Sunday, August 29, 2010

Don't Let the Narcissist Get the Better of You

Narcissists always have to win even if the contest is rigged. Whether you are in a business arrangement, a marriage, a custody battle, the narcissist will insist on vanquishing you even when the truth and the law are on your side. Narcissists are clever at using their material resources and influence to "persuade" others that they are right even when the opposite is true. This is easier for the narcissist than most mortals because he/she doesn't have a conscience. The narcissistic frame of reference for a conscience is not getting caught and the cover-up. 

In marital relationships the narcissist is absolutely charming and socially appropriate in public. Everyone is congratulating you: "How lucky you are to be married to such a fascinating and delightful man." "He is extraordinary on every level."  Some people are envious of those who are married to narcissistic spouses, never realizing how wretched they are in private. I hear this comment so often from those who write to me about their marriage horrors.

If you are not going along with the narcissist's program of waiting on him/her, satisfying every need on his timetable (which means instantaneously) taking his outrageous criticisms to heart, and providing him with a steady stream of adulation---you are in trouble. The narcissist turns very ugly and tries to pick you apart, piece by piece. He is loud, in your face, making false accusations, screaming epithets, shaming you. So often spouses cower and are bent low and feel like they being drowned by this constant onslaught of negativity. Many spouses give in and tell themselves and their mate that they will try harder and do it better the next time. They promise. This is letting the narcissist get the better of you. He is not only running your life; he is metaphorically taking it away from you. All of your energy is spent being his servant and recovering from his tirades.

Be aware that you can stop this pathological cycle. The narcissist isn't going to change. You can reclaim your life. You have a decision to make. Can you stay with the narcissistic spouse and learn how to be emotionally detached and not take his tirades and demands seriously. Can you move on to nurture your own gifts and energies in directions of your choosing. Or is this impossible under the circumstances. Is it time to sever the relationship formally. I say formally because marriage to a narcissist is not a true marriage. There is no true reciprocation and love, no mutual respect, no empathy, no intertwined values.

Think carefully about your priorities and let your intuition lead the way together with detailed research about the narcissistic personality disorder. Visit my website:

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
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