Narcissistic Spouses are Masters of Manipulation

Narcissists are masters at controlling the lives of others, especially their spouses. (I am speaking about male and female narcissists.) If you are married to a narcissist it may take you some time to recognize that he or she is a NPD.  In the beginning there is a glow that hangs over the narcissist. This is the case if you have chosen a very charming, magnetic partner who has possession of your deepest feelings and whom you love.

Eventually you will feel and sense that something is very wrong with the relationship. Some spouses blame the dissention and ugliness on themselves. After all, the narcissist is constantly criticizing you. You feel the force behind his accusations and sarcastic withering comments. You are overwhelmed and give in to his demands. You tell yourself that you will stand up for yourself next time but when the moment arrives you are too intimidated.

Narcissistic spouses manipulate the lives of their husbands and wives. Some of them are hyper-vigilant and watch everything you do–”helicopter spouses.” They are like shadows who follow you everywhere. It is unnerving and anxiety provoking.

The narcissistic spouse has a plan for you. He treats you like an object, a series of chess pieces on his life board. Narcissists cannot form loving, meaningful sustained relationships with anyone, including spouses.

Narcissistic spouses will move you around their chess board  to their liking and to enhance their image (which for them is reality.) If you are attractive they will show you off as a piece of gorgeous humanity. They will want you to stay “young” forever with various surgical and aesthetic procedures. Some spouses go along with this image rebooting because they find that others in their circles are image fanatics. No one talks much about this. They just do it. I understand that sometimes these procedures are necessary and it is everyone’s right to have them. Here I am talking about the extreme pressure that a narcissistic spouse can put on his partner to constantly look perfect or else.

Narcissists are very restless and peripatetic. If they find someone else who is more attractive to them,  they have no problem stepping out of the marriage and having a fling with another whom they find more exciting and compelling at the moment.

All the time that the narcissist is betraying you, he or she is projecting his rage on to you and making you feel inadequate and horribly flawed.  Narcissists lead many secret lives–at times too many to count.

Narcissists work on our last nerves. They can make us feel sick. We cry over them, obsess over them. Some–throw their lives away for a narcissistic spouse.

Stop now. Identify your spouse as a narcissist and make a firm decision that you are going to end this “relationship” , this non-marriage marriage.  Once you have decided, move forward with a detailed plan of your own that you don’t share with this severe character disorder who has caused you horrendous pain.

Surround yourself with a few people of integrity whom you trust. Find an excellent attorney who is your advocate. Practice self care as you move through this process.

Be determined to take back your own life and to heal completely. You will become the master of your own life. You will feel the freedom of making your own decisions, using your many creative gifts, taking a spiritual path if that is important to you, finding individuals whom you trust and with whom you have a closeness that is authentic and lasting. Be proud of what you have done to release your life into cool breezes that speak of freedom, inner peace, expansiveness, joy and full abundance.

Classic Narcissists Demean Your Feelings and You

Classic narcissists, larger than life, bombastic, charismatic to some, sail through life in the fast lane—always moving to their next cascade of narcissistic supply. If they are very successful they have more opportunities to be adored, praised and rewarded handsomely in this current world of rampant pathological narcissism. Those at the top of their game don’t do the hardest work. They have adoring followers, psychologically dependent individuals, hangers on, at their beck and call.

If you have narcissists in your family, I am sure you are too keenly aware of how they demean you and/or ignore you or both. If you are having a difficult time and you share this with them, they completely ignore what you are saying or they wonder what is the matter with you that you have caused such trouble for yourself. “Is there something wrong with you that you have so many problems?”

Some of the most cruel, cold human beings I have known are classic narcissists. Since they have no internal psychological consciousness or a well developed conscience, they move swiftly and smoothly through their professional and personal  lives with ruthless abandon. They choose partners whom they can dominate and control. They ignore their children or choose only those who will become their living ego supplies—little narcissists who will grow up to be just like them.

