For most of your life, you have come second, third, fourth or even last. Now, in the aftermath of your marriage or partnership with a narcissist, you look around for the first time and realize that you are beginning to take over your own life.
Whether it is your narcissistic mother, narcissistic father, narcissistic spouse, narcissistic sister or narcissistic brother or an entire narcissistic family, you have been through Hell with this dreadful life experience. As a young child you endured too much and too little at the same time. There was no emotional and psychological nurturing, no one to wipe your tears so you learned not to cry or laugh or even feel. You internalized what was real and alive inside of you so that you would not be punished and shamed and humiliated even more.
You are still licking your wounds and finding other crevices of open sore memory traces of emotional and psychological pain.
There are times now after your hard fought inner work on your psyche and soul when you perceive and appreciate what you survived. Be kind to that small child inside of you. Give him or her comfort and reassurance and validation. What an individual you are! Healing ourselves is a life process.
Practice self care–You deserve to sleep quietly at night, rest when you are weary, write without editing, freely using your unconscious without effort but ease, digest your dreams from the unconscious, meditate or pray, use your creative juices and let them flow with interruption, feel the cool air coming through your nostrils on the inhalation and the warmed air from you body at the exhalation–notice that you feel calmer.
You deserve to lead life in the full color spectrum of your psyche and soul. With Love to You.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
“The narcissist is a tyrant who controls the world that he/she creates…The iron grip of the narcissist’s control extends to all the significant people in his life: spouses, partners, children, ex-spouses, siblings…Those under his control are not free to lead their own lives, to make decisions and mistakes, to use their talents and energies, to have their own dreams.” (From: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life).
I hear from individuals who are married to narcissists–They can’t win. They are too afraid to divorce their captor and in the other case, terrorized through each day, year, decade of confinement. Some spouses have identified with the aggressor and told themselves that they have it “good” with the lifestyle and all of the entitlements that come with it.
Children of narcissists are savagely trapped, especially when they are young. Where can they go? They are surrounded by the enemy–the narcissistic parent. Often the mother or father married to this person will not psychologically and emotionally support the child due to intimidation. The non narcissistic spouse caves in and “abandons” the child out of fear and denial.
The controlling narcissist will do whatever it takes to remain in charge. He/she will lie, threaten, verbally, psychologically and emotional abuse whoever is standing in his way. Retribution is sought and paid if you defy a narcissist and even think and share your own thoughts. Narcissists squelch any joy or feeling of comfort in the home environment. It is living in a war zone or being in captivity behind enemy lines and the military forces are not coming to save you.
The need to control on the part of narcissists speaks of their unconscious fears of losing power and influence. At their core beneath the steel defenses they feel worthless and empty.
When you recognize and identify the true nature of the narcissist, you are further along toward liberating yourself from their iron grip. Remember, you deserve to lead a separate life and experience inner peace, the full use and enjoyment of your creative gifts and energies. Take charge of your life and your entitlement to lead a good one that is unfettered by fear, intimidation, control, deceit or tyranny. Move into the zone of freedom where you belong.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Male and female narcissists are incapable of genuine feelings of love, caring, giving comfort, having empathy or being merciful.
When you are married to a narcissist you become his/her possession. Narcissists are completely disingenuous. They are deluded human beings. It doesn’t matter how successful they are in the world; in their personal lives they are unable to give or receive on any level.
Narcissists believe they own their spouses. They are highly manipulative and secretive. Most spouses have no clue about the concealed lives that they lead right under your nose. Narcissists enjoy the thrill of their clandestine lives. It is an adrenaline rush for them–like the fastest down hill run.
Narcissistic spouses are known for hiding money from their husbands or wives. They want everything for themselves and are always planning what they will do when they decide to dispose of you. Of course, they will move on to a new life. For them everyone has a price and everyone is expendable.
The spouse is an object for the narcissist like a painting that can be auctioned off to the highest bidder. While you are married to the narcissist, he or she insists that you maintain a perfect image that is a reflection of his importance and outward power. After all, you are a living reflection of his/her worth.
When you discover who this individual truly is and decide to divorce him/her, be prepared in advance before you are dumped or put to the side. Do your homework and research. Do not share your plans with the narcissist. You cannot trust someone who has treated you like a non-person.
Begin to take very good care of yourself and maintain your psychological and financial independence as much as you can. Recognize that you are moving in the right direction to re-engage your own life and to rediscover your true self. This is a journey well worth taking.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
The Original Self is authentic, alive, spontaneous. It is a great joy to be in the presence and to share our lives with a person who is genuine—always himself or herself regardless of the occasion. I know a few of these individuals and feel an acceptance, calming, openness and hopefulness with them that is healing. These people are no frills–come as you are. They look into your eyes and you engage with them on a deep level.
