When we are children, many of us are at the mercy of our parents. Some children are blessed with kind, empathic parents. Others happen upon mothers and fathers who are good enough. Many are saddled with poor excuses for parents--those who abandon us physically, emotionally or both. And there are intolerable parents who are psychotic, sadistic, narcissistic, or have various combinations of psychological disorders. Children do the best they can to survive. Within a family, given the same parents, one child will survive the worst conditions; another will have a much more painful experience.
Eventually, the goal is to separate and individuate from the parents to become a separate, independent, solid human being who uses his/her talents, intellectual capacities to lead a successful life on every level.
Those who marry narcissists are trapped by them by a golden thread. The narcissist is so compelling and beguiling that before we know it we are seduced and eventually trapped. The narcissist creates a psychological labyrinth for his partner. "A labyrinth is a complex series of winding paths, similar to a maze...a labyrinth forces the walker to follow a specific serpentine path." The narcissist designs and orchestrates the labyrinth that the spouse must walk. Those married to narcissists eventually feel helpless since they must continue the strict pathway the narcissist has set for them. There are to be deviations. The spouse cannot be herself or himself---everything--the way you think and feel and act is decided by the narcissist. Often people in these situations have told me they felt they would never escape.
At some tipping point many of those imprisoned by the narcissist find the courage, strength, fortitude and sheer will to break through the boundaries of the labyrinth and run free (often for the first time in their lives).
The narcissistic spouse is often shocked by this independent behavior. His threats no longer work, his recriminations are impotent---You have asserted the center of the true self that no one can vanquish. As you move further and further away from your lost years in the labyrinth, you are infused with great energy, creative reserve, an abiding peace and grateful joy---and a deep sense of the preciousness of all of life. Visit my website: www.thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
Buy the Book: amazon.com