are narcissists aware of their disorder

Are Narcissists Aware of Their Disorder?

Sharing is caring

When it comes to narcissists and their irrational behaviors, one of THE most frequently asked questions posed by victims of narcissistic abuse is whether the narcissist is aware of what they’re doing. 

A common misconception is that if they’re not aware of what they’re doing, then we shouldn’t hold them accountable for their seemingly unintentional wrongdoings.  Instead, we should offer them compassion and try to help them through whatever “pain” they’re suffering that is making them behave in such a hurtful way.  After all, hurt people hurt people, right?

There is one major flaw in the question – are narcissists aware of their disorder? – in that it assumes all narcissists fall under the same location on the spectrum of the disorder.  They don’t.  When it comes to narcissism, there are individuals who have few enough traits that they might not be identified as having Narcissistic Personality Disorder (which is a huge defect in the DSM criteria, since it only takes one pathological trait to completely ruin another person’s life). 

There are also people who fall so far on the other end that they possess the dark traits of Machiavellianism and psychopathy.  These individuals are highly cunning and engage in dangerous forms of deception and manipulation.  These are the people who can live two or three different lives behind their partners’ backs and rig the heaters in the winter to emit carbon monoxide, hoping to collect on their family members’ life insurance policies.

In contrast, most “garden-variety” narcissists aren’t sitting around strategizing about what they will do next to their unsuspecting partners.  That would take too much time away from their self-fulfilling agendas.  All they’re concerned with is what they need minute by minute in order to gain the most narcissistic supply — whether from you or another supply source.  It doesn’t matter which.  If what they desire is being reflected back to them in the form of gratifying experiences or admiration, it doesn’t matter to them which mirror they are looking into. 

Inside the mind of the garden-variety narcissist

Narcissists typically act upon their emotions, which are greatly stunted.  They have very low emotional intelligence and never developed any form of emotional resilience. 

This partly explains why they can appear loving and caring one minute, yet seem to hate you the next.  This generally happens when they’ve experienced a narcissistic injury, which is evident in their tendency to snap at the most innocent of comments or questions.  

Since one can never know what’s going on in the narcissist’s mind at any given moment, what they consider injurious one minute could be completely ignored the next.  Do yourself a favor and don’t try to analyze it.  As soon as you think you’ve come up with a solution, the rules will have changed.

…and don’t make the mistake of believing that sharing your findings that they could be a narcissist will help.  It won’t.  This will only instill righteous indignation in them because they are unique and special.  If you dare to insinuate there is something wrong with them, be prepared for the explosive outcome.

While a non-disordered person considers how their words and actions affect other people, narcissists do not.  Because of this, many of their behaviors are spur of the moment.  There are some very deliberate actions they engage in, such as hiding evidence of an extramarital affair or forging another person’s name on a loan application, but they think it’s all warranted because by that point, the person they entered into a relationship with stopped seeing their greatness or began requiring too much damage control. 

Many narcissists, at some point or other, do become aware of the effect their behaviors have on other people, but they are completely indifferent to it.

One way to comprehend how narcissists feel about their deceptive and manipulative behaviors against others is to compare it to a person’s penchant for steak or pork chops.  Most people are aware that cows and pigs are sentient beings, yet generally don’t reflect on what the animals go through before they appear as a tidy meal on the dinner table.

If a vegetarian were to point out to a meat-eater how horribly these animals suffer, the meat-eater would shrug their shoulders because they like steak and don’t plan to stop eating steak.

This is precisely how narcissists feel about abusing the people closest to them. 

The difference is that we generally don’t see what happens to animals that are processed for consumption unless we search for it.  Narcissists see the results of their manipulation and abuse every day and still remain completely indifferent. By the time the love-bombing phase is over and you are being devalued, you’ve become their opponent and so to them, any pain or distress you experience is your own fault.

Are narcissists aware of their disorder?

Day in and day out, you observe their obnoxious behavior. You watch as they hurt people, preserve their egos, and dismiss reality. ⁠

It can be as shocking as it is disturbing. ⁠

It’s a dangerous misconception to assume narcissists don’t recognize how their actions affect others. It’s not that they don’t see it- it’s usually that they just don’t care.⁠

Indeed, the current research reveals some interesting results:⁠

• Narcissists generally understand people perceive them less positively than they perceive themselves.⁠
• Narcissists recognize that the power of their positive impressions may fade with time.⁠
• Narcissists have some insight into their personality (they’ll describe themselves as confident, narcissist, etc.)⁠

At first glance, these results may seem confusing. If narcissists have some insight into their patterns, why would they keep engaging in these ways?⁠

Narcissists don’t identify their behaviors as problematic. In other words, even if they think other people don’t like them, they still think they are entitled to play by their own rules.  The biggest indicator that narcissists have the awareness that their behaviors are unacceptable and generally looked down upon by society is the fact that they hide their abusive behaviors from most people, but save them for you. ⁠

This is the most compelling proof that they know what they’re doing. If they weren’t aware or didn’t have control over themselves, they would behave the same way with everyone else as they do with you.⁠

But they don’t.⁠

If they hide their behavior, then they know it’s wrong.

