Verbal Abuse - Part 2

Choose Victory!

Thanks for all of the great feedback and encouragement that I consider turning these articles into an ebook. I may do that in time, but for now I am concerned that you get the help you need without delay, and so will share a bit more with you today (-:

I had a few good questions thrown at me after writing the first part of this article and these have been the inspiration for part 2.

The first question I will try and answer is from a regular (and very generous) contributor on our Wordpress Blog who asked - "With everything going on in my life can I really win this war?"

Without knowing her husband my answer is still, "Yes". I can say this because winning in this case  means reclaiming your sense of self worth and determination and operating from clean heart, knowing that even if your partner is operating from ego, you are not.

I have no idea what situation people reading this article may be in. When it comes to abuse, at one extreme there are people kept in slavery by verbal and physical abuse, with no one to help and no way to leave. Slavery today is as big a problem on the planet as ever and I when I say that a person CAN win, I am not underestimating the plight of those so oppressed.

Reclaiming our spirit however is an individual and internal process.

There is a great movie (with a very strange title) that was made many years ago called "The Effect of Gamma Ray's on Man in the Moon Marigolds".

Without giving away the plot, towards the end of the film the young girl in this story - who is subjected to a horrible family life with her alcoholic mother - declares while talking to herself (and the night sky) "Mama you can't make me hate the world."

Most of us dealing with abuse have more hope of righting the power imbalance than the young child of a single alcoholic mother or a physically abused or drug addicted slave, and the victory we can hope to achieve will hopefully be somewhat brighter and not so internal or base line to our spirit's survival as this.

Once upon a time I did not think I could possibly stand up to Steve, but once I learned to, I could not believe how easy it became. Eventually I saw that it was me who had kept myself his victim by not rising above my own fears.

I was scared he was sleeping with other women and would let this thought tear me apart.
I would think I needed him to believe in me to believe in myself.
I would live to please him and be shattered when my efforts were in vain.
I thought I needed him to be trustworthy instead of trusting and relying on myself.

I am not sure at what point it was I woke up from this spell - but wake up I did.

In a similar way I remember the day I stopped letting my 7 year old son get the better of me (as he had for many years). I was all fired up and irrational with anger at something he had done when I stopped and asked myself "Am I really going to let a 7 year old get the better of me like this? Kim what are you doing! You are much smarter and older than him!"

It was exactly the same with Steve. The part of him that wanted to challenge me and wrestle for his independence - like a teenager might wrestle with his mother - was still a teenager. When he was behaving this way I realized in terms of maturity he was only about 14.

That helped me a lot, because seeing what I was truly up against I knew that of course I could win! The only trick would be me making sure that no matter how childish he became I STAYED AN ADULT.

Okay, so this is embarrassing but so important that, embarrassing or not, it just needs to be said. You see back when Steve would act like a snotty irresponsible teenager, I would become a big crying BABY in response!

Once I really saw this, I decided everything needed to change. I would think to myself, "Maybe he is with another woman?" But then I would say to myself, "Who cares? If he is, she is as low as he is and I am not letting two adult brats drag me down to their level!" In this way I learned 'magic scissors' and started holding onto my power and not giving it away to his bad behaviour, or my own fears.

The exercise for bringing your happiness back in my last article is vital for this. I learned not to push down the hurt and fear but to rise above it. I made a deep and serious commitment to myself that I was not going to let the brat in him keep me from my goals and responsibilities, because what I thought of myself was much more important than what he was doing or what he thought of me.

What also helped was the image I had in my mind of a very cheerful, confident but strong and kind nurse. Can you get a picture in your mind of what she looks like? The type that will not let you get away with saying you don't want to take your medicine or avoid the injection? She is very organised and efficient, very good at her job and very assertive and grown up. I started becoming this nurse when I needed to take charge.

Because after all, if your spouse is abusive, there will usually be an enormous amount at stake in your life.
- Was I going to let the bratty teenager in him rip apart all of the security and peace in my life?
- Was I going to continue to let him tear down my self esteem?
- Was I going to let that part of him destroy our kids lives as well?
No way. I was going to do whatever I had to do to bring that brat into line!

This is why I am always suggesting the Super Nanny as a great source of inspiration. It is not so much the techniques she uses I love as much as her complete determination. You can see it written all over her face that ...

a. She might get annoyed but she is NOT going to let those bad kids get the better of her.

b. She is NEVER going to resort to playing the victim; no matter how hopeless it looks; she is in charge and knows full well that her will is stronger and that in the end she is going to win.

Whose will is stronger in your situation? The real you fighting for your right to live your life in peace being loved for who you are, or your partner's or your own false pride?

And what is really at stake? If it is not worth fighting for - don't fight and let your partner decide to leave, but if it is, play smart and decide from the beginning you are going to claim the higher ground and that you are going to win.

I think it is also significant that I always separated the brat in Steve from his true self. I made it clear that the selfish nasty and arrogant character was not welcome in my life and was my sworn enemy, but at the same time that if he dropped the act and "got off his high horse" he was 100% welcome and 100% safe.

When times were really bad; like once when I was literally walking the streets in the worst part of town looking for Steve because he had disappeared for 2 days, I would think, 'It has been this bad before and still we got through it, I feel like hell now but this too will pass.' It ended up he was not where I feared  but had flown home to his parents without telling me.

And it did get better. Now I have to pack him and the kids away sometimes to get any work done (LOL) because otherwise I would never get any peace!

False Pride

In my last article I mentioned playing a figurative game of chess to take down your partner's false pride. and in regard to this, the next question I will try and answer is one about what false pride looks like.

But first ...

If someone doesn't like you and doesn't want to be with you, this is not abuse or false pride. As much as it hurts, this may just be the truth about how they feel. Accepting this and letting them talk about it without you trying to convince them to stay or letting your own hurt make you hurtful in response may end up being the start of something rather than the end. They may really want to leave, but bracing yourself and letting them talk without you saying too much or arguing or convincing is really your best bet.

That is not always easy to pick however as Steve would tell me that he hated me all the time and didn't want to be with me - even when deep down I knew he really did. Letting him talk about it as described above would help, but a lot of the time he didn't want to talk he just wanted to be allowed to take his anger at life on me day after day.

Likewise someone may not like you when you are in defence, drunk, on drugs or you are agitated or anxious, but still they may like being with you at other times, and this may be something you need to accept as well. If you are family and forced to spend a lot of time together you may need to be considerate of their needs and more aware of your own moods and anti social habits.

I used to play a game with Steve where I involved myself in trying to cheer up his bad moods and then would be upset with him if he did not give the same amount of time to my feelings in return.

That was my problem and not his. Now I let him solve his own problems and I do my best to solve mine. If we need each others help we ask each other and most of the time the only problems we talk to each other about are problems that we share.

Okay so back to false pride.

This usually occurs when some one's performance is below par or they have behaved badly and are ashamed of themselves but can't admit it and so blame everyone else and put everyone else down. This is what was really going on when Steve didn't leave - but still acted as if he had the right to be angry and pretend he wanted to leave all the time while also showing no real concern for me or responsibility towards me as his wife.

Does that sound familiar?

This kind of defence is something people can get stuck in for years. They stay in this pattern of defence because they may wrongly believe that no one will forgive them if they admit they were wrong or perhaps just can't handle feeling the embarrassment of admitting they have been proud and hurtful and have made a lot of mistakes.

Some people feel they will die if they admit they are wrong, and because of this fear end up destroying their whole lives with false pride.

Apologies don't fix this and unfortunately it can be tempting to rub this persons face in their mistakes to try and make them feel bad so that their apology will really mean something. This of course doesn't work and just causes resentment and usually even more blame.

So what can we do about false pride?

Poor Steve, he always gets to be the example here but hey he is a good sport, so let's break this down ...

False pride is always built on a lie.

That is why it is so hard to admit to. Because it is a lie, it is bigger than having made a mistake. Overcoming false pride means admitting that we don't know how to do something that we have previously pretended we did. Or admitting that we are not something we pretended we were. Coming down off the pedestal of our false pride means admitting vulnerability and people will not usually do that if they feel threatened or are in fear of attack.

