Hi! You know, to give you the best answer, I think I should ask you a few questions first that will help define the problem and the situation.
Your question is very evocative that there is so much behind the simple few words you write. Have you always felt this way?
Was there trauma or abuse in your childhood? What about alcohol or dysfunction in your family when you were growing up?
Are you interested in medications to help? Or self help techniques? Or psychotherapy?
Are you getting any treatment right now? If so, what type? How is it going?
If not, when was the last treatment? What type of treatment was it? Was it helpful?
Any extra information that will help, feel free to share.
i am 42, just became a home-owner, am a business owner, have been married for 12 years now to my second wife, who has become completely unattractive to me (mainly because of her constant chastising) , have not had sex in over a year, turning to the internet for short term satisfaction makes things even worse, lost my mom (who was my biggest fan) earlier this year, am lacking real love in my life, would like to look forward to coming home but don't, wife refuses to work, i feel increasingly angry and alone
I know you want an answer as quickly as possible. But this is your life and I want to make sure that the answer I give you is the most fitting to your specific situation and who you are. So I need to ask just a little more:
Okay. So the problem is with your marriage. Correct?
Your wife criticizes. You're becoming more successful but the marriage is going in the wrong direction. You two have now stopped having sex and you're each just acting like you're unwilling partners. You and maybe she are just getting pleasure on your own.
No wonder you're feeling angry and isolated. And on top of that, you're grieving for your mom.
What we have to identify is how to get a different attitude in your marriage. Because you're not going to be happy in this marriage and she's not going to be happy with this marriage if you two don't make some changes. Is she willing to make some changes?
Would she be willing to go to couples therapy with you?
we have gone to therapy in the past and as always she never recognizes faults within herself, but fully expects and constantly reminds me what was said and how i need to change.....just a little insight into what she does....when i get into bed at night and forget to wipe my feet with baby wipes (something i never had to do my entire life) she goes berzerk. if i pet the dog, go outside, go in the garage, or just about any activity, i had better take a shower before i even think about sitting down or going into the kitchen (even when i know i'm clean)....she will go on and on and give me twenty different examples of how un hygienic i am ....drives me crazy....i have gotten to the point where i view her as a mother rather than my love...that is why i am not attracted to her anymore....just a small example amongst many...even though i know it was wrong i have gone to various "massage parlors" where i have paid to have my needs met. this only worsens the problem. I need real love in my life, want a partner that i can't wait to get home to. Am frustrated that she won't get a lob outside of the house to help me out when business is a little slow. I feel like i am being very selfish but enough is enough. She also says that her libido is gone and i am only 42..that's not fair. yes i know sex is not everything...but to be completely cut off? I feel like i work and work and work and work and have nothing to look forward to coming home to. I am just being honest and would like a caring hand to help me.
i think she is narcissistic , yes. but what in the world do i do about it...are you still there?...just wanted someone to talk to. why taking so long to answer? did i do something wrong?
First, let me say I was hoping you would NOT say you think she's narcissistic. Because there is no way you can do anything to change the narcissist's narcissism. You can only choose to either stay and learn not to lose your sense of "self" and become someone you don't want to be; or you can choose to leave and try to move on in your life and regain your sense of "self".
And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. You know from your years of experience that she will not accept help. Why not?
Because narcissists never believe the problem is in them. The problem is always in YOU. So if they ever seek help, it is only to get what they want. Then they stop coming to therapy once they've convinced the people who have forced them to that they have tried.
I hardly ever work in therapy with narcissists because, as I said above, they don't think the problem is with them. But I work often in therapy, either in my office or via Skype, with people who have been in relationships with narcissists and are recovering, trying to feel whole in their "selves". Again, this is because the narcissist doesn't believe the problem is in her.
Let me remind you of what you know within yourself is true because you've experienced it:
It is very difficult for people to imagine how pervasive narcissism is. They tend to keep doing things with the narcissist as if she's normal. Then they get burned and they are very hurt. She will alternate charm and invective. You will be hurt. You are a normal person and have a view of personality that we call "whole". Your view does not allow for what has happened to his personality: it has become "fractured". What do I mean?
Let's use a parable of a house. You understand personality as being an open plan. There is the main big room where everything in the personality is and there are some smaller rooms off the main room, but they all have open doorways so that there is a unity there. If a person reacts from one of those smaller areas in his personality, it is coherent with the rest of the house, it fits into the decorating scheme of the main room, etc. It's all unified.
She isn't like that. She has different closed rooms. When she says something to you, it responds to some need and "truth" of a certain room. When she wants something else, it responds to a different room that contains that "truth". They don't have to agree for her to feel she is being okay and truthful. Because they are responding to different needs in her. Like different closed rooms.
You would not be able to feel whole that way. You would feel rather creepy. Well she doesn't feel whole. But she doesn't know how to feel whole. And she doesn't know what feeling whole is like.
If you choose to leave, I am going to recommend a wonderful book that you need to read even though it is geared toward pure narcissism. It's readily available online:
It is called: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life by XXXXX XXXXXez-Lewi.
You have a right to make your own life. Being on your own may be hard but if you resist the temptation to isolate yourself and put yourself out there socially, you can be fine.
If you choose to remain:
Step 1. You must accept that you cannot change her. This is the heart of the matter: what you see is what you are going to get for a long time (see step 2) if not for the rest of her life. Your job and your goal is to learn how to accept her the way she is and not be affected negatively by her. Yes, this is a tough, big job. But that is what she needs. You cannot be her therapist; you have to accept that this is how she deals with the world and that your job is to be there for her and with her without you getting too hurt by her personality difficulties.
Step 2. You can encourage her to seek professional help. Again, this will have to be only an encouragement. You know better than anyone that even encouraging her will probably not go over well with her, but that is the most you can do in that area. She has to be willing to go to therapy to help herself. No one else will ever be able to get her to stay in therapy and get benefit from it even if they convince him. The chances of her thinking this is a good idea are very slim.
I don't know how appetizing that sounded to you, but here are a couple of excellent books you can get on how to live with a narcissist.
1. The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship by Eleanor Payson. This is a great book that will help you with the lack of self-esteem that living with a narcissist or being close with a narcissist will do to you.
2. The Object of My Affection is in My Reflection: Coping with Narcissists by Rokelle Lerner. This book is newer but is extremely clear and insightful and has helped people since it came out 3 years ago.
Okay, I wish you the very best!
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