How to Finally Break Free From the Narcissistic Spell

Until I let go of the idea that narcissists couldn’t help themselves, I was powerless to stop the crippling doubts and traumatization I experienced through trauma bonding.

Today, after healing myself through the exact steps in The Break Free Program, I experience healthy, happy relationships that are kind, supportive, and fulfilling, and I have absolutely no trouble walking away from anyone who is manipulative or abusive because I feel safe and in ownership of my worth and power.

I want the same for you too.

If you want to become aligned with these truths to actualize your recovery out of the pain and into truly healthy, wholesome, and fulfilling connections, then I’d love to help you.

You can start this journey today by clicking this link.

As always, I eagerly look forward to answering your comments and questions below.

Sharing is caring

Leave a Comment:

David West says December 3, 2023

Inspiring words sure rings true for me. My wife of 31 years is someone I don’t even know. I am the only person she abuses physically mentally financially she has covert narcissistic traits, I have gone grey rock to avoid the chaos

Kathleen Splitt says June 27, 2022

I read and recognize much of what you write but find it totally different to deal with when it is my own son who is the narcissist. It is not the same as a significant other I chose to be with. I am very reluctant to completely separate myself from my own child.

    Kim Saeed says June 30, 2022

    Hi Kathleen,

    I’ve written about narcissistic adult children before:

    Many people have made the difficult choice to detach from their own children, including one of my dear friends. Many of the same approaches and boundaries used with other types of narcissists are largely the same ones used with narcissistic children. Sometimes it’s the only choice one has. But, I understand that this is difficult.


    Jennifer Botes says July 3, 2022

    My son identifies with most of these traits, l have 5 other children,,and he’s almost destroyed me,.he’s moved out,after having us evicted. Iam heartbroken, choosing to live,for myself and children.

A wife says June 26, 2022

I relate to what this article says. My question would be, how (as a Christian) do you deal with a husband who behaves this way? I made vows for better or worse… this is definitely worse. Right now, I’m just sticking it out and trying to be strong…walking away or leaving the house when the outbursts and erratic behavior get bad.

    Kim Saeed says June 30, 2022

    Hi, A wife,

    Many people who follow Christianity believe that they are supposed to stick it out for better or for worse. This isn’t true when abuse is involved. The Bible is very clear on how we should deal with abusive people, including spouses:

    But, aside from that, Leslie Vernick writes very powerfully about abusive marriages. Here is one of her articles:

    I no longer follow organized religion, but during my own abusive marriage, my pastor told me that God would understand the necessity of divorce for me because my ex was not acting in a Godly way. My own pastor SANCTIFIED my divorce…because, as I learned, many times we believe we are following scripture, but we are inadvertently enabling an abuser’s abuse. And much of this is owing to false teachings about what a Christian marriage is truly about.

      Margie says February 14, 2023

      Amen to that! I had a meltdown in my marriage to a malignant narcissist as I told God I made vows before You and I am trusting you….then he led me to a dark place where I had to leave out of desperation and never went back….sadly my kids were left with the abuser by corrupt ol boys court system and its been over 20 years since we have spent time together. Co-narcissism is just disgusting- DV By Proxy clinically- but we have to let go and let God and move forward. I love your work Kim…spot on. thank you and your freedom from a psychopath is worth going to any length for…with or without your kids. Peace

Melanie says September 16, 2021

Ya they know exactly what they are doing. My ex narcissist would tell me each time he use to Hoover me back in that he knew what he was doing with the lies and cheating. He just said the lying was just easy and didn’t know why he did it. The cheating..cause he said he felt abandoned and couldn’t be alone. I’m glad I finally broke free a few months ago. No one deserves to be treated like that. Totally broke me and the healing is tough.

Carol says February 7, 2021

Not sure if they do know. All i do know is when you confront them they look astounded or angry defensive arrogant could be the word. I would then say it may not be apparent to you until you get away from the relationship or have counselling to even answer the question. Some times they will admit to their behavior or come up with an excuse or they may attack you its your fault or state its their sad history which sometimes you find wasn’t all that bad !. Kim it takes education ,research to even attempt to answer this question. Sometimes you may never get the answer you are looking for . Do you want to use up the rest of your life once you are out of the relationship maybe at least to recognize this so you never make the same mistakes again. Love to you all. xxx

The Dark Triad: Are We Gaslighting Ourselves About Narcissism? - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says March 19, 2020

[…] the question of the day is, Do narcissists know that they’re acting this way? Do they know they’re hurting other people? These questions can be answered very easily. When […]

