Why Narcissistic Abuse is so damaging

Why Narcissistic Abuse is so Damaging

Why does narcissistic abuse often affect us so differently than other traumatic events?

It goes without saying that all traumatic events are deeply impactful and life-altering.  They knock us into an emotional tailspin, threatening our sense of security about life, and they often force us to make serious changes in the way we live. 

Consider muggings, car accidents, and earthquakes.  A mugging happens because someone needs money and they think you have it.   Car accidents (where you are not at fault), like natural disasters, are random, outwardly meaningless events that can be just as devastating as muggings, if not more so, because they may result in permanent physical injuries or the destruction of your most cherished property. 

Any of these three events, obviously, can cause permanent emotional scarring, but they are all in a different category than narcissistic abuse.  Narcissistic abuse FEELS different.  It has its damaging effects on a different psychological level.  It is not just an emotional injury, it is a spiritual injury.

The main reasons for this are that narcissistic abuse is deliberately inflicted by someone you love and it targets you for who you are, the very ESSENCE of you.  It is a long-term, calculated campaign to make you feel unworthy and despise yourself, and to have you believe other people view you in the same light.

A mugging is based on any person who walks by who has a purse or wallet. Car crashes happen because someone wasn’t paying attention, a tire blows out, or because of inclement weather.  And earthquakes are just random natural events.  Muggings, car crashes, and earthquakes can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime…but they have nothing to do with the sort of person you are.

Narcissistic abuse, on the other hand, is calculated to focus like a laser beam on just this dimension of your psyche.  The narcissistic abuser wants you to believe that no one cares about you, and that no one should care about you, because you, as a person, are not loveable, have no redeeming qualities, and are a waste of space and time. 

The abuser learns your hopes, dreams, fears, painful memories…and turns them all against you in order to weaken your spirit and make it more compliant with the abuser’s wishes.  The narcissistic abuser takes advantage of your forgiving personality and repeatedly exploits your fear of abandonment in order to make you more dependent on them and more likely to stay attached to them—despite (or rather, paradoxically, because of) the misery you find yourself in.

Traumatic events and natural disasters may change our physical capacities, our way of life, and our outlook for the foreseeable future, but in many cases, they can also instill a renewed motivation for life, love, and healthy relationships.  They can create challenges and hardships for us, but, because they do not devastate our feelings of self-worth, they do not crush our spirit. 

Narcissistic abuse, in contrast, is soul-crushing.  That is why the trauma feels so different and also why it is so much more difficult to overcome.  We are left feeling so utterly helpless and hopeless in our spirit.  We feel we lack the spiritual strength to stand up for ourselves and escape our misery, so we instead keep digging ourselves into a deeper spiritual hole.

The Bigger Picture

That is how narcissistic abuse works, why it is so debilitating, and why it feels different than other forms of emotional trauma.  And these are the reasons why I don’t believe people should try to make things work with a narcissist, regardless of whether they’re a lover, spouse, sibling, parent, co-worker, or friend.  The only hope for a victim of narcissistic abuse is to make a clean split from the source of the spiritual injury.

And this why I become outraged every time I see a licensed counselor or psychology PhD touting the possibility of a repaired relationship with a narcissist.  Such empty promises serve only to exacerbate the narcissism epidemic we’re experiencing right now, as well as the emotional suffering experienced by targets of this kind of abuse—to say nothing of the tragic indirect effects narcissistic abuse has on the victims’ families and the wider community.

And these are also the reasons why I do not encourage sympathizing with narcissists, or viewing them more like helpless, wounded individuals rather than the cruel and sadistic tormentors they really are.  They may have been wounded as children and that’s unfortunate, for sure.  But those children are long gone, leaving only an adult with an underdeveloped level of emotional maturity, non-existent emotional intelligence, and deficient attachment capabilities.   What’s left in that child’s place is merely a scheming manipulator who doesn’t give a care about anyone except themselves. 

Instead of feeling sorry for a lost child who has grown into an adult who’s hell-bent on destruction and chaos at all costs, we should instead focus on the children we have in our families, our schools, and our societies.  We should focus on removing our own children from toxic environments, when possible, so they have a chance at healing and developing a healthy sense of self.  We should focus on the children we have now so we can heal generational dysfunction instead of perpetuating it.

We shouldn’t forget about the past, because it’s often the past that keeps us from repeating mistakes and helps us stay motivated to keep moving forward…but we should stop counting on the “maybes” the “what ifs”, and the vain hope that narcissists might change.  Instead, we must try to work on healing the damage they’ve done to our spirits and ending the chaos that they’ve brought into our lives so that future generations won’t have to learn, as we have had to learn, why narcissistic abuse feels so different than other forms of trauma. 

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me…  Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.” — Shel Silverstein

Copyright 2018 Kim Saeed 


  1. Narcissistic Abuse is damaging, very damaging to your core of your own being. Especially from someone you thought loved you. But what gets me is when they appear like a ghost trying to get back in your life. With some Narc in my life, I had to go no contact in order to get me back. Some no contact for a year, others over two years and now they are appearing like ghost. Just texting to see if I would respond or probably wondering if they can creep there way back into my life like before. NO, I have came to far to turn back now. They all (narc) has taught me a lesson that I had to learn about myself and especially about them. But the whole question is ” why do they come back after years knowing they were trying to destroy you”? Are they trying to get in touch to see if you are still destroy because of them. Well for me there masks have fallen off and I see them now.

