Shame-Don’t Own It

This started off as a response to a comment and got so long I decided to make it a post.

This is the comment:

Dear Carrie,

I recently found out I was the other woman in the relationship with my ex. He and I dated shortly, he never fully committed, allways pushing me away, but really jealous. As he didnt want to commit we broke up but he insisted to stay friends. Still jealous and touchy, even sex. Then he pushed me away again.

So he didnt wanted me to move on and didnt let me go.
I am smart, beautiful, strong woman and told him goodbye. I invited him over after a couple of months as I allways saw a good man in him. I now finally know the truth, there was an other woman and now he is comitted to her. She has find me via the web and found out he cheated on her.

I emailed her my story and warned her about a medical issue. Her response: he told her i am sick, depressed suicidal, psychiatric and i threathend him to stay with me etc.

I still believe in him as a good man, he cried alot and told me I am a good person. People allways open up to me and i have with strangers allways an connection and they trust me.

Why cant i make him see the harm he did. Why did he remained friends, knowing i was hurt, why didnt he dump me and leave for the other girl so I wouldnt find out?
I am still attached and the new girl’s ex hurts. I feel ruinend. Would he feel remorse.

I feel like a failure but i allways kept my boundaries.shame


Sann, the reason you feel the way you do is because everything you know to be true about people, what we all believe to be true about the world and the people in it has been challenged. You are a strong woman (btw most victims of an N are strong people, a narcissist rarely pursues weak people because they are not a challenge and btw, they pick people with high moral standards and who are highly regarded by their peers). That surprises most people.

Almost every single person who comes in here after experiencing a relationship with a narcissist, whether it was a romantic one or otherwise; feels ruined, broken, a failure and they almost always say, “I was a strong, confident, self-sufficient, attractive woman.” as if by being a good person you should have some sort of protective force field protecting you from being taken in by a narcissist. That only weak, stupid people would get sucked in by an N.

You did not fail, You acted as you always have, in a way that has always worked for you, you stopped seeing him, you called the other woman and informed her, when he cried you felt compassion for him because you know everyone makes mistakes and deserves a second chance, you are non-judgmental, you. like me; have always believed that everyone has a “good side”, that if you treat people with respect and as you want to be treated you will get respect and kindness back. We grow up believing that good things come to good people and if something bad happens to someone it must be some form of payback for some thing bad they did or they somehow asked for it.

If someone ends up homeless we assume it is because they were bad with money, they have an addiction or a mental illness; they somehow contributed to their situation and if they lived an honest, wholesome life and worked hard they would not be in that position.

It gives us a feeling of superiority and we feel protected from it ever happening to us because we lead honest, wholesome, – lives. It gives us a false sense of security and for most people that theory is never challenged. When we see women in abusive relationships we assume she is weak, needy, co-dependent, insecure, must have had a bad childhood, ………….. there MUST be something wrong with her. It makes us feel superior, even though we say we do not judge and we have compassion for women of domestic violence, deep down we actually blame her for her situation because we know we would never allow ourselves to be abused. WE are confident, self-sufficient, honest, moral and immune to ever being there ourselves. So when we find ourselves exactly where we never thought possible we feel it has to be something we did, we failed somehow, how could we have been so stupid?

We hear about these evil people on the news, or we see movies about them but we never associate them with us!! I don’t know where we think these evil soul suckers live but they sure the hell do not live in MY house or sleep in MY bed.

And……… when we discover we ARE sleeping with one we do the right thing, and we believe that when we confront them on what we know and explain why what they did was wrong and hurtful; they will do as most humans would do……….they will stop doing it. They will either

1. Apologize and never do it again 


2. Leave us because now we are on to them

We don’t expect them to deny it, call us crazy even when we have the evidence right in our hand (You could find an N in bed with a woman and he would tell you that you are paranoid and he is sick of your warped views of reality and he is not responsible for your happiness) and blame us for our own pain. We don’t deserve to be treat this way when all we did was be honest, calmly and kindly spoke our truth and believed in him and loved him unconditionally; how can he lie about us? why? what did we do to make him hate us like that? Or we don’t expect him to come crying, admitting everything he did wrong, beg for our forgiveness, and promise he will change and then have him continue to do exactly the same or worse things to hurt us. Why would he bother? He even has another woman why would he bother with me when he knows I am on to him and won’t accept being treated that way.

But we just did, he got away with it and he hurts us again because we believe there is good in all people, we are rational logical beings who try to make sense of the world around us, and if it doesn’t make sense we use our rational, logical mind to make it make sense.

