Providing How-to and Self-help Information for Women
Seeking Answers & Emotional Pain Relief Because of His Narcissism, Addictions, & Abuse


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Secrets of a Formerly Miserable Wife

Author Diane England, Ph.D. has the credentials you expect, plus she has 
empathy and speaks from the heart because she has been there, too.

 “Why Pleasing Behavior isn't  the Answer”

Do you believe what your narcissistic and abusive husband says about you? Has he convinced you you’re worthless, selfish, cold, unlovable, and whatever else he regularly professes? Before I go further, did you know you can expect him to say such things if he suffers from a personality disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD? Well, it’s even apt to happen if he suffers from a lesser degree of narcissism, but which makes him pathologically narcissistic nonetheless.

A man suffering from pathological narcissism sees himself as superior to you and most others anyway. You are basically worthless in his mind, other than in your ability to somehow serve him and meet his needs. And of course, he is going to gain more power and control, both of utmost importance to him anyway, through manipulation. He also knows he can manipulate you by putting you down through emotional abuse and verbal abuse. Well, through sexual abuse, too.

Over the years, perhaps you have accepted how your narcissistic spouse defines you because you heard similar messages in your family of origin. But even if your parents never said such things, if you grew up in a dysfunctional family plagued by alcoholism or other significant problems, you might have held yourself responsible for the things that happened in your family. This might have included your parents’ bad marriage and their divorce, if divorce actually occurred.

I know, as an adult, it doesn’t make much sense. Nevertheless, that’s the way young children are. They see themselves as the center of the universe and all powerful. (See, they exhibit narcissism, too. However, most grow out of it and only maintain a healthy level of narcissism as adults, and not the unhealthy level your spouse probably does). Thus, for example, rather than recognize that her father might have a problem called alcoholism, and this in turn created discord that led to the bad marriage, the little girl feels responsible for what happened. Therefore, if her parents decide to divorce, she thinks it’s because she was a bad child. She doesn’t realize her mother probably grew tired of living with alcoholism and her husband’s emotional abuse and verbal abuse.

You’re going to have to review your own childhood, and then you can assess what might have negatively impacted you. In other words, what beliefs might you hold at an unconscious level that still drive you today? And if you’re putting up with a narcissistic spouse and his addictions and abuse, you can assume there definitely are some there. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have hooked up with him and then stayed, don’t you imagine?

But for now, can you appreciate how this happens? Also, can you appreciate how, at an unconscious level, you might have felt worthless at the time you met your spouse? And, at an unconscious level, he might have picked up on this and hence, been attracted to you?

The odds are good, though, that you grew up to become a people pleaser. You’ve probably tried to read what others want, and then have delivered just that. Undoubtedly, too, you’ve been very good at this. In fact, you’re probably more sensitive to other’s needs than you are to your own, wouldn’t you agree?

Believe it or not, both you and your narcissistic spouse probably feel worthless at your core. You both have shame issues. You just act this out differently. He flies into narcissistic rages and tries to control you this way. You try to control him by pleasing.

Actually, either of you will feel immense pain if you can’t use your favored coping technique when you feel the desire to do so (because pain is threatening to come into consciousness). Thus, if he were to remain silent when he felt the urge to rage, his severe level of emotional pain would break through. The same would happen if you couldn’t proceed with your pleasing behaviors.

Well, since your pleasing behaviors don’t please him since he isn’t a man who is going to be pleased because of his narcissism, your pain has started to break through, hasn’t it?

Actually, while I know you hurt in part because you’re confused by his behavior and because you’re depressed—and depression hurts—this breakthrough of pain is actually a good thing. You must listen to its message, though. You must come to terms with the emotional wounds and childhood beliefs that no longer serve you. After all, you are not worthless. You are worthy, if for no other reason than you walk this earth. Except you have a purpose to fulfill, and you won’t be able to do that while immersed in your pain. And seeking pain relief through pills and other means isn’t the answer, either. You must get to the root of the problem and destroy or overcome that.

You do this through spiritual growth.

Why should you pursue this path? Well, ultimately, the pain of the consequences of pleasing behavior become greater than the emotional pain you were trying to block in the first place. See, it is similar to how any addiction works.  Let’s use alcoholism as an example. First, the alcohol reduces the person’s anxiety and keeps bad feelings at bay. But with alcoholism, often come marital problems, tickets and accidents, and other such things. They create new pain that can be worse than facing the fact that at an unconscious level, you have always felt a lack of self worth because of things that happened in childhood that still drive you.

Don’t condemn yourself for where you find yourself, though. Realize that your soul is reaching out to you—calling to you through all this hurt and emotional pain. And so, rather than seek pain relief through ways that you typically have—through perhaps endless activities or even addictions of your own--feel it. Feel it fully and wake up to its messages. That way, you might heal yourself and come to know a different way of being and living.

Sure, it will take time and the results might not be immediate. But they will come. Also, I’m sure you’ll look back and decide that perhaps being married to a man suffering from narcissism, addictions, and abusive ways might have been the best thing that ever happened to you.

Is this hard to believe right now? Well, nevertheless, try and believe that someday, such a day will come when you’ll feel blessed and grateful for what your narcissistic, addicted, and abusive husband put you through. After all, you’ll know this is what it took for you to embrace spirituality or spiritual growth. And of course, that is what caused you to discover your true self and authentic power.


This article first appeared on a blog of mine signed as:

 Diane England, Ph.D.
The Blog Doctor on Narcissism who Understands
Providing Inf0rmation for Women Needing Emotional Pain Relief
Because of His Narcissism, Addictions, and Abuse


Disclaimer: This how-to and self-help relationship advice and information for women about narcissism, addictions and abuse should be considered educational or inspirational—a guide or directory to things to consider and inform questions to ask a professional you contact for sound advice. It is not a substitute for marriage counseling, individual therapy, or legal advice. Women coping with domestic violence such as emotional abuse, verbal abuse, and/or sexual abuse—even where no physical abuse is present—are encouraged to seek professional help for treatment of depression, anxiety, self esteem, and other likely associated issues.

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