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Anyone successfully reconcile with narcissistic pd ws?

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sparklezombie posted 12/23/2013 08:17 AM

So I have been told here and do believe that WH shows traits of NPD. Just wondering if anyone has been successful in R with someone like this. He can't seem to look at himself and what he could change with our marriage and communication. He has zero empathy for what he's put me through - even said he can't understand because he hasn't been through it and because I don't talk to him enough about how I feel (I call BS on that). He goes to IC, but mostly because I made it a condition of R. And I think he mainly talks about how to handle me. It was after seeing his IC that he started accusing me of emotional abuse. And even our MC (before we were fired by her last month) says that he doesn't show the typical signs of someone really wanting to renew and fix their marriage. She also fired us because she said that he needed a lot of IC (and that I needed IC for codependency issues) before MC had a chance of being effective. Of course, now he says she's full of crap, that she didn't listen to him, didn't hear him and doesn't understand him.

So, anyone have success with this or am I just beating my head against the wall here?

Catwoman posted 12/23/2013 08:21 AM

My opinion, having been married to a diagnosed narcissist?

There is no chance of having a normal relationship with that man unless he really, really wants to change. Even then, it is hard work.

From what you have said, he is nowhere near having the right attitude for healing your marriage.

Having been there, the only advice I can give is to get your ducks in a row and prepare to end the marriage.


painfulpast posted 12/23/2013 08:28 AM

Unless he wants to change, no, none. You will forever wonder what is wrong with you, why he is so hot and cold, how he can be so cruel, how he can laugh when you're hurting, why he manipulates you, why you keep letting it happen, why he doesn't care, why he becomes enraged if he thinks for a second you're betraying him, about anything, and why you can't seem to leave even though you know it's a horrible situation.

Your options are the above and more, or leaving, unless he really, really, really wants to change.

nomistakeaboutit posted 12/23/2013 08:41 AM

He has zero empathy for what he's put me through

I don't have experience with a NPD spouse, so I won't try to answer your question directly. I am curious though. Does your H have also not feel remorse, in addition to not being able to feel your pain?

sparklezombie posted 12/23/2013 08:58 AM

He feels remorse, but I think it's for himself if that makes sense. He wishes he could take it back, hates what he did. But I think that's because it makes him feel bad about himself. I don't think he feels bad for me or what I've gone through. He even said in MC once that if I were more emotionally and physically available, he wouldn't have felt urge to cheat. Then at a different MC, he was asked why I should stay with him after all of his infidelity. He said because of all the things he's done for me and all the sacrifices he's made for me.

So it really seems like it's all about him and not about me or how I feel.

Chrysalis123 posted 12/23/2013 09:46 AM

I fully agree with Catwoman.

You know in your heart the MC that fired you is right. Your spouse is manipulative and abusive toward you.

Putting the focus on you is the key here, I think. Get yourself emotionally healthy and strong, regardless of what he does.

MakingLemonade posted 12/23/2013 15:13 PM

Thought I had, only to discover 6 six years later, no, I hadn't. Read my profile for details.

Editing to add that my X is such a convincing NPD, our MC and his IC from 6 years ago put him on his board and he was the president of the board when all this came to light this year. So I wasn't being a fool putting my head in the sand. He's just that cold-hearted, self absorbed, and deceitful. Tread carefully.

[This message edited by MakingLemonade at 3:18 PM, December 23rd (Monday)]

solus sto posted 12/23/2013 18:19 PM

My husband is diagnosed, too. While I suppose I could have chosen to remain with him, there never would have been a reconciliation. Why? Because there was never a genuine intimate relationship. He is not capable.

I did not know this for a very long time. Yes, I felt disconnect. But there was always a "rational" reason: going to school, "working late," the distractions of a young family, illnesses and deaths in the extended family, etc., etc., etc.

What really was going on is that I was being lied to, cheated on, and gaslighted for the 30+ years we were together. (It escalated with age. And my stbx has a complex personality disorder across clusters, so it's ... especially confusing.)

Yes, I could have chosen to continue to be lied to, cheated on, manipulated, disparaged, belittled, minimized, reduced to insignificance.

He might have pretended to "be nice." He's actually very good at that, as long as I don't have any expectations of him.

But that was no way to live. And somehow, somehow, despite what felt like fatal injuries to my self-esteem and self-worth, managed to muster up enough to say NO MORE.

