Narcisistic Abuse Stories
Sandra and Craig
Sandra met Craig through a work colleague. He was the quintessential nice guy and she thought she had finally found her soul mate. Sandra’s children were grown and off doing their own thing. She had brought them up alone from preschool age, so finally it was her time. She was free to find love, free to travel, free to expand her career potential. Craig had an 8-year-old son who lived with his mother in another city. As Craig travelled for business half of each month, he had opportunities to spend time with his son while on the road for his job.
Sandra and Craig existed in a bubble of love and fantastic sex for about a year. As things were going so well, Craig had moved in with Sandra. A couple of weeks later Craig got a call to advise that his ex wife had killed herself and he needed to come and pick up his son and make funeral arrangements, etc.
It was a very difficult and stressful time. Craig knew very little about parenting and had never expected to be the primary caregiver for his son, Hunter. He had left the marriage when Hunter was a few weeks old as he could not cope with his ex-wife’s rages. Now he had no choice but to take responsibility for Hunter, and nowhere to take him except Sandra’s.
Sandra was a kind and caring woman and a very experienced parent. However, Hunter had come from a very dysfunctional background and was grieving for his mother. Craig was away for work for half the month, and when he was there had no idea what to do with, or for, his son. Essentially Sandra had been left holding the baby, albeit an 8-year-old one.
When Sandra came to see me she was a physical and emotional wreck. She was parenting a child who was both violent and abusive virtually alone. It was a thankless task and she felt as if she was being torn apart. Her relationship with Craig had deteriorated and was no longer physical. He was seldom home even when not away for work, and Sandra could not go out or have friends around to her house because of Hunter’s behaviour. Sandra’s own children were concerned for her wellbeing and felt that she was being used as an unpaid nanny.
All Sandra’s dreams and aspirations had been put on hold. Hunter was often sick and Sandra was expected to care for him as Craig couldn’t cope with sickness. The real kicker was that despite his behaviour, Hunter was forming a strong bond with Sandra. She was the type of mother he had always dreamed of having.
It was clear Sandra needed help and she needed it fast. We looked at her values. In the past, family had been her number-one value. However now, she identified freedom as her number-one value. Was she living a life that was congruent with this value? It was no wonder she was torn. Crunch time came when Sandra was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. Craig could not be contacted, and according to the firm he worked for, was on annual leave. Sandra’s son looked after Hunter while she was in hospital. He was so concerned for his mother’s wellbeing that he contacted the appropriate government agency and asked them to take over Hunter’s care. The agency finally tracked down Craig, who was on holiday with his new girlfiend.
Although sad, Sandra recovered her health and went on to live her dream of being an international speaker in her field of expertise. She learned that Craig had in fact still been spending time with his wife while on the road. The wife was unaware that he had Sandra. She was a quiet, gentle woman rather than a rager. In a fit of spite Craig had told her about Sandra and said he was going for full custody of Hunter. This was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Hunter’s mother who was very depressed after years of abuse by Craig. Hunter was all she had.
Josie and Ray
Josie met Ray through her two best friends. One was a student of his at university and one knew him from an internet dating site. They both thought he was a great guy with loads of personality and many interests in common with Josie. While Josie was wary of meeting someone virtually straight out of her marriage, she trusted her friends’ judgement and agreed to have a drink with Ray. It was lust at first sight. Originally from a strict religious upbringing, Josie was very conservative in her views about sex. Her husband was her first sexual partner and she wondered why so many women enjoyed sex. She found it often painful, messy and not much fun at all.
Ray was roughly 20 years older than Josie. He was very supportive during a difficult time when Josie’s ex husband was fighting for custody of their children. She felt that she had found a real friend in Ray as well as a great lover. For the first time in her life Josie really got in touch with her sexuality.
Josie was quite happy to spend time with Ray while the children were with their father but did not want a full-on relationship as she recognised she needed time to process the end of her marriage.
One day Ray turned up at Josie’s with a suitcase and said he was moving in and wanted a full-on relationship. He had not met Josie’s children and she did not want a live-in lover. When she explained this to Ray he replied that unless she let him move in, he was going to go back to his wife.
