Emotional Abuse

The Man Who Won't Commit Emotionally (or whose eyes keep straying)

I will eventually write more articles in the verbal abuse series but thought I would write a short piece today on a subject that I know many women struggle with.

I know that this may seem a strange place to start on the subject of emotional abuse but a man who runs hot and cold (and perhaps makes you feel like you have wasted half of your life on him) is certainly emotionally painful to deal with.

Now I know that women's tendencies are to want to pull this guy's emotional profile apart to figure out what makes him tick (and why he is so scared of commitment) but I will leave that subject to the shrinks and instead offer some advice on what actions you can take to draw a man closer and have him commit emotionally as well as want to spend the rest of his life with you.

The ideas I will suggest here need to be practiced in tandem with the rest of our program, particularly if you are in a relationship where love has turned sour and there is a lot of anger and abuse going on. Learning to limit physical abuse if it is present should take priority over anything else and if you are experiencing this I suggest that you purchase my ebook Back from the Looking Glass immediately and start working through the steps in it.

I know a lot of readers here are already working through those steps, so I will offer some specific advice today to help you help the man in your life decide he wants to draw close to you emotionally and physically.

The first thing I want to share is a bit delicate but I guess I had better just come right out and say it ...

Back when Steve and I were fighting, I was blaming him for running emotionally hot and cold and having his eye on other women and although this was true, I was somewhat like a bad guitarist blaming my guitar for the nasty sounds coming out of it instead of seeing that I really needed music lessons (-:  

This is why I have put this subject under the title of emotional abuse. Because as tough as it is to say, I have found that most people I hear claiming they are being emotionally abused are in fact abusing their own emotions and using them in ways that are manipulative and which in the end destroy love.

This is behavior that you may have learned from a parent while growing up and so there is no shame in this - unless you keep doing it after you have seen that it is destructive to your relationships and painful to others!

What I am saying specifically is that many women consider their emotions as tools they can use to elicit an emotional or care-taking response out of others ...

I am sad  - so if you love me you should cheer me up ...

I am angry - so if you love me you should let me have my way ...

I am distressed - so if you love me you should love and take care of me ...

This is in fact emotional abuse, because the person attempting this is actually abusing their own emotions by using them incorrectly.

You see, emotions are in fact internal signals that are there to let you know there is a situation which may need attention in your life. A person who possesses emotional intelligence (ie. is emotionally mature) will heed this signal and then self soothe and regain their composure without needing anyone else to help them and then later figure out what this emotion is signaling, and what might need to be done.

If action is needed, it should not be decided on in the heat of the moment. To best understand this, imagine that you in fact have two brains and the one that gets switched on when you are emotional (your amygdala) doesn't make the same quality of decisions that your other brain (your upper cortex) does. Now also understand that it's very hard to access information from both of these brains at once.   

So anger does not mean that you will need to hit or yell at someone (to stop being taken advantage of), as your emotional brain may be telling you, instead it could mean that a real boundary needs to be set. For example, if your partner spending your money (without asking) is what angered you  -  the action needed may be you denying them future access to your bank account.

Further, sadness may mean you need to accept something (or someone special) is indeed gone from your life. Acceptance and allowing yourself to feel this grief will bring along with it the silver lining where you begin to see a new future.

There is much more on this topic in "10 steps to Overcome Codependence", "Emotional Stupidity" and "The Love Safety Net Workbook",  but I hope the examples I have given here have helped make my point clearer.

Our emotions are not things we should need other people's help dealing with on any regular basis or we will become a very difficult and demanding person to live with.

If you are in a painful relationship learning to take back control of your own happiness by learning the correct use of your emotions - may be the best skills you ever learn. 

Back when Steve and I were fighting I was certainly making many mistakes with this and I know I talk about emotional intelligence and the ideas outlined above in my ebooks - but besides these (and all the other great resources I have recommended in the past), there was another ebook which helped me draw Steve close, which I have perhaps been a little too proud to admit before!

It is the ebook by Christian Carter called "Catch Him and Keep Him".

Personally, I find this title somewhat off-putting as it sounds very aggressive and manipulative - and not very feminine,  but back when living with Steve's lack of commitment felt like living in hell, I will admit I was so desperate I was ready to try anything. Well it's true you can't judge a book by its cover, because the ideas Christian shares are not aggressive or manipulative at all and really did turn my head around and helped me learn to "play" Steve in a way that got much sweeter music from him! Now I know that again probably sounds manipulative, but the truth is Christian just knows how to share what men really like (and don't like) about women.

You see most men really DO want to commit and be close to a woman - but if you were like me back then you may unwittingly be driving him away.

In my case it has worked wonders and Steve sticks to me like glue now! He is so happy I actually can't believe it (and neither can my friends!) - and this from a man who used to say all women are b-t--es and who would rock the boat constantly.

So if you are having trouble creating intimacy please do check out "Catch Him and Keep Him" and read for yourself what Christian has to say. He is very straight forward and authorative in explaining what men like and what they don't and how to draw a man close and have him wanting to make a lasting and deep emotional commitment to you.

The links above are affiliate links and I hope you don't mind if I get a commision on the sales on this title. You won't find it cheaper anywhere else and my cut will help keep the roof over our heads while I keep working away at all the great new stuff I have coming up for you shortly.

I know I have been a bit quiet of late - but just wait and see what we have coming up next!

Hang in there!

Kim Cooper


  1. I wish I hadn't taken so long to learn the advice you're giving now. After I quit complaining, whining, and yelling I got my own bank accounts, credit cards, and legally separated our finances. I refuse to file a joint tax return any longer due to his irresponsibility. I established clear boundaries within the relationship that are non-negotiable. What I feared was his anger. What I got was more peace and his respect. Amazing.

  2. Dear Kim, Its so great to hear from you again! This article was so timely for me as I indeed felt the sadness and have now let go and found the 'silver lining'
    Thank you so much. I can not subscribe to your books but learnt heaps from the news letters you and Steve put out. God Bless you both. Keep up the good work, its just what is needed out here! Much love Gil.

  3. Not a way to live. Sorry. You don't have compassion for someone with a personality disorder you can not trust from day to day. That's like living with a bomb ready to go off at any time that is set to go off by the slightest movement, or sometimes you are being punished for just being happy and it has NOTHING to do with you at all. I've been there many times. You act like all people with narcissism are normal, and we are the crazy ones for having any emotions as a result of emotional abuse. Who in their right mind wouldn't? Then that person would not be normal to keep taking abuse. That person is most likely a masochist.

    A narcissist's real goal is to always make you look bad and him look good no matter what even if you have done nothing wrong. And I stress nothing wrong. It doesn't matter. The abuse will always be there.

    1. I agree with u...he would ask me questions and if he didnt like my answer he hit me. several times. who should tolerate that just to have a man.

    2. We don't ever have to accept anything about anyone in life. And you are right, even if you leave the person that has abused you, you are now "damaged" and that is solely on you to recover and heal from. I've learned that anger management and forgiveness are the only ways I'll be able to move on. Some people have to stay in their marriage/relationship b/c they are financially dependent or kids are involved, or due to religious beliefs, and I truly feel for people in that situation. I was not locked into a marriage and can support myself and found that getting up and walking out the door had the biggest impact over anything else I had said or done. And just one week after I walked away, guess who showed up at my door, staring at his shoes and hanging his head? Now he and I are both in therapy separately, but I would not call us a "couple." I do not accept his attitude, I do not accept being belittled, made fun of, or being mistreated. In my specific case, by me staying by this man's side, I was showing my acceptance. He is the one that ended up saying that, not me. So no matter how many times I said - this or that hurts my feelings, or is flat out mean, please stop - if at the end of the day we were still together as a couple, he assumed that meant that either I was being a drama queen about it and he'd really done nothing wrong, or that I was already over it, and again he'd really done nothing wrong. He said it confused him to hear me say he'd hurt me, but to have me then lay by his side at night and wrap up the day with affection. I agreed and took it all away so that there would be no confusion.

      That is just my situation, everyone's is different. I am still scarred by his mean and hateful words and I work every day to get past that and that part has nothing to do with him or us, that is now my burden and my problem. All I can do now is be self-aware and make sure I am healing and repairing my self-esteem so I can move on to healthy relationships. If my ex can continue on his own path of self-awareness and self-improvement, I'd be willing to reconnect with him at some point. If not, there are plenty of fish in the sea. No reason to keep one that is poisonous.

  4. Hi to everyone and sorry if I don't assume my audience is all women even if it must appear so sometimes. This is why this post in particular was titled to show it was more gender specific than my others. I didn't really think "Catch Him and Keep Him" was going to be of interest to most men who follow this blog (I guess I could be wrong about some men however as I know narcissism is a huge problem in the gay community). It is always a challenge (as I write from my own experience and am not a doctor) to keep my writing non gender specific. I do truly feel for all the men who follow my writing however and do know that this issue is not particular to women or men.

    To the woman who made the first comment, congratulations - you said that so well that Steve said we should frame it!

    And to anonymous who has found the silver lining - good work and I am only glad that I could help (-:

    To 'no way to live' I do understand your suffering but I would suggest that compassion and trust are completely different things. I can have compassion for someone who has given up on life so badly that they have to lie and puff themselves up to make out they are better than they are, but this doesn't mean I am going to give them access to my bank account or let them run my life. I think you may have misunderstood what I am saying about emotions as well because sure a narcissist will zero in on you for just being happy - but what are you going to do? Run away or cry and demand they make you feel better? Or learn to look over your glasses at them and suggest they go find something constructive to do?

    If the abuse is more serious once you have calmed down I advice that with a level head (and your self respect back in tact) you seek out support.

    I am amazed that people continue to say that I am suggesting you sit back and take it, just because I say you don't have to run away. Do you think saying it is all their fault and you shouldn't have to do anything is really going to change things? I suggest you learn how to stand up for yourself and how to win.

    Keep those comments coming - it is great to hear from you all again!

    KIm Cooper

    1. Do you have any books that you can recommend to us males that deal with the same issues as your blog here does for females? I understand that its hard to not be gender specific at times and there's going to be times when its virtually impossible I'm sure. But is there any male specific book as the female one is here today, that you may know of and could recommend that deals with the same emotion/intimacy building topic? I understand the affiliate programs that are out there for these type businesses and I totally understand & respect the fact of "keeping a roof over your heads", but if there is one you may be able to mention that could help us males regarding this most important issue that would be great. If its a non-affiliated based book and you can't mention it publicly for some reason, could you possibly in a private email? I only make that statement because I'm not sure what type restraints you may or may not have upon you or what you can or cannot do when its in a public type setting. Thank you...... You are both a Godsend and I pray the Lord's blessings over you & your entire family.....

    2. Hi - The best one I can think of is our The Love Safety Net Workbook. It has a whole set of exercises on what builds attachment and strong healthy relationships. We also just fully updated it and it is now available as a download or delivered to your door in a printed workbook folder. If you just recently subscribed to our list I would suggest you grab a copy before the introductory special expires!

  5. I agree in part with Anonymous. One person can accept responsibility and change to attempt to communicate but if the other person is only going to project blame, use intimidation, dishonesty and play games it will only be abuse and leaving is the only alternative before death. Standing up for one's self is great and learning to communicate by active listening regardless but disengaging is healthy and sometimes the only thing to do to live with a one sided person. Verbal abuse in my case, mental abuse (which was horrendous and the worst) and emotional cotinunes and there is not any hope left in my case. The silver lining is that it was all about him, everything I was accused of and berated about was really about him, getting away saved what sanity I had left and even though he tried to kill me it was better be happy than than try to reason with a man that has to be right.
    I would also rather be alone than ever be with a so called man that has no remorse, no conscience and no morals although he goes to synagogue (whoo pee). iIt all makes me grateful to get out of it alive. Although it is not over legally yet. I am so blessed to be out of the house. The main thing I can emphazise is Do whatever one needs to do to be safe and then if you can work on it then do so. But first be safe and especially children, do not put them through the emotional garbage.

  6. I read all of this and i wonder about something.We talk about all the signs and symptoms,but what is the root?They say you can't get rid of the fruit until you cut it off at the root.An example would be haughty as the fruit and pride is the root.so what is the root of narcissism?

  7. Yes I certainly agree that being safe is priority one and I cover this in depth in "Back from the Lookimg Glass" and give advice to protect yourself whether you leave or you stay.

    As for what is the root of this problem, this is a great question and Lisa Charlebois (an expert on narcissism) whose work we very much admire suggests it is something very close to pride (or I would say false pride) and this is the belief a person must hide their shame.

    Kim Cooper

  8. I too feel that my husband will never change and lives only to hurt me. If I ever did any thing right it would be a miricle. His anger and resentment have a rath that is felt every day. He is verbally abusive.
    I am experiencing the change.
    I have stopped looking for change in him but a new happier me. I refuse to fight, I walk away now. I find my happy place and my smiles because I deserve that. "My Personal Bill of Rights" Has he changed.... not yet but he is confused because the rules are no longer his. I don't have to play the game by his rules, I am allowed to have my own rules for my own life. It was very hard in the beginning but each day I force my self to think before I act. Make the conscious choice of how to answer the confrontation most of the time I chose not to handle it, because most of the time he is baiting me to start a fight. Once he figured out I was refusing to fight that tactic no longer worked so he stopped the behaviour. I have learned to pay attention to what he wants from the fight and that helps me know what I need to do. I have also learned that often he is yelling about one thing but it is really something else entirely that he needs from me. My first question to my self is how can I make this into a positive situation and then I make my choice from there. A few times there has been no positive and I realized he was setting me up to fail my choice was to do nothing but look after me and what would make me feel better. I have stopped trying to make him feel better, that is up to him to figure out. Gap work for my self is important I have areas that need a lot of change. When I try to challenge him with gap work he gets angry because "he'll do what he wants, he's in charge of him self and doesn't need any one trying to make him do something" or "maybe I will or maybe I won't" I have stepped between him and our children also and put their right to have a pleasant life strong to the front and I am learning to make boundaries. This has been very difficult for me. It takes me a long time to get mad so if anger is the spark that entices one to make boundaries then I seem to shurg it off and carry on. Problem that has created is the fact that he believes those things don't matter to me so its an ok behaviour for him to have and therefor repeat or he gets what he wants from the bad behaviour so it is repeated. By paying close attention to the signals that I am sending out has made a difference in that area. I am learning to say "please don't treat me like that, I don't enjoy that" " Don't yell at me." Its important that I keep my voice low and make it a part of our conversation. If he gets mad and uses his verbal nasty I leave saying I have things to do. Is it tiresome and frustrating, you bet. Has my choice been to move the kids and I out to a new home; you bet. Finaces just don't allowed it and I am uncertain that would end the grief and most likely just cause a new set of turmoil to work through. Al-Anon's one day at a time is working for me. Right now this minute I need to do "(what ever is right for the kids and I now)"
    One fella said "don't borrow trouble it comes all on its own" took a couple of days to really understand his full meaning. Now when the mind leaps in with all of the scenario's that could happen. I say thanks and deal with only the one that is happening right now and ignor the rest. Most important for me is to get plenty of rest. Am I doing it right Kim??? Some days - yes and some days - no, but the boys and I are happier and the fighting is less. So I guess thats a beginning. Thanks Kim you have helped my family.

  9. My narcissist ex walked when I called him on the abuse which had escalated to physical abuse. I tried to re-establish our relationship by refusing to live with him until he accepted some responsibility for his behavior. He chose to find some-one else, which has also failed and now is trying to gain his narcissistic supply from his grown up successful children. Recently I ran into him at our daughter's house and he blames me entirely for the demise of our family. Where do you go with that?

  10. Hi Kim, I do have the ebook of Christian Carter,great read & disks from relationship experts. It would be great for you & steve to have an interview with him & put on disk too.
    Keep up the good work.

  11. I agree with the article above. However however having gone from a 10 year marriage to a narcissist to another relationship with a narcissist and having had narcissist parents I disagree on one point. When you talk about the emotion of distressed it is lovely to have some kindness, a kind word. A friend of mine died and I was on the way to ireland for the funeral and was sitting in the car crying. My narcissist boyfriend did not touch me or say a kind word. I know grief is about accepting, but a tiny act of kindness makes a big difference. I am now with someone who does exactly that and my behaviour is so different. During my marriage the one word that was missing was Thank you. What a difference that would have made. You cannot change what is basically missing from someone's personality or make them learn the new skill of kindness if it is not there. I have found that I would rather feel my emotions alone than show them in front of someone who lacks the basic human kindnesses

  12. One could be doing all the emotionally healthy responses..(after one learns from reading your books) but if the other person is emotionally unavailable, then you are wasting your time, until they decide they want to heal their past and also meet you half way. It cannot possibly be right that only one half of the relationship, does all the inner work..it may help that person feel much better, once they become aware of how to become emotinally healthy and no co dependent, but how will that help the other person if they are still emotionally damaged?


  13. Great article and so well timed for me. I made a promise to myself today that I am going to take responsibility for my own emotions and learn how to self soothe when feeling anxious / sad / mad or whatever emotion it is! I thought my husband was emotionally abusive (which he can be) but also realized I am equally guilty! (if not more!) Love your work Kim! And Steve , thanks for being humble and open about who you are (and were) You guys are amazing. Your work is courageous.

