Thursday, January 13, 2011

Midlife & Narcissism



by CZBZ



Several WoN members participated on Pat Gaudette's Midlife Crisis Forum, joining her website as early as 2002. As Pat writes in her opening essay, "Coping with male midlife crisis is not easy. Not every relationship will survive the strain."


May I also add that the midlife crisis is not necessarily a temporary phase of self-development? Midlife may reveal an underlying narcissistic pathology. Midlife is a precarious time for narcissistic people. Mature responsibilities tax the narcissist's ability to cope and 'escaping reality' appears to be an easier option. Narcissists escape by abusing drugs, participating in risky sports and activities (including unprotected sex), attempting to defy reality. 


For most people, escaping responsibility for a partner or family is not an option---even when we're suffering or angry. However, narcissists do not value relationships to the same degree as most people, nor do they bond emotionally. Not that YOU nor any of us knew that when we said "I do." This makes it easier for a narcissist to change partners, seeking the perfect love he or she deserves.


Midlife increases narcissistic defenses
Who knew there might be insurmountable obstacles to someone's maturation and/or ability to attach to people? Their 'unhealthy narcissism' was always there, though it was not necessarily pathological until the narcissist was unable to work through a 'crisis' of some kind. When a narcissistic person faces a crisis between self-perceptions and reality, ego defenses increase. Perhaps for the first time, we will see: grandiosity, arrogance, entitlement, exhibitionism, vanity, superiority, a pretense of self-sufficiency,  and defiance of authority. Then suddenly, YOU are accused of being controlling simply because you expected fidelity.

At midlife, narcissists become increasingly impulsive. Their capacity for restraint is diminished. In their younger years, they may have been able to control impulsive behavior for the sake of their IMAGE. Once they lose their ability to restrain their impulses and their IMAGE is destroyed, there may be no recourse for remorse. They may not be a way to reconcile the truth of their behavior with the Image of who they either pretended or believed themselves to be.

Rather than tolerate grief for the harm they caused others, take responsibility to fix the mess they created, live with the sadness of knowing they hurt their family/partner, etc. the narcissist will avoid responsibility by replacing the people in his life. We are props in a theatrical presentation and having been judged incompetent and imperfect, his highness dismisses us without warning.

Narcissists resist therapeutic treatment

One red flag warning people that their partner may be NPD (or pathologically narcissistic), is that they will be reluctant to seek therapeutic intervention. Most of the time, family members force narcissists into therapy in the hopes of salvaging the relationship. Instead of seeing themselves as the cause of relational difficulties though, narcissists project fault and blame onto others. This means they accuse their partner of having failed them. Because narcissists do not bond emotionally with other people, it is easier for them to Switch Partners than it is to clean up the mess they created themselves. If your partner refuses to go to therapy, or if he or she went to therapy for a little while until convincing the therapist that they were icons of mental health, then brace yourself for some bad news. Even narcissists who commit to the therapeutic process needs years of intensive therapy to change their behavior(s). This may be anywhere from five to seven years of consistent psychoanalysis. Ten sessions in cognitive therapy will NOT cure a narcissist. Nor will Prozac. NPD is a serious disorder, still baffling to psychologists who would love to have a guaranteed treatment for their clients. So far, there is none.

Treating NPD is a LONG-TERM process. Needless to say, most narcissists leave therapy the minute the analyst gets close to their narcissistic wound. Narcissists do not tolerate vulnerability and dependency (two distinctly difficult situations for middle-aged people who must reconcile their 'dependency' on others and our 'vulnerability' to death.) Right when a therapist believes the narcissist is ready for a 'breakthrough', the narcissist leaves blaming the therapist's incompetence. Dependency terrifies the narcissists because it triggers fears of vulnerability. 

When We Get Hurt The Most
The period during which we, as partners of narcissists, suffer the most is called the Devalue and Discard. This means that the narcissist begins 'devaluing' his partner (and family), seeing them as having failed him or betrayed him. Once he has convinced himself that we are 'defective', (incapable of meeting his needs) we are discarded. The Discard is emotionally and psychologically traumatic because we endure the ultimate humiliation: objectification. We must come to grips with the horrific truth that in the narcissist's eyes: We are Replaceable. Many of us speak of this as being seen as a subzero refrigerator, or a toaster, or any other appliance that served the narcissist well. Throwing us away is no more traumatic for the narcissist than throwing out a used vacuum cleaner.

The narcissist may appear to be suffering; however, they are suffering because WE FAILED them and now they must MOVE ON. Boo-friggin'-Hoo.

The other significant factor in our trauma is the narcissist's lack of empathy for how WE feel. If the narcissist is having an affair, they will relentlessly compare their current partner to their idealized partner. The lack of empathy for the way we feel is excruciating and crazy-making. We cannot process what is happening fast enough to protect ourselves from the narcissist's intentional (or oblivious) harm. Instead of reinforcing boundaries protecting ourselves from harm, we listen. We listen in the hopes of understanding yet the whole time we're listening, our sense of worth and self-esteem is plummeting. We may also listen because we are emotionally traumatized. Or we have been trained to listen because confrontation only escalated arguments in the past.

On the other hand, narcissists may be very aware of how we 'feel' and in a sadistic manner, do things or say things to increase our suffering. It is how the narcissist regulates his self-esteem by reducing an 'idealized' object to an inferior one. His criticisms will be malicious in nature and intentionally sadistic. Because the narcissist perceives US as having failed him, he will seek revenge on the fallible object who did not give him everything he was entitled to get from her. The more vulnerable we are, the more aggressive they become. Please remember that.

