I know several people who have trained for and run marathons. This is a tough, disciplined process that takes many hours and hard grinding work. The goal is incredible–over 26 miles of running–one footfall after another. I have seen great runners reach the wall and writhe in agony.
Narcissists are very cruel beings. I am discovering endless varieties of their horrid treacheries all the time. It is incredible that they continue to wreck havoc in the lives that they touch and in some cases, destroy. Their projections are meant to be mortal, kicking the air out of your spirit, making you doubt yourself or psychologically throwing you into deep humiliation.
Narcissists are masters of total control over others at all times. Whether they are in the preliminary stages and intoxicating you with their magnetism or intimidating you with their veiled threats or disposing of you when you are at your lowest ebb, the narcissistic personality is a highly predictable human. You are his/her possession. He will manipulate and mold you into the perfect replica of a living narcissistic supply who will be a perpetual source of adulation, praise, even worship.
Narcissists hurt us deeply when we are unable to identify them and psychologically fuse with them. Some of those who become involved with narcissists continue to return for more punishment, thinking that they can change these individuals or believing that they are the ones to blame for the relationship not working. Over and over again their victims blame themselves and return–each time becoming more distressed and feeling lost, confused and depleted.
Once you know that you are dealing with a narcissist—spouse, mother, father, sibling, etc., do your research and learn everything you can about this personality disorder that is growing exponentially within our population.
Be kind to yourself about your self blame, your returning for more pain, your thinking that there is something the matter with you. Let go of any guilt that you are carrying. You will find your burden lifting.
Begin to take good care of yourself: physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. Sleep, rest, enjoy your own company and that of friends who are empathic and understanding and who know how to listen and to give and receive.
Think about your many gifts–those that you know about and others that have remained in the background while the narcissist took center stage and stood in your light.
Feel your individual power—your healthy narcissism—a deep respect for yourself. Be grateful for the life that you have and the one that is ahead of you. Cry when you need to–without shame or holding back. Sing when you feel the tunes coming through you–write freely without editing—go inside the music that you love and sing tunes that you create on the spot. Do this and so much more–Use your imagination–let it fly!
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
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 covert narcissist is the trickiest and most subtle individual to identify as a personality disorder. He or she appears to be impeccable in facade, character, integrity, professional status, values, morals–the list is a long one. You have met many covert narcissists without knowing this. Don’t blame yourself or expect that you would recognize these individuals. It takes a lot of research and deep observation to identify one of these hidden in plain sight toxic people. Many of them wear the robes of holiness and goodness. They are beyond reproach. Often they hold unquestioned authority as members in high standing of spiritual movements or religious organizations. This makes it very difficult to question the true content of their characters. Those who are very powerful and influential covert narcissists in the world are also viewed as “heroes” in many people’s eyes. Don’t be fooled by the titles, degrees, professional training, adulation, prizes, medals, public praise that others receive. For the covert narcissist this is a perfect setting for him or her to get the ego supplies that are so desperately needed to fulfill an extreme sense of self entitlement.
Being married to a covert narcissist the spouse is continually subjected to injected feelings of shame. They might even use the old phrase: “You should be ashamed of yourself.” You say to yourself–”For what?” But beneath the surface you feel on a visceral level that you are wrong and that there is something intrinsically the matter with you. This is a horrible trap. You have no reason to feel shame and to be emotionally burdened by a dreadful lie. The narcissist is bullying you with this powerful cruel projection to control you and make your life a living hell. Those who have a conscience feel shame from time to time. The narcissist does not have a conscience and is shameless. How absurd when you look at this rationally and understand that you have been terribly wronged and treated with complete disrespect.
There is a time of decision when being married to a covert narcissist is no longer an option. The loud siren is going off. “Leave, let go and lead your own life!” Study the narcissistic personality in-depth so that you understand their true nature, including that one who is hiding behind “goodness and “perfection”–the covert lying in the weeds ready to ambush you. Learn to appreciate your true nature, to become more entitled to true respect, to recognize your many creative gifts, to become more acquainted and comfortable with your true self–the authenticity of you as an individual.
“In narcissistic personalities the experience of emptiness is most intense and almost constant…” (Otto Kernberg, Md. clinical expert on the narcissistic personality). “The narcissist’s experience of emotional emptiness is beyond sadness. It is a severe and intractable wounding, a pain…savage and deep. The psychological (inner) landscape of the narcissist is bleak.” (From: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life). This is the narcissist’s unconscious experience of himself. (I use the male pronoun “he” in this post to represent male and female narcissists). As a result the narcissist is a very restless human being, always surveying his external environment for narcissistic supplies: adulation, praise, self indulgence, the company of highly attractive men and women, sexual escapes, the pursuit of material possessions, seeking raw power to control others, manipulation of those whom they experience as competitors.
“The successful narcissist creates an intricate system of positive feedback in the form of friends, associates, partners, spouses—who perpetually fulfill his endless needs.” (From Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life) The narcissist is incapable of having a real relationship with another person. He doesn’t have a relationship with himself. Everything in his life is externalized and the most prized possession of all is the elaborate golden image that he creates and perpetuates all of his life.
Beneath the surface, in the unconscious, molten rage is bubbling. This fury is projected on to others, especially spouses, children, siblings, business associates, etc. The narcissist cannot perceive that this rage is completely inappropriate and harmful to others. He simply spits it out or vomits it forth in a projectile that is highly disturbing and hurtful to its recipients. This is the narcissist’s extreme self loathing in action. The narcissist cannot own any of these unconscious feelings and therefore they are ejected out on to his victims.
