Mission Impossible: Relationship With a Narcissist

You could make a conscious choice to give up on pursuing your dreams, your goals and your passions.

You could end relationships with best friends from college, family members and the women in your book club.

You could always eat at her favorite restaurant, wear your hair the way he likes, decorate your house to please her, cook only his favorite meals, and forget that you ever had preferences of your own.

You could have conversations where you do all the listening and never get to speak of what is on your mind or in your heart.


You could sit on pins and needles all day long, waiting for the sound of his car in the drive, and wonder if the house is clean enough or if you folded his laundry correctly.

You could end every telephone call with her by hanging up the phone and saying to no one in particular, “I’m fine, thanks for asking.”

You could sit there and listen to every criticism about what you are doing wrong, what you have failed to do, or what you will never get right.

You could plan the dinner for your silver anniversary – make the reservation at his favorite restaurant, call his friends, wear the dress that he picked out – and beat yourself up for having lost yourself along the way.


You could stand by while he relentlessly picks at the children, telling them they’ll never measure up, that they’ll never be good enough and that they are an embarrassment to him.

You could make excuses to your kids about why mommy says the things she does, and that she doesn’t really mean to hurt their feelings.

You could develop a tolerance for all the stings, jabs, and insults.

You could sip coffee at the kitchen table, every morning for 30 years, hoping he’ll change.


You could facilitate another life at the expense of your own.


Or you could lead the life that only you were meant to lead.


Your mission, should to choose to accept it, is to try to relate to a narcissist without losing yourself in the process.


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  1. “Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to try to relate to a narcissist without losing yourself in the process.”

    I am convinced that this is not an option because it is not possible to relate to a narcissist without losing yourself.

    Thank you for your accurate summary, the picture of living with a narcissist.


  2. Hello Connie,

    I’m guessing you’ve been in the trenches. I hope you’ve come full circle and found yourself again.

    Thanks for writing.


  3. Even if you relate to the narcissist, distance is the only thing that will allow you to hold onto yourself.

    Otherwise, you are the enemy. :/

  4. Z,

    It’s a sad fact that the person the narcissist needs for source, is the person the narcissist ends up hating.

  5. Love this, there are times when I’ve thought “would it just be easier to give her what she wants…” NO, it wouldn’t! I am so much happier, more fulfilled, more confident now…. It’s worth it (though still not “fair”) to pay the price of having to deal with them harrassing you for life, as long as you are FREE to be yourself.


  6. NM,

    I hope she moves on and finds a new source. That’s my theory – that if we totally ignore them, they’ll be forced to prey on someone else.

    Enjoy your weekend. ;)

  7. Is a person a narcissist if they do the things you list, but aren’t as bad about it, as in, it seems a milder case, but still gives you the same feeling and result? It’s enough to be an empty and unhappy marriage, but not quite enough for outside folks and even family to feel sure the person is as you say? What if family thinks the NPD is fixable, changeable, not that bad?

  8. M,

    I apologize for this late response. You know, I’d penned it in my head, and never got to sending. I think I didn’t send because I wasn’t sure how to answer.

    I know what you mean on so many levels. There are many times I find myself confused by my ex husband’s behavior. I think maybe he’s not as bad as I made him out to be. Wow, he remembered his daughter’s birthday, I think, and so that means he can’t be all bad. Right? And for awhile, I’ll feel bad for all the things I’ve written and worry that I had him pegged for all the wrong reasons. Then he’ll belittle my son’s new career choice or point out (to my daughter) how some other person’s child is WAY more talented or athletic or funny, and I see the narcissism rear it’s ugly head. Again. And then I go back and read some old posts to remind myself that he pretends to be a good guy, but that he can’t help letting his true self sneak out.

    So, my answer is this: I don’t know if your husband is a narcissist. Many counselors can’t even detect narcissism. What I do know is that if you have a feeling in your stomach that things aren’t right; if you have a hard time sleeping at night because he doesn’t see you for who you are; if you have doubt or dis-ease, then something isn’t right.

    More importantly, your family doesn’t live with him. They don’t deal with this on a daily basis. I’m guessing he behaves better when he’s around them. Many people who have never lived with a narcissist believe that narcissism is fixable. It is not.

    I hope this answer helps you, and I wish you well.

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