Emotional Abuse Part 2

Emotionally Abused to Emotional Ninja

I am sorry to hear that many people are struggling at present - I wonder if it is the time of the year? I am glad to hear however that so many people have enjoyed Christian Carter's ebook "Catch Him and Keep Him" which I gave a plug in my last article.

I know I really got a lot out of Christian's work. I used to act really 'low status' by frequently doing the big relationship talk he mentions; trying to convince Steve why he should treat me better. Back then his interest strayed all the time but when I learned how to stay more grounded - rather than me trying to 'convince', I gained a lot more power.

The Real emotional Ninja trick I reckon is being able to stay present and non reactive (and out of defense) even when your feelings are very strong and conflicted.

This is truly warrior energy (and very powerful and hard to do) but if you are in a volatile relationship you may get a chance to practice this sooner than you know.

When we are provoked by someone being hurtful it is natural to want to either hurt them back or withdraw and say you don't care.

It is much harder and much more courageous however to stand your ground keeping your heart open and honestly say what you feel.

"I feel very hurt by what you are saying and I feel very angry about it too - but I really do love you still and hope that we can resolve this in a better way."

This may knock your partner off balance and you need to be ready for that, and ready also to just see what unfolds while you stay grounded and remain present.

So this is the challenge I am offering here - for you to stay grounded and with your heart open - even when you are emotionally undefended and feeling fear.

This is terrifying (and can hurt like hell) but oh my the results it can have!

Anger makes us feel powerful but usually just causes other people to put their defenses up - so it ends up dividing us from others and achieving very little.

Love and fear on the other hand make us feel weak - but if we can face this and hold our ground anyway and not flinch or become defensive, it will instantly strip all pretense away.

Like when Steve and I used to fight he would say mean things about me and I would feel hurt and say mean things back. Then he wouldn't talk to me and I would pretend I didn't care until he could finally provoke me again.

Then one day I got the strength to do what I am saying here...

He was yelling something horrible at me and I stood there and said

"I feel really hurt and angry that you can say that and I really want to hurt you back right now but the truth is that I really do love you and I really hope you still love me too."

Steve froze and stared at me. I know he saw that I had become stronger than him and he really didn't know what to do.  First he went berserk with rage - but he wasn't hurtful to me now - instead it was all this rage just pouring out of him and then it was not long until the fear and the shame under his anger came out too. That had never happened before and once it passed we were very close again.

Or another situation I was in recently where I had invited a man we know over to talk about a project I was excited about and which would involve some help from him. There were a few people at our place on the night he came over but this man seemed to go out of his way to avoid me and this actually went on for a number of hours.

In the old days I would have got nervous or hurt and I may have tried to push the conversation.

Instead I thought "Oh well, this perhaps is not the right person I should be working with". Although I felt disappointed, I also stayed grounded and present and did not allow my defenses to go up.

After another hour it just happened - all of the fear left him and I could see suddenly that he decided he felt safe with me. I also saw in that moment that previously he had actually been nervous rather than playing games.

So then the conversation we needed to have happened and in a very deep and very real way. We each expressed our beliefs and fears and we each also expressed that we both believed in each other. That was big and meant a lot to me.

The concept I am discussing here is more physical than wordy and so I hope you might really try and imagine this energy I am talking about here ...

Anger makes us feel feel powerful but you are only truly strong when you can stand in your own self doubt and fear and leave you heart open and stay present. Not begging or pleading or convincing. Not defending or denying or deflecting. Not rationalising or faking or persuading. Just simply and truthfully stating what you feel but also staying very grounded and calm while you do that. To really get what I am saying imagine that you are standing but your energy is going into the ground more like you are sitting and is not pushing towards the person you are talking to. If you cannot understand what I mean by this simply sit down and let your weight sink downward toward the floor rather than you leaning forward while you are talking. In this position you can more easily say what you feel without needing to force or change anything.

Grounded and present. Expressing your own truth and being open to hear the other persons truth as well.

Resisting all urges to be hurtful or dismissive. 

I am not saying this is easy. Really it is as tough as it gets - but like all things that require strength and courage it is something worth working towards.

I have got there a few times ... and I know you can get there too (-:

I hope that your weekend brings you peace clarity and truth! 

Kim Cooper


  1. To sit and be grounded, rather than lean forward and let your force others..... that is huge! I could feel it as I sat and read. I sat upright, there is definitely a different feeling, and a calmer result from doing that other than leaning into the words - or the conversation or the argument - thank you.... it is a tough test, to be open and loving, when there is fear, anger, sadness... but I will try.

  2. Once someone makes you actually afraid to speak your mind, (not in anger) but just to be able to say how you feel, as you would with a friend, and you cant take the chance on the "punishment" they will dish out, you shut down. Once that starts, in my opinion, its hard to break. The other person has got away with it, and you are not getting yourself into the situation where you say, "I should have known better".
    People with this disorder, are so much like children. An actual 5 year old. Or younger! Years ago women did not think any of this was abnormal, and they did not say anything. I wonder how they endured this? Some or most of them did stay married. It was all normal at one time to stay in this situation. And, men were also treated badly, not to be one sided here. But, if this was in a public place, and the female was the "aggressor", it seems they were viewed as having some type of mental problem. All of this is just my thoughts and opinions, purely just in my head.

    Things certainly have changed.

  3. Kim,

    Yet again your words are right on time. My wife is feeling very hurt and angry about my getting fired from my job not to mention scared. I really want her love and support right now and I want to face the problems we have together. She has put a wall up and I hope this approach will help her to feel safe enough to bring it down some.

    I have found it difficult to set my fear and sadness aside when I cannot connect with her. I can't wait to using the physical technique of staying grounded to be present. I hope this will help her to feel safer. I will let you know how it turns out.

    Thanks for all you and Steve do!


  4. I am reading and absorbing and trying to implement your strategies Kim, but it is so hard when you are in the midst of emotional abuse.

    Yesterday I was feeling really good and positive and holding my head up high (thanks to your having given me hope)! I had been emotionally sinking, drained, housework on top of me etc., and was finally starting to sort out a lot of mess, one room at a time. My husband was loving, encouraging and positive.

    Today, tired after my hard work I continued with my resolve to get house in order. I had sent my husband off to local football club, had his clothes all ready and he lovingly kissed me goodbye. He told me that today he wouldn't be home late as it was ticket-counting night which he found boring. So, I rang him on mobile at 5.30 pm - only to hear these hurtful words said to whoever he was with in an irritated tone before answering phone "It's only.... (i.e. me his wife!) She drives me fíng nuts, then he spoke to me, unaware that I had heard. I felt so shocked and betrayed, but instead of yelling, I quietly told him that I heard every word, and is this how you show your respect and loyalty to me in front of your football friends? I couldn't help hanging up. He rang back with a 'sweet, gentle voice' - "Darling, all men speak about their wives like that - it's only a bit of fun. You're too soft etc.."

