Spouses of Narcissists–Fearful, Vigilant–Compromising their Authenticity

They may look lovely or handsome. They may be high achievers . They may be gracious and courteous publicly; they apply their social skills successfully. These individuals are married to narcissistic spouses. Beneath that pearly smile, gleaming face, the convincing look in the eyes that everything is “fine”, the narcissist’s spouse lives in fear, is highly vigilant of everything he/she does or says. This person has signed on for a life of psychological imprisonment.

The narcissistic spouses stipulates and insists on all of the moves. The wife or husband has no real bargaining power. Every idea that you bring up is shot down immediately and vehemently. Although it is not surprising that you concept will be commandeered by your narcissistic spouse later in a slightly revised form as “his brilliant idea.” Narcissists take credit for the work of others; this is part of their MO. Your original concepts and ideas belong to the narcissistic spouses.  They pay attention to you when something goes wrong,,especially when they make big mistakes. They blame them on you. The narcissist is never at fault. After all they don’t have a well-developed conscience. Spouses married to narcissists believe that they are the inadequate ones, especially if they grew up in a family with a narcissistic parent. They are accustomed to this drill; it is very familiar to them. Take all the blame on yourself

When you are married to a narcissist you cannot be true to yourself. You have a difficult time recognize and exercising your creative gifts; you live in a state of fear and vigilance. The narcissist sends volleys of rage at you at close range. You are the receptacle for these painful, humiliating irrational assaults. Some spouses learn how to “take it” and feel helpless and guilty all of the time. Others discover that they can no longer live this way and must get out of this non marriage from hell. If there are children this can be complicated but the newly awakened abused spouse is determined to be free.

After the divorce the recovery of your authentic self begins. Some benefit from psychotherapy and other healing processes like hatha yoga, forms of meditation, becoming active in support groups that reinforce your healthy sense of self entitlement. Continue on your journey of freedom and celebrate.

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.