Debbie Flint

Back to You

Here you will find…

1. How to spot Gaslighting and dealing with emotional bullies – the Narcissistic Psychopath exposed

2. CIBS – could it be sepsis? Really important question everyone needs to know – what to watch out for, especially if someone seems to have flu

3. The Rare Genetic ‘thing’ that’s lessened wrinkles on my face and made holidays like noone else’s

4. part 1 – Narcissus… Emotional bullies

5. part 2 – Getting the help you need – or taking the first step. And more tales from you guys

6. part 3 – Hard hitting truths about handling a narcissist – is this you? And my story…

7. part 4 – Catching a Killer – when emotional abusers kill

8. Escaping the inescapable – or that’s what it used to seem

How to spot Gaslighting and dealing with emotional bullies – the Narcissistic Psychopath exposed

On August 1st, I went to see a play in Devon called ‘Gaslight,’ and it invoked a whole lot of memories about the series of blogs I wrote last year about emotional bullying. Here’s the summary and further resources – it turns out many people suffer in silence but they’re not alone – there’s a lot of help out there.

 Gaslighting is a form of emotional bullying – I wrote extensively about it on my website Back to You blog about Narcissists, when I encountered a guy being controlled by one last year. It’s a shocking way to live and one of the main things they do to control people is to make them question their own presence of mind, memory and course of events. It’s named after the above play so it was good to see the source. I can see why it’s so-named – the bully in the play hides pictures and keys and photos and makes the wife think she’s moved them but doesn’t recall, amongst other things.

It’s fascinating why people act like this, alienating people from their own friends and family, and criticising them for the most innocuous reasons, making them live their lives on eggshells. Just get out, that’s the main message that came loud and clear from the many Facebookers and contacts who gave me their stories to add to my blogs about Narcissistic Psychopaths, as they are known. As I told a lady who visited my retreat down in Devon (Retreats for You) recently, there are tons of helpful videos on youtube and articles online, just look up the terms ‘gaslighting’ ‘narcissist’ ‘love-bombing’ and ‘zero-contact.’

But first read the four blogs below – and let me know if you have a story, by contacting me privately on my social media or via info @debbieflint .com – it’s about time I did another update like this, considering what the universe is throwing my way at the moment. And if you are currently putting up with one of these bullies, big hugs from me. It’s never too late to break free and start your new life.

Part one – Narcissus

Part two –  getting help and taking the first step

Part three – handling a narcissist – is this you?

Part four – catching a killer – when emotional abusers kill

And finally – here on youtube is the 1940 film version of ‘Gaslight’



CIBS – could it be sepsis? Really important question everyone needs to know – what to watch out for, especially if someone seems to have flu

This week here on  my Back to You blog, ‘CIBS – could it be sepsis’ – the important questions everyone needs to know about.

Why? Cos one of my close family – my sis –  was in intensive care recently and it shocked us to the core that it could happen so fast. one minute she’s a bit poorly, sleeping a lot and feeling fluey. The next, she’s having convulsions, her heart rate is 166 per minute, and her lips are turning blue.

Sepsis comes on really fast, and timing is everything. The doctor in the High Dependency Unit, where she went first, said we got there in the right window for treatment. in other words, any later and it could have been very different.

 Sadly several stories from others who responded when I posted online about it, feature victims who were not so lucky. The Facebook post and their stories is here – add to it if you want – 

go here to read the Facebook post with others’ scary stories of suffering at the hands of sepsis.

And here is the article I posted – a horrible story of a swift demise of a healthy person.

plus loads of links to more info.

go here to read the scary article all about how fast sepsis takes over – and what to watch out for.

Please read it, please share, and always ask the important questions so many people still don’t even know they don’t know – #couldItBeSepsis. If your share helps save even one person from the agony so many go through when they find out if they’d only got there sooner things could have been different, it’s worth the share. Isn’t it?

And especially please read my sister Linda’s story – she has done a Facebook post about it now – go here and share share share –

linda bignell’s story – sepsis

best wishes#debs

ps do post your stories on the facebook post above so i dont’ miss any. Or email me

other links –

UK Sepsis Trust

1,000 children a year were dying from it in the UK.

The Rare Genetic ‘thing’ that’s lessened wrinkles on my face and made holidays like noone else’s

so here’s a video explaining it better than text can ever say…

click here to watch the video on youtube about what life has been like as a result of EPP

created during my holiday in Cyprus, Summer 2017

Plus go here for the list of things I find invaluable on my holidays – from tanning problems to mossies etc.

And the pic above is of me finding another use for a cold beer – I don’t drink beer, but this ice cold glass really made my burning hands feel better!




pt 4 – Catching a Killer – when emotional abusers kill

“i don’t know how many times I told her to just walk away…’

“There was just weird stuff that he used to do…”

“I sent her a text message saying ‘when this all goes wrong, and I think it will, don’t come running to me because you’ve just slapped me in the face.’ Now I feel so guilty I can’t live with myself…”

Just a few of the extracts from a shocking programme showing how an emotional control freak at work. Catching a Killer is the extreme example of emotional abuse and narcissistic pyschopath behaviour, which I’ve been discussing in my three recent blogs.

part one is here

part two is here

part three is here

Now it seems the universe is getting back to me again, since I just got another story – a long one – from a lovely lady on Facebook (her story is below along with other feedback) who has now moved on successfully. A pity poor Natalie Hemming didn’t.

Watch the programme again – and read more about it on this link here.

Here’s the trailer.


An expert says – this man is small, unsociable, has no real male friends, and controls women… ossessive, jealous, puts people down including in front of friends…

If this sounds familiar, for goodness sake, get expert advice. Go to the doctor and other helplines and tell friends what you are going through. Remember that at the start they do ‘love bombing’ – making it hard not to hope that ‘that person’ will returna and you can one day ‘get back what we had’. BUT it doesn’t happen. The solution, many experts say, is total zero communication, for the reasons why, read through all the other blogs. Reassure yourself you are not alone, this IS happening to others, and it IS right to get out. One american survey showed around 8% of respondents are narcissistic psychopaths. They may be just emotional abusers, or they may involve violence and abnormal, unloving behaviour. Threats of violence, if not actual violence, or just threats against themselves, crying and saying life’s not worth living, these are all traits of some form or other of this type of psychopathic behaviour. They also NEVER admit it – NEVER stop wanting to control – and unless medication changes them will not stop. There are many many posts online and videos on youtube to help you. Or the person you are worried about. 

Remember that with some types, secrecy is one of the key factors – worried about what people think rather than their partner’s well being. Worse – the victim will often describe others who know the emotional abuser as ‘they’d never believe it of him/her’. Because the front they present is utterly convincing, making others feel sorry for them whilst putting their partner down and always always bringing everything back to the mistaken belief that they are the most important thing in the world – ‘how do you think this makes me feel’ – ‘you made me do this’ – etc etc.


If you’re hearing stories from someone else, take them seriously. With the odd exception, they are giving you a cry for help. Expert help should be put in touch with them as soon as possible and your support and back up will be invaluable at this point and ongoing thereafter, in particular if they god forbid, try to withdraw the claims afterwards. 

Anyone who states they are unhappy and being abused in some format, is being abused in some format. If they later claim it was all their own fault, and their partner is not to blame, they have probably been got to. Most likely with a resumption of the ‘love bombing’ = but this is ONLY TEMPORARY and at some point the abuse will likely resume. Support, insist, interfere, record them, get proof of the abuse and BRING IT OUT INTO THE OPEN. In that way, once the abuser is exposed, often they will move on to someone else, so that they can resume their evil control of a normal person who just wants love.

This programme is tragic, especially seeing the What’s App messages Natalie sent to Simon, her lover, who she spent one night with, after which Paul Hemming found out and killed her. The police woman was in tears as she read them.

The final word from the poor mother who told her daughter Natalie Hemming to go home and not be scared of her partner Paul – ‘I was the last one to see her alive… if only I hadn’t sent her home…’

With Home Office figures showing two women are killed by partners or former partners every week, don’t become another Natalie. Get help, get out, get real.

With love



Remember to go to the other parts for full info and more stories from others affected by such emotional and / or physical abuse. Start here. Part one, Narcissus, has now been read close on 5500 times.


Omg it’s still  happening. Not only am I still getting lots of feedback and gratitude from readers of these blogs and posts, I have now met another two people who told me their own stories of awful abuse at the hands of former partners – one of them, Lorraine, is still hanging on to the last vestiges of hers. See below. And here’s another one…

 Jan says –

“Hello Debbie, I have thought about this, and decided, the defining moment. Here goes, after being married many years, 3 lovely children, a building business , own house ,half each. We started ballroom dancing lessons , met this couple, got friendly with them, she was getting close to me, finding out about my then husband through me, I must have been so gullible and naive .

On the Boxing Day she was here with her husband , had a nice meal, played monopoly with the children etc etc, a really nice day. Next day, my then husband said he was going to see his dad on his own – which was unheard off. A few hrs later he telephoned to say, he wasn’t coming back, I thought the car had broken down, then he said, he was going off with her, and had rented a cottage a mile away, and had stayed for Christmas for the children. !! I didn’t know anything about it. I was devastated . What a shock for me and the children.

3 mths went past, in a haze, no income, 3 teenagers to support, I couldn’t get a job, no cv or computer knowledge, I had been his business secretary and helping on site. Got a few hrs work in supermarket bring home £30 week, where I am still there, using a few savings.

Then lo and behold he came back declaring he was so sorry, and didn’t know what he was thinking, could we start again, he missed his family ! Things began to settle, he then went off another eight times! to her.

So I changed the locks, the police said it was unlawful . One day while I was out, he made a hole in the roof, climbed in (a bungalow) put a window in, and lived in the loft space for a while as a lodger.

That’s where the violence started, he was still seeing her, but had the benefit of seeing the children.

 I couldn’t take it anymore, was having panic attacks.

He then got emotionally abusive – he said I was the problem, if I wasn’t there he could get on with his life! It is called the Yo Yo syndrome – he wanted the best of both worlds, cake and eat it.

The doctor said he was having a mid-life crisis or breakdown and that I was the one who should be supportive!

He started getting very frustrated, spitting at me, continued emotional abuse.