  14. One of the signs/symptoms of NPD is an inability to see/understand NPD... So, frankly, I do not believe that NPD is curable. However,--and this is the tricky part--some people 'inherit' this 'behavior' from a parent to does have NPD... I think it is important to determine if the one who is acting bizarre is 'sick' or 'acting sick' because that's the only way they were taught to behave/cope.
    People who get involved with Ns repeatedly, which is pretty common, are ignoring the initial red flags, which are waving all over the place. Ns contradict themselves all over the place. Add alcohol and look out! Blah blah blah...it's all about them...and if you decide to tune out or try to get a word in...you will hear about everything that's wrong with you from someone who doesn't even know you.
    Even when they are trying to wooo you and catch you, they are clumsy, awkward and transparent.
    Yes, someone can make you crazy...despite self-soothing and emotional intelligence. Ns lie because... "You don't deserve the truth." Try to reason with that! LOL

  15. nothing works
    he just doesn't want to make even a little step...
    i feel horrible about it
    i feel a traitor because i left
    i left at least for a season
    because my presence makes no difference for him being involved with other victims
    but my staying with him does make difference for ME... being in my premenopausal age I earned a huge depression staying in my position of punching bag
    so I left to recover
    now I feel much better
    but I lost any hope
    may God help me

    1. I understand the feelings...I was in a marriage for 30 years, 7 children. He was always understood to be a a pretty great guy with a big ego...even by me, til he started to unravel when our business grew. I got involved and as I started to take on the different areas, it took my breath away to realize he was a liar, bully, and I was starting to think a cheater. I left after trying so many different ways to get him to work through his choices and the consequences it was having on our family, dealing with my own emotions, etc. It almost destroyed me...not him,he just moved on to some poor woman who has been single for 15 years that he met on match.com. She thinks she has found her dream....he says, God has matched him with the woman he should of been with....as my kids are in a lot of pain. They try to understand because we raised them in the church...which he has returned and spun more of his lies...and to my sad amazement he is able to turn others even when they witnessed his behavior and lies. My point....what feels hopeless is how others always want to think he can't be a narcissist, "they didn't see all of it?! It must be her too!" It's too painful. It's hard to survive when you hold on for so long..then when you finally do say, you can't fight for this marriage anymore and you do stop, you finally see ALL the damage when the dust settles...the dieing and the wounded are your family.
      I have read a lot of your stuff Kim and wonder if I had heard this years ago, would it of saved our marriage...but that is too painful too, to think about..it also just plays on the abusive message one lives with when married to a narcissist..."If only you would of done this or that, we wouldn't even be in this place..." And most of us who marry them, or get involved with them do so because we are use to those types from our childhood usually...so we are use to working hard to clean up our act so life can be good..I'm finding God does help and even though there are still lots of painful situations it's a little better every day...there is hope.

  16. Hi Kim and Steve,
    I love your message of hope as I love my boyfriend very much and didn't want to break up but would rather a better relationship. We have been together for 2 years and the changes I've seen in him as I've changed myself. I still have a lot of work to do. Self soothing is hard for me. But I have a game plan that involves, continueing yoga, and I am going to attend Meditation classes. (a scheduled event get accomplished better than just doing it on my own)

    My boyfriend was abused by his father as a little boy, and the gap work that you talk about has given him hope. He is always appalled at his behaviour and is tired of having to apologized. Being a man he likely woudn't have sought out a different way of responding to his life. He seems happier, and the beautiful comes out more than thte angry child. I'm very proud of him. We still don't live together and boundries have give both of us and my young son back our lives from chaos.

    I just admire you two so very much! You are angels send straight from heaven.

  17. I am back with my boyfriend and I can say that the information you have given me has helped. When I first started reading your material, my boyfriend had coaxed me back into his life only to turn around and initiate several affairs which ended with him seriously involved with a wealthy woman who was more of a narcissist than he.

    While painful at the time, coming face to face with this type of behavior helped him see what he was doing to me. As I gradually got my own reactionary emotional state under control and with the healthy attachment advice I received from you two, we have slowly built so much trust its amazing.

    Its not perfect, but to hear him catch himself when he becomes verbally abusive and apologize sincerely as well as thank me for my love and caring is sometimes shocking to me.

    I focus on myself now and lend him support if he asks for it. All I can say is that its a huge difference from the arrogant tyrant who showed his face after I fell off the pedastal.

    Certainly he has made some choices to change that have nothing to do with me, but your advice has helped me so much. Thank you.

  18. The more I read these great articles, the more I start to see how missed up I've been in seeing things, or actually hearing what is said. I perhaps focus too much on the negatives of conversations and not be more blasse` about it all! My boyfriend and I, well, we still have a most unusual relationship, considering how long we have been 'together'! Yes, it's two gay guys, one much older (me), and him so different from anyone I've ever met! But one thing I do know after all the men I've dated and what I've seen in gay culture, I still feel trust and that he really does, deep down, care about me. I don't feel like he's cheating ( a rarity in this computer age culture) and if he is, he's sure sneaky about it! He does frequent porn online, but I don't let that bother me because God knows when I was younger I would've done the same if the internet had been around! I think of all the things I did as a younger gay man, and so I cannot really even be judgemental if he was screwing around! It's just so predominant in this culture it goes without saying. The thing is, he says stuff recently like we 'don't have to have sex tonight', or 'get together tomorrow' (won't hurt his feelings), and this troubles me and hurts. I mean, he used to go out of his way to see me, but now doesn't seem to mind if days pass without each other. Am I over reacting to my own self-inadequacy in the sex dept? (I have been experiencing erectile dysfunction to boot), but he definitely lacks in the compassion department. He can make fun of that problem even though I am otherwise 'the world's greatest kisser' and lover (my opinion) and I am supposed to be okay with it because I know better. But if I mention anything negative about his physical self or something shitty he does, oh my God, it's the end of the world!
    I've learned to really watch what I say and try not to mention many negatives in one sitting. It's funny, he always said I am a negative creature, but I marvel at how much HE brings up in daily living that is negative! The double standard-hypocritical nonsense I blame on his youth and inexperience. It still wears me down though, and I often think I should let this puppy go. But then I get scared at how much I don't like being single, and how few friends I REALLY have in life. How people still intimidate me in public, and how much a basket case I really am to ever think I would attract a reasonable fella! Okay, see, so all the signs of codependence extraordinaire! So many gay men are narcissist it's nauseating, and it brings you down over time! My guy has brought some great self awareness into my life, and got me to take the HIV test after many years lapse (thank God I was negative) last year. But he still rattles my cage with his insincerity and callous remarks seemingly out of nowhere. I think that I must be getting paid back big time karma for all my remarks I EVER uttered! But no, I am not so callous as he, and think I am one of the more decent people I know. Or perhaps I am dillusional!
    I sent the recent email from Kim and Steve about the 'Virtue List' to all my friends and family yesterday because it struck such a chord in my being. Really top rate material on how to be and what to strive for. I'm still confused in my present love at this writing, but I'll hang in there a while longer (as Kim always demands! LOL)! Thanks for reading and thanks to all in this group who share your stories. You really are helping by sharing!
    E in Big D

  19. we were together for 17 years. 2 boys now 18 and 14.
    Husband has money problems and not a grat sense of responsability. Couldn't keep a job, debts and all, but always had money to go fishing or skiing with his friends. I got fed up, je said he wasn;t sure anymore of his feelings for me so ... (bad choice) I kicked him out. We got back but the wounds were too fresh and he said I hurt him too much so he decided to stay away. I miss him so much. I am in therapy working on myself. I talk to hi about how I want to be a better person but ,,,he doeen,t say much. He does say that it's hard on hi too, 17 years can't be erased.

    But he never says he wants to work on himself to try to get back. he says he is hurt and wants to build his self esteem. He never said he didn't love me.

    Is there hope? I just can't belive it can just be over. We did have some great times , we just didn't know how to deal with our problems and we were both hurt.

  20. Hi Kim-

    I love everything you have to say. Others are probably sick of me saying, "the lady from Australia!"

    Your great!

    I have a question that stumps me. I am defiantly involved with a narcissistic husband for 18 years now. He was caught having a affair 10 years ago and caught again 7 years later. He falls under the category "I cant say NO" from the book Break Free from the Affair.

    Every time I try to take the steps, something else may happens, whether it is words, action, reminders of painful things I saw, heard or just the sight of the offending people etc.

    I live in the vomit and I clean it up and it reappears.

    I know this is a silly question but what does one do and how

    In your writing and others comments there is no affairs so what does one do when there is affairs and how should one handle it? I know everything is workable but is working with a personality type of what I explained impossible or is my co-dependency impossible?

  21. Thank Kim for the great articles and a beacon of light for those of us who are in the darkness emotionally dealing and living w/ NPD in our lives. I've to admit I was not sure about purchase your e-books but then thinking that what do I have to loose. I pay more for a dinner w/ friends who can't give any advice due to fear of upseting the other half, or have no idea how to help. Even shopping therapy don't make me feels any better neither. We've been to counselling with no positive result. What do I have to loose! So I did it, and glad I've done so. Your infomation is base on love, kindness and understanding to both the NPD and those who suffered by their behavior. Knowing what went wrong, and what I can do to better my own sittuation is really giving me peace. And if that can help the NPD in my life too that is great.

    I have one question to you Kim about relapsing. Now that you're in the position to be strong, which is great, but what if the time comes when you're no longer can be in that position (e.g. been in the accident or illness) and will need all the love & support you can get? Can you trust that Steve will be able to support you in the time of need? Will he be relapsing? or has grown up emotionally now and can be that strong hold for you for a change?

    I really need to know this, for helping me making the right dicision on what will I do with my own NPD.

    Thanks again

  22. Hi Kim,
    That is so ironic! I was just thinking a couple of nights ago about Christian Carter's e-book, and its title. I read it a few years ago, and found the information life-changing in many ways, but really wished he would change the title of the book...it just sounds so needy!

    Thank you for all the work both of you have been doing. I found your site at a very appropriate time, and while I was sceptical at first, I've come to see much of your information as invaluable. It's usually two steps forward, one step back with my relationship, however, it slowly but surely seem to be moving forward :) Your help has been very appreciated.

  23. Hi to everyone here - Wow so many comments - I won't be able to answer everyone but I will try and find something to say that hopefully covers all of it!

    As for the affairs situation I know that is horrible and I think that only time and better trust between you may heal that. When you hopefully gain a bit more leverage you may ask him to put security software on his computer and chaparone on his phone so he can prove to you he is trust worthy. It is a tough one.

    Welcome also to E in Big D - nice to hear a bit from the gay community - I know narcissism is such a terrible problem there.

    There are two things I will share now that I hope cover most of the questions here;

    the first is that the steps we offer will have different results for everyone and getting to the heart of your partner's issues is key.

    For one person just telling them you will not leave them and that you will not threaten that anymore even if you are fighting (and that you are sorry you have done that in the past) will be all that is needed. For others you may have to have your partner thrown in jail to set boundaries and get your life back but possibly not even end the relationship!

    The happy ending Steve and I had is not everyone's happy ending. For some people divorce with solid boundaries in place and a better understanding of what has happened is the perfect ending. For others who may be abandoned when they try and set boundaries - you may feel hurt for a time but when you accept that the relationship was probably really over already and that you have new skills to work on for the future - possibilities open up rather than the past stagnation and this can in fact be a happy beginning!

  24. This leads to my next point and this is that I don't think anyone should beat themselves up for losing their relationship because they attempted to set boundaries.

    Some partners will fight like tigers when you begin to stand up to them - but it is ironic that these are the ones that are generally craving a strong person to 'take them in hand'. Steve was like that. He didn't walk away he fought me like a tiger and I was clear that I loved and accepted him but that the aggressive and rude side of him was my sworn enemy and I would leave no stone unturned in defeating it. I did learn to self soothe and not make an idiot of myself anymore but it was not like I just walked away either. I called in support and talked to his superiors at work and remember saying to his face with the most serious and angry tone "You may want to drag your life into the gutter but I am not going with you and not only will I save myself and the kids but I will drag you back out and back on your feet too if I have any say in it."

    This was a real Clint Eastwood (or maybe more like James Stewart) moment for me and although I was furious - I am proud of it.

    In Steve's case that is what he needed. Someone who cared enough to stand up to him and could show I was tough enough that he could trust me. To him life was a very tough place you see and he was not going to trust me unless I showed I was strong enough to face off his demons.

    And after me taking his demons on and showing I was stronger he was not so scared of them or of himself anymore. He knew I could be trusted to not be deceived by them and to not let them deceive him.

    You see if a child never had boundaries set for them when they were growing up - they feel terrified and out of control - but they are also very angry and looking for someone who they can unleash that on but who is actually stronger than them and cares enough to finally set the boundaries they never had and make them safe.

    This is obviously not an easy journey however!

    On the other hand when you set boundaries your partner may just walk and as horrible and sad that is - at least then you know that really the relationship was over already and they were just exploiting you.

    Hard as that may be to take it is important to realize this. First and foremost the narcissistic side in them is a coward and so when they walk away what are they going to say - "Sorry I didn't love you and was just using you?" No they won't they will say it is your fault and you did something wrong.

    The danger here - if you want them back - is to keep thinking you can apologize and make it up to them - but you can't you see because really it wasn't your fault at all and they are just lying.

    So if you are in this situation - be courageous yourself and see that you were being used and that it was a good thing you set boundaries and a good thing that they left. This will hurt like hell but when you face it the silver lining will follow the pain pretty closely.

    You will then also be able to stand up to their lie and say "It's BS that I hurt you - you were just using me and didn't like that I stood up for myself."

    This way you may not win back their love but at least you will probably win their respect.

    I will say it loud and clear "Don't fall for the lie!" Exposing it may be as bald faced as looking them in the eye and saying "You are not better than me" when they are putting you down, or it may be from you going ahead and doing the things they pretend you are bad at and criticize you for and telling them to go away while you are doing it if they don't like it.

  25. So what is the lie they are inventing about you?

    That you hurt them and that is why they left?

    That you are crazy and they are not?

    That they are better organized and more responsible than you?

    That they are a better cook?

    That they are more popular?

    Let the truth shine! If you don't buy into the lie they can't control you anymore.

    If Steve would say "You always use to much salt when you cook - while back seat driving in the kitchen, I learned to say "Maybe I do and maybe I don't but it is time you get your --- out of here and let me do it my way!(while pointing to the door)

    In Steve's case that is what he wanted - a strong tough girl who could stand up to him - and much as I hate what we went through I wouldn't change a thing because I like the strong woman I have become much better than the anxious baby I used to be!

    Take it in small steps - but do find the warrior in yourself that will accept nothing but victory!

    Kim Cooper

  26. Oh - and about relapsing. Steve has already been strong for me many times in the last few years. There have been times with the business that I have been exhausted and very scared and our expenses outstripping what we make by a long shot - and the work taking an enormous amount of our time ...

    Steve has hung in better than me through a few of those stretches I tell you!

    I can't see him relapsing again, I think once you are as mature as he is now it would be very hard to go back. I would trust Steve with my life now.
    He is my best friend and we really work as so much a team together that it is like we have become one in a lot of ways.

    That said he has really been in the trenches the last 2 years on the help desk and so not everyone is going to get that kind of experience. Still it is an idea for a challenge - nothing like doing long hours helping people in distress (when you are not really even being paid for it) to help a person grow (-:

    Kim Cooper

  27. Boy do I agree with this part of what Caroline said earlier

    'You cannot change what is basically missing from someone's personality or make them learn the new skill of kindness if it is not there. I have found that I would rather feel my emotions alone than show them in front of someone who lacks the basic human kindnesses'

    I am coming from trying to support somone with abuse issues..they were labelled with narcistic tendancies. I guess I naively was thinking that some of their behaviour traits were linked to their abuse, but I am wondering ,

    if certain traits would have been with this person anyay, sadly they obviously did not get healthy love from either parent, and on top of that ..had to cope with not being able to get help for the sexual abuse of their sibling..so mental torture for my friend.

    My friend seems to talk at me, I try to comment, he just goes onto the next thing and then the next thing, it only dawned on me yesterday, he does not need input from me! So I feel rather used! So being that I don't like to confront the issue, that leaves me putting up with it. Actually that is not entirely true, I have confronted him on this topic diplomatically, but nothing changes!

    So I am left wondering , they say do not try to change someone, change yourself!! How the heck do I change so that I am not bothered that someone does not answer me, when I comment?

    Is that fact that I like them ..just one of these negative attachements -they say we choose people like our parents! Well yes my maybe could be described as a narcisist..not a big big one, but I think some tendancies there, he was a bully and arrogant.

    My friend well, I don't know I have never lived with him, but he m ight have more difficult traits to deal with.

    ITs sad, because I do like him, but if someone is secretive, and cannot share easily, and they either interupt me or talk over me...maybe I just need to get a life?


    1. Hey Anonymous - think i got this from Kim ... but have you tried gently touching your partner eg a very quick light touch on his hand ...

      .... I tried this when my N hus went into his private discussion with himself ... it worked! He suddenly realised I was there!

      Now, I'm not saying keep doing it .. but ... well ... i'm gonna keep applying this 'with a light touch' ...see what happens ... babysteps eh?

  28. Kim, thanks for your last couple of comments. You have articulated it very well and shared your narrative in a way that is inspiring and helpful. I also thank you for making it clear that not all will have the endings you have.

    I really did try everything you suggested. But when I took the strong stance, it enraged him even more. There is something in my husband (now my ex, I should say) that won't allow a woman to be strong. He HATES strong women - I think they remind him of his mother, but he won't admit it. He basically won't be introspective, talk about issues or resolve problems, even if I make it clear that it is not about blaming him and that I wasn't intending to abandon him and walk out (and I meant it). In the end, the damage was too much, on me and on the children. Now he is very very rejected, sorry and can't go on because he relies so much on his family. But we can't really return to a situation where he damages us with his control and can't even see it.

    So while the ending is not what I envisaged, not in a million years, I am happy to move on. With support, I hope I can enforce boundaries during the divorce proceedings because who knows what he will try.

  29. Have to agree (hangs head in shame). I was so busy being angry when I had really had enough with all the lousy stuff my husband was up to and the way he was treating me, it took a good friend to say "Why did you stay"? Then to my horror, I trotted out all the stuff people do when they are in abusive relationships. It shocked me to reflect on what I had said.
    I expected him to respect me when I didn't even respect myself. That has changed!!
    As for the comment about this being about only women. Knowing what I do now, I recognise my father in law as having been abused and locked into a relationship with my husbands' mother (my mother in law). He was the kindest, gentlest man, utterly hen-pecked and would have walked on hot coals for her and she never appreciated how much he doted upon one bit as it was about her entitlement.
    This lady still causes grief, but has very much less power. She can only wreak havoc if we all allow her to.

  30. I appreciate your courage. It's amazing you never gave up. I probably could do it too. I however just had a baby and don't want to take that chance. My daughter is too important for me to take such a risk. Every professional has told me you are wasting your time. The man himself I married said he will never and I stress "never" change. So how can I take such a risk at my daughter's expense? I am currently living with my parents and building a new life without him. The baby and I are so much better off sad to say however it's true. I can't get past taking such a risk. Many people say I would be a fool to even try and be stuck for the rest of my life with a man that only loves himself. I don't think it makes me a failure to protect my daughter who is involved. I want the best for everyone. Wouldn't you say I am doing the right thing? I still have to deal with this man for the rest of my daughter's childhood. That is going to be a challenge in itself. I couldn't imagine trying to save such a marriage.

  31. Thanks so much Kim and Steve,
    I feel like the work you have done is outstanding. I have been following you for over a year now. Read your books participate in your blogs (though not much lately), follow you on FB, and made great strides to follow the program.

