Narcissistic abuse is often generational. It is not genetic. Studies have not shown that there is a genetic marker for this severe personality disorder. However, with many individuals there is a destructive cycle of repetition that occurs. From narcissistic mother to narcissistic husband–from narcissistic parents to narcissistic wife–from narcissistic siblings to narcissistic spouse. There are many other combinations and permutations of these painful psychological patterns.
Having a narcissistic parent is one of the most difficulty psychological legacy you can have. You grew up without a parent who was capable of love, who blamed you for everything that went wrong (according to them) who undermined your taking initiative for yourself, who dismissed your feelings, even made fun of them and told you that you were weak and even crazy. You had a brother or sister who was venerated and adored because he or she was being groomed to be the family star–the chosen one–a young lord or lady of the manor. You were not even second best. In some cases when the narcissistic rage went out of control you were a punching bag–in some instances, literally.
After leaving this house of desolation you found someone you loved. You were swept up by the charm, the energy, the attention you were getting from this special man. It was like a fantasy that had come true. He was too good to be true but you were going for it. Sometimes early–for others late–into the marriage you recognized that you were married to a narcissistic personality. After years of suffering under his bubbling rage, outrageous demands and threats, lies and multiple cruelties, you divorce the guy. He doesn’t make it easy but you walk away to re-establish your life. Some of those who leave the narcissist benefit from excellent psychotherapy. If you decide to take this route be sure to do all of your homework. There are a some narcissistic psychotherapists who are out there for the money, even individuals who collect retainers in advance. Working with a strong therapeutic alliance with a gifted therapist can help you through the transition to becoming a person on your own again. Even if you have had a solid career throughout the marriage, there are adjustments to be made in your new role of running your own life completely without the narcissistic baggage. Give yourself credit for stopping the cycle of narcissistic abuse you have endured all of your life starting with the narcissistic parent. When past memories come to the surface especially those from childhood , be kind to yourself and recognize there and then that you are not to blame for having a narcissistic parent and that you were ripe to marry a narcissist. Let go of this past—do not let it hinder you.
Energize yourself in the new life you have chosen. No one can ever tell you how to lead your life again. You have won. Now use all of your creative gifts to the max and beyond. You will find friends and a support group of those who are not living in delusion like the narcissists. When you meet a narcissist you will recognize him/her immediately. Keep your distance—you know what they are all about–Using you to get what they want. Your life is different now. Some of those who prevail send out the message to others that they too can be free without excuses or guilt. Rev up your intellectual and creative engines–Your life has just begun. To learn about the narcissistic personality in-depth, visit my website:thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life