We assign emotions to the narc that we would feel if in him position, because he doesn’t feel like other people and doesn’t have appropriate responses to situations we make excuses for him, he is putting a wall up because of past hurts, he just doesn’t understand that he hurt me, he really is sorry his just so ashamed her doesn’t want to admit it, I don’t want to rub his nose in it, so I won’t mention it again, he wouldn’t be here unless he meant to change because I was very open and honest about how I felt about it.

I remember calmly telling James how him having personal ads bothered me, to me it was infidelity to be looking for other women on a dating site. It was an insult to me for him to stay up all night looking at porn when I was laying in bed wearing something sexy waiting for him. I told him that there were women out there who would not be bothered with him wanting sex from more than one woman but I was not that woman and I expected fidelity and honesty. I didn’t give him an ultimatum, I told him my expectations and left him to decide if he could live within my boundaries or not and if he couldn’t, I assumed he would leave me but I was not going to compromise my standards. And for years I defended my boundaries, every single time I caught him with another dating site ad, or writing a love letter to some other woman I never allowed it, I always expected that some day I was going to explain it in a way he could understand and he would either stop doing it or he would leave. I certainly never anticipated that he would try to make me crazy with gas lighting (I had never even heard of gas lighting until after I had left him 10 years later), destroy my business to make me dependent on him, sabotage my vehicle, slander me, and slowly and insidiously eat away at my self-confidence and self-esteem and make me doubt my whole reality. What normal person who has never met a narcissist would expect that from another human being? It is SO far from our reality, from everything we have been taught and live by that we cling to our belief that there has to be some good in this person. We NEED them to have a good side, we NEED there to be a reasonable explanation for the things they do.

It is a horrifying realization that there is no good in them, that it was all an act and they are loathsome people who get off on others pain and suffering. We cling to the belief that they have a good side because we know that if they can do the things they did to us they are capable of being the person we read about in the news or see in a movie who kills without remorse. When he is screaming in our face and we see the loathing and hatred in his eyes we know that was the last thing those women (who were murdered by their lover) saw. It sends a chill down your spine when the realization hits you that you have been sleeping with the devil and you are in grave danger. The danger is not even that he is so evil, it is that he is so damn good at hiding it.

We get out of the relationship with this inner turmoil, we don’t want to believe we love something so purely evil, that we didn’t pick up on it sooner, and he is calling us crazy and psycho and people are believing him. We feel like we have lost control of our lives, he is manipulating everything and everyone in our lives and we don’t know how to protect ourselves from him, from the people who believe him and God forbid, How do we protect ourselves from another one.

We NEED to believe we aren’t to blame for our own pain but if we believe that then we have to also believe that we are helpless to prevent it from happening again. It is a hopeless thought, how can we go on if we know these people exist and there is no way of protecting ourselves?

All is not lost, because we can protect ourselves, not totally, there will always be narcissists in the world and they will always be cunning and able to morph into any person they want to be BUT now we know they exist, now we know that a person can look us in the eye and lie their face off, now we know that people will tell you that they love you more than anyone they have ever loved, and they can cry and beg your forgiveness and leave your bed to go to another woman’s bed.

I don’t believe that none of us didn’t know he was lying. I believe that we all felt in our guts that something was not right, we felt he was lying, we saw the signs, we found evidence, we weren’t stupid, our mistake was to believe in the good in all people. Our mistake was refusing to see evil, our mistake was to not listen to our gut when it said; danger. Our mistake was when he didn’t respond to our honest expression of hurt and didn’t respect our boundaries, we made excuses for him we assigned him appropriate emotions because if we didn’t we had to admit he was not who we thought he was and we would have to walk away.

If we take our time, and trust what we see with our own eyes and not what he is telling us to believe, if we listen to our gut we will be ok, we will get out before he has a chance to destroy us, we won’t be talked into remaining “friends” , we won’t believe the apologies, we will be able to walk away with our souls intact, our boundaries still in place and we won’t feel broken and helpless. 

I have been told many times I am an inspiration, that people can not believe how strong I am and that they hope to someday be as strong. I have to laugh because throughout my whole recovery I have felt anything but strong. For 2 years I didn’t think I would make it through another day and at the end of the day I often cried myself to sleep, most days I was all but immobilized with fear and hopelessness. I had never been that insecure, helpless and hopeless, empty, shattered, weak, ashamed, suicidal, ever grim negative thing a person can think about themselves I felt it. I loathed me as much as James had loathed me. And the reason for that was not because James made me feel that way (yes he treated me with loathing, he told me I was useless, a psycho bitch that made his life hell) it was because I had always thought I was stronger and smarter than to get into or stay in an abusive relationship and so did everyone who knew me. No one understood, I was ashamed, too ashamed to ask for help, I was judged by society, I knew what every one was thinking; that I was weak, co-dependent, flawed in some way or I would not have been in the relationship to begin with. Some thing was terrible wrong with me.

