Narcissistic Spouses Discard You When You Need Them The Most

Narcissists are essentially solo acts. They are incapable of forming genuine relationships, especially their spouses and children. Narcissists are duplicitous. They have many secret agendas. They compartmentalize their lives skillfully and without conscience.

After you have been married to a narcissist for a while you realize that this man or woman is not the person you met and with whom you fell in love. He switches quickly from one mood to another, almost as if he/she is changing personalities. Even when he is getting everything he wants–praise, success, adulation, prestige, etc. he will suddenly turn on his spouse. He is projecting and spewing his unconscious self loathing and psychological emptiness on to you. Spouses on the receiving end of these assaults often learn to ignore and rationalized these cruel behaviors. “Oh, he’s going through a tough time right now.” “He puts too much pressure on himself/herself.” Actually the narcissist applies full pressure and intimidation to everyone else. He moves in the fast lane of life, often weaving through the traffic, jeopardizing others. Since he doesn’t have a conscience, this doesn’t bother him in the least. He/she only knows that winning is everything.

After the marriage has turned stale—and this can happen quickly with narcissists since they have very short attention spans for spouses–the narcissist needs to figure out exactly what he is going to do with you. If you have become psychologically, emotionally or physically ill, the narcissist leaves you in the dust. I have heard stories of women in labor who had to drive themselves to the hospital. Narcissists are pretend parents. They use their children as narcissistic supplies. They need to present the image of themselves as the “great parent.”  This elaborate presentation fools most people who believe that the narcissist is a fine human beings, spouse and fine parent.

Narcissistic spouses are irritated and disgusted with spouses who are ill, have injuries or chronic physical problems. This cramps their style and doesn’t suit their high flying energy. Besides, it’s dreadful for their grandiose image. In many instances they find another partner and quickly plan to replace the spouse who has psychological or emotional problems or is going through a painful illness. Narcissists are without mercy or empathy. It is not part of their psychological makeup. After the divorce the spouse in great need and crisis is quickly abandoned like a piece of paper flying in an errant wind. Often there are no warnings that this individual is going to be abandoned and left without financial resources that have been purposely depleted by the narcissistic spouse. If there are children involved that don’t fit the image that the narcissistic spouse requires, he or she abandons them as well, leaving them to fend for themselves.

Narcissists never look back at the horrendous pain they have caused—pain and suffering that completely disrupts and damages the lives of their own spouses and children. They never think about this again. They are not haunted by any memory of their cruelties. They sleep well at night and are still completely full of themselves as they change the stage set for a renewal of a fresh new life with another person. This is a travesty, a horrible true scenarios that is repeated over and over again by narcissists with impunity in this world.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.

Freeing Yourself From the Narcissist in Your Lifewill be published in a paperback edition on August 15, 2013

 

21 thoughts on “Narcissistic Spouses Discard You When You Need Them The Most”

  1. Comment:From Anna
    That is so true. The callous abandonment and withholding of any assistance or support to the narcissist’s “nearest and dearest” at any time of extreme medical emergency has been a hallmark behaviour in my experience of malignant narcissists. It is a really chilling hallmark behaviour of theirs. I was a patient in the Critical Care ward and received a message from my then partner to the effect that he “might visit”. He didn’t, and never made any effort at all to acknowledge or assist in any way. Then he acted as if this had never happened. That’s very typical of them – they revise history in totally self-serving ways. Probably this scenario of their extreme callousness in times of medical emergency unmasks them best – it certainly disposed of any residual doubts I had. Clarity is wonderful, and your validating commentary is profoundly helpful in unmasking these creatures and their intrinsic malice. Good luck with the launch of the book Linda.

  2. Comment: From Lynn
    I left him, but the behavior facilitated the abandonment. The lack of acknowledgment and accountability is truly shocking conpared to the one I fell in love with. It has been a soul shattering experience. But I learn, move on, heal, and grow.

    Thank you for these winderfully affirming blog entries. I am on your email list and am always reminded how lucky I am to have recognized less than 1 year after getting married (really started 2 months into the marriage) what was really going on and got out. About 3 monthe later and intensr therapy I am past PTSD and still rebuilding my life from the inside out. Thank you for so cleatly sharing your expertise!!