Then the physical abuse began. One day anything that wasn’t fixed to the floor, he threw at me, including plants, plates, ornaments, shoes etc. I was covered in bruises, he had threatened me with a mallet on my head, I said do it quick, stared him out, knocked me to the floor broke my fingers, then one night I was asleep , and started coughing, he was trying to strangle me, by waking up I saved my life, I had marks around my neck for 2 weeks. The doctor took notes, and advised him to move out, eventually he did – back to her.

That’s when my friend found out. I went swimming, and she saw bruises, then locked me up until I told her. I then had a burst stomach ulcer and ended up in hospital.

Time went on he came back and wanted to settle saying he was sorry , he then made some suggestions about money children etc. I was so low I felt I had no choice. He suggested after a while, he couldn’t give her up, but wanted us both, so could he spend a week with her and a week with me, or could she live in the loft room !! I couldn’t accept that, not being second best, my head was all over the place, and I think that was the defining moment when I finally had my ‘aha’.

Then came the narcissistic psychopath behaviour of trying to turn it all on me. He told family and friends I was a nutcase, and was having me put in a mental hospital, he had spoken to my doctor about it, and he sadly convinced all the people to run away from me. I went to the doctors, told him, I said what is the matter with me. He just looked at me, said you might be stressed, but you are fine, and trying to cope and he could never discuss my medical problems without my permission, my ex told lies to everyone. The police said to go into a woman’s refuge, I couldn’t I had the children. The next challenge was sorting everything out, and money. Many court cases later, he sent me a bill for £10,000 for use of car, used for school runs, clubs etc. But I persevered, through horrendous stress, and I won my case, solicitors fees. But it was the principal. It took 3 yrs, he said he had no money, but he did – I did the company books. Magically, half disappeared to his brothers, and others, as he was self-employed it was hard to prove on paper, he said he was too sick to work ! (After court case I caught him working on a roof). There is much more that went on.

I eventually got the house-  no maintenance I couldn’t prove his earnings, but the house was half mine anyway and only worth (£90,000) He had already bought another house, and been abroad many times. So much for having no money. Then we came to the child support agency.  They awarded me £2.20 a week for 3 teenagers , said he couldn’t work , he claimed he was sick. But if the children lived with him, he would provide what ever they needed?? Eventually the 2 boys went to him, as I didn’t have enough income. I called it blackmail. I pursued the CSA for a few years, got MP involved but eventually MP said you won’t win your case, I stormed out. Then I went to the court, and I was awarded some back money, my ex still refused to pay, only £5.00 a week for 20yrs.

Just as an add on I forgot to mention. Another occasion he tried to abduct my son on the way home from school, people reported it to the police, 5 squad cars appeared, and a helicopter ! Got my son back. It was a truly horrible time but I am now moved on.”

Listen to these and maybe you will have your own aha moment – or share with someone you know. Should Lorraine leave this man? Read her story and make up your mind.

Lorraine’s Story – should she leave him? What do you think?

This lady is an outwardly confident professional, with kids, who has survived a divorce and eight years with a guy for whom she left her husband, having been very unhappily married. What she describes is archetypal love-bombing, followed by reversal and withdrawal, then a long litany of emotional abusive behaviour and control. Listen to her story –

‘I met him when my marriage was on the rocks, and I was so desperate for love and attention. He waltzed into my life and was like a whirlwind of love and attention – he seemed devoted and before very long was introducing me to his parents, our kids to each other, and promising me a life I’d always wanted with a lovely house and a life full of being texted every day, usually several times a day, with lovely messages of affection. About a year to eighteen months later, everything changed. After I’d committed to him and taken a loan out to ‘make our lives easier’, and heard so many promises from him about our future together, and the house he would sell in order to buy one for all of us, he began not contacting me and not coming over every night as he had been doing. I asked ‘why haven’t I heard from you today, is anything wrong?’ and he acted as though I was crazy, asking why he had to contact me every day. It made me feel small and stupid but I accepted it. Looking back I should have held my ground, but after having been treated like a princess, I just thought it was a blip and held on to that dream. Shortly after he got me working at his company and I got told he wanted me not to go out on the road any more, but instead he wanted me on the desk next to him so he could see me every day. I felt flattered. Really I should have questioned why, but I stuck with it. He began insisting I didn’t go out with my friends and family and stayed home. He also began telling me I couldn’t achieve certain things I’d always had confidence about – undermining me and taking the mick. Over time, this insidiously seeped into my own psyche and I began to become a shadow of my former self, all the while holding on to the idea that he would one day get back to ‘how we once were.’ The big move never happened, and even my kids pointed out that he’s never around like I thought and why on earth would I want to be with him. I said I loved him and he’s not like that really – making excuses, but really I was just using his love bombing and the original idea of him as a reference point rather than his true self. Ironically I have been holding on to it for eight years. Then he sold his business, and after two years, the new owners ended his contract so I was no longer seeing him every day. I was relieved. We are now in contact only every couple of weeks – he occasionally texts me and says shall we go to dinner. I don’t know why, but I still accept. When I come back, I feel upset and disturbed, but don’t feel like going out any more and prefer my own company and staying indoors. What should I do?’

What should Lorraine do? Let me know with a comment below.

Angie’s Story –

Angie got married in the early 1960s when she was 21 and her hubby to be was a college lecturer 11 years her senior. Hers is a typical narcissistic abuse story – with added violence. It makes harrowing reading, but she is now in a great relationship with a caring man, having had a second marriage in between that lasted 25 years. Her first one lasted 5 years before she was able to get away, at the 4th time of trying, with help from family and friends.

‘I found out he was an abuser a week after we got married, but I should have known before that. He insisted that only 5 people came to our wedding, did not want photos taken apart from by one person (and later burned all the negatives in a temper when I had been doing the Twist with someone at a party and he erupted in anger and told me I had been ‘masturbating in front of everyone and embarrassing him’) Plus he made me take off my ring as he did not want his college students to know he was married. Turns out I found out why later – that he received massive adulation amongst his colleagues and students and did not want that to end if they knew he was married. For years he made my life a living hell. The worst memory was for example when one night a week he went away from home to work somewhere else and I looked forward to this night all week, when I could come home when I wanted instead of when he told me to. I went for a drink with friends after work and got home late. I spent an hour in the kitchen then went to the loo, down a long dark corridor where a light switch was at the end of the corridor. I reached out to turn on the switch and instead my hand found a face – his face, he’d been waiting there for me all that time, just to terrify me. I never got home late again even when he was away. Thankfully we never had any kids, even tho our sex life was the only thing that kept us going. He was totally bullying in his behaviour towards me on every level, making me have my hair a certain way – long and dark, and using it one time to drag me the full length of the staircase by it, because he was unhappy with my outfit. I was too terrified of what he might do, and by then, too worn down to break free on my own. Finally I did so when a new man told me he would help me and see me through the split, along with my friend. My parents, who had believed how wonderful he was for so long and encouraged our marriage because they were old fashioned and knew we were having sex so wanted him to at least marry me, also helped me break free. However, one of his students, who had been my friend, found out we were splitting up and heard why and could not believe it. She wrote me the most awful letter saying I was a terrible person to say this about such a lovely man and I should be ashamed of myself. Four years later, she had married an abuser herself, moved to France and had her ribs broken by him, and wrote to me saying I take everything back, I now realise how it is possible to go through hell in private, with someone who is the model of charm in public. I’m now very happily married with my third husband and wanting to help as many people as possible know that it is NOT acceptable to be belittled, nor to have someone make you think you must have dreamed up their promises or their abuse, and also specifically to alert people to watch out for those who love-bomb them right at the start – if their attitude changes, it’s very likely what they’ve changed to is their true self and they only did the overload of love at the start in order to hook you in and make you vulnerable.”  

part 3 – Hard hitting truths about handling a narcissist – is this you? And my story…

this is part three – find part one here and part two here.

It’s a tough topic but the message keeps coming through about how these bullies have a personality disorder  – and with all the reading comes a real enlightenment about this thing called a narcissistic psychopath. I have loved finding out more and doing research, because I’m a geek like that. But I also am very very pleased that it is helping people. I have lost count of the number of people who have private messaged me and just said thank you for sharing information like this as it has made them feel not so alone. Obviously there is a very big community online for a very wide range of videos you can also watch on youtube. You need never feel alone again.

But this topic of the mind is so important – this week Anthony Robbins was back in London doing his unleash the power within seminars, something I went to 17 years ago and it helped to radically change my viewpoint. Everything is based around what you think about it, you only get treated how you love yourself to be treated, you are only affected by things that you allow to affect you. And generally speaking if you have a positive outlook, people get positive results, and I don’t mean in a namby-pamby way, I mean in a very down-to-earth practical make it happen type way. I believe that everything happens for a reason, and the things that happened to me in the last six months have led to a much better place. Read more about it below.

This week one of my brothers who is training to be a counsellor, sent me another link – it’s possibly the best explanation of this personality disorder I have read so far. So do read it if you’re not sure whether you’re in a relationship with one or not – you just know you feel put down all the time and like you’re coming second to someone else’s needs – even if they love-bombed you at the start and made you think that was their true self.

go here to read it – Dealing with a Narcissist – the only method guaranteed to work

Upon Reflection… 

On another note, I saw ‘Their Finest’ this week and it made me go into reflective mood. If you go watch this amazing film set in WW2 about the Ministry of Defence using home made films to helpl the war effort, starring Gemma Arterton (stellar) and Bill Nighy (outstanding) and the breathtaking Sam Claflin (phwoar) (also in Me After You). Reflective because along with all these blogs I’m writing about relationships, it made me reconsider my own history, but this time with a more pragmatic approach.

I have to say I too have been a glutton for punishment, staying with a bully or a narcissist, even though they were lesser versions, they were still bullies and narcissists. See below. Almost always, looking back to that first unusual period of our relationship where he was really nice to me, thinking we could go back to then as that’s who he really was. Nah. They call it ‘love bombing…’

LOVEBOMBING – BEWARE THAT ‘HE/SHE’S THE BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ME’ FEELING if it then changes permanently to something awful…

So they give off a different representation of themselves at the start. And that’s why, if I ever look back and get all nostalgic and wish ‘things were how they used to be’ and ‘we can get back what we had at the beginning’ it helps to remember that the beginning was a false start, and that the person you dealt with at the end was actually the real him.