My stbx is relatively motivated to change. His life was untenable for him, as well. And yet, despite 3 years of therapy with the right therapist (after years of using therapists' office as a learning ground for new manipulation techniques), his progress is inconsistent and nearly imperceptible. If he is unchallenged, he seems slightly more mindful; while he lacks empathy, he is capable of intellectually examining how his words and actions affect others. He's often wrong (because he does not think the same way most people do), but he is capable of trying.

Sometimes, he does try. Most of the time, it's too much effort. (And really, it IS difficult for him.)

No. No possibility of reconciliation. I tried for a long time.

ETA: I've read the other responses and think that a desire to change is NOT enough. First, few narcissists are capable of persistent desire to change. They may want to change long enough to get the heat off. They might want to change YOUR response. But rarely do they see that THEY are the problem. Secondly, the lack of empathy is innate and an enormous barrier to intimacy. You can't learn to be empathetic. You can't want it enough to change, because if you lack it, you have no idea what it even IS. What you CAN do is intellectually examine probable responses of others to your words and actions. That's better than reckless disregard---but it is NOT close, and it's NOT intimate. It's ... calculated and robotic.

I really think there is far less hope, even with "really wanting to change" than others seem to think.

There's a missing microchip. It can't be installed. It can be programmed around, with variable (but largely unsatisfactory) result.

[This message edited by solus sto at 6:24 PM, December 23rd (Monday)]

phmh posted 12/23/2013 19:09 PM

I really think there is far less hope, even with "really wanting to change" than others seem to think.

There's a missing microchip. It can't be installed. It can be programmed around, with variable (but largely unsatisfactory) result.

Solus is right on. If he truly is NPD, thinking that he can change because he wants to is like saying someone who's missing a limb can regrow it if they really try hard. They are wired differently, and usually use counseling to figure out ways to be more manipulative.

It's so hard to wrap your head around, but when you do, it really transforms the way you see these people. They aren't really human, in the way we think of humans. It's quite sad.

painfulpast posted 12/24/2013 06:41 AM

Sociopaths cannot change, no matter what.

NPDs usually don't because they see nothing wrong with them and view others as weak. A true NPD is not 'wired' differently. They are in hiding and have no known way to let themselves out, and if you get close when they don't want you to, the rage is all consuming and frightening to anyone around. An NPD that is not interested in change and views the person discussing it as weak will use this to his advantage in unbelievably cruel ways.

However, an NPD person that truly wants to change can learn new thought processes and behaviors. Again, they are not missing anything the way a sociopath is. They are simply hiding because of a very bad childhood (or an overindulgent to a very bad fault set of adults). Those from a bad childhood, if they truly want to change and find people they feel safe around can learn new habits.

HOWEVER - the NPD in them is there, always. They have the potential to revert back if feeling pressured or cornered. These are not 'empty souls' like sociopaths. Yes, they are incredibly manipulative. Yes, they put on an act. Yes, they use IC to practice or learn new tricks if they are not interested in being there. All of this is based on a very conditional childhood where if they behaved correctly they received affection. If they did not they were shut out. From this they learn to hide the 'real' self and to put on an act to get a desired outcome. They learn at a very early age to read people to see what they need to do to get what they want. But they are in there, somewhere.

I'm not trying to give false hope - the number of NPDs that have any interest in changing are almost negligible. These people don't like themselves and have no interest in being hurt so they stay buried and they like it that way. In almost all cases, waiting for change is like waiting for the sky to be orange one day - it's not going to happen. And if you are with one and they say they want to change, you can bet it's a lie. Most NPDs won't even admit there is anything wrong with them, so if they are discussing change it's for your benefit, not theirs.

Overall, the best bet is, as others have said, to leave. Once they decide you care too much, your entire world is going to become a living hell. It ends when you are completely broken, or they just up and leave, leaving you shattered and wondering what happened. Or you could end up with the worst case scenario - they never leave and never change.

And btw - change for an NPD does NOT mean they become 'normal'. It means they become more aware of their issues and take the time to think about how others feel.

Many NPDs are very attached to an animal (a pet). This is because NPD is a protection disorder. A pet will not hurt you, or judge you, so a pet is safe.

NPDs are really people to be pitied. They are the way they are because of extreme pain as a young child. They are buried in there, afraid and filled with self loathing. Do NOT mistake this for meaning you should stay, particularly with someone with an extreme case. You cannot win, they view your pity as weak, and they will destroy you eventually.

Think of them like King Kong. Yes, what happened to King Kong was sad - kidnapped, alone, desperate. A very easy target to feel sympathy for. However, if you go into the cage to try and help, you will be killed.

movingforward13 posted 12/24/2013 11:54 AM

To answer your question, no you can not reconcile with an NPD.