Do narcissists care about you if you are their child, spouse or sibling? Not so much or not at all. They are too taken up with themselves to give any energy to your life with its many painful twists and downturns.

Narcissists are  peripatetic –They always have their engines running. They go from one project to the next–one trip to the next—one acquisition to the next–one full makeover to the next–one partner to the next, etc.

They get a kick out of running circles around you. You are depressed or very anxious or going through a  period of loss, confusion, financial distress, etc. You share some of your deepest issues with the narcissist and there is no response. It’s as if they are unable to hear you—literally. They jauntily move along in the conversation to tell you about how swimmingly their lives are going, how busy they are, what they are achieving and don’t forget–”their successes” (There is nothing wrong with success in the world. Here I am talking about all out bragging when the other person is going through a very tough time and needs to be heard). I find this kind of interchange to be nauseating and cruel. On some occasions the narcissist wonders out loud about what is wrong with you that you can’t overcome your problems. After all they did!

Remind yourself that you are genuine and that having psychological pain is part of a life that is lived authentically with real feelings and deep caring for others as well as oneself. You are not deluded. You do not brag about yourself. You are highly empathic and care deeply about the feelings, the problems and the suffering of others–family members, friends spouses, etc. You are the opposite of the narcissist.

Give yourself credit for being a true individual who is growing and evolving. Know that this is a process that takes time and effort and that you are moving toward developing a stronger, expanded true self. (The narcissist is a false self that leads his/her entire life in delusion.) There are others who are real whom you know and will find.

Let the narcissistic world twirl by at ever increasing speeds as it goes nowhere.

Stay with your path and your rhythm. Practice self care. Access and use your intuition for direction and validation of the truth.

Maintain distance from narcissists, especially in your personal life. Don’t engage with them at all and if you must, keep it  short and detached.

Focus on your creative inspirations, your spiritual life (if that is your choice), the boundless beauty and comfort of Nature and a few human beings who want to share their lives with you. Learn from one another; help one another.

 

 

Vissisitudes of Living with Narcissistic Rage

Rage.

Rage. (Photo credit: Neil. Moralee)

You have felt the ever sharp knifing through your body innumerable times if you are married to a narcissist, the son or daughter of a narcissist or sibling of a narcissist.  Narcissistic rage is always on a boil within this person. It explodes at full force without provocation. He/she is filled with charm, magnetism, grace, conversation that moves so skillfully—yet when you are alone, in private the dynamic changes 180 degrees.

Now he is rampaging through the house–yelling, screeching, howling like a person gone mad.If you are the child of a narcissist you remember too vividly how close your narcissistic mother got to your face, her eyes gone wild, her mouth fully open, your nervous system quaking–you telling yourself: “This time she is going to kill me.!” Being on the receiving end of a narcissist’s primal rage feels like imminent death. But you don’t die and wish you had because the primitive sound does not stop. It feeds on itself. You run and the narcissist pursues you in the house. You can’t get away. It’s like a recurring dream that haunts you every night.

Finally, this round is over for now but you know that it will return. The monstrous tone, the menacing look in the eyes, the body that feels like it will strike and flatten you will come again. That you know—but not when and there is the terror. There is a dreadful unpredictability about these seizures of rage. As a result you are awaiting annihilation.  Your nervous system is on vigil, in fight or flight mode at all times, even when you are asleep. There is no inner safety, no secure place in your mind and body where you can go when this human Vesuvius erupts.

