relationship deal breakers

10 Hostile Relationship Deal Breakers: Know When to Walk Away

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Starting a new relationship is incredibly exciting. But on the journey to finding the ideal partner, many people end up in abusive relationships.

What’s worse – some may end up staying in these abusive relationships for a very long time…reliving the abuse day after day, while their self-esteem, self-worth, and confidence are pummeled.

In most cases, people aren’t aware that the person they’re falling in love with is an abuser. That’s why it’s important to go into a relationship having a strong list of non-negotiable relationship deal breakers.

This list is not something you should take lightly. Having this set of standards clearly defined can help save a lot of heartache.

Protect Yourself with These 10 Relationship Deal Breakers

A lot of people have a relationship deal breakers list for things like laziness, messiness, no sense of humor, or being tech-obsessed.

These are based on personal preferences.

The relationship deal breakers that should be on everyone’s list, though, have nothing to do with preferences – they have to do with emotional and physical safety.  It’s crucial to be able to recognize the top relationship deal breakers in order to determine if your relationship is destined to last forever or meant to end right away.

1. Physical Abuse

You would probably never dream of hurting another person, but not everyone feels the same way. Some people have so much anger inside of them that they have a hard time controlling their temper. While everyone loses it every now in then because they’re frustrated, that doesn’t mean they have a right to take their anger out physically on their partner. Violence is never justified.

2. Verbal or Emotional Abuse

Degrading you, talking behind your back, making fun of you to their friends – these are red flag warnings of verbal and emotional abuse.

This type of abuse is often used in conjunction with physical abuse, but not always.

The difficult aspect of this type of abuse is that people can’t see emotional bruises. But these internal bruises and scars can last a lifetime.

Verbal and emotional abuse is often used as a form of manipulation and is common in situations of narcissistic abuse.

3. Financial Abuse

If your partner doesn’t like to work or contribute to the financial well-being of your family, this is a major red flag.

Not everyone likes to work – usually because they don’t like their job. But there are some people who simply refuse to make any effort to get and keep a job. They look for partners who are hard workers and rely on them.

Eventually, partners find themselves feeling frazzled, drained, and frustrated because they’re doing all the work – inside and outside the home. All the while, their partner is at home playing video games, hanging out with friends, or browsing social media all day.

Another form of financial abuse is manipulating a partner with money. How does this work?

The abuser controls the purse strings. They don’t allow their partner to work. Or, if they do, they demand that they give all their money to them to be kept in a joint account – an account which the abused partner is not allowed to access.

This abuser is intent on controlling and manipulating their partner.

4. Child Abuse

This one doesn’t need a lot of explaining. If someone ever lays a hand on your child or starts using manipulation, threats, or any other type of verbal abuse with them – get your child out of there! 

But, it’s equally important to remove your child from their home environment if you have a narcissistic spouse or partner.

There’s no way to soft sell it – a narcissistic parent can cause deep emotional damage in children.  It’s not dissimilar to the negative effects that alcoholism or other types of addiction have on families.  This is because, at its core, the emotional wound for children is the same – an emotionally absent parent that loved something else (themselves, alcohol, drugs) more than their own children.

Adult children of alcoholics, for example, develop very common and typical coping mechanisms as children, which end up as dysfunctional behaviors when they become adults.

Dysfunctional behavior might include literally looking for love in all the wrong places, self-sabotage, and poor coping skills.  Children who grow up in toxic environments will have a hard time coping in the outside world, so it’s best to get them out as early as you can.

5. An Affair

Some people are willing to forgive their partner after an affair. In some scenarios, a partner will forgive the cheater, who acts remorseful. Down the road, though, there’s another affair and then another. Serial cheating will only wreak havoc on your self-confidence. No one deserves to go through that, let alone continually put up with it.

If your partner has cheated more than once, you should be looking for the nearest exit.

6. A Partner Who Is Emotionally Unavailable

One of the wonderful elements of a healthy relationship is having someone that you can lean on. It’s not possible to do this, though, with someone who is emotionally unavailable.

Some people act this way because it reflects the environment they grew up in. This doesn’t mean it’s right, nor does it excuse them from not trying to be there for their partner.  In fact, if your partner resists talking about emotions or being emotionally supportive (or worse, becomes angry when you bring up your feelings), they probably have an avoidant attachment style.

Avoidant attachment is associated with being isolated and emotionally distant. People with avoidant attachment styles basically turn off their need for any emotional or intimate attachment. They may come across as being agreeable and sweet, but whenever their partners express any emotion, the avoidant person becomes angry and dismissive.

