One thing I have learned in my years of existence is that when you make choices, you are forever left to dance to the tune. The good thing is that you can choose to either allow those choices destroy you or you can learn to turn them around. I have been taught over the years to endure enough shits as my mother before me was the “perfect” and “understanding” wife who lived with a lot of bullshits from her husband. Living with a Narcissist means my feelings are constantly hurt on regular basis.
Narcissistic is like a pattern of thinking, the behavioral thoughts of an individual. To you, they are people that are overly confident, highly sorted out or over-achieved but what you fail to realize is that under that thick exterior, they are simply people plagued with self-esteem complex. The energy ego runs through their veins, making them focus solely on the word “me”, “I”, “How will this benefit me?” They are firm believers that the world revolves around themselves and their needs. Believe me, it can so frustrating to have a partner that is all up in your face, not caring whether your needs are attended to because they are solely self absorbed.
What Do You Know About Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?
Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) is a condition that causes a person to have a twisted exaggerated sense of importance, fueling their inability to produce empathy for others. It is a classified mental disorder which can only be detected by qualified medical professionals.
Narcissistic behaviors have been linked as a defense mechanism against unpalatable childhood memories, being vulnerable, insecurity or incomprehensible feelings. Elinor Greenbury, a therapy trainer who specializes on treatment of Narcissistic Adaptation, gave a good insight of their personality. A Narcissist, she explained, is incapable of recognizing the “Whole Object Relations”. In simple terms, it means they are incapable of accepting the good and bad qualities in a person. They view you in terms of what you can do for them. They believe if you are worthless, useless or not smart then, you are not important to them and if you are worthy or useful or smart, and then you are good to them. They are simply incapable of comprehending the fact that you can be both worthless and useful. It is either you are all good or all bad, no such thing as being both bad and good to a Narcissist.
According to Debolina Raja, there are two kinds of Narcissists: The Vulnerable ones and the Grandiose or Invulnerable ones. Narcissists have problems communicating and because of this deficiency they are often, lonely even when surrounded with people.
What are the tell-tale signs that you are with a Narcissist?
They do not come right to reveal they are because they are quite unaware that they are. But the signs are glaring as they are people with fragile self-esteem and are susceptible to criticism.
They Are Incapable Of Being Nice or Polite
I once worked for a woman who delights in telling her employees all about her achievements. When we had board meetings, half of the time spent in the conference room would be used to talk about herself and her achievements. Apart from her fondness to brag, she had little to no respect for her employees.
A Narcissist likes to brag a lot. They do not mind rubbing their achievements in your face as they tend to claim to be smarter. The truth is that they do not have inkling that they are rude and cruel, they are simply clueless. They are crude and blunt about what they do not like but disregard what you do not like.
Once they perceive you are a threat to them, they wouldn’t hesitate to voice their displeasure. Even when they know you are above them or have the qualities they obviously lack, Narcissists find ways to shrink those qualities in order to feel above you. They put you down to make themselves feel good.
Narcissists Are Takers and Not Givers
Narcissists lack empathy towards others; their needs are put before others so it is difficult for them to understand what others are experiencing. They find nothing wrong with taking advantage of others. They believe the world owes them so they do not hesitate to make you feel like you simply owe them for everything. They might not be materialistic; all they need is someone that will pay them compliments, offer a listening ear but they never reciprocate.
Being with a Narcissist means that you are the only one in the relationship giving compliments, saying the right things while your partner just believes it is the right way.
They Reveal Their Ugly Self When Denied What They Want
Kate and Lara are colleagues in Sales Department. Kate would always carry out the tasks meant for the both of them while Lara would receive all the praises from the boss. One day, Kate took a stand and refused to do the tasks meant for Lara. Lara was very pissed; she told Kate how ungrateful she was for not appreciating her as a friend.
Being with a Narcissist can be difficult to detect at the initial stage of your relationship as they may appear charming, loving and caring but under that façade lies a selfish, self-centered, egoistic person. When their needs are being denied, they get angry, frustrated or simply irrational.
They are Attention Seekers
They are obsessed with gaining admirations. In offices, Narcissists expect to be admired on daily basis and if you so much as challenge them, you lose the good grace you have found with them. They are the ones that take all the credit but allow you slave over the tasks. They are pretenders so it would be wise to deal carefully with them.
They Let You Take The Fall Because They Never Take Responsibility
My Narcissist Ex never pays the bills in the apartment we both rented but would be the first to complain to our friends about the lack of the necessary tools in the apartment.
Your narcissist partner does not mind throwing you under the trowel if it means they are venerated. Because of their insensitivity and incapability to understand the feelings of others, they never take the blame for anything. Their belief that the world owes them clouds their need to take responsibilities of their actions.
They Are Goal-getters And Can Resort To Manipulating To Get What They Want
Narcissists are emotionally draining and because they are constantly on a mission to win and feel superior. They are charmers so they are good at manipulating.
