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Did My Abusive Husband Ever Really Love Me?

Updated on August 23, 2017

Escaping and Healing from Psychological Abuse

In my quest to heal from years of extreme mental manipulation, ambient abuse (aka gaslighting) and control, I am seeking answers. Are you?

I am hoping you can help me (and others in abusive relationships).

This is the third in a series of pages created since my husband of 28 years has stopped any normal interaction with our kids and me. Long story short, once we began to see his lies and abusive behavior for what they were, he decided not to have anything more to do with us. I have learned this sudden abandonment of children (and spouses) is sadly common among narcissistic personality disordered men.

It's hard to imagine, even to us, that his abuse was hidden for so many years. I know it sounds a little crazy when I say that we thought, despite his often abrupt, mean, and rude behavior, that he was also loving and had our best interests at heart. Certainly, no one is perfect.

Now we aren't sure if we were much more than favorite objects to him. Why else, when he can't control us, are we no longer of any use to him?

While he is gone in from our home in body, his angry tones and brainwashing words still echo in my mind. I am suffering the effects of trauma: fear, nightmares, insomnia, reliving traumatic events, and an overall feeling of distrust. I need to educate myself on controlling people and malignant narcissism and continue to heal.

I also feel the need to share what I have learned, to help others, and to help spread awareness of this most harmful type of abuse. While abuse of another person's body is highly objectionable in Western culture, abuse of the mind (the heart, the very soul) of another seems largely misunderstood or ignored. This must change.

My thanks for any and all thoughts you share with others and with me. Perhaps we can make a difference, somehow, in someone's life.

(and please also visit the other pages in this series)

(image by Andrew C., Romania, via

What IS Love?

Perhaps They Don't Know.

Maybe Love Means Something Different to Him? - Inside the mind of a previously self-centered man.

This guy has several videos on YouTube. He seems to have valuable insights.

Some Controlling People are Narcissistic, Angry, and Self-Centered

Narcissistic People are Self-Centered - They Care About No One But Themselves

It's All About Him: How to Identify and Avoid the Narcissist Male
It's All About Him: How to Identify and Avoid the Narcissist Male

Real-life examples of how narcissists act, personality traits they possess, and more.


FREE BOOK DOWNLOAD with Amazon Prime! - Start reading Controlling People on your Kindle in under a minute.


Possible Answers: Is He Capable of a Healthy Kind of Love?

I am not sure.

Some Controlling People are Narcissistic, Angry, and Self-Centered

I believe this is the case with my abusive husband.

Definition of NPD:

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they're superior to others and have little regard for other people's feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

~ Mayo Clinic Staff,

* * *

"Narcissists "love" their spouses or other significant others as long as they continue to reliably provide them with Narcissistic Supply (in one word, with attention). Inevitably, they regard others as mere "sources", objects, or functions. Lacking empathy and emotional maturity, the narcissist's love is pathological."


* * *

"He loves the romance, the attention, admiration, adoration, promise of ideal love and hope that he has found "the one" who will tolerate all his weirdness without question. When his beloved begins to question him, differ with him or make demands, his "weirdness" escalates. He resorts to his manipulation techniques to get you to stop bringing his issues to the forefront. And his greatest manipulation technique is to dump it all on you. It is your fault. You are too demanding! You don't accept him as he is!"

~, Did The Narcissist Ever Really Love Me?

* * *

The narcissist's "love" is hate and fear: disguised fear of losing control and hatred of the very people his precariously balanced personality so depends on. The narcissist is egotistically committed only to his own well-being. To him, the objects of his "love" are interchangeable and inferior.


* * *

"Perhaps he loved the idea of you. Perhaps he loved how you made him feel. Perhaps he loved the fantasy of what life with you could bring him. Perhaps he loved the idea that he has finally found someone who will love him unconditionally and ignore his shortcomings (which are a lot)."

~, Did The Narcissist Ever Really Love Me?

Kindle eBooks


Were We Just Props in His Self-Centered Life?

