The incredible shrinking world of the narcissist’s victim.


When I was still with my ex, I became a recluse, holed up in my small room when I wasn’t at work, never venturing out even into the living room or kitchen. This was because he had taken over the whole house to the point I dreaded leaving the safety of my room, because of how obnoxious, loud, abusive and demanding he was.

He was sleeping on the living room couch (I was “nice” enough to let the parasitic loser crash there for almost 7 years–but that’s a whole ‘nother story) and he was extremely messy, loud and dirty–overflowing ashtrays, trash all over the table, plates left crusted with food or day old coffee, crumbs on the furniture and floor, and he never, ever cleaned anything. His idea of washing the dishes was letting them soak in soapy water and they’d sit there until they began to stink or someone else (usually me) washed them. He also talked loud, discussed inappropriate things with my daughter’s young friends (she was living here too at that time), and blasted his death metal and riot girl music (which he knew I couldn’t stand) just because he knew it would piss me off. Whenever I complained or even politely asked him to stop or turn the music down, he told me (in front of his friends and my daughter and her friends) that I was “crazy.” He’d announce to everyone things like, “oh, well you know Lauren’s a BORDERLINE, so that’s why she acts that way.” He also was deliberately loud when I needed to sleep. I was the only one working at the time, and had to be up early. You think he cared? Ha! Not when he yelled at me for being “emotionally unstable” or “selfish” because I wanted quiet at night when I was trying to sleep.

I couldn’t stand leaving my room because he seemed to be everywhere in that small house. I was too depressed to go out, and didn’t have anyplace to go anyway. See, another thing that happens when you live with a narcissist is that you may not have any money. Some narcissists hide all the money from you, keeping it tucked away in their bank accounts where you don’t have access to it. If you work, they may demand you hand over most or all of your paycheck. Or they simply grind down your confidence in your abilities to the point where you only take jobs that are far beneath your actual ability. Or, in some cases, the narcissist simply refuses to work, while racking up the bills and then expects others to pay. This last type was what my ex was.

For seven years he didn’t work, but freeloaded off my good will and codependency. He was the worst kind of parasite. Yes, I enabled him so that was my fault. But in me, he saw an easy “mark,” someone who was a people-pleaser who could be easily taken advantage of. In the winter, he’d turned the heat register to the highest temperature, so the living room felt like an oven. If I tried to call him on that and remind him that I couldn’t afford to pay a high electric bill, he’d deny it was him. He’d blame his daughter, or even say I was turning the heat up myself and didn’t remember (this was gaslighting of course). I knew he was lying but couldn’t prove he was, because he’d crank up the heat when I wasn’t around. Another thing he did was order movies, sometimes porn, without my knowing and these charges sometimes almost doubled the cable bill. Of course I wound up having to scrape together the money to pay it. When I confronted him about the movies he’d ordered, he denied responsibility, saying it must have been our daughter (she was never home and barely watched TV at all so I knew he was lying).

He did get food stamps, but that was the only way he contributed, and the amount he was getting wasn’t very much. He’d complain about the groceries I bought because they didn’t include expensive steaks, legs of lamb, and condiments that he needed “for his diabetes.” I was trying to stretch the budget, and that meant buying inexpensive foods. These were not to his high standards though. You get the idea.

My job was low paying (and still is). So of course after taking care of all his needs and paying gigantic electric bills thanks to him, and never having anything to eat because he’d eat all the food himself, there was never any money. So I couldn’t go anywhere. Hell, I couldn’t even afford a movie or the $3.00 fee for the community pool, never mind ever being able to get away for the weekend to the beach.


I also had no friends. He’d convinced me I was so unlikeable and socially inept that I had stopped even trying to make friends. People who approached me in friendship I kept at arms’ length and never accepted their invitations or phone calls. I was afraid if they got to know me, they wouldn’t like me. Being avoidant and terribly shy anyway, socializing was never something that came naturally to me. So any fun activities or getaways I might have gotten involved with through a friend just didn’t happen, because I didn’t allow myself to have friends. I was also too embarrassed to let anyone come to the house because of its filthy and disheveled condition (thanks to him) and the fact there was never any food to eat, not to mention the certainty that this parasitic loser would say something embarrassing or inappropriate in front of any friend I might have brought over. Also, never having enough money to do anything fun, made getting together with friends difficult. I certainly couldn’t expect them to always pay my way!

Some narcissists won’t let their victims have friends. They either forbid it, or manage to turn the victims’ friends against them with their charming triangulating. Mine never actually forbade it, but just made it so uncomfortable and impossible for me to have friends that I gave up on having any.

