Will My Narcissistic Ex Ever Feel Guilty?

A common question as it relates to a toxic relationship is whether the narcissist feels any guilt or remorse for what they’ve done to their partner (a.k.a. source of supply).

The short answer is no.

In order to feel guilt, one needs to have a conscience.  Because narcissists have no conscience, there are no limits to the destruction they can cause in the lives of their victims…all without an inkling of remorse.

Victims struggle with this because, as conscientious people, they believe there must be some understandable reason why narcissists act the way they do.  They cannot grasp that there are people who are simply cunning and devious, and thus justify the narcissist’s hurtful actions by being all too willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Victims imagine how they would feel if they were mean and nasty to the narcissist, and further imagine the remorse, guilt, and angst they would feel in treating another person as poorly as narcissists do – especially a person they were supposedly in love with.  In other words, they try to put themselves into another’s shoes.

That’s called empathy; something that narcissists are devoid of.

The Illusion of False Remorse

Many narcissists are skilled at portraying an air of remorse.  They use words and gestures to create the illusion that they are sorry for leaving you for another lover, for acting cruelly, and for breaking promises.  But, it’s all smoke and mirrors.  Notice how they are only “sorry” when you threaten to leave or cut off contact?  How they suddenly can’t live without you once you seem serious about ending it – whereas a day before, they were giving you the silent treatment and gallivanting around town with another lover?

These are the reasons for the phrase, don’t listen to their words; pay attention to their actions.   This doesn’t include their hoovering or blowing up your phone and email when they’ve muffed up yet again.  It means their actions when they believe they have one up on you…when you are settled nice and comfortably under their thumb.

The Harm in Magical Thinking

We’ve read the articles about physical and emotional addiction to the narcissist and how codependency is the root of the relationship.

However, there’s another culprit in staying enmeshed with a narcissist, and that’s our engaging in magical thinking.  What does that look like in the context of a relationship with a narcissist?  Following are some examples:

  • The belief that your pain must mean something to them, when in fact, it only means something to you (and perhaps your well-meaning family and friends).
  • Believing they have sincere motives when they agree to go to couple’s counseling with you. The truth is, they only agree to that to 1) keep you enmeshed by creating the false illusion that they are “trying”, and 2) to get you in the therapist’s office to make you seem like the unstable one – which, in turn, enhances your false belief that you are damaged and no one else would want you or tolerate you.
  • Falling for their hoovering attempts when they show up with flowers and cards (and perhaps a few crocodile tears). This is simply the manipulative tactic of positive reinforcement, which is designed to strengthen the possibility that you will keep taking them back.  What it does is relieve the crippling symptoms of your fear of abandonment, which is rooted in low self-esteem and childhood wounds.
  • Falling for their “victim” act. Surely they have a reason for behaving the way they do.  What with their drug-addicted, abusive ex-girlfriends/wives/husband/__________(fill-in-the-blank); the fact that they are trying to work on their shortcomings (see, they’ve been in the care of a therapist – for nine years); their horrible, racist, snotty, power-hungry boss who just hates them and wants to see them suffer (which corresponds quite nicely with their propensity towards serial job-hopping); their sudden physical injury (which you can’t seem to confirm, and by the way…why do they always seem to get hurt when you break up with them?); their grandmother’s being on her death bed (seriously, eleven times in two months?)

In short, magical thinking is when we rationalize their actions and behaviors which cannot be justified with reason and logic.

Why They Don’t Feel Guilty

The reason the narcissist acts the way they do is simple – they hurt you in order to breed fear in you so that they can maintain power and control, and simultaneously keep you as a source of supply.  They need to maintain the superior position in the relationship, and that is why it manifests in their treating you worse over time, while you end up feeling more and more powerless to leave.

Narcissists try to destroy you by exhausting you, manipulating you via using your own emotions against you, instilling fear, thus having control over you, which often leads to illness (which can lead to diseases such as cancer and/or worse, suicide).  This is how they are able to keep their victims engaged and enmeshed for sometimes decades.

Some victims never leave.

This is precisely why a relationship with a narcissist is emotionally and physically draining.  It’s their strategy and nothing they feel guilty about.  That’s why the burden falls on you to stop the cycle through detaching and going No Contact.  If children are involved, modified contact is an alternative and takes a greater measure of discipline.  In fact, if children are involved, it’s almost more imperative that you leave the relationship because otherwise, they will likely grow up to be either narcissistic or codependent themselves.

