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How to Recognize a Narcissist - Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse  E-mail

 

Hi Maria,

I just read a story on your website and was touched by the similarities between her boyfriend and my fiance.

Here's my story......

I have been in this relationship for a year now. It started out wonderfully with talks for hours on the phone and constant texting. He did a lot of the phone chatting but I've never been a talker and enjoy listening to others. We seemed to have a lot of things in common like art and literature and he was very attentive and romantic writing me poetry and typing out whole love songs.

After about 6 months we spent a week together in the city where he lived (we had met on the internet and waited until we got to know each other before we met) and the second day I was there he told me he loved me. I thought I was a little fast but told myself I was silly because after all we had talked for half a year first.

I returned home and the romance continued. We even started to play an online game together that he enjoyed. I chalked up his constant criticism to me being sensitive or him just being a little bit of a know it all (he constantly told me how if I played the character like he told me I would be better and when I disagreed he said I was sensitive).

I should say I have a 4 year old son and I have not been in a long term relationship since his father so maybe I was easily taken in by the charm and ignored the warning signs of something more serious. But sufficed to say for the most part it was wonderful.
I went back up to his city to visit again 2 months later. This time meeting his family who all seemed nice and sincere. Nothing bad happened and I felt more in love then before. He was wonderful and so was his family. I really felt like I had struck gold.

Two months after that he came to visit me and meet my son. They got along wonderfully! He was perfect for me! At the end of his trip he said we should live together and I should decide if I wanted him to move to me or the other way around but he made it clear I should be the one to move.

Three weeks after he left I found out I was pregnant. He was calm and collective and convinced me that moving up to him would be the best thing he had a home that just needed some repairs and he had a huge family that would be better then just having my mother. The way he made it sound convinced me that I had to move up there. He is a great talker.

Things went from good to bad.......

The night he proposed to me was one of the worse nights of my life. He called me up to discuss the day and I had some concerns about my moving while pregnant. I was and still am constantly ill all day everyday. I told him I felt sick all the time and didn't think I could fly but maybe he could just come to me for the remainder of the pregnancy and then move up. I just used the word "sick" as a way to describe how I felt nothing more.

He started screaming and cursing saying, "You f**king think my child is a sickness?! A f**king disease like I infected you?! You're f**king pregnant you have nausea so what you should be happy I'm tired of you complaining. You disgust me......". This went on for an hour even with me trying to explain I was never calling my child a sickness but just describing how I felt but nothing worked. Finally he ran out of steam and we said goodnight.

About 30 mins later he called me up saying it was over because I didn't love him anymore and I treated him like crap and I was mean to him. I tried to explain my personality yes had changed but it was due to hormones and I was lime this with my first child. No nothing would work until I was begging him to stay and everything was my fault and I didn't deserve him. I've stopped talking about myself I only ask about him and it's still not good enough.

The last straw....

I recently asked him if he would see a couples counselor with me and even suggested going to a church to see one since we didn't have the finances to seek elsewhere. That was met with him stating he knew more then any of them and all we had to do was listen to each other.

I listened to him talk about how everything was my fault for 45 minutes when I asked if I could talk to him about my problems I was told and I quote "I really dot want to hear it. Your idea of problems and mines are different. You just bashing me will make me mad. So just don't bother." I couldn't believe it so I said goodnight.

I finally went to my mother (who is actually studying psychology and does know more than him) and I told her all that had happened. She had me look back and I noticed this pattern of behavior. How he always talked down to me treating me inferior. How he always wanted me to give him attention and only offered me some when he knew I would return it. I noticed a disturbing pattern of me slowly losing my self-esteem. She told me I had to leave.

The problem is he has already made threatening remarks about me not keeping his child from him and he will do anything to keep the baby with him no matter what. I don't know what to do. Right now I'm just pleasing him because I'm scared and worried and don't even know how to begin to end this relationship and what to do afterwards.

Please help me. I'm desperate.


___________

The goal of this website is to give support to people who are feeling depressed and unhappy with their lives. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.

____________

Maria's Reply:

How to Recognize A Narcissist - Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse

 

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your email. Your story touched me deeply, many things you described sounded so familiar. I understand so well how you are feeling right now. Your situation is difficult, however it is by no means hopeless. The most important thing is that you have seen the big picture and understand what kind of a person you are dealing with.