‘Narcissists are Fragile Beings’ and Other Fallacies - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says October 17, 2019

[…] help someone who doesn’t want help is a self-defeating illusion.  Narcissists, in general, are stuck in a state of arrested development.  They care mostly for how they feel in the moment, which explains their erratic behaviors.  They […]

Anonymous says May 20, 2019

Thanks Kim, as usual. It is an interesting question. I once caught him talking a male friend and telling him how to deal with women and get them on the hook. It was fascinating and sounded insane so I gleaned from him that he did in fact know what he was doing. Also when I held out through a silent treatment, I was greeted with, “well done you” on my return. In other words, you won this one. Oh and by the way, I didn’t really catch him in that sense, he was well aware I was in ear-shot. I think it amuses them to see how much they can get away with. Anyway, silly little twits that they are.

    Angela says May 23, 2020

    Mine finally said I’m proud of you for putting on me on child support you finally did it after years. And then he laughed about it, I am shocked but not really that I’ve put up with one for so long so hard to because we have a kid together I hope I can reverse any damage it has done to our son

Sabah says May 12, 2019

A Narcissist is a con artist equal to a cancer! You need to amputate them from your life & no contact! But if you have children that become impossible & you will have much harder time , until your kids get older & understand your abuse from their mom& you need to accept the loss & move on with out looking back& start to look for new future , & hope you will never encounter this kind relationship again !

Anonymous says May 9, 2019

Kim, I am a recent escapee from a 25 year relationship with a narcissist wife. Your videos , along with other counsellors, were a Godsend to me. I had the hardest time wrapping my mind around the psychopathic behavior that I was subjected to. I’m so sorry that there are so many people who have and are suffering in a relationship like that; but I am so grateful to people like you who provide such great insight and understanding to us. All I can say is THANK YOU!!!

Andrea says May 9, 2019

Kim I’ve done extensive research on narcissist particularly covert. I gotta say u r very knowledgeable and your summaries r so pinpoint accurate. I enjoy reading your it is so accurate. I feel your pain , anger and need to inform for I’ve been in your shoes. They can really hide it as to mine was 15 , as I say now, wasted years of my life. When the wolf in sheep’s clothing comes off and you start to review the past I always wonder how I didn’t know. But I’df course , like many of us, who knew anything about covert narcissist……not me. I only saw what the movies portrayed the overt ones and mine was , of course, nothing like that. So as I said…..who knew these low life non human waste exist!

Anonymous says May 9, 2019

There is no cosmostyle to get rid of a narcissist in a relationship or marriage. What a hell of a job. It takes much energy and strength. It is exhausting. Some people have to much light what attracts narcissists cause they are dark inside and insidious. When you can see it on the outside it would be easy.

Anonymous says May 9, 2019

They are concious of what they are doing and doing this intentionally with cognitive empathy and they seduce to lure their victims in and it is only for their purpose. You may ask yourself what is the reason why the narcissist comes in to our lives? Selffocus. if you have selffocus and firm boundaries and values. Its very difficult to recognize the narcisssist cause the devil comes as an angel of light and innocent with great promises but he is not. it is fake and a con and not real. When they are coming like a predator animal it would be easy to recognize them but there are warningsigns and red flags such as lovebombing such as pedestalizing their target. Futurefaking showboating, bragging about themselves to impress others. You may ask yourself is this real or is this hollow empty and superficial and when it looks too good it may be a warningsign that it not or the opposite. They are playing and imitate as a copycat of whet don”t exists of what you want to hear and what you want to see they play that and what serves their purpose and after they lure you in they deceive and cheat the other. They know what you need without to mean that seriously and I am sure they are aware of that. They fully understand what they are doing and don”t want to held responsible for it after what they have misdone and you feel an object or material and replaceble when they discard you. They see and feel intuitively their prey on a far distance. it is with flat affect but they know it what it did for victims.

