chaos theory of narcissistic abuse

The Chaos Theory of Narcissistic Abuse

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Most people have heard of the Butterfly Effect, which states that a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the world – at just the right point in space and time – can eventually cause a hurricane on the other side of the world.

And while we don’t have any control over the world’s butterflies flapping their wings, we set in motion a different set of events for each decision we make inside toxic relationships.

People generally want to stay away from hazardous situations, right?

Most people avoid trying Meth because they’ve seen pictures of what it can do to one’s physical appearance.

Others avoid drinking and driving because it’s against the law, and because it would put themselves and other drivers in danger of losing their lives.

We know that smoking cigarettes can lead to lung disease or cancer.

…and any sensible person would steer clear of a mother bear who’s foraging with her cubs because they know they probably wouldn’t leave that encounter alive. 

More than the immediate or short-term effects of these actions, people typically strive to avoid engaging in them because those activities have the potential to destroy lives.

But what about the chaos theory of narcissistic abuse?

Just like the butterfly flapping its wings in China could potentially cause a hurricane in Mexico, there are longstanding effects for every decision we make..and the ones we make while in toxic relationships can either move us and the world toward healing…or move us toward chaos.

[Before you read on, I want to thank everyone for helping my therapist-approved recovery course The Essential Break Free Bootcamp to become a big bestseller. To check it out, click here. ]

The Chaos Theory of Narcissistic Abuse and Choice Points

Each time a narcissist’s target completes another cycle of emotional abuse, there is a window of opportunity called a Choice Point. It’s in this place where we have the chance to change the negative cycles that have become a pattern…in our lives and those of the people we love.

In that space, we can either keep making the same choices that keep us entangled in toxic relationships, or we can choose a different path.  We can choose other ways of behaving and different ways of thinking.

Every choice we make is creating our future. 

It’s challenging to stop and think about this when you’re in constant fight-or-flight mode during narcissistic abuse.  But, the choices we make now not only affect our future, but the futures of our children, our grandchildren, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, and our society.

In moments of betrayal and emotional devastation – which are inescapable inside narcissistic abuse – we just want to feel better about ourselves, to stop the pain, and for things to change back to “normal”. 

But what we typically don’t think about in those moments is what could happen in the next week, year, or decade when we choose to stay in toxic relationships.  We don’t ponder that we are creating ripples that will affect other individuals and ultimately, the world.

Many people believe they’re immune from the effects of narcissistic abuse…until they get fired from their job, their pet is harmed or killed, they have a psychotic breakdown, or their child takes their own life due to constant verbal assaults and being made to feel unworthy. 

  • We don’t ponder that we might be ruining our career because we won’t stop answering an abusive narcissist’s text messages in the middle of a corporate meeting – putting ourselves at risk of homelessness.
  • We may not recognize that when we experience repeated stress from emotional and verbal abuse, our brains are being restructured… for the worse.
  • We don’t think about how staying in toxic relationships will likely set our children up to be either narcissistic or codependent…thereby perpetuating generational dysfunction.

But, what can you do when you’ve just found out the narcissist has cheated (once more) or you’ve discovered they told you a whopper of a lie (once more) and all you can do to get through the moment is breathe into a paper bag to prevent yourself from hyperventilating? 

You always have a choice

It’s almost impossible to think rationally during moments of emotional crisis.  But, even during times of unbearable anguish, there exists that fraction of a second when your cognitive mind says, “See, we knew this would happen.  I don’t know why you won’t listen to me.”

But then, your traumatized subconscious mind tries to beat your cognitive mind to the ground.  Almost instantly, you start wondering how you can make the narcissist accountable or how you can get back into their good graces so they’ll choose you over their affair partner. 

These are your choice point events.  And there are much larger forces at play.  Choice points are not random episodes, but wake up calls.  Times where we need to read the signs and make better choices. 

Some choice points are extremely important in our lives… life-changing turning points.  When we can bring our awareness to when important choice points are at hand, our lives can become greatly enriched with far wiser choices.

How to navigate your Choice Point moments

1 – Notice your “Not This” moments

In every toxic relationship, there comes a point where you look at your life and think, “Not This”.  It could be a fleeting moment of awareness during your morning shower or when you’re being subjected to yet another Silent Treatment or Triangulation event. 

We all have “Not This” moments during the course of toxic relationships.

“At some point in our lives (unless we have done everything perfectly…which is: nobody) we will have to face a terrible moment in which we realize that we have somehow ended up in the wrong place — or at least, in a very bad place.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

Option A – It’s during our “Not This” moments that we can choose to start planning something different for ourselves. We may not know what that will look like, but in the moment, it doesn’t matter.  All we know is “Not This”.  There is no turning back.

Option B – Or, after the dust settles, we choose to “work on” the relationship because staying means less upheaval than leaving. At least with a toxic partner, we know what to expect.  Nobody’s life is perfect, right?  

Getting out on one’s own is often a scary proposition, so we choose to stay in “Not This”, thereby setting ourselves (and our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren) up for lives of chaos and emotional ruin.

2 – Don’t let old paradigms chart the course of your life

Most of us were raised with very limiting ideas and concepts, such as:

  • Marriage is sacred and to leave that institution is unforgivable
  • Having a job and bringing in a steady paycheck is the formula for success in life
  • We shouldn’t let emotional setbacks delay our progression…any breakups or fights with significant others should be kept to oneself
  • Suck it up and get over it

Subscribing to these beliefs is part of what’s wrong with our world today.  They’re why most people never create a Plan B for their lives.