    I responded (tears in my eyes) that he had hurt me deeply, and in spite of him trying to pacify me and explain that he wished I would be more interested in the football, - could I come and join him there now at the club to listen to the ticket counting? I said - "Why would I be interested in being involved in a club where men put their wives down, and it's supposed to be funny?" He then began to yell and become really nasty, on and on, how I should get off my a... and get involved. (He's so popular at the club of course...) He said that he would not come home now, but stay on, and if he lost his license from drink-driving, then I would have to drive him around. He yelled at me that I needed to 'grow up'! I hung up!

    I like to think I remained grounded, but I guess I didn't remain present - but I had to stop from hearing those horrible words. I will keep reading your e-books - you are a life-saver Kim, but you are indeed correct - it is not easy, but I can't allow him to speak to me like this.

    I admit tonight, I am wishing he didn't come home, as I am starting to hate him - Oh God forgive me! I have cried so much over the years. We married late in life - he is 60! Do you think he will ever change? I can't continue happily with the mess now - I've lost heart again... And he will criticise and yell at me about that when he gets home, and the cycle continues.

    1. You need to work on your power chakra. You are a target for bullying because it sounds like you have no self-esteem. It's up to you to deal with this. When your power chakra is strong you will not put up with this treatment and would not feel guilty distancing yourself from this relationship because you will naturally honor yourself and your self-respect.

      I think it would be annoying if someone called me while I was out trying to have fun ESPECIALLY if I had no respect for them and they nagged me all the time (I am a female).

      So I can see where he's coming from. You need to work on you. Be selfish for awhile. Worry about yourself and not what others are doing.

      Stop being the victim in your life and be the cause of your life.

      Empowerment over there to you. Remember: seek and you shall find. Seek power and self-respect.

  5. Amen! Yes I am finding out that I am a very sensative and often overly emotional person. So naturally I am a target of bullies. I am coming to a point that I can allow the Lord to change me. I can pray that He changes others around me, but He offers free will and will not force them to change. I also realize that I am His daughter, precisous daughter. His word says that those who mess with His kids had better watch out!

    Alos the Bible says in Proverbs "A soft answer turns away anger." I have also learned to forgive, but not to be walked on to the point that I am useless. I realize I will suffer a lot of persecution being a follower of Christ, but I don't think it is necessary to be persecuted by family members. That is counter productive.

    I love the Serenity Prayer espceially "To accept the things I cannot change." I cannot change anyone. I can pray that people will accept Christ and allow the Holy Spirit to change them, but I cannot change them. I have been praying that I develop a spine and that I become firm and not abused any longer.

    A few years ago, I would spend several hours in the day in my closet! I would sleep, pray, read, and hide from abuse. Now I shiver when I have to even clean the closet. I am learning in God's word to "put on the full armor of God" to be ready for all the battles.

  6. Thanks for the advice. I am at the point in my relationship with my husband, where I really need this kind of encouragement. I have come to understand that me getting upset and trying to make him understand what is upsetting me isn't getting me anywhere. He doesn't believe his actions and words can hurt me so much and he just think I'm incredibly stubborn. I'm the problem!

    I'm getting better and better at staying calm and I've noticed a few times when I simply state what I feel and do not let myself be persuaded into an argument by him, he doesn't take his anger out on me anymore. Instead he tries to plead with ME, and tries to defend himself and his behavior to ME!. This is new to me. he hardly ever looked at his own attitude before. I think this is quite a break through and I will continue down this path. I realize I still have a lot to learn and I try to remind myself that there is still a lot to come. I will learn through trial and error, but I'm allowed to make mistakes. That's why it is so nice to get these encouragements from you and to remind me how strong I am and that I'm working towards a good relationship, not only with my husband but with friends and family too. Thanks!

  7. Dear Kim & Steve,
    Well, judging from the "O" comments on here, I guess I may actually be one of the first! LOL- but I can say that the timing is once again cosmic and beautiful on this subject you broach this weekend! I am that older gay man with the younger NPD love of almost a year and a half that's commented before here and there on this excellent forum.
    After a VERY stressful past couple of weeks, I thought it was over between us for good the other night, when, after he arrived here in his usual uncaring and crappy-mood-in-general, that we had it out over a $2 hamburger! I literally threw him out and (first time I became physical, sorry to admit), I rammed the door on his shoulder as he left so he could 'feel' the action of being thrown out! It was empowering at the time, but I just felt so used by his, yet again, ridiculous excuses for not only coming in to see me so late that night, but also to have no intention of treating me to a stupid cheap dinner out. I had waited all evening for him as he decided to go spend time with his ex and have dinner over on his side of town! Atleast he was truthful, and no I don't think there's anything going on between them, but it's the actions of someone that you think really cares and yet they do this the very next night after you have a deep emotional talk in a parking lot about where is this going after all?!
    So, we didn't talk for 48 hours and then he sends me an email saying he wants his key back to his apartments! I tell him that I don't know what he's talking about and to go "F" himself! Well, it goes back and forth, me calling him foul names, and him playing the superior one!
    It's only after midnight that I sit down behind the computer to type out a email that I could address my hostilities, and yet not apologize but put forth the fact that his actions cause me to react. But, I have to say that I also include the fine points that he had just a week prior left a most darling message (even called me "honey", wow, that was a first) in where he said how he was growing so much more trusting of me and that he wanted to change for us and for the better (including his spirituality and ditching the bad habits)! So why a week later would he be resorting to the put downs, the lack of respect, the hang up calls when I say something wrong, like we all do sometimes. I mean, I always try to watch what I say, but, like your article mentions, you lash out sometimes when you are being put down! It's only human behavior, and quite normal I think.
    But, I think the article hit on the idea that it's far better to react in a loving way and call them out on what it was that was said that bothered, and try and find a higher ground then what I did. So, after all the above drama, he called here after work yesterday and played dumb, like he's done a million times before. God, maybe he really does care? LOL
    I, once again, chalk his NPD self to also his immaturity and general lack of trust for ANYONE (including his own family). I think most of your readers would be appalled at how, when you're struggling with being different from the majority of folks, how much it can effect your well being when your own family and friends can be demeaning and judgmental! I thank God that I have this forum and you guys to help me weigh in on the subject. A lot of my progress in dealing with my NPD guy is knowing that there's so many more out there with the same drama and issues and how much worse so many have it. And I do really feel like we all are helping each other in this forum and through Kim and Steve's excellent articles and work books!
    E in Big D

  8. My comment is short and sweet. I have experienced some very difficult things with my husband with NPD and many times have not handled these situations with respect for myself and for him. The good news is that I am learning how much power I have when I am respectful and confident as I show love and compassion to him during moments when he is abusive and cruel. I have not felt crushed and depressed as I usually do, but empowered and strong while I feel empathy for him. His words to me don't feel so much like a personal attack. I love your idea to resist all urges to attack or retaliate when someone is difficult or abusive. It works.

    I am so excited at the progress we have made in the few short weeks I have been reading your information. As I stay calm and grounded while he is upset and do my part to not escalate things, I have given him a chance to face his own pain. He has finally admitted to being sad about his mother abandoning him and leaving him with his narcissistic father when he was seven. Until now, he has not had someone he could trust to be with him while he faced this. Thanks for everything, you both are an answer to my prayers!