Paula Hayes says May 9, 2019

I have wanted to say this for a while and keep putting it off, in case someone else pips me to the post. This hasn’t happened in four years, so I may as well spurt it out. When I first went to counselling in an effort to help myself deal with the after-effects of a liftetime of narcissistic abuse (63 years, in fact: born into it, married into it, best-friended into it time after time), I was shocked when the kindly counsellor eventually asked me if I was aware of my own narcissistic behaviour towards him. Until that point, I wasn’t aware of it! This happened several years ago and I realise that he was only telling me the truth. I have been trying very hard to undo my acquired traits, for they became an indelible part of my persona, part of the veneer I had so carefully constructed over a lifetime in order to help myself to get along in this world. Underneath that veneer of bravado and confidence lives a crushed human being with no self worth, who trusts no one and who now retreats from the “threat” of every intimacy. I’ve noticed that my few friends are very like me and that probably all of us are the victims of narcissistic and psycopathic abuse, frantically trying to make it through to the end of our lives while coping with the extreme symptoms of cPTSD. I envy those of you who can afford to pay professionals to overcome those symptoms; those of you who have human and medical support at the end of a cheque. Believe me, I would pay for help if I could, but I’m on a minimal State Pension and am also financially supporting my sister, who has terminal cancer. I’m also paying upfront for medical reports (requested by my solicitors) because I was the victim of two serious accidents nearly two years ago and medical evidence is mandatory to support my two personal injury claims in court. The enforced day-to-day frugality resulting from these enormous payouts is impacting negatively on my life. By the time those court cases are over, I will certainly have some financial award in my hands but the downside is that (1) my sister will be dead and (2) I will be heading for my eightieth birthday and my undesirable personality traits will by then be impossible to eradicate! So you see, some of us will never EVER be in a position to do anything about parts of ourselves that we hate that were unintentionally acquired in the first place. In the meantime, I (and possibly also my friends who have also inherited unfortunate behaviour patterns) will surely be identified and loathed as a narcissist by all those clever up-and-coming narc-spotters! I would love to know what others feel about this situation.

June says May 9, 2019

If they did not know they’re doing it, they would be doing it to everyone else. If they do know then they are only doing it to you…or whomever they can find to take their abuse.

3 Myths About Narcissism That Need to Die - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program says April 14, 2019

[…] in general, are stuck in a state of arrested development.  They care mostly for how they feel in the moment, which explains their erratic behaviors.  They […]

    Carson says May 10, 2019

    I am the mother of an adult who has been diagnosed as a narcissist. He was saying “No!” before he could stand up, and he walked at 10 months. He was “different” in that he never valued approval of parents, grandparents, authority figures. I looked forward to his growing out of the Terrible Two’s — but he turned three, four, five and it never happened. He’s a brilliant adult who exhibits the thought patterns and behaviors of a two year old.

Can Narcissism Be Cured? Too Many Tricksters Are Providing False Claims - Kim Saeed: Narcissistic Abuse Recovery & Personal Growth says January 2, 2019

[…] some point, narcissists may become aware of their deceptive and manipulative tactics. However, unlike most people, instead of becoming […]

Simone says October 24, 2018

I cannot thank you enough !!!
Back in 2000 I wish I had your information on your website. I figured out that they copy mafia tactics and very Machiavellian! You have a wonderful gift to explain the abusive dynamic and how it affects daily decisions and the negative ripple effect. I am finally setting out to do things I want to do and that I am able to do. I woke up to realize that all the chaos was coming from my parents and aunt and their parents. I blame their alcoholism and their inability to break that addiction. I do not drink because I have vivid memories of all of their dark sides . God bless you. Your articles are very validating and healing ! I am now very aware and feel I can choose better relationships and work knowing what is a healthy model vs. dangerous & unhealthy. That takes away a lot of the fear in choosing safe & sane paths in life. I have read much in my life, Your calm and stable gift for explaining how associations with these abusive people are equivalent to being the frog that is soft or hard boiled in these relationships. Wishing you a wonderful day! Simone

Anonymous says November 21, 2017

My ex narc is aware that he is. In several occassions he tried confessing it to me by saying he is not really capable of love. He even asked me to listen to a song and told me to read between the lines. The song is written on our native dialect which is double meaning. It says something like he’s gonna change for me because I don’t deserve that kind of treatment and blah blah but if you take a closer look and decode the lyrics, it actually says something like “Why are you still listening to this song? I’m giving you a chance to escape since the first stanza. Aren’t you scared? You better run for your life!!”

    Diane says December 15, 2019

    This sounds very familiar…! Do you recall which song it was?
    Wishing you a happy life!

Donna says October 8, 2017

Wow. Just excellent. Really appreciated the analogy of meat eaters shrugging their shoulders. Very helpful in trying to comprehend somewhat.

Hope Wozniak says August 16, 2017

Boy did this hit the nail on the head. It all fits. I thought he was just an abuser but I see all these Narc traits.
Is it possible, however that I made him this way? I have been so confused at times, I wonder if I am the Narcissist and am acting like him being in the symbiotic relationship so long—35 years….this is quite depressing to me that I am responsible for his behavior and I am the sick one especially since he has accused me of being nuts. Or is this in his “playbook” also?

    Anonymous says September 23, 2018

    If your asking yourself if you are the sick one, you are not a Narcissist. Narc’s don’t ask if they are the sick ones. They don’t care, they might think it for a fleeting moment, but shrug their shoulders instead.

    Paige Abner says May 9, 2019

    NO! You did not make him this way—–do not blame yourself! TRUST ME—that is what he wants you to do.

    You will only heal through educating yourself and being kind to yourself. Self-care is the best….along with the support of your friends and family!