It’s up to us to stop passing these generational curses down.

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  1. Jeanette

    My ex is definitely a narcissist. I am happy to be gone and have no desire to fix him. These people hurt others so badly and with no remorse whatsoever. They even take pleasure in your pain. I think in the end they will be alone and empty which is no less than they deserve. I suffered at his hands until I realized he didn’t care about me…at all…that is when I left. Leaving him with himself is a fitting place. So walk away guilt free and with the satisfaction that you’ve left him/her in the best place, with their own flawless self.
    The only reason I’ve recently thought about him is that a recent situation with a loved ones significant other caused me to realize he was likely a narcissist. As soon as that thought entered my head I saw how his actions were just like my ex’s and KNEW they both were in fact narcissists. So this realization has set me free. Free from something I didn’t even know I was still questioning at some level. I was content to put it all behind me without knowing why this person treated me the way he did. But it’s much better to not just know you were ok and he was messed up (Even thought he worked hard to convince me of the opposite) but that there is a name for it. That there was nothing I had any control over.
    I just don’t like mysteries. This was another mystery solved!

  2. angel

    Hi Kim. Thank you so much for your insightful words and for bringing a community of people together whose lives have been affected and marred by this type of abuse.

    My narc ex and his behaviour certainly fits some of examples described by others on this forum – projection, gaslighting, pathological lying, hoovering etc.

    The one thing I am perplexed by though (in his latest hoovering attempt while grooming his next supply and parading her on social media) is that he admits to feelings of intense loneliness and sadness. Is this something a narc would say to keep old supply hooked and sympathetic?

    It is interesting that he also projects his loneliness onto me by labelling me “distant” and “cold”.

    He claims to be “sick to his stomach” about how things have worked out (we have three children together) and what he is currently doing with his new supply (they announced their status via social media).

    Would a narc admit to feeling lonely, intensely sad and on the brink of suicide for the sole purpose of keeping the old supply hooked?

    I just can’t work out how their disordered minds think.

    Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

    1. Jeanette

      I believe they would admit to anything, whether it’s true or not, to make you feel either guilty, sorry for him or to make him look like he’s normal. Probably all of the above. Sad and lonely are normal reactions to a break up. Having these feelings shows he is normal. Besides he IS SORRY, SAD, that he lost his hold over you. You leaving him looks bad, if you left it could look like there is something wrong with him. He would get you back if only to dump you. To be the one who ends the relationship in his eyes says you weren’t worth staying with. So to be dumped is not acceptable.

      1. Jeanette

        That last part of course doesn’t apply in your case, since hes got someone. But to have feelings about the breakup makes him look more sensitive.

  3. Josh Panas

    Hi I was just informed by wife 5 weeks ago that after 5 wonderful years of marriage, that she wanted out of our married. 1 week after her telling me that she wanted out. She then informed me that she had her first affair 10 months ago with a married coworker that lasted 2 weeks. Then the next day while I was willing to except what she had done and was willing to work through this problem. I found out that she had started having another affair with her boss. She left me and moved out to go be with her boss. I’ve never had anyone hurt, betrayed, deceived me so badly before. She hasn’t shown any kinda of remorse for her actions and even went as far as to tell all of her family and friends reason we were separating was because I was this abusive and mean husband which were a bunch of lies. I Supported her through 3 different careers financially, emotional, physical bought her flowers every week, cooked all of her dinners and also did all of her laundry. Just to be trick by a narcissistic women. Because I was so blinded by love straight from the beginning I didn’t see all the warnings signs of how she really was. I all so found out that when we first started seeing each other that she wasn’t truthful about her last relationship. She had told me that she had already moved out of this other guys house when in fact she had still been living there the whole time. This other guy had no idea that she was getting ready to end things until the day she decided to leave him. I’ve tried to get her to tell me the truth about everything, but she doen’t show any remorse, empathy for my feelings what so every.

    1. Anonymous

      Good riddens to bad rubbish. That’s what my mom told me of a narcissist that I had been married to. Better days are ahead. Continue to pray and talk with the Lord. He will give you a new life. God bless!