    Last week my husband told me he wants out. I was unprepared for the news. Although there have been numerous times over the last few years that I have prayed to God that he would leave us - I found myself wanting to beg him to stay. I suppose my emotions got the best of me and rather than let him go I broke down and asked him to reach from with in and work this through with all he has. We have 2 children and a 10 year relationship. I have a fairly decent handle on my codependency, and a very much improved strength in emotional intelligence. Nonetheless, I feel that although I have made these major changes over the past couple years in setting boundaries, defending the boundaries, and limiting the verbal and emotional abuse - he fails to change. I guess I wonder at what point do you say, "this relationship is severly damaging my children and I can't control his portion of that"?

    Taking control financially (when he's the income earner) caused him so much anguish that he made a whole bunch of financial downfalls. Not engaging in the fights and scaoegoating process resulted in "a loveless marriage". Becoming emotionally intelligent resulted in him seeking out narcissistic supply and other women...

    I know you made a comment recently refering to the comments people have made about you being an angel (I have been guilty of making these comments myself) ... But hearing your story and understanding your determination through this process is more than unusual - the way you both have turned your life around.

    A lot of these less positive comments are hard to disagree with - it feels impossible some times. Nonetheless, I truly appreciate your genuine work and extreme dedication to this issue. Also, wanting to save this marriage is my top priority, but still if that is not my destiny - I know I have become a strong, self reliant, (still working on) independent, emotionally intelligent woman who would not have gotten here without you and steve's work :)

  32. Hi Kim,
    It sure is exhausting!!!! I just want a marriage where I can trust my husband. There is no physical abuse and very little emotional abuse, so I guess I am one of thelucky ones. Sometimes I could just scream at the lack of empathy. Your workbook is the only thing that keeps my sanity.
    Thank you for that!!!!

  33. Its a big discussion! Kim I thought you said you'd be on the beach with your kids!

    I couldnt read it all, but the person who asked about WHAT IS THE ROOTS of N.ism? There is only one person who totally answers this, sayng its 'pride' doesnt go the whole depth, if you read Masterson he totally explains this disorder as well as others, and one can see how the disorders interlink and give rist to eachother. Its is serious professional literature, but you can understand it if you are determined.
    Kim if you would create a product of an audio of your books with you reading, I'd be ordering them. Its just, like so many of us, have so so much to do, but can listen whilst doing other things, and relisten if I miss anything, it would be great if you would create this, your way of speaking is personable and friendly and clear : )
    The points you make here are good: 'deal with the emotions first', ... and ps, Viktor Frankl says: 'all situations are first a call to listen, and then a call to respond' and you have create some clear guidance as to how to respond, and how not to.

  34. From what I have discovered, there are degrees of NPD. What I gained the most from your materials was the radio program on the topic of the "double life." Boy, did mine have one and it is still an ongoing problem. After discovery, there really was no remorse. He became even sneakier. He was toxic with projections, blame shifting, all out vindictiveness. The total lack of empathy and ruthlessness could have distroyed me. He totally cut me off emotionally. I kept firm. I got outside support. I read Christian Carter's work. It does help to a point. But, he does say very clearly that there are men that you need to cut out and move on. The problem is, when the person is so emotionally stunted, and the capacity for self-reflection does not exist. I see my husband differently now. I have learned to react differently and attend to my own needs. I wish that you did have more to say on the subject of cheating. What I understand now after months of investigation is that there most certainly have been ongoing affairs for the duration of our 42 year marriage. I do think you have some good advice. I think it might work for some with issues relating to narcissism, but for the severely NPD with anti-social issues it is just not enough. Yes, they do need reparenting, but they need to be willing to see that they have a problem. They need to have the capacity where they can at least consider another persons feelings and needs. Overcomming narcissistic traits is workable. With severe cases of NPD, you will see some changes I believe, but most will be superficial. It will go far enough just to patch things over and keep the boat afloat. What I would advise anyone that is in a relationship with a narcissist is save yourself first. Make yourself top priority. Make sure you have financial security and can stand on your own 2 feet. It's hard because the narcissist will do every thing they can to keep you weak and vulnerable. Sure they want someone strong, but they will beat you up emotionally testing you out. Get outside help. Go to a domestic violance center if you need support. Be prepared to walk away if you need to. If you are determined to stay with a narcissist you will definately need to learn emotional detachment and financial independance. As for somatic narcissists, I think they are looking for that perfect person out there that can make them feel like they are the super hero their false ego tells them they are. It lasts as long as the person keeps them up on the petestal and has no needs of their own.

  35. Hi Kim and first off thank you. When I first discovered I was back in an emotionally abusive relationship I felt there was no help for me. I had taken a 7 year sabbatical, healing whatever was inside of me attracting the wrong men to myself. I was at a point of thinking love just was not for me.
    My man was worth the fight. He had enough good qualities about him to make it worth the conflict and work of changing my reactions and building my self esteem! I also recognized the fact that I was emotionally abusive in my responses. There is a defensive mechanism of making yourself emotionally unavailable that I had learned to "self soothe", which was damaging all of my relationships.
    Anyway, thanks for being here. Even if my relationship does not work out you helped me grow. You were the only voice that said..."if you run you may find yourself right back in the same situation". I wanted to recommend a David Ricco book which helped me understand myself. "When the Past is Present" was a very informative book which hopefully can help others learn, heal and grow!

  36. Hi Kim & Steve,
    My wife Sandy and I both have this
    personality disorder, some genetic, some nutured. I am the one whom is not afraid. Kim when you commented:
    "You see if a child never had boundaries set for them when they were growing up - they feel terrified and out of control - but they are also very angry and looking for someone who they can unleash that on but who is actually stronger than them and cares enough to finally set the boundaries they never had and make them safe.
    This is what I have had to cope with when we were married 9-9-09 and I moved in. I moved out in 6 months and we almost divorced until the discovery of this disorder. Five months later now we are experiencing love although I am the one who continually is struggling with the ability to cope with the anger, behaviours and lack of empathy. This is my challenge to learn how to cope with someone else's Narcissism. In truth as you said, no matter how healthy I become, self soothing, setting boundaries and limits, changing co-dependant thoughts , Sandy at any time may choose to end her relationship with me. This is the nature of this disorder. My point is that I made a committment to Sandy almost a year ago and in this committment called marraige it is the one place that I can grow in devotion, patience, forgiveness, endurance and love in its deepest sense. In no other relationship on this planet can I achieve this other than with my wife.
    Struggling today is my choice in what I know real love and dedication is in life and is what I promised in the presence of God and everyone on 9-9-09.
    I am a child of God, I want to grow learning what I am given today in my challenge of coping.
    Truly I want to quit, run, give up as any ordinary child does when faced with the unknown although I am a man and I am not afraid of the unknown because there is where my potential and purpose of my life is waiting to be nurtured.
    Quitting is not what I deire, I have to learn to endure. I was not taught this.

  37. Kim,

    Can you give examples of some boundaries to set? I am separated from my NPD husband (for 7 mos now) and he is dead set on trying to blame me for all our problems. I am a very strong-willed person and have called him out on his behaviors, but it only seems to make things worse. I would like to work things out, because I do see the insecure, scared individual he truly is and feel there is love there....but maybe I'm just wasting my time? What types of boundaries can I set to help him to start seeing the consequences for his behavior? I have already left the house and that didn't do anything but give him something to accuse me of...

    Thanks for your help!

  38. I think you are very lucky Steve took a look at his own behaviour and HE decided to change....most narcissists won't and can't because they cannot see that there is anything dysfunctional about their behavior....best thing I ever did was leave for the 3rd time and stay away as difficult as it was to leave everything I loved. But continue your good work for it enlightened me greatly about this personality disorder...yes, feel compassion but will not allow myself to be abused as that is doing all involved a disservice and I now realize how unhappy I really was in that relationship. I think it is important for people to know when to recognize there is no hope and to save themselves and not just hang in there out of guilt or the hope they can "save" or heal this person. The narcissist has to decide that for themselves. We can set all the boundaries in the world, but can ultimately only protect ourselves and why would we choose to live with someone who makes life such a constant challenge?? Bless them and release them.

  39. I've read over some of the comments here and have to applaud Kim and Steve for their commitment to this subject. Though I have been silent for quite awhile now, I must say reading their material and trying new things has really helped in my situation. I am now divorced from my husband and have been away from him for almost 6 yrs now, it has still been very hard sometimes raising two children with him. At first I thought it would be impossible to find a comfortable place but I have found one by taking a look at not only the big picture I used to call my life, but also inside myself and my own childhood for answers. I've accepted the things about me that needed to change and have been working on them. My husband was one hard one to handle but now after practicing what Kim and Steve have put out there and learning to self-talk and change my own way of thinking and reacting to the bad things, I can finally enjoy my life. The best feeling in the world to me as a previous enabler to narcissism, was finally being able to stand up for myself, my family, my children and take control of MY life. Thank you Steve and Kim for putting your hearts and time into this. I'm not sure I would have gotten where I am today without finding you guys. LB

  40. Reading your blogs and info on this subject, made me realise I have lived with a man for 22 years and never really known him.
    Last year I found out about his affairs, and thats what turned our marriage around.
    I was finally ready to give up and cut my losses.To leave a man who had never been there emotionally for me, he had even daydreamed our whole marriage about being in a relationship with someone else.
    I felt beaten for the first time, even though I have had so much abuse, physically, emotionally, financially and sometimes the worst, verbally.
    It frightened him to think I was drifting away from him, when he always had such a strangle hold on my emotions, I no longer cared if we made it.

  41. Dear Kim,

    Thank you for your amazing information. Until 2 years ago I didn't even know that these mental disorders existed except for Bipolar. I have lived with a Borderline Narcissist for 41 years and have been abused for most of those years without understanding where it was coming from or what I had done to deserve the treatment I was getting (I was just totally bewildered and a mental disorder was the last thing that entered my mind because he is successful in business and respected for his knowledge and experience in his field). What I have noticed is that my husband still seems to be attached to his mother at the hip even though she has been dead for something like 40 years. What I would like to know is, is this common and is this a love/hate relationship for females in general because of abandonment and neglect as he was sent to boarding school from Grade I and only collected for the major holidays? He has had numerous affairs and one night stands the last being the worst as the girl concerned was young enough to be his granddaughter and he really seems to have fallen in love with her as she thinks he is wonderful and really makes a fuss of him to the point of being overdone and, therefore, feels false. She, of course, received and was promised everything her heart desired. Even though the affair seems to have ended because I notified her parents and the local priest about what was going on he is still emotionally involved and clings to every momento he has of her. I filed for a divorce nearly 3 years ago and am still waiting for it to go through as the estate involves farms and numerous properties and therefore rather involved and am struggling to detach and move on with my life. Since I have made it clear that I will not put up with his appalling behaviour any longer his attitude has changed towards me and he is fixing things when they break instead of just ignoring them and generally helping around the house which he has never done before but still emotionally absent and finds it impossible to say sorry, just acts as if nothing ever happened, sweeps it under the carpet and if I try and communicate with him at all about future arrangements for our separate lives he just gets up and walks out. Is this normal behaviour for a narcissist? I would appreciate your comments and advice. Keep up the good work you are doing. I have learnt a tremendous amount from your articles.

  42. I'm a little surprised you mentioned in your announcement email that Steve wants to "frame the first comment"??? That first comment is not the definition of love or a relationship. Having to have seperate bank accounts, credit cards, etc. because you can't trust that person is not a relationship. You can't have a REAL relationship with a narcissist. If you do you are in a relationship with a person that does NOT exist. Maybe some of the time they are normal but again that is their false self that only exists for a short period of time until they get what they want.

  43. WEll, I do feel less alone when I read the comments. I am never sure I can hold onto all that Kim gives -- self soothing and when to set boundaries get blurred for me and I confront bad behaviour when I might have done better to walk away and do something else and hope to be happier. My partner even tells me that is so. And I fall into the trap of being so angry and hurt and finding the pain that they are pushing away and depressed so intense that it seems suddenly just easier to end it. And away one goes -- moving out or asking the other to do so. But I think this inevitably follows because I do most of the work to make things better and some of that work is helpful -- but it never gets us past the post because -- I have a deepre and deeper feeling -- the love is not really there. Feel a bit lost at moment.

  44. I have not read any of your books, Kim. But judging by the comments I read, I see that I have been practicing your principles this past year. I am becoming much less needy, because I'm taking responsibility and control of my life.
    My husband is now in therapy as well, and he is becoming real sweet. I am suspicious of this sweetness.
    He has all the symptoms of a narcissistic personality.
    My husband respects me, but he needs to, at the same time, break me down. He has a real hard time with me being right. In fact he can't stand it.
    He lives in my shadow when it serves him best and tries to destroy me when it serves him best.
    Right now I am nervous about when the next shoe will drop. In fact I think I'm suffering from post traumatic syndrome. My fear from past abuses are deep. I have had 28 years of deep anger from my dad and 45 yrs. of narcissistic behavior from my husband.
    I'm in therapy, going deeper and deeper into my healing.
    I believe that, when I become totally needless, I will be able to handle living with my husband. He will not be able to push my buttons anymore and get a reaction.
    I have accepted that he cannot give me the love that I thought I needed to become complete.
    I am complete. I deeply accept myself. I know my boundaries, whether my husband respects them or not.
    I pray that he will learn to understand himself. But, if he doesn't, I will be O.K.

  45. Hi Kim,

    I haven't watched your video yet, but I do have a question:

    If someone is so deep into projection, denial of responsibility (blaming, minimizing, and justifying) that you suspect that they are also deceiving themselves (simply not able to see that they are twisting reality to inaccurately and unjustly blame others).....if you think that underlying someone's bad behavior is a very very very fragile ego that can't cope with the mere possibility that they themselve could ever be wrong or could ever hurt someone else.......if this person honestly cannot see that they have a problem.....is there ever hope?

    Steve was able to see his short-comings and accept them ..... I suspect that my husband is not capable of doing this ..... that his ego defense system will not allow it. Have you seen this before? How is this best dealt with?

    I've tried everything that has been recommended to me by a psychiatrist, friends, a ton of self-help books, what I've read on your webpages, etc. Everything I try ends up to be wrong in his eyes. It doesn't matter what I do - everything is wrong and my fault.....even if I am still nice to him when he is horrible to me....everything is still my fault. I've run out of ideas.....and as we get dangerously close to divorce, I see that he is bewildered and hurt - he just doesn't understand why I am thinking of leaving him....and he is devastated by this possibility. He really "can't" see the problems and fights every solution.

    What is the kindest (and most sane) solution?

    Thanks in advance.

  46. Hi Kim, Steve and everyone else out there,

    First - I want to say that I found Kim and Steve's site a few years ago, and at the time I was desperate for some help. At the time, I didn't have the money for the materials they had, so they gave them all to me for free...

    I'm still very grateful for that. I've seen comments asking how Steve and Kim can be "for real" since they make a living from selling this info.

    My own experience was a lot different than many people posting here, as I am a man who ended up with a woman that I later discovered to be a narcissist, and in fact who I believe who suffered from NPD. I am surrounded by far more women narcissists than male ones - this may be more particular to the United States than anywhere else.
    There is a book called "Will I Ever Be Good Enough..." by Karyl McBride Ph.D, that helped me, and is a good resource for men in relationships with female narcissists as well.

    I got the book after I found that my mother was NPD, and that I had grown up, mostly unknown to myself, deeply co-dependent and drawn to relationships with abusers and narcissists.

    It is a humbling experience to try and talk to people or get help as a man in this situation; how many times I wished that emotional abuse left a scar that could be seen!

    I feel for anyone in this situation, emotional and verbal abuse is powerful, invisible and deeply destructive and not gender specific.

    This comment is probably too long already...

    Thanks again Kim & Steve!

  47. I think the problem is always -- for me -- that I lose the plot and things get too blurred for me. I am hurt/angry and know I should snip and wait for a calmer mood and an understanding of what to do. But all that appears to do is ask him to leave. At first I cannot and then I do and then inevitably I am sad. And how to set a boundary or let other people do thee confronting for me or limit abuse when it is not physical becomes too tangled up with my anger and hence my own abusive behavior -- I wound back rather than be wise or I try to get him to see the contradictions in what he is saying which means I get trapped into the argumenet he wants me to have. i think one is a masochist to carry on with this -- and maybe I am just not the tough person in charge of my life -- maybe I am struggling too hard with my own life to see my way for two people. But I know what kim is proposing is to outgrow ones own narcissism or co-dependency or Echo like nature and by doing so -- form an example for ones partner -- so they want to take steps to out-grow their difficulties. O know this is what she advocates and I think it very wise. But sometimes its too bewildering a path and just may not be possible. Self-sooth and do not be a big baby and stick to ones own projects. And do that and eventually you will be strong enough to feel the pain of separation better if that proves the only avenue open. And I should be concentrating on my own projects now instead of caught up reading and writing here. Kim's program should be second nature to one -- for it to work -- and I keep slipping back into old patterns.

  48. Dear Kim,

    Thank you so much for your work. I intially found it while looking for resources to deal with my difficult mother. However, since learning the principles, I've been able to help other women deal with problems in their own families - especially military widows. When a woman is widowed, if she has narcisistic relatives, they seem to grow worse and victimize her. I've seen it happen more than once. Your material is a godsend.
    Thank you

  49. Kim, I know this isn't your experience, but in future would it be possible for you or one of your friends in the mental health profession to deal with the problems of having a parent who is a narcissist? Trying to unlearn codependency when you where taught it by a parent on whom you truly were dependent can be a confusing and difficult thing.

  50. Narcissists - what a drag on society, families and relationships. They must be the loneliest people in the world. Yet everybody 'loves' them because they are charming (read - bullshit artists) and unusually physically attractive. Their unavailibility makes them more attractive. Im learning that sometimes you have to 'disconnect' to connect.

  51. Anyone who hurts you in any way, and is not remorseful, does NOT love you. One day with such a person is one day too long.

  52. Actually, I truly feel this is truly individual and sincerely dependent on the deepest core issues of the codependent and the narcissist. I was married to the "nice guy" narcissist. The passive aggressive who kept everything stirred emotionally all the time. Yes, Kim this was easy as I was extremely codependent to narcissists. I was raised by a mother who we believe had npd. It took me a lifetime to shift and see his issues were soooo deep, the sadness finally showed me it was time to let go.

