Do you happen to be married to a narcissistic husband?
You are in the middle of a conversation with any new acquaintance, and suddenly realize that, whatever the issue you are talking about, this person manages to drag the conversation towards themselves.
If it is about the weather, it has to be how much they suffer the heat/cold; if it is politics, the focus shifts towards the impact politics has on them...
It's always: "Me, First"! There is no way you can include a word about yourself, edgewise, because this person totally ignores your words...Isn’t it monotonous? If you have to walk away to have some breathing space, then probably you encountered a narcissist!
Do you want to check it out? Let’s go through some questions:
- Does this person behave as though the world revolves around them? And are you pushed into the complementary role of being their public/audience/servant?
- Do you have to compliment this person first in order to get his attention?
- Does the issue have to be always about their opinions, or their experiences, because when you want to talk about yours, they leave?
- If you disagree with them, do they ignore you? Or change the subject so they go back to talk about their own glory?
- Are your own feelings ignored or not accepted or understood?
So, you got your answer, and now you see this person as a narcissist? Your first impulse can be to walk away, but what if you can’t ? Imagine that this person is your new boos? O even worst, that you are married to such a self-centered individual?
Perhaps you are considering your options...First, let's assume this is only a circumstantial relationship. Then, good for you, walk out and don't look back.
What if, there is a situation where you can't walk away, but have a need to deal with this person. Perhaps this person is your boss, or a close relative? and there are powerful interests that tie you two together? What is this person is your partner or spouse?
Then, what you need is a plan that allows you to interact with this person with minimal damage. Remembering what's is the nature of this personality will help you not to expect a lot. Controlling your expectations about this person, and about what you can get from this relationship is important.
First: face the self-centeredness and consequent lack of empathy as a sickness. Probably their brain is not configured properly, and the circuits revolve only around their self-concept. Whatever the origin, please, train yourself to see this personality as brain deficient in some interpersonal empathy department. Only protected in this way, you can frame the interaction with a lot of patience and understanding.
Second: treat this person as a very limited source of needs satisfaction for you. Don't share your needs with him, don't expect attention or support from this relationship. Focus instead on how to manage this person using the enticement he craves: your attention, in the right dosage. Too little and you get no compliance or attention, too much and you get depleted...
Third: whatever the connection, put a strong focus on your own needs for attention and support. If you need appreciation, like everybody else, remember that is useless to expect that from her. You need to be aware of your own needs for understanding and empathy and develop external relationships with caring people who can connect with you.
Fourth: Learn how to gauge attention to their neediness with your personal willingness to give them praise, attention or care. It's not wrong to say NO, or to walk away and find how you can restore your emotional balance outside....And watch out, because a narcissistic person not receiving the constant provision of attention can claim for it in an abusive way...they can be sarcastic, humiliating or nasty in order to recover their inner balance. In order to help themselves, as they lack empathy, they will belittle you, and make you feel inferior, order to force your attention on them, regardless of the toxic impact on you.
AND LAST: In the long-term, this relationship is not healthy for you. If your self-worth depends from others to appreciate or confirm you, get a different group of friends...The narcissist person will not be able to provide you with any personal recognition.
What, you are asking....what should I do if I'm married to a narcissistic husband? Do they eventually develop into sensitive and empathic people?
We will offer some ideas next time. Meanwhile, perhaps remembering what are the skills you need for a healthy marriage could help? Here is the link to have this free book: