Healing is Possible Even if You Still Love the Narcissist…


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While writing my last post, Love Does Not Die Even When it Should, I realized that part of me will always love my ex husband, a narcissist with Anti Social Personality Disorder. Finally, I understand that I do not need to ‘get to the bottom’ of my love for him, nor do I need to eradicate that love.

I met him when I was  eighteen, and our history has created a considerable volume of my personal narrative.  I can just agree to leave the love alone. I can accept the love without feeling threatened by it, and move on. Perhaps the part of me that ‘loves’ him originated in my young girl’s heart and  that love is frozen in a childlike state where it can  discern no evil but only good in the object of its affection.

Whatever the reason, I forgive my child self for loving him, I forgive my woman self for loving him. I don’t need to understand, psychoanalyze or eliminate this love in order to be done with him.

In fact, I’ve spent most of my adult life being done with him. Both times that he revealed himself as a selfish, narcissistic sociopath, I escaped. Once, with a young child in arms, and then again, eighteen months ago.

He has been a trap in my life. I have needed to escape him twice in order to survive and live a healthy life. Although the second time around, he passively aggressively ended the relationship by taking up with another woman, I salvaged my self-respect by making a clean break with him.

I could have hung around and gone in for a third round.  He made it clear to me in our last phone call  that he still loved me, and dangled the possibility of further or future entanglement . I could have  tried to ‘get him back’.

Instead, I broke the connection. I drew my line in the sand. Lucky for me, we live a couple of hours apart. I haven’t gone within seventy miles of him since the ending. I changed my cell phone number and my email address.

I guess what I am saying here is that while we cannot control our feelings all the time,  we can control our actions.

I am proud of myself for getting away from him and his narcissistic games and sociopathic mindset. I did the right thing at a very young age (22) to determine that I would not raise a child in his toxic environment and leave.

Yes, he came back and tricked me twenty years later. But, when I found out that he was tricking me, I packed up and left again.

I can promise myself that no matter what residue of feeling I have left for this man, I will not let him into my life a third time to mess me up again.



Being Devalued in a Pathological Relationship

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde po...

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde poster. Converted losslessly from .tif to .png by uploader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you have been in a relationship with a pathological individual, then you may recognize the three distinct phases of idealization, devaluation and discarding.

Twice, I have been involved with  my ex husband who has Narcissistic and Anti Social Personality disorders. The first time was when we were young adults. The second time was twenty years later. Both times, he ran my heart  through the wringer of all three phases.

During the first phase of idealization, your lover will shower  you with more attention, gifts and flattery than you ever believed possible. He will place you on an altar and worship you night and day. It will feel as if all your dreams have come true. He will convince you that he is your soul mate. You will be filled  happiness and joy by his adoration.

Conversely, during the phase of discarding, you will feel as if your lover has dumped you into the trash. Perhaps he has already replaced you with another lover before ‘getting rid’ of you. If so, then he was ‘trying out’ the new lover before ending it with you. (He needed to make sure in advance that the new woman would  ‘work out’ for him.)  After having been discarded you will eventually come to realize that none of what happened during the idealization phase was real. This realization is incredibly painful and difficult to recover from.

Today, I would like to discuss the middle phase, devaluing. In my most recent involvement with my ex husband, the devaluing phase was the most confusing and, after the relationship collapsed, it was the most painful of the three phases to examine retroactively. However, it was through a close examination of all three phases that I was able to recover and move on.

During the moments of his devaluation, I was so confused. All of a sudden, he would say something strange and almost insulting to me which seemed to be completely out of his character. For example, one day, he mentioned something about my clothes which made me realize that he was unhappy about how I dressed. Another day, he mentioned that I had picked out the wrong glasses because they didn’t ‘frame’ my face ‘the right way.’ This behavior on his part was entirely new. During the first eighteen to twenty months of our relationship, he’d convinced me that I was the most beautiful woman in the world. All of a sudden, he was pointing out my ‘flaws’.  I was shocked and hurt. In consequence, I became more careful of how I dressed around him and I got new glasses, which he approved of. I did not know that he was most likely comparing me in appearance to his other girlfriend.