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  3. Every time I read an article about this type of abuse, it reaffirms what I always knew to be an eventual fact: my younger sibling would be severely affected by our parent’s passing, and I would catch the brunt of his long held wrath of fear and jealousy. Now there is a name for it; now I know what to do.

  4. Brenda Barton

    HELP. After 6 yrs of degrading belittling embarrassing, disrespectful, toiletries, publicly humiliating, triangulation narcissistic abuse I couldn’t fight back, I discarded stuff said nothing knowing he would kill me, so stuffed it all and now I’ve become the perpetrator he always was but made me out to be whole he played victim. Now I’ve began abusing my pets with a uncontrollable rage problem please somebody HELP me

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Brenda,

      You may want to look into adopting your pets out to a safer environment and then get yourself into professional therapy. Your situation is beyond the scope of what anyone can help you with on this particular platform. If you fear for your life, it would also be a good idea to visit your local domestic violence center so they can help you with an escape plan.


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  6. Yoki

    A victim of narcissistic abuse. Also suffering from PTSD.

  7. Pingback: The Only Guaranteed "One Crazy Trick" for Dealing with a Narcissist - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed

  8. Shakira Jackson

    This information is very helpful wondering will I’ll heal dont repeat this again

  9. john Elshant

    Thanks liz— I read all of that to my friend a girl friend. She is still being tortured mentally by her X. She has him working for her threw out the week . Sometimes I’m right there when he starts in on her . And it gets pretty bad. I want to say something to the asshole but she won’t let me. She says it will make her life worst. The way I see it is she wants him there as a laborer. She always talks about getting rid of him but it’s been almost two years now. So this is the last time I try to help her. It’s her life she has all the details that I got from you so the ball is now in her court. Thanks Liz

  10. elizabeth

    without your site I would have gone under, you understand so well. xx

  11. Everything you said is spot on! I was in two different marriages with narcissists and after the most horendous of divorces only to be followed by a second divorce, I started doing research to understand what had happened to me. I had been married to two different narcissist. One a religious covert malignant narcissist and the second an overt malignant narcissist. Both of those men attacked me at my spiritual core and tried to utterly destroy me in any way they could get away with. If you find yourself involved with a narcissist, go NO CONTACT immediately. It’ll bless your life!

    1. Darlene

      Dear SLH, I’m right behind you, unfortunately….so sad to be going through this with #2 as well. But, I need to get to the point of NO CONTACT!!!

  12. Anonymous

    That was a great article. Good solid explanation of the core of the abuse. Thank you

  13. Shirley Akpelu

    Your blog is spot on once again Kim.
    Keep up the great work my friend.
    Not many actually know the deal about narcissism. You get it. You have experienced it. You help others because you have integrity.

  14. Isabel Olgado

    I am deeply sorry for the extent if your trauma and rhe effects to your som and other relationships. All I an say, there is real love out there and I hope we will both be blessed to one day find it ?

  15. Isabel

    It is the love within yourself you need to focus on.I can relate to the “ fake” aspect” of the Narcisstic abuse pattern but it shouldn’t be internalized as such, they are just incapable of otherwise. This is a calling to love yourself more. In all the ways we loved them more than ourselves- this time s not their fault but ours to deeply look at.

  16. Dr. Jai

    I echo your thoughts and feelings. After 15yrs. Of fake love I find it a struggle trying to get through each day.
    And as time marches on I am less inclined to keep in step with it.
    I grow weaker with each breath.

  17. Eva

    Hi, I just read this and much of it rings true. I have a couple of concerns though. I was involved with a person through a family connection that I now realize is a Narcissist and who I finally was able to break from, now coping with moving past all that. I believe they are labeling me as a narcissist and I am concerned after hearing the description that I have unhealed emotional issues from childhood, yet I don’t use or hurt people intentionally. I have been on the receiving end of narcissistic abuse and resolved to not behave that way as I see the pain it causes. Is the main characteristic of NPD a disregard for and deliberate manipulation and destruction of people? Otherwise, how do people who are emotionally underdeveloped and lacking relational skills (me, from being raised in very dysfunctional circumstances) differ from narcissists? It is frightening to me to think that I might in any way be similar to that!

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Eva, there is one thing that separates us from them…empathy. We may be wounded, but we still have empathy. They don’t. This is why they can mistreat and use people as if they were sitting and eating a cheeseburger…

    2. Isabel

      Hi Eva,
      If your Narcissist is a family connection and now you believe people ate labellibg you a Barcissit , that is because there us a smear campaign going on. Thats a very typical move fir a Narcissit to attempt to hurt you by projecting his own poir behaviour in to you and laking ithers believe that what he does, you actually did. Anyone who knows and cares about the empathic pzrson you ate would know bettzr, but sonce the narcissit typically has everyone fooled as to who they ate- the blame has lijely been shifted on you. I think that has to be the mos painful betrayal of all the crap they are capable of because this way they are messing with changing peoples perceptions of who you are. I hope you find a way to navigate through this carefully and avoid further hurt❤️?

