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.
You've put up with a lot and you are willing to put up with more. Clearly you love her but you feel like she's used you up and you're starting to just run on rage.
And so my concern is that if you choose to stay you know how to do so without getting more enraged. Because the chances for sex becoming joyous is very small; and the same for those obsessive compulsive behaviors. I need you to understand that she is not going to change because of your giving. Your goodness is not going to one day make her see the beauty of also being a good person. Narcissists don't change like that. It takes years and years of therapy. And so all she sees is someone to use. You're a good person and if you stay, I can understand: you've invested a lot into this relationship and you may decide at this stage in your life that the stability of your life is worth more than the upheaval of change. I think these are the parameters for your making the decision.
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 ***** *****ez-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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