Steve's lie was that he was a more capable parent than me. That he was a better cook, was better organised and had better common sense and more friends.

This was not true, but when I let his false pride dominate me I let it BECOME TRUE.

I would hide in my room at breakfast time because I couldn't handle the way he talked to all of us like some kind of overzealous army officer. I stopped cooking too because I was so hurt by him bossing me around in the kitchen and putting me down.

So after years of letting this rip me to shreds and constantly playing the victim, instead I decided to expose the lies and show myself and my family that he was wrong whether he admitted it or not. I did not wait for him to admit to the lie, because that would never have happened. Instead I exposed it myself while putting zero blame or pressure on him.

I did not wait for apologies or try to rub his face in it but instead took charge in the areas of our life I knew that I was really better at than him.

I said, "We have all become overweight with you cooking, I am taking charge of the shopping and the kitchen and I don't want you in here when I am cooking unless I ask."

and if he ignored that and tried to tell me what to do I said firmly and just like I would to the kids ...

"Get out of MY kitchen. Dinner will be ready soon."


"I can't handle how you yell at the kids, if you want to be the boss go do a parenting course but until then I am in charge in the mornings."

I would then go ahead (with my best impression of the confident, cheerful and capable nurse I had in my mind) and get in and prove I could do it better. Not to him, but to myself (-:

By exposing the lie in this way a number of very positive things happened for Steve too;

a. There was nothing to discuss or fight about because I just did it and refused to let him interfere.

b. He didn't have to keep up the act of pretending to be good at things he wasn't.

c. As long as I didn't look for his praise or approval for what I was doing, my self esteem improved too.

So really Steve loved it as I got good at this and now instead of behaving like a wilful teenager he slowly became a useful and trustworthy adult.

At the same time I also gave him credit for things he was good at and said things like ...

"You are so talented with numbers, instead of cooking I want to see you get our books caught up. I will keep the kids away from you and make sure you have enough time. Let's see how fast you can get it all out of the way?"

Of course it took time for me to find this confidence and sometimes I still fell down (and let him put me down) but in the long run it did pay off immensely. Before I was hurt by Steve's back-seat-driving while I cooked, but now instead and with total authority I would tell him to get out of the kitchen and go find something useful to do.

But remember before this could happen I had put some other very solid limits and boundaries in place.

Whenever you challenge someone's authority in this way you need to be very careful and really think out your plan of action first, and for this I strongly recommend you read our ebooks. Unless you take this step by step and build boundaries and trust, and unless your confidence is real, attempting to take charge too soon can cause some serious fights.

So start to think about it. What is the lie? In your case it will probably be different. Maybe your partner is not really cut out for the job they do. All I know is that if they are stuck in false pride, somewhere in their life there is a lie.

What about your partner punishing you with the silent treatment or sulking?
Or perhaps with them wanting to keep you up all night talking about your relationship?
Or saying nothing is wrong, but acting fake and with their heart switched off?
Or what about that chin stuck in the air while they gaze over your head with glazed and arrogant eyes?

Just like false pride, these are all defence styles that people use when they are scared. Being around someone in defence is very unpleasant but we CAN learn better ways to deal with it when we find ourselves or our partner in defence.

Dealing with these other defences will be the subject of part 3. There is no one magic bullet in the information to come however, so first really think about working on your confidence and if it is worth the fight, making the decision that you will be victorious!

Kim Cooper


  1. thanks Kim - that makes a lot of sense. Will try to pull myself up. thanks.

  2. A real breakthrough has just occurred! Yesterday my Husband had received a parking fine. He went through his typical range of responses - this isn't fair, the ticket didn't say, they got it wrong, you should have reminded me, if you (me) hadn't been so slow and so on. I kept quiet and this time did not get drawn in. Today, he came up to me and apologised for being unfair to me for sounding off and blaming me for the fine when he could see it was nothing to do with me! He recognised he was venting his embarrasment and frustration on me. He also said he had not read the board properly! This is a first!!
    It would have been easy for me to say, told you so or given him what for, but remembering to stay in adult mode, I thanked him for the apology and praised him for his efforts and for thinking it through.
    The methods you demonstrate really do work and pay off, can't thank you enough - Sue

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  4. So how do you know if it is worth the fight ? I mean If I really had a better self esteem I think I would just dump him and move on. I seriously deserve better.

  5. Kim - Everytime I read your articles I see my husband and our fighting regime, I could never win, and was always left feeling like I was the problem, even though logically I knew it probably wasn't my fault. I read your article with excitement that there are other people going through this and that by practice and building my own confidence there is hope for my marriage and family.

  6. My partner can't seem to deal with anything negative without blaming me as the cause - however tenuous the link he creates.

    Having read your books and listened to the co-dependancy audios I have turned into that firm nurse!! I peer over my imaginary glasses, a bit more like a librarian and say my piece, and then change the subject to something more positive and interesting. I thought he'd think I'd gone mad .... but no he is behaving like an adult FINALLY!!

    I did take the very difficult steps that your book suggests but it works and I highly recommend anyone in a verbally abusive relationship to buy it, read and use the audios....before it becomes physical abuse. The physical abuse had started with us and it has now stopped...I don't wish anyone to go through that though.

    I don't think these techniques would have worked if I hadn't done the difficult ground work over the last 2 months - that was all set out in the book and audios.

    We are now becoming a strong couple. Who can laugh, plan for our future, parent together (4 of his children), drink sensibly (he still has difficulty with this but not with the scary nurse about!), we even argue and get over it quickly ........basically enjoy our relationship and lives together loads more.

    Go for it what do you have to loose - the book and audios are invaluable.

    Its hard but its the only way to free yourself from being a victim of abuse.

  7. All I can say from far off Italy is thank you ! I have been receiving your emails and blogs since this summer as a result of a crisis in my marriage that forced me to consider my options - was I going to go on living like this (ie: with a narcissistic mate who was slowly but surely erroding both my self-confidence and that of my children) or was I going to try to make changes. Your 'make changes without leaving' approach was a) completely unique & b) a ray of hope that has radically changed my marriage and my life. Thank you ! Thank you ! Thank you ! Please keep up the good work.
    I would also really like to thank both you and steve for your transparency in sharing all that you have been through - even the gory details. Maybe someday my husband and I will reach a place where we too can share and in our sharing help others out of the dark alleys they find themselves in. For now I am just so incredibly thankful that you both found your way to healing and are willing to share it !
    Sandra Kerr-Porcari

  8. You are right, Kim, about staying in the adult mode when faced with criticism or put downs. But why should we have to stay with men who behave as children? I am so fed up with my husband not learning or growing that I feel my only option now is to be apart from him. He's just not getting it and his ego is so huge, I'm not sure he can operate with a clean heart. Thanks for your articles - I guess you always loved Steve (no matter what he put you through), but I feel my love has been abused and taken for granted for so long that I can never feel 'in love' with him again. I keep trying, but my heart hasn't been taken care of and I'm ready for a change........

  9. I've been waiting for the pedestal to crumble. I figure, how many times can a man find himself in jail, lose his house, car, etc. without it crumbling one day . And all the blaming is starting to seem very weird to his 'friends' because they too noticed that it is only him who's constantly going to jail. I talked to Sam Vaknin years ago and he told me he finally 'saw himself' while in jail for 10 years. He still can't be 'normal' he says, but at least he can play along. Then I met my husband who was 'perfect'. A perfect 10, really. Out of the 5 traits you need to be classified with NPD, my husband has 10 ! I have read that all I can hope for is for him to pretend to be 'normal'. That a person with NPD never truly will empathize. What do you think ?

  10. isn't a relationship to be nourishing? why should we be there for them to put us down and psycally abuse us? how long does love last with somebody who treats us very bad and hurts us all the time??
    i am a victim of domestic violence with a narcisistic man, and i couldn't be there waiting for some respect when beeing in a relationship means another thing.

