I want to add to the title here and say: “Narcissistic Spouses Can Make You Physically Ill If You Let Them” It can be very difficult to know if you are married to a narcissist. There are some individuals who see through this personality disorder but they are rare. They don’t marry this person because they sense the red flags of extreme self entitlement, self absorption, bubbling rage and lack of empathy. Others are starry eyed going into the marriage and have been tricked by the narcissist’s incredible charm and special promises to you that your life will change forever as his partner. As the years go by you begin to notice that your spouse is very demanding and creates a lot of stress within you. You have headaches, stomach aches, back aches. You look forward to the time that he/she is away from you so that you can take a deep breath without feeling his constant criticisms and intrusions. You feel the picking away at your self confidence. There is no place to go to have a moment of peace. Some partners are super screamers and go off at a moment’s notice. It’s one thing to hear babies crying; it’s quite another to hear and watch a grown man throwing himself around and yelling at the top of his lungs almost every day or evening. Anything will set him off. Remember the narcissist is always enraged. It takes almost nothing to send these folks over the top and you into internal chaos.
You are the object of this daily stress that builds up day by day, year by year. You find that your body is tight, your digestion is effected and that you have trouble sleeping. You dread waking up to early morning tirades or late night blowups.
Years of living with a narcissistic spouse can take a heavy toll on your physical health. Under these conditions you are constantly in a state of fight or flight–the sympathetic nervous system. Your adrenals become worn down and depleted and can go into adrenal exhaustion. Many spouse recipients of this abuse feel that they are to blame for this dreadful onslaught and it is their fault. That is not the case. You are married to a narcissistic personality, a serious character disorder that will not change. As long as you are with this person you will be the subject of continuous abuse.
Think about your physical, mental and psychological health and the value of your own life. You are not a possession of this person. You belong to yourself and deserve respect as a human being. Wake up to a sense of being entitled to some peace, comfort, your own unfiltered thoughts, creative ideas, quiet time uninterrupted. And always remember that your maintaining your physical health and strength is vital to you.
No one is allowed to make you feel sick—NO ONE!
Recognizing that they have been subject to narcissistic abuse that they do not deserve and will no longer tolerate, many spouses divorce the narcissistic husband or wife. This can be challenging but it well worth it. Many report back to me that they have felt secure, comfortable, without physical tension or pain for the first time in many years. They celebrate their freedom to be their original selves, to be spontaneous with those who appreciate them, to laugh out loud and feel joy, to show affection toward those they love without criticism, to express their feelings in freedom. You can change your life and restore your real self, the person who has been waiting to emerge and be re-born for many years.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.