Perhaps you’ve had many “Not This” moments, but you are frozen because…

…your brain can’t bring itself to say “NOT THIS”, because that would cause a serious problem. The problem is: You don’t have a Plan B in place. This is the only life you have. This is the only job you have. This is the only spouse you have. This is the only house you have. Your brain says, “It may not be great, but we have to put up with it, because there are no other options.” You’re not sure how you got here — to this place of THIS — but you sure as hell don’t know how to get out…

So, your brain says: “WE NEED TO KEEP PUTTING UP WITH THIS, BECAUSE THIS IS ALL WE HAVE.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

You don’t have to have Plan B in place to make different choices.  It only requires that you believe a different life is possible. 

It requires you to stop for a second to observe what you are doing, feeling, and thinking. Allow inner experience to flow throw you.   Decide what kind of person you want to be.  Decide on actions and do them.   Choose actions that will reflect your values.

Choice points are times when you can stop, reflect, and look for answers.

3 –   Know that you are no less than other survivors

Ultimately, there are no defining differences between you and others who have made it through their own choice points. 

I’ve seen doctors, attorneys, and therapists lose everything while choosing to stay with abusive partners.

I’ve seen people who were unemployed, on disability, and even a few people on the brink of homelessness decide “Not This” – and work toward building a different life for themselves after leaving narcissistic abuse.

Our circumstances don’t define us.  Change is an act of will.

“Will is our acting upon and in our world. It is not wish, want, hope, try, maybe, should, kinda, soon, have to. It is the act that moves us from purpose and meaning through deliberation into choice and action. And right in the middle, between purpose and action is the Choice Point. There is always a fraction of a second, or a minute or days, when we are poised at the edge of a decision.” – Dorothy Firman, Ed.D

Choice points are precious moments where we get to identify the actions which will become our legacy. When we consider that moment between impulse and action, we then have a true choice. We can act in accordance with our values instead of against them. We can act in congruence with our deepest truth.

If this article resonates with you and you know it’s time to stop the chaos, end the mental torture, and begin healing your life, then I’d love for you to join us in our Warrior Inner Circle by claiming your free Beginner’s Healing Roadmap.  You can sign up below this article.

If you’re ready to go deeper and change your life right now, I offer a wide range of effective resources and techniques to protect against toxic people – in my bestselling program, The Essential Break Free Bootcamp.

I’m excited to share with you the psychological tools I and thousands of others have used to heal from narcissistic abuse.

Explore techniques derived from behavioral therapy (vetted by the psychological and neuro-psychological communities) to finally heal your life.

Learn more here.

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Leave a Comment:

Phillip says May 25, 2023

Thanks for this inspiring revelation. We can change to the A mindset instead of B.

Michelle Hudson says September 23, 2022

I was raised by a narcissist mother and I didn’t realize this until a couple of years ago and I was married to a narcissist for 20 years and after divorce and finding myself after 14 years being single, the first person I was attracted to ended up being a narcissist. I don’t know how I didn’t know it, he recently discarded me after hacking my phone and to see if I had gotten my phone safe I told someone he was a narcissist knowing if he saw it he would definitely let me know. The next day I got a hateful message about me being a narcissist and a crazy methed out lady. Smh He reacted just like everything I read said he would. He was nice for about a year until he wasn’t and he was very mean and heartless. I still find myself missing the sweet guy I first met and fell in love with even though I know he isn’t that person. Smh I don’t know what to do to get over him and to stop wishing he’d be nice and miss me.

Stephanie says September 22, 2022

So helpful, Kim. Thank you!

I asked a client that had offered in the past for prayer today.

Not knowing how to ask for help or where to ask for help has been huge, as it’s so hard to know who and what to trust after all. It’s a lot of physical and mental weight to pull, for sure.

I felt safe to ask for prayer today. It was a choice. And I did it! ❤

Anonymous says April 20, 2022

Thanks very much Kim for your articles. The more I read about what other people are saying or experiencing, I’m beginning to feel better and healed.

WhatKindOfWife says September 7, 2021

Choice Point, will come sooner or later. Choose sooner, for yourself, children and quality of life. Not after a physical assault, verbal/emotional assaults. Not after the bait, hook and switch and you are staring at a complete stranger, wondering who is this person. Run like you have on gasoline drawers in the pit of hell.
Hard? Yes. Worth it? Yes and you will heal, survive a day at a time

Nilesh Karwa says May 2, 2021

This is a wonderful article & hits bang on. I allowed the situation to rot & refused to believe my own eyes when the writing was on the wall. And the problem only snowballed while my confidence & conviction was eroded. And I have felt greater anger & regret at my own passiveness than on her blatant betrayal.

Kate says April 29, 2021

I remember counting minutes of no contact the fear and excitement I felt the first time I made it 3 days 7 days 23days 64days at some point i had stopped counting. Even after extreme physical abuse i had gone back many times. I wanted answers on why? With your help I came to realize that even if he told me exactly what I wanted to hear (which he never would) it wouldn’t change anything that had happend. I’m still rebuilding after 4 years with him took everything I had including my kids and my skin with 3rd degree burns on 40% of my body. But I am alive! Now why am I still having issues as the time finally comes for him to go to court for burning me 1.5 years later. I keep saying I am away just let it go. I cant put my daughters father in prison she’ll hate me. Excuse after excuse he did horrid things to me and deserves prison time plus he abused his current girlfriend I have an obligation to stop him. Why does he still have control over me when I never see or speak to him.

Marlena Ward says December 6, 2020

Thank you so much for this article. It came at the perfect moment. My ex narc contacted me through another number and almost had me talked in to coming back. Thank you so much.

Gabi Wenzelow says November 17, 2020

This article mental lot for me it really hit a chord, similar to setting boundaries. All this is very new to me at this stage in my life but better late than never

gregory says August 11, 2020

Hi Kim, I’ve passed your details on to a few friends who are married to narcissistic people and I’ve got to tell you that I’ve received so much good, clear, guidance from your articles. This article really showed me how I had worn myself out trying to make sense out of chaos. Thank you for the clarity.