  3. OMG–wish I had a $1 for everytime THAT happened in 38 yrs!! Never could figure it out? He was (& will always b oblivious) to any pain but his own. Won’t even go into what I’ve been thru–most of u already know (secret life all that time)-the details (Disclosure) was Truly an act of GOD for me after 36 yrs. Never been so shattered in all my life by my “Sweetheart”. So glad he’ll feel ” no pain” bcause I have 3 1/2yrs til he retires– this woman has a little “secret” surprise of her own. Got a 38th Anniversary card 2 days after I congradulated him on his 25th Anniversary of f’ng his girlfriend in her car at the Christmas Party when I was frantically looking for him for 45 min thinking he was sick. His disgusting answr “don’t b Maaaad” why r u being so mean? My Card– To My Wife Love of My Life (2days after that) INCREDIBLE, DELUSIONAL & COMPLETELY INSANE!!! but now its really ok, I txtd him & said SWEETHEART thank u for the Beautiful card (vomit, that’s how he started that particular affair) his response ” thank u for being my wife”. I threw it in the trash where the others have gone the last 2 yrs. Am I pathological now? H*ll No-just DONE and biding my time. I can’t get back ALL those years he Used my life, but I bet he sure will b surprised if nothing else that his “Sweetheart” is just a savy, but doesn’t have to “Slither” thru life. She can Stand & Walk out the door with all her health, beauty & integrity intact, while he ages (already can’t hear, knees going, OCD,

  4. My husband of 16 years left me for someone 23 years younger. He has refused to acknowledge me since he left, will not communicate with me at all and has left me devastated and in pain beyond any comprehension. He acts as if I don’t exist.

    1. Jane,
      I am a male who was involved with a female Narcassist who was 25 years my junior. I like you, never saw it coming and it has been nearly two weeks now. Like the experts say sepersting what you think and his you react as well as zero contact is the key. My luck and prayers to you

    2. I know exactly how you feel! My husband of 17.5 yrs did the same thing to me and my two kids. He left us for another woman and will not speak to me other than to say horrible things about me otherwise he completely ignores me. It is all so painful and rip your heart out hurtful.

    3. It’s the same for me…treats me like I don’t exist but when he wants me I’m supposed to be available to him.
      If I don’t do what he says he’ll punish me or retaliate because he didn’t get what he wanted

  5. I have just experienced a horrible scenario with a severe Injury I had over Christmas . I’m glad to regain some sanity from reading others experiences. . I’m absolutely shocked at the cold , callous , devilish behaviour of an unbalanced man . I’m in the healing process physically. , mentally . I’m grateful to have found this blog !

  6. Starting my low contact phase today to exorcise the Narc from my life. He’s only taken 6 months from me, because he’s my third one. The mask is off, and I am gone!

  7. This is my husband to a T. He has slandered my name to his family and friends . I have no idea what is being said but it’s most likely the things he is doing and has done to me . He is so abusive , yells , calls me terrible names , ignored me , silent treatment, public humiliation , stole my favorite necklace my dead grandmother gave me , called my disabled son terrible names and there is so much more I could of go and on but there is a lot i can’t remember because there has been so much . He starts most of the fights for no reason I think to get a reaction but he doesn’t stop there he has turned his family against me with lies I am sure because there is no reason for them to act this way to me .they have been very cold to me and i just dont understand why .I think he is telling everyone I am doing the things he is doing . He has done the same thing with his coworkers they give me dirty looks when they see me . I thought it was strange that he kept his friends away from me because if they were to spend time with me they woud know he was a compulsive liar .I have given All I have and all I have ever done is love this monster buy no more . I am leaving him and not looking back. I believe I am in the discard phase because he shows nothing but hate for me unless he wants something then he is nice until he gets it. I am filing for divorce next week and hopefully will never see him again … stay away from these monsters pretending to love you and have no feelings ..This situation has made me feel so alone that the pain is unbearable at times. It all started so wonderful and( fast )which is a red flag and is ending with me wondering what I have done since he is the abusive one who does all this bs. I never want to run into a man like this again in my life!!!!

  8. I fell head over heels in love with a narcissist. I honestly thought he was the most wonderful man in the universe. He treated me like gold, spoilt me, wined and dined me and was amazing with my whole family. He then asked me to marry him, and gave me an engagement ring (which I later found out belonged to his dead wife). After I moved in with him he started trying to alienate me from my family, and when I stood up to him, he threw me out. We have broken up numerous times, but he has now discarded me as though I am garbage (my mom is dying of heart failure, but he’s shown me no empathy). The pain is indescribable, but the abuse I have had to endure over the past three years has left me broken. It’s been a week since I started NC – he is now trying to destroy my reputation, and we both live in a small town, so he’s doing a great job of it – he lives in the pubs and has lots of bar friends who he badmouths me to. I wish I had never set eyes on him!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing your stories – it’s helped me a lot – in the devastation I had no idea what narcissism was.

