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Narcissism Love & Sex

The Curse of Narcissism

Steve Cooper discusses Narcissism Love and Sex
Steve Cooper

There is a story in Greek mythology about a fellow called Narcissus who had a great number of lovers. When Narcissus did not return their love, his admirers became upset. They approached the Greek god Artemis who agreed that because of his infidelity and disregard for their feelings he would put a curse on Narcissus. This curse caused Narcissus to sit by the same pool, day in and day out, in love with his own reflection. Narcissus was no longer able to touch or be loved by anyone until eventually, out of loneliness and despair he withered away and died.

This story is very similar to the loneliness and unquenchable longing I once felt while surrounded by a family who loved me. I was very lucky my wife Kim helped me break free of this curse.

The special person whose attention you crave
is like a mirage in the desert;
Each new admirer looks like the perfect one;
but only for a short time before the illusion fades . . .

Does Pornography Feed Narcissism?

Engaging in a fantasy sex life when you are married encourages lying and deception. Because of the temptation to present an over glorified version of yourself, Web-cam and chat room sex will also encourage the development of false self. These are both signs of a narcissistic view on love & Marriage. Considering the numerous studies now proving pornography addiction is destructive to men on every level it seems obvious that engaging in pornography use is one of the signs of narcissism.

Like Narcissus, a pornography addict stares into a pool (his computer) longing for love he will never find there. If he cannot break the curse, he will eventually find himself abandoned by all the people he once loved.

Are you ready to end your lonliness? Sign up for my free intro tutorial at the bottom of the page here:

The Narcissist

Signs of Narcissism in Your Marriage (scroll right to left)  . . .

For fifteen years, the Coopers have offered themselves as humble guides and mentors, helping families avoid cynicism and chaos. Leading the way as peer support specialists whose own family has traversed love's dangerous terrain.
Taking you to that place inside yourself that you can't go by yourself. Helping you get back in touch with the power of love within you to restore the sanity in your marriage whether you stay or leave.

This Post Has 53 Comments

    1. Hi Mary, you are in the right place!

      First sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of this page and then you can email us and we will help.


    2. I do too. I’m in a narcs relationship and I have a 6 year old son. I’m going crazy and I’m scared and sad and think he is going to kill me or wants me to think he is. I’m not working and we are on lockdown due to virus yet he still sneaks women in the house and risks us getting sick. He says he lives me but then says fruel things and scary things under his breath. Is he going to kill me or does he just want to control me?

      1. Hi Nikki, Yes it sounds like you are in danger. Please get a copy of Back From the Looking Glass (available through Amazon Kindle or the bookshop on this site) and work through the steps carefully. You can also join my group at where you will find people you can talk to.

    1. Please help me bring peace to my home and my children so we don’t have to suffer anymore at the hands of my husband this is now being put on my one year old and three year old grandsons as well!! WHAT DO I DO

    1. Hey Robert welcome! The path ahead will require some big changes but you are not alone now and there is hope 🙂

  1. After 40 years of marriage with my husband, I’ve come to the crushing blow and reality of my co-dependence and his narcissism. It’s definitely time for a change!

          1. There are ideas and suggestions throughout my books and in articles on my blog – but I will think about doing a list for the blog before Newyear 🙂 Money of course is always a big one. Make sure you have that one sorted out!

    1. i have been married for 46 years and it has been a painful heartbreaking struggle. Didn’t til as of late know the term narcissism but i now know ive been married to one. we are struggling now with an affair he had 20 years ago when our daughters were still home. i didnt want to tear their world apart as they were in high school and i was also torn about dealing with it. its a painful thing to be married to a selfish, self centered, sex and alcohol addictive person who is not the person you fell in love with. if youd like to share and try to be a support for each other, maybe we can become stronger together.

      1. Shirley, he is the man you fell in love with. My husband is all those things too. He cheated on me after 19 years of marriage. That was 3 years ago. At some point you have to stop living in the past. Grieve the losses you have endured and even the loss of that man you fell in love with. Then let it go. For you. I think that was the best advice that has ever come out of my husbands mouth. He said I wa only making myself miserable. He knew he had done me wrong. You can make them accountable for their actions, but at some point you have to let yourself have peace. Realize there are no excuses for his behavior, and if you can’t move on with him then do it alone. I chose to stay. I won’t say it’s been easy, but for me, it has helped me discover who I am.