As an adult who is healing from the narcissistic parent, spouse or sibling remember that you are entitled to change the way you feel inside. You did nothing wrong. You were victimized by a highly pathological human being. None of this is your fault. You could not have nor can you now change this person.Tell yourself each day that you are entitled to lead a life that offers you peace, security, a feeling of steadiness inside. The body/mind is prepared to heal. Be receptive to this process. You may find that excellent psychotherapy, gentle hatha yoga, forms of meditations, healing relationships, using your creative gifts, music, Nature and all of the ways that you intuit will make you whole. Gather your faith and hold it close. Do the work of healing every day. You deserve this inner peace.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Don’t Wait for A Narcissist to Get Sick and Die

There are many individuals who lead their lives in indefinite holding patterns in their relationships with narcissists–spouses, mothers, fathers. They suspend their days waiting for the narcissist who has caused them extreme emotional and psychological harm and horrible suffering, thinking that there will be some justice–in effect, waiting for them to fail, to hit a bottom, even to die. This is not going to happen in almost every case.

I have heard from adult children of narcissists who insist on maintaining deeply painful relationships with a narcissistic mother or father because they fear being cut out of the will or estate. They pray that the clock will run out on this parent who has caused them emotional distress and intolerable pain since early childhood. Don’t play the waiting game.

The bell often doesn’t toll for narcissists in terms of whether they become very sick and die. I have seen too many instances in which it is those around them–their children, siblings and spouses who fall ill and become very sick. In many cases it is the extreme stress that they have borne for too many years that has finally broken them. I have heard too many of these life stories and they are very painful.

Narcissists, if you give them the opportunity and they are hell-bent on it, will make you sick–literally. They use people to the max, including  their spouses, children and siblings. If you are married to a narcissist and become ill, they will replace you with someone else. You can take that one to the bank.

Narcissists move adroitly to their goals–never stopping to help anyone but themselves. They may strategically donate money to the right entities or become phony “do gooders” but this is all part of re-enhancing their image of themselves as the “great compassionate man or woman.”

Living with a narcissist over a period of time can make you ill. I have heard and read too many stories of people who have been down this treacherous road. Some have regained their health. Others have pulled themselves back from the brink.

I see narcissists all around me who are thriving physically. I see other individuals who are struggling on every level to maintain their health and well-being. Does that mean that narcissists do not become ill or that they do not fall upon bad times? Of course not.

You life must come first now. You have been through the narcissistic wars of childhood if you had these impossible parents and if you doubled down and married a narcissist, it is time to change this life pattern which is deleterious to you.

This is your time. Make the most of it. You have innumerable creative gifts and talents and dreams that you have left on hold. You can revive yourself and rediscover and renew your real self. Put the narcissist and the aftermath of these relationships out of your life. There is good news from so many individuals who have renewed their physical, creative and psychological energies and re-started their lives. You are entitled and deserving!

Divorce Narcissistic Spouse-Rediscover Your Sense of Self and Empowerment

Making the decision to divorce a narcissistic spouse can be wrenching even after you can identify this person as a severe personality disorder who is not going to change. In many cases there are shared financial resources, residences and other possessions that will require division. The narcissist always lies about his true assets and often conceals them when serious talk of divorce fills the air. Make sure you choose an excellent attorney who understands the ruthless games of the narcissist, their no limits attitude and lack of conscience and of course their incredible acting skills. Be prepared for the plots and plans, their pity and martyr roles. Follow their assets with a microscope. In some instances forensic accountants are hired to get to the bottom of what the narcissistic spouse has hidden. After the final papers are signed and the divorce is a reality, the non-narcissistic spouse is left to put back together his/her lives.

After the narcissist the spouse who has been through an emotional and psychological roller coaster ride and has sustained great stress and trauma goes through a process of rebuilding the self. For years and even decades your life has been dictated by the controlling narcissist. In effect you were a prisoner of your marriage. The narcissist made all of the rules and you were expected to obey. Your life was overshadowed by this highly pathological human being.

