Linda Martinez-Lewi, PhD., author of, “Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life” shares, “Besides jeopardizing their psychological and physical health, those who live with narcissists, particularly spouses, rob themselves of the vital opportunities to develop their unique creative gifts. They set aside their talents, drives, and dreams to spend huge amounts of time and energy at the disposal of a corporate wife or husband or an obsessive entrepreneur.” She goes on to say, “For many husbands, wives, and children, who are expected to wait through the long weekends and late evenings, the recurrent pattern of making work “the priority” becomes wearying, discouraging, and exasperating.” The author closes the paragraph stating, “They (the narcissist) are blind to the emotional harm they perpetrate in their eternal search for greater power and acclamation. When challenged, they intone ready excuses: “I’m the only one who knows how to handle this.” “I’m doing it for my family.” Or they utter the very familiar, “I’m indispensable.”
For years I made excuses for him. I made excuses to my kids, to my family, to my friends, and sadly to myself. I expended a great deal of energy justifying my ‘wasband’s’ behavior. My son was barely an hour old when my ‘wasband’ excused himself to go to a job site and check on the work being done. He slapped me on the ass, winked and said, “Good game!” as he walked out of the hospital room. The nurses who were keeping an eye on me as the epidural wore off, looked as though they might follow him and have a coming to Jesus meeting with him in the parking lot.
I looked like death warmed over due to the lack of sleep I was getting on top of trying to heal after hemorrhaging so badly after my daughter was born. Anytime she cried in the night, I would get up with her. When I felt too exhausted to sit up let alone get out of bed one night, I woke my ‘wasband’ asking him if he might bring her to me. His sigh said it all before he even snapped saying, “I have to get up in a few hours for work unlike you!” and with that he rolled over and went back to sleep. I can remember my silent tears falling as I pep talked myself up out of bed ….. again. I kept repeating the words my mom had said to me when my son was colicky. After what felt like the five millionth night in a row walking circles in the family room with him as he cried and pulled his little knees in to his chest in pain, “This too shall pass ….. this too shall pass …..”
Countless nights my ‘wasband’ either came home for a few hours to sleep and leave again or didn’t come home at all. No explanation other than the business needed him, the job had to be run by him, nothing would get done without him there, etc. Blizzards would close the highway and he would leave the kids and I to go “work”. When people would ask him why he worked such ridiculous hours his response was that he wanted to retire at 40 and then he’d tell then in the same breath that the company just couldn’t function without him. Though we had no money for anything “extra” and could barely buy groceries, he would say he was doing it for his family!
It’s hard to keep a marriage together when only one person is participating. And trust me, I tried! Even without any of the abuse, manipulation and appalling behavior (most of which I have not breathed a word of to anyone), our marriage was doomed to fail! There was no honeymoon, he had to “work” the day after our wedding, hell, he was working the day of our wedding! There were no family vacations, he had to “work”. There were but one or two holidays that I can remember when he didn’t “work”. Babies were birthed, celebrations came and went, preschool parties and elementary school events, those opportunities to celebrate family that are sprinkled in amidst day to day life were squandered to “work”. And I was squandering my own talents and dreams as I used up everything I had in my tank to focus on him.
Involvement with a narcissist whether in marriage or otherwise is utterly exhausting. I sacrificed my own dreams and desires at the altar of a man who made it very clear he was to be my sole focus. As I grew more and more weary trying to maintain his charade I began to question everything I thought I knew to be true about myself. He had disempowered me slowly over the years and as I began questioning my own worth, I was in reality finishing the job for him. I was beyond discouraged and exasperated. I was like a horse loping around the round pen, lathered with sweat, veins protruding due to the effort with an ear turned toward the handler in the center waiting for a release of any kind. The handler, oblivious to the horse’s body language and attempts to engage and join up, continues to push the horse with more and more pressure. At some point, the horse, in utter exhaustion physically and mentally, gives up trying.
If someone you know is in bad with a person who treats them with total and utter disdain, be kind, be loving and be … just simply be. My guess is, they don’t need you to point out how terribly they are being treated, they already know. They don’t need you to question why they stay. They are likely running on fumes with little energy to consider leaving. Their self worth, their self confidence, their belief in the good in life is likely a dwindling ember. Healing from the abuse of a narcissist whether there has been physical abuse or not, takes time, patience and a whole lot of love. You can’t fill the tank and watch the needle move to “F” like you can in a pick up. No, healing this kind of damage and filling this tank requires professional skill and support.
I encourage you to reach out for an exploratory call: http://untetheredhearts.com/ It will change your life in ways you never thought possible ❤
“You are powerful, beautiful, brilliant & brave”