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Want to spot a narcissist? Just ask one.

So this psychological study popped up in my feed recently. Researchers at Ohio State tried to simplify the Narcissist Personality Inventory test. You know that test? Where you go out in the wild and capture narcissists in butterfly nets and coerce them into lengthy, controlled psychological studies?

Chumps are always admonished not to diagnose the narcs in our lives because we aren’t professionals with butterfly nets and peer-reviewed test questions. But now, you’ll be happy to learn, there is a work-around!

It’s call the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS).

Want to avoid these freaks? ASK them if they’re narcissistic! Chances are likely that they’ll tell you. Because they think their narcissism (ALL THE KIBBLES FOR ME) is awesome. And when you’re awesome, why wouldn’t you say so? (You there without KIBBLES. LOSER! BEHOLD MY FABULOUS SUPPLY OF EGO CHOW!)

Yes, really, it comes down to a single question. Science Daily reports:

In a series of 11 experiments involving more than 2,200 people of all ages, the researchers found they could reliably identify narcissistic people by asking them this exact question (including the note):

To what extent do you agree with this statement: “I am a narcissist.” (Note: The word “narcissist” means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.)

Participants rated themselves on a scale of 1 (not very true of me) to 7 (very true of me).

Results showed that people’s answer to this question lined up very closely with several other validated measures of narcissism, including the widely used Narcissistic Personality Inventory.

This makes a lot of sense when you think about it. It is Good To Be King/Queen. Entitlement feels terrific, so long as you can suppress empathy or have none at all (sociopaths). Lack of empathy being the hallmark of the Cluster B personality disorders. It stands to reason that these freaks are dumb enough to reveal themselves, because they are not ashamed of being assholes. What we deem “asshole” they read as “superior.”

Here’s a random sample of one. My cheater freak said in marriage counseling post D-Day — and I quote:

“I love being a narcissist!”

I was agog, and the therapist yelled at me “ARE YOU LISTENING TO THIS? THIS IS WHO HE IS.

Meanwhile, he just sat there with a smirk. When pressed on this stunning admission, he said that yeah, on the whole he thought he was a pretty terrific person (“a great catch”) who had made a single mistake.

How the hell I spackled over that… (Well, I didn’t totally. Instead I became embroiled in a death match to force him to ADMIT that being narcissist made him a BAD PERSON. And didn’t he see how this was harming me and everyone around him and….insert head-in-the-blender… WhirrrRRRrrrr!)

An interesting postscript — in therapy he eventually disavowed that statement. He picked up the Not So Subtle clues that people don’t like narcissists. So he learned better therapy speak. But in that unvarnished, King of the World moment? Yeah, he copped to it.

So I wonder about those other narcs out there — what’s the impression management to unvarnished moment ratio? Will they cop to it, or should we all just be better listeners, chumps?

At the end of the day, though, it doesn’t really matter what flavor of narcissist they are, or getting them to admit it. What matters is you, and what you’ll tolerate. Whether it’s one test question, or 40 questions, that’s all still untangling their ugly little skeins.

If it walks like a narc, bleats like a narc, obfuscates like a narc… trust it’s a narc. And leave the butterfly nets to those with the funded research studies.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I’m afraid my sociopath/narc STBX would never admit it. He’s classic lack of empathy, no guilt, no remorse, takes no responsibility, takes sick pleasure in duping, low startle response (I’d noticed this way before realising its give-away psychopath), leaves emotional devastation in his wake but would NEVER admit it…..ever.

    • Natalia,
      Like your STBX, my STBX will never admit to being a narcissist. I told him that he is a narcissist, and he was offended. After supposedly “reading up” on narcissism, he informed me that there is no way he fits within that category. He also told me that he is not a pathological liar, which, of course, he most definitely is. I believe that his delusional, disordered way of thinking prevents him from seeing himself in anything other than an extremely positive light. Scary.

            • I just wrote a post below before I read yours, Lady B. Mine did the exact same thing. They are all so textbook!

            • Mine also said the same thing. He even read books on it! Crazy! He in no way, shape or form thinks that he is the narc. He is pretty perfect in his mind and will let you know it!

              Isn’t it funny how they are all the same? Not original at all.

              • OMG!!! I got ‘you think too much’ too!

                And he had a particularly annoying and incomprehensible retort that it was me ‘doing mental masturbation’. What the eff does that mean????? Coming from one who physically masturbated like clockwork daily, it was truly irksome.

                What a dope POP was…. (POP—Predatory Opportunistic Parasite)

              • I was always told that I think to much!! That was our problem my thinking!!! Not his 9 year affair….

          • My ex MIL said exactly the same thing to me…hereditary? My XW never apologized for anything and explained it away as telling me “I didn’t think you cared”.

        • THIS^^

          NPD or Borderlines are typically the type of people who own up to their problems and seek help and you know… stop using people.

      • Gotta love when sociopaths insist that they are NOT x-title, despite DOING the things that make one x-title.

        “I am NOT a thief!”

        But um, you take great pleasure in the thrill of tucking small items you plan to steal into a large item you plan to buy. You talk about it, afterwards, in terms of how stupid the cashier was to not check the pockets of your new winter coat. That’s what thieves do.

        “Well, it’s not like it’s my CAREER or anything. I didn’t SET OUT to steal! It’s not like I went in there with the intention of stealing those gloves and Smartwool socks… I just didn’t have a cart and tucked them inside and then I didn’t want to look like a thief, when I realized that the total was less than it should have been…”

        Yeah- yeah you did, you big, Self-Spackling THIEF.

        I was so judgey.

        • Holy Fuck!!! I remember when mine screamed at me, “I’m not a cheater!!!” RAOFLMFA!!!! This was after the affair came to light….uh, the 2nd one that I knew of…
          All about their self-serving image…smh

          • Mine said, “I am not cheating on you. I have moved on. If we could get divorced in 24 hours, you wouldn’t call it cheating. You use whatever terms you like to make yourself look better and me look bad.” This was just a few days after I found out he had been cheating on me for the previous 2 months (that I knew of) and just a month after our baby was born.

          • They all think they are the exception. The term in AA is terminally unique.
            Like hiring a prostitute for a week in Thailand is ok because you know … he treated her real well and she cried when he left.!!,, okkkk

            • Mine called from Burning Man to tell me he was going to a kink party and there would be “anal and genital stimulation.” He claims it wasn’t cheating because of 1) honesty and 2) not having intercourse. He insisted this gave him the credibility to demand an open marriage so he could further explore the world of kink without the constraints of monogamy. Meanwhile he thought he would get to keep ‘all the things’: My income (which was 3 times higher than his), the respect of his peers and family, 11 years of marriage, one house, two kids, and a dog. Nope. This was Dday 3 and I had gotten him to sign a post-nup 3 years earlier. Ex was a lawyer and never even read what I gave him to sign. Now it’s One year later, divorce is final, and he is still living in his parent’s basement trying to hide his double life from them, all in the name of living his “authentic self.” I recently told my therapist I thought he was a covert narc. She replied, “where do you get the covert from?”

              • Actually laughed so hard I snorted (for me … A definite sign of a good chuckle) when I read your therapist’s response and got to the word ‘covert’. That’s a keeper!

      • Right? Narcs who know they’re narcs and readily admit it….well, that’s easy to avoid…(Sometimes…blue eyes and lies anyone?)
        But the covert victim narc who is entirely clueless, well that’s just a different kind of banging your head against the brick wall….

    • Same here. He knows what traits are “bad” so would never admit to having them. Funny before learning what npd is… I said to him years ago that he had no empathy. He said stop using all your big words and be a normal person. You’re speaking another language.
      I took a test in 2015 answering as he would. It was actually well written and you really couldnt tell what the “bad” answers were. If he answered honestly he would get 100%. A one question test? No way. He would say what’s a Narcissist bc the word is too big. Then get scared it’s a bad thing and just deny it.

        • Same here. I would like to see how they worded that.

          Yet I am afraid it would just start me down another skein to untangle.

          Notice those bastards don’t twist their brains into pretzels about this shut? Grrrr!

          • I think it was an online version of the Hare test. I’m trying to find the one I took for him. I remember there were a few questions that he might lie about because he’d know it’s “bad”… But for the most part they worded it in a way that it was hard to know how the answer would be scored. I never had him take it. Too risky. Its better they dont know that we know. I thought of 3 examples for each answer before choosing so I felt I was choosing an accurate answer.
            Everytime a therapist told me he’s a narcissistic sociopath I switched therapists. I hunted for someone for years that would blame me and tell me to try harder. (I know… I’m a fool) Well it never happened. All of them told me im in serious danger. All of them said he’s not allowed in the building. I still have trouble fully accepting it and I have no clue why. It’s like I can’t fully grasp it which bothers me.

            • What Ring of Hell is This, That’s called “cognitive dissonance” when you have two different beliefs — he’s a narcissistic sociopath and/or the husband you thought he was (I’m not sure you actually think of him!). It took me a long time to accept my ex is really not the man I thought he was. Mine might be a narcopath too, however I don’t have the gift of him being diagnosed by a mental health professional. It takes awhile for you heart and mind to accept the truth, so don’t let it bother you. Keep coming back to Chump Lady. Reading everyone’s stories and having lots of “me too!” and “a-ha” moments while reading drove home the truth to my heart and mind. 🙂

      • WROHIS,
        I think it is because YOU are the exact opposite of a narcacisst-sociopath.
        Don’t let it trouble you, it’s just taking you longer.
        He lost a gem in you!

    • Can someone explain why psychos don’t have a startle response?
      I noticed this with him, a very loud noise scared the crap out of me. I jump a mile, he didn’t even flinch, struck me as hell weird.
      Another one is an empathy yawn, when you yawn often other people will, narcs won’t.

      • I’d love to know as well. I wonder if it’s because of the running dialogue in their heads where they are constantly asserting their superiority and rationalizing their past moves and future choices. Maybe they don’t see or hear these noises because of the preoccupation with this inner dialogue. My guess, anyway. The cheating ex in my life always seemed detached and living in his own mind. Well, when it came to family. He could be engaging as all heck with strangers and coworkers when deemed necessary.

        • Lady B & Finding Bliss,

          I don’t profess to be a psychologist but I did consult one at one stage to try to stop myself from going crazy. I think the low startle response is due how their brains are wired. It was explained to me as the same impaired emotional response which enables a lack of empathy and ability to lie with no conscience. I understand this is why they pass lie detector tests as their bodies don’t display the same emotional responses that would betray most of us.

          We once went to the theatre to see Woman in Black. Everyone in the audience was screaming and laughing with hearts racing when the black cloaked ghost character suddenly appeared walking through the dimly lit aisles in the audience. My husband actually had an aisle seat and she floated right past him. He didn’t even flinch.

          • Mine had a big head too. I mean the actual circumference was really large. He had trouble finding hats that fit. Makes me shudder when I think about what was going on in that oversized head.

            • Geode 😀 Thank you for the belly laugh! 🙂

              satan has a huge head too! Hats are also a problem for him 😀

              Makes me shudder when I think about what was going on in that oversized head.

              This is hilarious! I was always wondering the same thing! 😀

            • The Traitor has a huge head!!! Always had so much trouble finding hats big enough, couldn’t find a bike helmet large enough to fit him. He would buy the largest size hat he could find then have to wet it and stretch it by fitting it over a 9 litre bucket and wait until it dried out to the new supersize. So I called him buckethead…

              • This made me laugh for the first time in many months! Mine had a massive head too, our long time friends would joke that he needs to stand back a few metres in group photos for his head to look the same size.

          • Thanks Nat
            Makes sense, he comes across as very calm all the time. Calm or angry. Not the full range of emotions most people have. I always had difficulty reading him, which is unlike me as I am extremely intuitive. I know why now. Cute animals and the like, nothing no going gaga.

        • This >>”The cheating ex in my life always seemed detached and living in his own mind. Well, when it came to family. He could be engaging as all heck with strangers and coworkers when deemed necessary.”

          My ex could detach in one second. Hot to cold overnight. And with our family he always seemed detached, but then could engage on family vacations. On one of our big family vacations just a few years ago, I watched him *in action* with a woman that he seemed attracted to. I was apprehensive about the excursion he wanted to take the family on (repelling down cliffs/mountains in Utah with our young children), but he sold me on the idea. He said it would be a “great family time that we would spend together doing new things.” What it turned out to be? The narc cheater attached himself to a German woman in her 20’s. Even before we went on the excursion, he was so into her. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! He brought up his chair right next to her and was hanging on her every word. He even said to me, “Martha! She said we need to go to xyz! Look at this pictures!!” Now xyz was a place that I thought would be fun to take the kids, but when we were at home he said it “looked boring”. But when the German woman said it was wonderful, then it was wonderful!! I watched him the entire day show off for everyone and he’s not normally like that. He was the first to volunteer to repel. All eyes on the cheater who was so confident! He spent most of the ten hour day with the German woman, other people on the tour, taking pictures of everyone else the the tour and both of my kids said to me at different times, “Why is dad with those other people?” So it wasn’t me. Our kids saw it too and it wasn’t the first time he ditched his family for work and ho-workers (he spent most of his time at the Macy’s T-Day parade texting “friends”). The night that he spent the majority of the day with total strangers and not his family that he said he loved, we got into a fight about what happened that day. Of course he turned it all on me and said I was imaging things and turning things around. I barely slept that night and ended up walking the dark streets of a city that I had really no clue where I was, and I remember saying to myself, “I cannot do this anymore. It was the one and only time I said to myself that I wanted to divorce him.” But them I spackled the next day and put on a brave face and kept dancing to try to make him love me and love our kids. Men who cheat on their wife do not love their kids. They only love themselves.

          • This is why daughter hates Schmoopie so much. It has nothing to do with what was done to me (well, maybe a little). She sees ex giving stranger woman all of the love, admiration and attention she always craved from her dad and never received. And yet ex doesn’t understand all of the hostility towards Schmoopie. He thinks it is just me telling everybody bad things about her.

          • Huh… mine would often find people (strangers) he would connect to if we were on trips/vacations… he would get all hyper and talk to them excitedly about random stupid shit, I would feel as if I didnt exist anymore even if I would be sitting/standing right next to him… usually it would be buddies though… like men/friends (sometimes creepy) he would/could drink/hang with potentially kinda thing… I would feel so upset and lonely and invisible… even on our honeymoon he did this once andbobe trip to the Amazon he spent 80% of the time talking/hanging with the guides…

            Dday was when I was pregnant and havent seen him since… I wonder if he would have done it around our daughter too, like you described with your kids.

            • And I too wandered/drove through streets at night in despair over this… even in venemous snake areas 😮

          • Martha,
            Your words are always so wise!
            Men who cheat, they certainly don’t think of their wives, and kids. Hmmm, would that be the kids that you wanted, (meaning me), because ” they were never in his plan”.
            Chumps, we can take the pain ourselves, but our children!That is a whole different story.
            Makes me angry all over again.
            Don’t fuck with my children. They didn’t bargain for this.

            ((((HugsNurseMartha)))

      • OMG- not yawning, so true! I never picked up on that before! My STBXH would always smile, clap or nod his head in agreement if ever anything came up on tv about being a narc. He has absolutely no idea of the emotional and mental devastation he has caused to me and our now grown up children. Still awaiting decree absolute, hopefully before Xmas. Me and daughter finally moved out 7 weeks ago, it’s like we are new people!
        And in that 7 weeks narc has made zero contact with daughter – not even a text to ask if she is ok or needs anything – but has managed to call me 4 times over money. He is a disgrace as a father and as a human. I’m here picking up my daughters and my pieces.
        I have got a name for him:
        Completely Unfaithful Narcissistic Twat.
        Oh look, an anacronym! How did that happen…….!

        • Brilliant acronym, Mally!

          But you’re still thinking a bit chumpishly; ‘he has absolutely no idea of the devastation …’.

          Of course he KNOWS. He’s not stupid. He DOESN’T CARE.

          Just trying to save you the veeeerrrrryyyyy long time it took me to figure this out about my narc cheater ex.

          • Actually, he doesn’t know that I know about his secret double life – his secret sex life. I had enough on him for emotional and mental abuse to divorce and didn’t discover what he’d been up to unto a few weeks after id filed when I accidentally discovered the 250 sex tapes he’d filmed of himself with all manner of people, and found out he organised swingers parties in the local Travelodge, streams this live to the web and advertised himself as a rent boy on sex sites. By the time I discovered all this he had already said he wasn’t going to challenge the divorce and me and my lawyer kept the info as back up in case we needed leverage fir a good deal. Have not had to use it.
            I have now known about his secret sex life, it is prolific, he is priapic, for 10 months and once the decree absolute is through and he’s coughed up money due to me, which wont be untill next May – its all listed in the financial agreement – then I’m going to let him know what I know. I’m probably doing a PowerPoint! I also recorded every conversation we had in the final 16 months of living with him ( took me several months to figure out if I was staying or going- so fucking obvious now) including recordings where he claims he has always been ‘loyal and committed to our relationship”!!! So gonna splice those snippets of his own voice onto PowerPoint alongside photos of where he’s been meeting up with hookers ( tracked him on his phone!!!) with heading ” who lives in a house like this?”
            He is such a dumb ass he used his own email address as his user name on sex sites so I found him advertising himself on several!

      • LadyB – uncanny. X also could not be startled. So weird. I would do the same thing, but you couldn’t come around a corner and scare him. Impossible. X could also turn the empathy yawn on and off. Sometimes he would do the yawn to be funny, most other times, no. The man had 0 in the empathy department.

        • Mine had zero protective instinct. A few times I had to step up and physically defend my family from a threat, he’s a coward. The last time was when someone was in our backyard. I heard them scrabbling over the fence at night. He made no attempt to go and check it out. I went to see. I’m fierce like that! Sorry but men should be protective, it was at that point that I realised if we ever had a break in, he would do nothing to fight them!
          He didn’t run away he just had no primal response it was fucking weird and the other time some crazy dude came running at our car he just sat there with the window rolled down, the guy had a baseball bat and my kids were in the car, freaking out. Luckily I had the wheel and stepped on the gas but Jesus what a fucking idiot, put the fucking window up.
          Yes something missing upstairs for sure or fucked up for alcohol and drug abuse in his 20s.

          • He would first mess up, then try to pretend nothing was happening. When the bailiffs came to the door I hadn’t a clue he’d remortgaged the house and maxed out credit cards I didn’t know existed to spend on the donkey f*ck. He let me go answer the door and hid behind the Sofa.

