Betrayal by a Narcissist


Trust thyself, and another shall not betray thee.
Thomas Fuller English clergyman & historian (1608-1661)

Betrayal, when realized, is a phenomenal existential feeling. Betrayal and narcissism is a lethal combination.

Suddenly your world is no longer the one you believed in. You question reality, but most of all you question yourself. “How”, you wonder, “could I have been so naive, stupid, blind, trusting, unseeing, unknowing?”  It may be difficult to believe, but these questions are good.

YOU are the normal person, the one who aligns reality (‘he was so nice to me, he was my friend’) with a cognitive belief: he ACTS as if he likes me, he TELLS me he likes me, I see no reason not to believe him because in my past, people who act and speak this way, CAN be trusted. There is congruency. But not now.

Suddenly you learn that someone trusted – a spouse, lover, family member, close friend – has been putting you down, lying, manipulating others against you, and yet maintaining a stance of intimacy with you. The world is not clear, the ground you stand on is wobbly.  You will never feel good about this. But you can get over it. You can do so by realizing that no matter how awful the betrayal, YOU are the normal person and this betrayal comes from rage. This person envies you, is enraged about it, and must put you down behind your back. They must harm you. They have no choice.

But you do. In the world of normals, after we get over the shock, we can use this experience to become stronger, to help others, to learn to avoid this particular toxin, and to calm ourselves that the higher moral ground is ours. It’s too bad this person acted as he did, we wish he did not, but we are NOT diminished by their pathology. Wiser, sadder, but never diminished.


Learn more about men who betray and the characteristics of women who are attracted to them.  learn how to leave! this ebook is the information you need NOW before you are too beaten down to do anything about it.


Ann Bradley


  1. I desperately need help, I have been brought to the brink of suicide more than once because of this. I am totally physically disabled now and trying to divorce this horrible man now. At this very moment he is tryinig to enforce his power over me. We have been separated for some time, the abuse continued even more. Because I filed first for divorce he is so enraged , now intends to use my adult children to testify against me. After all I am a small nobody who deserves nothing because I am the horrible person who broke emotionally and physically under this abuse. Look what you poor kids had to live with. I am so terrified of this man my body is trembling just trying to type this. Is there actually hope for the victim, because my fog is trying desperately to lift. I am starting to realize I do deserve to live

    • Of course you deserve to live. That is a given. Not only live, but live well. You are a person of value and need to realize this. Please look online for help. There are organizations that will give you the emotional and legal support you need to move forward. NOW (National Organization for Women) might be a good place to start. Also, look at this: http://www.avhotline.org/ or this: http://www.laawstl.org/ Please look at both and Google help for abused women if you need more. You will find help. You don’t have to do this alone. Best, Ann

    • I am so proud you are rising up and not refusing to give up your fight for your sanity, independence and right to be free of abuse, despite the obstacles in front of you. While it is disheartening to see this “man” use your adult children against you in court remember that you are fighting for your rights now and sometimes in relationships with others (yes, even your adult children) the chips may have to fall where they may while you work on you.

      You are not being selfish by focusing on yourself, he is the one being selfish by pitting children against their own mother, just don’t add anything to it. Your children are being manipulated but you are the one who must sever your relationship with him and must work toward that.

      In the end, he will lose on every level and hopefully your relationship with your children will survive, but right now that cannot be your focus. If they were minors it would be a different story. He is doing what narcissists do, and that is to disable, disarm and isolate you from probably the only people you may have to support you (your children) and he does not want you to have that support, he wants you all alone or to at least feel that way. Keep moving in the direction you need to move in to be free of him and to heal yourself and to then later repair your relationship with your children and if they are not supporting you, seek support from somewhere else and don’t ever forget to keep your eyes on the prize: your sanity, independence and right to be free of abuse.

    • Dear Brenda,

      Since I am writing this over a year past your comment was posted, I don’t know if you will ever receive this?
      I am a male, who recently have gone through a similar betrayal and pain. The main point here is I met a female who has more experience with a husband who betrayed her, and if you ever see this, perhaps she would be willing to help you since she has more experience than I do. You are welcome to write me an e-mail since I have studied Borderline Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Disorder for the last 3 years.


