Is living with a narcissistic partner impossible?
Once you have done step number 1, and feel that you are in the path of re-building your own center, we need to talk about addressing the challenge of living with a narcissistic partner from another more creative perspective.
It means watching this person not as the source of frustration in your life, but as an independent entity you need to appraise. It’s time to reassess who this person is and what he or she needs from you.
- How does this person feel loved and respected?
- What are his or her legitimate complaints about you?
- What are the basic responses that you do that fill his needs?
If you can accept that behaving consistently towards giving responses to his needs sends him a strong message, this is the way to go. Now, you know that you are focusing on his needs, in a systematic way. For how long? as long as you decide. Here the important point is not only behaving , but sending a verbal message to him that refers to your intentions..."I'm doing this because I know you need/like/appreciate it..."
This is your anti-narcissistic example: you are behaving and signaling your focus on him, for as long as you feel like doing it. Impersonally of course: don't expect recognition, praise or appreciation immediately. You are just demonstrating what a non-narcissistic, healthy person does. While at the same time, taking care of your own life, as we described in Part I.
We have done step one, getting your own person back, we have explained step two: modeling healthy behavior; and now let's talk about the last step in this process. The whole purpose of this exercise has been empowering yourself to take control of the relationship as it has to be an essential component of your life.
You are becoming more independent, respecting yourself and your needs first, and showing your spouse how one person can understand, accept and satisfy the other person's needs. You are also waiting for him to grow up and support his side of the bargain.
At this point, having paid your dues, you can put your own needs on the table, because you have earned your right to demand equal attention and respect...
You can describe your unbalanced situation saying:
"I have been very respectful of your personal needs and respecting them is part of my attitude to be a good partner. I hope you have realized my change of attitude in a positive way. However, I am not getting what I need from you in return and this needs to change. Can we talk?"
It’s fair. You have earned the right to say such a thing. And you are in the best possible position to do so, having demonstrated your good attitude several times. Now is time to make your specific needs known. You can ask him/her what to do and/or stop doing whatever you want and expect full compliance, without a justifiable argument thrown in your face.
What if it doesn't work?
Well, some people have settled in a pattern of negative experiences like rejection, deprivation and being controlled, that become our identity...We need to recognize those negative feelings and make an effort not to operate from past frustration, but from self-love. This is the reason why re-building your identity by following your wishes and interests is so important, and was the number one step. If the weight of negative experiences from the past is so heavy that you can't change your perspective, this exercise is simply too much, and the relationship can't be healed.
If you would like more help coming up with a plan like this for your own life, let me know...You can visit conflictcoach.me and find your solution there.