    I had tried the kindness, the boundries, (this only escalated the problem), the keeping my mouth shut, the praise, the parenting the adult, etc. the last 5 years were the worst as MY needs were completely devalued and got more neglected each day. The more I loved and grew, the more he pushed,until one day I gently saw this was how he preferred our life to be. I saw that this was so in him he has had no emotional connection to any partner or friend. This is when I felt permission from the universe to let go.
    However, I want to be clear , there were years of council, years of hell, years of letting go. I was determined to stay until the very last stone was turned over. When it was time to leave, I had no anger, just sadness and realization, so there was peace in my soul.
    As for the one raised by an npd mom, what worked for me is saturation in understanding npd and all its traits and faces. Accepting all the ways my mom was "all about her". Saturation in understanding MY codependency and unawareness of My own part in the npd/codependency shuffle. Kims website and ideas helped as well. Thanks kim... good to know support is out there.

  53. Kim,
    I've reached the point now where I just want to get out of all this mess. I can't be his therapist!! I can definitely be myself, and try to not buy into all the crap/lies. I would like to have the strength to stand up to him like you speak of. Problem is that I'm afraid I don't have the emotional energy anymore. I've recently experienced a huge loss, and I can't take his crap anymore. Last weekend, it was threats and F you, and this weekend I get roses and him down on one knee. . . I'm afraid that the nice part this weekend is only temporary.

    We are supposed to be trying for two more months before mutually agreeing to go forward with a divorce. I wish it was over now!!! I need peace and quiet, not more crap, and childishness. I had to find my own way to wholeness, so can he. I don't want to try to "save" him. I understand that he needs a strong person that will stand up to him, I just am not sure that I want to take on the task. . . I AM SO DONE!!!!

    I am afraid that if I do your suggestions about being clingy, needy, and trying to please, that he will actually like it.

    I would appreciate your wisdom.

  54. Hi Kim and Steve
    Do you have any insights as to why my ex would make a real effort to spend a little time with me each day, but actually shows boredom, and not much interest in actively communicating with me unless we are discussing his life and his problems? I could see some of these issues arising if sex was involved, but it's not. I have brought this concern to his attention, and he has made an effort to change, but he seems to really need to concentrate in order to be able to pay attention when the conversation is not all about him.
    We did agree to be just friends shortly after we separated (we had been together for 13 years, and separated for 3 years now), but due to both our bitterness and anger we weren't able to pull that off til a few months ago. Until then, we couldn't hardly hold any conversations without getting into a full blown arguments.That's when I realized that all the negativity and bitterness was holding me back from my own personal growth, so I wrote him a long letter explaining that I wanted to let it all go, and hoped he could do the same as it wasn't doing either one of us any good. He did agree, and for the most part we are able to stick to that.
    Instead, we have been focussing more on helping him to find ways to feel better about himself, as he has extremely low self-esteem. I have done a lot of work on my own self in the last few years, and still continue to do so, (your study course and Catch Him and Keep Him were both very helpful sources) I don't consider myself an expert, but I do know a bit of where to start the process, and I know he would never seek professional help for that. He says that my input is really helping him and that he does appreciate it. I know it is helping because he is showing some signs of feeling better about himself.
    Is there anything else I can do to help make the conversations less one-sided? I do realize there is a possibility that he is just lacking in communication skills, and that I'm reading too much into it right now, since he is now aware of what he was doing and is making the effort to change.
    On the other hand, it is also possible that he had programmed his mind to tune me out, as does often happen with couples who argue a lot. If you think that is a viable conclusion, do you have any ideas on ways that I can help him to tune me back in?
    I am quite concerned at this time, as our bitterness for each other is not an issue anymore, I think we do have a real chance to work out our friendship this time, but this is one area that could put the whole outcome in jeopardy if not handled properly.
    Thank You, Gwen

  55. Hi Everyone,

    Sorry to hear so many of you today who are still having struggles. It is great to see you joining in the conversation however and speaking up!

    Again I can't answer everyone but I will do my best to give an overview.

    If you want out let it be their idea - only you know what will work the best to make them want to go! That is playing smart and leaving you ego out of it (which they can't)

    A few points I want to contest here; if you are in an abusive relationship simply saying the person doesn't exsist because they are a narcissist or the realtionship doesn't exist because you can't trust them with money is utter DENIAL. You do have a relationship (even if you part)and you had your own part in creating it.

    On the other hand I did very much deliniate with Steve about the differnt sides of him. His real vulnerable self was welcome and I would never abondon him if he called on me. The narcissist prat however (sorry about the name calling) was my sworn enemy and I told him so.

    I mention this as I do get very tired of people saying that what I am suggesting is to be nice to them and let them walk all over you because that is NOT the case. I used to get angry and cry and wait for Steve to say sorry and fix things.
    When things got better is when I got tough. Not a little bit tough like please change or I will ....

  56. I mean TOUGH. There is a saying that you can only cure a bully with a bigger bully. So maybe I became a bigger bully - but I really felt I had the right. After all I was battling for my families right to live without being exploited and lied to and Steve was fighting for what? The right to chase other women and come home drunk 4 nights a week and fail his family in a 100 different ways?

    Yes the vulnerable real Steve did decide to change in the end but only after the tyrrant had lietarlly been crushed. The tyrrant didn't decide to change - I proved I was stronger and I beat him and he had no choice to give up (or be publically humilaited!).

    I remember Steve putting his fist through a kitchen cupboard yelling that he loved porn and hated me. I didn't cry like a baby - I said "If you don't stop being intimidating I will need to get the police here to talk to you about this as I don't know how to handle you when you are like this."

    Maybe that is cold but I don't think it is unfeeling. I really did genuinely care that he was destroying his life and he saw it.

    He was already on a bond and knew if the police came he would go to jail and he also knew that wouldn't stop me calling.

    I also asked if I needed to expose his sideline interests to people in our community I knew he would be ashamed of knowing. He also knew I wasn't lying because I had already started with that.

    I said "I don't want to have to talk to ----- about this but if you are not going to grow up and take better responsibility for yourself you really leave me no choice. I am not going to sit by and watch you destroy yourself with alcohol and vice."

    When he looked scared then I said "See it is not me making up the problem, if you really thought what you were doing was alright you wouldn't be ashamed of everyone knowing."

  57. So talk to the police or child protection or their boss or whoever you need to. I hear women all the time say - "But I can't or he will lose his job".

    Do you see the irony in that? They want the money from his job even though they know he doesn't have the maturity or responsibility to handle it.

    And if he doesn't have the job they don't want him - so who is using who?

    Like people who travel on business but are serial cheaters. Then their partners say "But what can I do - I can't possibly learn to trust them because of their work."

    Well if your partner isn't resonsible enough to travel on business without putting your relationship and family at risk they should quit or you should tell thier boss that they are not mature enough to handle the temptations of this job and that it is hurting you and your kids and that they should fire them.

    You have to be honest with yourself if you are going to help.

    Like there were people (including my family) who wanted to see Steve a star realestate salesman etc. and kept pusshing him to do that. I knew he wasn't ready. I knew he needed to learn how to take care of his kids and family and handle responsibility before he would be ready for anything similar to that.

    I said "Come home and wash dishes and learn to be a decent father and I will take care of you for as long as it takes for you to get your feet back on the ground" (this to the vulnerable Steve) but to the bigshot I said I will not rest in my bed until you are completely crushed!

    There is a great bit with Ken and Barbie in the last Toy Story Movie which I think is a bit of the Kim and Steve story. If you haven't see it - it is very funny but very real.

    So I took a risk because deep down I knew he wanted to be a good father and husband but had given up and was angry and sad and terrified and it was easier to chase women and get drunk.

    The big shor still did not give up without a fight however - and now I know why - it really truly needed to know I was stronger than the worst he could dish out to feel safe.

    Once I showed him I was stronger he clung to me like the mast of a ship in a storm. Steve would do anything for me now. He had given up completely on life and himself and I still had the courage to belive in him and say it's OK I don't expect anything but the truth (even if that is you hate me) and one small step at a time.

    As for setting boundaries there are so many - securing your finances and learning the repetoire of comebacks I suggest in "The Love Safety NetWorkbook". You may also need the leverage of threatening to expose what they are doing to their boss or leaders at church. A PI getting some dirt on them also might help. Just do what you have to do but make certain they know that it is the side of them that pretends it is better than it is that is your enemy and not their real self.

    If their real self really doesn't love you and is just too scared to make it on their own and is using you - maybe you need to have pity on that and be realistic. I bet you have felt that some days too.

    You can only progress from where you really are not from where you pretend to be but you are not.

    You will only move forward when the proud angry child in each of you has been put in it's place by someone able to contain them without violence and while standing your ground.

    If that is not you and you cannot rise to that challenge so be it. Play smart and get out letting their proud self believe it has won.

    Because if you don't stand up to them and instead try and take a jab at their pride when you part you really are just asking for the fight to continue are you not?

    Leave if you want to leave and play smart and do whatever needs to be done to de escalate the fight and set yourself free - but don't leave in spite to 'teach them a lesson' or really they have won because they have made you abusive yourself.

  58. Please refer back to the 4 legged stool exercise if yoy are having trouble. It is the area you are the least confident in that probably needs work.

    Today I have spoken about limiting abuse - and on this blog it always seems to end up either there or with emotional intelligence. Building attachment and challenges are just as important however.

    Challenges are not the same as telling someone what to do. It also should not in the beginning even be about something you want. Choose something they keep saying they want to do and say You keep talking about that but I bet you won't do it! Go on prove me wrong - I bet you won't"

    Then you forget about it and just see what happens.

    There is a great show on this on the Love saftey Net called "The Power of Love Part 2".

    Challenges are what I find people understand the least but actually work the best.

    Kim Cooper

  59. Thank you for posting this essay. I know it is important to be responsible for your own emotions and triggers. But, also know that Steve changed on his own will, not necessary because of you. That is also narcisstic. I am repeating old patterns again in dating two self centered men, in different ways, different personality. I let go after a couple of months, still painful but necessary. So, I guess not an exact repeat since I broke up with them, and more painful since I set boundaries and am aware of the situation now instead of numb and in denial.

    Who I am being I was too quick to attach and be intimate before I knew them well. Not the next time, now just have guy friends, not boyfriends.

  60. One thing has helped me enormously -- and by a different route I think he has come to a similar place is Neville Symington's Narcisism -- a new theory. It does give a good explanation of what narcisism is but also has some unique thoughts about how it is mended -- and I think them compatible with Kim. I believe he has moved to Austrailia. if anyone else has read him -- would be curious what you think. I believe he has some light to shed on the idea that someone has given up on life and why they might decide not to do that at a very deep unconscious level given the right love

  61. Hi Kim,

    I have been following your blog and have the love safetynet materials and have been watching the boat cruise videos! I am wondering if you can give any advice regarding jelousy- like what to do in the momen twhen you have feeling that sick feeling and your mind starts racing.
    I am currently in a lond distance relationship with my boyfriend of 2yrs. He has never cheated on me in the past but being so far away, I have a really hard time keeping the communication up, and sometimes I just get this panicked feeling that he is completely lying to me. Or if he doesn't call to say goodnight when he says he will, and then I call and he wont answer, I automaticly assume he is sleeping with another woman.
    How can I handle this type of thing in the moment?? Any advice would be great, thanks so much.

  62. Hi to everyone and to LDR girl,

    I think your jealousy in this situation is probably well founded and warning you that him being away from you is putting your relationship in danger. By listening to these fears and knowing it is OK for you to be having them I think it will help you tackle this. I wonder why he is away and for how long this will be?

    To overcome becoming anxious and suspicious maybe you can perhaps be more honest and proactive and write him a letter (with your perfume on it!) and say that you worry that him being away in a foriegn country understandably leaves an opening for temptation and that scares you because you really do value the bond that you two share.

    You might also post him a nice (framed) photo of yourself or one of you and him together and maybe later a sweater that he can wear to feel close to you.

    When you send him these tokens of your love I would always perfume to give him the feeling of you being near.

    Buying gifts to win someones love is not usually a good idea - this is not so much about the value of the gifts however as it is about keeping the attachment alive by having him feel you are still near to him.

    You also need to remember what things he likes most about you and remember to keep these qualities alive despite your fears.

    If you still have trouble building attachemnet and rapport you might suggest that you will be coming to visit him and see what his reaction is. This may be some indicator of whether your fears are justified or not.

    It is better that you know the truth of where you stand than to be left in the dark and these actions taken carefully with love and an open heart might help you do all you can to build attachment and trust while also finding out where you stand.

    To anon who is being less quick to commit - I think that is a great decision and appluad it. I do not think my claim that my actions changed Steve's behaviour is narcissistic however - I witnessed the events first hand and he would be the first to tell you now that is what happened. How bluntly you claim superior knowledge about our sitaution (when you were not there) and believe this invalidates what I am sharing is something you may want to reflect on about yourself (-: I asked a psychiatrist friend about this once when a woman had written to me saying "You really should be careful dear - you know your husband still is narcissistic (I can tell) and is just fooling you". My friends reaction was to say straight off - "That is pure narcissism, her invalidating your experience and claiming she has superior knowledge about your life than you do even when she has never met you or Steve." I offer this with love and I hope as some kind of gift to you, it is hard to see in ourselves and this tendency to negate others experience and claim superior knowledge (and your bluntness in doing so) won't be helping you find love (-:

    And to anonymous - I will check out his work and thanks for the tip that sounds interesting (-:

    I hope that everyone reading this has a wonderful day.

    Kim Cooper

  63. Thanks Kim,

    I was just wanting to assure everyone here that Kim was the driving force behind every decision I made to become a civil member of this family. Kim did make the plans and execute them in order to bring about the change that was needed. Kim forced my hand and was prepared to follow through on her promise to reveal my dirty secrets to the public. In our case, these actions paved the way for healing and a fresh start with us.

    Men usually look for reasons why there is a problem. Or ignore the problem and hope that it goes away. We tend to externalize rather than internalize. When I was behaving like a child, I was blaming others for my bad behavior. So many stories I hear on our site are from women whose husband has committed adultery and then blamed their wife for the infidelity. The solution is rarely found in men deciding to become a better person, men are usually forced into it. A partner is the one with the most leverage to make this happen. As much as I fought Kim when she stood up to me, I'm really very glad she won out in the end. I'm the happiest and luckiest guy in town now.


  64. Thanks Steve (-:

    A couple of good movies on the subject of women dealing with their husbands infidelity are

    "Moonstruck" and also "Love you to Death"

    I hope you get time to have a look as they also might make you smile and give you a laugh.

    Kim Cooper

  65. Hi Kim and Steve

    I found your site about a month or so ago and have had a new lease on life ever since. Until then, my general direction had been to get strong enough to leave; I have also gone to Al Anon for about 4 years which has helped with some of the skills you mention. I could never reconcile leaving with being in the best interests of the kids, as leaving him would either mean leaving them alone with him often or removing him totally from their lives. Neither seemed good options. Your work has helped me stop going in circles over this and our lives are already improving. Finally I know where to place all that mental furniture I've been shifting around for so long! What peace inside, even though the battle isn't over yet.

    I am now gaining the strength to set up that four legged stool properly. I wanted to ask what you thought of how all these steps apply when children (mine are 6 and 8 yo) are present (and often the targets). Should I avoid naming what he's doing while they're there? Is it ok to paraphrase the relevant part of our personal bill of rights? All the comeback lines we've rehearsed or thought of (eg 'you're not better than me') - should they be used in front of the kids? after all, they're hearing one side of it. I've learned not to co-star in the fights, now I'm wondering how much neutral is too neutral.

    I know this is off the topic of non-committal men, so perhaps this will have to wait for a more relevant post...

  66. Kim -

    Question! How were you able to discern that Steve really loved you vs. you conveniently being stuck with him because you had no other choice and just continuing to feed his narcissistic supply? whether you stood up to him or not you were a constant supply for him. I'm sure you must of realized that. At what point did you know for sure ... you could help him to overcome narcissism?

    You say "You can only progress from where you really are not from where you pretend to be but you are not." How do you know where you are at?How long does it take before there is progress if ever any?

    This is all so confusing to me to say the least. I only pray the best.

  67. I'm struggling a bit with the same issue as Anonymous in the above comment. My own Steve has appeared to change dramatically since i began applying Kim's techniques in our relationship. I see him catch himself when he starts to revert to his old way of responding to anything unpleasant; he has started to be able to laugh at himself at times and has even been able to confide some of his fears about life to me. And yet, I find it hard to believe that he could have changed so much in such a short time. I know another man who has identified his own NPD, and he warns me that Narcs will always tell you what they know you want to hear. So, how can you tell when it's for real?

  68. Hi all,

    HMMM - I don't usually talk about narcissistic supply because to me it reeks of the dehumanising approach SV (the psychopath) has taken on this subject. Narcissists are not monsters they are scared human beings who at some stage gave up on being loved for who they really are.

    To keep my answer simple however I will talk in terms of supply for the moment.

    If you are worried you are being used as 'supply' I would ask yourself "Am I feeding my partners false self and ego or am I loving and supporting the real person?" Are you playing counsellour to them and spending hours of your time talking about them or are you working on your own goals and expecting them to do the same?

    I will give a small example here - There are a lot of narcissistic people who somehow bluffed their way through school without actually learning to read very well (or sometimes at all) and still work in jobs where they have to bluff their way around this daily. Can you imagine what kind of terror and strain that would cause? In this case supporting the real person would be realizing reading was 'the gap' and challenging your partner to take adult reading classes and admit that they have this problem (but are working on it) to their superiors at work while assuring them you will stand by and support them through this. Feeding their ego on the other hand would be continueing to laugh at their jokes when they put other people down and encouarging them to go for a promotion at work.

    This is just one example obviously - but believe me the gap will be there whether you have found it or not!

    If you are suspicious of your partner I always say this - find out but don't obssess about it. I mean seriously you are better to hire a PI and be done with it and know the truth than to become obssessive about what your partner is doing.

    If they are working on being a better person for you that is great - show them warmth and that you appreciate their change of heart but also stay focused on your own life and goals so you are grounded and on your feet and not being carried away by any kind of fairy tale.

    As for how I can know Steve really loves me now - that made us both smile and laugh (-: Steve and I have really come a long way - we work in the same room now facing each other all day and at night I have to make him roll over (because he snores!) but he never wants to because he wants to hold me all night. I finally solved that by getting some industrial earplugs recently!

    I really do understand the saying about marriage now that "the two shall travel on and become as one".

    Kim Cooper

  69. Oh and hi to Carolyn too!

    I never hid anything from the kids but you will have to make your own decision there.

    I used to always come between Steve and my eldest son especially if Steve was being unjust with him or denigrating him as a person and at one stage Steve would even use this as a means of drawing me into a fight.

