Narcissism is a mental disorder that controls the brain. A narcissist cannot be “fixed” and if you ask anyone who’s been married to one, raised by one, or known one personally, oftentimes the best path forward for you—maybe even the only path forward—is to separate yourself form the narcissist completely. Obviously, that’s impossible if you’re co-parenting, but cutting ties as much as you’re able is the best way to protect yourself from someone who will only do you harm.
However, as many women know, it’s not always easy to just leave. Many women are trapped in abusive relationships with narcissists and cannot find a way out. Others are still healing from the wounds of being raised by a narcissist, or having a narcissistic sibling who was incapable of love and tore a destructive, painful path everywhere they went.
If you know narcissism first-hand, you know how toxic, how controlling, how exhausting it is. Here are some confessions from Scary Mommy readers who know your struggles.
Confessional #25851462“I’m pretty sure DH is a narcissist. I need to leave but he’ll be a nightmare w/ dc. He won’t get them, but he’ll try and do whatever he can to drain my resources & make my life difficult before I get full custody.”
Confessional #25850194“I wish I could divorce my gaslighting, narcissistic, hyper-sexed husband. Life does NOT revolve around sex and idgaf if you're horny 24/7. Get a grip and act like an adult and not dumb hormonal teenager. So fucking sick of it.”
Confessional #25848518“I hate being married to a narcissistic asshole, but there's really no other options for me. Even my parents said "Don't come knocking on our door". Trapped.”
Confessional #25849717“If you've never been in love with a narcissist, you will never understand. You are manipulated and usually trauma bonded with this person. It's a codependent relationship and it took me 7 years to finally leave mine. It's not always that easy.”
Being married to and having children with a narcissist can leave many women feeling trapped with nowhere to turn. They may not have the resources to leave. They may not have the support of family and friends. And they may still be under the manipulative control of someone who is legitimately mentally ill.
Confessional #25847650“BIL is a manipulative sexist trans/homophobic racist narcissistic thief (got fired for stealing from work). Cruel to our kids and rude to me. Hate that H lets him live here at all, esp rent-free when we’re struggling. I’m leaving soon as I can afford to.”
Confessional #25850654“I have two sisters, one is a drug addict that is frequently in and out of jail, and the other is a narcissist. I have blocked both them.”
Confessional #25850598“Blocked my narcisSISTER who caused irreparable harm. Helped that two-faced piece of shit for years financially. Once I cut her off, she was livid and filed a false CPS report on me. Continued to harass me online long after I filed a restraining order”
Many of us grew up with narcissistic siblings who, as adults, are continuing their toxic, harmful behavior. It can be heartbreaking to cut a sibling out of your life, but narcissism is an unrelenting beast, and you have to do it for your own wellbeing.
Confessional #25850435“Our mother was a narcissistic abuser. My sister was her favorite my entire life & her clone in every way. When my father was dying, those harpies tried to keep me away even though he wasn't her bio Dad & would never have wanted that! Why we don't connect.”
Confessional #25849300“My mom was a shit mom. Why tf would I give her a do over with MY kids?! How fucking hilariously selfish and narcissistic can you be to think grandkids are your second chance? Woman you're not coming near them, never mind trying again at parenting w/them”
Confessional #25846229“My estranged mother won a million dollar lottery jackpot. So now, she's an abusive narcissist with money. Terrific.”
When you’re raised by a narcissist, the healing process can take a lifetime. But being a cycle-breaker, showing your kids love, and raising them in a home where they feel safe and supported—that’s the most healing thing you can do for yourself.
Confessional #25850053“I love that schools now teach finance and related life skills. Next up, can we teach kids how to identify sociopaths and narcissists. This could save many young folks from making huge mistakes staying with abusive partners.”
Confessional #25847917“One of the big red flags I ignored before we married was that he would never voluntarily take pictures of me. I always had to ask and sometimes beg. Back then, I didn't realize he was such a textbook narcissist.”
Confessional #25850578“To me, it's disgusting how narcissists causally rewrite actual events just to make themselves look good. For instance, claiming that he got a job offer that he never got. Just tell the truth. Not worth my energy.”
It’s crucial that our kids learn the signs of narcissism when when they’re young and just starting to date. That way they can see someone for who they are and steer clear of anyone who fits the bill.
Confessional #25849798“Trying to leave a narcissist can be a double-edged sword. My ex parked outside of my apartment building & low-key stalked me for 2 months after I found the balls to leave. They feel entitled to a relationship with you. Their brains are not normal.”
Confessional #25849984“Another hard lesson learned...narcissists dont give a fuck about restraining or no-contact orders. We "go through the proper channels" and it does no good, just pisses them off. Haw dare we try to protect ourselves!? Again, their brains are not normal.”
Confessional #25848238“IDK who needs to hear this, but you cannot fix a narcissist. You cannot love them or accommodate them enough to treat you better. Their brains are broken. Take your kids and get out. You deserve better.”
A narcissist’s brain is “broken.” They cannot be “fixed”—certainly not by you. It can be damn near impossible to free yourself from someone with such a warped sense of reality, but you deserve to feel safe, and you deserve to feel loved, and so do your children.
Remember, you’re the strong one here, not them. Cleveland Clinic explains that “People with narcissistic personality disorder often come across as selfish or superior, but it’s because they’re making up for a fragile sense of self-worth.” But it’s not your job to put someone back together if they’re broken when that person is actively hurting you in the process. Especially when that person, in the end, cannot really ever be whole due to their illness.
Cleveland Clinic goes on to offer these basic characteristics of a narcissist:
- Overinflated sense of self-importance.
- Constant thoughts about being more successful, powerful, smart, loved or attractive than others.
- Feelings of superiority and desire to only associate with high-status people.
- Need for excessive admiration.
- Sense of entitlement.
- Willingness to take advantage of others to achieve goals.
- Lack of understanding and consideration for other people’s feelings and needs.
- Arrogant or snobby behaviors and attitudes.
If these sound familiar to you—if they describe someone in your life—you need to protect yourself first and foremost, as Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a serious condition.
Get out as soon as you can, and don’t look back.