When I was living with my narcissist husband, every day was a struggle. As soon as I finished unpacking boxes and setting up our home, we were on the move again. We lived a turbulent life together, never being able to settle in one place for long because he could not maintain a job due to his narcissistic personality disorder. His odd quarks and profound paranoia of others baffled me. I kept thinking that something was so off about him, but I just chalked it up to him being a doctor. I found him to be a bit insecure because I felt that he overcompensated. He saw himself as a renaissance man who deserved all the finer things in life. He acted entitled and as an intellectual. But I did not see him that way. He grew up in a home with his father always unemployed because he never liked “being told what to do” by anyone, and his mother was a nurse who was hardly ever home. Yet, he acted as if he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. I figured him out to be a fraud.
I find a man who is capable and kind to be very attractive, and not a man who is inept and vindictive. I admire a man who is there to fix things if they break, and not jump to pay someone else to do it. A real man will listen to both sides of an argument, and not just point the finger at everyone else. I realized quickly after we were married that I ended up with a man who was the latter. In looking at the DSM V, narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, entitlement and lack of empathy. There is no doubt about it, narcissists are intolerant individuals because anyone different from them are seen as inferior. And trying to share your life with someone like this is bound to make yours a misery. The narcissist will reign over what company you keep and will treat others around you like dirt. You will find that you are constantly instructing a grown person about the “Golden Rule.” But your efforts to try to help your narcissist co-exist peacefully with others will be in vain.
I once asked my ex the hypothetical question, what would happen if our son turned out to be gay one day? Boy! That was a big mistake! My ex was horrified and responded “That will never happen” and that I “better not try to make our son gay.” As if I could just wave a magical wand and change the sexual preference of our son. I could see right then and there that our children better conform to his ideals of what he thinks they should be or else they will be shut out of his life. Whereas I just want my children to grow up to be happy and confident individuals.
My narcissist hated homosexuals and before our marriage, he made me promise to stop seeing my gay friends. He said that he “did not want our future children to be surrounded by “those kinds of people.” He seemed to think that the “gayness” may rub off on our children somehow. I was in disbelief when he made those statements. He is a doctor after all, and supposed to be educated and not such an ignorant ass! Then when I tried to talk some sense into him and protested about him insisting I stop hanging out with my male gay friend, my ex asked me, “how do you know he is really gay? He is probably just faking it to get close to you.” I told him that he was imagining things and that it was not possible because I had known my friend for years. But there was no convincing my ex. He did not want me to have friends of the opposite sex. Actually, he did not even want me having friends of the same sex. As soon as we got married, he went to straight work to isolate me from any of my friends and my family, (a huge red flag of narcissistic behavior).
My narcissist hated people of color. I will never forget the day I brought home a book from the library about a little boy riding an inner city bus for the first time and gets to meet a lot of people who appear very different from him. He encounters guys covered in tattoos and people of different races. It was an uplifting and inspiring book that encourages kindness and acceptance of other people, who at first glance look different but are in fact the same as you. I thought it was a great book! At bedtime, when my ex sat down to read to the children, he picked up that book, thumbed through it and said, “Don’t you ever look through the books you bring home for the kids? This is terrible! Why would you ever get this one? I don’t want our kids to think that hanging out with these kids of people is ok.” I was horrified. I felt a burn of hate well up inside me when he said that. I just shook my head and said, well there is nothing wrong with it in my eyes.
Male narcissists hate women. For example, my ex is an anesthesiologist. He works in hospitals full of female doctors, nurses and the dreaded CNRA. He despised any female in the same position as him, but he really hated the female CNRA. This was a certified registered nurse anesthesiologist. Which means, they do pretty much the same thing as doctor anesthesiologists do but without the time spent at medical school, and they work for less money. My ex was so threatened by these CNRAs, as he felt that they were always undermining him at work and that the hospitals gave them preferential treatment. This is untrue of course. However, my paranoid ex thought CNRAs were a conspiracy created by the medical profession to get rid of anesthesiologist positions. He was usually placed in supervisory positions over the CNRAs and that always ended poorly because of his demeaning and micromanaging manner. I remember hearing that he made one woman cry because he was so nasty to her.
Well due to his intolerance and paranoia, we moved 6-7 times in as many years and he had many jobs with different work structures. One hospital, he worked on his own, no CNRAs to supervise, and he preferred that model as he was master of his own universe. However, the boss of his anesthesia group happened to be an older female. That job lasted only seven months before we had to move again, all this with a 2 year old in tow. Before everything fell apart at that location, he called me from work in a panic because he said that he just sent me a hateful text message regarding his boss and he accidentally texted it to her instead of me!!! Oh boy. These are just a few examples of how his disorder made my life impossible to find peace and joy.
So, in my experience, a narcissist’s behavior towards others is just as damaging as it is towards you. Their intolerance, nastiness and hateful beliefs of others will impact and dramatically affect your life. All I ever wanted was a nurturing and happy home for my children, and no matter how hard I tried, I could not accomplish that being married to a man of madness. There is no fixing a narcissist, they will continue to see the world through hateful eyes and there is nothing you can do to change that. The only thing you can do to salvage the situation is to save yourself and leave. That is what I did, and not a day goes where I am not grateful that I made that decision. My children and I do not have to live under his destructful reign anymore.