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How do you tell a Narcissist he's a Narcissist?

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After 3 years of confusion, passion, hurt, fun, care, disdain I finally have come to terms with the fact my bf is a Narcissist which explained SO many things. But I still am struggling with my innate desire to "fix" or "help."

I absolutely don't think he's self aware enough to understand what he is and certainly would never want to seek help via counseling or study but I cared for him very much and now see he's damned, along with any woman he gets involved with to the same hell I was in.

I can see him turning into a homeless person or taking advantage of some desperate woman for the rest of his days.

Just like it took me time and effort to figure out what the problem was, and to see staying with him was never going to get me what I need, it would take the same effort for him to get help. He sent me a Valentines email and just sent another message saying he's worrying about me (we have torrential rain), wishes well for me and my amazing kids (when he left he criticized my kids) and that he doesn't mean to impose but just wanted to make sure I'm ok and he will stop emailing in time and stop thinking about me in time and that I don't have to respond.

This has been my struggle. I know it's called hoovering when he says/does things to lure me back but I can really see that he just doesn't know How to love, how to behave, how to deal with his emotions. I don't think he calculated his abusive behavior although it doesn't make it any better.

Part of me wants to explain to him he has a problem, and if he has any hope of a better life he needs to get help. Often throughout our relationship I explained things, why I do what I do, what issues I see with him and he listened ... he didn't always like it but he listened.

I know he Wants all the things we had but is SO terrified to risk himself that he always screwed it up, ruined it, threw a fit whenever we were bonding or growing. For every step forward he had to knock us backwards 5. He did improve in some ways but it was SO hard! When we first started there was No Way he'd plan a trip ... he just wanted to go and wander without agenda saying that Planning things takes all the fun out. After seeing/hearing that I have responsibilities like a job, home, children, pets and Have To plan because of the demand of Reality! Slowly he realized I was right and would start to help make plans.

His sad little message reflects my feelings of missing him/wanting him but without addressing the real problems there's no point to returning to that life. I know he's not my responsibility and I gave him everything and he had every chance to have anything he wanted and he threw it away so that's on him but as my love for him was NOT conditional like his was, I still care for him.

I talked to a counselor who said I probably could maintain a relationship if I was willing to provide for myself for him for my children and carry everybody and be prepared to climb that mountain with him and his issues slung over my back every day of my life ... yes I could but why would I want to? Is he worth it? Is he so much better than I am that it makes sense to give everything and he satisfied with whatever he chooses to give me? The counselor pointed out the inequities of our relationship ... I have a job, an education, a home, children, family, friends, bills paid, self-sufficient, attractive, ambitious, adventurous, cultured, travelled ... and he's none of those things and unwilling to change that. He said I need a partner who would give me At Least what I'm willing to give and this guy will never try

Is it common to feel like I should help him? I feel it's as though he has a disease but no one has shared the diagnosis with him and that he could be cured if he knew he needed a remedy.

I'm not going to ever get back with him (my family and friends would kill me) but he needs help. How do you tell a Narcissist he's a Narcissist?

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He has to WANT to change.


Right now, what motivation does he have to "change"??? You hand him everything on a platter. I bet you even tell him you love him.


If he "changed" he'd have to do things for himself. Why would he want to when he has a woman who puts up with him exactly as he is?


One of my friends attempted to diagnose her husband and then convince him to get treatment for the disorder she decided he had. That went over about as well as you might expect. He proceeded to have one affair after another, knowing she'd shut up and just take it because she wanted to stay married. She was absolutely miserable, BTW. And he never did get any treatment. Again, why should he? He had a wife who did whatever he wanted and all the girlfriends on the side that he could get.


If someone is getting everything they want, they have zero motivation to "change" or get treatment.

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Did she point out to you that you can't change or fix anyone? Take care of yourself and your kids. He lives a parasitic lifestyle.

The counselor pointed out the inequities of our relationship ... I have a job, an education, a home, children, family, friends, bills paid, self-sufficient, attractive, ambitious, adventurous, cultured, travelled ... and he's none of those things and unwilling to change that.
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Hello, Should.


Please know that I am wholly, unequivocally sympathetic to the abject misery dealing with someone with a Narcissistic personality disturbance can be.


My question to you is genuine and not leading, nor remotely snarky -


What do you think you might / hope to gain by alerting him as to the information you have gathered?