Sometimes that tactic works and they woo you and get their feet under the table and only then, when they’ve ‘got you’ does their true self starts to emerge – one who resents their partner’s independent thinking and social life and gets angry any time they don’t agree. I have had several experiences of this variation on a theme, one of them with ar guy who had a great job (on paper at least) but having been a spoilt only child with a big chip on his shoulder, he gradually revealed himself as a grade A Feck-wit…. and a long enduring relationship with a man who put himself first and believed his own rhetoric but kept me tied up in his fantasies for years… and another who was a bit of a waster but I believed the best in him… see my story below.

Meanwhile if you are reading this and you haven’t yet read the originals – go here to – 

part one – narcissus –  emotional bullies  –introduction and some scary tales of abuse from my facebookers and newsletter gang. go here.

part two – getting the help you need or taking the first step and more tales from you guys

part three – why they will never change – it’s in the brain and difficult to unlearn – ever. hard hitting truths about the narcissist. This blog.

 Other articles are online, are listed on parts one and two, and include this one – to help you understand if you have been subject to manipulation by a narcissistic personality at some level

Keep in touch with me, email me your story – especially if you too had your ‘aha’ moment, and broke free – it really can be done in most circumstances, especially with a pure narcissist. Any story is a valuable story, even if you want to tell just me, just say, as getting it out can be very therapeutic, just as the below was for me. 

best wishes




Wanting to believe the dream and seeing the best in others.

It’s again a fact of life that my family and loved ones know something ironic about me – they tell me I always see the best in people. And often when they say it, they are not being complimentary. They are explaining away the reason why, yet again, I’ve given someone the benefit of the doubt, and made excuses for their ongoing ‘wrong’ behaviour, ignoring all the outside signs that are so clear to others. So no wonder I’m sometimes left with yet another ‘what was I thinking’ phase tucked firmly into my past. Men eh, huh.

Looking back it really does seem clear, now, but then hindsight is a wonderful thing, especially knowing what I now know about all this stuff!


One was a bit broken, and declared he could not leave his job which he hated, because he was just stuck. I obviously – at the time – thought that things might change and I could help change them. Yes I was a fixer. But no more. Looking back, it’s easy to see how this person was not presenting a true image of himself to me, especially at the start. Being more attentive, being more focussed on me rather than themselves. Being more able to accept certain things about my life and activities that later they began to put down or criticize. And being very careful to keep from me habits they knew would not sit well with a long term relationship with me. He wasn’t necessarily a NP (narcissistic psychopath) but he was definitely not appropriate for me as a partner. I’m being kind, here.


Roy WAS one, however. With a vengeance. He was confident, gave off a complete whitewash of devotion at the start and gradually began to object to my friends and even my family. He insidiously sapped away my confidence until a year later, coupled with an awful time elsewhere in my life, he was part of the reason why I went on anti-depressants for the only time in my life. He did nasty things and was generally vile to me, yet bit by bit I accepted each stage – for a multitude of reasons but mainly because once we got back to the nice bit, he promised it would all be ok thereafter. Which of course it never was. Circumstances kept me going back to him, more of what happened is here on a previous blog and also in my 2017 till the Fat Lady Slims book, which relates how it affected my weight. 

I should have known better really when one night quite early on, he kicked me viciously when i slid into bed with him after arriving late and he was already asleep, and i put my cold feet on his leg. Nasty – should have got out right then and there shouldn’t I? Or when I got treated like second class when he took down my new home card when his ex wife arrived to see his new place, but kept hers up when I arrived. Or worst of all, when we went for a meal at a local restaurant, and he raised his voice during a row and silenced the restaurant – over something stoopid I can’t even recall. I walked all the way home crying, but still did not kick him out when he got back afterwards, saying sorry. Jesus. If that was my child I was listening to, I would go kill the bastard, wouldn’t you? Anyone with a story along these lines, DO NOT PUT UP WITH IT especially if it’s early on, or not too late to escape – like, you don’t own property, you aren’t married, you don’t have kids together or work together and if you split up you could easily not haave to see them again around the town. GET OUT and practice ZERO contact (see last week’s blog).


Even my first husband was a bit of a Narc. He was totally a love bomber at the start, but also continued it throughout especially following transgressions (which in the days before mobiles was hard to prove otherwise, but I later found out he WAS actually playing away – with countless women during our 14 years together it eventually turned out.) He also found it hard to remain proud of me when my career really took off and got resentful , he admitted, when he had to play second fiddle, assuming I was always off having affairs. Where really HE was the one being a serial philanderer, but in judging me by his own standards, he turned the spotlight on me. He also began putting our children down, in an insidious way, small but constant sniping and undermining their image of themselves – he had probably had the same thing from his own dad , to be fair, but still no excuse. When we split up, and I could do all the care-giving alone for our two lovely kids, they instead got told they did indeed know what was best for themselves, that they could achieve anything they wanted to if they wanted it enough, and never put them down in that nasty sly way, just to make himself feel better about his own life. I’ll never forget when he didn’t turn up for my son’s rugby match one Sunday, having said he would, which made my son think he finally mattered to his dad, leaving my poor son in tears cos his dad didn’t show. That was my son’s ‘aha’ moment I think, and he’s been forever at peace with the sometime uncle he calls dad. He’s an arsehole, said a friend of mine way back then – a loveable arsehole, but an arsehole nonetheless, she said. And I think that sums most of them up, don’t you? Now he’s there for them occasionally on the phone, never supported them financially, that’s been only down to me – no holidays or clothes or pressies to speak of, and on the end of a phone from time to time, but not really ever in a strongly supportive way, you know? But they are the strong, secure people they are in spite of him, not because of him, and that’s fine. Everything happens for a reason, so my being alone in my fifties instead of nursing a thirty year strong relationship with what I believed for so long was a good man, is the price I’m willing to pay for having freed my two kids of the chains that bound them to playing second fiddle to a part time narcissist. Maybe I’ll choose better next time…


Another recent experience at least proved to myself that I am now capable of not giving in over and over again. That old adage of ‘fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me’ was very true when I became involved in the tangled web spun by Douglas – who had very blue eyes and was a hunky but small guy, a couple of years ago now. Douglas had me at hello, such a connection, both physical and almost tangible, which was confirmed by a text he sent me admitting he was attracted to me, after which we began a tentative journey towards a relationship, despite the fact that he was trying to get out of his current one. Thing was, his partner was clearly a narcissistic psychopath. Anyone who knew her well, and there were many people who later came out of the woodwork, had many tales to tell. So I believed his spin on his life. She had treated her animals better than him, gave him no attention, little sex, was jealous of everything he did and everyone he mixed with and he needed to get out. Then he tried to twice, dumping her, only to be reeled back in afterwards. The second time, the ‘fool me twice’ kicked in, and I told him that, even though NOTHING physical had significantly happened between us (nor would it, it turned out) I could not play along with his journey, and there could be no ‘us’ all the while he was not single, not even talking about there being an us.

I was glad to have made that decision.

He tried to dump her again, then a third time after which she sought treatment which apparently made his job far more difficult and made her tolerable. My experiences above had made me alerted to putting myself into a situation whereby I was being treated second best, and told him that – reminding him every so often when it started to feel like we were getting closer again, as we continued to work together and he continued to regale me with a commentary on his situation. It was hard, since I truly believed in this guy and the way he portrayed his situation – turns out it was archetypal narcissist / co-dependant behaviour – as over and over again he told me how bad it was, including in texts (which I kept to prove to myself how it had turned bad, should my poor lovelorn mind put on its rose tinted spectacles of memory and get all nostalgic for ‘how it used to be’ or for ‘what could have been.’)

Still looking back, I fear his true situation is an awful one and his life will continue to be bad once things revert to their original patterns.

But eventually, when ‘we’ crashed and burned, he sent me a long text claiming that the reality was far removed from him being that person he’d portrayed to me – which was difficult to believe given the certainty I’d experienced with my own eyes from someone sitting in front of me, crushed, sad and obviously lonely. He’d said he was a shadow of his former confident self, had ‘lost his sense of self’ etc – which was why it all resonated when I started reading up on Narcissistic patterns. He even said he’d cried one time when thinking about having a new life and going to a family wedding with me later in the year… a grown man, crying. So sad. I felt for him as he’d described to me having no reciprocated sex life to speak of,  of being questioned about everything and everyone he was with every day. And of being ostracised from his friends and potential other jobs, due to the aggro it created at home. By now I’d told him we could not ‘be’. But still he kept coming back to work with me, and still he and I felt that connection. So I knew it had to be forced to end, so I guess having written all about my thoughts in a blog, which he did not like, the outcome in the long term turned out to be a satisfactory one. Cut a long story short, he ended up showing me his true colours, his other side, none of which I’d seen, when he appeared one day in bully mode and I saw the light. If he was partly a NP himself, or on substances which helped to explain it all, who knows – I wouldn’t have said so, but I was past caring by then. However upset I got, I still decided it was best if we did not work together again, so that was it. Except it wasn’t, since no NP likes to be wrong-footed. But nevertheless I rode it through and got out relatively unscathed.

People know the truth – ones who matter do anyway – and I can hold my own head up high as my own behaviour was something to be proud of, given what he’d said and done to me, and how he’d behaved to her, the person who by the end he was holding up as the love of his life. He then sent that long text, claiming all he’d said about her was his own fault.

OR… could it possibly have been that final text was written BY her, or for her – which amounts to the same thing – from one who was trapped by a NP, hook line and sinker. I care not either way. By the end, it was easy to look back and despite being worried for him, and caring about his well being and having tried my best to listen and be a good friend, he turned on me just as soon as he realised I did not give a monkeys any more and was not under his own spell any more either.  

After all, I see the best in people don’t I? 

Should I stop?

Should I stop? Should I assume that the next man is also someone to be wary of? Or should I go on in my eternal belief that people are good and true and to be given the benefit of the doubt until proved otherwise? That one day there WILL be a man who will be my equal, genuinely, not one pretending to be. That one day there will be a partner who I can truly rely on? A psychic said (and therefore it MUST be true (!)) that there will be a new man – one with whom things will be ‘easy’ and not full of baggage and conflict and difficulty. One who will be strong and supportive and be able to be the win d beneath MY wings rather than me eternally being his. Or trying to. Well whatever, one thing’s for sure. I will be wary of ‘love-bombing’ and things being too good to be true. In the end, I’m not. What I offer is not – at least, for the right person. But sadly I won’t trust quite to easily next time. 

