Real People Real Stories: I lived with a narcissist for 14 years!

…so I went to Stephen for break up counselling.

“My divorce lawyers were worried about me, once I had met Stephen they were so impressed. It helped me to be stronger through the divorce process and more clearer in thought.  More able to fight for myself.”

Her Story starts here…

She tells the story of her personal horror, how she was controlled and mentally abused. How she took back control of her future and is rebuilding her identity her strength and her life.

14 years ago I had a semi arranged marriage. One in which you meet, get to know the other person for a short time and make a decision to marry or not. Both our family backgrounds were similar and at the time I thought we shared the same cultural values. There was a gap of 4 months before the marriage in which we got to know each other more.

He was charming and romantic, communicative and receptive, caring and affectionate.  He called me his princess. So I had nothing to worry about.  Everything seemed reassuring. But then, there was an incident before the wedding day where he showed his true colours and went into a blind rage about something trivial.  I just put it down to a small row and didn’t think too much into it.  I carried on and married him.

He was broke when I married him. 2 weeks into the marriage the nightmare began.  I asked to go for a coffee and he turned to me and swore at me aggressively. I was shocked and stunned.  I very soon became pregnant.  He was cold and distant and verbally abusive towards me during the pregnancy at one point telling me off for getting pregnant.

We lost the baby. He carried on being cold and distant and not being at home at night and lying about work. He didn’t want to spend time with me or take me anywhere or do things with me. I had to deal with the loss of the baby on my own.  This behaviour went on for some time.  Nearly 2 years.

I allowed this behaviour due to cultural upbringing and the shame of admitting or showing there was a problem to the outside world.  We obviously didn’t share cultural values as you will read on. Eventually it transpired that he was cheating with his ex wife whilst I was pregnant!  She contacted him straight after our marriage.

He considered his ex wife to still be his wife and accepted her and they started to see each other.  They both tried their hardest to be as cruel as they could to push me to leave. He told her that he would not leave me unless I chose to leave of my own accord. At the same time, he would not tell me he was having an affair or admit to it.

I knew he was seeing somebody, I didn’t know it was her. I stumbled on the truth but he didn’t admit although I knew. He admitted it 14 years later. Through that whole time I was mentally tormented.  Not only was he having an affair, but he felt that he had a right to be verbally abusive, emotionally abusive and mentally abusive. He told me I had no right to ask where he was going and what he was doing.

Soon after the episode with his ex wife, he went into the arms of his bookkeeper.  Again same pattern, lying about where he was, hiding phone bills, and increase in his abuse.  He caressed her hand in front of me, shouted and swore at me in front of her in my own home.  I knew immediately so I sacked her.

He told me he went into her arms because he was hurting from the loss of our child.  Not once did he consider to console me or to work through the hurt together and support each other.  He used this as an excuse to have affairs.

When that ended, he carried on mentally abusing me for the next 9-10 years.  He didn’t participate in the marriage. He didn’t make any amends, did not improve his ways.  He was out of control.  I used to fear him and I told him I used to fear him.  He enjoyed it. You never knew when his mood would change and so lived on eggshells all the time.

When I managed to get him to take me to a restaurant his behaviour would become vile.  One time he publicly threw food at me in public.  I was insignificant to him. Of no value to him.  I left my career and joined his business in the hope that I may be able to spend more time with him so that he would appreciate me more.  He used me in his business.

Our wealth has now grown substantially.  He made me work work and work for no benefits.  No gifts, no celebrations no outings.  My life was work home and the odd family function.  Throughout all this time he never wanted to take a picture with me, take me anywhere?  Holidays were limited.  Even today – he wants to keep me to service his business.  Everyone on the outside imagines us to have a great life full of outings and experiences. I kept up a false pretence.

Eventually I emptied out and went for personal counselling for 2 years. It was a slow drawn out process.  But i came out feeling strong and realised that all this nightmare is not how it should be and that I was being abused and severely neglected.  I asked for divorce.  He begged me not to leave and that he would improve.  Nothing improved in the next year. Nothing changed.  He even convinced me that I went through a confused phase of asking for divorce.  Eventually I stopped waiting for him to participate in the marriage and I filed divorce over 2 years ago. It is still not finished.

When I filed for divorce we used to talk a lot about continuing to be friends and having an amicable divorce.  This was only whilst it suited him.  All of a sudden his verbal aggression and ruthlessness increased and I instantly saw the signs.  He was with another woman.  I call her Putna.  I could see him smitten with her. The smile on his face, the excitement, the happiness.

