” Those suffering from narcissism will often show signs of excessive (often erotic) interest in themselves. Does this sound like somebody you know or knew?”

We’ve all experienced bad relationships, and it doesn’t matter whether these are personal or professional, the net result is the same; emotional turmoil.  I’m no exception. A few years ago, a personal six year relationship came to an abrupt and traumatic end. Like many, I didn’t take it well, I found it particularly difficult to understand why it had happened and “why, as human beings, we can be so loving yet hurtful to one another.”  And thus, as a writer, I was inspired to work on a new, non fiction, project called ‘Coming Up for Air’ which had me spend the next year travelling, researching and talking to literally hundreds of people from all walks of life about their relationships. It was an amazing cathartic journey of planes, trains and automobiles. One week I was hanging out in Starbucks, Oklahoma and the other, I was interviewing U.S. Marines on a base in North Carolina. In fact, the project was endorsed by the Pentagon which meant that I was also granted unprecedented access to Air Force personnel on bases here in the UK; Lakenheath and Mildenhall. The interviews took place over a week and they started 06:00 and ended at 18:00 during which I heard many stories but none quite like the one I’m going to share with you. This story is so incredible that it actually dominates much of the manuscript. However, since I can only share a fraction of it, I’ve chosen the part that, in various degrees, affects many of us.

It starts with this forethought: It’s a sunny Sunday morning and the church is packed with worshipers, suddenly, out of a mysterious mist, the devil appears scaring off a panic stricken congregation. Within minutes, the church is empty but for one old man who remains in his seat, oblivious to what has just taken place. A perturbed Satan walks up to the old man and asks, “Do you know who I am?” “Yes,” replies the old man, “I know who you are. You’re the devil.” “Precisely, so, if I’m the devil, why aren’t you afraid of me?” The old man shrugs and says, apathetically, “Because I feel like I’ve been married to you for the last twenty years.”

Forty something Al is a Tech Sgt. In the U.S. Air Force and is one of the most affable people I met during the ‘Coming Up for Air’ project. He’s handsome, deeply in love with his wife and totally devoted to her 8 year old daughter from a previous marriage. A real catch, some would say, so what’s the problem? Well, he’s wife was the devil, or at least her behaviour sometimes made her appear that way. There were unsustainable spending sprees, affairs, emotional blackmail, violent tantrums and bare-faced falsities, and that’s just to name a few. Yet, it took Al, a man of deep southern values, several years before he took drastic action….






  1. Iona says:

    Tony, thank you for posting this. I am so glad to see that narcissism is finally being recognised as a damaging disorder which affects others lives dramatically.

  2. tmarturano says:

    Reblogged this on a Different Angle by Tony Marturano and commented:

    When I decided to feature this subject in my manuscript, Coming Up for Air, I had no idea just how popular the subject matter was. I actually believed, at the time, that Narcisism was a relatively unknown illness.

    However, since publishing this article on a Different Angle I’ve seen just how many people out there are regularly searching the web for more information on this subject and just how many (and we’re talking thousands) of you have read my article.

    Whilst Narcisism features quite a lot in COMING UP FOR AIR, I can reassure all of those people whom this illness affects that I’ll be given this subject matter more focus.

  3. MadMan1981 says:

    Thank you for sharing more information about NPD. I got to experience my first ever real heartbreak in the hands of a Narcissist who came across initially as the most amazing woman – too bad I was not trained to recognize the symptoms early on- and conned me into friendship and opening my heart to her, only to be dropped unceremoniously a few months later as if I had the plague! It is great to see more and more people share their stories online so that we victims of such horrible stories can learn from each other and to recognize the signs early on. Great work, keep it coming 🙂

  4. Stephen says:

    Yes. It really is great to read about other people’s experiences. I was in a very simliar situation to Al. On the plus side it only took me two and a half years to finally break out of my “relationship.” On the minus side in my desperate attempts to mollify her demands, mood-swings and ambition I had sold my house, my car, most of my possessions, lost my business and eventually declared personal bankruptcy. On top of this I believe that the colon cancer I suffered (and am still recovering from) was in no small way partly as a result of the unbelievable levels of stress I suffered during my time with her. Having no health insurance I had to leave the States and return to the UK (my birth place) for treatment under the National Health Service. So I essentially lost all my friends and my life in the land I loved and called home for nearly 20 years. (Beat that if you can!) It would take too long to catalog all the “incidents” but suffice to say I will be living with the physical and mental scars for a long, long time. At least as a man I was spared the physical abuse suffered by many female victims of these monsters but at least women are afforded some amount of societal help and understanding. Most people just cannot understand why any man would accept these levels of mental (and sometimes physical) abuse for so long. I just wish that our education systems would educate young people (especially) girls about these people and the damage they can afflict – forewarned is forearmed as they say. I was totally unprepared for what was about to happen to me. It took me far to long to realize and accept that there was no way to “please or placate” this woman for more than a few hours at a time. She always wanted more: more money, more praise more worship, more effort, more devotion etc… What have you done for me lately? Was her subconcious mantra. I’ll stop now before I get angry again. Thanks for providing this outlet. Steve

  5. Richard Bealey says:

    One psychologists on YouTube told me that narcissism is a true meaning where someone is in love with himself.
    Greek God called Narcissist who looked at himself in the water and seen his reflection in the water he did not think it was his reflection but a reflection of another person.

    Narcissism is world wide now, you could say the Killer Mr brandish who killed all of those youths on that Island he is a Narcissism but Mr brandish would say he is not one.

    Isis from Syria could Narcissism and Osama Bin larded is one as well. Things on Social Media where you think the right things and write something down thinking it is the right thing could interpret a Narcissist.

    I never thought Narcissism Personality Disorder never exist. All have some Narcissism in are self’s and we never know from this day forward where it will end with Social Media and terrorism all over the place from different countries as everyone want a sense of self views on the situation.

    There is good Narcissists and there are bad narcissists and it is not on the autism spectrum it is up there with the social paths and psych paths .

    Exeter Devon UK

  6. Stephen says:

    I hear you as a narcissism victim and still in the thick of it in my marriage,narcissism sneaks up on you and can become life threatening or is just because you let it because it is hard not to give it a go to try and trying to stop a machine gun person from firing at you.i feel so horrible and put down God help me…

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