Because of these tendencies, those with an avoidant attachment style make the worst partners for empaths, INFJs, and sensitive people.  This category of avoidant attachment style includes narcissists, as well as the garden-variety love avoidant.

If you explain your concerns about their emotional unavailability and they refuse to even try to make some changes – it’s not worth your time to stick around. You should never be the only one to care in the relationship.

7. Cluster-B Personality Disorders – Including Narcissism

A lot of people deal with mental health conditions and diseases and are still able (with a lot of work) to be in a healthy relationship.

There are some, though, who have personality disorders that endanger your emotional and physical well-being.

Some of these fall under the category of cluster-B personality disorders. These can include:

  • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder

According to the Mayo Clinic, many of these disorders can be recognized by the overly emotional, dramatic, and often unpredictable behaviors. Those who have narcissistic personality disorder engage in narcissistic abuse of their partner, which can include manipulation.

If you have a partner who has a personality disorder and is refusing to get help, it’s healthier for you to leave.

8. Your child has started underperforming in school

If you have children and you live with an abuser, your children are at risk of developing brain abnormalities which can cause aggression, depression, ADD symptoms, and other forms of psychiatric illnesses. 

Recent studies using brain scans have shown that chronic stress, negative thinking (brought on by emotional abuse), and spending time with unhealthy people actually hurts the brain!

It shrinks the hippocampus and prevents new neurons from forming.  Simply put, chronic emotional abuse and living in a high-stress environment not only kills existing neurons, but it also prevents new ones from forming, leading to cognitive impairment or memory problems. [1]

So, if your child can’t seem to improve in school, you can chalk it up to living in a toxic environment. 

But worse than that, it leads to PTSD, which is one of the most difficult injuries to treat as it is stored throughout the brain. [2] One of my readers recently wrote in to tell me that all of her children had been diagnosed with PTSD, sharing how remorseful she felt that she’d stayed in an abusive environment.

The takeaway here is that toxic stress derails healthy development in children and can affect brain development, leading to potential long-term consequences on learning, behavior, and health. [3]

You can see, then, how the old adage of “staying together for the sake of the children” is not only harmful on many levels, it’s the root of generational dysfunction which has led to the epidemic of clinical depression, anxiety, and wounded adults in our society today.

9. Threats have been made to either hurt or kill your pet or worse, they’ve actually done it

This might seem obvious, but I’ve worked with a few coaching clients whose partner hurt or killed a beloved pet…yet, they were still in the relationship.

If the narcissist in your life has harmed or killed your pet or your farm animal, this should be taken seriously, especially if you have children in the home.  Not only does this point to the fact that your children could be the target of this psychopathy at some point, it would be highly damaging to your child’s emotional and mental well-being, scarring them for life. 

If this happens, contact your local domestic violence center immediately for laws in your state and guidance on how to safely leave the relationship.

10.  You’ve begun to compromise your personal integrity and values

In the past, you stood up for what you believed in, but inside your relationship you’ve started tolerating (and possibly taking part in) things that make you uncomfortable because, ironically, doing these things is how you’ve come to believe you can show your love to your partner.

You focus all your energies on how to make them love you and treat you once again like the soul mate they said you were. Paradoxically, in the “name of love,” you may have found yourself considering demeaning intimate activities that make you feel sick to the stomach when you think of them.

In other cases, you may have stopped leaving tips at restaurants, donating time or money, volunteering, and participating in other philanthropic activities because your partner has told you those things are a waste of time and money and mocks you for doing them.

Even worse, your children may have taken a back seat to the constant drama.

A caring and trusting person would never force you to participate in things that make you feel uncomfortable or insecure, nor would they coerce you to stop taking part in charitable activities.

If this person has led you to believe that you can only prove your love by violating your values, this is another clear relationship deal breaker.  

Protect Yourself with Your Deal Breakers List

No one is going to be the perfect partner. Everyone does or says things they’re not proud of. And at some point, you’re going to hurt your partner’s feelings and they will hurt you. That’s just a part of being in a relationship with an imperfect human being.

But this does not excuse abuse.

Make a list of absolute relationship deal breakers before entering a relationship.

If you want to have a safe, healthy relationship, it needs to be full of love and respect. You need to show that to your partner, and they should show that to you.

It’s also important to show those things to yourself.