Again, my query is entirely straightforward and not any sarcastic nonsense from me. I ask it because I am concerned that you may be inadvertently setting yourself up for further maddening, intolerable unpleasantness if you are potentially optimistic that he may respond rationally / reasonably when presented with rational / reasonable data.


Please also note that I am passing absolutely no judgment on your thinking or feeling on this matter - my hope is solely to better understand and with any luck help.


Take good care.

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what you describe in the post doesn't sound desirable at all, but also doesn't sound like the behavior of a narcissist, much less someone with NPD. and no they are not the same.


diagnosing him isn't up to you. putting a serious name on it serves no purpose other than potentially coming to hinder you in your efforts to reflect on how you co-created the dynamic you found yourself in.


to answer your question, you do not tell a narcissist he is a narcissist. also nowhere is it written that one needs to be cured if they are narcissistic. if he likes how he is enough to not seek help, then he does not need treatment until he isn't going about causing serious injury to people. what others can do, instead of enlightening him of the fact he could be *cured*, is to take it, or leave it.


i do however wholeheartedly agree with you and your therapist. maybe you could live that way forever, if you carried yours, his, your children's' and all other responsibilities. actually, in practice, you can't really. either your mind and body snaps, or your finances do.

Is it common to feel like I should help him?

i would talk to the counselor about this. your idea that you need to help/save people who are detrimental for you is what made this relationship possible in the first place. and i second my third paragraph again.
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I think you should stop trying to label him a narcissist and look at yourself. Look up the term codependent and you should get help on that yesterday. Join a CODA group. You think he can't possibly be self aware, improve himself or be anything other than homeless without glorious you! You think that little of someone you thought about enough to be in a relationship with - that they are just going to shrivel up and die without you?


Your therapist is basically saying "look, forget about this guy. But if you REALLY want a relationship with this guy, the only way is for him to be your extra child and you do everything for everyone. There is no "in between" arrangement where he turns into someone else magically." you can forget about him and stop trying to label him YOU ARE NOT PERFECT EITHER and move on or you can go back with him knowing he is exactly as advertised. That is the WHOLE reality of it. Either stop responding to him AND stop dissecting whether he had a personality issue or not and leave him completely behind or accept who he is and deal with it and don't try to change him.


Also, you have zero respect for him at all as a person.


From the email he sent, I don't see him as narcissistic. MANY people, even the most giving and kind people write emails like that - they want to know if their ex is okay as an excuse to make contact or get a reaction out of them.


He sent me a Valentines email and just sent another message saying he's worrying about me (we have torrential rain), wishes well for me and my amazing kids (when he left he criticized my kids) and that he doesn't mean to impose but just wanted to make sure I'm ok and he will stop emailing in time and stop thinking about me in time and that I don't have to respond.

This has been my struggle.


There are places in the world right now with terrible weather and i had people who i was barely in touch with and recently thought i wouldn't hear from again both who saw how bad it was on the news for my area with weather one time, and they contacted out of concern also. He can think your kids are very capable and will do great things and life and still occasional criticize them if they are being bratty.


So I suggest instead of you throwing out the term "hovering" as if its a characteristic - respond to the guy and tell him NOT TO EMAIL YOU AGAIN. Its totally a normal reaction to send someone messages until the person responds. He told you he is sure that the emails will end as he comes to accept things - but he is going to keep sending them until you respond and tell him to please not contact you.


For all this lack of awareness you feel he doesn't have - you are not exactly acting self aware either.

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Is my ex a Narcissist and should I give him a chance?

I am 43, been in a 3 year relationship with a career military man who has been in Reserves only for past 5 years and right when it was time for him to either go to school or work he picks a stupid fight, breaks up, moves out. I have been SO patient, supportive, accepting of his Ways (won't let me meet His family/friends, won't call me Girlfriend, won't say L-word, won't talk about our relationship, won't commit but has talked about marriage/family/future). In trying to recover I saw a lot of signs he was a Narcissist ... Controlling, SO generous IF I agreed with him, so horrible if I didn't. He never assumed any financial responsibility but acted like lord of My home moving furniture, yard goods, etc and these past 3 years never saw him doing anything more than washing dishes or folding clothes. When I asked about why he broke off a planned vacation with my children he told me Not to Ask. When I said I needed something to tell children/family he told me to shut up then to shut The F--k up ... Uh unacceptable. When I said so he packed. At first I was so hurt but now I feel if he doesn't care what's been lost he doesn't deserve us (I have 2 kids too),

He left some important things here but hasn't picked them up (it's been a few weeks). He keeps messaging, calling ... Should I respond or stay NC?"