‘Narcissists are Fragile Beings’ and Other Dubious Data - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says June 6, 2017

[…] help someone who doesn’t want help is a self-defeating illusion.  Narcissists, in general, are stuck in a state of arrested development.  They care mostly for how they feel in the moment, which explains their erratic behaviors.  They […]

Anonymous says May 24, 2017

Hey Kim! So- I found myself in a relationship w a narc- got pregnant. We are currently in a custody battle. Hes tried pulling all sorts of crap illegal and legal (the more I ignore it- the angrier and sloppier he gets) and so far it mostly has all just backfired. (A judge just recently eviscerated him in court, told him to stop contacting me, and also advised him to ‘consider NOT attempting any more stunts to gain leverage) so hopefully there is a real likelihood that in the end maybe I can limit (to the maximum) the amount of visitation that he gets with her. Short of that, my concern is- will my daughter be like him automatically or can I prevent that? AND if I can prevent it- how? and what are the signs I should watch for. My daughter is 1yr and she has absolute meltdowns already when she doesnt get what she wants. Its hard to figure out if its narc disorder…or T-2s come early. My son was an angel until his Nana passed away and didnt have the same ‘style’ tantrum. He was 2. Help if you can! Books? Counseling/early childhood development? Ignore HER tantrums? Thank you!

    Evangelina says August 16, 2017

    To Anonymous with kids with tantrums. They do not have narcissism – that only develops later in adulthood, as a result of severe psychological and physical abuse! You should check your children for autism because autistic meltdowns and tantrums sound like that, and they are NOT caused by as you put it ‘when she doesn’t get her way’. That’s an unkind thing to say about any child. Autistic tantrums are caused by sensory overload and that’s something neurological and the child can’t help. Blaming a child for reacting physically to something that they have no control over is abuse and is WRONG ! A child’s well being must come first

      Pat says August 19, 2018

      To Anonymous,
      How about a little sensitivity to your little one? Obviously she is going through some pain

    Kim Saeed says August 19, 2017

    Hi Anon,

    It’s much too early to determine if your daughter has developed narcissistic traits. Almost all children of this age have tantrums because they haven’t developed a vocabulary to express themselves, nor have they gone through the stages of emotional development.

    Actually, the worse thing you can do at her age is to ignore her. You don’t have to give into her demands, but ignoring her could cause her to develop an insecure attachment style, which could eventually cause her to develop codependent traits.

    Here is an article for your review:

    Wishing you and your children the best.

    Kim XoXo

Lisa says May 11, 2017

Thank you. I have so much work to do but I’m getting there slowly but surely. This has been a heart breaking and mind blowing experience. Your emails help me. I just hope I get there. Lisa

3 Myths About Narcissism That Need to Die - Let Me Reach with Kim Saeed says May 8, 2017

[…] in general, are stuck in a state of arrested development.  They care mostly for how they feel in the moment, which explains their erratic behaviors.  They […]

Kelly Trainer says April 24, 2017

Im having terrible trouble with my ex husband i was married 23days left 5times..he has done awful thibgs to me including the police. .says he going to kill me..police wont do anything unless he shows deadly affraid…i cant eat..sleep..nightmares. ..if i chsnge my number i never know if he really at my door..plz help deadly affraid

    Kim Saeed says August 19, 2017

    Hi Kelly,

    Sorry for the delay as I’m just seeing your comment. I would highly advise visiting your local domestic violence center and also going to the courthouse and filing a restraining order. Document everything and install a Ring security system at your door so you’ll have proof of when he shows up and any threats he might make.

    Hope that helps.


      Dawn Elizabeth says October 1, 2021

      Hi Kim, That’s some good stuff right there, but you forgot a few things. They’ll also potentially deflect, project, and or blame shift. too. Keep up the good work.

    Diana says May 9, 2019

    It’s two years since your comment, Kelly. I hope you got out and found safety.

Anonymous says April 23, 2017

Why am I hurting when I’m the one told my narcissistic husband I want a divorce and I want him to leave so he did now I hurt why is this when I don’t want him no more neither do I trust him and he has committed infidelity so many times I can’t count anymore and I don’t understand why he had women in their house having sex when they had their own home he could have went there but instead I found out it was having sex with these women I knew one of them

    Kim Saeed says May 5, 2017

    Hi Anon,

    You have every right to feel hurt, even though you’re the one that ended it. You were betrayed and you’ve come to the realization that this guy will never change, no matter how many times you forgive him and try to make it work.

    You will still need to go through the grief cycle, in addition to overcoming the biological addiction we develop inside these relationships. It’s a bit of a journey, but if you can successfully detach from this relationship, you have a better chance of healing yourself and finding the happiness that is your birthright.


