Sanctuary for the Abused

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Married To A Narcissist & Waiting For Good Times To Return?


By Diane England, Ph.D.

When you said your vows, what were you expecting? I suspect if you were like most women, you thought you were entering a partnership. You would enjoy shared power, right?

I bet you’ve discovered something quite different, though. I bet he likes to have power over you, isn’t that so? And to ensure he achieves and maintains this, he might well use emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, and even sexual abuse, too.

The thing is, you might not even realize that your relationship with your narcissistic spouse is filled with these forms of abuse. You might feel badly or experience emotional pain much of the time, but still not understand why. You might well believe your narcissistic spouse when he tells you how you are the problem, and if you just changed and did these things he wanted, well, life would be grand.

For him, that is.

He keeps emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, and sexual abuse in his marital toolbox because they work for him. Meanwhile, you believe that the two of you have a partnership.

Sorry, but a relationship with a narcissist is not about partnership.

Those suffering from unhealthy levels of narcissism don’t know what that means. They are self centered. They lack empathy. And more than anything else, they are grandiose. Whether successful or not, they feel entitled to have what they want when they want it.


Rather like the two-year-old.

The narcissistic throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want, too. The difference is, they scream more than how they hate you; those suffering from unhealthy levels of narcissism are inclined to scream obscenities and other hurtful things. All of them help your self esteem to plunge, plus make the anxiety butterflies swirl, wouldn’t you agree?


Let me back up a minute here, though. Perhaps you might want to argue that your spouse has never been diagnosed with any mental health problems, and especially not Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD. Please realize, however, that narcissistic tendencies or narcissistic symptoms can occur in varying degrees. So, someone need not be diagnosable as having full-fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder to display what you’ll see referred to in various internet articles as unhealthy, pathological, or malignant narcissism. However, even lesser degrees of narcissism can be problematic in your relationship.

I might not have to tell you that. Then again, have you ever suspected your spouse’s emotional abuse and sexual abuse, for example, were associated with pathological levels of narcissism?

So, how many of the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder must your narcissistic spouse meet in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for you to be the victim of his narcissism - which could be fueling his abuse plus perhaps alcoholism or drug addiction?

Sadly, too often, these all come together in one neatly wrapped package.

But back to the question I originally posed; I really can’t answer it.

What I will say, though, is don’t keep you eyes shut because in the beginning, things were so good between the two of you. You might have believed you had finally met your white knight. You might have been so enamored with him because of the whirlwind romance that included flowers, candlelight dinners, outrageously expensive gifts considering the time you’d been together, and romantic getaways that also included great sex.

No, don’t keep thinking if you can only get it right, or do all the things he asks, those days will probably return.

I rather hate to tell you this, but you’re probably wrong. Oh, he might act that way now and then to keep you hooked in and believing you’re about to rediscover Camelot, but he is only seducing you - again.

A narcissist is like a leopard; he can not change his spots. Okay, he might be able to change if he really wanted to do so. But if you are in love with a narcissist, you need to understand that you’ll likely be seeking counseling on how to leave a narcissist long before he’s inclined to seek help on how to alleviate himself of his narcissistic tendencies.

If you have a narcissistic husband, listen very carefully: Narcissists seduce you with their charm, the romance, and the great sex. Once they have you hooked, things change - and not for the good.

In fact, is the great sex still so great? Or instead, is it about him and his needs and wants? Also, you might feel he has to give a great performance, and you’re always expected to commend him for a job well done, too. And rather than feeling closer to him, instead, have you felt you’ve become more and more merely an object to him?

There is even a chance the great sex has switched over into sexual abuse. Perhaps the transition has been so gradual, however, that you haven’t actually seen the truth about what was happening - or where you have ended up as a result. But if you stop and think about your sexual relationship with your narcissistic spouse, you might realize you’ve been doing things that don’t appeal to you sexually, but only to him. In fact, they might make you feel degraded.

He not only doesn’t bring flowers anymore, but it is probably worse than that. You’d realize that if you got real about your marriage.

Yes, it is probably hardly a relationship in the sense that you define the word. Are you always worrying about what might please or displease him? And to ensure you do neither, do you do things against your personal values?

You probably want to avoid his narcissistic rage. And again, you hope if you’ll only do as he wants, things will be like they were in the early days - when you held hands and made love in a romantic haze.

Again, it is time to get real. That was an act to suck you in. Now, though, if he is walking around being his self centered and grandiose self, engaging in emotional abuse and verbal abuse that causes your self worth to slip away daily, he is nonetheless likely being the man he will continue to be.

