70K plus bonuses job is gone, my bills are coming due and I’m not receiving any income at this time other than my child support which is minimal. I am now alone and he owe’s me at this point a few thousand which who knows if I will ever see.

    I continue to question why couldn’t this just work, why did all the “conversations” have to be explosive, I never wanted that…. although I wasthe crazy one at fault for them by his standards. All I wanted was to be loved by him and for me to love him like we did at the beginning. After the research, there’s nothing I could have done to stop this. Perhaps delay but not stop, if only he’d told me he was a SP earlier! The discussions were never discussions it was unfocused rants of his that were filled with dillusions of his perceptions at times (which were far from accurate in most cases) and cyclical. I would have to sit and listen to him rant for 20 minutes and still he wouldn’t allow me to talk. WhenI spoke up to defend my position from the accusations, I was the one not allowing him to talk. I asked to right things down so we can focus on the issues. Nah, he would not do that. He would never read anything I printed out or hand wrote because we could talk about it. No he could talk about how to divert the issue. He always controlled the environment, although he says that was me too! I certainly didn’t stop him from anything he wanted to do or did as I couldn’t if I’d wanted.

    I’ve rambled quite a bit here but needless to say. Thank goodness for sites like this. My brain won’t stop and I can’t sleep so I continue to read and try to educate myself to ease the pain. I’m not at the point where I hate him (although I’ve said that in frustration when the yelling got insane, I wanted it all to stop). Where was the man I’d fell in love with. The mask was gone, I really do not know who he is and I never did. I’ll keep praying that when I’m healed God will bless me with a positive, warm hearted, sensitive and caring partner that will truly have our interests at heart, this includes my family (3 children). 2 1/2 years together and we ‘d never sat as a family and watched anything together on TV!

    Oh one more – my children and I talked and they gave me their perseptions, the words that was revealed in other words were: isolation, selfishness, self serving, angry, not nice, talented handy man, my dog always barked at him endlessly, he hated my dog and all pets indoors, non family – even with his own daughter, only doing what he wants – not for the greater good. However, my youngest w/ her innosence has asked why the SP will not come back to our house. Why? What do I say?

    Love and prayers to all who are in this recovering mode….. Betrayed & Broken in the Bay.

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    • You are amazing and so are your children. I’ve read all of your comments. You describe the crazy-making very well. It’s what I lived, too. It was IMPOSSIBLE to defend my position. The harder I tried, the uglier and more deranged he became. I have never seen a person’s face become so ugly, twisted and distorted in a split second the way the sociopath’s face changed. It was frightening and the biggest clue for me that something just wasn’t all together with this man I thought I loved.

      Do me a favor and keep any anger you have reserved for him and him only. This other woman is just as clueless as we all were. She has probably been fed so many lies about you that she hates you, too. So that if there ever comes a time that you stand face-to-face with her, you will be distracted by that mutual hate. Exactly what he hopes for because then the truth remains buried.

      I have nothing but sympathy and fear for the sociopath’s current GF and any future GFs. I guarantee that all of them, including myself, are good people who desire good things for themselves and others. Their goodness, like ours, blinds them to the evil that’s infiltrating their lives as I write and you read this. Instead, focus on how lucky you are to be out of the situation and how lucky your children are not to be influenced, manipulated and abused by the sociopath’s way of being.

      As for what to tell YOUR daughter, just tell her that life is about change and that people come and go in our lives. No need to explain in any more detail. No need to say that he is a bad person or that he did bad things. I simply told my son, who was 5 at the time, that R. would no longer be a part of his life. And that R. and Mommy were no longer friends. He shrugged and seemed to understand. Kids get it. They have friends too and understand sometimes that people just have differences that make them not compatible. No need to explain that a sociopath isn’t compatible with anyone. That lesson can be shared later when she’s older. XOXO

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  7. How aboiut being told to trim his toenails even though he is capable of doing it himself, or bring him pop, phone, etcwhile he sits on his lazybuttocks. Ugh..