If you have been through an experience like this, it is an unmistakable sign of the narcissistic personality who lacks compassion for his victim and justifies his aggression and cruelty. 

Anyone experiencing a midlife crisis becomes 'narcissistic' and unhealthily so. This does not mean they have a personality disorder. Some people work through whatever issues they have that delayed maturation, reduced the 'meaning' of life, inhibited their passion, caused them to question where their lives were headed. Focusing on childhood may resolve issues that are problematic as adults. However, there are distinctly different behaviors in a midlife narcissist than there are with people who 'transition' and work through their crisis. These two signs suggest a narcissistic person may not be able to work through unhealthy narcissism (and may in fact, be NPD):

1-     The inability to sustain commitment
2-Extreme reactions to failure, criticism or defeat 

I hope everyone will feel comfortable on WoN. Our intent as managers is to provide a Safe Place where we can be honest with one another and with ourselves. Validation from others can help us stand on our feet again. It is important to talk about what you are or have experienced so other people can offer their support. Writing about what is happening in your life will also help YOU make sense of your story and 'see' the narcissistic patterns in your relationship. It's too easy to dismiss our thoughts from one day to the next. Writing holds us accountable to ourselves. WoN members can offer you the wisdom of their experiences and interpret incidents or behaviors in the context of NPD. We can't diagnose and we can't offer answers but we can listen, understand, and care.

And when you get the urge to blame yourself for choosing a narcissistic partner, remember: In a culture that is undeniably narcissistic, people see healthy self-love instead of unhealthy Self-Admiration. They see self-confidence instead of Arrogance; self-reliance rather than Self-sufficiency; ambition, not grandiosity and superiority. Our culture reveres people who $ucceed without questioning the 'means to their ends'.

Narcissism (self-admiration) is destructive to ALL relationships

The destruction may be slow or it may be fast but one thing for sure, the destructive harm to others is inevitable. The up-and-coming self-made maN ends up being, as Heinz Kohut describes midlife narcissists: The Tragic man.

That's true and sad am I for all the tragic men who could not (or would not) sacrifice their narcissism instead of their families. The real tragedy of narcissistic relationships are all the broken hearts and the broken minds of very good people whom the narcissist devalued and discarded without remorse.

Let me welcome all of you to what I hope will become a safe and healing relationship with our community.  



© 2011 WebOfNarcissism.com

39 comments:

  1. God I just see my situation in almost all of these links. It's enlightening but so depressing. You are dead-on in what you write, including the sadistic thrill of watching or hearing a partner be humiliated and rejected, in my case, for my dear young daughter, who I am afraid when she's with him. We are recently separated. Totally dependent on him financially. Live in a foreign country. NO ONE would believe that I have suffered "deep emotional and psychological abuse" (besides the physical) according to a therapist, from the happy-go-lucky, helpful, generous, funny, self-depracating man he masks himself as. All our friends are his, and I have been systematically isolated from them, and his family, while he has tried to maintain relationships with my relatives - all to show that I am the difficult one. I can't believe I've been manipulated to such a degree and didn't see it. It's shocking. The part about replacing the fridge was another wake-up - a nickname for me in his household when we were going out.

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  2. Hi anonymous! When my time frees up a little bit, I hope to increase the number of midlife articles on this site. My belief is that many of the people currently suffering the end of a longterm relationship, would heal faster and more completely were they do learn about narcissism. IT certainly gave me a "hand up" and saved me from that atrocious cycle of self-help relationship books.

    The person needing help doesn't want it and the person getting help is in the wrong place...reading Dr. Phil when your partner is a pathological narcissist is like going to the bread store for a quart of milk. A common cliche but gosh is it true!

    Thanks for your comments...and I hope the combined work on this website will help you get through this ordeal.


    Hugs,
    CZ

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  3. This article is so true for me in my situation
    Ive just been thrown away like the fridge .
    My husband has gone off with someone he met on facebook .I got a 2 line text to say hed met someone else and was relocating .he rang our kids ,but not me
    I feel very dissconected at the moment and Flat .

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  4. Dear Rosemary,

    Narcissists are foolish. They are the most foolish people in the world, though they think they're smarter, better, more valuable than anyone else.

    I am concerned for you right now. Abandonment is truamatic. Even people who are professional psychologists have been 'flattened' when a partner abandoned them. Please take care of yourself and if you need to see a counselor, do NOT hesitate doing so!

    I felt disconnected too, just like you. It was a dangerous time because of my reaction to abandonment. We can't predict how we'll react and I was surprised to find myself unable to cope with the overwhelming pain and anxiety.

    I hope you have friends and/or family who can help you through this. Please post on our forum if you are feeling overly anxious or afraid. We understand and we want to help.

    Hugs,
    CZ

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    1. I feel abandonment is a blessing because otherwise, I don't know how to get out of this sick relationship, having learned about narcissism from Facebook postings. Someone called it a "burned bridge". Actually I am on the last two relationships that I hope I can be free from someday. I hope they would burn bridges for to me, I need a good reason to say "NO" and to back away. Because to some oriental belief, it's better they betray me than I betray themn for later on, I'll have no regrets at all. Likewise, it's better they leave me or pust me away than I leave them when they still need me. But I've prayed and God rescued me miraculously. Praise God!