You might well be able to somehow survive the emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and sexual abuse.

You might keep telling yourself that the sexual abuse is not sexual abuse because you actually are okay with what he asks of you - as kinky (and comfortable) as it perhaps has become.


I suspect you might be shut down and out of touch with your feelings, however. You also might be taking pride in your ability to cope with things you shouldn’t have to cope with anyway. And if that is the case, realize you are not the first and last woman to make this discovery. Frankly, I myself have been there; I took pride in my martyrdom. But really, what’s the sense in that?

I decided I didn’t like being in a relationship with a narcissist. I also knew I never wanted to be in a relationship with one again, though I suspect I met one or two along the path on my way to recovery.

Your life is yours to live as you please; you have to make your own choices. I suspect, though, that you give your life - and your narcissistic spouse - a good hard look. You might realize you’ve been bonded to a fantasy that was probably never more than that.

Meanwhile, you stay stuck loving a narcissist while he serves up a mixture of emotional abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse, sexual abuse - and some great times, too - to keep you hooked in and doing exactly what he pleases.


Why should you expect differently? Remember, he is self centered, he is self absorbed, and he lacks empathy. And because of his grandiosity, he feels entitled to do as he pleases. In turn, everyone else is here to serve him and meet his needs.

They must be kept in line and under his thumb.

Yes, these are the spots of the narcissist. And no, they probably will not change. So really, is spending your life loving a narcissist the best use of both your love and your time?

I hope your moving your head back and forth.


Dr. Diane England writes for the woman married to a narcissist who is awakening to his narcissism, addictions, and perhaps not only emotional abuse and verbal abuse, but sexual abuse, too. If this is you, and you want to read more article on these topics, plus self development and spirituality or spiritual growth, visit her website at: www.NarcissismAddictionsAbuse.com

(NOTE: THIS SITE DOES NOT BELIEVE CODEPENDENCY EVER APPLIES IN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS OR A RELATIONSHIP WITH A NARCISSIST. The Victim is NEVER EVER to blame in ANY WAY - NOR ARE THEY CODEPENDENT.)

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15 Comments:

I get something new or even more relatable information each time I read this one. Thanks

5:52 PM  

My ex wasn't openly abusive to me. He gradually eroded my confidence over several years. It was a slow process, but now I understand it was still abuse. At one point I actually thought I couln't make a sound decision. He bullied our oldest son which is what finally made me leave. He is re-married and wonderful to his new wife. He treats our boys like they are a drain on his finances. He targets our youngest as needing therapy. Actually tried to have his diagnosed as ADHD so the drugs would make him compliant. I have no problems with the kid. I could nver understand why therapists couldn't see through him. A few did: our marriage counselor when he said I should feel special because he married me and our oldest's therapist. I have been singl for 7 years now. I have trust issues. He told everyone I was the abuser, but he was able to find a new partner within 6 months of our divorce. When Ileft he said to me that it was my fault that he treated me poory, because I let him. I actually bought that at the time. I don't now. I'm a great gal that deserves to be treated well.

2:49 PM  

Mine sounds a bit like yours. We were married for 7 years and he was the most wonderful guy in the beginning. Very slowly however I was eroded also. He did his abuse in a quiet "iM THE DUMB GUY" way. His silence spoke louder than anything he even said. Our divorce has been final for 6 months now and he is getting ready to move in with another gal. Im sure she is a great gal and has a home of her own. She has no children so Im guessing they will live happily forever. I always felt that the biggest drain on my marriage was my baggage......OUR CHILDREN....The fact that he brought a pain in the neck daughter into our marriage meant nothing. this guy is a trip. I figure that EVERTYHING he told me and expressed in the beginning was all the opposite of who he is. I lived in a twilight zone. Wish I was a little healthier about it though.

12:11 PM  

I'm not sure what to do. I have been with my spouse for a few years now. There are immediate family members who stopped coming around because of all the promises made and big talk of grandiousity. We have lost just about everything because of this. I am afraid to come out and say something to spouse how I feel-in fear they would get angry and retaliate as they are very manipulitive and vengeful. I'm afraid a big blow up is going to insue between people I love and feel that I will be drawn into the middle where I will have to
choose.

5:47 PM  

get into INDIVIDUAL counseling ASAP. Make a plan and leave.

