Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Feeling trapped with narcissist partner

Community Member

Firstly I don't even know why I call him my partner as I don't even feel like I'm in a relationship. I feel really stupid saying this out loud as I am a 46 year old woman who should know better.

I have been in a 'relationship' for 6 years, a very one sided relationship. He takes and I give. I just don't know why I stay with him. I'm so unhappy but yet I stay.

My partner is also my boss at work which complicates everything.

He is sucking all the joy out of my life and I dream about life without him. My doctor asked me why do I stay and my response was that he needs me. He wouldn't cope if I left him.

I'm so down tonight after another hurtful degrading arguement with him and I just try to put my relationship in the too hard basket and ignore my feelings.

I dont have close friends or family I trust to talk to so I am very isolated .

Has anyone broken free from a narcissist? I'm just so exhausted.

21 Replies 21

Community Member

Please try to find the strength to leave. It will be hard, but will in time be so worth it. Have a read up on trauma bonding, it helped me immensely.

You deserve to be happy within yourself. Imagine how different your life could be if you put all the effort into you that you do into into him..

Community Member

Good morning Purple4

Your situation may not be as uncommon as you think. When you part of a dysfunctional relationship, negative emotions rule. No surprises there. Over the long term these negative emotions ( sadness, lack of confidence, low esteem, lethargy etc) become the problem itself. You begin think you don’t deserve anymore than you have now. The idea of breaking up the relationship just seems too difficult.

However, action on your part is required. I agree with new beginning, you must leave. I realise only you can make the decision and there is more information you have that doesn’t come through in your short post. Often in cases like yours, the idea of leaving is actually more difficult to process than the actually leaving itself.

When you are free you will feel your energy levels return. Your self stem and confidence will slowly grow and you will look back and wonder why you stayed so long.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Purple4, it may seem for us to believe that it's easy to free yourself from a narcissist, but in fact, it's not, especially when he's your boss and whether or not he wouldn't be able to cope without you is beside the point, because you are clearly thinking about him and not your own concerns.

Remember you aren't able to enjoy your life while he has control over you and he feeds satisfaction over you and you won't get well until you leave him.

No matter what he says, he needs to tell you what to do and there will be no congratulations and even if he does he doesn't mean it, that would only indicate a win for you and this goes against his principles.

I can't tell you to up and go but I can say that now is the time to start looking after yourself, which may also include leaving the job or try and get a transfer, well away from him.

You should never worry about how he will cope without you because if you do then there is some attraction towards him, but I certainly don't believe this to the case.

Hope to hear back from you.


Community Member

Thankyou so much to

New beginning, Betternow and Geoff for your replies. This was difficult to post with teary eyes and reading it back makes me realise that I cant keep living like this.

New beginning, trauma bonding is something I never thought about before but it makes so much sense, I will definitely look into this more.

Betternow this sentence really made me think.

" Often in cases like yours, the idea of leaving is actually more difficult to process than the actually leaving itself."

Geoff I had tears when reading your reply. You are spot on with what you said. He never wants me to feel good, he must control me. Ive often said poker machines payout better than my partner, meaning you are more likely to win the jackpot than I am to have my partner respect and treat me well.

I am in a pretty dark place right now and my only saviour is my work. I love what I do and do not want to lose the one great thing I have in my life right now.

I run a small business and work alone for the majority of the day. I dont cope well in work environments with bitchy staff so this job suits me perfectly and I really enjoy it. I have fantastic customers who bring in positive energy that I thrive on.

I have told my partner many times that I hate the way he treats me. I am also the self help book queen, Just buying them makes me feel better. I just need to make the step that frightens the hell out of me.

I honestly don't know if I will be able to

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Purple4..

I hope it’s okay to chat with you..

I lived with a very abusive, controlling narcissistic husband for 38 years...I was so frightened of leaving him..that I put myself through so much physical abuse, name calling, being yelled at, talked down to..all which left me with no self confidence, self respect, self hate, guilt..If he hadn’t passed away...I would still be with him...He made me feel guilty about everything being alive..He made me so dependant on him, that after he passed away..I didn’t know how to live, buy groceries, what to wear, I lost my identity..It been 6 years now..the emotional damage he done to me is still with me daily..I have no happiness deep inside me...I still do things his way...

I wished that I had the courage to leave him..Your happiness is so very important..It’s your turn now to think of you..not your partner..The longer your with him, the more control he will have over you...You are in a way not leaving your partner.....look at it as your leaving the abuse,the negativity, the arguments, the unhappiness..and finally going to be moving forward to a better and happier life...

please stay safe...and be kind to you..

Kind thoughts, with some love and hugs..💜🤗🤗.


Community Member

Hi Grandy

thankyou so much for your message. I really appreciate it. I am so sorry for what you went through. I hope I do find the courage and strength to leave but a big part of me hopes he will change - I do know he never will.

I just dont understand arrogance, selfish behaviour, and how people can be so cruel to those they are ment to love. I am the glue that is holding this mans life together for him. He wouldn't have a relationship with his children or his parents if I didn't make it happen. Last June he was very sick and with out life saving surgery he would have died. I put my life on hold to care for him but his behaviour never changed. I said to him, "how can you still be an arsehole after being so unwell " and it fell on deaf ears. I helped him learn to walk again and showered and dressed him.

