Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Can Narcissists Change?

Can Disordered Narcissists Get Better?

Posted by Stychia, Assistant Manager 01/19/04

I find this to be a brilliant assessment of the disordered personality's dilemma in facing change/therapy; I think the author is spot on in seeing thru the stone walls and falsity to the quivering, raw human being behind the mask. I would like to add that this assessment does not include the severely psychopathic type, whose conscience is inverted and who takes sadistic delight in the "con", and in mischief and mayhem, without remorse. ~Invicta

Hello, and welcome. That's a toughie - can they change/get better? From my own experience - yes, and no.

First, they think everything is peachy just the way it is - they are perfect and other people just don't get it. Other people are responsible for whatever problems they have. They just can't see it any other away unless some big, humiliating, devastating narcissistic injury shows the blatant gap between how they perceive themselves and how they really are. (Losing a job, filing bankruptcy, doing jail time, divorce, something big and traumatic where they just no longer deny that maybe they really aren't all that and a bag of chips.) That's the window of opportunity, where if growth is going to happen, that's when.

However - if they go into therapy, they usually go because they equate getting better with feeling good (ie., powerful or perfect.) When actually the point of therapy is to learn to be okay with not feeling good. So typically, they want to return to the good ol' days when they dished it out and you took it . . . that felt good to them, therefore, "healthy."

Imagine how it would feel if you discovered that everything you thought you knew about yourself was deadass wrong . . . that's why PD's are so intractable (hard to treat). As I mentioned in an old post of mine, they don't just wake up one day and start acting normal. It's a very long road, and it's a lot easier just to stay sick.

Beware of those who have been "professional help seekers", been in therapy, 12-step groups, etc., but never seem to change - they are in my opinion, the sickest. They are lying to themselves and everyone else. And when they shed the False Self, and you see the True Self, that true self is so crippled and dilapidated, you understand the maladaptive process of narcissism -

Truly, the True Self is the psychological equivalent of an orphan from a Dickens novel, smeared with soot, barefoot and hungry and at the mercy of everyone.

They have to start over from scratch and that's a hard thing to do. I respect those who have the courage to attempt it.

That's my take, anyway.

© Stychia 2004-2010. Reproduction, even in part, by permission only

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do not think narcissists can change - that is, people with full blown narcissistic personality disorder and not people who just exhibit narcissistic traits. If they could, then their behaviour is merely a learned pattern that can be changed if there is enough incentive to do so. But with npd the damage to the psyche is with them every single moment of their lives. I have seen my n in siutations where he could not behave normally to save his life, metaphorically speaking. The damage, the distortion is so complete and so profound that it owould be like asking a blind person to start seeing. Also, I think that when we ask ourselves this question, can they change, we are clinging on to hope that maybe the relationship can be salvaged or that the n might become bearable to live with or that healing can be found. The answer is no - and the longer hope is clung to and the relationship continued, the deeper the damage. Get out now, and get out fast I think is the best advice - look at the posts through this site from people who stuck by their n's through thick and thin, and the devastation that these people are working through now. No matter how charming and wonderful n's are in their good moments it does not compensate for ravages they inflict on decent people's souls in their very many bad moments.

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether they can or not. The narcissist I know is a therapy junkie for sure, however. Surrounds himself with mostly women who are counselors, therapists and life coaches whom he engages in a smorgasbord fashion for successive rounds of narcissistic supply. Instead of him transforming from these, he seems emboldened by his "sessions" - after all, they are now working on the grand project which is him and this always seemed so enormously satisfying. Once he sought medication for his mood swings, the male psychiatrist who assessed him told the narcissist he was bipolar and the n then went on a campaign to discredit the psychiatrist (and me, his partner, for trying to drug him - ?!). What was hard for me to learn was that simply because he could speak the language of therapy and self-realization did not mean he had actually become healthier in his behaviors. It was just a deeper (and for him more self-satisfying) form of narcissism that mimicked therapy. He got to learn how he "ticked" and he was rather excited to try to master his own inclinations with the help of "experts." Of course this narcissist is now working as a member of the clergy and counsels whole families when they grieve over the death of a loved one. His sophisticated therapy vocabulary is now in professional use and deployed at the right moments. And his congregants will probably mistake these words as insights from their clergy. From my vantage point outside of that relationship, it seems his manipulation skills while "in therapy" are simply sharpened, not disabled. It was very hard for me to see and accept this when I left him.

