Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It’s an interesting disease to deal with. It’s interesting in the sense that even if you don’t suffer from the disease itself you can be deeply affected by it. It can even kill you.
Imagine you dated someone who seemed to love you just the way are. They worshipped the ground you walk on. They told you they wanted a life with only you because you are the one. Then you get married. You have a child together. You buy a house together. They ask you to stay home and raise your child because it’s best for the baby. You do it even though you had a career. But you’re not mad you’re happy to stay home and raise your child. Unfortunately you’re doing it alone. Your spouse hasn’t taken on his role as Dad yet. You tell yourself he’ll come around. He never does.
Then he starts drifting away rather quickly. When you ask why he tells you that you are crazy. When you don’t clean the house or cook dinner at a descent hour because you were taking care of the baby all day and didn’t have time to, he yells. Instead of getting comfort and understanding you get called names and are belittled. When you point it out he says it was out of frustration because he was working for the family all day long and expected to come home to a clean house and dinner on the table. It’s not too much to ask for right?
He starts going out more but not out late at night or at bars; he just goes and does things without you and your child because he says he works a lot and puts a roof over your head and deserves the time. You say, well, I need time, too and he argues that all you do is stay home all day with everything that you need. What could you possibly need a break from? Maybe your spouse is right? Maybe you need to try and do more… so you do.
You find energy one day and cook and clean and get all the things done on your list! It’s a great day maybe your spouse will be happy today. He comes home and asks you condescendingly, “What did you even do today?”
And you get mad because you did everything you set out to do. You were so proud of yourself and you tell your spouse that and he laughs at you and says you have no idea what hard work is because you get to stay home all day and have everything you need paid for by him. You respond that you never even wanted to stay home! You wanted to work!
He uses it against you. He reminds you that the money you made before wasn’t even a quarter of what he makes. Your money hardly paid for anything even though it did: it paid for food and college and rent and all your bills; you even had money in savings. But he tells you that you’re stupid for even paying for college because he didn’t need to go to college to make 10 times what you were making. College education got you nowhere and you were stupid for thinking it would. He tells you all you have to do now is care for your child and cook and clean and you can’t even do that maybe there’s a college to teach you how to do it. You’re just ungrateful and entitled.
Eventually things boil over. You have a few good days, quiet days, then the anger is back. The expectations are back; all the while you are cooking and cleaning and caring for your child. The baby is happy and healthy and so loving and smart. Your spouse spends almost no time with him he tells you that’s your job. You tell him it’s not a job it’s about bonding. He says the baby won’t even remember any of it they can bond when the baby is older. That never happens.
Time has passed. Your baby is now 3. They are so used to the yelling and name calling that when it starts they run up to Daddy and say, “No yelling! Please stop yelling at Mommy!”
Daddy tells his child, “I have to yell because Mommy doesn’t do her job. Daddy does his job but Mommy doesn’t. Look at this house! It’s dirty. How many times did we have pasta this week? Mommy is lazy.”
You ask him to stop.
He screams at you and calls you names and tells you if you don’t shut up he’ll hit you like he had to before because you pushed him to do it.
You say all that you’re asking is he doesn’t talk to your child like that.
He doesn’t hesitate and comes right for you and grabs the back of your neck. He brings you around the house by your neck and yells, “And all that I’m asking you to do is to clean this house! You see the dust behind the toilet? Clean it! You see the dust on top of the fridge? Clean it! You pig!”
You cry. You cower in a corner and say you’ll fix it. You immediately get up and clean the toilet and the fridge. While you’re doing it you question yourself but then you stop and say you got him this angry; you did it. Just stop and clean he’ll be happy if you clean. He never is happy. No matter what you do, but maybe you just weren’t doing enough. Just keep trying; you have a child together.
But he isn’t supposed to hurt you like that. So you say something and your spouse tells you he doesn’t ever want to hurt you like that! Ever! But you make him because you run your mouth and you don’t take care of the house and the family even though you promised you would. You’re a liar. Instead of fighting you agree and say you’ll do better in the future. Even though it feels wrong you want to make your spouse happy and get back to the place where he worshipped you. He never will.
Your child is 6 now. He’s so loving and caring. You do everything together. His Dad is hardly ever home but he doesn’t care. Matter of fact he doesn’t even ask when he’s coming home. You live for him. Everything you do is for him. Including staying in a very broken marriage. But you were taught it was what you had to do. Things have gotten more and more abusive. Physically, emotionally, mentally, you think you are to blame. You know there is something wrong with your spouse but you have to be part of the blame for the fights and the anger. You’re lonely. You never talk about it to anyone. Matter of fact you hardly see anyone, including family. Your spouse tells you they live too far away and it’s too costly to see them that often. You see the house you bought years ago it was picked for a reason. You didn’t know it at the time but it was picked because it was far away from everyone and everything you once knew. Not many of your friends are around anymore because he never let you see them. Some came to see you. When they did your spouse made them so uncomfortable they never wanted to come back. They knew something was wrong but didn’t say it. If they did say something you lied; you didn’t want them to worry. They told you if you ever needed anything they were there for you but kept a safe distance. After all they couldn’t make you leave you had to do that but you couldn’t because he would kill you. I mean, he’s told you that. He’s hit you; he’s hurt you in every possible way. But he doesn’t see it that way. You’re the one who pushed him there.
More time passes. You’re slowly drifting away. Depressed. Sad. In pain. He’s been drinking more and more with every passing year. He makes up stories and says you’re cheating on him and even tells your child this. You don’t want him to even touch you because every single time he does he hurts you. He doesn’t want to hear it. He tells you you’re hormonal and crazy. You know you’re not. You’re tired. You’re broken. You ask yourself if you can see yourself doing this in 10 years? You say to yourself no. How about 5? No, I’ll be dead.
And that’s when you know you have to change it. You have to leave because you will die there anyway and your 8 year old son needs you. You make a plan. You wait until he goes to work and you call your family to help you and you start packing what you need. You are scared out of your mind. If he comes home early, he will kill you. Even if you do get out he will find you and kill you. You remind yourself again that you will die in that house. You continue packing. Your family shows up to help. Your spouse does come home early but instead of killing you he cries and begs you to stay. You know he’s lying. You leave anyway. This time you’re leaving for good and not going back like before. You never go back. He never killed you although he made you believe he would. He did try to convince your family that you’re a bad person. He stalked you. He tried to get you fired from your job. He lied and lied and lied some more to get everyone to abandon you. It didn’t work. He took all of the money you had in savings and you had nothing when you left but you didn’t care because you survived and you’ll make money. He doesn’t see his son because instead of spending quality time with him he tried to do the same thing to him as he did to you. His son no longer wants to see him. You survived; you both survived. You are thankful for it every single day and you never look back.
NPD almost took everything from me and I never even suffered from it. I was once married to someone who most certainly suffered from NPD among other things and I almost lost absolutely everything. But I survived it.
This is my story. Well part of it. Thank you.
Lisa S. is a survivor of domestic violence. She is sharing her story in hopes that it will help other victims of mental, emotional and physical abuse. She survived and is thankful for that every single day. Now it is her turn to thrive.