I felt so much love for him during his long stay in hospital but feel he just doesn't realise how lucky he is.

I keep looking for excuses to explain his behaviour and sometimes I even believe my own stories that I make up in my head.

He becomes very nasty if I dont have sex with him and for the most part our sex life is just for his pleasure. My needs are never met. Did you experience anything like this?


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Purple4, what you have actually done to make him better is extraordinary, and the response you have been given is not what you would have expected, but maybe this is what's only just holding you with him.

I wonder whether he would have done the same to help you, and I guess the answer would be no, so his respect towards you is zero and if for any reason you seem to be achieving more than he is, that's the time when he has to pull you back down, because he needs to be on top, not allowing you to progress.

You have a terrific relationship with your customers, that's why they keep coming back and this gives you some energy, but it's not strong enough to live your life in the situation you are now in, however, take yourself away from this, then these customers will be the joy and the strength of your life.

Remember when you started to ride a bicycle, like most of us we were so scared if mum/dad let go to teach us how to ride by ourselves, do the same with him, let him go, you are more important to redevelop your own personality once again.

Don't let someone control you the way you don't want them to.

Love to hear back from you.


Community Champion
Community Champion

Hello Purple,

Yes..I experienced all of what you’ve written...

If I didn’t give him sex..he would constantly yell at me through out the night, .or physically abused me....calling me every bad name he could think of...and it was for his satisfaction only...A lot of times without my consent...

I stayed to hold the family together, to protect my sons from him...and because I was scared to leave him..My biggest mistake was thinking that he would change..He never did.. The guilt I feel towards my children of putting them through this is never going to leave me...We we’re estranged for a few years and for the past year or so have started to reconnect, and building a relationship again..

A couple of times I nursed my hubby when he was really sick...but once he was well again, he went immediately to his narcissistic self again..

I have read a lot on narcissistic behaviour and have found out that several reads have said it is a mh sickness..and can be helped with meds and councilling..other pages I read that it’s a learned behaviour..I’m trying to understand why he treated me and our kids the way he did...

I lived my life for him..doing what he wanted to do, went we’re he wanted to go..wore what he wanted to to wear, never having friends, always serving him, to keep the peace.. He needed to feel he was the most important person on earth..Many times he would go weeks, even months totally ignoring me..Not a word came out of his mouth..

Purple..sweetheart..I’m telling you this..because I care about you..you will never change him..the longer you are with him the harder it will be leave..and if you have children together, he will be more likely to treat them the same...

Please Purple, start thinking about yourself, looking after yourself, caring for you...You’re important, you have a great shop, where the people are kind and caring to you..You have a way (income) to live in peace, the way you’re meant to be living...and as Geoff said..find your personality...while you still can...I lost myself, don’t know the real me...I’m going through heaps of mh struggles, to find out who I really am..

Please stay safe..and remember that you are important and you are so much worth finding you..and living in peace and happiness..

Love with warm caring hugs..💜🤗🤗.

Grandy...Sorry for the extra long post...

Community Member

Hi Grandy, thank you so very much for sharing with me. I relate to everything you said. I am so thankful that I don't have children with him. His kids refused to visit unless they knew I would be there. Over the years I have been able to mend the relationship of my partner with his kids and parents. Its not great but I'm happy they now talk to each other.

My partner also ignores me for days and weeks at a time if he hasn't had sex. I live on my own but his house is a stones throw away. I live out in the bush so there are several paddocks between us.

He is a workaholic. I used this as an excuse and still do for his behaviour. He is a Baker and a farmer. He works all night then I come in the morning and take over.

There is so much that I would like to talk to you about but sitting here right now I just dont have the energy. I am trying to put myself in a positive state of mind as my daughter is coming home for a few nights tomorrow, shes 21 and lives about 5 hours away from me.

I will quickly share this, just today as he was leaving work he told me that I should be ashamed of myself for not having sex with him for the last few weeks. He said if you want me to be nice to you stop being selfish and have sex with me.

I told him that I refuse to until he shows me some respect and then the conversation goes in circles with him blaming me for his behaviour. Anyway I am sticking to my guns and refuse to give in like I always have. His behaviour is disgusting and I tell him so.

you can never get your point across to a narcissist. They twist everything around. I have told him that I want to leave the relationship but not my job. I have said, if you want me in your life treat me with the love and respect I deserve. He believes he does.

I have been staying away from him which has made him very angry so he treats me worse. I'm thinking to myself, why cant you understand you cant treat people that way, but he believes he is always right and superior to everyone else.

I know its wishful thinking but I'm hoping the longer I keep my distance he may think about his actions. Even just typing that I know it wont happen.

He has threatened to find sex elsewhere and I told him to go for it, if you sleep with another woman you will never see me again. Silly man doesn't realise that I don't enjoy our sex life. There is no pleasure in being used.

I think ive babbled on enough 😁

Deb xx