Kellie Eveland says February 26, 2020

Kim, I just first want to say your help is beyond beneficial to put it mildly. Unfortunately, in my case I knew and lived through 15 years of this MIND BOGGLING ABUSE! I am an educated logical person and Trauma Nurse who had no clue. I didn’t know what this was called so I called them psychopaths…yet never read the definition. In the end I became a person in which eventually became addicted to sleep aids just to escape…had one and one only very near successful suicide attempt for which I never verbalized. I was then homeless for the simple fact I couldn’t return there. Still not knowing how this was narcissistic effects of those 2 people. I picked myself up got a semblance of a life back job, car, place to live but remained in like this fog and alot of memory loss, I am now getting educated thanks to you. Because of the trauma I caused my sane family and now quite adult children I suffer from tremendous guilt from dropping out of life for so long. Those relationships are on solid ground now but have just recently discovered what happened to me and reeling (btw) but well. Do you suggest anything because I have been away from that relationship for years…but returned to family but unfortunately a narcissist elderly father who is 82! He’s still at it too lol. Any suggestions?

    Andrea says August 10, 2020

    I have dealt with an abusive daughter with Bipolar 1 for the last 38 years. All of her abuse I thought was linked to her illness. I knew she was a narciccist and self centered, but did not know what that really meant. It got so bad, that I had to walk away and stay away. Hard to do for a mom. Guilt pounds on you, but I overcame that. I am strong in who I am as a person, but she about destroyed me. I know that I am an empath. Thanks to you shining that light on me. I am always ready to help whoever I can, as much as I can for as long as I can. I am almost 74 and have to pace myself now. I am not as physically strong as I want to be, but quieting down so much is a wonderful decision. I will continue to coddle myself and not be hooked by my daughter or anyone else who has this narcissistic personality. I am 100% not available to those people anymore. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I mean that literally. The only way that I can regain my peace is by reading every word that you write. It is crystal clear to me that cutting all ties to my daughter has truly set me free. The number one thing that proves all of this has been the right move has been reconnecting with my two adult grandchildren. My daughter was the invisible barrier that kept us all at arms length. Our relationship has been restored to the best place that I could ever imagine.
    The second thing it has done is it has taken the 1000 pound rock from around my heart and has let me become 100% available to my treasure of a husband. Those two things have changed my life and are here to stay. Thank you is so inadequate, but I have shared you with everyone that I know that has suffered at the hands of a narcissist. You are truly a Godsend.

Michelle Hoyt says February 25, 2020

Even if it doesn’t feel good … we know what the better choice is. Be good to yourself and make the choice you would want a loved one to make for their self. For me, I was sad and scared but knew I had to do what I would want my daughter to do if it were happening to her. Luckily I never let him near my children as he lost custody of his own. A clear red flag I selectively chose to ignore when things seemed to good to be true. I still get anxious about what I miss but know I made a better choice by going no contact. He still tries to contact me. I know I will never change my mind now. Life is too good again to ever look back. My peace has returned. Thank God!!

TigerKim says February 25, 2020

Very good article. I can see that I created false urgency and brittle expectations for myself for most of my life.

Linda Love says March 23, 2019

Kim, I am in AGONY. I just walked away from my narcissist. I am torn, broken, hurting because I loved him. He has done to me every single thing that has been mentioned through gaslighting, making up, denying it all and forgetting plus has made me look bad to his family. An intiment time turned to hell because blatent outright lies he told me blew up for last time.I need some encouragement, please, please. Feel like I can’t move or breathe. Linda L

Anita says March 17, 2019

Your article came at a very good time, but is sadly all too close to home. My daughter suicided last year. We had fought together for so long & hoped the goodchoice to move away from what we had been experiencing could put us on a better path. Abuse was affecting our state of health & after having a boiling hot pan of vegetables thrown at my head, & later my daughter jumping out of the car because she too could no longer cope with the madness that was our live we made a pact that this time there would be no going back! But choices I made in trying to ignore the constant interference & harassment in our lives & not reaching out to the right people just kept placing us in further harm. It also seemed that groups of people had plans for me of which I was never consulted or included in, this too became distressing In trying to understand what was going on. We became worn down & depressed & yes after my perpetrator continued to bully, financially destroy, interfere with my job through family & his conections it seemed we didn’t stand a chance in our return to wellbeing. Since December we have seen a return or should I say escalation of behaviour again, towards the one child we have left. Intervention has been needed again, that alone should speak of how far from normal our situation is. 2013/14 is when as three we got out. To frighten a child & then overcompensate to make up for what is done is so soul destroying & damaging to a young mind, & I assure you that it really does cause terrible pain, confusion & distress. Yet, if I speak out the trolls or his bullygroup attempt to shut us down or we get told it is us trying to destroy him. Recent messages again from him after asking that he postpone an appt due to some further family trauma has been met with attack & blame – too long we have forgiven, ignored & tried to compromise & reason, but this is impossible to do with narcissism. Today, even after such experiences we have endured, verbal assaults, throwing high chairs into the wall, kicking our dog, breaking things or throwing things at us, writing abusive letters to myself & family – it is us that are accused of causing him pain, or being narcissistic & even passive aggressive. I accept that my daughter died whilst in my care, I have to live with that everyday – but not once have I blamed him for this – I wouldn’t be allowed to, or there would be a further price to pay. These types of people take total control of your life & are unable of letting go. They lay dormant waiting for any opportunity to strike. I am still unable to know how to thrive, but at best we are doing what we can to keep healing & survive.
The chaos is very relevant to the destruction that is done by this type of abuse. Much Counselling is needed to assist with the anxiety, depression & self esteem harm. People don’t understand what they can’t see which is why narcissistic abuse is so hard to believe – until it is happening to you.

