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Living With A Narcisstic Personality Disordered Spouse

 
 
Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 03:39 pm
Do not be embarrassed. If it helps to talk about it, and if someone here has dealt with it and can give you good advice or even just an ear, then go for it. I hope that things work out to your satisfaction. I know that your faith helps you to endure.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 03:52 pm
Intrepid wrote:
Do not be embarrassed. If it helps to talk about it, and if someone here has dealt with it and can give you good advice or even just an ear, then go for it. I hope that things work out to your satisfaction. I know that your faith helps you to endure.

Thank you for that. Yes, talking does help. I already feel better just having you all responding to my questions.

If it wasn't for my faith, I'm not sure I could do it. The strongest thing in my life is my faith in God and my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am always blessed by that.
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 03:55 pm
Momma Angel--

Quote:
This is pretty much the first time I have been feeling like there is NOTHING I can do. Perhaps that is the problem.




Excuse me, there is NOTHING you can do and facing up to this is the beginning of wisdom.

You can't change him. You can hope that he will change to please you, but you've been hoping for change for a number of years now and men in their 50's are not pliant and flexible.

Can you change yourself? Can you change what you expect of him? Can you accept that the dialogue will be:

"I have a migraine."

"That means I don't have any dinner, right?"

At least you can depend on him to be inconsiderate--you know better than to get your hopes up for romance or understanding.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 03:57 pm
Noddy24 wrote:
Momma Angel--

Quote:
This is pretty much the first time I have been feeling like there is NOTHING I can do. Perhaps that is the problem.




Excuse me, there is NOTHING you can do and facing up to this is the beginning of wisdom.

You can't change him. You can hope that he will change to please you, but you've been hoping for change for a number of years now and men in their 50's are not pliant and flexible.

Can you change yourself? Can you change what you expect of him? Can you accept that the dialogue will be:

"I have a migraine."

"That means I don't have any dinner, right?"

At least you can depend on him to be inconsiderate--you know better than to get your hopes up for romance or understanding.


Well, you certainly have a point there! LOL. I guess that might just be the way I need to look at it for now. LOL.

At least I am laughing! You are all so wonderful!
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Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 03:57 pm
Um, Noddy err excuse me... Not ALL men in their 50's are not pliant and flexible. I am holding my dominion. :-)
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 04:01 pm
Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
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Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 04:02 pm
Nice to see you smile, Momma :-D
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 04:04 pm
Intrepid--

No slur was intended to the thousands of 50 year old men are thoughtful, romantic and charming--they don't have to change.

An imperfect two-year old? Of course he'll grow.

An imperfect 22 year old? Perhaps he'll grow.

An imperfect 52 year old? Perhaps.....

An imperfect 92 year old? Perhaps he'll die soon?

By the by, change is not always for the better. Look at the number of men circling the half-century mark who decide they can accept a mistress as part of an enhanced life style.

Generally speaking, by 50, you've got what you've got and you'd better get out the duck tape and WD-40.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 04:12 pm
Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

I may have been embarrassed about posting this in the first place, but it has been such a blessing and so have all of you!

I can't stop laughing!
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Intrepid
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 04:15 pm
Point well made, Noddy :-)

Also, you are very wise to realize that almost everything can be fixed with duck tape and WD-40

:cool:
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sunlover
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 06:03 pm
Hi Momma, sorry you have this situation in your life. Laughter is good medicine, though, isn't it?

I have known so many people in hurtful maddening relationships. But, I always go back to a small book I read where the advice was (to the one who is maddened and frustrated) to begin living your OWN life, do the best job possible in your half of this agreement whether it is to clean and cook and garden, or to go out and make the money, or both.
Stop paying attention to what he is doing, as he is the one who has to pay retribution someday, get his comeupance.

What you are doing is emoting for both of you. He doesn't really have to do much of anything at all, except maybe get a bag of popcorn, sit down and watch you emote.

You are not responsible for this person's actions, only your own. He is getting what he wants, a big response from you. Don't give him what he wants. Do not respond to these actions, not even a dirty look. He may like it, feel like he's winning, when you get migraine headaches.

Next time he starts the manipulatin' you ignore it and speak to him as if he were a completely sane person, just do what is yours to do in the marriage.

Sometimes people have to leave someone they used to, or do, love, because then they are left to their own devices and will be forced to do something, anything, but how can someone like that stand to be around only themselves.

I attended a string of "Tough Love" meetings a while back. It does get hysterically funny to listen to what people put up with. I can promise, though, if you change yourself and stick to it he will either leave, or change.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 06:07 pm
Sunlove,

Thank you so much for that advice. I have gotten quite a bit of good advice today. You are probably right, he probably does feel like he is winning when I react. I am going to keep that in mind.

And yes, laughter! I love it! I am so glad I did post this. It has helped me tremendously!
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Vixen
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 06:48 pm
Wow!
Momma Angel and Soz... it seems we are all contending with the same problem. I have talked to a couple of friends who are psychiatrists and I have also done quite a bit of research on my own. Unfortunately, medical science really does not have much to say here and even less to offer as remedy.

In my case it is also my father who is so... there are really no words for how he acts. I think things have gotten worse over time, because I don't remember him being this bad before... and particularly over the past decade he has deteriorated. Psychiatrists seem to agree that most personality disorders get worse with advancing age. So Momma Angel, I hate to say this, but I doubt he is going to improve - hopefully, he will at least stay where he is.

Soz... your words reverberated in me - my father also has very different recollections about the past, and even when there are material facts which can unequivocally refute his version of reality, he is never willing to admit he is wrong. I think the most frustrating thing about them is that I think they genuinely believe their version of reality. So, Momma Angel, in your husband's case - he is probably really feeling like he has nothing, so all you can do is sympathize, because if you don't, he thinks you are selfish and you don't understand him.