        1. Thank you for keeping in touch.
          I m still here. Same old story.
          My husband cheated on me.
          Complex family issues and finances for me.
          In our case the problem is that does not want to recognize the symptoms-check list and continues turnin things around
          Different therapies justifying his doing: porn and cheating because of eudipian relationship to mother and so on.
          I am ready to move alone. Any advice i am afraid of his anger and put downs.
          You are blessed

          1. Hey Gigi, It is vital that you understand that change will not come to a narcissistic/codependent relationship from the narcissistic partner seeing their faults. The change comes instead from the codependent setting firm boundaries whether the Narcissistic partner likes it or not (ie. the won’t!) over time this will change the power balance and dynamic. Whether you stay or whether you go, Back From the Looking Glass has the steps you need to take now.

      2. I have been in love with my Narcissistic Husband for 17 yrs. But lately I feel as though I’m falling out of love with him. His lack of love, concern and compassion are starting to drivw me away. He also is a serial cheater who is addicted to porn and tries to lie and manipulate me into believing I’m crazy and imaging his cheating ways. Things are so tense in my home we all walk in eggshells including our 14 yr old son. He can never do anything right also just like me. I love my husband and want to save our marriage but I’m losing hope fast. I cry everyday because it’s so painful to watch my family fall apart and I feel so helpless abd hopeless. I no longer have any friends to talk to and I don’t have a close family. I’m so alone and afraid 💔

  2. I am currently seperated from my partner. And all of this rings true. I found your work once we had split. I could take the explosive outburst no longer. I know he loves me? But he struggles with all you describe in you ebooks ( I’ve purchased a few and subscribed for a while. I dont have regular access to a computer at the moment.) Anyway i really gell with what you teach. We have a son. And after what ive learnt from you both. Amd the little things from it i have been able to use and see results. Im in awe of your work. We have the worst relationship and people think
    I am mad for wanting to reconcile and continue to try and FIX it. But I myself really connect with your teachings And feel with some help. We could heal and be aswell the best union possible. Although how do i get there to start when he is living seperate and resents me aswell for making live seperate.

    1. I too am separated from my husband of 20 years. 3 kids. He has npd. I love what Kim does and had hoped for my husband, kids, family alas I don’t hold out much hope for him. The last thing he would do is seek out a site like this and the hardest thing for me to accept is that he cannot see he has a problem and therefore will not choose to make positive changes to his life. I can only focus on my boundaries and getting on with life and raising my kids (100% custody – thank God!). We remain separated but still are technically still married. (I have no desire to move on – clearly my arsehole radar is broken so why would I!). After nearly 5 years in this limbo still nothing – if anything he has deteriorated further. He is a serial adulterer and liar. It took me 20 years of stupid blind trust before I found out what an appalling human being I had married. I have no respect for him and no trust in him. He has no interest in rebuilding the trust. He truly believed I’d simply forgive him and that he could carry on as before after I discovered his secret life. He was sorry – mostly that he had been caught out!. I have forgiven him but I cannot forget what he has done (indirectly recklessly gambling with my life through his infidelity, and neglecting me and the kids). I will never allow him back unless I see a real commitment to change. His npd has worsened over past months and now plays manipulative games with the children (who he has barely had anything to do with up till now). He has threatened to disown and cut my son off financially if he doesn’t select a career his father approves of (ie. medicine). His hurtful angry destructive rants and irrational carry on is infuriating. It’s so hypocitical. (He himself is not a doctor – he’s a medical professional but took 5 years to complete his one 3 year degree – all funded by his own parents). My son is an A+ student and wants to pursue a career in audio engineering. My husband treats him like an accessory that he will discard if he doesn’t conform. My son has realised for himself that his father is a psychopath. My family are very supportive of my son’s dreams and I am grateful there are several good male role models amongst my brothers and my father for him. As for my younger daughters, they are ignored – totally irrelevant. Tragic. He says he loves me and the kids in his own skewed way, and does supports us financially. Love to him is a very strange thing though – I think I fit into the category of “good breeding stock”. I’m on some strange pedestal in his eyes, because I am and have always been faithful to him, and trustworthy. Qualities he deliberately sought out and pretended to have, but wasn’t prepared to reciprocate in his own words and actions. What can be done with someone who has no moral compass – no backbone?..whose life is a fascade?
      Good luck to you though Deb. I follow Kim’s & Steves work and live in hope. I pray that my husband will become a sincere, good and decent man of integrity one day…who knows. He’s in God’s hands.
      Perhaps Steve could tell us both what made him realise he had a problem/needed to change?
      or Kim – Can you offer any advice?

