When you are married to a narcissist you accept the good and the bad. Yes, there is good. My ex had tremendous leadership skills, he leveraged his arrogance and unshakeable confidence which came from his self-admiration. He was incredible with sales and charmed the pants off any number of people including the wives of his investors. However, it’s generally tempered with the sense of entitlement and the exploitativeness that comes with the package.
I’ve actually studied narcissism since our split. It’s helped me predict his behavior and understand him without getting sucked into an argument. It’s funny in a sick way, but when we were married I placated the beast. I knew how to manipulate it so he thought things were his idea and so he never felt challenged. I didn’t realize it at the time, I just knew I couldn’t let him get angry. I was pretty good at it. We were married without any significant belligerence for 17 years. Now, however, I find it exhausting to play the game. He’s frankly shocked by my lack of acquiescence and right on cue, reacts badly with that completely predictable aforementioned arrogance and sense of entitlement.
I highly recommend a study of narcissism. According to an article in Medical News Today, narcissism is on the rise in America and mostly with men. Think about your husband, boyfriend, boss, co-worker or son. This is a good thing to know.
These are some fabulous example of narcissism from my past:
Him: I want to take the kids to the mountains for New Year’s.
Me: Did you want me to go too or are you suggesting a boy’s day out?
Him: No, I want you to go so you can take pictures of me.
Classic. Oh, I went and every picture I took was of the back of his head.
Or this wonderful piece of inadvertent comedy unloaded ten minutes after he casually tells me he wants a divorce:
Him: So we’ll get divorced and I’ll just stay in the guest room. I may stay here up to five years. We’ve been good roommates, right?
Me: You may have been a roommate, but I was your wife.
Him: Right, well my point is we’re good friends, we’ll always be good friends. You’d take care of me if I got hurt or needed help. I know I can count on you.
Oh those silly narcissists. The reason I’m thinking of this now is because he sent me an email and told me that our problems today were a result of letting my ego get in the way.
Another bit of inadvertent humor.