9:26 PM  

In contrast to the previous commenture, I'm a man married to a narcissitic woman and I've seen all mentions of mistreatment in one variation or another. What woke me up was my sister who, after a call about 6 months ago, prayed for me over signs of abuse and narcissism she saw, and listened to me when my eyes were finally opened to the history of my now wife. What I revealed to her in both instances as well as e-mail exchanges left her shocked and she admitted, had she known of the information I sent to her several years ago, that she would have told me to run away as fast as I could from the woman. But, we share the most beautiful daughter we could ever be blessed with. And, like all fathers, I'm going to continue to do all I can for her, and to give her the love, approval and nurturing she needs.

5:03 PM  

I was married to a narrcisst for 22 years. I supported him in every way emotionally, financially and I took care of the children. It was about him and his grandiose plans all the time. I thought I could change him and he would be the man that I married. I kept referring to him as a sick version of himself. What I realized is that he was always who he was. It was my hope that he had this potential to be something better. I wasted a lot of time on him and his emotional abuse was horrific. He started dating while yes while we were still married openly in public not even two blocks from our home in front of our children. Why? He only cared about himself. He split me out of existence and started coming home at 6am. I kicked him out and hit a few speed bumps along the way but for the most part never looked back. Our divorce was official six months ago and he never sees his kid or provides child support. He has since moved in with the girlfriend. I suspect he has been living with her all along. The state is finally catching up with him and garnishing his wages. I since have moved away from him and started anew life with my kids. It is super hard but there is so much to be said for peace. From time to time he still tries to engage me but I only engage with him factually regarding the children. This isn't very often because he really isn't interested in the kids only how they make him look as a deadbeat dad. My family saw through him long ago. They respected my decision to my marriage vows but could see the toll he was taking on me. He sucked the life and my spirit put ou of me. They say I am doing well and have one less mouth to feed. His latest is trying to get the kids to meet his girlfriend. Again about him. Not about homework or taking them anywhere doing anything with them. About him. Since I kicked him out he has not spent one overnight with his children and rarely sees them. The both suffer from this and we have been in family counseling. I guess my advise is simple. Stop thinking the person will change. It's unlikely that they will I tried for 22 years and when I look back all the signs were there. I was in love with the man I thought he could be. Not who he was. As hard as it is get out while you can. Start taking care of yourself because he won't and find peace in that you can focus on you and healing. If you have children. Help them to heal.

12:00 PM  

Yet no place a look or call or go can help me get away from him without him getting visitation of my kids.
I'm all but dead from stress and worry and have no control I sit here paralyzed on a beautiful weekend day unable to take my kids out . I am depressed lonely and afraid daily and call every number I can find for help.
There is no help or refuge.
I can call cops on him but they actually left him alone and made me leave my place and run to my sisters as he was drunk.
I can't Live at my sisters. The shelters give me two weeks tops and with an apt in my name won't help me anyway.
Call the cops and he's back out next day seeking vengeance .
This article and the millions online describing the problem are getting me nowhere. So great I know the problem . Then they say get out and such . None are realistic and they just make me feel more and more hopeless.

2:35 PM  

I have been married to a narcissistic man for 23 years. In January it will be two years since he left me, after spending 1/2 of my inheritance from my mother and charging about $40K on my credit cards. He now has turned my three children against me and I am at a complete loss. There is nothing i can do or say to change what he has done. It is almost too much to bear.

10:39 PM  

Im married to a narcissistic woman. It doesnt get better, but far worse. I am a very passive man, I seen some signs early but didnt recognize then for what they were. Soon after we got married she became aggressive. Attacking everything I did. All of her shortcomings are my fault no matter how much I try to help her. I cant talk to her or she will rain down the wrath of GOD on me. She makes everything about her. Even my mothers passing last year. All this stress has been hard on my body and now I have health issues. (I still work, id rather be at work than home) whenever something happens to me she goes on a tangent and makes it about her. She ran off what few friends I have, and I stopped going to church. ( she will yell at me and be aggressive and loud anywhere, in front of anyone including my family) my family is now distant and I feel trapped. I know she does things on purpose to hurt me in some way, doesnt let me sleep, my things mysteriously end up missing or broken, when she does cook my portion is usually severely undercooked while hers is fine. (I have been hospitalized with food poisioning before). I have caught her doing or saying things and she will deny it, even if it was seconds later!!! Im contantly being accused of cheating. Ironically tired if her always going through my stuff I checked her email. In front of her and seen she had cheated on me. Even seeing the emails she denies it. I know I need ro leave her but she us emotionally unstable and I dont know what she would do.( to me or her) its funny um a big guy 6'5 265. But in a way I fear her. I have seen her truly angry before and she got physical with me. I woukd never and have never hit a woman. I was trying to walk out the house to get away. I eventually was able to leave, but she told her sister I hit her. The next day I got threatening emails from her family. I tried getting us a therapist but she wouldnt let him or me talk and it became a bash me session. When he requested to see me alone she called his office and raised hell to find out what was said. Needless to say thay ended that. My point is if you see the warning signs, man or woman. Run!!! It will only get worse!!!