  4. any

    100% agree with you. Depending on which states…u should by law be awared heath insurance, even if he has to pay iut of his pocket! That’s a easy to fight in court! Second..some states its against the law to have a affair..california doesn’t care about affairs..but other states do. You are awarded 50% If theres any pension, 401 k..bank accts…all of it..so ur not walking away broke! And take it alllll…for u and ur son. I hve two kids..n they knw truth…there are articles for them to read..children living with narcissisic fathers…when my kids read it..they kept coming to me..saying omg omg look thats dad…they were in shock..they were reading there life with there dad..when he pulls that crap with ny daughter…she knws how to handle him..talk slow and when he gets off the point of discussion..she reminds him to get on the subject..its healthy for them to be aware. You have to go through the storm before you see the light. And my self..im almost there. Good luck..p.s you gotta learn to stilop caring what people think! It takes a strong woman and guts to leave..alot of woman stay n blow there whole life away…but not you

  5. Anna

    Kim Saeed,

    Thank you so much for creating this article and posting it.

    I have been in a long term relationship with an N and it has been so dramatic over the 15+ years I had known him for. Countless affairs he has taken on and have pushed the boundaries time and again on me till I had decided to end all communication with him 12 years back. We had only limited communication 5 years later and it wasn’t until in 2011 that he got in touch with me again. Boy! Was that big mistake.

    I never really understood what he was until now. We had our honeymoon phase and slowly over time, he systematically began to break me down time and again. Rather than feeling happy to be in this relationship, I began to feel depressed and unsure of myself and being the giver in me, I began to give more than what I was comfortable with. I was being drained and yet I felt I needed to give more because I felt like I wasn’t giving enough.

    Just this year, my health started to take a turn for the worst and I didn’t know why. I was eating healthy, working out and boom!… I had aches and pains, fatigue, low energy, working out became harder and harder to do and yet I was powerless to keep it from coming on. I have been now diagnosed with hypothyroidism and after reading about getting cancer, I wonder if I am suffering a similar fate. My stress level is to the roof and I am somewhat stable with my meds but I have to go into get my blood tested because I still have other symptoms that crop up now.

    While he was really breaking me down recently, I felt like I couldn’t take it anymore and I let him have it that his behaviour was not acceptable and yet it was always me causing the problem as he puts it.

    It came to a head when we finally talked and he decided that it was best if I leave. No resolving of this matter. No giving me a choice to respond. It was a shock and awe moment and I was so floored and stunned that I didn’t know what to do. I’m still processing all his actions and motives and I have seen that he had planned this all along because the day I left home was the day he “all of a sudden” had a new girlfriend. Truly unbelievable. And apparently, he is sure that we are on a “break” so that if this doesn’t work out (which I know will crash and burn at some point in time with his current flavor of the month), he can still have me as a back up. 🙁

    I am in the process of trying to heal my broken body now (which I am sure is the result of 3-4 years of his abusive ways) and I am trying to do my best to move towards NC but I will admit it is hard. I’m still processing my emotions and it hurts to know what I thought there was… there never was. I know now that happiness is not with him and I need to seek that happiness within myself again.

  6. Veronica

    I just got out of a relationship with a narcissist and I didn’t know it during the relationship.
    We were having problems and decided we would be friends and build a stronger foundatiom being for ends first as we use to see eachother 18 years ago. He got progressively rude and ultimately disrespectful. I’ve attempted too cut contact only to accept his calls/texts again to be disrespected by him telling me all the lovenhe had for me was gone and he started communicating with another woman and was going on a date that night. He also cursed at me in that conversation and that was the last straw for me and I cursed him out. I feel bad for allowing him to provoke that response from me as I said some really bad things to him. I was fine with the relationship being over, I’m not jealous of the new woman, so why do I feel so bad now?

    1. Kim Saeed

      Do you mean you feel badly that you snapped or that you accepted his calls again – or both?

  7. Charlotte fontenot

    So many of these traits I see in my husband which left me six months ago an has had gf for prob 4 months, but curious as to why mine never has wanted to come back , no tears or flowers or anything like I read a lot of tbem do. Alot of hurtful words said to me these past months . I have been totally devastated hardly able to function, an he sajd he is happy.. whlle married he would go an buy me things an suprise me with flowers an be super sweet an giving at times , an then now he’s gone..Said didn’t want to be married but was quick to find old flame

  8. Mister

    Hi everyone, have been reading these and other pages for a while and thought I’d post.
    I had an affair with a friends wife who I think is a NPD (yes I did the wrong thing I know) but being likely NPD, its amazing how they hook you in and up until now I was proud of being loyal.

