I have promised to write about how I am "overcoming" the narcissistic spouse and if you go back to the first time I wrote about this you'll see that it's been quite a while and I haven't written about it.
You could say that it's because I've not quite gotten it totes figured out.
Here are the things I have learned however...
1. Narcissism most often comes from the mom.
Yes, that's right. In my spouses case, I believe, finally, that it stems mostly from his mother. I have confirmed this with a friend who works in the field of behavior. I don't know all the in's and out's of the psychology, but the pattern I have seen in his family is the victim/enabler/persecutor pattern. One of the ways to deal with a narcissist is to show them empathy, but not too much. Don't overdo it. I just recently learned from one of my spouses siblings, who is also a narcissist--BIG TIME--that through his addiction counseling (yay for him!) that one of the things his mom did was get him in trouble and then sneak him a peanut butter sandwich when he was sent to his room without dinner. There are multiple perspectives here, but as a mom, if I knew my husband was too harsh/abusive, I wouldn't be trying to get my kid in trouble. Right? To me, that says she was carrying out that victim/enabler pattern so she could be the heroine. "But I've been the good guy!"
2. IDK about all narcissists, but mine mirrors my mood. If I set the tone, he follows. MOST of the time. If I react to his incessant whining with metered empathy, he calms down. If I try to give the other "dirty slob" the benefit of the doubt suddenly I'm the disloyal wife and will incur his wrath, which always turns into a screaming match because I don't put up with that crap. It's when I ask him how he feels about the situation that works the best. Men in general aren't good at sharing their feelings, those who weren't allowed are horrible. I've learned that when he calls from work to complain about someone or something, really what he is trying to do is express how he feels. This took me about a year into our marriage to figure out and I'm still not good at remembering to use the technique. Sometimes I get caught up in the drama and sometimes I doubt him and sometimes I'm so mad at the "dirty slob" that dared mess with my husband, I'm ready to do battle. When I remember to just ask him how he feels, he can most of the time express it and then move on.
3. When I'm spiritually strong through constant prayer and service, I am better able to handle what he brings and I even think he is tempered more than if I'm not in a good place spiritually. Even if he's not, if I am, everything between us is better. Now don't get me wrong, it only takes one person to ruin a marriage and two to make it work, but remember how I said he mirrors? Well when I'm in a good place, either he's mirroring me, or I'm seeing him through better stronger lenses.
How does this affect a blended family? Traditionally, a narcissistic parent produces empathetic children. I know it has his. I'm hoping that this is the case with my children and that it doesn't just fill them with hate or spite or worse yet, teach them that that's the way to behave.
So what I've learned is that narcissism most often comes as a result of the mom enabling her child and the take away here is as mom's we need to educate ourselves and hopefully never fall into that victim/enabler/persecutor cycle.