During the devaluation phase,  your lover may begin to  flare out in a ‘narcissistic rage.’ A narcissistic rage is notable for its sudden appearance and just as sudden disappearance. For no apparent reason at all, your lover flares out in irritation at you over something trivial. I experienced my ex’s narcissistic rage one early spring morning, about seven months before our relationship ended.

We were sitting outside on a sunny day outside his house. Usually, we held hands when we sat outside, or had some type of physical contact.  Our chairs were several feet apart and I went to move mine closer to his and he reared back in disgust, pulling his chair further away,  and roared at me, “I’m RIGHT HERE!”

I was completely shocked. It was a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde moment, which is a classic description for the onset of narcissistic rage. One moment, your lover is calm and gentle and the next he is flipping out and then it’s over in a moment and he is back to himself.

After the breakup, I combed through all these moment of being devalued. It was traumatic to look back at them and to remember how I felt. When these moments were happening, I felt as if the ground beneath me were splitting open and there was suddenly no safe place to stand. I could not make sense of his behavior, or his rage. I could sense that something in him had changed, but I didn’t know what or why. And then he’d be back to his charismatic, friendly self and so I’d gloss over the moments of being devalued. As most of the time he was not in a narcissistic rage, I began to discount those moments as not being real. However, I was wrong. The narcissistic rage represented the crack in his mask showing me his true self inside.

In reality, I was not spending a sunny afternoon during a weekend visit with my devoted lover. I was spending the weekend with a man who liked many aspects of being with me, including our active sex life, but who had been secretly sleeping with another woman for nearly a year and who was beginning to prefer that woman’s company to mine. The narcissistic rage, his intense and sudden irritation with me wanting to be close to him, revealed his true underlying feelings. Although he didn’t object to spending time in bed with me when I came to visit him, he was beginning to resent having to pay attention to me outside of bed.

Other incidents of devaluing occurred in the few months before we broke up, however this incident is the one that sticks out in my memory. I remember how hurt I was. I remember thinking, “What is going on? We’ve been in bed for two hours. Does he really object to holding my hand now?” My conscious mind was aware that his behavior was a serious red flag, but my emotional self shushed my mind as soon as he returned to ‘normal’ behavior.

Remembering it makes me feel warped, used and yucky. I feel very sorry for the woman who was me, being fooled and tricked by the man who had convinced her that he was her soul mate. I feel sorry for the time she wasted driving down to see him. I empathize with the time that she has spent recovering from this man’s betrayal.

I am glad that I am not that woman anymore, being used and lied to.  I applaud myself for getting out of that situation. I applaud all of you who have also rescued yourselves from similar situations.

Overall, devaluing sucks, but, if you can shut off your emotions (good luck) and let your mind see it as a red flag, it can be a good sign that it might be time to get out of a relationship that’s going downhill.



Pathological Relationships in the Media: Harry’s Law ‘After the Lovin’

I was quite appalled on Sunday night after watching the episode, ‘After the Lovin’ on NBC’sHarry’s Law‘. One of the episode’s story lines featured a narcissistic man, Tommy,  who was in a relationship with several women at once and lying to all of them.  When the story line began, one of his girlfriends was suing him.

Tommy, the narcissist, got caught because he had bought several pairs of the same style shoes for his five girlfriends for Valentines‘ Day gifts. As it turned out, two of the women ran into each other and figured out what was going on. In addition, under questioning by counsel, Tommy admitted to telling each of girlfriends at the onset of each relationship that he was impotent and subsequently could only  offer companionship and cuddling.

The plot thickened. Next, Tommy told each girlfriend that her own unique love  had revived his dormant penis, which resulted in each of the relationships becoming sexual.