    Ordinarily I’m fairly resilient. I have a good career and she (the NPD) has a successful business. I’m educated and she isn’t – she tends to gravitate to guys with a “title” – journalist/airline pilot/lawyer etc. I’m one of the former. She has brought me to my knees and I try not to let her in on it and suffer in silence.

    I am self aware to know that I have some traits of NPD and I guess that challenged her at the start. I never beg for forgiveness but I go about my pain in silence, never wanting to give her the upper hand.

    She has done it before to mates of my now former friend (her husband). Had affairs.
    She did her best to destroy my wife and I’s relationship whilst maintaining the appearance of bliss with her own situation. She’d send her texts from payphones saying we were screwing each other and then deny it was her and say it was my wife making it up and looking for attention!

    In the end she came to my work cried many tears told me she was leaving and wanted to be with me. I told her the time was not right and I was not ready to leave (which she’d done to me previously).

    I have gone 3 and a bit months of no contact and I’m still extremely down about this whole experience. I have lightbulb moments reading things on here and other places and think “ahhh yeh I’m happy she is not around” – then I have times where I long for the good times we had, I want to cry that she is not around and I’m tempted to contact her, but I don’t. All the while she usually contacted me or played games to get me back but she has disappeared. To make matters worse we now live in the same suburb so inevitably we will run into each other. I’m not sure how I’ll react when I see her. She is 12 years older than me too and I cant believe I still love her. My wife is going through hell and has stuck by me and for that I feel terrible too.

    I harbour so much guilt. Anyway reading about them and these problems is the only way I know how to get through it. Thanks for listening but this woman has totally screwed with my life.

  9. mothererased

    I hope my memoir (which I am blogging here) will bring my mother some long awaited peace and also shed light on the devastation of Parent Alienation.

  10. mothererased

    My father bullied my mother right out of custody of me once their volatile marriage ended. This completely destroyed the rest of my mother’s life. My father does not show any remorse.

  11. Anonymous

    Dear Kim,

    Reading your article helped me to understand the nature of my mother who is a narc.
    I am really thankful to you.Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. Keep writing. 🙂

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thank you, Anon, for reading and sharing. I am so glad to know my articles have helped you. I hope they continue to do so going forward 🙂

  12. BB

    For the last 5+ years I have been living with a Narcissistic woman. When the first oddities arose, I really had no idea what narcissism was as a clinical definition. I had only heard the term used as “self love” which is a poor definition in my opinion. I thought she was just becoming abusive. She is a beautiful woman in her appearance and she can be very charming. She is well liked in the community. She enjoys being a minor local celebrity as she is a singer…and a very good one at that. The issue is that no matter what…she is never wrong…never apologizes for anything…ever, and believes that people are envious of her, or as she puts it…they “want to be her”. She demonizes, belittles, and devalues me, and has rarely been able to vocalize that she loves me, even as a response. When I ask her if she loves me she says yes…but I do not feel it from her. When asked “why” she loves me, she will point out one of my physical features and say “You have a nice…” whatever. The world revolves around her and is on her terms. I felt special when I met her. That this attractive singer was interested in me. I “pedestalized” her. Don’t get me wrong…I am not a perfect person and I have plenty of flaws…which I am reminded of constantly.

    Our issues unfortunately never get resolved and at this point I am on my way out of the relationship. I am extremely sad about it, because I feel that I love her, but I don’t know if that is possible. How can you love someone who doesn’t love you back? I guess I have just given up trying to fix something that I feel will never get fixed. Am I completely crazy to say I am going to miss her, or some of the better times with her? I see so many articles about this now that says basically to run as if my hair was on fire…so if that’s the “right” thing to do…why do I feel so awful about it?

    1. Kim Saeed

      BB, thank you for sharing. It sounds like leaving the relationship is the best thing for your mental health and well-being. The reason it hurts (in spite of knowing she’s bad for you) is because in addition to being in love, you have likely formed a trauma bond with her. This is a very common occurrence amongst targets of narcissistic abuse. Not only that, but we become psychologically and biochemically addicted to the twisted dynamic of the relationship. There are many elements involved, but just know you aren’t abnormal for feeling this way because it’s what we all experience.