  18. Mark S

    I was married to one for 26 years. She made the divorce a very ugly, very expensive, multi-year process. She is able to fly under the radar at work and in public, due to her extraordinary ability to lie and present her “sweet little person” public face. Always new something was wrong, but wasn’t until I learned what she truly is that I finally found the inner strength to leave. Only the close family knows her “real face”. She tried to destroy every relationship I had, and unfortunately succeeded at destroying most of them including my best friend from childhood. Even tried to destroy the professional relationships with my doctor and dentist! I could write a book on all the illegal and immoral crap she pulled. It’s taken my family several years to come to grips with the reality of who I married. Like most abused partners, I supported the public view of our “perfect” marriage and relationship…. to the point no one believed me when I finally began telling the truth what really went on in our private life. And don’t even get me started on how the court system has zero clue on this personality disorder, especially when the female is the disordered one.

    My son who is now 21 and living on his own while attending college, is now starting to realize the extent of the lies that she has filled him with. It took several very long and lonely years to get our relationship back to anything close to normal. He didn’t speak to me for over two years. Was so filled with rage and hatred due to her lies, it nearly broke my heart. Now he is finally able to start healing too. I do feel really sorry for her mother, who is a virtual slave to her and her sister, and is forced to endure their abuse with no one to protect her any longer.

    It’s been three years now since I’ve left and gone no-contact. I’ve never been happier and more relaxed. I still have lingering issues and know I’ve been damaged by the years living with her abuse, but at least I am happy and on the road to healing.

    1. Lori

      Oh, boy, can I relate. The creature I was married to for over 10 years nearly broke me in every way. When he found out I was on to him, that’s when the “fun” began. My God, don’t anyone make the mistake I made and tell someone you think they have NPD. I was so naive and it cost me big time. I thought he loved me so much that if he just knew what was wrong with him, he could “fix” it. I’m here to tell you, never, ever, ever, ever, ever under any circumstances tell a narcissist they are a narcissist. You are signing your own death warrant. I learned the hard way what these cold-blooded reptiles are capable of and it’s like nothing anyone who hasn’t experienced it could ever imagine. The smear and gaslighting campaigns waged against me by the thing and his equally repulsive offspring in my very own home was like the movie Sleeping with the Enemy. One thing is for sure, though, you will find out who really cares about you. I also found out during this time that my parents were both severely disordered and my younger brother is also a narcissistic sociopath. The decimation they cause cannot be described. If I had a say, I think all of them should be put in the most dreary of solitary confinement with their “wonderful, fabulous” selves, no TV, no radio, no music, no human contact, only a Bible and picture of themselves, for life. And no, I couldn’t care less that they were abused as children. I was severely abused, too, and I would never even think of doing to another human what they do.
      It’s sad for the child they once were, but they choose to be this way. I had no idea evil could seem this ordinary.

  19. I have left the Narc. numerous times and I am back by Love Bombing and almost considering suicide.

    When I am with her I feel so stressed. Every sentence is an argument and I am to blame for everything. I get confused on what we are even talking about half the time. I don’t even want to speak because it turns out to be a blown out conversation battle. She yells at me for small things around the house. Examples: “You left the door unlocked!” “You left the light on!” “You left the toilet seat up!” You left another water bottle on the night stand!” “Your truck smells!” “You drive crazy!”…..

  20. Ian

    Please continue to send and publish the articles Kim , I suffered at the hands of a female Narsasisst , she gone now but not before trying to destroy my life because I exposed her , the abuse I suffered at her hands , the constant lies she told , they say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned , my Narsasisstic Ex , destroys lives and leave destruction in her wake before she moves onto her next victim , fully support by her toxic family and cowardly father , who knew the truth but kept silent and allowed it to happen .

    1. Kevin

      Yeah, the female narcissists are truly real pieces of work. They lie about just EVERYTHING. There’s always an ulterior motive to everything they do and say, so they can execute their underhanded and malicious schemes. Anything they say needs to noted and then fact-checked because it’s highly likely it’s a lie or said slyly out of context in order to confuse and deceive you. They have very nasty dispositions. They hate passionately the truth, so when confronted with it they get bent of of shape. Responsibility for their devious behavior is something they cannot accept and own. They have neither integrity nor scruples, so they are quite untrustworthy.

  21. Thank you so very much for your words. Most days I feel so broken. I just found out her bought her a car and is using my benefits to purchase Cialis… Like I said He’s 30 years older than her. She’s 31 he’s 61. And it’s been one year and 4 months since he let me for her. It’s going to be two summers , and every summer if get into a depression loneliness.. I cry and I feel like I will go insane.. I thought they would breakup only because he’s old and she not.. I know that’s my hope so he will feels my pain and hurt. Thanks for listening .

    1. elizabeth owen

      Believe me it will not last and I doubt she is as happy as you think, they always repeat their behaviour, that you can be assured of that. I have been there too

  22. Paul mcgrath

    Your description of the affects of narcissim is so accurate and helped me greatly. Thank you kindly. Paul

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thank you for stopping by, Paul. I’m glad to know you feel validated.