      Noel Frascatore

    • They will bring you to the brink of suicide over and over and I know this from my own personal experience. They will take you for everything you have and always shift the blame on you! They drain you constantly!!! Remain strong, I know its easier said then done, but you’re not alone! God bless & take good care and YOU MOST DEFINETELY DESERVE TO LIVE AND BE HAPPY!!!

  2. Once the spell is broken you will be free. He still has that paralizing spell over you honey. Once u realize u are what contols your destiny and not him you will then have a differnt outlook, a different approach. You are strong u just doubt urself right now. Search wthin your soul and say outloud… I don’t deserve this. God gave me life and dammit I will live it with boundries.accept nothing less and u will see. Don’t fear him ..he puts his pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else. Seek the help ann recommended..We r here for you. U are not alone. ((Hugs)) ~ michelle

    • Hi, thank so much I loved what you wrote .I am recovering also from decades of abuse. I am disabled because of this. I am so grateful I found this site, by accident.

  3. I am glad to have found this site. I couldn’t relate more to this reading. I am a veteran with less than one year returning from Iraq. The infidelity of my son’s mother while I was gone was only the beginning of finally (after five years of marriage) recognizing narcissism.
    I never knew the severity of the issue. I thought I was doing the right thing by being faithful and having faith things will get better. Now my son who will be five soon, is cought in the middle of narcissistic acts & words. To include attempting to “alienate” me from him by trying to move and show his father to be the evil bad guy. Being a father has always been my dream. It is a shame that a man that wants to be in his child’s life, has to jump though loop holes facing all types of ridiculous opposition by the child’s mom. Isn’t it usually the other way around? I wish she would get help and stop damaging our son more than the divorce itself..

    • Hi – Please look up parental alienation online and learn about this. It is real although it IS used as a weapon by unethical parters in divorces (that is, one parent accuses another of this even when it isn’t true).

      You need to continue to be a loving, drama free safe place for your child. As your son gets older and is able to see the calm port in the storm (you) he will understand he can come to you, will open up to you and the bond between the two of you will get stronger. Don’t say bad things about his mother. You might say, “Of course she loves you, she just doesn’t express it easily.” Or whatever words fit. Feeling loved by both is critical. He’ll figure out what’s what as time goes by. But you have to be his calm to her drama. Wishing she will get help is unrealistic. Take charge – that doesn’t mean steamroll over her, but take charge of improving things for your son. Good luck, Dad…Best, Ann

  4. I can relate to the stories on this site, but my abuser was my older sister. I spent decades of my life being manipulated and abused by her – I never ever thought of leaving the relationship, never entered my mind that I had the right to. Once I finally decided any thing that happened to me had to be better than dealing with her and cut off all communication, my life was 99.9% better! (After about a year or two of absolute self-diagnosed PTSD.)
    Now, about 7 years out, I still find myself occasionally slipping down into the depression and inertia caused by ruminating thoughts of “why” regarding the whole situation with her.

    I have a question and a comment: Comment- I think it’s extremely important to stress that abuse can come from anyone – a “friend,” a family member, co-worker, etc. After I woke up to the situation with my sister, I recognized several other NPD people in my life and routed them all out. I think part of the reason I stayed many years after I was bottomed-out was because all the literature in this area focuses so exclusively on love or significant other relationships, I believed I must be over-reacting or mis-diagnosing, if you will, the situation with my sister. Of course, everything she said and did re-inforced this and I had no outside sources telling me clearly and strongly to get the hell out! Even though it was a sisterhood and not a marriage.

    Question: Does it get better? While I have made great strides, I just can’t seem to get myself together enough to have the life I want. I’m a very well-educated, successful attorney, who yearns for close friendships and a spouse. I’ve spent years in therapy and about a year in life-coaching, which recently ended, but still feel stuck. I have more tools in my belt now which I’m using to re-direct myself, but I still feel a little pessimistic of ever trusting and loving openly, as I used to with my sister. Is it truly possible to overcome long-term narcissistic abuse, defined as having close, intimate, fulfilling relationships?