Anonymous said...

If it serves a purpose of their choosing,N's can change but they have to be in control of when,how, with whom,and under what circumstances they'll change.

I can't seem to get away and it troubles me greatly that I don't just break away. We have 2 kids, are they better off with me there as a buffer or should I just let him go? It's a very difficult dilema and I am frustrated with myself for not being be decisive and taking action. I suppose doing nothing is still a decision and trying to shield my kids is taking action but it's hard. I don't feel good about it. I'm afraid I'm just going to decide one day to just tell him it's over and that'll be it. Some days,I hang on by a thread.

Anonymous said...

I have been married to a Narciss for a decade and I will never get married again. His entire family are Narciss. They were severely neglected and abused as children. The stories told by other members of their family seem too horrific to be true. When I met them they seemed ideal but after I woke up some years back it was amazing how wrong his thinking was or should I say their thinking. I do love him but something tells me internally to run for my life.After reading all these post and many more, it feels like everyone is talking about my husband. Narciss have a way of making EVERYTHING about them. He seem like a baby that is always in need of attention. He has broken some serious trust issues in our marriage. With him there is always DRAMA going on and if you don't go with the flow, you will get rolled over. From my experience with my husband, do some extensive investigating before going to the alter.

Anonymous said...

NO -They NEVER EVER change. I was with N wife and it lasted only a few months. Thats the longest I could bear it. Relationship with N is a nightmare. And IS a VERY dangerous thing if its wife. N manipulates people to meet her needs. NO way they can give up their GODness. It is your fault if they feel bad. And if you area guy and try to yell back - she WILL call the police. And she WILL tell them that you hit her with a baseball batt and dragged her to her bedroom and raped her. You WILL get arrested. N have NO mercy, NO feelings, NO respect. When you get into relation with N - you would think you would run away.... NO, relation with N is like a bite of a vampire - you are poisoned and want to come back to her/him. It is what they are. I went to church and know that N are people of demon. In my short relationship I did not find ANY good or normal in her - only evil things. Completely opposit what gods 10 commandments are - she steals, lies, disrespects, no love to others, no emotions, only EGO that GOD hates. It was REALLY hard for me to breack loose from that. Now I look back at that relationship and can not believe I had that nightmare.
My advise, don't walk away - RUN AWAY. Remember that N is feeding on your soul - NOTHING more and NOTHING less. It is a new type of people - some say it is a psycho connected. I would say they are people spiritually opposit to GOD. In short - you can say demon's slaves on earth. After they finish feeding on your soul - YOU will become one of them.

Anonymous said...

I think it's incredibly disheartening to hear these kinds of blanket statements about the ability of N people to recover. I'm new to this sickness (the actual named disorder) but truely believe it is me. I hope that I can change, but feel hopeless when I read this emotionally charged posts....There needs to be a site where N people can get some advice. But I suppose hearing how being a selfish manipulating arse effects poeople is good, a dose of reality maybe. Rather than trying to make myself feel better....

Anonymous said...

I agree this is all so disheartening, both for the NPD and for whoever got mixed up in the NPD's life. I've only recently come to the realization that I have been NPD my whole 61 years - I mistook the variety of problems this caused as individual problems - not as the various ways NPD manifested itself. I've wasted most of my wife's life, screwed up our children and generally caused a lot of emotional mayhem for them, and for myself too. Entering marriage counselling now, far too late after 27 years of a messed-up toxic relationship, to hear that it is impossible for an NPD to change is beyond disheartening - I want so much to be better - for my wife's sake, our children's sake and frankly for my sake too. And this isn't to be able to prove I'm the best reformed NPD there's been - it's just that none of us can stand this NPD any longer.