You posted this in July . And, two after, regarding his narcissism. Why do you continue to ask this?


I think you need to ask why you are with someone who is abusive, will not acknowledge you as partner, mooches off of you, and is a complete waste of time? I would also ask, why you would expose your children to this? You are their role model, and showing yourself as a poor example.


Why do you dislike yourself so much to settle for this type of scenario? Does your therapist discuss your issues of low self esteem? What do you get out of a relationship that is depleting and hurtful? My questions are focused on you. Why would you tolerate this???????

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"My bf has a lot of Narcissistic Personality Disorder qualities but I didn't know that until I was trying to recover from first time he walked out last May after 3 years of living together. When that happened I fell apart as I was still full blown in love with him when he suddenly cancelled a planned family vacation (with my kids) to visit his relatives. He wouldn't explain why, just told me to Shut the F up and take his orders. He walked when I wouldn't tolerate that disrespect.

I missed him SO much and was SO hurt he would throw what we had built away over something so dumb. We got back together a month later , so we reconciled and had a great honeymoon but ... nothing had changed. He finally applied for a job I helped him get (he hadn't worked in 5 years except for once a month Army Reserves). But he never went to the job. Just messed about at my house as usual (he has no home, no income ... kept his stuff either w or his deceased mother's home. Things lasted till before Thanksgiving when he got lazier and less helpful until we got into another fight about control of TV remote.

He did a month of training in snowy conditions and then my father (who he liked) broke his leg and we again reconciled via phone. We enjoyed Christmas and New Years when he agreed he needed to work. The year started but he didn't. He said he didn't mind contributing financially but as soon as he was asked to work he ran back to his mother's house where all was free. He didn't say goodbye to me or my kids. He said his moving back to his mother's didn't mean we were over and we could see each other sometime. His goodbye was an email saying he didn't like that I didn't run my home or raise my kids the way he thinks I should (he has no children).""


OP. this is one of the worst situations I have read on this site. Have you actually absorbed how he treats you? How can you allow this loser to be around you, or your family? I don't get it!


Stop making excuses for this loser. He is not a narcissist, but is using you as a wallet - which you have certainly allowed. He does not care about or respect you.

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His disability is headaches ... "cluster headache" the doctor said which they feel are caused by stress/anxiety. They were pretty bad when we first met but over time in a calm, relaxing, nurturing environment they stopped. But the military processed the claim. His comrade was seriously injured and has had several major surgeries so encouraged him to apply. He was encouraged for years but didn't fill out the paperwork until I met his unit and they told me to encourage him to apply and write supporting letter to corroborate his claim which I did. He was told there was no treatment other than relaxation or pain meds/anti anxiety meds and they strongly encouraged attending support groups for PTSD/post deployment transitioning. He refused. His claim took almost a year to process so he ended up with an initial back check of about $20,000 back in August. It disappeared very quickly as he bought another car, a new rifle and new clothes for the job I helped him get that he never showed up for after hiring.

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that is what i assumed. His condition sounds more maladaptive than narcissistic. However, please don't take this to mean that he needs "patience, support, healing". He has choices. He chooses to behave the way he does. It is not a product of some involuntary malaise. People can, and frequently do, choose to turn around their maladaptation. He doesn't want to. And until you, or people like you, go out of your way to make life comfortable for him, he doesn't feel the direness of his condition, and thus has no incentive to change, as bolt said.


look, i am not excusing his behavior in the least and it sounds like you had a terrible time with him. i have a very similar experience, and the quoted conclusion you and counselor came to resonates deeply with me, as it was my own as well, verbatim.


but there is really no indication of narcissistic personality disorder, or even narcissism as a trait in what you describe. i am aware though that for brevity purposes you can't spell out your entire experience with him here. i think you have been reading pseudo-psychological articles in your desire to make sense of what happened. a lot of people do, because they just want to understand. and these articles include descriptions of behaviors and traits that, while they are present and explicit in NPD, are definitely present in many psychological configurations, including those of neurotypicals. If we had any way to be certain he has a personality disorder- i'm not saying he does, nor that i can know what he does or doesn't have, or what he is characterologically- the description would be closer to avoidant or dependent personality disorder, it also reeks more of a post-traumatic response coupled with characterological issues than it does of narcissism. what, i assume, makes these Are you dating a narcissist publications so attractive to people, and makes so much sense to them, is that being on the receiving end of many kinds of messed up people feels a lot like being on the receiving end of a narcissist's behavior, and leaves one similarly depleted. what "receivers" have in common is that they all are codependent, enabling the behavior, basically contributing to ending up sucked dry in all ways possible.


