Those who are married to narcissistic personalities and continue to adore and obey them have put themselves in psychological danger. (This post refers to male and female narcissists) When the narcissist is a forceful personality in the marriage and has “successfully” deluded the spouse into believing that he is perfect and superior, the weaker partner capitulates to the narcissist’s outrageous demands and grandiose expectations. I have seen this happen in a number of marriages. The sensitive, often empathic individual is drawn to the physical attractiveness, blind ambition, intellectual brightness, social savvy and overriding confidence of the narcissist. He or she feels fulfilled and completed by this person who is so sure of himself.
Rather than evolving as a separate individual the spouse psychologically fuses with the narcissistic life agenda which often includes an obsession with material wealth, the acquisition of possessions, the disparagement of those who have not obtained their high status, the restless search for continual leisure and pleasure and the worship of self in its endless varieties and permutations.
I use the word “corrupt” to describe the serious negative psychological changes that the narcissistic spouse has on the partner as a result of this dynamic of worship, emotional fusion and dependence. The partner goes off track and does not evolve as a true self. The need to continue this “worship” increases as the partner becomes more deeply deluded and entrenched into the narcissistic life style.
(Not all narcissists seek wealth and the endless acquisitions of possessions. I am talking here about a subset of the narcissistic personality population.)
In some cases the partner “awakens” from the delusion and realizes that he or she has been the narcissist’s servant not a true spouse. He has given up years of his life to this person who only took, never gave and didn’t have an ounce of empathy for his genuine feelings. When this happens, there is a chance for the partner to extricate himself from this unhealthy fusion and to break free to be himself.
Study the narcissistic personality in-depth. This is the character disorder of our time and these pathologies are continuing to grow and are highly accepted as the norm throughout much of our society today.
Continue to evolve as an individual. Do the hard work of getting to know and appreciate yourself deep inside. Give yourself credit for surviving your previous life experience, especially if you are the child of a narcissist, been married to a narcissist or have cruel narcissistic siblings.
Trust yourself and your inner wisdom.
11 thoughts on “Narcissistic Spouses Delude and Corrupt Their Partners”
Separated for a year now with no divorce yet he continues to terrorize me with his words. I’m depressed without him and fell terrible with him. He will go weeks without calling then bam he wrill text me and I run to him. Only to be treated like I am nothing. Its like being punished with his words. To top it off he is a alcoholic which truly brings out .the worst in him. He has no friends except his co-workers who don’t really know the real him .
You perfectly described this. Right down to keeping all the narcissist secrets of imperfection such as acholisim, bi-polar disorder, losing a job due to a manic episode etc.
Yes! Trust your truth. We know in our gut when something
is wrong. So many times I’ve ignored my gut because of
Narcissistic mother. But all “outsiders”, truth-tellers, sensitive or
abused people have the difficult life path of being
who they are, and only by doing so can change themselves,
and even the world.
Your comments are always spot on! This was me, the weaker one, the attractions to his confidence, etc.. Separating from this person has been extremely painful and taken much longer than I wanted or ever expected. I feel like I’m recovering from internal implosion of the saddest kind. I have felt so much sadness and anger and back to sadness. Three sightings in 6 months is progress. I changed phone numbers and blocked his email which has worked so far. Anything that reminds me of this person, which is much of what I used to love doing, I cannot do. When I finally saw the person for who he really was, it was/is horrifying. Little bits of joy are returning and I feel I might find my path again. Lost time, I certainly can never recover, and the cruelty of his coldness is hard to purge from my memory. I was conditioned to expect his return over and over at his whim. I allowed it out of unconditional love, not realizing he was exploiting that very quality and always in control. This has been very anxiety producing. Its been two months with no knock on the door (thank heavens). I look forward to the day when this destroyer person is a faint memory with no details or anxiety. The extreme disappointment has left me laying like a scared possum to life. He was in simultaneous relationships so his needs never went unmet. I am glad to be away from the intense mental anguish, but can’t believe how long it lingers. Your work has help me have clarity. That I appreciate greatly. (P.S. The puppy I adopted at 10lbs is now 65lbs at 7 months. He is wonderful and does give me joy. He has been tons of work, but worth it. I laugh when I even think of this furry creature with so much love. This also helped keep that perfectionist, miserable, creep away. I adopted NOT according to his plans!!!! )
Finally someone understands…….Been in a marriage with a Nar. for 33 years…Had to Sons together….Tried to get away at least 4 times in that 33 years .first when kids were young. Nar. is cross addicted alcoholic n dope..