  11. I have left my narcissisist because I became too tired or wasn't strong enough in myself to stay in my self-empowerment around him. It seems that there were too many stresses in my life and his behavior tipped me too many times into more exhaustion. But I do see the value in what you are saying and am so very glad you are sharing your experiences!! Thank you! Ellen

  12. Kim, you and Steve are true, precious gems!! To be willing to share this so others can heal their lives and hearts is a priceless gift!! I have been dealing with a NPD husband for 29 years & never had a 'name' for his erratic behavior.(which included both emotional affairs & physcial affairs & yes, he was a minister!) Until you turned on all the bright lights!....I had already made a huge number of the changes you outline, thanks to other precious people, like Dr. Gunzburg(sp?), Michele Werner-Davis(Divorce Busting) & Anne & Brian Bercht.(Beyond Affairs) What you have given us just in these two articles on verbal abuse & false pride is so powerful, real-life & the suggestions really work! To have the insight as to what causes them to act this way & how we can act in a loving, compassionate way without further sacrificing ourselves is the perfect solution! I have no intention of lowering myself to his level and being unkind in return. Only love can wash away hatred. No matter what he eventually chooses, you have given me the rest of the tools I needed and strenght to heal myself & live a satisfying and useful life, with him or without him! He no longer has that 'hold' on me. (you know what I mean...) Please, keep the info flowing. It is the best on the subject! GIves real hope to those of us who would rather heal our marriages. And to others that may be reading these comments, whatever you do, remember that our Creator views each of you as special & precious. He does not care so much that you 'fell down' but whether you allow Him & others(like Steve & Kim) to help you 'get back up' by living the 'Kingly Law' of love.

  13. I started to say nothing when verbally attacked. I just listen and don't interrupt. He then tries to drag me into it by asking me questions and when I attempt to answer a question, he tells me that I am interrupting him! Therefore, I started saying that I would answer his questions later, after I had time to think about them. You are correct. When I started doing this, he would come to me (usually the next day) and say he was sorry for attacxking me and that he took out his frustrations about something else in his life on me. He always has an excuse for his behavior. I have been doing this for several years now and the abuse continues, the pattern has just changed. There are no more awful aruguments because I won't participate, but the verbal abuse continues. My question to you is: Why should anyone have to live like this?

  14. Kim -

    I was verbally abused as a child. And growing up I always chose a certain type of guy to date because that abuse was all that I knew. My current on/off relationship is with a narssist. Everyone tells me that I should give up on him. But I truly see him like you do Steve. He is an amazing man that lets his ego and pride control him. My soul will not let me walk away. Your ebooks and this current blog is helping me tremendously! You are hitting the nail on the head and teared up reading because it fits so completely! Our biggest issue is that I freak out because of other women and I'm learning how to control this. So thank you, thank you, thank you! Your work of kindness has truly touched my life! And has brought MUCH help to my anger, frustration, and light to getting over my past abuse.

  15. my husband and i separated after 15 years of being together. I left b/c he refused help through counseling and he was using lots of drugs and unemployed. It has been one year, and the whole time i encouraged counseling. I told him i left the house, not the marriage. He was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive. He now has a girlfried and continues to contact me, even though i have a pfa against him(he punched me in the back). He refuses to take any ownership in anything he does obviously wrong. Denies hitting me, denies his drug use, denies what he says (thankfully, i have lots of emails and texts to validate to myself I am not nuts). At what point do you throw the towel in? I have followed your advice this whole year and nothing has changed. He has done some incredibly outrages things to me to personally hurt me in my job and he constantly lies.

  16. Dear Kim,

    Do you mind telling me how I can find info about recognising if a narcissist's recovery is real or fake?
    (The narcissist I know has changed behaviour.
    He is different now.
    How do I know if it is going to last? )

    Thank you very much,

  17. Bravo Kim to your blog on False Pride!
    You my friend have nailed the power underneath narcissism!!!
    Love, Latonia

  18. thank you for sharing your experiences. Honesty about our own problems is always so difficult. Your honesty and openness about your relationship problems help people to see they are not alone. Thank you so much for your sound advice.

  19. my husband and i are fighting right now. he is going above and beond to make a fool of me in front of my family. also to make it worse he would have music blairing out loud untill 3:00 am. to purposely keep me and the kids up all night.(granted it was a saturday night) my yougest daughter asked him nicely to turn it down, but he didn't. all he said to her is "oh, is it bothering you? awe what a shame! and you are not sleeping in my bed." ( when we fight ,he sleeps on the couch and if it isn't a school night my 9 year old daughter sometimes sleeps with me. it's comforting!) the next day he tried to humiliate me infront of my family,but i didn't allow him to go with me. we are still on the sighlent treatment. he is like jeckel and hide. i hate the snotty hatfull teanager in him, but when he isn't snotty and hatfull, i enjoy his company! is there any hope for us? i would like to try your cd's (as i'm not to good at the computer.) but i can't really aford them yet. which cd do you recamend i choose first? (as i can only get one right now.)

  20. Thanks both kim and steve for showing me there is a light at the end of the tunnnel, i have tried to understand why i am the enemy for 7 years reading your book and daily emails has made sense of our lives i just wish i had found you earlier last july my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer which has worsened our situation considerably as you will understand this was the ultimate loss of control so he has been like a bull in a china shop not once has he thought of my feelings of devastation he has tried to cut me out his will contacted all his exs which there are many and decided he wants his ex wife back in his life this situation has taken me to depths i never thought possible but i know i must and will cope but this would not be possible without your expert advice i thank you from the bottom of my heart for replacing fear and anger with understanding and hope.

  21. My husband and I did not make it. We ended up divorced. However, I do still have to interact with him as we have children.

    I read your articles faithfully and use the information to re-build myself and not make the same mistakes twice. The tools and techniques help tremendously and allow me to communicate in a more adult manner with him today.

  22. Thanks Kim - you hit the nail on the head with this one! -Joyce

  23. Kim, How should I respond to the deliberate, defiant lies about even soft-porn, his LIFE with his "good (female) friend at work" and his solid determination to fortify the "divisional walls" in his life that you mentioned? Doesn't a relationship take two people working together? How can this really work when he isn't honest, after I have "brought everything out into the open"? Sounds like your Steve changed, which had to happen because he wanted to. Did it take a long time for him to get to that point? (meanwhile you were suffering his NPD) Your response will be appreciated.

  24. This is also something that you can find addressed on if you are looking for more info on this type of behavior.

    When it comes to dealing with this all info you can get is helpful . I hope you do not view this as any kind of competition with what you offer ...I have found BOTH of your sites helpful ...and very useful in my situation.

    from Joel and Kathy Davisson

    Thank you!

    KP[husband is in marriage ...recovering from 15 year affair that produced 2 children....very painful !]

  25. Hi to everyone who has made a comment here;

    Thanks for all of the wonderful testimonials and I will try and get through your questions as best as I can.

    To everyone who is wondering if the fight is worth it, only you can answer that. You have to ask yourself what is in your heart and what is at stake. If you do decide to take up the fight for your right to live free from abuse it must however be done with patience, humility and valour and please do not try this without first reading our ebooks.

    Someone asked on the help desk how you can bring down their false pride and also be humble and I gave them this which is one of my favorite lines;

    "I don't have any idea how to handle you when you are like this so if you don't stop I am going to need to call in outside help to deal with you".


    "Please stop or I will need to call ----- to help me as I don't know what to do now."

    These statements are both humble but also show clearly that you will not allow the abuse to continue in secrecy.

    To the few people that asked why should we have to deal with this. I will say I don't know. Why do we have to deal with hurricanes and disease? It is just part of life and I guess makes us stronger if we survive it. I know I am so much stronger now that I can almost say I am glad I had this challenge to overcome. Personally I find 'why' a very unhelpful and even damaging question and have instead replaced it in my mind with 'what' and 'how'. 'What' can I do and 'how' can I turn this around?