Anonymous said...

YES THEY CAN!!! As the disorder becomes more and more prevalent, and consequently, more studied and understood, the more effective therapies are becoming to aid in this isolating and devastating (for everyone) disorder. I was raised with a narcissistic father, and have dated men (for those reasons of 'familiarity') and am wholly familiar with their moods. My father was malignant, but even so, I could detect real isolation, remorse and incredible guilt. I am also a Counselor. What I am learning in our field is the most promising forms of therapy is CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy), MBCBT (Mindfulness) and Schema Therapy. Schema therapy address the inner self of the Narcissist to help heal the wounded child who developed the disorder to protect him/herself to begin with. Two brilliant books are 'Disarming the Narcissist' by Wendy Behary, and 'Narcissism:Denial of the True Self' by Alexander Lowen, MD. Both have experienced progressive healing with this disorder. I don't believe anyone is beyond help, especially if one is willing, and am heartened to see people with this disorder willing to step up and face this, and take responsibility for their actions and processes. The more compassion that is shown people who developed the 'false sense' of self as a way to protect (seriously, how much pain do you think a child would have to be in to 'split' themselves and create an alternate self???)themselves, the better healing will take place for all involved. This is in no way meant to discredit people who have dealt with N's, I used to think my father was evil incarnate and he caused incredible pain and damage in my life. But I can either lament the emotional upheaval, or see it as a gift of further clarity, healing and understand. Namaste, don't ever give up.

Anonymous said...

I have spent a lot of time pondering whether a true narcissist can change. I work with a powerful narcissist and I can't imagine that he would ever voluntarily admit to having any kind of problem. If he won't admit to a problem, how then can you get him to attempt therapy?

I have read that some psychologists have had success by essentially re-parenting the narcissist so that he learns empathy. I suppose it could be possible.

A lot of the literature suggests that there comes a break point - some critical event that allows the narcissist a burst of insight into his condition. It often comes later in life when the narcissists power wanes. It can take the form of a threat of divorce from a spouse, for example. A threat of firing. Perhaps the narcissist loses professional power and esteem. That seems to be when they are most receptive to the idea of therapy.

I suppose, in the final analysis, if you can get the narcissist into therapy, then yes, the narcissist can change. Self knowledge can drive awareness and change. But it has to be a genuine attempt, on the part of the narcissist, to get better. If it's not genuine, then he has no hope for change.

Anonymous said...

My N spouse and I have been through it all: his job loss, foreclosure, bankruptcy, the death of his own N father. He wasn't willing to seek counseling; instead he just got worse, wallowing in lies and porn and crazymaking games. I was the scapegoat he blamed it all on...He hasn't changed much at all, other than to switch up his tactics as I grow more aware of his games and focus on my own healing. When I had had enough a few years ago and insisted he seek counseling from our pastor, he flipped it around and I was seen as the problem for nagging him about all his bad behaviors. That said, I would like to say he has improved a little over the past couple years, once I realized that I wasn't crazy, it was him, and started learning all I could to understand what his games were about. Life with a toddler trapped in an 40 year old body is not something I recommend.

Anonymous said...

Everything here seems to address the problems of change in the narcissist but what must also be addressed it the issue of the codependent. We try to think of ways to change the N, but as codependents the only power we have is to change ourselves. In this way however, realizing how we have played into the N’s needs and games, we also realize change or no change, we cannot be with them. Everything and I mean everything I read says the narcissist’s problems are etched into their emotional DNA, so it would be like changing the color of their eyes and hair. Hair color can be changed and eye color also with special contact lenses and this is what is likely to happen in their therapy.

