There is an old saying: “Every man has his price.” Most people would never admit that they can be morally and personally compromised if they are promised the right deal—everything that fulfills their deepest wishes and desires. When we are talking about narcissists they are fascinated by this kind of game. Male and female narcissists love the excitement of the chase. Whom can they seduce? Who will bow to their perfection and superiority? They are so self assured that it can be nauseating. Narcissists are constantly surveying their environments for attractive people who can enhance their image or fill their pocket books or add to the luster of their social and professional connections.
It is very difficult to say “no” to a consummate charmer, a gorgeous or handsome man or woman that has all the pieces, who comes with a stellar portfolio. Narcissists are quick to make up their minds and zero in on those whom they know they can quickly seduce, control and manipulate. There are whirl wind courtships that add the breathless excitement that narcissists thrive on.
Once the marital union has taken place, the non-narcissistic partner may be living in a golden haze or a light trance from which he or she does not want to be awakened. In the early stages your wish is immediately satisfied, whether it is material possessions, travel, thrilling surprises, special gifts. The narcissist is skilled at eroding your will to think independently and trust your feelings. As the months turn into years a pattern in the relationship is more predictable. The cracks in the narcissist’s mask are much more apparent. Sometimes–this honeymoon period is much shorter. Some spouses are in total denial and will never acknowledge that they have been thoroughly used and exploited and that their lives are a living hell that doesn’t belong to them.
There are moments of insight in which the spouse recognizes that he or she has be bought off for what? Lifestyle, material possessions, financial security, the company of well connected socially prominent friends, trips, surprise gifts. I know of situations with narcissistic spouses where the non narcissistic partner realized that she was being used for image purposes alone, that her husband was cheating on her with several women. In several cases the narcissistic husband offered a handsome sum of cash and other incentives to keep the “marriage intact.” This is not a marriage; it is a business arrangement.
Is it worth your peace of mind, the high level of stress that has brought you to the point of physical and psychological breakdown to stay with this severe personality disorder? Is the price worth the damage you have sustained and the dangerous precipice you are facing? For some spouses it appears to be worth it. They have paid the price and are willing to stay with this destructive pattern that leaves them without a life that belongs to them.
Others say: “STOP! I can’t do this to myself any more. Living with this cruel, manipulative, liar is destroying my life. The price is my life. I will take back what is left, sever the relationship and move forward.” This can be achieved. Many report that they are very relieved, that their stress levels have plummeted, that no one is telling them what to do or threatening them in the middle of the night. They now are the authors of their own lives. Their creativity and sense of self is expanding and deepening. The don’t have a price. They are psychologically free, emotionally open and are moving down a path of discovery, mutual understanding, creativity and inner peace. Visit my website:thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life