How to recognize and recover from the sociopaths – narcissists in your life › Forums › Sociopaths, narcissists, psychopaths as partners › Is he a covert narcissist or am I just trying to make his quirks fit that?
September 30, 2019 at 12:44 pm #54543closethappyParticipant
I am recently “coming out of a fog” as I described to a friend of mine regarding my 29 year marriage that has gradually taken a bigger and bigger toll on me. I don’t even know how to explain everything or where to begin. My husband has always been a bit needy, always believes he’s right and can make someone (mostly only those close to him) feel stupid when they share their opinion about something and it differs from his. I have learned to not say anything about things that bother me because it ALWAYS gets turned around to be my fault. He is the master at making me feel like the one in the wrong after I bring a problem up. Recently, he wrote me a letter after weeks when I had been cold toward him and in the beginning said
“I know I’ve hurt you, but consider that it’s probably a response to something you did” There is so much that I can go in to. He hasn’t worked in 10 years, and when I recently mentioned he should get a job, he acted like that was a silly request. I’m about at the end of my rope and now just considering leaving, but I don’t want to jump ship after so long if there’s a chance he can change. Everything I’ve read tells me he can’t. Or maybe I’m just trying to fit his actions in to something so I’ll feel justified. I don’t know but half the time I feel like I’m crazy. Any insight would be appreciated.
September 30, 2019 at 2:54 pm #54544SunnygalParticipant
closethappy- Definitely sounds like he is. There is alot of information here that should be helpful.
September 30, 2019 at 5:18 pm #54547polestarParticipant
Hi closet happy –
After 29 years and he has not changed or has shown any willingness to change those things that he knows bother you so much is not a good sign – but to give benefit to the doubt, some people are rather dense about knowing how exactly to make changes and specific steps to take that are concrete. Having said that though, I don’t know really enough of the specifics of your marriage to be able to state an unequivocal exact plan of action for you to take at this point. I don’t know the extent of the abuse in terms of the depth of mental anguish you are going through, or if more knowledge would help you navigate. One suggestion that I think would bring you clarity would be to start to establish what your personal bottom lines are for the relationship and situation. Think about what behavior or action would definitely be a deal breaker for you in which you could be specific about what you need to happen in a given amount of time that you could communicate about clearly and that you would be willing to give an ultimatum. If X Y or Z is something that your husband does that specifically causes you anguish that is totally unacceptable then put it on a list and think about those things before even bringing them up. At this point you don’t need to act rashly or reactively, but you do need to get clarity and then devise a plan of action. You can prioritize etc. Actually a good therapist could help you with this, because at some point you will need to make an important decision regarding your marriage. You are in a kind of a limbo state between being in or out of your marriage and that is one of the things that would make someone feel “ crazy “. So you definitely need to establish clarity and I really think a therapist would be able to help you with that. Find one who knows about psychological abuse – some do and some don’t. Also if you aren’t doing so already start to read books about psychological abuse and character disordered people. These will also give you important insights as well. Feel free to keep posting and we will share what we have gleaned with you too.
Blessings to you.
September 30, 2019 at 6:46 pm #54555RedwaldParticipant
I’m sorry you’ve had to put up with this treatment for so many years. The fragile ego and the pathetic, demanding need to be “always right” whatever the cost–especially to others–are indeed narcissistic traits. Insistence on blameshifting fits too; it’s a characteristic of just about every pathological abuser.
I don’t see anything psychopathic or borderline in what you’ve told us, and your husband doesn’t sound dangerous–except emotionally!–but his thinking is obviously very rigid and he seems unlikely to change. Besides, if he won’t work, then you’re supporting him! What, if anything, is he giving back to you in return? You don’t like the guy any more, he’s obnoxious, and he doesn’t seem to like you much either.
Unlike the psychopath, who never will change, I have known in the past of a few of these “narc” types who did get serious about change, going to therapy and so forth to sort their heads out. But it’s only a small percentage of them, those who are mildly narcissistic, and here’s the kicker: they typically don’t wake up and get serious about change until their partner leaves them! Unfortunately that’s often too late to save a marriage, with “too much water under the bridge” by then. At the very least you’d need to confront him resolutely and demand action, or else you’re out the door!
If you’ve considered dragging him into therapy with you–if he’ll go, that is!–it’s standard protocol to warn people against it with these types. However, I don’t believe in dictating to people, so I’ll just say three things about that. First, I have heard of instances where a marital therapist not only identified a persistent abuser but actually did persuade the person to get effective treatment. However, that’s very rare! (One was bipolar, which I don’t suppose your husband is.)
Second, for the many who are naturally reluctant to give up a long term marriage, sometimes joint counseling with the abusive spouse has been of real value–paradoxically because when it failed to produce change, at least they could assure themselves that they’d “tried everything,” that “nothing worked,” and leave the marriage without guilt!
But third is the warning: anybody who tries joint counseling with a narcissist or other habitually abusive type must watch out, because they’ll indulge in blameshifting, turn everything around on you and try to make it all “your fault.” Sometimes a counselor will spot this and call them on it. But often a naive counselor won’t! They’ll buy the abuser’s version, and the partner ends up retraumatized by the “therapy.” I’m sure this is especially true with the psychopathic types, who are so good at dissimulating and often pull the wool over a counselor’s eyes with their “charm.”
I’m only giving this warning in case you’ve considered joint counseling, which you may not of course. In any case you may benefit from counseling for yourself alone to help with your decision. I wish you good luck for the future anyway, whatever happens.
September 30, 2019 at 7:39 pm #54556SunnygalParticipant
closethappy- If you feel crazy half of the time, thus is a definite sign that this is an unhealthy relationshp.
October 1, 2019 at 11:29 pm #54586shiningstarParticipant
You’re wondering if he could change, it’s been 29 years of course he’s not going to change. And the fact that he never shows remorse tells you all you need to know. Why be in a relationship with a person who is making you feel like you’re crazy.
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