  23. Jeanne

    It’s been a couple months since I walked way after a 12 year relationship with him. I’m having so many emotions now. The main one is this strange anxiety every day. I finally figured out what it is and it’s that I’m not pissed off everyday anymore. I don’t wake up mad or sad or confounded.

    1. elizabeth

      I too find the lack of anxiety hard to come to terms with after 24 years.

  24. Fantastic Kim. Being able to articulate and acknowledgement is the first major step to healing. That which is not acknowledged cannot be healed.You help make my thots clear. How can i heal without first identifying what is going on. ‘Be not ignorant of evil.’

  25. Brenni Chase

    Is it typical for the child of a covert narcissist to idolize their toxic parent? I always felt like my mum & I had a strong bond and it wasn’t until during my 20s that I began to see her in a different light. I’m 34yo now and it’s gotten to the point where I find being in her company unbearable. I can’t stand how superficial the whole thing seems; certainly the version of myself that I share when she’s around could be likened to the empty shell of my former ‘mother pleasing’ character. I do this because I strongly dislike conflict of any kind and because my kids seem to view her through rose coloured glasses & as much as that concerns me, I do not want to inadvertently become the wedge between their relationship with her thanks to her skilled manipulation. Before I even knew about covert narcissism and no contact being a thing, I told my mother I wanted time without her calls & unexpected drop ins, but it wasn’t long before she just had to drop by because she had a few things for the boys….. I can see how immense the no contact mountain is. Besides her company being unbearable it’s the unapproving tone of her voice that I no longer wish to torment myself with. It’s the guilt tripping and obligation games. It’s her judgemental attitude toward anyone she thinks of as less – I have always despised the way in which she’d talk about poor families from schools she taught at (NOT that we had money, we were just better actors), only recently did she spew a big judgemental attack to me over the phone on overweight people she’d seen lining up at a fast food joint. Such an unevolved bitch. I’m also sick & tired of her insistence on showering my children with unnecessary gifts and unneeded clothes, they love it tho, which I know is why she continues to do it. She has nothing of substance to offer. She has worked hard to contaminate my relationship with my partner and hasn’t succeeded. I worry that because she’s lost her grip on me & because it’s obvious that my relationship with my partner isn’t within her web of control either that she’s planting seeds in our children’s minds. I particularly worry about what evilness she is willing to perpetrate regarding our decision to homeschool (given she was a loyal education dept employee her entire career) & also regarding my partner, the boys dad. I’m sure she makes up stories about him and purely because he’s everything she isn’t. I’ve only just discovered covert narcissism but my research seems to be confirming suspicions I’ve had for some time. 🙁 Silent treatment was her best weapon and I HATED not knowing what the hell her issue was. Walking on eggshells for weeks at a time. The last sleepover my kids had at her place they mentioned her silent treatment but I didn’t twig until now. -“We didn’t know why” they said…. Enough is enough I think. Tho I feel weak and incapable of actually achieving no contact so wishes of courage and conviction would be lovely.

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  27. Jessica Lyn Beck (koski)

    I Had no idea what a Narcissist was or had even heard about Narcissism really until I got into a relationship with one for a little over two years. And the crazy thing is , he was the first person I had ever heard say that word , “narcissist”. He in fact referred to so many other people like his ex-wife as being a narcissist. He would accuse these people of being as such and doing the things that he was ,in fact , doing himself. Towards the end of our relationship I realized that all of the things that he had been accusing me of doing he in fact was also doing himself. Being involved with a narcissist is very traumatizing , it’s very confusing and painful and it took me doing a lot of research and journaling and counseling to realize what I had just gone through and that it was not my fault and that I could not have changed anything or prevented the outcome of the way things went because the narcissist was in control of the whole situation. I just had no clue what what was going on. Now that I am educated on narcissism I have come to find that there are many narcissist out there and they truly are evil walking around in human form. And it is a bit hurtful that none of my friends or family members understand what I went through or will even take the time to get educated because it’s not like any other break up. It’s not just another every day break up,it’s a horrible thing to have to pick your stuff up from and put the pieces back together. And while I was beginning to heal the narcissist just simply walked away as if nothing had happened and sought out his next victim. Actually, he was seeking his next victim while we were still together because they put that plan in motion way ahead of time

  28. Deborah

    I was married to one for32 years!
    I still don’t understand how they suposibally love you and consciously hurt you?
    OK so my X is not blood but my own son????

  29. Anonymous

    Thank you so much for this article. I’ve been trying to find a way in my head to explain this to people without sounding like I feel sorry for myself. It IS a completely different type of trauma but seems to hurt worse than something you can’t control. Especially when it’s someone that raised you since you were 4….I didn’t even realized I was being brainwashed. I can’t believe I thought my stepdad actually cared for me for 20 years. It crushes your soul. It’s been 3 years since no contact and my world is still unbalanced.

  30. Maryan

    I’v been with a narc for 2 yrs now but I have done ever thing possible to kick him out but seems impossible.