  9. I'd been living with my emotionally abusive narcissit for 7 years and it eventually escalated to physical violence 3 months ago. And he had the gall to blame me for the whole incident which involved his abuse of alcohol. The narcissit doesn't get it - stop trying to change them, you'll only get hurt in the end. When they leave, and they always do, let them leave and work on yourself.

  10. Hi Steve and Kim:
    Thanks so much for the latest article. We (my
    NPD husband and I) have come sooooooo far since
    I have found your information about 6 months ago. We worked hard not to have a disagreement about a stupid thing the two weeks before our anniversary. And we Both laughed that we made it. I would just say "let's don't have an arguement, our anniversary is coming. We have had our largest "blow-up" usually before a special day--Birthdays, Valentines's Day, etc. Of course I could let it go but he would sulk for days. Your methods do work and we also have been hearing wonderful messages through our minister that are so timely about relationships.
    Keep the great info coming.

  11. K&S,
    Well yet again another angle to help with the lack of quality communication skills so many absorbed during youth...The seedtime for good habits. Pulling the weeds and planting a new crop is hard work but you both are helping very much during this critical period for humanity as we grow up. Your work is very leading edge/ positive and needed for so many including myself as I leave behind the old familiar/dysfunctional patterns. Thanks again for your Work/Focus with the hope of a healthy family attached!

  12. Kim,

    what would you advice to a woman, who calmly tells to a narcissist, who reluctanctly listens, how she feels hurt from his behavior, specifying, what it is and trying to explain, why it hurts. He stares at her with a blank expression, does not react or reply, and repeats the same behavior, even if she attempts to talk about it several times. What if he learns, what to do on purpose for the power to hurt her?

  13. Hi Kim,
    Have you read Eckhart Tolle's "The Power of Now"? If you haven't, I think you'd find it remarkable how alike the things are that you are promoting, to the spiritual teachings in his book. Especially in the chapter on enlightened relationships. It's all great stuff that promotes genuine love, without being a victim. I hope more people start to grasp that!

    That being said, I agree with you, it's not an easy road to travel, but one that I know will be worth it...no matter what the outcome of my relationship is! I've had a couple of rude awakenings lately in regards to my own narcissictic tendencies and my highly justified excuse-making for my own behaviour. It's so easy to do this when the person you share your life with has so many more apparent issues, however... a spade is a spade, and it all does damage in the end. So, I finally recognize how badly I need to do my own gap work, and will be doing my best to focus on that for now. Wish me luck, and thanks again for all your hard work and commitment :)

  14. Its not so much about changing a narcissist. It is about changing yourself and how you handle a narcissist and other types of people. If you could get results by changing your approach, scripting and mindset to get the results you want. Would you change ?


  15. I am not sure that my strange situation is covered in any of your blogs but I am still interested in your advice. I was married for 38 yrs to a man with NPD and emotional abuse and abandonment issues with his family of origin. I had a normal childhood, dated throughout High school and beyond. My ex did not date and the only women he has been with was his first wife and me. I found out in 2006 that he had been having an affair for 5 yrs. I suspected something but could never prove it and simply trusted that he wouldnt do that to me. He divorced me in 2007 thinking that his mistress would leave her husband-she didnt. He was devastated on so many levels and his lack of emotional maturity made it hard for him to understand what happened. I still love him...not "in love" but truly he is the only one for me. Our kids would love to see us back together, I would as well but forgiving and trusting is hard. For a long time I tried no contact, tried dating again and was really awful to him. I felt just as miserable as he did. I know this is a one-way process for me, he has a hard time expressing any sort of emotional thoughts at all ( always has)so it will be me doing most of the work. I feel like I could get this relationship back on track. We have been seeing each other, going on "dates" but he cant make the commitment to come back (at this time, he says), however I have seen a softening of his attitude. I read all your info and try to put it in place, and it does seem to be helping. I will keep you posted on my progress. One additional thing, I received a very generous settlement payment but he is running out of money. He could not make the deposit today and I called to ask him about it. He apologized and said he was short on funds and couldnt do it today. I know that he has been financially helping our grown kids and thats ok. But I told him very nicely that the next time I would appreciate a simple phone call so I could plan my finances accordingly. Sweet and simple and I think it surprised him, he was very taken aback but in a nice way.
    We shall see what the future brings...

  16. This is the best advice ever Kim! It is really difficult to do and for me it took a really long time to sink in. There really is no other way!

    Much Love,

  17. Thx Kim, this is great advice. My boss is very narcissistic and I've found the best way to deal with him is to be very secure in my own self. I meditate daily on the words "I am safe, I am strong, I am smart, I am resourceful, etc" The more I do it, the less afraid of him I am. He can be a real bully but lately I have been able to stand up to him with humor, truth and directness and he is backing down and finally respecting me. It's taken me over a year to get to this point but, by taking care of my own emotions and not expecting him too, I am making huge progress. Thanks for your blogging. It's really great. We don't always want to get rid of the narcissists in our lives. My boss is actually a really funny, powerful and charasmatic man. I value this relationship. I'm also proud of myself because many people before me have not been able to get along with him and had to quit. I think I am going to be able to keep working with him and benefit by not allowing him to make me feel bad about myself. Luckily we share a great sense of humor so I think that's very helpful too in these situations. To be able to make a joke out of some of the crap they dish out and laugh about it. He is amazed when I do that and then he starts laughing too. Before this, no one thought he was funny except for me! But he's so out there it just cracks me up. Anyway, keep up the good work :)

  18. Hi to everyone and thanks so much for your comments.

    I think the really important thing about this is that you just express how you honestly feel. The anger yes - but also the fear and hurt beneath it and also the love. This is not about telling the person how much they have hurt you - that is different because that is blame which will get their defenses up. Blaming and convincing is what I finally learned I had to stop doing.

    If you can say I feel angry and hurt right now and I need you to stop - but you also make it clear you are not asking for anything else and are ready to take care of yourself - it actually leaves them to have to face their own behavior. This is why feeling this in your body is so important. It is neither pushing nor pulling and is not asking or blaming - it is just stating and then standing there in the emotion for long enough for them to respond.

    Great to hear so many people did get what I was saying and it is always great to hear from you!

    Hang in there!

    Kim Cooper

  19. baliangel said:
    [quote]Once someone makes you actually afraid to speak your mind, (not in anger) but just to be able to say how you feel, as you would with a friend, and you cant take the chance on the "punishment" they will dish out, you shut down. Once that starts, in my opinion, its hard to break.[endquote]

    I found the following a while back and find what you say sooo true in the sense that it often winds up working TWO WAYS:


    What I have found is the narcissist, in unconsciously wanting to emotionally reduce us down to their own level, can create a condition of "voicelessness" in ourselves that makes any effective counter to them even harder to achieve . . . Not having the ability to develop the same lifelong coping mechanisms ourselves we become effectively STUCK and powerless to break the cycle which is exactly their mission in maintaining total control over us!

  20. The man I date(d)uses the 48 rules of power (abusive power rules) (GREENE)and 34 of the verbal abuses from VERBAL ABUSE, PATRICIA EVANS.
    I have tried this and also share ways of a healthy relationship. I am ready to move on to a healthy relationship. With or without him. :)We all responsible for our own happiness. I have spent 4 yrs helping others, an ex and 2 children who used these tactics for 18 years to date, and a partner of 3yrs on and off...I have had my fill :)of teaching and being forced to disconnect. I am ready for a healthy relationship. I will you all well.

