Red Flag of a Narcissist #29: Over-Dependence on Their Partner

Overdependence on partner

Narcissists and other manipulative people do a great job at convincing their partner that they are soul mates–that they have this intense connection, and that they’ve never felt this way about anyone else before.   Because they are mirroring most (if not all) of the victim’s likes and dislikes back to the victim, the victim also believes that they have this soul mate connection. This intense connection often lasts until some sort of major bad (or questionable) behavior surfaces, such as lying, cheating, stealing, or other types of personality changes like name calling, yelling, or having a short temper.  The victim begins to question this soul mate connection, and is confused as to how they could be so perfect together, and yet their partner’s could be up to such out-of-character behavior.

When the questionable behavior is brought up, it’s spun back around to somehow not be the Narcissists fault. Manipulative people generally use some form of what I call, “I CHIVE” in order to get their way:

I: Isolation

C: Charm

H: Hope

I: Intimidation

V: Violence

E: Emotions (Fear, Love, Obligation, Guilt)

If they are caught for some bad behavior, instead of being accountable for it, they will usually deny, deflect, blame, justify, or minimize it (or all of the above).  If none of these techniques work, or if their behavior is such that they can’t deny it (they got someone (or themselves) pregnant, or got caught by the police, or so on, then they use obligation and hope to keep the victim feeling pressured to stick around.

This generally goes something like, “I need you to stand by me while I’m in jail/rehab/court/leave my other partner for you, etc.”, or “What we have is so special. I know we can get through this.”  Or, “I took care of you after you had surgery (but they really didn’t), I can’t believe you are going to walk out on me now that I need you.”  Or, “I can’t believe you are being so selfish. So I’m not perfect. I guess commitment doesn’t mean anything to you. I can’t believe you are going to walk out on me.” (When in fact, they are the ones who had the deal breaker behavior, and now the victim finds themselves apologizing for trying to draw a healthy boundary.)

The victim feels pressured to stay, and so they do–and what often ends up happening, is that their partner not only doesn’t change, but continues to get worse. The victim begins walking on eggshells, changing their behavior out of guilt or obligation, and clings to hope that this amazing relationship and that the person they knew will return. They often feel responsible for making the relationship work, not realizing that they are the only one that is making all the effort.





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I am a self-help junkie, former advocate for victims of domestic violence, current psychiatric RN, as well as being a recovering victim of Narcissistic abuse.

My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.

Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.

It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.
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About Dana 347 Articles
I am a self-help junkie, former advocate for victims of domestic violence, current psychiatric RN, as well as being a recovering victim of Narcissistic abuse. My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life. Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics. It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.


  1. OmG.. I have been searching for someone Who could explain to me why this match made in heaven turned into the relationship from hell after we moved. I just couldnt understand it. Dana is it possible these disorders only become visible after life changing events? Eg birth of a baby, moving, loss? I remember being pregnant and hé said ‘ now everything is finished. I no longer will be number one. That place will be taken by the baby’ and I just couldnt figure out what the hell hé was talking about. Just before we got married hé did everything in the book to make me feel like an angel, a soulmate. The minute we got marriednine years ago hé focussed himself on other business immediately . I didnt understand his behaviour. I felt trapped. We were supposed to grow old together,he now calls me the Police when i ask about his Day. Hé would almost worship me,i used to tell him to take it easy,that i am far from perfect. Hé would flaunt me around his friends and family. They have no idea about his bad behaviour..Anyway. Thank you Dana

  2. The last narcissist I was involved with is awaiting sentence for porn offences, totally sucked me into supporting her & when I asked exactly what the offences were coz I was getting concerned when she was cagey, she wouldn’t say. I broke off contact in October, now her latest ‘soul mate’ is on her side & her Twitter feeds show same pattern she did with me. Glad I’m out, this is my 3rd narcissist but not blaming myself, just learning from this

  3. Dana could I ask you a question about at what point they leave your head entirely. I am so tired of giving him headspace despite knowing his pathology and irreparability.
    I am so clear on how damaged the XP is but even when I see clear evidence that he is imploding I can also view a picture where he is smiling with the new supply and feel heartsore and betrayed afresh. I know that it is patent CD and that their tactics are solely designed to make us feel worthless and insignificant but I am tired of lingering in this mind frame knowing how they are deliberately induce this humiliation.

    Last week I saw a picture of XP and it is so clear that his world is collapsing. He was a good looking, tanned, athletic, engaging guy and 1.5 years after I caught him cheating and realized he was a master con man this picture confirms (without a doubt) that he is no longer the same attractive man. Everyone who knows him has commented on how much he has aged in a short space of time. He has gone underground after being exposed as a narcissist (and as gay) and has a very limited social circle (OM and a few other non-entities).
    In the picture he looks so haggard. He was on holiday with OM and they both looked dreary – it is a wonder XP even published these photos. XP had an imperceptible, forced smile on his face but his poor appearance was evident – his hair has receded and is very wispy on top. His eyes were so dark and hanging at the sides and his face has got fuller and so pale. He was formerly a swarthy and a very energetic guy with a swimmer’s physique. I could see the deterioration etched all over his face for the most part. A friend commented that he could be taking drugs (When we were together he condemned drug-taking – I rarely even drink alcohol and never saw him drunk – but I believe now that he parties more). He appears so drawn and gaunt that I am wondering if he is propping up his supply with drugs/alcohol.