    To the woman who asked which audio to buy, please contact our help desk and let them know your situation and they will give you the resources that you need. You can contact them on

    To the woman whose husband has moved out and is with someone else and anyone who has had enough I would say this;

    If you decide it is over let them think they have ended it. Call them too much or tell them you have leprosy or do what ever you have to do to make them completely lose interest in you. Their pride might be their downfall but don't let it be yours! If it is over play it smart and let them do the leaving and then it will be done and they won't be as likely to get angry when you find someone else. I am sorry that our program didn't work for you the way it did for us, but truly what you have learned will help you in the rest of your relationships through your life. If someone has moved on and is with someone else there may not be any more you can do. Accepting that loss and that he is really gone will be the hardest part. Once you have accepted it the silver lining will appear.

    To the woman whose sister and brother in law have betrayed her I would say this ...

    Unfortunately those of us who find ourselves abused by a spouse will also often be abused by other people in our life. This is way it is so important we work on change in ourselves.

    Your sister is not your friend. Walk away and keep yourself nice. It is great you are improving your marriage now and keep working on your progress there.

    Before you walk away from your sister it may also pay to give her some misinformation that might help protect you from your ex if you are still scared. If there is any threat from him still you should see the police and calmy let them know your concerns and that your sisters boyfriend has been passing information to him.

    As sad as it might be you need to see when people disresepct you like this that you can walk away and they need to see this too. If you keep yourself very calm and be very clear but also well composed in the long run they will respect you better as well.

  26. To the woman whose husband has been defiant about porn all I can say is that Steve once put his fist through a kitchen cupboard of ours saying he loved porn. Now he is putting security software on the kids computers and says that me putting security software on his was the best thing I ever did for him. He only agreed to this after I threatened to talk to a close family friend about his problem to see if he could help and Steve then had to acknowledge he WAS embarressed about it and did know it was wrong. I don't know your full situation but I know that things can change. Please take this carefully however and read all of the info in our ebooks before you take any steps to limit this.

    To the woman whose husnband has been to jail and wrote to Sam Vaknin. Sam is NOT really a Dr. and I would not believe anything he says as he himself admits he is a compulsive liar. Just going to jail does not help someone overcome these problems. The jails are full of narcissists. It is the re parenting and me healing my disfunctions so I could model a healthy relationship to Steve that I believe is what helped. That was no easy matter - but for us it has paid off. I am not in your shoes however and only YOU can choose what is best for you.

    Again I will stress that if you decide it is not worth the fight please let them think that they are the one who decided to leave! Your safety is very important to me.

    And finally Sandra who asks how can you know if the recovery is real ...

    I would ask you if you see the recovery based on charm and promises or on real actions. I first gave Steve 3 months to see if he could get on top of his anger. Now years later I don't remember the last time I ever saw him lose his temper, it was that long ago now I couldn't say. I also challenged him to do a parenting course that he completed and now we both work on our parenting skills.

    He didn't start taking up these challenges until I had worked a lot on our attachement, limiting the abuse and also worked on my own emotional intelligence. We cover all these areas in The Love Safety Net Workbook.

    True recovery means the lie has ended and new skills begin filling the gaps. Steve is not perfect now and neither am I, but he doesn't pretend to be more than he is.

    I hope this helps (-:

    Kim Cooper

  27. Kim, my situation is volitle, the man I have been with for years off and on, is a liar a cheat,and has the most aggressive personality I have ever encountered. Unfortunately for me, I recently found out, that he in fact raped his step daughters at the age of 3, I had this information confirmed by authorities. I have had it with this man, he is far from a recovered pedophile, everything I have witnessed has just fallen into place, I know about all of the money he has stollen from places he has worked, I know about him stealing his grandsons identity, and I am the only one. My question to you is, this fear he has instilled in me, has started to disipate, and I am ready to come clean with the proper people, I am in the process of filing a stalking order on him, but I still am afraid that somehow, someway, he will find a way to get to me, I have seen him do this to other people, so the question is, are my fears just part of this whole abusive relationship, or are they warranted? please help

  28. Debi says:
    My husband and I just divorced after 9 years,to the day. I gave him every chance to stop the divorce, but he seemed to want it. After doing a lot of reading, I realized that he probably has NPD. He is always busying screwing you and the world before they can screw him. I believe he uses control and manipulation to keep me in the relationship and loving him. He never SHOWS remorse or acts like he is hurting the way I am. He is a master manipulator. I tried to help this marriage but it was only going 1 way. I am anxious to get over him and this marriage. I want to learn what not to do next time and learn how to recognize the red flags so this type of life never happens to me again. That is my biggest fear right now. The fact that we did divorce only adds to that fear since we were not able to fix this marriage.

  29. Kim, your advice is awesome! It is so wonderful to learn these new techniques after being in an abusive marriege for 13 yrs. I have been trying to make him want to leave, but I think he is seeing me differently now. With your continued support and encouragement I can keep taking one day at a time with peace. Thank you!

  30. <<<...I was scared he was sleeping with other women and would let this thought tear me apart. I would think I needed him to believe in me to believe in myself. I would live to please him and be shattered when my efforts were in vain. I thought I needed him to be trustworthy instead of trusting and relying on myself...>>>
    Kim - are we leading parallel lives here?
    OMG! I didn't think anyone could be living the exact same thing as me! What a great series of articles you're composing! Keep up the great work that you and Steve are doing!

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  32. Hi Kim, After reading your books and practicing the good nurse response with my husband I find myself changing and becoming stronger and more confident in myself. I no longer depend on him for my self esteem or for anything else for that matter. But one thing I haven't noticed is any of the responses on his part like your husband or some of the other women's husbands here. He seems to get more and more aloof the stronger and healthier I get. We are now living two separate lives because the more I stand up to him and draw boundaries instead of changing he just accepts the status quo. Its as if he likes living alone with no relationship and no fighting but like roomates. He makes no attempt to connect with me at all. The stronger I become and the more I am able to meet my own needs the more he likes not having to worry about anyone but himself. Now what?

  33. Kim,

    In addition to re-parenting Steve, you have also helped to re-parent me. I, too, turned into a big crybaby in the face of my husband's abusive behavior. But no more! Thank you for helping me learn to be a grown up. Thanks to Steve, too, for being a real man and sharing his shortcomings and vulnerabilities so that others can be helped.

  34. I really don't know what to say about your approach. While it may work to get "him" to apologize, those demeaning words and hurtful action (Domestic Violence and Abuse) should never happen in the FIRST PLACE. Just think about how your kids are exposed to that nasty behavior...they learn from that. Do you want your kids to act that very same way? To be mean and spiteful and then, possibly, apologize after the fact?
    It is not YOUR job to "save him" or "fix him". He is an adult and has chosen to act this way. Build healthy boundary's and don't let ANYONE cross them. If they do, they suffer the consequences. And sometimes that consequence is they are not allowed to be around you EVER. You say Steve acts like a 14 year old when the fact is that a person suffering form NPD has the moral and emotional maturity of a very smart 6 year old. I have chosen to NOT be married to that 6 year old anymore. I have two children and don't need to "raise" another (my husband) or try and re-shape a personality of his that has existed for 37 years now. I suggest to everyone who is in a relationship with a person suffering from NPD that you away as fast as you can!
    My NPD husband had me arrested for "child and domestic abuse" allegations 6 days after he did not get custody of our two children. I have now spent $21,351 in attorney fees to defend myself and expose the narcissistic person that he is. And this is nowhere close to being over yet. Just know this, a person with NPD will do ANYTHING to keep their real-self from being scared, be very, very scared of what they are capable of And you would never DREAM that they would go to the lengths they will to protect their false self.
    Cara Howard
    Colorado Springs, Colorado

  35. When I read about your struggle, Kim and the others here my heart goes out to you all. An important person in my own life is borderline NPD. I used to think the demonstrated behavior was depression brought on by seasonal affective disorder. A psychologist suggested a psychological test that indicated instead a personality issue.

    I can't say I was happy to get a true diagnosis. However, I found that Kims advice has helped me more than 25 years of vitamin D and sunlight have ;-).