  9. It took about 3 yrs for me to piece the reason for the separation together. He was seeing two women but claimed he was an angel. I asked him what I had done to have him wreck our beautiful and fun marriage and if I was a b!tch or something. He took a full minute to think and finally said “well I dont like the way you arrange the refrigerator!” He badgered me to find work while he was in school and when I did find a well paying one in film he called it my “little writing job”. He later said he stopped loving me because I didnt make enough money. He intentionally over spent my money and left me nearly broke then moved in with his gf. The idea was to leave me with no money to get a lawyer.

    At this point in my life I had no idea what narcissism really was besides vanity. I had no clue they could be sociopaths. In the airport starting our honeymoon he whispered from behind me “Now I got you”. I responded “No you dont”. The earliest sign I remember causing a light to go on was whenever i hurt myself and said “ouch” he would instantly start talking about something random. Like he wanted to make sure that we didnt discuss my toe or finger, etc. No, oh honey are you okay? Or What happened? Nothing. That was when i realized i was dealing with someone neurotic. I’d caught him staring at me through crowds a few times when we were dating and found it creepy. And when I asked him about it he always denied it and eventually I decided he was just kind of bashful and wanted to look at me in public kind of the way boys stare at girls they’re crushing on. I now know that this is what predators do. He was hunting me. Learning my weaknesses and looking for chinks.

    After all that cheating, picking fights, going to parties without me, humiliating me with his womanizing in public, gaslighting and walking out on me with no explanation he goes to therapy 4 days a week. (The bills were coming to the home during separation) If you got what you wanted why do you need double strength therapy? He then takes 3.5 yrs to finalize the divorce.

    I went through a devastating physiological breakdown. I know I had PTSD and its thinning out now 7 years later. All anyone can do is recognize them while they stalk you and run for your life!

  10. Oh and I forgot to add that his hair turned from jet black to silver just 2 months after we separated. Again, if you got what you wanted why all the stress?

  11. Finally leaving my narcissist after 13 years of marriage!!!! He lies to me multiple times daily, lives double lives, is addicted to everything, and is the coldest person I have ever met. He has no moral compass. He rationalizes everything he does.

    I used to visit these websites in the middle of the night when he would ignore me. I’d read people’s stories about how they finally left. I kept waiting for the day when my narcissist would go too far and I could finally grow a pair and finally get out.

    For years now he has had no physical interest in me whatsoever. No handholding and no kissing. I can’t remember our last kiss or time that we had intercourse. I feel like I’ve been nothing but a trophy wife who doesn’t matter to him because his brain is hard wired for teen-early twenty something’s now (which is funny because that how old I look at 36). He had won me over so now he is bored with me.

    About a week ago I peeked at his phone searches (he kept hiding his phone screen when I’d walk by) and my gut instinct was confirmed. Yep. He definitely likes younger. Most likely because he desires girls that are too naive/inexperienced to see what a crappy lover he is and to know what’s really considered small in the men’s department.

    I confronted him and he went on a two day bing drinking spree and spent 100s on alcohol and a crummy mall massage. He came home in a taxi. He told me he hasn’t felt anything for me for years and that all of the therapy in the world won’t stop him from lying/double lifeing.

    I’ve had enough and have now grown a pair. I have an attorney and am in the divorce process now. I’m happy I’m finally posting my “leaving the devil” post!!! Can’t wait to be on my own and free of his behavior.

  12. This really scares me!!! I am currently going through a separation/divorce with my wife of nearly 5 years.

    It wasn’t until recently I met up with an old friend who I’d lost touch with, partly due to being controlled and manipulated by my wife. My friend told me that when she first met my wife she felt she had a personality disorder. After asking her how could you know this. She told me that her mother has a personality disorder and her brother is schizophrenic. So growing up around mental illness has made it quite easy for her to recognize signs/symptoms in people.

    My wife recently (3 months ago) said she wanted to separate and get a divorce. She went traveling abroad for 12 days leaving me at home to take care of our 3 year old daughter whilst working full time. Once she arrived back after her travels she confirmed she wanted to go through with the divorce and sign the application the same week. I was an emotional wreck. I hadn’t had chance to comprehend what was going on. I refused to sign anything and focused on taking care of our daughter making sure she was happy. For two weeks my wife threatened me. I am an expat living in a foreign country my wife is the nationality of the country we live in. So she started threatening me if I didn’t sign she would f**k up my visa status, hire the best lawyer, get support from her parents, whom have high social status in this country. I bit my tongue so much as I have gotten used to so much over the years.