    I did feel satisfaction that his world is crumbling and then I felt a twinge of sadness that he doesn’t just address his issues and become the “fake persona” he was; at least, his life was balanced and he appeared healthy and happy. But I did gloat too as I interpreted it as evidence that he is aware that his life is in freefall. A friend told me that he may not even be aware of his physical deterioration and may be happy with his new supply but unless he is truly insane he must look in the mirror and register the marked decline.

    The next day I happened to see another photo where he was smiling with the OM and felt a stab of pain. I was able to consciously reassure myself that it was not a true reflection of his internal state of mind. However, the CD is like an inner voice that says “But maybe he’s happy. And he does hate you now and you’re alone and he’s not. Plus he is out and about not thinking about you whereas you’re reading up in your spare time on narcissists so I wonder who is really the crazy, obsessed, co-dependent one??!!” Then I have to do another mental transaction and correct my warped logic and see that I am healing and am surrounded by people who love me. But I do start to wonder when this irritating inner voice will stop and when I will truly not care or be curious about his state of mind. I really want to know what is going on in his head when/if he thinks about me. I am sure that on some level he regrets how he treated a good person.

    I am so sure that I have dealt with this mind-boggling, hyper-painful experience in a slow and healthy manner while he has continued with absolute abandon. But I still miss the reliable companion, the consistent friend, the understanding, sympathetic listener. I accepted a year ago that he never existed and was a facade. But it seems as if the mind keeps forgetting this realization and slips back into denial.

    I am also stunned that the OM cannot see the visible decline in the narcissist (I actually think the new supply is possibly a cold narcissist also and could be more dominant in that relationship than I had initially assumed) but all other friends observing from the periphery are in agreement that XP looks dreadful and has been relegated to the “unattractive” category – he used break hearts and his appearance was so important to him. He must be struggling internally.

    I am wondering if you have noticed such a decline before where they start to age very rapidly and give up on their appearance (it was paramount to him so is inexplicable). He is living now with the new supply so he has company 24×7. I think that this may be suffocating for a narcissist. I keep questioning whether he is, in fact, happy with this permanent presence, this dark character and if he has turned to drugs as he cannot continue his cheating (I never lived with him so he was most probably paying visits to other men; I know he was watching porn on his computer) .

    I realize that this is a stupid question given his physical decline but maybe he is just indulging in these hedonistic pursuits to prop himself up considering all his personal losses. What do you think? I am stunned that he cannot take control of his life and make peace with people and admit his wrongdoing. They really are pathologically unable to admit inadequacy and apologize. Can you explain what may be going on in his head. Certainly it looks like the honeymoon period is over for him and I get the impression that he is dangerously freewheeling. But that may merely be my wishing thinking.

  4. WOW…I’m speechless…. yet so overwhelmed with joy right now ( to know i’m not alone ). I was with the ‘man of my dreams’ which turned out to be the ‘reason for my nightmares’ for 2.5 years.
    ‘Best friends’ at first. Then lovers and ‘soul mates’. We were ‘meant for each other’ and there is ‘no other woman out there made for him’. I was his ‘perfect match’…..BUT….he would go out at least once a week ALL NIGHT. Not a call or text. He said that ‘all guys do this and you need to get over it’. He is also a chronic weed smoker. He manages a shop for a family company and tries to find ways ‘not to ‘ work all day. He will drive into the city, go for breakfast, go for lunch, work out, stare in the mirror….anything. Then when I would say ‘hey, what’s up? How’s your day? what you up to?’ He got right defensive gave short brief answers and said ‘you don’t need to know everything, I feel smothered’. I was simply making adult conversation.
    When he was feeling good about himself, he was nice to me and would shower me with compliments. if he was ‘down’ it was weed, partying, staying out all night, avoiding my calls, ignoring my texts….etc. He has NO money. I called him 3DB ( Three dollar bill ). he has nothing, yet parades around town that he is some sort of ‘athlete’ and has money. His truck is his fathers, and has about 50K in credit card debt. He LIVES in his overdraft and can’t even afford to go on a trip with me ( yet would say we should get away, all the time). HE’S 42!!!
    At one point, we had his little nephews a and niece staying with us and he would still go out all night. Leaving me with these children and having to get them ready and myself ready for work. My N and I didn’t have children. He tried to bully me into having a child “just give me what I want”. ‘Give me my hockey boy’. “just have my boy and you can have all of me and I can have all of you, it will be perfect”. ” if you just made my lunches I would have a ton of money”…..OMG, the list is endless. As I find my fingers typing this to anyone that can identify with it, my stomach CHURNS!!
    I am an attractive, smart, and charismatic woman. I have my own house, truck and investments. I make about 120K / year. He makes the same amount and has NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I am at the point ( finally ) where I have blocked his number and emails. I will not and cannot look back. My health was in jeopardy. The STRESS. The wondering and waiting and walking on egg shells. He tried his hardest to convince me that I was “lucky he picked me” and he could “have any woman I want, but I chose you”. Sorry for my luck…lol Oh well.
    He is also addicted to pornography. Weed and Porn. His two favorite things. Horribly selfish in bed ( and boring ). He will seriously miss work to stay at home, smoke weed, watch porn, and pleasure himself all day… when I would mention that I ‘think he has a problem’. He would laugh and say the ‘only person with a problem here is you. You’re jealous that you HAVE to go to work’.
    I wish I could shout his name out to the world and sell him out, but I’m bigger than that. I want him to do that all on his own…..oh yah, did I mention he’s addicted to social media too!! Anything that will give him validation I’m assuming. He is in the Army Reserves part time, no doubt to make himself feel like a hero. Trying to look like the person he so isn’t.