Based on your story it seems very likely that your boyfriend has strong narcissistic and abusive tendencies. You wrote that your boyfriend said he knows everything so much better than professional counselors or corresponding representatives of the church. Your boyfriend seems to think of himself as superior when compared to people around him. This is very typical for a narcissists. People with narcissistic tendencies often seem to think of themselves as omnipotent and knowledgeable individuals who are better than others around them.

The sudden, unexpected rage you described in your letter is another typical feature of a narcissist. The way you behaved as a consequence of his raging was the way most of us have behaved when we first experienced an episode of narcissistic rage. It is so unexpected and emotionally devastating to experience such horrible, unfounded anger and rage from a person who has until that point felt like our soul mate. Our partner in life should be the person who we can trust the most and who we can rely on when everything all fails. If that person suddenly turns against us, starts accusing us, shouting at us and criticizing us, in other words starts to behave as if he or she is suddenly our worst enemy, that is shaking the very foundations of our lives. It is very traumatic and emotionally damaging to experience something like that.

It is very normal to have arguments time to time in every relationship. However, the arguments with a narcissist or an emotional abuser are far from "normal". The way you described your boyfriend went into rage mode after you simply said you feel physically sick due to pregnancy is clearly abnormal behavior. The way he continued to shout at you about the matter for one hour is equally abnormal. The fact that he called you half hour later, telling you he was going to end your relationship because you "no longer loved him" is also far from "normal" behavior. It is very important that you are aware of this. Do not think for one second that you did anything wrong and that you somehow made your boyfriend behave the way he did. This incident occurred because your boyfriend has serious personal issues, not because of anything you said or did.

I have heard similar stories so many times from the readers of my support websites. What you experienced is unfortunately not unusual if you are in a relationship with a narcissist or an emotional abuser. We are used to interact with people in a normal and healthy way. We are used to it that people can be reasoned with if some misunderstandings occur. With a narcissist, the first alarming sign is usually a clearly abnormal reaction to something very insignificant, just as you described in your letter. That kind of an incident is the first serious sign that something is wrong. Again let me emphasize that normal people do not behave that way.

Your reaction to your boyfriend's sudden rage, on the other hand, was very normal. You behaved exactly the same way as most people behave when they experience narcissistic rage for the first time. You tried to explain to your boyfriend that he had misunderstood you and that you did not mean to sound negative in any way. You tried to explain yourself to him in vain for one hour. Then after that your boyfriend called you and told you he wanted to end the relationship, just like that. Again you tried to reason with him, but eventually you gave in and just wanted to restore things to the way they were, so you took all the blame and begged your boyfriend not to leave you, until he "mercifully" agreed not to do it.

When you begged your boyfriend to stay with you, you provided him with a narcissistic supply. He felt his personal value went up again when he heard your desperate pleas. He felt he is after all a wonderful human being, a "great catch" so to speak, since you got so desperate over the prospect of losing him. Unfortunately most narcissists have a very low self-esteem under their hard surface. It sounds like this is also the case with your boyfriend.

Dear Friend, this is what I wish to say to you more than anything: Please do not marry this man. That will not lead to anything good. Narcissism is a personality trait and in most cases it is not possible for a narcissistic person to significantly improve his or her behavior. So please do not have false hopes that your boyfriend would become more empathetic in the future. Most likely the situation will only get worse. Do not tie yourself to this person.

You do not have to move tho your boyfriend's city against your will. I believe that if you do move your situation will get worse, because you are alone in a totally new environment, without the safety net of your friends and family members (your mother). If your boyfriend gets mad because you refuse to move, let him get mad. Do not let him scare you to move against your will.

Dear Friend, this is very important: If you start to feel at any point that your boyfriend might become a physical threat to you, please do not hesitate to contact police and get a restraining order. Even though you have known this person for one year, most of your communication has occurred over the internet. Even if you would live with another person constantly, one year is barely enough time to get to know each other thoroughly. You do not truly know how this person is like and what he is capable of. He has already demonstrated that he is capable of losing his temper over insignificant things and that he is unable to feel empathy towards you. These are very alarming signs. If you start to have a feeling that he might get physically abusive if his anger reaches a certain level, do not take any risks but contact authorities and get a restraining order.