  36. Oh Kim!!! I know what all the other comments are all about. My life is so much like theirs.How can so many people be so much alike? The things you talk about are so helpful to me. I don't have children at home. They are all grown and married with their own children. They don't come around much. He has seen to that.He is not their father.He has aleinated me from everyone. I am going to do my home work and see if I can pull this marriage out ot the trenches. thank you

  37. In thinking about what someone has posted about leaving/staying and low self esteem, I can identify with having wondered if I had chosen to stay for the wrong reasons.
    The conclusion I came to was that yes, I had done that in the past, however, this time, I have a much better awareness of what was going on. I am not staying because he begged me or because I have nowhere else to go. It was and is because we had both agreed to make a go of it. I pratice mindfullness to ensure he does not get passed my renewed boundaries and so that I do not slip back into old habits. It is interesting that when he does 'act out' from time to time, it is when he is stressed or is behaving without thinking,unconciously,a technique people use when they want to blank out unacceptable behaviour.
    What he still has yet to develop for himself is a mechanism for dealing with the feelings that come with stress, difficult situations or difficult people as he can no longer dump it at my door. That is his job to do, not mine and it is not a reason for me to stay, I am not his rescuer.

  38. Dear Kim, you are filled with wonderful information and your marriage is now a testament to the hard work and dedication you put into creating a better person of yourself. I envy you in that I wish I had such an opportunity.

    As it is, I feel I have allowed the abuse to carry on too long. My husband is staunch in his stance not to change. As he says, "You knew I was an a**hole and a chauvenist when you married me." I beg to differ, but as usual, what I say is "wrong." His common statement both excuses his behavior and blames me for the situation I am in.

    I swear, "this" is not what I wanted, nor what I signed on for 17 years ago.

    I've had him legally removed from the home as of four days ago. We go to court tomorrow, and will probably leave with the situation exactly as it is right now - him gone.

    I plan to use your information and advice as I navigate through our separation agreement and future communications with him (I know there will have to be some conversations).

    Although I am leaving him, I hope my example (with many of the behavior suggestions provided by you) prompts him to examine himself (much as Steve had to do) because his children need a good father. I know he has the capacity to be a good man, I've seen it before. But I cannot believe he will ever be a good husband to me.

    The thing I like most about your method is that NO MATTER WHAT happens to the marriage, the person who practices your advice has a darn good chance of living a life of dignity and confidence, safety and self-reliance. I wish nothing more for myself and my children than peace, but if I do receive more, I hope for security and self-respect.

    Thank you for all you say and the example you give,
    Kellie Jo

  39. Thank you for such valuable information. My question is in regard to unresolved issues. I have learned to "walk away" from the fights, instead of trying to talk it out with logic. However, I am finding that I have unresolved anger from this because the "issues" do not seem to get resolved. Will there be a time, when my husband and I can eventually have a healthy conflict resolution style?

  40. After 30 years of much confusion and trying hard to be "submissive" the way my husband interpreted it to me from the Bible, I find myself losing hope. I have been described by my husband as having an anger problem, which to me seems mostly in response to the complete blame put upon me for all marital problems, talking to our children behind my back, trying to convince them that I'm not quite normal, perhaps am bi-polar, need medication and may even have a special "demon" harassing me, that he claims I need deliverance from. All reasoning from me, attempts to receive counseling, getting him to talk to a spiritual leader have not helped, him claiming that he set them straight on what I'm like. He feels the problem is that I dominate him, yet I've tried to fit into his "system" for so long. It feels like the mere fact of having to withdraw somewhat from the control in so many areas is what he calls me dominating him. Recently, I told him I couldn't take anymore of this, that I needed him to act interested in my thoughts, feelings and hurts. So much talking, so much writing from me to him, with him either ignoring and not responding to my pain, or claiming I'm only attacking him and going on "tirades". Any requests for apologies for hurtful comments or extreme psychological diagnosis of me are excused with bringing it back to me every time, that the only reason he says or does hurtful things to me is in "response" to what I do or say wrong to him, or to "help" me. He has finally agreed to allow me to talk to him about what is troubling me for 2 hrs. on the weekends as we are separated during the week. But I don't really have hope anymore that he will change. He doesn't seem to realize how challenging, inflammatory, and defensive, and controlling a way he has of talking to me, never validating anything I ever say. He keeps saying he doesn't want to talk about my grievances and hurts, because he feels God has told him we just need to "Forgive and Forget", thus in his mind keeping our relationship "good". But it doesn't feel like a real relationship at all - it feels like him controlling me, with no genuine emotional connection. I'm so tired of him making me out to be a "sick" woman. I have started reading books on emotional abuse. He does not physically abuse me - but I have never experienced anything like this before I met him. I thought I was normal! More and more I have begun to doubt myself and think perhaps he's right, but don't want to give into it if it's not true. He keeps telling me to turn everything around that I'm reading so that I'll realize that it's really me abusing him. It's so confusing. I noticed in the books that they say a warning sign is if they tell you that you cannot perceive reality correctly. This is exactly what he continually tells me. In some ways he is a good husband, and father, but there are so many negatives he seems to be unaware of. I always thought that if I could just reason with him that he might start to see something of how he's hurting me, I can't believe this has gone on for so long. For the past few years, I gave way to anger and bitterness, and began drinking and wandering from God, but within this last year have returned the best I know how. So now he has this to point at to say, "See, I was right about you - you have the problem!" (In so many words) So it complicates everything even more in my mind. I feel that I'm open to seeing where I may be "abusing" him in anyway, but I don't know how to take the burden of blame for everything in every way. I keep telling him I just want to start working together- but he is not open to it and considers this dominating him.
    Thank you so much for your helpful site and all you're doing to try to reach out to those of us in this kind of pain.

  41. Wow. First of all thank you Kim for addressing this issue so directly and practically, I appreciate your writings on the subject very much. Although my marriage ended and I cannot conceive of continuing in a relationship with someone with NPD I am happy people like you and Steve have learned to work it out.

    I am commenting because the last entry is sooooo familiar I could not help but say you are not alone, my former husband also accused me of being aggressive, violent, abusive, bi-polar, etc. etc. simply because my will was to stand up for myself and to question his ridiculous behaviors and demands. Unfortunately he succeeded in convincing me I had begun to lose it and had whittled away my spirit to the point where I allowed him to take our small son away to a town over 300 miles away. I was a shell of a person, people have referred to me as a "droid". After therapy, meetings, reading, mediation and most importantly interacting with other people - he had closed me off from most everyone- clocked how long I was at the store and such- I reclaimed myself and realized I was OK, I was a good bean, not a psycho, however too late. After 5 years I am going to court and trying desperately to get someone to realize he is a sociopath and that our son should be with me. My advice get a digital audio recorder and document everything. His constant lying will eventually bite him in the ass and I pray to God that I can get my boy away from this mentally unstable person.

    He also claimed his controlling was in order to "help" me. I suggest reading "Why Does He Do That" by Lundy Bancroft a therapist who has worked with abusive men for over 15 years (because to the court ordered them to therapy, as most do not believe there is anything wrong with their behavior) it is very insightful as to the different types of abusers' modem operandi if you are still worried it's you and not him, but believe me- it's him. Also, you haven't lost your perception on reality, he is making up a reality that is a fiction and trying to convince you it is real, you know the difference but are still astonished that some who is supposed to care about you is blanking with your head, look up the term "gaslighting".

    No one can make me hate the world!

    Good Luck and may we ALL heal and strive to be better people for ourselves and each other.

  42. Hi the the person who submitted re 30 years of abuse and "submissiveness". I understand about reversal of voice - I have experienced 20 years of it- but not to the degree you have experienced. Unfortunately I think I was even more submissive!

    I would suggest you only seek support from people who understand about domestic abuse for the moment. I'm pretty sure there are Christian orgnisations you can turn to. I think there is a link in the back of one of the books I read recently - I'll find it if you wish. Limit your interactions with him to tangible, practical things. He has either done what you ask or he hasn't. No debate. If he starts to use reversal of voice end the interaction sharply if you can. Even so -protect yourself at all costs and don't let him drain your energy with pointless debates. Don't try to talk to him about what he has done to you - try to find a listening ear elsewhere. He will never give you satisfaction as things stand, only drain your energy.

    I think Kim's advice is sound and could help you in the long run. Maggie

  43. Wow,

    I really did benefit from you sharing with me the wisdom you have gained through personal experience. I want to thank you for your efforts, energy, and talents given so that many, many individuals and families can learn practical life skills.

