Home Stories Signs of Emotional Abuse and Narcissism in a Relationship

Search from this Website

Latest Comments

  • JLP said More...
    I loved him for 15 years and also los... 2 years ago
  • Elli said More...
    This is a classic and heartbreaking s... 2 years ago
  • Selena said More...
    I'm 24 and I have in this relationshi... 2 years ago
  • Selena said More...
    I'm 24 and I have in this relationshi... 2 years ago
  • lgl56 said More...
    I left my guy Nov 2014. Rented the ap... 2 years ago
  • unknown said More...
    Hi..I read your story and feel your p... 2 years ago
Signs of Emotional Abuse and Narcissism in a Relationship  E-mail


Hi Maria,


There is no possible way I can fully articulate the entirety of my relationship with my partner in an email. I am just hurting beyond words and I'm so tired of it. I am plagued with nightmares when I desperately need rest and a break from the constant worries, memories, fears, chatter, and confusion in my head. I cannot escape the hell I've felt stuck in for years. In sum, I have searched for many years online trying to make sense of my partner's behavior, my behavior, our relationship, etc. She was what I have always called the "love of my life" and now, I even hesitate to label her that, for fear that it means I have already found and been destroyed by my true love.

All in all, she displays behaviors that are so confusing that I've been spinning trying to make sense of them for years. I pursued her from the beginning, although she gave me every reason to, by reacting and almost begging for my attention. Long story short is that over the last 7 years we developed a very strong relationship, had immediate chemistry, and ultimately, I was sexually and emotionally involved with her long before she was ever monogamous or committed to me. I never knew this because she never told me...instead I found out in painfully embarrassing and hurtful ways. She led me to believe for years that we were involved and exclusive, when she was actually traveling to see who she claimed was her "ex," sleeping with her "ex" and other people and me simultaneously.

I confronted her more than once and rather than sitting down and talking to me about how I must have felt, there was always some excuse. I wasn't paying attention to her, providing for her, pleasing her, etc. For years, I truly believed it was all me and that I had simply found a few stupid people in the past who'd actually fallen for my pathetic, terrible person. She would scream and yell many times and act like she wanted nothing to do with me, and then call a few days later as if nothing happened. I literally had no idea how I could upset someone so much and was devastated at the thought that someone I loved so dearly, thought and felt such awful things about me. I had to fix this. I had to show her she was mistaken. I actually believed I could.

Instead, what has happened is that over years, my self-esteem has completely deteriorated. My mental health is shaky at best, as I swing from bouts of pure anxiety and paralyzing fear about my life to absolute despair and depression. I feel I have turned into someone I don't even know or recognize and have nothing to show for it. People in my life consistently try and remind me this is all my partner's projection that I've embodied...that none of it is true...but after years of hearing it and believing it, I simply do not know how to feel confident or able to move forward.

Here's why I'm stuck. This year my partner finally came to me telling me she was ready and able to commit to me unlike she has ever been before...with me or anyone. I was finally at my breaking point genuinely believing I would have to leave and she turned around and offered me a relationship I'd been dying to have with her for years. It was as if the slate was wiped clean for her, but I couldn't just snap out of everything and be happy.

I had believed the offer of a relationship meant I could finally process all of my insecurities, fears, concerns, and wounds with her, but I've been met with resistance and anger when I bring anything negative up. I'm told I am holding back our relationship from moving forward. Then, last month, I discovered that a little over a year ago, she had again been in contact with one of her "exes" she had previously cheated on me with. She claims nothing physical happened and that the emails I found were simply her getting closure with her ex. Nothing about these emails sounded like closure. They were about her undying feelings for her ex. Her dreams of going on vacation and spending time with her ex. She adamently defends they were her desperate attempt for her ex to tend to unresolved pain left in her from their relationship.

Now, I've got commitment from her and her begging me to believe her that she's been faithful and is dedicated to our relationship. The problem is...I believe nothing she says. I feel like I've been told what a horrible person and partner I am for years and she finally decided I was good enough for her. I feel slighted. I feel like a fool. But, most of all....I feel completely alone trying to sort everything out. I never feel any empathy from her. Every blue moon it's there, but if I'm not careful with my wording or emotion, she can quickly turn on me and end up hurting me more than I originally was.