It had become Physically abusive after marriage counselor N his emotional affair.(as he called it) The Nar didn’t like what counselor said , so when to another counselor, that was just to feel me out. to see what hurt me . he just did it all the more….This is like dealing with defiant child…..
Thanks for all your work…….Helps me to understand what happen to me!
Hope all is well with you 🙂
Sheesh! Boy, do I understand this. I am still married to my husband and he used to exhibit all the traits of narcissism. Both of his parents were narcissists. His Mom was an extreme, but I always felt like his Dad was the “mastermind”. We have not had contact with them in 27 years. They disowned us. That day ranks in my top 3 of best days ever!
My question is, can a child pick up these traits from their parents and continue with them because it is all they know or if they still exhibit them, are they narcissists? I think I just answered my own question.
When our children were young, I could not handle is degrading comments toward them and I would demand he stopped. I would call him out, but I now am getting the sickening feeling that he has stopped what he knows I and others can see and now resorts to gaslighting.
I have also noticed that some of the time, he actually does care what me and our children think about him.
One other question, in our early years, he used to tell me that he could not cry tears. He said when there was an occasion that people were crying, like a funeral, he would try to cry and only sometimes could he manage to squeeze out a tear.
In the past 5 years, he has acknowledged that his parents were abusive. He seemed to be genuinely heartbroken.
I wonder if there is hope for him, because I do not want to be tricked into letting him know I feel compassion for him, just to end up being taken advantage of once again.
Wow! This describes my husband very well. I’m not sure he is NPD but he’s very close and one of his biggest things is constantly buying stuff to the point of having tens of thousands of dollars in hidden debt (which I just recently discovered). When I started growing out of my dependence, began becoming more of my true self and put my foot down about the materialism, that’s when my narcissist decided to abandon his family. This helps me understand why he has done this. Linda, I wished I could sit down with you and just talk all of this out. You have so many great posts.
Wow…”awakens”…could not have said it better myself, that is exactly what it felt like. After 20 years of marriage, he finally did something that ‘woke’ me up and made me take a REAL look at our relationship, then all those indignities I suffered by his hand came flooding in and I nearly lost my mind trying to digest what he was doing to my life….I felt so foolish. It’s hard to accept that you were duped so badly, especially when your inner wisdom is the only clear voice heard in a world built around the narcissist’s delusions. The saddest part is, this ‘awakening’ can only be self administered…victims have to come to their own ‘straw that broke the camels’ back’ before they will listen to the truth…I know because I was one who didn’t want to hear my friends and family’s opinions on my spouse, I loved him.
I was only 23 when my marriage was arranged to this narcissistic sociopath. My parents match my horoscopes with his (in India) and said it was such a perfect match that it occurs rarely. He was in USA and my parents wanted me to come to USA so I can later bring my brothers. Between the time I agreed and the marriage there were only 14 days. But even in those 14 days I knew he didn’t care. There was no expression of joy and excitement in him. On the first ‘date’ he had not even showered. I came here and he noticed the pressure from my parents (about bringing my brother) and the control began. I am fully aware of the lack of emotional support I did not get from my parents after I left India. But he also observed that and the emotional confusion began. I could list a thousand incidents where I could not understand his reactions and accusations and unpredictable behavior and ofcourse I lost the relationship with my parents who raised me with love and care and the brother I loved dearly (his son turned out to be narcissistic so the two clashed). I understood the bad behavior of my family members when they pushed me to bring my brothers here but the dynamic between my husband and them made it so I was stuck between a hard rock and mountain and I had to pick my own family for the sake of my children. Despite all this in past 32 years I have gone counseling by myself (because he was perfect and things would work fine if I listened to him), helped him create an empire (where most people we know believe it would fall apart if I left), raised two wonderful well-adjusted children and maintained my sanity by
being in community organizations. I am admired by most people who meet me, his employees would quit if I stopped running his business. Now, I have taken up writing memoirs. But what do I do I do about the loneliness at home, or when he wants to go on vacations (which I absolutely hate), about doing things as a family (because kids want to stay away from him)?
Aniti.. Your comment sounds just like my 34 year marriage to my husband. This nar is so nice one min and VEB abuse next. Raging next. I also get suck back with words……..find your own peace…can’t seem to fine mine. Crazy with him crazy without….
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