  21. Kim,

    I've found a lot of inspiration in your work in my marriage to a non-narcissist (this stuff applies to all situations!)

    I came across your blog when I was looking for help with a friendship situation. Someone I had been best, best friends with since we were teenagers went on a trip with me to see our other friend, who we were both similarly close to). The situation turned ugly out of the blue. We were playing a game and she started to take offense that her answer wasn't picked. Now, this best friend often blew up at me for the smallest things (usually by storming off, then sending an angry, passive aggressive email), but this time, I had learned some tricks - not to react and make the situation worse. Okay, I'm going to have to make a long story short. Things escalated and she began verbally abusing both of us.
    Unfortunately the friend we were visiting called her on her shit (i.e. "I can't believe you're acting so immature right now!" - not knowing how she could be) and my best friend ended up physically attacking her, then storming off to the airport.
    When I got home, I told this story in detail to a friend of my husbands and his neighbor, who's been camping with us before, was also there for the story.
    Wouldn't you know, my "best friend" ended up meeting this neighbor at a bar and somehow it slipped that I'd called her behavior "crazy". The neighbor had never met her and didn't know, and accidentally shared the story somehow.
    So I have gotten two emails total since she stormed off to the airport. One telling me I must stop going around telling everyone she's crazy and this totally justifies everything bad she thought of me, and two- to break off the friendship because apparently I am manipulative, controlling, and malicious (projection???)

    Here's where this comment comes in (sorry it's so long!!). I haven't done anything since then, but it's so hard to leave the situation alone. I am feeling all these "codependent" feelings - I want to help her... I understand her... I love her. She was my best friend for years and years. I miss her. We had such a strong bond and such fun times before this personality disorder manifested itself.
    Since I don't know what to do, I'm doing nothing. I know with time I'll feel better. I have a lot of other friends and my life is going very well. I am torn between thinking I am stupid for wanting to help her and feeling like what's life if you don't try to extend love to the people who need it most? But then, I think, not only am I probably not the best place to take on a reparative relationship (because I'm still learning), but she also appears to never want to interact with me again. I guess this is something I need to accept? It hurts! Guess I'll be hurting either way. I want a resolution- can I get one?

    Thanks for all you do!

  22. Your site put a name to what I experienced all along.I told my story to a clinical psychologist many years ago and all she told me was that children with a parent like that always end up in counselling,(my husband was physically abusive to my children) she never told me what it was or how to deal with it; Thank God I have always been strong emotionally I was doing some right things but i was doing some wrong ones too. Thanks again.

  23. Makes sense! I guess the harderst part of it all is putting it into practice, obviously. Many of us that are in the midst of a "narcissistic episode" probably agree that separating yourself from the situation - the hurt, the anger, the confusion... is the hardest part, yet the most important step in taking care of yourself and becoming the person you need to be to handle the situations we encounter. The hardest part for me after being married to a narcissist for 9 years (who is now ready and waiting to leave) has been separating the negative feelings from the rest of my life. Getting wrapped up in this "warp" of craziness and confusion. Stepping back to see the sad little boy in him and the hurt and angry child who every day struggles with things that quite honestly I couldn't truly understand is raw and real. Not being able to do that EVER, because of all the hurt and anger that was blinding me, was the obstacle that has stood in my way all these years. At the end I am faced with the fact that for 9 years he has been unhappy trying to be someone he isn't (for the good of the family) and surpressing his true needs, and I have been unhappy trying to get HIM to be someone else, rahter than be the person I need to be whether in the marriage or not!

    Being able to step back and evaluate the situation from a perspective of power, as not being defensive and not fearful of defending your boundaries, can change your life. Being raw and real in the moment no doubt hurts sometimes, but the outcome is always better than the alternative that only makes things worse.

  24. Wow Allison all I can say is "DIDO"
    My husband keeps accusing me of trying to make him someone he isn't and for many years I couldn't even grasp his notion who me wanting him to be someone else "why I only wanted him to be the guy from the beginning of our relationship" and not this maniac who threatens, lies, cheats, abuses etc. How little did I understand they are one and the same!
    Well Kim you said fighting him for the good guy is not for the faint at heart and "finally after four months of thinking I was fighting "I GOT IT" and it just came out naturally. "Well actually respect is a two way street," I said after we listened to a 10 minute tirade on our not respecting him as he threw his spoon on the floor and tipped food over on the table. (He's 54 years old) For the first time I saw the spitefull little boy. No one picked up his spoon or cleaned up the mess after him. We just continued our dinner like nothing happened. So he took his plate outside to eat by himself and no one went after him. Today we have had two very nice meals in his company. He was verbaly abusing our son and I stepped in and said "no that is not what happened" He said "mind your own business I'm not talking to you" my response was "well I am talking to you and our son is my business" He didn't know what to do and everything ended with out a war. I was all prepared for the fight and I don't like to fight. He was out of control last night and the RCMP were called. They delt with him and today he is mellower. Those times seem to be getting farther apart these days so we like even an hour or two of peace. Now that I have found my voice in a crissis things may get better.
    Thanks Kim I have reread all of your e books serval times now and keep getting more from them each read.

  25. I am just getting started with your materials and advice and I can see how it can work, although it still feels a little daunting.

    One of the things I started doing in the past month is to respond firmly, but unemotionally to my husband when he says mean things. For example, he said, "You are a horrible wife." I just said, "I am not a horrible wife." and ekpt doing what I was doing. I braced myself for him to rage at me, but he didn't say anything. A few days later he said, "You are so selfish." I responded, "I am definitely not selfish." This time he said, "Yes you are." I just said nothing and you know what? He didn't say anything more either! Day by day I feel like I am reclaiming my power in an awful marriage.

  26. Kim and Steve-
    I have bought and read all the e-books except emotional stupidity which is my next one in the series, my husband has not taken part in the gap work yet, it is not time, and I fear it never will be. I have noticed that the more I maintain my composure, and show his actions/words do not control my emotions he has taken a different but almost worse approach. He used to lose his temper and that was when the verbal abuse took place, now that I refuse to fight with him or call him names back he has come up with the most random things to criticize and degrade me about. Tonight is his birthday, he got his gift a few days ago because he picked it out, I got him a card and baked a cake cooked his "favorite" meal, he read the card and asked if I just got it today, being honest, I said "well, I had another one already, but I liked that one better when I saw it at the store today so I got it." He said, "wow, that is my exact point right there that you are a f-ing retard and waste so much money and don't have a clue about life" I simply said "well, I'll just use the extra one in the future, no biggy." He took his dinner plate and threw it against the wall, tomatoes and pasta, onions everywhere... He went to our bedroom and slammed the door, saying "nice F***ing Birthday." I have already snipped it, but I can't help feeling like I'm better than this. I'm only 25 years old and he controls me with money because I'm in Law School but I graduate in May, been married 2 years. In the smallest town ever, I can't go to local police, they would laugh at me and be at my house to drink a beer with him, no doctors in town, and we don't go to church regularly although I am a Christian. He has serious issues with his own father, and will call me a bitch in front of his own mother, who babies him. Not to mention my family is 3 states away and if they knew what was going on they would come pick me up and not let me have a choice about whether I want to help him. He refuses counseling and therapy. We do not have children and I will NOT even think about it until I see some improvement. I build attachment as best as possible, I am gone three days a week for class and stay at our other home there where the University is which is about an hour away. I mean am I suppose to go in the room and hug him and tell him that hurt my feelings? No way, unsafe. Should I clean up all the food he threw? If I don't it will sit there until I do. I felt so inspired at first and I really feel like you do an amazing thing, but I feel my stamina fading. What should I do?

