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My Experience with a Narcissistic Spouse - Signs of Narcissism  E-mail

 

Maria,

I am so relieved to have found you!! In fact, I am fighting back tears... I believe I am married to a narcissist and am struggling so much in our relationship.  In fact, I moved out of the home we shared almost exactly one year ago.  I have been in a relationship with my husband for almost 20 years.  We began dating when I was just 15!  We have been married for 12 years now and have three of the most amazing children whom I love more than life!

Through personal therapy (he has gone a few times but refuses to go regularly because "it's a waste of time") I have discovered that subconsciously I have fallen into a vicious cycle in my marriage in my actions: I will stuff negative emotions towards his behavior for a great deal of time then I will voice concern, yell, cry about them and get NO change then I will stuff again!

All of the behaviors I have "ignored" seem to mystify my friends.  The regularity of him not phoning to tell me when he would be home, night after night of sitting down to dinner only to have him come home hours after the children were fed and bathed, his promises to care for the children so I could attend appointments, have time with friends, etc. only to have him "get stuck at work" and not show.  All the times I was physically ill only to have him become irritated because "When you are sick, you can't do the things you're supposed to!", all the times I have waited and waited for him because he was late (this is chronic), all the times he has ignored his children/myself in the company of others so he could be the center of attention, all the multiple instances when he has clearly made a mistake and then crafted a clever way to make it my fault...the list goes on and on. I struggle with the mindset that he can do all these things but as long as he tells me, "I love you", "You are beautiful", or a thousand empty "I'm sorries" without any change or attempted change in his behaviors, then all is right with the world.

This finally came to a head when I decided to move out.  My husband denied that I had even told him I was moving out... which I did.  Then he came to my home, tires screeching around the corner, and proceeded to yell, cry, scream, toss himself on the floor and pound his hands and fists on the ground, demanding to know "why you are doing this to me? I love you!!"  This followed multiple conversations in which he called me a "whore", "a cunt", etc. for having a dinner with a gentleman who was a mutual friend of ours.  There were no romantic intentions whatsoever.  He told me he would drive the children past my home and point out "there's the shitty apartment your mother lives in".

SInce then, according to him, he has "changed".  However, I feel as though all these changes are superficial. Such as spending more time with the kids.  Yes, he has but has been forced to due to a three day (agreed upon by us) custody cycle.  Since summer has arrived; however, the kids have constantly been in my care.  He has taken a new job and is spending 60+ hours a week on his new 20 hour per week job.  Just today when he gave our 4 year old something she wanted and he had said no to (and for good reason) and the inevitable temper tantrum followed, his response to my disapproval was, "I don't have time!!"  He says he has switched jobs in order to allow himself more time but in reality he has created a bigger commitment.  Even our friends, families, and our CHILDREN have started to notice.

The biggest blow of the past year has been discovering his affairs.  This has torn a hole in my heart and soul like none other...this has scarred me emotionally and mentally.  The one affair was a one-night physical encounter with a married woman!!  When I discovered it there were more empty apologies and the words "get over it and if you can't well, this is done!"  He shared with me that he was very aware that what he was doing could mean that he would lose me forever and he "was fine with that!" He even questioned me at one point asking, "what did you expect me to do?"  My response was "file divorce papers so that you could be with her without being married! You have committed adultery." The other was an emotional affair with a woman whom he told me "is beautiful and amazing and maybe I love her." After I asked him to stop seeing her/communicating with her he proceeded to tell me on 5 or 6 different occasions that it was over and he was done seeing her.  Each time I found out it was a lie and he was in fact, still doing so!  I am uncertain if the relationship is continuing.


On our last encounter, he had eaten dinner at my home (my invite) and picked up the children to spend some time with them (about 30 minutes) before he took a conference call for work.  He eventually called around 8:20 (his conference call began at 8:00) and asked if I would come get them.  I responded yes and took the next 20 minutes to clean up from dinner before going there.  When I walked into his home, all hell was breaking loose!  All three of our children were completely naked, there was water all over the kitchen floor, and a broken glass lying in the middle.  At the same moment I entered, he came out of the back bedroom (where he had been on his call) and began immediately yelling, "Where is Stacy? You guys have destroyed this place!"  He has a tendency to get really, really angry.  He then grabbed our oldest boy under the arms and walk him to the couch in the living room where he threw him onto the couch and spanked him 2 times on the bottom.  Next, he grabbed our youngest daughter in the same manner and threw her into a recliner.  All this time, I am yelling at him to go into the back bedroom and to let me handle this.