    Kim XoXo

Laurie says April 15, 2017

I escaped a marriage to a narcissist. He alienated my children from me. After 4 years, I got them back. My 18 year old son left shortly after an orchestrated move by his father. My daughter, now 18 has lived with me for 2 years. I can see she is a narcissist and do everything I can not to get played by her. Is there any help for them or is it a “life-sentence”? All of the article I read are about the relationship of partners, not of parents and children.
She is moving away to go to university in a few months, I know I can’t save her. But as a parent, is there anyway to have a relationship with an adult child who is a narcissist? I am aware she will try to use me for the rest of her life. Is it possible to have a relationship with her?

    Kim Saeed says April 16, 2017

    Hi Laurie,

    I am sorry to learn that you believe your daughter is a narcissist. Sadly, when children grow up with a narcissistic parent, they generally develop either codependent or narcissistic traits. This is why I advocate leaving marriages where children are involved, if at all possible…of course, this knowledge comes late since we were mostly taught to stick it out til the end.

    Whether you continue a relationship with her is up to you. I’ve seen people go no contact with family members, including parents and children, for their own mental well-being. It’s a hard choice, for sure, but it’s sometimes necessary. If you’re not ready for that, you’ll need to develop very strong boundaries in your interactions with her and also practice extreme self-care. Whether there is help for her depends on whether she sees the need for any help and then whether she acts on it.

    Hope that helps!

    Kim XoXo

      Renee Penn says August 30, 2018

      Hi Laurie: I can sympathize greatly with you. I was married to a narcissist for 21 years. I have one child, daughter who is clearly a narcissist and unfortunately, on the sociopath side, EXTREMELY abusive to my grandchildren, her live in BF and myself. I went no contact with her 2 1/2 years ago. It is so heartbreaking to have had to have done this, but I needed to do it for my own sanity. I cry often, especially for my two beautiful grandchildren (girls 3 and 5) and CPS was called (they said they found nothing, but of course they did not, she is a narc and lies/hides everything). I’m so sorry you are going through this. No contact gets easier. I sleep better but I worry constantly about my granddaughters. Oh and she has contact with her narc father, he can do “no wrong”. it’s a sad state of affairs when the child goes back to the abusive parent. The whole situation is just so awful. I wish you the best with your daughter.

MARZENA says April 13, 2017

I couldn’t agree more with:

My ex. BF used to casually drop a phrase like “I need longer hair”, or “I need more feminine energy” or “I need a firmer butt”. This was usually accompanied by a argument and a period of disappearance /silent treatment. Initially I was baffled what all of this meant, till one day it had dawned on me: he “needed” all these things and was GETTING them behind the scenes (while proclaiming love eternal and exclusivity to me). As excuse is Narcissist’s best friend, a mere whim “I need longer legs” or “bigger breasts”, is comparable to “today or “my body is craving a hamburger (or a pork chop), and since both are my birthright, I go get them” [from whoever they are attached to]

    Kim Saeed says April 19, 2017

    Hi Marzena.

    Thank you for following my blog and for commenting. I can relate to your experience as I heard similar things from my N-Ex. Any person who wants you to change your natural structure is objectifying you and has no ability to connect on an emotional or intimate level. When these words come up in a budding or existing relationship…RUN.

    I’m glad to know he’s your EX. Wishing you all the best in your journey…

    Kim XoXo

YinYang says April 11, 2017

I left my N after 2 long years of abuse. I left and came back many many times. How it ended was SICK. We broke up, I moved on he moved on but he didn’t move on. He kept stalking me, harassing me, trying to control me. I ignored this for as long as I could. One day I decided to open my spam folder and countless emails from him. Some were of him apologizing but most were of threats and insults and promises to expose me. The last email he sent me were of all the women he was with during our relationship… I came home later that night to him urinating on my front door. I called the police they later arrested him and I was granted a restraining order for two years. I have been in therapy for over a year and I feel amazing. It is possible to heal from this type of emotional abuse. There is a light at the end of this dark dark tunnel. Never lose hope. Thank you for reading.. YinYang

Heather Lottman Costigan says April 11, 2017

I left my narcissist husband after 15+ years of marriage, but we were together for 20+ years. I am absolutely an Empath, he is a textbook malignantly narcissistic, personality disordered, potentially sociopathic monster (among other things). I’m now able to see him as a child who coped with being neglected & bullied by pathologically lying, seeking comfort/love through increasingly dangerous sexual habits (before, during & after our marriage), & by spending (on himself while withholding from his family). He had verbally, emotionally​ & physically abusive parents (Dad did what was done to him, Mom was handicapped with MS & quite passive aggressive in developing co-dependency with her children as her caregiver’s.
I was the perfect target for my ex. I had been cheated on by my first love & desperately ached to be accepted & loved as I was. I was an easily charmed by him.
I struggled with multiple hormonal imbalances throughout our relationship which affected my weight, moods, confidence, self-esteem, & even my ability to work or to parent. Idiopathic Orthostatic Cyclic Edema, PMDD, & Adenomyosis were all undiagnosed until my 30’s, but I always knew something just wasn’t right. I truly suffered monthly from 12 years old until the addition of a 365 day birth control pill in 2013-2014 & the removal (by me, not Dr.-BEST decision I ever made) of antidepressants opened my eyes. Prior to this, I was only content, happy, & “normal feeling” when I was pregnant or after my period finished until I ovulated (maybe 7-10 days a month).

