Dear Avalanche: “I hated myself and loved him like he was some kind of God.”

A reader describes how her narcissistic boyfriend used physical abuse and sex to undermine her sense of self-worth. She asks whether narcissists are capable of cruelty.

My thanks to Mandy* (not her real name) for allowing me to publish extracts from her emails.

Mandy: It was like the worst roller coaster ride ever.

“I felt the need to write to seek your views on a particular issue I have faced on a number of occasions with my narcissistic boyfriend. I have been with him for nine months and all of the narcissism traits you have described on your blog fit him to a T. Like you I went through hell. He physically abused me, pinched and bit me but never explained why. It was like the worst roller coaster ride ever.

Thinking woman

Photo by Kr. B.

“My friends begged me to leave him but I kept going back. I couldn’t understand why. Before I met him I was very confident but now I am the opposite. I hated myself and loved him like he was some kind of God. He never cared about my emotional needs or the stress and pain he caused me.

“The issue is that on a few occasions whilst we were intimate he abruptly moved away from me when he felt l was about to climax. This affected me greatly the first few times he did this but l did not address it with him at the time. Just recently he did the exact same thing and this time I flipped… l was mad as hell. l really had a go at him and told him that he did it deliberately. He denied doing anything wrong. I told him he knew what he was doing and being an educated man, a dentist, he knew about a woman’s sexual needs.

“So my point is – can narcissists be so cruel? l have been suffering months of hell and finally felt l couldn’t handle it anymore.”

Avalanche: Sex is just one of the ways in which narcissists seek to establish power

I am so sorry that this happened to you, Mandy. Well done for escaping this man and reaching out as part of your recovery. Here is my opinion, based on my own experiences.

What sex means to a narcissist

You ask about why your boyfriend behaved this way in the bedroom. There may be other underlying issues here, but if your boyfriend does indeed have narcissistic personality disorder, it is very likely that he uses sex as a means of achieving his all-consuming desire for control. Like everything a narcissist does, sex is about him and his needs. Your needs do not feature at all.

Unmade bed

Photo by rachelkramerbussel

The behaviour you describe seems typical of this. Some people describe sex with a narcissist as like being part of masturbation. Researchers argue that narcissists see a sexual partner as an object, not a person. Their sexual partner isn’t really there, for the narcissist. There is no connection. There is just a body.

Narcissists are driven by their own needs and desires. Even though they may know how to give pleasure to their sexual partner, the primary motivation is that they have the power to grant or deny it. Sometimes they withhold sex. Sometimes they want intimacy constantly. But always, sex is a tool of control.

This form of power-play is extremely hurtful and damaging to those on the receiving end. It reinforces the belief that narcissists want so desperately to instil in us: that we are dependent upon them for all things – even pleasure – and that they are powerful and we are powerless.

Cruelty and the need for control

You want to know if narcissists are capable of cruelty. My answer is yes, they are. You describe several examples of cruelty that you have experienced at the hands of your boyfriend.

Narcissists are cruel because their world revolves around themselves. They are aware of their cruelty, and – as you say – it is entirely deliberate. This is because their needs and their desire for control come above all other things.

They believe that everyone else in their life  should see things the way that they do. That means you are expected to prioritise the narcissist’s needs at the expense of your own.

Your boyfriend never explained his cruelty to you. Narcissists won’t admit to being cruel, because this may encourage you to leave – or try to change his behaviour. This is the last thing that they want, because the narcissist needs you. Like a soul-vampire, he feeds on your love, your energy, and your resources. That’s why living with a narcissist puts our physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing in jeopardy.

You are worth more than the narcissistic abuser wants you to believe. You deserve better than this. I’m glad you are free of the man who treated you in this way.

Be free, be safe, be happy.

Photo by xJasonRogersx

Photo by xJasonRogersx

Have you been caught-up in a narcissist’s It’s All About Me show? Do you have advice to share with Mandy and others in a similar position? Please share.

ALSO SEE: Information on disengaging from abuse, permanently, in Escaping Abuse.

