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I think that I have a narcissistic partner or emotionally abusive partner

Community Member

I have been in a relationship with my partner for 15 to 16 years. It's a same sex relationship. We have two kids together (one has autism). I am the main care giver for our youngest child with autism. I'm the biological mum for our youngest kid.

I feel really unhappy in the relationship. She constantly puts me down, blames me, and attacks me. It's always in private, although she tends to infer to our friends she's unhappy with me as a person/partner. But the nasty stuff is ONLY in private. On the outside, she is a very charming, friendly "lovely" person.

She tells me fairly consistently that "all my friends hate you". Or, "all my friends are concerned about me being with you". She also says the kids are scared of me (this is an outright lie, I have a fantastic relationship with my kids).

Sometimes she makes me feel very unwelcome in my home or feel very scared (as in, what mean/nasty thing is coming now). sometimes it's a monologue full of nasty things.

She lies about what she says - so she will say something and 5 minutes later, deny she said it. She says I made it up. It makes me feel like I'm going crazy!

She never apologises for anything and if I get mad and say okay enough/or you can't speak to me in this way - then the relationship is over. She's leaving etc. I get very scared about this because I want to live with my kids. I REALLY WANT to live with my kids. My youngest with autism would significantly struggle without me. So I put up with it. I don't know what to do. I tell myself to "take the hit and get on with it".

The only way to "manage" her is to grovel, don't complain, don't ever say you're unhappy -- pretend you're happy (this is what I do usually). I feel like a shell of a person. I feel inauthentic because nobody knows how I really feel. I'm writing this because I felt suicidal last week (I'll never do this though, it was a fleeting thought - as in, I know a way to end this pain! - but obviously I would never leave my children) - but I'm just saying I feel extremely sad and distressed.

I wonder if that's bad for the kids even though I do my best to shield them from it. That's why I am still here! I'm trying to shield them! I suspect/fear that she'll go crazy if I leave (but I can't leave my kids anyway). I know there's no easy answer. If I got lawyers, this would make her "rage".

Sharing this here as a first step. 

2 Replies 2

Hi anonymous_00,  Thank you so much for your openness and strength in sharing this here. It sounds like there is a lot going on, and we’re really glad you could reach out to the forums. We know that it can be really difficult to take that step, but we think it’s so good that you did because you shouldn’t have to deal with so many things on your own.   It sounds like you take responsibility for a lot in this relationship, and this can really affect how you’re feeling. In a healthy relationship, you should be communicated with and treated with respect, and you should never feel pressured or coerced by your partner, or like you are without a choice. We think it’s really important to reach out to 1800 Respect to discuss how the relationship is affecting you, on 1800 737 732. They’re kind, understanding and non-judgmental, and can talk things through with you any time.  

We can imagine how hard it must be to be supporting your kids through this while going through an immensely painful experience yourself. It’s really important to reach out and find some support to help you get through this. We’d love for you to give our counsellors a ring on 1300 22 4636, or chat to them online here.    

If you’re feeling suicidal or are having thoughts about harming yourself, it's important that you take immediate steps to keep safe. If you feel unable to keep yourself from acting on your thoughts about suicide or self-harm this is an emergency, and you need to call 000 (triple zero).   Thank you again for your courage and strength in sharing your story. If you’d like to share a bit more here about how you’ve been feeling, our kind community will be here to offer their support and understanding.    Kind regards,  Sophie M 

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome


Sophie has already given you contact numbers which is great to have handy.


The comment "She lies about what she says - so she will say something and 5 minutes later, deny she said it. She says I made it up. It makes me feel like I'm going crazy!"  That sums up gaslighting if you want to google that. It is a cruel and manipulative method of making their partner feel they are losing their mind.


It seems your partner isnt happy either. Have you attended any marriage counselling services? Sometimes getting to the core of the problem can dissolve it. However I think you are doubting yourself and questioning if she is right in her criticisms, it seems to me that there is some serious behavioural issues on her part that need addressing.


Nevertheless I think you show clearly your desperation and also concern about any future children custody and access arrangements. I dont think you are going to get expert advice on this topic in terms of the unusual and complexity of the arrangements with your kids. For that reason a lawyer is essential and a family lawyer will give you clarity. Usually a first visit is free so your partner wont find out.


Another thing I picked up was "She tells me fairly consistently that "all my friends hate you"."  . This is a method of demeaning and the answer to that can be quite simple- "who are these people"? If she wont name them then the comment needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Google- "Margaret thatcher george negus who are they"


To apologise for a foe is to give weakness. The question is- if you feel like standing up for yourself and that leads to her threatening to leave- would it be better to allow her to leave ? than to fall to the threat? Can you continue to maintain a relationship of intimidation and "if you do this, I'll do that" or any rageful reactions? Such reactions are often used to dominate and removal of anothers rights.


Simply put IMO there is too many serious issues without seeking counselling. If she doesnt want to attend then I suggest you attend yourself however, if she wants to know what occurred at the sessions refrain from telling her... if she is that interested she'll attend herself next time.


Good luck