Many ex-spouses of narcissistic partners experience severe psychological and emotional struggles in the aftermath of their divorce from a narcissistic spouse. A number of them are still in shock after the divorce–particularly those who were married to narcissists for decades. Although their lives were filled with tensions, stresses and abuse under the control of the narcissistic spouse, they knew what to expect and accepted the terms of their cruel confinement. There was a structure to their lives imposed by the narcissist. As long as they stayed within the confines of the narcissist’s monarchical rules, the spouse knew what was expected of her/him. In many instances the prisoner/spouse of the narcissist identifies with her/his jailer. Leading a life of obedience and compliance to a master becomes normalized.
Many spouses of narcissists are repeating with their narcissistic partner the abusive patterns perpetrated by their parents in childhood. Mother and/or father expected perfection from them. There was a no questions asked, no protestations allowed. Many individuals are unable to break free from this level of abusive indoctrination. When they leave their families of origin they tend to choose abusive partners (often narcissists) who perceive them as pawns and puppets to be manipulated and exploited. The victimized spouse is unconsciously repeating his/her experience of childhood abuse through this marital choice. Although painful and intolerable, it is familiar and reinforces conscious and unconscious feelings of worthlessness, vulnerability and helplessness that the individual experienced in childhood.
Those who make the final break with their narcissistic spouse enter a new life cycle. They have broken the psychological bonds of abuse. This is a dynamic process that takes time and understanding. Many ex-spouses of narcissists benefit from quality psychotherapy which provides them with a strong therapeutic alliance and the knowledge and empathy of an excellent therapist.
The seeds of personal psychological and emotional renewal are always growing deep within us; they are part of our true nature. If we provide ourselves with the time, patience and perseverance needed and a receptive attitude for our personal healing, it will take place moment by moment. Move forward with deep respect and kindness toward yourself. Visit my website: www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.-Telephone Consultation, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org