A narcissist is someone who is infatuated and obsessed with himself. He is egotistical and ruthless in his chase for dominance, gratification and ambition. He has no regard for anyone but himself. According to psychologist Sam Vaknin, narcissists are constantly envious of others, grandiose, self-important, exploitative, arrogant and devoid of empathy for others. To boost their fragile self-esteem, narcissists seek to destroy their partners’. People married to a narcissist often find it difficult to escape from the relationship and recovery can be painful.
Recovering from a Narcissistic Spouse
Know your spouse’s narcissistic qualities. Narcissists display jealousy, insecurity, infidelity, control issues, pathological lying, and verbal and physical abuse. In refusing to make excuses for these behaviors you are apt to deem them as unacceptable. Once you leave the marriage, in an effort to win you back, a narcissistic may resort to manipulating you with charm. Realize that unless the narcissist understands that he has a problem and has sought professional help, he will not change. Once he has you again, he will revert to his narcissistic behavior.
Understand that you are a complete person on your own. You may have fallen in love with the wonderful traits the narcissist displayed during the onset of your courting or marriage. You may have developed codependency issues as a result. His suave, generous and attentive personality may have blindsided you and satisfied your emotional needs. Learning to be emotionally independent not only helps you to become an individual who can stand alone, but also makes you less vulnerable to the next narcissistic individual who comes along. Value yourself by setting standards for yourself and accepting no less than you know you deserve.
Read and educate yourself about narcissism. You can be empowered and liberated by reading about the reasons why being married to a narcissist is not only harmful to your physical health, but also to your emotional well-being. Use the Internet (see Resources) and visit your local library to read literature that provides insight into the dangers of such a marriage. Enroll in a self-help group where you can communicate and bond with others who have endured narcissistic relationships. It is difficult to face the harsh reality that your spouse is a narcissist—someone who does not value you as a person, just as an extension of himself. Give yourself credit for leaving him.