By creating a relationship deal-breakers list, you’ll be less likely to stay in an unhealthy relationship and more likely to keep your physical, mental, and emotional well-being intact.  Emotional abuse is real, and once you have identified it, you must treat it with the same severity as you would physical abuse. 

If you’re in a relationship that breaks most or all of your deal breakers, it’s probably time to focus on your exit plan as opposed to fruitlessly establishing bones of contention at this point.   If you feel miserable and trapped in your relationship, that’s a problem that likely won’t improve on its own.  Join the many wonderful folks in The Break Free Bootcamp who have finally found freedom and are healing their own lives.

[1] Bremner, J. D. (2006). Traumatic stress: effects on the brain. Retrieved December 30, 2016, from

[2] Your Brain on Trauma. (n.d.). Retrieved January 01, 2017, from

[3] Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. (n.d.). Retrieved January 03, 2017, from

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Leave a Comment:

Jocelyn Mensah says May 5, 2023

Very informative, have learnt a lot, just by reading this article. Well done 👏🏾👏🏾

John Johnstone says February 18, 2023

I honestly don’t think That I have any deal-breakers, I just get so weary of absorbing too much drama sometimes I just run away or shut own.

CLM says February 16, 2023

My big deal breaker, after physical and emotional abuse, is when the guy weaponizes sex. Withholding sex because; you got fat, you aren’t pretty anymore, accusing you of flirting with others or any other excuse to avoid physical intimacy. Once that game begins I’m out the door.

Tuire says February 16, 2023

Thank you. The journey is hurtful but precious. Your articles have a point. To recognise feelings and emotions, to sit down with them and cry. Feeling those instead running. Just quietly accepting. Mostly rage is giving up to something else.

It feels good to feel whatever.

Trish says August 10, 2022

Kim I’m so thankful for your articles. I was wondering if you were terrified of leaving or went right away to catastrophic thoughts about what he may do to you or your child once you left? That’s where I’m at…….Frozen in fear.
I’m thinking of joining the Breakfree Bootcamp but wondering if it will help move through this

Lila Moton says August 9, 2022

I finally got out of a relationship with a narcissist, personality disorder, bipolar and more. He could be the sweetest guy one minute and Satan the next. I have filed for divorce but he’s a chronic liar and no telling what he will make up in his very sick mind. What a nightmare. Fortunately it only lasted 3 years but the scars will never go away. I’m in therapy on a regular basis
I have four grown children that will not speak to me nor let me see my grandchildren. Heart breaking. I am happy to help with your awesome crusade if you desire. I’m strong. I will make it. And I will live a full life. My heart hurts for those who will not. Thank you for your awesome articles. You are truly a God send.
My Best

Shaun says August 9, 2022

Speaking personally I did not recognise the abuse and the deal breakers when in the midst of the relationship. I had however boundaries I subconsciously used. This led to being called a very complicated person when I didn’t capitulate. Now that the mask has slipped I see them in all their toxic messiness. Really worried for my children who are with and at liberty of this individual. One of my assertions when in the relationship was why couldn’t we work as a team domestically and parenting. On reflection this was a red flag.
Thank you Kim and team for maintaining contact. Much respect for your insight.

Sandra says February 9, 2022

I m dealing with acepting myself to move on after leaving this relationship after 25 years. This as helped to shead light on my true feelings.

CAROL says February 9, 2022

An article which confirms all the feelings thoughts experiences that i have been going through in my marriage of 5years with narc husband …by Gods grace i was able to leave last December 2021 we have a 3 years old son together and thus gives his a chance to speak to me

Robin Thompson says February 9, 2022

You are so right. Stayed for the sake of the children and now see how wrong that was .

Muzz says February 9, 2022

Excellent info and help to know when its time to go. Nice people have the hardest time with this. thanks.

Maya says February 8, 2022

Kim it’d be nice if you also made a deal maker list. Sometimes it seems the information on relationships is too much on the don’t do and less on the dos

Mary says February 8, 2022

Not only was I married for over 30 years to the classic Narcissist, I also had to endure a narcissistic brother in-law, which unfortunately created a son so dangerous I’ve had to go into hiding. Everything he learned and perfected about being the cruelest and dangerous Narcissist he learned from his father and uncle.
I’ve been free from the ex-husband for going on 20 years but it I finally just broke free from the son 2 years ago.
I still have random panic attacks that I don’t understand occasionally. I’m not in danger so I am confused?
I still sleep with all my security which isn’t necessary but I can’t seem to put them away. ? I hope being here I’ll learn.

