Q&A Tuesday

LMR Q&A Tuesday – Could it be true? Is he really a narcissist?

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Dear Kim,

I’ve been with my partner almost two years now, and while looking up verbal abuse articles, I came across some very alarming links regarding Narcissism. Now, instead of believing I’ve simply been the target of verbal abuse, I think my partner is exhibiting traits of narcissism because he lies and cheats, too. I’ve tried working with him on these issues, but now I wonder if there’s any point because, honestly, these behaviors haven’t improved since I first confronted him on them. When we argue about these problems, he seems to improve for a while, but always reverts back to his old, devilish ways.

I left him three days ago, and since then, he’s been sending texts saying he’s sorry and doesn’t want to lose the love of his life.

Is my partner really a narcissist? What advice can you give me?

Signed – Increasingly Suspicious

Hi there, Suspicious,

I’m not in a position to diagnose your partner, but what I can offer you is what I know about Narcissists (and other “Unavailables”) and how they repeatedly use their partners’ forgiveness to continue getting away with relationship crimes scot-free.

Narcissists function in contrast to what we expect in a relationship, but they also display what appear to be very “normal” times, and can even go through periods when they seem very loving, thoughtful, and accommodating, which leaves their partners conflicted over whether or not they are actually a narcissist (this is a byproduct of cognitive dissonance). Their inconsistent behaviors create a silent uncertainty in their partner’s mind, causing the partner to stay put and try harder to make things work.

This is exactly what Narcissists rely on and it’s all very intentional.

Aside from that, his texts are a classic example of hoovering and are designed to make you believe he has very real feelings for you, which he intuitively knows you wish for. In this way, he can extract large quantities of forgiveness and tolerance from you, all while continuing his dirty deeds behind the scenes.

We all cling to the Narcissist’s texts hoping to draw out some small indication that they really care, but the truth is that Narcissists only communicate with us as a way to condition and manipulate us. Nothing they say, whether good or bad, should be taken at face value. In fact, to understand the true intentions of Narcissists and other Cheaters, one should never listen to their words, but take their actions to heart instead.

As far as whether he’s truly a Narcissist, only a professional assessment could determine that. What you want to focus on isn’t whether or not he’s a narcissist, but how many times you’re willing to forgive him each time he pretends to be remorseful. It’s up to you to put an expiration date on the forgiveness, regardless of his issues, and be willing to walk in spite of how difficult that may prove. The truth is, he will likely keep you in his life as long as he possibly can, but are you willing to sacrifice that kind of time from your own life?

And, by the way, I feel the need to add that being a good person doesn’t require that we tolerate toxic behaviors from people who take advantage of us. It’s good that we may have the willingness to be loyal to someone, but we need to look at whether or not that loyalty is being appreciated and respected. If not, we need to stop throwing our good nature down a rat hole, and instead, save our devotion for someone who will treasure it.

Hope that helps!

© Kim Saeed, 2023

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Leonardo says October 8, 2015

To the newest post (Suspicious) there are great logs by Kim followed by amazing replies from readers. I am sure that you will find great insight of this whole Narcissistic subject.
Thank you Kim for all you share with all of us.
Also wondering if you do conferences, attending to one would be great!
Thanks again

lisa thomson-The Great Escape... says October 6, 2015

Well said, Kim! The insincerity of the feelings they claim to have is mind boggling.

Susan says October 6, 2015

So… I have been In A relationship for six years to a man that has done things that are totally crazy! From stealing a piece of dog cage from the next door neighbors five year because he thought it was his cage he gave the neighbor( and yes a piece, not the whole cage! They were painting it for the new puppy they bought her five year old), to hiding in places when the police have been called by the other neighbors due to him running into their fence with the lawnmower in several occasions and basically just walking away! He drinks, been in and out of jail, in and out of Alcock treatment programs and nothing changes! I felt crazy for awhile like it was me…. He was carrying on a year long relationship with a girl 16 yrs younger with kids while lying to me and her both! He would post himself in craigslist regarding his particulars looking for younger women! Then when I would confront him it was I snoop and he knew I did so that’s why he put it there! I moved out then stupidly moved back in! I’m getting out again… Very soon!but I still feel weird about all of this and that is only the tip of the iceberg! He makes damn good money , buys what he wants and leaves me to fend for myself! I worked full time, went to nursing school, took care of my mom … So I am not some piece of shit that does nothing and sit around!! He told me ” you can’t fix stupid” calls me ” trick”!! God please tell me leaving him this time for good is the right thing! Idk what my problem has been but I feel trapped by my feelings Please help!!! Me