    I have Even tried to date other men but failed I keep calling him and the abuse escalates,am confused and lost my ambtion,health although not physycall but physocologycal I have progressed a horrible temper ..and I have also sacrificed namless important aspects and also dear loved ones that are in a crucial time og their lives and needs me to be there but sad enough I have lost myself in something thats totaly worthless and not even worry my time thanks for help hope i can get any advice

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Maryan,

      I’m sorry to learn of your struggles. It may be necessary to get an attorney involved to see how you can make him leave your home. This has been the case with many clients I’ve worked with. It’s no fun, but it works.

      There isn’t really any brief advice I can offer which will help you with your situation. The truth is, these situations are complex and healing from narcissistic abuse is multi-layered. If you haven’t joined us in The Essential No Contact Bootcamp, that would be a good start.

      Wishing you the best,

      Kim XoXo

  31. Ariel

    Its sad these people exist. 13 years of my life wasted on a dead inside person no emotions so detached laughed when I said I can’t so this anymore. Its over I have a lot of healing to do but no longer will I pour into a cup that has a hole???

  32. Gloria V

    Hi. I’m in desperate need of help. How do I deal with a narccicist who I have a child with. We are no longer living together but he refuses to accept that we’re done. He has my son who is 3 and refuses to let me see him. He says is because of how i treat him and because of how i feel about him. I feel I’m going insane with all the arguments and feel so hopeless and alone. Sometimes i just want to give up completely on everything. My daughter, who is not his, keeps me going. But at times is too hard. Can’t really talk to anyone because I feel like i will be judge as being stupid and dumb. Sometimes im willing to go back and just accept that I’m stuck as long as I can be with my son.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Gloria,

      It sounds like you need to get an attorney involved and get a temporary custody order in place. When there are children involved, you can’t leave these things to chance.

  33. M

    It’s been one year since I made a clean break from him and made it impossible for him to contact me. I tried twice before but missed him so much that I went back. This has been the longest break and although I miss him I have no intention of ever going back. There are still days when I wake up with that soul crushing sadness. It will take time but I know I will get over it. In fact I’m already better than I was a year ago. For those who are struggling – like me – hang in there
    It’s hard to believe but it will get better. Just stay away from these heartless and cruel people.

    1. Michrle

      I totally relate to your post! I am so thankful you posted this. It is good to know I’m not alone. Stay strong and stay no contact ?

  34. Miriam

    This was a god article for me to have come across. I married my husband in 2012 and oh boy he left after 6 months and we had lived together a year and dated (not closely tho ) since 2010… He left me for a young 19 teen year old the age of his children! She called police on me and caused so much trouble and he blamed me! So I paid for mostly everything and all he did was use me ( I see now) after 3 years I allowed him, to come back (Why??)All he did was call me stupid and slow and tell me how to do everything down to running water! well 2016 nov he cam back and since then he has left me about 5 to 6 times and of sick of it, Sick of being stupid!No moreim gone…..

  35. Caron

    I’ve just gone through a discard with my husband of 7 months. He is the first sociopath I’ve been with, and I didn’t see it coming. It is hard to imagine that all of that wonderfulness was faked. But he did the same thing to me in the same way that he did to his first wife. I’m sure it won’t be long before he brings his new source around me, like he brought me around his ex. I am better off with it ending now before I have to pay him alimony because he can’t maintain employment. He hit me, he verbally abused me, he tried to cheat, but I think I was too watchful and prevented it. I doggedly tried to hold us together. It wasn’t fake for me. I hope someday he is saved, and I hope I am nowhere near him ever again in my life. Meanwhile, I get to choose carefully the next guy, and make his life amazing, because all that wonderfulness I had with the narc was actually because of me.

  36. Valerie

    This article…which I have read more times than I can count in the past week has given me so much confidence and strength. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for writing this.

    1. Kim Saeed

      You’re very welcome, Valerie. Glad to know it’s helped you.

      Kim XoXo

  37. Lori

    Hi Kim,
    After 12 years with an N- I finally left for good because I thought I might actually die from the pain his latest discard has caused. Two weeks ago today, I picked myself up from a sobbing heap on the floor and just felt that I had really had enough. I’m having some dark days for sure but your blog is a lifeline. Thank you

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Lori, I’m sorry for what you’ve endured…but the good news is, it sounds like you’ve reached your choice point and are taking the opportunity to make extraordinary choices in order to change where you are headed.

      Thank you for your kind praise regarding my blog. Wishing you all the best.

      Kim XoXo

  38. Anonymous

    This book is so on point it’s not funny.
    My marital life story before a psychologist saved .Enjoy. Said my children will be just like him had I remained in the marriage. That gave me strength to break away.
    I’m SO happy. He became desperate & faked a suicide. Still I never went back.
    Never regretted.
    Told me once, I couldn’t make it on my own.
    It’s been 21 years.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Anon, your therapist was right and I am very glad to know you got out.

      Kudos on making it on your own for so long! XoXo


  39. Lis

    I was in a relationship with a narcissist for 26 years. After the divorce, I went no contact for good. He immediately moved on with a new supply and seems to be having an ideal life, while I’m left to heal from the devastation. It’s been two years and I’m still feeling the affects of the whole thing. I just want to get past it so badly and sometimes I feel like I’m almost there then the insecurities creep back in and I’m back to square one. I wish I could just disappear sometimes.