Josie was very polite but adamant that he was not moving in. Ray stormed off and Josie didn’t hear from him for a few weeks. By this stage she didn’t expect to hear from him again and while she mourned the friendship, she was not willing to be railroaded into living with someone.
Josie was an elementary school teacher. Her classroom was relatively close to where parents parked to pick up and drop off their children. Coming back with her class from school assembly one morning, she happened to glance towards the road and there was Ray watching her. This began to happen most days and Josie felt increasingly uneasy. She contacted Ray by email stating that it was not appropriate for him to be standing outside a school and she would go to the principal if it continued. He replied that his wife wouldn’t give him sex and he wanted it from her. Josie was disgusted and told him that she would not be doing that.
Quite a few days passed and Ray did not appear by the school gates and she heard nothing from him. Heaving a sigh of relief, Josie thought that her email had done the trick. Out of the blue she got called to the principal’s office. Apparently, parents were complaining about the way their children were being treated in her class. The principal had to investigate but he knew Josie well and trusted her abilities. Josie was terribly upset that anyone would complain about her. More and more complaints came to the school about the most trivial matters. Some parents became aloof where they had been friendly. The principal and senior staff observed Josie’s teaching at random times and could find no fault. She was an exemplary teacher and her class loved her. However, these unfair accusations and the ongoing stress with her ex husband were taking their toll on Josie’s health. Her youngest child was being bullied in the playground. It came to a head at parent teacher interviews
where one father began screaming profanities at her accusing her of molesting his child.
The principal quickly stepped in and took Josie and the parent to his office to get to the bottom of what was really going on. It turned out Ray had been lurking where the parents parked, posing as a concerned grandfather who feared for his grandchild’s well-being in Josie’s class. Both Josie and the principal were gobsmacked. Josie quickly explained what had been going on with Ray. The parent apologised and from that day on the other parents gradually got back to normal. There were a great many more apologies to Josie.
The police made a visit to Ray warning him about his behaviour and issuing a trespass notice for the school. Ray immediately sent Josie an email telling her he would ruin her career and make sure she lost her children. The contents and tone of what else was in the email were so disturbing that Josie felt very close to a breakdown and took stress leave from the school. She did not return to teaching children, pursuing her goal of achieving her PhD. She has since had a brilliant academic career.
Meantime she had to get a restraining order against Ray who (despite this) broke into her house and sabotaged her computer, tried to abduct her daughter from school (despite the trespass order) sent her copious threatening texts and emails and tried to run her off the road with his pickup truck. This went on for about a year. To Ray, Josie was a sex toy not an intelligent and aware woman. If she wouldn’t have sex with him, he would destroy her in as many ways as he could, as he had done to several other women over the years.
Jess and Nathan
Jess met Nathan through internet dating during a very vulnerable time in her life. She had
recently been through a difficult breakup which had disastrous financial impact on her, necessitating her moving her massage therapy business from a rented clinic to her home as she couldn’t afford rent on top of her large mortgage. She was aware that she would have to work hard to build her business up again now she didn’t have the advantage of foot traffic and signage in the local CBD. She found herself struggling to motivate herself both professionally and personally. As a form of distraction,
Jess joined an internet dating site. She began chatting to a contractor who lived roughly an hour away from her and began to look forward to their conversations.
After a few weeks of chat Jess and Nathan met for coffee in a town about half-way between where each of them lived. They enjoyed the time together and continued with their online chat. On a holiday weekend Nathan said he would be passing by where Jess lived and asked if he could visit her for a coffee on his way to see friends. Jess agreed, but noticed that the tone of their online chats had changed and Nathan’s jokes had an almost nasty quality to them. Nathan duly arrived and immediately, without invitation, began walking through the house making comment on every room.
He then told Jess that he was unhappy with his job and would like to board with her and help her with the mortgage. Jess was taken aback but did not want to appear impolite so said she would take some time to think about it. From then on in every conversation Nathan complained about his job and his unhappiness and pushed Jess to allow him to move in. Jess was uncomfortable with the idea but the thought of the money was tempting, so she said perhaps he could but there were things she had to work out first.