      To answer your question, you really can’t be in a relationship with someone who doesn’t love you back. That would lead to your very destruction, of which it sounds like may have happened had you not made the decision to leave.

  13. Pingback: More Links To Information On Narcissism | Process of Elimination: Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  14. Miley

    Im 16 years married w 2 kids….i moved out 2 years ago 11/30….when i feel ready to divorce i fall back into fantasy thinking….i just cant accept he wont love me or spend time w me. He will w everyone else…He has not filed for divorce…i think he still thinks im going to come home…im finding more and more of God and Jesus and he is threatened by it….im not scared to b alone ive been alone for years…ive called myself a “married single mom” for years…y cant i just take the leap of faith and jump…i love him..im stuck and i really miss my house….im living in an apartment and i hate it…
    I think i just miss the normal..comfortable…that really wasnt..i had the power to move out…i cant find the power to divorce.

  15. Miley

    Thank you for the mention of having children….most narc books or websites dont mention no contact with kids. Makes it a lot more difficult…

  16. JC22

    Wow as I read these comments I am reliving the last 17 years. My ex and I would go to counseling and then come back where he would tell me that the therapist said I was doing XXX wrong and I needed to change. I was constantly walking on egg shells and could do no right unless he was the priority. I lived everyday trying to please a narc. I am glad I left the relationship but the issues persist. There is no co-parenting, he has convinced his current girlfriend that I was the problem in the marriage, and our son feels ignored by his dad. I try so hard to keep minimal contact but eventually you do have to speak when you have a child together. His narcissistic behavior is my trigger whether it is in an email, text or phone call. I am so tired and overwhelmed and this article reaffirms what I know but fall back into his web. Any support and hints on keeping this boundary would be appreciated.

    1. keri nicholls

      I am only a month into no contact and his lies and name trashing locally are escalating. It hurts tremendously. But, and I strongly recommend this, record everything. I have videos and photos. My laptop is on standby with webcam on and I press record every time he shows up to hurl more abuse over my wall. I record every message he leaves me. Start writing a list of every bad thing he ever did to you and your child, everything you have lost. Its cathartic and you’ll be surprised how long the list is. Every time you fell weak, watch the videos, read his foul notes, listen to a voice message. That is not to keep you hooked in or abused indirectly. When you look at it all from a distance, the sick behaviour is easier to see, the temptation to text, call or fall apart passes for a while. I have my list of hurts taped to my fridge and every time I cry and want to call and beg him to tell me “why”, or to see if he’s going to say sorry, I look at the list and tell myself it will all happen again if I pick up that phone. I’ve not mastered it yet, I slipped up twice and each time was screwed up again for days. Be kind to yourself. Sleep when you need to and keep telling yourself you are not a fish!!! Don’t let him reel you back in. Its also evidence against him. he cant lie his way out of a video. When others don’t believe you, show them. I have a video of him saying “why don’t you just kill yourself? Everyone will be so much happier without you. And anyway, who do you think is going to believe you?” Its priceless and everyone who has seen it, along with other videos of his abuse, has been gobsmacked. It has thwarted his attempt to isolate me completely and has taken away a huge chunk of his power. He now knows I am recording everything and he has backed off enormously. It will help you too in getting people to help with his contact with your child ( social services, child support teams, solicitors etc). If they don’t know whats really going on, they wont know what help you need to protect him. Engage in any kind of help you can for your son – child therapy, play groups, whatever. Your son needs healthy influences of normal behaviour. Acknowledge his pain and confusion but don’t let him live in it. Lots of positive reinforcement. (“I know that you hurt and its sad, and its very hard to understand, but I am here for you and we’re ok today arent we?” Keep him in the here and now so that he doesn’t dwell on it. Can you arrange supervised contact only?

  17. Jay

    When the Narc I was with discarded me, he asked was I okay hours after an argument we had via text message about him breaking up with me. Why would he ask me that in such a hurtful situation? Any insight on this?

    1. Kim Saeed

      It was a classic hoovering attempt to make sure they still had influence over you.

    2. Angela

      well, I am not a narcisst but I once broke up with somebody in an unintentional hurtfull way – LDR and via phone – and I tried to get back to him asking how he was doing, but not to hover but just to let him know that no matter how it ended I had loved him a lot and expressing how guilty and sorry I was for the way it ended. Sometimes feeling guilty people do unlogical things which make everything worse but it is not always bad intention.

