top of page

Am I to blame for how the narcissist treated me?

Have you ever wondered if how the narcissist treated you was your fault, and questioned whether you deserved the way they treated you on some level? Even though logically you know that doesn't make much sense?

For those that have had a relationship with a narcissist, it’s actually really common to wonder if all the crazy making and all the bad treatment was their fault. And to question whether the reason the narcissist (mis)treated them was because they were not good enough, or they were to blame in some way.

"Maybe it's me? Maybe I did something wrong?"

Even if they know on a conscious level that this isn't the case.

Let's just say for a moment that you were to blame for how they treated you (which, spoiler alert, you definitely were not, this was absolutely not your fault, and we will get into why.)

Overcoming believing that the narcissists mistreatment of you was your fault is a pivotal part of stopping the pattern of attracting narcissistic individuals and experiencing narcissistic abuse.

Feeling like it's your fault

If you have been exposed to a narcissist over a period of time, you might have started to believe that the way they treat you is your fault.

Perhaps you have even heard them say things like:

  • “I did this because you made me feel bad” or

  • “I did this because you did that”

Or maybe this was just implied through their body language or other actions.

However, this is simply untrue.

And it is manipulation.

You are not responsible for them

You are not responsible for anyone else's behaviour except for your own, and you never have been.

(Unless perhaps you have children, and even then who is responsibility for their behavior is questionable!).

That first sentence above is important and worth repeating often.

You are not responsible for anyone else's behaviour except for your own, and you never have been.

Since the narcissist is not your child, you are not responsible for how they choose, (or don’t choose!) to behave.

We all get to choose how we behave, and how we respond, for ourselves. And we are all responsible for our feelings, regardless of who we think “made us feel that way.”

So how do you stop the pattern of attracting narcissists, once and for all?

Here’s the thing.

The pattern of having narcissistic relationships doesn't change, unless (wait for it!) … you change.

But I am not talking about changing in the way that you might think…

If you've had a narcissistic relationship where you've experienced behaviours like lies, put downs, manipulation, gaslighting, then you probably have already had the sense that something was wrong and that something needed to change. And one of the reason's you'd have known that something needs to change, is because it felt so bad (or still feels bad).

This bad feeling is an indication to you that something isn't right.

And it's your job to listen to the feeling when things feels bad and respond to it. But again, not in the way that you might think, (we will get to this).

So what does need to change?

What needs to change in order to stop the cycle of attracting and being attracted to individuals that don't treat you right?

To answer this, let's start by looking at what many people with codependent people pleasing traits in narcissistic relationships erroneously think needs to change.

Codependent thoughts and beliefs that keep you stuck may include:

  • “Why are they treating me like this?"

  • "Why did they do / say that?"

  • "What did I do to deserve this?”

  • “Why aren't I good enough for them?”

  • "What is wrong with me?"

  • “How can I be better (so they stop treating me this way)?”

  • “If I could just fix this / me / them, tThe problem is not you and it never was. hen things would be different, or they'd go back to the way things were.”

  • “If only I was good enough, then they would treat me better.”

  • “I bet they will be nice to their next partner / someone else.”

  • “If I just keep my mouth shut, stop 'complaining' and try harder maybe it will be okay?”

  • “If I could get them to see who I really am then everything would be OK. They would see me, they would know that I have good intentions, they would validate me, love and approve of me, and then they would treat me better, like how they did in the beginning.

Can you relate to any of these thoughts?

The problem is not you, though.

However, the problem is not you and it never was. In actual fact, the problem with how they choose to treat you doesn't lie with you. It is not that you are not good enough at all, not even a smidge!

  • It is not that you don’t deserve love and respect.

  • It is not that there's anything wrong with you.

  • It is not that you need to be better.

  • It is not that you haven't tried hard enough.

  • It is not that you need to get better at stuffing down how you truly feel.

  • It is not that you need to stop expressing yourself.

  • It is not that you need to fix or change somebody else, or even try to.

  • It is not that you need to be 'less sensitive' in order to get better at accepting their treatment.

It actually has nothing to do with any of those things. None of them are even remotely true.

So what is the problem?

Since the problem is not that you are not good enough, what is it?

The problem is that, on some level, you have come to believe that there is something wrong with you and that you deserve this treatment.

Or believe, on some level, that you are not good enough, or that you just need(ed) to try harder. Or that you don’t deserve love and respect.

This is what a narcissist would have you believe in order for them to gain (and keep) control over you so they can continue mistreating you, without taking responsibility for their actions.

The problem is your (false) beliefs.

And these false beliefs feel bad. Real bad.

Having beliefs like you are not good enough feel really bad, but you should know that these feelings are not based on anything factual, these feelings are only based on false beliefs.