Narcissists are disingenuous and false. They play roles–give premiere performances that are believable to many people. Often they are very successful, especially during this time–a new age of narcissism. For the narcissist, image is reality. He or she must project the perfect image–physical attractiveness and beauty, youth, extravagance, elitism, wielding worldly power that spells personal superiority to others. Narcissists exploit and look down on those who are not at their level of success. (Being successful is a positive pursuit. I am talking about those who use their ruthless climb to the top as a way to make others feel small and worthless and to control them by intimidation.) Narcissists often insist that their spouses and children be externally perfect as well. This level of perfectionism is very extreme. Personal looks must be just right–literally one hair out of place, a tiny wrinkle in a shirt, makeup that is not exquisitely matched, a small facial asymmetry–any visual flaw of person or possession is sharply ridiculed.
If you have been raised by a narcissist or married to one, you know how difficult this obsessive focus on image and the lack of substance and authenticity. Narcissists try to hijack our genuineness. They make fun of our spontaneity, our mistakes, our human emotions. Living with a narcissist we are imprisoned by their strict sense of image—turning true reality inside out.
When you break free from them, you breathe deeply and begin to feel the stirrings of the real self that you had to leave behind long ago. You find yourself remembering who you really are. You begin to feel entitled, sometimes for the first time, to express yourself fully–emotionally, creatively, intellectually and spiritually. Celebrate Your Authenticity. You are alive, in the moment, feeling the gusts of freedom’s winds at your back.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Narcissistic spouses are unrelenting in their focus of destruction upon you if you are married to one of these exceedingly cruel individuals. I hear and read innumerable stories of the narcissistic spouse’s attempts to destroy the life of their spouse. I am talking about men and women who are their targets. Living with the constant flow of putrid, toxic projections by the narcissist is injurious to the victimized spouse. Day after day and as the years accumulate, the insults to the nervous system, the mind, the creative process, the hope about life itself become greater. Some spouses continue to believe that the narcissist is going to change. This is not the case—ever. Narcissistic personality is a fixed disorder that is not inclined to change. Do not wait for this to happen. You are not to blame. Pay attention to what your intuition is shouting at you–Get Out and Save Yourself So that You Can and Will Lead the Life that You Deserve.
Focus on your self healing. Take time each day to be with yourself–even for a few minutes. Listen to guided meditation, go into Nature, listen to the birds, feel the wind and sun, or the sleet and snow. Learn to to take deep slow breaths through the nose. Listen and allow great music to take you into another world where you can feel quiet and peace. Some benefit from excellent psychotherapy especially when they are making the decision to break from the narcissistic spouse. The therapist is your ally and will help you to appreciate who you are as a unique, valuable individual. Talk to a friend whom you trust and lay your burden there. Share your feelings and let yourself cry. Above all, listen to the voice of your intuition. It speaks the truth, always.
Know that you are a valuable, loving, talented human being who deserves a different life, the one you are creating.
Each time many spouses go back to their narcissistic spouse they know that this person has a chance of changing. They hold out that small candle of hope that this time it will be different because I am going to love him enough. This pattern is repeated, sometimes for decades, over and over again with highly painful, stressful and in some cases catastrophic results. It isn’t your fault that you keep returning to your narcissistic spouse. However, one great option to avoid the plunge this time is to learn everything you can about this personality disorder of our times—the narcissistic personality disorder. You can change yourself and you keep trying but you cannot change them.
Begin your psychological and physical and emotional separation from him (or her) by learning perhaps for the first time, how to take very good care of yourself. Become entitled to the essentials: good sleep, a form of exercise that you either like or can tolerate, listening to music that you love, eating healthy food, doing a form of quieting the body/mind like guided meditation, simple hatha yoga with emphasis on breathing through the nose, tai chi, dance in a form that you enjoy, creativity—painting, sketching, spontaneous writing, photographing, being in Nature–even watching the birds in the park or a small space near you is a lovely interlude. You will think of many more ways to calm yourself, to learn to be alone with yourself and at peace.
As you grow stronger psychologically you will find that you are perceiving your narcissistic spouse more objectively. This person is constantly projecting his/her psychological venom on to you. That is abusive.
Your narcissistic spouse is regressed at the age of about the terrible two’s regardless of worldly success, education or intelligence or talent.
Pay close attention to you intuition as it leads the way to your final liberation from this individual who has caused you so much pain on every level. You will continue to grow and evolve. I have seen this happen so often. I applaud every effort you make. Don’t be judgmental on yourself. You deserve freedom, deep inner peace and the use of all of your many gifts.
So often those who are married to narcissistic spouses or who have narcissistic partners are repeating an abusive cycle of behavior that they experienced in childhood and beyond. They move from the traumatic home where they were continually in a psychological state of siege to marriage to a narcissistic partner who always has them in a state of apprehension and in some cases–all out terror. Each moment they know that their narcissistic partner might come unglued and go into a violent vituperative rage. They know it will happen–the question is When? The narcissistic spouse is predictably unpredictable. Highly secretive, he/she is very controlling–even to the point of hacking your email, following your footsteps to the mall via your cell phone, watching and listening as you speak with friends. There is nowhere to hid, be safe, find peace or respite.