Putna and him were out till 4am drunk and then back at her place. He showed me no consideration. I could not deal with that.  So i packed my bags and left into a bedsit.  At that time I was at my lowest.  Never felt so much emotional pain.  I decided to be proactive. I looked up breakup counselling.  I thought to myself – why should he win?  He is happy enjoying himself whilst i was in the worst pain ever.  I did much reading and realised that in my opinion he is a narcissist.  I lived with a narcissist for 14 years!

I made an appointment to see Stephen Hedger.

I went into my first 2 hour session feeling 2 out of 10 (Stephens method of understanding how I was feeling – 2 was very low).  I left the session feeling 8 out of 10 and i stayed that way for a long time with the odd downs.  The session helped take my emotional pain away. In 2 hours! I still keep the charts on my wall to remind me.  Stephen listened to a brief background and told me we were not there to dwell on the past but to look into the future, to move forward.

He explained to me why I married him, why he married me, what he actually is feeling right now, what i’m feeling and why. What happened through the marriage. How the dynamics changed and why I stayed in the situation for so long.  Why i clung to him. Fundamentally he explained that what I need from my husband will never happen and that my husband is not capable to love because he himself has never experienced love.

It all made too much sense and knowledge is empowering.  Stephen then gave me techniques on how to look forward and move forward.  He taught me the fundamentals on which relations are built so that moving on I never make the same mistake and can understand when a relationship is right and don’t settle for less.  Stephen explained what love is. How we get it and how we don’t need it to come from others.  Why we hurt.  How we can be in control.

My divorce lawyers were worried about me and once I had met Stephen they were so impressed. It helped me to be stronger through the divorce process and more clearer in thought.  More able to fight for myself.

I was controlled for so long and needed to learn what “my” values and thoughts are so Stephen helped me learn those through a 4 hour session on values.  It was a fascinating journey. I found it hard which was expected but rewarding.  It opened a floodgate for my own thoughts and ideas.

I have one more session to do on passions.  And i look forward to that.  Without this therapy, i would have probably sunk into depression.  I still have some sad days, but am more able to cope.  I also am now restarting to build my life again and starting to learn to experience life and “just do it”.

About Stephen Hedger

International relationship expert Stephen Hedger's philosophy on relationship problems is this: Couples fail to understand their relationships because they are too focused on their problems and so they totally miss what created them. Stephen's approach is a refreshing and enlightening journey that helps couples uncover their truth. His strategies uncover the knowledge that all couples need to create a successful and lasting passionate connection. If you are in crisis and you need help, book an initial consultation today to get your life back on track.


  1. anu handa says:

    hey… em 23 year old from inida.i been in relationship since three years.badly in love with a guy and he broke up.i was even not knowing that he going to leave me..without him i cannot even imagine how to live mah life but on his b day 22nd november he broke up by puting elegatioen on me.he did worst with me.i cant even imagine that for real but that hapend.and i still dont know the reason.the big reason is that mah childhood frend slept the same day with mah bf he hated that girl but she ditched me.i dnt know why my bf dithed can the people say u they love you can leave you………??

    • Stephen Hedger says:

      Hi Anu
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      The most common reason why relationships fail is because their needs are not met.

      Many people don’t know how to communicate honesly and so they have feelings they don’t share.

      Some feel that they have communcated, but their message will not have been heard because men and women see and feel the world so differently.

      This for most is not understood and causes many problems.

      At 23 I highly recommend you start a journey of self-discovery learn about you and what you really want. Then in your relationships communicate your needs so you partner knows how to be successful with you.

      Thank you again for your words.

  2. Dear Stephen ,,,

    A lot of times I feel that my husband uses me for his desires…

    i.e. ; I can make him happy while he can’t make me happy..
    When both of us are not happy about thing around our lives, I tend to forget my unhappiness and try to please him and listen to him..

    many times (when he is feeling not fine) ,,,, and when I (coincidently) speak clearly that I need him,,,,, I barely see him responding to me (he doesn’t sacrifice for me)… I just see him wanting me always to be fine and to respond to him,,, he doesn’t do anything to me …

    he says he loves me so much ,,,
    Am I mistaken here?

  3. Stephen Hedger says:

    Dear Salma

    Thank you for your question.

    I expect he does love you, but there needs to be balance for both of you to be truly happy.

    Your happiness is proof to him he is successful with you, so he will desire it, but is maybe unsure how to create it.

    Help him understand how to meet your needs and tell him when he is doing well.

    This will help you feel better and build his confidence with you.

    Let us know how you get on.