Dealing with a narcissistic partner can be daunting and bring out incredible anger in you, especially If you don’t know what you are dealing with. We briefly describe narcissism, and how narcissists can greatly affect you, as their partner, and push all your buttons. You may decide to throw in the towel, but many such relationships a worth saving- If you learn how to disarm the narcissist while surviving (and even thriving) yourself.
Anger and partner narcissism: Betty and Jason
Betty and Jason had been married for 5 years and were now being seen in couples therapy because of almost constant conflict. Jason saw the problem as “Betty’s anger” which he couldn’t cope with and caused him to completely emotionally shut down. He constantly threatened divorce lamenting that he wished he had married a “sweet” girl. Betty said her anger was only because of him; she had many friends and no history of anger problems in any other relationship or areas of her life. But, she indeed was enraged with her husband who constantly berated and criticized her, tried to lower her self-esteem, could not satisfy her most basic needs as a woman, and constantly manipulated her by giving her hope for change and then completely reversing himself the next day. She called it “crazy-making.”
What is a narcissist?
Simply put, a narcissist Continue reading “Angry at narcissistic husband? How to cope short of divorce!”
- The first step in dealing with your narcissistic partner is to discern if it is something you want to do, as the task may be daunting. A discernment counselor may be of help to you in sorting things out.
- The main weapon in your arsenal should be a tactic called “confrontational empathy” which is sort of like “tough love” in dealing with your partner. It involves standing up for yourself and setting limits at the same time as communicating great empathy for where the narcissist is coming from.
- A very helpful self-help book to help you on your journey is: “Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed” by Wendy Behary.
- Take our Anger Quiz to get an idea of how you and your narcissistic partner may be communicating and get suggested remedies.
The conflict between trying to save a bad marriage or deciding to try and work it out is a decision faced by thousands of couples of all ages across the country. About 50% do end their marriage, but many later regret it and find that divorce didn’t improve their lives as much as they had hoped. Others in high-conflict marriages who divorce feel they made the right decision both for themselves and their children. Dr Fiore discusses five things to consider before making your decision.
The Story of Mary and Bill
Mary and Bill were a nice couple empty nesters. Married 20 years, hey had built a nice life together. Their mortgage was low, their children were in college and doing well, most of the time they got along with each other fairly well. But one day Mary told Bill she thought maybe they should get a divorce. This rocked Bill’s world as he had no idea that she had still been planning this. Sure, she mentioned it several years ago, but then things had actually improved, so Bill figured the storm had passed.
For Bill, the marriage wasn’t perfect, but then he had lower expectations. Most of his unhappiness was in reaction to her unhappiness. He was happy to keep things as they were even though they had little in common anymore. Mary complained that she was emotionally lonely in the marriage, that Bill didn’t communicate with her, that he drank too much, and that he rarely paid attention to her anymore. She suspected he was having at least an emotional affair with a co-worker, though Bill denied this, pleading that they were just close friends.
Continue reading “Orange County Marriage Counselor Asks: Is Your Marriage Worth Saving?”
The process of deciding which path to take when your marriage is on the brink is called discernment. While there are many good reasons to leave your partner, studies show that even though things may look hopeless to you now, many times your marriage can be fixed. In the end, many couples are glad they stuck it out. To learn more about discernment, visit my discernment website at splitornotcounseling.com
Many couples who have tried marriage counseling feel it doesn’t work. However, Dr. Anthony Fiore, a therapist who has treated hundreds of Orange County couples during the past 30 years, disagrees. He argues that marriage counseling is as important therapy tool as it ever was. However, for it to be effective, the timing has to be right. The therapist has to make sure that both parties in a troubled relationship are totally committed. Discernment Counseling is the all-too-often omitted first step.
A guide for Orange County couples on the brink of divorce
Many couples come to me after they’ve tried traditional marriage counseling. They’re usually frustrated and depressed. One of the most common things they say is: “We tried marriage counseling and it didn’t work!”
If you feel this way, you’re not alone. But, as you’ll see, there’s hope at the end of the rainbow.
What’s wrong with marriage counseling?
I don’t think there’s anything particularly “wrong” with marriage counseling. (If I did, I wouldn’t still be offering it to Orange County couples on the brink of separation.)
The problem with traditional marriage counseling isn’t related to the therapy itself, or the way it’s delivered. The problem with marriage counseling involves when it’s delivered.
All too often, however, both parties aren’t fully committed to their partner and the relationship.
In situations like the one described below, even the most skilled therapist and well-planned program doesn’t stand a chance!
Continue reading “How to Get the Most out of Marriage Counseling”
Marriage counseling has a much better chance of working with mixed-agenda couples on the brink if you have a discernment process first. Without separate "buy-in" from both partners as a pre-requisite to marriage counseling and a firm plan, marriage therapy is doomed to fail.
Would Discernment Counseling work for you? Does Discernment Counseling make sense to you? What Discernment Counseling resources are available in Orange County? Do you wish it had been available sooner? Share your comments, experiences, or questions below, as comments. Note: your email will not appear when your comment appears, after moderation.