I have loved, and currently I love a woman who is narcissistic. The women I love now, I have no contact with … doesn’t change the fact I love her. Our friendship / relationship, was long standing, but even when we were simply friends and not intimately involved she displayed ultimate N symptoms which I dismissed because our connection was only friendly. Becoming intimate with her years later after both our partners died and when she was addicted to alcohol, was a nightmare. After treatment she dropped me because I set far too many boundaries. Onto the next man she went, and I was left holding the puke pale.

The best thing I can do is leave it alone. I have set healthy boundaries which were good for both of us, but in the end I was rejected for doing so. So what is the question here? Until a time when she would come to me after she had changed and at a time when I would be stronger personally, there is no discussion. Wondering if or when she would change is a waste of time.

Zoe G. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I agree with the comments that say how disheartening it is that others believe that Narcisists cannot heal. My mother has NPD. It has been a long and painful journey to separate my issues and my baggage from hers. The thing that had helped me break from her distorted perceptions was my own depression and anxiety, which caused a kind of "spiritual awakening" in my early twenties when I sought long-overdue therapy. Through my own therapy, I've learned to understand myself but also my mom. I often feel swells of compassion for her vulnerability and hurt. I don't see her behaviour as being HER but belonging to her fear. Despite all the abuse, there are times when I just want to hold her and take away all the pain that makes her feel/act that way. I wish that I could somehow convince her that she's o.k. and to just let it all go... Her lonliness and her inability to accept and give love genuinely, breaks my heart.

That said, I am now 38 and have only recently realized that, while I am able to accept/understand who she is, it's not up to me to change her; and, while I may have compassion for her, I don't need to coninue to accept her abuse in my life. So I've distanced myself from her. I'm also now coming out of a relationship with a narcissistic man (who's not quite so disordered). I'm very depressed about my situation. My sadness is in part due to the fact that I keep falling for these types and they continue to be able to obscure my reality and hinder my own progress. But more because I LOVE this man and I long for him to find happiness too, for his sake not mine. I don't want him or his life to be tragic. But what can I do? Nothing. I can only preserve myself and walk away, as I have done so many times before.

Nearly every book, website or resource is directed toward victims of narcissists and not to helping narcissists reconnect with their damaged selves. The prevailing thought is that they can't heal/change. The words and attitudes used in the literature are pejorative to say the least. In many instances narcissists are aligned with monsters and vampires. I'm currently reading the book "Disarming the Narcissist" by Behary. I find it encouraging but I'm also critical of it. Despite its claims to give the reader a more compassionate and empathetic understanding, it describes the narcissist in demeaning terms (perhaps an attempt at humour or wit?). I'm reading it for my own healing and understanding, not because I want to work things out with my ex. However, perhaps naively, I'd like to send it to him for reading in hopes that he may recognize himself, reconnect with his childhood trauma and hopefully seek help. But, being a narcissist, he simply would never accept even the valid and helpful information in the book because he's reject these disparaging side-comments and throw the baby out with the bathwater. These therapist/writers should have more sensitivity to their subject! Berating narcissists only exacerbates their self-loathing and resistance to identifying with their true self.

Yes, these people hurt others but they are still deserving of love and compassion (the absence of which created their disorder in the first place). I have no intention of martyring myself to them but I cannot lose faith of human's (and the human brain's) capacity to overcome tremeandous hurdles and find healing.

Invicta said...

@Anonymous, Oct 9/11

If someone chooses to act as the disordered person's therapist, they have made the choice of going beyond what is expected of a loved one. It is not our place to try to do therapy on them. It is not our place to try to change their ways through various practices.

All we were meant to do is to relate to others in a normal and healthy way. The fact that the character disordered have "issues" is not our problem. All that matters is how they treat us, and because they treat us in damaging ways, there is no reason whatsoever for the hopeful few to try to rehabilitate them. You can try to do it, but don't call it love or compassion.

Anonymous said...