    After I spoke to the kids headmaster about my concerns about Steve he got scared and stopped that because I think he saw that I would turn him into DOCS if I needed to (and I would have).

    Steve had been talking about playing cricket at school with the kids (and the headmaster is a big cricket fan who Steve was trying to impress) so what I said to him (the headmaster) was that I was concerned that Steve can get pretty carried away with his own grandiosity when it comes to Cricket and that if the games were going to happen - he might want to keep an eye out for this and that I really felt Steve needed to be working on having a better relationship with his son rather than playing the Cricket star.

    That obviously embarrassed Steve (and me a bit too!) but it also showed him I was not afraid of calling his game and bringing in help.

    Kim Cooper

  70. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE!!! Steve or Kim tell me this..I have and ex NPD. I've read everything on NPD for 3 years and I feel I am now the expert..he has so many great qualities...however severely emotionally, mentally and has been pysically abusive. Everytime I leave...he comes back and is PERFECT...(my standards..NORMAL!!) for about a month and then freezes up..something makes him made have no idea what and leaves me hanging and like I am a mental patient. He has been in therapy for 8 months and has even shown empathy based on what he has learned. Now sonething has enraged him and wont talk to be until I "change" or live the way he wants me. PLEASE someone tell me hwo they can be GREAT for about a month..he even satisfied in my reaction to his goodness..no fighting, great communication, great sex, etc...now he is back to his emotional abuse and blames me for this chaos and all he wants is peace and gets it when I am not around..I swear I have not triggered anything not have a Ifought, etc,...what happened????

  71. Hi Kim and Steve -

    How I wish I had all this wonderful information several years ago. It broke my heart to end my marriage but there was constant turmoil and it was getting worse with every passing year. The final straw was when CPS came to our home and told me that my husband had physically and verbally abused our pre-teenaged daughter. They also hinted that she may have also been sexually abused by her father. I thought I was going to faint. When he found out about the complaint he accused me of filing the report against him. He denied every allegation, though his daughter confirmed the charges in the report. He did not sexually abuse her but did watch pornography on her computer while she was in her room. The caseworker found both of us "indicated" of child abuse and that there was a history of domestic violence in our home. The home situation did not improve and I was afraid that if there was another report filed that we would end up in jail and our daughter in foster care. I was aware of his narcissistic personality disorder for several years and forgave him the most unforgivable acts and behaviors. I couldn't allow him to continue his destructive behaviors against me and our daughter. I begged him to get help, from a competent therapist, because otherwise, I would have to protect myself and our child. He refused, so we parted ways and he's been with someone else since before we separated. I loved my husband and would have preferred to try your techniques than to end my marriage. Thank you for helping so many unhappy couples.

  72. Hi Kim & Steve
    I've been married with NPD husband for 14 years. Not knowing what the NPD was before until this last 2 months, it was such an emotional ride. He was never diagnosed but my friends came across this term by accident (refer by their friend's ex who was diagnosed). We google it and OMG - it's such an eyes opener. He flirts to make friends (only young & single girls in their teen and 20's), and continue to flirts to keep them (very physical too). He said it was not sexsual b-cos that's not respectful to the girls. But where is the respect for me as his wife? He cann't answer that, but blamed me for the reason why we cann't keep our frineds for long. They want nothing to do with us after they got married. I do believe him that he was not a sexual predetor but more of the emotionally predetors. Flirting is seem to be the only way he can get their attention and I let him (try to be an understanding wife, I was). He hates men in general (himself included)saying he knows what they are capable of. He's now involved emotionally with a youg girl whom exactly like himself and declaired she's the only person in the world whos understand him (she's also have NPD behavior and study Phycology). I decide to exposed him, the result is he confessed of having been cheating on me with a bar maid, and will never ever giving up his emotional girlfriend (the NPD girl) - if I don't like it I can leave. We're now separated for 7 months, I've done some independent works on myself over the past few years knowing what is comming, but still too nice, and over caring around him, willing to forgive him even he's never apologised (sad isn't it?) Your books and articles has been great help for me to understand what he has been trying to explain himself to me all this years, the blames and all, they were never made any sense until now. He challenges me to leave. I challenge him back: that if he wants to leave he also can and I'll not beg him to stay, but my intention is to fix this marriage. So far, he stays but doing nothing - not even apologised! At least no more verbal abused and eyes full of hated. I try to give him more talk and challenges but he just said he's not in the position emotionally to do anything at the moment, and admit that he was very upset when I exposed him to his NPD girlfrined and a few of our friends. I reall don't know what is next, Kim? When you're challenging Steve how long would it takes before he comes around? And Steve, if you want to give a man perspective in this as well I will be greatful!


  73. Im thinking outside the box, but their seems to me to be 'narcissistic emotional abuse' that comes from outside family/relationships that we allow into our lives from Hollywood media, government, lawyers, doctors, therapists, various corporations, sports/entertainment figures, religion, etc... That is so interwoven into societies fabric, that we accept these 'professionals' as gods who are some how infallible. Without question. Something I would suggest is watching for these behaviors in our elected representitives and other public figures. And not allow it into our lives. I think the American lifestyle is narcissistic.

  74. Why is it that whenever i think I might have got a lot of what Kim suggests in place and it seems to be working -- and some understanding and rapport seems to exist and I relax then invariably bingo -- he does something to tear it all apart. Its as if my relaxing caused that. Its as if he is challenging me -- but for what reaction. Because it leaves me feeling not tired, not exhausted, not sad -- but as if my love is simply going to die and that maybe thats agood thing. Except its not a real thing. Because if I feel he is really gone then I am sad. But -- clearly its an illusion that I have got the three legged stool up and running -- otherwise it would not always end with it feeling like all three legs are wilfully kicked down?

  75. For example - Obama the narcissist. - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2544452/posts If you guys knew this ahead of time, would you have voted for him ?


  76. Thanks Kim for sharing about kids. I'm not all the way there but I'm on the way now that I've found your site. I do weigh in to deflect or block verbal attacks on the kids and the kids and I have built up a great loving time together enjoying each others company whenever he's off and away neglecting us. My husband has begun seeking to join in with us, with some happy results occasionally. I'm still some distance to go with limiting abuse, burning off the family-invasive drinking mates, getting the DVO, separating the bank accounts, etc but I'm on my way!!! A month ago these things weren't even on my agenda. In the interim I stick like glue to the kids and do little else, bit of a hostage situation but it's a middle point while I rally. At first the only thing I felt strong enough for to get off the roller coaster was to force myself to diarise the ugly scenes (typically verbal abuse, with some intimidatory body language). My only urge was to put these scenes behind me and writing it down was very difficult, it was like those dreams where you can't walk or talk as you want to. Hard as it was, diarising it has been a source of strength to break the spell and see things clearly, and now it is going to help with third parties too. Looking back at the notes over time, I can also see tones of codependence in me long after I thought I had been cured of it.
    Thanks for everything that you and Steve do.

  77. Hi Kim

    I'ld like to suggest a good movie that might hit home for a lot of women out there, 'Fired Green Tomotoes'. it certainly gave me a good picture of what myself look like when I'm such a pushed over woman who is weak emotionally, waiting and hoping for my husband to wants to spend his time and attention with me. And it also shown how you can CHANGE that situations and gain back your self respect. It wakes me up on how unattractive I've become.

    Good cheers to you all.


  78. 17 years together - split up 3 times, he always comes back to me saying he misses me and our boys. I always take him back. I truly belive we love each other. But this last time, I asked him to leave and asked for a divorce because his finances were going to get us in big trouble. I wanted to secure what I had for our boys. Being married ment all his debts were mine also. I could not accept that. He blames me for hurting him and not supporting him.
    he said he had mixed feeling for me and wasn't sure,,, He left. It has been 3 months.
    I am being nice and supportive and encourage him in his new job and relationship with our sons.

    Kim, what should I do now? I gave him time, I told him my mistakes and what I was willing to work on. I want to work on our relationship and get our family back together. I am scared to ask him where he is at in his mind and heart.
    Should I just wait for him to make the next move?
    thank you

  79. Writing as a gay man -- I have an added problem. My partner and I have an open agreement about seeking outside lovers and we try not to tell each other too much. But I feel this can only work if the primary loyalty is to our bond. And I find he uses seeking outside relationships to undermine my confidence. So I am becoming unattractive by challenging the time he refuses to spend with me, But he makes a fantasy of the outside affair and blames our own life for all life's disappointments -- . I believe its possible to have a committed relationship and still allow openness -- but ---. Some of what is here is very helpful. But I am afraid that I am becoming abusive when I want to be strong and loving.

  80. Hi To everyone and sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you all this time. Life certainly has got tougher in regard to keeping our values in tact and keeping our loved ones close. I do find that we tend to pull in stuff that is in alignment with our own values and sometimes when things leave our life it is also just making room for something new.

    I wouldn't have a clue how to keep the attachment strong in an open relationship for instance - but then I guess my values have not attracted that situation into my life. I know with porn I took a very strong stance - even when many people around me treated me like I was being a prude but the more I have learned the more I have seen what a destructive force it has been in the world and Steve now thanks me that I saved him from what he now calls 'that hell.'

    I am sorry I don't have much to offer in terms of answers to everyones individual problems today. I am kind of at a point where I am feeling that I have said so much already and maybe it is better if you keep reading!

    I know that challenges are what it seems people have the most trouble with (in our program) and so I highly recommend the radio show Steve and I did on this here;


    Hang in there and check out my next post that will be up very soon on holding your power.

    Hang in there!

    Kim Cooper

  81. Dear Kim
    I am ready to try everything that you are saying. I love my ex and cant' stop thinking of the good times. But I am realistic and know that we had problems in dealing with our emotions. He is immature and can't deal with money. If a fishing trip is coming up, he won't tell me and put his money on it. If it's time to pay school fees for the boys,,,sorry he has no money for that. That is just a small example but during our 17 years marriage it happened often.
    He was great around the house; cooked, cleaned, played with the boys, and our intimacy was very good.
    Last summer I realized he had spent all his money and his credit cards were full. Don't know even today where the money went.?
    Then he started to say he wasn't sure of his feeling for me. So, bad REACTION from me, I kicked him out.
    3 months later, and without really discussing our problems we got back together. We love each other.

    But in May he said again he wasn't sure of his feelings for me. I know that this is fear from him towards me. I know he has low self-esteem and he feels hurt by me. So I let him go because I think he needs time.
    When I see him he looks sad and he likes to hug me when he leaves (I only see him if he comes for the boys).
    We have gone once for a long walk to talk and that was very nice. I followed your advice; I stayed grounded and calm and expressed my feeling. He opened up a little.

    So what do I do now. I am truly afraid to ask him where he is now in his heart and mind. I am afraid he has moved on. ,,, and I can't.

    Thank you so much

  82. Hi,
    My wife Sandy has decided yesterday that "we need to take a step back and think about how we treat each other". Great, now vunerable, open hearted, rejected I am going to wait for her 14 year old emotional intelligence to tell her what the reason is we treat each other the way we do. I sure hope your right Kim about being the "emotional Ninja Warrior".
    It sure will be interesting to see what she does next?
    Joe & Sandy - Akron, Ohio USA

  83. Kim,
    I hear what you're saying, we have to take responsibility for our own emotions and the way we handle them. I absolutely agree. The abuse I feel is more passive and neglectful than outright yelling and screaming. Whe someone emotionally neglects you, how do you stay connected and fill that void?

  84. Your title of your article is misleading. I think you had some good things to say, but didn't address the issue. If your not asking emotionally for your voids to be filled the issue in your title still needs to be addressed

  85. Well - why keep him? I intend to throw him back and get a better one. Why keep a self-centered immature creep that you have to buy books to figure out when you could have a chance at a normal man.

  86. Hi all. It's taken me a while to get into this, Kim and I apologise for the delays. To Anon from Aug 14; YOU MUST find out what has happened to the money. As 'unfun' going back through years of statements will be, you'll be in a better position to know what has happened. It will undoubtedly be humiliating for him, but that kind of embarrassment will help him grow. Find a support person to help you with this, someone you both can trust (I know that may not be easy). Getting on the same page will help bring you closer for longer. To Joe from Aug 16; I wonder how it's going a couple of months down the track? How interesting that you describe her emotional intelligence as being like a 14 year old! I can only assume that means BAD because Kim and I live with a 14 yo boy (our oldest son), and BOY; is it hard to cope with sometimes? We are at our wits' end most of the time. He is so lovely and deserving of affection, but he is dreadful at reading others and pitching in with a bit of cheer now and then. It is very draining and I can only imagine your Sandy being equally frustrating to connect with. I hope things have moved forward since your post. To Anon Aug 17; Good question! In short- staying connected comes with practise. In other words, 'Staying Connected' is a game of luck; the more you you practise, the luckier you get! We are not adequately taught to deal with conflict at school, so those of us who choose as adults to learn this incredible skill can only be at an advantage in the future. Self-soothing is a life-long discipline. To Anon Aug 17 ("Your title is misleading.."), which title do you mean?, 'Emotional Abuse' or
    'The Man Who Won't Commit Emotionally (or whose eyes keep straying)' ? I think Kim has covered a good deal of ground in this post, but do please get back to me. To Anon Oct 18; There is a couple of great points you raise here. If you are in a position to get rid of him, and that is what your heart wants...THROW HIM BACK. We wouldn't try to discourage you in any way. Our work is designed for those who do not have the option of tossing away their mate. Unfortunately, most of our subscribers are in no way able to do this with ease, so our eBooks are designed to support those without options. The world is full of self-centred people, most of them are good at hiding their narcissism at first. Don't forget, most self-centred people are in pain. They are wounded in some way. Will you care enough to help them heal? Should it be your role? These are philosophical and spiritual questions that only you can ask and answer. Because these questions are philosophical and spiritual of nature, there is no right or wrong answer. Buying books to figure out your partner is not very romantic, but it usually helps us understand our own role and our own potential, whether we stick it out or throw them back. Steve

  87. I didn't learn a goddamn thing. Idealistic tripe and wishful thinking.

  88. Hi Anon of October 20. I'm not sure what you are referring to? Did you learn nothing from Kim's post? I am surprised, because I have re-read the post and feel that Kim has been quite thorough. If you learned nothing from my post from Oct 19, that's ok, I was kind of just answering other people's comments, and it wasn't meant to be anything special. I'm sorry we couldn't help you. Steve.

  89. How do you deal with a closed narcissist? Terrible as the shouting etc must be that behaviour and the things said give you insight on the person. I have dated a narcissist who embodies all the central characteristics (huge lack of empathy, anger- however quietly maintained, selfishness, immaturity, blame, jealousy, lies. controlling and bullying) but does not have some of the problems above (he is responsible with money - if very controlling with it and successful - indeed he likes to earn money to make him immune from people) he seems to me to be very hurt and unable to show the real him underneath he was not and is not very popular/sociable and the image (of his job/money) bolsters his esteem (it also makes it harder to drop because he can with 'justification' hang onto it and he does and uses it as justification all the time). Because he does not lose control of himself and stays very quiet and reserved/withdrawn it is hard to know what he REAlly likes or REALLY VALUEs in life. In that sense I relate to Kim's earlier comment about someone having the appearance of having given up on life. He can be very testing, likes to control my access to friends and for me to be dependent upon him and is the most emotionally mean person I know in terms of withholding primarily and can be belittling. How do I create a shift in him? (I am sociable and good at connecting with people and empathising, have always been kind to him and understanding because I know he is insecure, I perhaps need to be tougher with him - something I resisted because he is very sensitive to rejection (even what a lovely hug provokes the reaction aren't a;ll the other hugs I give you lovely. I learnt early on not to say oh darling you look tired at the end of a long day (nicely and with compassion) because he sulked for days thinking I was saying he was unattractive...

  90. continued
    Kim how did you work through these things with Steve without defining yourself and your success by your relationship with him (I know you pursued other things - so do I but if you want something enough to stay and make it work you are investing, so you care about the result and that is sort of the opposite of doing for oneself because one is hoping for and trying to create a different response from the other person too - if I have misunderstood please take the time to explain because this could help.

    Steve I think your perspective a) as being on the other side and b) as male are highly useful and insightful and provide a balance. My partner at first admired me because I was popular and good with people and has systematically tried to isolate me and bring me down to the point where I felt less attractive and confident and assume I must have become less so to him, how when he has no real interests and struggles to connect with people in conversation except to boast about his job (although it is true he is successful people are unsurprisingly not endeared by it- for the record so am I equally in terms of academics to him we were at uni together but I chose a less well paid profession still good but not as lucrative as his) how do I find a way in - I could be wrong but bad in other ways as your behaviour may have been I get the impression you were still open even if all over the place or shouting, he is like an oyster, very hard to open. I would appreciate some advice on this.

    For the record I do clearly see my own patterns and how I link into him in other aspects I have complementary and sometimes identical things to him which I have kept hidden in my own way his lack of connection with others is no doubt as strong as my lack of connection with myself (this is where I struggle with the do my own life thing which Kim illustrates so well - I do have my own life because I fill the void [and always have done by doing things and being with people], I am successful have friends hobbies etc but I suppose never really chose things for myself so I don't really know what I want even if I do/have things eg a job that others might want. So being with him has taught me that. If you have any thoughts on accessing that sort of self knowledge then I guess your blogs would become world famous! But even tips on small steps would help x

  91. Kim you speak a lot about not acting in the heat of the moment and not using emotions to manipulate - I recognise these things and am trying with this. The hard things is genuinely knowing how to do this (if it is not your natural reaction finding the different way could be hard) I have bought all your products but would really appreciate a book on positive examples (I know we need to use our intuition and I agree but I also think that can start off a bit off if you are starting where I am and I agree with you that sometimes it helps to prepare the conversation - especially since often there is a similar interchange - I liked the example of the guy home from work and trying to pick a fight and just saying you've had a stressful day etc) maybe more of those just even as reading a book of how to handle positive situations is like the opp influence of what most of us have seen in our personal life and on TV and absorbed and I think it could do some good it would be like bridging the gap between the idea (which most of us prob get) and the putting into action which requires small steps. We are using the scripts we learnt before and it would be good to have lots of new ones to use.