Nathan called Jess one day and said he needed to move some work stuff to her place that weekend as storage was too expensive. Jess had acreage with unused shedding so agreed that he could use one of the sheds for storage. Nathan arrived with a hire truck and began unloading timber and various things into the shed. Jess asked him why he had hired a vehicle when he had a work truck.
He replied that he had left his job because she said he could board with her. He pulled two suitcases and a few other items from the truck and took them into the house. Jess was speechless and told him she had only given her ok for him to store stuff in a shed. Nathan just ignored her and told her to follow him while he took the truck back.
Nathan just refused to listen and turned everything into a joke, telling her she’d get used to it. He gave Jess money for the first week but said that was all he had. She had to help him get a job and he needed a van and a trailer that she would have to finance it for him as he had a bad credit rating.
Already struggling financially herself, Jess used her credit card to purchase a van and trailer and used contacts to secure Nathan a good job. She wasn’t happy and was biding her time until Nathan had worked for a few weeks so she could ask him to leave. He treated her like a servant, demanding service as if he were in a hotel. Nathan did not like Jess having clients in the house and would often come home unexpectedly from work demanding her attention when she was working. Her client bookings were getting less and she could not afford this. One Saturday Jess went to a training course and when she got home in the evening she found Nathan had moved into her room, sharing her wardrobe etc. That was the last straw. She’d had enough of him using her and sabotaging her business. Although tired, Jess removed all his things from her room and put them back in the spare room he was occupying. She told Nathan he needed to move within the week.
Nathan turned nasty saying she was actually a prostitute not a massage therapist and that she let men into her room at night. When he wasn’t at work, he followed her around the house verbally abusing her. Jess woke up one night to find Nathan kneeling over her bed with a pillow a few inches away from her face. When she screamed he left the room. He commented the next morning that prostitutes often get killed by their clients and they deserve to. Luckily, he moved out that day,
straight in with another woman whose house he had been working on, as a ‘boarder’.
Although traumatised, Jess survived and worked hard to rebuild her client base. Old clients who had stopped coming returned, telling her they were so glad she had got rid of that creepy, nasty man.
Jess took time out to find healing for herself and to take back her power. She is now in a relationship with a lovely man but they maintain their own households by mutual agreement.
Diane and Michael
Diane tells her story in her own words.
I met Michael online through a dating app. We emailed a few times and he suggested I phone him giving me his phone number. Following a few phone calls he said he would love to meet me.
However I lived 310 km away from him but he said that was no problem as he owned an airline (true), he would send a plane up with one of his pilots to pick me up take me for dinner and then I would be flown home again.
Wow, that was something as I had been widowed for 6 years had one child still at intermediate and two had flown the nest for university. (Prime Empath situation for him).
I was love bombed. My first flowers from him cost $500.00. I was flown from my home to his city to meet him, I was flown to Great Barrier Island I was flown to his home at a beach resort. Nothing was too much to spend on me.
He told me over dinner that he had always wanted to visit his sister in Warsaw and he wanted to take me (first class). We would go via Dubai and see a lot of Europe on him. I said no I wouldn’t leave my youngest. He then said we would take her but it would have to be business class. Lots of talking later I agreed. We went to Europe. There were times on that trip that he couldn’t have been nastier to my daughter. He explained it away as being tired with flying when I told him off. At one point I decided to fly home with my daughter on our own. He leapt in with all sorts of reasons why I we should stay.
He bought a residence in Auckland at the time we met and we would meet up there for some weekends. He gave me a credit card to buy furniture and items for the place on his behalf.
This is love bombing. He declared his love for me very quickly and I was so flattered.
We spent Christmas together with my children at the Auckland residence. He handed out Christmas presents to two of my children but not my eldest saying he didn’t think she was going to be there (turns out because he hates Maoris and my eldest is part Maori he had no intention of getting her anything but I didn’t know this until years later). My daughter was naturally hurt by this, but laughed it off. She told me after I left him that he said he intended to get rid of her out of my life.