I am so glad that you have your mother by your side to help you get through this difficult time. Everything your mother has said to you is correct. You said your mother told you that you should leave your boyfriend. She is right. If you stay together with this kind of a person, there is a serious danger that you will slowly become more and more depressed until one day you will reach the point when you no longer remember how it felt like to be happy, and you start to think that the unhappy feeling you have inside you is "normal" state of being.

Dear Friend, you have only been involved with your boyfriend for one year. It is clear he has some serious behavioral issues and that he is making you feel insecure and unhappy. Even though you are engaged, you have not yet moved to his home town. You have not yet been sucked in to his abnormal world. If you have read other stories on this website, you have seen how easily one can get sucked into the world of a narcissist or an emotional abuser for years, even decades. The longer one stays in this kind of a twisted relationship, the longer it takes to recover. I do not wish you to end up in that kind of a situation.

Even though you are caring this man's child that does not mean you are forced to live with him. You need to think of the well-being of yourself and the well-being of your children. It is very harmful for a child to grow up with a narcissistic parent. If your boyfriend indeed is a narcissist, you are in fact doing your unborn child as well as your son a favor when you are not subjecting them to similar emotional abuse. The children of narcissistic parents (who have actually lived together with a narcissistic parent) often grow up to be insecure adults, always trying to please others and having very low self-esteem. Do you think this man could be a loving and supporting parent for your children, based on the way he has been treating you? These are the matters that you need to consider very carefully when you are planning your future.

I do understand it is very hard for you to let go of your boyfriend if you feel you truly love him. It is important that you realize that you fell in love with the image you had of him before you knew his true personality. You did not fall n love with this abusive, cruel person he has turned out to be.

You wrote that your boyfriend said to you: I really dot want to hear it. Your idea of problems and mines are different. You just bashing me will make me mad. So just don't bother". This is not the way we talk to someone we love and care for. Ask yourself could you ever talk to him this way. This comment clearly shows your boyfriend is totally incapable of any empathy. There is not much, if any, hope to reason with this kind of a person. There will be times in every relationship when things don't go as planned and arguments occur. Your boyfriend is clearly not capable of taking your feelings into account and talk about problems. He seems to be very cold, distant and self-centered person. Dear Friend, trust me, in a long run you will be so much happier without this kind of a negative person in your life.

Please write to me anytime you wish. You are not alone. You have your mother's love and support. You have your friends. You have your son, and soon you will have your second child. You have a lot to look forward to. Do not let this man render you depressed and insecure human being. You control your own life and destiny, not him. I will help you and support you any way I can. Please do not hesitate to write to me. I will be here for you as long as you need me.

Warm hug,

Maria

 

It helps to know we are not alone. To read more stories of people who are experiencing problems in a relationship, visit section Personal Stories.

____

 

If you wish to submit your own story to get feedback and support or if you wish to contact me for any other reason, please send me email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

Comments (5)
  • 472  - Brett Gylenskog
    Same here.
  • Lisa  - need help
    As I peruse the internet for once again the definition of "Emotional Abuse", I finally came to this blog.

    I have been married to my husband for almost 23 years and continue to be emotionally abused by him, but because I do not want to leave him or face being alone, I minimize the truth about his overall lack of love towards me in ways that I need.

    We haven't had sex in years. In the early part of our marriage he was physically aggressive/violent. And later I learned that he had also had an active "sex addiction" and had seen prostitutes for a few years. I can't even believe I've been through this. Writing it down is difficult.

    The point is, that the trust has been shattered and he has never really worked at rebuilding it by doing things I need to feel special. He doesn't tell me he loves me and rarely compliments me. Is never romantic.

    He deprives me of affection (and himself as well). He's got me thinking he's the victim, when he is the abuser.

    In any case, he is dismissive of my feelings, critical, and gets defensive and argumentative when I open up to him about something that's upsetting me, for example our 17 year old daughter (who is adopted and targets me with her anger). He seems to have no compassion for me, or rarely shows me.

    I've gone on for years just "putting up" with less than I know I can give. I used to be so demonstrative and romantic toward him. But after he broke my trust (repeatedly) AND refuses to really allow himself to be vulnerable and romantic, I've had no other option but to shut my heart down and be frozen in this state of ongoing deprivation.