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    • Yeah, that’s gross. But you should feel special and privileged because all women are just dying to be able to serve him, don’t you know? Their inflated egos and sense of entitlement mixed with their delusional thinking is a dangerous concoction. I wasn’t placed on this Earth to serve anyone by force or expectation. We should feel moved to care for those we love, not obligated. 🙂

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    • Been there too, oh get this and get that for me and he’s closer to it….

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  8. Thanks for the article. I would like your opinion on abusive/emotional abused relationships(AR) which can also be classified as part of typical chronic stress. I am very curious around the following: IF such circumstances(AR) prevail to such an extent and for a very long period of time (say decades) that the brain functionality within such a victim can shutdown in the form of dementia as some type of inherent protection. I can maybe describe the situation as if the soul of such a person goes into hiding within her/his body? Usually found within a relationship of a very successful driven person, married to someone very supportive, subordinate or “slave” type of relationship. As many studies show and you stated that such a person becomes so used to AR within such a relationship that they seldom realizes the ongoing AR until the mind/brain decides for them?
    I would appreciate your comment on my statements.

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    • What you describe is what happens in all situations of abuse regardless of the abuser’s success in business. The abuser could simply have a notion that he/she is successful. People who mentally, emotionally, verbally, spiritually, and physically abuse others are NOT superior humans, not evolved in any way. Somewhere along the line their ability to solve-problems using their cognitive abilities was interrupted/aborted. What they excel at is the primitive abilities to cry, manipulate, and make demands in order to guilt their victims into complying with the abuser’s needs. And their biggest need is to control their victims. It’s the ultimate goal…CONTROL.

      A business man who can’t control the changing market or decisions of others WILL seek to control what and who he can control. More often than not, it’s a subservient wife, his children, his pets, or the help just to name a few. All of these people have become dependent on the abuser financially and the abuser WILL use that to his advantage. The victims feel helpless to act against the abuser, because the abuser has threatened the victim, made the victim believe she/he can’t survive without him. And the abuser is correct. The victim can’t survive or live as she/he has been living with the luxuries the abuser has provided.

      So, the victim shuts down and goes into herself, as you describe. But this is where the lines become blurred. Who is in control and who has simply given up control? We as human beings can’t be controlled unless we allow someone to control us. It’s difficult to come to this realization when you are being beaten up on a daily basis verbally, emotional, physically, spiritually, and sexually.

      As soon as we realize we want to take back control, that’s when we stop being the victim. But in shedding the victim robe, we must also be aware of the increased responsibilities associated with being independent. Being independent and responsible is not an easy position for long-time victims to transition. Most victims initially lose many things: money, possessions, friends, jobs, and possibly ties to their community and their church. The victim, not the abuser, must make all of the changes. The abuser is free to continue being just as he has always been.

      It’s a frightening prospect to be faced with losing everything and be prepared for your abuser to keep reminding you of this in hopes you’ll change your mind and remain his prisoner/slave. It’s about choice. Really. And it’s about being okay with the pain of emerging from your cocoon and wanting to live with 100% accountability of what and whom you become.

      I welcomed the pain having faith that there was something much more beautiful than the hell I found myself. I hope this makes sense to you. ~Paula

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    • Thanks Paula. I am in a different part of the world than you are and it is really fantastic that you actually responded so quickly. I can relate completely with your response. You have given a response that fits like a glove and I feel angry and ashamed to admit it.

      Your second paragraph sums it up absolutely and that is exactly the dilemma I am facing. You are so reading into my lines as stated in your 4th paragraph – It was scary to read your response!!

      You mentioned a number of aspects and very practical responses. I am an onlooker NOW from the outside looking in and this person cannot help herself anymore, other than just being labelled a dementia patient. My wish is to remove the person from her situation but because of legal matters I cannot.

      Just as you explained I could actually realize the whole issue of verbal and emotional abuse and withdrew myself, but in the case of the individual cannot act for herself anymore. I now see clearly through all actions of the abuser, but the victim cannot act anymore. I did have a head-on confrontation with the abuser, but as you stated, I was confronted with all those aspects in your second last paragraph.