Pam says March 17, 2019

Kim… 7 years of hell with him. More than half of it I had NO IDEA WHAT WAS WRONG WITH HIM….until I found YOU.
Your words and encouragement have SAVED MY LIFE. Thank you doesn’t cover it… I will follow you and recommend you until I go to heaven!!

    Kim Saeed says March 25, 2019

    Wow, Pam. Thank you so much for your kind praise regarding my work. It’s truly my pleasure and honor. Your comment drives home that I am fulfilling my purpose.

    Kim XoXo

Geraldine says February 3, 2019

My choice point came after 9 years, having a screaming match outside of a supermarket and me drawing in anyone passing by telling them what he had done and taken from me with him glaring at me before he finally started to come to presumably hit me. If you had asked me if I would have envisaged allowing myself to get to that level, I would have said it wasn’t possible as none of us would. However, it was at that point I said to myself (after having driven to his place and continued screaming at him there like an out of control lunatic) that this was the end, I couldn’t reduce myself further and it wasn’t what I wanted in any shape and I felt so much shame. For whatever reason though it moved me finally, finally to end the insanity. Yes, all the usual stuff ensued of him showing up but each time has made me stronger. It’s getting back in touch with yourself and remembering there is always a choice, life is short and live it in the happiest way possible. I wouldn’t have thought of saying it before but I am glad to have been through this change and realised how many people I have let walk over me and what open prey I was. Not any more I’m glad to say. Thanks Kim, you’ve been there all the way.

    Kim Saeed says February 3, 2019

    Geraldine, thank you for sharing. I remember similar incidents in my own marriage. Looking back, that was a version of me that’s not even recognizable now.

    I also share your gratitude for the experience because if not for that awful period in my life, I would still be living for other people…but not now 🙂

    So glad to know you’ve shifted and feel better about life.

    Hugs, Kim XoXo

      Geraldine says March 17, 2019

      Thanks Kim. It must have been very difficult for you without having a Kim to help you. The very best piece of advice I got from you at the beginning was about what no contact really meant. xxx

Liz says January 30, 2019

Hi Kim, got teary-eyed reading this article. I left a 38-year toxic relationship. It’s almost 7 months now and I never regretted leaving. My mind is now focused on BIG plans for my future. I AM FREE!!! 38 years with abuse I thought it was my normal. The day I finally decided to leave, I just brought with me my clothes and important documents and my car and moved to a studio type condo. I just left a goodbye letter as I avoided saying goodbye face to face as he might harm me. As soon as I placed my letter on the dining table and looked at my home for the last time, I can’t stop crying until my daughter sent me a text telling me she is so proud of me for my decision. After reading that text, my crying stopped and the heaviness in my chest felt like an evaporating mist. My daughter is my biggest supporter. She also left home after she finished her university teaching degree as we are very close and my husband hates my wonderful relationship with our daughter. It’s the biggest decision I made in my life and I never felt I missed my old life. My happiness now is consistent and always feeling high leaving for work and eagerly coming home to my own peaceful place. I noticed too that hecause I am always happy, there is no room getting angry or sensitive or grumpy. All negative emotions gone because of that biggest decision I made leaving a narcissist. Thank you for all your blogs and the course is helping me continue on my path to complete healing. God bless you and all your subscribers.

Tom B says January 29, 2019

Thank you, Kim! Your help and teammates are the best. I love your YouTube presentations.

I am at that “yes, but…?” point.
I see: just walk away. Don’t look back. Don’t be afraid to lose everything. Look upon that as liberation. The next thing I see as I am going forward is that legal mountain! (Scary!)

While the ex-2-b is a video fan, (which is cool), I am the audio/stereophile. So, songs that help me and might help ya’ll are: “Break On Through” by The Doors, 1967, and “I Could Be Happy” by Altered Images, 1981.
Tom B 🙂

Thriva says December 29, 2018

i am relatively new to these awesome revelations. What I ask may already have been covered elsewhere. 1) Can a narc be save/converted/redeemed in an evangelical christian way?
2) Can someone share a link to a confession( If any) by a remorseful narcissist.
Thanks Kim for this. Truly more than an eye opener.

    Kim Saeed says December 31, 2018

    Hi Thriva,

    I’ve been in this field for a long time now. Haven’t heard of a single case where a narcissist was saved, by the Church or anything else. However, they may pretend that they’ve been “redeemed/saved” for gross periods of times to fulfill their agendas.


      Withheld says February 26, 2020

      I’ve seen two female Christian narcissists change in two different relationships—after they were both over 90 years old. Luckily the empath men were with them at the VERY END. Since most people don’t even life that long, I’d side with the experts on this topic, unless God Himself directly and blatantly tells you otherwise. The empath men had moved on, lived life and found these old ladies again. So yes, if God wills it, and you manage to outlive 99% of humanity, I suppose that then and only then, it might happen.

Virginia says October 27, 2018

This article explains so much. Now if only I could get my daughter to read it. She is so reluctant to face the truth that her husband is a Narcissist. He has made up very well-thought-out lies, cheated with other women, even fathering a child with at least one of them. She keeps going back to him and making excuses as to why he does what he does. He’s extremely verbally abusive and makes threats. He uses his children as pawns. One of the children is his son from one of his affairs. My daughter agreed to raise him as her own. I can’t get through to her to see him for what he is and how he has manipulated her. I had to see a psychologist because of his manipulating money from me and feeling so helpless as to how to help my daughter. My therapist mentioned that he could have NPD. I’ve been researching it ever since. It all makes so much sense to me now, but I can’t convince my daughter to read even one article. She always says to me, ” How do you know? You don’t have a degree in psychology.” Do we really need a degree to know when someone is mentally ill? Don’t we know someone is ill when they send pipe bombs through the mail, shoot students in schools, or shoot random people in malls or just out having a good time? We know these people are not well, and we don’t have to have a degree to know it. I just want my daughter to recognize and do research into her husband’s problem, but she won’t accept that he’s sick. He has, what I call, adult temper tantrums. He yells the worst profanities at the top of his lungs and frightens everyone around him. He throws furniture, punches holes in walls, and rips doors off hinges. Can anyone who reads this understand why my daughter stays with him and defends him? If so, please comment. I want to get help for her.