When you learn about the dynamics of the narcissistic personality, you have gained knowledge and power. Now you understand what makes them tick, why they react with such venom and why they are constantly searching for narcissistic supplies to fill up the bottomless pit of their psychological emptiness. Learn to detach from the narcissist. Keep your physical distance (if possible since they are very unpleasant to say the least) and maintain your psychological boundaries. You are entitled to respect. You are a separate human being who has intrinsic value, integrity and dignity.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Narcissists are always on the hunt for supply—gratifications of their egos for applause, adulation, worldly power, gorgeous willing, adoring, malleable partners.
If you have been married to a narcissist for decades or a very short time, remember that your “relationship” with this person is up for grabs–expendable. Narcissists are not loyal to anyone but themselves. They are ruthlessly wanton and careless about the feelings of others, even their own children. Children are often used as attractive props that enhance the narcissist’s image and status. After all, if your child is very attractive and has a myriad of talents and capacities, the narcissistic mother or father will have endless bragging rights. This person is incapable of actually loving his/her child. Authentic feelings are not part of the narcissist’s life vocabulary. They tell great stories about their devotion to their spouse and children but this makes for great drama and image enhancement.
Spouses who get out of line by psychologically working to become individuals and separate from the narcissist become the enemy. After all, they are no longer servile–the one who gives the king or queen his crown and scepter.
Even before the divorce it not unlikely that the narcissistic spouse has found your replacement. He or she has already drifted to new sources of psychological supply that will keep his ego fully inflated. There is no sadness or regret about all of those years together. You gave your life to this person. You are shocked and grieving the loss. The narcissist pivots quickly to his next human supply. One partner or spouse is interchangeable with the next. Forget the years, the life experiences, the children you share—None of this matters to the narcissist. He or she may play the part of being upset but that is for the performance in the divorce court to get the best settlement possible for him. It’s a well rehearsed polished act. After all, the narcissist is an excellent actor who fools most people. He has been doing this all of his life.
Protect yourself from your narcissistic spouse by researching this personality structure. Understand their strategies, the way they think–about themselves only–, their ruthlessness and horrendous lack of empathy, chronic lying, duplicity, manipulations, empty promises.
Pay attention to your needs and wishes. Never blame yourself for becoming involved in a marriage with a narcissist. They fool most people all the time–even therapists.
Focus on your life, your talents, your well being and sense of peace. You have been carrying a great burden with this marriage. Now you will live lighter, simpler and discover that you are an incredible individual–so wonderful just as you are.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Like an eclipse of the sun at mid-day when the earth is darkened, your life married to a narcissist diminishes your creativity, your physical health, your peace of mind, your dreams, your sense of hope. Maybe you think that you are compromising with this spouse of yours but that is never the case with a narcissistic personality. When the marriage gets ugly and the word divorce is floating through the atmosphere, you suggest marital counseling. This can be helpful to many couples but with narcissists the process is different. Narcissists are great actors. They can easily pretend that they are cooperating as clients. Sometimes, they win over the therapist who then finds that you are the one at fault.
Some of those married to narcissists don’t feel sufficiently entitled to lead the life that they deserve. As children they didn’t feel good enough or smart enough or equal to a brother or sister who was “golden.” Parents were highly critical and demanding and often one of them was narcissistic. One would think that if you were raised by a narcissistic mother you would not seek out a man or woman who was a narcissist. But there is a tendency to repeat painful behavioral and psychological patterns that hurt us the most in childhood with our relationships as adults.
As the years being married to a narcissist create a profound burden on you and eclipse the core of your individual life, a reckoning has come. Learn everything you can about the true nature of the narcissistic personality. This is empowering and will enlighten your perceptions of your spouse. No longer will you be able to make excuses for this person who is making your life a living hell and thwarting your opportunities to use all of your talents and energies, to feel free to express yourself authentically.
You will learn to feel entitled to a full life, a free one that is deep, meaningful, spontaneous, filled with some special people who love you and you, them. Explore your creative gifts and discover your unique talents. Spend time in peace and solitude for the first time in your life. Sleep more deeply and dream in every color of the rainbow. Access the healing power of the parasympathetic nervous system which is like moving along the gentle waves of an endless sea of peace.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
When you met this man or woman you were captivated–carried away by his/her charm, ambition, success, confidence and promises of love. Today you are either contemplating a divorce, divorced or going through a very ugly divorce from your narcissistic spouse. One of the issues that makes it very painful besides a fight for custody over the children is their GREED. Never think you can negotiate in good faith with a narcissist. They will run the table on you if you don’t hire one hell of an attorney to fight them tooth and claw.
Narcissists are greedy and demanding. During the divorce they are completely uncooperative. They love to put obstructions in your way, rattle your nerves and scare the hell out of you. They throw barrages of threats to ruin you financially. First, they have been stealing from you for a long time. They lie about their assets constantly during the marriage–even in the good times. Narcissists are exceedingly secretive. They must always have the edge over everyone else even if it is a spouse or child.
When the divorce is on, the narcissist goes into full battle mode. You are bombarded by his attorney’s countless questions and insinuations, designed to wear you down to nothing so you will give up. Narcissists get a thrill from watching others suffer. It makes them feel even more superior, knowing that they are controlling your emotions and they are exposing what they perceive as your weaknesses—meaning your humanity.
Prepare yourself for battle by having a deep working knowledge of the narcissistic personality. When you have the background, you have a better edge at predicting their moves and developing excellent strategies.
Don’t ever give in to the “I have changed. I want this divorce to be amicable” routine. This ploy is used to throw you off balance and re-consider. Don’t fall for it–ever!
Make sure that you learn to take good care of yourself during the divorce and for the rest of your life. You are a first priority. You will never capitulate to someone who is a taker, not a giver.
You will prevail–I know you can. Remember, you are an authentic, strong, talented and empathic individual.
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.