            I made arrangements with them that he claimed were up to date but didn’t honour and he skipped town just before they returned, leaving me to face them alone again with two under-fives.

            • What a fucker !
              Mine racked up debt on c card, not in joint name thank god.
              He once insisted we purchase a water feature, it was $1200 on his credit card, fortunately I stopped him. We are not high income and that was just stupid, he kept on and on about it like a spoilt teenager.
              He made noises also about why was the mortgage co signed, didn’t I trust him with it, nope no I did not and have no doubt if he had the ability to he would have borrowed against it.
              They are clueless wing nuts.

          • Omg. Lady b mine was the same way on protective instinct. He had zero and he was a damn cop!! He talked a mean game but when it came down to it I was the one who had to do the protection. He once said he was going outside to “shut that shit down”. Next door neighbor was drag racing up and down street. He went outside and got in his truck and sat there. Then came inside after they stopped and said ” he took care of it”. Wtf?’

    • You just described my ex (low startle response? Wow!! I didn’t know that!) and he would never in a million years say he was a narc. He actually prides himself as being humble and doesn’t need to draw attention to his greatness. However, he’s very covert in getting attention that he needs to fill the black hold that’s inside of himself.

      I read this study too when it came out — newsfeed on Facebook? I read it and said, “No. He’d never answer this way. He might think it, but would never answer yes.” I’ve gotten brief glimpses into what he thinks about himself over the years. Once he said, “Martha. You don’t realize how important I am at my job!!” He later denied ever saying it. Gaslight much? And after D-day he said to me, “I think I have the PERFECT personality to be in a relationship with.” Sure, pathological lying, serial cheating, predatory behavior, gaslighting, Jekyl and Hyde behavior sounds perfect to me! I’m sure he’d deny saying that too!

      And as for the low startle response. I *knew* something wasn’t right with him with they way he acts. Best example was when our daughter was about three years old. We were on the Jersey shore on a family vacation. Our daughter befriended a little girl about her age. They were playing RIGHT BY US and then THEY WEREN’T! I immediately got so afraid and started screaming out our daughters name, running around scanning the area and eventually landed at the life guard station. We were surrounded by thousands of people and a big ocean and our daughter was missing!! What did the narc do? Nothing. Totally cool as a cucumber. Didn’t call out her name. Didn’t seem bothered at all that she was missing!! At the time I thought his response was not normal and then I spackled and told myself he was “being strong for the family.” Just like he told me after he got fired from his job and was unemotional about that too. He said to me, “I was just trying to be strong for you.” However, the day after he got fired from his job, I caught him on the phone CRYING to probably the OW that he had an affair with when I was pregnant. Man, these narcs are such crazy-makers!!!

      • So scary Martha. Its only when you’re able to piece it altogether isn’t it, that things makes sense. Of course by then so much damage and emotional trauma has been caused

        • Unfortunately, that’s true, Natalia. It takes getting out and then connecting all the dots over the years to figure out you were with someone disordered. It’s easy to shoo away something that seems *off* at the time, but when you start to add up all the *off* times, you see it was there all the time and it’s a bit scary to realize you were sharing your life with someone so deceptive and just plain weird at times.

      • My x is like this too, Martha! Not only does he have a low startle response, but in 31 years I never saw him panic about anything. Our kids would be sick, I’d be panicking, he’d be cool and calm. At the time I was so stupid, I was just grateful he could balance out what I saw as my overreaction.

        My son had a mole removed because it looked “suspicious.” I was beside myself for a week until the biopsy results came back. My x didn’t even think about it. He always said not to worry about anything until we knew there was something to worry about. For me, just the possibility of my child having melanoma was a huge thing to worry about. When the biopsy results came back negative, I had been waiting by the phone. I was overcome with relief when I heard the results. My x never even asked what they were, he’d probably forgotten.

        It seemed as if the more anxious I got, the calmer he got, and the more irritated he would get at my anxiety. He eventually told me I needed to see my doctor for medication for my anxiety.

        I’ve been living on my own without him for 3 1/2 years now. Whaddaya know, my anxiety is gone!

        My x would never admit to being a narcissist either, because that is clearly a label with a negative connotation. On the other hand, once he did tell me, “I can move mountains!”

        • A few years ago my STBX got himself embroiled in a court case over a dodgy business deal that I had begged him not to touch that could have resulted in us losing our home – again. I found that he hadn’t even put in a defense and worked day and night for over ten days to have a decent defense to present in court, and ended up having to present the evidence myself! The case was dismissed, but instead of thanking me he smirked and made fun of me saying ‘see all the panic and work for nothing, we won’. Thinking of it still makes me ill.

        • Our youngest was diagnosed with cancer a month after D’day he had no alarm. When I sat with him after the medical team left the room and I told him that he and I were over because I could no longer fight him and help our daughter fight cancer, he did not respond he just sat there.When I then left the room a friend of ours who had come as support said to him your marriage is over, she is done with you and he just calmly responded, No it’s not, she just thinks it is.

          The only emotion he showed following D’Day and our daughters diagnoses was anger shown whenever I did not comply with his entitlment and expectation. If I stood up for myself or insisted on boundries as I had spent our entir marriage doing just to stay sane, he would make it all about my need to control, and that my need for control was abuse towards him. Yes within a month of the diagnoses and two after d’day Ex declared himself the victim and because his cheating was being hidden by our church many believed his claims.

          • Thankful, I hope your child recovers fully from the cancer. (((HUGS))) to you both. And it’s really disgusting when church people believe and support the cheater. That happened to me too. 🙁 I hope you have people that supported you too and if not, hopefully you can find a new church where you are supported.

      • My STBXH informed me, 3 days after he knew I wanted a divorce, that our daughter was ‘your responsibility now’.
        Our daughter is epileptic.
        In the months leading up to us getting outta there (he wanted the house, I didn’t, I know what he’s done in it…) our daughter repeatedly suffered from night time epileptic seizures which included her frequently falling out of bed, banging her head on the side table and bed frames, being bruised all over etc. On no ocassion during those months did he help her a single time.
        On one ocassion, as I was coming out of the bathroom, he came towards me saying ‘ she’s having s fit’ then went past me into the bathroom and shut the door thereby leaving me to cope with her alone.
        He repeatedly ignored her seizures even if she was next to him but would just call me to deal with it. Up until him knowing I was filing for divorce he had always helped when she had a seizure. Apparently my divorcing him means he has dropped all responsibility as a parent – not that he was ever very good at parenting anyway.

        • Mally and Thankful, you poor souls were married to truly evil people. My husband would at least pretend to care about our kids. He had an image to uphold even when it was just me and them looking.

          The hurtful, stupid ones are just narcissists. The evil ones are malignant narcissists, an apt label.

      • Martha mine did the same thing! He was so important you know he was a cop he ruled! Then when he became car 3 in a small university police dept. that’s all I heard, Well they better listen to me I am car 3. ( car 1 was the chief and car 2 was the assistant chief). Whatever dickhead no one cares!!

    • Back in the RIC phase, I asked the DOCTOR if he thought I was bluffing, or if he was really willing to take a chance on losing his family.

      This was due to his desire for another needless credential – only obtainable in another city of course – AND only so we could return to Alaska, which obsessed him. HE liked it there. No one else did.

      (Never mind that we had already in Alaska for 3 years, for him. And never mind that Alaska is where his selfishness was first fully revealed.)

      The DOCTOR said he was “willing to take the chance.” Later – DOCTOR disavowed that statement and said he’d “never say anything like that.”

      But I recall where I was when he said it. I was putting glaze on new drywall in our copper sink bathroom. That means I was LITERALLY spackling.

      Arguable worse, was me believing that narc moment and the later denial, actually meant that men in Mid Life Crises (“MLC”) were just really super confused.

      Now I see, no, not so much confusion on his part. He just didn’t like how he had sounded when he was honest, b/c point in fact, turns out he was quite willing to take a chance on losing the marriage and family.

      And he has lost both. I wish to God I had listened to him when he was honest, however briefly.

      OMG I feel duped and very foolish.

      • FirstWife,
        I wish I had listened to my cheater husband’s initial honesty. On the first DDay (it was the middle of the night, on vacation with my in laws, after being a sleuth and finding the incriminating emails on his phone) I woke him and said “The jig is UP”. Got him to semi-confess to being “friends” with MY friend – the one he had repeatedly told me “I had nothing to worry about. He loved me and only me and would NEVER cheat on me”. Within 20 minutes of him being awakened and stammering his confession, I said with vigor that I was going to Fight For My Family, Fight For Him. He said “What if I told you there was nothing to fight for?” Boom.

        And yes, I glossed over that and said You Don’t Mean That, I’ll Prove It To You. Spackled.
        I would have saved A YEAR of pick me dancing, torture and sheer heartbreak if I had just listened to him the first time.

        • Mine said: What if I don’t want to change? (Staring into space, referring to his abuse in general).
          I squinted and questioned him, so he back-pedaled saying he was just wondering.
          But I was already in the process of leaving and never forgot he said that.

          Few months down the line, he maintained he had already changed enough (to whose liking?) and had no intention of changing anything else, claims he’s not abusive and generally stayed away because apparently a healthy relationship with me is too much trouble.

    • True… i was so shocked at ex fucktards cold calculating behaviour while he shredded documents in front of me a few days before walking out (taking my credit card with him. i spontaneously asked him if he was a psychopath. He unconvincingly said no of course not in a fake wounded way. My biggest clue after that was he wandered about the house exclaiming to himself “im awesome” …think that qualifies as disordered. …

    • “Low startle response” … what about NO startle response !! Myself and DD went to see him at his office with no prior warning and after almost a year and half of no contact. He came out of a lift and barely raised his eye brows when he saw us. 18 MONTHS of not seeing his own daughter and nothing on his facial expression . He merely said ‘whats going on’. Totally wild. That blew me away.
      Another thing ive noticed. Anyone see their narc yawn? I do not believe he ever yawned.

  • Not to be confused with telling someone they’re a narcissist. In that case they’ll deny it and insist instead that you’re a narc/compulsive liar/whatever they’re projecting

    • Fsti that’s right! And then after that they will never admit it when asked a one-question Narc test, either.

    • Fstl,
      Spot on! I found a search on my avoidant narc’s browser for How to tell if You’re Being Manipulated after I sent him packing post Dday3. That’s right: he’s the victim. Gotta love ’em…nah, leave ’em!

      • I dont know what it is with them. Mine actually told me I was abusive and I became so afraid to say anything that would “hurt” him that I stopped questioning… Apparently my calling every afternoon after work to ask what he wanted for dinner researching and learning how to make special meals and never ever asking again who he was on the phone with for hours at 2 in the morning was abusive. Who knew?

        • Ceri, I did the same. Called after work inquiring when to expect him for dinner, researched and created culinary masterpieces. Only to be yelled at “Non of your business! You don’t have the right to be asking such questions! Stop controlling all aspects of my life, and now work!”

          No, I don’t miss that at all! And it’s really disturbing that I thought my life with him (walking on eggshells and feeling anxiety all the time) was somehow better than my pre-married life (surrounded with loving family and friends in another country). Why…

  • Mine repeated endlessly that he was a narcissist. He boasted that he was. He was the King – this is how his mom used to call him when he was growing up “My King”. Statements like ” I am the lion of this jungle and whoever wants to be around me has to abide by my rules” meant to pick me dance for wifey and OW’s. And we all did. Now that I removed myself from his jungle and on the way to divorce, it’s me who is the narcissist and egoistic and thinks only about myself. You can’t win.

    • Those words sounds eerily like how the Las Vegas shooter was described by his brother! Seriously, he was “the king” and demanded that he be treated as such. He definitely was a malignant narcissist/psychopath, making claims about his superiority to mere mortals. I think most people underestimate the dangerousness of such people (obviously), but for those of us who have ever dealt with one, we know to stay far, far away.

      • Violet, this got me scared. StBX is expected in Canada this week “to discuss our issues and reach a mutually satisfying agreement” – his words. He has been actively ignoring my lawyer to react to the separation agreement and has put ridiculous conditions forward. The agreement which my lawyer prepared stipulates a shared custody with our son living primarily with me since STBX lives in another country. I gave him all christmases in his country with our son (9yo) but the summer vacation is shared equally. He also visits durung the year at which time son spends time with him at my MIL”s place. Now son is expected to spend this christmas with him in his country (middle east). First time without me. And I am scared for his safe return. Unfortumately I consulted with a few lawyers and they all told me I have no strong case to justify for a sole custody and no travel with his dad especially because there is a 6-year history of such travels…gray rocking all this time.

        • LTC, I am so worried for you. I am checking out today’s blog at a late hour and your post stood out. Be careful and I hope your child is safe. Keep us posted. PS: I would not meet personally, just lawyers.

          • This worries me as well. I grew up in the Middle East and in those days, there was no legal recourse if your husband decided to take your child to the country I grew up in and keep him or her there. Perhaps ask an international family law attorney beforehand? Prayers to you and your child.

            • LONGTIMECHUMP

              My sister in law won full physical custody of her 3 young daughters 15 years ago. Then her ex husband, (from the Middle East) took them out of country for a “family visit”. Then he & the girls disappeared. She searched HARD…

              She testified in front of Congress , and on Larry King, fighting for international recognition of US custody arrangements.

              Her inlaws had a business in the USA. So she and her supporters began protesting in front of that business, which cost the business money. In time & after so much heartache, her inlaws told her where to find the girls.

              Then she travelled overseas to a refugee camp, where they’d been hidden, brainwashed, & God only knows, for 18 months.

              It’s now been 15 years. Two of the girls are mostly healed… I would never let the kids out of country without consulting how enforceable the arrangement is.

              In other words, Assume he will not comply. So then what?

            • Sara, there is no legal recourse these days as well. The country in question is not the signatory to the Hague convention governing international custody. I totally lost sleep over it. Everybody around me tells me he does not need this hassle to get into child rearing. He has a good and comfy life with travels and he won’t give it up. But who knows what’s in his head. I am talking to my lawyer tomorrow.

    • X had this same mindset. His mom called him “My Boy” and petted his hair and turned into this weird teenage lovey person when my X was around. X never balked at this, another weird no empathy kind of behavior with me where he projected onto me that I was the one being weird about it and that nothing weird was going on. These things were always my problem. It was always this really hard to understand circular logic with X. Anything he would do was projected onto me and it was my problem. He didn’t have any problems! He was the all knowing, intelligent one. Good grief, it is so good to be away from this crazy talk!

    • Before “DDay” I had actually bought a book on Narcissism that had a test within it. (I obviously was concerned about HIM.) Well, he took the test and claimed that I was the Narcissist. I have also heard that word coming from my 32 year old sons mouth (to other people about me)…I wonder where he heard that? Yes, not only did my ex plan his DDay while having a six year affair but he plotted to poison me to my son, because obviously ne needed troops on his side for when it all hit the fan!

  • Those Buckeyes might have an awesome football team every year…..but why didn’t those sorry fucks tell me this shit when I was about to ask Douchebag Debbie out on a date in 1985? If I had just known she was a narcissist, I could have turned a ran……in my parachute pants and Motley Crue shirt.

    • Lifelong Buckeye fan here. My ex was doing his undergrad at OSU when we started dating. It pains me to admit it but if these researchers had been around back in 1982 and had told me that based on their study my ex was a covert narc, I would’ve spackled right over that shit and kept right on going down the same path. Just like I did for every other scarlet (and gray) flag that was waving in front of me. 🙄

      • This is also another example of why trying to talk to the OW is a bad idea.
        1.If she was the affair partner….than fuck her, she deserves what she gets.
        2. It screws with your NC, which I’m not willing to do.
        But that aside…
        I wonder though about the woman that comes AFTER the relationship with the AP implodes ( it’s a matter of time, although I wish they would stay together). I felt bad for that woman. The poor woman that comes after the AP that just wandered into what she thinks is a harlequin romance only to ultimately discover it’s her worst nightmare.
        She would never listen to me and it would be dismissed as the ranting of a jealous or bitter ex, but I would love to save her this heartbreak.
        Like watching somebody walk into oncoming traffic and be powerless to stop them.

        • I agree, Paintwidow….

          The main whore that cheaterpants tumbled with for several years was on to her 10 or 20th other bed-buddy by the time I ‘got the hell out of Dodge’! So, she was not really available to cheaterpants full-time, so he had to locate new supply. Plus, main OW has 5 children now, and you can not fit that many on a Harley!!

          So, the woman who wandered into his ‘sights’ next was totally innocent of any real wrongdoing against our marriage or against me. She does not know me. He told her he was divorced (NOT!) She, too, was a target, really.

          Thankfully, she figured it out fairly quickly & has broken up with cheaterpants.

          And, no, we can not tell them, warn them. Even if they are OK, normal ladies. If they do not know about character disorders, they will be blinded like we were.

          Love hearing your experiences and wisdom, Paintwidow……ForgeOn!!!

          • I’m entering the dating world ever so carefully. If the ex wife of a man I was starting to date, “warned” me, I would back the fuck away from him and take a really good look. (Of course, I’d have looked at the relationships he has with his kids, too.)

            Even if I thought the “ex wife is crazy mean”, who needs THAT in their life?? I have had enough cray cray for a lifetime. No more drama, thanks. I was married to a relentlessly selfish man, who lied & created chaos in our family for decades.

            I guess I’ll add this to my “must haves” in a new man;

            No crazy ex, and no warnings from an ex – that might be valid.

            • meant to say “relentlessly selfish narcissist who lied & cheated, etc”

              I hope the narc traits are not hereditary, b/c I have 3 kids. Shit.

            • I hear ya!! Took all my time and energy just dealing with one child.

              In my situation, that’s how this skank ended up with this many children!!! We have to remember we are dealing with freaks here. Not the sane parent. Freaks ALWAYS find time to cheat! Nothing is more important than their wants & needs, not even the cries of a sick or injured child…..

              Whore-niece & cheaterpants would meet while oldest children were at day-care or father’s house & infant was napping to do ‘the nasty’.

              As the children got older, they all went to respective father’s homes all at once. Left the whore the ‘freedom’ to boink whoever dared to get near her.

              Sickos all……ForgeOn all you sane parents!!

        • I would tell her about him nonetheless. Simply point out calmly some basic details to at least alert her what this guy is capable of. Describe how long it went on and some of the deceptions he perpetrated as he went about the affair. Get in front of his tactic of smearing you as crazy by telling her this is how he’ll try to evade the underlying facts. Then you’ve done all you can do and it’s up to her. Go right back to NC. But I would have wanted that information so I could factor it into my decisions. For me, being alerted the person is a cheater would’ve been much more effective than being told how to assess narcissism.

