Once you know that your husband or wife is a narcissist, you put the smaller pieces of this complex psychological puzzle together and they mesh. Long ago you had intuitions that this person had serious issues but like all of us, you used the immediate mind eraser and "forgot" about it. No one wants to face the possible break up of a marriage, especially if we have loved this person deeply. So we go along the denial road which can have an upside we tell ourselves. He/she had good days when everything seemed peaceful and working. This temporary state of grace never lasted. The fits of rage begin anew, the lies resume (as if they never stopped), the deceit deepens, the false masks become more elaborate.
As a spouse you are living on the inside of the narcissist's life. You are the private audience. The performance has no editing, especially the most ugly and treacherous parts of the the play. The friends, other family members, professional associates are treated to the public image---the one he or she has been perfecting all of his life--beginning in childhood.
Fix your gaze on the physical facade. It is impeccable--every hair, segment of skin, body curve, flash of teeth, eyelash, brow arch, clothing fabric drape is perfection. The social and professional gestures of confidence, decorum, hints of pseudo empathy are top selling points. The scent of money and success are noticed but not too showy, just enough. If you are on the receiving end of this public appearance, it can be very impressive. Always remember that this narcissistic person has a five star first class act.
Narcissists are restlessly delusional. Their schedules are exceedingly tight. It is difficult to be fit in. They lack patience, especially for those closest to them--their spouses. Inside of your home, all Hell and beyond takes place. You are continually harangued, criticized for the smallest illegitimate reasons. When you succeed they scream about your faults and imperfections. They are furious when you shine. With the narcissistic spouse you have very little mental breathing space. From their perspective you are their possession.
When you recognize that your spouse is a narcissistic personality disorder, it is disarming for many, expected for others. Can you make the decision to sever the marriage? This is up to you. The NPD does not change. Often they will not negotiate in the divorce process unless they are trying to find a way to get you out of their lives quickly. What they offer you is often a pittance. Find an excellent attorney who specializes in family law and who understands this kind of personality, is unflappable psychologically, will be completely loyal to you and available and is fair about fees. Learn to practice a routine of self care during this time and for the rest of your life. You can win back your life. It has been waiting for you; it is calling you to a new destiny and adventure, a time of creativity, hope, spontaneity and self expression of your deepest feelings and their reciprocation. Visit my website:thenarcissistinyourlife.com
Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life