  27. Celiac: EatingDairy/gluten (oats/barley/rye/wheat).....can cause a person to be bipolar/narcissitic...LDN helps to block Celiac but not 100%. Alcoholics crave the gluten in the alcohol. Tests to diagnose Celiac may not work and doctors may not be trained in it, but not eating dairy/gluten may help heal the person fast and add vitamins/good oils to rebuild the cells...then they may not be so bad. LDN helps the personality and helps with depression. Gluten wrecks the intestines so they don't absorb nutrients...then cells are not made right or work right in the brain/body. Dairy destroyed my brain....Narcissists need more than psychological help...they need physical help too. Celiac spreads in family trees...the whole family tree maybe Celiac but get different health/brain issues from it. With the Celiac diet,LDN,vitamins/good oils...there is hope/help.

  28. Hi Brooke,

    Sorry it has taken me awhile to get back to you. I have a new class starting today which has taken my attention. Building attachment is not about going out of your way to please people. I wonder why you put so much effort into a birthday meal for someone who speaks to you like that? You also say that the police would laugh at you and that tells me you need to build your self respect in other areas.

    First things first I would be finding out more about your husband and how he spends his time when you are not around. A PI may help. Do not obsess about it just find out. I think there is more to him than you know and a bit more info will help others have to take you seriously.

    This step will be important whether you leave or stay and give you more leverage either way.

    I also wonder about your comeback lines and if you have practiced them? If his mother takes care of him like a child perhaps you should tell him to call her to come clean up his mess and you have some very solid goals like getting your money separated from him and doing well in your final exams to focus on in the meantime.

    The points in our books are not easy but they are vital. I had to move to a new area (close to the police station) to get the support network I needed.

    This is your life and finding support and separating your finances are things that HAVE to be done for yourself no matter how challenging.

    Hang in there Brooke, you certainly deserve better treatment than this and it is time you start standing up for yourself effectively.

    Kim Cooper

  29. How can Kim Cooper say she is not codependent when she actually packed up and moved to be near a police station to get support? She made her whole life about 'fixing' Steve...regardless of the methods, this is what she did. To teach people to not tell a narcissist that they hurt your feelings by their cruel words is insane. In a healthy relationship one should be able to do this! But, she's says with an N you can't let them see you are weak - THIS is dishonest gameplaying. Her videos with Steve talk about how you want to say things for desired 'outcome' from the N. Again, gameplaying to control the N's response. TRUE MATURITY means POLICING ONESELF to do the right thing. If the N is not mature enough to do this then you should just leave til they can figure it out - unless you don't care about the cost to your kids and yourself until by some miracle they figure it out one day. And if they do turn around like Steve did do you tell your kids, "See it was all worth it cuz now Daddy is good." and further teach them that it is the womans responsibility to make a man out of her husband? That would be the best case scenario, right? And we hope that he truly apologizes and those kids truly heal with no issues going forward? Then the worst case scenario is there is no change and then what do you tell those kids? Then there are no aplogies and they are guaranteed a screwed up future. Way to risky to risk your kids' well being, isn't it? If I verbally abuse my child and they cry and say I hurt their feelings, would you also say that my child BLAMED me, Kim? No! My child is being honest and it was MY RESPONSIBILITY to be a good parent...not the child's responsibility to respond to me in such a way that forces me to do the RIGHT THING! I was supposed to come to the table already knowing the right behavior and how to get it from myself. Yikes, your material frightens me and saddens me to think that you encourage people to stay in relationships and give back these pat answers that don't sound like deserved blame to the N. What does that teach a child? Your materials sadly teach the same old 'blame the victim' mentality. And please stop misquoting 'it takes two to tango'...look up what that really means. As a ballroom dancer I can tell you that it means BOTH people have to know and practice correct steps for the dance to look good. BUT ONLY ONLY can screw it up by NOT learing the correct steps. IN NO WAY DOES THIS MEAN BOTH PEOPLE ARE ARE AT FAULT! IT MEANS THAT ONLY THE PARTNER WHO DIDN'T LEARN HIS/HER STEPS CAN SCREW UP THE DANCE AND MAKE THE DANCE LOOK BAD NO MATTER HOW PERFECTLY THE OTHER PARTNER DID HER STEPS. Please, people, don't fall for this crap. You should not have to respond a certain way in order to be treated with respect. As a child of God you deserve respect...ESPECIALLY when you are bing hurt and vulnerable! To say the victim's response is the problem is like saying that the woman who got a black eye from the husbands punch should just develop thicker skin or else that bruise would be perceived as BLAMING the abuser and God forbid we do that - holding someone accountable for their horrible actions is somehow twisted into blaming ? So wrong. So sick. Please, people, don't fall for it. If you insist on reparenting your spouse, I hope you don't do this with kids involved. There is MUCH better info out there on NPD. Search the web and you will find THIS is not it.

  30. Hi anon, I am sorry to see that my writing has made you so angry. I hope you have had time to calm down a bit and that you will give me a little consideration and hear what I have to say -- as it seems that you have arrived at some grave misunderstandings of what our message is really about.

    I will answer your criticisms in point form ...

    1. Getting support from the police was about protecting myself - not about fixing Steve. It took a lot of courage for me to do that. In the past I had put all my attention into fixing people who abused me or else helplessly running away. When I first went to the police I had no idea this would change Steve's behavior. It twas actually a policeman who taught me that it could.

    2. I do NOT teach people NOT to tell a narcissist that they hurt your feelings - please re read the article above - what I said was ...

    "When we are provoked by someone being hurtful it is natural to want to either hurt them back or withdraw and say you don't care.

    It is much harder and much more courageous however to stand your ground keeping your heart open and honestly say what you feel.

    "I feel very hurt by what you are saying and I feel very angry about it too - but I really do love you still and hope that we can resolve this in a better way."

    3. When I say not to show weakness it is not by simply denying what is happening as you claim. I took ACTION in protecting myself and my kids and this kind of strength is what we have always advocated.

    4. You pretend that leaving is simple when you say ...

    "then you should just leave til they can figure it out - unless you don't care about the cost to your kids and yourself."

    The truth is that more woman are killed and injured in the 60 days after separation than any other time. Also the statistics for child abuse in second marriages skyrockets. How are you meant to protect your kids when they visit your partner and you are not there? I believe our advice for setting solid boundaries is more responsible on every level. JUST leave? Is it really that simple? Hardly ever in my experience. Even if a woman has the resources to leave it is still a massive undertaking and will often leave her and her kids on much less solid footing as they settle in to a new community, work, school etc.