Just saying that i understand wanting to be able to explain this to yourself, but that you need to be very careful to not take an interpretation as a diagnosis just because it explains how this person depleted and damaged you-- with your persistent, but usually subconscious, collaboration.


And an extension of that, i agree with holly (not that that's anything new though lol). ask questions about *you*. It takes two to tango. that doesn't mean you are as self-centered or lecherous as him. it means you enabled him. where there is a pathological taker, there needs to be a pathological giver. where there is pathological underfunctioning, there is pathological overfunctioning. these are codependent, symbiotic relationships. realize that this man could not have functioned with a woman who had boundaries and a drive for self-preservation. if you don't want more people doing the same to you, you need to learn how to become super unattractive to them-- and how to allow yourself to be super unattractive to them.


and they all won't be disordered. they'll just be people who, since you are offering way more than you're comfortable, will take it. since you allow way worse treatment and far less effort than you really want, they won't mind allowing themselves that. bad? yeah, yuck. continue counseling and learn how to repel them. learn why you wanted to throw yourself under the bus for them in the first place.



btw if you really want to understand narcissism in it's various forms and narcissistic personality disorder specifically, you can read the works of Andre Green for example.

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I did eventually meet some family and coworkers. He has no friends. At about a year I met his stepfather but briefly as we were getting his things from his room. At a year and a half I met a sister in Oregon. This was a very strange experience. I had a week off and I did not have my children. He said he wanted to visit a sister in Oregon. We had been in that area with my daughter about 6 months before looking at colleges but he did not want to stop then. Anyway he was in an extreme hurry to get there so as soon as I exchanged custody on Sunday evening we took off for Oregon and drove through the night, getting to Bridge of the Gods at 9 am. Too early for check in but he talked his way into getting our room early. We slept a couple hours. He always complained planing ruined things so we did things His way and I didn't plan anything ... so we didn't do anything. Last time we had gone hiking around Multnomah Falls, went to the Columbia River, etc but he got sullen and withdrawn for no understandable reason. Normally he's fairly hyper-sexual and the beautiful hotel off the bridge, fireplace, no kids, plenty of time would get most people in the mood. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. He watched TV and ignored me. I suggested going for a walk or down to the jacuzzi (we had talked about bringing suits last trip so I had) but he refused and dozed/watched TV. I suggested going early to see his sis (we were going on Wednesday), suggesting taking her and her daughter to dinner. He grumbled no.

Next day we went to Portland and his sis apt. He had always claimed that he didn't want to have me meet his family because "My family is important to Me" .,, and mine aren't? He claimed to be Very close to his family.

I saw then that wasn't true. It had been 6 years since he had seen his sister or niece". His sis looked shocked to see us (she later told me she didn't ever really believe he was going to show up as he flaked often.) Her daughter had to be called home from a friends. They talked about their mother's loss, stepdad cheating (his sis asked when he was leaving there). He told her the same thing he had told me ... he was going to try to be a teacher, or possibly go back to full time Army. There has Never been a time when he admitted he wasn't going to work or not going to school. He had been offered a full time Recruiter job in my city (his CO had met me and knew he was Always with me so offered the job which came with benefits, retirement, housing allowance, promotion and would pay his tuition if he wanted to go to school for teachers license ... plus he'd get more if we were married.) He had not applied. His sister told he how happy she was her brother had finally met a good woman; that he had always wanted a family, a home and it was good we were working on it. It was a pleasant family visit except his niece had to be forced to stay as she wanted to go to friends, not wait on a distant uncle. This made me see his identity as a "close" family was based on the family he had as a child, not as an adult who wandered through life without maintaining relationships. On the drive home he started yelling at me saying I pushed him to meet his family and thus visit did Not mean anything.

That happened when I met his oldest sister, his soon to be married sister, his youngest bro, and his military unit. He is estranged from his oldest brother. In 3 years he didn't once call or visit 3 of his siblings and the others only once or twice.

His coworkers have been deployed with him multiple times but he isn't "friends" with anyone.

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Thank you RC both for the advice and thd info. A salient point in that no, I cannot relate all the details here. I did not introduce the NPD diagnosis to the situation; the military psych evaluator did when he had his evaluation last year before our break up in May. I had rode with him to his unit for brief evaluation and then we were going elsewhere. When the doc met me he asked bf about our relationship. Quite a bit shocked him by what he heard. He talked to me after while ex did errands and in describing NPD it was like reading off a history of our relationship, not a hit and miss analysis.

