Hubris–extreme arrogance, haughtiness, high-handedness–describes much of the narcissistic spouse’s deeply ingrained personality style. With no sense of limits, psychological boundaries, one scintilla of empathy or a developed conscience, the narcissist drives in the fast lane of life, weaving in and out, putting everyone else in various forms of psychological, emotional and financial jeopardy. This is especially the case with spouses of narcissists who are married to them or going through the travails of a divorce. (This post refers to female and male narcissists).
I have found that some of the loveliest human beings are married to or divorcing narcissists or narcissistic ex’s. Often the spouse of the narcissist is highly empathic. I have heard innumerable life stories of the cruelest pain perpetrated on the spouse. Without a conscience the narcissist is free to do whatever he wishes, to get every prize by cheating, lying, demeaning, intimidating—threatening to vanquish those in his way. Unfortunately, acting boorish and obnoxious often works. The narcissist’s over the top confidence is perceived as strength and mastery in this age of extreme pathological narcissism.
The narcissist is determined to “get to you”–to weaken and annihilate you psychologically in some egregious cases. He is determined to make you lose your temper and explode or to make you cry uncontrollably or to act out in an irrational way. He is setting traps for your emotional and psychological vulnerabilities all of the time, especially during a divorce. The narcissist is determined and knows that he is entitled to the “spoils” of the marriage—property, investments, bank accounts (even if they are joint ones) and in many cases, he is counting on having the children as his ready narcissistic supplies. Narcissists are very bored with raising children and they only care about the progeny that are very attractive, bright, athletic, filled with charm and high level confident social skills.
A wife or child is a commodity to the narcissist, a way to get re-circulating narcissistic supply. When the wife is no longer fulfilling this voracious need, she is dismissed cruelly and replaced by a younger model. If the replacement has excellent social connections, an incredibly successful career and family money, all the better. The same is true of a female narcissist who is replacing a now hapless, boring husband.
There are no limits or humaneness as the narcissist ruthlessly and brazenly moves through the divorce process. All agreements are off, then on, then postponed. The narcissist feels superior even to the attorneys and judges he encounters. He is the all knowing brilliant wise person. No one is superior to his perfection. This grandiosity works in this age of inflated egos.
Never be surprised at the outrageousness of the narcissist. Doing in-depth research gives you a detailed picture of these individuals. The research and clinical longitudinal studies and the many years of study indicate that the narcissistic personality is not inclined to change.
Once you are in the process of extricating yourself from the narcissist, take heart in who you are as an individual and give yourself tremendous credit for taking this courageous step. Put your self care first. Some spouses find that high quality psychotherapy helps them move through this process. Maintaining a strong and resilient support system is key to keeping the faith that you will be free and intact to lead the life that you deserve. Various practices–gentle hatha yoga, guided meditation, acupuncture that calms the nervous system, your form of exercise, the healing power of Nature, etc. are all keys to your success throughout this major shift in your life.
3 thoughts on “Narcissist’s Boundless Hubris in Marriage and Divorce”
I was married to a narcissistic attorney who did all of the things you describe including suing me for custody after walking out on me and our four month old twins.
He has formed an alliance with my own brother, and disparages me to the Children and who ever will listen.
It’s been a hellish nightmare with no end in sight.
All so true. Just have to love ourselves and push through. I’m not there yet but I do sense a light at the end of the tunnel. In this situation we all find ourselves running on empty so find a safe place in yourself every day, pray and remember who you are.
Peace to all the sisters out there.
Betsy, I was also married to a narcissistic attorney. He was able to use the family court system as a proxy to further his abuse. In the end I was left homeless, severely in debt, with an old car that was literally falling apart. Assets disappeared and my belongings (that I didn’t have time to remove from my home) were unceremoniously thrown in a dumpster that he promptly had delivered to the driveway. Never during the process was I shown any mercy. The system seems to be the perfect playground for their cruel manipulations. After 25 years, putting him through school (MBA and JD) he destroyed me financially. This whole ordeal is two years behind and he has never shown any remorse. The silver lining? I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life! God is good! Hang in there and go NO CONTACT if possible. If, not, reduce communication to email. Makes the world of difference!
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