What Does a Typical Email from a Narcissist Look Like?

What Does a Typical Email from a Narcissist Look Like?

Divorcing a narcissist is no easy feat.  A custody arrangement with one is another story.  Before I knew about NPD or understood it, I would become flabbergasted by each email.  I wondered if I was the crazy one.  I would devote enormous amounts of energy to defending my honor and trying to rationalize with someone who didn’t operate in reality.  Plain and simple: it is a waste of time.

Today I was reminded of those past emails.  I would stay up until midnight trying to respond and make sense of the email attack.  A friend is going through the beginning stages of her custody battle with a similar personality.  She asked me to proof an email that she was writing to him and I felt saddened as I saw her doing the same thing that I use to do.  She was trying to appeal to his human side but the problem is, he doesn’t have a human side or a soft place in his heart.

I restructured her email and took out all of the emotions.  He doesn’t deserve one single emotion from this beautiful lady.  In his sick mind, he derives a great deal of pleasure from knowing that she needs his money.  He would gloat over her email and he would feed off of his accomplishments.  It took me so long to understand this disorder and to flip that emotional switch to “off”.  Emotions should be saved for friends or a journal.  At the zoo, you will find signs that say, “Do Not Feed The Animals”.  That sign applies here also. 

Do Not Feed the Narcissist.

If you haven’t been privy to a Narcissistic email, I have an arsenal of them.  I went to my Gmail and found one from two years ago to use as an example:

Tina– I’ll take the one line out you object to on the MC-030 form.  You can see me at 9 am at Starbucks as planned and go to your backwoods wedding in Arkansas. You were a good Mom. You are hyper vigilant. You actually were so perfectionist; you didn’t know how to just relax.  I am a great Dad. That is why the children are super excited to see me but cry incessantly when I have to return them to you after my visitation. It isn’t that they don’t love you too. They just want to be with me every day and you every day. Your using them as a tool to get more money is abominable and disgusting.

You forget so easily.  Who provided everything for you and the girls for seven years.  Who provided ALL THE FOOD, SHELTER, UTILITIES AND TRANSPORTATION for the last nine months. Me. You provided nothing!  You are the most ungrateful person I ever met. Well the “Secret” as you quote will run its course. Good luck with Karma.

Now, you are back to being the same way you were in high school and before I met you, “a relationship junkie”..  Bouncing around to multiple men is what deeply disturbs me given that we have two daughters who will mirror what they see their mother do.  Now you moved to a college apartment which is fine. You got a job…finally after 9 months of riding my coat tails and pulling my shorts off. Maybe you will finally become mentally stable.  We’ll see.  The X


The “old” me would have sat down, cried and tried to reason with him.  I would have tried to explain that the “back woods wedding” was actually in the most gorgeous place I had ever seen.  I would have tried to explain that the girls cry because of the games he plays— leaning in the car and telling them how sad he was going to be.  Trying to make them cry so he could flip on the video camera and capture their tears for court.   I would have reminded him that I had never been with multiple men and that I was with one great person.  I would have lost it over the implication that I never worked– I had worked 60-100 hours a week for years and still worked full time after having kids….and on and on.  These attacks leave a person questioning their own sanity.

Here is what my response would be now that I understand Narcissistic Personality Disorder, this would have been my response:

Dear X, We will plan to see you at the designated pick up location at 9am.  Thank you- Tina

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37 Responses

  1. Yup, that about sums it up!

    BTW, I was so glad to hear that you were able to get supervised visits (for now). The girls safety is more important than anything.

  2. Tina,

    1) Thanks so much for your blog! It is comforting to know that we’re not crazy and moms can band together for the sake of our children! I didn’t know what NPD was and how to deal with it until I stumbled upon this. Karma is going to get them one day!
    2) I don’t know if I would have even said “Thank you” to him. I don’t know if he deserves it.
    3)Glad to hear your hearing went in your favor. Keep us posted on the next hearing!

  3. Omg….do they all use the same play book? When I read that email …well it could of been from my ex. Just WOW! You are extremely strong as I still find myself ‘biting’ at his bait 3.5 years later.

  4. I have to chuckle at this post – because I recognize it very clearly. The details are different, but the “essence” is the same as the kind of emails & texts my ex would send me. Thankfully, I didn’t get sucked into them for very long; I’d become aware of his communication “style” in the last few years of our marriage. There is no reaching or reasoning with him. He’s a master at diversion, tangents, back-handed insults and the (very subtle) emotional knife-twisting.

    btw, I’m glad you have your girls. The one thing I failed to grasp was how far he would go to punish me; his brainwashing of our children is stunning. It’s taking all my patience, faith and fortitude to do the work to reach them through the fog of lies and manipulation.

    Keep up the good fight. And thank you for sharing as you do. <3

  5. Tina,
    I can’t thank you enough for your blog. The email you shared is exactly the way my X works. His emails are full of verbal jabs and can still upset me—for some reason, I really don’t know why. I spent (still do sometimes) so much time trying to understand why he was like this. I had never dealt with anyone like him in my life and it is so confusing and complex. My mother said that I will never understand him and to quit trying. You and the others that post reassure me that I am not the crazy one. Thank you SO much!

  6. My x would get really upset when he would mention the old “karma’s gonna get you Sue” to me and I would tell him “Thanks, it has…life is much better now!” But, my response was after his emails/texts stopped upsetting me and giving me that horrid pit in my stomach. Now I don’t respond at all, even though he still texts me every day and emails me at least 2 times a week (not about our son).

