From the Spouse of a Narcissist: Here’s What You Need to Know

The more I read about NPD the more I began to understand my husband. The literature indicates that people with NPD do not change and do not feel that they have a problem. Adults with NPD have been described as “children who are forever emotionally trapped.” Therapy is not often successful for people with NPD, if they are even willing to go.

Spouses of people with NPD are encouraged to end the relationship as safely as they can. I know from my own experience that leaving is not always possible and is much more complex than the abuse itself.

If you are like me, the thought of giving up on another person can be heartbreaking. Sometimes giving up on a relationship can feel like giving up on a part of yourself. So hope, empathy, and compassion propels the relationship onward.

Also, the thought of being alone can be terrifying. If you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist long enough, you need time to gain confidence and reclaim your self-esteem.

If your relationship has been like mine, you have likely been told that you are incompetent, that you are incapable of caring for yourself, and maybe a part of you believes these lies. So don’t rush unless you are in physical danger. Then please, for your own safety, get out! Give yourself time and trust that you will know how to move your life forward.

I have taken the advice of these authors and have created a life for myself away from my spouse. I engage in meaningful hobbies, have friendships outside the relationship, and take time for myself every day to meditate and recharge. I have stopped feeling guilty for excluding him from parts of my life. This is what I have to do, and I am reasonably happy.

The more I read and learn about NPD the more I start to grieve. I grieve for the person I thought he was and what I hoped he would become. I grieve for the relationship I longed for, a relationship with empathy, reciprocity, support, and shared space both physically and ideologically.

Slowly, I have forgiven myself for enabling him, for giving him supply, and for subjecting my friends and family to his behavior, and I’ve stopped blaming myself for the issues in our relationship.

Relationships involve more than one person, and both parties are responsible for what arises. Sadly, spouses of people with NPD often carry all the responsibility for the relationship.

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