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Media Appearances and Events

Upcoming!  November 11, 2022 at 12:00 pm CST – Invited speaker at the University of Oklahoma, Norman Oklahoma

August 18, 2022 – Live! Webinar: “Why Can’t I Just Leave?” with Dr. Kerry McAvoy, Ph.D.  Click to:  Watch a clip  or Purchase lifetime access to the Webinar

June 1, 2022 – Invited speaker at the 2022 World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day Summit

October 21, 2021 – Interview with Tracy L. Malone from the Narcissist Abuse Support Network

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 – Virtual Book Release Party 

Where to Attend:

  • 9:00 AM – Book Release Official Kickoff – Includes prize giveaway instructions
  • 12:00 PM – Sneak Peek – Learn more about what’s inside the book, hear a reading, and get a free download of part of the book
  • 3:00 PM – Chat with the Author – Kristen will be answering your questions
  • 7:00 PM – Prize winners announced!
*Times above are in EST and denote the earliest each of these events will be posted on the Fairy Tale Shadows Facebook page throughout the day.


Kristen Milstead is a writer, researcher, and activist who helps individuals with a history of trauma find their voices and overcome limiting beliefs imposed on them by others. She worked in a homeless shelter for teens and taught classes at her former under-resourced high school before completing her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Oklahoma. During her academic career, she helped launch the academic journal Feminist Criminology and designed the first course on race, class, and the criminal justice system for the University of Illinois at Springfield while working as an Assistant Professor.

She is currently an academic member of the Association for NPD/Psychopathy Survivor Treatment, Research & Education, and is passionate about using her knowledge base in social psychology, social norms and deviance, criminology, gender and sexuality, and sexual assault to expand our understanding of “invisible” power dynamics that allow some individuals to benefit at the expense of others. After her experience in a pathological love relationship, she started a website for narcissistic abuse survivors, Fairy Tale Shadows, which has reached millions of people from over 180 countries. Her work has been featured on PsychCentral, HealthyPlace, Your Tango, and Thought Catalog, and been shared and endorsed by numerous clinicians and mental health professionals.

She lives in Washington, D.C with her partner, Charles, and her Arabian Mau rescue cats from Kuwait, Bo and Chewbacca, where she occasionally embarrasses herself by singing in a regional karaoke league.

Book Description

More than 60 million people have been in a pathological love relationship with someone who has an impaired conscience. Are you one of them?

• Do you feel fiercely loyal toward your partner although your partner has put you through unspeakable acts of cruelty and betrayal?

• Has your partner lied so much that sometimes you aren’t sure you know what’s real or who your partner really is?

• Have you tried to break off the relationship yet feel powerless to stop your partner from walking in and out of your life?

• Do you alternate between believing that your partner is the love of your life and questioning your sanity or even feeling your life may be in danger?

Using the stories of survivors and social psychological research on compliance, cognitive dissonance, and thought control, Why Can’t I Just Leave? explains how relationships with pathological partners can create impossible dilemmas that trap you in a distorted dream-state and hijack your thoughts and emotions.

Learn what those who are conscience-impaired don’t want you to know and find out how to wake up and walk out of your partner’s invisible prison forever.


“Kristen Milstead provides a social psychological analysis of narcissistic abuse using the empathetic voice of a survivor. Survivors who read this book will be able to trust the “lightbulb” moments this rare perspective offers.”

—Bree Bonchay, LCSW, author of I Am Free:Healing Stories About Surviving Toxic Relationships with Narcissists and Sociopaths
and founder of World Narcissistic Abuse Awareness Day (WNAAD)

“Kristen has a straightforward way of explaining the complex topic of narcissistic abuse. Her book shares both insights from her personal experiences and a clear and compassionate framework for understanding the complex ways that ostensibly loving relationships can morph into something utterly corrosive and dangerous.”

—Dan Partland, Emmy-award winning director of #UNFIT: The Psychology of Donald Trump

“In Why Can’t I Just Leave? author Kristen Milstead provides you with the answers you need to understand why you’re stuck in a relationship with a narcissist, sociopath, or other exploiter so you can finally make your escape.”

—Donna Andersen, author of and Red Flags of Love Fraud:
10 Signs You’re Dating a Sociopath

“The truth is often hard to face. Getting free from an emotionally abusive relationship and facing that truth will be the hardest thing you will ever do. This book is packed with been-in-the-trenches wisdom and the key to your freedom.”

—Tracy A. Malone, founder of Narcissist Abuse Support,
Author, and Coach

“With the courageous use of her own intimate relationship, Kristen Milstead provides both an exploration and explanation of every aspect of “pathological love relationships.” …Every aspect is covered in both practical and theoretical detail, as well as by example.”

—David M. Reiss, M.D., Psychiatrist (Private Practice—San Diego, Boston, NYC)
and Co-Author, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump

Overview of Fairy Tale Shadows

Fairy Tale Shadows was founded by Kristen Milstead, Ph.D. to support and validate survivors of narcissistic abuse. The website seeks to elevate the voices of survivors through personal narrative, as well as to advance research on pathological love relationships and to develop new resources for survivors based on this research. By working with other educators, mental health professionals, and researchers, Kristen’s goal is to use the website to increase societal support for survivors among mental health professionals, the legal system, and society at-large, and to help survivors find the resources they need to successfully exit and recover from these relationships.


Survivors of Narcissistic Abuse Must Stop with the Questions — Fairy Tale Shadows, December 14, 2021

The Path To Recovery Of Narcissistic Abuse Involves Consciously Choosing Ourselves Over Our Partners — Narcissist Abuse Support Network, December 2021

Why Cognitive Dissonance is so Traumatic for Survivors of Pathological Love RelationshipsAssociation for NPD/Psychopathy Survivor Treatment, Research & Education, October 3, 2021

Defining Narcissistic Abuse: The Case for Deception as AbusePsychCentral, July 1, 2018