In a successful marriage, both parties need to be supportive of each other and show as much empathy as possible. When one is sick, the other needs to be there. Both need to bring each other up. These are obvious tips for a successful marriage, but when you’re living with a husband who is narcissistic, the ideas may sound a little foreign.
In this guide, we will explain what living with a narcissistic husband is like and what you can do to survive the marriage.
Signs of a Narcissist
A narcissistic husband isn’t someone who is a little full of himself or who is overly confident. It’s a disorder that makes one lack any empathy or care for others. Here are some signs of narcissism.
- The narcissist has extreme entitlement and thinks they are more special than others. They may have extreme power and success fantasies and they only want to associate with people who they feel are on their level.
- They need extreme admiration at all times, despite not having the same admiration for others.
- They lack any empathy, which means they are unable to see life through another person’s eyes.
- The narcissist tends to use people without anything in return. They may bully or belittle people who don’t do what they’re told, and they may feign praise for those who do help them.
So, as you can see, narcissism is a problem for many reasons, especially if you’re married to a narcissist. It’s quite easy to be married to someone like this; they are good manipulators and can come across as caring at first, but then show their true colors later on in the marriage.
For a narcissistic marriage, the signs might be a little more specific. A narcissistic husband may:
- Be extremely jealous when you have your attention on someone else. This can even include pets, family, and children. The jealousy isn’t because he cares, but he doesn’t want to lose what’s his.
- He has unreasonable expectations of the marriage. You may have to do ten things at once. As you can expect, this is also a rule for thee, but not for me situation, as the husband doesn’t do anything in return.
- He never acknowledges his flaws, but instead projects them onto you. He may say you’re selfish when he’s the selfish one.
- He has mastered the cycle of abuse. He’ll be abusive, but then when you want to leave, he’ll fake an apology and try to win you back.
- One way he’ll abuse you is to make threats. Even if the threats are empty, he knows how to use them to make you afraid of disobeying him.
What it Can Do To You
Living with a narcissist is damaging to one’s mental health. In particular, a marriage to one can cause the following:
- You end up severing ties to your friends and family. Because a narcissist is jealous, they are good at making you distance yourself from people who could help you.
- Your self-esteem will go down. You’ll feel like you are worthless and that nothing is ever good enough.
- A narcissist is also good at gaslighting you, or making you feel like you’re losing your sanity.
- In order to cope, you may turn to drugs or alcohol to survive living with a narcissist.
Because of what the narcissist can do to you, it makes it hard to escape the marriage or to deal with the narcissist. However, there are some ways.
How to Fight Back
When in a marriage with a narcissist, there are some ways you can fight against them. These include:
- Setting up clear boundaries and sticking to them when the narcissist pushes back.
- Living for yourself. Improving your character, not letting the narcissist’s words hurt you, and improving your life to set an example.
- Making the narcissist think that you’re a part of him. Always use “we” language when describing the marriage. It can make the narcissist more willing to make things work.
Is There Hope?
Narcissistic personality disorder is one of those disorders where it feels like the person we’ll never change, and for many cases, this is true. You may hear the occasional tale about the recovering narcissist, but it seems like something out of a fantasy.
So, with that all said, is there any hope? There can be. While narcissism isn’t something that has any cure, therapy can help reduce a person’s problematic behaviors.
Therapy for Narcissists
Getting a narcissist into therapy is a big feat since they will tend to believe that nothing is wrong with them. Usually, it may involve a “we” process, where you claim you want to go to therapy to make the marriage even better. If the narcissistic husband manages to come to therapy with you, here are some techniques a therapist may use on him.
Tackling Defense Mechanisms
A narcissist has many defense mechanisms when there is pushback. As such, a therapist needs to bring them down. He will look at why the narcissist uses those methods, then find ways around them.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
This is a therapy technique that involves exploring the relationship between certain behaviors and actions. By improving one’s thoughts, it can improve your actions and vice versa.
It Benefits Them
Since a narcissist is all about themselves, a therapist may show how they can improve themselves by changing their behavior. Positive validation can be the best way to treat a narcissist, as they have a system that makes it difficult for them to change otherwise.
End the Relationship
With that all said, many narcissists won’t change even with therapy. For your own sake, it’s important you end the relationship and move on. Have a support network ready and seek the help of your friends and family if you need to. You only have one life, so why waste it on somebody who only cares about themselves?
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