When two people enter into a marriage, it is with the understanding that both will be devoted to the success of the relationship. It can be devastating to realize that your spouse is actually a narcissist. Narcissism is an increasing problem in our society, and it can have devastating effects on individuals, relationships, marriages, and families. In such circumstances it is normal to ask yourself the question – Can I survive being married to a narcissist?
The answer is that while it is not an easy situation to be in, it is possible to survive a marriage with a narcissist if you take the right steps. However, it is also important to prioritise yourself and your children, and to have the courage to make the decision to leave if necessary.
Can I survive being married to a narcissist – Identifying the Signs of Narcissism
The first step in surviving marriage to a narcissist is recognizing the signs of this disorder. Some common traits include grandiosity, entitlement, lack of empathy, arrogance and extreme sensitivity to criticism.
A narcissistic person will often manipulate situations in order to gain power or control over others and will attempt to belittle those around them in order to make themselves feel superior.
Can I survive being married to a narcissist – 10 Signs Your Spouse Might be a Narcissist
- Refuses to acknowledge your feelings or thoughts and instead focuses solely on their own.
- Constantly turns conversations around to focus on themselves, refusing to listen when you share stories or ideas.
- Makes excessive attempts to control situations and manipulate people, including yourself, in order to suit their needs or wants.
- Possesses an exaggerated sense of self-importance or exaggerates achievements and talents, often in grandiose manner.
- Regularly takes advantage of others, whether emotionally, financially or otherwise with no regard for consequences or the other person’s feelings or rights.
- Has difficulty empathizing with the feelings of others and may belittle those who are different from themselves without remorse.
- Views relationships as transactional rather than based on mutual respect and trust – often taking more than giving without considering how it might affect the other partner’s wellbeing and emotions.
- Exhibits an unhealthy need for admiration from others, often expecting special treatment not given to others in similar situations.
- Is quick to blame you for any wrongdoing that has occurred in the relationship without ever taking responsibility for own actions or words spoken (gaslighting).
- Becomes easily jealous and threatened by perceived threats to their ego such as success stories shared by friends and family members which can lead them to act out aggressively towards those close to them in order to reassert dominance within the relationship
If you recognize any of these traits in your spouse, it is important to take action quickly before things get worse.
Can I survive being married to a narcissist – Set Healthy Boundaries
A very important step in surviving marriage to a narcissist is establishing boundaries for communication and behaviour within the relationship.
This includes setting limits on what topics are off-limits during arguments or discussions as well as outlining acceptable behaviours for each party when interacting with each other.
Establishing these boundaries can be difficult but essential for creating an environment where both parties feel safe and respected. It is also important that you enforce these boundaries consistently in order for them to be effective.
Can I survive being married to a narcissist – Resist the urge to engage in arguments with them
Resist the urge to engage in arguments or debates with them since these will likely only escalate tensions. Instead, focus on expressing your feelings calmly and without personal attack or judgemental language. Aim to communicate clearly, but avoid becoming too emotional as this can provide more fuel for their narcissistic behaviour.
When they become overly argumentative, try to redirect the conversation back to the topic of discussion instead of getting caught up in an argument. Most importantly, prepare yourself for any emotional backlash that may come from speaking your truth. Recognize that it is not a reflection of you and stand firm in your convictions.
Can I survive being married to a narcissist – Build a Support Network
Make sure you have supportive people in your life who can provide emotional support and guidance during this difficult time. Having a good support system is essential when dealing with a narcissistic partner, as they are likely to invalidate or belittle your feelings. Lean on your family and friends for love and understanding, or consider joining an online community of people who share similar experiences.
Reach out for professional help if necessary – speaking to a therapist can be especially helpful if you are struggling to manage your own emotions. A qualified counsellor or psychologist can also give advice on how best to handle the situation, whether that involves having more difficult conversations with your partner or taking more drastic measures such as legal action.
Can I survive being married to a narcissist – Create a safety plan
Create a safety plan with family members or friends who can help if the situation becomes particularly volatile. This is especially important if you have children in the household, as they could be at risk during any heated arguments or outbursts. Have an action plan available so that everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.
Ensure there are people you trust who understand your situation and will be able to provide support if needed. Let them know about the warning signs for potential violence or abuse, such as sudden changes in mood, raised voices, and escalating arguments. Having someone there to talk to can provide a sense of security and act as an additional layer of protection against any further harm.
Can I survive being married to a narcissist – Exploring Treatment Options
If you realise that your spouse is a narcissist, it is important that you seek professional help as soon as possible. A therapist or counsellor can help you understand how best to cope with the situation and provide strategies for dealing with difficult conversations or interactions.
They may also suggest couples counselling. In order for any marital relationship, especially one involving narcissism, to survive long-term, both parties need to be willing and able to seek out treatment options that can help heal their individual wounds as well as those inflicted upon them by each other during their marriage.
Treatment options such as counselling or therapy can provide couples with tools that allow them both cope with their issues individually while also improving communication skills which can foster healthier relationships between them overall.
However, there is a good chance that your spouse will refuse to go to therapy. In such cases, you must accept the reality of the situation and focus on finding ways to protect yourself and your children from their behaviour.
