Saturday, September 18, 2010

Narcissists-Masters of the Martyr Role

Narcissists have so many tricks up their sleeves it's difficult to keep count. Since childhood they have learned to persuade others, through guile, exquisite charm or intimidation, to manipulate anyone in their environment. Parents of narcissists are often narcissistic themselves. They mold the child to believe that he or she is perfect, superior to others and that there are no rules that have to be obeyed. The budding narcissist has no limits. The parent (s) does not rerquire that the child express compassion or concern for others including school mates and friends. The young narcissist learns very early that he can manipulate and exploit others to reach any goal he or she chooses.

The adult narcissist becomes a master of deceit and exploitation. His outer image is so charming and irresistible that no one can say "No" to him. Many perspective partners of narcissists are carried away with this magnetic charm, their incredible self confidence, personal power and exciting future plans, that they are swept up in this vision of a perfect life and believe it will come true. The spouse of a narcissist can be married for many years to this individual without realizing that he or she is a narcissistic personality disorder and will not change. When the marriage goes very wrong and the narcissist wants out of the relationship, he pulls out all of the stops: he threatens to leave the spouse without any financial resources; he will take full custody of the children (based on heinous lies that are often very convincing); he or she uses clever attorneys to put his financial resources off shore in in accounts that cannot be traced.

When all else fails and it is divorce countdown time, the narcissist pivots into the role of a lifetime--The Martyr. Now he is the one who has been emotionally and psychologically damaged. His spouse has caused so much stress that he can no longer function. He or she might even get an unethical medical report that states that the other spouse has compromised his health. When you are in the process of divorce with a narcissist in the victim role, make sure that you have chosen a very astute attorney who is an expert in domestic laws and who has a clear understanding of this kind of personality type---just how vicious, mendacious and vindictive they truly are. Interview several attorneys to make sure you have made the wisest decision. Study and research all aspects and details of the narcissistic personality disorder. Call upon trusted friends for support and understanding. In some cases spouses find that  excellent psychotherapy can help them move through these highly stressful parts of the divorce process. Interview therapists with great care. It is worth the search to find one who is both highly knowledgeable on the subject of narcissistic personality and a therapist who is highly empathic. Be kind to yourself and know that you will get through this process to reclaim a life that belongs to you---a way of living that is productive, peaceful, creative. You are the author and director of your life. 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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