It was very apparent to me, Maria, that he had become so angered over the situation that he may do something without thinking clearly. He immediately began shouting in my face, "You have no f**king right to tell me how to discipline my children." As well as, "You have no g*d d**n right to tell me I can't punish my kids!"  Neither of these being my intention. After he finally went to the bedroom (which I thought was to calm down, but was in reality to call his mother) I began telling the children to get dressed and put shoes on as this mess would need to be cleaned up.  After discovering he was phoning his mom to come over and "witness my behavior so you can't claim I was abusing my kids."  I took the children and left to return to my house.

A while later, he came to my home... wanting to talk.  Then I had to listen to him tell me, "I don't want to be married to YOU anymore." "It's because of this attitude that I want out."  He then proceeded to tell me that I never tell him how attractive he is.  Which I will admit I am not good at.  :( He added that I insult his looks but could only name 2 separate instances throughout our relationship where I had... one being the day I found out about his girlfriend! He proceeded to tell me, "You treat ME like s**t!" I am appalled that he could claim this after all I have done for him, relentlessly caring for his children while he comes and goes as he pleases, meal after meal after meal I have prepared, served, and cleaned up after while he moved on to the next thing that he "had to do", overlooking all the tardies, all the baths he never helped with, all the stories I read because he was not there, all the tiny things day after day that I took care of or managed so that his life would be good, comfortable, easier.  His response was, "there is a big difference between taking care of someone and respecting them.

Maria, since then I have scoured the internet looking for answers to how to show someone respect and while I may not be great at all of them, I do pretty well. I feel in my heart that I have been a good wife and mother and that I have always done my best to respect, listen, and love him.  But this one way street sure is lonely!!

I welcome your thoughts and ideas on my situation and want to bless you for giving me some hope!!


In sincere gratitude,

___________

The goal of this website is to give support to people who are feeling depressed and unhappy with their lives. I am living in Europe and English is not my native language, I wish you will excuse me if I make some grammatical errors. I decided to write in English because I wish to reach as many people as I can around the world.

____________

Maria's Reply:

My Experience with a Narcissistic Spouse - Signs of Narcissism

 

Dear Friend,

Thank you for your letter and for sharing your story. I know how hard time you are going through right now. I am glad you found my website and decided to write to me. You wrote that after you found out about the affair, your husband said "get over it and if you can't well, this is done!" Your husband seems to have no understanding for your pain. This kind of a comment to someone who one has shared couple decades with is incredibly rude. It appears that your husband was expecting you to accept everything he did without any criticism. This kind of behavior is cold and heartless. Normal person cannot just "get over" something like that (emotional or physical affair). If your husband was in your position, I am sure he would not tolerate such behavior from you, instead he would be deeply offended.

Unfortunately people with narcissistic tendencies often cannot put themselves into another person's position but instead expect their spouses to accept their rude behavior without any complaints. I knew a narcissistic man who told his fiancee he was considering going to see a woman he had a crush on more than a decade earlier (after first contacting that woman behind her back), and that he was not sure if he still had feelings towards that woman. He told his fiancee that if he decided to go to meet that woman, he would break up with his fiancee first, because that "was the right thing to do". He told these matters to his fiancee over a dinner and then he got angry because his fiancee became upset.

I know the above example appears almost surrealistic, but it is a good example of how twisted the reality can become while living with these people. This kind of a conversation would never take place in a normal relationship, in a normal relationship such comments would surely cause a break up. A normal person does not expect one's spouse to tolerate such talk. Furthermore, a normal person knows how much such comments hurt one's spouse. Some narcissistic people are saying this kind of insensitive things as a form of control or in order to hurt the other person, others are simply being ignorant, however most narcissistic people are rather smart so it is not very likely that they would say such things "accidentally".