          • I’m ashamed to say (with hindsight) that I was the 10 years after his marriage brake up/divorce “other woman” who innocently walked into his path. I was warned – by THREE people and still managed to spackle over those giant red flags.

            Also he told me who he was… with both his actions and his words.

            Honestly, for so long I badly wanted to warn the women that have/will come after me but that would mean breaking NC and I’m not prepared to go there. His ‘MO’ is vulnerable recently divorced or widowed middle aged women (I was widowed). He smeared his ex’s, during the love bomb then glorified them during the discard (triangles people!).

            • I agree with you Morse. The OW (next victim) contacted me and I didn’t respond. I vowed to go strict No Contact and wasn’t going to break that for her. Plus her emails included some of his syntax and I was pretty sure he was involved too, trying to pry information from me. Any how, OW them contacted the fiancé who came before me. And even though she got the truth of both of our awful experiences with him, OW is still with him today.
              I’m so happy I didn’t break No Contact.

        • Ex’s affair with a subordinate (divorced with 5 kids but no custody) imploded soon after discovery. I have had NC in 6 years – divorced 5 years. Heard through the grapevine at 54 he married a 30 year old Catholic school teacher. I can only imagine the tales he told her.

      • Yes, me too. Even as I researched this stuff to understand what the hell was going on, and finally came to “know” disorders pretty deeply, I kept meeting new instances of the tactics and behaviours with an almost stunned disbelief. These creatures have no shame. Had I been given this assessment tool before this experience I know I’d have dismissed it as beneath me…”I’m too shrewd a reader of people to need this stuff”. And even if I had identified someone as a narc, I’d have rationalized into them a nuanced version of it where they’re still good at heart. Perhaps a better tool would have been a single question to help reveal to myself what an easy mark I was.

    • Hi there fellow chumps 🙂

      My cheater had cheated in his last relationship (his only other long term relationship) years before he met me. I’ve never met or talked to the poor girl, but I wish she would’ve told me… if she ever thought about it, I don’t know. He was very, very good at covering up who he was and I honestly had no idea. He pulled such similar shit in both relationships it’s scary. The cheating (as far as I know) didn’t start until a few years in but I was being abused long before that. I know it’s easy to spackle but it’s so much easier to get out sooner in the relationship. If I knew what he was capable of, I’d like to think I would’ve left and saved myself years of heartache </3

      • Me too.

        Weird the cheater really sees no correlation between their other relationships where they were a cheater and being a cheater in a marriage.

  • Ah, I was using, “Why do you like being an inept asshole?”. No wonder my study wasn’t getting good results.

    • Ha ha ha! I used that one to DemHoez. Who knew that merely changing the words from asshole to narcissist would yield better results.

  • The statement he made which most aptly fits here is a beauty he let loose in the minivan once:

    “I am never wrong!”

    and he seemed to actually believe that. Dont normal people understand that they actually make mistakes on occasion? His rages normally followed him making errors, not huge errors, normal mistakes.

    • My stbx’s version of never wrong, know everything was “I’ve Been around the world twice and talked to everybody once.” Ha ha. (Sarcasm on ha ha)

    • This reminded me if something my cheater said. Our son was being a sore loser and i said to H “i wasnt like that at all as a child does he get that from you?”. His answer “no, i never lose”….just remembered that from at least 10 years ago….

      • Mine had a mantra that he would make me repeat: “[Cheater’s name] is always right.” He would say it whenever we were in a situation where he was proved right. Idiot me thought it was a silly joke, like his ironic way of feeling good when it was his turn to get something right. Nope — this was exactly how he was trying to brainwash me into seeing him. I can’t believe I went along with it as much as I did.

          • Mine fancied himself as a ‘Wizard’, finding a big sign to put up outside his home office. Nobody Gets In To See The Wizard – no way no how. Talk about yanking off his curtain one day and seeing how the emperor wore no clothes…not even a cape.

    • Leans over me puts hands on my shoulders (like a parent does when trying to beg a child to behave ) gives a little shake… “why don’t you listennnnnn to meeee? How many times do I need to tell youuu!? I’m never wrong! Im never f@cking wrong! I know what people do. I could do everyone’s jobs! I know what’s going to happen. And then you go and try it your way. If you just listened to me this could have been done already! Just forget it. You f@ck everything up. I shouldn’t let you do anything.” Looks at me with disgust as he’s stamping away “if I want something done right I have to do it myselffff! I could run circles around you assholes. What a waste!”
      *I was trying to buy a new router.😑😒 I came home to tell him which ones they had to make sure he was happy with the one I was buying. The crime… going to a store with idiots in it when I should have gone to the store with non-idiots.

      To me this sounds like a Narcissist. Am I too sensitive🤷and I just don’t know this is how men speak to their wives? Bc that was his defense… grow up be an adult woman. You’re too sensitive. Do it right the first time and you won’t light my fire.

      • WROHIT: what you describe is extremely disturbing domestic abuse. Chilling.

        I hope you are completely NC now and healing from that. Huge hugs.

        • Why the heck do I get teary eyed when someone validates me. Motherchumper99 it’s like a gift to my soul. Hugs back to you. I wrote down everything he said that seemed like DV. As I’m typing this he’s texting me. I stopped responding a few weeks ago. I honestly want to throw my whole phone away when he texts me. Puts a sick feeling right through my body.

          • Cry your eyes out, Whatringohellisthis. I agree 100% with MotherChumper99.

            Kudos for escaping that hell hole.

            • Yes and don’t blame yourself. You can’t see the design of a maze when you are in it, only when you are out and above it does it become clear.

          • Whatring, You are not too sensitive. You are a woman who believed things your narc husband said to you. We’ve all been there. Now you are waking up to the reality of how disordered your STBX is. And no, good husbands don’t speak to their wives like that. Thank god you are away from him – your stories make my blood boil for you.
            (PS being sensitive is actually a good character trait – he just gaslighted you into thinking you are overly sensitive which is seen as a bad character trait. POS.)

            • I cry as well when people are nice to me. Embarrassing at times but cathartic. I am just not used to it! Hope to get there one day.

              Hugs to you!

              • I still don’t know how to handle a compliment. Mine made me doubt my own memory, he convinced me that I couldnt handle anything without him. My biggest sin I wouldnt let the dude with no job who played video games all day handle my paycheck or bank account. I am total nc right now. My suggestion.. Change your number and if you absolutely need to contact him email or get a texting app. You dont owe him anything and he has no right to continue to abuse you further

            • I cried for months at my new job last year, because I was getting paid minimum wage to clean and scrub and people were saying please, and thank you, and smiling. From the first night it hit me that I was being treated with respect, I cried every time I was at work realising this way the way people treat each other and what I had been living at home was the opposite. Cried with relief that my gut feel that I was treated like a scullery maid, like Cinderella in my own home was true, cried with sadness that I had accepted it for so long.

              • I’m hearing you Kiwi. We need to surround ourselves with these people who are grateful and humble and we can all be in a good place. So many good people in the world and the bad can hang out with their own kind and do dumb stuff together!

          • WROHIT glad you have found CN and gone NC. Might it be possible to block your X on your phone? The forum has posts about healing after time with narcs. Know that you didn’t cause that disorder and can’t cure it, and that it gets better being free to decide, choose, and enjoy without criticism and control. (accusations of being too sensitive, and demands to control decisions and complaints that X had to do it himself sound all too familiar). #betteroffoutofthat

      • I always got the worst treatment whenever my STBX did do something wrong. If I called him out on it, he would immediately turn the tables on me so I would look like the one in the wrong. He would never apologize or try to make changes. He just turned the focus on me as the problem.

        • Same. Because of it, no issue was ever resolved. I tried to not even bring things up because when I did, it would turn into an argument that would leave me feeling absolutely drained.

          • Exactly, me too. I don’t bring up grievances any more because it just ends in a shit avalanche on my head about how much I suck.
            Unfortunately, that is exactly what he wants. Fortunately, once my ducks are in a row I am so out of here.

          • Circular arguments that never reached resolution unless I accepted the blame. I don’t miss him or his entitled and excuse and blaming personality.

            I was gaslighted so long it’s taken me almost two years to clear my mind and see my way forward.

            I highly recommend an excellent counselor knowledgeable in narcissist/sociopath speak/abuse and neuro feedback. I went from collapsed, sobbing, full of cancer literally to recovering happy, joy-filled and loving person no longer lost from years of abuse.

            At first I didn’t recognize myself and was scared but now feel inner sunlight being through my broken-put-back-together pieces. My spine is reconstructed from fire forged steel and my soul feels an aliveness I haven’t felt for years.

            Thank you Chump Nation for your love, support and encouragement!!!

            Next up cancer re-check in one week. I am optimistic for my first NED (no evidence of disease) result in two years. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed for me.

      • This is someone actively working against your sense of self-worth, self confidence, belief than you can intelligently solve problems and even against your perception of realty.
        This person does not have your best interest at heart.
        I hope you are no contact now or very soon.
        (((Hugs)))

    • While I still think my ex is more on the BPD than the NPD side of the Cluster Bs, I will never forget how hard I spackled over his self-reference as “the son of [his name].” This was so weird and so disturbing to hear. I’m from a liturgical church, and I picked up on the Christ reference immediately. Of course, he said it with a smile and a laugh, but I think that was window-dressing for the fact that he really did feel as if he were superior to all others, both morally and intellectually.

    • Minivans must be the place for this sort of proclamation. Mine? While visiting his grandparents in Kentucky for their 70th (SEVENTIETH) wedding anniversary, he was getting frustrated because he couldn’t find a barrista who would sell him just a half-pound of coffee beans (y’know because he was the only one who knew how to grind them properly, and he wanted them FRESH, goddamit…), so as he was driving around, he stated, “You know, I think I’m better than pretty much everyone around here.” Gobsmacked, I turned to the other witness in the car, his brother-in-law, who also looked as if he couldn’t believe what he’d just heard, so I asked XH to repeat it. He did, happily. I said, “Do you really believe that?” He thought a half-second and said, “Yeah, yeah I do.”

      But if I’d’ve called him a narcissist, he’d’ve denied it, having learned that “narcissist” is a dirty word, but a guy who thinks he’s better than everyone else around him is, evidently, fine & dandy.

  • My ex never copped directly to bring a narcissist but he openly talked about his lack of empathy while I, Chump that I was, was happy that I had enough empathy for both of us. Knowing what I knew, I shouldn’t have been surprised that he didn’t understand or care about the pain his serial cheating, lying and stealing caused me and our children and yet I was. Not any more. No reason to touch the rancid skein. I trust that he sucks.

      • Funny, during reconciliation I liked to listen to this song by Drake, that goes “I love me enough for the both of us”. I found it sadly fitting to my situation, as in, if I stay, I need to love myself to compensate what’s lacking from him.

        • Ha! I used to tell my ex that we stayed together because of the one big thing we had in common: we both loved him more than anything or anyone else.

          Come to think of it, he never disagreed with me…

          • I thought I could “Love him through it” which meant forgive (AND FORGET??) everything and spackle spackle spackle

            dance dance dance and grab the neglected angry daughter and make her do the spackle dance too!!

            Mortified. The only shame I really have, (as opposed to the shame he heaped on me)

            is that I didn’t divorce the prick the first time he pulled this shit (that I know of, at least).

            Maybe my youngest would be healthier. Ugh.

            Yes, regrets abound.

    • My narc and the OW bragged about their lack of empathy as though that was part of what made them both so superior, and so ‘meant to be’. OW said “I guess I was born without the empathy gene.” Mind you she said this about the death of her 9 year old niece. So narcissistic is she that she couldn’t handle the family getting all the attention for their horrific grief.

  • I suspect this theory may be truer of male narcs than female. Male narcs can cast their narc behavior as that if a “self-starter,” “proactive, that if an “alpha male.” They can even parlay that characterization into huge rewards, say, as CEO or the presidency. Women who do anything similar will be cast as “femi-Nazis,” b*tches,” and worse.

    My cheating ex-wife certainly believes herself smarter and better than everyone around her, but I never heard he say that. Her MO was to bat her eyes, polish a veneer of sweetness, and then silently do whatever selfish, hurtful thing she wanted.

    • Good point. I think the public view of female narcissism also still swirls misguidedly around vanity. Women are both expected in many quarters to meet and maintain a standard of beauty and then are criticized as narcissistic if they are particularly proud of having done so. Vanity might be a problem at times, but it just isn’t toxic the way narcissism is.

    • True nomar, probably is easier for a male to get away with it in our culture. If they get too outrageous, their is always the I was just joking out. The kids and I have been talking about some of the unkind things stbx and his dad would frequently say but if confronted- I was kidding or lighten up.., one was: “look me in the eye, do you see anyone that cares?” He was joking, yeah, right.

      • The “Inwasnjust kidding and if you push me on this then you are the jerk, not me” was his “go to excuse” for everything

      • Over the years I have found, in any situation where you feel manipulated, silence is truly golden. No eye twitches, no shrugging, nothing. Just silence. Gray rocking is so much more powerful than people really understand until they do it. If you don’t respond it takes their power away. The problem with narcissists is it they will up the game. If they cannot get a reaction from you one way they will another. That is when, if silence does not work, you leave. Keeping you as a victim becomes their power source.

        I think women use an entirely different way when they are narcissists. My grandmother was never diagnosed as one but her ability to manipulate and destroy her children was epic. It was all done with sweet words. It was all done with soft words and voice. None of her children ever saw what she was doing to them but all of the in-laws and all of the grandchildren did. None of us could ever get our loved ones to see what she was really like. It explains so much about why people get so damaged by parents. It is because it is a biological necessity to have love and approval from your parents. When they are withheld or given in scattered doses a child has no frame of reference and it begins to make him crazy. “Oh look there’s Johnny. No one can understand why he has such horrible behaviors when he has such nice parents.” You take that into your adult life and that is all you know. A narcissist is there love bombing you, and you respond, and the next thing you know you’re tied into another crazy making situation. On the other hand you come from a healthy family, and have no frame of reference. A narcissist love bombs you and you think this must be true love so you are in a crazy making situation. No one wins with a narc. The only solution is to leave.

        Tracy, this is why you need to be on tv. Our culture is manufacturing narcissists at an alarming rate.

        • This is SO dead on. There are some truly devastating people who deliver their poison wrapped in honey. You have described it well. They are the most hidden and dangerous variant of NPD.

        • Let go,
          “Tracy, this is why you need to be on tv. Our culture is manufacturing narcissists at an alarming rate.”
          …perfect truth, there, Let go. Great post.

          • The problem with trying to explain all of this to an outsider is because it sounds so petty. One incident or two or even 20 do not make a narcissist. A lifetime of them when you never know if down is up or up is down makes you crazy. My poor, poor father thought his mother hung the moon. There was never just one incident. There was just a lifetime of little things, tiny things, that added up to poison.

            My brother’s little family was abandoned by his wife. Her childhood was awful. She could have told him she was unhappy. Instead she left and never came back and damaged a good man and sweet children. That is why I can’t forgive her. The only word I can use to describe someone who deserts children is narcissist.

      • Wow, Feeling It. That is a truly remarkable quotation. It reminds me of the saying “when people tell you who they are, believe them the FIRST time.”
        It’s just so far out of our realm of possibility that it blindsides us and we spackle.
        It is as if we file it away in the “inexplicable” folder because we don’t have a “he’s an asshole” folder.
        Well, I do now. File transfer complete.

        • BTL, this is so true! When I was first dating STBX he said to me one evening “you won’t like me once you get to know me” he had been love bombing me and I thought it was just some silly insecurity thing. Well guess I should have believed him.

    • Great point Nomar about the different gender lenses on selfishness…

      When I was still untangling that Rancid Skein (awesome new phrase Beth), I poured over the literature on selfishness and high conflict personalities. I found Bill Eddy’s descriptions of female and male high conflict personalities enlightening, as were the descriptions of Cluster Bs in Lundy Bancroft’s “why does he do that?”

      The more information I gathered, the more I understood that my marriage had been dead for way longer than I would ever know… And that the only way forward with my X was a shared custody software and a super detailed divorce decree. Done and done, and onward to Meh!

    • Nowdeadcheater was convinced that his lack of kindness and empathy was a direct result of his superior intellect that was thrust upon him like a burden. He reflected that his somewhat daft brother and cousin were such nice, decent people because they weren’t burdened with his level of intelligence. Please.

      • Mine told our son that everything would be bettr “if more people thought like me.”
        My brilliant son turned to him and replied, “No one thinks like you do.”

        Now, cheaterpants shares this when he speaks publicly, as an example of a lesson he has learned from soneone else’s perception of him, but change? Nah…jyst stopped saying that, not thinking it, it appears.

  • In 2015, I was trying to talk to cheater about my feelings (in other words beating my head against the wall) and it escalated into me yelling at him and calling him a fucking narcissistic bastard. To my knowledge, this is the only time these words ever grazed my lips toward him. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me , he was cheating on me. He did not tell me at the time that he was particularly offended at my remarks but since he left, in 2016, he has made numerous references to this statement and how much it hurt him. He told my daughter: one can only take so much of being called some form of a fucking narcissistic bastard. It happened once. I think it echoed in his head so many times, he now believes I said it dozens of time. The irony is that out of all the things I ever said, that is the one he can’t shake. He told me much later, the next day he was driving and had to pull over on the side of the road because it made him cry.

    The one that resonates with me is after he left we had one of several meetings at a restaurant and I told him 12 yo son had said he thought stbx had left because he couldn’t handle being a dad. I expected him to be appalled and want to fix that but instead he calmly said “he’s right” if he includes being a husband and head of the family. WTF?

    Another reveal when he was leaving after a dinner shortly after he moved out was his statement: I can stay here and be miserable or I can leave and have my kids hate me. He chose the latter.

    They really do know who they are.

    • “He did not tell me at the time that he was particularly offended at my remarks but since he left, in 2016, he has made numerous references to this statement and how much it hurt him”

      Ha! That’s just another mindfuck, I’ve had that too! We were never rude when fighting, but I have slipped a couple of times during reconciliation when my anger was off its leash, finally. And I may have said “I hope you die” or something to that tune. It was a one-off, not something I did before or after, and he had no particular reaction to it, because in his mind he’s allowed to tune out whenever someone is angry at him and not take them seriously at all.