    • Thanks for sharing your story with others. It helps many you will never know about. You have reason to be wary but you also have reason to fully embrace life and all its joys. You may want to look into Albert Ellis’ work – I’ve found sometimes this cut to the chase way of doing things helps people get to the ‘aha’ moment sooner and jump start them. It may not be for you, but take a look: http://www.rebtnetwork.org/ I always related to this approach, see if it does anything for you. If not, that’s not a bad thing, it just means keep on looking for what will help you move forward. The philosophy behind positive psychology (focus on your strengths and build on them, instead of looking at your weaknesses) is also good. You can take the free VIA test online and get your strengths. This is a validated test instrument used in research and therapy. http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx Also read about post traumatic growth there. Thanks again, Ann

    • Cant add mo yo what you have said.
      We could be brothers for all you have said. Everyone in my family is a pd and I have fought decades of depression.

      But knowing the source of my probs has definitely helped.

      I wait for a better 2moro

  5. I call this the summer of Cluster B’s- dating 3 narcissists.

    The one that was the most dangerous to my peace of mind was actually a Masochistic Personality Disorder type. We had an affair in uni, lost touch, and then reconnected. He remembered things even I forgot. I was in heaven.

    One day after about 3 months he invited me to his cottage. His friends had heard all about me and were very glad to see me. We made love most of the night; we talked about his (deceased) parents seeing us together from heaven and he called me his darling. This was the kind of day you remember all your life.

    The next day I went for a long walk and when I got back he had packed up everything. He made he excuse that he had to pick up his child. Then he started crying and he could not stop.
    he said, “Last night was a life-changing event. That was the best sex I have had in my life.” “I must have had too much to drink. I can’t take this. I feel suicidal.” On the drive home things improved, but the bottom line was that he dumped me ” I promised my child I would never have a girlfriend.”

    I did not contact him after that. I got a psychiatrist. I read up on the topic and gradually saw the “narcissist” involvement in addition to a lifelong prediliction for self destruction. He actually walked away from a scholarship to (famous English school). Married a bankrupt accountant. And way back when, when I was in school, he walked away from a well known professional model.

    My friend is deeply disturbed. It has rattled me to the point where I am seriously considering a major relocation. My whole being has been centered on making the best of things and I thought he was like finding a diamond bracelet at a rummage sale. I can’t even look at his FB page. All I can do is continue to pray, light candles, and remember that I haven’t lived this long and survived only to be treated like this.

  6. I’d lived thousands of miles from my family for 30 yrs and returned home 5 yrs ago. I left because I was tired of my demanding and destructive family. Always knocking on my door for emotional support, money, a shoulder to cry on etc., yet rarely would this be reciprocated. Worst of all, the dramas they’d create, always scapegoatting someone, most often to cover up something nasty or vindictive that they had done to the person concerned.

    Of course in my younger days I didn’t see it so clearly, I was always confused, depressed, hypervigilant in anticipation of a pending drama and becoming the scapegoat and believing I must have done something awful to be put in that position. Constantly sucked into helping them when they got into trouble due to drug or alcohol abuse, never refusing because I feared and knew, they would cut me off and out of their lives if I didn’t comply.

    Of course, I grew up and gradually came to understand myself and my responses, how I was placing myself in a position of being abused due to sentimental feelings about family bonds and my fear of being abandoned.

    On my return home, my remaining sisters played their usual games, I was ‘selfish’ for coming back?? Don’t expect them to give me a place to stay until I get on my feet etc and they got together to discuss or should I say, to devise a story about my reasons for returning that they could all feed into in a vicious way with the aim to scapegoat.

    I didn’t need or want anything from them but hoped we might spend a little social time together occasionally, but meantime I got on with my life and had no contact. After months of no contact with them, they began to get in touch.

    I was by now far more aware and had boundaries. But here’s how it would go when arranging to meet.

    A time and place would be agreed upon, half an hour before they’d cancel. Half an hour later, they’d want to meet again, but a different time now. Meetings always had to be close to their home so they didn’t have to travel too far.