At the age of 55, I.now know why I was so neglected & unloved. It's a relief being able to put a name to this ugly, selfish personality. During a recent unpleasant visit with my mother I asked her how she had ever shown her love for me. Her reply was "I took your picture" & she was dead serious. Because she had taken my picture with a camera was proof of her love to me in her mind. It's tough not knowing how to deal with her so for now I have limited my contact with her. I have forgiven her but I have not forgotten.. God forgives us & gave his only son for our forgiveness therefore forgiving others goes without saying. It tough not knowing how to move on from here. I will keep reading reliable info & pray for guidance.

Joanna said...

Do I to believe all these comments are real from Anonymous? No. I think it is Sam V. amusing himself.

Anonymous said...

I have been married for 18 years. Two beautiful kids and three affairs later, I am now separated and in the midst of understanding and accepting that my husband is a narcissist. The affair three years ago, he said was my fault. I hadn't fulfilled his needs, hadn't made him feel like a man...we changed our whole lifestyle. I became submissive, gave him total control and what did he do? Cheated on me again, what I had given him wasn't enough. Am I heartbroken? Of course. Some days I am ok...I get that he is not who I dreamed he was. Other days, I want my family back. This is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life; but, I must. My 12 and 13 year old need to know that a true relationship is give and take, not just take. Can he get well? I don't know...not for me but for my kids. They need a dad, not a selfish narcissist. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel; but, it's a small light. It will get better, just have to hang in there.

Anonymous said...

OMG, I am so happy to have found this website of real ppl telling their feelings about this horrible disorder. My exhusb./now boyfriend has NPD. I have been trying to research as much as I can in order to make a decision about whether or not to continue down this road with him after 10 long hard years. I guess the magic question we all want to know is can they change? I just don't know if he can. No matter how much research I do, there is always the same info....'no cure'. He says now that he wants to change and do better and be and get better and go to therapy. I hope he means that, but knowing his history, I don't hold my breath. I love him with all my heart but divorced him because I realized I needed to love myself more and I needed to be able to live in a peaceful environment, so I divorced him and bought a house for me and my girls. The only thing I know in my heart is that if someone really gives himself to God, fully and completely, I do believe that God would heal that person. I know that church and The Bible and learning of The Lord has a way of making people look inward into themselves and want to be better. He says he wants to go to church now. before if I would be watching it on tv, he would want me to change the channel. He said it was because it made him feel like such a bad person. It made him feel horrible. Well, is that not what makes someone want to change? I am so happy to hear from ppl with NPD, that it is not just all fun for them. I mean, as the victim of a N's abuse, I have always just felt that he was content with himself and unhappy with me. That is so not the case. He looks up to me and feels inadequit(sp?). He says he feels like 'damaged goods'. I get it. and I feel for him. but, hearing from someone else on this site who suffers from NPD, I can know in my heart that he is not happy with himself and that its not just him filling my head with lies again. This is such a horrible and cunning disorder. We love and trust and fall for the lies, manipulations and deceptions, but they just don't care enough about us and our feelings to change. I hope that this time, he does. If not for me, for himself, so that maybe he doesn't have to be all alone when hes old, with no one to love him. I will always love him, together or not and I am just so sad that this horrible disorder has destroyed so much of his life. Best of luck to everyone who has or knows someone with NPD. Not many ppl know about this disorder and maybe some day, with sites like this, more breakthroughs can be made, medically, to help these poor souls. God Bless us all.

talia said...

TO THOSE CONCERNED THEY ARE Ns AND CANNOT CHANGE- First off realize that just because you may have some narcissistic traits does not mean you are a full blown narcissist.

I am new to learning about this disorder but I would imagine that if you are aware you have this problem and you truly care, like, you really, in all honestly do CARE about what you are doing/have done to others you may be able to get some successful treatment. You may never be 'normal' --btw normal is a crap word, but you get my meaning.

On the other hand, those who don't have the capacity to empathize, care, feel love etc. etc. can't possibly change can they? I mean, you can't teach someone what it is to love. YOu can try to explain it until you are blue in the face but if they are incapable of feeling it they cannot possibly understand. So how can you treat something like that?