While telling this story to counsel, Tommy appeared like a slimy jackass. The woman who had brought suit asked him how many other women he had told the same story to and was visually hurt when he told her that he’d been sleeping with four other women at the same time. She then explained how special Tommy had  made her feel, by spinning his lies about her love curing his impotence. I was really hopeful at this point in the narrative that we were going to see a narcissist shamed on national television for lying to and cheating on women.

However, to my utter dismay, the narcissist then turned the tables. Tommy convinced the woman and the lawyers that the only reason he had lied and cheated was because of his own low self esteem. Tommy justified his behavior by painting himself as the poor guy whom all women broke up with. “You would have left me too, ” Tommy told the woman. And then the whole scene changed, with everyone looking sad and sympathetic for the sexual predator. And that’s how it ended! No settlement to the victim, no shaming for the perpetrator!

Shame on you, NBC. With all the public awareness growing about pathological relationships, your writers should have done the right thing and not let this slimebag wriggle off the hook.

I visited the ‘Harry’s Law’ webpage to see what, if anything, was written about the episode. I found a quiz about the episode called “You Be the Judge” and took it.

The quiz consisted of one question about each of the story lines. The one about Tommy’s treatment of the women was, “Tommy deserved to be sued by his scorned lover” (http://www.nbc.com/harrys-law/games/you-be-the-judge-211/a8e125c2417d65ba72dc01f5bfd5a0ef)

How infuriating. Tommy didn’t scorn his lover. Tommy systemically lied to and cheated on five women at once, and then was made to look like he was the victim.  What if Tommy was HIV positive or had syphilis and infected all of his lovers? There is nothing funny or socially acceptable about lying to and deceiving multiple sex partners.

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Maybe we should boycott NBC until their writers revisit this story hold Tommy accountable for his actions.



Can a Narcissist Do the Idealization Thing Twice?

WordPress has a cool feature. When I look at my daily site stats, I can see what search terms readers used to find this site.

Yesterday, a reader typed ‘Can a Narcissist do the Idealization thing twice?’ into the search bar and wound up at Phoenix Rising.

What a wonderful question. Can a narcissist do the idealization thing twice?

What have others experienced?

Speaking from my experience with a narcissistic lover who also has Anti Social Personality disorder, the answer is yes. The narcissist can run you through the idealization, devalue and discard cycle twice.

The narcissist in my life ran me through this cycle (like a load of laundry) twice. The first time was when we met. We were were teenagers. Not surprisingly, he discarded me when I was pregnant and the fun had turned into responsibility. This first cycle of idealize/devalue/discard eighteen months.

When he came back into my life twenty years later, he went through the same moves.  First, just like he had when we were younger, he idealized me and put me on a pedestal with flowers, poetry, presents and constant attention. This stage lasted about ten months. Next, he devalued me and began sleeping with another woman. During this devaluing stage, all the presents began to dwindle and he began to make devaluing comments about my appearance and wardrobe. This stage lasted about sixteen months.

I believe that he kept me in the devaluing stage longer this time around because he was enjoying having two girlfriends at once, which  was a novelty for him.

Finally, he discarded me once he’d decided that he preferred the other woman. And the discard was sudden. I ended the relationship when I found out about her, but during

한국어: 유럽향 드럼세탁기 (모델명_F1047TD)

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the last couple months, his behavior had been extremely cold, as if he was trying to force me to end it to save him the trouble.

Others who may have experienced being idealized/devalued/discarded by a narcissistic lover more than once, please share your stories.



When Women Have Anti Social Personality Disorder in a Relationship

Danger Ahead

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Almost everything in this blog has been written with a slant assuming that the psychopath or narcissist in your life is male. However, I do get quite a few hits on this blog about female psychopaths/ASPD, and so I thought I’d speak to that topic today.

Statistics vary depending upon your source, but it’s safe to say that around 4% of the adult population has Anti Social Personality Disorder (ASPD). That percentage can be broken down into 3% male and 1% female.