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  5. Wow. You can add me to the list of women dropped in mid-life by a narcissistic man. My kids and I thought he could be rude and obnoxiously self-centered at times, but the abuse was not something we really saw until this last year.

    Like all of you, we are devastated; me most of all. The kids now say he wasn't that great of a father, so they are actually relieved he is gone. However, he has left us without money or closure, and that is very hard to come back from.

    I will be joining your forum and I thank you so much for this information. You are helping so many people. ((hugs))

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  6. Hi anonymous!

    I look forward to getting to know you on the forum. You'll find great friends there, people who've been through hell yet continue to laugh. There's a lot of hope on forums like WoN.

    I'm glad this website reached you. How did you find us, if I may ask?

    Hugs,
    CZ

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    1. By searching the internet for a long time. : )

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  7. Dearest CZ - do you have any idea how GOOD this article is? OMGosh - I have been reading for months for answers and you have helped me SO MUCH with this. The narcissist at middle age -- amazing.

    If you have not already written more on this, please do! Those of us with years of marriage to a man that turns out to be a narcissist need to hear these thoughts. You make so much sense. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Molly

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  8. Dear Molly,

    Lovely to hear from you! I have another blog of original articles located here: n-continuum.blogspot.com (The Narcissistic Continuum).

    The Midlife Crisis (so-called) has become a cliche, hasn't it? And I think we've minimized it so much that people almost expect 'a man' (in particular) to sow his wild oats before settling down to a pasture. Once an idea is accepted in society, people are more likely to follow suit. This is a tragedy really because the midlife crisis, lasting a few months or maybe a few weeks, can destroy the rest of his/her life. And yet, in our culture, we act like we can just go back to our former life or start a new life without long-lasting repercussions.

    I'm glad to be able to help you understand the narcissist at midlife. This information can help partners like yourself, make healthier and wiser decisions about what YOU want to do.

    Good luck, Molly! This is a real rollercoaster of an experience but life does get better. It really does!


    Hugs,
    CZ

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  9. Thanks CZ,

    Rollercoaster, indeed! I have been shocked at how many people say they know someone else that went through being suddenly dropped by a husband/dad. Few people seem to give a lot of consideration to the fact that we have built a life with this man for years and years. I cannot just "go on" without him. My entire family is devastated. Those of us in midlife may have been with our spouse for over half of our lives. I am not even close to being the same person I was when we met.

    At least understanding the narcissistic mind helps some. I have been looking for answers for a long time, and feel I need them to be able to let go. He will not give me answers or closure, so this will have to do. I think the economy is putting huge stress on a lot of men these days. Those who have been covert narcissists can't keep up the facade of fake niceness when under so much proof that they are not perfect, I guess.

    Still unbelievable that they can just drop their wife and children so fast. It hurts.

    Thanks and hugs back, Molly

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    1. Sounds like you're ready to apply what you've learned about narcissism to help yourself and perhaps, understand your husbaNd, too. Understanding 'why' they say and do certain things, keeps us out a straight jacket. I swear! You really can feel like you've lost your sanity when a midlife-narc breaks down.

      Understanding that they don't value relationships to the same degree as non-narcissists helps a lot. We assume they are invested in the family like most people are---so it does NOT make sense when they are ready to leave. And they leave without even giving their partner a 'second try'.

      Once they decide, that's it. Talk about feeling "disposable", eh?

      Keep learning about narcissism and NPD because it WILL keep you grounded in reality. You won't be as confused and you will be able to make better decisions. As long as I was bound to information about the Midlife Crisis, I was a little sitting duckie.

      Write anytime, Molly. I love hearing from Midlife Crisis folks!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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    2. Hi again, CZ - this is Molly again.

      I can't believe it was May when I wrote you above. Now it is August and this morning (really I am still supposed to be sleeping) I feel as confused as ever.

      I am improving...but so slowly. Sometimes it feels like one step forward, two steps back. This is so hard; I often think I cannot do this. But I have no choice. It is devastating.

      I am afraid of people. I have a few close family members and a couple friends that have been so supportive, but so many people don't "get it." They have known us as a couple for years. They have seen us as a "normal" family. Our older kids are awesome. He was SO good at hiding his abuse. We didn't see it for what it was and either did they. I feel very much alone sometimes. I cannot tolerate not being believed... so I don't interact much with anyone outside my very small circle of safe people.

      The divorce is not final and I feel more and more unsafe. I feel like I will be eaten alive in court. He seems to win every small battle. He will not communicate with me. He has called the police on me. He will not call our kids. He will not share a penny with us past a very small amount of child support he has to pay by law.

      My mind keeps trying to understand -- but I just can't. I KNOW he loved our children when they were very young. I know he loved our various pets. He loves art and camping and music. How can someone that loves art and animals be so evil and cruel? I can't make sense of it.

      He leaves us and everything he has worked for his whole life - how does that benefit him? It seems self destructive. But I guess you are saying he thinks it is all my fault. Does he really, truly not know what he has done, even though we tried to reason with him a thousand ways before he left for good? If he is not aware, why would he hide his abuse and change his story?

      So many questions. How can I ever leave this behind and build a new life? I have no drive to move forward. Each day I just try to get by. I keep going for my kids.

      Thanks so much, CZ. What you all do here is so important.