When women come in here and say they are ashamed that they were so weak I think to myself, “So you believe all these women in the blog are all stupid, weak, insecure women? that you are so much better than all these other women, you shouldn’t be here?” Of course you would all deny that you think you are better than the rest of us but that is what you are saying when you criticize yourself for getting sucked in by the N. Instead of views victims as weak maybe we, society, should look at them through different lenses, maybe we have to view them as being so damn strong that they were able to withstand the horrendous abuse of a narcissist and remain standing. I know most of the time I took James back it was not because I needed HIM, i felt sorry for him, he needed ME and I felt I was strong enough to put my needs on the back burner to help him. I was strong! you are strong!! 

There is no shame in being an honest, moral, responsible caring, person. Put the shame back where it belongs on the narcissist. He won’t take it, he will never feel shame or remorse but that is not your problem, just because he refuses to take does not mean you have to pack it; let it go…… is not yours to pack.

misconceptiondon't want anymore

8 thoughts on “Shame-Don’t Own It

  1. ellie2013

    This is an amazing post. IMO the most important paragraph is this one:

    We assign emotions to the narc that we would feel if in him position, because he doesn’t feel like other people and doesn’t have appropriate responses to situations we make excuses for him, he is putting a wall up because of past hurts, he just doesn’t understand that he hurt me, he really is sorry his just so ashamed her doesn’t want to admit it, I don’t want to rub his nose in it, so I won’t mention it again, he wouldn’t be here unless he meant to change because I was very open and honest about how I felt about it.

    I think this is where we have all gotten stuck. WE want to explain how we feel so he won’t do whatever it is he has done again. But in order for him to understand he would need to be able to “feel” too. AND THEY CAN’T. They were born with brains they aren’t capable of “feeling” not in the way that we feel. That is why they watch ppl so closely, to add a few more “learned responses” to their toolbox. It is very hard to understand a how a person can be born devoid the necessary synapses to empathy , feeling. But more and more research is being done. But not for a cure, there is no cure. The experts all agree, they can not be helped even though they can pretend to want help to manipulate you. The research is being done to help protect society from these monsters that are unlike humans emotionally even though they look so normal.

    We can NEVER blame ourselves for becoming a victim to a life form we just didn’t know existed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Ellie, thank you. For sure that is where I got stuck, I just kept assigning him emotions he wasn’t feeling. I finally had to face the truth when I could practically tell him what he was going to say before he said it when he used the “speech” he had memorized for getting me to go back to him. He would change it up a bit every time he used it but it was basically the same speech and he probably is giving it to M and every other woman before me.
      The phony tears. It sure sucked me in for a long time and have to admit he was good but the last time was almost comical because I had heard it so many times.


  2. Barbara

    * I always expected that some day I was going to explain it in a way he could understand and he would either stop doing it or he would leave.*…Carrie, you just put into words what I spent 9 years trying to do…Yes, that is what kept me holding on and going back…over and over again…but no more….again, spot are truly amazing… ❤


  3. bamboozled1

    Thank you for writing this. I still struggle with it at times… I’m almost two years out, and I’m banking on this awakening we supposedly have at that point…. Sometimes I’m scared it won’t, but it is happening… Slowly lol. Too slow. I get really annoyed at people who don’t understand, saying things like, why don’t you leave, why don’t you get over it, why don’t you move on… Why are you still so hung up on it? If I could explain it to them I would. But I don’t think you can know unless you’ve been there… I know I wouldn’t have if I were looking at my situation from the outside…

    I know nOw that I wasn’t this person to begin with…. I wasn’t destined to have this happen to me… I didn’t know there was such crap in the world, or that I would let it touch me…

    The learned response thing, yeah… Also set responses… And set stories and … Everything is just very “set” and “stock” The same things over and over again… No wonder he’s so good with computers lol.


  4. Carrie Reimer Post author

    Bamboozled, It seems that there is something magical about the 2 year mark. At 2 years out I realized i wanted to live again, was excited about the future again and it grew from there. Now over 3 years out I have an inner peace I have never known before. I think it is a slow gradual thing that one day you just realize you are totally at peace with who you are and you just know life is going to be ok and you do not have to change a thing about yourself, you don’t need another person to tell you that you are ok because you know it deep inside.
    It comes from having to put ourselves back together after having our souls shattered into a million pieces and dissecting everything about ourselves and taking an honest inventory of who we are. We realize that we have been believing lies about who we are that we have been told by people who don’t matter. We realize we are good people and we love ourselves and that is the best protection against N abuse ever. We have to love and value ourselves more than anyone else and never put ourselves below someone else.
    Thanks for commenting and best of luck to you


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