      This makes me very angry and as you stated the abuser is so clever and really manipulate everybody around him which also creates support for his actions by the way. For me it is now having absolute perspective on what is happening, but evaluating all the aspects you mentioned in your second last paragraph. This is probably the main controlling property of the abuser.

      I often thought if I could remove her as well from the controlling circumstances if she will awake from the sleep/cocoon she is in?

      Thanks for your blog – It awakened me to realize the truth of my situation is not uncommon. Maybe in reading more around your experience may shed more answers to all my questions. At least I am not blinded anymore. The tragic matter is that even highly qualified individuals cannot see what you are trying to get across and make people aware of, for they are exactly controlled by the abuser as you so vividly explained. To take that step and look at yourself from an objective point as you stated does not come easily. Regards and thank you for the fantastic work you are doing. You have given me more hope now to make a difference to the lives of others I am in touch with.

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    • I am thankful I was able to help you in some way. I understand how helpless you must feel. Your friend is in a cocoon. I have often described it like that myself. The pain and struggle associated with breaking free from it and seeing the light is very difficult and avoided by many who have just given up hope. I wish I knew how to bring hope back to someone. All I know is to share my story and the stories of others who were brave enough to hope again. It’s possible and many readers and people who comment have reinforced that for me. Good luck with your friend and all those you help. ~Paula

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  9. how does one deal wth emotional abuse..when it is a parent that doing this..now he is 80 . Some say he is in the beginning stages of dementia..but anyhow..he has gotten to where he has such vivid dreams…but somehow he has started making accusations,,of how it is me..bringing in men,allowing them to steal things from him..Yet…he has been told by others that i never would..it even went as far as he now wants me to take a lie detector test…what would you do in such a situation? I know you are not Dear Abby..Is it possible you can give me a suggestin..It is driving me up the wall,I already have some health issues myself and even with the help I am getting I come home or what I was told when I first come here to think of this as my home..Now it is almost like a prison.because of his accusations..
    Any suggestions..

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    • Gloria, I’m so sorry. My grandfather suffered dementia and lived with my mother during the last years before he sadly passed away. He would make up stories, think he was living in a hotel, and accused my mother of hiding and stealing his car even though they had agreed he could no longer drive, and the car was sold with the money deposited into my grandfather’s account. It tore apart my mother to see him like this. He had always been such a gentle man, never angry or accusatory. The mood would quickly pass but my mother never knew when he would accuse her again. She dealt with it through sharing his moods with her children, her sisters, and her husband, my stepfather. Gloria, is there someone you could talk to? If your father is falling into the grips of dementia, these accusations may be fleeting and forgotten by him soon and new patterns and behavior will begin. My grandfather mostly talked about past memories and missing his childhood dog and how he survived WWII without ever needing to fire a shot. We loved him very much. We let him talk even if it hurt sometimes. We knew his mind wasn’t in a good place. We didn’t let it interfere with loving him or make us feel somehow responsible. My mother soothed him as much as she could. But she also had a good support network to keep her spirits up and healthy. I think you should talk to someone. A good friend. Family member. A paster or counselor. I’m not Dear Abby, but I hope this helps you. 🙂

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  10. I read your book today Paula. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m quite the mess of a woman. I don’t see a lot of the NPD characteristics in my husband except when he is angry. The emotional abuse, twisting truth, deception and especially projecting….they all happen when he is angry. I think one of the most crushing things for me is that no one recognizes this in him…people really do love him and respond to him. I dislike being in public with him especially when I see how well he engages with people and how well they respond to him…I feel violated by it for some strange reason.

    After our 3rd round of marriage counselors…at his request,( because he thought I needed so much help), I can’t believe I did this but I sent the counselors a tape recording of him raging at me…3 hours worth of it. The husband counselor apologized to me and asked for forgiveness because my husband had convinced him that I was the problem. That is how clever and convincing he is.