Rather than tolerate grief for the harm they caused others, take responsibility to fix the mess they created, live with the sadness of knowing they hurt their family/partner, etc. the narcissist will avoid responsibility by replacing the people in his life.

We are props in a theatrical presentation and having been judged incompetent and imperfect, his highness dismisses us without warning.

~ Midlife & Narcissism, The WoN Connection

Photo by & Copyright 2011, Janienne Jennrich
Photo by & Copyright 2011, Janienne Jennrich

Or Perhaps He Feels Entitled?

Not only do abusers feel entitled to what they want, but also how they want it, and when and where they want it.

-- Steve Becker, Getting Inside The Head Of The Abusive Personality

For a man to be successful in a modern marriage, he must develop the habit of acting on his sense of inadequacy as motivation to improve his relationship. He must clearly understand that his bad feelings are not punishment; they are motivation to be more protective and loving.

-- Steven Stosny in Anger in the Age of Entitlement, 2010

Entitlement is the "overarching attitudinal characteristic" of abusive men, a belief in having special rights without responsibilities, justifying unreasonable expectations (e.g., family life must centre on his needs). He will feel the wronged party when his needs are not met and may justify violence as self-defence.

-- Characteristics of Abusive Men, Centre for Children and Families in the Justice System

Entitlement is the abuser's belief that he has a special status and that it provides him with exclusive rights and privileges that do not apply to his partner. The attitudes that drive abuse can largely be summarized by this one word.

-- Lundy Bancroft, Author and former codirector of Emerge, the nation's first therapeutic program for abusive men

"The hardest thing is accepting that one's spouse never cared for you,

but only himself."

I would really appreciate your input. - Thanks.

In reading and educating myself about controlling, angry men (and/or narcissistic people), I have learned that their abusive behavior stems from a very self-centered attitude. They see themselves as inherently better than others. If we are not showering them with admiration, approval, or being what they want us to be, we are seen as worthless to them.

A fellow abuse survivor wrote, "The hardest thing is accepting that one's spouse never cared for you, but only himself."

I think she's right. Do you? It's a horrible thought, isn't it? Maybe you can help me wrap my brain around this?

Do you think he ever really loved me?

"...there are individuals on this earth who have been taught from infancy that control is love,

and extreme control is extreme love,

which includes justifying any action in the crusade to control."

-- Abuse forum post

Do you think abusive, narcisstic people are capable of love?

See results

This book was recommended to me...

Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move On
Narcissistic Lovers: How to Cope, Recover and Move On

From an Amazon reader review of this book:

"The biggest thing I took away from this book was that it wasn't my fault, and I cannot have any contact with him going forward. He will continue to use me if I let him - knowledge is power, and I will no longer let him charm me, or let him play the woe is me card to get me to give in. If you're going in a relationship where you even suspect your partner has this disorder, this book can give you that knowledge to give you power. "


Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you.

-- Dr. Joyce Brothers

I hope to review this book soon. It has good ratings and sounds helpful.

Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse
Healing the Scars of Emotional Abuse

If you feel unfairly criticized, controlled by others, or are afraid of being lonely, you could be suffering from emotional abuse.


"That you would trust and honor you both with one of the greatest gifts one human can offer to another..."

The Abused has No Blame in Trusting & Loving

This helps me...

"Trust is a gift. If you gave and it was not well and honestly received - YOU have no blame. That you would trust and honor you both with one of the greatest gifts one human can offer to another, makes the betrayer the person who is sorely lacking. You must not diminish the magnitude and beauty of your gift - by belittling yourself for having given."


The new symbol for domestic violence and abuse of women - the turquoise ring.
The new symbol for domestic violence and abuse of women - the turquoise ring. | Source

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      JJNW~ thank you for writing and sharing your hell. I liked this article, I think I am having the most trouble with the sudden abandonment. It's like I never existed. Or we were just going steady like in jr high, not married. Of course we weren't, IN HIS MIND. I will continue to watch for your writings. Blessings....