With the loss of 45+ lbs in a 6 month time, & my “issues” suddenly non-existent because my cycle was suppressed & the meds for IOC Edema could work as intended I was literally a different person! I loved life, I looked as he always said he wanted me to, I had energy every day, was productive, I even had a sex drive & no more pelvic pain! Except even then, there was still something wrong with me. Without my “issues” as his scapegoat I saw his true self clearly for the first time. My initial reactions were that I still didn’t look “good enough”, that I wasn’t “fixed” “well enough”, & that I was still somehow the reason for his/our unhappiness.

Then the signs started appearing as if they were being dropped in my lap! The spending, the lying about “working” all the time, eventually the cheating, & eventually the ugly truth that he was abusing me (& indirectly our 3 boys).

I filed in July of 2015, & moved us in with my parents in August 2015. I’m STILL not divorced. Why?!? Textbook characteristics of a narcissist/sociopath in divorce. Withholding financial information, harassing me, using the kids as pawns, you name it. I finally stopped being scared and filed a motion to compel in 2/2017. Shortly after that I found out he filed a fraudulent joint tax return without my signature so he could keep the whole refund (like he’s already done with 2 of them). Because he’s feeling the heat & the pressure of being called to task, his behavior is escalating to threatening me (insinuated, of course), & fabricating constant conflict, emergencies, & drama as reason to contact me (all about the kids, of course).
The million dollar question for me is…
I’m not afraid of him & he’d never directly threaten to hurt me or the boys (he knows he’d be done for).
I’m pushing for Equitable Distribution & I’m not afraid of going to court (he’s deathly afraid) now, but how do I manage communication with him between now & the time the divorce being final?
I have faith that karma will serve the snake the life he deserves & I try very hard to take the high road for my own sanity & for my boys. Because of that I am surrounded by amazing friends, family, & now even the love of my life (my 3rd love in this lifetime, my soul mate, no question). I have faith that we will be cared for & that the divorce will proceed & settle fairly in our favor.
Can I actually go NC if I share children with him?

Ella says April 11, 2017

My ex just updated his status as: “I don’t regret the things I did wrong” …. Who in their right mind and has empathy would be proud to say that he doesn’t regret the things he did wrong …. A narcissist definitely does!!
Yes of course they are aware of the pain they inflict into others. And they will be happy seeing us destroyed with their actions!

Rhondie says April 11, 2017

Thank you so much for posting this. I’ve read your blog and hundreds of articles and books and this is what I needed to hear most of all. It has been a nightmare of confusing crazy making insanity. I love him deeply and have had so much trouble breaking the bond but this was one of my greatest concerns …Thank you for all you do .

Cindy says April 10, 2017

I’ve been married to a narcissist for almost 20 years….the first sign I knew he wasn’t “normal” was when we were engaged and took a trip with friends to ski at Santa Fe. We had been engaged for almost a year but had never taken a trip together.
After a long day of skiing, he wanted the whole group to see a play. Everyone went, but one couple decided to leave early because they were so tired. Robert, saw this
and was like,” Why are they leaving?”
When the play was over, we walked back to our private cabin since it was
Very late.
When the door shut, Robert went into
A terrible abusive RAGE and started
Cussing at me and throwing things at me and said he never wanted
To see my ugly face again…
I was so scared, and this was before cell phones!!! All the other cabins were scattered about the mountain in the snow, so I was trapped!! I ran and locked myself in the bathroom and just prayed…I cried in that bathroom all night long….
You see, I didn’t know about narcissistic personality disorder!
I was frightened for my life….
As I watched the sun come up, I quietly escaped to the office about a mile away on foot. When everyone met for breakfast he showed up like nothing had happened and was just being this happy jovial guy that could charm a pig if he had to!
I told my friends what happened, but they didn’t believe me…
On the plane home, I broke off the engagement!
He came groveling back to me and said that would never happen again…
I didn’t happen for another YEAR!
But after we got married…two months afterwards the abuse lies and deception started all over again!
THEY ARE AWARE OF WHAT THEY ARE DOING, BUT WANT TO CONTROL AND ABUSE TO MAKE THEMSELVES FEEL BETTER!!! THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU AT ALL….So don’t give these serpents any type of sympathy!!! They are playing you like a card!!! STAY AWAY!!