    1. Kim Saeed

      I’m sorry you’re having a hard time, Lis. What kind of healing programs have you joined? Have you sought any help?


  40. Anoymous

    Been married 29 years. Finally separated for one year. Mind games have begun. Never before was I nothing but a wife, mother, maid and put myself through college while working and raising two kids. Nothing has ever been enough. Always doing what I was suppose to. One kid went off to college, graduated, other one is there currently. I’m pretty much alone, don’t trust anyone, I’d rather be alone than with people. This has happened to me over the years believing I had major faults and people saw all them in me. According to my ex husband. I’m in my 50’s and feel old and my life is over. My kids have always been my world, and now they have their lives. Which I’m very happy for. Since my separation, my ex husband treats me as if I’m the best thing since sliced bread. Keeps my head in a constant state of confusion. In a few weeks I’ll be signing divorce papers, so I guess he continues to think I’m going back. I’ve even told him im never going back to the mental and physical abuse, but he want believe it. Where do I go from here? Thanks.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Anon,

      The best advice I can give you is to stop having any communications with him. This will allow you to become congruent with your decision to move on and it will also help you begin the grieving process properly. Regarding your divorce, let your attorney handle everything. As long as you are interacting with him, the more guilt and shame that will be triggered, and the harder it will be to begin healing.

      Hope that helps…

      Kim XoXo

  41. Anonymous

    Thanks so much for this….I am 6 months NC. Trying to stay strong! Being involved with the NARC was an absolute NIGHTMARE!!! The mind games were the worse. Thanking God I am healing….I WILL NEVER EVER ALLOW THIS TYPE OF PERSON IN MY LIFE AGAIN!

  42. Andy

    Kim I don’t post too often but I’m here on your mailing list and I read all your post. Thanks so much for the info.only people who have gone through the experience with the wolf in sheeps clothing can understand.

  43. Andrew W Prickett

    Amazing insights, and no it has not answered my why? The content has been a map to me, & understanding as I look back and reflect, where I got so terribly lost. What I don’t understand is why so many of the abusers are men? I am a male that from content to comments and people sharing, can so identify. But what is it about NPD that makes a more primary male disorder? I really strive to learn more there because I am in a custody battle with the most abusive female, & that is my single goal now with my 3 young inpressionabl daughters is to understand so I can fight for this generational replication pattern to get interrupted. Ugh. So much to learn, but just posting here safely helps!

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Andrew,

      After researching narcissistic traits and coaching abused individuals for several years now, I think there are way more narcissistic women milling about than people may realize. It’s just that abused women are more willing to voice their experiences. Luckily, more men are speaking out now. In fact, I just partnered with a great male writer who will be authoring articles on my blog.

      Regarding your children, get yourself a good attorney, maybe a private investigator, and start documenting everything. If she starts neglecting or abusing your children, get CPS involved. But, whatever you do, don’t lay your cards out on the table for her to see.

      Hope that helps.


  44. Pam

    Comments/advice pls when the N in your life is your 40 year old daughter. Will not allow us access to grandchildren – all under 13 years. It’s been 2 years, mostly no communication but she does allow gifts for kids but children can’t respond to thank us. We send them anyway bday and Christmas. We’re so devastated but trying to carry on

  45. Anonymous

    thanks, I have been healing now for over a year from a 9 year relationship with a narcissistic abuser.It is hard because he destroyed the inner core of me, but I am much happier now he is not in my life, and I am slowly starting to believe in myself, but I know it will take time and I am taking one day at a time.but your words and writings are a life line for me as it took me years and years to realise what he was. thank you

  46. Susan Jervis

    Thank you for sharing this, I don’t feel I will ever recover from what my ex has done to me and continues to do to me, my family and my friends. He’s the most horrible person on earth. He continues to defame my character and lie about me. I have a restraining order on him that he continuously violates. He’s the biggest PIG on earth

    1. Deanna

      I was married to an for 22 years and got away over 15 years ago. He trashed me to everyone – friends, my family, my coworkers etc. One day a man who had been in a snowmobile club 15 years earlier with us ran in to me and I just said Well you might have heard that R and I have gotten divorced. This man who had not seen either of us for 15 years so I know – he came to see us and told us all about you. And he gave me this really sleazy smirk and something in me just snapped and I said “You know what? Everything he says about is true – lying, cheating whore – that’s me! He busted out laughing and said Well you must be having a really great time then! I knew that eventually people would figure out it was not me. Took awhile but it did happen! Hang in there.

  47. Anonymous

    Wow wow wow. So much wow I forwarded to my mom because this is everything I have said over the last year. It has been difficult to articulate what I have gone through to my family and friends. They think I should be skipping in the opposite direction and proud of myself that I figured it out so quickly but I never experienced that. They all just thought he was a jerk. One year since I left and I am moving ahead (new apt too 😉 but there is still so much I need to come to peace with. Thank you for being there for us. Epidemic? Maybe that can be your next article. Thx!

    1. Kim Saeed

      Glad to know my article resonated with you, Anon. Sending light and healing vibes your way.

