Here’s a really fucked up thing about being married to a man with NPD. I used to find myself constantly second-guessing myself. Too often, I would find myself worrying over (more like panicking, fearing, being terrified of finding out) one, horrifying question. The answer to which frightened me- even more than answer to “Am I married to a narcissist?” And what was this more-terrifying question? It was this: #Am I the narcissist?
“After all these years, the line separating where the narcissist ends and I begin,
seems to have gotten a little blurry.”
I know, it sounds crazy, right? How do you not know if you’re the abuser, or the abused? Any fool could tell the difference between the two…right? Well, it’s not always that black-and-white because, some days, I wasn’t sure who was who anymore. And, that, really freaked me out. The one thing that kept me from totally losing my shit was knowing that, if I was a narcissist, I wouldn’t have been wondering whether, or not, I was a narcissist.
See, I’d read probably a hundred lists, detailing all of the signs, symptoms, warnings, and red flags. To be quite frank- I fit a lot of those descriptions. Especially, after years of slowly deteriorating character & emotional maturity. But, then again, I felt like my reasons, for why I fit those descriptions was totally explainable. And simple….it was because of him!
Ah, but there, again, was another sign of #narcissism…not taking accountability. Was it any wonder I was so confused? And, not a little panicky about the whole thing? It’s enough to make your head spin, really. That’s exactly why I felt this post needed to be written. I’m sure I’m not the only woman out there who has been confused about this. OR, the only woman who has worried herself, almost to death, thinking that maybe SHE is the problem in the relationship. I want you to have absolute clarity on this. And thus..this post.
Am I the narcissist?
I admit, I don’t really have some super-brilliant formula, or anything to share. Mostly, I thought I’d share my different experiences, and thoughts because, I think that is what most of you could probably relate to most, I guess. For example, on this one site, I read that a sign that you’re with a narcissist is that he won’t let you get a word in edge-wise, during an argument. He believes that his point of view is the “one and only right one”, and there is no need for you to even speak, because you’re already wrong.
I admit it. I did this. Not to everyone, though. Only to my husband, and only when he was lying to me, or trying to gaslight me- which was pretty often…OK, almost always. Nevertheless, I thought, if I was not the narcissist, wouldn’t I have given him the basic consideration of being able to finish a sentence? The answer is, NO.
If someone is purposely trying to manipulate you, or is perpetrating verbal abuse (which I think lying is a form of), then you have a right to not have to listen to it. THAT was the whole reason why I hardly ever let him speak. Not because I believed he had nothing worthwhile ever to say but, because he only opened his mouth to spew lies, vitriol, and abuse. Cutting him off was not narcissistic, or abusive (as he liked to pretend), but rather it was simply me, exercising my right to not be subjected to verbal abuse.
Another sign that you’re a narcissist is not having empathy for others. Like, during an argument, if you don’t make an attempt to understand the other person’s point of view. That was another sign I found myself guilty of. Again, it was only with my husband. Of course, the narcissist’s behavior is only present with his spouse. So, that wasn’t really helpful but, there was one important factor to consider.
When I’m debating someone, other than my husband, I do actually take the time to hear their point of view. I really try to understand where they’re coming from. And, for the most part, I have very few enemies because, I generally AM able to see where another person is coming from. That’s empathy, which narcissist’s don’t have.
Another example of a sign of narcissism, that I fit pretty damn good…is that whole “sense of grandiosity” thing, I guess. Not just because I happen to be a smarty pants (a.k.a. insufferable know-it-all), but I am also convinced that I am destined for greatness, somehow. I believe that, in some way, I will change the world. I believe I have special talents, and that, if I apply myself enough, that I will achieve something that no one else has ever done, nor even attempted (as far as I know). I believe that it is my destiny to do this thing.
So, does that make me a narcissist? I don’t think so. For one, I don’t believe that I AM great, while still having accomplished nothing. Two, I believe that IF I work hard, and achieve real-world results, THEN I could possibly make history…someday…maybe. Three, I don’t expect people to treat me as though I’ve won the Nobel Prize already, when all I’ve done is write a few blog posts. (LOL) If I were a true narcissist, I would be under the impression that I was entitled to the “special, I-just-made-history treatment” NOW…before having ever accomplished anything. That’s the difference.
I think that, should you happen to be wondering if you’re the narcissist, or not, the big idea to take away from this is that, when you’re a narcissist, you’re unconscious of your behaviors. Now, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t know what you’re doing. You would…you just wouldn’t comprehend the “why” part, of the doing it, and so it all gets twisted, and reality gets a little tweaked, and your motives are rationalized to the point where you actually believe what you’re saying.
So, now here’s the million dollar question………
Do I believe all these things about myself because they are based on actual reality? Do I say I’m smart because I’ve got the IQ to back it up? (yes) And do I believe that I’m entitled to special accolades because I’m destined to change the world? (Nope. I don’t actually even believe that I’d be entitled to special treatment if I do succeed in changing the world. Though, I can’t lie…a little recognition would be nice- LOL)
I guess the reality is that I DO exhibit a lot of narcissistic behaviors. We ALL do. But, the litmus test of narcissism is one simple question: Do you care enough to try to find out the truth? Are you seriously concerned that it might be YOU with the problem to the extent that you’re looking up signs and symptoms to see if there are behaviors you need to change within yourself? If so, then you are NOT A NARCISSIST.
A true narcissist would never condescend to research whether there was something wrong with his behavior. True narcissists do NOT even think to question whether what they’re doing to you is wrong, or hurtful. It’s what they do, so it must be right. Period. End of story.
I leave you today, with a word of warning, though. A lot of my “narcissistic behaviors” I have justified by saying that I only exhibit those behaviors in the presence of my husband. And, I only do those things, or act in that way as a defense. But, really, if I’m honest with myself (and, I think if you were honest with yourself, too), then regardless of HIS behavior, bad behavior on my part isn’t justifiable. In other words, just because he’s a dick, doesn’t excuse me from acting like one too. The way I see it…
“An ‘eye for an eye’ mentality will leave both of you blind. And, then,
how long before both of you are narcissists?”
To healthy narcissism,
~ The Narcissist’s Wife
Are there #signs of narcissism that YOU display, or that have made you nervous that you might be the narcissist in your relationship? Need some reassurance that you’re NOT a narcissist? What was the sign that really freaked you out the most? Let’s talk!