Leaving The Narcissist After 19 Years – With No Where To Go

The blog received this comment the other day and I am going to reply through this post because I think there are many victims in this same position and it is hard to know what to do and it is a very real danger for many women. I often wonder when I hear of another woman murdered by her abusive partner; if she knew she was in danger and would die one day but just didn’t know how to leave or was too tired to save herself.

I know that in my case, I was sure I was going to die, I just didn’t know when or how he would do it and if he didn’t do it soon I would end up killing myself because I just could not live that way any more. It was James’s sister telling me she was afraid to be in my company because she was afraid she would die just because she was with me when he did it. I didn’t know how I was going to leave or where I would go but I knew it was crazy to stay with someone I thought capable of killing me.

This is the comment made by Angela;

“I have been married to one for 19 years and just really understood what I am dealing with. The abuse is getting more frequent. He never apologizes for the verbal abuse. He has even started saying I am abusing him. I would have already left, as I think homelessness would be better than hell. However, I have 3 children. My oldest is a scapegoat for the N, and my other 2 he seems to favor. I have tried to leave before when he said I could with the kids, then he changed his mind and used them to make me stay. My fear is a custody battle that he will lie about me. If we even got joint custody, he would still have his hooks in me and the children. If I leave the children then they will be stuck with this hell. What can I do? Should I put up with it until my youngest is old enough to understand (only4 now).
He is capable of murder. He has threatend me before. I feel I have made a total mess of my life. No matter what I do it will be bad. My children will suffer no matter what. I am so angry he has done this too me, but I am more upset I allowed it to happen and I was so blind.”

Angela, I am so glad you have reached out for help, that is a big step, just to verbalize the abuse and admit it to yourself and others. When you are in it the narcissist is so good at twisting the facts, twisting your words, and making you feel crazy; you start to doubt your own sanity and reality. They are so good at playing the good guy in front of others you fear that no one will believe you if you do tell anyone else. It gets so overwhelming that it is easier to do nothing than try to save yourself. For me I started to pray he would just kill me so I would be out of the hell I was living, I could stop wondering when and how he would do it. I did a lot of things wrong and if I had to do it again I would be a lot smarter about it.

The last line of your comment broke my heart, I feel I have made a total mess of my life. No matter what I do it will be bad. My children will suffer no matter what. I am so angry he has done this too me, but I am more upset I allowed it to happen and I was so blind.”

Listen to me, you are far from the first woman to get sucked in by a narcissist/psychopath; women from all walks of life, from doctors, lawyers, counselors, strong independent confident women who thought they had met their soul mate. These people are evil beyond anything a normal person can imagine and they are cunning and usually highly intelligent. Nine times out of 10 the victim doesn’t even know they exist and has been abused and lost control of their lives before they realize something is seriously wrong. They keep thinking that the wonderful man they met will reappear, fear he is ill or something because the switch seems so sudden and out of character. The narcissist seems to know exactly how far he can push and just when the victim has had enough he will put on the charm again, confusing the victim. The relationship is a constant “Pull you close to push you away.”

You are a victim, you did not know what you were getting into, 19 years ago no one talked about narcissists, even domestic abuse was misunderstood (it still is); people thought a woman had to have bruises in order to be abused. Verbal abuse does more damage than physical abuse a lot of the time. I used to wish James would just hit me and get it over with because the tension would become unbearable as he grew angrier and angrier. Once he hit me it would be better for awhile. They spew their venom all over you and they feel so much better and act like they can’t understand why you are so upset.

It is a roller coaster ride in hell that never ends and only weakens the victim, makes them lose their self confidence, they twist themselves into a pretzel trying to be  what the narcissist wants but nothing is ever good enough. Without knowing what is happening the victim gives up their boundaries, moral values, independence and eventually their very soul to the narcissist; he sucks his victim dry and then he discards them with disgust.

Your life is not hopeless, you have not screwed up your whole life and you CAN turn things around and find happiness and give your children the loving home they need and deserve. It won’t be easy, it won’t happen overnight but it is possible and so well worth the effort. They have  sick father who will never change, they deserve a healthy happy mom and as long as you are with your husband you can not be healthy or the mother I am sure you want to be for your kids. Your children need to know that this is not how relationships are supposed to be, if you have girls do you want them to think this is the way a man treats a woman? or do you want your boys to grow up treating women this way? It doesn’t matter how many times you say it is wrong, if you stay you are saying it is ok. I don’t see that you have a choice to make. Stay and be miserable or figure out how to leave and be happy.

This is my educated advice to you from what I have learned

First and most important– download the Safety Plan at the top of the blog. There are many simple to do safety precautions you can take to stay safe. 70% of domestic homicides happen either just before or within 2 years after the victim leaves, so leaving is never as simple as when people say “Why doesn’t she just leave?”