      1. Hi Kate, You can read more of our story in Back from the Looking Glass! Steve offers his perspective there too 🙂

        In the end Steve didn’t have a lot of choice. Things had become so difficult for him (when I made him face his own self created consequences) that his false pride eventually had to cave. I had become so much stronger and such a better leader in our family which I know made that choice so much easier for him.

        If you are financially reliant on your husband this may be difficult as it may be hard for him to drop his “act” of having it all together and let you lead for awhile if he has to keep up appearances in a stressful work environment. Giving him a little understanding about that pressure (while maintaining your boundaries) and finding ways to help carry that load if he drops the BS and just spends more time with you all may help build trust.

  3. And I also struggle with my codependance issues. Which while we have been seperate I I have worked on the areas you talk about. Do you have any further advice. Or do i need to let go and move on is it too late?

    Thank you Kim and Steve. ????????

  4. It would be cool if you added information about multiple sex partners and BDSM. This is a fast growing culture for NCS and autism. A place where they convince themselves that they are finding trust and love because the woman allows the abuse physically and emotionally. Polyamory is welcomed to keep the highs flowing. Then they wonder why they can’t succeed in their goals in life. Very sad stuff. False sense of power since they feel so out of power in real life. Of course it all starts with porn. The porn gets unsatisfying and they take what they see into real life trying to up that dopamine fix. I can’t imagine the fog that happens in the brain filling it with so much garbage. I think a lot of people can’t wake up. Ever.

    1. Sounds like a very sad place Kimberly. Unfortunately we have no direct experience with this world and so it may be hard to offer comprehensive help. Still I will certainly keep my eyes out for relevant research 🙂

    2. Kimberly, I believe I’m married to a covert narcissist. Her problem is serious, but I’m the one who’s had the porn problem. It was baffling me too. The kind of porn I wanted was so completely unlike me. I would never be cruel, force myself on someone, hurt someone. It was driving me crazy. A feeling of true Jekel and Hyde. I ask myself, do I have narcissistic tendencies? And I think the answer is yes. But I am also very emotional, very empathetic. Sometimes I’ll go back to insensitive things I’ve done in the past and grieve over them. Things most people would probably consider minor. But the link between the sex fantasies and the feeling of control is what hits home to me about your post. Yes, I think you’re on to something. The wounded self is hiding from pain. The wounded self is angry at those who they believe caused the pain. Cruelty in sex, even if only ‘pretend,’ briefly restores a sense of control, a kind of false justice. That’s what’s really feeding the addiction. Not the dopamine, though that strengthens the pull. But in the end in only increases the self-loathing. You cannot accept you are that person, so you run deeper inside to hide from even greater pain, like a twilight zone episode that never ends. The only way out is to stop running, and face the pain. The real pain, not the pretend stuff. So what happens in a marriage between two borderline narcs? Lots of pain. It all makes sense now.

  5. Thanks for this information, Kim. I am learning with baby steps here. I am beginning to see the results of nurturing attachment, setting some boundaries and standing up for myself.

    The toughest moments for me are when I am sick and need someone else to 1) take care of my child’s needs for me and 2) do a bit of care-taking of me (food, water). My N partner does not see the needs of the child. When I asked for help — with specific requests — he will berate me and then refuse to help. I have an autoimmune disease so getting well takes time and rest. I am brainstorming about ways to get my and my child’s needs met when I am ill in the future. Any suggestions?