So, the reason most article and blogs are about psychopathic men and not women, is due to these statistics.

Remember, that not all people with ASPD are psychopaths. Although the term Anti Social Personality Disorder has replaced the term Pschopathy in the DSM-IV (Diagnostic Manual, psychopathy is generally considered a subset of ASPD. So, of the 4% of the population with ASPD, a fraction of those actually are true psychopaths.

So, how can you tell if a woman (or man) in your life could have Anti Social Personality Disorder? (ASPD)

“The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM IV-TR), defines antisocial personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:[1]

A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  2. deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  3. impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;
B) The individual is at least age 18 years.
C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years.
D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.” (Credit to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder
Obviously women with Anti Social Personality Disorder pose as much of a potential threat when encountered in an intimate relationship as men, regardless if the relationship is female to male or female to female. The same types of threats are present including stalking type behavior, pathological lying, manipulation, deception, criminality, lack of remorse, using lovers as objects, cruel treatment, etc. 
Of course, it is important to remember that women and men with ASPD probably all have traits of narcissism. It is generally agreed that all ASPD/Psychopaths are narcissistic, but that not all narcissists have ASPD/Psychopathy.Narcissistic traits in a woman or man would include the tendency to put a new lover on a pedestal for the first few months of a relationship, and then lose interest in them, and eventually, dump them quite suddenly. Once you are dumped by a narcissistic woman or man, you will never forget the feeling of being discarded, like a piece of trash. It has been almost eighteen months since this happened to me and there are still days when the pain is sharp and fresh.
Many times, a narcissistic woman or man will dump you because they have found a new lover to take your place, as, in common with psychopaths, they have a constant need for new excitements, along with a unsatiable urge to satisfy new desires as quickly as can be accomplished. Narcissists are also polished pathological liars who will weave a web of fantasy for you to believe in to cover up their deceits until they are ready to drop you in the compost heap.
Never forget that Psychopaths and ASPD individuals often have serious addictions problems. They can be addicted to sex, drugs, alcohol, or more than likely, all of the above.
At any rate, all women and men with these type of personality disorders (referred to clinically as “Cluster B Personality Types”) aren’t capable of long-term loving committed relationships for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they find commitment boring.  These men and women are seeking thrills and pleasures.  If you have survived a relationship with one of them, you will feel like a sexual object which has been used. Towards the end of my relationship with a narcissistic man with ASPD, I had the strangest feeling of not knowing what was going on in bed with him. The sex was intense and frequent, as it always had been, but I felt that his consciousness was drifting away from mine. Still, the amount of sex we were having convinced me that everything was fine. When I realized that he’d already established a full-blown intimate relationship with another woman and was planning to dump me, I could not get over how eagerly he had enjoyed my body those last couple of months. He was like a greedy child wanting to get all of the cookies he could before I found out what was going on and took the plate away.
It is really such a terrible feeling to be used like that. It takes a very long time to recover from the dark and miserable feelings which arise after you realize that the one person whom you loved and trusted more than anyone else, the one whom you shared your secrets with and planned to spend the rest of your life with, has betrayed you without so much as a second thought and has strung you along for the ride until he or she dumps you.

How Could He Do That To Me? Shock and Disbelief After Discovering Your Lover is a Psychopath, Narcissist, etc…

English: A Beijing opera mask

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“And just for the record
Just so you know
I did not believe
That you could sink so low.”

No, You Don’t by Nine Inch Nail

Have you recently been devastated by the betrayal or cruel treatment of your lover or spouse? Have you discovered that this person whom you trusted so much has a personality disorder such as Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

People with these types of personality disorders behave in a specific pattern when it comes to romantic relationships. First, they wine and dine you with over the top compliments, gifts, flowers and promises of eternal love. They will put you on a pedestal and make you feel as if you are the most amazing person in the world. These types of people will idealize you and worship you for a short time. While you are being worshipped on a pedestal, you will feel as if you have found the truest, rarest love of your life. You will not be able to believe your good luck. You may even pinch yourself to see if you are dreaming. .