      Hugs,
      Molly

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    3. P.S. I should qualify this by sharing that he became more outwardly obvious in his abuse, we started figuring things out, and he was exposed for what he is before he cut off communications. Hugs, Molly

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  10. This is really interesting because I've been observing some narcissistic behavior of certain people lately and wondering if it's a lifelong condition, but hadn't thought of it as being an adoptive phase of life like that---although I'm sure I was considered narcissistic while I was going through my midlife crisis (I got beh-er, as they say in Monty Python).

    Well, one thing's for sure: midlife crisis is very personal and subjective. But the more awareness the crisis-haver can bring to the table, the more likely the "crisis" will give way (more quickly) to the expansive growth that it's designed to induce! My advice to anyone in the throes of it is this: try to lighten up and see the humor in things sooner, rather than later. : )

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    1. During the midlife crisis, people with pathological traits will be excessively aggressive, extraordinarily blaming and critical, mendacious beyond belief, with contempt and disdain for "whoever is the closest at the time." That usually means their partner or spouse.

      I think it's really important to pay attention to how far that person will go to HURT their partner and/or family members. The degree of hate is indicative of pathology and should never be minimized as 'normal.'

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  11. What do you do when you are so tired, depressed, and exhausted? I am so overwhelmed with all of my husband's behavior. This has been going on for all of our marriage, but I initially thought that I just didn't know how to be the 'perfect' wife. Three years ago, I even quit my job, because I couldn't function anymore (at work) without any sleep (he would rage and walk in out of house all night long ). Also, he is an alcoholic. I am 57 and recently discovered his porn addiction. He is constantly creating chaos and drama. He withholds money from me. He's hungry, not hungry, too hot to eat, too cold, too late, etc. is one of things he does to control me. No matter what I cook, when I cook, etc. he may or may not eat, or after I cook a meal, he may get out a cheap frozen dinner, ? On and on, it never stops. He doesn't take a shower for weeks at a time. Every part of our life is messed with. He spits his dip all over the comode. I feel like I live in Twilight Zone. He even makes fun of my religious beliefs and claimed (when he broke my Our Lady of Grace statue) that 'she' jumped out at him. He calls me stupid, cunt, bitch, usually with the prefix f--k. On the other hand, he's completely functional at work and treats everyone there like gold. I don't understand why he doesn't treat everyone like he treats Me? I was so totally isolated (we do nothing together except sleep in the same bed) I didn't realize this for a long time: that he treats other people differently, nicer. I thought he was mean to everyone. Now he claims that I am "old"! We are the same age. He will say one thing, and then deny he said it! He also calls me crazy all the time. I feel disjointed: on one hand, to be Christian and not return evil for evil, but on the other hand, if I act kind to him, he acts worse. My kids pointed that out to me a long time ago, it was so obvious to them. blah, blah, blah, i could go on and on, it's exhausting just to recount all of this....ugh. I want to emotionally detach from him, please.

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    1. To me, this sounds like Ambient Abuse (also called Gaslighting). He is TRYING to make you feel exhausted and confused to gain control and power. A narcissistic trick.

      From the site linked to my name in this post:
      "Gaslighting is a form of psychological abuse in which false or distorted information is presented with the intent of making a victim doubt his or her own memory, perception, or sanity - having the gradual effect of making them anxious, confused, and less able to trust their own thoughts."

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    2. Sorry, anonymous. I did not receive email notice and only saw your comment when Sandy's message came through my email.

      It sounds like you're living in Hell right now. I hope you're getting support from a community, like WoN for example. You may find it extremely useful to write your story out, allowing other people to share their experiences with you.

      He is abusive. I know how painful it is to admit this since abuse sneaks up without us realizing it. A therapist might be useful since it sounds like he's been whittling on your self-esteem for years.

      You might also try your local women's shelter. A lot of people have attended classes before even realizing what they were experiencing as abuse.

      I am sick just hearing about him calling you "Old". Many of us were demeaned the same way...we were old and therefore worthless.

      I hope you're able to find some support...what you are going through is traumatic and you deserve the very best of care you can find for yourself!


      Hugs,
      CZ

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    3. Hi Sandy! You have a terrific website! Thank you so much for replying to anonymous and offering her another resource!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  12. Dear Anonomous
    I know what you are going thru, I just want to validate your feelings and thoughts. You will find an answer cause you are really strong person identifying the issues. I know it is difficult to function in a positive manner. In my case, I'm doing an at home study course in Floral Design and bought me a nice sewing machine creating home decor and constructing clothing. Find yourself, on your good days when your spouse is at work, to be safe from criticism, so you feel good about yourself. Place the things about him in the closet that bother you and proceed life in a new chapter for yourself.

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    1. What a beautiful response, anonymous. We need to treat ourselves kindly--especially when we don't feel like it. Its really important to do things that make us feel good about ourselves.

      I love that you're studying Floral Design and sewing! You're passions are similar to mine! My computer has definitely cut down on my 'sewing time', though!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  13. To CZ,
    Thank You, for your wonderful words of encouragement. Just a few positive words can last a long time and clear obstacles a long the way. Trying to rebuild my life once again.