    The information and skills you share are life changing. I am empowered in the reading and listening of your knowledge and strategies provided, and forsee a better outcome for the situations I may face day to day.

  44. Wow - all the stories are so familiar. My problem is trust - how do I have trust for a man who has verbally abused me, lied to me, bad-mouthed me to his family and friends, and never admits that he has a part in any of our problems - ("I just can't see what a good husband he really is")? He will never admit that he has ever done anything wrong - never. Partly because he has a family that idolizes him and puts him on the pedestial that he feels he deserves to be on (I don't put him there and according to him, that's my problem). I suspect that he has another life where he works (he works a long way from home and has traveled) and he frequently talks to his sisters about his marriage. These things make it very hard for me to trust him. Especially because I know he will tell me (and his sisters and mother) anything to protect his "image". Even if he could tell me the truth, he could not take the chance of falling from the pedestial that his family "women" have put him on. I might add that my husband is the only male in a family of women which makes me the only female in-law and is also a reason why I feel he is so idolized. I know, though, that I get tired of always being the bad guy in everyone's eyes.

  45. ToBarb with the 30 year abuse,Please keep reading about the reversal voice they have. Narcisist will make you think its all you, and its a shame that he tell your kids negative thing about you, saying moms sick and needs medication,WELL WHERE IS THE LOVE HE SHOULD BE TELLING THEM TO GIVE YOU?IF YOU WERE SICK?!!Trust me my boys know first hand not to listen to that stuff,only because they have been affected like me from my N. They too walk on eggshells, don't want to disappoint him in any way, but then behind closed doors, they both despise him, and look down on him.I have always said love your dad, my relationship has nothing to do with your relationship with your dad...I have been put down then put up so many times, I get confused.This site has helped me so much, I know the red flags always now.Befroe I had no clue why I could'nt see clear.Remember n people will move the goal posts around so you can not reach any of yours.Confusing you then you do not know what is expected from you, when he moves things around,think hard about that.My N was in an accident last year, broke his leg and injured both shoulders.Imagine that, and me a nurse having to take care of him.I did it, went to the hospital every day, gave him a bath and anything eles he needed.Even though there were nurses around the clock there, he still controled me from THE HOSPITAL BED!!!Thats how strong emotional abuse from a narcisist can be.I missed one afternoon in coming to the hospital,after working 12 hours I was so tired and wanted to go home and take care of things at home.Well, he had a fit and gave me the guilt trip call.I was already making my plan to leave him before he had his accident, and still helped him get on his feet.When I left him, he got a family member of his to destroy my 14 year job, that I lost..I came back to him after I lost my job and had emergency surgery on my stomach.I was out, and had my own place, both grown sons living with me to help, and look over me, and he still sucked me back in oct 28/08, been here ever since.I am in counsil at the womans abuse center, he does not know I started back up, or he would try to convince me I don't need it. See you have to stay a few steps ahead of them,know the red lags, and listen with your ears, not your heart.Do not let it enter your heart, the hurtfull things he says and does.Don't take life so seriously when it comes to him, smile, laugh, and read 30 minutes a day in WOMANS DEVOTIONAL BIBLE NIV.It is awsome!!!Helps me.Keep your chin up!!!Each one of us woman going through all this, well KIM cares, she really does, and I care about you too.deb

  46. I'd like to share my story with you. I was working with a team leader who was verbally abusive (loud nasty voice and insults in front of other coworkers). She was not like that to everyone, just to me and a couple other people. I was abused as a child, verbally and emotionally, and she must have picked it up, and also one guy who was being abused by this lady was severely abused as a child. I used to live in fear of her and never confronted her. I replied with gentleness always. One day, I changed my mind. I decided that there was nothing wrong with me and something wrong with her. I saw the light. I decided that I would not allow her to abuse me anymore. I decided that if she ever came near me to yell and abuse, I would simply get up, say 'excuse me I have to go' and leave. I decided that anything she had to tell me in that mode was irrelevant. Period. I was calm and peaceful with my decision, I didn't hate her, but my determination was iron strong. The amazing thing is that the abuse completely stopped. She must have sensed my resolve unconsciously because she never gave me an opportunity to have to get up and leave. From then on she treated me with respect. See how a simple change of mind can change things. But you have to be very strong inside about it. (She continued abusing the one man and he quit his job because of her, sadly.)

    As Kim points out, the power of our mind is amazing, but it's mind plus heart.

    God bless - Marie

  47. Thank you so much Kim for your helpful advice it is really helping me. My husband is a psychologist who is a N (his own label) and who has labeled me as someone with a borderllne personality disorder (because at times I have been depressed, an emotional wreck). For years he wanted me to take medication and even threatened to leave if I didn't (which he did for six months - saying we are still married but just live in different houses). I did take some antidepressants for a while to cope which helped during moments of high stress but his labelling and inability to love and blame got me to thinking it was all my fault. He is a different person outside and treats his patients with more care than me. He is incapable of accepting responsibility and even though we went for six months counselling kept blaming me and giving the impression that he was the victim. The power and authority that comes with his position really controlled me until I took your advice (the movie Gaslighting really helped). I no longer try to help him take responsibility for his actions but am dealing with my own feelings and responses. I am now able to escape from his dangerous moods by not trying to work it out by talking but rather by being peaceful and in control of my own responses I can deescalate things. Your article on co dependance really helped as well. Thanks so much. We are a work in progress and I have some hope that our relationship will improve.

  48. I'm walking!10 years is all I can take. NO one should have to live this kind of a life that NPD people seem to enjoy living. They see nothing wrong with themselves and blame everything on the normal spouse. Can't take the verbal abuse anymore. I'm living with the devil. It's complete INSANITY and NO ONE SHOULD HAVE TO LIVE LIKE's exhausting and LIFE'S TOO SHORT to live it this way.

  49. I'm sorry but I almost have to agree with "I'm walking!" I'm about to celebrate my 53rd b.d. and have been putting up w/this for almost 27 yrs. Nothing ever gets resolved because he will never, never, never admit any responsibility or wrongdoing. I'm tired of him flirting w/other women while I'm with him, lying to me about phone calls and phone numbers, where he is. He's away from home too much for me to trust him - why should I spend the rest of my life trying to protect myself from his hurt? He doesn't acknowledge my feelings as being worth his time or effort. We did not have sex for 2 yrs. and you know what he said? "Gee I didn't think about how it would affect you." Really cares about me, doesn't he?

  50. Dear Kim n Steve, It took me 9year's to finally get an answer to all my question.Thank's to you and Steve.keep up your good work and God bless you both.

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  53. Hi to everyone and sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this thread somehow I missed it when I went through the comments last;

    To Barb of course your fears are warranted and you need to be extremely careful but also make sure that this man is apprehended if he has committed recent crimes. Do not trust that the police will protect you either it may serve you to get a private investigator to collect evidence and then submit it to the police anonymously. I would NOT ever threaten this man as he sounds extremely dangerous and please remember that and don't be fooled when he is being nice.

    Dear Debi, it is wise that you wish to learn better skills before you get into another relationship and recover fully from your last marriage before you fall in love again. If you subscribe to our site at

    and then choose the 10 steps to overcoming codependence introductory special. You might also want to look at the love safety net workbook. We also have a site with advice on dating here;

    Working through why you found yourself in this situation last time will help. We have many people write to us who have read our ebooks years after their divorce and said that it helped them to finally find closure.

    To anon that is trying to make him want to leave. Yes it is funny that one. It is like they know what you are up to and even when they do decide it is time to head for the hills they know that their game is up! If anyone is looking for advice on how to get your partner to decide to leave (and if you want them out of your life this is the best tactic) you will find a short chapter on that in "Back from the Looking Glass".

    Dear anon who was scared her partner was sleeping with other women. Yes we have to help each other out here because love has truly become a battle field and you are so right about being able to trust yourself being a major key to all of this, lucky I learned with Steve because now I have teenage kids I have to keep my calm with whew!

