Narcissists are consummate actors. Almost everyone believes them. This is not surprising. They have been rehearsing and perfecting stellar performances all of their lives. If they are grandiose narcissists they take over life’s stage. They thrive on attention, adulation, praise and power over others. (I am speaking about male and female narcissists.)
I have watched them hold forth during social events. They cannot stop talking about themselves, their accomplishments, successes, their net worth, their business conquests, their treks throughout the world. They are thrilled with themselves—higher than a kite.
There are covert narcissists who use the mask of humility and self effacement who do not put on these florid displays. Nevertheless, they have the same psychic structure beneath the quiet façade.
Narcissists are very engaging and we are attracted to them easily and quickly. They know how to play people; they are experts at the pursuit. It is not surprising that women and men fall romantically so hard for them. The narcissist has decided that he/she has picked you as his marital partner and you are mesmerized. He paints a compelling picture of your lives together and you can’t say “No.”
For a while after the marriage and for some spouses, a longer space of time, you believe that this person truly loves you. You trust and love this individual. .
Small cracks begin to appear in the relationship. You catch him in lies. His temper flares often and you feel the full impact of his volcanic rage. He manipulates you through humiliation and intimidation. Your stress level mounts; you become frightened and anxious. You keep trying to make the marriage work. He betrays you over and over again. Finally you realize that the marriage is irretrievably broken and you must get divorced. This recognition can take decades.
You take the high road and agree to making a settlement, even to participate in couples therapy. He sabotages these efforts. The narcissist does everything he can to wear you down, even to make you ill so that you will have nothing including your health when he is finished with you. He will make sure that you are conquered and ruined. That is his intention. This sounds extreme but I have seen these psychological and financial assaults on the part of narcissists too many times during divorce to know that this is true. It is part of their psychopathology. They must always win at all costs.
Be ready for the dirty divorce. Make sure that you understand the psychopathology of the narcissistic personality in-depth. Hire an excellent attorney (Interview several if necessary) who is your true advocate, who understands the complex manipulations and dirty dealings of these personalities and is never intimidated. Make your plan skillfully in advance of any papers being served. Make sure you know the financial picture clearly and are keenly aware of all of the assets and their locations and have access to them. Do not share any information about your plans with anyone except a very trusted friend or relative. Make sure that you have the funds to carry you for a while if the final proceedings are delayed. Some narcissists love to drag out this process to wear you down and out so that you will make a quick settlement.
Above all, take very good care of yourself. Make sure that you get the sleep that you need and deserve. Do activities that keep up your stamina. Choose a form of physical exercise that works for you. Some individuals benefit from gentle yoga practice, guided meditation and other healing practices. Be kind and patient with yourself.
Look forward and know that the time will come that you are evolving and living freely and experience deep inner peace. You are entitled. Appreciate the lovely person you are.