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  14. I am so glad to have found this article. My husband too just decided a year ago this weekend that we were no longer compatible. Now mind you at the same time he was saying this he was having an affair. But he lead me on to believe for 3 months that I had changed and we no longer had things in common. I was thrown - had no idea what he was talking about. Then once I discovered the affair in December I went into total shock and depression. He filed for divorce and I just had no idea what was happening to my life. We were married for 10 years and had 3 small children 2, 4, 7. The thought of sharing my children was unbearable. So I did convince him to try couples therapy. We have been it it since about March and now it is October. My husband called off the divorce but made it clear that he was not staying in this for me or to be committed to me. He was in it not to ruin the kids lives. He is so aggressive and has dropped everyone of his friends and family members. ANd he acts as though he doesn't care. He was humiliated in our community by his actions and feels his option is divorce. I am being emotionally abused and i am pretty sure of it. He continues to tell me I am the controlling one and that I am the problem. But I am in therapy to change and things are still not different. I try to reach out to him and he won't let me touch him. He is so aggressive. He fights for time with my kidS and will at like a child to do the funnest thing with them. He has to be super dad but is not around for them in daily life.I feel like I am losing myself and I want out of this marriage, but am scared to be the one to end it for my kids. I want them to not have time with him as he is so emotionally abusive with them too. What should I do??
    I can't live like this anymore. It's not healthy.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Please join our message board where you will find good friends who can help you work out what you need to do for yourself and your children. Remaining in an abusive marriage to someone who is not invested in YOUR best interests, too, will wear you down. Nobody can handle that kind of relationships without suffering. And when we are being demeaned and abused by our partner, we are setting a very terrible example for our children.

      That is why I ended my marriage. I did not want my children to believe that affairs should be tolerated.

      The answers as to why your husbaNd is treating you so badly are complicated. I cannot do justice to your questions in a comment box, ha! So please join WoN. If you feel comfortable, let me know who you are when you join.

      I am sorry for what you are experiencing. It is excruciating and unfortunately, most people simply do NOT understand!

      Love and hugs to you,
      CZ

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    2. The url to our website is:

      TheWebofNarcissism.com

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  15. I can't stop reading. I cannot believe that I am reading exactly what is happening in my life right now. My narcissistic husband of thirty four years just got up and left three months ago and he never came back home to live. He is living in our cottage. He has turned all his family and friends against me by speaking so badly of me. I feel so helpless . They would never believe the truth. Luckily for me though my three sisters believe me. His cruelty is inhumane. He has left me with all the responsibility and work of our twenty eight year old daughter who has autism. I have tried to understand him but couldn't before I read this blog. Thank you everyone. I will keep reading sp please keep writing. Thank you.

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    1. I'm so glad you found this blog, anonymous! It is utterly crazy-making when a long-term partner leaves so suddenly---without warning. I was walking around in a daze for a long time because no one could understand my X's behavior either. Without guidance and direction, I kept blaming myself. This only undermines whatever self-worth we still have after someone we LOVED suddenly turns on us, accusing us of things that beyond belief! It is horrible, truly and my heart goes out to you.

      I also keep a blog about narcissism which you may not have seen. You will have to paste the url in your browser window (I can't make it "clickable" in comments): http://n-continuum.blogspot.com/

      There are a couple of articles about the narcissist's attempt to SMEAR our reputation which makes him look like OUR victim. The truth is completely opposite as you're now experiencing. Many of us have gone through this. You aren't the first and sadly, you won't be the last. However, UNDERSTANDING what is happening to him WILL protect you from illegitimate blame and fault. When we UNDERSTAND what's going on with our partner, we're better able to protect ourselves.

      I call the end of my marriage: the AMBUSH. That's because I truly had NOT a single clue that he was plotting on leaving. He (as narcissists do) made sure I was unaware so he could get a head start. We often discover later that they'd been talking about us to other people and ruining our credibility, LONG before they actually left.

      I am sorry, so sorry that this is happening to you. Please find a support group that understands what you're going through. You can take a look at our forum: webofnarcissism.com

      If you aren't interested in joining a forum, you are welcome to post here OR on my blog. Don't hesitate asking for help...this experience CAN make or break us. Don't Let It Break You. Get some strong friends and stick with them until you're feeling grounded and safe again!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  16. My wife and I met when she was 17 and I was 20.I took care of us and held the line and was a hard working man. Her Dad abandoned her when she was one, lived in the same town and never saw her. He was a fireman and she recalls seeing him in Parades, but he never wanted her and showed up. Until 11 years or so. I couldn't wait for my dad to leave. drugs, abuse, more abuse, affairs, yelling etc. I vowed I would do it right. 22 years later, two 8yr kids.My wifes career started to take off a few years back and she traveled for weeks at a time while going for an MBA and 4 year olds at home. I was resentful somewhat because I still made more money than her and she was never home or when she was she was doing homework etc. She tells me three months ago that she has had a emotional connection with two men over ten years. The one from three years ago my body sensed something was wrong and got sick. Gall bladder, stones,etc. Had to have it removed. Anyway her travels all over the world made her realize that being a mom or wife was not a value for her. She gets more from work. There was guy at work she had feelings for back then she just told me about now. He has been in our home and a friend to me as well and around our kids. I had actually collapsed health wise back then and called her to take me to emergency. She called my neighbor to take me. he did. she never showed up. I lived in a bubble trying to make things work as she was showing me mid life signs back then. I asked if I needed to worry about this guy she traveled with, she said no. She moved out 3 months ago and got an apartment downtown near the college. I have kids 50/50. "The guy" left his wife 3 weeks after she left me. All but one of many friends have stayed away from her. The guy is her new best friend and she is saying he is interested in her, but she want to date others. She is looking to replace us all. At one point 2 months into Separation she told me was going to start dating and didn't want to keep me in Limbo. I just said I was trying to "like" her. and that I was starting to see what our "my" friends were seeing. She got enraged and shaked with anger with near violent tears and said "you want to see what your friends see!!!". "I hate your friends ". and I hate your mom. Im glad to be free of her". I have never seen that kind of anger towards me. I grabbed her hands and looked her in the eyes trying to calm her down. She is lost to me. She told me I wasn't goal oriented, don't change, and a bunch of other stuff that keeps coming out over time. Not sure I want to hear anymore. Earlier in the year, we got her eyes layered, skin dermabrasion, and I just wrote last check for MBA as she turned 40. Today I get no sense of affection from her and anything that resembles her caring truly about me. In person, nothing. I stopped hugging her months ago when she started hugging me sideways so as to not kiss me on cheek or allow her breasts to touch me. Like a work hug. I just stopped altogether because it felt weird. I get no thanks for what I carried the first 20 years. I wasn't perfect and sometimes said mean things. I just found out I have ADHD inattentive/ impulsive side. I guess Im lucky we lasted this long. On medication now and that is helping. I don't see any hope of getting back together. She goes on vacation this week with her male best friend thats interested in her. Its driving me crazy. I told my mother in law that her daughter is dating this guy She told me she knows her daughter and she wouldnt do that! I said well shes going on vacation with him for a week. She said she thought it was only for a weekend. I told her I would be dating and wanted her to know because she has access to my house and Ididn't want her to think badly of me. She just defended her daughter as she can do no wrong. The mother in law had been the surrogate mother all these years because my wife didnt have it in her.