I feel so broken and so weak for allowing someone to hurt me as much as I've allowed her to. When someone asks if I still love her...I don't even believe my answer. If I say "yes" or "no"...neither are absolutely true. I feel completely hollow and yet I'm dying for love. I feel like I deserve for her to plead for forgiveness and work in every way possible to assure me that I can count on her, to prove to me, to promise to prove to me, in every way she can, that she will never betray or attack me again. Those promises and assurances have not come, even though I do believe she's trying on some level to make things better.

So... here I am. I'm not even 30 years old, and I feel like I've experienced more pain and grieved deeper in a few years than anyone should have to in a lifetime. Some people tell me it shouldn't matter if I find out she's BPD or NPD... that I just need to leave... but for me... the answers DO matter. Not only am I dealing with the pain of potentially leaving and losing the greatest love I have ever given and felt for someone... but I'm left with scars that make no sense to me. I feel like she and I live in two completely different realities and with someone so determined to claim hers is "right"... it has made me feel completely crazy.

Thank you for any advice you might be able to offer.


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:

Signs of emotional abuse and narcissism in a relationship


Dear Friend,

Thank you for your email. I know exactly how you are feeling. I experienced an emotionally devastating relationship with a person who I could not trust and who had strong narcissistic tendencies. Many of the feelings you describe in your story are the very same feelings I went through as I was struggling to make my relationship work. What I did not understand at that time was that it is impossible to make the relationship work if only one person is putting an effort into it.

You said that your girlfriend is unable to discuss about problems in a constructive way but instead gets angry and attacks you. My narcissistic ex partner behaved in exactly similar manner. He refused to allow me to process the negative things that had happened in our relationship by talking with me about them. As you and I both have come to know, it is not possible to get over hurtful events unless one is allowed to process them for as long as one needs. This does not mean one should talk about negative matters every single day, however it often is necessary to talk about problematic issues more than just once. Unfortunately narcissistic and abusive persons are often incapable of empathy and hence are unable to allow their partner to process problematic matters as long as it is needed, often because these problematic matters are related to misbehavior of the narcissistic partner and hence it is unpleasant for a narcissist to discuss them.

Dear Friend, you have a very good insight of your situation, you seem to know exactly where you stand. You no longer have illusions that this woman is capable of changing her ways completely and suddenly turn into that perfect companion you always wished she could be. There is a limit for lies, and after this limit is reached it is very difficult if not completely impossible to restore the trust. In a way this is a form of self protection mechanism, since it is likely that a person who has been dishonest several times before will continue to be dishonest also in the future. Past behavior is a good indicator of the future behavior. Of course it is possible for people to change, however if one has promised to change several times and yet continues to misbehave it is not unwise to start to think the change will never happen.Your reactions and feelings in this situation are perfectly normal.

You said you have slowly become depressed due to the problems in your relationship and due to the behavior of your girlfriend. You said you are no longer able to express your feelings openly to your girlfriend because of the fear that you might trigger her anger. This is not the way a relationship should be, we should be able to feel secure and accepted in our relationship even if we do not always agree on things. There is no such thing as problem free relationship. The key thing is how people handle problems when they occur.

One reason why it is so difficult to be in a relationship with a narcissistic person is because narcissists are often unable to discuss problems without losing their temper and starting to accuse the other person of everything that is not going well. If a narcissistic person is in a relationship with a person who is kind and empathetic, a narcissist is often able to twist the conversation in such a way that the empathetic person finds himself or herself apologizing to a narcissist, even though the narcissist was the one who has done wrong to begin with. A narcissist has no problems taking advantage of the kindness of his or her partner. Unfortunately this kind of a treatment can easily make a kind and caring person depressed, just as you said has happened to you.