    Sometimes the meetings would be OK, but always with an underlying feeling of tension, sarcasm, reference to past events that put me in a bad light, but which in fact, had never occured and had been constructed by my narcisistic mother, with no basis in truth.

    Every arrangement had to be on their terms, where we went, where we met and what time. No hesitation in cancelling at the last minute, but absolute fury if I were to turn down an invitation.
    I don’t see two of them anymore, it’s too much hard work and not pleasant company.
    I do see the older one occasionally and have recently discovered one way to get past her manipulations.

    She invited me to lunch gave a date and I replied, that’s fine, let me know what time you’d like to meet. She replied, 12.30 ish. A few days later I said, let’s firm up arrangements closer to the time. After all 12.30 ish, is a bit vague and who wants to be standing around in cold wet weather, not sure how long you have to wait.

    Her reply? you don’t sound very interested in meeting, we can leave it to a later date, I don’t mind.

    I asked her what led her to believe I wasn’t very interested. She replied, I’ve asked you several times what time you’d like to meet, but you never replied. (She did this once before, cancelled a meeting at the last minute, then told me that we’d never met because I never responded to her numerous requests to meet)

    I replied to that saying, that’s not correct, please check your emails to me and my responses, you’ll find I replied each time.

    I realised that in the past, I would never have challenged her by asking such a question and would have gone along with her statement by saying something like, I didn’t mean to sound disinterested but if you’ve changed your mind that’s fine. Because if you challenge her, she gets very angry and has to be right. But that response permits the other person to manipulate you.

    She then tells me, that the place we’re to meet has no parking! It’s a shopping centre with ample parking. She can’t take a train because she gets dizzy and might fall on the train lines! She can’t walk very far and doesn’t like staying out when it gets dark!!

    We were going to lunch, it’s light. She chose the location and knows there’s parking, and a train station 2 minutes away, she chose the time, so how could it get dark at lunch time? She took a train, it was a very short journey, then complained about the cost and said, I’ll drive next time because there is parking!

    Of course it was all a ploy to get me to meet her near her home, but as I pointed out, she chose the time and location.

    We did eventually meet, she walked into the restaurant 45 mins late, furious because she’d gotten lost and that apparently, was my fault, then accused me of not replying to text she sent while lost, I had replied and told her so, her final word on it all? Let’s not get off on the wrong foot, just drop it!

    What I discovered during that interaction is the degree of manipulation, the tactics used, were all totally irrational, the projection of anger at me at her frustration for getting lost, her inability to apologise, her ability to contradict herself so blatantly, when it suited her, all signs of the narcisists need to have things their way, change their minds without considering the inconvenience they cause others, blame someone else when they get things wrong because they have to be right at all times.

    Here’s the clincher, she doesn’t see my other sisters because ‘it’s all to hard, they always want you to meet near their home, often cancel at the last minute, or turn up late’ absolutely no insight into the fact that she does the same and will not tolerate it from anyone else.

    In some ways I find it amusing, but the next time we make arrangements and she begins manipulating, I will cancel, it really is too much hard work.

    I’ve rambled on, but an interesting discovery is, that if you question them when they’re manipulating, you put them on the spot and they have to answer and if you become truly disinterested in a narcisists, they will pursue you and try to please you, but don’t expect it to last, they are what they are and do not change.

    I am a much happier person since distancing two of my sisters, family matters a lot to me, but not when it brings so much trouble and I haven’t gone into the nasty and vindictive things they’ve done over the years, because it’s my past and not a place I want to visit again. It was the hardest thing for me to cut contact but I don’t want to be anyone’s dumping ground, I don’t want to be manipulated and scapegoatted and nobody matters that much to me, that I will give up my sense of wellbeing and self esteem.