Signs That You May Need to Leave Your Narcissistic Spouse
It is important to recognize that if your narcissistic spouse is abusive, you must leave the relationship as soon as possible. Abusive behaviour in any relational situation is unacceptable and can cause irreparable damage to your mental health and sense of safety.
- Your spouse is continually dismissive and critical of your wants, needs, and opinions.
- You feel like you are constantly being gaslit, manipulated, or invalidated by them.
- They refuse to take responsibility for their mistakes and actively place blame on you for their own poor decision making.
- There is a lack of emotional intimacy between you both, leading to resentment and feeling disconnected from one another.
- Your spouse is unable to show empathy or understanding towards your feelings or experiences.
- They verbally or physically abuse you, even if it’s only occasional or mild in nature.
What to Do If You Decide to Leave Your Narcissistic Partner
If you decide to leave your narcissistic spouse, it is important that you do so in a safe and responsible manner. This includes preparing for your departure by creating a plan and setting aside any financial resources that you may need while transitioning into a new living situation.
It is also important to ensure that you have a support system in place to help you through the process. This could include family, friends, or even a therapist if you feel it is necessary.
Finally, be sure to take time for yourself and nurture your own mental health. Leaving a narcissist can be a difficult and draining process, so it is vital that you take the time to do things that bring you joy and help you heal.
The following points outline the most important things you need to think of when you finally make a decision to leave the narcissist.
Seek out a support system that you can reach out to for emotional and practical help during your transition
Leaving a narcissistic spouse is never easy, and it can be difficult to find the strength and courage to take the necessary next steps. One thing that can make it easier is having a supportive network of people who understand what you’re going through and are willing to help you.
Reach out to family members, close friends, professionals, mentors, or spiritual advisors that you trust and tell them your story. You will need all the emotional and practical support you can get during this transition.
Knowing that there are people in your corner to listen and offer advice will give you the confidence and motivation needed to move forward with your life.
Have a plan in place for securing alternative living arrangements, transportation, and other necessities
If you are planning to leave a narcissistic spouse, it is important to have a plan in place for all the necessary aspects of life.
Having alternative living arrangements ready, such as finding a new home or apartment, is essential. Additionally, you should also make sure that you have access to reliable transportation.
Beyond these two necessities, consider how you will get access to food, healthcare and any other basic needs that will come up in your day-to-day life. Plan all these details out in advance, so you will have peace of mind throughout the transition process.
Develop an understanding of your rights as well as the legal implications of leaving your partner
It is important to understand your rights as well as the legal implications of leaving a narcissistic spouse when preparing for the transition.
Research any relevant laws in your state and make sure that you are knowledgeable about what protections you have in terms of housing, financial assets, custody, and any other matters that may affect you.
Educate yourself on the available resources in your area that could provide further support during this time. It is also wise to consult with an attorney who can provide further guidance on the legal aspects of separation and divorce proceedings.
Prioritize self-care activities such as getting enough sleep, engaging in exercise, and eating healthy meals
It is vitally important to prioritize self-care activities while going through such a major life change. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep each night, engaging in physical exercise regularly, and eating nutritious meals. Taking time out for yourself and caring for your mental health can help you stay strong during this difficult process.
In addition, finding support through counselling or therapy may be beneficial for helping you cope with any feelings of stress or anxiety that may arise. It is also important to reach out to friends and family for emotional support when necessary.
Allow yourself to grieve the end of your relationship without judgement or guilt
It is natural to experience a range of emotions when leaving a narcissistic partner. Allow yourself the space to feel whatever emotions you may be experiencing without judgement or guilt.
Understand that grief and sadness are valid responses, and be open to seeking out professional help if needed.
Give yourself time to process your emotions, journaling or talking with friends can be helpful outlets for understanding and healing.
It is also important to understand that it isn’t uncommon for feelings of relief during this period – leaning into these feelings instead of repressing them can help you better process the entire experience.
Seek Legal Advice
Seek out legal advice regarding custody agreements or divorce proceedings. It is important to be aware of your rights and options in regards to the law, so make sure to speak with a professional who can properly advise you on the best course of action. This could include setting up child support, alimony or visitation schedules for any children involved.
If you are living with a narcissist and are feeling overwhelmed by the situation, consider getting assistance from a family law attorney who specializes in domestic abuse cases. They can provide legal guidance on potential solutions such as obtaining restraining orders and making sure you get a fair share of marital assets. Protect your financial interests throughout the process.
Make sure that your children feel safe and loved
It is important to talk openly with your children about the decision you are making to leave your narcissistic spouse.
Explaining the reasons for your decision in a way that is age-appropriate can help them better understand and process the transition.
Spending quality time and being emotionally available for your children is key, as it will provide them with a sense of security and stability. Additionally, seeking out professional counseling or therapy for both yourself and your children may be beneficial in aiding them during this difficult time.
Living with a narcissist is incredibly difficult and draining, but there are steps you can take toward successfully navigating this type of relationship.
The key lies in recognizing signs of narcissistic behaviour early on so that appropriate boundaries can be set before damage occurs within the relationship. Once you know what you are up against, seek out professional help on how best handle these difficult dynamics moving forward, together or separately if necessary.
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