      Kim XoXo

  48. Andrea

    I’m stuck in the Why. I don’t even know how I got here. For years I’ve hated him & battled him to leave me alone. When I found out he got married, I was devastated. I found myself wanting him back? He came running to me April of this year, crying about the worst mistake he’s ever made, begging for his family back. Foolishly, I allowed it. And the games began. He’s so disgusting. There’s no end to how low he will go. Painting me out to be the problem to her & vise versa. I’m currently on day 6 of no contact. Again. I’m so full of anger & hate. I don’t go looking for him but both him & his crazy wife show up at my house when they have drama. From April til 6 days ago, all this chaos has been going on. I’ve gotten to the point of calling police. I want it all to end for good. I’m tired of being angry & consumed by why. I just want myself back…

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Andrea,

      Sorry for what you’re going through. I don’t know anything about your living arrangements, but you might consider putting up No Trespassing signs and continue to call the police. If that isn’t working, try getting an attorney to write a cease and desist letter. You’re not the ‘Grand Central Station’ of their problems. Build that fortress around your home and your life.

      The ‘Why’ is hard to let go of, for sure. If it would help, I have a section on Acceptance and Letting go of the ‘Why’ in my course. Here’s the link if you’d like to check it out: http://courses.letmereach.com/p/the-essential-no-contact-accelerator-course

      Wishing you all the best.

      Kim XoXo

  49. Dawn

    Thanks ya I tried to take my kids out of the toxic environment but he has twisted everything thr past 4 years since I left him that I’m th abuser and lost the kids . My life is nothing my children now are trapped org their dad and nothing I can do. I really want to talk to you I need support I need help in my life. No one believes me this Is painful nowing he’s slowly hurting our kids brain. I can’t take it. I am suffering cry all the time. How do I get my kids back with me. ??????

    1. Anonymous

      Dawn, go on facebook, and look up ‘protective mothers alliance’. what your ex did is typical.

  50. Nan Williams


    I agree with no contact up to a point, but I attract one after another of these types.

    Instead of run away run away, you have to sit down and figure out what to do.

    I am living with a roommate right now who is a narcissist. I am using Catherine Pratt’s approach and I feel so much better. She calls them Blamers. My term for them is not nearly as polite.

    Will I go no contact at the end of November? You bet! But for now I have to survive and learn how to deal. Learn not to be empathic with these sorts, only sympathetic and don’t get dragged into their dramas. Will people believe their lies about you? Of course. You get to see who hangs in their for you.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Nan,

      Thanks for stopping by! I don’t know anything about Catherine or her work, but there are times, for sure, when you have to plan an escape when not able to leave immediately. Her approach sounds like it would work in that case…however, I believe if we have the ability, we should never keep ourselves in toxic environments. I believe we should do what we can to create a safe space for ourselves and work on boundaries so that we don’t keep people like that in our lives. There’s too much joy to be found in life in place of staying in toxic relationships, romantic or otherwise.

      Wishing you all the best and thanks for your comment!

      Kim XoXo

  51. Thanks again for sharing this insightful article on why narc abuse hurts so bad and it is really your worst nightmare. Unless you have experienced it, you will never get it. It is soul crushing and a spiritual knockout!

    Going NC is the best thing to do when the FOG has finally lifted and you can see this swine for what it is.

    To new beginning and new life, laughter, dancing and real, true love.

    I won’t give up until love finds me.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Shirley!

      It’s great to see you here! I have found that when you learn to love yourself, you then automatically attract the best relationships, romantic and otherwise. I could hardly believe it when it happened for me like that. Wishing the same for you 🙂

      Kim XoXo

  52. Phyllis

    I am coming to the end of year 3, post divorce and barely surviving after 24 years of insanity, chaos, gaslighting, love bombing, blame, shame, crazymaking. I am lost, sad and emotionally exhausted. I have absolutely no interest in dating, sex, intimacy of any kind. I trust no one. Not even girlfriends. Ive cut myself off from the whole world. Its actually a miracle that I get up in the morning and go to work. I often feel that there is no point to continue breathing. What for? My children are grown. My youngest is starting college in the fall. Everything i lived for, the meaning of my life, has been stripped away. I am no longer a wife, their are no children to take care of, and Im old. I didnt even know time was passing by. I saw myself through His eyes. Now, there is no reflection in the mirror. Please Kim, this is not meant to offend, but I’m not interested in spending the little money i have on bootcamp. Frankly, im not interested in anything. My main focus is to get my son prepared for his first year of college. Then i want to sleep for the rest of my life.

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Phyllis,

      I am sorry for what you’re experiencing. All of us fill many roles in life, for sure. Mother, Father, Partner, Sibling, Friend, Colleague, etc. However, the most important relationship of all is the one we have with ourselves. Our identity should not rest on the roles I just mentioned, even though most of them are very important. I hope you make that a mission now that you will have the free time to do so.