© Avalanche of the Soul, 2013-14

7 responses to “Dear Avalanche: “I hated myself and loved him like he was some kind of God.”

  1. The very first thing my ex did when confronted about his behavior is tell me ” you think you know everything, you can’t read my mind and you don’t know what I’m thinking.” He denied it all to the bitter end and he was beyond cruel.
    I walked into the living room one day and noticed the furniture had been moved and the place I usually sat had been pretty much obliterated. When I asked him why he moved the furniture, his response was that I was crazy and he told my children to take a long look at their crazy momma.
    When he left the room, I moved the furniture and saw the deep indention in the carpet, proving he’d moved the furniture.
    Point is: I knew he’d moved it, but I’d been so broken down that I had to prove it to myself and the children.
    I know this has nothing to do with sex, but it goes to show you that they play innocent at all times, even when you know better. Trust your instincts (not his imposing guilt trip)……trust them…trust them….trust them. They are right. Trust your own voice, not his.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sounds like your abuser was a shameless gas-lighter, Teela 😦 That’s all about making you doubt your own judgement, making himself look the victim and generally excusing himself of all responsibility for his abusive behaviour.

      Trust your instincts. Wise advice, as ever. Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • He played the victim better than any of us ever could and had ME, ME, ME, believing he was.
        Gas-lighter extraordinaire he was.
        Jack-ass too. He would have been an excellent cult leader.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am sorry to hear yet another act of cruelty towards you Teela. As for Mandy, you are both brave and intelligent to confront the issue of sex and the narcissist instead of making excuses for it as, well everybody is different sexually, be open minded etc. Yes Mandy, they are cruel and they are intentionally cruel it gives them a feeling of power, sometimes it may even give them an adrenaline rush to their brain. Yes Narcissists hate, I did not understand hate until just recently. People hate because of the powerful emotion it gives them, hate is about feeling power. In bed, you are an object to a narcissist. If he is a sadist, you are an object to be hurt and degraded. You may think it is only a kink, you may read magazines that tell you it is okay, but turn the pages in these magazines and then read about the destruction narcissists do to people all over the world. You are not alone Mandy. An orgasm? No way. Not if you wanted one.


    • Really great points, betternotbroken. I’m really interested to hear about the adrenaline rush that the feeling of power brings – I’ve never thought of it like that before, but now that you point it out I know it is absolutely true. The feeling of gaining power is much more powerful for a narcissist than anything else – including pleasing their partner.

      Also, you are right – Mandy is indeed a very courageous woman. It is horrific that so many people are made to suffer in this way.


      • I have just started reading about the implications of brain chemistry and behavior in abusive relationships as I feel my brain literally coming back piece by piece now that it has been over a year of no contact. But it makes sense! I started to look at it from the Duper’s Delight high that liars and psychopaths people get and continued from there. I have been listening to Thomas Sheridan lectures. When you are in an abusive relationship, it literally alters your brain and their behavior is to maintain a brain chemistry of exhilaration, or so the theory goes. But Healing from Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD posted the CAT scans,

        I had an A-HAH moment, of course it is the same for the abusers. My ex has an “addictive” personality and is proud of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I have nominated you for the Brave Heart Award. If you would like to accept it, please go to my blog site for details. You are an inspiration and thank you for your advice and support. TBH

    Stand Strong You Are Not Alone

    I call you a survivor, because that is what you are. There are days when you don’t feel like a survivor and there are days when the memories trigger your past and it feels like you are loosing the fight – but you are not. Take the past and heal with it. You are strong. I want you to know that the abuse was not your fault. It does not matter what age it happened. You did not deserve it, you did not cause it, and you did not bring it on yourself. You own no shame, guilt, or remorse. In your life, you have faced many demons but look around you and you will see there is hope, and there is beauty. You are beautiful, You are loved, there is hope. You deserve to be loved and treated with respect. You deserve peace and joy in your life. Don’t settle for anything less than that. God has plans for you. Your future does not have to be dictated by your past.

    Each step you take you are not alone.

    Stand Strong.



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