Most couples enter the nuptials with the expectation of love, loyalty, and happily ever after.
The dating was intoxicating, the wedding, well, simply divine and the start of the marriage, extraordinarily captivating in the whirlwind of the honeymoon phase.
Fast forward a few years and the honeymoon phase has now come to an end, the wedding photos are remnants of a story that could be titled, ‘This will be the death of me”, starring an oblivious person in love and the narcissist they married.
Connecting broken pieces can be painful
I see many in my practice, mostly women, that come and sit in my office and try to glue back the pieces of a story that was broken from the beginning.
They verbalize hurts, emotional turmoil, doubt, humiliation, and guilt. A common thread woven within these women is they are all married to the same man. Not necessarily the actual person, but a narcissist just the same.
Narcissists play the blame-game in relationships
Different height, different weight, different career, different car, but similar mindsets, same manipulations, same dysfunctional tactics, same arrogance, and lack of empathy.
These husbands, in true narcissist fashion, blame these women. They distort the truth for their own toxic benefit, they have them feeling unjustly guilty, and they fabricate and justify every horrible action, no matter how it affects the women.
They do it all while sounding perfectly sane, perfectly the victim, blatantly appalled of the accusations being presented before them.
Sometimes it takes weeding through the blindness of love to see how love, loyalty and happily ever after actually plays out.
A narcissist may truly believe they are the catch.
One thing for sure, they are always the victim and you are the one who should be grateful for their presence. You owe them your loyalty.
Loyalty, even in the face of conflict is about definition.
What constitutes loyalty?
The response depends if you ask the narcissist or the actual victim.
Cheating and adultery may be different, emotional affair versus physical affair may be the same.
It’s all about defining it. That’s probably a conversation that needed to take place before the conversation with the wedding planner.
Where is the middle? Or is there solely wrong or right?
One husband offered to his spouse, after being caught on a dating service website, “it’s just virtual communication.” This statement was followed by “no dates, just lunch meetings”.
Where’s the line of loyalty?
We all have expectation regarding relationships.
Those expectations need to be defined early.
Make sure you are not simply blinded by those chemicals in your brain that induces “in love” euphoria. Chocolate can do the same thing and it will never do good having a virtual conversation with anyone or a lunch meeting.
Watch for the signs of toxic behaviors that leave you feeling bad and not the person that actually committed the offense.
If you find yourself in this situation, there are a few things you can do –
- Be honest with yourself. Your spouse probably will not change. It’s decision time.
- It’s about tolerance or acceptance. What can you live with? Or can you leave it behind?
- Learn to be assertive. Even if it means taking an assertiveness class. Invest in yourself.
- Be proactive in dealing with toxic behaviors. There are patterns. You already know them.
- Put yourself first, without guilt.
- Believe you deserve better.
- Make an appointment with a therapist who can give you guidance and clarity.
- Define happily ever after in your own terms
- Go redefine your life.
- Be happy your way.
Want to have a happier, healthier marriage?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
More By Tracy Crudup