Maybe it depends if a person was born with the inability to feel regular emotions we take for granted or not. If life beat the empathy out of them, maybe they can find it again after a LOT of work and effort, but if it never was part of them to begin with, I cannot see how they can ever change. They could learn to fake it better perhaps but I'd think that is as far as you could go.

So can narcissists change? Maybe yes, maybe no, depending on many factors, childhood trauma and whether they were ever able to feel things like empathy or love.

Anonymous said...

I am in a relationship and 70% of the signs showed that he was Narcissist. Black moods, anger, no emotion, unsociable, putting himself higher than others and only wanting the best. After a recent major argument I left him for 3 nights and he took to alcohol. During this time I read all the blogs, I knew the questions I had to ask. I went back to him...Eventually he was really sorry. The next day, having a cup of tea on the sofa, I casually asked the question "what was your childhood like?" Thats when he looked at me, tears ran down his face and he told me the story of his physically abusive step father who severly beat him from the age of 5 while his Mother watched. This was hard to hear, hard to see the hurt in his eyes. If this was an act he should be in Hollywood.! He put himself on a pedastal as when he weas 18 he buried his old life. Set up his own Company and became proud of himself.

So..was he a Narcissist? ..Is he? And how do I help him from here. He has asked if he should talk to someone, This has opened up the bad memories. We are both now 44.

Anonymous said...

I've lived with a narcissist for a long time, and I do not believe they can change. Narcissism is just part of who they are. They have no idea what "normal" is, and they don't understand what love is. Therefore, it's unreasonable to expect that some medication, therapy or hocus-pocus is magically going to change them. Yes, they can mimic behavior that they believe to be normal, but it's going to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors--purely artificial because they cannot be what they aren't!

Rule #1 of Understanding Narcissism should always be: Either learn to deal with your N's many shortcomings, and the fact that he's incapable of loving you as you would like to be loved, or else leave. He's never, ever going to change, and you will drive yourself completely bonkers hoping you can get him to change.

Miriam Sakewitz said...

I would like to see an actual documented example of a reformed Narc by a counselor which documents LONG TERM the change of a Narc whereby they exhibit empathy, etc and not just put on the act. Hence, this would need to be confirmed by those who know the Narc personally as well.

Miriam Sakewitz said...

Medication may treat the SYMPTOM temporarily, but will not solve the problem (i.e. Narcissism)

Anonymous said...

I am totally convinced that narcissism is hereditary. I was married to a man who was a narcissist and we had three children. I left him when my youngest son was 2 years old. my husband had very little to do with his children when we were together and when we separated, I moved to the other side of the country so the kids would not have to be abused by him.

My kids have now grown up without him, but to my horror I now believe that all three of them are narcissists like their father. My son is an exact clone of his father...he has his father's body language, tone of voice and acts identical! My kids are totally engrossed by their physical appearance (like my ex-husband) are extremely selfish and constantly boasting about how much better they are to everyone else (like their father). I love my kids, but am feeling devastated by the realization that they have this terrible curse. I am constantly sorting out their dramas and problems...it never ends!!!

Anonymous said...

I think I am going a bit mad. I suspect my bf is npd, but he has not been to a GP to get diagnosed. He puts me down, criticises me, compares me to exes ( makes me feel like crap and worthless), yet, I just can't seem to find the strength to leave. We're not even living together. My friends think I have lost the plot. He doesn't really have any friends. I really care for him but do I walk away and leave him be? I'm clinging onto a hope that things may change, but I am finding myself getting angry more and more, a trait I never thought I had. Help....

Anonymous said...