Anyone with normal mind realizes it is very hurtful to hear such words from someone you love. The things your husband said to you about possibly loving the woman he had an emotional affair with and "that you would just have to get over this" belong to this same category. He must have known how much his words hurt you, yet he did not care about your emotions. It is very difficult to have a functional relationship with this kind of a person.

You wrote: "He had an emotional affair with a woman whom he told me "is beautiful and amazing and maybe I love her."

Another cold an insensitive comment. It is interesting that he says "I "maybe" am in love with her".. If he was truly, deeply in love with that woman, he would know it. All those of us who have truly been in love in our lives know that when the emotion overwhelms us, there are no question marks. If he needs to wonder whether he is in love, he most likely is not. Also, if your husband indeed is a narcissist, he most likely would have left you already for that other woman, if he truly cared for her. It is quite likely that he was bored of the routines of his life and searched for some excitement. Emotional affair served this purpose perfectly. 

You wrote: "Then I had to listen to him tell me, "I don't want to be married to YOU anymore." "It's because of this attitude that I want out." He then proceeded to tell me that I never tell him how attractive he is. Which I will admit I am not good at."

It is in a way quite amusing that he would say that he want's out because of your attitude. Sadly this is what this kind of people often say. It is very hard for narcissistic people to see any flaws in themselves and so they tend to turn things around in such a way that the blame is always in someone else. The fact that your husband wanted to call his mother to witness the event at his house so that no one could say he is abusing his children (after he just physically disciplined them under questionable circumstances to say the least) suggests that deep inside he realizes that his behavior is out of line and is doing what he can to secure his back. This is typical for certain kind of people: When they are caught of a lie, they hold on to their fake story at all cost, even when it is clear they have been exposed.

You wrote: "Since then I have scoured the internet looking for answers to how to show someone respect and while I may not be great at all of them, I do pretty well. I feel in my heart that I have been a good wife and mother and that I have always done my best to respect, listen, and love him. But this one way street sure is lonely!!

Dear Friend, I do no know you in person but based on your letter it is hard to believe that you would be the one to blame of the problems n your marriage. The fact that you are searching for advise regarding these issues from internet also suggests that you are not a selfish person. Narcissistic people often cannot see anything wrong in their own behavior and so they seldom search for this kind of advice, instead they direct their energy into other, often more selfish, goals. I believe you have tried all you can to save your marriage. Unfortunately it is not possible to influence the personality of another human being. It seems that your husband in unable to put himself into your position and be sensitive regarding your feelings. He is talking to you in a cruel way and is showing no respect to your marriage. This is no way a husband should behave towards his wife.

Dear Friend, I understand how hard it is to leave someone who you have been with for so long. Many people choose to hold on to their routines and remain in an unsatisfying marriage. Divorce is a two edged sword: On the other hand it is a jump to the unknown, there are no guarantees that you would find another partner to share your life with. But on the other hand if you remain in an unhappy marriage you shall never reach the level of full happiness. As I said, even if you decide to leave, there are no guarantees that you would reach a full happiness. But many people who have divorced say they feel so much better living a peaceful life on their own as opposed to living in an emotional turmoil with their ex spouse.

If you are sharing your life with a person who you know does not respect you, who has treated you badly and who does not show true remorse, it is bound to affect you in a negative way. It takes time to get over the break up, but if you are strong enough to remain on your own for some time, you will eventually start to see your former situation as an outsider and you realize that leaving was the right thing to do. Many people are not strong enough to maintain No Contact and end up returning to a bad relationship over and over again. It may take several attempts to truly break free. According to some statistics, it takes on average 4-7 failed attempts to end an abusive relationship. So if you end up giving in to your husband's pleas, do not blame yourself. If your husband is unable to change (as it appears he is), sooner or later you realize that the best things for you is to leave and start pursuing your own happiness.

Thank you for sharing your story. Reading about your experiences helps others who are struggling with similar problems. It helps to know we are not alone. I wish to support you any way I can during this difficult time in your life. Please write to me anytime you wish.

Warm hug,

Maria

 

It helps to know we are not alone. To read more stories of people who are experiencing problems in a relationship, visit section Personal Stories.

____

 

If you wish to submit your own story to get feedback and support or if you wish to contact me for any other reason, please send me email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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