Taking your life back from a narcissist is a tall order—-but it can be done. The first step is recognizing that you are involved with a narcissist through marriage and the narcissistic family tableau. This is often one of the most difficult aspects of the process. Many spouses suffer for years, blaming themselves that they feel trapped and miserable in their marriage. I have heard from so many spouses who spent decades, forcing themselves to make their marriage to a narcissist work. The couple went into therapy; the narcissist sabotaged it. The non-narcissistic spouse tried to turn herself/himself inside out to change, to do anything that would make the narcissistic spouse happy. When all of their efforts were fruitless, the suffering spouse blamed herself/himself. In some cases these partners become physically ill with chronic diseases that begin with the stress that they have internalized. Some spouses make an unconscious and conscious decision to put up with the pain and emotional sterility of staying in the marriage. They choose to eclipse their lives, creativity, spontaneity, joy, freedom. Their need for security, often financial, runs so deep that they make the compromise and remain married to their narcissistic spouse.
Getting prepared to divorce a narcissist is like standing at the end of a thirty foot high platform, poised to dive into the aquamarine water below. You have gone through all the moves of the dive hundreds of times. The pivotal moment has come and you are ready. There is a brief hesitation as you look ahead and anticipate your trip through the air and into the water. There is a no turning back moment when you know that the divorce is imminent. Because we are human and subject to a myriad of emotions, especially when we are on the brink of a major life shift, doubts arise. We want to return to what we believed was the security of our marital life. This is a false hope of the lost dream of the marriage. Returning to the familiarity of the old life is tempting but no longer possible. I am reminded of magnificent olympic divers who with courage and grace, leave the platform to perform an intricate dance in the air, followed by an elegant, soundless entry into the water. They have chosen to make the leap forward, putting their fears aside as they catapult forward in arcs of great beauty. Learning to move forward in your life with courage and grace is part of your destiny. Visit my website:www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.