How to Deal With Narcissism
How to Deal With Narcissistic Abuse in Marriage

Narcissistic abuse in marriage can make life unbearable lonely. One woman's story.

I never thought I’d have to learn how to deal with issues like narcissistic abuse in my marriage. Does anyone?

It all started with butterflies in my stomach and stars in my eyes. When I first met John*, I felt swept away by his charm and charisma. It felt like a whirlwind of grand gestures. He told me he loved me after a few weeks and honestly, I felt loved. I felt cherished and adored and truly like the center of his world.

A few weeks before we got married, I started seeing red flags. I shoved them far away in my mind, but I still remember how he’d act hot and cold, or how he sulked when I wore an outfit he didn’t like out to dinner. John’s need for control became more and more apparent in our first year of marriage. He used sulking, the silent treatment, and sometimes he yelled or hit walls when he was especially angry.

Sex became a transaction that he felt very entitled to. He sulked and got angry if I didn’t want to have sex with him, or if I wasn’t enthusiastic about it.

I was telling my friend about what was happening – how he’d scared me and was yelling at me more often than usual. She listened and told me about the narcissistic abuse cycle.

Accepting the Truth: It’s Narcissistic Abuse

I started to question the dynamics of our relationship. She pointed out how he belittled me in public, dismissed my opinions, and manipulated me into doing things his way. At first, I started defending John and rationalizing his actions. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that I wasn’t in a safe situation. It took me a while to accept that the relationship was abusive, to accept that John was an abuser.

I had been seeing a therapist and asked her to help me. She told me that she could work with both of us. After just a few sessions, it was really clear that John was going to keep gaslighting, lying, manipulating, and being crazy defensive. It hurt a lot to realize that I couldn’t fix our marriage by myself. I couldn’t love him into changing. It seemed like he literally couldn’t see how much harm he was causing.

“The Hardest Decision I’ve Ever Made”

I made the hardest decision I’ve ever made and filed for divorce, with the support of my BTR coach. It was hard to leave, knowing I would be on my own. I didn’t realize how much of the gaslighting I’d internalized throughout our marriage. My self-esteem was very low and it took a lot of effort to rebuild it.

In the end, I just feel like there’s nothing fair or right about marriages like mine. He should have been a loving husband and he chose to abuse me and break our marriage.

But ultimately, I do feel stronger, happier, and emotionally safe. I choose me every day and I feel so much better than I did when we were married.


  1. Janeen

    I have been searching the Internet for a very long time for a triumphant story regarding something similar to my situation. My ex-husband is a pure sociopathic narcissist, and he has been abusing me for 20 years.

    I didn’t know it because of the love bombing and all of the other crazy making and so I started researching it and seeing my therapist, and then he began to abuse my daughters just like he was abusing me and that really was profound but yet I stayed and still tried to work with him because I didn’t really know he was a narcissist yet.

    In the end, I finally had to get help having him move out of the house because he refused and was enraged and obviously I am going to now take away his secret life that he so easily was able to have with me basically caring for the children in the home while he traveled.

    Once we were separated, and I got him out of the house, me and my two daughters who were 16 years old, and 12 years old at the time we’re ready to have a safe and healthy home again, and I thought it was over and then he served me with divorce papers stating I was neglectful and abusive and unfit, and that I abandon him. After he promised me, we would have a simple divorce with a mediator, and he would be fair. And now, three years later, we are finally divorce almost one full year, and separated for over three years, and my children have become completely alienated from me. They are now almost 20 years old and 15 years old.

    I listen to my lawyers and we hired an evaluator appointed by the courts and a parent coordinator and we continue to be in a worse predicament. We were given joint legal custody, and within four months after he moved out of the house, my youngest daughter began questioning me with lies that he would share with her, and when I would not entertain the conversation because it was not fair to her, and, it just made her stressed and anxious. She began to see me less and then she never came back home to me. And that was over two years ago to date, my 15-year-old acknowledges the abuse and the manipulation and her isolation but I still cannot get her to leave his home, and sadly my 19 year old, who was the 20 year old soon has completely changed and it really speaks to me the way he does.

    Both of my daughters do not have a relationship but they live under the same roof and it’s very abusive, verbally emotionally and mentally and there’s not much I can do about it. No one is helping me and everyone is allowing him to continually break the court order and alienate them and it’s all proof and nothing is working except thousands of dollars I have to pay for the parent coordinator basically to allow him to continually to abuse me because he’s not coparenting at all.

    So reading your article on your story was really a breath of fresh air and I’m so happy for you, but I just don’t understand how this can be so prevalent in such a debilitating abusive illegal act that is detrimental to the children and yet still it’s 2022 and still, my lawyer, and everyone else is saying just stay quiet and don’t cause any trouble because he could come back and get full custody and meanwhile I missed memories.

    My children have miss traditions and I have basically been erased and now I am set with the situation. Do I take him back to court or do I have a conversation with my 15-year-old now that she knows he is abusing her and just tell her she must come with me now, but that’s taking a chance that she will revert back to him and cut me off again because he’s so strongly manipulating her and abusing her and punishing her.

    I am at a loss and I am running out of time and I just wish I could find someone that would help me, it’s unconscionable how he can continue this awful behavior and abuse, and even professionals are telling me to just lay low, and my youngest will come around eventually yet no one is concerned about the immense amount of manipulation and mental anguish, and abuse that she has been living with her, which is unfair to her.

    Thank you for your site and your words and your story. I will continue to follow and I will continue to research to figure out how I can stop his wrath and save my children and myself it’s just tragic and the children are hurting. They are the ones that are hurting the most. It’s just devastating .