    Leslie says April 11, 2017

    I saw the real him 2 days before our wedding. I don’t even remember how it started but I was doing my best to avoid conflict which pushed him over the edge. He shut the electricity off to our home at the breaker (because I was ignoring him getting dressed for work), took my car keys, and my cell phone. He then decided to throw me around on the concrete patio in our backyard where thankfully the neighbors heard me screaming for help. When the police came he was mr charming and had them convinced I was just a crazy female even though he had 6 inches and 100 lbs on me and I was obviously very shaken up, swelling, bruising, but I had to leave the property, not him. I went back later when I had nowhere else to go but my parents house and they didn’t seem to believe me and I was feeling ashamed. When I went back I stayed in our bedroom telling him I would shoot him with my gun if he came near me. He then calls the cops and tells them I am waving my gun at him (it was still in the nightstand where I had not touched it) so I left the house again and just sat in my car with nowhere to go, he alienated my friends. The police called me from our house to ask what was going on and when I told them yet again he was coming after me they asked if I wanted to file a report and I said no because I was confused, we were to get married in 48 hours. Later I found out he filed a report on me! Of course he came groveling back to me saying some crap about our love was so passionate it burned out of control and he would never do it again. Not even 2 years later he came home drunk as a skunk (after driving home drunk with already 1 DUI) and was mad at me for insisting he come home that night (no trust in him at all) so he decided to pick a fight with me that woke up our baby and when I went to comfort her he was still screaming at me so I left her in her room and went into another room where he threw me on the floor yet again and I lost it flailing and kicking madly. Later I found out I had kicked him square in the nose giving him a nose bleed. He locked me in the closet so I was unable to get help. I begged and pleaded with him to please let me out, why are you doing this to me, all the while our baby is crying in another room. He finally calmed down, let me out, and passed out drunk. Next day he was all apologies and I love yous. I threw him out not long after that. Divorced 1 day after 2 year anniversary. Next month he will get married again to his 3rd wife in 7 years. Hindsight truly is 20/20. I see it all so clear now, the abuse, the lies, the red flags. Never again.

    Tammy says April 11, 2017


      June says April 12, 2017

      They are sooooo sick, they don’t know they are sick. I promise; you will stop wanting him. The road ahead is very bumpy, this experience rapes you at every level…. But know you are sooooo much better off. He is hopeless

Joyce Short says April 10, 2017

Great analysis Kim!

An important concept to understand about why we punish Narcissists….. it’s because they create harm, and sometimes, they break laws in so-doing. The fact is that the only way to keep a Narcissist reigned-in, is to pass laws to protect society from their behaviors, which, as you know, has been my focus for several years, and the basis for the books I’ve written. They won’t change because they want to be nice. They’ll change to stay out of jail.

Having a penchant for doing harm, does not give them a free pass to do so. They know the difference between wrong and right. They just chose to ignore society’s norms and laws for their personal gain.

The concept of a Narcissist “suffering” from their behavior is an oxymoron. One of the elements that is missing in the psychological makeup of a Narcissist is emotional empathy. They simply don’t relate to the harm they create for others without it. It makes them immune to conscience. Without a conscience, the only thing that keeps them from harming others is society’s laws.

Olivia McKinley says April 10, 2017

Hi Kim,
I am facing just a vicious vicious ex husband with NPD in a custody battle. It has been gut wrenching to put it mildly. I met him when I was 13, married at 20, and just divorced at 36 having never been in ANY other relationships. I had no idea I was involved with someone who has NPD and I was not prepared for the arsenal he is bringing. He took everything so he has the means and the ego to keep annihilating me in court. After being a stay at home, home school mother for 10 years and tolerating his abuse, I began to stand up for myself and he then filed for divorce in an effort to scare me back into submission. I did not comply and I have never seen him more furious.

He refuses to comply with even the basic court requirements because it appears that he thinks he does not have to comply with court orders just like everyone else. It is so frustrating and the courts don’t seem to be very aware or knowledgeable on how very abusive this disorder is or that it even exists!

I need to locate an expert witness (obviously I can pay them) specializing in NPD that can at least write a memorandum or affidavit on the impacts of NPD on spouses and children. My word in court is not going to mean anything because I am not obviously a doctor. He has an attorney and I am doing this by myself. I’m so overwhelmed and just want to find someone who can explain to this judge how terrible this will be on the children if he has full custody of our babies. He doesn’t really want that, he wants to hurt me because I removed the supply and adoration.

    Kim Saeed says May 23, 2017

    Hi Olivia,

    I am sorry to learn of your struggles. I can relate as I share a son with my Ex.

    Regarding your finding an expert witness, you may want to reach out to my friends at They might be able to help point you in the right direction.

    Best of luck to you!


    Dave says May 9, 2019

    @Olivia. I feel for your experiences as if you write my story here. Divorce was a joke and just the greatest abuse ever. 10 years of the theft, lies and abuse not only me but kids as well to finally end the divorce in year 6. You are not alone but you will keep strong and get through what may just be a time worth letting go…

Add Your Reply