You said you wish to know if your girlfriend has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or possibly a bipolar disorder (BPD). It is not possibly to know this without actually knowing the person. However, it seems clear based on your story that your girlfriend is incapable of experiencing empathy. You also said she has attacked you verbally many times. She also seems to want to keep several options open for her and enjoys the knowledge that many people desire her (the fact that she was intimate with others while misleading you by saying you were in a monogamous relationship strongly suggests this). It seems clear that your girlfriend has strong narcissistic tendencies, even if she was not a full blown narcissist. Based on your story, one thing is clear without a shadow of a doubt: Your girlfriend is an abuser. She has been abusing you emotionally when she has verbally attacked you, eventually making you depressed.

I know exactly what you mean when you described how you feel now, after being in this roller coaster for 7 years. Dear Friend, I see only two options. One option is that you stay in your relationship and try to restore the trust. This will be very difficult, but if your girlfriend can be supportive, it is possible to regain the trust with time. You cannot, however, do this alone. You need the help of a professional counselor. If your girlfriend is truly committed to this relationship, she should be willing to do whatever it takes to help you to get over the painful memories. She needs to understand that one cannot simply forget about the past and move on. A counselor can help her to understand this. If she understands you better, she might be able to be more supportive of you.

Second option is to end this relationship. I strongly encourage you to consider this option. Your girlfriend has shown you her true personality: She is an abuser, and possibly a narcissist. Such people can rarely change (although it is possible). If you remain with her, you will slowly become more and more depressed. I know how difficult it is to walk out. I have been in exactly same place where you are now. Trust me when I say this: If you leave her, it will be hard at first, but after some time has passed you start to feel better, and eventually you realize how destructive this relationship was, how unpleasant that person actually was, how badly she treated you and how lucky you are that you are no longer in the middle of that situation.

I am telling you this as someone who has traveled down that path and who is now standing on the other shore, safe, feeling happier than I ever felt with my narcissistic ex partner. Nothing in this world could make me return to that relationship. But that is not how I felt when I was together with him. At that time I felt exactly as you feel now, I felt I can never love another person the way I loved him. Now I know that thought was just an illusion. Please remember that you are a wonderful, unique kind human being who deserves so much better than what your girlfriend is able to offer you. You deserve to be happy!

Thank you for sharing your story. By doing so you are helping others who are struggling with similar problems. It helps to know we are not alone.

Warm hug,



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 (2)
  • Karen

    I would say the one thing I feel good about is not meeting him again and just ending it. One more meeting would have been one more attack on my self esteem, on the way I felt about myself. There is no processing with a narcissist, I have found that out because my boyfriend never took responsibility for anything. It was always my fault, and to this day I am still trying to figure out what I did and what exactly he wanted me to do different because it kept changing. One day I should act like this, the next time I see him he wanted something different. What was okay one week was not okay the next week and so on. So, some days i just want to call him so bad and apologize for breaking up and say I am sorry for that, and well I know that if I do it will end up in me crying and going back down hill. I think I have made some progress but somedays it is just so hard and my emotions feel so raw sometimes. He was a cold, non empathetic kind of person. My opinions were never heard and his were always the right ones. I wouldn't expect him to be any different if we met again and we had to deal with each others emotions--or should I say he had to deal with my emotions about the way he treated me. :angry-red: It would end in disaster so there is no closure and I think I realize that now. Even if we got back together it would end the same, only I think my self esteem would decrease even more. Now I am having to remember all the good things about myself instead of just knowing them like I did before the abuse.
  • CHris  - Been there. Got the scars.
    I could have written this word for word for my situation but my ex left me for another man befpre giving us the chance to have that conversation. I offered counselling. I offered to sit and talk. She does not understand that it was impossible to move on in our relationship without being given the chance once to voice my hurt of being lied to.

    I have no choice but to move on but i understand hoe hard that is when the person you loved begged for forgiveness but couldnt take a second out of theor life to listen to you express the hurt of being lied to. As you say one cant just move on and forget about the past. You need to process those things and i was never given the chance to do so.

    So i know exactly how you feel
Write comment
Your Contact Details:
Please input the anti-spam code that you can read in the image.
Copyright © 2018 Peer2Peer Support. All Rights Reserved.