Rationally there was an obvious discrepancy between what I contributed and what he contributed. Normally I never would date a man w/out a job or a home ... but it was supposed to be a brief temporary situation. He had recently returned from Service, his mother had died, he had savings when we met, etc. if he was a man who Never worked or Never had a relationship where he contributed it would have been a no-brainer but he's Always worked (until now), he had been married before and provided completely for his ex wife and her son by another man. I was not asking him to do anything he hadn't done before. And he Really felt he contributed enough and thought I was being unreasonably demanding.

From the outside he always looked so devoted ... my neighbor was always impressed as he always did things that made him look so heroic, until you knew the whole story. As a woman, a mother, a teacher I am often nurturing, caring, supportive, accepting ... that is what makes me good as these roles. So when does it cross a line between caring and enabling? Yes I have looked at issues of codependency. I never claimed to be without fault and I can easily see in hindsight (always 20:20) where I gave more than I should, accepted less than I deserved but then again I've never seen a relationship that was 50:50 every day. Sometimes one person needs more support and the other has more to give. I have seen so many relationships in this 30s-40's generation of hard working high achieving women who have "settled" or "lowered" their standards Simply to get a man and then encourage/assist him getting his act together. And if he "mans up" and makes something of himself then he's grateful for her unconditional love and support and the whole process strengthens the relationship. I just picked a guy who Said he wanted my help to achieve his ambitions but never followed through. As a career soldier with a college degree he evidences some discipline and dedication. It's there. He just for whatever reason won't use it in his personal life. Every time he leaves the Army he becomes aimless. My desire to make him aware is to keep him and others from being hurt. I was very clear about what I was looking for in a partner and he was clear he wanted the same thing. But he didn't work to make that happen. He always said he was going at his own pace.

That he would get there, eventually. And yes I felt if he truly loved me he would do what he was capable of to contribute, not just what he Felt like giving but everything he Could give.

Why was I willing to be with a man who wasn't There yet? Because in the years since my divorce it has been extremely difficult to meet Any single heterosexual males relatively close to my age who are interested in developing a relationship much less a Great, Perfectly developed man. If he had Everything just right he wouldn't still be single. We all have baggage. How do you know when someone's baggage is Too heavy? I don't think you do until you start unpacking. As for another persons comment regarding do I think I'm so amazing that he can't function without me and saying I don't respect him .., no, I don't respect him anymore. I did when we met, I gave him much respect for his military contributions, his willingness to become a part of my life etc but he never returned it. And for the past years I have seen him choose to be lazy, wasteful, selfish, abusive, inconsiderate, irresponsible ... there's were choices he made that cost both of us. If he wants to have a life like that then he can go ahead and try to make a living leeching off others instead of proactively making his way in the world as is his adult prerogative but he should not target decent women and innocent children to suffer through his issues. He knows he will not offer love, inclusion, equality, protection or partnership so he shouldn't delude himself or them into thinking otherwise. And since I kicked him out he doesn't have a place to stay and no longer has a place to park his foolish vehicles and is living homeless sleeping in his car or a shelter as he has no means to provide for himself. That was my legitimate concern for him being homeless; not an egotistical conceit he can't live without me. It's no longer my problem but doesn't mean I don't care about him and feel grief for what was lost.

Thank you all for wisdom, encouragement, support and awareness.

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He is incredibly excessively polite and helpful to strangers and he's never raised his voice or said a profane word to any Man.

I had Never heard him be rude or disrespectful to anyone until last May why he went off on me. I found out recently he had an arrest for spousal abuse/domestic violence against his ex-wife, had a 2 year relationship with a married woman whose husband was military and used another woman (a nurse going to medical school) similarly to how he used me earlier in his 20's then walked out when she asked for commitment. He gets nasty when he gets denied, especially by a woman. He also exhibited textbook sexual narcissism; using sex to seduce then denying it when he didn't get what he wanted, concerned with His pleasure, refusing real intimacy for physicality, classifying women as either angels or ... on and on

He didn't see anything wrong in "doing the man thing" (as he called it) by taking what he wanted when he wanted even if she wasn't interested and imposing acts I didn't want them deriding me when I didn't comply. Threatening infidelity if I didn't give what he wanted and seeing nothing wrong with that