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  17. This blog describes my situation exactly. My husband of 28 years had a hurtful distance since our honeymoon and he agreed to therapy a few times but wouldn't do the assignments. I honored my vow but felt lonely. After he started his affair last year, he admitted to withdrawing his love and Affection to punish me, from the honeymoon on! He doesn't make sense because he admitted things were ok at first and only knew several years into the marriage that he should never have married me, so what was there to punish?. I am a Christian and believe strongly in respectful treatment of husband.
    I believe he expected to be treated with adoration. I wish I could say I did that but since I was already being punished, I did not feel adoration for him. He could never handle any correction like a Normal person.. Then I find out about the other woman and suddenly he went monster on me calling me names and saying I was a rascal and a scoundrel, that I am fat and a b&&tch. I am very sorry I ever tried to keep our marriage going as long as I did. My children say they can't even talk to him because he talks over then,loudly. My daughter confronted him about why he wasn't working on our marriage and why he was in a relationship with another woman while married to me and he told her he was looking to meet other people too! Just to deflect th e focus off the other woman!I no empathy for her Concerns or hurt. This is a professional man who always seemed to protect his relationships. He moved out and keeps encouraging me not t o file for divorce but his friend says that's just about money. All of our friends and family (MINE, HE HAS NONE) support me so I am very fortunate. So sorry for the others that have been denigrated as well. AT LEAST my monster talks very little.

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    1. I'm not sure anyone should treat their partner with 'adoration'. Save that for supernatural beings which narcissists are not, even if they think they are. ha! Narcissists absolutely crave "admiration" but that is because they cannot love so admiration is the substitute. If you're wondering why pathological narcissists cannot love, it's because love requires a surrender of one's narcissism, the willingness to be vulnerable. As long as they do not love but receive admiration instead, they are safe, independent, superior.

      Narcissists make truly lousy life-partners if you want an intimate and mutually ally maturing relationship that lasts into old age with a greater appreciation for one's partner. That will not happen, never will, can't happen with a narcissist.

      Narcissists disorders tend to appear at midlife, right when most of us believe we can relax a little, our relationship secure. But narcissists struggle maturing, entering the generative stage of life that is not as self-serving and self-centered as earlier stages of life (see Erik Erikson's "life stages" if you'r unfamiliar with them). Narcissists become dissatisfied with their current relationship and may even recoil when their partner shows signs of aging because they cannot accept mortality as our common fate.

      So please don't take it too personally when he says he was disappointed during your honeymoon and hasn't loved you ever since then. My ridiculous x-husbaNd said the same thing to me and it hurt. A lot. Which they hope it will. But please know that narcissists have a terrible context of time and if they feel 'alienated' from you today, then they believe they were always alienated from you. And they can get a lot of mileage out of telling us they did not love us for years but because they were such NICE GUYS and didn't want to HURT OUR FEELINGS, they put up with us.

      That is bullshit. They are simply recreating reality to "minimize" their exploitative and ugly behavior. They will say, do, pretend, act out, confess to anything that makes you the BAD GUY and preserves their self-image. You have to DISCOUNT pretty much all of it, dear anonymous. Narcissists lack insight and have a poor self-awareness AND they project 'badness' onto others to make themselves feel superior (or like VICTIMS).

      (Part two on second reply)

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    2. Do Not let him talk ugly to you. Do Not let him talk to you about the other woman, nor make comparisons. Get YOURSELF out of those conversations however you must because it tears down YOUR self-esteem and builds his UP. It's a sick and twisted situation and most good people like yourself, are trying to be understanding, trying to find closure.

      Well you want closure but the narcissist wants STATUS. Do Not Let Him Hurt You by making comparisons. If I could do everything over again, once thing I'd do from the get-go is refuse to talk about the OW. I'd hold him accountable for his infidelity as HIS problem, NOT mine. Our self-esteem has taken a hit because of the Other Woman so it might feel counterfeit asserting ourselves this way but we cannot afford to take any more 'hits' to our self-worth. HE is the one who is in the wrong and it does not matter what you look like or what you have done---HE is the one who's in the wrong.