Unfortunately, this idealization period will not last. The sad truth is that individuals with NPD or ASPD are incapable of true love and affection, which is characterized by long-term caring and committment. When they pour on the sugar during those first few months of the relationship, they are hiding all their flaws and presenting themselves to you in the best possible light. They can’t maintain this type of theatrical performance for long, and this is one of the reasons that the idealization period won’t last.

Another reason that this wonderful period will not last is because individuals with these types of personality disorders find it difficult, if not impossible, to remain faithful to one lover. They lose interest in you eventually. Often, as soon as you begin to see through the cracks in their perfect armor, and ask questions about the darkness you see inside, they will begin to devalue you and to look for a new lover. It is not uncommon for these types of individuals to juggle several lovers at once, idealizing one, devaluing another, and discarding yet another, all the while keeping on the lookout for new prospects.

Often, women who find themselves in relationships with these types of men experience a sudden, dramatic, negative ending to the relationship. (I write about women because statistically the ratio of male to female personality disorders like NPD and ASPD

These relationships often end suddenly when the woman  discovers that her lover is a pathological liar,  has been unfaithful, has a secret addiction or substance abuse problem, has a ‘second’ life which he has kept hidden, has a sex/porn addition, is sexually promiscuous, is involved in criminal activities, etc.

Essentially, the mask falls off and the victim of the narcissist/psychopath is left holding the bag, which is full of foul-smelling reality. It’s a ‘wake up and smell the garbage’ moment in a person’s life.

Realizing that your lover has been lying to you,  hiding behavior from you, possibly criminal, and even sneaking around in other relationships behind your back, is a profoundly disturbing experience.

When I realized that my lover was not the person whom I believed him to be, (which happened in the course of a couple of hours one Tuesday morning), I fell into a state of shock which lasted for three days. Nothing which I had experienced before had prepared me for this experience. I could not eat or sleep. I was terrified to be left alone. The world, even the familiar surroundings of my house, seemed strange and threatening to me. I felt as if I had fallen off a cliff and was still falling.

To find out that the person whom you loved and trusted the most is a devastating experience.

But there is help.

If you find yourself in the situation of being devastated after ending a relationship with an individual with NPD or ASPD, know that you are not alone. Millions of women (and men) have suffered through the same experience, and have recovered.

What Should You Do Now?

1. If you are in a situation where you or your family is not safe because of an abusive person, you can call for help. Your town may have a domestic abuse hotline which can advise you of the best thing to do in your situation.

Here is the number and link to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224 : http://www.thehotline.org/

2. Many people find it helpful to see  therapist to help them through the emotional aftermath while recovering from a relationship with a person with NPD or ASPD. .

3. Often, it is helpful to read what others have gone through. There are many websites and blogs online written by people who have recovered from relationships with men who have NPD or ASPD.

For recovery from a Narcissist, visit The Narcissistic Continuum: http://n-continuum.blogspot.com/

For recovery from a Psychopath(ASPD), visit Psychopathy Awareness: http://psychopathyawareness.wordpress.com/category/psychopathy-awareness/

On Facebook, visit: ‘The Path to Peace- Recovery From Psychopathic Manipulation and Abuse’



Dumped by a Narcissist- Idealization, Devaluation & Discarding

English: Broken heart sewn back together

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After experiencing betrayal by a narcissistic sociopath/psychopath and starting this blog, the first useful website I found on the subject was  ‘Cheating and Narcissism Support’ by a European woman, Maria: http://www.cheating-infidelity.com/.

Maria’s website is extensive. A survivor of a narcissistic betrayer, Maria has arranged her site into the following sections; Recovery After Cheating and Narcissism, Narcissism, Cheating and Infidelity, Emotions and the Brain, Discussion Forum- Surviving Cheating and Narcissism, Stories- Narcissism, Stories- Cheating, and Blog- Cheating, Narcissism, Brain and Mind.

