If you are reading this, there is a reason, so read on.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is something I understand. Although, not licensed as such, one could say that I am an expert on NPD as a result of my twenty-three year relationship with a narcissist with for more than eighteen of those years married to him. My epiphany of understanding what I had been living for so many years came to me when I was divorcing him. I read a book "Ask the Narcissist" by HG Tudor. It was a moment of elation because I finally understood the truth about my life which had eluded me for so many years. Although frightening and sad, I finally had the information that moved me from a state of constant confusion to clarity.

Society seems to use the word narcissist to label someone who is self-centered or selfish.  Individuals with NPD are abusive predators without a conscience and is a diagnosable mental illness.  They can be a mother, father, sibling, child, employer, partner, husband or wife.

Life with a person with NPD leaves you questioning your own reality, unclear about their intentions and, confused most of the time. Their manipulations are brilliant, believable and seem sincere.  A narcissist requires constant attention, craves admiration and demands devoted compliance with their desires. They believe in their superiority and that they are deserving of the best of everything. Narcissists are incapable of making the needs and feelings of another important.  They are arrogant, conceited, boastful and pretentious, In the instances where exhibiting the opposite of these traits will benefit them, they can also feign love, humility, vulnerability, compassion and empathy. They exaggerate their achievements, expect special treatment, complete agreement with their opinions and thoughts, live a fantasy of their exceptional intelligence, success and power and seek validation of it from others, take advantage of others to achieve their goals, want to be the center of attention and jealous of other's success. They will respond with punishing anger and cruelty for those who do not comply.

You can substitute any relationship role for the word "partner" in the following questions. I focus on partner relationships because they are most intimate with the intention of living together forever, likely making them the hardest to leave.

If your answer to these questions is yes, you may be in a narcissistic relationship.

Do you feel confused by your partner's behavior?
Do you think that the problems in your relationship are your fault because your partner blames you for them?
Is your partner extremely loving and then cruel making you unsure of what is true about your relationship?
Does your partner often criticize you asking you to be different than who you are?
Does your partner behave in ways to make you jealous and then criticize you for being jealous?
Does your partner discourage your interest, minimize what is important to you and cause you to feel insecure?
Does your partner diminish your achievements and discourage your interests and friendships?

It takes courage, determination and discipline to cut away the many attachments to the narcissist and, even more, the willingness to accept the truth and release the illusion of who you want the narcissists to be in your life. No contact or minimal contact with strong boundaries are required to free yourself from their constant manipulations.  No matter circumstances there are no reasons to stay in an abusive relationship.