What to Expect When you Marry a Narcissist
What to Expect When you Marry a Narcissist
By Sharie Stines, Psy.D
Last updated: 27 Mar 2018
~ 3 MIN READ
If you are planning to marry a narcissist, here is a list of things to expect in your relationship. Realize that you will be marrying a person who is incapable of having a healthy, intimate, interpersonal relationship because narcissism is a characterological disorder. Your marriage will be the most important relationship in your life; be wise in who you select to commit to. If you marry a narcissist you will be uniting with a person who does not have empathy. Empathy is necessary for sensitivity to others’ feelings and compassion. While you may not be physically hit or physically abused in this relationship, your heart will be broken 10,000 times. Even if you think you are a “strong” person and can handle it; your strength is not really strength, but rather, denial. The following list is not exhaustive, but it is informative:
- He will always define the terms.
- You will live by a set of double standards.
- You will not be listened to.
- He will never resolve a conflict.
- He will rarely consider your feelings; and will only do so if it serves him some how.
- He will never apologize.
- What will matter most to him is how he appears to others.
- He will ruin all of your birthdays and holidays (probably because somehow he needs to make everything about him.)
- There will be little to no mutuality, collaboration or cooperation.
- Your expectations will be managed down to mere crumbs; to the point where you will be happy just because he isn’t giving you the silent treatment, yelling at you, or cheating on you.
- You will never win.
- Your value will be diminished to the point of nothingness in his eyes. In fact, mere strangers will hold more weight in his eyes than you will.
- He will tend to make you his scapegoat.
- He will dump his shame and rage on to you.
- Simple conversations will become crazy-making endeavors.
- You will find yourself walking on eggshells.
- You will lose yourself because you will be trained to focus only on his feelings and reactions; never mind yours.
- You will experience the silent treatment.
- You will experience cognitive dissonance, confabulation, and gas lighting.
- You will find yourself telling a grown adult how to have normal interactions with others.
- Your relationship will revolve on a cycle: waiting – hoping – hurting – being angry – forgiving – forgetting – again.
- He will blame you for all of the problems in the relationship.
- You will blame yourself.
- He will use your weaknesses against you.
- You will experience many dramatic exits, followed by a reappearance of the N acting as if nothing unusual had ever happened.
- He will act like Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde.
- He will not do his fair share of household responsibilities.
- He will come and go as he pleases.
- When you try to hold him accountable he will fly into a rage.
- He will not answer questions directly.
- He will never ask you about your day and wish you to “have a good day.” He will never show concern for things that you care about (unless it’s something he cares about.)
- You will feel stuck and unable to leave him.
- You will miss him and wait for him all the time.
- He will project his bad behaviors onto you and you will project your good intentions onto him – neither is accurate.
- When you finally break because of his crazy making behaviors and the insanity of the relationship, he will call you are a lunatic, others will think you are a lunatic, and you, yourself, will believe that you are just as bad as him (realize, there is no moral equivalence between expressing frustration and intentional abuse.)
- No one else will see it (except maybe the kids.) This will cause you to question your reality.
- The entire experience will result in trauma for you because it is interpersonal violence.
- You will begin to feel crazy; then, over time, you will begin to feel numb.
- If you go to couples counseling it will not work, and will most likely back fire on you. (Please realize you do not have a marriage problem, your partner has a mental illness.)
- You will pay a big price should you ever tell your loved one, “No.”
I could go on and on and on, but 40 points are enough for now. You get the picture.
I am using the pronoun, “He” when these problems could apply to either gender. Remember, there is no “one size fits all” description of anyone, even a narcissist. These behaviors are general and in degrees, depending on the unique personality of your loved one. That being said, it really is amazing how similar these people are. Even if your narcissist is a parent, the relationship dynamics tend to be the same as with a narcissistic spouse.
So, in conclusion, my advice to anyone thinking of marrying a narcissist can be found here.
But, if it’s too late and you’ve already married him, then read, Divorcing a Narcissist.