It is possible that you have internalized the voice of the narcissist, that says (either explicitly, or implied through their actions) that their treatment of you is your fault, and it is not. Maybe you believe you are responsible for them and that if you can help them change, then you will be safe, lovable, enough.

Perhaps you are adding some of your own negative self-talk and putting even more fuel onto the 'feeling bad about myself' fire.

These beliefs keep you stuck

These believes cause you a big problem because they can keep you stuck in the cycle of narcissistic abuse, accepting mistreatment, abuse, lies, whilst all the time thinking it's your fault and wistfully hoping for better.

Thinking if you try harder it will go away.

Or perhaps instead if you bury your head in the sand it might just blow over and everything will be like it was in the beginning.

All of these beliefs are keeping you stuck.

  • Stuck hoping if only you could find the key that would unlock a secret door to a fulfilling relationship with this person.

  • Stuck trying to be anything but who you truly authentically are so that you can get the love and approval that you so crave.

  • Stuck ruminating that you are not 'enough,' or that their next partner will be 'enough' and will therefore be treated better.

You loose yourself

All the while, you loose pieces of yourself in the process.

Perhaps over the course of your relationship you gave up hobbies, dreams, self expression, saw friends or family less, parted with your money, time and energy, giving and doing things that you didn't want to be doing. Resulting in feeling weaker, less yourself and less confident overtime.

Going round in circles

In this kind of relationship you go round and round in circles like you are on a hamster wheel, and you end up depleted.

The narcissistic relationship is not like a healthy relationship.

In the narcissistic relationship, the more you try and the more you put in, the less you get back in return, and the more depleted you become.

And the more depleted you become, the less attractive you are to the narcissist, because you have less energy to offer them. (Narcissists live off of other peoples emotional energy. This isn't normal. And this isn't your fault.)

The narcissistic relationship is a lose-lose situation for the one in the relationship with them.

So how do you win?

You step off the hamster wheel.

I'll break down how to step off the hamster wheel that is a narcissistic relationship in a three step process below, as well as share a little of my personal experience on the road to healthy love.

Step 1. You step into the truth of what has happened to you.

To do this, it can be really beneficial at first to give yourself the space to disconnect (at least momentarily) from your relationship with this person and take your feelings towards them out of the picture, just for a moment, so you can detach from them enough to do this exercise.

Once you have created this space, write down a list of the things that that person did or said that you did not like throughout the duration of your time together. Make sure to include the worst of the worst stuff.

In order to do this successfully, it might help you to view them as if they were treating someone else this way (not necessarily you). This will allow you to look only at their behavior, instead of being influenced by what they said about why they did the things they did, or what you may or may not have done, or what they or you think you deserve, or otherwise being clouded by self doubt or your feelings towards them.

Then sit with the truth of what happened and how you feel about that happening.

And ask, is this okay? Is what they did okay? Is how they behaved okay? Is how they spoke to me okay? Am I okay with this? Would it be okay for a stranger to do / say / behave that way to anyone else, or if a stranger acted this way toward me? Or if someone were treating my best friend, or a small child, this way?

Sitting still enough to face the truth of the reality can be very hard, but it is necessary if you want your reality to change.

The above sentence also bears repeating.

Sitting still enough to face the truth of the reality can be very hard, but it is necessary if you want your reality to change.

This list writing exercise bears reviewing every-time you find yourself ruminating over what happened or not feeling good enough or deserving of love.

Introduction to Step 2.

As we get into step 2. I want to share with you a little of my personal experience with overcoming feeling like the way they treated me was my fault...

My experience

My personal experience of wondering 'Is it me?' really came to light when I was in a relationship with a covert narcissist that suddenly turned physically violent towards me. Afterward, I distinctly remember thinking, 'Was this my fault?' and 'Did I deserve this?!'

At the time I was away from friends and family and I met a women who shared with me that she had experienced domestic violence in a previous relationship. I distinctly remember telling her my fear how I worried that it was my fault. And she said the following to me:

"This is not your fault. But, if you stay with them, the next time they do this (which they will), it will be your fault."

Now there's some food for thought.

If I didn't like the way I was being treated, and I choose to stay, if (or more like when) there were any further violence (which is highly likely - the best predictor of future behaviour is past behavior) it would be my fault in the sense that I'd have known at that point that I was putting myself in known danger with an abuser.

Of course, not all narcissists are physically violent, but it still rings true that:

If someone does or says something that we do not like, and we don't want it to happen again, we need to put a boundary in place so that it doesn't happen again.

Sometimes that boundary is creating physical space, by leaving permanently or temporarily. But other times a boundary could be with your words or with your actions.

So this leads me to Step 2.

