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