At age 45, i noticed I was living like an 80 year old, pretty much confined to the house, and dutifully going to my job (which I hated) every day. I had no life at all, no interests, no hobbies, no money, no friends. All I had was TV, my computer and books. So I holed myself up in my little room and read and slept a lot. I didn’t even have the motivation to do something creative, like start a blog. I just vegetated in there, pigging out on junk food and snacks and growing fatter every day. I slept a lot during the day. Not long ago I posted a photo of what I used to look like. I can’t believe the difference–I don’t look like the same person.

That’s what living with a narcissist will do to you: destroy your looks, your motivation, your self esteem, your interest in anything, your pride in your own body and mind, eventually your sanity. I actually thought I had lost all my creativity and intelligence. I thought I had nothing left to offer to anyone, and my sole purpose in life was having to put up with the narc in the house who was sucking me dry like a vampire. He reminded me every day it was his right, and that I had no choice because if I tried to make him leave, he would kill himself and possibly take me with him. I was terrified of that possibility, but I now know he was full of doggy doodoo and just said that to manipulate me because he knew I’d fall for it. That man would never kill himself. That I know. If he was going to, he already would have.

Oh, there was more, so much more, but I’ll stop here before this turns into a book.

Don’t let a narcissist shrink your world and reduce you to living in a self-imposed prison. You deserve better than that. I know if I hadn’t gone No Contact with him last year, I would very likely be dead or very ill by now. They may not kill bodies, but they kill souls, and you die a slow and painful death which could eventually destroy your body too.


25 thoughts on “The incredible shrinking world of the narcissist’s victim.

  1. so true they can shrink your world until you have no one left apart from them , It’s only now that he’s left (hopefully for the final time) that I have realised just how small my world has become …

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  2. Oh… wow. Do I ever relate.

    When I was living with a malignant narcissist, I felt like he was sucking up all the oxygen in the room. His ego filled the space so completely, there wasn’t any room left for me to just breathe. It was like he was anti-matter, or a black hole, sucking everything into himself. A bottomless pit. Gives me the shivers just thinking about it.

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    • a black hole. Yes, that’s what they are like. They are a void with nothing but emptiness inside, yet they have the power to suck everything and everyone around them into their void of blackness and nothingness. It is very scary. I couldn’t stand being in the same room with him.

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      • Today I had a 3 hour phone conversation with my stepdaughter. I don’t like talking on the phone for even 3 minutes, but she needed to talk. She was telling me about her ex husband and, oh my gosh, it was one of the worst stories I ever heard. He is a monster. The epitome of evil. She is coming to live with us soon and after she gets here, I’m going to tell her about your blog. She needs to know she isn’t alone! Even though we hate knowing that others have gone through this horror, it helps not feeling so all alone. J. was with her ex from )age 14 to age 33. She is 43 now and she hasn’t dated anyone else that we know of in all these years. That’s how bad he hurt her. 😦

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        • Wow thank God she has you to go to for refuge after going through that. He must be a high spectrum malignant narc or a psychopath if he’s THAT evil. I wonder if he had the “black eyes” when he got enraged the way mine did? I bet he did. All MN’s do. I’ve seen them myself and it’s the scariest f*cking thing you will ever see. It’s as if they’re possessed. Maybe they are.
          I haven’t dated either–all because of that freeloading jerk I was married to. I’m just too scared. I also don’t have enough confidence. Yes, please show her this blog. I hope she likes it as much as you do.

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          • I’ll ask her about the eyes.

            Despite the horrors he put her through, she did a great job of working and raising their 3 kids all on her own, without getting child support from him. But since the youngest one left home a couple of years ago, she has been struggling. Her health is falling apart, and the room mate she shares an apartment with has been stealing her things and lying about her. Plus my stepdaughter doesn’t have a car and she’s been walking 14 miles to work in 100+ degree heat! I don’t know how she does it!

            I am a little nervous about having her live here, because my husband and I both have PTSD and we crave peace and quiet and privacy more than anything. But she is my husband’s daughter and she is a sweetheart. Our house is very small, but we have an older four season 24′ fifth wheel travel trailer in the backyard that my 6’2″, 300 lb. husband, our 70 lb. Cattle Dog, and non-petite me lived in during the 10 months my younger son and his family lived rent free in our house, so we know she will be okay living in that, with just herself and two Chihuahuas.

            My husband’s disabled sister lived with us eleven months during the second year of our marriage. After my messed up son and his messed up family left a little over a year ago, we swore we would never do this again…. but…. there is no way we can say no, with all that his daughter is going through.



          • Dear Lucky, he sounds so vile, i wouldn’t be a bit surprised if the very demons are praying for his salvation, because the very idea of him spending eternity with them probably has them even more terrified than they already are. Anyway, so glad he is out of your hair – and out of your pocketbook.

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            • Sue, arrrrghhh! Why do your comments always go into my spam folder??? Anyway, glad I retrieved it!
              You are funny! Yes, I bet the devils in hell don’t even want him there lol! 😀
              He is the epitome of evil.