      Our kids and I listened to my X for a year before he finally PICKED the other woman, the lousy rat baxturd. He took advantage of all our sympathy and it didn't make a dent in his cold hard heart. Please do not make the same mistakes we did. Protect YOUR and your children's Self-Esteem and Self-Respect and let him live the life he insists he deserves (without his family).

      Narcissistic entitlement and exploitation is a formidable foe...the family usually loses this battle. File for divorce before he's covered his bases by hiding assets, getting himself in a superior position to yours by investigating every angle he can to avoid paying child or spousal support. If divorce was a mistake well guess what? You can always get married again. AFTER he's gotten therapy. AFTER he's so remorseful that he's paid for a year of therapy in advance to make SURE he never hurts his family that way again.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  18. CZ, you are so right about all of that. He told me and my family that he turned the other cheek,all through our 29 years and just couldn't take it anymore. I was always puzzled. All marriage s have challenges. If I wanted to solve any, he made me feel pathologically critical. Our marriage counselor said he didn't want to work on the marriage so avoided everything. Now plays victim. I wondered how anyone solves marital issues. Now I know, no one does with a narc. Because they can't handle any criticism. Ever. No solutions. Just rage at my nerve for calling any deficiencies to his attention. They cannot accept any responsibility. Peter pan. It's even happening with TH e divorce. No response to my emails. Guess it won't be uncontested!

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  19. Hi, I just wanted to let you know that I think I have been dating a Narc and was a sort-of Golden Child, but without any sort of stability whatsoever, like, not even feigned attempts for stability. My mother was bipolar and, undiagnosed, schizophrenic – I would walk into the kitchen and catch her in full trances, with finger gesticulation and lip movement, talking to something she called God which later killed her because this – being – told her that chemo and mastectomies were mutilating her body in “His eyes”.

    Because my parents both passed very early – my mother right before I graduated HS at 16, father at 14 – I started my own path of self-destruction to age 22, I’m almost 23 now. I had a huge realization and started facing my idealized self, my idealized view of my childhood and what I see looking back, taking responsibility for my own actions without shrouds of dishonesty. I think my viewpoint is very, very clear because it was somewhat of a ‘religious’ experience for me. That’s my only word for it.

    I have just started a blog called ‘The Real Perspective’ because I want other deeply damaged people, who wear the mask of normality, to know that, at a certain point, you are only how good you affect other people – those sums of your actions are what define your self-worth and that self-value has no point if it cannot be used in the economy of social relationships.

    At the moment, I am facing a lot of challenge, but I am going through a process of, kind of, rebirth of what I feel is valuable inside of my own sphere of influence.

    http://www.therealperspective.org

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  20. Together for 30 years and throwen away like garbage. He had unprotected sex with the town pump, injected steriods to increase his muscles and took viagra , contracted Hep C. I am not infected so blessed.
    He left one morning and never came back. Moved onto a younger woman who thinks he will take care of her.Heis so worried that i will tell her his truth.

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  21. After 30 years he threw me away like garbage. He started sleeping with the town pump unprotected and would sleep with me the same day. He injected steriods and took viagra. He ended up getting Hep C . He left home one morning and never came back , he is sleeping with someother pig now. He is so worried that I will tell her the truth that he has made me out to be violent so that she afraid of me
    Our adult children are totally disgusted with him.
    I am left in a new town , no friends, huge debt .
    I was broken hearted but on the road to recovery.
    Cant wait for Karma to catch the dirt bag .

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  22. I am nearing the end of a second healing from the narcissistic abuse of my ex-husband. After the divorce, I didn't have a name for what was going on with him except "midlife crisis." He had really upped the ante on the devaluation with cruelty beyond cruelty and emotional abandonment beyond emotional abandonment when I had a breast cancer diagnosis 12 years ago--as if a switch had flipped on him! The only clue I ever had all along was that he was NEVER happy with himself--always seeking more career-wise, always jealous of his brother's success, looking for rushes, acting like life was passing him by and wanting to travel constantly. He would enter a hotel room upon arrival, drop the suitcases, and moan about having to go home. In many ways, he behaved like a child, needing to be soothed and comforted, and it was very stressful for me, always holding his hand, always helping him, and getting nothing but "joking" digs in return. I pulled myself through the horrible discard when it came, and compassionately forgave the father of my children, inviting him to holiday dinners for the "sake of my kids." But I didn't know that his nice face (and he has one, for sure) was showing because he was "hoovering" for more supply since was unsuccessful in securing it elsewhere for 7 years. THEN he met another empath, and I watched him literally morph into someone who behaved one way in front of her, and another behind her back (per my kids and per things he has said to me). His values, as we know them, and hers, could not be farther apart! He love bombed her as he had done to me, rushed the relationship, as he had done to me, mirrored her as he had probably done with me, and "for her" went for a Catholic annulment of a 27 year marriage. (She would not marry him without it). ROUND TWO of devaluation and discard! He LIED all over the annulment petition, blaming me, my mother, his father, my Church, his youth, and his ignorance about marriage and what it entailed. He took NO responsibility for what HE had set in motion and had accomplished. And when I stood up with a short response, just to defend the honor of those named and myself, he slammed me to everyone he knew, including my kids. He was essentially committing emotional rape, "Shut up and let me do what I want to you because I need what I need." And the telltale sign of his illness here is that he TRULY thinks this is OK and necessary to do to someone. To say the trauma was double this time is an understatement! He had a priest friend from high school reporting to him, friends ("flying monkeys") lying for him. I do not know what actually happened in the end, except that he achieved his goal through manipulation because first he wasn't getting the annulment and going ballistic on me to everyone, and then he did end up getting it. She can't possibly know the truth, so it is like watching someone commit a crime against another and not being able to report it. He married which I guess is probably the best for me because in this LOSE/LOSE situation, imagine if he had NOT gotten it!!! I'd be at the center of his revenge indefinitely! I am grateful to my own daughter who brought me face to face with narcissistic abuse, as she was dealing with her own demons, exploring the damage caused by having a narcissistic parent. There, in article after article, I read my life in print. It's been 2 years since this second round of emotional abuse began, and I have felt RAGE at the betrayal, gaslighting, superior attitude, put downs and attempts to devalue me as a human being, but it is all probably for the best. It's a process to let it go, and the only way to do that is to truly feel the rage, know who you are, what he is and move on by strengthening yourself with more insight. At this point, I read these articles to keep me on my path. Good luck to all, and know you are so much better off without them. It's an opportunity to reclaim yourself I have gone NO CONTACT. That is my power.

