Understanding Narcissism: Accepting Reality and Becoming Strong

Understanding Narcissism: Accepting Reality and Becoming Strong

I am on a constant quest to understand the disorder that has caused so much turmoil in my life for so many years.  If you are married to an alcoholic, there are a multitude of resources and support services available to help.  If you are married to someone who is physically abusive, there are resources available for that also.  If you are married to someone with a personality disorder, there are not a lot of resources readily available.  It requires digging and weeding out the good from the bad.

For starters, personality disorders are difficult  to prove.  Most people with personality disorders are charming, charismatic and intelligent.  They are so good at manipulation that sometimes they leave you questioning your own sanity.

Educating myself on personality disorders has been empowering.  The more I learn, the more power I have.  It helps me to understand and accept my reality.  In the beginning stages of my divorce, I didn’t have a clue what I was dealing with.  No clue.  I thought that these things were normal to some degree— some people have a difficult time coping with divorce and I thought my X fell into this category.  I kept hearing from people that he would hit rock bottom and move on with his life.  I also hoped that he would pull it together for the sake of our children.  While “pulling it together for the sake of the children” is a driving factor for most people, it isn’t for a Narcissist.

Many times, I felt so alone because I knew how crazy my situation sounded.  I didn’t even know the term, “High Conflict Divorce“.  It’s somewhat awkward to go to coffee with a friend and say, “I started sleeping with a hammer under my pillow last night.  By the way, how are you doing?”.  After a while, I accepted the fact that I wasn’t dealing with a normal man who was going through a rough period of time: I was dealing with a completely unstable person who couldn’t put his children’s best interest first because there is one person who matters: him.

My turning point came when I accepted him for who he is: a narcissist.  I accepted the fact that he wasn’t going to change.  I became realistic.  I stopped playing the victim and saying, “Can you believe he did this?”.  I expected him to do the unbelievable.  I didn’t expect sanity from insanity.  You wouldn’t expect your pet gold fish to take an evening stroll with you and you can’t expect a narcissist to put the best interest of his daughters first.  It is not possible.  Period.

Once I let go of the hope that he would change, something unexpected happened: I changed.  I became stronger.  I became empowered.  It was like playing chess.  I stayed one step ahead of him mentally at all times.  This man who once touted how brilliant he was didn’t seem so brilliant after all.  I watched as all of his court documents came in with ramblings, misspellings and lies.  I watched as he couldn’t control himself and manically rambled in emails and voice mails.  All of these things further helped me to accept my reality.

Several people have recently pointed out that he sounds like he suffers from anti social personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).  I agree with those people– a God-like ego and zero regard or feelings for other people.  That is who I am dealing with.

Here are a few great resources if you are dealing with someone who is NPD:

9 Responses

  1. I slept with a knife under my side of the mattress for three weeks before I finally left for good. I didn’t understand until AFTER I left that I was dealing with a narcissistic sociopath. It was empowering for me, also. It was the beginning of the healing process. Great post!

  2. Amen. Once you figure it out, you change. Everything changes. You still have to protect yourself and children, but now you know what it is you need protection from. My ex is narcissistic and possibly borderline. Scary times were had and he still affects his children. It’s awful. My step kids are wonderful and have support and love outside of him, fortunately.

  3. Tina, I follow your blog (and Paula’s) and it never ceases to amaze me how I could have written your exact words myself–my x is exactly the same. His therapist did figure it out and describes him as “absolutely narcissistic” and other therapists in our matter have described him as having anti-social personality disorder, a sociopath. I too find so much power in learning about it and accepting it, when you do, your world changes–you become (or more like go back to being) the smart, strong, stable woman you always were inside. P.S. I sleep with a baseball bat and mace by my bed.

  4. I am so happy I found your blog. I was thinking of starting my own to chronicle what I have been dealing with. Crazy hardly describes it. I am at the beginning of my divorce from a narcissist with the promise of him dragging it out as long as possible. We have a son together who right now is under my order of protection. I know in time he will be allowed to spend time with our son again. I will fight that as much as possible. I started writing his therapist a letter in case he has been deceived by my husband, but then I stopped myself. I found myself defending myself and figured if the therapist is worth his salt, he will figure out something isn’t right. I am so over defending myself. Thanks so much and I look forward to reading it all. I will certainly feel less alone!

  5. Janine,

    There are a lot of us out there– it’s a matter of connecting and healing together. Thank you for reading my blog. I highly encourage you to document your story. It is the most healing thing I’ve ever done.

  6. Hope-

    Thank you for sharing my blog with your readers and for your message. From a “hammer-sleeper” to a “baseball bat sleeper”, cheers to healing! (((Hugs))) Tina

  7. I am so thankful I finally figured out what was wrong– and yes, everything changes from that point on. Thank you for reading my story. Hoping for the best for your step children.