How to get Dr. Irene's Advice: Look here!

Ask The Doc Board Archives

The CatBox Archives

Stories Archives


Below is an Interactive Board sampler. A fuller listing is found in the "Stories" menu above.

4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Narcissists in My Life

The Narcissists In My Life...

November 17, 2002

Dear Doc,

I found out about your site from a friend 2 years ago. After hitting rock bottom, and being diagnosed as severely depressed, I started my journey of discovery. I discovered the life I had was only an illusion. I have been in counseling for almost 3 years. I'm happy to say I can hardly remember how I used to be. :) I'm now 45 years old. By the Grace of God I'm finally free, mostly from my fear. The truth WILL set you free. You bet!

My counselor revealed to me that my Mom is a narcissist. I was as codependent as anyone could possibly be. My dad was there, but I never knew him well enough to know what his problem was, except for the fact he was married to a narcissist. I was a "perfect" middle child. I graduated at the top of the class, and assumed I was going to college, until my Mom informed me that they didn't have money for me to go to school. I got married with an 18 year old mentality. My Mom had already told my older brother he needed to get out of the house, "because it wasn't fair for my Dad to support him anymore." I knew I would die when she told me the same thing, so I didn't give her the chance. I was married for almost 6 years and had 2 daughters. We did okay, but I don't think he ever really loved me. I actually think he's gay for a lot of reasons that I won't go into. Two years later, I married someone I had known in school. He was the only person who helped with my daughters while I worked. I worked in the evenings. I thought we were best friends. I was always his best friend...he just wasn't mine.

When I first went to counseling, I told them my marriage was great, and I was there because I needed help for my anger. I had started telling my husband that I hated him, and it scared me. I didn't know what to do with all this ANGER. I knew I was angry with my Mom and my husband, and they are the only ones whom I directed it at. I was angry at Mom because she had raised me to be a door mat. My needs were not important, but I had to be sure to please everyone else. My husband started his 19 years of various forms of abuse toward me the same day we got married. He started comparing me in great detail to his ex wife. When I weighed 105 pounds, he compared me with someone who weighed 98 pounds. He said I needed to do something with my hair, my clothes... He even told me he wished I acted more slutty. He harassed me for a year or more, saying he wanted to watch me with someone else. I cried. Ouchhh!

You name it, he did it. We all know the scenario. I started going to Church and started praying. I asked God to guide me, and He did. I had to show my daughters there was a better way to live. They are now 22 and 24, and are very independent young women. We are very close to each other. I learned that God will not send you where you are not ready to go. I had a lot of work to do. I had a lot or reading and praying to do. I had to detach from my husband, and realize that it was all an illusion. We did not have a great marriage, and I was depressed for a reason. I was frozen in fear and anger.

I went on your website sometimes several times a day. At work I would start going into denial about our relationship. That was the easy way. I would read stories on your site and would realize that if I didn't do something, I would end up spending the rest of my life being miserable and depressed. I decided that wasn't good enough. I filed for divorce in January 2002. It was final September 26th. I'm still working on getting structure in my life, but I'm happy. I slept on the floor for 2 weeks, but I was happy. The truth will set you free. Time heals nothing. God heals all wounds. Without God's help, we continue making the same mistakes over and over.

Thank you again for your help and your website. You will never what a blessing it has been for me.  Sincerely,  Jane

Dear Jane, As a therapist, God is my greatest ally. I've always found those fortunate enough to have (whatever their version of) God in their life were helped tremendously during the pain inherent in recovery. I'm very happy for you and I thank you for sending in your story and for your kind words. Yipppeeeee!!! to you! Warmly, Doc

Those new to narcissism can read a series of articles by Dr. Vaknin on this site beginning here. Or, start with a man's experience of a narcissistic female here. There are also some good books on the topic in The Bookshelf under "Personality Disorders."