      But when it convenienced him, he surely liked to remind me how terrible I was for having “wished him death”, and he used this as carte blanche to demand I don’t consider seriously anything he spouted while angry (he was a big believer in “if I was angry when I said it, I didn’t mean it” – which I know now is horseshit!)

    • “I can stay here and be miserable or I can…”
      My stbx uttered the same thing as he was leaving except instead of thinking his kid would hate him, his or I can was “work on my happiness”.

      That he chose to “work on his happiness” while I was fighting character says a lot about his character or lack there of. But your right, they know who they are. He knew he couldn’t offer me any support and it made him feel bad about himself. He left so he didn’t have to feel that every day!

    • Feelingit…..you so hit the nail on the head…they can’t handle being a father, husband, caretaker etc….they just can’t. My ex was exactly the same. The sad thing is that through my entire 14 year marriage, I knew that. I always said- I married a boy hoping one day he would turn into a man. Well..that is NEVER going to happen. Instead he did worse- he showed his true colors by abandoning his child. He’s in her life but not consistently and not out of love but out of some warped sense of “I’m looking at him so he better call his kid like he’s supposed to.” That’s pretty sad…she’d be better off if he and his mistress just went on their way. I pray for that day. These cheaters are who they are….and the sooner we can come to terms with that, the closer we’ll get to “trust that they suck”….hey today is Tuesday after all. For one of us in Chump Nation today is gonna be our Tuesday!!

    • Pret, you are so right.my STBX used to say “I’m not a bad Man” he excused himself from whatever idiotic thing he did or said. The child in him was ever present as well and I used to ask him “if he was ever going to grow up” he’d just laugh. He had a doting mother who always held him up on a pedestal his father was totally without empathy. I remember when his uncle died suddenly (father’s brother) the father announced right after the funeral ‘ the king is dead, long live the new king’ then he went to play golf, leaving his wife and the rest of the family at the reception. X was much the same with our family only he could put on the charm when he wanted to impress the ladies. Fortunately I didn’t breed with this narc and my kids are from a first marriage, now all grown with kids of their own. But he walked away from 4 beautiful grandchildren the eldest is 20 who thought the world of him, as did my kids. I have no contact with him all financials have been settled, tomorrow is 6 months from Dday and I think today could very well be my Tuesday. Hooray!

    • “He told me much later, the next day he was driving and had to pull over on the side of the road because it made him cry.”

      Dollars to donuts he did no such thing, but he *feels* like he did because he told you so. My shithead cheater pulled the same thing. I came home one day just after D-day and he met me on the stairs saying, “I cried today.” With the whole sad sausage face and slumped shoulders, and etc. etc.

      Lol. “I cried today.”

      It’s a way to perform remorse without actually feeling it. A kind of emotional lip-sync. If he ever really pulled over and cried, I’d eat my hat.

      • Skankboy cried several times…”I’m sooooo sorry,” said several times. Told the neighbor just a few weeks ago he “feels like an asshole for doing her wrong.” Boo-f-ing-who! Well, at least he got the asshole part right!

      • There is a revelation FMT! He told me he pulled over on one of the busiest 8 lane roadways in the country and I always had the image in my mind of great danger. I bet you are right it never actually happened- thanks for that!

        • Ask yourself if *you* would pull over to cry on an 8-lane freeway because someone hurt your feelings. And you’re a normal person!

          Hahaha, this shit just kills me.

          You ever hear William Shatner do “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”? Well, your ex is to hurt-feelings tears as Shatner is to singing.

          (For the record, if given a choice between the 2, I’ll take Shatner any day of the week. lol)

      • Asshole has never cried. Not even during my chumpiest in MC when the MC asked if he cried. Even when I cried infront of the MC,asshat displayed zero emotion.

        These people are empty.

    • Mine told my son that some people just aren’t cut out to be married and have a family. He then moves right in with OW and they then get a puppy together. We should just stop listening to anything they say. They simply say whatever sounds good in a moment. It is so messed up and disordered that it is a waste of mental energy to try and decode it. Just trust they suck.

      • Long heart to heart talk during wreckonciliation, or so I thought. The Traitor says he thinks he has come to realise during this time that he is meant for serial monogamy, we should live apart for a while, he needs to be alone. He was cheating at the time and move in with the Whore into her grandmother’s house. Serial monogamy and time alone, my arse. And DD1 had been his demand for a menage a trois. They do say whatever sounds good in the moment.

    • I once told ex that I didn’t care for one of the movies he had picked out after we watched it. I said this one time about one movie and I always let him pick the movies because he never liked the ones I picked out. During MC he said that we had to stop watching movies together because I made it clear that I didn’t like his choices. That was the first I had heard why we stopped watching movies together.

      We have to be so careful with their fragile egos. They at so sensitive, but we are not allowed to be sensitive too.

    • At the risk of attempting to untangle the skein of fuckupedness with Mr. Twatwaffles, I wonder if the motivation behind shacking up with his can of Alp-Ho and her three kids and knocking her up isn’t an attempt to prove even though he’s a shitty man to me, he’s somehow a good enough guy to be “dad of the year” and that the problem was actually me and MY kids who came with me. He’s convinced he loves his own flesh and blood, they aren’t the problem. Just me and my brats who dared to look at him cross eyed by not believing his bullshit. And Alp-Ho and her brats will be better because they will be able to actually “appreciate” him.

      Gah. Nothing but time can reveal it for what it is.

      All I can say is that he better get a paternity test in the new bun. I’m betting she had goodbye sex with her ex just before their divorce was final… just because they’re such good friends.

  • I don’t think my EX would ever describe himself as a narcissist. He would, however, tell you that he is exceptional in any number of ways. But, in his eyes, narcissists are people who think highly of themselves without warrant. His self-awarded accolades are all merited–as he would be very eager to explain to you.

    I think some narcissists are too narcissistic to accept such an ordinary description of themselves. (And my EX is also manipulative enough to know that laying claim to narcissism is generally not seen as a good thing–which is why he prefers to label anyone who disagrees with him as a narcissist.)

    Gosh, I so don’t miss trying to live peacefully with an angry narcissist!

    • My ex sat in front of me with a straight face and referred to himself as (and I quote) an iconoclast, and a polymath. When I burst out laughing he called me an asshole.
      That one still makes me laugh.

    • EILONWY

      —-“in his eyes, narcissists are people who think highly of themselves without warrant. His self-awarded accolades are all merited–as he would be very eager to explain to you…”

      THIS!!!^^^^^^ And the DOCTOR would say he’d “never failed at anything” and mean it. Not see that it might mean he’d never been told ‘no’, that he’d always gotten what he wanted – until I said “no, I don’t want to move to Alaska, again, especially since you said it’s a “take it or leave it” deal. (I still don’t find that very persuasive, btw).

      To be fair, he’s smart and hard working; but I mistook that for character and loyalty.

      My mistake.

      PS

      Dear DOCTOR Narkles, you failed at parenting and marriage.
      Those are the two most important jobs you’ll ever be lucky enough to have.

      You’re fired.

  • I’ve seen this “study” before, while I was trying to untangle my ex, and I know he would never admit to it. He rejected the notion fiercely that there was “anything” with him at all. And I feel this stems both from narcissistic rage (how dare you peg me for being something unpalatable?) but also his sociopathic duping tendencies – he doesn’t want anyone to truly know him or who he is, ever (remember when “finishing each other sentences” was a romantic thing? yeah, not with this one).

    But I can see my other, more grandiosly narcissistic ex, smiling smugly about this.
    This one also had, I reckon, sociopathic tendencies, but the narcissism in him is definitely predominant (social butterfly, accomplished salesman, etc.)

  • A guy on an online dating site let me know upfront that he generally always gets what he wants and doesn’t let negativity get in the way. This comment was made in reference to whether I would continue to email with him … ha ha ha. No. Just no. So yes, I do think they are rather impressed with themselves and their ability to focus solely on themselves to the potential detriment of others. My ex always made fun of people he considered “weak” … which was his word for kind, thoughtful, self-deprecating. Sadly, I needed to be a lot older to appreciate today’s lesson in life. As a young woman, I liked guys who were confident and got what they wanted … those were qualities I wished I had myself.

  • Then you have the psychopathic brand of sociopath (like what I survived), who would answer this question with a 1. Why? Because he only lives to help people.

    Translation: If he puts some half assed effort into appearing normal, people think he’s normal. It’s called the “Mask of Sanity.”

    Unfortunately, he believes he is a wonderful father, even though he has supervised visits with 2 of his children.

    One of the mothers of his children said go away when he contacted her. This was the mom of the child he had during our marriage with the other woman.

    But, he truly believes the lies he tells and believes he’s a good and decent person.

    It’s frightening.

    • Kelli,
      You are so right on; I hear you! “He lives only to help people.” Mine so honestly thinks the world is so lucky to have him in it that totally unrelated things that happen out there are because of him.
      Example: our son recently won a national championship. He was a total underdog and it was thrilling to watch. STBX never approved of son’s devotion to the sport. STBX’s first comment to me the next time I saw him: “It’s so great– he won because of me! We used to practice that winning move all the time when he was a little kid.” Even the accomplishments of OTHERS he sees as a reflection of his own grandeur!

    • It is frightening and soooo messed up. And they come across as such great guys. They can talk things up so that they seem like caring and involved fathers.

    • Hadn’t thought of this in a long time but I was just recalling a couple stories stbx would tell me when we were dating and during the first years of marriage. We would drive to visit his grandparents about 3 hours away and he would tell one story about he and his dad pulling a truck driver out of a burning truck that had just crashed and as soon as they had him out, it blew up.
      The second was a story about he and his dad saving a woman who was about to attempt suicide by jumping off a bridge. They had to pull her down.

      I can hear you telling me now FMT not true or immensely exaggerated! Lol

      • Lol. Sounds like more acts of derring don’t from Walter Mittey there. ☺ Are these tales in any way consistent with how you observed him to behave over the course of your relationship?

        My mom is seriously disordered, and for years she told us kids all kinds of whoppers. Like all good liars, though, she’d inject an element of truth. She used to be a fabulous rider (horses) and often told of how neighbours were so impressed that one of them bequeathed a very beautiful Arabian mare to her as a teenager. Years later I found out it was actually my mom’s younger sister (with whom she had a bitter rivalry) who was given the horse.

      • All of which is to say your ex probably *drove past* people whose car exploded and/or who were about to jump to their doom.

  • After 41 years together the Limited said, “It was ALWAYS about he thrill of the chase.” This was after I called him on calling her a ‘dream girl’ in a poem he gave to his latest victim. By his definition a dream girl was the first of the many women he was able to dupe.

    He went on to say he’d dump her when she stopped having sex with him. Yet when I told him my therapist called him a narcissist he became outraged. Three years later and he’s still looking and cheating.

    The question of , “Is he happy” is answered simply, “Yes.” There’s a certain pride attached to scoring supply and reinventing himself. It’s all about the new pedistal until it’s lowered. Always looking. He’s a predator through and through.

    • Yes! I asked mine if he was happy with the IW and he said yes, then that same night, he called me and told me he missed me, missed talking to me, etc. The next night I got a text from him that said, “Ibfeel scared and alone.” Yeah, you sound like a real happy guy alright. He’s a predator, hoping to hook me and keep sucking me dry.

      • KeepingCalm

        I believe many of us ask ourselves this question initially. I’m thinking predatory creatures enjoy the chase and tingle with denight in securing new supply.

        I also believe it’s just as exciting to pull one over on the loyal spouse. Of course they know what they are.

  • Mr. Sparkles would adamantly respond “NO” to the survey question. He lacks the emotional depth to understand his pathology. Truly… there’s nothing there… just “victim”.

    HOWEVER, when you are struggling (in any manner) he will be the first one to regale you with stories of his past where he OVERCAME ALL OBSTACLES and by God, you better realize that you’re not half the person he is today. (Of course, now he does this over cheap eats at Friendly’s and then drives home to his new 900 sq ft house that his GF owns, along with her two dogs.) Yup, he’s climbed the mountain all right.

  • After seeking help for myself with a therapist, my STBX suddenly figured she should go as well. She then suggested that we should switch therapists so we could all talk about HER.

    You truly cannot make this shit up.

    • Cattharsis, it is interesting behaviour , whenever I would try something new, a diet, starting tracking my BP, anything new at all, he would immediately start doing the same. Then he would take whatever it was to the extreme. He needed to make everything a competition and be the centre of attention.

      • Yup. Had this too. He would steal my interests and ideas, go hog wild to out do me and then offer them up to his fuckbuddies as his original plans. He does this with our kids too. Like I said, these idiots are empty.

  • My Ex would not cope to it, the whole concept of ” what one confesses with their mouth, they confess with their heart also” is engrained in him. So he just won’t own it. No consequences that way. This is the same reason he would cope to having had sex with men during our marriage but would not own being gay.
    But four years post D’day and 19 months post his marriage to another woman and the Psychopath traits are rising to the surface yet again and he doesn’t care who sees them, wife 2.0 is already showing signs of the pick me dance. Clearly the love bomb stage of their relationship is over 😱. As she is now doing things to show him she is worthy, including trying to act as visitation mediator which I quickly put a stop to, As she had failed to see she was reinforcing Ex’s abuse towards our 13 yr old daughter in the process. Despite DYD spending Saturday with them to celebrate the step sisters 10th Birthday. Ex is withholding DYD’s Birthday gift as leverage to gain a days visitation in two weeks time. All because she refused to drop everything and go with him for three hours when he suddenly turned up un announced on her birthday.

    I trust that he sucks, and I don’t dance. I just wish I could help my girls more.

    • I hear you Thankful! Our poor kids.

      Oh, the centrality. What is it with these idiots expecting their children to drop everything at a moments notice to spend time with them, and then laying on the guilt trip when the child refuses? My 16 yo daughter has been burned so many times. Heartbreaking.

    • One thing I’ve noticed with the STBX is how he likes to waste everyone else’s time. He controls by being very late, holding us up and making us late, expecting we all drop everything at the last minute for him. He could never understand why it was upsetting to have to wait on him. I think he really perceives people as going into some kind of suspended animation or that we cease to exist when he is not around. We are only real when he is present.

      • I think mine is always late because he doesn’t want to be the one stuck waiting on anybody else so he makes sure we are all the ones waiting on him. Then he gets upset when the kids get bored of waiting for him and start doing other things and then aren’t there with their shoes and coats on ready to walk out the door the moment he arrives an hour late.

      • A good way to solve the lateness problem is to go ahead with your plans. He doesn’t show up on time, he doesn’t get the brownie points.

        It might take a time or three for it to work, but it will work.

      • Interesting. I think my STBX is early for the same reason. He’s always early for his supervised visits with our little one … not just a few minutes …. at least 30 minutes early. Often, an hour or more early. It makes no sense and it’s infuriating.

        It’s not like I want to tell my little one … “Yeah, it LOOKS like dad is showing up early because he just can’t wait to spend time with you. Really, he’s being a dick and trying to throw us off balance.” (She was our third and last child — STBX was livid about the pregnancy — ignored the two of us for the first year of her life and during my horrible PPD … leaving me to live with her in a bedroom so I could protect her from his obvious disgust … she’s now six and I protected her so much that she thinks dad is a nice “fun” guy …. argh ….)

        I’ve called him out on his surprise “early” visits a couple of times, and he does better for a while (15 minutes early instead, which is at least workable). But, then it starts over again. No surprise. The man is a living, breathing cycle of assholery.

      • Spoonriver,
        The undercurrent feeling Ex gives of that we cease to exist when he is not present was what killed me the most after D’day as that is exactly how he treated me and the kids. Would walk into the hospital an act like the would just revolved around him and didn’t exist otherwise. Because all that exists is him.

        JessMom
        Your girl is young she doesn’t need the harsh reality of her father being a dick, that will come in due time. He will not be able to prevent himself from treating her just like he treats everyone one else. Just love her for now and reinforce healthy boundaries. My ex had a look on his face the day I told him I was pregnant with DYD I had not seen before and I did not see again till after D’day. It was the ‘how dare you fuck with me look’.
        In the first year of her life (the youngest of three) he distanced himself, had an affair with a man and then took a job that had him away from home for up to two weeks at a time, where he spent money we did not have, cared nothing about me or the kids but would call to brag about his accommodation or that he had scored a whole bottle of red with his steak on the company dime. When I suffered a breakdown due to FOO issues, postnatal depression and his behaviour, he instantly twisted it to make out I had abandoned him and the kids due to my unresolved issues making me feel so guilty that I actually wrote to my church an open letter asking that they care for him while I was in hospital. In the years that followed he used all our kids to advance himself socially. For the disordered children are not something to love and cherish, they are a commodity, something to have, play with and discard when something more interesting comes along. Hang in there.

  • (Sorry in advance for the length of the following)

    The flip side of the coin that @nomar raises above — female narcs that quietly plot their evil deeds behind a sweet and genteel mask — are those who shroud their narcissism in “female empowerment” and “shattering male expectations of what woman should be.”

    Those of you who frequent the forums know I’ve been dealing with just such an incident recently — to recap, I learned that Kunty Kibbler posted a series of 12 “boudoir photos” of herself on Instragram, where my 15- and 13-year old daughters (and apparently their friends, who registered their ‘likes’) can see them.

    The first photo in the series contained a narrative espousing the female empowerment cheater/narc story:

    “I was a fat kid, fat teenager, fat college student. I was bullied and picked on and made fun of. Made to feel ‘less than,’ even by members of my own family. I had a horrible body image and even less self esteem. I met a nice man when I was very young, and he wanted to marry me. So I did, because who else would. We had a nice life. He was a good husband. We made two beautiful daughters. And I looked at my two baby girls and decided there was no way I was going to let them feel about themselves the way I felt about myself. So I decided to change. I started eating better. I started running and going to the gym. And little by little, I got healthier and stronger. And I started gaining confidence. I started trying new things. I started coming out of the protective shell I had surrounded myself in. I learned about myself. I learned that I am strong, smart, talented, and yes, beautiful and sexy. I changed, but unfortunately not in step with my husband. I stopped trying to conform to who he and others thought I should be. We split, and that made me even more strong, confident and comfortable with myself. Yes, I still have body issues. Yes, I still struggle with what I see in the mirror and focused on perceived flaws — a roll here, a jiggle there. It took me two years to lose 50 pounds, and even more years to find out who I am. But I am me. And I love it. #bodyimage #iamme #thisismeandidontcarewhatyouthink”

    So of course I had to have a chat with my girls about the risks of posting inappropriate material online, even if you think it’s done in a “private” way, making bad choices, and what it means to set a proper example for those you’re responsible for. (Turns out KK posted the first one without notifying my daughters in advance, then asked E the Elder if she felt funny or bothered by it [she said, ‘Well, kind of…’] while RPD was in the room, then posted the others — one per day, a sort of female narc serial — despite her daughter’s feelings about it.)