Sent from my iPhone


    Anonymous says November 11, 2015

    This so sounds like me..i feel like im going crazy..I work full time andl my N lives with me doesnt work has no money and expects me to buy everything.He drives me to work and uses the car with my gas..The 2 fruends i had i no longer talk to he says they were negative in my life..I cant do anything right everything is my fault im called crazy stupid and alot of other names i wont say.Im always sad..I walk on egg shells as when i talk he says i need to shut my f****mouth..I found him on a dating site and of course he said he put it there on purpose cause he knew i would find it..i think he is vheating and find myself always looking for clues..seems to consume so much of my life..i was never like this before i met him..He also blames me for everything..there has been a few times he has just disappeared while i was at work pa ked up and left without me knowimg.Had no contact with me till he decided to..Then comes back and it all starts again..I dont want to be with him..I try and try to let go..he even assaulted me and was charged and yet he says it was my fault..its my fault for everything.He gets so mad at me for everything..I meed to get away from him..He tells people its me that has the problem and he always says he is perfect..omg what am i doing…he is so fake

Jules says October 6, 2015

OMG–you just described 14 years of my life–constantly forgiving verbal abuse and lies. Then I found out he had been having an affair for 18 months and we agreed to try and reconcile with help from a counselor. 6 months later I find out he is back with the affair partner, left a letter on the kitchen table and moved out while I was at work. At the time I was devastated, only to realize he did me a big favor. My life is sooooo much better now–I’m dating a great guy and he treats me with respect! If you think you are living with a narcissist, you probably are. Take it from someone who lived it!

Sofia Leo says October 6, 2015

Increasingly Suspicious – I could have written your letter three years ago, word for word. I, too, went in search of verbal abuse articles and, like you, discovered the wonderful world of narcissists. Because of my new-found knowledge I was able to gain a bit of emotional distance to analyze just what was happening during each “incident” as he liked to call them. Yup. No need for a diagnosis – they all follow the same script (amazing as it sounds because they all preach how very superior and unique they are but they are all exactly the same beast) and he was no exception. I left. He sent desperate emails and left many, many pleading voicemail messages, but I saw behind his mask and I’m so much better off having left. Sadly, I wasted almost twelve years on him 🙁

Lyn says October 6, 2015

I am a co-dependent. When my partner and I argue, he completely shuts me out. When we do talk, after days of not taking my calls, he blames me for everything. He does not physically abuse me, and I do not believe he has ever cheated. We have had discussions, only recently, about co-dependency and he was very engaged. Is it possible for me to do the work I need to do for myself and stay in this relationship? I do believe that he displays narcissistic behaviors.

    Kim Saeed says October 8, 2015

    Lyn, I wish I had a better answer, but any self-esteeming activities you engage in will be drained away by what appears to be his giving you the silent treatment and trying to force you to comply through ostracizing you. This form of abuse is one of the worst.

    I’m sure he did seem very engaged with your talk of codependency, which he may have intuitively already suspected.

    To answer your question, the only way to stay in the relationship is to accept him as he is and not expect any changes on his part, including his maltreatment of you. From personal experience I can say that doing self-work won’t really help you feel better in any lasting way because of the nature of emotional abuse and manipulation.

    Hope that helps…

      Lyn says October 8, 2015

      Thank you Kim, I appreciate your response. I don’t want to stay with him, in fact, I don’t even like him much. So why do I stay? I am so disappointed with myself. If I know what is right for me, why can’t I do it? I’m so tired of the fear, disappointments, shame, not feeling loved. It’s just so exhausting. Obviously, I am in the early stages of this process. I’ve just started my research and I am so disgusted with myself. The more I learn, the more overwhelmed I become. I’m thankful for this site and for people like you.

      Leonardo says October 8, 2015

      Dear Lyn,
      Learning can be exhausting. I personally went trough the process. I had a one year narcissistic partner and previously another 8 years relationship with lots of abandonment and manipulation facts.
      My first discovery was that my self esteem was terribly damaged. I started to find out about it, I got a great counselor, he directed me to CODA and trough them I found ACA (Adult children of Alcoholics and dysfunctional homes). The rest has been discovery after discovery but all leading to my recovery which still in the process, I may not be ever done with it, but hey! here I am seen things differently and willing to learn more and more.
      I apologize if my comments make no sense. The true is that English is not my first language…. I try 😉
      Best Wishes!

kimberlyharding says October 6, 2015

Great posting… YOu always remind me of what I need to remember 🙂

    Kim Saeed says October 6, 2015

    Thank you for letting me know that, Kimberly. I always do a little happy dance when you hop over here 🙂

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