    The other thing I wanted to ask about is setting boundaries (maybe this could be in the same book) - sometimes I think when I read about you and Steve that you had a lot of leverage - even when you called the police or spoke to the head master he stayed... I guess another thing is it sounds as just as you couldn't afford to leave neither could he. My boyfriend is very independent financially (if I believe q lonely) and q passive aggressive and not very confident under the bravado, if pushed (and I could be wrong I would like to here your opinion) he would just run. I moved out to set a boundary as he was behaving so badly to me and made it clear I still wanted to work on things but the rejection was too much for him - he must have known things were going badly, I explained I still wanted everything to work and this was something I was doing to help that for us not to leave him or as a step to leaving him (I needed to regroup I culdn't set the boundaries around him and as it was his place and he felt he was 'in charge' so I moved in with a friend) he then became more aggressive and he drove off and left me in a not nice area one night when we were out and I had had an accident (whiplash) and so I did leave him (I think he was half pushing for it/fearing it) because I was so angry I thought enough is enough!

    Going back to boundaries how do you set them without it being an ultimatum - eg your porn one, if someone doesn't want to they carry on and ignore you or hide it or leave, I understand your work on building attachment (prob something I was stronger in to start with) and how that can happen in difficult situations, but I don't fundamentally understand the boundary one - hence it is prob my blind spot. How to set a boundary without it trampling on the other, causing a power struggle,being an ultimatum, how if you want something and they don't do you set a boundary without causing resentment and driving them away? I can see it works in conjunction with attachment - but one thing I am good at is always being sunny natured, saying hello positively, being affectionate etc (even if I am hurt) so I am not sure what else to do to complement the obvious difficulty I have with boundary setting.

  92. Hi Anon, December 5th.

    Yes a book on that would be good. At one stage I got a google chat going so people could share their comeback lines - but it really turned into more of a chat (-: I will have a bit of time away from the internet this month so maybe I will get some time to write more on that.

    It is important that you start looking for role models from your own life too, I am sure you know women who command respect from their partners? Have a think and see if you can think of a few. My aunt isn't perfect but she was a good one for me to learn limiting abuse from, she can do it with a glance!

    The balance is tough and takes time but when you get it right it is a wonderful feeling.

    As for setting boundaries - with porn it was an ultimatum but not one where I said I would leave if it didn't stop. What I did say is "I hope I am not going to have to talk to ----- about this as I am really concerned that you can pretend this is OK. In this case ----- was someone Steve would have been horrified to have know about his porn use. I also said "If you really thought what you are doing is OK you wouldn't be ashamed of me talking to him. You pretend to yourself this is OK but you are ashamed so really you know it's not." So this was the guideline I used for what I could rightly ask for without me becoming a controlling bully - His own conscience and my self worth at being able to call him on it.

    In my case I guess I did become controlling when it came to setting boundaries - but we had 3 kids and I was clear with him that I was not going to let him drag our lives into the gutter and I had a right to want to protect my families reputation and that I loved him but I wasn't going to let him drag us into living in a slum.

    As to whether he will run or not - no one can tell you that and it is always a risk but in the end you are much more attractive if you can get over worrying about that and I will share more on that in a moment - as for building attachment Christian Carter is really the pro at this and I would suggest that you check out the link above in my article to his book because his advice is really spot on and did help me a lot to understand what guys like and don't like. Before I read his stuff I really had it all very wrong.

  93. Ultimately the goal needs to be building your self esteem to the stage where you can say "I love you and I will stand by you but I am not going to let you blame your insecurities on me." At this point you also really need to have done the gap finder and know what challenge to hit him with - because that is really where the game comes undone.

    Your guy might be finacially independent but he has a big gap somewhere and it scares the hell out of him.

    Having the courage to set that challange and really not care whether he picks it up or not but leave it clear that you will be impressed with nothing less will give you status and hopefully
    get his ego pointed in a better direction where his efforts to prove he can do what you are challenging will be building his self esteem.

    If nothing else you will see how amazing it feels to be able to set standards for what you will tolerate and what you won't and not be scared if this makes him run away. Another women I mentor has just got to the stage where in a fight when her husband tells her he wants her to leave she can say "I don't believe you - you always try and scare me with divorce when I disagree with you - you are just playing dirty to try and get your way." And then she says she won't talk about it while he is mad and she needs to get some sleep.

    The surprise she got about being strong enough to do this is how much more he respects her now and also how amazing it feels for her to have that strength.

    So whether he leaves or not you get stronger and that is what really counts!

    Valuing yourself enough to say "I love you but I am not about to build my life around a guy who uses porn. Let's see if you are man enough to grow up and pull yourself out of the gutter you have dragged yourself into and leave this c--p behind." is tough but it also makes you very attractive.

    This will only work if you can then get on with your life and see the tantrums he throws after this for exactly what they are - tantrums. If you can not get sucked in or swayed by his trying to make this smokescreen you will become very attractive and very strong. Narcissists have usually never had someone tough in their life that can challenge them like that. They have had parents who let their tantrums confuse the issue and so they still use that ploy to get away with not meeting the challenges life throws at them and not growing up.

  94. As hard as it is - it is best if you can do this when things are reasonably good between you. If you wait until there is a fight and then try and set a boundary/challenge it is way too easy for them to rationalise to themselves that you are being nasty and just walk away.

    I have mentored a woman whose boyfriend's ex wife sent her a list of the texts he had sent her saying he wanted to get back with her (his ex wife) while they were living together. Before there was any fight she handed him the print out and looked him straight in the eye and said - "---- gave me this, it looks like she is out to give you a pretty hard time. I am not, but I want the truth from now on and no more lies."

    She said this very tough and very cool. She had him red handed with the evidence and she had all the amo she needed to pull the trigger (because sure she WAS mad) but she didn't.

    She left it at that and he freaked and yelled and screamed and tried to start a fight but she wouldn't have any part of it and told him she had to get some sleep - so that way the challenge remained hanging. He clung to her after that and this was the point their realtionship turned around. I know a lot of women might wonder how she could forgive him, but you see the truth is it was all just fantasy. She was tough and saw through that and that their real life was much more important than some fantasy game he had been playing with his ex wife who didn't want him back at all.

    I should also share that Steve DID have the money to leave because his father was actively tempting him away from us with a good job.

    I should also share that I only had the leverage I did from building it myself. Many times I talked to the police it made matters even worse and I actually moved us into town closer to the police station and was very lucky I finally met a policeman who taught me how to get help from the police like I share in "Back from the Looking Glass".

    I get really sad when I hear a lot of women say - "I nearly wish he was hitting me because then I could get help." This is wrong on so many levels.
    For one it does not mean you will get help at all. It is the way you ask for help that matters and that can be for anything not just physical abuse.

    The man who I threatened to expose Steve's porn use to was someone I had introduced him to nearly a year before - he was an ex Baptist minister and shared an interest with Steve in gardening and had some very grand ideas and so I knew Steve would like him (Ha ha ha) - so in this way I again created my own leverage. I didn't plan what would happen ahead of time but I did know that I needed a safety net of good people around us.

    This all takes time sure but it is really about your own personal growth. If you are just making changes thinking 'what will make him do what I want him to' it won't work. It is about you being able to trust yourself and know that your own conscience is clear. Once you have that then use your magic scissors and get on with your goals because really you cannot know if he will come to the party or not and even if he does it won't be all smiles but more likely him raging and carrying on like a baby until he sees that no longer affects you and that he is just making a fool of himself.

    I know it's tough but the battle is worth it and I hope that you all have a great day (-:

    Kim Cooper

  95. To anon - with the 'closed narcissist' I am not sure if what you describe is narcissism but I do think you need to be more tough. Saying "Oh grow up why don't you." and getting on with your day might call their bluff. It might also create a fight and you may see that there is a lot stewing beneath the self control so be careful, but I don't think that it is wise to always be nice if people are rude to you. Don't get drawn into a fight certainly - but you also don't always have to be nice.

    Kim Cooper

  96. I used Christian Carter's methods last year to help me with dating choices. I ended up with a narcissist! Yup, I screwed up, & learned many important lessons on determining if a guy is a narcissist before I get involved. My Narcissistic sister uses Carter's books as well-& well, she tries to use his info to manipulate her love interests-but I don't think she's doing very well with her tactics.
    I know how to love & respect myself & how to move on from troubled relationships. Many others do as well. But, I must admit that it tires me to view all of the specific empowerment books & resources only geared toward women. We search, learn, & make choices. Men seem to have very few resources available to them, and few men feel they need to change themselves...I wish there was some sort of a social change that included specific training on how to become a gentleman, versus the usual 'how to become better at sex' info & education geared towards men. I know of mkp.org, an organization focused on men's healing-but they even get it wrong at times-when they follow the narcissists in the community, that is. I will always PRAY for men to find their own paths to self awareness & respect for others. All I can do is be the best person I can be, to myself, to others, & yes, that includes men, of course! I educate those who seek it out, & Im looking to discover those who have already worked it out for themselves-to establish platonic, or romantic relationships for my own personal fulfillment.

  97. I apologize in advance for length, this is complicated so I am breaking it up in parts:

    What about 2 narcissists in 1 marriage? I fear that could be the case, but not sure. I was married to a woman (10 years older than me) for 10 years who would never make a decision, even about simple things like what movie to watch, so I always wound up making decisions, and got used to it, so kept doing it, sometimes cause of her indecisive nature and a lot of times cause I was selfish. She had anger issues, blamed everyone else when things went wrong or blamed the world (globalized, etc.), threatened to kill herself, etc. I finally got tired of the anger, I am a very passive, person, calm in nature, the kind that has always been so nice, that I have been taken advantage of all thru life. I had wanted out of the marriage for about the last 3-4 years and found a way out, when I met a younger girl, full of infectious personality and invigorating energy...I did not do things properly and got involved, THEN filed and divorced my ex.

    I constantly feared my new girl would cheat on me, since I had been with her before divorcing my ex...I feared I was not good enough for her, she is upper class, wealthy parents, etc. so I felt like I was bending over backwards for her daily trying to keep up. I was so in love, I almost felt obsessed...needed to be with her constantly, etc. and I am very affectionate and loving. We got married in 2005 after a year and a half of dating...things changed. She is very independent, not very affectionate, extremely domineering, and her own father had told me "I'm sorry to say this but she is very VERY controlling."

    After marriage, I now noticed her abrasive behavior, was being yelled at, felt like everything was my fault and my mind defaulted to constant self blame for everything as a result. She had me stressed, I turned to alcohol for escape...in constant fear that I could not please her. My daily fear of her cheating, and karma, turned right into my ultimate nightmare barely a year into the marriage.

  98. She claims she tried to tell me something was wrong in the marriage and I was not listening, but in my eyes and memory she never put anything in a way that it seemed serious to me..she gently asked "Do you think our marriage is in trouble?" a couple times, that was all I can recall.

    Anyway, she became involved with the new guy in the office, who befriended ME first, latched onto me first, then I noticed his attention going to my wife...and my life was devastated in June 2006 just a day after my birthday when my wife and I had an argument and she said she was going to a hotel for a night. Well, all lies came to truth...she had also gotten pregnant, had an abortion, and then we went to counseling to save the marriage...it worked, but it was skewed in HER direction, and after promosing to kick the guy to the curb, he was still her "best friend" 3 years later! I was losing my mind seeing her text him, answer his calls (and go in another room to do so) and helping him, giving him money, bailing him out of jail, getting him an attorney, getting her own mom to buy the guy a new motorcycle when he wrecked his car, and his feelings were constantly placed above mine while I was dying an emotional death, begging her to get rid of him for 3 years, as the counselor and all others told her to do...she never listened. She promised they had only slept together that one night and they turned it back to a friendship, but it destroyed me emotionally. He finally disappeared from our lives in late 2008 and HE was the one who left...it was never my wife who finally pushed him away, something I had begged for years for.

    After he left, I FINALLY started healing...my wife had yelled at me for years telling me to "get over it!" even though she was still friends with him...she could not see my side as her selfishness took over and my feelings were ignored. I kept bringing up her "mistake" when she started arguments and she told me she was tired of living in her past mistakes and for years she told me to "get over it!" even though she was still friends with him, talking to him, helping him, etc.

    Even last month, I tried to explain, for the 10,000th time, what it did to me that she continued to help him and never listened to me and she literally got tears in her eyes and said, "I didn't wanna see another man suffer..." My mind was blown...it was OK for ME to suffer...even then, her feelings were still about someone else, even though our entire marriage I had been practically worshipping the ground she walked on, doing everything for her, handling everything with the house for her, busting my butt to keep her happy, and she had me feeling like none of it was enough...I begged for her attention and it always seemed to go elsewhere.

    Long story short, leaving out all kinds of crazy things she has done, I recently befriended or RE-friended a girl from grade school, and always kept it innocent...one night my wife even snooped through my chat and admitted it the next day saying "you handled it very well." and I assured her nothing was going on. Unfortunately, the girl was unhappy in her marriage, and wound up demanding SO much time from me, texting, calling, etc. just as my wife was pregnant, and I was again too nice and didn't wanna hurt the girl's feelings by telling her to back off, so my wife got furious. Deep inside, I felt she had NO right after an affair and continued 3 year "friendship".

    I did SO much for my wife, but all she says is that I ignored her for the other girl during her entire 3 month pregnancy...which was sooo over exaggerated. My wife lost the baby...I did not know how to react, but was not as comforting as I shoulda been...I also realized I should have told the other girl to back off, and should not have been selfish but was enjoying the attention I fought to get from my wife. I NEVER had feelings for any other woman, ever, and to this day still love my wife with all my heart.

  99. One day, I woke up 4 months back, and just looked at myself in the mirror and told myself to wake up and get out...and I did...after all the marriage had survived, I just realized how emotionally destroyed and dependent I was on her for my own happiness...so I moved out everything and am living 5 mins. away in my old home. I never filed.

    Since then I have been studying NPD, marital improvement, self improvement and have been reading it all daily. I now wish to return to the marriage, but now she has indicated she is enjoying not having any responsibility and being alone. She had always, in my mind, been living a single lifestyle and never knew what a marriage was supposed to be as she constantly has people living with us, spends time with friends more than me, pays attention to others more than me, chronic texter, and on and on, even though I poured attention her way.

    She is an expert at getting people latched onto her..when she asks for a drink, a male friend of mine (when over) would literally jump up and step into high gear to get it before I could blink..I had to tell him to stop and that I am the husband! She has such an infectious personality, every time I make a new male friend, they start off my friend, then become closer friends with her, and eventually almost drop my friendship...this has happened over and over and over. She also needs to be the center of attention very often.

    I have finally realized she exhibits all these signs of NPD, and I honestly thought I might have a few signs, but she has almost all symptoms and I have been trying to realize myself through new eyes as well as her behavior and I stood up for myself a month back when we met for dinner and she actually backed off...I was surprised. She insisted she was still right, ofcourse, but I said "nope" and closed the topic.

    I really want her back...have not filed, still am completely in love with her, finally happy with myself and want to approach with the knowledge and new self discovery I obtained, but she is not ready and not sure...so I am not contacting too often, just for dinner here and there. She told me she is NOT over her anger towards me for paying attention to my female friend during her "entire" pregnancy and that just because I have gotten all my anger over her affair out does not mean she has gotten her anger out and that she needs time.

    This is the shortest I could make this...I apologize again, there is sooo much more including past temper tantrums, breaking things, and on and on...but that behavior was more isolated.

    Do you have any thoughts on all this? I love my wife and don't wanna lose her after fighting to survive the affair, continued friendship with the other man, etc. and I feel I have finally let go of al my anger so that I won't keep using it as a weapon in arguments...even as I write this, I am no longer angry, just telling a factual recollection of events as to get your perspective.

  100. Oh well...I am filing and getting out so it doesn't matter anymore.

    I have suffered 7 years of off and on psychotic behavior and extreme mental damage and trauma. She just said she is happy being alone and so she does not have to be responsible for her actions...

    And here I was being a fool yet again, chasing, showing love, asking for dinners, yet she made no efforts to initiate anything.

    All I notice is how she openly said "I love you" to her friends on a website even just today...words I practically had to beg for and still they go elsewhere...

    Guess I will throw my valentine card in the trash and move on.

  101. I have been with an NPD husband for 30 years, lots of caios, fighting, and emotionally draining days. Over the last five years things are finally turning around somewhat. I am really happy that I finally found a reason that explains his behaviors and I have been learning so much. I have spent over 25 years in counseling trying to be a better person, then dealing with getting MS, and then the death of my 23 year old son from first marriage. Not much verbal emotional support but he tries to minimize my grief and health frustrations. But he will physically try to be supportive in his own way. I am so amazed that no counselor ever picked up on the NPD of my spouse. I did learn about 15 years ago that I was co-dependant which helped me be more aware of my emotions and behaviors and in turn improved our overall relationship. I was given the most surprising and amazing gift a few years back. My NPD spouse was discussing his father with a good male freind of his and learned about NPD because they both had NPD fathers. My spouse called me on the phone all excited wanting us to get books to learn about NPD. I obtained books right away and was so floored to see the similarities of his behaviours let alone his fathers. We read it together in thinking it was going to be about my spouses father we discovered it was also his personality. I have to tell you we have a kind of bantering sense of humor, so my husband says so you are more or less saying I am an "Asshole" ...lol I replyed with "you said it not me!! ha ha". I have since not critisized or labeled him for being a NPD but explained they were behaviors that are hurtful to another person, and he is unable to feel the emotional side of things. Like other posts explain he is unable to hug or kiss me. but in bed has to hold on to me (non sexually) all night long, every move I make which I have to say is very disturbing. Kind of a sad thing to complain about huh? Anyway since he has been aware of the NPD I have noticed lots of changes but of course there are some behaviors that will never change. HE seems like a little kid wanting constant attention praise and affection although he cant give the same. I continue to provide myself with love and time alone. I have two other kids 21 and 23 that are great kids but I am concerned with some of their insecure behaviors and the toll this took on them when things were the worst in their childhood. I will try to direct them to learn about codependancy and NPD in hopes of helping them be more well adjusted people and find a healthy relationship when the time is right. I wish everyone the best in finding first of all the strength to love ourselfs first..and second to not get pulled into the sad world of an NPD. I look forward to learning much more on this web site. Happy 2011 SmylinLS@gmail.com

  102. I was just wondering do you have a resource like this if you are a man that is trying to get your wife to commit emotionally?

  103. Not specifically, but if you feel you have codependent tendencies (check out the link at the top right hand of this page) you might find that the information in 10 steps to overcome Codependence will make you much more emotionally strong and hence much more attractive.

    Kim Cooper

  104. I'm confused about the Catch Him and Keep Him Book. It seems like something you'd want to read before you're in a relationship. But what if you're already in one and made a lot of the mistakes he talks about...