    I hope that writing these very personal thoughts here might bring some support from others.

    I am thankful that I have a safe place to talk where I can remain anonymous. Oh, and one other thing. We have no friends. I had friends, but one by one hurt me so much that I really don't have any friends I see regularly. I just sort of shut myself off to stay as safe as I can. I love being home with my dogs and love working from home.

    I'm grateful for many things, but the way this marriage hasn't progressed isn't one of them. As I write down the realities of what I've lived with over the years I feel a lot of shame within myself for remaining in this relationship.

    I will come back to read any responses from anyone. I welcome your support and thank you for reading.

    LIsa
  • Lisa  - in emotionally abusive marriage
    As I peruse the internet for once again the definition of "Emotional Abuse", I finally came to this blog.

    I have been married to my husband for almost 23 years and continue to be emotionally abused by him, but because I do not want to leave him or face being alone, I minimize the truth about his overall lack of love towards me in ways that I need.

    We haven't had sex in years. In the early part of our marriage he was physically aggressive/violent. And later I learned that he had also had an active "sex addiction" and had seen prostitutes for a few years. I can't even believe I've been through this. Writing it down is difficult.

    The point is, that the trust has been shattered and he has never really worked at rebuilding it by doing things I need to feel special. He doesn't tell me he loves me and rarely compliments me. Is never romantic.

    He deprives me of affection (and himself as well). He's got me thinking he's the victim, when he is the abuser.

    In any case, he is dismissive of my feelings, critical, and gets defensive and argumentative when I open up to him about something that's upsetting me, for example our 17 year old daughter (who is adopted and targets me with her anger). He seems to have no compassion for me, or rarely shows me.

    I've gone on for years just "putting up" with less than I know I can give. I used to be so demonstrative and romantic toward him. But after he broke my trust (repeatedly) AND refuses to really allow himself to be vulnerable and romantic, I've had no other option but to shut my heart down and be frozen in this state of ongoing deprivation.

    I hope that writing these very personal thoughts here might bring some support from others.

    I am thankful that I have a safe place to talk where I can remain anonymous. Oh, and one other thing. We have no friends. I had friends, but one by one hurt me so much that I really don't have any friends I see regularly. I just sort of shut myself off to stay as safe as I can. I love being home with my dogs and love working from home.

    I'm grateful for many things, but the way this marriage hasn't progressed isn't one of them. As I write down the realities of what I've lived with over the years I feel a lot of shame within myself for remaining in this relationship.

    I will come back to read any responses from anyone. I welcome your support and thank you for reading.

    LIsa
  • So in Love  - I just dont know what to do. I made mistakes as w
    Hello,

    I started dating a guy that I worked with. We went on a few lunch dates and oneday began to have sex. He didnt tell me that he had a girlfriend until after we slept with one another. We remained friends but also still engaged in sexual acts with one another. He told me that he was not happy in his relationship. And that he would move out eventually. A few months later he did move out. We became even closer and happier.

    He met my kids and we would hang out almost everyday. He would always tell me that we were just friends yet we spent so much time together. He kept in contact with his ex since there we still on the same cell phone plan. She would give him the money to help pay the bill. There were times that he would see and her would not tell me. I later found receipts in his car that proved they were together. That last argument was about just that. I asked him why didnt he tell me and that it was ok if he would have just been honest.

    We decided to give each other some space right now. However he made it perfectly clear that after a year of us dealing with each other that we were still just friends and that I was getting "too clingy".

    I got so upset with the decision that I actually called the ex up and told her that he had cheated on her with me. I also sent her a facebook msg telling her how sorry I was and how hurt I was. I take full responsibility for my actions and I know they were very immature. I am just having a hard time at this point because he will not call me and it has been 20 days now. I am still crying alot and not eating as much. I feel very sad and depressed. I think he has moved on but I just cant get over the fact that we had such happy times together. The few times that I got mad to me were not worth breaking up altogether. Please help me I feel so sad. But I think that since I contacted his ex that he will NEVER FORGIVE me....
  • Mira
    Thank you for sharing. Stay strong! Hugs, Mira
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