    Which is all to say — a narc WILL tell you what (s)he is in some way, shape, or form, if you look and listen closely enough.

    #alwaysmeanttobeakunt

    (Aside: What bothers me most about KK’s narrative isn’t so much the whitewashing of her horrendous deception and betrayal; it’s the gall she has in stating that she did this for the betterment of her daughters. Ask any normal human being how you keep young girls from having poor self-esteem and body image, and the response will be to give them enough love, attention and positive reinforcement so that they know they’re worthy of love no matter what they look like — not to work for years to achieve a certain body type, wrap it in 4 different kinds of lingerie and invite the whole world to look at you. As usual, KK’s words are in direct conflict with her behavior.)

    • That sucks for your daughters. Good for you on having the right and appropriate conversation with them. Our kids need one consistent and sane parent. I think the best thing we can teach our kids is to pay attention to choices and actions, not words.

      My STBX does the same crap with my kids. Sends them text messages with words to entice them to feel sorry for him or think that he loves them but then he constantly makes choices that do not consider their feelings or what they need.

    • ” I stopped trying to conform to who he and others thought I should be” – Yeah, faithful and loving towards the man you promised to love and cherish for the rest of your life. Such constricting expectations.

    • Wow. Just wow. My hell, what a narcissist. I have no words UX. Nearly fell off my chair reading that. What an insanely hurtful bitch, all wrapped up in herself. No thought for anyone else. #reeling

    • She forgot to mention an important point – THE CHEATING!! That is a big part of that story conveniently left out. Bitch.

    • When she posted those pictures of herself she went to the dark side. It is the very antithesis of what girls should be told. Bodies are meant to be lived in. They are not meant to be idols. They are not meant to be worshiped because of the right size of their body parts. The most beautiful people to me are those that rise from the ashes of war, car wrecks, physical abuse and do not apologize for their scars. You are their dad. They will listen to you.
      At one time my family lived close to some wealth. One day one of my children asked we were rich. We weren’t but I wanted to take it further than that. I told her not to have unrealistic ideas. There will always be someone prettier, smarter or richer than she and to enjoy the life she has. The nice thing about it is that she gets the most out of every day.
      Give your girls a hug today. That means a lot more than any pictures they see.

    • UXWorld,

      Reminds me of what I now understand to be a borderline who was a fellow guest on a cycling trip. Drama queen from Brentwood down in L.A. She required a lot of attention from the guides-a lot-and regaled the rest of us with funny Hollywood stories. She couldn’t understand why her kids didn’t want her volunteering by nude modeling for their art classes. Her daughter asked “Mom, why can’t you just bake some f*cking cupcakes and brownies like the rest of the mothers ?!”

      Attention seeking loon !

  • Mine told me he had been “researching narcissism”. Whadda ya know, I buried myself in the literature on Covert Narcisissm and he checked all the boxes.

  • Somewhere along the line, the STBX learned mostly to be less overt about this, but it still broke through the surface all of the time. He liked to post his accomplishments to colleagues with whom previous ventures had not gone well, for instance. Post dday, he copied the kids and I on an email that included a link to an article about a recent business success. Big sigh. “I blew up your life and suck as a dad, but I haz skillz.”

    He also figured out how to parrot–unconvincingly–modesty. Was forever peppering conversations with comments such as, “I am sure others know better than me” or “I’m no expert, but” and the like. Underlying message: nobody knows better, and his expertise trumps everything and everyone.

    A truly skillful nark seldom willingly drops the mask, but the tells are there once we learn (no fun!) to recognize them.

    That said, in certain biz circles, these traits are valued. Cultural narcissism is a real thing.

  • Well I will never find out that answer as I do not talk to him at all. But pretty stinking sure he is one.

    Glad you had a wonderful trip. Loved your clothing story!

  • For 42 years, I had many, many instances where “I just knew something was wrong”. I knew that his “outside” opinion was more important than mine and our son’s. I knew that he thought that HE was so important. I knew that he did not care if he made me cry. I knew that he took my stories as his own. I knew that he twisted the truth ALL the time. He accused me of being jealous of him, when in all actuality, he was jealous of me. Well, I was busy raising children, keeping up a home and working. I actually did not know what a Sociopath was (I am a CPA), but, now I am an expert on the topic. These past two years have really been an educational experience. The whore can keep him.

  • “It only matters what you tolerate.” Apparently, I will tolerate just about anything. At least the old me. After D-Day and kicking Cheater out I did extensive research (of course at 3 a.m.) on narcissism to desperately figure out the mess I was in and why “he is the way he is” and not simply trust that he sucks. Once while I was out of the house the ex went combing through my things, found all my papers, books and notes about how I believed he was a narcissist, how it all added up, and he took them. When I discovered my research gone and confronted him he said, “yah I read it all and have to say, I am a narcissist and proud of it!” Very much like Tracy’s experience. Even after this I still thought things could be fixed. It took a long useless yearlong wreckonciliation and D-Day #2 later for me to finally get out. Still haven’t achieved Meh 6 months later but hoping and praying to get there.

  • In hindsite, I realize that X “admitted” to me in the very beginning that when he was in rehab before he met me, he was told he exhibited something called “King Baby Syndrome”. He described it as “I want what I want when I want it” behavior. He then went on to talk about his passion for life and his general every day happiness, so I didn’t think much of his “King baby” comment. I believe now, that he was describing me (the passion and happiness part). After a few months or so (once he had already proposed, moved in and got me helping him to fix his credit;) those qualities were replaced by his “depression” and unhappiness with his life, other than me, of course…after a couple years and our kid came along, I was included in that unhappiness and dissatisfaction with his life. Heck, I even became the reason for all that unhappiness a few years after that…at least that is what I was getting from him if I piped up about anything. I spent so much time trying to help that bottomless pit of “Woa is me” for many years. Funny part is, when he was around anyone else outside of my kid and me, he was Mr. Happy and quite often seemed like the guy I met in the beginning (other than occasional rages on the road or in a store with strangers.) Thank God I never internalized it as my fault. I kind of always knew from early on that he was mentally ill but I really did want to help him and actually thought I could. Once I discovered all the lies, I knew that “Mr. Happy Passionite Guy ” was just a mask.
    King Baby Syndrome is just a name that some psychologist from Hazeldon wrote in an essay. Describes NPD perfectly-he just gave it a different title.
    I had never heard of cluster b mental disorders until CL and my therapist.

    • “King baby syndrome”. I LOVE it! Many have said narcissism is an overused term and it kind of helps to smile when dealing with this pain.

  • It took a while for me to realize that, in my marriage, I really was nothing more than a personal assistant.

    A while ago, I was having trouble completing one of the “tasks” I had been assigned. I emailed him to ask his opinion about it. That was the wrong thing to do. He was raging by the time he got home that night. And, I had the (apparent) gall to ask him why he wouldn’t help me or listen to me talk the problem through. His answer?

    “I’m not here for your emotional support.”

    Yep, they tell you who they are.

  • I describe my ex as “exhibiting all the behaviors of a textbook narcissist and cluster B sociopath”. Sometimes people say “well, is he diagnosed?” I say “Doesn’t matter. His shitty behavior sucks and doesn’t belong in my life. That’s all I really need to know.” That’s a real conversation ender. 🙂

  • My dad and step mother use to say, being a narcissist has gotten us a long way — We are successful! They failed to mentioned how my dad was a serial cheater when married to my mother, abandoned us, stole money, never paid child support, etc. or how my step mother would always put her children on a pedestal while openly character assassinate my mother and all of my fathers children in public, was physically abusive to me, was emotionally abusive to “Dads kids” (this is how she would reference us, I left his name out), how she orchestrated to take me away from my mother and then went on a shame rampage of my mother to family and friends totally alienating her. The list goes on and on. Sadly I married a Narc after that hellish childhood because that was my norm. Be careful chumps–if you grew up with a Narc mostly likely your future relationships will be with Narcs. You have to really dig deep and learn the different between healthy and unhealthy people. And, while you can ask simple questions like these to spot some Narcs, the realty is it’s hard to spot the smart ones who learn therapy talk. There are other ways to spot those kind of sweet talking Narcs and you NEED to get familiar with the red flags and disengage when you recognize a red flag. When you recognize it, don’t contemplate (like we like to do) but immediately run, stage left, exit the relationship before you get sucked into another shitty situation. By the way, this goes for friendships as well as romantic relationships.

    Hugs Chump nation! Have a chumpy day😊

    • “Be careful chumps–if you grew up with a Narc most likely your future relationships will be with Narcs.”
      Can I give a double AMEN???
      Your advice that follows is spot on.
      I thought I was avoiding the malignant narc like my dad by marrying a quiet, gentle giant. He was so different from my blustery, openly abusive father. In our 18 years together we almost never even argued, much less fought. But what I got was a covert narc. Argghhhh! Plus, several of my bosses have been varying degrees of narc/sociopath. And I tolerated it for years because I was used to it and it “seemed better” than my childhood. Well, just about anything would have been better than that. The bar was so low!!!!!!
      Fortunately, with therapy and lots of internal work and ongoing work on myself, I am in a better place now. My hubby (the good one) calls me the “Queen of Boundaries.”

      • I often say that all the time I spent learning to identify negative personality traits turned out to be less useful than I had hoped. It’s the time I’ve spent since learning how to identify and enforce healthy personal boundaries that has been the game changer. Seeing the BS coming is useful for sure, but setting a no BS zone where it has no portal through which to enter is substantially more effective.

      • I have had problems with bosses in the past too which is why I worry that I am the problem as much as ex. I am grateful to have now found a company that seems to really appreciate what I do 3.5 years in.

    • my story is textbook like that, too.
      Born to narcs/sociopaths, never not had a non-cluster B relationship in my life.
      My dog was the only exception and I had to leave her behind to follow my ex. But that’s another story.

      And I’ve realized recently, its because I feel automatically rejected by “sane” people.
      I feel like everybody can detect the “dysfunctional “ that I carry and avoids me.

  • It was only after 16 years of marriage, the discard and the removal of the mask that my X ever said anything to this affect. He said “I have a dark side,” in response to my bewilderment over why he blindsided me by leaving me and our two young children. Another day he said, “I wanna do what I wanna do,” ( emphasis on the second “I”). He said that he felt our entire marriage had been him doing only what I wanted him to do.
    This, after I set him up in business, twice. He had chosen my wedding china, for Christ’s sake. He chose our house and every paint color and every item in it, forcing me to shed all my family heirlooms b/c they didn’t fit with his modern aesthetic. He came and went as he pleased and I never questioned how he spent his time. I trusted him completely.
    I later found out he had cheated on me from our first year of marriage.
    So that was his idea of me making him do what I wanted him to do.
    My revenge?
    I gave him the divorce he wanted. He married the OW. Without my support he lost his business. They had to live in his mother in law’s tacky house with all of her old lady furniture not cool enough for his high falutin’ architect self. And his fancy German car that I had originally bought him but he was required to refinance as part of the divorce? It was repoed. After that he could only leave his house when his OWife would give him permission to use her car, which became rarer and rarer the longer they were married. She began to abuse him, physically and emotionally. He even had to get the police involved for protection.
    Bwahahahaha!
    He finally got to experience a partner truly making him do only what she wants him to do. Sadly, they called it quits last year. Oh well, it was fun for me while the spectacle lasted.

    • Hahahaha…”sadly, they called it quits last year. Oh, well, it was fun for me while the spectacle lasted.” Are those tread marks on the ex’s back from the Karma Bus? I thnk so! Toot. toot, beep, beep!

    • Miss Delta

      He always referenced his dark side when he wrote shitty poems. It was in relation to my ‘saving’ him from it. I thought he was talking about saving him from his whacked family.

      I’d call it consequences for his actions. The revenge is living better.

    • I was domineering and controlling according to him, complete rot.
      I said he will find the love he deserves and I hope she turns into a controlling nightmare after the honeymoon fase has worn off and their lives are interwined. He wont be getting anything close to me!

  • I think the intellectual narcs would not cop to it.

    And, for any narc, it would depend on their image-management savvy.

    Interesting that some, do, however! So blatant. That’s part of being a narc, I suppose.

  • I can’t remember where I read it, but another way to spot someone low in empathy is to yawn. If the person you are with consistently resists or ignores the contagiousness to yawn, they are said to be low in empathy.

    Unfortunately I think once they figure out being narcissistic isn’t popular, they learn to be covert about their self-centeredness. Especially the “religious narcissist” who can quote religion backward and forward. It’s amazing that they tell everyone else “how God wants them to act” and are either completely blind to their own behavior or think those rules do not apply to them. I assume it’s the latter, since they think they ARE god!

    Some of the things I’ve learned over my 15 years of marriage to someone I (and my therapist) suspects is a raging narcissist:

    Their behavior is not the problem, it’s your interpretation of it.

    There is no right and wrong, only gray.

    Any deception on their part is justified by their belief that the small minded, unenlighted population (aka, those with a moral compass), are merely lacking enlightenment to the freedom of no moral constraints.

    Deception and manipulation in any form is part of their human rights. No one has the right to “control them”

    In my observation, their philosophy on life is “other people are merely a means to an end” and they pride themselves on lacking any guilt over this. I’ve also noticed a lot of the business/ sales books written support this philosophy; which asshat consumed at an alarming rate, yet never picked up one of the hundreds of marriage books I bought.

    Any shitty behavior on their part can be justified by the way “they feel”

    They have a way to reframe any of their own behavior that is viewed negatively; “it’s not cheating, it’s taking advantage of opportunity.” Speaking of…. one of asshats favorite quotes went something like “While the optimist is arguing the glass is half full, and the pessimist is arguing it’s half empty, I drank the water because intelligent people are opportunist.” In my opinion, that says it all!

    • Mine wasn’t a Jesus cheater, but he was a hypocrite. He was very good at telling others that they shouldn’t be doing the very things that he was/is doing. HE complained when my daughter was slow getting to the dinner table, never mind that he wasn’t coming to the table either (too busy texting Schmoopie). He complains the older too kids don’t do sports in high school. He never did sports in high school (I did. Perhaps he wanted them to be more like me?). He tells me daughter she needs to have better eat/sleep habits. He doesn’t have good eat/sleep habits. Etc. Etc.

      Of course the biggest one was telling me in the first few weeks of DDay what a jerk Schmoopie’s husband was for having cheated on her and how kind she was to have taken him back. He said this with no indication that he had any clue of the irony of what he was saying.

      • “the biggest one was telling me in the first few weeks of DDay what a jerk Schmoopie’s husband was for having cheated on her and how kind she was to have taken him back. He said this with no indication that he had any clue of the irony of what he was saying”

        OMG YES! Asshat did the same. He felt so sorry for the stripper who’s boyfriend hurt her by cheating. HELLO fuckface … you are doing the same to me! In another twist of irony which I pointed out after d-day… apparently traveling stripper ” Barbie ” (how original, stop insulting Children’s toys), had to consume large amounts of alcohol to deal with the scumbags that came to see her dance! Hello, where was it that you met her again? Oh, that’s right… at the stripclub where her scumbag clientele go! Bahaha… they are so lacking introspection it’s rediculous!

  • Add mine to the crowd of people would never admit to narcissism. I don’t know if he is really a narcissist, but he is selfish, self centered and empathically challenged. For him image is everything and he is smart enough to know that most people wouldn’t consider narcissism to be a virtue.

    • I will say that he did at one point tell me that he regretted being nice because “nice guys finish last”. Hate to break it to you ex, but you weren’t actually a nice guy.

    • STBX also would never admit to being narcissistic, I guess that’s the covert part! Yet I think it’s very clear by his overall philosophy on life.

      In my experience they spend an inordinate amount of time “telling” people about virtues: goodness, righteousness, morality, integrity, dignity, honor, decency, respectability, nobility, worthiness, humbleness, etc., but those things only apply to the way others should behave. They don’t actually apply those “constraints” to their own behaviors. In fact, they usually behave in the opposite manner, but if they can impress upon people that their stated virtues dictate who they are, not Their actual behavior, their impression management has been successful!

  • My husband of 20 years says his OW (my good friend), tells him he is “complex”. He repeats it over and over how he is “complex” and that she “gets” him. In addition to being hot and cold for the last 8 years, and having me and the kids walking on eggshells so as to not set off his temper about money, clutter, whatever…. for the year since DDay #1, and the 18 months prior when he was having his secret affair, he:

    1) Blamed me for him “having to reach out to someone”. NOT calling it an affair, or her a woman, just a someone. Said they never had sex, were just good friends. Said he needed someone to lean on because I didn’t make enough money and he was stressed over finances. We didn’t have enough sex and he was dying inside. Said I gained so much weight that people mistook me for his mother, and that when I walked across a room and stopped, my rear end kept walking.

    2) In the last year since Dday#1, we (I) have tried reconciliation. Found out after Dday#4 last May when he moved out to be with her, that they’d been seeing each other off and on the whole last year. Because they are soul mates, he can’t get her out of his head, and how can he work on our marriage when he has feelings for someone else? Don’t I want him happy, even if not with me? If I loved him, I would.

    3) So in this last year (me not knowing they were still seeing each other), I have pick me danced so hard that I’m mentally exhausted. I’ve lost 40 pounds, given him the best sex of his life, busted my ass honing my small business and making more money and handling all the finances so he had less stress. And he still left. For her. Left our home and two kids, making it harder financially to make ends meet with his rent and utilities.

    4) My counselor says he’s a narc/cluster b, and that I’m trauma bonded. I can see glimpses of this when he has said to me that I love being on his arm, that I’ll never be able to move on, that if I had acted so pathetic when we dated he’d never have asked me out twice, that I’d eat his sh*t if he told me to, that I’m a tumor on his back, and why can’t I play hard to get?

    5) I researched narcissism to death, and he fits. Mostly. But I keep remembering the sweet guy I married, the humble man that showed me love and I had children with. Where is he and who is this stranger? Was he faking all these years being nice and now his true colors are showing? Why now? Is it her, did she fill some need that I couldn’t?