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      hi im 42 and have currrntly sepaREATED, FROM MY VERY abusive husband of 23 years, im emotional wreck and always been finacally dependant on him he has always bckmailed about commitinng suiadace, as alwayshad one night standss, but keeps telling me he loves me, i now know ive wasted all these years on a man who never really loved me only himself, if anyone could me advicewud be apprecited , as feeling very confuesd x

    • JJNW profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from USA

      @anonymous: I wish I could help. I still have trouble accepting that he would not change to hold onto his family, his home, his kids, his dog. Thinking the best for you.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Am happy you could leave. am still stuck in here..looking all over online for even at least one article that says he changed and they lived happily ever after..but NONE. am so frustrated but at the end of the day i know what to do...

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Peace of conscience on your part (knowing you only tried your best to be loving) is something the other person can't ever have. He has an outward act of calmness and sanity, but inside is a raving lunatic who is scared out of his wits. He knows he's wrong but won't admit it, and his conscience burns like fire telling him he ought to change. Ignoring this kills the conscience and solidifies his psychopathic super-selfish tendencies.

    • JJNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      @Soldiersister8184: Soldiersister, you are so kind to reach out to me in the midst of your own situation. I am so thankful my children are older and saw the abuse for what it is. We can help lift each other up, we survivors. Thank you for speaking out. Thinking good thoughts for you and your children.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      There are more of us survivors than we, perhaps, believe there are. I finally stood up and refused to cover for him anymore, and off he went without a word. I think the worst part for us is the fallout for my ten and five, it's very hard for them to take in. But we are strong, and we will make it. Don't let the finances get you down to much - I know it's difficult, but there is always a way. You were strong enough to get out, you are strong enough to do this too. And you are not alone.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I'm glad he's gone from your home, and hope the rest follows - peace in your mind and soul, and a better financial situation.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 

      5 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      I'm so glad you're free now to build a happier life for you and your children.

    • JJNW profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from USA

      @donnetted: Makes you think --- yeah! Oh dear. They must be the best actors in the universe. I am so glad you got out alive and are here on Squidoo. Thank you for the blessing and for speaking out.

    • profile image

      Donnette Davis 

      5 years ago from South Africa

      I love what Sidther says. I was also married to one such person, who claimed to love me beyond reason and then burned my home down with me in it when I left. Makes you think.... Blessed x

    • justmelucy profile image


      6 years ago

      I thank my angels, spirit guides for leading me here. I found your lens link on the sidebar of my lens. I thank you for this great lens and look forward to reading all that you have to offer. Yes, I have been gaslighted.

      I am new here and rebuilding my life. Your lens has given me much insight. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

    • quickcutterss profile image


      6 years ago from Midwest

      Great lens, this was what i was looking for.

      I'll have to read the others that started this 3 part lens.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 

      6 years ago

      I say, kick him out of your head. This is your life now. (I'm telling myself that too.) "Squid Angel blessed."

    • cynthiannleighton profile image


      6 years ago

      Hmm. Healing takes time.

    • sidther lm profile image

      sidther lm 

      6 years ago

      Whether or not he loved you does not mean as much as the fact that others do. I was with a guy for years who controlled everything I did, who I spoke to, where and when I went out and took my paychecks... for a while I really wanted to know if I meant anything to him at all or if I was just an accessory- I stopped caring about whatever was going on in his head when I found out he was being investigated for serial rape. It may be hard to hear that he probably didn't love you (probably not capable) but it is his shortcomings, not yours- as long as you are asking the question about whether he loved you, he still has some control.

      I hope that you will find some sort of peace with this soon, there are others out there who do genuinely love you.

    • TapIn2U profile image


      6 years ago

      You are always loved by people around you and you are worth to be loved. Sundae ;-)

    • lclchors profile image


      6 years ago

      am glad you saw him for what he is and got away frome him. Now heal yourself and help your kids so they do not repeat your life. Good luck and God bless

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Be on your both sides.. always of mine :) Much love to you.. dear friend :D

    • siobhanryan profile image


      6 years ago

      You deserve only the best-demand the best and you will receive it

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Janienne, you are worthy of love and so much more. And I can tell that you already know that and it is that which does my heart good.


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