    I have yet to finish the book. It's good, but it's feeling a little like "too late"!

  105. I got a lot out of Catch him and keep him even after being with Steve for 10 years. For starters I stopped acting desperate that he like me and instead starting acting more confident and self sufficient and like "Let's see if you are worthy of being with me!"

    Kim Cooper

  106. I'm still trying to find out who i am having been sandwiched between a Narcisstic mother and now daughter... mixed with HEA

  107. Hey Kim...what you are doing is commendable. I have been with a narcissist partner for almost 4 years now. I was distressed, depressed and very low on self esteem until I discovered your blog and realized that it's not me with problems. It's him. I tried to build up my confidence and to stand up for myself. I started to see things improving until he told me 4 months back that he wanted a divorce. We are living apart since then and he has been pushing me for divorce. It's quite possible that he has already found someone to marry after he divorces me. He has cheated on me in the past. Since, I was not ready for divorce, he called up my cousins, relatives and friends and blamed me for all the problems asking them to convince me to divorce him. He never for once, tried to discuss and sort out things with me. He says that he doesn't love me and our energy levels and outlook are so different that things will never work out. I see him as an insecure, immature person dreaming of ideal love. Nonetheless, his words hurt me to the core. I gave more than I had to keep him happy but all I have ever received in return are abuses and complaints. I am starting to realize that you must be a really strong person to pull through your tough times. He has made such grave mistakes but he easily justifies them and blames me for making him do the mistakes. I want him to see what he did to me, I want him to realize his mistakes but feel too exhausted and depressed to fight back. I feel it's no use, he is such a proud and egoistic person that he would never see his mistakes. I just want to give up at this point and settle with the divorce though I really wish things could work out. Just praying for some strength to get through this. I am probably not as strong as you and others who have been successful in building happy lives with their N partners. Sigh!


  108. Hi Everyone and CK -

    Sorry to hear about what you are going through. I guess I should stress it more in the articles here but these articles on their own are not going to turn around an abusive marriage.

    Personally I agree that you husband sounds like he is having an affair and divorce or no divorce you are going to be in a much better situation if you find out about it. Do your research or hire PI. Don't obsess just find out the truth.

    Our ebooks lay out steps to follow and our Workbook has exercises that will also help you discover your own weaknesses.
    It may be too late to save your marriage but it is more important than ever that you follow the exercises in the limiting the abuse chapter. Just because you divorce doesn't mean the abuse will end.

    Please also search for our radio show called "Who will they turn too." on Global talk radio. This will be a great one for you to listen in on.

    Kim Cooper

  109. Hi all,

    I'm feeling really despondent at the moment. I spoke to a community worker the other day - I went there because I wanted advice on what services they offered (if they have a DV counsellor etc.), and wanted to form a community for myself, as is suggested in the e-books. I made it clear I didn't want counselling myself, but I ended up talking to a therapist as the lady at reception couldn't really help me.

    Anyway, she made me feel much worse. She told me that only 1% of abusers (mine is only verbally abusive so not sure if she's talking about that or physical abuse) change. She said "I hope you're not thinking about having children with this man - they usually get much worse". I told her that he had been sexually abused by his brother and she said things like "I wonder who abused him (the brother)?" Very unhelpful - how would I know, I've never met him, and how does that help?? Then told me it is likely he would abuse his children.

    I know Kim that you say that many people don't understand this condition and therapy is often not the best solution, but it's hard when someone is quoting figures at you not to feel hopeless. She has a lot of experience with abusive men (she used to run a group to help with managing abuse) and has done research etc. How to I ignore the things she is saying and feel like there is some chance for us? We were trying to get pregnant and now I feel so horrible about the prospects of my child being verbally and perhaps sexually abused.

  110. Hi anon trying to get pregnant,

    Yes this is the state of things when you try and seek help at the moment.
    Keep looking until you find a support person who has a more positive outlook. The woman you spoke to is right - but her figures are also a reflection of her programs failure. Maybe your partner will change and maybe they wont but the steps in our ebooks will make you stronger and put you in a better position to make decisions from.

    I would suggest however that you do wait on getting pregnant until you get through working through all of the steps in our program. When you get to limiting the abuse for instance he may run instead of facing his own shame in this and where will you be if you are newly pregnant.

    Our program has helped a lot of people but there are no guarantees and this is enough for you to be taking on right now without also planning a baby. Pregnancy also makes you very emotional and hormonal and will make a lot of this work much tougher.

    I hope you can see the sense in this? Raising a child is a HUGE commitment and you want to be on as sure footing as you can before you embark on that.

    Just take the steps in Back from the Looking Glass and the Love Safety Net one step at a time and see where you are in 3 months from now ...

    Kim Cooper

  111. I am a woman and have just split up from a 2.5 year relationship with a woman who is a narcassist. We were on the rocks for many reasons,she could never commit, and also she problems gambling( i helped her over come that) also with porn and intimacy with me. But 2 weeks ago she dumped me for another woman, who she says she is smitten with. This woman has also been kind of chasing her for the last two years and i guess boosting her ego. I have put up with alot of verbal abuse, put downs,her attractions to others, secret messaging, and I became very depressed etc. I guess my emotional response hasnt helped and I have become very angry. I have come to the point that I dont want to put up with this crap anymore, but after reading this maybe my inmaturity emotionally(to the way she treated me) could have been better. Im not sure if its worth to try and patch it up, but she says she dosent want me back? I wonder Is this the ego self talking, because her ego is being stroked by another, or maybe she wants it to end? what are your thoughts, cheers T

  112. Hi T,

    I am sorry to hear what you are going through. It is very hard to know the answer to that from here. The most important thing for you however is to work on your own emotional competencies so that if she comes back or not you are still in the best situation you can be to find happiness and emotional security for yourself.

    Staying focused on your own goals right now and learning self soothing will help you through this. 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence will help you with this and if you work on it I am sure a new era will open up in your life either way.

    Kim Cooper

  113. Hi and many thanks for your emails and info. I have the "Back" book and the 2 workbooks, and am putting together the safety network before I confront him (gently). We have been separated for nearly 3 months yet everything is still in limbo. PIs never called me back! But at this point, now that he's not living with us (because after the last physical abusive episode I told him to look for an apartment), it doesn't really matter, as I spoke to my pastor last night and he said categorically that if he wants to come back to us (me and my daughter) it has to come from him, and he could not in good conscience advise I ask him back if he stays the way he is, and it's very difficult for such men to admit they have a problem and change. So we pray for a miracle. I also have a lot to digest / process with the books and try and keep everything in mind. I'm really at info overload! Emotional intelligence... what I want to say is, he made a commitment to ME when he married me, not to his mother, not to his daughter, but to me. He cannot be so angry at me (bete noire) and projecting all his bad attributes on to me. That is just nuts. Hence praying for divine intervention! But meanwhile I will do my best to be pro-active also and incorporate some of your steps (as I remember them!). I have to say though that writing out all the negative things that were said to me (mainly by him and his N mother who he is enmeshed with) and then making them positive (as if said) by the same person didn't work for me because I knew it wasn't true! Maybe I missed something. Also I think I need clearer instructions of what the bill of rights should be? Just thoughts. But anyway you're a star, hon. Thanks. xx

  114. Hi Guys:)
    Thank you for recommending 'Catch Him and Keep Him'.
    Four years ago I read some of Christian Carter's 'teasers' to buy his book but was put off by the horribly offensive and patronizing title! I thought if he couldnt come up with a better title after all his research, then he really didnt 'get it' at all. And I didnt have the $$ to throw away on books that just seemed to raise more questions than provide lucid reasons and solutions as you do:) But I wish I had now, as it may have put me on a much better path much sooner.
    (I really loved an analogy by one of your many appreciative relationship students..)
    My profound thanks for being our rescuer divers and cutting away the misery of human-made netting.

  115. Kim
    Thank you and Steve for all of your material. You are offering so much.

    I have all of your ebooks and have been implementing much of the stuff. I also have Christian Carter's ebook and have other programs through Christian and Rori Raye & others. I have been with my "partner" almost 3 yrs. The first 6 months were amazing(I thought I'd met the man I was going to spend my life with - we're both in our 40s)... then it's been a hard & painful slog of to-ing & fro-ing ever since. He finishes with me then comes back(Yes, I let him back) on a regular basis. He used to name call but now just criticises a lot. He doesn't drink, gamble, use porn or drugs but is unaffectionate, withdrawn, avoids intimacy & sex & is generally emotionally unavailable. He likes to be in control. It's taken time, effort & mistakes but I generally (90%) self soothe, I have many friends & go out with them (in the past 2 months my partner & I have only spent one weekend together). I have hobbies. I am slim, attractive & my job is going well. He doesn't go out & has no friends. I give him love and affection - but get so little back. It feels deliberate on his part. I know I cannot change him. I still feel very hurt & undermined by how it has been & am finding it hard to let go. There are some other men interested in me - but I don't find them attractive in the same way I found my partner attractive. I fell in love so deeply for him at the beginning & don't know how to switch it off.

    My question is.... How do I know when to walk away? To give up. And how do I do that?

    I have tried so many approaches & none of them work to get me the closeness I think is natural in a relationship.

  116. Kim you do a great job. I am married for 21 years. I missed the early signs of pathological jealosy and self-centredness.

    He has steadily becomig worse esp over the last 10 years. the reason I stay is because of the children and the stigma of divorce in my family.

    He shows a charming side to others and is charming sporadically at home. None of us can predict what mood he is giong to be any given day.
    About 10 tears ago he told me that he is not in love with me anymore. Iignored it and carried on as "normal". Since then I have not told him I love him nor has he.

    Through all this jealosy and controlling behavior ( i do not do a thing without telling him I dont talk to men, dress coservatively,etc) He insists on sex regardless of what his mood is like. To be physically intimate without emotional intimacy was dstrohing me.When I ever refuse him he either cold-shoulders me for weeks at a time or calls me a slut and much worse.

    For the last 2 weeks I have put my foot down and not acceded to his sexual demands after he was abusive to me with no apology. Usually I try to forget his abuse and give in . But since this has not helped I am not budging thhis time.

    It is very hard because I never hold grudges and he seems to thrive when ther is conflict and a cold war. He now pushes me around while I am sleeping< keeps me awake at night by trying to get his way. It is aggressive and violent and physically< sexually and emotionally abusive. I sleep with ear-plugs so that I dont hear his crazy accusation, i.e I was a slut before marrying, 20 years ago !

    He obviosly has crazy trust and self-esteem issues. He also threatens to tell my children,my parents, and his that I tried drugs. I did ! 25 years ago experimentally with him. That was it! I also had an abortion while we were still students.he was unsupportive then. Since then I have matured and he hasnt. I have brouht up my kids the proper way. He knows it will kill me if they found out.

    I believe he will carry out his threats. His ego and need for revenge is greater than his
    love for his children.

    I think he is capable of anything when he flips.

    I am furious that I must break my family up because of his problem.

    I think I know what I must do but I cant bring myself to take the next step because he will make sure that he will ruin our lives.

    I fear the consequences and I think I will be done emotionally.

    I am up against the wall

  117. Thank You, Kim. I have gleaned much insight from the limited information I have looked at so far. I look forward to meeting emotional goals, with which I am currently struggling, as a result of the help that your work with Steve has given me and will give me.

  118. Hi everyone and sorry I don't have much time today, Steve and I will be releasing a new radio show on the Casey Anthony case tomorrow.

    To anon who is up against the wall please get a copy of Back from the Looking Glass right away! You need to follow the steps in this as you are in a lot of danger where you are. If you don't ahve a credit card you can use please let us know.

    To anon who asks how do I know when I need to walk away - please go back and read Back from the Looking Glass again as I think you will find the answers there you need right now. Only you can decide whether to leave or stay.

    To anon that needs clearer instructions on the bill of rights - the exercise that didn't work for you was removed in the last update and there is more on the Bill of Rights and a lot more exercises that I know you will like. You should have received and email about that update (which was free to everyone who had already bought the book) so pleasego back through your email or contact our help desk at www.narcissismcured.com

    So sorry that I have to run now - there is a bunch of new stuff coming out from Steve and I soon!

    Kim Cooper




  120. Hi anon,

    I respect your comment but must disagree. needing someone to help you with your emotions is emotional dependence and the heart of codependence. Emotions can be shared certainly and are in fact very contagious (another very good reason to deal with the negative ones on your own before you spread them to the crowd).

    I once craved someone to feel for me and help me deal with my sadness and loneliness but that only led my life further and further into the darkness.

    It is like an alcoholic thinking they MUST have a drink but then when they discover sobriety they find they didn't need alcohol at all and there is a much better way to live.

    Self soothing is the number one emotional competency that will improve your success in life in ALL area.

    If you continue to need people to help you deal with your emotions you will remain emotionally immature and continue to drive people away from you.

    Besides this you will also never learn the true beauty and function of your emotions as a personal guiding light in your life, helping you find the way to peace and fulfillment.

    Kim Cooper

  121. what do you do when the man who used to say "i don't know what i want" proposed to you, and only four weeks later reunites with a former romantic from 15 years ago on a social networking site? now it's like any woman who catches his fancy he has the excuse that he is 'just showing human warmth' and that if he can't do that "it's a dealbreaker". i've noticed he's showed jealousy in the past when guys paid attention to me and i've always made a point of letting him know i set boundaries when that happens. but he seems to think i've got 'the problem' when he flirts, touches and is more emotionally intimate with them than with me.

  122. hi,

    my english is not very well. so sorry if i wright something down that is not correct.

    any way, i was a narcistic person. i helped my self to see this and change everything about me.
    that is when i became the parnter of a narcist. i was trying to have all the patience in the world with him. and i told him i am trying my best to be nice to you but i really can be hard if i need to. and he never believed me. and after sometime i stopt the relationship with him. he was in shock for 3 days.i told him you have to show me your heart if you want me to take you back. he is insecure and can not do that ofcorse. but i was hoping that he would try. he did try for 3 days and then he gave up..but he was not telling me he gave up he was acting like he was trying his best until i got a call from his ex girlfriend. that call exposed everything. before she called me i told him i know what you are going to do next you are going to drink and sleep with other woman. he told me no i am not i love you.. and that is what is did. i was so angry became he dissapionted me, but at the same time i was releaved and was thinking that i could show him what he is like now that he is weak and now that his bad behavior was exposed to me and to that other woman ( his ex- girlfrien) she called me when he was with her in bed. so i talked to her and after that i called him. he was trown out of her house. and he told me that he did nothing with her and that she is just lying, and that they just went drinking in a bar because he was having pain because i ended the relationship with him. and that after the drinking she asked him to come drink more in her house. really, he was thinking i am stupid. i was a narcist! he can not fool me. so i asked him nice can you please tell me the truth. and he told me that she is crazy.

  123. he told me 6 different stories!! so that is when i was finish with this all and the narcist in me came up again. i know what he needed. hard words and pain. so i told him and now i am finish with this all. your lies and everything. and now i am going to show you a different site of me. and he told me no you are sweet and never will hurt me. that is when the narcist in me came out again. really just to show him that i can be like him and i choose not to be, but to help him i would do anything. out of love for him. so i called someone and exposed all him behouvair. he was in shock. and i told him i did it out of love and really i did that out of love! i told him did you die now that everybody knows that you are not perfect? he turned of his phone for 3 weeks. and then he put it on again. in that 3 weeks. i was emailing him like a stalker. i email him that i know that he is insecure. and that i had patience with him and that i know that he is doing his best to give everybody love. but that he first have to love hisself. i told him everything that he is. because i was like him and i know what he is feeling. after the 3 weeks he put on his phone. and i called him ofcorse because he can not admided that he is like that. i told him stop being hard on yourself you know i love you. i did all just to help you. really it was to help him.
    so after that we stayed in contact for 2 weeks. and then i tested him i told him something to make him yealous just to see what he would say. and again he was wanting to hurt my feelings. so that is when i realized that if i stay with him i am going to be that narcist again. and that i dont want for myself and not for him. so out of love and protection for him i stopt this all. he turned of his telephone. and is dissapointed i think that i stopt with him after he was wanting to do his best. i e mailed him why i stopt. but no respond of corse. i really hope that he will find hisself and contact me. i was also telling him this in that email. he now made a facebook account and is going on with his life. i am verry sad about this all. i want to be with him but i dont want to go back to that narcist i was. so it was out of love for him that i whent away and out of love for myself.
    do you think he will understand this someday?? i really hope so.. but it will take maybe 30 years before he founds out who he really is. and i dont want to whaigt on that. because i will loose myself in the end when i finds hisself...
    i want to know if you also think that i made the right choose. i allready know that i made a good chooce by doing this. because in the end it is my own life that i am going to destroy again, i dont want to be unhappy again..
    what do you think kim..

  124. I just wanted to say your articles and radio show have been a great help Kim and Steve. I've been able to learn how to take care of my own emotions and make sure my son has a happy childhood, and it's thanks to the two of you so thank you so very much. It was very difficult at first and my new attitude was met with a lot of resistance, but little by little that's all starting to change. My husband is coming to terms with his past and is slowly but surely becoming more emotionally available to me. You guys are doing a fantastic job and helping so many people. Keep up the good work!

  125. Dear Kim, thanks a lot for all your encouragement! I have one question to you.

    Background: I got to know your work only after I had a breakdown, spent time in a mother and child institution and realized, that I am too weak to go back to my husband, I would have had another breakdown very soon. So, basically we are separated (not legally), even if I hope, we can get back together again. I am in therapeutic care and am rebuilding my broken self-confidence. My question: You say, that we should let the narcissist feel, that we don't abandon him. How can I not give my husband the feeling I want to abandon him if I already moved out? Do you, think there is a chance like this?

  126. Hi anon,

    I am not sure what contact you have with your husband but you could let him know he is always in your heart. The main thing is however that you stay focused on rebuilding your own life. I have a saying that I like which is find a game worth playing! There are so many ways you can spend the time given to you make sure you choose what 'game' you are going to play well!

    Kim Cooper

  127. Go Kim & Steve! I think you are sugar coating your situation and I don't believe you have experienced the full brunt of what a narcisstic individual is capable of. Try living through the brutal murder of a deeply loved family member and the horrific truama and grief that brings to your life, having to care for your elderly mother 7 days a week for more than two years because her grief is so profound she is incapable of doing anything for herself anymore, and then stand tall and be assertive with your narcissitic partner who is sucking the life force out of you for their own benefit, projecting their crap onto you, playing with other women, telling lies and basically treating you like a dog in a boarding kennel that they visit when they feel like it, saying all the right things to keep you around but at the same time diminishing you and using you. Then when you have no more emotional resources left they discard and devalue you like you are a CD player that won't work anymore. Sure I have the characteristics that attract a Narcissist which I need to work on, but that does not mitigate or justify the enormity of their actions that follow. Most of us if not all have no defence against their pitiless treatment of us; the deception and total self-obsession. You have to get away from them.