    Finally I felt I had no choice but to sign the divorce papers because she was offering me 50/50 custody. After signing the papers, the administration said that if you live separately then only one parent can be the main custodian. My wife told the admin. officer to put me down as the main custodian. We had lunch after that and kinda agreed after her suggestions that I would take care of our daughter in July and my wife would take care of her in August. The following day my wife left the house and flew to Rome. I knew she was leaving the country but didn’t know where she was going. She had told our daughter she was going on a plane to see her friends. After a couple of days I sent her a message asking where she was and when she was planning on returning, as I wanted to tell our daughter. She was finding it difficult as it was the second time in the space of a month that her mother had left the country.

    A friend suggested to me about sticking a calendar to the fridge with the date mummy would come back. I suggested this to my wife and her reply was not to tell our daughter. Instead she wanted me to tell her after 10 days and then another 10 days. Basically lie to her. Thankfully, my daughters (23rd) and my (24th) birthdays are both in July, so I marked those on a calendar. It wasn’t until 1 week before my daughters birthday that my wife told me she would be coming back on the 22nd July. Of course my daughter was so happy to see mummy. My daughter had a great birthday considering the circumstances. In the evening of my daughters birthday my wife told me lets wake our daughter up early and do the birthday cake for my birthday. I said No!!! No thanks, we will do that in the evening after dinner. My wife slept with our daughter that night and I slept on the sofa. At 7am I was woke up by my daughter with a present. I said thank you very much darling. My wife was standing there with a birthday cake. Again I told her I wasn’t interested. She snapped and told me ‘don’t say I never try.’ She then left the house at 7.30am to catch a flight to Malaysia where she stayed until 9th August.

    When she returned the atmosphere in the house has been toxic. I have always been a really chilled out guy and would rather walk away if tensions rose and talk about it later. Something my wife could never deal with. I gave up arguing so long ago because it never gets me anywhere, and I was always told it’s all my fault and that I should take a look at myself. You seriously start to question whether you really are the one at fault in the relationship. I asked my wife when I could get to spend time with my daughter. She told me that wasn’t what we agreed and that I had had my time and now it was her time. Like I would accept not seeing my daughter for 5 weeks. So crazy that it’s unbelievable. So After asking her numerous times and getting know where. She would continue pushing me into talking and wanted to change the divorce papers so she is the main custodian. I said no and that I will not talk to her unless we are with a councilor.

    I have been out of the house since last week because I hated seeing my daughter in the middle of that. Her mother just talking and pushing, not listening only if I agreed with her side.

    We were supposed to meet a councilor today to talk about financial/custody, but first my wife changed the time of the appointment and then she cancelled because she had no one to take care of our daughter. I understand that she has been going for job interviews and I offered, if she needs someone to take care of our daughter then let me know. She said it’s fine I have my parents. I asked her why her parents couldn’t take care of Sophia whilst we both went to the councilor today and she said they were out of town.

    I am really at a loss. And I realize that nothing is going to get through to her. I believe she needs serious help. I am really concerned for my daughter.

    Wow!!! Just realized I wrote an essay. I do apologize but I am learning knew things about this everyday and I have been in this controlling relationship for nearly 10 years.

    If anybody has any advice I would really appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  13. Hi Everyone,

    I have been with my narcassist nearly 5 years,he fits every characteristic. He moved out a month ago when I was away for a few days, I came back and he had emptied my apartment of his things. The reason being ‘he didn’t have anytime to see me, as he had no money and would have to work 2 jobs. If he had money he would be able to see me and move back in. I am not sure ıf I asked for hıs bank account number but it came quickly in a text during the conversation. He moved his stuff back in the next day!
    There is always something more he demands.
    My cat had a emergency operation last week to remove a tumor, he shouted at me for ruining his evening and being selfish and I havent seen him since the night of the op. I put my cat to sleep and buried her on my own.
    I pay the rent, bills, give him a monthly payment, buy all the food, his clothes etc. He has never once even paid for a coffee.
    Each times he disappears its conditioning so that I correct a behavior, its different this time as it was my ‘child’ cat who died.
    I dont feel ready to detach, but I care far less when he disappears now. I havent seem him on my birthday, christmas, his birthday or during a holiday for years – he disappears for days or weeks and we live together!

