I think I'm married to a narcissist.
Why do I think this? Well, because I googled it and so many light bulbs went on I had a mental power surge (and I'm not talking about menopause).
All the articles I've read fill in all the blanks and answer all the puzzling questions I've had about my husbands troubling behavior.
The website that makes the most sense and leaves out all the mumbo jumbo, is Psychology Today. I've devoured all I can about this particular disorder and feel the need to write about it on this blog. I also must clarify that my husband fits into the category of a "Vulnerable Narcissist". Meaning that instead of standing in front of a mirror admiring himself, he struggles with his self esteem SO much that he has created a false ego to protect his "hurt self". This leads to many negative and destructive behaviors. His whole family suffers from this disorder in my opinion and it just manifests itself in different ways among his siblings. His dad was one too. It stems from neglect and abuse. Both of which my husband and his siblings suffered.
One of the articles I read on Psychology Today lists 50 ways to tell if your partner is Narcissistic. I'm going to start with #1 and tell you if this applies to him (not all 50 do) and how this affects me and the kids.
Now let me provide a disclaimer that this is and unofficial diagnosis. Our marriage counselor mentioned it, but it was never discussed at length and I'm not a Doctor, I just know what I see and what I've studied about it.
Is Your Partner a Narcissist? Checklist
1. When something goes wrong, does your partner blame everyone but himself or herself?
Yes, Yes and YES!!!
I've never heard my husband admit guilt. Not real guilt. He's said things like "That marriage failed because I worked too much." Like a backhanded compliment to himself. He blames all his ex-wives for their failed marriages with just enough "self blame" to not be too obvious. I was just naive enough to believe that he really picked 3 horrible women the first three go 'rounds. But now knowing the psychology behind his blaming, I can have more empathy--but not TOO much. I'll explain that later.
I've also often thought that to admit fault was too painful for him because it represented the abuse he received as a child. He would get beaten for doing something wrong and he would get beaten for things his brother(s) did wrong if he just happened to be home before them. My husband told me once that after awhile he just made up his mind to never give his dad the satisfaction of seeing him cry. So he stopped. I feel that that was when he stopped being sorry too.
So how does this affect us? Well, can you imagine that you are always wrong, he never is, that the kids are always at fault--especially your own if you are in a blended family? It's always my fault, his co-workers fault, his bosses fault, the Bishops, the Doctors, his mom's, his health's fault, the weathers fault or God himself's fault. Never his. And when I make an all sweeping statement like always and never, I mean it. It's exhausting. It's debilitating. As marriage partners, you should be able to have an argument (or downright fight) and come out the other end with apologies, promises to do better etc. but that never happens. The fighting happens, but the apologies never do. There was one fight where he was just being a big jerk. He was stressed out, but was taking it out on me and the kids like usual and I drove away and would only communicate through text. Texting took the emotion out of it and I told him I refused to come back until he apologized. He tried to manipulate and bully me into coming back but I held my ground and finally got an apology via text. Hey that's something! It was hard fought, but I got it. I think that's like the 2nd or 3rd time in 5 years I've heard him apologize. And I am being generous because I don't remember the others, but I figure he HAS to have apologized more than once in our 5 years of marriage.
Finding this knowledge is a godsend. I plan on addressing it with our marriage counselor now that I have had that AhHa! moment, but until then, I feel like I can effectively combat this personality disorder. And if not, I'll sure give it a good college try because you can bet I've googled "How to deal with a narcissist."
Next week, #2 on the list. Does your partner refuse to be accountable for his or her bad behavior? (For example, “You made me so mad that I couldn’t help . . .”)
And you can be sure I'll have big time i.e.'s.
If you are struggling in a marriage where your partner is a narcissist, get help now. As a friend put it, "it's no way to live."
Read up, pray, ponder, and get help.
Is there a Narcissists-anon? If not, there should be.
Is my partner a Narcissist Part 2 Is my partner a Narcissist Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6