  31. 5. I have never taught my children that it is a woman's responsibility to make a man out of her husband. I teach my children how to set boundaries while treating people with respect and compassion. I also teach my children self discipline and self respect.

    6. I never suggest that anyone should be expected to come to the table knowing anything they haven't been taught. I show compassion for adults and children's developmental gaps and also teach that narcissism is often born from unrealistic expectations parents have of their children.

    7. I do not blame the victim - I describe the abusive cycle as a dance with the two partner's different forms of immaturity feeding into each other. I believe both parties are in fact usually victims in this 'dance'.

    8. Perhaps it's you who does not understand the meaning of the saying it takes two to Tango. In this saying the dance being referred to is not the beautiful dance that the Tango is - but rather the ugly 'dance' which is the cycle of emotional abuse. In this ugly dance YES both parties have learned the steps well - whether they realize it or not. They learned by watching the unhealthy behaviour of role models in their life as they grew up. In the same way too if one person changes the steps the ugly dance has no choice but to fail and end.

  32. I wonder why you think I should have run away from Steve and exactly how that would have protected my children? Steve's dad is a narc too and works in the family court a great deal with his work. If I had done as you suggest chances are I would have been horribly misrepresented and perhaps even lost custody of my children.

    As our story went I really had no idea that Steve would change. I did decide that my will was stronger however and I was going to 100% protect myself and my kids while giving him a chance.

    If he hadn't taken that chance he would have ended up in jail as well as having his reputation destroyed.

    As it was he came to his senses and saw how far out of line he was. Underneath his mask of pride however was a very broken and weak man and yes I did re-parent him. That was my choice and I have been rewarded greatly for it. That only happened however after the abuse had stopped.

    It really concerns me that you have somehow come to the conclusion that our material instructs people to ignore the abuse and just focus on themselves. Right through our work is the theme of taking ACTION in setting effective boundaries and letting your partner face the consequences of their bad behavior.

    It seems somewhat egotistical to me that you believe withdrawing your self or your love from the situation is punishment enough to set boundaries for yourself and your kids. The truth is that most people with narcissistic tendencies are only going to be enraged by being abandoned with no contact (if they have any emotional reaction to this at all).

    Anyway I doubt we will ever agree on these matters and I am sorry you have not gained more benefit from my writing - but thank you if you have taken the time to read my clarifications. I never pretend that this
    work is easy but, hey, growth is sometimes painful and when you are caught in the hell that is a bad marriage I do not believe there are ANY
    easy solutions. As everything in life what work you are prepared to put in will depend on what outcome you want

    Kim Cooper

    1. think that NPD got what they wanted Kim, you didn't need to justify your writings. NPD's as you know are only powerful if they get the response they want.

    2. Dang! That was a great answer! Even if the person who said that to you, Kim, never comes back to read that, it doesn't matter because many people DID read it and I did and was, what you might call, "sold!" I want to learn how to respond just like you did. You told them calmly that they were misquoting your work, while maintaining your True Self and even held concern for the writer's anger/upset... Awesome.

    3. Wow. Powerful response. I am so grateful you left the original post from the upset Dec 15, 2011 poster & then gave a point-by-point response. It clarified so much for me & just reconfirmed my dedication to working your ideas into my life/marriage. Can't wait for my materials to arrive..very excited to go more in depth with your suggestions. What a great contribution you & Steve are making for those who are searching for a better way. Way cool! -Wendimere

  33. I think maybe part of the confusion here is this sentence of yours, Kim:

    This is not about telling the person how much they have hurt you - that is different because that is blame which will get their defenses up.

    I suppose it's difficult to understand how you are supposed to be honest about how you feel without telling them that they've hurt you, which they have. And of course you can self-soothe but if they never apologise or admit to hurting you (which in my experience they don't) and you're not supposed to tell them that they hurt you as this is blaming them - well it's hard to just 'get over it' or be okay with them even after it dies down - that feels like lying or pretending whilst resentment builds. I can understand anon's point there.

    And if it was a money issue, for example, then you deal with it by not blaming them but by separating your bank accounts. But if the main issue is their rudeness and disregard for your feelings then if you can't tell them they hurt you how do you address this? It's something I've struggled with throughout my reading of your material and efforts to put it into practice.

    But anon, I can understand Kim's points too and there is LOTS of information online and from almost every professional you're likely to talk to about leaving. She is giving another option that worked for her for those of us who don't want to/don't feel we can leave. I understand that it goes against everything we're taught but it's another choice and something else to try if you're wanting to make every effort to either work it out or leave on reasonable terms.

    I personally never feel like she is making us feel like it's our fault or our responsibility, I actually like the strategies as they make me feel more empowered, which you don't get elsewhere. My psychologist used to always say 'you can only give 50%' (similar to the 2 to tango thing really) and police/other people I spoke to would say 'you can't change him'. While that may be true and the 50% thing works most of the time in healthy relationships with mature adults, we're not dealing with mature, healthy people. So it makes you feel powerless if you give 50% and get maybe 10% effort in return. Then it's just a stalemate while you feel horrible and they are probably quite happy to ignore you and do their own thing.

    Knowing other ways of, yes, giving a lot more than 50% but hopefully feeling more but feeling more in control and better about yourself is much more empowering than waiting for them to become adults by themselves. Kim is really the only place where you can get advice about how to do that, that I'm aware of.

    So, anon, while I understand your frustration about some things, and you don't have to agree with everything on this site (I certainly don't - we're not puppets on here, we think for ourselves), the overall message is really very groundbreaking and I would recommend giving it a chance and trying some of the strategies - you may be surprised by how well they work.

  34. Thanks anon,

    I don't have a lot of time this morning but I hope I can help answer your question. Finding that line between asserting yourself while not getting your partners defenses up may be challenging but it is very important. Stating how you feel is not in itself blame and I think that is really the point. If you say "You are a bully" it comes across totally different than perhaps saying "I feel intimidated by what you are saying."

    That said I am not perfect at this and personally I probably err more on the side of standing up for myself to where I do get people's defenses up sometimes - so in my heart I certainly do not advocate 'just taking it'.

    There are two parts to understanding this I think - the first is that what this article is really talking about is not closing your heart and going into defense yourself. That takes considerable courage when someone is being hurtful but is always the more powerful choice. It is much more common to let our hurt turn to scorn or rage that it is to stand there and admit we feel vulnerable. This does not mean acting vulnerable however or demanding that someone take care of that hurt or baby us. If you can stand tall and admit that someone has hurt you and then take care of that hurt yourself that shows valor and strength of character not weakness.

    This of course is not easy and is I guess a kind of advanced technique and why this article is titled what it is.

    The second point I think might help you is the fact that I believe when someone is being rude and disrespectful it is just about always a sign of guilt and if you do a bit of investigating you will find that there are other boundaries of yours that are being crossed that you may not know about.

    So stand tall and honestly admit how you feel and then go and self soothe and take care of yourself. When you feel calm and balanced again start taking a really hard look at what lies may be being told to you.

