Did I know the person I was marrying was a narcissist?
I had no idea, I didn’t even know what a narcissist was at the time.
But life takes us where we need to go and I ended up married with a narcissist for over a decade.
And the price I paid for it was enormous.
What Is A Narcissist?
“Since narcissists deep down feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world’s fault.” — M. Scott
According to Mayoclinic, a narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
People with the narcissistic personality disorder face many problems in many areas of their life, such as relationships, work, school, financial affairs. Narcissists are generally unhappy and disappointed when they’re not given the special favors or admiration they believe they deserve. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them.
How Does One Become A Narcissist?
“Nobody can be kinder than the narcissist while you react to life on his terms.”— Elizabeth Bowen
This is actually a very sad, a heart breaking story. A narcissist is not born, a person becomes a narcissist as a reaction to some form of abuse or neglect that happened in their childhood. Becoming narcissist is just the internal response to childhood wounds.
I strongly believe that narcissistic people do not choose to be that way. Very often, they are not even aware that they have a mental disorder that should be treated.
I can’t help it but to feel enormous amount of compassion for my husband but that is also what almost destroyed me.
Married With A Narcissist – What Is It Like
“The lion is most handsome when looking for food.”— Rumi
Looking back, the first half of the relationship involved me constantly looking for a way to satisfy my husband’s need for love.
Later on, it became fairly obvious that in his childhood his need for love and attention was not satisfied by his parents. In his adult, married life, he transferred that need onto me.
I spend close to 7 years trying to do that for him.
I did everything I could to close the gap and make him feel loved and lovable.
I looked for ways to show him my love, admiration, and support to no avail, as he was simply not able to see it.
No matter what I did, no matter what I tried, it was never good enough or even noticed by him.
I was always expected to pick him above everything, my own life, my daughter, my family, my friends, my work.
Looking back, I can see clearly now how a total devotion and dedication was required from me.
Needless to say, that did not happen, as I had my own life to live, so our life together became a nightmare.
Constant fights, blame, his constant attempts to put me down, guilt me, and try to make me feel bad.
And for a very long time it worked, I felt depressed, miserable, and in pain.
I though that there was something wrong with me that I was not able to give him what he needed.
The other characteristics that I did not recognize for a very long time as signs of the narcissistic personality disorder were:
- an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- the expectation to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
- belittling or look down on people they perceive as inferior
- behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
- exaggerating achievements and talents
- no empathy or compassion for others
The Price I Paid
“To forgive is merely to remember only the loving thoughts you gave in the past, and those that were given you.” – A Course In Miracles
The price I paid for being married to a narcissist man was very high.
The price included my life, my personality, my work, my family, my entire world.
I lost my life, I lost myself, I lost everything…
But before you start feeling bad for me, please continue reading.
It is true that I lost everything but the most important thing is what I have gained.
I lost the old me, the insecure, stressed, depressed, always worrying me.
What have I gained is:
A new me
A new person
A new life
A new perspective of the world
Big Shift In Perspective
“In quietness are all things answered,” – A Course In Miracles
Somewhere along the way, a gradual shift started taking place.
As he would go into his daily monologue about how useless, unloving, uncaring, hopeless …… I am, something in me started slowly changing.
I stopped reacting.
I stopped crying and a deep calmness came over me.
I would just sit there completely disconnected from him in front of me, barely hearing the words coming out of his mouth and almost being somewhere else.
Of course, as a typical narcissist, he did not like that. It infuriated him that I am not reacting to his words anymore.
I enjoyed my new silent power so much that I decided to follow the path.
I started spending time alone just being quiet.
I started watching my thought and listening to the voices inside of me.
I started meditating on a regular basis.
The new inner world that emerged from doing that and just paying attention to it, blew me away.
The New Me
“When you meet anyone, remember it is a holy encounter. As you see him you will see yourself. As you treat him you will treat yourself.” – A Course In Miracles
So by being married to a narcissist I gained the following:
– I learned amazing control over my body and mind where I’m able not to react to hurtful words and situations.
– I have learned that the only person that has the right to assess my worth is myself. When other people try, I just laugh quietly in my head, as I do not give them that authority anymore.
– I have learned to be ok with people telling lies about me. This part was so painful at first, but truly realizing that I do not control what others say about me, liberated me completely. And I have my narcissistic ex-husband to thank for. We practiced that scenario over and over again where he would be telling his family and friends straight lies in front of me and there was absolutely nothing that I could do about that other that accept the fact that it doesn’t matter. Now, I’m no longer concerned with what others say about me, it’s not my business.
– I have learned that lies and deceit do not reflect who I am. This was incredibly hard. At first, I tried to change him. I begged and begged for him to stop lying. There was no reason for the lies, to this day I do not understand why he lied so much about stuff that did not matter at all. I gave up trying to understand his motives for his lies and deceit and focused on shifting my beliefs. Over and over again I would repeat to my self that it does not matter as this has nothing to do with me but everything to do with him. Now, years later, with a lot of practice, I can say I’m truly there. It does not matter if people lie to me, it’s not my business, it’s theirs.
– I gave up trying to get people to understand me. Honestly, no one cares. This took many painful years of practice but these days I only try to explain my actions or thoughts when people genuinely ask. And guess what, most don’t. It is a rare person that cares to find out. And that it ok, as we all have our lives to live first.
In The End
“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.” — Brené Brown
Looking back at my marriage with a narcissist, I have no regrets. I had to learn many painful lessons but that’s what they were lessons. I also look at where I am today and more importantly what kind of person I am today and I can honestly admit that I have my narcissistic ex-husband to thank for. He was a great teacher. He pushed me so hard that I had no choice but to start looking inside myself for answers as the outside world failed to have any for me. Through this process, not only did I discovered that there is an inside world but also that all the meaningful answers are hidden there, not in the outside world.
I can not explain the amount of gratitude I have for him and the situation that I was put in as I love the new world that I live in now. My world is based on forgiveness and love for everything and everyone. What an amazing world we live in where everything is interconnected and everything is love. But for me to realize that, I had to meet and then eventually marry this deeply disturbed and wounded man. I truly hope, that somewhere deep he was also able to learn something from me. I hope that at some deep level he did register that there is a different way of living, a way where you can forgive and be liberated, a way where happiness and joy become the way of your life.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. I want to put a disclaimer that if you are currently living with a narcissist, you have to do what’s right for you. Enduring the pain which pushed me into self-discovery was the right path for me, but it might not be the right path for you. You make your own decisions what is best for you. Please do not hesitate to reach out. All comments, questions, opinions, suggestions are welcome.