    1. Hey Patricia, Hang in there! Overcoming codependence is about finding yourself and that following your own heart and interests and giving yourself love is not second best to love from someone else. When you truly become your own best friend you can never be alone! Check out 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence and get started today 🙂

  6. How do we create boundaries that work without leaving ir making him leave- that’s where I am at with 5 kids… and is it possible that someone who never seemed like a narcissist in the beginning suddenly is or I have also read that make depression mixed with drunkeness can mimic that?

    1. Hi Andria 🙂 You will find the steps to create these boundaries in Back From the Looking Glass – 13 Steps to a Peaceful Home. Most people with narcissistic tendencies are charming in the beginning – it goes with the territory!

  7. Pls help. My narc partner has vanished. I am dealing w lyme disease, he has become incredibly selfish & distant. Had cat scan, he text me and wld not be supportive. I was upset, told him. He got off phone upset, never responded back, been 3 days. Heartless & cruel. I have encephalitis & it is serious. Everything is more important to him and now he is punishing me bcuz I tried to hold him accountable. I don’t know what to do now. Broken, sick & alone.

    1. Hi Julia, It is sometimes said that codependence can be fatal because people make themselves sick with somatic illness expecting that this will make people care about them more. Being sick does not make us more attractive. How much do you love and care about yourself? Your partner has shown they are not concerned about your health. You need to take care of yourself now and stop worrying about him. It is not his love you need to heal – it is your own love.

  8. My husband claims to be a strong Christian. He knows the Bible better than most scholars. He seems to have a strong moral compass. I found out about his secret life and lies, (which he denies) he makes me feel crazy. I can hardly believe that is is a narcissist! He is such a convincing liar. Married 20 years before I found out. Could I be wrong. Could he just have the traits and be able to love and have empathy?

  9. I’m just learning about Narcissism. My husband has been very difficult to live with for 20 years. We have a business together and have over 20 employees. He is making everyones life miserable. I dont know what to do anymore. It’s not easy to just get up and leave when there is so much involved. In 20 years, I’ve only caught my husband watching porn twice. I always felt there were many secrets but to this day, I have no proof so I can’t really tell if he cheats or not. It’s very frustrating, I’m at my wits end and so are my employees.

    1. Hi Denise – Leaving is not as easy as people pretend it to be. The situation you are in is very difficult and I don’t pretend our advice is easy – but we do offer help for your situation.

  10. After many years of living depressed, no self confidence, low self esteem, I started hearing and researching about narsistic behaviors. I have been trapped by this mental abuse. As I research I find I have to get away. He’s not going to change. We’ve done marriage counseling only to watch him texting his girlfriend. He’s controlled me physically financially and emotionally. I’ve been told it’s me that makes him do what he does affairs, sexual impurities, and porn addiction. I could go on but he is the description of narcissistic disorder. I have a chance to move out before filling for divorce but I’m still afraid of how he will react and how he controls the finances. What and how should I handle this?

    1. Hi Kim, Unfortunately leaving can make the abuse escalate. Please get our advice at the end of Back From the Looking Glass 13 Steps to Peaceful Home on how to best manage your separation.

  11. Hi I am interested in your work having being married for 33 years to a N and a C myself and for learning how to deal with situations now with others and manage my own emotions.

  12. Hi Kim,

    How can I get my wife to understand that no matter how ugly the truth…I want it out in the open so that we can rebuild our marriage. She has aliases online on dating sights and other off color sights but will fight me to the death saying she does not. I love her and no matter the mental issues I believe with truth we can repair and resolve. How do I help her break free of the narcissist mother that raised her and the ugly relationship examples she grew up with? I am afraid our world isn’t far from crumbling and I alone cannot reach her.

    1. Please check out the My Personal Bill of Rights exercise in the Love Safety Net Workbook, you are not alone, take care.

  13. Hi Kim,

    How can I get my wife to understand that no matter how ugly the truth…I want it out in the open so that we can rebuild our marriage. She has aliases online on dating sights and other off color sights but will fight me to the death saying she does not. I love her and no matter the mental issues I believe with truth we can repair and resolve. How do I help her break free of the narcissist mother that raised her and the ugly relationship examples she grew up with? I am afraid our world isn’t far from crumbling and I alone cannot reach her.

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