    6) He’s a very tall, handsome man, that exudes charm, dresses well, was a deacon in our church (til he left), and has an image of a humble, down to earth guy. He’s overly nice to everyone he meets, except me and the kids. He has a pretty powerful job in our area, and I think it has gone straight to his head. I found about 30 selfies on his phone of him posing like a preteen girl. He’s obsessed with whitening his teeth and working out.

    I’m saying all of this hoping someone can read between these lines and shine a light on it, is he truly a narc? Or just having a mid life crisis? Or just an asshole who cheated? Can he change? Should I care? How do I make myself fall out of love with this man? I don’t see him for a few weeks, but then when I see him I’m drawn to him. I feel rejected all over again. I keep thinking I’m getting past this, but then I fall back down the rabbit hole. Thanks in advance for any insight…

    • Yes he is a narc. He might be having a mid life crisis but only selfish self-centered assholes have them. He won’t change. You shouldn’t care. Falling out of love is tougher. How long have you been separated? Time away does help. You also need to get your self esteem back and recognize that you can do better than an asshole. Other men will find you attractive even if you eventually choose to be alone because men aren’t worth the trouble. You also have to recognize that you are strong and you don’t really need him. It might have been nice to have him around when he wasn’t being a jerk, but when was the last time that was true? You are quite capable of handling things on your own and he probably wasn’t really much help anyway. And don’t give him the satisfaction of proving him right on some of the shitty things he has said to you. Show him that no, you won’t eat his shit anymore.

      All of that is easier said than done, but keep coming here so we can keep reminding you. There are plenty of others on this site who have been where you are and were able to move on and live happy lives away from their asshole cheaters. I am not there yet, but I am making progress so I know I will get there eventually. You will too. You have to have faith in you.

      • Thanks ChumpinRecovery 🙂
        We’ve been separated almost five months. You hit the nail on the head by saying he might have been nice to be around when he wasn’t being a jerk, and the last time was years ago. Since his affair started (Spring of 2015), he’s actively devalued me then says he’s not attracted to a woman who isn’t confident. He’s literally made me crazy. I didn’t know it while it was happening, just that something was off. But now that I know better, I can resist that pull. I have to if for no other reason than my kids. My 18 year old son has his number, and says he will move out if I let his dad move back again. He tells me to “watch his actions Mom, not his words. He doesn’t love you.” I’m not where you are yet, but I’m hearing you. I’m slowly waking up. And getting angry. I KNOW I’ll be okay.

        • Listen to your therapist. Listen to ChumpNation. Listen to your 18–year_old son; he is wiser than his years. Chumpinrecovery has given you some very good advice.
          Let me add that there is no need to read between the lines. It’s all there out in the open. He insults you, devalues you, has abandoned you. No between the lines about it. All that’s left is for you to accept him for Who He Is. Who cares who/what he was before. This is who he is NOW.
          Stop or drastically reduce contact with this fuckwit. Research Grey Rock. Get his voice out of your brain. Replace it with YOUR voice.
          If you could do all the things you described for HIM, you can certainly find it within yourself so do all those things and MORE for yourself and your kids. And this time, you will be rewarded for your efforts.
          Good luck and keep us posted.

          • Yes. Keep coming back here. Read CL’s book. Hearing others’ stories (in many ways the same story told again and again by different people, it is scary how much alike cheaters are, but I digress) hearing others’ stories helped me recognize this behavior in my relationship. Also to see how wrong it is.
            It doesn’t matter if your twatwaddle is going through a midlife crisis or whatever. His behavior is unacceptable and he is NOT a good guy underneath.

            As CL says, “trust that they suck”. I FINALLY stopped obsessing over why he does what he does.

            When I changed the question from “why does he do that” to “why do I tolerate it” the shit got real and I started getting somewhere instead of spinning my wheels. I spun my wheels in the mud for 10 years. No more.

            • Lionheart (love your name btw),
              Thanks for the encouraging words. You’re right, it doesn’t matter the WHY of how they act, it’s what is ACCEPTABLE to me – that’s the key question. I think as women, we put others first most of the time, and multi-task all of the time. I know I put myself on the back burner for a looong time, and it was okay because I found joy in this season of my life as a mother and wife. He can’t take away all of my joy if I don’t let him, and obsessing over him (guilty) is truly a joy-sucker. It’s as you said… spinning my wheels. I’m trying to change my perspective to what I will and will not tolerate 🙂

              • About my name- thanks! I used to call myself Differently Chumped. Then I saw a chump change her name to something less focused on the past and more on the future. So I followed suit.
                Yeah it is so hard to stop untangling the skein of fuckupedness. It was addictive. But we forge ahead. . .

          • MissDelta,
            I have read Tracy’s book, and it literally opened my eyes, as does this blog on a daily basis. I comforted (yet shocked and sad) that there are so many of us chumps out there, with almost identical stories. Comforted because when I read your comments and see others, I realize I’m not crazy. My mind actually calms down and coalesces all my thoughts and feelings the longer I read. I get CLARITY. The periods of clarity last longer and longer, til I see him and hear his voice. I’m trying to navigate Limited No Contact because of our kids. Yes, both my 18 year old son and 12 year old daughter are happier and more at peace in their own home without him there. Thanks for your kind words 🙂

            • Creative, read the Bancroft book, ‘Why Does He Do That?’. I’m betting at least one of its chapters will make you feel like you’ve just been slapped, because somebody must have had a video camera on your house. That’s how I felt! And to have those manipulations and all that control and discard clearly labelled as ABUSE is so validating.

    • CreativeLifer he is a narc. I’m sorry. They can hide it for years. If your daughter came to you with this information, what would you tell her to do?

      I think you are still in the fog of it all yourself. I’m 18 months out with No Contact. Once you step away and get some time and distance, you will start recalling things you’ve spackled over for years. Perhaps even all the way back to when you were dating. You thought he was like you with your values because that was the picture he painted for you. But you saw glimpses of what was underneath.

      This is who he is. Trust your counselor to help you with this. It’s harder than hell and I’m very sorry this is your life. Once you start accepting this and start seeing the real picture, you are able to start moving on and focusing on yourself (and your kids).

      • Thanks Twice (and I’m sorry it was twice),
        Yes, if my daughter had this in her life I’d hire a hitman. It would be unacceptable, because she deserves better. We all do. I am still in the fog, as my sisters/mother/friends all tell me. They don’t get it. I’m glad I have CL/CN because you ALL get it. I’m grateful for a counselor who knows about trauma, she’s a Godsend. Might be doing a little EMDR soon. Between her and reading this blog, I see a stronger “me” emerging, although slowly, and that’s ok. 🙂

    • The problem people have is trying to fit their significant other into the narcissistic definition. You have to understand. Most narcissist never get near a therapist. They don’t believe in it. They think their shit doesn’t stink. The definition of narcissism is based on the number of people that have been seen by therapists. There are tens of thousands, no, there are millions and millions of them on the planet but they are not seen so they are not described. Narcissists come in all sorts of guises. My grandmother was the sweetest talking woman you’ve ever saw and so damn destructive to her children. There are people who brag about themselves and we all know who they are. There are others, like my grandmother, who use religion as a powertool. She was the first one in church and the last one to leave. Never raised her voice. You can’t try to put your square peg into that round hole. The only thing narcissists have in common is that under the surface they think they are perfect and that you are zero. They may act differently but the outcome is always the same. The people who have to deal with them routinely start questioning their own mentality.

      • Let Go,
        This… “The only thing narcissists have in common is that under the surface they think they are perfect and that you are zero” is accurate statement. I was an independent 28 year old when I met my husband, married at 30. I had fun in my 20’s. I felt good about myself, loved my job, happy and confident. It took 20 years for me to feel like a zero, and it was by him needling me and picking me apart very slowly. And I started believing him. There were good times thrown in there, enough to make a life, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he doesn’t value me or respect me at all. My sister told me that my focus shouldn’t be on the affair or the other woman, but in trying to figure out WHY I’ve allowed this entitled treatment of me all these years.

        I’m sorry you had that kind of grandmother, but glad you know the truth and are stronger for it.

        • I’m finding out there’s no edit in responding. Once you post, it’s done. I’m finding typos left and right in my comments. I’m chalking it up to passionate typing. I didn’t even notice yours 🙂

    • CreativeLifer,

      “He’s a very tall, handsome man, that exudes charm, dresses well, was a deacon in our church (til he left), and has an image of a humble, down to earth guy. He’s overly nice to everyone he meets, except me and the kids. He has a pretty powerful job in our area, and I think it has gone straight to his head. I found about 30 selfies on his phone of him posing like a preteen girl. He’s obsessed with whitening his teeth and working out”

      I think we where married to men cut from on the same cloth… the narcissistic cloth! My ex used to work with the church youth group, until I had a church intervention for his “porn addiction”. They wouldn’t let him continue “serving” and once he was outed we left that church because “he felt betrayed!”

      The reason I love CL and CN is because it cuts through all the bullshit! Trust cheaters suck is all you need to know.

      People who love you don’t…

      Cheat
      Lie
      Put you down
      Blame you for their behavior
      Blame you for your response to their behavior. If I punch you in the face, your response shouldn’t be self-blame “what did I do to cause this”, it should be “punching me in the face is unacceptable!” Period!

      I was in your shoes for 15 years. What I learned was this…
      People who tear you down and then complain that you have low self-esteem lack the ability for empathy.
      The pattern of chumps chasing a moving goal post is never more evident than post d-day. You’ll run yourself into the ground trying to meet their demands that “you be this or that.”
      We are in love with who they convinced us they were, not who they actually are. They have an amazing capacity for impression management, and we are so conditioned to accept the superficial, that we deny what we instinctively know, they suck at real, and their impressions are an illusion! I highly recommend the book “In Sheeps Clothing”.

      Asshat used to tear me down and then complain that my low self-esteem was the problem. It took me a lot of work to realize my low-self-esteem was an issue, but not in the way I imagined it in my head. My low self-esteem was WHY I put up with his horrid behavior, but it was NOT the CAUSE of his horrid behavior! It is why it took me 15 years to leave a man that I jumped through hoops for, and put up with behavior that was not reciprocal. I was the giver and he was the taker. When I demanded more, I was labeled controlling, needy, pathetic… whatever it was to shut me up and get me to fall in line with his program – serve him and his needs, to hell with mine! I wanted him to love me as much as I loved “the image of him”, but once I realized his image was an illusion, that person didn’t actually exist, it was so much easier to let go. I think we all go through a period of wanting to “understand” what happened, if we can just figure it out. Have they always been this person? Did they change somewhere along the line? What did we do to make them change? How could we have avoided it? There’s a sense of control in that, a sense that you can stop it from happening in the future. But the truth is, you don’t control someone else’s behavior, how they behave is completely up to them! The only question that matters is “what are you willing to put up with?” That is the only thing that you control! I spent so many years trying earn his love, but the truth is, I forgot to love myself first.

      Trust that they suck and put down the hopium pipe!

      • Mine also told me, shortly before DDay when he had already been cheating for months, that I needed more confidence. This was after several years of devalue. I responded that he had a part to play in my level of “confidence”. I tried to tell him that he could boost it instead of making it lower. He didn’t get it at all. I felt like I was talking to a brick wall.

        My daughter has tried to tell him the same in regards to her self esteem with similar results.

      • Got-a-Brain!
        Every single thing you said resonates with me. Thank you so much for listing it out, from the ways he doesn’t love me to what you learned in 15 years. And yes, it’s mostly about control. If I own it, then I can fix it. I can control the outcome. But people have free will, and narcissists use their will to feel good, no matter who it hurts. It’s hedonistic. (Fyi, my husband is addicted to porn as well). I think certain behaviors can awaken a sleeping monster. Sex can be dirty and fun, and couples can experiment and have a grand time… I’m an open minded girl. But watching porn daily does something to your brain, it’s been proven.

        You’re so right in that trying to understand and reason it out is futile. Loving myself enough should be where I put my energy. And quit smoking 🙂

      • Gotta brain, this post is the inspiration that I need right now,

        I got an email from mys children’s therapist this afternoon which had me in a tiz so I was trying to calm down.

        Therapist is tasked with trying to reconcile children with their cheater father. After their last session, he said he wanted to talk to dad alone one session and then bring him in to talk with children.

        The email said he instead wants to meet with me and stbx alone. I am no contact as much as possible and grey rock when we are forced to be at Court stuff together. We have never had counseling and after reading this blog for several months, I realize it would be pointless.

        I told therapist I need more info before deciding but unless he has some big revelation for me, gotabrain, your post has empowered me to say no. I am not going to have a meeting with my rapist. He has made it perfectly clear he wants to hurt me. He admitted under oath that he had told me he had multiple affairs but said it was a lie he told in order to hurt me.

        I have been his victim and will not willingly let it continue. I will tell therapist I will meet with him but not with lying, hurtful, sociopathic narcissistic asshole!

        • Why are you responsible for the relationship between your idiot and the children? ‘Scuse the language. He fucked it up so he can fix it. I get sooooo tired of people being dumped on. Why is any of this on you? Has the therapist done this? Why? Are you suppose to be the sacrifice to the hope that Mr. Wonderful is going to be a good guy? If your kids don’t trust him I wonder why. I am all for children having healthy, happy relationships with their parents but sometimes it is too late. How did this therapy make sense and who set it up?

    • CreativeLifer, please don’t be too concerned with the formal label of “narcissist”.

      It seems clear from your testimony that your husband is a deliberate abuser. He repeatedly insults and mocks you with very specific cruelties (gaining weight, how you walk, pathetic, a tumor, would eat his sh*t, etc.). This is *completely undeserved* verbal, emotional and psychological abuse. I’m so sorry you still have feelings for him, but he probably gets pleasure from harming you and watching you suffer.

      My father was a lot like this. He treated others sweetly, generously and well, and maintained a good image in public. But in private he was thrilled and delighted to inflict all kinds of cruelty on my mother and us kids… he got a lot of enjoyment out of it. Laughing at, insulting and mocking us. There were other kinds of horrid abuse too, but the most frequent was the creative and specific insults. I’m convinced, a sign of a degenerate person is this – that they enjoy mocking other people.

      I hope you can get away from this toxic husband and find a life filled with peace and beauty.

      • Wildflower, I’m sorry you had a father like that. It sounds like you let this make you aware and stronger. I hope you’ve found peace as well. I’m all over the place when it comes to saying I’ve been abused. I know that verbal, emotional, psychological abuse is more insidious than physical abuse. I just never thought it would be me, since I was AWARE of this. But hindsight is truly 20/20, because remembering comments made years ago, I can see the escalation. But I’m the type of person who sees good in everybody. So I focused on his “good”, while he focused on my “bad”. I’m not perfect, so there’s bad. But on my worse day, I would never deliberately hurt someone, especially someone I’m supposed to protect and love.

    • The long game, exasshole did the same, very sweet and considerate until he got what he wanted and thought it was locked in. Once he thought he had a lock, true face begins to appear, still not the whole thing. That full monty of who they are doesn’t come out until you tell them to get the fuck out. At least it didn’t for me

    • Read the book ” Leave a cheater gain a life” it’s all there in black and white! If you’ve read it re-read it!

    • “is he truly a narc? Or just having a mid life crisis?”

      He’s a covert narc— and the term “midlife crisis” is bullshit cheater culture-speak for narcissism.

      “Can he change? Should I care?”

      Trust That He Sucks. Whatever he’s doing with OW Schmoopie is just the idealization phase of the narc cycle. NOT meaningful change or real emotion there. The only person you should care about is you, first and foremost. And your kids once you have handled your own oxygen mask.

      “How do I make myself fall out of love with this man? I don’t see him for a few weeks, but then when I see him I’m drawn to him. I feel rejected all over again. I keep thinking I’m getting past this, but then I fall back down the rabbit hole.”

      Caretaker Recovery. Spend time researching empaths and codependents and how we can overcome narcissistic abuse. Hysterical bonding/trauma bonding— try to understand our patterns of what keeps Caretakers hooked to their narcs and learn how to disengage. Basically, we have to actively make ourselves put the focus back on ourselves. “Getting Past Your Breakup” is also a really good read in addition to “Leave A Cheater, Gain A Life.” NC/Grey Rock works miracles.

  • My X admitted to being a narcissist as well. She also joined a so-called “spiritual” group that she told me was known as a group for “rich white narcissists.” She cheated on me with someone from the group; he encouraged her lying and her cheating – so much for spiritual development!

    I thought the fact that she admitted being a narcissist meant that she was aware it was not a good characteristic and she was working on it. Boy was I fooled!

  • Red flags during our marriage: he always did do what “he wanted.” Spent a lot of time pleasing himself, buying stuff he wanted, or spent loads of time away from us “at the club.” He once said I could be happy just by myself. He had a great job but always felt he deserved more recognition. Didn’t have a lot of real friends, and discouraged us getting to know others in the community. Perhaps afraid all his secrets would come tumbling out. All surface and no depth. I believe sex was love to him, didn’t matter with who…😢. He can best be described as politician like. Out there putting on a show. He was very uncomfortable being a husband though (and never got better at the relationship part, so of course I had enough love for us all) and while he supported us very well (even going along to build us a beautiful home), I do believe it was dressing on top of his facade to the world. When life threw us challenges he basically disappeared. I don’t think he had enough depth to appreciate handling them.

    • This sounds very familiar, always “got what he wanted” “putting on a good show “. But when the party was over and he had to go back to being a husband absolutely couldn’t handle the relationship part. Just went from one shiny new thing to the next. Always bored and looking for something more exciting, very jealous of other folks and their prosperity, even though he had everything one could want.
      The character traits are the same just varying degrees .

  • My ex is a physician and would never admit to being a narcissist. He had a coworker that was an overt narc. This self absorbed asswipe was showing pictures of his new sports car and huge house he was building to the janitor who rode an old beat up bicycle to work.

    My ex despised everyone he worked with because they didn’t realize he was the smartest one there and they didn’t listen to him. He didn’t get the promotions over the narcs there because they didn’t appreciate good guys like him. He went through 3 immediate supervisors and 4 upper supervisors that were all ‘tools’ according to him. I didn’t realize there were vulnerable narcs then.

    My ex would use me to help him at emotional intelligence situations by asking me ‘hey can you do that thing you do where you look at a situation from everyone elses point of view?’. I always knew I was the giver and he was the taker. He had to have attention ALL the time. Constantly texting and doing. He was an emotional vampire. He would do the pedastal, devalue, discard with everyone and everything in our life. I only truly recognize it now that I’m 18 months out with No Contact with him. That thing I do is called empathy and he just didn’t have any for anyone else.