      Sending light and healing thoughts your way…

      Kim XoXo

    2. Nicole

      Hi Phyllis,

      You are getting yourself out of bed every day and going to work. You survived 24 years with a man who tried to destroy you. You are still here Phyllis 😉 There is a strength within you that wants the best for you. You are a Mum and this is something to be proud of, no matter what stage of adulthood your children are at.
      This is hard there is no doubting about it- but you CAN survive this, you can define yourself away from shame and negativity. I have also largely self isolated after narcissistic abuse. Its okay to want time to yourself to heal. Yesterday I saw a man on a train who was at a (hideously cliquey and cheap) school reunion where I drank too much and said (didn’t do fortunately!) some cheeky things. It was 17 years ago and the toxic shame almost overwhelmed me, even though he was nonplussed about it.
      I got home and thought that I couldn’t go on.
      Reality check, yes I can go on and yes so can you. Our lives don’t have to be defined by the unkindness of others. Be kind to yourself, you were a person before the relationship with this man and before you had children and your character is still inside you.
      I am surely no expert but Phyllis you are a trooper and remember ‘Thoughts DO NOT equal feelings’ They are two different things. Just because you think something bad/negative doesn’t make it true.
      One more thing, forget about age defining beauty. The most gorgeous lady I ever saw was in her 90’s and she glowed from inner peace. You can too X Nicole

    3. Anonymous

      29 years of what sounds like my life. One getting married and one off at college. Home alone seems good but old and feel like my life has passed me by. I could easily get

      depressed if i didn’t keep my mind busy. 29 years of mind games. I’m tired and have no clue where I’m heading or what I’m suppose to do next. Thanks for your post, don’t feel so a lone.

  53. Catherine Miller

    It has been eight years since I finally left my long-term relationship with a narcissist. I am just beginning to discover who I am and gain self-confidence. I spent way too long in the relationship and wasted so many years believing the lies he told me about myself. I find your articles so helpful. Things get better, it takes time!

    1. Kim Saeed

      Thank you, Catherine. I am so glad to know my work is helping you in your healing journey 🙂

      Hugs, Kim XoXo

    2. Anonymous

      Its a higher calling to find yourself and love yourself more- its an arduous journey but that was the purpose…

  54. Kyle

    I am working on healing and get why this hurts so badly. Doing yoga, meditation, no contact. All of these things are helping. Need advice on what to do during those times I can’t get off the couch. As you state stop researching Narcissist abuse, move forward. Looking for positive advice, understand the past. K

  55. Hoe Wozniak

    How I so identify with all you are saying. How it all seems so hopeless at times but Spirituality has kept me going as I realize that God loves me and will help me through all this pain and the damage my X has done and IS doing to me. He destroyed me also financially to keep me dependent on him so I am dealing with how I can be financially independent when 76 and have limited mobility due to heath issues. I desperately need help right now. But my soul is still intact and I am trying to figure out ways to be dependent from him or what to do from keeping off the street if he does not support me next month since I refused to talk to him or see him.

  56. Issy

    Its gonna be 2 years now , but I still fear to meet him and we live in the same village , I still asking myself why ? He left me for someone else , they together over 2 Years now, so perhaps he Have changed for her …….

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Issy,

      Don’t know anything about your situation, so can’t say for sure…but if you believe your Ex to be a narcissist, then no…he hasn’t changed for her. If your Ex is a narcissist, then everything you see is an illusion.

      Wishing you all the best!

      Kim XoXo

  57. Brilliant article! Thank you so much! I’ve completed my bootcamp and cannot thank you enough. This article….wow. WOW on so many levels. Thank you for being you and for telling it like it is and sharing so much of you! Some of us would have never had the strength without you. 🙂

  58. Carl

    Well stated. I am four months out and the fog is starting to clear, but now I am discovering health issues that were brought on by all the stress and anxiety. And the insomnia and depression continue, as well as the constant fear of running into this person and having the scabs picked off. This hell never ends, it seems.

    1. Kim Saeed


      It feels that way for sure, in the beginning. It does take a while to heal, but only the human spirit can consciously change itself; it is the only thing in all creation that is not entirely at the mercy of forces outside of itself, and it is, therefore, the most powerful and valuable form of energy in the world.

      Kim XoXo

      1. Isabwl

        It is in the believing and the buying into their gaslighting manipulation attempts that damages the self and of course, if there is physical abuse. I never bought into mine but was able to see from afar.. it was about him. No bearing on my self worth- still it was painful and all his attempts to re- contact andcteconnevt ober the next 2-1/2 years . I did not always hold my ground and guess
        Gave in to seeing him when i agoukd have initiated No contactcftom the start. Still a valuable lessonnin self love❤️

  59. Anonymous

    My ex husband was one of those, I went through it for 20 yrs, I’ve been divorced now for 10 yrs and sometimes it’s still painful, but now I’m free I’m free to be the person God created me to be thank you for letting me share ?

    1. Kim Saeed

      Hi Anon,

      I’m sorry to learn you’re still experiencing emotional pain after so long. Have you experimented with any healing methods or programs?

      Glad you have found your freedom, however.

      Kim <3

  60. Jena

    Thank you Kim for understanding what I’m going through. I’m sorry that you had to go through it. But, the tools that I am learning from you are making me a stronger person rather than an empty soul. I am continuing to work on regaining myself worth and strength not only for myself but my daughter as well. So thank you. ?

    1. Kim Saeed

      What a sweet comment, Jena. Thank you for your kind praise. Wishing you and your daughter all the best as you continue healing.

      Kim XoXo

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