I used to have horrible arguments with my father, which would inevitably escalate into shouting matches. I am happy to have entered my thirties, since in the last couple of years I have really discovered some bits of wisdom. The most important thing was: I cannot change the reality created by other people, I can only control my own actions in it and reactions to it.
(That is, in my father's case, I cannot change the way he sees things, but I can change how it affects me.)

So Momma Angel, you may need to re-evaluate your expectations of your husband. I know this is very difficult since you have known him when he was "different" and you want him to act that way again. However, this is who is now, and the chances of him getting better are not too high. You may be able to learn to ignore the things that disturb you and cherish the things that you love about him. Then you will not be disappointed the next time he asks about dinner/supper when you are suffering from a migraine.

I am not advocating for any decisions regarding the fate of your marriage... just giving a perspective. I really sympathize with you...

Btw, about the "I love you" - sometimes it infuriates me when my father says it, because he does things that scream the opposite, but I know in my case he means it when he says it (but then again, he is my dad).

Best of luck,
Vi
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Mon 19 Sep, 2005 06:52 pm
Vixen,

Such excellent advice I have been given. Yes, unfortunately, all I have read and all the psychologists and psychiatrists say the same thing, it's rare they get better.

I guess the best thing to do is just take it day by day or minute by minute as the case may be.

Thanx!
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Gargamel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 09:24 am
My heart goes out to you, Momma Angel.

A friend of mine wrote a story with a narcissistic character some time ago, and I became fascinated with the condition and read up on it.

I honestly think that pathological narcissism--I don't know if this is exactly what your husband has--is one of the worst possible afflictions. I think it's fortunate that those who have it often do not recognize it--I mean, it's terrible for the people around him, but to know that you have a disorder that makes it very difficult, in some cases impossible, to love the people around you as much as they need, has to be painful.

One of the biggest signs, and part of the nature of narcissism, is denial about needing therapy.

One of the worse cases, and a leading author on the subject, is a guy named Sam Vankin. Sad.

I have read about success stories as well. I wish the same good fortune to you Mamma Angel.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 09:43 am
Vixen, interesting. Yeah, in time I've learned to just kind of adjust my expectations.

He does seem to be somewhat better -- he has a very patient wife who I am forever grateful for (second wife, not my mom). I worry about her a bit and how long she'll stay patient with him, but things seem OK for now. He's been in therapy for a while.

Momma Angel, I do encourage you to try to get a formal diagnosis from a professional -- it's possible that he's just plain a dork occasionally and nothing so official as NPD. ;-)

The process for me was that when I was in my early 20's, things were really awful between my dad and I and after a really bad fight he agreed to see a therapist with me. That went surreally badly. I'd keep laying out major conflicts/ things that had affected my relationship with him, he'd deny that they happened, I'd back him into a corner, he'd say maybe, and then he ended up with "but that's all in the past, nothing like that has happened recently." I reminded him of something that happened when I was in an exchange program in London. He eventually acknowledged that it happened, but that I was in London a long time ago. I said, "Uh, last year." He said, "No, it was much longer than that." I laughed disbelievingly and looked helplessly at the therapist. I knew when I'd been in London, fer chrissakes!!

Anyway, after the session, the therapist pulled me aside to talk to me alone. She basically said -- it's hopeless. Well, she gave me some practical advice, but said that from the session it was clear he was a textbook Narcissistic personality.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 10:44 am
Sozobe,

I am beginning to think the best thing I can do is to adjust my expectations just as you said. Perhaps then I won't be so taken off guard so often.

He came home from work last night all apologetic and contrite. Well, almost. He made the statement, "I am sorry but I can't tell you it won't happen again. That's just the way I am." Sometime ya just want to shake them! LOL. I wish I could get him into therapy. But, even if he won't go, I will continue to. I have to continue to do it for me.

Hopeless? I pray not. Just talking with all of you in this thread has helped me tremendously. I guess sometimes just knowing you are not alone is pretty good medicine!

God bless all of you!
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 10:49 am
Oh, so you're already going to therapy? Fantastic. Probably the best thing to do, yep, should help you figure some things out and maybe provide some coping skills.
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Arella Mae
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 10:51 am
I couldn't do without the therapy! Sometimes it's just a quiet place to get away and sometimes it's a place to find answers. I'm just grateful my husband doesn't complain about my going. But, why should he? He doesn't think he has a problem! LOL
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Noddy24
 
  1  
Reply Tue 20 Sep, 2005 11:15 am
Mamma Angel--

When a man is perpetually self-centered, going to therapy and talking all about yourself must be pure bliss.

My younger son was a competitive soul--exceedingly competitive. He liked finding the largest tomato and owning the most Matchbox cars and having a scrap book filled with pictures of 30-odd chess sets that he couldn't afford. He adored the Guinness Book of World Records.

One of the first things I did after my divorce was start to drive again--and I drove very slowly on twisting, winding roads between Midget Football Practice and our apartment building.

My son suffered agonies of embarrassment as the cars piled up behind us. He'd urge me to go faster. I'd ignore him. He'd urge speed....

Finally one day as we turned into the driveway he sighed happily. "Mother, do you realize you held up 14 cars? That's a new record."

I find a certain amount of comfort of creating a mental Record Book which I will certainly take to the State Fair when they open up the Special Competition For Tedious & Trying Family Members.

Some women live with the Insensitive and Self-Absorbed, but I live with Record Breaking Insensitivity and Magnificent Personal Ego.

Hold your dominion.
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