Narcissists can change, I am living proof. I would tell my whole story but I am not sure where to start? The beginning is a long time ago, nearly 40 years! It would involve a bullied childhood, prison time, 10 years of dishing out mental abuse to a girlfriend, marrying what turned out to be a sociopathic, a pathological and a compulsive liar who after much discussion with my lady and wife of five years, I have come to the conclusion my first wife was the ultimate narcissist. She gave me the ultimate lesson in being a narcissist. With help, love and much talking with my lady of five years, soon to be my wife, I no longer look at myself as even remotely like the person I was for 35 years of my life. I guess I have moments of 'self' but I consider myself to have returned from a dark place. No not returned, wrong phrase, I was never in a light place, but I am now and have been for three years. My life is dedicated to my lady, my children and the days that I have left in this mortal coil. I hope this comes across as I mean it to, as I said, I would actually enjoy to tell the whole story but it would take a while. Not for personal gain but just because it would answer a question or two for one or two posters on this wall.

Celo said...

How r things now ??? I am currently married to an N. she's 28 and we filed for divorce in July. She sees no problem in herself. Her dad is an N as well and she suffered horrible verbal and emotional abuse from him and still does. I'm curious to know if your husband really made a change .

Anonymous said...

I am sitting here in shock. I typed "Can narcissism be changed?" and you popped up. I just left my counselor seeking advice for the trouble in my marriage of 5 months. The gravity of this truth is washing over me. My Father was clearly a N and he destroyed our family. He couldn't sustain anything. It was a bloodbath. I ran out into the world. I married, had 3 children, and divorced. A marriage built on lies, it took 5 years to get out.3 years later my first love reentered my life. He was an athlete for 30 years. It was a powerful reconnection and I thought this was God's blessing.I didn't stay for comfort so God was giving me my "soulmate." It didn't take long to realize I was giving him the best of me,it was returned with lies...all explained away that he didn't want to lose me.He had been on all kinds of pain killers, alcohol, adderol...I demanded he remove it before I went forward. He did, to his credit.I thought, "okay,I can work with this." Remove the pills that allowed him to cope and here comes the rage,not anger,rage. Dangerous physical rage. My Mother had this from my Father so in some sick way it was familiar. I held my ground, got him in counseling. I could see he didn't want to be this way and hated himself. This encouraged me. My home has kicked in doors, broken door knobs, gashes in the wall. I held steadfast. I could see his turmoil. He often says, "I have never loved or respected anyone like you." he adds, "I have never loved anyone more than myself." I haven't understood, I am polar opposite. I have been financially supporting him for a year while he retired in order to give him a fresh start and in an environment where he could be healthy. He spends recklessly, bounces checks, says he's embarrassed yet asks for more money. Everything he touches is filled with problems...strife. He can't go one week without drama. It doesn't have to be real,he will create it or imagine it. I have bought books in desperation on bi-polar, borderline personality and finally narcissism. It all came together today....I have been so confused. If he loves me and he clearly loves me,how can he treat me this way? He's Narcissistic. Ignorantly I thought it meant selfish. I had no idea until reading this...this is what Im living with. He is draining me emotionally, physically, spiritually, and financially. I will have to pay him to get him out and I am in real trouble myself now. How in the world did I allow this? It was familiar...it was my Dad, it was my first husband, it is him. Being who I am, I am searching for a logical sound answer.I meant my vows so this won't be easy. I truly love him so this will be very painful,especially knowing if I make him leave, it won't end well. I have often described dealing with him as "dealing with an oversized angry toddler who is too big to protect yourself or himself from." Im exhausted, brokenhearted, depleted, mad at myself, and in incredible pain. After reading this, I know I must face this now or later. This bog has sucked the confusion out of my world....as great as that sounds, I know I must face gut renting pain to let my first love and true love go. Im not made for this. Im compassionate to a fault and he will destroy me, like my dad destroyed my mother.I cannot allow that. He ended up shattering 11 bones in her beautiful face, removing her eye with a shattered orbital bone. She was 79 when she finally received her mortal blows. Im out. Im done. I can't help him with this. Take care and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your honesty. It has made the difference to me. The fog has lifted.