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    1. Wow, Anonymous. You have an excellent understanding of your ex's behavior. I'm also thrilled to read about your daughter and how close she must feel to you. Not every former partner-of-a-narcissist is willing to entertain the idea that she married a narcissist, bore children with a narcissist. You are able to bear this truth and because of that, you and your daughter can help each other deal with the grief and loss and fury everyone experiences when they loved a narcissist. My daughter and I are extremely close and we have been each other's "rock" through this whole ordeal.

      I am so sad that your entire marriage was annulled and wonder how that must affect your daughter? Narcissists just want their families to disappear once they are through-and-done with us. Once they want something else or someone else, we become a hindrance and the cold disregard they have for us is mind-bending and heart-breaking.

      Keep reading and if you want to join a group for support, check out our small forum here: http://www.webofnarcissism.com/forums/

      Thank you for writing from your heart. I am very moved by your story and wish you and your daughter the very best!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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    2. The hardest part is that all I ever wanted was an intact family; thus, I still embraced my ex post-divorce. He has not behaved like a father, and now he is suddenly trying to re-establish social relationships with my children and grandchildren by buying them with money to put up the "Father of the Year" image to his new wife. Knowing all I know, it is a facade--all for the image.

      I now know him better than anyone on this earth! I have learned that he is a master at looking like he is generous and doing for others when he is really doing for himself with some motive in mind. For example, on a visit to my youngest in her new location that happens to be a tourist spot, he and his new wife saw her only a couple of times because they were too busy sightseeing on their own! My daughter was livid! He scored no points with her. His interest was in her location, not her.

      You said, "Not every former partner-of-a-narcissist is willing to entertain the idea that she married a narcissist, bore children with a narcissist." Oh, it was a shock! I was conned, and then half of my life was dismissed as if it was nothing! Poof! He blew up 30 years of my life with an atom bomb! "What do you care? You are divorced, people say." He says, “People say you must be jealous or you are not over me.” I am over HIM a long time. I am not over that he could do such a thing and be what he is! He abused me, and I still felt for him and HIS mental anguish! I respected our history and cherished the seemingly good times we had had. And the trauma and terror of the first go-round rushed back with a fury when he threw me, and others, under the bus on that annulment paper—people who helped him to have what he has now! I forgave monstrous behavior, only to be blind-sided AGAIN! Part of me still sees the hurt little boy who probably suffered abuse growing up and feels compassion for him, but the other part says, “NO MORE!” There is NEVER an excuse for abuse!

      Seriously, if I could have "unfathered" this man over this last offense in which he basically denied our relationship, I would have!!! I have to settle for distancing myself as much as possible and embracing my boyfriend's family, which by the way, includes his ex-wife with whom he is amicable, and so am I. The difference there is the mutual respect we all have for one another. BUT, I cannot ever place myself in a room with the two people who have had such blatant disregard for me as a human being. I will not be treated as lesser, and my children need to see that.

      Although his wife is not directly at fault, this whole annulment requirement on her part shows no respect for my history with him or as the mother of his children. She “prayed” I wouldn’t hurt. How about don’t date a divorced man who was married 27 years if you can’t accept his past?

      If she only knew what he did and said to me, and then claimed he "doesn't remember!" If she only knew that he called his own mother "the big fat bitch" that he wished "would die" for 30+ years, all while doing sweet things, too, leaving me confused, thinking, "Oh, he couldn't have meant that!" If she only knew the glimpse of his real self I saw some years earlier when he had knee surgery and cursed me out like no other because he was in pain. If she only knew that I walked into this relationship when his grandfather was dying and his grandmother was in the mental hospital getting shock treatments because of the emotional abuse his grandfather inflicted upon her. When he died, it was the talk of the funeral. And his father did the same to his mother, and I ignored the signs because my ex masked those tendencies. If she knew this history, would she have run for the hills? Probably not. I didn't. I fell for the con, too.

      I thank you for the well wishes. I hope others learn from this story. I am getting there. Time will heal the wounds. I got through breast cancer on my own, and I will get through this. Knowledge is power. It hurts less and less everyday.

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