Hoping there’ll be a next time…



part 2 – Getting the help you need – or taking the first step. And more tales from you guys

Part Two – Gaslighting , No Contact and Moving on from an Abusive Relationship 

I’m pleased to report that the feedback I’ve had since last week has been outstanding – and so many people messaged me to thank me for highlighting this important silent menace in our lives – those who bully us in private and seem sweetness and light in public. Some horrendous stories of abuse came through which were painful to read, let alone to have gone through. And more on the topic of this thing called a ‘narcissistic psychopath’ , read last week’s blog called Narcissist here if you haven’t done so yet.


There are lots of sayings like this doing the rounds on the internet – it just shows how prevalent this form of abuse is.

This is also worth watching – click to listen to one woman’s experiences.

You really are not alone.

Also watch this to get more clarity on what gaslighting actually is – OMG it’s me, you might think!

I have had lots more stories too –

One lady – who I shall call Eve, emailed me this – and it sums up the reason why I’m determined to lift the lid on situations like hers, and bring you lots of resources over the next few weeks. And remember – you may be in a relationship with a narcissist and be co-dependent and you didn’t even realise it. Also remember that a true narcissist will always shout loudly that they are not one, they will never recognise themselves and will not ever change. What is more, they will shout and shout until you think it’s YOU who is in the wrong, even though you know deep down you are not crazy they will make you think you are. The best thing is to seek help and get out. Eve said –

“Hi Debbie,  Ive just read your blog .  As someone who suffered from mental and physically abuse for a while can I just say thank you for bringing this subject up. I suffered in silence,  didn’t think anyone would believe me even when I was hurt so badly.  My story is hard to tell but I have started to deal with what happened.  You’re an angel for doing what you do.  X “

Note the crucial thing Eve says – ‘I didn’t think anyone would believe me’. That is a repeat factor I am hearing over and over. One person even told a friend loads of stuff for months, yet later wrote a long diatribe claiming everything they had said was wrong about their narcissist partner. So when were they lying? Before? Or now? Trouble is, some don’t even realise that they are in this kind of damaging relationship until it’s too late to get out of more easily. Some do realise, and admit that if they’d known how bad it would get, they would never have chosen to stay with that person and would have dumped the partner right at the beginning.

This is an interesting article – more of it is below – do go read it if you can – eg – 

Instead of being addicted to a particular substance, (for instance he has a drink problem and she takes drugs) you or your partner may be hooked on any number of things:

  • One partner is a workaholic and the other one always feels ignored
  • One partner is a drama queen (or king) and the other is always on edge
  • One partner is a control freak, and the other partner can never make decisions
  • One partner is irresponsible and the other is always cleaning up the mess
  • One partner shuts down in conversation and the other one feels abandoned
  • One partner has angry outbursts and the other tries to smooth things over
  • One partner is domineering and the other doesn’t speak up

Do you notice a pattern? In a codependent relationship, one person’s feelings and needs are repeatedly dismissed or minimized. This is in marked contrast to a healthy, interdependent relationship where neither partner would allow such behaviour to continue. 

co-dependency, is it happening to you? Here’s what to do.

Zero Contact

The experts agree – the best thing to do is to cut off their oxygen and they will leave you alone eventually – they call it no contact, or zero contact – there are tons of videos using that term on youtube – do go have a look if you are feeling weak. Realise also that it is a form of addiction and the less you indulge, the closer you are to freedom. Please note too that a narcissist will never think about you afterwards, all they think about is what a cheek it is that you are no longer there to fulfill their needs – how dare you have a mind of your own. That’s why adopting a series of phrases that are perfect to use on them is vital – ones that imply they are having no effect on you – or on where you place your attention. If they cannot control you they will try to control the way others see you, which includes posting lies on social media, lies which include making themselves out to be the victim. Female Narcissists are particularly good at this. It also includes claiming things that are not true about you. One woman who shouted abuse in a public place later not only denied it, but counter claimed that they had heard something back, which was total fabrication. Be prepared. And know that ultimately the only thing that works with these people is to show them they cannot affect you as you go about your own life and get back to the person you once were. It is possible – there are many many examples of recovery. In fact, often I am hearing stories that involve the person finding their true love and someone who is kind and caring, once they let go of the need for the drama of co-dependency in their lives.

I never realised

I also had yet more examples of people who never realised how it related to them till they read about other people’s stories and saw they were indeed living with one.

 ‘Laura’ sent this to me –

 “Well I was around 18 when I first met him as always things seem good Looking back there was warning signs he asked me to move in with him He lived with his grandmother. First time he pushed me around can’t remember if he hit me but think he did. Said I’m leaving as not putting up with it he threatened to kill himself didn’t take any notice but when I went into the room he had a knife and was cutting himself . So  same old , I stayed . B4 long I was pregnant – his choice not mine as he threw my pill away, didn’t know about the morning after pill so he finally had me stuck. Again pushed me around when pregnant said he was sorry and so the circle continued He use to beat me up if he didn’t know what he wanted to eat.  I was useless , he called me names like I was a reptile as I suffered from a skin condition with lumps that came on the outside Etc Any way cut a long story short the last beating I took lucky enough our daughter was with her grandmother and I knew if I didn’t get out that night I was going out in a body bag as they say…

‘I had an aha moment.’

So I left him. He continued to harass me at work till I changed jobs. You think ‘why didn’t I go to the police’ well that wouldn’t of made any difference, if anything I think it could of made things worse Throughout our relationship he had affairs also. What an idiot I was Hope this helps if you need any more info let me know”

Plus a lady who wants to be known as ‘Lucy’ said this – 

“I was in an abusive marriage for several years

The guilt kept me there far too long he is a quadraplegic

But that did not stop him being a psychopath and verbally

And physically abusive, I left him 10 years ago with just the clothes

I was wearing, moved away to no job, no home, no money

Stayed in a women’s refuge for a few months, got a job and a flat

Now have a great job I love, am living on my own but happy and most

Importantly safe

Sometimes I would like someone to come home to, someone to run me

A bath pour me  a glass of wine, but no matter its not important

And you never know whats around the corner

I would never allow anyone to treat me that way again, never not in

Any form

For anyone in the same situation there is a way out, don’t take any

Crap from anyone you deserve much more

Put yourself first and leave, its not easy I wont pretend it is, when you

Leave you will feel sick every day and like me still suffer from the injuries

Ten years later, You may feel scared but you will be safe

You may be poor for a time I lived Without a cooker for five years because I could

not afford one, but possessions are not important self survival and

self respect is you will be rich in your own company”

The stories keep coming through. Some from people who tell me they did not properly realise their predicament – or that they were not alone in this. One lady has offered to begin a Facebook group for such people – it will be secret and not searchable, if she does set it up – if so I will put those who get in touch with me by PM on Fbk in touch. And if you know someone – someone who is a shadow of their former self – or who turns down offers to go out with friends, or who no longer sees people they used to see – do pass this info on to them. And think about it for them too – even though you may not be able to get them out yourself, you may help them to have their own ‘aha’ moment and finally dump the person causing them heartache and abuse.

A good test is this one – 

click here to take the test to hear some of the things narcissists say – recognise any? ESPECIALLY number 4, and 6. and 8…

There are going to be more anecdotes below and if it helps you, do read others’ stories, some may strike bells with you – alarm bells. 

But more importantly, below there are some extra help links you can go watch or read, to enable you to maybe see how to deal with your situation – or more importantly – pass it on to someone else you know. Don’t forget to begin with part one here. Or forward it to someone you think may need it. Or send it to people you think need help believing the narcissist in question IS as bad as their co-dependent, bullied partner claims.

Please note that it is particularly important to remember when dealing with narcissists that they will convincingly tell a different tale when confronted. They will also often assume everything is personal to them, even if it’s clearly not when someone else reads it. For instance, anyone who claims my blog is ‘all about them’ and ‘everything in it’ is personal – sad to say they are wrong, and they need to be put straight in no uncertain terms. Very important to note that a public apology is not going to be necessary if they don’t kick off in the first place. So think on that if you read certain things – often they are not to be believed. Most of the time, in fact. Especially when ‘methinks they doth protest too much.’  If it looks like a duck and acts like a duck, and quacks ‘I’m not a duck’,  well….

More Help Links

 to come – here are a few useful links –

9 signs of a secret narcissist – funny and spot on

are narcissists born or made

why narcissists need so badly to look good in the eyes of others

– co-dependency, is it happening to you? Here’s what to do.: – here are some extracts – 

You Could Be In A Codependent Relationship And Not Even Know It

Instead of being addicted to a particular substance, you or your partner may be hooked on any number of things:

  • One partner is a workaholic and the other one always feels ignored
  • One partner is a drama queen (or king) and the other is always on edge
  • One partner is a control freak, and the other partner can never make decisions
  • One partner is irresponsible and the other is always cleaning up the mess
  • One partner shuts down in conversation and the other one feels abandoned
  • One partner has angry outbursts and the other tries to smooth things over
  • One partner is domineering and the other doesn’t speak up

Do you notice a pattern? In a codependent relationship, one person’s feelings and needs are repeatedly dismissed or minimized. This is in marked contrast to a healthy, interdependent relationship where neither partner would allow such behavior to continue.

In essence, codependents are addicted to each other. If one person stops the destructive behavior, codependency – and the relationship as it is – cannot continue.

Like alcoholism and drug addiction, codependency will suck the life out of you unless you do something about it. In fact, your health and happiness depend on you ending your codependency.

If you are the “enabler” in a codependent relationship, your feelings and needs will perpetually be on the back burner. Then begins a cascade of destruction: you don’t take care of yourself, then your health suffers, then you don’t even have the resources to care for your partner, and then you become bitter and depressed because of the dark hole you’re in as you watch your life slipping away.

The Codependent Knight In Shining Armor

A misconception is that codependency is a “chick thing.” This idea also comes from the addiction model of codependency, where the man was usually the addict, and the woman took the role of the enabler.

However, codependency is not related to gender. Male codependents are just as common. We’ll give you a very personal example.

Male codependency often shows up as a tendency to be a rescuer, namely of a “damsel in distress.” While on the surface it may seem like a heroic move for a man to help a woman in need, a pattern of such rescuing is a hallmark of codependency.

Gay writes:

“When I was a kid, I swore I was brought into this planet to rescue my mother, who suffered from various addictions. I also bugged my grandmother to stop overeating. Later in life – before I met Katie – I was drawn to women who needed rescuing for one reason or another.

