Narcissists are always on the hunt for supply—gratifications of their egos for applause, adulation, worldly power, gorgeous willing, adoring, malleable partners.
If you have been married to a narcissist for decades or a very short time, remember that your “relationship” with this person is up for grabs–expendable. Narcissists are not loyal to anyone but themselves. They are ruthlessly wanton and careless about the feelings of others, even their own children. Children are often used as attractive props that enhance the narcissist’s image and status. After all, if your child is very attractive and has a myriad of talents and capacities, the narcissistic mother or father will have endless bragging rights. This person is incapable of actually loving his/her child. Authentic feelings are not part of the narcissist’s life vocabulary. They tell great stories about their devotion to their spouse and children but this makes for great drama and image enhancement.
Spouses who get out of line by psychologically working to become individuals and separate from the narcissist become the enemy. After all, they are no longer servile–the one who gives the king or queen his crown and scepter.
Even before the divorce it not unlikely that the narcissistic spouse has found your replacement. He or she has already drifted to new sources of psychological supply that will keep his ego fully inflated. There is no sadness or regret about all of those years together. You gave your life to this person. You are shocked and grieving the loss. The narcissist pivots quickly to his next human supply. One partner or spouse is interchangeable with the next. Forget the years, the life experiences, the children you share—None of this matters to the narcissist. He or she may play the part of being upset but that is for the performance in the divorce court to get the best settlement possible for him. It’s a well rehearsed polished act. After all, the narcissist is an excellent actor who fools most people. He has been doing this all of his life.
Protect yourself from your narcissistic spouse by researching this personality structure. Understand their strategies, the way they think–about themselves only–, their ruthlessness and horrendous lack of empathy, chronic lying, duplicity, manipulations, empty promises.
Pay attention to your needs and wishes. Never blame yourself for becoming involved in a marriage with a narcissist. They fool most people all the time–even therapists.
Focus on your life, your talents, your well being and sense of peace. You have been carrying a great burden with this marriage. Now you will live lighter, simpler and discover that you are an incredible individual–so wonderful just as you are.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.