For some this is a vivid reminder of their childhood with a narcissistic mother and/or father. When we are little, we know instinctively that we must survive. We do our best. We are so vulnerable. We walk the walk we are given and mouth the words that are spoken. For some, childhood is a kind of brainwashing, a prison, a gulag. Some children feel that there will never be a return from this place of desolation and constant fear. Who will rescue them? Who will come, they ask through their tears. Some children are afraid to cry. This can be dangerous after all if you get slapped in the face every time you show an emotion.
One would think logically that if we are raised in this horrendous environment in the world of the narcissistic parent we would never choose a narcissist as a partner. But this is frequently not the case. Unconsciously we are drawn to what is familiar albeit painful. And besides this, narcissists are so clever in the opening moves. They know how to catch our attention, how to magnetize us to them, how to make us fall in love or lust with them against every best judgment we ever had. They have phenomenal antenna and can sense our deepest needs and vulnerabilities–this despite that beneath it all, they don’t give a damn about us.
Once the spouse knows that he/she is being victimized by a narcissist there is a great opportunity to leave this toxic person. But life isn’t that simple or easy. Divorcing a narcissist is complex and ugly, usually. But I have known many who have done this and gone through the fire of this ordeal and come out very much alive, limping at first and then moving steadily faster toward a life that belongs to them. They have broken the pathological cycle of repetition. Life is waiting for them to take the next step—Their Very Own.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
We live in a narcissistic society today. Look around at those wielding the most power and influence. A large percentage of them are narcissists. (There are exceptions—individuals who have tremendous success and have great character and integrity).
Narcissists adopt a predictable cycle of Use, Abuse, Dispose. This pathological repetition can last a few weeks or decades, depending on how long you put your fate in the hands of a narcissistic personality. With a narcissist there is never an authentic relationship. He/she is a grandiose false self without conscience, empathy or compassion. Narcissists are ruthless and exploitive to the core.
Learn to recognize the NPD quickly and accurately. If they are oozing with too much charm and you get the intuition to step back, pay attention to this inner wisdom. Giving you the rush is part of their scheme to control and manipulate you. Narcissists always want something from you. If you think they love you, give that one up quickly. NPD’s are users only–They put on the show of a lifetime–consummate actors at center stage with their adoring audiences.
Narcissists completely lack empathy–the ability to feel and understanding what another person is experiencing on a deep level. They also lack compassion and are not introspective. They are street savvy and know how to find your most vulnerable parts and learn how to play to perfection.
Once the narcissist has gotten what he wants–status, pleasure, power, connections, intrigue, romance, etc. he sends you out the door without an apology, true explanation or a hint of guilt. Remember, these individuals do not have a conscience so they don’t experience guilt. They sleep very well at night while you are tossing about in emotional and psychological agony. Don’t let this happen to you. Study these NPD’s deeply and you will know how to identify them and keep them out of your life or show them the door with great dispatch.
Your life is precious. It belongs to you. You have many gifts. Use them—all of them and more. You deserve deep inner peace and relationships that are warm, loving, supportive and empathic.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Whether you are the son or daughter of a narcissistic mother or father, the spouse of a narcissist or the sibling of a narcissist you have been through a painful ordeal that caused you psychological and emotional pain. You cannot erase this reality but you can heal and move forward with your life. You are entitled to feel secure, independent, hopeful, inspired, calm and in charge. As you unloosen the mental and psychological chains that have bound you–step out and appreciate your true true self, the person you were always meant to be.
Self Care is the beginning of healing after the narcissist.
1. Take time each day to be with yourself in solitude in the way that you define it. Set this time aside for yourself so that you will not be interrupted. Learn to quiet your mind for a few minutes at a time consistently through meditation, gentle yoga poses, listening to calming music, prayer and other activities that bring you inner peace.
2. Make an effort to get the sleep that you need. You will be rewarded with a clear mind and an increase in your physical and mental stamina.
3. Learn to say “No” to those who would take advantage of you–narcissists in particular. You have already had this painful experience. Your days of being manipulated and exploited are over.
4. Become less concerned about what others think of you when you activate your independent thinking. You are free now to express your own opinions.
5. Eat healthy foods that nourish all of your body systems including that part of the nervous system that keeps us feeling calm.
6. Express your creativity in ways that appeal to you—writing, painting, dancing, singing, cooking, gardening, designing, etc.
7. Form a support system of a few individuals whom you can count on anytime. This can take time. Be receptive to those who cross your path whom you think are possible candidates.
8. Take your sense of humor out of cold storage (if that is where it has been while you were under the control of the narcissist) and let her rip—If you are silly, go for it. If you are inclined toward dry wit, let’s hear it. Each person has a unique sense of humor which is delightful. Humor saves us. This life is not easy and we must have humor as our constant companion.
9. Pay close attention to the messages of your intuition. Intuition is a gift we have as human beings. The more often it is used, the greater its power to guide us through life.
10. Practice receiving the affection and love that others offer to you. Embrace it and feel the warmth.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.