Beneath my codependency was a need for control. My mother’s fragile state – partly as a result of my father’s death while my mother was pregnant with me – was a scary thing for a kid to endure. I felt that my mother could fall apart at any moment, and therefore so could my whole world. In order to cope, I tried to control the people around me. I tried to control them by rescuing them from their own suffering.

And I was a massive failure, as we all are.

Simply put, you have no control over anyone but yourself. The moment you rely on trying to control someone else in order to be happy, you set yourself on a path of misery. And you also set yourself up for addictions of your own. In my case, I became an overeater myself.”

The Codependent’s Cascade Of Addiction

As we mentioned above, the classic enabler allows his or her partner’s addiction to continue by lying or covering up for them (say if they’re late to work because they’ve been drinking all morning), or they make excuses (like justifying behavior to the children). Yet the enabler often becomes the addict.

People don’t realize the extent to which one mate excuses another person’s addiction by developing an addiction of their own.

For example, we worked with a man who was addicted to outside sexual affairs. His long-suffering wife over-ate in an attempt to deal with her distant husband. Naturally, as the wife ballooned in size, the husband had even more excuses to continue his extramarital activities. Meanwhile, the wife blamed her weight on her dysfunctional relationship.

As we helped them clear up their codependency issues, something miraculous happened: she lost the weight without dieting. With nothing to blame his addiction on, the husband came clean and admitted to several more affairs. Now that they were standing in open, honest truth – without excuses – they were able to embrace a non-addicted way of being with each other.

And we’re happy to report that this couple now enjoys a relationship better than either of them ever imagined.

They moved from the shackles of co-dependency to the liberation of co-creativity.

Can You Break A Codependency Pattern On Your Own?

Waiting for the other person to change is a major symptom of codependency. The more you rely on outside circumstances to change before you can be happy, the more you keep handing power away.

The only person you have any control over is yourself. By trying to control another, you are engaged in a fruitless and self-annihilating task.

By trying to rescue them, you are denying their own power to self transform, and you are denying yours. You are telling yourself, “I am denying the only real power I have, which is to affect change in my own life.” That’s why you will always fail when you try to rescue someone from their unhappiness, and nobody has succeeded in rescuing you from yours.

Here’s the good news: while you can be stuck in codependent relationships for years and even decades, it only takes ONE moment to break the pattern.

Oftentimes, one person does “wake up” – by reading a book, going to a seminar, or seeing something on television. (And of course, reading a newsletter like this!)

This awakening then leads the partner to start demanding change from the other partner, but change always has to start with you first.

Fundamentally, codependency is about not taking responsibility for yourself. When you take responsibility, you reclaim your own personal power. And you free your partner to find his or her innate power.

Ending codependency starts with taking responsibility for creating your own life – and allowing your partner to take responsibility for his or her own life. This is how you avoid either becoming a rescuer or a victim that needs rescuing.

And the quickest, most powerful way to start taking responsibility – right now – is to love yourself.

When you ignore your own needs, when you dismiss your own feelings, and when you deny your own personal power, you are not loving yourself.

When you fixate on someone else’s needs and ignoring your own, you are abandoningyourself. You wouldn’t dream of treating someone you love this way. Yet in a codependent relationship, you’re repeatedly demonstrating lack of self love. You’ve made someone else more important than you.


More next week including an unusual way of spreading the word.



Meanwhile if you are reading this and you haven’t yet read the originals – go here to – 

part one – narcissus –  emotional bullies  –introduction and some scary tales of abuse from my facebookers and newsletter gang. go here.

part two – getting the help you need or taking the first step and more tales from you guys

part three – why they will never change – it’s in the brain and difficult to unlearn – ever. hard hitting truths about the narcissist. This blog.

 Other articles are online, are listed on parts one and two, and include this one –to help you understand if you have been subject to manipulation by a narcissistic personality at some level

Keep in touch with me, email me your story – especially if you too had your ‘aha’ moment, and broke free – it really can be done in most circumstances, especially with a pure narcissist. Any story is a valuable story, even if you want to tell just me, just say, as getting it out can be very therapeutic, just as the below was for me. 


Jane said –

“I was with a man who on our wedding night, tried to throw me from a third storey window. My family were horrified at his behaviour, but his, in contrast, refused to believe it and somehow I became the person in the wrong. After that it was all downhill. He frequently threatened me, threatened to harm himself and blame me, kicked and punched and terrified me. Oddly enough, the final straw wasn’t violence related. I discovered he had enormous debts which he attributed to a drug addiction. I left him as bringing my son up with a drug addict ( and gambler, I latterly discovered) was not an option. Even then, some years later, I was forced to take out a restraining order and eventually press for an arrest warrant to curb the threats and intimidation. Such extreme measures ( although entirely warranted, but unpleasant) seemed to do the trick. I suspect if i had stayed with him, I wouldn’t be writing this. He’s gone on to remarry and reform ( so I’m told) but I’m grateful I had the strength, out of fear for my young son, to leave when I did.”

Feel free to leave your story below, or email me (in confidence unless you give permission. Names and important details are changed.)


Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting, and it is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. Gas Lighting relationship stories have surfaced all over the internet. Individuals are sharing their stories of gaslighting abuse in hopes in help others overcome the struggles of this mental abuse, but what does it mean to “Gaslight” someone? The term is fairly new but this behavior is not. 

The term “Gaslight” means to manipulate a person into questioning their own sanity. Though the word is often used to describe romantic relationships, it can describe professional relationships as well. It is also used to describe a certain personality typed held by an individual, usually manipulative. 

In this video we will discuss gaslighing in relationships, gas lighting behavior, gas lighting psychology, and gas lighting abuse symptoms. 

0:13 Gaslight Definition 

Are you being Gaslighted in your own relationship? 

0:56 Using your fears: Gaslighters find your fears and use it against your later on.
1:25 Knowing You: Abusers will claim to know you more than you know yourself.
1:40 Normal Changes: Will tell you something is normal when you know it’s not.
2:13 Questioning your sanity: The person abusing you will question your sanity if he/she does not get their way. 
2:38 Making your doubt yourself: You begin to question your own judgment because of the abusers comments 
2:58 Forgetting: Gaslighters have selective memory and may deny things they have promised or said 
3:16 Making you lie: Will make you lie to avoid stress to come
3:31 Causing you to stay silent: will stop sharing with others due to habit caused by the abuser
3:55 Making you question your sanity
4:22 Making you depressed: this relationship is usually depressive 

Article Referenced:…
More Psych2Go here:

narcissus… Emotional bullies part 1

Narcissistic… Following the previous article I wrote in which I mentioned my own experiences, a lot more has come out of the woodwork.And then I saw this feature in a magazine about poor Melanie B and her awful partner Stephen.   And it’s prompted me to write a follow on. Because the topic isn’t seeming to go away. And a post on facebook asking about people’s experiences has really opened my eyes to how many of us – including people we know who are covering up what’s really going on – are sufferinG. there are now 4 parts to this series. This is part 1. DO read all 4. You are not alone  Please note that I have an email that’s in the public domain – and you are welcome to email me if you prefer not to use social media. I will do whatever I can to help. NB I sometimes get anonymous emails with stories they ask me to include – I do what I can. Plus over the last five months I have had the most interesting conversations with several people at retreats for you, several of whom talk about abusive relationships. Then over the last two weeks I have heard even more, with people at work, and family, and people really close to me. It turns out now as I read the above article about Mel B, that it really is rife. It’s just that people are not talking about it. So let’s get this out in the open.

As I said on the Qvc blog this week, if you are with someone who is making your life a misery with the demands, expecting unreasonable things, wanting you to put them first the whole time, being abusive, including emotionally, then please do more research as you are not alone. And you don’t have to put up with it in silence and put on a brave face to the outside world. Maybe you’re reading this because you were, and you escaped it, or (rarity) the person changed for the better but you’re curious. Well just remember to pass it on, would you? There are others like you out there, who may still need help. Here’s one test you can do to help you realise it’s NOT normal –  emotional abuse test 
 If you find yourself with a majority of yes answers, you are dealing with emotional abuse. And it’s time to get out – or seek help at the very least. I’m not attempting to act as an expert on this blog. I’m merely making public what is going on between seemingly rational / happy relationships that just aren’t. Behind closed doors the abuser is making their partner’s life a misery and there’s a certain kind of abuser that I’m interested in hearing about – although some of the painful stories I’ve been told after my posts, beggar belief. Some are listed below – yours may be the same – do read them as they make for scary reading. What comes through loud and clear though is that the emotional abuse, especially from one of the most extreme forms, a narcissistic psychopath, (yes it’s a thing) can destroy someone’s self-confidence – even a strong confident career woman, a seemingly confident mother, or a physically strong, funny , big guy – their partners have reduced them to a shadow of their former selves. And they JUST CAN’T LEAVE. This is intended to show that it pays to think outside the box and try hard to get free. There is life afterwards – just read some of the stories below. If I’ve been sent a story with a name, I’ve changed the name.
One lady who I shall call Joan, told me that her partner’s brother Paul was in such a relationship, where he was constantly told his partner Ellen would end her own life if he left her. Ellen was totally psychopathically jealous about everything he did, and curtailed his social life so much that he was a shadow of his former self. He tried to leave her several times, but just got browbeaten and over the years became used to it, eventually having a baby with her and marrying her. Joan, a lady at work, also told me that she herself was in a terrible relationship with somebody who did the same thing, and she had only her family to thank for finally getting her out. She told me that one Christmas she informed him that she wasn’t coming to him on Boxing Day after all and it was only that the swearing at her down the phone – using every expletive including the worse ones, saying how she was ruining his life – was so loud that her family heard. They refused to let her go back to him. With their strength and support, she finally walked away from it. But it took her a year or so to get it out of her system and get back to being her normal self. She is now with an amazing man and they are moving in together. And I have kept hearing of such tales – where the person finally breaks free and goes on to find the most incredible partner ever.

So there is always hope, you just have to let go of the beliefs that bind you to these people, somehow, someway, and move on. And if this isn’t you, do pass this info on to someone relevant. Often the person describes having a sudden ‘waking up’ or enlightened moment, saying ‘something just snapped’ and ending the situation by walking away from being controlled.  And despite all the threats of violence, or of suicide, nothing happens – once the abuser realises they no longer have control. All they want is to control – and when they can’t, they lose interest and go off to someone else they can control. That’s the pattern with narcissistic psychopaths – the clue is in the name. A narcissist is too fond of themselves to kill themselves. 