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the military psych evaluator did when he had his evaluation last year before our break up in May.
oh christ, and do you think the psych only told you in his absence, or that he at least insinuated his evaluation to him?

see, having gone through the eval in the first place, he knows for sure something is not right with him. he *could* choose help. it's not that he needs a concerned benevolent someone telling him he needs and can get help. he has already been offered that.


i'm on the fence about the fact he changed suddenly. he is aimless when back from the army. he used to be good you say. not sure what to make of it, because a disordered person can function through the "for better" parts, it's during the "for worse" that all the burden is on you. and there's the lack of reciprocity you feel and resent and can no longer endure. what is also possible is that you blinded yourself to warning signs when that was still possible. depending on whether NPD was suggested after a single session, or based on the psych following his condition for a while, i may want to take a "suggested" explanation as "suggested". it's possible, or i gather that way from the post, he becomes symptomatic in periods that coincide with returning from the army, so not really necessary a trauma response or similar doesn't trigger something. however, i am reminded of typically male issues of associating one's grandeur with traditionally manly pursuits, so perhaps the narcissism was suggested due to a display of potency issues triggered when that which he conditions potency on is lacking....?


in any case... when i am puzzled by the sheer symptomatical picture, i remind myself a diagnosis is just a cluster of symptoms that changes from dsm to dsm. and what we are dealing with is the totality of a person's psychological make-up: cognition-affect-behavior. so at the end of the day if we're ever to find out what was behind it or not...what of it? you've had to deal with the effects. and his unwillingness to produce different ones.


So when does it cross a line between caring and enabling? Yes I have looked at issues of codependency. I never claimed to be without fault and I can easily see in hindsight (always 20:20) where I gave more than I should, accepted less than I deserved but then again I've never seen a relationship that was 50:50 every day. Sometimes one person needs more support and the other has more to give. I have seen so many relationships in this 30s-40's generation of hard working high achieving women who have "settled" or "lowered" their standards Simply to get a man and then encourage/assist him getting his act together. And if he "mans up" and makes something of himself then he's grateful for her unconditional love and support and the whole process strengthens the relationship. I just picked a guy who Said he wanted my help to achieve his ambitions but never followed through.

ahhhh omg this thing where women take a guy in need of repair as a project which proves their worth...okay no, don't hold that as the norm to be achieved. that's an issue on their part.


the line between caring and enabling gets crossed so gradually you really don't notice when you've crossed it. my wake up moment was the fact that i i was resentful of the imbalance. of the fact that i did so much, and got all that crap in return. you are caring as long as you don't give a hoot that he isn't paying for anything, cleaning up after himself, washing his pants and feeding him with a blissful smile on your face because it just makes you happy period and he is under no expectation whatsoever to return anything. of course, in practice, this has limits. you simply can't do everything and not only not receive anything in return but also be mistreated, unappreciated, neglected or whatever and feel cool with that. so if after this point, you find yourself resenting him, feeling deprived and noticing having logically lost all respect for him and yet still meeting his needs and wants compulsively, you're in codependency land. to illustrate, mine asked to "borrow" money for his habit. i knew borrowing for him never meant borrowing. if you handed him money, you could consider it gifted. i also knew what it went to. i was also completely broke because i had been supporting us both. i literally gave him my LAST 20, my hand was handing him the money, my mouth was saying okay and inwardly i was screaming "the swine, the absolute bleep, no no no why are you giving him this we have nothing left for groceries and you know he never ever bought them ever". and you feed him at least three meals a day, and cover his expenses while fuming and worried sick over the debt he's got you in. yeah. that's not support, it's enabling and codependecy.


also, another obvious rule of thumb, you are supportive when you are supporting his efforts. when yours is the only effort, you are enabling.

And for the past years I have seen him choose to be lazy, wasteful, selfish, abusive, inconsiderate, irresponsible ... there's were choices he made that cost both of us.