At ‘Cheating and Narcissism Support’, I read about the three phases of being loved by a narcissist. Theses phases so succinctly summed up what I had been through in two and a half years that reading about them felt like having the breath knocked out of me.

1. First, is the Idealization Phase. (I call this the ‘Pedestal’ phase.) The narcissist puts you on a pedestal. Not only does he put you on a pedestal, but also your friends, your family, your taste in music, your likes, your dislikes, your political views. Anything you like he finds wonderful. Anything you dislike he can’t stand. He buys you flowers, calls constantly, texts, emails, sends cards, writes poetry. He clears everything out of his life to worship you. The narcissist in my life even referred to me as his ‘goddess.’ He took photos of me constantly and created an altar of me in his room with photos, flowers and candles. As this man was my childhood sweetheart and my first husband, whom I had not had contact with in nearly twenty years, we assumed a very quick intimacy which I credited to ‘being reunited soulmates.’ I would not have become so intimately involved so quickly with a man whom I was meeting for the first time. Given this past intimacy, I did not recognize the red flags demonstrated by such immediate devotion on his part. I thought that our relationship was a result of spiritual happenings, and belonged on a higher than human plane. Yes, he put me on a pedestal and I began walking on air.

2. Next comes the devaluation phase. In this ‘reunion’ with my ex husband, which spanned thirty months, it is hard for me to pinpoint exactly where the idealization phase ended and the devaluation phase began. I first noticed changes about sixteen months into the relationship. It started with small things. Suddenly, he was unhappy with my wardrobe. “Why don’t you wear something nice when we go out?” Once, he was upset that I wanted to sit close to him and snapped at me. (Often, it is during the devaluation phase that the ‘narcissistic rage’ first rears its ugly head.) About two years into the relationship, all of a sudden he did not seem happy to see me when I came for a visit. (At this point, he was already 12 months into a relationship with another woman, so my arriving was probably a distraction to the newer relationship.) We had words about this. “I’ve driven 100 miles to see you and you don’t seem happy to see me, what’s going on?” I asked him, more than once. But then he’d take me inside and screw my brains out, and so I’d forget about it. Twenty four months into the relationship, he no longer wanted to go anywhere or do anything. Everything I’d ask him, do you want to do this or go here? He’d say no. I was beginning to feel like I was walking on eggshells around him, but it was all so subtle that I did not know what was happening. It made me very anxious and was quite confusing.

3. The Discarding Phase: I experienced The Discarding Phase about three months before the end. (The end was when I discovered that he had another girlfriend and ended my relationship with  him.) During this phase, he ignored me during the last weekend I spent at his house, except during the five times he screwed me. I spent the weekend wondering what the &^* was going on. He  was not interested in taking pictures of me, and he didn’t want to go out in public and do anything. During the weekend, he refused to go out to eat, made fun of me, ignored me to play computer games, and was not pleased when I decided to stay an extra night.  When I tried to talk about upcoming Thanksgiving plans (we have an adult child together) he was suddenly noncommittal. I began to wonder what I was doing there, in his apartment, if he didn’t even want to talk to me. The last night we spent together, laying in bed, he said something quite mean and made me cry. I couldn’t believe that the love of my life, the father of my child, my long-lost love, who had spent so long worshiping me, could say such a mean thing to me in the intimacy of lying in bed together. It broke my heart. I wept and wept, not knowing it would be the last night we’d ever spend together.

When I read about the Idealization, Devaluation and Discarding phases of being loved by a narcissist, I was glad to finally have words and ideas to wrap around what I had experienced.

There is comfort knowing that others have gone through this and survived. I spent too many months feeling like I was all alone in what I had suffered. When one becomes involved intimately with a narcissist, one becomes isolated.

Through reading and communicating about what I have experienced, I have become reconnected with many strong, resilient women. I am grateful to all of them for sharing their journeys.