Is he a narcissist?

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[Does it even matter?] We have an abusive relationship. The rest is probably semantics…maybe…

Here’s the roundup of the answers from an Emotional (psychological) Abuse Test

The great majority of the time I:

  • feel afraid of my partner
  • avoid certain topics out of fear of angering my partner
  • wonder if I’m the one who is crazy
  • feel emotionally numb or helpless
  • walk on eggshells

Sometimes I:

  • feel that I can’t do anything right for my partner

Rarely do I:

  • believe that I deserve to be hurt or mistreated

Things that H does often (some are executed very, very subtly):

  • humiliate or yell at me
  • criticize me and put me down
  • blame me for his own abusive behavior
  • views me as property or a sex object, rather than as a person
  • explodes because of his bad and unpredictable temper
  • control where I go or what I do
  • keep me from seeing my friends
  • checks up on me

Things that have happened in certain circumstances (more than once):

  • treated me so badly that I was embarrassed for friends and family to see
  • acted excessively jealous and possessive
  • limited my access to money (by being the watchdog on the accounts and constantly checking charges)
  • ignored or put down my opinions

Has never happened:

  • hurt me, or threatened to hurt or kill me
  • threaten to take the children away or harm them
  • threaten to commit suicide if I leave
  • force me to have sex
  • destroy my belongings
  • limit my access to the phone or to the car

I can only change what I own in the relationship. I no longer believe that I have to do the work for both of us [because of a fear that it won’t be done if I don’t]. I recognize that a potential outcome of my work to overcome my codependency is the danger that I will lose this relationship or that it will not get better. I haven’t fully accepted that, but at least I can see it.

Despite all of these things, I cannot use the word “abusive” with him. He is likely a narcissist of some sort and I use cautious language by design. I am not that kind of doctor. I have no business diagnosing him. However, based upon observations and a desire to understand what I am dealing with, coupled with repeated comments by my therapist (who also has no business diagnosing him w/o seeing him), I tend to think the behavior descriptions fit quite well. This makes me feel both validated and terrified.

I cannot tell him he needs to get help because it will backfire and I do not want to subject myself to more abuse.

I cannot tell him his behavior is abusive for the same reason.

If he is, in fact, a narcissist, none of my pleas will matter anyway. Pleading my rationale or trying to explain it will only cause me more suffering, which I cannot/should not take up.

What I’m realizing is that outside of my relationship with H, I am a whole person. I am quite good with boundaries and assertiveness. I have no problem having difficult conversations with people. I do not try to please people but I do try to do the right thing for all involved in whatever situation is presented. Generally speaking, nobody outside of my family/H’s family treats me with disrespect and if they do, I’m quick to put up an effectively communicated boundary.

I’m capable. I’m equipped. I’m not a total mess…

…except for within the context of this/these relationships.

(Dude[ette], here’s your freakin’ neon sign from the Universe. What else do you need? Seriously.]

Courage.

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4 thoughts on “Is he a narcissist?

  1. I think you are pretty close, “narcissist” didn’t slap me in the face until 18 months after we dramatically split from a 15 year marriage. You can do it, I know you can!

    • Egads. Sounds like you went through a really rough breakup. So sorry it ended that way but I admire your resulting strength. Wow!

      Thank you for the encouragement! It’s a big job, as you know, and an important one.

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