When marriage to a narcissist is going very badly, the suggestion is made that the husband and wife participate in couples therapy to save the relationship. Narcissists don’t take well to therapy. Remember, they believe they are perfect so if there are issues in the partnership, they are yours not his/hers. If the narcissist is pressured into therapy, he will sabotage it every time. The first few rounds may appear to be promising but wait for the saboteur to step on to stage center. The narcissist explains to the therapist that the reason the two of you have come is to get you “fixed.” You are shocked but keep quiet. This man/woman has been driving you into a downward psychological spiral for years and you are paying a therapist because of the pathology your husband has found in you. This is a non starter however the wife takes the so-called pathology on her shoulders and feels that there is something intrinsically wrong with her. This is most unfortunate but does occur all the time.
In some cases the narcissist in couples therapy with all of his charm and magnetism wins over the therapist to his/her point of view. The spouse has become the identified patient who needs to work through her deep-seated childhood issues. The narcissist compliments the therapist just enough to keep her/him on board. You are left with the psychiatric diagnosis and the narcissist is set free to do whatever he damn wants.
Narcissists are false self grandiose personalities who can never face the truth about themselves. They live a delusional life of their own making. They are incapable of introspection, self-analysis or insight.
Come to the recognition that this person is not going to change–ever. This realization can be very painful. It is better to face the truth than to live you life in delusion with the narcissist who treats you like an objects that is expendable and can be discarded at any time.
Look squarely at yourself and who you really are–a unique, talented, warm, caring individual who is waiting to bloom fully. Be free, speak you own words, sing your own song, be spontaneous, embrace life and feel it resonate within you.
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
One thought on “Why Couples Therapy Doesn’t Work with Narcissists”
This is a perfect description of my experience with narc ex in couples counseling. He eventually had me convinced that I just needed to go alone, in order to sort out my problems. Thankfully we are now divorced. I wish I had known what he was a long time ago and saved myself the time.
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