When you were growing up were you taught that making everyone happy and ‘keeping the peace’ was more important than your own needs?

Do you put great effort into your relationship but still find you can’t please your partner or stop his cruel words, actions or even physical assaults? You may be suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder’s opposite, Codependence.

Every narcissist needs a source to feed off and a codependent is their favorite food! Narcissists are obsessed with the fantasy of an ideal relationship. When their real relationships fall short of their ideal they start fights out of anxiety. They are also skilled liars, so if your husband has these symptoms you should be aware that he may be having affairs, using pornography, or gambling away your mortgage payment. He may start fights to cover up his guilt and then blame the fights on you.

Don’t coerce your partner into therapy. People with narcissistic tendencies don’t think anything is wrong with them and will not agree to therapy. There is little evidence that therapy successfully treats narcissism anyway and so is not and effective way to end domestic abuse.

Not all narcissists are physically abusive, however it is a significant indicator that you may be in a violent family dynamic. After years of being treated poorly it is normal for you to wish them harm or even wish them dead. This is very serious and getting the right help is very important.

If your partner has narcissistic tendencies, leaving him may provoke and escalate his rage, leading to more physical (and emotional) abuse. Victims of domestic abuse are often driven to the brink of tolerance for how they are treated and can find themselves turning into the perpetrator of violence.

If you want to leave, of course that is okay, but please get our advice first on how leave safely. You need to consider that setting up house somewhere else won’t necessarily end the domestic abuse and is no guarantee that the fighting will cease or that you will be any safer. It may make the fighting worse.

Kim Cooper is the author of “Back from the Looking Glass” and “The Love Safety Net Workbook,” e-books about healing an abusive relationship. She and her husband Steve co-host The Love Safety Net talk radio show and website at www.thelovesafetynet.com.

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