Step 2. Learn how to protect yourself by learning how to implement boundaries

By the way, I created a free guide on finding and implementing your boundaries after going through the process of learning boundaries from scratch, if you want to check it out for free here.

It is our responsibility how we respond to the actions of others.

Our responsibility includes protecting ourselves from situations and people that are damaging to us, whether that damage is physical, psychological, financial or emotional, and even if it is simply something we don't like or want to be around.

That was my some of my experience on my road to healthy love. now let's continue to the third and final step in solving the problem of thinking you were treated a certain way because you were not enough....

Step 3.

Step 3. You step into the truth of all of who you are (and all of what you deserve!)

You come back to yourself and you realise that what you've been influenced to believe about yourself is a lie.

You step away from the false beliefs of “I am not good enough” and “It was my fault.”

You come back to the truth of who you really are and your own 'enoughness'.

You win by stepping away from the lies you have come to believe about yourself and you come into the truth that:

  • You are not responsible for how somebody chooses to treat you, or the choices that they make.

  • You deserve love and support.

  • You are enough, in fact, you are more than good enough.

  • And you are worthy of true love and support.

There isn’t a reality that exists where you deserve to be narcissistically abused. Period.

Finding your own sense of worthiness, deservedness, self approval and self love is the way to stop the pattern of narcissistic abuse.

Find wholeness

This leads you to find a sense of completion, wholeness, peace, acceptance and love within yourself. And from that place, if you so choose, you can build a healthy loving partnership with somebody else. Somebody who has also found their own sense of 'enoughness' within themselves.

  • Somebody who doesn't need to put somebody else down in order to feel fleetingly better about themselves.

  • Somebody who doesn't need to find an emotional dumping ground in someone else.

  • Somebody that takes responsibility for their own actions and emotions.

  • Somebody who doesn’t put the blame onto you.

  • Somebody that also reflects back to you your own 'enoughness'.

Like I said, we can know that we are worthy and deserving of love on a conscious level, but this isn't enough. We need to know and feel with every cell and fibre of our being that we deserve to receive true love.

Then, the codependent thoughts, questions and beliefs we once held change from:

  • “Why are they treating me like this?" to "How does this treatment have me feeling?", and "Is this treatment something that I am willing to accept?"

  • "What did I do to deserve this?” to "I don't deserve or condone this treatment, this is not okay and this needs to stop."

  • “Why aren't I good enough for them?” to "This treatment is not good enough for me"

  • “If I could just fix them, to "This person has some issues and it is not my job to be an emotional dumping ground for them."

  • “If I just keep my mouth shut, stop 'complaining' and try harder maybe it will be okay?” to "This person is not able to hear or see me or validate my feelings., but that doesn't mean my feelings are not valid and I still have every right to express myself and stand up for myself"

  • “If I could get them to see who I really am then everything would be OK." to "This person is not able to see or appreciate me and who I really am."


In order to step off the hamster wheel of only feeling deserving of dysfunctional, unsupportive narcissistic relationships, try the following steps:

1. Step into the truth of what has happened to you. You can do this by writing out a list of exactly what you did not like about this relationship and the worst of the worst of how you were treated. Acknowledge that all of those things were real and that they happened and referencing this list often (every time you doubt yourself).

2. Learn how to identify and implement your boundaries. Get the free guide on finding and implementing your boundaries here.

3. Come back to the truth that how you have been treated has nothing to do with you and that you are and have always been good enough to deserve love, support and respect. Realise that what you've been influenced to believe about yourself is a lie and work to correct this lie with the truth of being deserving.

This journey from narcissistic abuse to healthy love might feel overwhelming, and I want to validate that the journey can definitely be overwhelming at times! That's why I try and make the steps as clear and doable as possible with what I create, whether its in my blog posts, videos, freebies or in my sessions and programs with private clients, so you can reduce the overwhelm and get the results that you want.

In fact, it was my own feeling of overwhelm overcoming narcissistic abuse that personally led me to hypnotherapy. And this then led me to train as a hypnotherapist and coach, so I can also help others on their own path to overcoming narcissistic love and finding healthy relationships - including a love relationship - the way that they want it.

Through hypnotherapy we can do the necessary work to update the subconscious mind with the truth of who you are a lot quicker and simpler, without all the resistance from your conscious thinking mind!

Your subconscious mind is the part of you that controls your habitual behavior, responses and feelings, so by working with the subconscious, you can make lasting changes on an emotional, habitual level.

If you would like help on your journey to breaking free from toxic love and moving into healthy love you can find out more about my coaching and hypnotherapy services here. It would be my honour to work with you.

Sending you all the best for you and your healing journey.

Marie xx

P.S Remember, you can and you will heal if you choose that is what you want for yourself and you make the decision to go after it! By taking one step at a time, you can and you will heal.


bottom of page