Now that you are free, you may find yourself going through a period of adjusting to making your own decisions and rediscovering your creative gifts. For other spouses , they move into first gear very quickly—they are prisoners who have been waiting for the gates of freedom to open. These individuals began to bloom and thrive. They discover that they have great amounts of energy. They feel their freedom. They discover that they feel great making their own decisions. They experience joy in recovering their great creative gifts from the past and finding talents that they didn’t realize they had. This is a process of restoring your life. There is a freedom with other people. You can express yourself spontaneously, create new meaningful relationships that are supportive and healing. Some of those who divorce narcissists begin healing practices of yoga and meditation that result in deeper healing and a sense of peace. The sense of a solid self is built on a firm foundation of knowing who you are and accepting and loving yourself. There are so many reports of those who free themselves from narcissistic spouses that are inspirational and bring light into our lives.

Narcissistic Spouse Stresses You to the Max

I hear life stories every day about women and men who believed that the person they married genuinely loved them. What they didn’t know was that this individual was a narcissistic personality and that made all the difference. One of the common themes is for the non-narcissistic spouse to begin to see the psychological and emotional cracks in the partnership quite early. She/he  overrides these observations and makes a greater effort to be more understanding and patient with her spouse. Inside she blames herself for letting her partner down. She takes the burden of her spouse’s severe pathology upon herself. (I am using the feminine gender since statistically most narcissists are still males–but female narcissists are growing in numbers).

There are some “good times” that are cherished by the spouse. She continues to believe that she can “fix the marriage.” She doesn’t understand the true dark nature of the narcissist. Why would she? Her assumption is that most people are genuine, honest and caring and that the marriage is a true partnership. Narcissists don’t marry—they create arrangements that work for them.

As the marriage deteriorates the narcissist makes more outrageous demands on his spouse. The bouts of bottomless rage increase. The recriminations and accusations are stepped up. If you have children, the narcissist is a father in name only. Often he portrays himself as a workaholic while he is having affairs on the side. He is a man of many identities—a consummate actor who always gets what he wants. Narcissists can exploit their partner to the breaking point. They don’t care if you are weak, exhausted, ill, depressed, anxious or desperate. They will use and abuse to the max. And when they are finished they will discard you. This can end in a very ugly divorce where the injured spouse is left with almost no financial resources. The narcissist has planned in advance and cunningly whisked them away.

Your marriage to a narcissist does not have to end this way. Identify these individuals as early as possible. Make your own plans to free yourself from them.

Make an effort to get the sleep that you need. Put yourself first. Exercise the way that works for you, do guided meditation, keep yourself strong and focused on your life for the first time. Pay close attention to your intuition. Do not override this invaluable gift. It will tell you exactly who this person is whom you married. There is an indomitable spirit inside of you that is strong, steady and sure.

Misogynistic Narcissists Cause Psychological Harm to Women

Before I begin this post I want to state that most men are not misogynists. There are female narcissists who cause great psychological harm to men and women. There are many individuals who are not narcissistic personalities and lead their lives with integrity, empathy and compassion.

There is a kind of male narcissist who is highly misogynistic. He appears to be above reproach. On the outside his image is sterling. He is perceived as a person of integrity and compassion. He can be highly successful in the world or not.

Misogynistic narcissists do their damage to you in secret when you are alone with them or no one else is paying attention. Being married to a misogynistic narcissistic spouse is one of the most difficult and painful human experiences. In some cases it is a form of torture.

The other intolerable situations have to do with children of narcissistic parents who had to endure cruel ongoing punishments when they were small, helpless and dependent. Another is siblings of sadistic narcissistic brothers or sisters who terrorized them throughout childhood and who to this day strike fear inside of them.

Often there is a Dr. Jekyll/Mr Hyde aspect to this personality. On the surface, pure gold charm is pouring forth on to you. The narcissist appears to be polite and engaged with fine manners. No one would suspect that he is a misogynist who chronically hurts women.

The most powerful and significant events that weigh heavily on the psyche during our lives often occur in secret. As children we are threatened if we reveal the truth about our parents or other adult family members.

You never know when a misogynistic narcissist is going to appear in your life. If you get intuitions, red flags flying high, gut reactions—pay very close attention–It’s about to happen.