We became engaged in Europe. He pushed for an early wedding but I kept putting it off because I was completing a contract and I was also going to Tasmania for a friend’s son’s wedding with my children – he said he wanted to come too but I said no. He phoned every day while I was away.
He phoned one night and said he had booked the wedding and that he would arrange it as I was busy and I just had to turn up on the day – at the time I thought that was quite romantic. (I later learned after I had left him that the date of the wedding was his ex-wife’s birthday).
I still had my contract to finish. We had discussed where we would live together and he said in Auckland as my youngest had college to go to. When my contract finished he insisted I sell my home but I was very reluctant as it the end of 2008 and house prices had dropped alarmingly He said he would pay me what I lost in the sale of the house. (He never did).
We moved to Auckland and on the day my youngest and I moved in he informed me that he would still live in the beach town. I could work in Auckland while my youngest was at school and then I would go the beach house with her in the weekend. He would come up once a month for board meetings. His excuse was he didn’t like Auckland. We did this for several years. All school holidays were with him at the beach. My daughter got a job at 12 years of age at the four square and if she didn’t work in the weekend or school holidays he was quite (behind my back) horrible to her.
He did not pay for anything for my daughter except her school fees and one class trip. I worked and paid for everything for her. He found some old clothes of his daughter’s when she was a teenager (she is twenty years older than my daughter) and said my daughter had to have those clothes. We threw them out behind his back. During my marriage I taught my daughter the art of lying by omission. It was the only way I could survive.
He would out of the blue throw rages at me with his hands clenched and he would be red in the face yelling obscenities. Then it would be over.
All my jewellery from my first husband and my parents went missing – he said I was stupid and careless. One evening I knitted three cute headbands for my niece’s new baby girl. I put them on the bench to post to her the next day. However, when I got up there was only one. He said there had only ever been one I had only knitted one, he had watched me.
Over time he would say things had happened – such as going somewhere – when it hadn’t. And that they had not when they had. For example, we were in Wellington having dinner on the wharf at one of the restaurants and there had been a hologram of a Maori haka on the water – he said it never happened. Thing went missing and it was always my fault.
He would not talk to me for days then ask if I was sorry and could see where I went wrong. Because he was never wrong. He drank a lot – ordered cases of wine from a friend who owns a very well known vineyard and told him I had a drinking problem. He said that the reason he had trouble with sex was because I turned him off and I was never to discuss it with him. One day I was driving to the shops and I thought I hope he is the nice man I married when I get home and then I thought that’s what abused wives say. I was being verbally abused. I thought many times of leaving. Finally, on the prior to the last Christmas I spent with him, he started visiting a woman whose house he wanted to buy. They would phone each other and have conversations outside so I couldn’t hear as if he was having an affair. I asked about it and he said I was paranoid. He constantly told me I was over sensitive, I was stupid, no one would ever want me to work for them because I was useless. So many things it would fill a book. On Boxing Day he packed up the presents I had bought for his grandchildren (he had not spoken to his children for the five years of our marriage, but I had a good relationship with the grandchildren) and said he was taking them to the grandchildren and I was not going with him as I was not part of the family.
As I watched him walk out to the garage it was a like a bubble popped and I thought I am done. A few weeks later I told him I was leaving him. He said he hated to lose and that he would bring me to my knees and make me homeless. The divorce took two and a half years. He kept saying let’s settle and then reneg – I finally realised that was because each time it cost me money with my lawyer. We spent four sessions in Court. He finally settled when I said I could get many millions out of him because of the Relationship (Property) Act and that we had been married seven years. I told him that I would get the Court to get Inland Revenue to investigate his money. He agreed to settle. I didn’t take much, I wanted to be free and have a roof over my head. While we were going through the divorce he had me followed everywhere I went. And proudly told me and my lawyer.
I am a smart, pleasant person. I think I am quite intelligent and yet I allowed myself to be sucked into this relationship with this man. This story is the brief outline of what marriage to this man was like. It was so much worse. It nearly stole my children away from me.
Diane moved cities and built a lovely new house where she lives peacefully with her dog. Her
children visit regularly. She is content working on her business.
Compiled by Jan Haldane