What To Do When Your Husband Exhibits Behaviors Consistent With Narcissism
Coach Kim is APSATS trained, and talks about how addiction behaviors are often consistent with narcissism behaviors and what to do when you recognize them in your husband.
What Came First The Narcissism Or The Addiction?
We often wonder if narcissism or Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is associated with addiction, especially in regard to sex addiction because so many pornography / 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.”
Grandiose, self-centered, exploiting others, need for attention, and a total lack of empathy. Know anyone like that?! As much as we would like to make a NPD diagnosis, we need to leave that up to the folks with an MD or PhD at the end of their name.
How Does Being With A Husband Who Exhibits Behaviors Similar To Narcissism Make You Feel?
Imagine, you have your first child together. Your focus is, as it should be, on keeping this little miracle alive on very little sleep. But your husband starts coming to bed later and later. He is not supportive, he seems very angry with you, and when you asks why, he talks about his needs aren't being met.
You begin to think it’s you, the weight you gained, you can't spend as much time with him. 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 with no self-esteem, unwanted, and unloved.
A few years have gone by and 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. Defensive and angry he says, “When you can learn to communicate better, then maybe.” At a complete loss, you can feel any hope you had 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 similar to narcissistic personality disorder.
Narcissism Can Be Difficult To Detect In The Beginning Of A Relationship
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 your entire marriage and it will take a huge shock to your system for you to 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!
That shock to your system can come in many forms, but the most common is finding out, after putting up with all the pain and hurt he has caused, that he has been lying, manipulating, gaslighting, and possibly risking your life by acting with other people. He thought he was smarter, that he deserved and was entitled to do what he wanted. His narcissistic brain created lie after lie to villainize you and to justify acting out. He will use those lies and even tell you those are the reasons he cheated time after time, after time. “Well, if you had only ______, I wouldn’t have ______.” The narcissistic addict’s go to line.
What Else Have You Felt In A Relationship With A Man Who Exhibits Behaviors Similar To The Narcissist?
Narcissists cause a lot of damage. The emotional abuse alone is soul sucking. You have now been sufficiently shocked into your new 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 steadily inflicted upon you?
The Best Thing You Can Do For Yourself Is To Begin Taking Care Of You!
Put yourself first, ahead of him. It will be difficult, but remain strong.
Checklist For Healing From Narcissistic Abuse & Betrayal Trauma
- Seek out an APSATS therapist and or 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.
- Schedule regular appointments with an APSATS 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 remind yourself they are in place to protect you.
- Support groups are also incredibly beneficial. Talking with others that have similar life experiences is cathartic. It helps to know you are not alone and that you will heal with time. Betrayal Trauma Recovery has a secret Facebook group. If you would like to be added to our secret Facebook group where women are interacting, friend Anne on Facebook, and then send her a private message and she can add you to the group.
- Self-care is so incredibly important. This is your “me” time. Find what brings you peace and happiness in the chaos. Taking a long, hot bath with a good book? Grounding yourself with a walk in nature? Kickboxing? What works for you? Take some time to find yourself again.
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.
Schedule an appointment with Coach Kim or one of our other APSATS coaches today to get insight into how to set boundaries to keep yourself safe from behaviors similar to narcissistic personality disorder.