    Dear Natasha your post has been deleted because it included your email address which we don't recommend. I got in touch with you personally. If you didn't get that email please contact our help desk at

    Hi anon whose husband has moved away from her as she has grown stronger. This game is not over straight away and their false pride will usually become very determined to 'win' once you start standing up to them and it can mean that as you say they become more aloof or push harder in other ways. This is where the Love Safety Net Workbook comes in as it covers the 4 areas to work on at once to build trust with someone who is using narcissistic defence. The 4 legged stool exercise at the end will also help you see which areas you amy be weak in or avoid. I would also make sure he is not hiding a double life from you. Please copy and paste this address into your browser to hear a radio show on this;

  54. Dear anon who has grown up and is not a cry baby anymore - Congratulations and well done! Isn't it empowering when we stop pointing the finger and instead see what we can change in ourselves. You are getting stronger now and so many areas in your life are bound to improve!

    Hi Cara I understand your sentiments but the research shows that what kids learn the most positive messages from is seeing conflicts resolved. I spent my whole life running away from hurtful people and for me it was time for that pattern to change.

    As you have seen your husband has still continued to hurt you even though you have run away and so respectfully I would add that perhaps your boundaries are not as firm as you believe them to be. I didn't leave Steve but if his behaviour didn't change I would definitely have had him thrown in jail. Getting to a stage where the police and our friends respected me and would help protect me from his bad behaviour was most of the battle and that meant changes I had to make in myself. Just pointing the finger and running away from where we sit usually ends in further and much worse abuse.

    Hi Mildred I am glad that you found us and keep up the good work!

    To anon whose husband has alienated her children. You hang in there and get a good relationship with your kids again. I know you can do it. Your will is stronger than his false pride!

    Dear anon that has wondered about why she has stayed. I think you make a very good point and I also really like how you emphasis that you are not rescuing him. That is very important and letting him work out how to handle your new responses himself is very wise.

    Kellie Jo - Dignity and confidence, safety and self-reliance, I love that - thanks for sharing it means so much to me - I think that you have a very good grasp of our message and although the years ahead still dealing with him may be difficult I think you are becoming very well prepared. It is your life and this is not a game. Play to win!

    Dear anon who is walking away but has unresolved anger. You still need to go back and work on the boundary that was crossed. please have a look at our site here

    at the 12 steps to ending a fight. This is the healthiest conflict resolution style I know.

    dear anon who has faced 30 years of trying to be submissive. Talking to him is never going to change this. You need to start taking action. You are not crazy and you must not let him make you doubt yourself like that. He is a scared and weak man inside and his trying to put you down and control you to feel better about himself must stop. Please subscribe to our site and look at our introductory specials - they are written for you!

    Hang in there!

    Kim Cooper

  55. Hi Again I will try to respond to the rest of the comments here today, sorry it has taken me so long!

    To everyone who has written in with supoort for others thank you (-:

    To anonymous whose problem is trust I would NOT suggest that you trust him. Get an investigator if you need to and find out the truth about his other life and learn to trust yourself instead.
    I would guess that he is the one with trust issues not you - you probably have very good reason not to trust him. Seperate your bank accounts and do a lot of research and planning before you decide what you do with the information you uncover. Play to win. There are no dress rehersals!

    Hi Deb, you hang in there girl and keep staying one step ahead of him. Next time if you decide to leave be smart and let him think it's his idea (-:

    Hi to anaon whose husband is a psychologist. You might consider challenging him to read "You might be a narcissist if ..." it is written by a group of psychiatrists/psychologists who have done the brave work of facing their narcissism.

    Hi to anon who is walking and anon who agrees ... please take care and plan this well as these people are often not easy to escape from. After leaving the abuse can actually become worse if you are not careful. My advice is to let them think that leaving is their idea. Swallow you own pride and be smart even if they cannot swallow theirs. If you want to hurt them and 'win' by leaving you may find that you are actually still locked in the battle and not walking away from it.

    And finally thanks top anon who after 9 years has found answers - I am so glad we could help - it took me about that long too and step by step since then my life has not looked back. I hope that you all had a peaceful and enjoyable Valentine's day.

    Kim Cooper

  56. I just started reading your information a week ago. I really like your Nurse concept, except if I talked to my husband like that he would get very upset and tell me that he doesn't need a mom. For months now I have been telling him "don't talk to me that way" or "quit yelling at me" and then I walk away. All he does is say "I'm not yelling" or "quit being so sensitive" but he has yet to quit the behavior. He rarly puts me down in a mean way but always makes little commets like yesterday when he handed me the key to the truck (I lost my copy and need to make a new one)and said with a sarcastic tone "Do you think you can remember to get this made and not lose that one." It makes me feel bad because he always brings up when I have screwed something up. Am I being to sensitive? If I want to talk about how it makes me feel he won't have any part of that, if I am direct with him he puts it back on me, and I know that he blows up if I get definsive and angry, and if I cry he gets angry and makes fun of me. How do I handle his little comments without him takeing that the wrong way?

  57. Hi to everyone and to anonymus wondering how to deal with the nasty little comments - I think this is part of a bigger picture and hope that you might subscribe to our site at

    and look at the information you will be sent when you become a subscriber because I think it will help you ...

    Hang in there!

    Kim Cooper

  58. Appreciate your blog on verbal abuse.
    My partner is emotionally abusive by disappearing for days on end with no communication and not turning up to important events we have had planned. How do you set boundaries for that? If I accept him back after a disappearance surely that tells him it is ok?

  59. Hi Anonymous, it sounds like you need to check out the steps in Back from the Looking Glass (so you are better prepared) and then find out where he is going ...

    Kim Cooper

  60. HI,
    Sorry for my English but i am not a native speaker.
    I have left my N boyfriend. Am 28 now and alone. I didnt know he is a N. I was suffering for the next few months and couldnt stand the feeling he moved into the next relationship with 20 years younger girl immediately ( I am 15 years younger).Hehe maybe each time he is getting the younger girl becouse she should reflect him, and he feels so young, going to the gym and running marathons. I have left him becouse i have the proves of it that he was cheating on me. It was hard i got so addicted to this relationship. I thought i wont be able to do on my own. But guess what I can. More then that i stopped to be sick. Before that i was sick every month. Since we broke up i am completly heatlhly.
    How do i know he has NPD. Unfortuantely he has at least 6 out of 9 sympthoms. Lack of empathy - i newer understood how he could just simply go to sleep after we had a fight or ignor me when i was suffering, and still telling me that he loves me. When i broke up with him he told me: Dont do it I love you. But after that whenever i tried to talk about (as stupid me i belived in any change) he was claiming he was the one to break up with me. He did to me so much and i kept forgeting so much that i would have to write here for an hour or two to make script of it. I wanted a revange, but the more i read about NPD the more i think is usless. Yesterday i decided to block him on the chats and promise to myself to has as less contact as possible. We work together wich makes it harder.

  61. Hi Kim,
    I just found your site this week and I want to say thank you for all your info. My husband of 19 years has been cheating on me(not sure how long bc its just coming out). But three years ago he started an emotional affair with a 25 year old girl at his new job(at that time) who lives in Oregon and we live in Missouri. Within one month of him starting, I noticed my marriage falling apart quickly. I wasnt sure why. After 7 months of declining I asked him to leave and he did only to get confirmation about his full blown affair.I started to move on with my life and then the true games began of him wanting me back.The games have been going on for three years of me letting him control, manipulate, and lie to me. His girlfriend has no idea that I am still in the picture. They would fly to each other once a month, but then he would tell me its over with her when it was not. So I would try again. Well, now he has been living with her since jan of 2010 and is begging me to come back. After three years of pure turmiol bc I allowed it, I finally decided to really seek help in how to deal with him and this mess. He has NPD and I am a codependent and he has been living a double life for 3 years plus. He is begging me to come home and fix things but he says he is not reading any of this stuff or anything. I told him I am and going to fix me and change my life bc I know what he has and what I have in what we are dealing with and I wont live like that anymore. Then he says he will get help then he says no. He cried to me this morning in how much he loves me and not want to loose me, but not the first time he has done that. HOW do I know whats real and whats fake and HOW do you build trust? What do you do when he does not come home til the next day or ignores your texts and calls? I want to read your ebooks but I have not a dime bc we had to file bankrupcy from all this mess, as well. I have been researching on the computer all week just trying to learn as much as I can. Help!!