I recall a small important business dinner event. I was required to be there as a result of a commitment I had made. People were greeting one another. I was introduced to the individual who was hosting the event. This man acknowledged me and he placed his hand out to shake mine. His grasp of my hand tightened very quickly and became a deep painful unrelenting grip. I thought he was going to stop but he didn’t. I said: “That hurts.” He didn’t let go right away. I said: “No one has done that to me before.” He released my hand and made an excuse by saying that he was very strong. He seemed proud of that statement. I was shocked about his complete disregard over what he had done to me. My hand was throbbing and the pain did not go away for some time.  No one saw what he did or heard the verbal exchange between the two of us. He was scot-free. I could not make a scene during this business meeting. I was trapped with a man who was capable of causing physical pain and I believe great psychological pain as well. This is a very small example of the way that a misogynistic narcissist can operate with impunity.

I have heard and read many life stories of women who have been victims of narcissistic men who are misogynists. Their lives are filled with perpetrated cruelties, degradations and humiliations. Many of them have broken free from their narcissistic husbands, begun the process of healing and recovering their  true selves to lead their own separate lives in freedom and inner peace.

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Gall and Hubris–Ugly Core of Narcissistic Personality

Gall and hubris have a lot in common. They are despicable human traits found within the narcissistic personality, especially the classic grandiose narcissist.

Gall is defined as a “brazen boldness.” Hubris, which sounds much like its meaning, is an “unacceptable arrogance” accompanied by behavior that is hurtful and insulting  to others. Narcissists think nothing of these traits since this is an intrinsic part of them. These attributes combined with a lack of conscience or empathy describe a human being who moves through his/her life doing whatever they want by manipulations, deceptions, chronic lying, endless humiliation, psychological sabotage, exploitation and the infliction of terror and fear.

There are many adult children who grow up with narcissistic mothers, fathers or siblings who live in the war zone created by the narcissist–the Queen/King of Gall and Hubris. This world is filled with hidden dangerous mines and booby-traps that can be set off any moment. When you grow up with a narcissist you live in fight or flight mode, always wondering and dreading when the next horrid shoe is going to drop. Tiptoeing through life on a tightrope with no net is a waking nightmare. Those who are married to narcissists are also members of this circle of pain.

The gall and hubris of the narcissist has a relentless quality. These individuals will not stop hurting those whom they perceive as standing in their way.

Today we are experiencing an epidemic growth of the narcissistic personality in every venue of life. Look far and wide–in the culture, corporate climate, social milieu–we are surrounded by narcissists. Learn how to recognize them quickly. If you can get them out of your life, do it. If not, study this personality in detail so that you understand their tactics, uncover their many masks and know their dirty tricks and games. You can become very savvy about them.

Those who grew up with narcissistic mothers, fathers, siblings or are married to narcissists deserve to begin the process of healing from them. This is a different pathway you are taking in your life. Once you have made the decision and know that you will no longer be a part of their psychopathology your healing has begun. They will try to draw you back in with many enticements.

Put your healing and self care first. You will bring individuals into your life who will help you with this process. It is complex and can involve high quality psychotherapy (Make sure the therapist you have chosen is not a narcissist.) Develop a regular healing practice through gentle hatha yoga, guided meditation, exercise that works for you, using your creativity and all activities that lead you into the parasympathetic nervous system—the zone of rest, solace, security and repose—where you belong.

I know you can go the distance on this new path of healing and a gathering peace.

 

It’s Not Too Late to Leave Your Narcissistic Husband or Wife

I hear from many individuals who have been married to a narcissistic spouse for many years. They are suffering horribly. They feel like their lives are completely eclipsed by this very self involved, over entitled and highly demanding individual who is constantly projecting psychological venom on to them. They live in a state of emotional and psychological siege– never knowing from one moment to the next how ugly the narcissist will become–which big shoe will drop and when. This is a perilous way to lead one’s life. Victims of narcissistic spouses don’t deserve this kind of treatment.