Gigi says July 14, 2021

Thank you Kim.
I always read your articles with interest because I know I always find something important or refresh my convictions:)
I wanted to let you know that I followed your advise and made a dealbreaker list with my ex and other techniques from the zero contact and healing kit…
I cannot find words to my gratefulness God has put you on my path. Every day I feel stronger and stronger to say “No never again ”
God bless you for ever and ever.

Cathy Thomas says July 14, 2021

I was in a 4 year relationship with a covert narcissist.I finally walked away for good. Almost 2 years later I was talked into a date with My BFF’s Husbands BFF. At 1st it was fine.. Sweet Good Ole Country Boy.. Now he is Very Needy.. He assumes I will take responsibility for all our expenses when we are together.He makes More money than Me and has far less monetary responsibilities. He has started referring to everything as “Ours” He keeps telling me that Me And My Daughters are his whole world! And He is so Greatful We are in his life.(He dosn’t have a good relationship with his grown sons) Ive told him multiple times “I have a lot on my plate” He dosnt seem to understand. Im trying to be more mindful of My Gut Feeling! I dont know what to do.. Deal Breaker #11 !!

Anonymous says July 13, 2021

An article which confirms all the feelings thoughts experiences one goes through

Linda says July 13, 2021

These are excellent deal breakers. I have experienced many of them and walked away. Today, I’m thriving with a wonderful spouse and I have regained my self-confidence!

Kimberly Feliciano says February 23, 2021

Great article. I will keep this as a guide and pass it on.

E says February 22, 2021

I need out. It gets worse every day. I don’t know where to start. I am alone and 3,000 miles away from family. I know it is not going to get better. I have no idea where to begin, where to go, or how even to go about getting away. I had plans set to leave and then COVID. Everything shut down a week later. I have never felt so alone in my life.

    Kim Saeed says February 22, 2021

    E, please know that you are not alone, even though it may feel that way right now. I don’t know what the situation is with lockdown in your area, but there is still hope. If you aren’t in any programs, you may want to explore The Essential Break Free Bootcamp. It is helping people who are in the same situation as you to get to a place of clarity and empowerment to leave their toxic environments. Even if you can’t leave right away, it will help to start clearing out some of the blockages and guide you step-by-step to breaking free and also help you in the first weeks and months after you make the break. Our private FB group is also a great source of encouragement and comradery.

    I really hope you can join us. Sending hugs your way…


    Gigi says July 14, 2021

    Hello , I have been there…
    I would say for me the step is to build financial independance. I opened a secret account and started working hard towards re building a professional carrier.
    I got to have a place on my own for me and my kids.
    The rest went step by step….lawer and so on.
    you are not alone you can do it.
    Each step you will make to get away will make you stronger and will show you the next….
    Blessings and prayers your way

Thomas Donoghue says February 22, 2021

Thank you so much for all your advice and help
You have been like a personal friend helping me through this nightmare of abuse l never relished how deep I allowed myself to be brainwashed into that abuse
Until I read your articles
You have saved my sanity
And life

    Kim Saeed says February 22, 2021

    Thank you for letting me know my articles have been helpful for you, Thomas. It means a lot, truly.


Keri Brewer says February 21, 2021

don’t forget borderline personality disorder on the cluster B list!

    Kim Saeed says February 22, 2021

    Of course 🙂

Linda says February 13, 2021

Good grief! I’ve seen about 20 videos on narcissism and covert narcissism, but not till I read this article did I realize that my beloved first husband, whom everyone liked, was actually a covert narc….After 7 years of marriage, he left me for another woman. A year or so later, he sent roses and FLEW down to see me in Florida. We agreed he would go back and find a place for us, then call me to come and we’d get back together – he never called. This happened twice; just ghosted me. I’ve been married to 2 covert narcs and one overt one…. talk about programmed.

Reshma Abraz says October 27, 2020

I have left the abuser for almost 3years but he still not wanting to sign the divorce paper…he wants me back but still spreading rumours about me…confused

    Kim Saeed says October 27, 2020

    Hi Reshma,

    If he’s telling you that he wants you back, yet is still spreading lies about you, it most likely means that the only reason he supposedly wants you back is to avoid paying you anything during the divorce, and also so that he’ll have someone to be the target of his abuse. People who want you back for love wouldn’t be spreading lies about you.

    Hope that helps.


Patricia says October 19, 2020

Thank you for sharing this article it confirms that I did the right thing by getting divorced. My ex did all of the 10 things you have listed as warning.