  7. Do not engage and do not enrage! This was also my quick saying that kept me from reacting – not easy when you feel violated by the lies – I repeat this over and over and it seems to settle me 🙂 try it….xxx

  8. This is a carbon copy of my X’s email, nearly word for word actually – I also look at the emails and text messages as being “mirror image projection” if you actually turn it around it is word for word how they are behaving NOT you! And “defend thy honour” is also one of my favourites – I am even having it tattooed as it was one of the saying that made me file for divorce as I was no longer putting up with the abuse I was now going to “defend my honour”. xxx

  9. Those look like mine too except mine were riddled with nasty name calling. Thankfully I have a no contact order so my self esteem can begin to rise again. It is true, do not feed the narcissist. Best advice someone can give or take. Thanks for the reminder. It becomes such a downward spiral with the first response that includes a defense of yourself or your actions.

  10. “do not feed the animals” and that email you posted describes my x PERFECTLY. I thought that was my ex’s email for a second. But your absolutely right. It took me a year to get the “jist” of his emails, and I alwaays try to re-iterate to him that I am only responding to emaials about our children! Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t but all we can do as advocates for our children is keep them in our focus. Not the NPD’s, which is what they would prefer.

    I am so grateful to this blog and in knowing that I am not alone in this fight. Your messages give me hope that although this will be a fight till the end, it is a fight that we all can win.

    Keep up the great work Tina!

  11. 1. You are welcome! There is healing and power in numbers 😉
    2. My signature is set to “thank you” as an auto signature. I take it out when I remember!
    3. Me too!!! Will do 🙂

  12. Step away from the email. Picture him reading it and laughing at you– that helped me!

  13. Good for you!

    How old are your children? I see the manipulations starting but luckily, they already see through him. They know that “something” is wrong.

    Have a great day! T

  14. You are not the crazy one. Don’t devote a minute (life is short!) to try and makes sense of crazy. It is a waste of time- you will never understand him but you can become knowledgeable on the disorder. THAT helps tremendously.

  15. I had the nasty name calling from him for quite a while although he stopped when they began ending up in front of the judge. I would get mean emails– I haven’t been attracted to you (your body) in two years, etc. Blech!

  16. Thank you, Eva! It’s a long battle but staying strong (and ahead of his game) is the key. I got a doosey of an email last night– it was literally insane ramblings and he cc’d his attorney and our daughter’s attorney. I didn’t respond at all but I felt like saying, “Have another drink, buddy!”.

  17. Well that cc to your daughter’s attorney might help your case…I’m sure he doesn’t think that way though.

  18. I know. I read it several times (out loud) because it was SO crazy. Then I thought, “Thank you! Thank you for giving them a glimpse into the ‘real’ you!”.

  19. Yay! So glad to hear the outcome of yesterday. Its amazing to see how many people relate to the email you bravely shared.
    Has your X ever dated anyone since your split? Just curious. I cant believe he cc’d your daughter’s attorney.

  20. He cc’d your daugther’s ATTORNEY??!!! You have to laugh at that one. The rage was overtook him so, that he couldn’t control themselves. Moments like that make it just a little bit easier for you 🙂

  21. Yes- actually, he is dating someone NOW and I have heard that she knows about my blog. That tells you something about her. I can tell when she is in the background on calls because he sounds like he is trying out for the role of Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood. Creepy 🙁

  22. Nice work on getting the supervised visits, Tina. It’s hard when victories are only measured in days, but each day in the life of a little one is critical, especially when it gets dangerous. My wife and I are in the middle of this very situation with her ex now.

    The picture that always helped me keep these kinds of emails & communications in perspective was Brer Rabbit and the Tarbaby from Uncle Remus (kind of dates me). As long as I could avoid getting my fist trapped in tar, I was free to let the tar just sit & stink in the sunlight.

    Cheering for you, Tina!

  23. Thanks, Bill! That is a good way to look at it.

    Sending you and your wife positive thoughts– good luck! T

  24. Eva– Yes. He cc’d his attorney and the girls’ attorney. I had to read it with my head tilted sideways and my hand over my mouth. It was that bizarre.

  25. Well if the girlfriend has read your blog, at least she has a heads up when the name calling and all the other traits he has (besides the charm that he has shown her) come shining through. Hopefully it won’t take her so long to leave…

  26. I have no kids with the (almost) ex so my faultless solution to those nasty emails and text messages are to simply delete them. I don’t read them at all! This way my life stays calm and serene.

  27. awesome blog! i have done the same thing – trying to get to a “human” – it doesn’t exist. my kids don’t understand because he tells them he still loves me and makes them feel sorry for him – but i have learned – that they will learn for themselves eventually. hopefully. and my emails to the jerk are short – and factual – that’s all. the best advice i ever received was get to where you don’t “need” him. that’s hard when there is a father out there that is alive – but really . . . he isn’t.

  28. Wow, I could almost swear that we were married to the same person. It’s uncanny.

  29. Carrie, he wants you to bite – thats how he controls you!Realizing my response was what he NEEDS, its what validates his crazy, its how he controls me….thats what helped me stop taking the bait.

  30. Thanks you for the great post. I think our x’s all learned how to write emails together. It wasn’t until recently (I’ve been divorced for 6 years) that I learned not to take the bait….or feed the animal. I’m so glad you’re blogging about this whole divorce from a narcissist situation. Unless you’ve lived it, you really don’t have any concept of how these people work. And anyone else reading the email would not understand just how irrational it is. Which makes for very scary stuff!