Marriage to a Narcissist-Self Destructive

Ultimately, staying married to a narcissist is psychologically damaging to the spouse and children in the family. Many non-narcissistic spouses make conscious and unconscious decisions to remain in the marriage. I often hear from spouses who didn’t realize that they were married to narcissists for decades. They believed that they deserved the abuse and humiliations and demands that were constantly heaped on them. They went along with the lies, believing the narcissist. They became emotionally upset–anxious and depressed–and made excuses for their narcissistic spouse. When we marry someone we are not aware of the totality of their personality. Narcissists are often very charming and compelling–even irresistible. Many narcissists are exceedingly successful in the world and create very comfortable life styles for their spouses and children. The non-narcissistic spouse often has a career that is successful as well.

Eventually, the narcissistic traits–lying, psychological cruelty, manipulations, constant criticisms, perfectionism, volcanic rage–become more apparent to the other spouse. The psychological pain worsens; the stress heightens. Some spouses try psychotherapy. This does not work with narcissists. They will sabotage the psychotherapy and often have the therapist take their side. The narcissist has a very rigid personality structure; he or she believes and knows that he is perfect, entitled to whatever he wants and can do no wrong. The narcissist has neither empathy nor conscience. He or she is clever at displaying a false empathy which can be convincing to most people. The conscience of the narcissist is not developed; it amounts to not getting caught.

I know that many who are married to narcissists have made the decision to remain where they are. My purpose in this post is to illuminate the narcissist’s true nature so that more spouses will become specifically aware of narcissistic psychopathology, how the narcissist perceives himself/herself and those who are impacted by his personality disorder.

Your life and your unique gifts and creativity matter. You are entitled to inner peace and the psychological space to grow. If you have children, they are entitled to the same. Understanding the narcissistic personality on a deeper level will help you to protect yourself and deal with him/her in the marital situation or in making a decision to divorce the narcissistic spouse. For more specific information on the narcissistic personality disorder, blogs and podcasts, visit my website:

Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
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