Peter Rossi says August 20, 2020

My Narc is a homeless Crack addict , she is beautiful, she dresses better than anyone Inc outside of DTLA people get confused reading the opening lines , because it’s like an Oxymoron. Every horrible thing you can imagine had happened to me but on highest levels / 1 ) this horrible woman 35 was beat up in my home 2 mil $ house on the beach , she stomped her head numerous times some DT gang thing .i slide in to cover her head , my knees are bleeding from rug burns x 100!pain . Then next day I’m being arrested ?!?! She blackmailed me to get the deed to my house & some cash ..everyone’ DT knew they got me good because both of them after the altercation came up with this plan .. my life has been living nightmare she comes over my house walks in , like nothing ever happened I even called 911 but did not talk so they would see ? Look at the scene remember the court put protective order on me !” That gave her the free pass to steal from my house every time she would’ walk in break in or threaten to punch herself in face & say I did it & made her come over using Crack as the bait . ANYONE EVERYONE STOP WAKE UP / This still won’t stop been going in over 10 months I have 20?hours of audio recordings 6 hours of video recordings all done from inside but house or on my car . /Nothing x rated or inappropriate , … my past I never had a problem with a girl
Or woman in my life , This is all brand new it’s destroyed my brain I cant remember where I put my phone or my keys it’s always a struggle / before this nightmare in hell , i prided my self in being in person that never forgot anything not keys phones or glasses NEVER its uncanny insanity someone give me some advice help me I’m loose my smile more everyday & Hope

    Renae says February 22, 2021

    Dear Peter,
    This person needs to be GONE out of your life. Beauty is only skin deep. But, she sounds like she’s UGLY to the bone. Do NOT let ANYONE destroy your life or mind. You are worth so much more than that!
    I know. Because I am a Suicide Survivor!
    I walked away from a 27 year miserable marriage! You can survive & thrive!

Fundakuye says March 20, 2020

Thanks, Kim I Really Needed To Learn About, And It Very Helpful To Me Learn About Those Seven Deal Breakers.

Claudine Nydegger says March 18, 2020

This was amazing and scary at the same time. I checked off 8 of them. I am divorcing him but he is using divorce now to hurt me more. His abuse is never ending and feels very intentional. Narcissistic people are awful people who can cause so much trauma.

    ewie says October 19, 2020

    Amen, Claudia.

Anonymous says March 17, 2020

Every single article and YouTube I read or look at from Kim is important to me. She always seems to find information that I don’t see other authors bringing together. This is a great summary a great place to start to review the building of healthy relationships for me. Thank you Kim!

Tony says March 17, 2020

It’s interesting to note that ALL these 10 Red flags are exactly what I endured as a child from 2 abusive parents. The problem here is that I could not escape till I was 18 yo. By then CPTSD was fully entrenched but I didn’t know. Even the “Affairs” impacted me because of my father’s regular adultery and the toxic aftermath. I was a straight A’s student for a while until the mental abuse finally broke my heart and spirit and I couldn’t function academically anymore. And yes…they took away my puppy…my heart’s joy with not ONE word of explanation.
I’m so grateful for the light you shine on NAS because it negates all the cruel gaslighting I’ve absorbed and validates my experience. With that, I’m more empowered to focus on healing and maybe even thriving. Much love and respect to you Kim.

MIchele "Micky Marz" Herasuta says September 17, 2019

My 2nd Narc said, out of the clear blue sky, “wouldn’t it be funny if my indoor cat got into the street & got run over. That was the red flag that along with some other improper behaviors was the beginning of the end of our 6 month romance. I left after another red flag-his unannounced disappearance for 3 days & didn’t return my texts, calls or e mails. Obviously he was cheating. I broke up with him immediately when he came back to make sure I didn’t catch whatever he may have.

Me says July 16, 2019

I set my deal breaker early on: if you ever cheat, I’m out. No matter what the circumstances!
He listened and seven years later this dialogue repeats in my head because he quoted it back to me so many times. I believe he did cheat and many times, so so many stories didn’t add up and his rage when I questioned him? Well, that was something else and VERY telling in itself. Before I left, he kept asking me “do you trust me?” And “hand on heart, on my children’s life…” etc. You get the picture? A sure sign of blatant lies. I would never swear on a child’s life – that’s what pathological liars do!