Indra says October 24, 2018

Hi there Kim. your articles are mindblowing . . I am finding it so hard to get people to believe what I have been going through . Infact my soon to be ex husband is trying to convince others that he is the victim and i am the narc. So far so that he has subscribed to you and reads all your posts . Are narcissists aware of what they are doing, or is their brain function affected

Shirley Akpelu says October 23, 2018

Chaos theory is very correct. Chaos, confusion and abuse are of the devil. So happy my eyes were opened and I listened with ears that were not deaf. This recovery is very hard work but the abuse has to stop with me. Another generation will not be broken down and die of an early death due to the emotional stress of evil abuse. I am learning and setting the right example for my son, nieces and nephews. We must get this right and stop this oppression and abuse now! Our families depend on it. I am tired of seeing the effects of abuse on my family and friends. Thank you Kim for caring and sharing! I have learned so much from your blogs. I am applying the knowledge and wisdom. It ain’t easy and it is very lonely, but it has to be done sooner rather than later,

Bel says October 23, 2018

Thank you Kim. You keep me sane. ❤

Antigone says October 23, 2018

This article is excellent. When my former husband pushed me against the wall and grabbed my neck I saw in a fraction of a second the life of my daughter in front of me. The life and experiences she would have if I stayed and endured this behavior. That was my choice point. We and only we have the responsibility for our well being and for that of our children. We must have the courage to take that responsibility and faith that things will somehow work out when we do so.

Deadpool says October 23, 2018

I think even after my ‘choice point’, I still struggle a bit with the question of how could someone do such emotionally sadistic things to people that they (intermittently) professed to love so much.

It’s just hard to wrap my head around the fact that someone who I was with for so long and started a family with, had a son who she treated so poorly that he was able to convince a divorce court judge to allow him to go n/c at 13 years old.

It seems like it’s behaviors you’d more see in a bad movie or overly dramatic tv show, than in real life. That’s why this quote was so poignant..
“You’re not sure how you got here — to this place of THIS — but you sure as hell don’t know how to get out…“

Christine Wolbert says October 23, 2018

Thanks for the article…the people in my world who exhibit this behavior, are my 2 adult children…

anonymous says October 23, 2018

Do you know what it is like to have your child used to get you arrested and laugh at you to your face because you were raped? My dog disappeared because he had a pellet lodged next to his spine and it had to be covered up. I can’t wait until someone comes to their senses and realizes…..if you are covering up the fact that a dog was shot…..if someone constantly has to be trapped and tricked into things……maybe the very things used to turn people against me were manipulated. If a narcissist can manipulate others into compromising their morals and values, and even breaking the law……..perhaps…..they manipulated the very things used to make people, even my own child be so mean and cruel.

anonymous says October 23, 2018

What happens if when you leave and they are more than ever determined to destroy you? Because if they let you go and you live a successful life…..everyone will know they were lying the whole time. I left, but it is worse than ever. He made me homeless and penniless, turned everyone against me, even the very systems designed to protect the abused. Every call I make is recorded and edited. Every place I go I am tracked, and authorities were used to help accomplish this. I was raped because I made a joke on a phone call. I was set-up by my own child and attorney and abuse system to try to get me to commit a felony. I don’t blame my children. I know they were manipulated. But it hurts nevertheless, to know your own children want you dead because of the lies and manipulations of a toxic person. What do you do if he uses the very people who are supposed to protect you into breaking the law and then they are stuck bedcausen they have to protect themselves and their own families? What do you do if your own grandchild is used by other adults……just to make you look bad……because they believed the lies and manipulations?

    Mim says October 28, 2018

    Hi Kim, and thank you SO much for sharing ‘Not this’ Both in my home, and my supervisor at work have narcissistic behavior
    Today, I have decided that I will pray before I respond to either one.. Through prayer, The Lord has given strength.. I Now have the boldness and courage to give a different response, when bullied at work or home. And I have decided that I MUST move out on my own, to do and be WHO God has destined! He loves and approves of each one of us.. Boundaries ARE from God, and abuse is NOT. God bless you for sharing this powerful info!! Life changing indeed!!

Cathy Petrie says September 27, 2018

That article is exceptional

    Kim Saeed says October 23, 2018

    Thank you very much! Glad to know you liked it!

Mary says June 28, 2018

Is there a “yes, but…” syndrome? The boxes all check for narcissism and crazy-making, and all the terms apply, but the small, tiny, instinctual reaction is: “yes, but…?” is this a “thing?”

    Kim Saeed says June 29, 2018

    It absolutely is. It’s part of the cognitive dissonance, which is a symptom of psychological manipulation, trauma-bonding, and wishful thinking. If they meet the criteria, then they’re toxic for you and there’s no chance of improvement.

    SB says October 18, 2018

    Oh definitely. I know exactly what you mean. And I wondered the same thing. With all the evidence I have, and all the psychological and emotional abuse I’ve endured, why does that girl keep showing up? It’s nuts.