    If you find them - then yes, real boundaries need to be set, as I advocate in Back from the Looking Glass.

    In time this may bring your partner to a place where they respect you better and it may not - but either way it will put you in a much better and safer position.

    I hope this helps. I know achieving this inner strength is challenging and right there in the moment it hurts like hell -- but honestly I don't know another way. Personal growth is always a challenge and I believe anyone who tells you there is an easy way out or an abusive relationship is not being honest.

    Kim Cooper

    1. I appreciate the discussion that Dec 19th anon brought up & your in-depth explanation, Kim. Being new to the site I'm soaking it all up like a sponge and appreciate finding, throughout the site & comment sections, all these insights for ways to handle particular conflicts more constructively. -Wendimere

  35. I know what you mean, anon.

    For example, how hurtful is it when they accuse you of being unempathetic. Lacking empathy is at the core of who they are and how they treat people. And then they accuse you of it when you aren't willing to listen to them endlessly or you do something a bit thoughtless (i.e. human). Never mind that they abused you and walked out on you and swore at you etc..

    And even though you recognise it as narcissistic rage/hurt you don't want to ignore or mimimise their hurt or model bad behaviour to them. But if you say you didn't mean to do it, or explain your side of it they accuse you of making excuses. It's a no-win situation!

    It's one of the hardest things to deal with, I think, the two different sets of rules for how you need to behave v's how they behave. And knowing the difference between them having a tantrum and a true issue with you that you need to work on.

    I think of myself as a very empathetic person, to the point that I'm taking on other people's issues (not good, I know) so when he tells me I lack empathy (which he does often, and gives me examples) I don't know if he's right and I lack insight into that being a problem for me.

    But I know for a fact this isn't fair - when I tell my husband something he did hurt me he gets upset because me telling him that it hurt me hurts him!!!

    How can you possibly get through to someone whose thought processes are so (sorry to be disparaging but it's the best word I can think of) - warped?


  36. Hi frustrated,

    Yes warped or you might also say immature!

    A trick that helped me a lot was seeing Steve
    as a child when he accused me of such blatantly
    unfair things.

    Imagine a child saying "You are a ------- "

    This helped me a lot because once I saw the
    childishness in his behavior it helped me see
    I really just had to rise above it and there was
    little point trying to get through to him when
    was in that immature space.

    I would ask myself "Am I going to let the 3 year
    old in him get the better of the adult in me?"

    I also think the most important thing is that you do
    not believe the insults.

    You can say that it hurts you without believing or
    buying into it!

    If they can get you doubting yourself then they
    have you exactly where they want you which is
    carrying their guilt.

    A good answer can also be "Sometimes I am and
    sometimes I'm not".

    One way or another it is important that
    you don't let them suck you in. They are trying to
    dump their shame and guilt on you and it is important
    that you have enough respect for yourself that you can
    break off the conversation and get back to your
    life before that happens.

    You may want to help them but really their guilt and
    shame is stuff they have to face by themselves.

    You might also say "If you want my compassion you
    will need to stop insulting me as that doesn't make
    me feel for you, it just makes me mad!"

    Kim Cooper

  37. Thanks Kim. Wise advice. It's also hard though to know when it is something that is an issue that you need to work on and when it's just a childish insult.

    He's said the no-empathy thing many times and not always in the middle of a fight. If it's true it is something I would definitely want to work on as it's an important quality for me. It's funny because I know my mother thinks of herself as a very empathetic person but I feel like she makes things all about her. So I would hate it if I was like that and am worried that perhaps I am!!

    It's something I'll continue to struggle with as I do need to get much tougher about setting boundaries and not getting sucked into things, but that is going to come off as lacking in empathy.


  38. Hi Kim, thank you. Just on this:
    "I believe when someone is being rude and disrespectful it is just about always a sign of guilt and if you do a bit of investigating you will find that there are other boundaries of yours that are being crossed that you may not know about."

    I might be naive but it really seems like for my guy the outbursts come after a day where he's done something he didn't really want to do, or someone has made him feel bad about himself in some way and so they are more about his feeling inadequate/rejected etc.. He may well be hiding things from me, but our finances are already separate so I don't think he has any reason to feel nervous or like he has to cover anything up there. The only computer he has is a work computer and he would be fired if he was using porn or online gambling or similar (his career is very important to him). He may of course be having an affair, but the timing of when these outbursts occur doesn't seem to coincide with the chance to do that, if that makes sense.

    Is there anyway of establishing boundaries around being mean and hurtful itself? Probably not, but worth an ask!


  39. Hi to anon who asked Is there anyway of establishing boundaries around being mean and hurtful?

    The article here is actually all about that - as is my last comment here.

    I know that not engaging probably doesn't feel like you are setting a boundary but really sometimes less is a lot more.

    Try looking at it like this. When you partner tries to engage you in an argument it is because they are carrying a bunch of yucky stuff (anger, insecurity, guilt and shame) they don't want to have to process themselves.

    If they can get you to engage in a fight by making you feel those emotions are yours and not theirs then they can dump it all on you. When you get mad when this happens they say "Look it wasn't me at all you are the angry one!" and they then can walk away.

    The problem is that if the emotions were not yours then you cannot process them and you are stuck trying to turn yourself inside out figuring out whether you really should feel all of this negative stuff about yourself.

    So by not buying into their negativity in the first place and being honest about your feelings but not engaging you are actually keeping yourself clean (by being honest) and leaving them with all of their junk.

    They then will need to find someone else to dump it on or face it themselves.

    This is very hard at first because when you won't engage they will start feeling really desperate to dump it on you -- because that is what they are used to doing -- and so the more you refuse to engage the more they will try and suck you in.

    So you need to be very strong and get on with your life and make them deal with it themselves.

    I hope from this analogy you might see how NOT engaging IS setting a boundary.

    To anon who said it's hard to know if you should listen to their criticisms or not ...

    I guess that is tough but really you can still not engage and then go and self soothe and think about it later when you are less likely to be knocked off balance. If you feel there is something you need to apologize for come back later when you are calm (and when you have chosen the timing ) and do that but still don't get sucked in.

    In my case it took it getting to the point where Steve called me a slut that I woke up and stopped buying into it. I have not even looked at another man since I have been with him and he knows that. His criticism was so outrageously unfair that it alerted me to the whole game. In this case you still don't have to argue but might say ...

    "It hurts me deeply that you can say such things - I am not prepared to talk about this any further right now I really must get to sleep (etc.)"

    If you feel the criticism might be fair you might say ...

    "You might have a point there - I will consider what you have said - but right now I really need to get some sleep (etc).

    These comebacks will change the dynamic if you stay strong and refuse to engage. Please remember less is more!

    Kim Cooper

  40. Thanks Kim, this is helpful to us all.

    What I personally struggle with is what happens later. I've done as you suggest and wirtten down things that bothered me in the moment to look at later. All of them are about his unfair comments, expectations of apology/support from me without offering any himself etc. If you don't mind me asking, after that slut comment once you were feeling better did you go back and address it, for e.g. saying I don't want you to say things like that to me anymore? I'm assuming that would lead to attempt to engage you in a fight (I know it would with my partner!). I would like to do that as it is my 'truth' and an attempt at defining what is acceptable and what not (a boundary??), but I'm confused as it could also be seen as convincing type behaviour.