Marcin M Lewandowski says April 4, 2019

Kim, I appreciate your precious, loving advice and help. However, I have a unique situation. If I leave the narcissist, being married to her, I cut off her monetary welfare supply, including that for our daughter (in all, 5 minor children). If I leave Poland the welfare will be cut off according to the Polish law. What should I do? Is it morally ok for me to “save myself” but to sentence children, including my own daughter, to potential poverty and starvation?

Lynn Mackinson says April 1, 2019

Every one of these Boundaries has been violated in my experience with my ex…it is hard to self relect, to see myself going through the abuse…Yet, having gone through your program I am better equipped to handle future situations. In addition to your program, I love Shahida Arabi. Plus the help of Madeline F who helped me out at the Woman’s Center in Waukesha, who helpef me see that when someone claims that it is always Your Fault, that is is abuse…Paul Kreppal, my therapist…who had seen me on more occasions, however, Jerry went a few times with me..Paul told me, after we were Not together any more that Jerry was the crazy one, Not me..The AODA counselor I saw, because I resortedt to drinking during the relationship with Jerry helped me see that..Jerry was the reason I had turned to alcohol. On top of that, my parents friends saw Jerry pour drinks for me at parties…strong drinks to ensure his comments about me being out of line were true. Jerry also lied to the Police about me, he called the police and lied to them about me!! This has been a complete nightmare. I had downloaded Arabi’s book and had read most of it….therefore knowing about no contact a year before it all went down..Paul Kreppal told me,,,,Call your friends!! Teri Campbell and Cheryl Pikulik, heard Jerry’s discourse with me..including, Jerry saying, “I Hit her because she provokes”.
Havingbeen through your entire course, it hurts my heart to Know Jerry will do this same abuse to someone else. Jerry’s ex-wife even tried to warn me in several ways. I am committed to building a Better life for myself. I have learned so much!! Please, God, help the Next Victim!!

Betty says March 31, 2019

I was married for 31 years before I found out my husband was cheating. I was so naive it never occurred to me to cheat so it never entered my mind. He worked out of town so when he was home I was given anything I wanted. We divorced after I found out he was cheating (obviously a deal breaker:). But my youngest daughter talked me into going back so we remarried a year later with everything in the world that I wanted to hear promised to me. He was great for a couple of years then nothing I did was right. He started drinking more and using drugs again. I suspected he was cheating again but wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. He was, I left six months ago and have been no contact since December. I have a years restraining order on him for physical abuse not to mention the trauma and emotional abuse I have suffered I realize for years now. My problem is I’m financially ruined now plus so depressed and I just feel STUCK I do love Kim’s blog ang workshop I look forward to her emails. I’m trying so hard and I’ve always considered myself to be really strong but I live each day hour to hour. He’s done EVERYTHING that Kim said narcissist will do. There are days I despise him and others that feel like I’m in a bad dream and I’m going to wake up and be okay. It’s just paralyzing

Jerry H. says March 31, 2019

Hi Kim, when I was in my relationship with my narc., she was a master manipulator, and especially with money. The first four years with her she did not work but was getting a lot of financial help from her ex. I was giving her my whole pay check and she was depositing it in a joint account, but I found out late in the relationship she had other accounts with my name on them but I could not access them. My warning to others…….. do NOT let your spouse control the finances! When I read your article about deal breakers, it brought back memories of what happened to me. I wish I had known about Narcs. before I met this woman! Fourteen years lost, but now I can move on. I had a lot of anger from this marriage but have been able to move on. Watch out people, it can happen to you!!

Shirley says March 31, 2019

I have been no contact going on three years. The narc is crazy and a master manipulator. He has no empathy and is a hypocrite. I don’t have time for the pain! He is cheap and twists the Holy Scriptures to his advantage. He wants to be worshipped instead of the Creator of the Universe. I confessed my sins and am looking forward to healing and moving on permanently. Only thing, is there were a lot of pile on narcs in my life as well. Now that I have gone little contact with them, the loneliness has set in.

Lisa says March 31, 2019

I find you emails very helpful Kim. I’m out of myn3rd relationship with a man who was a cluster B type personality. This time Insaw the red flags but allowed sympathy for his personal history to get in the way. I’ve done some work on myself and have taken steps to address the core issue of abandonment by taking time to reconnect with my real dad. I’ve also identified my dealbreakers and I am pleaednthat this time I walked away when my dealbreakers were hit. I gave two chances but third strike saw him out. I still read your articles to continue to remind myself of the importance of self love and ongoing self work. I have to take 50% of the blame for my last relationship as I allowed myself to stay in spite of the red flags but this time I got out sooner. I’m going on a first date next week with a guy who is the opposite of my exes, no love bombing so far and it’s very ordinary and calm. I will keep reading your articles though, as they keen me focused. Thank you for helping me through a dark period.