Yet more conversations in this category have taken place at Retreats For You recently. For those who don’t know, it’s where I run mostly writing retreats and people come to stay for four nights. Over the course of a few nights we get to know each other and often the talk revolves around partners – well we ARE women :-). Although I haven’t got much to add, nothing more than I said in my last blog, I’m a good listener and people often share their experiences. There have been several who have said they have had to escape abusive relationships and one woman was with a man so controlling, that he would not even let her drive herself the two hour journey to a regular event that she took part in every week at a club. As it turned out, the driver who started giving her a lift there was the man who eventually became her partner and got her away from her abusive husband. Her husband was controlling all of the money as well, and was totally unreasonable about decisions to do with the children and what they were allowed to do, but all he would ever say is ‘because I said so.’ And the whole family would tiptoe around him and tread on eggshells so as not to annoy him.

Imagine that was your main aim in life? Not to annoy someone? Not to make them angry? How awful.
The most shocking case I have heard recently, was by someone very close to me, I cannot say who but I will call her Harriet. It was shocking because none of us knew. They had been with their partner for several years, and faced violent episodes if that person was angry. The person blamed it on their illness, several illnesses but one major one, and over the years the poor girl got used to worse and worse treatment, until finally, in front of her partner’s mother, there was a confrontation and Harriet realised she had to get out. Talking to Harriet now, she says she was just numb to it all. She said she stopped feeling and that was the only way she could put up with it. He kept saying he would end his life if she left him, then he would come back all nice as pie, blaming every bit of bad behaviour on this specific illness even though experts told her afterwards that it was not possible for that to be the only cause. He also lied, about so many things that she only found out later. The thing is she believed him because she wanted so much for things to be right and things to be calm, and for things to be pleasant that she would do almost anything for an easy life. But long-term her life is only getting worse. Now when she looks back, she obviously wishes she had got out sooner. And to hear her talk about it as I did recently, finally sharing with people close to her, and admitting that long term it would never have worked, was galling. Because she just put up with it for so long. But why? It merely enabled him to be the abuser for longer. Deep down she knew it wasn’t right. If it had been happening to a friend, she would have known exactly what to say – get out. But it was happening to her and she just felt ashamed to admit it – like she’d failed somehow, since he kept blaming her. She said all she felt was guilty – all the time, about everything to do with him. And if she’d walked away back then, she would have felt even more guilt. This guy had also shown his true colours to others – for instance he also lied about owing people money, saying he had been given something for free and lying convincingly when challenged about it. Until someone actually had to sue him to get the bill paid for his car repairs. Harriet had been told a completely different story by him and believed his version of events, and had gone along with it, complicit in the lie, completely unaware because he was such an accomplished liar. The people around him where he lived, knew what he was like, his family also knew and warned her, but she refused to believe them. I think it’s the dynamic between the person that they end up being completely blind to the truth. If you look up narcissistic psychopath on YouTube, (see links at bottom) you will see lots of posts from people who have now escaped being a codependent, because that’s what it’s called. It is a real thing. And people in that situation should definitely get professional counselling to help them understand that they are not alone. Because they keep telling themselves things will get better, but they don’t – not really – not genuinely and not long term. The problem is, just as Harriet experienced, she was too ashamed to seek help. She was ashamed that she had put up with it, she was ashamed of how she was allowing herself to be treated, she was ashamed that she could not make herself take action to accept it was not right that life should be like this, and to improve her own life. So she just didn’t tell anyone, and did not want to own up to it. She did not want to face up to the fact that that was her life, especially when he kept threatening her all sorts of things about what would happen if she did to leave him. Then one day, she said she just woke up. In the end she left him. And nothing happened. He just went straight onto the next person. Because a narcissistic psychopath needs someone to support the habit, to go along with the lies, and to be in control of. As soon as he stopped being able to control her and she said no and refused to play that game any more, the dynamic collapsed and the House of Cards he had so carefully built fell apart. His lies no longer worked, and suddenly she could see through threats and knew they were empty. Even though he had relied on her for money more than she admitted, she still felt total and utter guilt over every aspect of him feeling bad, as if it was her fault. Until she finally suddenly woke up one day and realised she had to get out. And she did. Even though she had not told any of the family. He had adeptly convinced her that he should be able to spend his own money on whatever he liked, even though she was paying the bills, even some of his bills. It’s a scary situation. And as I listened, I remembered something.

Years ago I was in a similar situation. I talk about it in my latest till the fat lady slims book, (get it here on Amazon or you can buy it from your local bookshop on order,) and it concerned a guy who was a bully. He was a physical bully as well, and as I have said in The book, I had bruises on my face and I even then went back to him because I was at an all-time low, on antidepressants and feeling like crap. More on my last blog too.
 Some emotional abusers cite all sorts of illnesses as the reason why someone can’t leave them. Even depression. But antidepressants don’t right wrongs in psychopathic personalities. They don’t fix you, they cause more problems than they are worth when you try to come off them afterwards for the majority of people, but if they help you get through a certain stage in your life then fine, to be in neutral is a better thing than to be at an all-time low, I found. But citalopram neutral, as I called it, made me not feel the highs either. I was just drifting and in an easy floaty place, with things just seeming to happen around me, and I could get by. But that’s no life. And for anyone around me or around someone else on antidepressants, beware of the neutralised version. I’m glad I didn’t have to make any major decisions when I was in that situation, and the counselling I had at the time also helped somewhat. It took about two years for the citalopram to come out of my system entirely, and for my body to feel normal again. And I was only on it for six months on a very low dose. They certainly have a place, but for anyone thinking that life is okay now the abuser is on anti-depressants, think to yourself who are they really? Unless they are going to be on them for the rest of their life indefinitely, but if not, what will return afterwards. Maybe one or two narcissists can finally change, who knows, but the odds are stacked against their co-dependent ever having a normal life. And don’t they deserve one? Another friend who I shall call Julian, talked about being with a guy for a few years, who it turned out even their family did not like much, and saw it was a very uneven, unfair relationship. When I started discussing this topic, my pal Julian said ‘oh my god, one of my exes was like that. He threatened suicide whenever I said I wasn’t happy and had had enough, yet put me down and hated me going out, was so jealous and made me a less confident person. Eventually when I said that’s it one last time, he came back claiming he had cancer. He didn’t. It was awful. But when I eventually got out, he went straight on to someone else and I fortunately found my current guy Mal. Mal is the love of my life and I never would have taken any crap from anyone again so maybe it happened to make me the person I am now, so that I was ready for Mal as a better person.’ Does your ‘partner’ who supposedly loves you, keep coming out with illnesses as reasons not to leave them, as reasons for their own bad behaviour? Another friend claimed that he wasn’t totally under his partner’s thumb because with certain situations, his partner wanted him to make her decisions for her. But then he realised that that was just another way of makign him do what she wanted! He saw the truth, when it was pointed out that if he should give her advice and try to get her to make a different choice, when she HADN’T asked for his help, she didn’t like it and told him to but out. If only he’d seen the rest of it was just about the control of him too. But that’s his journey and maybe his tale will be different, who knows. Then there’s the fact that others are so convinced by the abuser, as they are such an accomplished liar, full of certainty, so convincing, and utterly believable, that people are taken in hook line and sinker to the point that people around you would be shocked to hear your claims. Then if the abuser denies it, people believe THEM! Like a woman who allegedly didn’t pay for her horse’s hay and ended up causing a rift between a close family since the mother took the woman’s side and didn’t believe her family about a problem with a horse. The mother eventually discovered how devious the woman could be as she tried to get her in trouble at work, but it just goes to show that the lies can take all forms, not just between partners, when someone is so utterly convincing. PLEASE NOTE – I have this morning (Easter Sunday) been emailed by three separate people asking who I’m talking about and for more info about who this woman was who didn’t pay her bill. I don’t know why. But I can’t help you. The email didn’t have a sign off, and didn’t mention any more than the above. If it had mentioned a name I would have changed it, anyway, and in any case, I would not divulge any more info as the emails you send me are confidential. If you know any more, it’s immaterial as the point is that these narcissistic psychopaths are very good at convincing all sorts of people in all sorts of situations, that they are not to blame, when the truth may shock some if it came out. That’s why I included this one as it’s a completely different situation from the rest and was an instance of someone coming in between people and creating trouble, just to protect themselves. See the examples at the bottom also, for other situations which may resonate with you. It’s not just between partners. email me if you have any further case stories I can add. Here’s another one – an even worse example – and one I was just sent via facebook – underlining the extreme effects of mental abuse, especially in cutting someone off from their friends and loved ones as they are so jealous: “My sister suffered for a long time. The mental abuse leaves far deeper scars sadly. Plus half the time the person involved has no idea they are being manipulated or abused & controlled. Interestingly, I spotted the signs very early on. I was living in Birmingham at the time, over 100 miles from my family. It was my 30th birthday & my sister & her mentally abusive boyfriend were invited, along with all my family, to a very special banquet at a beautiful venue.  I could see this man was trying every which way to stop her coming to my party. First he said in the morning he was unwell. My sister said OK I’ll get a lift with mum & dad. She couldn’t drive. He then said no he would be OK to drive. He then waited until mum & dad had left & said again he couldn’t go. She said OK I’ll get the train. He then said no it’s OK I’ll drive. Again. They get as far as Cirencester, where his parents live, and says he’s too ill to finish the journey. She says it’s OK I’ll get the train from Cirencester. Miraculously he recovers & completes the journey. Straight away I thought he’s trying to split her up from her family. He’s determined for her to miss my birthday. When they arrived, he did not leave her side. He would not even let her go to the toilet without him. He went with her & waited outside until she came out. I managed to go to the toilet at the same time & told her what I thought he was trying to do. She told me short of him crashing the car, nothing was going to stop her getting to my birthday, which was true. Thankfully this was all about 22 years ago, but it does have long lasting implications. You can get out, you can move on, you can have a great life, but you can’t forget. My sister was lucky, she had family who weren’t going to let him split us up & who were there for her 100%. Sadly many people aren’t so lucky, and are trapped far longer. I think you writing about the experiences of these women is a really positive thing to do, so thank you. My sister didn’t admit it for years. She felt ashamed, like it was her fault, like she was a failure. By illustrating that lots of people, of all ages, from all cultures & backgrounds have been in these awful situations it will give more people strength to speak out. My sister is very attractive, could have any man she wanted, is intelligent, university educated, great job, could be a successful independent woman. However, she got involved with the wrong man & put up with violence & abuse for about 5 years. Anyone on the outside looking in would never have believed she would have put up with it. Equally, the man was a friendly, chatty, sociable, extremely likeable man. I would say 90%!of her family, friends & colleagues would have been utterly shocked & would have found it almost impossible to believe what he was capable of.The problem being you’re often in denial, can’t and refuse to believe it’s happening until you’re in deep. Reality is very hard to see. I’d like to think there is a lightbulb moment for everyone but sadly there isn’t and it’s often easier to remain”