    • So many doctors and high-achieving professionals are this way. You’ve described my surgeon ex perfectly. Gave up a phenomenal job because the people there did not stroke his ego enough. It’s idealize, devalue, discard all the damn time with everyone and everything. Jobs, friends, wife, colleagues, hobbies… they do not experience real emotion and can never be satisfied.

  • X stated out of the blue one day early in our marriage that “I could easily be a hit man”. Another time he stated “You have no idea…there is NO ONE else like me and you will never meet anyone like me”.

    I told him before he finally left: “I think, from all my research and from all I have experienced with you, that you are a classic Sociopath at best, and a Psychopath at worst”. He agreed as if it were a good thing.

    This is a man who cranked upped the Morphine in his mother’s drip when she was dying from cancer…it succeeded in ending her life that night. He said he did it “to stop her pain”. Truth was, her impending death was interfering with his ability to get his regular kibble from his ex wife who was taking care of his mother for the last two months of her life.

    Another time, his 22yr old son was involved in a rescue search for his best childhood friend who fell while fishing with his dad into a fast moving river/dam. When his son realized that his friend was likely dead, he called and wailed so hard that we could not comprehend what he was trying to tell us…he could only say his friends name over and over…it was horrible. X looked irritated and handed the phone to me and told me to tell him to continue searching “because it would give him something practical to do”. A week later, they shut down the dam and pulled his body out from being jammed under boulders.

    During the funeral, X leaned over to me and remarked about how fat and old the young man’s parents had gotten since the last time he saw them. This family had been my X’s closest friends for twenty five years.

    This is a man who was a pillar at church and taught Bible study every week in our home.

    • I would be curious to see if there is any research out there that links the Narcs with an obsessive participation in religion. I used to joke that my ex BF spent more time in church than most priests. A died in the wool orthodox, weekly religion classes, obsessive volunteering within his church….on any given week he was probably in the church five days a week. This from a 46 year old man advertising online for 18 to 22 year old girls, Craigs List hookups, Adult Friend Finder… and yet… a church elder???!!!! Obviously that particular Romanian parish is not raising the bar very high….it’s extremely disturbing….

      • I think it’s not just religion. They latch on to ideologies, cults, anything that has an exclusive quality; either you are in and you’re special (and you can be opted into to the cult while in the love bombing phase), or you are out, one of the inferiors, infidels, dissidents (and you can be kicked out of the cult, purged, that’s the discard). So religion, ideology is just a means to an end, so they can be the Chosen, and mistreat the heretics.
        With mine it was climate change and his especially enlightened understanding of how the world is going to hell, billions will die but we would save ourselves/be saved. He was like a Doomsday Prepper except he never properly prepped for anything, because… who knows, he’s never really finished anything except marriages. And anyway, his answer every time I questioned the contradiction between his words and his actions “Do as I say, don’t do as I do” was his answer. He’s soooo special.

        • KiwiChump, your post is so well-worded!

          It’s not just religion– it’s any “thing” that appeals to certain people so that in joining the cult, group, or clique, they feel special: smarter and more enlightened than the rest of us “morons”.

          Shortly after my X dumped me in the nearest trash can for the OW, she actually started a three year “Spiritual Director” course at a private religious school– and the OW (who participated in the affair knowing the my X was in a long term “committed” relationship with me) is a self-described “people saver” into New Age metaphysics and yoga. Hypocrites, all of them– so very disordered…

          BTW, my X said she and OW were “mystics” because they were both diagnosed as bi-polar, and “all bi-polar people are mystics”. Yes, the X actually said this.

          The X was a clinically diagnosed Cluster B– but sweats up and down that she’s a “good girl” who never cheated, except on me– because after all I was so “bad” to her that she just HAD to do it.

          They’re all the same– same lies, same disrespect, same entitlement.

      • Narcs love anything that can make them look good, and church can certainly do that. I bet he got lots of admiration and praise for all the ‘good’ he did. While underneath … disgusting!

    • What a colossal asshole ! His response to your son wailing with pain at the loss of his friend-appalling !

    • “During the funeral, X leaned over to me and remarked about how fat and old the young man’s parents had gotten since the last time he saw them. This family had been my X’s closest friends for twenty five years.”

      My god. He was jealous of the attention the young man’s grieving parents were getting at their son’s funeral, and he just had to attack them because their vulnerability threatened him. The crazy thing is, my ex covert narc did shit like this all the time, and I spackle over it as if it was some kind of darkly hilarious inappropriate sense of humor and he was just being too honest. How the eff did I miss the obvious narcissism??

      • “Darkly hilarious inappropriate sense of humour”, touched a nerve with me! I just thought he liked to shock, i had to ask him to curb it in front of the kids actually. Asswipe that he is.

  • I agree it doesnt matter what label we give to these fuckheads, it still hurts like hell to be lied to and cheated on and our lives turned upside down. We can only feel the pain. Divorce the jerk and get on with finding things in life that gives us pleasure. My STBX ran into mutual friends and spent half an hour justifying why he left me as though adultery was just a normal outcome of being unhappy in the marriage. Hugs to all.

    • To this day, two years subsequent to Dday, I have absolutely no idea what he has said about ME. All I know is that I have been cut off by all former in laws and most friends. It must have been pretty awful in order to justify the depth of his deceit and betrayal. Yes, what he did sucks and it still hurts like heck. Why, when I have done nothing wrong, do I have to find a way to begin again?

  • My ex mentioned to me several times that he wanted to get a tattoo on the back of his neck that said “stubborn ass” in chinese. I told him that that wasn’t a very admirable quality and he might want to rethink that. He said he didn’t care. I think he thought it made him sound tough. I thought he was just an ass! Funny thing is…….he faints at the sight of needles. Seriously!!! Not so tough. He never did get the tattoo.

    This is when I realized that he was absolutely narcissistic. He loved everything about himself….even the bad traits.

    • I remember several years ago telling him that, when he was at his worst, he was very selfish.
      His disdainful reply had been: “of course I’m selfish,I need to take care of me”

      He always feels like the world is out to get him and yet he is very adamant about making enemies, it seems. Myself at the top of the list.
      I always thought he felt overly defensive, due to abuse in childhood, but never would I have dreamed him capable to go on the offensive like that, with lying and all sorts of underground activities.

  • At this point in life my ex has been just therapized enough that he would never openly admit to being an outright narcissist. But the mask did occasionally drop and he’d say the same thing in other words. Once during an argument when I insisted that he was absolutely wrong about some point of fact, he shook with rage and his face was purple. He yelled,” People do not speak to me that way. NO ONE has ever spoken to me that way.” I just looked at him and said,”WRONG AGAIN–because I just did!” I thought he might have a stroke.

    • Jojobee,
      I love this story. Mine is somewhat psychobabble trained and uses that lingo to try to defend himself. Ddays 1 &2 led us to MC. I later became a therapist myself and, still codependent, I made a life’s mission to try to help him fix himself.
      After Dday3, 4 months ago, and after I found CL & CN, i called him a narc once, but he’s such a sensitive guy! He later commented that his ho-worker was “mire of a narcissist than I am.”
      Boing

      • Unbelievable, aren’t they? What I noticed about my “super-sensitive” narc, was that he was only sensitive about his own feelings!

  • My ex was diagnosed NPD and laughed about it. He had no problem in agreeing that he was a narcissist and felt it was a positive trait. Of course, he also considers himself to be the most wonderful, caring, Christian man alive. He recently popped up out of the depths of hell to try and con me into closing my child support arrears case against him, and he actually texted me that he cannot imagine why I wouldn’t trust him because he is “an honest man of his word.”

  • When I was young, I thought a narcissist was just vain, or super preoccupied with the way things appeared. I didn’t realize the implications. When I started learning about the disorder, so many random events and memories that had been swimming around in my subconscious came floating up and into my mainstream thinking — it was like puzzle pieces had been tossed in a blender, and when the mix was “poured ” out it turned into a fully formed puzzle. All the pieces just popped into place. I finally got it.

    One thing we need to remember is that these folks learn from childhood what is considered socially acceptable. They may think socially acceptable is stupid — but they know how to use it when it advances their narc interests. Remember they knew how to love bomb us at the beginning of the relationship — mirror our behaviors and ferret out our desires. They thought we were stupid, too, but we were going to be oh, so useful to them. They can act the part of anyone for a short while, if it serves their interest. They cannot sustain the act — sooner or later the mask will slip, and the heartless sociopath will show the monster’s face that truly is the narcissist. But they will step back “into character” and quickly do image control. They may admit, or brag, about being superior every once in a blue moon — after all they are very proud of their superiority — but they realize that “others” may be “jealous” of their superiority, and it may be difficult to manipulate those others at some point in the future when they might be useful to the narcissist. That is why they are so careful. That is why they don’t like to admit the truth. What was that phrase — they see, they just disagree –? They want to be in control, and in charge, because they are so superior, you know, so they act nice to get their way. When they get caught, they find a new audience.

    • Portia, nailed as usual. They are oh so careful, the smart ones. They can keep that mask on a long time and slowly remove it so your boundaries get trampled without raising a flag until they step past a certain point. Until that happens, they get our forgiveness because we hear them but we don’t truly listen. They do tell us who they are but then they walk it back and we prefer to believe their excuse and the lie than the truth we heard, after all, it’s hell to learn the person you love cannot love you back

  • The Fucktard told me repeatedly over the years that he was the most intelligent person he had ever met. He was well educated and successful and accomplished, and truly believed himself to be superior to everyone else. At some point down the line, he felt the need to impress me even further with his towering intellect so he told me “his number.” I guess he assumed I should immediately bow to his IQ score. My response was “Then I guess you have met your match.” This infuriated him to the point of insisting that I must have taken an inferior test or that it must have been mis-scored. So I never had to ask him if he was a narcissist. Of course he was a narcissist. What I should have asked him is was he a psychopath.

  • I still don’t know who/ what x is. I know that his cheating and lying wasn’t acceptable to me. I guess that is enough to know that he sucks and me and my children are better off without that in our lives everyday. I know he is selfish and entitled and that he discarded me when I needed him the most after getting what he needed out of me. I don’t know if that makes him a narcissist. He was so covert in his actions and because he added in just enough compliments, small gifts etc. I didn’t see that I was being devalued until d-day and he didn’t hang around to have to deal with the fall out of his actions. He just discarded and blameshifted until I gave up trying to make him see how his actions where hurting me and what he had done. It wasn’t going to make any difference he had moved on and I was just boring. I trust that he sucks now but I still find myself trying to understand what happened and why.

  • Very interesting posts today. Started me thinking. I have called my XH a narcissist in my thoughts for a long time. But started to analyze a bit more closely. He was someone who was very judgmental about others. He didn’t sing his own praises though. I think that was because he really wasn’t good at anything. He was a mediocre businessman, unable to do chores competently in the house and barely competent in golf (the sport he loves and spends all his time at). But where I learned after he separated he did excel was in picking up women and getting them to sleep with him. After dDay, he bragged about all the women he had had. Many of them I knew. I was so shattered. I think he really felt he was now the successful one. I had been the main earner, the one who did all the housework, the one with the friends. Now I was the downtrodden one. This lifted his ego tremendously. We have been apart 6 years, divorced for 2. One son still sees him and occasionally mentions that his Dad has a new girlfriend, or a new car, or whatever. I expect he will just move from person to person until he is physically unable to do this. He will live on his “charm” and that is his source of superiority. His narcissism comes from total emptiness inside.

    • Your post is so very interesting. Because I am convinced my ex was a Narcissist too. It’s funny, he wasn’t good at anything either, he sucked at his job, earned less than $18000/year, was on the brink of poverty, but picking up women he was very good at! Can you describe your courtship with your husband and how he pursued you before marriage? I ask because they can lay on the charm for courtship, sort of a predator going after a prey, but they aren’t very bright or capable to accomplish anything else.

      • He was charming and attentive for the most part. He had some definite ideas about things – I actually respected that he had his own opinions. He totally changed on our honeymoon. He ignored me and left me alone while he golfed with someone he met at the resort. He tried to date the waitress who had our table. When I told him this marriage was clearly a mistake he quickly reverted to Mr. Charming. He managed to keep me on a hook for 33 years by giving me snippets of attention when I expressed any unhappiness. He was a master manipulator.

        • “He totally changed on our honeymoon.”

          He sounds truly creepy and like a very subtle, covert narc that was impossible to detect. I’m so sorry for what you’ve had to go through with him. It’s hard when they are so manipulative and duplicitous enough that they can pass themselves off as “nice guys” for so long, and fool so many people. Kudos to you for seeing through it and for figuring out the truth.

  • I think it helps chumps learn a specific ‘diagnosis’ – narcissist, sociopath or borderline personality disorder – because it opens your eyes to what you have been dealing with. You’ve sensed its not normal because it isn’t.

    I prefer the term ‘Pod People’ because they look and act like regular humans but their wiring is just not right. They do not have any capacity for empathy. The smarter ones are really good at mirroring and pretending they have empathy. They know the right things to say.

    I still don’t know if my XH is a covert narcissist or a sociopath. (Frankly, I don’t care). The bottom line is I know that I would never treat him the way he treated me. I always had his back and he never had mine.

  • Well, I for one think that the study is interesting. It is widely assumed that narcissists are not self-aware – but according to this study, they do realize who they are and admit to it in a non-confrontational, non-personal setting.

    On a somewhat related note, everyone here seems to assume that their cheating exes are indeed narcissists – terms like “personality disorder” are used very freely. Considering how common infidelity really is – no, considering that 50% of all marriages end in divorce, I don’t believe the statistics that put it at only 10-20% – does it really make sense to classify all perpetrators as disordered personalities?

    • I do not think it is safe to say “everyone” here assumes the ex’s are narcissists, or that we classify “all” perpetrators as disordered personalities. I’ve been following this blog for a long time, and I would not agree that all of the ex’s we talk about are the same. There may well be some traits that may apply to all or most cheaters, but once you hear the stories about some of the ex’s on this site, you would be inclined to admit that they go beyond the garden variety cheater.

      The other thing to consider is that many of the members of Chump Nation are well educated and articulate. They are not likely to accept a label just because it is easy or popular. Many of us have struggled with why we did not recognize the signs (red flags) and why it took us so long to react and or defend ourselves. For many, our own inaction may well have been more painful for us than the actual cruelty of our so called partners.

      I did not come to the conclusion that my ex’s were Narcs easily. It was a process, I studied the problems in the relationships very seriously, and I looked at my own early life influences very closely. I finally concluded, based on a wealth of evidence, that my family of origin was headed by a malignant Narc, and my childhood set me up to be vulnerable to adult relationships with Narc’s. This was not something I accepted gladly, but it made a great deal of sense when I weighed the evidence I had.

      The other factor you might take into consideration is that the study and identification of the various type B personality traits is relatively new. In previous generations these folks may have been called con men, or cads, or gold-diggers. Our communication and education systems have developed and it is likely that there are many more of these folks in our population than was once believed. We can diagnose many diseases now, and classify what kills us more precisely than we used to. So people who were declared dead of old age or consumption may well have died from a form of cancer or a viral disease. Now we can better identify the culprit for what it is.

      Whatever else we have in common, the main thing the nation has in common is that we were in a relationship with someone who cheated, and that it was a painful experience. We support each other, and we feel free to talk about our problems, and our recovery. We may not be equal in all forms of sorrow, but we are not alone. We comfort each other in a way our significant other’s never did. Whatever else we call them, they were not good for us.

      • Portia, you are right not literally everyone here calls their ex a “narcissist”, but I think you will agree that it is very common. Also, by stating that cheating is common, I was not implying that being cheated on isn’t painful.

        Regarding your comment “we can diagnose many diseases now” – well, we can also create new diagnoses out of thin air by turning common character flaws into “personality disorders”. If we take all of these “disorders” seriously, should we then not also absolve the “patients” of their moral responsibility? A thief is morally responsible, but a kleptomaniac? We can’t have it both ways.

        • I am not sure I would agree to absolve anyone of moral responsibility. I think actions have consequences. If someone has a disease that can be treated, I think it should be treated, especially if it is communicable. If someone has a mental disorder, as determined by those who have lived with the consequences of the disorder, but the person refuses to acknowledge the disorder — you have a slippery issue as far are the legal system goes. It is not as easy as drawing blood, or running lab tests on the disordered — maybe some day it will be, but all we have now is the testimony of those who lived with them in what was supposed to be an intimate relationship, and we (often) have no legal recourse. Social norms tell us “we should have known,” or we somehow “caused” the problem. It is very different. If a kleptomaniac is caught stealing, he or she doesn’t just get away with the crime. There are consequences. They may go to a mental facility instead of a jail — but they can’t just continue to walk around taking other people’s things.

          We talk about whether sexual addiction is a real thing on here. I don’t know the answer. I think it is awfully convenient, and may be a telltale symptom of another issue, but I don’t know the answer. I do believe pornography has a negative impact on the mental processes associated with sexual activity. I can’t prove it. It’s not illegal to view pornography. Many have commented that their SO tells them it is “normal.” I don’t think so. Curiosity is normal, wanting to watch someone get gang raped and/or killed is not normal in my opinion. So you see, I don’t think that some of the personality disorders many of us have dealt with are “common character flaws.” There is a line somewhere, and many of chump nation’s ex’s have crossed that line. Some have obliterated the line, and will never live anything which even approaches what we are told is a “normal” life.

          The great thing about the cluster B disorders are that they differentiate and define specific characteristics which can be associated with these individuals, and they allow us a place to start when we talk and when we are trying to figure out what is going on or what happened to us. You may not like the distinction, and you may not believe we are on to something. With the life experience I have had, I believe there are Narc’s in the general population, and I believe they get away with a lot. I believe much of what they do should be illegal, and there should be dire consequences. I believe the worst of what they do lives on in the mental scars of those they purported to “love.” If you were unfortunate enough to be the child of one of these “dysfunctional” people, or the spouse, you would know what it is like to wonder if there is something wrong with you, or whether or not you “caused ” something to happen, or whether you should try to “fix” something you didn’t break. It is a mental crime, or a crime of the heart. The one who was betrayed is the one who gets to decide if the perpetrator is “garden variety” or “dysfunctional”. As Chump Lady points out, it is not her opinion about what someone has done to you that matters, it is your opinion. But since you asked her opinion, then she is allowed to present her opinion. You don’t have to agree, but it is respectful to listen and evaluate. Everyone may be crazy or no one may be crazy — but we have a word, crazy, and it has a generalized meaning useful in conversation. The words that we use to describe dysfunctional cluster B’s are useful too.