  18. Surayya

    Sandra we ignore all the red flags, because when they first charm us we are enchanted with their spells, and fall head over heels with them. I saw lots of red flags but thought i was unnecessarily doubting him and he will change. Now I learned my lesson. A good friend of mine told me never get into a relationship thinking you can change your man. If he couldn’t change himself for himself, he will not change for you. And the fact that you get into a relationship knowing his weakness , is giving him the notion you are okay with his wrong behaviors. Boy, Sandra ,a huge lesson learned. Another friend of mine advised me the moment you feel a so as an UGH in your heart when you are about to do something DON’T DO IT ..listen to your instincts . And another lesson learned. I have been asked for dates but now I am wiser and the moment I feel “I am not attracted to him, or he talks weird, or he is an atheist!! I refuse to go out with them. I am in no hurry to find another man or even feel oh i need a life partner. I am enjoying my independence and freedom and just BEING ME

  19. Sandra

    Oh and I should have mentioned that one of his online pseudonyms is “PavlovsDog”. So appropriate. I should have known and not got involved in the first place once I saw that! Oh well, live and learn.

  20. Anonymous

    Regarding counseling…..my ex N & I went together a couple of times. During our first session he talked about how he thought he had met this great girl who was “the one” (love-bombing) only to find out over time that I had baggage that was causing all the problems in the relationship and he didn’t know how to help/fix me(devaluation). As he talked I began to cry – she looked at me and said “you don’t feel SAFE do you?” I said no. After I spoke, she told him that I wasn’t “broken” and didn’t need to be “fixed”. I felt like she saw right through him. After I left him a few months later, he started going back to her again for counseling “for himself”(probably just to keep me enmeshed & make himself look good to his family & friends because I chose not to go). Said he really enjoyed going and always felt better afterward(attention supply). Funny thing is after their sessions he would tell me about ALL the things she said was wrong with ME but never anything she said about him. He just said they were talking about some of his fears and that it was none of my business but apparently he had become an expert on MY problems while going to counseling “for himself”. He told me I should check into BPD (borderline personality disorder) because that’s what she said I have. I know enough about N’s projecting and triangulation techniques to know that’s probably what she said about HIM as she began the process of uncovering his issues. He kept asking me to go with him(probably to keep me enmeshed/triangulated since he was losing control over me) and even though I was onto him at that point, I agreed to go. Basically I just wanted to hear her evaluation of him at that point and ask if she had diagnosed me as BPD bc I didn’t believe him. That’s when he said to me “Now don’t go in there and try to outsmart the therapist and don’t tell her everything I’ve told you”. That told me everything I needed to know!!!! Obviously that’s what he had been doing and in his mind he was “outsmarting” her to manipulate/control her and use her as a tool against me. So twisted!

    P.S. He also told me he & his ex-wife had gone to counseling and she had run out of a session in tears saying “You aren’t worth it”….honestly, I couldn’t agree more!

    Couple of other telling things his ex’s and I have ALL said to him:
    – You think you are just sooo perfect don’t you?! (he told me flat out that he feels he is superior to the majority of the general population)
    – Nothing will EVER be enough for you!

    1. Sandra

      Much of this resonates with me. Although we did not attend counselling, he has a degree in psychology which he seemed to believe gave him some superior knowledge of “the human condition”. It certainly gave him no insight into his own disordered thinking and behaviour. However, he regularly commented on mine. It started as small asides but over time these escalated. At one point he said in an email after he had discarded me (again) that “your past abuse poses a very real threat to our present happiness” and “you are narcissistic, maniupulative, emotionally and psychologically abusive”. During one particularly nasty devaluing session he supported his various negative accusations by saying “If a therapist was to hear me tell them about what you do, they would certainly say it is abusive.” And so on. As you note, it is interesting and clarifying to reflect on what they have reported others saying about them. In my case, he said that his ex-wife had said that he had “ruined [their] lives” and had at various time “acted as if I was bullying her”. Your comment about being enough has such resonance for me. One of the last text messages I sent after he discarded me, done by text message, was to say that I was sorry I didn’t seem to be enough for him. His reply, “You’re right. You’re not enough”. They are cruel. They don’t change.

      1. Surayya

        Sandra, have you ever heard this quote ? ” A carpenter door is always broken?” same with your therapist ex narcissist.