    Anyway. I think I just needed to rant to the world! I feel better. I was having a ‘moment’ today. OMG, do not waste your time on these people. They don’t give two sh!ts for you. They only want us to STROKE THEIR EGO’S!!! With out me he is ‘lost’. I am his ‘security blanket’. Make me puke.
    Anyway. I love ( but hate ) reading your stories. They help me to perceiver and to KNOW there is hope and it is a ‘thing’ that happened and I’m NOT CRAZY, or a B!TCH…lol
    I love you all. Just take time to love yourselves and do what YOU love and you will find the path that you are suppose to be on. FK the N….it’s YOUR time now <3

  5. I love your strength. Yes, it’s time that we all learn to “follow our bliss” and realize that we have value and it’s not okay to be treated like this. I wish you all the best in this next chapter of your life. (((hugs)))

  6. Anonymous, Thank you for posting! My “dream man” (turn sour) was sooo similar: penniless in his 40ies, addicted to same things, pretending heroic status, begging for attention in social media… I have even heard the same phrases 😀 !

    Thank God we didn’t have kids with these L*sers… Lots of hugs to you!!! We are on the better side already, going towards good times …and good guys! <3

  7. You ask a great question about how long it takes to get a Narcissist (or the relationship) out of your head. I fully believe the answer has less to do with time, and more to do about what you do with that time. Meaning, the more you can refocus that energy back into building an a great life for yourself, the sooner you will stop missing him–as you’ll be too busy spending time around people, places, things, ideas, and experiences that nourish you. And once you “fill up” on the healthy stuff, you won’t think twice about anything else, because the healthy stuff just feels so good! (((hugs)))

  8. I feel very tuned into this article.
    I’ve been enjoying the good times, but the bad ones fit right in here. I’ve spent over 20 years torn between staying because of the good or leaving because of the bad – but the item in this equation that keeps me stuck is this “I CHIVE” and the fact that my partner is vindicative, very.
    Now she has found out that I have a secret garden, a place to be well and with myself. She knows that I have complained about her to my family. She wants to divorce. I accepted, taking the blame for the pain I caused her – and secretly knowing that this is my open door to a healthier life.
    Last night, we told our kids (all teens) and they wanted to know the motives and what they gathered was that my partner’s arguments were not unsurmountable.
    This morning, my partner came to ask me if we could change the decision “if” she came to forgive me.
    I told her that we already had issues and that still needs to be addressed.
    She left without adding a word.
    Today is my first day alone in the house and I need to get my act together.
    (We’ve been 25 years in this house – and I tend to not throw things away… That’s changing today)

    Thanks for posting and helping us cave-dwellers see the light 🙂


  9. You can do this. Just know that first and foremost. Second, know that you are not alone in this. There are many others (and many of which are men) who have experienced what you have. I encourage you to make a list called, “For when you miss her.” Make the list in a bullet point format, so it’s easy to scan. In this list, write out every painful thing she’s done–and all the reasons why you are leaving. And if (when) nostalgia kicks in, go back and read the list. Doing so will really help to remind yourself of the reasons you had to leave.

    I’m thrilled that you have the strength and the desire to throw things away, and to make the house your space. I did something similar when I was healing. I threw what I called a, “Change the energy party” and had people come over and either bring something that was good energy, and/or help me rearrange furniture or get rid of the things that “felt” heavy with bad memories. It was perhaps one of the most therapeutic things I did for myself, and it was a lot of fun too! …There’s a lot to be said for painting a room too. 🙂

    I sincerely wish you all the best in this next chapter of your life, and hope that it is full of all the health, healing, and happiness possible. (((hugs)))

  10. “Are you going to be committed to this relationship or not?” After his online flirting, continuing a relationship that made me uncomfortable due to content, remarking on women’s bodies and flattering others publicly, comparing me to other women… on and on and on. Acting like I was the one who had been unfaithful to HIM! I wish more people understood the lasting damage and hurt that these kind of people cause those who live with them. It’s been 2 yrs and I still am deeply impacted by things he said and did to me. Some days I feel like I am never going to heal.

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