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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.
- Can It Be Abuse if There Are No Bruises?
He really does not mean to hurt me. Really. He can't help it. He was raised in an abusive home. Everyone else thinks he is great. I don't know what it is about me that sets him off. If he loves me so much why does it hurt so bad?
- The Many Faces of Emotional Abuse
Emotional abuse is behavior that attempts to negate another person's safety, worth, or self-determination. It sets out to make another person feel dependent, afraid, guilty, confused, embarrassed, unworthy, and incompetent.