Are YOU the Narcissist?
How to Know For Sure.
There are many thousands of reasons why being married to a narcissist just plain sucks. I can personally attest to that. The sheer number of abuse tactics used against you is enough to drive anyone to the very edge of insanity.
And yet, once you’re at that edge, the abuses just keep coming. One push, after another… just to see how long it takes before you topple over that edge. Narcissists are relentless that way.
Here is a little irony for you…
Even though my husband had approx. 77,348 different ways to annoy, enrage, confuse, devalue, manipulate, and objectify me- in the end, none of that is what made the narcissistic abuse experience so terrifying for me.
Not to say that the abuse wasn’t severely damaging. Or, painful. Because, it was. Excruciatingly so. Still, from my perspective, that wasn’t the worst part.
Ultimately, the most frightening aspect of narcissistic abuse wasn’t the narcissist!
Being married to a narcissist does fucked up things to you. I’m sure that comes as no surprise. I mean, being around someone 24/7, for years- well, that’s bound to have an effect on you. And, if that person is a “good” person, then the effect of being with them would be, most likely, desirable. But, what happens when that person is a narcissist?
The answer: The effect is not at all desirable. In my opinion, narcissistic abuse is so incredibly heinous because, if you don’t break free from the clutches of the narcissist, you are ensured nothing more, or less, than a dark and empty future.
Either the abuse will drive you to literal insanity or, much, MUCH worse… you end up doing the only thing you can do, to survive…. you become just like the narcissist. A fate worse than death, if you ask me.
Secretly, what terrified me most was the thought that I might be the narcissist.
It probably sounds crazy to someone who has never been married to a narcissist. After all, how do you not know if you’re the abuser, or the abused? You’ve got to know these things…right?
Consider that things are always so cut-and-dry when you’re being mind-fucked. Plus, this was before I learned all about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Before I knew what was being done to me. And, way before I knew how to handle his abuse effectively, without stooping to his level.
Before I got NPD-educated, the only way I could stand living with my husband- or, survive his relentless abuse- was to fight fire, with fire.
After a while, though, when I looked in the mirror, I couldn’t recognize myself anymore. I was a mere shell of the person I used to be. The “me” that I once knew seemed to be lost. And, I feared I would be lost forever; only to be replaced by the very thing I despised most.
The fear, and shame, and self-loathing, I harbored against myself was immeasurable. At one point, my emotional state became completely overwhelmed by hopelessness, shame, and fear. I felt like such an unimaginable loser & a failure.
I was so ashamed, I even started to think that, in my case, suicide wouldn’t be the ultimate act of selfishness; it would be an act of mercy.
Not mercy for me… but, an act of mercy BY me. I truly believed that I would only be putting my children out of their misery. I’d be saving them from the untold damage of having me for a mother. For a long time, I lived at the very edge of constant despair, and panic.
To make matters worse, when I finally found out about NPD and its symptoms, I thought that I fit the descriptions a little too well. Sure, I could recognize that my “symptoms” were a relatively recent manifestation. Still, I couldn’t help but wonder…and worry.
I’d behave in- what I believed were- seriously narcissistic ways…(which made me think I was the narc) but, ONLY toward my husband (so, maybe not??). Ugh!
Let me give you a perfect example of what I mean. Dismissing, or not acknowledging, another person’s feelings/point of view, in a conversation is typical narcissistic behavior. I was guilty of doing that. Thus, I feared being the narcissist.
BUT, then I’d dismiss the idea because, I ONLY exhibited that “symptom” when talking to my husband. AND, I only dismissed his “side”, or his “feelings”, because his “side”, and his “feelings”, were all lies, or genius little mind-fucks.
To give you a real-life picture of what mean, here’s a conversation in-progress:
ME: Yeah, that was during the time when you thought giving me the Silent Treatment on a regular basis was a good idea. By the way, do you understand how traumatizing that is for a person? Some women end up going crazy, or trying to hurt themselves, because of that bullshit.
HIM: You kicked me out, and told me not to call you. You said that if I wanted to talk to the kids, I should call the house phone, so as not to talk to you. I was trying to respect your wishes, since you seemed to get so upset every time we talked. I didn’t want you to be upset, or cry…
ME: Yes, I did say that, but let me see if I can explain this in a logical way…..ummm…. oh, I know! How about this? While this may come as a surprise to you, there does exist quite an ENORMOUS difference between, “Please don’t call me”….and “Please become completely indifferent to, and invalidate, my very existence”… I’m sorry. Was that not clear?!
Also, if you were just trying to respect my wishes then, what about the 50 times AFTER my initial “don’t call me” request that I asked/pleaded/begged you to STOP completely ignoring my existence??? Why did you not try to respect THOSE wishes???