yes. write this down someplace you frequently see it. he chose to be those things. he could easily have chosen to milk the psychological and social support, especially that geared to military specifically. he could choose to seek help for homelessness now. i'm still like that too. just recently someone did something unspeakable to a bunch of super vulnerable people, and myself, and after having to find every amicable solution under the sun since september i was left with no option but to file some serious azz reports which will result in astronomical fines for the person, and their practicing license cancelled. you know what happened. i felt like a monster, because the legal procedure and financial consequences of their choices will be outrageous. are you with me. i feel sorry that a person is in a hole they worked hard to dig for me, and a highly disprivileged segment of the population. but by now i have learned that when my excessive empathy kicks in like that, i really need to measure it against cold hard facts. it is a remnant of my codependency, my compulsion to save, my old belief that i am horrible, if i am not allowing a person to destroy me while also protecting them for the consequences of their malice. in other words, i think most of us never really lose this reactionary "saving need", but we learn to respond (which is acting with awareness, based on cognition, rather than driven purely by affect. the affect is still there. you are human, you feel things you are an empath, you feel them double. that's okay. as long as they're not the agency behind the wheel. they're there in the back seat wailing "poor him" or "well yes he's an azz but it's just so inhumane, noone deserves that", but you are the driver) rather than react. in my case, i think it's an improvement that i am able to first do what is needed, and then feel guilty- but only for a while. back in the day, the guilt was anticipatory and prevented me from setting boundaries or asserting myself, or tending to my own needs.


what you can do though, if you want that last bit peace of mind you did the civil duty, or the duty you feel as a human to not idly watch another human struggle, is anonymously notify the social services or a veteran's philanthropic society of his whereabouts, that he is homeless and mentally ill and that you suspect he requires intervention. do it anonymously so that he doesn't latch on to you as his enabler again, and so that after you have done this, you are no longer updated and can close the chapter in your mind. you won't feel like you need an update, because if he sends them off after they've payed him a visit, that is as clear a conscious decision to live like that as it gets. if they estimate he is in no state to make choices and requires intervention whether or not he agrees to it, they are obliged to intervene- at least the social services, not sure about veteran's aid as we don't have it where i live.

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classifying women as either angels or ****
that was the bit i was fishing for. i wanted to ask whether you've noticed he paints people as either black or white, builds them up to then tear them down. it's schizoid splitting. i'm going to live up to my stereotypical avatar but when present to extreme degrees, it's classic oedipal, pre and post oedipal configuration, and while it doesn't automatically mean narcissistic traits, it is the perfect breeding ground. you can find it under "secondary narcissism".


blargh. good riddance.

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OP, Why were you with this guy? Stop focusing on his issues - which will never change - and focus on yours.


He is a pathlogicAL liar, friendless, abusive, homeless, jobless and unstable. He takes advantage of people and is downright mean. Yet, you are still trying to help him (co dependency)?

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He's addicted to pain meds, so a faux "diagnosis" is pointless. Most drug addicted people have or develop signs of sociopathy. The most striking being a parasitic lifestyle, that you've indulged.


He was told there was no treatment other than relaxation or pain meds/anti anxiety meds and they strongly encouraged attending support groups for PTSD/post deployment transitioning. He refused. His claim took almost a year to process so he ended up with an initial back check of about $20,000 back in August. It disappeared very quickly as he bought another car, a new rifle and new clothes for the job I helped him get that he never showed up for after hiring.
Hare Psychopathy Checklist:


glib and superficial charm

grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self

need for stimulation

pathological lying

cunning and manipulativeness

lack of remorse or guilt

shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)

callousness and lack of empathy

parasitic lifestyle

poor behavioral controls

sexual promiscuity

early behavior problems

lack of realistic long-term goals



failure to accept responsibility for own actions

many short-term marital relationships

juvenile delinquency

revocation of conditional release

criminal versatility

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I didn't read your entire thread but I will share with you briefly my experience and how it might relate to yours.


I was married to a diagnosed Narcissist. I understand the grip it has on you and the desire to hang in there until which time `he get's it'

Surely he would want to improve, evolve and save everything he's about to lose.


Not being an N you have the ability to be introspective and you measure others by the same yard stick.

This is the malady of Narcissism. They are unable to see themselves. They have a life long death fight against and it doesn't change.


If one cannot be objective, see them self and be introspective, then change can not happen.


I fought for two years in hopes the mine would `get it'. To an average person what was being asked of him was reasonable and minimally decent.

Surely at some point he would break, right? Afterall he was about to lose everything he fought so hard for.

It just didn't make sense to me.


Change never ever happened. I remember being drained and broken and that moment felt like yesterday when I asked my therapist

'He's not going to get it, is he?' Cryptically, my therapist shook he head no. He told me it might be helpful if I started to view my husband as hardwired

differently. The wiring was not going to change. The analogy helped. Maybe it will help you.


It wasn't until that moment that I started to let go of hope. But it was a process and it took time. It's hard to give up and walk away.

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A lot of good information.