      2. Anonymous

        Oh great, that makes him even more dangerous! You can bet whatever he says you are is exactly what he is and whatever he accuses you of is what he’s guilty of. They are experts at cruelly picking others apart and tearing them down. I guess misery loves company. I often felt like he was trying to bully me into submission(like yours’ ex wife said)…which I unfortunately allowed for a while. So unlike me bc typically I am very strong-willed & independent but I had really fallen hard for him(or his mask I should say) and wanted to make it work. I also made the mistake of opening myself up fully to him about some familial issues from my past and he used that vulnerability against me constantly. He really had me believing for a while that I was extremely damaged and caused of all our problems even though the suppressed, sane side of me kept saying no you aren’t – HE is! He told me I wasn’t good enough for him when in truth it was the opposite. My friends made sure that I didn’t buy into that. Rest assured that you ARE enough for a healthy person!!!! These Ns are no more than emotional vampires devoid of true emotion who suck the lifeblood out of you to feed their own insecurities.

      3. Sandra

        It is reassuring to read that others have similar experiences though I am sorry you went through what you did. Thank you for your affirming comments. It is difficult to feel “whole” and “enough” when you have been so aggressively and passive aggressively dismantled over a period of time especially if, in my case and others too I’m sure, past abuse eg in childhood, is used to support the view that you are “damaged”. Lying and projection are indeed two of their “talents”.

    2. Surayya

      Anonymous I am sure his counselor nothing of that sort about you. Remember hes a narcissist , which means , lying is his best trait!!!

      1. Anonymous

        Thank you for that! I’m sure he was just projecting her evaluation of him. After all, projecting is their second favorite pastime after lying! 😉

  21. Pingback: A checklist of narcissistic douche-canoe behaviors | Process of Elimination

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  23. Surayya

    you know Kim I changed my mind, I will not sign off your blogs I just read more into the cancer post . oh my god, unbelievable. Oh no i need to come back to visit your site, for more input . This way I can feel proud of myself I DUMPED HIM..and remind myself when i end up down feeling low.wow.you do great research. I am so grateful that because of your experience you volunteered to come out here and create a blog ,relating to your experience . We who went through abuse by MN. know we are not alone, and there is help. and we get advice on what to do , for those who are still in relationship with the N.

  24. Surayya

    Thank you for the article Kim. oh i am already there with the back ache and physical ailments. Sad is it not Kim, their game becomes our pain /illness /cancer and they walk free!!!! wow ..okay thank you for this article, I guess I have to switch him off as in NOW so as not to even be stressed about him and the pain he caused..so sad so sad..we cry, they laugh, we stress, they merry, we become ill, they remain healthy with their constant supply of supplies. unbelievable how they get away with it. I know for sure my ailments are all related to his abuse. And yes he had told me before i cut him off, he already found someone like me and him, our religion our culture but she isn’t at all like me( he mean’t she does not question his whereabouts she blindly believes his words and worships him). I feel sorry for her but who knows she will turn around and give him the shock of his life . but i have happily moved on and i don’t think of him much at all. I plan out my day and follow my schedules. I have my moments, cry it out and wipe my tears and smile away. I cry not because I think of him or miss him or even love ( bleckh ) him. but rather I feel so drained out . I feel he sucked all my strength away.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Surayya, there are many elements to healing, but I typically recommend beginning with recovery from codependency and inner child healing.

  25. Surayya

    wohhhhh hold on a second, Kim the article states .lead to illness such as cancer.. Cancer??how does one get cancer from abuse?

    1. Yasmin

      Surayya. I got diagnosed with cancer during a longterm relationship with a narcissist. He had systematically broken me down so much. my immune system was wrecked with the emotional pain. It took my cancer diagnosis to make me leave. Even during my treatment his abuse was evil, He told me he wished for me the worst in all things and that the cancer would come back and I would die. When I told him to go, he said without him I would be dead within 5 years. I told him with him I would be dead in five years. Don’t underestimate the impact on your physical health. Its real.

  26. When I saw the title I smiled, kinda chuckled, he’s never sorry, but he’s always “changed from the man I married, I just don’t know him anymore” Lol. Somehow, I highly doubt it!

  27. Sandra

    I needed to read this today. Thank you. I’m fresh to no contact and finding it challenging to not contact him/cyberpeak. These posts help me to stay strong. Knowledge is power. Thank you.

