This seems to be an area of concern on the LMR stats page, so I thought I’d share my insights. This list is by no means exhaustive, but it should give one a general idea of how to live with this sort of arrangement. Below, I offer the bare basics of living with a narcissistic, cheating husband:
- Don’t speak unless spoken to. Anything less will send the Narcissist into a rage. Your place is simply to be there in the event the Narcissist needs to be catered to, have their sexual urges satisfied, or needs an adoring devotee to fawn over him.
- Resign yourself to the fact that holidays, birthdays, and other special occasions will always be ruined. Be prepared for especially cruel name-calling and vulgarities. You have no right to be happy unless he’s the reason for it. If, and only if, he decides you should be happy, he might attempt to be “nice” after bringing you to a nuclear melt-down in front of the children. In fact, he might go so far as to slip you a twenty-dollar bill on your anniversary. Isn’t he thoughtful? But don’t count on it. He’s spending most of his money on grooming other supply.
- Don’t rely on being intimate with him. He’s giving his best to the other woman/women. He already has you, so he doesn’t see the need to expend such effort for your benefit. Unless, of course, you mention the possibility of ending the relationship; he might throw you a bone then. On the flip-side, if he’s histrionic, he might use you for sex, but don’t expect anything more than being a booty-call. Accept that he can’t help that he must have other women. It’s just his nature. Don’t you feel sorry for him? On that note, when you get an STD from his serial cheating, don’t blame him. It probably came from his other supply, at least that will be his story. Or, he’ll just make things easy on himself and accuse YOU of cheating.
- Accept that everything will always be your fault. Did he forget to call his mom on her birthday? Your fault. Are his siblings thinking about cutting him out of their lives? Your fault. His DUI? Your fault. The fact he got fired from his job last week? Your fault. That he failed his first year of college before you even met? Your fault. His great Uncle dying of leukemia when he was fourteen? Just fess up already…
- Realize that the silent treatment will be a permanent fixture in the relationship. This happens when you dare to ask for respect, point out that something he said or did was hurtful, and sometimes, just because. There really is no rhyme or reason. Make sure to send him lots of pleading texts and emails while he’s gone. He’ll love that; but don’t expect any response. Your role here is to feel absolutely desperate and non-existent.
- If you want to make him really happy, share the news of your promotion of work so he can trivialize the occasion and mock your accomplishments. Tell him how right he is when he says you can’t do anything right and will be fired soon. There’s nothing more pleasing to the Narcissist than when his victim falls prey to self-fulfilling prophecies. Just ask all the women who’ve lost their jobs while married to or involved with a Narcissist.
- Understand that if you fall ill or need to be admitted to the hospital for any reason, it’s still business as usual for him. In fact, he may use the opportunity to invalidate you even further. Your cancer diagnosis? Well, you don’t look so bad to him, as he’ll likely share with you as you’re coming out of the effects of anesthesia after having a tumor removed. If he’s even there. I’ve known of Narcs to continue womanizing even as their wives lay dying in the hospital. On the bright side, it should be comforting to know that he will be able to go on with life after you’re gone.
I could go on, but this should give you an idea of how to live with a cheating, Narcissistic husband. I’ve put things into perspective here in hopes that I can help you overcome abuse amnesia and magical thinking.
If your spouse engages in any of the above behaviors, you should seriously consider going No Contact and severing the relationship, especially if you have children. Otherwise, you’ll need to resign yourself to the fact that you’ll never really live again, and if you do have children that their chances of becoming co-dependent or Narcissistic are greatly elevated.
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