The safety plan will tell you simple steps you can take to stay safe while you prepare to leave and then after you leave. Things like teaching the children where to go if he is hurting you, how to call for help, what to put in an emergency bag that you leave with a trusted friend or family member. Telling the neighbors to call 911 if they think you are in danger (because so many people don’t want to interfere but if you tell them to call if they hear screams for help or whatever they are more likely). There is too much to list it all here, if you can’t download it then at least read it, please.

  • NOTE – The narcissists main motive is control, have no doubt that he is checking the history on the computer, snooping through your purse, especially if he thinks you are acting suspicious. He is always lying and just assumes everyone else is also. You must erase your history and cookies on the computer and your phone.

You need to find your local woman’s shelter and talk to someone about what resources are available in your area. (In the town I am in now they have a group of volunteers who will provide a safe place in their home for the woman and children leaving abuse.)

It is VERY important you do NOT tell him you are leaving, telling you it is ok for you to leave and then changing his mind is a very common tactic of the narcissist. He is using the threat of breaking up to control you, you are supposed to be so devastated at the thought of losing him that you will do anything to keep him.  You have to be very covert, plan it carefully if you can and then leave quickly. You need to have all your ducks in a row if possible.

Expect the worse and hope for the best. Be prepared! Him fighting you for custody is a very realistic fear, no matter how agreeable he may be at times never expect he will be fair and reasonable. If he knows you are leaving he may try to “remain friends” “want to help you”, don’t believe him. It is very common for a narcissist to “see the light” after the victim leaves, he will apologize for everything wrong he ever did, promise to get help, cry real tears, beg like he never has; do not believe it, I he can convince you to stay or come back the abuse will be worse and you will be in greater danger than you already are.

Once you do leave you must stay as no contact as possible. Keep any communication strictly about the children, get a custody agreement written up immediately, never meet with him alone or let him in your house or go in his. Often times that is when the psychopath (that is quite possibly what he is because all psychopaths are narcissistic, it is all but impossible to know if a narcissist is a psychopath until it is too late, will murder his victim. The thing they hate the most is losing control of their victim and they will resort to murder, the ultimate control, and he does not want to look bad to the people who know him, he doesn’t want to have to share property, custody, or have to pay out any money. In his mind it would be much easier to just kill you, if he can get away with it. So make it very hard for him to get away with it.

Another VERY important thing to do is to keep a journal and hide it where he won’t find it. Write down every time he is cruel to you or the children, or the one son you say he picks on. If he send you a nasty text or writes something threatening make sure you keep it somewhere he can’t find it.

Try to slip a little bit of money aside whenever you can and build as much of an “escape fund” as you can without him getting suspicious. Again make sure he doesn’t know you have it because he will find a way of wrangling it out of you.

While getting ready to leave you have to get a support network together, I know he has probably isolated you or you are ashamed to admit you need help but now is not the time for false pride. You need help, people to help you move quickly, who will hide you or help you find a place to live. Family, friends, a shelter, a church. as long as you trust them and they are not trying to be neutral. Anyone who is friends with both of you can not be trusted to not tell him stuff. Read as much about them as possible so you know exactly what you are dealing with, Do not tell him that he is a narcissist, he doesn’t care and more than likely if he hasn’t already thought of it, he will start calling you a narcissist.

Know that he will slander you, he will tell everyone who will listen that you did to him what he did to you and he will play the victim, there is no point in trying to defend yourself. You are better off to lead an exemplary life, let him say whatever he wants, you know the truth and so will the people who love you. You just keep being true to yourself, his true colors will show through eventually. We are here for you as moral support and ears to listen.

Nineteen years is a long time yes, but 20 years is longer, there are women who were with a N for 30 or more years. It is never too late to leave and find happiness and to become the mom your kids will respect and admire. Yes, you made a mistake, we all did, that is human, don’t beat yourself up over it. Now you know the truth and you have found out you are not alone, stupid or to blame and now you can do something to better your life. But please plan your escape carefully and never under estimate how evil your husband is or what he is capable of. Just be prepared for anything.

Big hugs and prayers going out to you and your kids.


  • To anyone who is thinking it is too late to leave, you have too much time invested, it is hopeless, you are not strong enough, aren’t worth it, or you think you can’t make it in the world without him. It is all lies he has told you and you tell yourself. There is always a way, God (or whatever higher power you believe in) does provide. Believe, that once you break away from his control and mind games you will see things more clearly and will feel 10 times stronger just from being away from his toxicity. You can not think clearly because he keeps you confused and always recovering from some drama or trauma. I look back now and can see how dysfunctional the relationship was but at the time, he had me so confused and always on the defensive, I didn’t know which way was up.