HIM: Well, we were separated….and…
ME: Nope. Uh-Uh…I’m not even going to sit here and listen to you try to rationalize and excuse your abuse. Forget it.
HIM: See? You can’t even let me explain my feelings, or how I felt…you don’t even care to hear….
ME: You’re right. I can’t even….you wanna know why? Because I’m not interested in how YOU felt…Last I checked, you weren’t the one who was traumatized by MY behavior! So no… REALLY don’t care much about your feelings right now…especially when you’re trying to share them in defense of abusive behavior.
HIM: See? Again! I can’t get one sentence out…It’s either I just agree, and say ‘Yes, Dear’, or you start an argument, and escalate…
ME: You’re projecting. That is what YOU do…or would do, if I gave you a chance right now. You’d “explain your feelings” by telling me your whole long rationalization of why it was OK to give your wife the silent treatment, and treat her like disposable garbage, and if I said anything other than “I totally understand why you acted that way”, you’d accuse me of being argumentative and escalating, just like you’re doing now.
In this situation, I’m not starting an argument. I’m simply stating that I have a right not to sit here and listen to you try to justify your abuse. If that hurts your feelings, I’m terribly sorry, but not as sorry as I am about the fact that I had to go on anti-anxiety medication because your fucking tantrums, caused me to have severe panic attacks.
HIM: Well, in a ‘partnership’, it’s supposed to be about both partners… and compromise….and I just think….
ME: Well, then you better just STOP thinking then, because listening to a person, who doesn’t have the first CLUE as to the concept of ‘partnership’, or ‘compromise’, try to tell ME about partnership and compromising… well, that’s just ridiculous.
HIM: You’re right…Yes, Dear.
ME: Don’t patronize me.
HIM: I’m not. You’re right. I’m sorry. Can we just be nice now?
So, as you can see, yes, I did cut him off a lot, and yes, I flat out told him that I’m not interested in his side. But, that’s only because if I had let him talk, he would gaslight, crazy-make, or confound the whole issue with his half-truths, and rationalizations. Therefore, I couldn’t be a narcissist. I was simply acting in self-defense.
Of course, in the very next moment, I’d realize that if someone were to ask HIM, about his behavior during the conversation, he would (most likely) give the same answer as I had. So, maybe my explanations were really self-righteous justifications? Maybe, I was just rationalizing and justifying my narcissistic behavior?
Some days, I thought I knew the answer, for sure. Other days, my husband would provoke me, and I’d fear the worst.
It was a seriously frightening experience, for me. And my husband, sensing my insecurity, never missed an opportunity to confuse me further. He’d pull some kind of victim tactic out of his bag of tricks, and I’d lash out.
I’d feel so anxious over what I’d said or done, that I’d go back to the list of NPD symptoms and, inevitably, whatever I had done would be on the list. I would cry and spend the whole night reviewing every thought I’d ever had. Judging every behavior. Scrutinizing every intention…. since I was, like, three-years-old. And, of course, I’d always come up unsure. I thought I was going crazy. It was absolute torture.
Thankfully, I got seriously educated about NPD.
…Enough to know that I definitely wasn’t personality disordered. Enough to know that I needed to get the hell out of that marriage. Once I was safely away from the narcissist, it was just as I suspected. All of my alleged “NPD symptoms” vanished. Like magic (or, as was logical).
Still, I thought about how frightened and confused I was about the whole “Am I a narcissist?” thing. And, seeing as how almost all targets of narcissists have eerily similar experiences, I know I can’t be the only one who has lived through this nightmare.
Or, maybe, you are going through that special little Hell, right now. If so, there’s no way I want you to have to suffer for as long as I did. I don’t want you to have to feel as confused as I did. Or, as scared. And, I certainly don’t want you questioning whether, or not, you’re losing your mind.
So, I came up with the ultimate, no-fail, 1-question Narcissist Test.
This test is beyond simple. There’s only one question, and it’s 100% accurate (if you answer honestly, that is). Are you ready for it? Ok, here it is. The only question you need to answer is this:
Do you worry that, just maybe, you’re the narcissist; that you are the main problem, in your relationships?
If you answered, ‘yes’, to this one, simple question then, guess what? You are Not the narcissist! Yay!
Now, how can I know that for sure? Simple. A narcissist would never condescend to question whether, or not, he was the problem.
The question would never even occur to him. In his mind, he is always blameless. So, the mere fact that you would consider the possibility, enough to actually ask yourself the question, pretty much proves that you are definitely NOT the narcissist.
Here’s another little goody for you… in case my one-question test wasn’t quite convincing enough.
~The Narcissist’s Wife
Let’s Talk: Have you wondered whether, or not, you were really the narcissist in your relationship? Did your narc try to make you think you were the abusive one? Do you still struggle with the question? If not, what finally brought you to clarity? Comment below.