    1. Kim Saeed

      I’m very glad to know my article helped you to not break No Contact. I know the urge is strong, but breaking NC only results in more trauma and pain in the end. Sending wishes for your continued success.

      1. Surayya

        Kim I used to have the urge to walk into this workplace, and scold him for his behavior in front of all , even his clients. but i hesitated because I would end up looking wacko”, and it will prove his words right “,she is the crazy one”. But I will say this there were days I d have the urge to text him nasty and I would , I would not stop and guess what after doing it . next day my aches disappear!! seriously no kidding. Is there a connection.?

  28. bethbyrnes

    My immediate answer when reading the title of this post in my reader was “No!!”. These people are sociopaths. We need to stop expecting them to react as normal, healthy individuals would, even those of us who are mildly neurotic (very common). They simply don’t have that kind of affect. We need only to protect and distance ourselves from them. The way we would a stalker or serial rapist. I hate to be severe but those are the facts. Your answer nailed it, as usual, Kim. Great post, again, and again …

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thank you for your insightful comment, Beth. Indeed, we need to avoid them as we would any common predator…and further acknowledge that giving them the benefit of the doubt in any situation only results in our own destruction.

      You weren’t being severe, just factual (as you said).

      Thank you for dropping by. It’s always a pleasure to hear from you <3

  29. Surayya

    well i have reached stage where i don’t care anymore about his feelings let alone is he feeling guilty remorseful, will he change? I have given up on that. I have reached stage where I am almost there to not knowing of his existence. that is why I will sign off from this blog too, since I have reached that stage , reading all the posts about narcissist and their behaviors only brings back bad memories. this shows I have recovered .thank god. now i can breathe.

    1. Kim Saeed

      That’s wonderful, Sarayya. I’m so glad to know you are moving on to the next stage of healing 🙂

  30. I finally stopped going to counseling with him for the reasons you mentioned above. I can relate to everything you have said here.

  31. Kim,
    I see more and more with every post you share with us. Thank you. It strengths my validation in going No Contact.

    1. Kim Saeed

      🙂 Thank you. Your encouragement has made my day!

  32. I don’t think they can feel anything unless it is for themselves. Narcissistic people feel pain and hurt when they are hurt, but don’t care what they do to others. My ex-husband and father of my children is narcissistic and in prison. He shows no care or remorse for assaulting our daughter at 4 months old in 2010 while I was at work and as a result left her severely brain damaged. All him and his family cared about was themselves. I have thought in the past of all the things I wanted to say to my ex. Like why? scream and yell at him and make him feel the pain he has caused us but it is no use. It’s a waste of time and words.

    1. Jules

      I Am going through this as of now I was a well established and loving person somehow I allowed my husband and his hidden traits to just about destroy me I had enough on him factuall that I could have gone to his admiral and made his entire existence stop

      It amazes me how people near to you just say get over it

      This takes time give me credit that I have the strength to leave give me credit that I am accepting that 18 years of my life was a lie except for my son

      Forgive me for being a little upset especially when my husband cut off my medical for a brain injury and now I get to live neurological damage like losing complete control of any motor skills not remembering what I was going to say because I was allowed financial to get the medical attention

      Forgive me for being able to move on when I learned my husband has had about 20 affairs and Denys each of them then as a captain in the navy thinks it is okay to go spend 7 days at a retreat in California which prides itself on a completely nude environment where people flaunt intercourse and interaction of lust but the husband comes back and tried to uphold that he is a Christian and did nothing wrong

      Can I run him over with a truck I should have just ended his career and life

      But I am supposed to be grateful I escaped

      How about I am l not grateful for being cheated on and somehow it was my fault etc etc

      Don’t think walking away is going to be easy in any way but I would encourage to inform your children of this and let them formulate their own opinion

      Most people tell me not to say anything bad about his dad but I have seen the stats on how many kids end of as this monster nope not giving into that that is a soul from God and not this levered mans game piece

  33. loralei01

    My therapist said something funny and very to the point on the crocodile tears. I said, he cries a lot, so I assume, he is sensitive. She said, pay attention the times he has cried, has it ever been for someone else? I thought about it, and no, it is always, crying over all of his pain from his horrible childhood, drug problems, alcohol problems, etc. Then, he will pull out tears and self harming when I don’t respond the way he wants, very much a “tantrum”. I have been NC for 2 months, in therapy, and he has found a new supply. I hope he just disappears!

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