I Was Married to Scott Peterson - Living with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

 

He looked so very good in the court room. His co-workers had nothing but good to say about him. He was handsome, well-presented, charming and had it all-together in public. Take a closer look, listen carefully. His wife, Lacey, and their unborn son Connor told a different story when their bodies tragically washed up on shore. Scott Peterson is a narcissist; I know what it is to live with a narcissist.

Living with a narcissist is a roller coaster experience. It is always onerous and exhilarating. It is often harrowing. To survive the relationship a woman must give up her thoughts, feelings, and opinions and obey the every command of her narcissist. (A full 75% of all diagnosed narcissists are male - for that reason I will refer to the narcissist as he and the victim as she.)

To survive the relationship the narcissist's partner must have a diminished view of self and an exaggerated view of her narcissist. She needs to belittle and demean herself while aggrandizing her partner. She must accept the role of eternal victim. She is undeserving and considers herself fortunate if she receives any good in life. The narcissist, by contrast, is in a position to demand any sacrifice he pleases from her because he is imminently superior. The narcissist cannot survive without an adoring and submissive, self denigrating partner. His sense of superiority depends upon her adoration.

The narcissist's victim must practice a full spectrum of self-denial if she hopes to survive. She must deny her own wishes, hopes, dreams, psychological and material needs, along with choices, preferences, values, and anything else that is part of her being. She perceives her own needs as self-threatening because they might evoke the wrath of her narcissist.

The narcissist is elevated to ever greater realms in the eyes of the victim because of her practice of self-denial. Self-denial undertaken to facilitate and ease the life of a "great man" is more palatable than is self-denial for an average man. Because of his greatness, the partner is able to ignore her own self, to dwindle and eventually merge with the narcissist to the point of oblivion and dim memories of herself.

The two begin a chilling dance. The narcissist is fueled by his partner. Her submission breeds his superiority; his masochism breeds her sadism. The roles of each are assigned almost from the start and any deviation from these roles is met with an aggressive, even violent reaction.

The partner's mind becomes a tangled web of confusion. All of life becomes obscured by the giant shadow cast by the intense nature of her interaction with the narcissist. She suspends her judgment just as she suspends her individuality; this is prerequisite to and the result of living with a narcissist. The partner eventually loses sight of what is true and right and what is false and forbidden.

The partner recreates with her narcissist the same emotional ambience that led to his own personality disorder. It is a relationship of unpredictability, arbitrariness, and emotional abandonment. As the world becomes more hostile and ominous the victim has only one option: cling to her narcissist. She too often becomes overtly and overly dependent.

When the relationship must end it is very emotionally charged. It is the culmination of a long string of humiliations and of subjugations. It is a rebellion of the functioning and healthy parts of the partner's personality rising against the tyranny of the narcissist. At the close of the relationship the partner often engages in a tortuous and drawn out post mortem.

The questions concerning who did what to whom and how it might have been different are irrelevant. No, the partner could not have made life better for the narcissist; she could not have healed his wounds. What is important for the partner is to stop grieving and to start living. She must start smiling and allow herself to love and be loved in a less subservient, demeaning, and tortuous manner.

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Mary Stuart profile image

Mary Stuart 4 years ago from Washington Author

Whew! It has been a busy week. I am sorry I have been so slow in responding, Debbie. It is wild how after years and years of living with an N we DO expect normal behavior. It is so true that we live in different realities. I kept expecting my N to enter into my reality but never saw him do it. I am truly convinced that he is not able to enter into the reality that most of us live in. So many of the insane memories have faded but 2 stand out in living color. During one of our last conversations he emphasized, yet again, that a man does not want his woman to have thoughts, feelings, or opinions. If she does have any then she needs to keep them to herself because no man is interested. My second insane memory is his insistence throughout the marriage that it is a Christian woman's duty to do as her man says EVEN if his order is contrary to God. An N truly is in a different reality. Thank you for your comment.


Debbie 4 years ago

Thank you Mary for your hubs on living with a N husband. It's amazing that even during and after divorce, we think they might behave as a normal person. One day when I was frustrated because my ex wouldn't help pay for my son's medicate expenses, my son reminded me "Mom, you figured out that he wasn't ever going to change and you left him, so why do you think he'll change now? He doesn't care about anyone but himself, so don't even try".

Thanks again for opening up this topic and allowing us to share.

Blessings,

Debbie


Mary Stuart profile image

Mary Stuart 4 years ago from Washington Author

Thank you, Giselle. I hope to make lots of people aware of the many facets of domestic abuse. Living with an N is an amazingly haunting experience.


Mary Stuart profile image

Mary Stuart 4 years ago from Washington Author

Unfortunately your situation sounds so typical. I know how it is to have all those threats coming at you and more. After taking it for so long you finally burst forth with the tip of the iceberg of truth and then lie back and take more in the hopes the kids never find out the truth. Right or wrong I have long wanted the kids to think the best of their Dad that they could. Now and again I snap. I think the only thing you can do now is do your best to not speak of him good, bad, or otherwise. When he does the next rotten thing to you or you uncover yet another layer of his illegal dealings then talk to a girlfriend but not your children. Continue to be a loving Mom to your kids. I know how it hurts to see him being Disney Dad and KNOW where the money came from or hear people in the community talk about what a great guy he is etc but these things have a way of eventually leveling out. Just be steady, straight, and true. Lead your life sans your N and he will someday latch on to his next victim and your children will someday see the truth. They will likely never know the whole truth but they will discover enough for themselves.


Giselle Maine 4 years ago

I have not had an experience like this so it was an eye-opener to read your hub on it. It is great that you are making people aware of this issue.


claudia kinney 4 years ago

I left a narcissist 8 years ago.My children are now 21, 19,17,15. 2 of my children remain very angry with me and treat me just as their N father did. This is so hurtful and confusing. I provide for all their needs, emotionally, physically,financially etc. Their Dad has not worked since I left. Their Dad tried to take the kids from me and turn them against me totally and I feel that in response I said some unkind but true things about him out of desperation. I wish I hadn't now...any ideas on how to move forward in this type of situation?


Mary Stuart profile image

Mary Stuart 4 years ago from Washington Author

You bet it is! There is nothing quite like it. My N is also focused on another woman. I was so relieved when he hooked up with her. I knew within days of when they met because his focus shifted off me. I am happy you are out and enjoying a better marriage.


nybride710 profile image

nybride710 4 years ago from Minnesota

I was married to one for 13 years also. He now has someone else adoring him, and I have moved on to a real marriage. Living with a N spouse is so confusing and miserable.


Jennifer Gonzalez 4 years ago

This is the most insightful destinction of my life for the past thirteen years with a narcissist. I no longer had an identity, or valued myself as an individual after years of being told that everything was my fault. I am moving on...

Thank You


Katherine Thorntoun 8 years ago

I was married to Scott Peterson, too. It was pretty bad! I am glad you are out and that you survivied. I was attacked pretty viscously when I escaped but I made it out and am OK today.

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