Why Do We Stay With the Narcissist?

Even when we are finally smart enough to know better

Colleen Sheehy Orme
3 min readMay 14, 2020


Photo by Tobi from Pexels

Validation is something the prey of a narcissist craves.

If only one person believed us. If they witnessed what we did. If they could just understand. Sure, it doesn’t sound that important to the average person. Most would say, “who cares!” and “why does it matter?”

But to anyone who has experienced this altered universe, it’s necessary for our sanity.

As if a rational human being finally stepped into the room with us.

And saw our world as clearly as we did — actually spotting the narcissist.

It did ultimately happen for me. And I was thrilled to let that rational human being into my room.

You’re not crazy,” he said.

“How do you know I feel crazy sometimes?” I asked.

“Because your husband is two different people but the majority of the world will never witness it,” he answered.

I should have run for the exit the minute my marriage counselor uttered those words. I should have slammed his office door, raced home, packed our bags, grabbed my kids, and headed on outta there.

But I didn’t.

Instead, I felt oddly validated. This person recognizes my truth. He isn’t fooled by this master of illusion. My husband’s charm and humor are no disguise for this professional psychologist.

I felt my shoulders drop and I comfortably sank deeper into the couch. A release of years worth of emotions abandoning my being. I could stop fighting now. To be heard. To be believed.

This person could wholistically see my entire picture. Everything I had been living with.

The struggle of the narcissist’s spouse.

I not only didn’t leave that day, but I also stayed for many more.

In truth, I didn’t have the energy to leave. I was depleted from years of narcissistic Yin and Yang…



Colleen Sheehy Orme

National Relationship Columnist, Journalist & Former Business Columnist. I cover love, life, & relationships— #WomanResurrected