There have been for other stories I’ve heard, all along the same lines, in the last few months as well. I decided as a result of keeping hearing them all, all in a similar theme, that I would post this. Harriet, who I discussed in depth above, never came to me and talked to me when it was all happening, I wish she had. If anyone wants to email me about anything you’ve read, please feel free, There are some helpful links below, some eye openers, and if you like I will send you the other links that I think may open your eyes to the fact that you are not alone. And more importantly than anything else is this. If you know you are going to get out at some stage, because this is not your life and you don’t want it to be your life forever, then get out earlier rather than later to avoid even more years slipping by wasted with the wrong person. Several of the people have spoken to me, at least four, have soon after leaving the narcissist, found their true love, one who finally treats them with respect, as an equal. Rather than as a subordinate. So it is really worth exploring your options, at least the read, watch, or find someone to talk to. But don’t stay stuck. Don’t become ill, don’t become a shadow of your former self, think – what would i say if it was happening to a friend? What advice would I give them? Then take it yourself. Don’t be another statistic. Don’t be a Mel B – whether you’re a woman or man. At least my friends above are out now. And so are most of the people who told me their stories, listed below. And so can you be, one day. You just have to imagine it is possible, and imagine what life could be like on the other side of it. 

Following on from my highly shared blog on emotional bullies –

Narcissists aren’t capable of something called ‘object constancy’ — and it helps explain why they are so cruel to the people they date | The Independent nails it. If you’re being emotionally abused, and have stopped having a sense of self, (or you fear for someone who has) read this. Then run. Finally – see the links below. And take this test – Very interesting. 

part two – getting the help you need or taking the first step and more tales from you guys

part three – why they will never change – it’s in the brain and difficult to unlearn – ever. hard hitting truths about the narcissist. This blog.

 Other articles are online, are listed on parts one and two, and include this one –to help you understand if you have been subject to manipulation by a narcissistic personality at some level

Keep in touch with me, email me your story – especially if you too had your ‘aha’ moment, and broke free – it really can be done in most circumstances, especially with a pure narcissist. Any story is a valuable story, even if you want to tell just me, just say, as getting it out can be very therapeutic, just as the below was for me. 

best wishes


x good luck.

Hope this is helped

Debbie Flint

further links – (skip the ad) nb lisa romano has lots of videos on youtube – scour through them  also – – this one is a very good one.  PART TWO OF THIS SERIES OF BLOGS IS HERE…

   OTHER STORIES 1. Donna.

I’ve just read your blog. I have no doubt that I will be the only one writing to you. It’s not the fact that it’s you (please don’t be offended!) but it just feels so good to write it all down, as I do on occasions, get it out in the open even though it happened to me over 30 years ago. 

I’m not going to go into it Year by year, month by month, even week by week but I was abused. Yes, physically but that was towards the end, the last six months. Before that it was mental abuse, mental torture. Frustrating, confidence-slamming and pure evil. He came from a family of 5 – more girls than boys. They believed they were close but it always amused me as there were always rows and arguments and lots of fall outs and stretches of months, even years of silence between a couple of siblings. I kept out. I come from a small family just me and my younger sister and we were/are not close however I am to my parents even back then. 

He was a drinker. Always in a pub even met him in a pub. I was there socially, I always preferred to drive and therefore wouldn’t even drink one.  We were together for just over ten years all in all.  It was fun at first but after we bought our own home and moved some distance from home, life got difficult. I was in a good job I was the bread winner although not by much. He did work hard, i would get home before him, have his dinner ready etc.  Although I took no notice in the first few months, it became apparent that he did the same every evening when he got home:  “Sorted out his tools” in his van the moment he parked, greeted me with a hello ‘grunt’ as he walked through the door, huffed and deep-sighed when I asked about his day whilst eating dinner, then off he d go upstairs.  As time went on, social nights and day trips to the beach which we used to love, went out of the window and he never even wanted to visit my parents although very happy to visit his family – because they were all well stocked with alcohol and weren’t shy to offer it to him either. So it went without saying I always drove. They used to say “oh he’s worked hard, he deserves it” blah blah blah. At (his) family parties and even funerals he always drank too much and ended up slumped somewhere.   I darent say anything.  A few years later I fell pregnant without trying even though I was on the pill and we decided we should get married.  At first I thought it was the end of my world but when the baby came my priorities changed totally.   The baby was (and is) my life. I loved being a mum although it was hard with a job in London. As time went on he became more ignorant towards me and the baby and he used to try and find any excuse to have an argument. I refused to let the baby get drawn into it all and often took myself off to stay with my parents for the odd night. 

One weekend we had been invited to a wedding – no children. He refused to go so I went alone. I had a whale of a time with friends there really let my hair down for once and he picked us up. I don’t remember a thing but know I was so drunk and I was very ill! But I do know that 11 weeks later I found out I was pregnant again and I was so angry. We hadn’t slept together for months and months and I came to the conclusion that it happened the night I got drunk. I was fuming, upset, so very hurt and decided that was that, I intended to save up a deposit and leave him.  The baby came and I couldn’t be happier (they were both and still are my life my world!) and they were very close and looked after each other.  A lot of things happened from then on. It just got worse and worse, his ignorance, his drinking and whilst having a spring clean before Christmas I found the panel on the bath fell down. As I looked in around the bath there were literally hundreds of beer cans!  I started looking in other places – I found hundreds of beer cans – amongst the children’s toys in the toy cupboard, hidden under my hanging wedding dress, even behind the washing machine (I wondered why it had been creeping out from under the worktops – it had never jutted out like that when we had bought it). I was done. I told him I was going to leave. He just smirked and laughed and told me I would never leave him. Of course I was scared, I didn’t want to leave – I still loved him but could not continue letting my children be ignored by him.  I started planning and organising a private rental home for us and months later we left. I took nothing but the car, some clothes and a few of the childrens’ main toys. My parents were brilliant. I told them after I left and they just refused to believe it all at first. The ex even went to my dads workplace to see him and begged him to get me to go back. Can you believe my dad told me I had to go back because he (the ex) was in bits and crying? I told my dad there was no way. I went to see my parents in law too. Didn’t know what to say I knew I’d be the baddie and I wouldn’t be believed and I was right. They still didn’t believe it but I was passed caring. 

I soon met my current husband. All I can describe him as is a diamond, a pure diamond. He’s brought the children  up and they love him like their own Dad. And we are very happy. 

God that feels good once again to let it all out! Sorry for the length, sometimes some things just cannot be shortened. 

Thank you xx  2. PaulaI was married to a narcissistic jealous bully for 11 years. I was scared to leave him because of the threats of him saying he would scar my face if I ever left him. I had three children by this man and they saw a lot, too much. I was great at hiding the bruising on my face but there were a few occasions when the swelling was so bad it made me look like the elephant man & I couldn’t go out until the swelling went down. He would push me down the stairs, throw heavy objects at me usually if I mentioned a bill had come in that needed paying. He spent all his money on himself and there were times when we had very little food in the house. He had worn me down so much Debbie. I had no confidence left. I was scared every time the doorbell went because we often had bailiffs round because he’d spent the money on himself. In he end we lost our home. I told him I wanted a divorce but one day he got so angry with me on the phone & said he would come over & kill me that night. I told the police who said they would come over later to make sure he didn’t hurt me but they came late. He had a knife to my throat in front of my children telling them he was about to slit my throat. The doorbell saved me & the police came in and told him not to come any where near me again. I didn’t press charges stupidly but I’m a very different person now Debbie. I don’t take any crap off any man lol. I have kind of condensed this for you but believe me so much happened it put me off marriage for life. The funny thin is that the mental abuse hurt me far more than the physical abuse. I hope this was of some help xxx  3. AngieVery well written Debbie. My sister was in a violent relationship for years. It destroyed her self esteem & she wouldn’t leave despite us begging her to. She only left when she went to bed one night & took a heavy crystal vase with her to use “in self defence “. She suddenly realised that was no way to live & that if she accidentally killed him, she could end up in prison. That’s when she found the courage & strength to get out. 
Thank you for your honesty, these issues are so often hidden but by sharing them you are helping people to know they are not alone and there is hope & life after abuse and depression.My sister has said by all means share her story (with no name). She’s not on Facebook but she has asked me to share a few examples of the abuse; he threw a bunch of keys at her, bruising her leg, he tried to push her out of a moving car on a “romantic weekend in Paris”, he pushed her to the floor in the car park at a family wedding when she was 8 months pregnant. Why did she stay? Because he always apologised & said he would never do it again. Because she had a child & could not take that child away from him. Because she thought she could change him & make it stop. Because he wasn’t the first man to hit her. Her previous boyfriend had too (we knew nothing of that). On a positive, she finally called the police and got amazing support from the domestic violence unit. Totally non judgemental and 100% on her side. She got him out of her house. She got a Judge to say he could only see his child if he went on anger management courses, which he did. It took a long time for her to regain her confidence & trust in men, but she is now married to someone else. It has changed her forever and she will never forget what he did and what she went through, but in some ways it has made her stronger. She would never accept that behaviour again. She is far more assertive and won’t take any crap from anyone. It’s made her realise life is too short to put up with horrible situations & she found strength to change other things in her life that were making her unhappy eg her job. She was working with toxic people who were bullying her & a) reported it and won her case and b) left anyway & found a better job with nicer people. On a different note, your description of being on Citalopram was spot on! I took it after breaking up with the man I was engaged to marry, the wedding was all booked & out of the blue he told me it was over. I’m glad I took them as they enabled me to find somewhere else to live & to keep going to work so my life didn’t fall apart, but I 100% agree they make you feel almost numb. Like nothing, bad or good, affects you. Like you’re doing stuff but you’re in a little bubble looking out at the world. Would I take them again in bad situations e.g. bereavement? Yes I would. Short term. Do I prefer not being on them? Yes I do. I think they enable you to get through a bad patch, but you need to address the root problem, by either changing your life or counselling or therapy, so you can come off them & start living again.  ps she also says – These experiences make you or break you. You can give up or you can battle on. They can also make you a more bitter person or can make you a kinder, better person.  Thankfully my sister came out a stronger person with no bitterness, only more kindness & a determination to make life better. As far as depression goes, as you talk about yourself being on citalopram once long ago, I was too – ignorant people look at you & think “what has she got to be depressed about?!”. But depression can affect anybody. No matter how perfect your life is.For me, the first period of anxiety & depression, I couldn’t believe it was happening!For the first time in years I was happy. I had a job I loved, a nice home, no money worries & a fabulous man in my life.I realised as I searched for a reason, that it was because I’d spent a couple of years in a stressful job, I’d been in a relationship that was on & off with a total mind game player, and I’d been fighting 24/7 to keep it all together.The minute I got out of those situations and was happy, it was as if I let go & relaxed & all the stress came pouring out.So when people say (as believe it or not the psychiatrist I was referred to said) “what have you got to be depressed about?” it’s not always the here & now causing the depression.I think you’ll have a lot more people telling you their stories. I know myself when I’ve said I’ve been on anti depressants lots of people have said me too, but they’d never told me, good, close friends. If I hadn’t been open, they would have kept it hidden. Similarly when I’ve mentioned my sister, several people have said yes, I went through that a few years ago.It’s truly shocking the numbers of people. It really is. X Hope all this helps.  X”  4. Cazi am in a abusive relationship with a difference – as you know i have severe m.e. and have to live with my parents .. i really can’t live on my own due to my level of fatigue and pain .. and i have been told i’m too young to go into a home – my dad controls everything i do .. the really frustrating thing is – if it were just me – i wouldn’t let him and trust me i do fight back at times but then my mam goes off it with me – i don’t think its fair – but she’s scared of him though he’s never hit her he’s just manipulative and controlling and a real jeckyl and hyde .. a fascinating study for a writer or songwriter – but hell to live with .. when i was a kid it was just me he had a problem with .. i couldn’t do anything right – he used to get into my face and laugh as he smacked me – i would swear at him and of course he hit me more but i didn’t care i was fighting back .. my illness of course has played right into his hands .. so easy to control me and now my mam .. All the crap however has made me mentally and spiritually strong and like i say given me loads of creativity .. ” 5. GMI was in one for a short while when in my very early 20s the problem i found was the man who did it to me (if you want to call him a man) picked me out knowing i was ill and already in his eyes weak ..He played on the if we break up who would want you like this.. anyway i soon worked out I’d rather be on my own for life than be with someone​ who could mentally and physically hurt me.. I’ve since gone on to find a fantastic husband even with my severe disabilities someone is always willing to love you if you love yourself..   6. Rosemary You may want to get a brilliant book called The Charm Syndrome by S. Horley. It helped me make sense of what was happening to me. She’s one of the founders of Refuge. It’s got case histories too, etc  If anyone reading this thinks “that’s happening to me”, please be aware that the first stage of abuse is often to separate you from your family & friends. 

