Steve Becker interviewed about narcissists

Lovefraud author Steve Becker, LCSW, was interviewed on Internet radio recently on the topic of narcissists. He explains the primary indicators that someone may have narcissistic personality disorder, and the destructive ways in which narcissists treat their partners.

The discussion is very informative. To listen to the interview, click the link below. Note: The horizontal purple bar under the headline is the audio feed indicator. There’s an arrow, barely visible, on the left end of the bar. Click the arrow to listen to the program.

Steve Becker, LCSW: It’s [not] all in your mind, dear

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Don’t worry about feeling ashamed. It’s actually the most dysfunctional thing about you right now, but it’s normal. You’re just the victim of a predator. Even the denial part is normal. So is the forgiving. It’s called the bargaining phase, when we think that if we’re good people and do the right thing, everything will be okay. It’s just hard to get a grip, when these things happen.

Just see the lawyer. When you’re cool-headed (or hot-headed but presenting yourself as under control) and working with some good advice, there’s a good chance you can keep your job and take this guy down. He sounds totally out-of-control and way too arrogant for his own good.

The big challenge you have is to get yourself from denial to cool-headed anger in a few months. That’s something that takes more time for some of us. But you can do this. Do you watch “Burn Notice” on TV? It’s a great show about ex-spies who solve impossible problems with dangerous people. You’re not going to use a lot of C-4 explosive like they do, but their ingenuity and can-do attitude is inspiring. This is just a little problem you have to solve and a bad guy you have to neutralize. And from everything you say about him, he’s probably going to make it easy for you.

And afterward, you’ll be a different person. Really. There are a lot of things that intimidated you that will never intimidate you again.

So here are next steps, based on what we’ve learned from people on this site who’ve handled these people successfully.

1. Find a labor lawyer in the phone book now, and pick up the phone and call him.

2. When you see him, just tell the story. Try not to emote all over the place. But if you cry, just apologize and telling him to you’re getting over it. Don’t be ashamed. You were a victim of a sexual predator; he’s seen it before. You’ll have a better relationship with your lawyer if he thinks that you’re an emotionally stable person, under normal circumstances, and you’re capable of carrying your side of the legal strategy.

3. Be clear with him about what you want. Which is, you want to keep your job in the district. And if at all possible, you want this guy gone, so he never hurts anyone there again.

4. Tell him you’re prepared to pull together all the documentation you can find, if he tells you what he needs. Let him know about the tape, and the other people that you think have also been victimized by this guy. (He’s not going to talk to them, and they won’t come up at all, unless this turns into a broader investigation, but he should know that there are other victims, and that it’s a pattern of behavior.)

Then go home and in your spare time, ask yourself if there is anything at all that you resent about this situation. Any part of it that seems unfair. Or if you feel ripped off about anything. Or treated as though you weren’t deserving of common respect. That should help you break loose your appropriate feelings of anger.

And if it feels like it’s going to balloon into an atomic bomb of anger, don’t worry about it. It’s okay. A lot of us have problems with feeling our anger, so when it finally surfaces, it’s kind of large. Go ahead and punch some pillows, imagine his face on your dart board, plot to drug him and take him to a tattoo parlor where they write things like “I’m a scumbag” all over his face (crazy vengeance plots are fun think about, just don’t do anything about it), or just do what a lot of us do, which is journal like crazy about what an outrageously terrible person he is and come here to talk it out.

That anger will cool down, and it is your friend. It will focus you and give you strength. If you’ve never experienced righteous anger before, you will surprise yourself at what you can do.

I know you don’t feel like this now. But you will. We all get there. The main thing that slows us down on getting there is feeling ashamed and thinking that it’s our fault. When you find yourself going there, just ask yourself if there is anything you resent about this situation. Go there. That’s more helpful.

Finally, I have a feeling that your shame (and concern about protecting your job) has kept you quiet about all this. When you get angry, you might be tempted to start talking about what happened to you or to warn other people. But, as you already know, it’s not a good idea to give this guy advance warning of your plans. Choose your confidants carefully. And if you get a therapist, find one without connections to the school system.

It’s a good idea to find a therapist. Something bad really did happen to you. Look for one who is a specialist in trauma, and who isn’t going to waste your time trying to figure out if you’re delusional or histrionic. Get one who starts with believing that something bad happened to you. What you want is expert emotional support to regain your confidence and your joy in life.

Stay with us. We’ve all been through it. And we’re glad to support you all the way.


Pansy, Also consult your state teacher’s union or association. They need to conduct an investigation. I hope you do get a therapist and also read THE BETRAYAL BOND. Make sure your therapist has read it too.

Like so many of us, you will be misunderstood, because like many of us, you have doubted yourself, thought he was a normal human being, thought things had/would change and have gone back to closer proximity to him. Be prepared for others to dismiss you as a scorned woman. THAT IS NOT THE CASE. You were a target, a victim, and caught in a betrayal bond. But the average person (even average judge) has not heard of this, doesn’t understand it. Hell, it is hard for us to even understand and believe it at first!

If you can get an investigation going fine, but YOUR treatment should not be the focus of it, but rather discovering if there exists a PATTERN of seduction.