  62. Hi Tina,

    Have a listen to the radio show called who will they turn to here;

    and write to our help desk at;

    and let them know your finacial problems buying the books as you will really need "Back from the Looking Glass" and "The Love Safety Net Workbook"

    Hang in there!

    Kim Cooper

  63. Thank you. This is very good advice for those of us whose N partner has made us feel crazy,sick or weak. I have always picked N men and I do not know why,but I have joined a codependency group and am determined to not let this happen again.For some odd reason i find these men exciting . I hate boring men,but after all the turmoil they have caused in my life at age 63 I think I can settle for boring. lol Humor helps.Thank you for giving me new tools to be healthy and take care of myself.

  64. My boyfriend of 6mths have broken up - Im sure he is narcissistic, he can be so so mean! I finally had my fill of his rudeness, disdain, ignoring me and flirting with other women. We had the biggest fight, I told him he acted so superior, arrogonate, charming with everyone but me! That my therapist told me that he sounded narcissistic!!! That Im sure he drove all his other girlfriends away with his nastieness!!! Finally that I never wanted to see him again... Later I changed my mind because I can see his good side-but he wouldnt have me back. Im still in love with him and if I try to talk about the relationship he wont have any part of it! He says Its over! I dont want to accept it and I just want him back.

  65. When my boyfriend and I used to fight, he would say "your controlling, you spy on me" and I have never done any of that!! If I dared to say your a little bit controlling yourself I was the worst in the world!!! He would say "why dont you take another stab at me" doesnt he see how horrible the things he say are, he would tell me Im stupid, inane, make pithy comments, we would be having an "intelligent conversation" and if I said blah blah... he would say name your source??? Well I heard it on the radio or I read it somewhere - well you should say things unless you can name your source-I would feel like I was on trial. Then he would turn around and talk to other women and if I said anything he would say "arent I allowed to have an intelligent conversation-I cant have one with you. Of course he couldnt have one with me I wasnt game to say anything. He told me since we broke up that he can't handle my anxiety and he wants a strong woman!!! When I got with him my anxiety wasnt that bad and I would have called myself a storng woman-but now with his insults and constant critism I feel as big as an ant when I am around him!! I still love him and want him back-I can see the good in him and I know he can be better, if only he would let me back in his life. He wants a break of a month - then we'll see?? He says! Am I supposed to sit around and wait like a mangy dog! I went to his house today and he threatened to call the police if I didnt leave, he has gone on a dating site-where he and I met originally. He said he would take it off! We will see! I have been so so tolerant of him and the one time I really lose it-Im punished, it doesnt matter that I have taken months of his abuse!! How can he not see it! I feel like Im being punished and am going to have to repent forever - before he takes me back. Then more of the same??????

  66. Hi Janie,

    I know I teach a lot here about not letting people push your buttons but that is NOT the same as being tolerant! Our program is about zero tolerance and setting very real and concrete boundaries against abuse. Being tolerant has left this man having no respect for you and if you are chasing him now when he is rejecting you it would seem you also have very little self respect.

    I advise you take this time to do something life changing and look for the simpleology link in the post here titled Verbal abuse part 1 and sign up.
    You need to choose some good goals for yourself and work on them every day and then you will never have time to sit around and let someone treat you like that again!

    There is a nice man out there for you Janie I just know it and you will find him when you first learn to respect and take care of yourself and work towards your own goals. My ebook 10 steps to overcoming codependence will also help with the advice you need about handling your emotions better so you are not driven to seek love from people who do not have it to give.

    Kim Cooper

  67. what about more info on npd mothers who are not drug addicted very smart and needs medical care.

  68. I have 8 kids and my youngest is with a npd man who i didn't know was until about 6 years ago when i noticed our son acting like i used to [walking on egg shells] and it broke my heart, i felt like i had failed to protect our son from this abuse and realized he has been emotionally neglected by his dad for years. I decided then that this circle of abuse stops here and now. for awhile somehow i did it, but as time went on and our son got older his dad would by him stuff like tv's, computers, expensive things i couldn't afford because he controlled the money, i was a stay at home mom like he wanted so at 56 years old i have nothing, own car or home,like he does. i gave him 18 years, and i got nothing. I know deep down he cares about me cause the moments and his letting his guard down does happen as he gets older.hes 59 now. He is gone during the week and has gotten an apartment closer to his job and the co. pays for it for the next year when the job is completed, and i stay in his house caring for our son, and for whatever reason wants me to move out of now and get on with my life so he can get out of debt. and feels he cant as long im in the picture. Hes in debt because of credit cards only he has and uses to by computer stuff and things for himself. he has no control on his spending and is terrible with his money. i dont even talk to him about anymore, and because we are not married says its none of my business. I live in united states in california and know by law i have some rights to compensation and or some benefits thru his work. I don't think he knows this or has suddenly been talking to someone and found this out because he doesnt want to be intimate with me anymore and feels superior because his has this apt. which i have been to and cooked and cleaned. hes gotten colder toward me, ignores me more when he is here, accuses me of using drugs when i don't, and our son i feel is so stressed out that hes hanging around the wrong kind of kids to get some kind of attention from his dad, bad or good as long as he gets it. His dad wants him to stay with him at the apt. full time and i say no because i worry he will become more like his father if i do. He has never been alone for weeks at a time with him anywhere and has no father son connection at all with him. even when his dad is home, our son is basically ignored and i know when dad feels guilty cause he buys him stuff to feel better. this makes me angry cause our son doesn't need stuff he needs communication, to know hes loved, to feel secure,important, all the things fathers and sons should have. he has said he feels like theres a hole in his heart that something in his young life is missing when it comes to his relationship with his dad. being 16 is hard enough and this burden on him is taking its toll. im at a loss as what to do. He is also a 7th grade dropout so has alot of time to do nothing. his dad rewards him for nothing. our son has even hit me during arguments and his father says its my fault and that i need to leave, but as soon as i get close to my son again his dad acts all nice toward me, and wants me around. its pathetic. i try to get a job but i have had jobs in the past and his dad would take the keys for the car away from me at times so i would have to quit my job due to no way to get there and now im to old by most standards for anyone to hire me, or to go to school for a career. im lost and dont know how to dig myself and my son out of this. i feel like im rambling on here and could write all the stuff hes put me thru over the years but i even get bored talking about it. i need help and therapy does not help. i need action now. can anyone help me here. im open to any suggestions. Thanks L

  69. Kim -

    I signed up for your articles and the Love Safety Net over a year ago. I started practicing these techniques and found more value in myself before I understood that I was not the problem, but could be part of the solution. Unfortunately, mine is not a happy ending. The more I stood up for myself and was the "adult" in certain situations (temper tantrums) the worse it got. It got to the point where he was just downright mean and became physical during some "conversations" or he would shut me out by locking himself in the other room. No matter what I tried - it just seemed to antagonize him even more and I believe it is due to his own vulnerability and insecurity. I found deceitful things on the computer and when I asked him about them he blamed me that I was pushing him away.
    When he put his hands around my throat and he blamed me for THAT (his lack of self control)I knew I had to leave. The day before Valentines Day this year I moved out and have not seen him since and have had limited contact. The divorce was quick.
    I am grateful for all of the information I have gained from your site and e-books and now have more "Emotional Intelligence" than I did before, and also now know the red flags to look for in the future. At this time, I am still healing and actually attending a support group for Narcissistic Relationship Recovery. I did not fully understand how damaged I had become until I was out of the relationship.
    I'm so glad to know that there is hope for some people - but for others, they have to accept their dysfunction and they just can't.

    I continue to read your articles and take the info w/ me to group to help others. I have let them know about your website and e-books and I know alot of them have subscribed and sometimes our sessions are all about your information and your story.

    Bless you Kim - and bless Steve for being one of the ones that came back from the Dark Side.


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