If you are worried that it is happening to you or you can see it happening to someone you know, please don’t suffer in silence. 

There are lots of organisations you can speak to for advice & support.

Women’s Aid are an amazing charity. You can phone them in complete confidence, 24 hours a day for support or advice. It’s a freephone number. 

Escaping the inescapable – or that’s what it used to seem

Ok so I’ve got a thing at the moment about creating joy. ‘Follow the joy’ was a short story I wrote and published a couple of blogs ago. And now it’s become a bit of a theme. So when I had a chat this week with a lady who reminded me of a time when my own life was so lacking in joy that I started to lose sight of my sense of self, I thought I’d write about it here. She said our chat had helped her understand things a bit better, so maybe this will help others too. You know what they say about sharing.

This week we had another writing retreat at Retreats for You in Devon, (where I now go half the week when not at QVC) and the topic got onto her friend – a lady who had stayed in a marriage she should not have stayed in for so long, considering how controlling the man was. He even would not let the young son do a paper round and refused to give a reason why, just saying ‘no.’ Her friend who was telling the me the tale mentioned how everyone who knew them didn’t realise how bad things were till afterwards, at which point they happily told her in no uncertain terms how she had made a mistake not getting out sooner. And all she could say was, I know, I just wasn’t myself at the time.

It’s weird ‘cos there have been a few stories like this in my time at Rfy, from all sorts of women. And it seems that being people-pleasers comes naturally to many of us, even at the expense of our own sense of self. Even some of us who normally would not be seen dead doing and thinking certain things, and look back afterwards and see how wrong it was to stay so long in that bad relationship or situation. But at the time we just can’t help ourselves and it’s easier to try to get back to some sort of status quo, after a big row, than to work a little harder and think of the long term goal to be free of the prison for good.

I write in first person here, because, once in a galaxy far far away, that person was me. It was an awful relationship that should have ended within weeks, let alone months, and we ended up breaking up 12 times in 20 months, including when the guy actually moved wholesale into my house then back in again, then out, eurgh. If I was stronger, I now think, then I could have seen it for what it was – a car crash and an uneasy truce, which was destined to end – it was doomed. But it took me a while to understand all that. It took till I had bruises on my face, to be honest. And it’s not something I readily admit to openly, and whilst I have written much more about this experience in my latest version of Till the Fat Lady Slims (here on amazon inc in paperback or from all platforms or order from bookshops, Choc Lit is publisher – semi-autobiographical weight loss book and in this one I share extra chapters about stuff like this) it’s been a kind of a dark secret for so long. But that’s what these relationships are all about – secrets. And mainly keeping quiet about how bad things are.

Then I remembered that my first husband was a bit of an emotional blackmailer too, with his ways of making you think you had to put his own needs first and try to cover up for his shortcomings outside of the house and put on a front to other people. Ridiculous! And it all came flooding back this week. The lady I was talking to was glad to find a kindred spirit, sort of, and her understanding of her friend’s situation became a bit clearer after our chats. I put some links from youtube on an email to her, but they are easy to find – just follow ‘emotional abuse’ or ‘abuser’ or manipulator in the search bar and you’ll find them – have a look if you think you are in the same situation and if it helps, I’ve done my job.

Finally I think it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this – others have been through the same process and emerged ok at the end of it. And more importantly, they look back and say ‘what was I thinking’. And that’s ok – you’ll do it when you’re able. They also know that if it was advice they were giving to a mate of theirs, they’d have no problem identifying the need to leave and make it end, finally. It’s just hard when it’s habit and you’ve lost something of your own confidence or lost sight of who you really are in the process of dealing with someone else’s needs day in and day out. In the case of this lady’s friend, it was for over 20 years. It was weird how this came up again this week. So I figured, Ok universe, I get the message, time to share this post.

It’s a shame some people feel stuck and have done for years – but it’s never too late to get out. Never.

There are some brilliant counsellors around too – don’t be too proud to go to one. Sometimes the NHS will even fund the appointments – mine did years ago and it helped me somewhat. Sometimes speaking to someone completely outside of your own circle of family and friends means you get a sense of perspective about your own situation that suddenly hammers the point home that it’s time to do something about it. And believe, me, the sunshine you feel on the other side of the misery is so worth it. And the sooner you do something, the sooner you will begin your whole new life, won’t you. Yeh, I know, it’s logic. Logic however, just doesn’t cut it sometimes. But maybe just hearing someone else talking about these things means it’s more out in the open and can’t remain secret any more. Just a thought. 

Below is a check list of questions it might be worth asking yourself or the person you’re concerned about, and if they can answer yes to more than half, chances are they need help and are in an awful situation and are just hiding it from the world. When I read it out to this lady she said her friend would have said yes to most of them.

Don’t suffer in silence. And what’s more, if you ARE that friend, and you can see your mate in a similar situation, please make sure you give them as much support as you can – it’s vital for them to know they shouldn’t feel guilty all the time, because they can’t seem to do right by their partner, no matter what; they always seem to be picking an argument even about the most stupid tiny things; they are insanely jealous and unjustifiably angry about small stuff and they shouldn’t feel alone. Don’t lecture them, they know what to do, they just can’t do it straight away – just let them know you are there for them.

Bit by bit that formerly strong person may return to their previous self, with your help. Be a support system and be there for them, even if they don’t do as you say straight away. Believe me, sometimes it takes a while or a massive event or turning point, like I had, to say enough is enough. It’s a tough one to observe, but as we were discussing this week at RFY, if you can help them through it, a much better life awaits on the other side. 

Do forward this page to someone else, or copy the info, I don’t mind. It’s worth it if it helps just one extra person. Like I got help in the end all those years ago. There’s more about my story in theTTFLS  book, too much detail is not for here, but suffice it to say I know what it feels like to hit rock bottom and think I only deserve second best and have no choice but to put others’ needs first.  But not any more thank god. Hope if you’re reading this and it relates to you, you can also do the same……

The overriding feedback I get from people who read Till the Fat Lady Slims is ‘it was like I was reading about myself.’ Well this is one step beyond for many who thought they were alone. You’re not. And a better life awaits if you can break away – believe me.

Best wishes



Questions to ask – if you can answer yes to many of these, chances are, the person is suffering emotional abuse :

1. Does your partner – act excessively jealous and possessive?

2. want to control where you go and what you do?

3. constantly check up on you? Go through your phone?

4. want to limit the time you spend with family or friends?

5. threaten to commit suicide if you leave?

6. destroy your belongings or threaten to/

7. act abusive in your sex life?

8. ignore or put down your accomplishments or achievements, or just direct them back towards themselves all the time?

9. blame you for their behaviour, particularly their abusive or nasty behaviour?

10. see you as their possession rather than as a person, make you feel insignificant?

11. yell at you? put you down? Treat you badly in a way you’d hate your friends and relations to see? Do things you sometimes would be embarrassed to own up to to anyone else/

12. DO YOU – believe that you’re the one to blame? That you’re going crazy?

13 – do you feel emotionally numb or worthless?

14. avoid certain topics for fear of starting another row/

15. feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner? They always manage to make you feel like you’ve failed or guilt trip you?#

more on and loads more on the internet and youtube. 

dont suffer in silence and remember you’re not alone – you’d be surprised how much support you’d get if you confide in someone you trust …..