12:53 PM  

Hello Everyone,
RUN do not stay with a narcissist!
I have been married to this man for forty-seven years. I finally left after I stood up to him and he hit me. This is not the first time this has happened but it will be the last! Now he is crying for me and has attempted to kill himself. Of course he never really kills himself. I am now waiting for the paperwork from the lawyer to be done.Then I do not know what will happen? Will he come after me and kill me? He has always said that "if he can not have me no one can" Let me put it this way. I rather be dead than live with him!
At least I will be free! They do not change ever!!!!!

6:58 PM  

is this site still active?

8:31 AM  

I am just shy of 25 years living with a narcissist. I have also supported him emotionally and financially. All the while having him verbally abuse me of all the things that I do wrong. The Narcissist has had no pressure, no stress and no nagging from me at all. Whenever I tried to disengage from him during his episodes -- he just kept up until I would finally confront him. We are just shy of 4 days from supposedly celebrating our 25th Anniversary and I asked him to move out. That will occur this weekend.

12:11 PM  

Most of these stories are a mirror image of my story. I am married for 20 years with a narcissist. On our 20th anniversary which also happens to be his birhday, He spent it with his mistress/co-worker who arranged an after work party ( Drinking, Dancing, smoking , you name it). Lies after lies. Came home @ 6AM. Lost his stable job. Night after night after work partying. I am not allowed to ask, get angry, or question all hi s inappropriate behavior. He has a nerve to scream & break things everytime he comes home drunk. I supported him emotionally, financially, physically throughout our marriage. He swept me off my feet in the beginning. We were childhood sweethearts so I thought. All along I thought We are going to grow old together in good times & in bad times but, it seems like I am the only one carrying all the problems while he is partying with his friends & mistress. Not to mention the the 35k he charge on our credit cards. While my 2 children are tightening our belts, he is living like an heiress/millionaire. He is sooo nice to his friends & strangers, but not to us. My children & I feel like we are walking in an eggshell. Outside the house he acts like the nicest person. He also has a problem with alcohol & smoking. He has 2 surgeries because of alcohol abuse, he has not stop drinking, smoking. He doen't listen to reasons. The worst part is He is driving while intoxicated. I don't know who to report this. He is not only a danger to himself but the worst part is he a danger to others. I don't know who to report to to stop him from Driving under the influence of alcohol, He's so called friens that he admoires & adores, don't even stop him from driving while intoxicated. He doesn't listen tome In his mind I am the enemy. He doesn't want to be told. I begged, cried for him to stop all the destructive behaviors that he is doing to no avail. I am drained mentally, emotionally, physically, financially, I don't know who to turn to. I am trying my best to be strong for my 2 beautiful children but it is not easy. All I can do is pray that he will come to his senses and grow up, be mature & responsible.

5:18 PM  

I dated a woman who was in a long term relationship with a narcissist. She had a series of very bad relationships, most if not all involving abuse, prior to him, who was just prior to me. When we dated, blinded by my infatuation, I did not see the signs of the abuse that she had suffered. She revealed to me that he repeatedly lied and cheated on her, and tried to mold her into a trophy wife. It was only towards the very end of our relationship, and after that the scales were lifted from my eyes, and it scared me, and made me fearful for her. Constantly putting herself down, not wanting to be noticed shrugging off and quickly denying that past abuse still had an effect on her, revealing information regarding ongoing terrible relationships in her immediate family, surprise that I was not prone to excessive profanity, bouts of extreme jealously, flirtation with other women while we dated. I did not "listen" like I should. I regret not saying something when I had the opportunity. When our relationship ended abruptly, I was in shock. I recently found out why. She got back together with him. Left the home and city and friends she loved, for a new job 1,000 miles away from all of that. And she got engaged to him. I am not a religious person, but I am still praying for her that she will find escape from his clutches and true happiness in life.

Do not be afraid to speak up. Find someone to help you take appropriate action if a loved one is in an abusive relationship. Support the person and help them break free.

2:40 PM  

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