Some spouses make excuses for being treated abusively. They have become accustomed to being victimized. They remember the “good times” to stay in the relationship which is never authentic when you are involved with a narcissistic personality.

There is good news from those who have made a decision to leave a marriage to a narcissistic spouse. The process is not easy but very worthwhile. How much is the psychological and emotional quality of your life worth? You are entitled to develop your creative gifts to their fullest, to experience inner peace, to express your feelings without being continually criticized and demeaned. You are a person of integrity and deserve to be treated this way.

Think carefully about the constricted life you are leading. Narcissists insist on followers and adorers not true marital partners. They are incapable of real love and emotional intimacy. They do not change.

Pay close attention to your intuition and let it guide you as you make this very important decision. Put yourself first. That is what I tell my clients. For some, it is the first time in their lives that they have done this. Consider the pathway of freedom and the beginning of a new life cycle that you deserve. Your personal healing is at hand and waiting for you to say “yes” to your new life.

 

Narcissistic Women–Bridezillas at the Wedding–Monsters in the Marriage

The numbers of narcissistic women are growing rapidly today in this current society of   extreme self entitlement, emotional and psychological shallowness and over the top materialism. (There are innumerable successful, bright, compassionate, talented women who are not narcissists.)

You know these women. Remember the drama that lead up to the wedding day from hell. Your acquaintance or friend or relative who was already a blooming narcissist showed her stripes as she morphed into the ultimate Bridezilla. She made constant demands, often screaming at the wedding support crew of people who were helping her.This narcissist got the bit in her mouth and wouldn’t let go. She changed intricate planning at the last minute, throwing everything off. She displayed temper tantrums that would make a two year old blush and run the other way. She shifted her mood every five minutes. She never apologized for her cruel words to her family and friends who were helping her. Everywhere she went Bridezilla caused emotional disturbance to anyone in her presence.

Those who attended this “wedding” were so relieved to exit, they felt like they had entered an enchanted world outside of the Bridezilla’s kingdom.

Narcissistic women don’t change after the wedding. In fact they can become even more demanding, hyper-critical and cruel.

After the psychological and emotional honeymoon period which can be very brief, they start picking away at their spouse for not being perfect like they are. If you are the husband of one of these women you know how frustrating and hurtful it can be on the receiving end of narcissistic rage and projections. You are blamed for everything that “goes wrong” from her perspective. You can do and say exactly what she wants and a narcissist will find a way to make you wrong. Some narcissists are highly dramatic and make ugly scenes even in public, screaming at you, calling you nasty names, humiliating you in front of friends, demeaning you continually. It is shocking to marry some whom you thought you knew. You keep telling yourself that this is a nightmare and you are going to wake up. But the hard knuckle tactics continue. Narcissists are highly controlling and manipulative. While she can do whatever she wants, you are put on a very short leash. Some narcissistic spouses are jealous, even paranoid about their mates. They don’t want anyone to talk with or spend any time with friends, even family members. You are the narcissistic spouse’s possession.

Meanwhile, she is free to do whatever she wants, whenever and is never accountable for her actions. You are part of her perfect image and she insists that you play this role perfectly. You have been chosen for this purpose alone. In some instances the female narcissist chooses a spouse who has large financial assets that she can use to enhance her status in the world, her lifestyle and social status. These spouses are living narcissistic supplies.

There comes a time of reckoning when the psychologically battered spouse can no longer tolerate living under constant siege and fight or flight mode. Their stress is at the max and they feel like their lives have been taken away from them.

You can free yourself of this non-marriage through divorce. This is a challenge and difficult since these individuals are very uncooperative and never want to share or be fair about splitting properties, assets or money.

I hear from those who have been through this process and they report that, indeed, it was hard but worth their efforts. Now they are free to be themselves, to use their creative gifts, to rediscover that their lives belong to them, not a narcissist.