Living with a narcissist

How to cope?

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08/02/2013 at 08:33

I understand that this is not running related but I am hoping there is some experience out here of people coping when in a relationship with someone showing narcissistic traits? Running has been an escape but unfortunately only a temporary one.

Any information / advice would be greatly appreciated but do understand not at all running related.


08/02/2013 at 08:42

Hi JK,

I do know a nasty, migogynist narcissist who kind of did suck me in a bit and with whom I got far more involved than I should although we never had a relationship. It took a while to figure out what his problem was but once I did I pretty much stopped all contact. 

Sorry if that's not much help but once I'd read up on the condition it all fell into place and I realised why he was as sick as he was - and he really was sick, totally dysfunctional to the point of being f*cking creepy.

Basically I bailed out. Sorry if that's not much help but I was normal, he wasn't. That was the bottom line and there was no way of working around it.

But feel free to PM me if you feel you need to.

Edited: 08/02/2013 at 08:43
08/02/2013 at 08:59

if you're talking about narcissisting personality disorder, then the only responses are to tolerate it, or leave.  Obviously toleration is only if there is some extreme reason why leaving isn't an option.

Reason is, it's pretty much untreatable.  Because the condition is such that they will never accept that they have a problem that needs treating.  It's always everybody else.

08/02/2013 at 09:45
Not been in a relationship with someone like that but I do know people who for a short time were friends. Short as in long enough to realise your relationship with them will always be geared towards them and how they feel. You end up giving all the time and they take and take and give very little in return. Best advice is to steer clear or you will end up being used.
08/02/2013 at 09:48

I'd hate myself if I became narcissistic.

08/02/2013 at 09:52
I remember Carly Simon sang a song about me.
08/02/2013 at 10:21

Thanks everyone for your replies, much appreciated. My situation is complicated as I have 2 young children and have put up with the behaviour (told I am useless, incompetent, not earning enough money etc.) for the kids - also I believed what she was saying to me so I had no confidence to think any different. Now it has got to the stage I cant spend anytime with the kids, I am told to stay out of the house until very late to do productive things and at the weekend I am to work a second job while she takes the kids away to do their hobbies. Since reading about narcissism it has all fallen into place and I realise it is not me (yes I have my faults as we all do). My concern is for the kids, they have been exposed to this kind of "love" and I hope they don't grow up in the same way. Thanks again.

08/02/2013 at 10:31

She can tell you whatever she likes but why do you take any notice ?   

08/02/2013 at 10:49

Hi Popsider - good point and one that has been made by those closest to me. I listened at first because I was made to feel guilty etc. It sounds crazy but it is a kind of mental abuse and unless you are going through it it is hard to understand the hold / control they can have on you. You get ground down until you feel like nothing and will then believe anything. You get emotionally blackmailed and the rut get's deeper. I stand up to it now and feel better for it, her behaviour does not change but I can deal with it better, now I have in mind the fact I am leaving is making it a bit easier. I just have worries for the kids and how much harm could have been caused. Sorry for rambled reply.

08/02/2013 at 10:50
popsider wrote (see)

She can tell you whatever she likes but why do you take any notice ?   

people always take notice of those whom opinion they value. this is someone who has shared a life with, loves, trusted, has started a family with , it hurts when people this close to you can make you feel so useless , undermined and worthless. 

its easy i guess for others to say walk away, leave, and yes it can be damaging to self esteem , my own advice would be  to leave, find someone who values you etc, but you do have  a family and i assume (?) the relationship wasn't always this way? something changed, confront her, your feelings , say how it makes you feel, say you will not accept living this way anymore (or you will be miserable  and for what?) don't ignore it, offer to resolve things, work out at strategy together

if it fails then you know ou have tried for yourself and your family and then move on

are you sure its not her own insecurties casuing problems, people tend to get needy and demanding when they feel like they are failing and letting others down, they need to control others to feel they are accomplishing something and in charge 

gosh it sounds easy when you type it hey? hope you have some support from friends or family 

08/02/2013 at 10:53

I'm sorry for your situation JK12, once you have children it makes it much more complicated.

I have to say that your partner's behaviour does not necessarily sound like narcissism as it seems to be about more about "the kids" than about "her" but only you know. If, as you say, you have read something about narcissism which has made this behaviour fall into place then I'm not going to say it isn't. She does sound as if she's behaving as if she "owns" them which would make sense.