    • This is a very clear description of exactly the kind of behavior a narcissist does to others. It covers all the bases and I think many will read it and see their situation in here in a crystal clear way. You are so right about the tactics used to manipulate and control. However, no matter how much we care we have to save ourselves. Thank you so much for this. Best, Ann

      • I have two older sisters that I do not want to associate with any more because of their tactics. I am accepting that both of them are deluded there is nothing wrong with manipulative malicious lying nor constant lies to spin grandiose fiction. They consider it is “healthy” to tell whopping lies about people to get what they want from others and that truth and honesty is “mental illness”.
        I recently witnessed one abusing other family members, running a smear campaign, gaslighting, intimidating with anger, mocking derision of people she invited and bought plane tickets for a family reunion. The two gang up on people and morph into different personas to be liked.

        They have no conscience about the blatant lies they spread and state. They deny and project their malignant behavior onto others.

        I try to focus on having peace, trust and freedom from their unmitigated chaos and smear campaigns.

    • Susan,

      You have no idea how much I can relate to that story. Thank you so much for sharing it. I too have had to cut off family members because they constantly dragged me down. I’m also in the process of going through a hideous separation from a narcassitic husband. I finally stood up to him last Novemeber and he was so enrgaed he pinned me to the bed and began to strangle me. While it is a painful situtaion you shared I am really glad you did. Sometimes its nice to read these posts for the sole purpose of knowing you’re not crazy. I wish you well. xox

  7. This is the first time I read a clear statement about the betrayal of a N creating intimacy while simultaneously telling people lies. My ex did exactly that. At home I would be freshly groomed, well dressed, near gourmet meal prepared looking Stepford Wife like. Truth came out he even called our college age children lying I did not bathe for two weeks at a time , did nothing, was not functioning etc. The fact that I speak in reality and shared I was enjoying having time to cook, exercising, taking a class and daily functions the N escalated lies that I was “out of touch with reality”. He told opposites of reality in polarizing extremes that traumatized the family. When our kids came home and they saw me, watched me in reality that I seemed fine the N would tell more lies such as I was “on a new medication”. He escalated his abuse, lying I was dangerous and violent projecting his later physical violence onto me.

    His pattern was to engage people and voice how concerned he was about me and ask for help then spin poisonous lies. He engaged people to not tell that he called or what he said warning them if they told they would cause trouble. Those who called me insisting N lies were reality was disturbing and violating. Then the N would tell me those people were sick obviously and not to speak to them any more (his recruits). I refer to the time period as the Reign of Terror.

  8. When I read these threads it occurs to me that the vast majority are directed towards female victims of narcissists. I am a 55 year old single, piano playing, military veteran (Army Ranger), holder of a Masters degree in counseling, and have been devastated by my narcissist female partner. Not the extreme behavior seen in classic N’s, but subtle, insidious, polluting the mutual friend pool which has been so intertwined over 10 years, and the loss of personal wealth through the sale of the home, as well as interpersonal mental health wealth and stability, with no explanation forthcoming but the desire to live tiny and alone, supported and propped up by her friends. No arguments, no cheating, no overt issues, no drinking or drugging, not an arguement or harsh words. Just an isolation and marginalization that defies logic and reason. Women also have a mean, vile, damaging way as nasty ( and nastier given the stigma of the male abuser) as any male abuser. But because we are men we are stronger!? Were ex-military!? Were tough!? Were too easy going? Too nice to finish equal let alone last? The heartbreak and betrayal of promises so late in life is unconscionable, let alone cowardly. What does one such as I do with THAT?!

    • Hi. Sorry you have been treated so poorly and the victim of such meanness. No, men should take abuse just because they are men – no one should be treated thusly. Although my newsletter is not active now I often turned it over to men to tell their stories – male survival stories. A lawyer. A dad lied about and kept from his kids. These are not isolated events – I have seen male friends in my life who are victims of their narcissistic significant others. Take a look at http://narcissisticwomen.com Best to you, Ann

  9. How do I know when its a true fact.I don’t have proof of whats been said over these last months.I have been reading these blogs and believe me I do not know if its me or him.I don’t know it i have a mental illness or not.He said i am diseased like my sister and brother.I have to talk to him about things that have been told to me consering him..I get that i am crazy but for years i listened to him over and over. We are not married but he wants to get married.Not good for me because he is so angry and its just under the surface…Well I really don’t expect any one to fix all of this but I guess I want some one to say I am not crazy..

