Friday, June 15, 2007

Bad Reasons

There are also some bad reasons for sticking with a narcissist. Maybe he's rich and she likes the lifestyle. There are mothers who, to keep their trophy mate, selfishly betray their children to abuse by him. More of them should go to jail for "failure to protect."

Then there is the woman who sticks with a narcissist under the illusion that she can win his stupid game. Let's call her the Game Player.

This is how the game starts: She naturally reacts to the narcissist's Wild Act by trying to put the brakes on him. She does this by drawing two red lines: one at adultery and one at physically beating her or the children. Her abuser comes to a screeching halt at them both. Oooh, power. She gets this power rush because she thinks she is controlling him. She likes it. It is a pain killer for her battered ego. She wants more, because she has a score to settle. So, there's something in it for her too. She tries to beat this control freak at his own game.

To justify playing the game for her own ego gratification, she doesn't dare know that she has a serious problem. No Problem becomes her middle name. So she doesn't dare be aware that his behavior is downright bizarre. Then she needn't reveal to her parents, siblings, and friends that her husband is cracked. For, they would be abhorred at what goes on privately in that house and think she was a bad mother for not getting her kids out of there. They would not let her unsee the psychological scars he leaves on them.

The game's the thing. She doesn't take it seriously. He will not say he loves the children, will not show any affection for them, will not take any interest in them, and will not pay any attention (except negative attention) to them at all. Unless he is the type of narcissist who lives vicariously through a child he makes a tennis star of, he treats his children as though they don't exist. In any case, they never achieve the status of persons with him. If they try to hijack his attention, he lashes out at them viciously for it.

Yet she expects them to grow up normal! She will even say, "Must I leave him? I want my children to grow up in a home with two parents!"

Well, lady, they are not now living in a home with two parents.

Her two red lines discourage him from doing anything that would leave evidence that could be discovered by the outside world. She rationalizes them as fulfilling her responsibility.

That's absurd. Her red lines only ensure that what a monster he is will never be discovered by the outside world.

So, he gets to psychologically abuse everyone to his heart's content. Narcissists prefer this more deeply wounding kind of abuse anyway. It destroys self esteem more effectively than physical abuse. They usually are tempted to physical violence only when frustrated in their attempts to land moral blows...and when throwing a terror tantrum just to scare anybody standing up to them. So a narcissist is quite content in a crucible with a game player.

The poor kids have to take it, but Mother can play. And so she and her narcissistic mate manipulate each other like wrestlers locked in mortal combat for the rest of their lives. They hold another round of the same fight every day. He keeps pushing her button to start it. He does it in a Drive By. Then he leaves her to stew and to imagine himself the victim. She plays right into his hands by punishing him with the silent treatment, never learning why it doesn't make her feel like the winner.

Everything is a power play. Like a narcissist, the more she loses, the more determined to win she gets. She never learns that one must be twisted to beat the twisted in the twisted game they play. No wonder she becomes narcissistic herself (though she does not suffer from NPD). No wonder she fails her kids.

If she asked the adult child of a narcissist for advice, he would urge her to get her children away from her husband. Not only are one or more them likely to suffer from NPD, but those who grow up normal will grow up sorely lacking in self esteem and plagued by self doubt. Not something any responsible parent allows to happen to her children.

So, there are some of the reasons why intelligent, informed people ask, "Must I leave him?" Some of these reasons are quite understandable, and some are deplorable.

Kathleen Krajco