In my case, I decided my own safety and sanity had to come first and I didn’t sue. I thought I would lose anyway, though I should not. But I was realistic about my chances, and my ability to have to heal from cross-examination, etc.

If you can enter a complaint in confidence, asking that a pattern be looked for, via confidential interviews with all the teachers and staff who have worked with him at the two schools, you might be able to get his certifications stripped away at the very least. You might explore going through the state dept. of educ.

Again, I would stress that you tell them you are not interested in focusing on the particulars of what you went through, but rather they should be examining the larger pattern…..that is an even larger issue (in their eyes) than what went on with you.

And women have to be assured that their answers will be kept completely confidential. They can give answers, and give their testimony in a redacted statement, which means they swore it was true, but their identity is kept secret. Matt might have a better definition.

The teacher’s union might at the very least be able to assure your transference to another school. The hard thing is that some will look down on you because an “affair” was involved, but know in your heart that you were deliberately misled, yes you made a mistake in judgment, but you don’t deserve threats of rape, and that you were brainwashed, acting from a state of fear, etc.

I had an “affair” also. It seems to make us feel disenfranchised grief, as though the wrong step we took means it is okay we were emotionally raped, that a betrayal of authority and a betrayal of intimacy took place. That is not true. We took a wrong turn, but if a married man rapes us on a date, it is still a rape. And what happened to you was emotional rape, no matter what the background scenario was.
You didn’t deserve what happened to you. No one does.

Todd, the advise about the post it note is great for all of us!

Tood, I second that. I just referenced it on another thread but couldn’t remember who wrote it. It’s a great idea.

I remember how difficult it was, when the fog was just beginning to lift, to hang onto the reality of what he was doing and saying. As long as we doubt our own eyes and ears, no recovery is possible.

It helped me to write lists and keep them in various locations–my purse, my desk at work, on the refrigerator, on the mirror, by the phone, etc. I’d write a list of what I was certain he did. I’d write a list of what I suspected. (Turns out it was much, much worse, but I didn’t know it at the time.) I’d write the list of “Rules for Dealing with Sociopaths” from Martha Stout’s book. It really helped.

I am ashamed to tell how much repetition it took until I was finally able to break free of his mind control. I re-read the journals from those years and I am absolutely mortified by my own gullibility. Month after month after month, I’d write “This is it, this is the last straw.” Over and over and over. Two full years of it.

Pansy, it seems to me that you are doubting you own perceptions. Part of you accepts his “it was just sex talk” explanation. That’s not “sex talk,” that’s a death threat.

I absolutely agree with everyone on this thread who says that the bad guy in Pansy’s life is toying with her, setting her up for some retribution of his own design.

You simply cannot engage a person like that in any way. Other people can tell you these things, Pansy, all of us on LF can tell you, but until you convince YOURSELF, you can’t escape.

And as Oxy’s story illustrates, first you must survive. Even if you have to jump in your vehicle and flee for your life, DO IT. Trust your instincts. You must protect your own life. No job is worth your life. No home is worth your life. Nothing material in this world is worth your life.


I agree, that is better and more important than the advice I gave. Forget about asking for an investigation. If you do that, it should wait until you are in safety and situated in another state, and in a good place mentally and emotionally. Then you can decided whether to pursue, or like me, decide you just can’t put yourself through that.

My N/S/P made a rape threat against me, about forced sex where I would not be able to scream….and I thought he was kidding. He wasn’t. About 3 months later he did what he had threatened. And still I stayed. The mind games they pull on us are unbelievable. Like Todd, I’m amazed at how right I had it sometimes, and then how I would back down from that.

I thought I had read an earlier thread which someone had posted “highlights from the interview”…di I miss that????


I have found that the more ‘bizaar’ acusations and threats must be taken seriously.
They tend to drop hints on whats to come. You must pay attention to the ‘words’ and find the meaning behind them.
Don’t tread lightly with this one.
Keep yourself safe, on ALL levels……

I loved this radio show! Steve- your articles are great and I loved listening to you on the show. I also liked Martha and intend to return to her site as well. I really appreciate your careful explanations about narcissists and NPD. My husband is more of a N/S. I wish I knew about this years ago because it has been driving me crazy for years! It’s only been in the past few months that I’ve finally realized what he is and I am planning to get out. That is- I am planning to move to another state and have NO CONTACT with him or anyone he knows. And yes!- It’s so hard to be with someone who is very narcissistic but everyone loves him! It does make you doubt your own reality. His attitude of entitlement is unreal! And when disappointed he does respond with rage, contempt, and passive aggressive behavior. He has even said “Well I had to get back at you for what you said/did.”.Yes, everyone is expected to cater to him at all times. No one is “allowed” to complain about him and his absolute and total laziness, or lack of responsibility. He also uses the silent treatment. It used to work. It doesn’t anymore. I don’t want him in my life and can’t wait to get out.


Listen to these people here like Hecates Path, OxDrover- they have been in your shoes and know what a psychopath is capable of. You ARE in extreme danger! They know! I would take their advice. I am taking advice offered here because they have already been through it! I am still learning and so are you. Forgive yourself for what has happened and move on. You are worthy of love. We all are. We don’t always believe it. God Bless You!

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