        • Mike – I call my ex to be an asshat. Whether he is a narcissist or not is irrelevant at this point. That he is a despicable human being has been well established. That’s all.

        • Mike, please remember that although everyone here has a cheating spouse, not every cheater’s spouse is here on CN. You are in error to draw any conclusions based on the assumption that they are.

          I think you’ll find the stories of those here most egregious. There are spouses here, who, for example, have turned their backs on 20- and 30- year relationships without a second glance or a tear shed. There are fathers here who have deserted children with life-threatening diseases and left their wives to care for them while they conduct affairs. There are truly self-centered, empathy-free individuals described here who have devastated the ones who loved them the most. Not every cheater is capable of that.

          Narcisstic personality disorder is defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the authoritative classification of mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. Do you have some other source that gives you a better insight as to how to characterize the behavior of narcissists, such that you can more accurately characterize our abusers and question our own assessments?

          I personally had never heard of Cluster B disorders, or narcissistic personality disorder. However, I have sought treatment from four separate therapists, all with either psychology PhDs, MDs, or both. Without exception, all four have concluded that my x suffers from NPD, and one suggested he has malignant NPD.

          We are not just throwing these terms around.

          I think you are the one throwing the term around; you are ignorant of both the demographics of this participants of this website and the particulars of any of our individual situations beyond what we have disclosed here, and you are unacquainted with all the individuals in question.

          • For 18 years, I lived with a man who regularly put himself first, who gaslighted me, who did what he wanted to do regardless of consequences, who lied, who stole, who blamed others for his misfortune, and on and on and on. I thought he was just a broken man from a traumatic childhood. But then I started researching NPD and other personality disorders. And things started to click. All of these behaviors I put up with, that left me in love one minute and crying and grasping for some semblance of reality the next, had a name.

            My therapist is convinced my ex has a personality disorder. And when I look back on 18 years of marriage (I kept journals of my life for those 18 years), it all adds up. Discovering NPD and cluster B personalities existed literally saved my sanity.

            Not all cheaters are narcs, true. But mine sure is and was. I’m still trying to climb out from underneath his abuse as he WILL NOT GO AWAY. He’s a predator. Period.

          • Champchump, I am aware that not all chumps are on this site. However, I don’t see much reason to assume that the people who are here have suffered worse than those who are not.

            I am also not suggesting that every single use of the “disorder” label is inappropriate – As an MD, I’m aware that NPD and some related disorders are recognized diagnostic categories. I merely say that these terms are being used here too loosely, and that sometimes a good, old-fashioned swearword is both more accurate and more effective.

            To some other respondents here: If you don’t agree with me, that is o.k., but please accept that I was just trying to make a point, not to “troll” or rile you up.

            • Perhaps I should have said that you are in error to assume that the group of people on this site are an accurate representation of the chump population as a whole. You have no data to assume that, one way or another.

              You also cannot assume that the people here have suffered less, the same, or more than those who are not.

              Considering that you really know little about the population here, and even less about each individual’s particular situation, when you come here “trying to make a point,” in the way that you did—which is to say, questioning the credibility of our own assessments—you are demonstrating both your ignorance and the fact that you appear to have little sensitivity or empathy.

              I agree with you on one point: not everyone here has characterized his or her cheating spouse as having NPD. But in my experience, most those of us who have do not the term “too loosely”; we know what we’re talking about. And the rest deserve the benefit of the doubt. Period.

            • Aaaawwwww! how sweet. You came to patronize us with your superior knowledge. So sorry, your pseudo-expertise got here too too late, we’ve already been gas-lit by masters of the dark arts. Go peddle your Psych 101 level knowledge somewhere more appropriate to your skills, like a public toilet.

    • I don’t think they are all narcissists, but I think all cheaters are selfish and likely have some combination of other negative personality traits that would make them cheat in the first place. In the case of my ex I would say it is a combination of selfish self-centeredness, insecurity, cowardliness, perfectionism, lack of empathy, being incapable of counting blessings and general dissatisfaction with life, that caused him to cheat. I am not sure that makes him a narcissist or even a cluster B, but it does make him an asshole who would cheat on his wife of 20+ years and then leave her for a fellow self centered slut who probably won’t make him any happier than I did in the long run.

      • I like your choice of language – I much prefer some solid swear words over pseudo-medical cluster XY-disorder gobbledigook.

        • For me the label is important. Here’s why: my whole life I have been told I could never trust my perceptions. They were wrong and immoral.

          When you’re taught this from childhood you do not know you are being duped so you depend on others for validation.

          I still fight this as an adult, so it is affirming for me to hear a term such as “narc” or “cluster B” for the collection of destructive behaviors certain individuals exhibit.
          If there is a term, that means other people have experienced it too. That is validating and I need outside validation (hopefully not forever, but for now I do).

          Sometimes a physical illness can be the same. You go to the doc as a result of symptoms that don’t fit any diagnosis. You wait and worry until finally a doctor can name what you have. For whatever reason, you feel so much better just because it has a name.

          On the other hand, I understand how psychological terminology can be off putting. I hope you can look past the terms and still glean the wisdom from these pages.

        • Pseudo-medical? Sorry, but that irritates me. NPD and personality disorders are NOT fake and neither are their names.

          You sound like my ex-husband telling me that “I think too much” and that what I’ve experienced isn’t real, but just me being sensitive.

          • I didn’t express myself well – don’t mean to say that these disorders don’t exist. Instead, I meant to say that these “diagnoses” are bandied about on here too loosely. With the word “pseudo-medical” I was referring to the misuse of these terms, not the diagnostic terminology as such.

            Didn’t mean to “troll” or upset anyone – I hope you can accept that even if you don’t agree with me. Have a nice day.

        • Mike, around here we know that if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and walks like a duck … it’s probably a duck. Figuring out that the person who betrayed you is an asshole is liberating in one way (Chumps tend to assume that pretty much everyone except maybe Hitler has a good heart, ‘underneath it all’), but realizing that their behaviour has consistently and persistently fit diagnostic criteria for what is a fairly common disorder (estimates in the USA are now around 4% just for NPDm never mind BPD and ASPD) is liberating in another. Understanding what has happened to you, and part of why it has happened, is super helpful, especially in realizing that they are not going to change – another area where Chumps tend to hang on to hope for far too long.

          And why would you be so concerned about this, anyway? If somebody here concludes their ex is a narc, but they’re actually not, what does it matter? The important lesson, and the one most emphasized here, is that we leave because the cheaters’ behaviour is not acceptable to us. We remove ourselves from a situation, and a person, that is making us unhappy, and in which we are being treated unfairly.

          Hmmm, interesting that you also felt the need to comment on how infidelity must be way more common than the usual stats show …. Methinks I smell a cheater, who’s been called a narc and didn’t like it! Now he has the sadz, I bet..

    • I don’t give a shit what exasshole is, he lacks empathy and cannot truly care about anyone. I don’t like the diagnosis crap, the behaviors exhibited by cheaters cross so many of the possibilities. Hell, alcoholics exhibit strong narcissistic traits. Assholes are assholes, character disorder is a term that bypasses the desire to diagnose even though it was used before the other terms, it’s come back around. Do we care if they are BPD or NPD or whatever? No. We just don’t want these people in our lives.

    • It’s unbelievable how they may admit being a narcissist and still refuse to change.
      Being identified as a narcissist is a compliment, an acknowledgement. Their grandiosity requests submission and expects a sort of obedience to their supposedly superior being. They will sabotage any treatment that could interfere with their evil agenda. They do what they do on purpose, aware or automatically and have no intention to change. They just keep finding people/doormats who adjust to their needs. Covert narcissists have expertised in tricking people in their traps, good people who adjust to and tolerate the chaos/abuse.

    • Mike, what people here are trying to do is make sense out of senseless. If they put labels on someone who has lied to them for years, cheated on them, taken joint income from them without their knowledge why would you quarrel with why/how they do it?
      A psychologist once told me that all human behavior is on a continuum. Even the definition of narcissist is made by people who might never have had to live with one. The real experts are Chumps who have been driven nearly crazy by people they love.

  • Jackass never copped to being a narcissist. He just said, “I’m the best there is at….[fill in the blank.” “Im smarter than …[fill in the blank.]”

    And the big one, uttered frequently: “I’m an asshole.”

    Yes, he is. It took me a long time to get that he didn’t see assholery as a problem.

  • Out of the blue, my cheater fucktard asked me if I thought he was a narcissist.

    It was the first time he ever mentioned the word to me. Of course like the “unschooled” in Cluster B person I was then, I thought in terms of overt narcissist. I told him “No.”

    I asked him why he brought that up and he said someone told him he was a narcissist.

    When I asked him who told him that, he clammed up, “Never mind …”

    Probably a side dish fuck. Or maybe a person who knew what he was up to.

  • I just wanted to add for any new Chumps — if you honestly think you are with a Narc or anything in the realm (sociopath/psychopath), be cautious as you exit.

    Unmasking a Narc is serious business. What they refer to as a “Narc injury” (unmasking … holding accountable … making them face the truth about WHO they are) can be truly ugly and sometimes dangerous.

    My STBX (referred to as a Narc by one psychologist — and a Sociopath by a psychiatrist) lost his shit. Completely. It was the last thing I expected — and shocking as hell at the time. Though, hindsight being what it is, I see that I mentally wrote off the possibility that he would become dangerous — even though I was certain he was at least a covert narcissist.

    My point: don’t be me. Don’t ignore your gut. If you have one of these disordered assholes … get a back-up safety plan in place before you make your move. This is not a time to “trust” that he’ll not hurt you or your kids.

    • Second that advice, exasshole had rages but when I told him we were divorcing he set me up for a DV charge and then later pulled a gun. Escalation happens when they loose control, so if you’ve been raged at or had other clues, don’t assume they won’t go further and really hurt you. Could be physical, could be legal.

    • JessMom,

      A succinct definition of narcissism I jotted down over a decade ago before I got personally “schooled” in the disorder lists three traits. Trait one-lacks empathy for others. Two-favors self-promotion over helping others. And number three-reacts violently to criticism.

      Thanks for the reminder. I’ve seen this action myself and have stepped out of the way.

  • The first month we were together he said to me it’s me myself and I, then he said it my way or the highway. He made me cry for the next 15 yrs plus in 1999 there was no Chump Lady to help me see the light. At the end the cheater narc could not hard no more I was a pitbull on steroids he chose the highway leaving me behind in shreads. It took nearly two years to start to me somewhat normal it’s a long painful road. Thanks to Chump Lady an Nation to start to feel normal again.

  • Thank you Chump Lady. Your advice is always so helpful. They actually think being identified as narcissists is a compliment. Because they don’t care if other people get hurt. They can admit they narcissists, they expect to get away with it, to live and let die. They imagine a parallel universe where everybody should adore them, and where they thrive unpunished for their evil intentions.
    It’s really all about what we tolerate.
    We can meet continually new narcs, we can be surrounded, it’s all about us our tangible boundaries, our disengagement. Thank CL.

  • If you are in the midst of it, LISTEN. What sounds like empathy is often not and when they tell you who they are they often walk it back immediately, or the next day. They know you very well and know you will ignore the tell and accept the denial. Stop it. It helps to record them so you can LISTEN without emotion later, because they get you all wack in a conversation it’s hard to parse. Recording helped me a great deal in the middle of the meddle.

    They do tell you who they are, we just reinterpret it as we hear because we want to believe they are like us. LISTEN. Other times they mirror what they have learned people want to hear. Example, you hear ‘I hate this, it hurts so much’ and you think they give a shit about the pain they are causing. NO, they are in pain, they aren’t thinking of you or the kids. It’s causing them a problem. Ask them, why does it hurt? And really listen.

    Jedi Hugs!

  • I’m betting you can ask a young narcissist that question and get the answer, but an older one will not cop to it.

  • Towards the end, when I stopped giving a fuck, I turned to my XH and said, “You are a sociopath!” From his reaction, I am pretty sure he didn’t know what that meant, but he knew it was not a good thing. I guess later he googled it and then a few days later he called ME a sociopath, like he came up with it. Another narc/sociopath trait; they take things you say and later try to use them (especially on you) like THEY came up with it. They can never come up with anything on their own…smh

    • Happens a lot, we don’t notice they are parroting our views or opinions until they do it hostilely. Later you realize you agreed on so many things because they got you to tell them what you thought first, then just agreed with you.

      • Exactly, Datdamwuf!! I realized, after the fact, that the love-bombing stage was nothing but parroting. Just like you mentioned, they listen to and observe all your likes, interests, and hobbies and swear they have them as their own interests as well or at least that think they are so interesting. Later, you find out that they may actually hate your hobbies/interests when the mask comes off. That is why from now on, when I start dating I am not going to be as forthcoming right away, to avoid having them try to immediately mirror or parrot me.

        • I didn’t realize cheater narc was mirroring me so much, until it finally sunk in that we do not share the same values. At all. In any way. Honesty? Loyalty? Family? Quality of life over quantity of money and shiny stuff? Nah, not even on his radar, once I was no longer necessary.

          Then he started changing everything in his life to match Schmoopie and the girlfriend who came after Schmoopie. All those things that were so important to him? Completely gone. So many things that he despised? Now at the center of his life.

          He even drinks Canadian wine now. That one still makes me laugh. There must be a term for someone who is both hollow on the inside, and a chameleon on the outside …..

    • nomoreevil – you are so right. They parrot a real person, they do not have an original thought. Must be tough to live within this empty shell.

      • Haha! My x used to parrot me, then if I later expressed the thought again, he’d get mad at me for claiming the idea as my own. By then he truly thought of it as his. He was ALWAYS accusing me of appropriating his ideas and original thinking. At first I couldn’t believe he didn’t remember where the thought originated, then I eventually gave up trying to remind him.

    • Mind claimed not only ideas but also actions. I stood up and spoke about bullying at the school AGM with not support from him. But I later found he was posting on the parents group that he was claiming he had spoken. Sometimes I felt he did this because he considered me a possession. “Your money is my money, your thoughts are my thoughts, anything good you did was as my amanuensis. But do anything that makes me feel less good or uncomfortable and you’re a difficult useless bitch”.

    • Mine is not very creative at all, despite thinking he is an artist / creative. I don’t think playing drums in a garage band on and off makes you an artist. No other artistic or creative ability, not even building something or gardening, nothing.
      He would recycle my conversation and moods back to me like it was follow the leader.
      Of course I didn’t let him lead the life he so desired and let him be himself. May have had something to do with the benders he went on with his loser band mates and you know having to be a grown up and have a job as we have kids.
      He likes to tell me how hard things are for him now. Really, I’m paying a mortgage on benefits and have had temping jobs since I lost my job after our family implosion. Go tell someone who cares.

  • Before D-day, a group of us were at happy hour and Hannibal Lecher admitted he’d taken the NPI and had come up with a “medium” score. We all howled; he was a glaring narcissist! But he also teaches logic, and could not answer questions like “I always like to be the center of attention” in the affirmative because “always” means ALWAYS in logic, and perhaps 2% of the time he did not like to be the center of attention.

    After D-day, he thought I’d be amused that he’d picked up a t-shirt that said “High Functioning Sociopath” on it. Guess he knew.

  • Even though I was cast as the villain to his long suffering victim, I was chastising him once for a rather dastardly deed, he fawned on the phone… “Yes, I know when I fight there is no bottom.” You could hear the pride in his voice.

    He was actually proud of that fact. Almost 46 years old, husband, father, church member… Mr. Holy Roller was very proud of this trait.

    What a total piece of shit he is.

  • Tracy, not quite sure how serious this study was. 2200 randomly selected people, does not sound a whole lot of people for a serious study. The term narcissist is used quite frequently nowadays. Given that a narcissist is not a good person by our societal standards, how does admitting to be a narcissist fit into image control? Image control seems to be all-important to a narcissist. Just curious.
    My asshat ex always pretended to be sympathetic to anything and anyone, as long as it was meaningless and did not require emotional involvement. He was very concerned about his image.
    Then again, I guess narcissist come in all forms.

  • Woot!!! Today is the day!!! I am officially divorced from my npd entitled and privileged alcoholic husband!
    He isn’t my problem anymore and hasn’t been my problem since d-day 3/13/17 (already planning an anniversary to myself 3/13/18 with good food, drink, company, fresh flowers, and starting the day off listening to ‘Feeling Good’ by Nina Simone)

    Gray rock, independence, strength, living in the NOW… because that is all we have! No other place I’d rather be. I can die tomorrow proud of my choices and relationships with people. I put my child first. I am so thankful that all the people I have in my life are good people that are positive and who care about me. That is all that I will allow. No more toxic Thanksgivings and Christmases with my ex and my in-laws. I deserve good people!
    Thanks Chumps… You are good people!

  • OMG Chump Lady!
    My cheater said really early on “I am vain”. Red flag I didn’t see.
    He is obsessed with becoming famous in his chosen field.
    Also, he has another specific diagnosis (which I won’t reveal here), which is one that generally makes people feel compassionate. So I spent all my time on compassion for him while none was coming back. This massively echoes my FOO issues too.

  • Right beautiful chumps. I knew there was a reason I saved this to my iPad a while back.

    A Narcissist’s Prayer

    That didn’t happen.

    And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.

    And if it was, that’s not a big deal.

    And if it is, that’s not my fault.
And if it was, I didn’t mean it.

    And if I did…
    You deserved it.

    -Author Unknown to Me.

  • “Well, I didn’t totally. Instead I became embroiled in a death match to force him to ADMIT that being narcissist made him a BAD PERSON. And didn’t he see how this was harming me and everyone around him and….insert head-in-the-blender… WhirrrRRRrrrr!)”

    – you too, huh?!

    Yes, he also used therapy against me as well.

    Oh well, onwards and upwards. Life is infinitely better without him, although I mourn the complete waste of time and effort that his narcissism brought to all our lives. But then, that is that whole Potential of things rabbit hole – don’t fall down it Patsy!!

  • From cheater diary when he was 20 : by the by I’m a very arrogant person and I like that about myself.

    Yes they do think they are ‘the’ shit instead of just a shit

  • By the way I read that Peggy and James Vaughn book. Thankfully armed with my ubt though some of the word salad was hard to sift through. It gave good insight into the mind of a cheater. I think for those if us who are well on our way it is worth a read. Despite their declarations etc. That their marriage became better with improved honesty I saw that James is a perennial shit and Peggy is gutless. I could describe more but those descriptions will have to suffice.