4 Ways To Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

by | Boundaries | 2 comments

Many women often wonder why their husband is abusive. They may wonder if something is clinically wrong with their husband, because their behaviors don’t make any sense to us. Some addiction behaviors are symptoms of narcissism.

What Is Narcissism?

We often wonder if narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is associated with addiction, especially regarding sex addiction because so many pornography and sex addicts exhibit behaviors consistent with narcissism.  

The definition of NPD from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is the go-to guide for medical and psychiatric professionals, states, “Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a cluster B personality disorder defined as comprising a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.”

How Do You Know Your Husband Is A Narcissist?

To determine if you are dealing with a narcissistic husband, look for these signs.

5 Signs Of Narcissism

  1. Grandiose. Narcissists believe they deserve recognition or rewards even though they haven’t done anything to earn them.
  2. Sense of entitlement. Narcissists believe they are owed things that they haven’t actually earned.
  3. Self-centered with a constant need for attention. Narcissists believe that everyone around them should be working to make HIM happy. Everything is about them. If they are not the center of attention, they may become angry.
  4. Objectifying or exploiting others. Can’t empathize with anyone.
  5. Constant need for attention. Narcissists may get angry if you are “too busy” with the kids or the job or anything or anyone that isn’t him.

Unfortunately, narcissists don’t believe that there could possibly be anything wrong with them, so getting them a diagnosis could be impossible.

Relationships With Narcissists Can Be Abusive

Being married to or in a relationship with a narcissist can leave you feeling confused and worthless.

Imagine, you have your first child together. Your focus is, as it should be, on keeping this little miracle alive on very little sleep. Soon, your husband starts coming to bed later and later.

He is not supportive, he seems very angry with you, and when you ask why, he talks about how his needs aren’t being met. 

You begin to think it’s you, the weight you gained, the change in your body, your constant fatigue, and you just don’t have as much time to spend with him anymore. You begin to work on dropping the baby weight.

A few weeks into working out he watches you changing and says to you, “It’s like you’re not even trying.” You are left feeling unworthy, unwanted, and unloved.

A few years have gone by and his neglect of you has taken its toll. You are isolated and lonely. He doesn’t touch you tenderly and you are unable to do anything right, in his eyes.

One New Year’s Eve, you beg him to be more affectionate with you, that you need to be touched. He gets defensive and angry, and says, “When you can learn to communicate better, then maybe.”

At a complete loss, you can feel all hope slip away. You are not worthy, you will never be enough. There is no empathy.

These types of examples are common in men who use pornography and men who exhibit behaviors consistent with narcissistic personality disorder. This behavior is abuse.

Narcissists Can’t Hide The Abuse Forever

It’s subtle and, as time goes by, their mask of “normalcy” begins to slip away. By the time you become aware, his hate, spitefulness, and passive aggressive nature have crept into every inch of your marriage.

Eventually, a shock with help you begin to see that this wasn’t your doing, it wasn’t your fault, you ARE enough, and he is the one who is NOT WORTHY of you!

After all the pain and anguish you’ve suffered over the years, the most common way for women to realize it wasn’t their fault is by finding out that he has been lying, manipulating, gaslighting, and, possibly, risking your life by acting out with other people.

He thought he was smarter, that he deserved to be able to do what HE wanted to do. He was entitled to do what HE wanted. His brain has created lie after lie to villainize you, so he could justify acting out.

He will use those lies and tell you that those are the reasons he cheated time after time, after time. “Well, if you had only ______, I wouldn’t have ______.”  The narcissistic addict’s favorite line.

You Can Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissists cause a lot of damage. The emotional abuse alone is soul-sucking. You have now been sufficiently shocked into reality. You can see him for who he is. Whether the addiction caused the narcissism, or the narcissism led to the addiction. Here you are. Now what?

What do you do when you’ve hit your limit? When you’re ready to no longer allow the treatment he has so consistently inflicted upon you? 

Put yourself first, ahead of him. It will be difficult but remain strong.  

4 Ways To Heal From Narcissistic Abuse

  1. Seek out a therapist or a BTR Coach who specializes in dealing with addiction and narcissistic abuse, talking through your experience can be incredibly healing. As you work through your emotions and experiences it will help you become stronger.
  2. Work with a therapist or BTR Coach to create boundaries to protect yourself. If he chooses to cross your boundaries, you don’t have to think of a consequence on the spot, you will have them ready. Having boundaries will not make him happy, but they will remind you that they are there for YOUR protection. Try an Individual Session on Setting & Holding Healthy Boundaries. For more information on boundaries, read here.
  3. Support groups are also incredibly beneficial. Talking with others that have similar life experiences is cathartic. It helps to know that you are not alone and that you will heal, with time. Betrayal Trauma Recovery Group can be very helpful if you are unable to find a local support group or can’t get out of your home. You can learn more about Finding Safe People here.
  4. Self-care is extremely important. This is your “me” time. Find what brings you peace and happiness in the chaos. You can read more about Finding Your Joy here.

You’ve been through a lot. The pain can be palpable, but you are stronger than you know.

Take the time to heal. Do what you need, to get to where you want to be. You’re ready for the next chapter in your story. 

For more information on Narcissistic Abuse, read here.

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