You are right to be concerned for your children. If she is a narcissist  then she'll try to turn their affections into a competion between the two of you. Mummy is good because she did X. Daddy is bad because he didn't do Y. 

They have every right to love their mum but they also need to know what she is. So maybe, when they are older, you and try to explain it to them so they can learn how to cope with it.




08/02/2013 at 13:10

Xcurlytwigx and Screamapillar - thank you. I think there are definite indications of narcissism, she always refers to the kids as "hers" rather than ours, she puts me down in front of the kids, calls me names in front of them, she makes sure I cannot do anything fun with them whereas she takes them everywhere so they associate fun / treats with her. When I have told her before about me leaving she has said I am being selfish and must continue doing what I am doing for the kids (even though she does not allow me any relationship with them), in her eyes she is only doing it for the kids but I see that she has got them doing everything she enjoys. I am made to feel guilty, I refused to get a 3rd job and that has been turned against me, I work a full time job during the week, part-time at the weekend and am expected to do the housework and still it is not enough. I cannot continue much more in this vain.

08/02/2013 at 13:10

JK12, sorry to hear of the situation. it's always hard when there are children involved too.

Was she like this before you got married, or has her behaviour got worse?

I'm going through similar (though no children yet) & totally understand where you're coming from. I understand the feeling of being made to feel useless and worthless. Think it's important to recognise, it's not our fault. They are the ones with the problem and the low self esteem and they use emotional bullying to make themselves feel better.

will message you when I get home from work...

08/02/2013 at 13:26

JK12 - have sent you a message.

NW4 - if only life was that simple!

08/02/2013 at 13:37

Yes, those do sound like indications of narcissism. Apart from anything else it is easier to coerce children into "playing the game" i.e. giving them narcissistic supply than it would be with an adult.

However, I think LTS aks a pertienent question in asking if your partner has always been like this because if she has, and she is, indeed, a narcissist then she is never going to change. You can never make her happy - no-one can, not even your children who will be "betraying" her the minute they start thinking for themselves and daring to question the view of her as centre of the universe.

The question is how do you and your children survive with your sanity intact? Do you mind me asking how old your children are? Is this situation something you can "wait out" until they are old enough to understand what's going on?


Edited: 08/02/2013 at 13:38
08/02/2013 at 14:23

LTS - I will check mail shortly - thank you.

Screamapillar - when I look back things were OK at the beginning but it was stress free and on her terms, 3 months into the marriage a few things happened that when I look back were real indicators of what was to come. Kids are 7 and 6 and I have tried to stay as a support for them but I cannot get close, because I nearly left a few months ago it is even harder to get close to them to offer support. They shouldnt see this dynamic as how relationships should be otherwise they themselves will think it is the norm, I have stayed put for the last 5-6 years because, maybe being selfish, I know that I will at least see them most days, if I leave I will have a huge battle to get contact especially with what is happening at the moment. I owe it to them and to myself to be brave and make the move and if I have faith in the justice system I will get proper time with my kids which is worth fighting for, if I stay the situation will not change.

08/02/2013 at 15:10

Gosh, difficult situation for you. I hope that whatever you decide to do it will work out for the best. 

08/02/2013 at 15:50

Nice input Nick you do realise it took more effort to post your comment than to just move on to another forum? Fascinating given that narcissm is the subject maybe a bit close to home for you?


08/02/2013 at 17:13

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, I put this post on so you invite all comments. I do have a lot to answer for in terms of being too passive and letting things progress in the quest for a quiet life, the issue i have is that I have now stood up to the "bully" and it hasnt made things easier or much different, in a way she has closed ranks even more and the kids are under her protection. She tells me I play a good victim, I am not looking for sympathy etc. but no one deserves to be told off for smiling at their 6 year old daughter who looked absolutely beautiful going to school and 2 mins before that my 7 year old stopped talking to me as he was scared of what mummy would say. It still brings a tear to my eye and I only wish I could have some normality but it is not easy. Thanks for all the comments / advice.  

08/02/2013 at 18:10
I wish people will stop criticising people for putting up relevant comments. Different points of view are far more useful than saccharin comments offered by some. Get a life IrishEyes
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