  128. Hi anon - I think you yourself would know that getting away is not as easy as people suggest. Sugar coating won't help at all - learning better attachment skills like Christian Carter teaches is just one of the 4 pillars of our program. You also need to grow big sharp teeth and learn not to pull punches and learn how to fight to win!

    Kim Cooper

  129. I've read all your material and am doing the self-work as suggested ... however, I'm really struggling with the lies I know still remain out there to be discovered. Do I confront? Do I simply investigate? I want some answers ... but he just lies and lies ontop of lies.
    What do you suggest?

  130. Hi Peaceful chaos, investigate definitely. Don't obsess and make sure you keep working on your own goals, but find out the truth and work through the personal bill of rights exercise.

    Kim Cooper

  131. Kim,

    sorry but I don't agree with you. I've tried to follow your advice and it didn't get any better. Everything you do is make the victim responsible and even more guilty when things go wrong.

    Your theory is based on 1 experience, your own and you're talking like you're an expert. I can tell you it doesn't work this way.

    You give false hope to so many people and I'm convince you're ruining lives of many people by making them stay in these horrible relationships.

    Think about it.

  132. Hi Tom Tom -

    I am sorry things have not improve for you and I agree this is not an easy problem. I disagree however that we suggest that you should take responsibility for the abuse - what we suggest instead is that you take responsibility for your own reactions to the abuse.

    Our advice is also not only based on our experience. We have been receiving testimonials nearly every day now (for over 4 years) suggesting that our ideas and suggestions do work. A lot of what we suggest is also based on double blind peer reviewed research.

    Many people have different results to Steve and myself, but nearly 100% of people who write to us say our advice has left them in a better situation.

    In my situation ... if Steve had not changed his behavior he would have wound up in jail and so things certainly still would have changed!

    When you say you have followed my suggestions I wonder what you mean? Have you set goals for yourself and stuck with them? Have you learned to use magic scissors to not be distracted from those goals? Have you learned to stop putting the onus for change on your partner? Have you learned how to talk to people in a way that pulls in support? Have you learned to challenge your partner rather than nag and complain? I also wonder if you have learned to stop blaming and instead take responsibility for your situation yourself?

  133. This work is not a magic wand. It is about becoming stronger - and that is something that can only happen slowly day by day.

    Most importantly I wonder if you have learned to end non productive conversations and other methods for limiting the abuse?

    I have a friend who helps edit my material who is a behavioral scientist, psychologist and NLP coach who sometimes uses advice from our program with her clients. I called her and shared your comment with her and her response was "I don't believe they have done the things you suggest - because making just one of the changes you suggest in Back from the Looking Glass couldn't help but change the dynamic in their life. This is not about hope it is about expectation. Of course you cannot promise any particular outcome but I would say that if anyone followed all the Steps in Back from the Looking Glass they could be 100% certain their situation would improve."

    I do not mention this to say you are wrong Tom Tom - but as you suggest - I do think about this a lot and I am aware of just how important it is NOT to take hope away from people caught in an abusive relationship. Hope is a great motivator for change and without it what else have you got? You can try and make me wrong - but how does that help you if you are still stuck in a terrible situation and without hope?

    Helping people change their behavior is always 99% helping people get past their own pride. How many people do you know that need to change their habits and behavior but won't because they pretend to themslves they are perfectly OK? The reason for this is it is much easier to blame a person complaining about us than to accept that we may need to change any of our own behaviour.

    So when you complained about me this is why I asked my friend's opinion and why in the past I have had so many professionals review my work. Still if I need to change I will look at that - but first I need to be clear on what it is you believe I could do better?

    I you have suggestions of what needs changing in my work I am willing to listen, but if you just want to say I am all wrong and my ideas don't work, besides the professionals I turn to for advice - I also have hundreds (if not thousands) of testimonials that disagree with that suggestion, along with all the research our work is based on.

    I also have to consider that perhaps it is just easier for you to criticize me that to see where you may not have grasped what it is that needs changing in your own life?

    1. too defensive... perhaps there is a part of you that believes he is right? or you simply didn't wait for your emotional response to cool off? I liked a lot of what I read in the book, but I had a few doubts as well - it is normal, isn't it? anyway, leaving it as a personal note - don't really suppose you will publish it

    2. There is a difference between doubt and someone rudely stating that all we teach is worthless. The steps we offer are not easy and creating doubt about them is not useful to the people who visit here for support.

      If you feel I am being reactive or defensive so be it - but I do hope you will continue reading as my post was broken in to pieces and is continued in the next segment. I have tried to share a lot of detail here as my concern is really that if people are having difficulty with the steps they don't give up and fall back into despondency. I could have just deleted Tom Toms post but I felt it was better to take this chance to explain parts of the process that they may have had some misunderstanding about in the hope that this might help other people too who might be having the same difficulties.

  134. Learning emotional competencies such as assertiveness - self soothing, goal setting and delayed gratification may not be easy, but what is the alternative? Divorcing a person with NPD (without your wits about you) is not the simple solution people pretend it to be and can instead be like feeding yourself (and your children) to the sharks.

    The upside of being in an abusive relationship is it is a great motivator to overcome your pride and see what it is that you still need to learn. The academic term for that is that it is an 'intervention point'. An abusive relationship is a great intervention point where people are often ready to forget their pride and really take on the work of changing their habits and behaviors to change their life for the better.

    Personally I had an enormous amount of pride to overcome before I did this. I didn't start truly using magic scissors and getting my own life in focus until I had no money to feed the kids many nights and debt collectors knocking on my door. Other people find us and say they did not accept it was themselves they needed to work on until their 3rd or sometimes 4th marriage started breaking down.

    Facing the work of becoming stronger was scary and hard and frightened me so much that sometimes I felt like I was going to throw up!

    You should also know that NPD is often present along side other disorders. We have had many people learn to stand up to their partner's NPD only to discover they are schizophrenic or bi polar as well. Getting 'this sorted from that' may be slow going but at least it means that a family can start to get help.

    This work is not about finding your prince charming. Wanting prince charming is actually why most of us fell for an NPD person in the first place. We wanted 'the lie' to be true and we wanted to be better than everyone else. That is the sick dream we must give up. Steve slowly over the past 6 years has become my prince charming, but only after me accepting that we were both very damaged and that he needed a lot of patience, as well as care and support. Once his narcissistic defenses came down he was lost as a scared small child. I supported him and defended him while he put it back together piece by piece. I stopped expecting him to get a great job and instead praised him for washing the dishes and helping out around the house, while I worked from home supporting him and our kids.

    This is certainly not easy work but things CAN change so please do not give up hope.

    Kim Cooper

  135. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  136. I attend a 12 step codependency type group and Kim you are right... We must discover and work on our side of the street. Thx for your heart and emails

  137. Kim-
    I have been with a narcissistic partner for 15 years and it has been very emotionally draining and hasn't been easy.. I just recently bought your ebook Back From The Looking Glass which was very helpful and made me realize my own weaknesses...I learned about Narcissism through the internet from looking up my husbands behavior and found your site..I am SO thankful to have found you because before I did, I was about to file divorce
    papers..Everyone I know was telling me divorce is the only way to go and I was reading that online too...I love my husband and wanted to find something that would give me hope and not feeling that divorce was the only answer and you have given it to me! Not only are your blogs and book comforting, it's also very comforting to receive your emails and feel as though you're right there by my side helping me through it all! Thank you for shedding light where there was darkness!! :)

  138. Kristy -

    I was exactly in your spot and couldn't agree more! These changes take time, but my husband and I are in a much better place because of Kim. Just wanted to offer my support and further hope to you.

    I was only married for a year and a half before I reached my breaking point. I can't imagine how you have endured it for 15 years! These materials have helped me to deal with other relationships, too. The results I have gotten when I have found ways to be more assertive without being aggressive have been amazing. Not only have I gotten great results, but I feel great about myself after the interactions, too!

    I sound like an infomercial, but I really am someone just like you, and I can't tell you how much Back From The Looking Glass helped me. Best wishes to you and stay strong!

  139. Hi Kim, thanks so much for everything that you have posted here, I am literally grateful. I do have to ask you for some advice. You were talking in earlier posts about how to set boundaries where cheating is concerned to build trust. Here is my situation and I really hope you can help me. My husband has been 'online' cheating. He has chat groups and has had an 'emotional' affair with a girl from one of these groups. After months of horrible behaviour and telling me constantly he doesn't know what he wants and treating me horribly; he confessed it to me and said he was in love with her and she with him. He was going to make it a point to go out and see her and I couldn't stop him. Well he never did meet her and now tells me he is still in love with me and that he doesn't know what he wants but gets very aggressive when I ask him about what he is doing on his phone and who he is talking to. Then he becomes distant (will not talk to me at all) and verbally abusive only to wake up nice as if nothing happened until he starts chatting again. I have no control over this phone chat thing, he has password encrypted everything and tells me that he has to have his own private things that I should know nothing about and that I should stay out of his things. He holds on to this phone like it is gold, it stays in his back pocket all the time and when he chats he turns the back of the phone facing me (yes he does it right in front of me). I know he is still chatting with this woman and have seen some of their transcript (accidentally) which tore me to pieces but it is so much a fantasy that it is hard to believe. How do I set those boundaries that you mention? I would love to just say its me or the phone but that would definitely backfire, i am sure. What did you do when you saw the online things that Steve was doing? I am in desperate need of help with my husband on this matter because no one else knows what its like to deal with the NPD and now this 'virtual' cheating. Please anyone that has a comment or assistance for me, I would be very grateful and very appreciative for any help.

    Desperate in AZ

    1. If you are still in the relationship, I think that you should have some self-respect and leave- that is if Kim's advice does not work. You don't deserve to be treated poorly.

  140. HI desperate in AZ,

    This is not an easy situation to deal with but basically you need to say that he should be happy to show you his phone to prove his innocence and that you can trust him and since he won't show you you are going to have to assume the affair is continuing. You need to be ready to say this very calmly. This should be part of you doing the limiting abuse exercise in the Love Safety Net Workbook which will show you how to bring him into accountability on this. To get him to the stage where this behavior will change however will likely require all of the steps and exercises in that workbook and also the steps in Back from the Looking Glass. I wish there was an easier solution but working through these steps will build you own personal strength and character and so will benefit you in many ways.

    Kim Cooper

  141. Hi Kim, This makes so much sense. My history has been that my older sister abused and defended me. we had a love hate relationship. Physically and mentally. I learned early on she was meaner than me and I didn't want to become mean like her by retaliating. So I never learned to stand up for myself. My husband was from an abusive home There was no example of how to treat a lady. That is no excuse I do know. I know from what you are saying that it's not too late to change myself and stand up for myself. My friends have envied me and our relationship.He has been very generous and we have traveled together to places I never thought I'd see. When I was very ill he never left my side for weeks. I thought that would be the wake up call for us to be as close as we ever could. It is endearing but I still well up with anger when I feel I am being mistreated. We've been together for so many years and for the most part he is loving and generous to all of us.It is me that needs to change I always have know that the only person you can change is yourself! Thank you again for your wonderful tips and ideas! Keep it coming! I see that I am not alone! Anonymous.

  142. It isn't just marriage issues. I'm the victim of a narcissistic mother. While I always knew something was wrong, it wasn't until I was over forty that I had a name to go along with it. Once I "discovered" she is a textbook NPD it explained all of my life what was wrong. I, as an INTJ (MBTI) did not give her her narcissistic supply so she chose me to be her victim while my siblings (mostly ExFx) gave her the narcissistic supply she needed and also victimized me under her direction. For my own well being, I have cut my entire family out of my life after my dad died a few years ago ( he was also INTJ and we got along well)

    1. That is what my ex would say was wrong with our marriage...I too am an INTJ. He being an ESFP. We didn't learn about them until married 28 years. It was fuel for his abusive mind games. Though he has been able to get others to buy into this. REading your post has really been an eye opener...haven't though much about it since my divorce in April...but it's true, I wouldn't buy into all his manipulating and it only made it worse...well behind my back he was working most of the time. So much came out afterwards...I have been working through how I grew up and how I got here. Never thought about the INTJ and how it was with my parents...fits there too, though.

  143. November 30th, 2011;
    What does INJT (MBTI) and ExFx mean? I too have a narcissistic mother and sibling issues.....so would really like to understand all of your post! Thanks.

  144. Thanks guys for this.

    How do you build attachment with someone who is barely speaking to you or spending time with you, and when they are around they are doing their best to be hurtful, cold and cruel. It would seem very false after a night of hardly speaking and sleeping in different rooms to send a photo or nice letter etc. I suppose I could wait until things get a bit better (if they do) and then do some of those things. What do you think?

    1. Yes you are exactly right. This is why we break up our program into 4 pillars that you need to work on - some at different times. They are 1. Attachment 2. Limiting Abuse 3. Emotional Intelligence and 4. Developmental Gap Work.

      When emotions are frayed it is usually best if you can stay strong and stay focused on your own goals. Keeping track of your work in the 4 areas is outlined in the Love Safety Net Workbook.

      Hang in there!

      Kim Cooper

  145. Kim and Steve thank you so much for openning up about your relationship to help those who are struggling. The blogs and your insight give me hope and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you again for all that you do to help everyone.

  146. How does a man differ from a woman in this erea, my wife would stair an attractive man up and down and be flirtatious right in front of me,and if he was with a woman she would look away before his partner. Cought it ,about a year and a half of this is all I could take along with the verbal and physical abuse ,I had to leave. Before there was nothing left of my self esteem , and if I complained she would pull the jealousy card?

    1. Yes this problem affects men and women both. It is an ugly game and feels bad to be on the receiving end of. Christian Carter's books would probably help but your wife might get worried if she finds you reading Catch Him and Keep Him!!! The advice is about learning to be assertive and take care of yourself. An old friend of mine is working on a website called SheisaNightmare.com that features our work and might help!

  147. I think that it is wonderful that you took the time to look at your own behavior and consider what you could do differently in order to fix your relationship. I am glad that things are great for you two now. It is very admirable and rare to find someone who is selfless and mature enough to admit that they may be wrong. It is even less common to find someone who is willing to act on this knowledge/realization.

    However, what I have deduced from reading this article is that you blamed yourself [at least in part] for your husband's behavior. Am I missing something here? I won't use my emotions to manipulate the man in my life and I will try my very best to be considerate of his feelings as well. Nevertheless, I expect him to return the favor; I do not believe that I deserve to be disrespected nor do I believe that my feelings should be ignored. Also, I don't think that I should have to teach a man to treat me right.

    I realize that no one is perfect [myself included] but checking out other women right in front of you [or behind your back] is just blatantly disrespectful and in my opinion it shows that he really doesn't care if he is hurting your feelings or self-esteem; I feel like most men know better. Maybe I'm giving them too much credit, but I do not believe that men are fragile, incompetent animals incapable of thinking beyond their carnal desires. Therefore, they should be held to certain standards and expectations instead of babied. To the men reading this, I realize that women can be just as bad or worse. I am simply speaking from my own personal experiences as a woman dealing with men; please don't take offense.


  148. Hi B - Narcissism and Codependence feed into each other and are a complex dance. I suggest you read more about how these behavior patterns play into each other on my site here - http://www.narcissismcured.com/blog/the-narcissistic-codependent-marriage/

  149. As somebody who was trapped in a physically abusive relationship for three years with a man who almost killed me I have to say this webpage and your advice is truly disturbing.
    And while the writer of this blog claims that things improved so much within her own relationship - abuse is cyclical. Things get really good and they can get really bad again and it is all up to where the abuser is on the cycle.
    Please trust me, I would be dead today if I hadn't sought help and got out.
    Whoever is writing this blogs clearly has problems with codependency.

    1. Hi anon, Yes but how do you get out? As you say yourself you were trapped. Our work is about calling in help and setting boundaries, sometimes that saves a relationship and sometimes it just saves yourself. This article is only one tiny drop in an ocean of information we have offer (and most of it free) anyone in a physically abusive relationship should start with our book Back From the Looking Glass. It is priced as cheap as we can possibly make it. It has straightforward steps of how to protect yourself if you stay or if you go. Leaving is the most dangerous time and when you need the advice most.

  150. Absolute load of twaddle ... You are quite simply happy being a victim and comfortable in that role and encouraging women to stay in these abusive unfulfilled relationships is wrong ... If you are with a narcissist run the hell away and be with someone who can love equally ... A narcissist never works on themselves and you are simply in a co- dependent unfulfilling relationship with an empty souless emotional parasite that will bleed you dry of confidence And self esteem ... No one is put on the Earth to pander to someone else's life ... Cuddle a empathy lacking cod if you like .... But remember other fish in the sea have personalities ... Compassion empathy and love to give ... In buckets .... My guess is the pathetic relationship you are describing is as full filling for you in your role as 'fixer' or some sado masochistic role that works for you .... For the rest of us .... There is a love that is based on mutual respect , honesty and depth !!!!!!

    1. I respect your right to disagree with me but I do not think it is okay that you make such rash judgements of my life and my marriage. If you took the time to read our story you would see that I have not played the victim nor settled for a life without love and respect. These patterns of relating tend to follow us if we just keep fishing for the perfect partner and don't look at ourselves!

  151. Hi Kim

    As a man I can't use Christian Cartier's materials on "Catch him and keep him." I have many of your materials however.

    What should a man do with a girlfriend that flirts, goes to the clubs, rages, is entitled, and persistently makes comments about other men in front of me related to their sexuality and appearance.
    She appears to have a harem of men she keeps stringing along. She is very attractive and alluring. At home she is demanding and entitled to my time.
    Have you seen the "Girlfriend activation system" and what do you think of it?

    I feel jealous and insecure. I'm out of money and I'm about to lose her or I may break it off once and for all. Help!

    1. This is not an easy problem to solve Dave. With so little invested in your relationship I wonder if this woman is worth the work? For yourself learning to stand up for yourself and expect respect in a relationship is going to help you in the end whether you end up helping her or not. I would suggest our short and to the point titled 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence as a good place to start.

    2. The other idea is to check out an old friend of mines site sheisanightmare.com that features our work in a way that is aimed to help men!


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