    • You are not Crazy. That is exactly what and how he wants you to feel. You are the normal one, just questioning that you may be crazy makes you normal….they are mind twisters. You need to get out, get away – he will suck the life and soul out of you.

    • “They must harm you. They have no choice.” This is the most bone-chilling point in your article. I’ve been out of my relationship with a narcissist for almost three years. As I have worked on healing and recovery, I have wondered about this very point. Did he destroy my relationships with others while he was fully aware of what he was doing, or does it take over his mind and makes him unaware of his motives? He was like a spider, busily spinning a web throughout my family and friends. My family will never be the same. One adult child actually feels torn. I sometimes think of his next victim, and fear for this unknown, and unknowing woman.

  10. Pingback: Betrayal By A Narcissist – Seattle, LGBT Politics, Abusive Relationships
  11. I have several female relatives that are n. The manipulation , gaslighting and outright lies is overwhelming but those flying monkeys make it unbearable. It’s like the entire family has hanged up on me for things I never said or did.

  12. I was my narcissistic father’s punching bag. Actually, I was the scapegoat for two families. It was like being a POW.

    That happened decades ago, but I’m still coping with the residue.

  13. Is there room here or an innocent boy who grew up man thinking his mother loved him only to realize that she was just fake?

  14. I have known for a long time that something was very wrong with my family but I didn’t know what. My parents divorced when I was 10 and the five kids were alienated from my now deceased father to the point that we fully believed he was to blame. Mum as it turns out is a narcissist. She recently cut me off for the 100th time and tis time – I relished in it. I first attempted to chase her and ask her what her issue was – again, and I contacted her as did my young kids – on her birthday – no comments nothing. She cut me off FB, phone and my siblings haven’t called since – that is the ones that she has in her midst that rely on her financially and for other items – those who do not she has nothing to do with other than to spread malicious gossip about and lies. I discovered by accident that she had been doing this about me for years. She has done some hideous things to me that I have never got over and they are massive things where she has put me in danger, humiliated and shamed me publicly and ongoing, complete neglect and abandonment as a child and as an adult including when I was in intensive care near death and she didn’t come, when I was in dire straits abroad and she asked me to send her money and another time at a shopping centre where she filled her trolley to ridiculous overflow like a mountain and got to the end of the bagging and advised me she had forgotten her purse so could I pay – AT THE COUNTER, the time I found out she was secretly seducing my boyfriends father and then when they dated openly – news to me – I was shamed into breaking up because I was in an ‘incest’ relationship ?!!! I was 14! The boyfriends she had that were allowed to physically assault me and make sexual comments to me only for mum to call me a little slut, the time when I was waiting to have my first baby and she called the hospital to advise I thought the baby was dead so she could get me induced as she was sick of waiting !!! OMG! I have cut off all contact with her this time. This time was so small and not even close to some of the bigger episodes but it was the final straw. I found myself apologising even though she invented the whole drama AGAIN. I think the turning point was that she made up lies that also put down my young children. She told others that my children unlike the golden children that sponge off her, were ‘desperate’ and ‘scrounging for her attention’ – um – they live in a different country hardly know you and when they have met you only ever complain about what a mean person you are – especially when I’m not there. That was it for me. My beautiful children – my innocent decent lovely kids that Ive raised intentionally far from her reach – were being labelled negatively by her – her own grandchildren! Disgusting ! Not to mention the fact that I had a somewhat innocently positive rapport with her after years – where I talked here and there about my life and goings on that by accident I heard was the fodder of malicious gossip and nasty lies for years ! I advised her immediately that I had heard all sorts of strange things that only she could have said as only her and I had discussed and wham – cut off. So this time – YOU ARE CUT OFF LADY.
    I know it will take some time to repair my sense of worth after decades of her mental emotional and physical abuse but better late than never. See ya Mum – hop you have a better life without me in it – as it sounds from all your stories might be the case ! Bye bye lady !

    • Ah, we see very clearly how Good-bye can be a most useful word! Best to you on journey forward. Sounds like you will do just fine. You’ve got the strength and you’re using it. Not always easy but time does become your friend in that respect. Best, Ann

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