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  3. Sounds so much like my life. I can’t believe this. He is out of my life, but my mental illnesses and physical illnesses kind of ground me to the house and I isolate and stay in my room.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It takes a long time. I still isolate but it’s getting easier. Blogging has helped immensely. My IRL life is still pretty limited, but I feel better and happier and I feel like I’ve found a community online of people who understand the sort of abuse that made me feel so alone and different from everyone else.

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  4. I like my online community. I got blogs for all my man physical and mental disorders and so feel like I have many friends. I am happy isolating. I do get out once a weeks to have brunch with a friend. Occasionally I have a family ordeal to get through.

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    • “Family ordeal”–yep, that’s what they are for a lot of us.
      I’m sorry you have so much on your plate but writing about it does help.
      I love isolating. People think I’m weird but so be it.

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  5. Another previously unknown (to me) word: Isolating.
    Also wondering what finally nudged you “out into the light (or black hole of blogosphere)?” I’ve encouraged my BPD Sis to try group therapy, if for no other reason than she could see how other people with similar mindsets might handle situations she has found herself in. She used to call herself “fiercely independent,” again probably symptomatic of BPD and a reason she never wanted to ask for help but still bitched about the $ (as opposed to emotional) cost of services needed. Her BPD traits have decreased a bit lately but, in a stroke of what I think of as Karma for the earlier hell her family through, she is now actually physically unable to do things herself sometimes due to recently diagnosed severe anemia. I’m not gloating, just saying we all (including her) would have been better off if she’d started taking better care of her physical self sooner, i.e. not being so “fiercely independent.”

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    • I never actually lied about my BPD diagnosis. In fact I’m pretty sure in my early “My Story” posts I mentioned being diagnosed with BPD–but I rarely discussed it or talked about it much–I didn’t want to call attention to it because of the stigma. But after awhile I decided that was stupid. If I’m going to be honest on this blog and use it for self-healing then I can’t hide or downplay one of my diagnoses. Lately I’ve become more interested in my disorder because it is an interesting disorder. Also because I write so much about NPD and BPD is in the same cluster of personality disorders and can be very similar, it’s only natural to want to write about that too. I feel like there’s a LOT of misunderstanding about BPD and I HATE the “crazy and evil” stigma we are saddled with. That needs to change. BPD symptoms are almost the same as those of C-PTSD, which I’ve talked about before. In fact, they may be the same disorder, but the DSM doesn’t even recognize C-PTSD as a real disorder.

      Not taking care of your body is common in borderlines, especually when they are young. BPDs take a lot of risks with their health–it’s part of the disorder.

      That’s good your sister’s BPD traits have decreased–I think they tend to do so with maturity–or–for women, when they go through menopause–it’s my opinion that for women, BPD traits tend to decrease when the female hormones settle down and there is less estrogen in your system. Unlike NPD, I think BPD is partially biological/biochemical (which is why it can be controlled with meds, and NPD cannot). Okay, this is a little TMI but I used to have terrible PMS every month–I think really bad PMS is common among borderline women. How old is your sister if you don’t mind my asking.


      • 55 and has already gone thru menopause so here’s some anecdotal evidence for your opinion in that regard. Sis used to take the Pill for regulating physical PMS symptoms. No idea if that helped regulate emotional symptoms as well

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  6. I think the more people write about this the more likely others can figure out how to get out of these situations. When in the midst of it… One doesn’t even know where to turn.

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    • I agree. The good news is more people than ever are finally talking about what these people do to destroy our self esteem and our lives. Ever see the movie Network, where the anchorman gets fed up and starts shouting “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” Well, that’s what we’re doing with these blogs about narcissistic abuse. Keep talking.

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  7. Hi lucky. You have written my existence with this freak show I’ve been married to for 16 years. Terrorist. The farther he sees me fall the more powerful he feels.
    I want to address the black eyes. In fits of rage I have seen them too. Sickening hatred. Its so intense it hits you in a place you didn’t know you had. I do think he’s oppressed by evil and sometimes possessed by it.
    I have been living in isolation for too long. There was a point when I felt my life literally slipping away. I cried out to god and the message I received was to put the focus back on my life. And keep my eyes on Jesus. This man is a DISTRACTION and the longer my mind is kept busy about what he’s going to do next it will cloud my thoughts about what I should be doing. Like being under a spell. Witchcraft.
    I’m so glad you share your suffering. In our solitude we are transformed. One of two things can happen. Remain a slave or get to know who we really are and break the chains of illusion that has held us hostage. At the root of a narcissist is fear. How well they convince us that we are the ones who are afraid. He knows this show is over. I just need to leave the theater. We were too good for them to begin with. That’s why they chose us. Stay strong and say what’s on your mind girl! It MATTERS how you feel what you think and what you want. We have the right to dream.

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