11 thoughts on “Leaving The Narcissist After 19 Years – With No Where To Go

  1. Pingback: Leaving The Narcissist After 19 Years – With No Where To Go | The Story of my Twin Boys Oliver and Oscar Ferreira

  2. So Sad

    Excellent advice one again Carrie , you summed it up so eloquently .. Every SINGLE word is true .. I was that STRONG independent woman who after 14 years turned into a depressed anxious wreck I didn’t know it was happening it was so insidious .. drip drip drip bit by bit my emotions became battered & confused I was constantly on fight or flight mode to scared to ask him to go for fear of reprisal because Mr Nice Guy despised anyone who rejected him & always plotted revenge . I saw him do it for years !! I never thought for a single moment I would be the focus of the revenge until our relationship ended .. I am now at that point , the narcissist , bi polar needy ex , a stalker , and an alcoholic allegedly to anyone he can convince .. and he of course is the Victim .. I never ever received a single apology , but I’m happy to say I’m out of it . It’s only when you actually get time to think that you realise how bad things got , but there is life & happiness out there after a relationship with a narc everyone…. grab it and run with it we’re worth so much more Xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Only Me

    You’re not going to like what I say, but I have to say it – when your children are under threat, you’ve got to get the bastard out of the picture – whatever it takes!

    When I realized my youngest child was being abused, I didn’t walk; I ran to the Sheriff”s department and filed charges! When I left the bastard, No I didn’t have money! I had nothing! I just grabbed my kids and ran. I rented a house with no money, had no car, but none of it mattered! Me and the my kids were safe! The peace and quiet was heavenly.

    Don’t tell me it can’t be done! I did it! Your children’s and your own safety should be your first priority. You owe your children a life of safety! Anything else, I’m sorry to say it, but it’s a cop out! Be the kind of mother that your children deserve! You owe them nothing less! I’m sorry to sound so harsh! But that is the truth!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yvonne

    Iv been with my N for two and a half years. Not all of it was bad. There’s is alot of good in him but a lot bad too. He moved in with me 6 months after we got together. We didn’t discus it. He just moved himself in. I own my home so how would I get him to leave without making a huge deal about it? My close friend dates the chief of police in our town and he knows what’s going on just in case it comes to that point. The problem I’m having is he does come home to me every nite, always calls when he’s done with work and on his way home. He doesn’t really have any friends but isolated me from mine. I can’t talk on the phone with my friends when he’s around cuz it’s taking attention away from him. He always Carrys his phone around with him, won’t leave it out of his site. He will fall asleep with his phone on arm rest of couch 2 inches from his eye. And the phone is upside down with his iPad on top of it most of the time. Sex seems like a chore with him he never wants to get close (romantic, emotional) always talks piggish and makes me dress sluty and do sluty things and degrades me. I think the man has issues. I think he stalks girls and hides their numbers in work papers in his truck and has bikini pics of them on his phone. I’m scared to call him out on his bullshit cuz he gets very verbally abusive and will punch my coffee table or whatever is in front of him. He’s never laid a hand on me but has verbally threatened to smack the shit out of me numerous times. I think I’m getting close to ending it. For some reason I have to solve my game of clue. It’s locked in my head that if I get a chance to go through his phone I’ll have ALL my answered questions and I can walk away knowing that I made him look like the asshole he really deep down is. But his charm and his minipulating ways always catch me. How do I break the spell? I have 4 journals and stopped writing awhile ago. Maybe I should start again. All my coworkers and friends and family know all about the real him and they just want me to get rid of his ass and find someone that respects me and deserves me. Easier said than done. I am very loyal to him mentally and physically. He is not mentally loyal to me that’s for sure. Idk if he’s ever physically cheated on me but knowing he has mentally makes me think I’m not worth it. I can make it on my own. My kids are all grown up. He wants kids and to marry me, I absolutely would give him those things if he was normal. He’s 8 years younger than me. Maybe I should let him go so he can find the stripper kind of girl that he seems so intrigued by. Idk. Any suggestions on my situation?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Shirley Zago

    Glad now for the experience. It has to drive them nuts that I have risen above it all and they weren’t able to drive that wedge between me and my kids. Forgiving the ones who knew and enjoyed all along what he was doing to me. The forgiveness is for myself. Hoping that one day, we have a society that realizes that building more shelters for women and children is not the answer.


    1. Lie To Me

      You are right. By building more shelters it really doesn’t fix anything. Yes, it houses us should we need it, feeds us and keeps our children safe -But only for a while. The problem in my opinion is with the court system and the abusers who manipulate it.


  6. kim

    carrie thankyou for this post it has brought me back today to the harsh true reality of things was losing it a bit lately getting back on track for my daughter and my mum and dad the people who really matter and for myself too good luck with your ventures carrie xxx


    1. Carrie Reimer Post author

      Jeb, I have never said that there are not female narcissists/psychopaths. I write from experience and my experience was with a man, male victims are welcome here and have been helped here but I focus on the female victims, there are sites out there that focus on the male victims. If you are a victim of a female narcissist why don’t you start a site to help other men like I did? But I do not trash all men or say it is only bollox. Your comment proves how uneducated you are on the topic.



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