Why was I with him? Because for quite some time he was devoted, supportive, fun, passionate, constantly told me how beautiful, smart, accomplished, under appreciated I was ... who wouldn't want to hear that especially when I am without my children every other week, live far from family, am often overwhelmed by daily life (typical home, career, financial pressures). We travelled (he did often pay for trips, tickets, etc when he still had his savings), he provided company, went with me to events, was very interested in helping with home maintenance, car care, helped me relocate my classroom when I transferred campuses, went with me to doctors and hospitals, was very caring of my ill father (also a veteran), played with my kids and cheered their athletic and academic achievements ... there were many positive elements to the foundation of our relationship. I knew this was only possible because he wasn't working and would change when he resumed working and told him so. It's a 2 hour drive from my residence to his mother's but his area is where I want to move after my children graduate in two years.

We had a plan ... if he took either the recruiting job (a 3 year commitment) or passed his state exams to sub we would stay in my home until my children graduated. During this time we would pay off any debt then save for a home/wedding. If we wanted to try for children (which we both did) we had a slim window to try and still be supported by my insurance, home, current support network. He could go to school in the evening as he would either be funded by military employ or GI money (he has $60,000 in education funds). If he was recruiter Army would pay for his education and I could use his ed money if we were married (which we discussed). When the kids graduated he could apply for a teaching position or transfer units to Ventura area, I have a job offer at the university there and as a bilingual male now with experience he should be able to get a position in that very competitive environment. It's expensive there so by ourselves it would be difficult to afford a place; together we could get a house.

He "cared" for me in a way I'd never experienced. My ex husband (who I was with from 19-35) was not affectionate or protective or admirable so if felt amazing to have someone who insisted on opening doors, keeping me warm, making sure I was comfortable, not hungry etc.

It took time before he demonstrated "other" behavior; by then I had become emotionally invested and saw what we could have together if only ... if only. I was incredulous he wouldn't take the opportunities he was provided. He gave no reason other than "im not ready, I don't want to" childishly petulantly throwing fits I had never seen a grown man do much less a soldier.

He never took pain or other medication. He rarely took any kind of medication including aspirin or cold medicine. He had stomach/digestive issues and just suffered instead of taking something. He had his head sliced open to test for thd headaches and didn't take any of the Vicodin they prescribed. He did not drink much. A single beer at dinner diluted with ice and lemon (his lemonade he called it) a few times a week. He did not have a substance abuse problem although he indicated his desire to use weed after he exited the military.

It wasn't until I questioned why he wasn't utilizing his opportunities that he started to react. He knew he had no legitimate reasons but again childishly wouldn't admit that so attacked me to turn the tables. I found this behavior bizarre. It felt he was constantly testing my devotion as he felt cheated in the past. His ex wife had been a user so now he somehow felt justified in using me to get even with the universe. He started accusing me of things I've never done or have ever done but that he has.

Resentment ... yes that was the beginning of the end. At first I was grateful he washed dishes or cleaned the floor. It wasn't his responsibility not his house. But over time, as he Did start to live with me and I went to work, the kids to school and He stayed home to play in the garden, Yes I become resentful. At first, when he would fill up my car I was appreciative. Then when we only used my car as his antiques were unsafe, inoperable I became resentful he was Only filling up the car. Paying for movie tix isn't paying the rent but he didn't agree. He wanted me to give him all the rights and priviledges of being a husband, father, home owner but none of the responsibilities. He became angry when I wouldn't.

That checklist definitely applies to him; he was arrested two years ago for stealing a laptop (long story) which he truly felt he didn't "steal" only took to protect. That cost thousands in legal fees which took the last of his money and almost cost him his military career.

A young man in his unit killed himself last year and this raised serious concerns for me regarding his behavior. I did/have related my concerns for his well being to his CO as without me there's no one who he checks in with, no one who would know if something happened to him. He does not carry a phone, does not check in with family. The only constant is he shows us to his unit once a month.

Yes I am better off without his issues as I have my own needs and deserve a partner to work with me. However, I am human and I cared for him and dreamed of a better life with him. That's not easy to let go, necessary as it is. And yes, sharing in this forum helps as when I was alone his perspective often clouded mine. Hearing my own thoughts echoed by others reiterates I was right to end it instead of feeling I should have done more. There's all these websites dedicated to Get Back Your Ex ...? Why? They always make it sound like the woman Pushed Him Away or Was Too Needy instead of admitting he was selfish or lazy of uncaring (these sites are run by men btw).

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