    We separated for 2 years and continued counseling. The counseling was pretty intense and conflict resolution was the focus as well as setting healthy boundaries.During that time I moved back to my hometown to be near my family and a support system. He moved over here with me last Nov. By January things were falling apart and he refused to go back to counseling. I continue to keep email contact with the counselors. They just say he is unable to resolve conflict in a healthy manner. I’m so ashamed of what is going on I haven’t really talked to anyone about this. Today I called a woman friend that I have known for years and she agreed to meet with me once a week and help me find some direction. I am so angry I feel like I’m going to just pop! His words are so cruel. I know he is just barfing his own garbage on me. I can sometimes just let it slide off but eventually the sting finds a landing place.

    Anyway, long story short…I was inspired by you. I recognize a spunk in you that I used to have. I’m a jewelry designer and that is my outlet.

    I’m inspired to at least reach out to someone for some comfort, prayer and support again…thank you.

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    • Thank you for reading my book and sharing your comments. Unfortunately, people like this rarely come to the realization that they are in fact the culprits of the crazy-making, not us. I nearly lost all of my spunk because of my experience. It has taken me many months and many mistakes to feel like I am on track to being me again. I became a shell of my former self before leaving. I gave up trying to reason. If it hadn’t been for my son, I may not have left when I did.

      I was also shamed into seeking counseling, but we didn’t go to the same psychiatrist. I went to mine to help with my depression; he went to his to complain about me. Mine convinced me that a pill was just a band-aid for my issues; his convinced him I needed admitted. The only cure for both of us was for me to leave him.

      Before writing bits and pieces of my story in my blog earlier this year, I had no idea how common what I experienced was and how many lost women (and men) are out there, out here, trying to make sense of it all. It’s very true that most people who have never experienced the insidiousness of this type of abuse will never understand it and will continuously ask, “Why can’t you just let it go?” My answer is that we can let something go when there is a mutual understanding of why something ended, but if it’s left unresolved or completely dangling, whatever it is that we need to let go of is unclear. It’s muddled. This causes the anger and resentment for me.

      I have had many healthy relationships in the past that ended and we both agreed with why. We were either growing apart, desiring different things, or just not as compatible as we had originally thought. But with this man, his reasoning as to why we weren’t working out was because I never loved him the way he needed to be loved. I was not capable of providing him with the type of love he needed. “You don’t love me!” That’s what a child screams at his mommy when he doesn’t get his way. And that’s what this man did with me if I ever questioned, disagreed, or challenged anything he said or did. How can someone even begin to defend themselves against such nonsense? Healthy people try to understand each other, not point fingers. I couldn’t take the nonsense, so I gave up. It just wasn’t worth completely losing all of my senses.

      I struggle with my anger, also. That’s why I write. I am determined to do something, to help people. That’s where I’m channeling my angry energy. Otherwise, I would pop, too!

      Thank you, again, for writing to me. I couldn’t keep doing this without support. Your words mean so much to me. They really do. Stay strong and here’s to getting back your spunk! 🙂

      ~Paula

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  11. ” why are u the only person that gets under my skin why?? why do u make me so angry? ”
    I havent escaped yet. Im going to read your book. Thank you for this

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    • Apparently I’m the only woman to mak him so angry… Angry enough to put holes in the wall and want to punch my face. It’s because we don’t reinforce the perfect image they have of themselves. I know it’s hard. I’m still trying not to blame myself.

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    • It took me about 18 months to break free of the blame. Our minds play tricks on us because our minds aren’t naturally equipped to handle the evil that is inflicted upon us. 🙂

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    • I hope my book and blog help you. No one causes a person to be angry and hateful. That person chooses to be that way. 🙂

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  12. I want to get this book. i read parts of it on the internet today. Thanks for sharing.

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  13. Yes, Yes, Yes!!!! You definitely nailed the beginning stages of an abusive relationship on so many levels. My favorite is shifting the blame, some how claiming it was you who did it. Thanks Paula, incredible insight!!!

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  14. I’m so glad I came across you and your blog Paula. Your words have really helped me realise I am not alone in all this. Sometimes it feels like no one understands it all, but you have helped me see I am not crazy.

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    • You are the exact opposite of crazy. A crazy person wouldn’t be able to see the things that you have seen. Soon, the person who you were involved with will be a mere footnote in your life. You will learn from it and move on to create a joyful life for yourself. There are many of us on the path with you. 🙂

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