Tanja says June 27, 2018

Being with a Narcissist and having them in our lives come a day that you will have a choice point. You may not understand it at first because you still seeing this person with your heart but the mind is telling you that something is not right and you may have to make a choice with this person. Making any choices should be about YOU, not the Narcissistic because they don’t change, they only get worse especially if your choice is to stay with them. We all have went through things in life with them that we didn’t understand, that is why Kim is a blessing to all that is seeking her help or even reading her newsletter. To make any choices for yourself with a Narcissist person, you have to close your heart from them and open your eyes to see that you are more worthy then how they are treating you. You can’t change them but they can change you. They will change you into a person that you don’t even know anymore so if that choice point keep nagging at you, then it time to act on it. I acted on my choice point once my eyes open up to my ex but for my mother, she didn’t act soon enough because she died at the age of 35 from Narcissistic abuse from my father. Open your eyes so that you can see clearly, the journey maybe hard at first but the reward is so great at the end.

Julie Hurley Poole says June 27, 2018

great article -you have been helping me improve my mental health after narc abuse-I had two abusers back to back and am just now coming back to myself-Thank you

Hope says June 26, 2018

In my country I can get divorced and take my children. Their father can not take them and he can not visit or see them if they refuse.I am waiting for my little girl to be 12 years old and then I will take them with me.their father is a narcissist. Kim thank you so much for helping others people. You help husband hates you.he asked my little girl to give him the password of my kindle fire.he finds you and now he is so exposed him.he tried to convince me that you are trying to destroy our life and marriage.

Shirley Akpelu says June 26, 2018

You are correct Kim. The narc/demon/swine cannot and will not change. If a leopard can change his spots. If I can change my brown skin, then a narc/demon can change. This is our second separation. There will not be a third. The first time I did not know what narcissism was but I have been suffering ignorantly ever since. I have no doubt,the narc will hit rock bottom but they/it will not change. It wants to kill, steal and destroy as many as it can and then laugh in your face for being foolish enough to even believe they would change. After 30 years of marriage, there has been no change, except the acting got better, but thank The Most High, I learned from my mistake. Keep helping others and being a blessing Kim. You will be blessed.

    Kim Saeed says June 26, 2018

    It always warms my heart to see a comment from you, Shirley. Very glad you are finally healing and moving forward.


    Kim XoXo

Neil Noble says June 18, 2018


The Biggest Misconception about Narcissism by Kim Saeed – Signs of a Gay Husband by Debra Sutton says May 1, 2018

[…] my article, The Chaos Theory of Narcissistic Abuse, I discuss the real and present danger in trying to maintain a relationship with a narcissistic […]

Mary says December 11, 2017

I just want ot say thank you, Kim, for your words of wisdom and encouragement over these last couple years. You gave me hope… hope I could be stronger, be who I was created to be, and hope I would be ok after I left. It has not been easy, but the process has saved my life. I just wanted to say thank you for your part in my healing, and in my journey going forward.

Lavin says October 15, 2017

Thank you Kim! My story is the same as countless others. The only difference is when he discarded me, I contacted a woman from his past who had the same unexpected discard. Her sharing the hoovering and triangulation and gut wrenching pain he put her through helped me stay no contact. I went from shattered into a million pieces to understang so much about myself. Your site has hèlped me understand NPD. I had no idea what it was! Thank you Kim. You are a great gift to us all.

Connie T. says October 11, 2017

I reached the “choice point” following a physical altercation with my sociopath husband of 6 years. I left him and filed for divorce. He continues to blame me for him physically assaulting me & calling the police. I’ve been there before and felt I could not do anything. I think I was right.
I am on Medical disability with a very limited income and need insurance. As time has gone by I wish I had not made an emotional decision. I’m in a mess. It’s no better, in fact it could end up worse. He’s a bully at best. However I had a roof over my head, Insurance, bills were paid & I knew the drill. I have an extensive education that I cannot use for employment due to my health problems. I’m sure in many ways I’m better off. However making an emotional decision, rather than thinking clearly has me in a terrible jam. Im terrified and paralyzed as to what to do. Given the circumstances, leaving may not always the best thing to do. I’ve been listening and reading about abusive, chaotic relationships. I think I let it push me to make a terrible mistake.

    Kim Saeed says November 30, 2017

    Hi Connie,

    I am truly sorry you are in a difficult situation, but I must be honest with you and say I never advocate staying in an abusive situation. I don’t know what your living arrangement is now, but I hope you’ve found alternate arrangements. Also, even if you’re disabled, you can still find ways to make a business for yourself with your education. I’ve worked with several disabled clients who started their own business and are faring quite well. I wish something similar for you.

    Kim XoXo

Jaxs says September 20, 2017

Kim, I’ve been struggling this past few weeks with a dark sadness. I have no contact with him and we’ve been separate for 17 months, fully divorced nine months. No kids. Our marriage ended when he became someone I had not seen in 19 years with him. An ugly, vile, hissing creature. I’ve gone to counseling but recognize I owe so much to the Polk County Attorney, the five weeks after I called 911 saved me, gave me time to breathe clean air!

Back to your article… I think I was feeling like all of this “happened” to me. Your article opened my eyes that it didn’t just happen, I made it happen. It was my choice point moment. I hated him driving drunk and refused to get out of the car, trying to keep him home. He pulled me out of the car by my hair, laughed that I couldn’t lick the door to protect myself because the keys were in his pocket, sat on me and started hitting me in the face. It was the first and last time he touched me. I got a good punch back that shows up on his mugshot. When he got back in the car because neighbors were stirring, I jumped back in too. I gave him three chances to pull over and on the third he sped up. I used his phone and dialed 911. As the operator came on to say what’s your emergency I watched him morph back into a scared man. Thank you so much! I woke up this morning and the sadness was gone. Realized I put this part into play is life changing for me, I’m not the victim. I stood up for myself and said no more. You’ll never know how great I feel today. I can think and I can smile. This was so powerful for me!! Thank you!! Jackie

    Kim Saeed says September 25, 2017

    Wow, Jackie.