    I’m sorry for everyone out there that is enduring the struggle. For how common this is, it is shocking to me to see how the narcissistic abuse of coparent still gets no consequence and continues his wrath even though we spent a fortune on our divorce, I have no support to take him back because he has not followed the court order at all. It’s just maddening and here I am paying a coordinator a family parent coordinator again and he still doing nothing which again I’m just basically paying for more abuse. I will pray every day and hope I can get her out of that house willingly and save her and start a new life and perhaps my old lest is will come around eventually but my biggest fear is she will remain him and continue to abuse her sister along with her father verbally and emotionally. It’s just it’s unthinkable really and the truth is all of this is abuse.

    Narcissistic behavior is extremely abusive. It’s manipulative. It’s demeaning. It’s degrading it’s controlling and it’s illegal. Coupled with his alienation from me and my entire family. Both girls suffer with extreme anxiety and depression. My 15-year-old has admitted she has isolated herself in her bedroom because she cannot handle the anguish from her father and her older sister. There’s no parenting going on in the house. My oldest suffers from anorexia and PTSD and she blames me for everything when she knows what her father is, and now she treats me like he does. My youngest daughter talks to me weekly and tells me she doesn’t call me because she doesn’t have privacy at the house and she doesn’t like to tell me the things that are going on because she doesn’t want me to worry and be sad.

    She misses our puppy and I’ve offered to take our puppy over there to spend the night with her and snuggle and she actually said no because the house is so unhealthy that she doesn’t want to stress out the animals, so she just locks her self in her room every night not knowing what kind of mood her sister and her father will be in. She’s acknowledging and recognizing all of the abuse, but yet she still won’t come with me and it’s just terrible.

    I have been coached by many professionals and they all pretty much say the same thing I could call the crisis center or I could call someone to go to the house, but he will lie and the likelihood of them lying for him is possible. Or worse it could get him so angry, he could punish them more or they could get angry that I did it, and then cut me off because by doing that I’m just making their life more difficult at his house.

    Whether it’s silence or the look or just as she says, he acts like a child there’s no structure no rules no family unit it’s all been taken away from them. I just keep trying to figure out what to do. That is not going to hurt them back at them, or at least my youngest out of that situation and I’m on my own because all of the professionals tell me not to take them back to court because I will lose. So I sit and wait in pain worrying desperately about my children particularly my 15-year-old who has not had a friend over in two years. She has not gone to a friends house in two years in fact, she doesn’t have any friends anymore. She used to sing and dance and be the happiest young lady and now she said and constantly says your chest is tight end tells me how rude and said she feels by the way her father speaks to her and treats her and ignores her and neglects her.

    I mean it’s crystal clear that she knows exactly what he is yet she won’t come and I know it’s because of whatever is going on in that house so please pray, and if anyone would like to give me some advice, I would absolutely appreciate it because despite what the professionals have told me, I still feel like I have nothing to lose, and I’m going to first start with trying to have a conversation with my youngest one more time, and just again tell her that I cannot let her stay in that abusive home no longer. Tell her that I need to take her from that house because it’s not healthy. Again a take a risk of her maybe getting upset with me but it’s the right thing to do and if she decides not to then I’m perplexed with the question if I go to court or a call someone like Crisis Line or some thing to try to figure out how I can get my child out of that house. It’s so unfair and there’s got to be something I can do.

    I mean, how can this be fair? And the worst part is why doesn’t anybody care about the children they say she will be old enough soon to make her own decisions. Meanwhile, I’m like what? What about all the abuse she has endured? I just don’t understand why no one cares and after everyone I’m paying I’m still researching and figuring everything out myself it’s exhausting and debilitating, and I just keep hitting brick walls and he keeps winning.

    Thank you for anyone that reads this and can relate, or would like to reply with any feedback, but just when I get strong, and I feel powerful, he continues to just squashed me and step on me and manipulate me even though I don’t live with him anymore. He doesn’t coparent he’s neglectful, and he won’t work with me with anything with regard to my children. She is quit church. She is quit sports he missed her annual physical is neglectful. She calls me when she’s sick because he doesn’t care. She said that herself but yet she won’t move in with me which told me that the manipulation is very bad and whatever is going on in that house is very bad.

    I did call 911 in the Crisis Line twice, and after the police went in to the house, they told me she was OK and that their stories matched and that I had to go home she did not want to see me. Meanwhile, she called me crying hysterical with the things that were going on in the home, which is what led me to call 911 and then she lied to them, and he lied again, which tells me that she has to follow whatever he does or I guess there is recourse like some sort of punishment or the stare I mean, what do you do then when your own child is stuck in a home and she has told me that she knows what he’s doing is abusive, but yet the whole he has on her is so great that she would prefer to stay there and lied to me, and even the authorities.

    I don’t understand this at all. I just want my children in my healthy home so I can start to rebuild our life as a new family unit and I’ve been erased from them pretty much it’s just so wrong. It’s just impossible that one human being can hurt so many, and just ruined our lives in the course of their future as young ladies it’s too much and I am exhausting every avenue and I’m just hitting a brick wall every time.

    • Mary

      I just read your story, and my heart breaks for you. I don’t have any of advice, but my thoughts and prayers will be with you. A mother’s love will someday prevail.

  2. Marsha

    Thanks for sharing. I’m just starting out on recovery and my daughter has endured abuse from her dad. I’m afraid that so has my son. I really hope they can stay healthy.

    Prayers for your family from one sister to another


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