  14. My husband left me 16 days ago. I never saw it coming. There is so much going on I won’t include that led up to this, but I was blind.
    We just moved out of state and came back home a few weeks to see family. When I was in tears asking why he can’t communicate and let me be his partner and on his team, he proceeded to throw his hot cup of coffee on me from across the room, tell me to stop makings scene, started throwing stuff physically hurt me and then continued to say the most horrendous things to me about how I’m a whore and always will be and that he’s leaving me it’s over and he’s never coming back. I sat on the floor crying as he yelled at me all the way out the door. We were visiting at my parents house.
    They were home. Somehow, by the grace of God they didn’t hear.

    Any how, I just couldn’t accept this and have such a history of abuse that I was more concerned with him leaving me than the violence and inexcusable rage. The problem is, I cheated on him one time a long time ago after a similar situation, and admitted it to him. Since then he’s used that as justification for every time he’s mad and upset he says we’re done! And begins talking to women sleeping around and abandoning me. Belittling me and publicly too. The problem is that I have been so abused my whole life that until I researched and researched why my life was this way I could not accept this. I wanted him to never leave me despite all his constant emotional and rare physical abuse. I discovered that he is a narcissist. And now that I understand how his mindset works I can begin to accept that it’s not me it’s his mental state. That he won’t ever change or own up to his behavior. So now I am beginning to accept this. Which is not easy, but at least I will put up healthy boundaries and allow him to leave. I refuse to force someone to stay who is not willing. It’s a recipe for pain and deception later. I want to start a family and luckily have not yet. So now I still have a chance to have a happy life. I will be flying back alone, with no money no job and no friends. I will find my own place to live. Alone in a new city, I will pick myself back up and I will survive. Thank you for everyone sharing, it helps to know I’m not alone and that this behavior has a title to it. I could never accept that he won’t change and envied the thought of another woman in his bed but now I realize that if he could abandon me after I stayed by his side for 3 prison sentences and remained faithful and loyal, no other woman is going to give him more than I did. So no she won’t ever get some fairy tale ending she hoped for. That doesn’t happen with him. And now knowing that, I can exit stage left gracefully, polish my crown and restart my life. God is now my husband and he is the only one I answer too.

  15. 21 years of marriage, 2 children 19yo son and 14yo daughter. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer October 5, 2015. Three weeks later discovered husband was having affair from an out of the blue intuititive feeling. After checking phone records he had only been communicating with her since September. He said he didn’t want to be married any more. I had a hysterectomy to remove the cancer but a positive lymph node was found and I just finished 5 weeks chemo and radiation (5 days a week radiation and 1 day a week chemo). He left me to go through this on my own. I am so hurt and angry. I am also hurt that he not only left me but he left our daughter as well. He does call her most days but I worry what this will do to her and her future trust in men. She loves him dearly. I am struggling with being a single parent. Every time she doesn’t get her way she threatens to go live with him and his girlfriend (and her 5 year old son and child to be, which is not my husbands). This hurts me so much. I feel so alone and heartbroken as well as tired and sick from my treatments. My son is away at college so I try not to involve him in this so he can focus on his studies.

  16. My husband has always abandoned me in illness, childbirth (except for token care), even when I bled severely after the birth of our third child. I once passed out and he left me in a makeshift bed on the floor under the care of our 5,7 & 8 yr. olds for the rest of the day. All three children could have been vomiting and myself down with a high fever and he would leave to go to work or do something with his friends without so much as a care. The crazy thing was that he was a visitation pastor for a church and spent much of his time holding the hands of the sick and dying and their family members. He was praised by everyone for his kindness and mercy and tenderness during times of deepest need. He was the minister everyone wanted preaching at their funeral. I always wondered when my turn would come for that kindness and mercy. As Fibromyalgia symptoms began to overtake me the past few years, I would go to a Dr. and then tell my husband what was going on and he would say “you do what you need to do” or “I don’t care if you go to a Dr.” I had no idea that he really just didn’t even care until he walked out this past January (after our 21st anniversary). My counselor began to explain narcissism to me and then I began to put the pieces together. I finally understood (as much as it is possible to understand a narcissist). He has abandoned me and our three kids. None of them is his idea of an ideal child. I’m no longer “the woman he wants to spend the empty nest years with”. I’m not sure how I endured as long as I did and I’m so thankful he is gone.

  17. Wow!!! I had always thought my ex-husband was a sociopath, but just reading this explanation on narcissistic spouses brought tears to my eyes, because this is exactly what my children and I experienced almost two years ago, after a marriage of 23 years. I honestly think, that emotional abuse should also have consequences for the abusers, just like physical abuse..

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