In their mind, they are convinced that they are on the same level with high-status people or even, their employers. They kiss asses to attain the height they envision for themselves. They use people, distort the truth to suit their needs, they manipulate and intimidate others just to be on top.
How Do You Tackle A Relationship With A Narcissistic Partner?
“Narcissists love to love-bomb. They are into the big courtship, big gestures, going on vacation, over texting, giving big gifts” explained Durvasula in her book “Should I Stay Or Should I Go? Surviving a Relationship with a Narcissist” It is quite tedious to detect the narcissistic behavior in your spouse at the early stage but once into it, they begin to turn that ugly side of themselves to you, taking full control of your life and feelings. It is now left to you to decide if you want to stay or leave.
The most sensible advice I would offer a person with a Narcissist partner is to UP and LEAVE, but then, it is not to say that the Narcissists cannot be managed and the relationship, salvaged. Here are few tips that can help you live with a Narcissistic partner:
Be Prepared For the Inevitable
Your Narcissist husband would act out so many times, he would talk you down so many times, he would embarrass you, so be prepared to accept it. Their emotions and attitude are unpredictable, one moment, you guys are happy, the next, he is picking fights with you over something trivial and irrelevant.
My Ex and I were watching movie on a Saturday evening in front of the TV on the couch, I got up to refill the popcorn bowl, something pretty normal, if you ask me. But when I got back, still happy and eager to continue the movie, Fred lashed out, claiming I was insensitive to his feelings, accusing me of walking out on the interesting part of the movie, being his favourite part. I was so mad that we went to bed that day, angry at each other. The next morning, Fred woke up, happy while I was still angry about last night. But to him, last night was all forgotten, like it never happened.
Be ready to put up with a lot of shit.
Do Not Expect an Apology from Him
When you understand that your Narcissist partner is incapable of forming a warm, loving relationship, things become easier for you. You understand their lashing out is because of the insecurities plaguing them.
Whenever he does something inconsiderate, he would never apologize to you so learn to accept it early; rather learn to develop a hard coat against every criticism, hurtful words and actions.
Maintain a positive attitude when conversing
When talking to your Narcissist partner about what you do not like, learn to adopt the use of “we” language a lot in the relationship. When he does something wrong and you want to make it known, try using “Honey, I understand we fight a lot but I really do not like they way the conversation went yesterday” or “I was hurt when you held my hand too tightly, maybe we can try to talk it out some more”.
Don’t make the mistake of bringing up the need to talk when they are in one of their negative moods.
Don’t be a push over, Set your boundaries
You need to think about yourself also in the relationship. It cannot be all about him always; you have to woman up and speak out. Set some rules, limit and boundaries; make him know when he has stepped out of the line.
Your narcissist husband will be confused why you need to set those boundaries, make him understand how his actions affect you. Make him understand how constantly putting you down or undermining your efforts, hurt you.
Communicate your boundaries gently but firmly as your narcissist partner will definitely trample on them, you have to be strong in your resolve to stand by the rules you have made. You need to also decide the consequence that will be paid for violating the laid down boundaries.
Give them Attention but give yourself attention likewise
Narcissists thrive well when all the attentions is focused on them. They are emotionally tasking so be prepared to shower your attention on them. But while you love your husband so much and want to keep him happy, remember to make yourself happy too.
Put yourself first and take a break once in awhile to focus on your needs. Give yourself time-off with few hours in day to think about your feelings, emotional needs, what you want from the relationship and your life.
Find Support Groups
Narcissistic arrogance and manipulations exact our worst behaviors so finding support groups could be an essential way to deal with a Narcissist partner. You need to get out there and listen to others’ experience.
Talk to people; get their own view on how they handle their Narcissist partners. This will help to reassert your importance as a person.
Try Marriage Counseling occasionally
Many Narcissists are unaware of the fact that they have the disorder so going for therapy will be out of it. They will never accept that they have a problem and bringing it up will cause aggressive reactions from them.
The truth is that since they believe they are better than others, suggesting going see a shrink or therapist will not be entertained. You may need to try a different approach. Narcissists hate to think they have lost in any way, especially when the person they care about leaves which may be a trigger from the past they are trying to leave behind, so try to a little threat. Try threatening them with divorce or separation; this increases your chances of getting them to see professional help in your marriage.
Do not be deluded to think you can ever change your Narcissistic partner for they rarely ever change. I learnt early in my relationship not to expect too much from my partner because believe me; it is both mentally and physically exhausting most times leaving me confused and frustrated. One important way I survived was that I helped him understand the causes of the negative emotions within him which allowed us deal with them in a progressive and positive way.
But you need to be able to put an end to the toxic relationship when your Narcissist partner becomes abusive. Most Narcissists diagnosed with Chronic Narcissist Personality Disorder tend to become abusive at one point in the relationship. You may have tried everything within your power to make the relationship work but be smart enough to leave if you feel your efforts are wasted. Your mental health is more important than the feelings of your partner.
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