Jean says March 31, 2019

Great article. I would love to see one about non-romantic relationships…friendships, co-workers, family. How to establish boundaries and deal-breakers in these scenarios. A major one for me is anyone who undermines my hard work or ghosts when I’m going through a tough time. Thank you for this blog. It has helped so much!

Anonymous says March 31, 2019

Don’t forget sexual abuse ☹️

Adrian says January 23, 2018

Hi Kim,

Thanks for your great website and articles and I’ve been following you for some time.

I just had to ask why you left out the fourth Cluster B disorder the Borderline?
Is it because there are so many versions of it that Councillors dont even want to treat it?

As far as I can tell each Cluster B disorder including borderlines have different internal dynamics but for their victims it always results in some version of the Narcissist Abuse Cycle (Idealize/Devalue/Discard/Replace/Hoover).

And from what Ive seen and experienced personally the Borderline Lovebomb stage is arguably the most powerful of all the Cluster B’s idealizations, and the Subsequent emotional rape of their victims (Devalue/Discard/Replace/Hoover) is often the most devastating!

With the added complexity that a great many of them are Co-Morbid, being both Borderline and Narcissist/Histrionic/Antisocial blends… but nobody seems to know how many, estimates range from 25% up to 60%.

Thanks for the article!


    Kim Saeed says January 27, 2018

    Hi Adrian,

    Thank you for your kind words and for following me 🙂

    As you touched on in your comment, BPD is just too broad and complicated. Additionally, many victims of emotional and narcissistic abuse display symptoms of and are diagnosed with BPD, when they are really suffering from C-PTSD and PTSD. I used to research this stuff quite extensively, but my focus is more on detachment and healing at this point…mainly because it’s better to focus on detachment and healing than to spend one’s time, energy, and focus on trying to figure out disordered/toxic individuals since, in my experience, no amount of knowledge about them does anything to change the outcome of the situation.

    Hope that helps!

    Kim XoXO

    Lisa says March 31, 2019

    Hi Adrian

    I agree my ex fell into this category. I mourned the person and relationship I thought I was getting. The devaluation stage and the hideous person at the end is etched in my mind and alsways will be. There’s no closure and won’t be. These people easily fly under the radar and you can be fooled into thinking it’s a fearful avoidant attachment type and end up giving more effort than they deserve. I stupidly gave the book Attachment, to mine and he suggested fearful avoidantvas his attachment. In retrospect I’ve given him a fabulous price of ammunition for subsequent victims. These are the most harmful types as you don’t see them coming until you’re hooked and you find reasons to excuse the red flags.

Shirley says January 21, 2018

I really enjoyed this article. Relationship deal breakers are real. This information will help me when and if a new relationship comes around. All relationships need boundaries.

Andrea says July 12, 2017

Thanks for this article, but it’s a bit misleading coming here from your email newsletter. It says in the newsletter: On the journey to finding the ideal partner, many people end up in abusive relationships. That’s why it’s important to have a strong list of non-negotiable deal breakers.

I’m on the journey, and this article talks about already being in a relationship with an abuser.

Also, most of the time, but the time you realize you are being emotionally and financially abused (two ringers that are super hard to see at first) you are already psychologically hooked and it’s nearly impossible to walk away. Articles like these are not addressing the serious situation of being brainwashed and what happens to our brains when we are in a relationship such as these for quite some time.

    Kim Saeed says July 21, 2017

    Hi, Andrea!

    Thanks for stopping by! The article could apply to anyone who’s already in a relationship, entering a new relationship, or is simply working on healing themselves after leaving an abusive relationship. In the big scheme of things, any of these scenarios is part of ‘the journey’. Specifically, if any of these red flags are happening in current relationship, it’s time to walk away…or, if they begin to pop up in a new relationship, it’s time to walk away. And for those who are in-between or in the process of leaving, I offer the free “Boundaries Worksheet” download at the end.

    To address the latter part of your comment, I’ve written many articles about narcissistic brainwashing and how long-term emotional abuse affects the brain, backed with scientific data, any of which can be found via the search bar.

    Hope that helps!