    With us the fights are actually quite rare but when they happen they can become so awful (even if I disengage because then he feels unheard) and don't get resolved because they are all about feelings, rather than concrete things, if that makes sense, so it's hard to come back and resolve them as the immaturity is too great a hurdle (his, also mine as I'm often too scared to raise it as I don't want to be hurt again) and typically it leads to another attempt to twist everything around and then I give up!


  41. Hi Anna,

    The exercises in The Love Safety Net Workbook limiting abuse section lay out the details much better than I ever could here but the simple answer is no I would not go back over something that happened in the past. Talking about that is NOT setting a boundary and is only asking for a fight. Thinking about it later in that case to me would mean getting a really clear script in my head and even rehearsing it for the future.

    Showing disapproval and not engaging in the moment really means you have limited it. Scolding later is only going to damage your attachment.

    That doesn't mean that you are going to necessarily be ready to be all kisses and cuddles the next day - but being balanced and calm and getting on with your own life is the aim.

    I will be away for a few days over Christmas but hey you hang in there Anna!

    Kim Cooper

  42. Well, I can say your articles and perspective are unique and very encouraging to me. I would like to read your story....and wonder if it is in one of your e-books. Maybe I haven't opened enough articles and would love it if you would point me to a good starting place. I actually printed several of your pieces and curled up to read them. I just have no idea what if anything I could ever do that would turn our marriage around. I am quite sure after reading for a while that I was codependent but I have detached, spent hundreds of hours reading and praying and journaling and discovering who I actually am under all this pain. Nothing in our 37 year marriage has ever been resolved. there is never repentence, or restoration so little and big conflicts are all open loops for me. Hubby seems to just go to sleep and forget them on the outside but inside I see glimpses and know he is still brooding over some perceived injustice. So... was it Steve that saw the light? When I go through your test I can't imagine how my husband could read through something like this and not see himself... but he can! I vacillate with just wanting him out of this house and hoping beyond anything I can imagine that we could actually have a real, bonded relationship. It is hard to live with a narcissist who gives nothing to the marriage and almost nothing to the maintainance and care for our home or yard. I do think inside he is still a little boy, and that he stopped maturing emotionally at about the age of 3-4. I was proud of myself last week when hubby tried to suck me into a negative conversation and I stood my ground and told him I was not playing that game anymore. I was not going to let him manipulate me into saying something he could run to our pastor and talk about. I don't think I found any other site that actually said there is a way to work through narcissism to the otherside and have a real marriage. I want very much to believe it. Thanks for sharing your story with us.

    1. Hi Dee,

      Our Story is in Back From the Looking Glass along with the exact steps you need to take. They are simple but not easy - because they will be new and so probably at first you will feel like what you are doing is wrong.

      The Love Safety Net Workbook will help you make these new actions become habits and will also give you a frame work to see what needs more work when things go wrong.

      10 Steps to Overcome Codependence is the most straightforward and to the point list of things that need work in yourself to become emotionally stronger.

      I hope this helps. For what they offer the books are not expensive and are very concise and to the point. The fact your husband has a relationship with your pastor may be very useful for you in time!

      Hang in there!

  43. Steve and Kim,

    During the worst of it, during the knock down drag out fights the two of you had. Kim, why did you continue to love Steve? Was it because he was the father of your children? Were you still attracted to him after all the terrible things he did and said to you? Were you somehow attracted to the trauma being that it seems like it was what you were used to from your past relationships? Steve--same exact questions to you.

    Besides not wanting to break up the famiily and pay for a divorce, why do you love each other?

    I ask this not from a judgemental standpoint but from an empathic and curious one. I love someone who is a very high functioning NPD. While my NPD mate never hit me or verbally abused me. The emotional abuse inflicted on me, his ex-wife (I had no idea he was married) and likely his children is immeasureable. Believing in and loving this man destroyed not only my life but also his. Anyway,there are a million details to this story and it's clearly embarrassing and horribly shameful. I did move in with him 6 months after he separated, I left Chicago and moved to Toronto to be with the love of my life after 4 years of heaven and hell, who changed his whole life to be with me. not suprisingly--it didn't end well. 90% of the time we were extremely happy but when he felt threatened or abandoned or if I made the mistake of calling him out on a lie and not letting him off the hook when he was gaslighting me--he went after me with full malice. Ultimately he did something very horrible to me and left me in a unlivable environment and refused to come home until I left. I questioned his morals and parenting and hinted at leaving him after having too much to drink one night and fighting with him about having our own child, a condition he promised me if I married him. I apologized the next morning but my fate was sealed, I woke up to a different man. He very calmly, too calmly, suggested that we go our separate ways although 3 days before he was enthusiastically talking about asking my father to marry me when we were going to see him the next week. I knew he didn't mean it as it was his false pride talking, I thought he'd come to his senses after a few days but I acted like I didn't care either although it was because I was hurt. Although I loved him, I had to leave because he was so cruel and malicious to me and he started his absurd lying again. He still loved me, I know he did but he needed to protect himself and put his narcissistic mask back on that I mistakenly pulled off. I still love him--I love the person he is when he is happy and content and not feeling (imagined or real) threatened. He is the most wonderful, adorable loving and affectionate creature but on the flip side- he is malicious and vindictive if you don't go along with him. I left my city, country and my job for him. He sent me packing and acted like he had never seen me before-- his ability to disassociate his feelings is inhuman. Where does he go when he pretends not to love or care about me anymore? I went from his one and only to a vile pool of cat sick. He had done it before many times but would always come back. Why do I love him? What is wrong with me? This is not anyone you want to be in conflict with, man or woman, personal or professional. Why do I want to reach out to him with these books and steps when he was the one who rejected me? One more thing I'd ask you to note. I mentioned he did this to break up with me both before I knew he was married and once before this final time. Each time he does it with the intent of making is so horrific that there is NO coming back--but he always does, that's his M.O. I haven 't heard a word from him in 9 months. I couldn't afford to go back to Chicago and resume my old life,I'm living in exile with no money. Is this so far gone that I can't do anything?

    What was the foundation of your relationship that gave you so much faith in each other?



    1. Hi ashamed,

      I am sorry to hear about the terrible situation you have found yourself in. If you admit to your friends and family at home what has happened and also that that you are embarrassed and ashamed about it I am sure they will not only forgive you but also help you move home. You cannot help this man if you are not in a position of strength yourself.

      We are not our dysfunction. In other words I think it is totally possible and understandable to love a person even though you may hate what they do when they are in defense.

      Our ebooks will help you get strong and learn better emotional intelligence and relationship skills. This will help you understand what happened and why and also will help you in your future relationships even if it is over with this man that you still love.

      10 Steps to Overcome Codependence is a great place to start as would be The Little Book of Empathy Love and Friendship but The Love Safety Net Workbook is where to start when you are really serious about working on and improving your relationships skills with our whole series of exercises built on the 4 pillars of a stable home.

      With understanding comes healing.


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