    Thank you for letting me know how deeply my article resonated with you. I am beyond happy that you have taken your power back and are on the way to a healed and joyful life. You deserve it 🙂

    Wishing you all the best,

    Kim XoXo

Irma says September 17, 2017

Yes I finally made a choice .I suffered 4years of verbal,emotional and physical abuse from my ex narc boyfriend and I took the high road when it comes to life and death .Took him to court and got a temporary restraining order .Needless to say he didn’t got a permanent restraining order.
Started to Hoover me back after 3 1/2 months by using his step mom to contact me and wanted to talk to me regarding his medical insurance and that he just got out of the hospital.
So I talk to him and since I wanted closure I got suck back in by telling me he misses me so much and loves me .I end up meeting with him and found out his the same person with no remorse and no intention of getting help from his abuse .I finally found closure knowing he has his status in Facebook “in a relationship ” 2months after we broke up.
It was the ultimate insult and final revelation that I decided this is all I needed to close the chapter in my life from this heartless, evil person in the face of the earth .

Carol Brandon says September 13, 2017

I have gotten so much help from reading this. I have a question. I have a brother who fits all of the traits of a pathological covert narcissist. Four years ago I unintentionally cracked his facade in front of his now third rich wife who takes care of him. I had taken care of my Mother’s medical care for 16 years. I have two Master’s degrees. I was a Speech Pathologist and then at the age of 50 went back to school at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing to become a Family Nurse Practitioner in order to utilize nutritional therapies to help prevent my patients from having strokes and other neurological disorders to begin with. I had no intention of hurting my brother but went on to try to prove to him that I had the knowledge, experience, and training to better take care of my Mother. I inadvertently made him feel inept. Since then he has lied about me and convinced my 96 year old Mother of my insanity. I seriously tried to kill myself on March 30th, 2017. My husband and I who have “known” each other for nearly 45 years are on the brink of divorce. I believe my brother has written texts, emails etc. to my friends and family members to aid him in destroying my life. I have no one who ever calls me from my family including my daughter and thereby 7 and 9 year old granddaughters. I also have been suddenly shut out by my friends with no explanation of what I could have done wrong. Has anyone ever had a narcissist impersonate them through texts and emails and of course lies and who has now blocked access to calling my Mother and younger brother on the phone? Am I the paranoid one? Am I indeed crazy. I am so unloved abd yet the abuse that began 4 years ago has become so cruel I can’t find my way to safety. I live with terror every day.

SVR says September 11, 2017

I loved this. All so very true. Choice Point is brilliant where you get a glimpse of clarity. Also I liked “change is an act of will, indeed.
Thank you Kim ☺

Jennifer says September 11, 2017

This is so right on. I remember contiplating both choices. In the end I knew my life depended on it. I was an emotional wreck.. I just made a phone call on a burner phone to a moving company that got me out fast, trusting the universe to steer me from there… Motel and storage facility. Lost a lot but not my life!!!

    Kim Saeed says September 13, 2017

    Hi Jennifer…good for you. It truly is a life or death situation. Wishing you all the best!


Karen says September 8, 2017

Thank you for this article I finally had this “Not This” moment just last week. It is both terrifying and liberating at the same time. I am learning to cut off my very alcoholic, verbally abusive husband. As his addictions have deepened through the last 12 plus years in an almost 20-year marriage I have struggled to find the strength to leave him. I am the main bread winner of the family and the kids have always said but where will dad go. That can no longer be my concern. And now he says I am evil and heartless. The thought of being with him even one more day is more than I can bear and feels like a death sentence. If it were not for the kids I would quit my job and disappear into the night. Your insight is very helpful at this point in my life.

Lisa says September 6, 2017

First of all I want to thank you so much for this blog Kim. I read your posts every single time you write them. It is therapy to me. Please never stop writing. I have been with a narc for 1.5 years. I’m about ready to leave. trying to build up the courage. He threatens me every day of course and tells me it’s over and he’s going to leave. Of course it never happens. I’m scared of him leaving (not sure why). I think it’s because he’s programmed me to think I can’t live without him. I need to find strength but I’m not sure where to find it because I’ve been beaten down and am so weak right now. It’s so frustrating. I’m tired of the triangulation, the manipulation, the lies, the making me feel bad about who I am stuff, the drinking (yes, he’s so depressed all the time he’s drinking AGAIN). It’s gotten worse and worse.

But a new insight I’ve gained into a narc is that I feel as if I’m dating a 5 year old. Does anyone relate to that? For example, we are sitting on the couch at night watching TV and he starts trying to tickle me. Then I’ll be cooking dinner and he lifts up my dress (which I feel a little violated and you don’t do that to a woman anyways). He sticks his fingers where he shouldn’t just for the heck of it. I have to slap his hand away. I think he has ADD. Sex is horrible because there is no emotional connection and when we do have sex it’s not serious because he doesn’t have the emotional capacity to have it. Weird. Yet then he’s always trying to get me to have a threesome with another guy. He’s forcing me and telling me I’m “no fun” because I don’t like to have sex with another guy while he watches. It’s so unnerving and heartbreaking because I realize he doesn’t have true emotions.

I don’t know exactly why I’m writing. It’s therapy. I don’t know where to turn sometimes or how to kick him out of my house. I realize he won’t leave unless I ask him to. We get in a fight almost every other day and he threatens to leave. I’ve always told myself the next time that’s it. God give me the strength….I must get out.

    Kim Saeed says November 30, 2017

    Hi Lisa,

    I hope and pray that you find the strength to do the right thing for yourself. If you ever need help with your situation, I do offer consulting and my online course would also help you tremendously.

    Wishing you all the very best. You deserve it.