Anonymous says June 29, 2017

It is all about BOUNDARIES & YOUR CORE VALUES. You’d think that we all would innately know where our boundaries are delineated, what is acceptable & what is not. But it is well established that the way our parents (or primary care takers) treated us is the way we treat ourselves & others. If we came from abusive homes, our foundation is a little cracked & our sense of boundaries is skewed. Our tolerance & what should be acceptable treatment by others is messed up. Basically, when our interactions with others leave us feeling bad inside, we have to stop, assess, & determine if we were mistreated. For example, if we were called names, personally insulted or belittle or devalued, made into a joke at our expense, lied to or cheated on—- these are abusive behaviors. Draw the line because Life experience tells us that we should operate under the belief that if a relationship undermines your personal integrity, IT IS NOT WORTH HAVING. Some of our core beliefs are should be personal integrity, self regard & respect. These qualities are the basis for your boundaries. You are in charge of you, & maintaining your belief that you should expect to give & receive respect from others. Period. Many other core values are born out of basic respect like trust, caring, sharing, humor. An important partner of respect is empathy. I love this quote, “A strong woman will automatically stop trying if she is unwanted or abused. She won’t fix it or beg, she’ll just walk away”.

    Bea says July 3, 2017

    Thank you for a reminder of that quote. I do consider myself and strong woman but these situations create self doubt beyond belief. I support. I give. Someone takes very knowingly . It is so hard to walk away and do not contact. I am pathetic. But a short mantra can help “I am a strong woman….” .

    I should also run from the lack of emotional unavailability “You should never be the only one to care in the relationship” – there is knowing, feeling and acting. This is so hard.

    Angela says January 21, 2018

    I met a man who I felt after lunch was a male version of me….strong, intelligent , funny..but also soft, gentle and kind……I wanted to see him a second time….first time for me since my husband passed 7 years ago…..I turned all men away…for some reason or another…for 3 years…the rest of those 7 years I grieved and took care of me….got used to being alone…this man also had many years alone and was Ok with it….we had similar upbringings….went to sister and brother Catholic schools…everything seemed like we would walk into at least a close friendship…..10 days later was Valentines Day..I bought him a cool candle, some candy, etc…he bought me a babydoll nightie and robe…I thought maybe it’s time I wore pretty things because neither of my husbands ever were into this type of lingerie…we progressed into wonderful walks everyday..nice talks through dinner..and a phenomenol physical life….BUT…I did have red flags in the first week…….he smoked like a fiend in his house ..I have had lung cancer…he has been separated for 20 years….no divorce because wife is ill and on his health insurance…I get this…he started to smoke outside more and put a house filter on when in the house…this was working with me ….to me……he said one day that in a perfect world I would be 5’2″ and weigh 105…that was me until I went through menopause and have gained a little ..but am far from obese….I look 10 years younger then I am …and dress conservative….but in fashion…he was surprised I was as old as I am….I don’t think I ever got over the conversation of being called a LARGE WOMAN>…he was a skinny, little man…I am used to men over 6′ and 200#…but I liked him….a little at a time I started noticing things that were weird..he was OCD , a hoarder and procrastinator….took impeccable care of the outside of his property but the inside ..I was cleaning all the time because he never did…at times he would put a suit on just to run to the store for 2-3 things….I noticed a big phony show outside of the house …but turning into a real boring, creep who never wanted to break his schedule inside the house….shared none of my life…I am rid of him now..every once in awhile I want to call him..but I think about who he really is….and have no interest and nothing to say……..SO by the time I saw these signs ….I was already emotionally involved, tried to break it off..but I couldn’t stay away….never met anyone like this… HOW do you prevent getting hooked into this game of deviant drama..

Karen says June 23, 2017

Mine stalked women online while I worked. He rarely worked.

    Angela says January 21, 2018

    Mine was 67..had sex for pay with 2 Junkie young girls on his was his best friends daughter..was addicted to porn…..and just really did some weird things to himself ..alone with his porn…..I started to learn all this towards the end…..

Dee says June 22, 2017

With my spouse,concerning the financial aspect of our marriage, he was only satisfied if I had a retail job. At the same time he would complain to his family that I didn’t want to work. When I went back to school and began counseling others and especially when I was awarded Counselor of the Year he was furious. The sabotage game began any time I held a position that was considered more than a retail job. So much to say but I will end it here.

    Dee says June 22, 2017

    I forgot to mention in my previous comment that the reason he did not want me to have anything more than a retail job was that he did not want me to have anything near his pay. He was a computer systems engineer.

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