    Kim XoXo

Jean Byars says September 2, 2017

it has close to 5 years of no contact and rebuilding my life….I have got no words to make sense at all….Not only no contact with the XN…I also have had no contact with my oldest daughter…My heart will never be the same…She saw and new all about his extra maritial affairs…heard him wishing me was dead and so on and so on….I just cant wrap my head around why she stands by my XN….
Feel like i am living in a nightmare…

javad says September 1, 2017

its,great…and funny on time for how i feel now..thank you kim

Jamuna says August 30, 2017

Hi Kim, I would love to let you know that I pray for you and your good work, I didnt know about narcssism at all although having a narcssist Mom,everything went wrong in m’y life bcoz her, finaly I was drowned in happiness that I hv found thé love of my life and hé is going to fullfil the emptiness of a family, the maternal love i never had…sadly he is also a narcssist…..your mails are like a torch light in my darkness….Im fighting against the love addiciction that m’y lover is not a bad person at all but all I can forsee is Im going to loose everything again in my life bcoz of him.
Thann you so much m’y friend in need Kim…..

    Kim Saeed says September 3, 2017

    Thank you for your sweet message, Jamuna. Wishing you all the very best as you move forward.

    Kim XoXo

Bobby says August 30, 2017

I just discovered your blog. Thank you….mine was such a strange N/SP situation that a movie script is being written about it…and a record…Still recovering..
Thanks Kim

Ring says August 28, 2017

I think I forgot to add my email address when I previously submitted this post….thankfully I’ve developed the good habit of copying everything I write in a form before submitting! 🙂

I believe a fundamental element that leads to a healthy decision at a choice point is intuition. A few days ago I listened to a very important Sam Harris podcast titled “Living With Violence” with Gavin de Becker which can be listened to here: He stresses the importance of heeding one’s intuition when confronted with danger. Although his message is primarily targeted at avoiding physical danger (as many of us are placed in), the same principle applies to implementing intuition to avoiding emotional danger as well. And how right he was. I can hear the voice that went through my head as clear as day that said “Stay away from him, ________, stay away.” Right on par with “Not this”….which is an intuitive message as well.

Mr de Becker also wrote the #1 New York Times bestseller The Gift of Fear (also on my ever-growing list of books to read).

I think it’s really essential.

Thanks for the ripples Kim.

Bonnie says August 27, 2017

Thank you for this thoughtful and insighful post. I can only wish I had known this information at age 18. I spent over 40 years married to a narcissist. Jumping through the hoops of perpetual people pleasing left me tired and sad but on the day he put a note on the door saying he needed to ‘find himself’ ( along with a internet honey)I was devastated beyond belief. At age 65 it was hard to start over. Now at age 70,with much education on and about his condition and my own dysfunctional people pleasing approach to life, I see that my choices and options are broader and more varied than I thought. This has been the most difficult lesson of my life. I hope younger people hear the stories so they make wiser choices. Thank you for all you do to spread the word.

    Kim Saeed says August 27, 2017

    Hi Bonnie,

    Thank you for sharing your story. I hope you’ll continue to work on your happiness as you move forward. You deserve it.

    Kim XoXo

Michelle says August 26, 2017

Thank you for sending this today. I am at one of my “pausing points” where I think “this sucks”, “he makes me cry more than he makes me smile”, “he steps on my boundaries on purpose”. “He doesn’t respect me”, “I deserve more “, “we want different things”, “I can’t do this anymore”, “it’s not getting better “. I’ve been here before, but I go back to him. I am codependent and insecure.

    Kim Saeed says August 27, 2017

    Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for sharing. Please know that being codependent and insecure is not a life sentence. I’ve healed from those things and you can, too. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

    Kim XoXo

    Lisa says September 6, 2017

    I hear ya…….that’s how I feel and that’s what I say all of the time.

Anonymous says August 26, 2017

Thank you Kim,
It’s been almost a year of NC and your work keeps me motivated. I am forever grateful the universe brought you to me.

    Kim Saeed says August 27, 2017

    Thank you, Anon. So glad to know my work is helping you along the way.

    Kim XoXo

Anonymous says August 26, 2017

Yes, the Butterfly Effect is unexpected. A year after break up & No Contact, a year of No Response from his online boovers from fake online accounts & he hoovered my sister 2 days ago. Never expected that, or to have warn my nieces on that app to block him immediately after my sisters hoover…just in case.

    Kim Saeed says August 26, 2017

    Hi Anon…I’m sorry to hear that. Good job on the blocking and NC, though!

    Kim XoXo

tamterell says August 26, 2017

My oh my, this is life changing, Thank you Kim
Forget about the naysayers and keep doing what you do for those of us who really need you. For those of us who truly appreciate all you do. For those of us who are SURVIVORS because of you.

    Kim Saeed says August 26, 2017

    Thank you, Tamterell. I’m not going anywhere. I’m here for the long haul…for people just like you 🙂

    Kim XoXo

ThePinch says August 25, 2017

I learned a lot from Kim.

I no longer blame myself. He was one of the few individuals I’ve met in my life who could lie looking straight in my eyes. Almost impossible not to be fooled by this.

I wasn’t a weak person. I was someone who needed love and sex like I need food and nurture. I’d been denying it for a long time in myself. He provided an automatic solution to my dilemma. You know, like junk food. But the danger went way beyond food poisoning, into the realm of life and death. At that point, I had no choice.

Through radical acceptance, I was able to I accept these needs. I need good loving, good sex, and a healthy relationship. And the AHA button turned on. I learned something about psychopaths. I can survive them. And I learned something about myself. I’m okay!

Thanks, Kim – you are a beacon of light.

    Kim Saeed says August 27, 2017

    Thank you, Pinch. I’m very glad to know I’ve helped in some way. I like your mention of ‘radical acceptance’. That’s a necessary step in moving forward. I think reaching acceptance is hard for most, and I’m glad you’ve embraced it and are healing.

    Kim XoXo

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