He feels remorse, but I think it's for himself if that makes sense. He wishes he could take it back, hates what he did. But I think that's because it makes him feel bad about himself. I don't think he feels bad for me or what I've gone through. He even said in MC once that if I were more emotionally and physically available, he wouldn't have felt urge to cheat. Then at a different MC, he was asked why I should stay with him after all of his infidelity. He said because of all the things he's done for me and all the sacrifices he's made for me.

This isn't remorse. It is regret. Regret is him upset with the outcome of the choice he made. Remorse is when he sees how it affects you and tries to repair you.
Not only that he is blame shifting... Nothing you did should have brought him to the decision of cheating. If he wasn't happy with you, he could have divorced you, brought you to counseling, talking to you... Anything but bringing a third person into your relationship, treating you like shit and hurting you. He clearly hasn't owned this and you would be a very wise woman to serve him divorce papers.

PhantomLimb posted 12/24/2013 13:25 PM

My XWS is very much like solus sto's and painfulpast's description really, really, really rings true for NPDs.

It really came home for me when, after DDay, he started sending me all kinds of texts that said things like "This is the saddest day I can remember" or "I am sorry I couldn't be better to you and I'm sorry I can't be better for you know." It was all "I" feel this and "I" wish that. I pointed out to him at one point that, throughout the whole process, he never asked me once how I was or what I was thinking or feeling. He paused a really long time and said "I know I damaged you." That was it!

At that point he was in IC but not getting a thing out of it, except excuses to avoid blaming himself.

When I pushed him for R, he raged at me and became abusive and violent. So others are correct that you are playing with fire with an NPD.

When I S and walked away, I assumed he'd realize life wasn't as good without me and he'd come back. And, from what I hear, he was transferred to a job he didn't want and generally has been acting crazy. Other people he works with have called me crying saying they need to talk to me about him. I just block them and maintain NC. It sounds to me like things aren't great-- but instead of coming back, he's NCed ME!

I'm sorry I can't give you a more optimistic response.

solus sto posted 12/24/2013 16:23 PM

A true NPD is not 'wired' differently.
I vehemently disagree, as do many experts. And, really, your description of the "not normal" thought patterns contradicts this statement, as well.

I do think, however, that many people we blithely refer to as "NPD" here do, in fact, have the ability to change.

Not because NPD is amenable to change, but because they are not NPD.

Kalliopeia posted 12/25/2013 08:38 AM

He looks like he is stuck in a long stage of denial. It will probably take a real shake up to break that cycle.

And I agree, a true narc will never be someone who you can have a relationship with that involves true intimacy, etc. A narc has a public mask, and behind it is a well into something really dark and reptilian that you don't want sinking it's fangs into and sucking your life force out of you.

And if you think that sounds dramatic.. there are people here who can tell you it's the simple truth.

[This message edited by Kalliopeia at 8:39 AM, December 25th (Wednesday)]

Lola7 posted 12/25/2013 08:58 AM

Sent you a PM.

painfulpast posted 12/25/2013 09:16 AM

I vehemently disagree, as do many experts. And, really, your description of the "not normal" thought patterns contradicts this statement, as well.

By 'wired' I mean wired in the way a Sociopath is wired - actually having parts of the brain that are inactive. To me, that's 'wired'. A narcissist is a product of environment, not genetics, and all experts agree on that.

I'm not here to argue, truly. NPDs, if the are not extreme on the scale, can see their problems, because the 'right wiring' is in there, it's just buried. In extreme cases, I agree, and stated, there is probably no hope. It's too deep and too engrained.

And I agree that most here are not NPD. Most in As act like NPDs because anyone can have a bout of selfishness, and cruelty at anyone trying to end that. It's human nature. That isn't NPD, that's an asshole.

I lived with someone for 6 years who was court ordered to go to counseling. Not sure why but he decided not to 'play' with the counselor. After about 6 months, he was diagnosed. He didn't care, and after about 8 months of studying what this was and talking with his psychiatrist, I left. He was too extreme, per his psychiatrist, and the craziness and abuse was never going to stop.

The comments I have made regarding those that are not extreme are paraphrased from that psychiatrist's comments to me. Those not extreme can change.

Please don't take this to mean they can be 'normal'. It means they can learn some empathy. To do this they need to admit they have a 'cover personality' and let some painful acts reach the real them, and then not cover it. They must want this, and work for it. Doing so can help break more of the NPD characteristics.

Also based on what he told me - an NPD changing won't happen simply because they want it to. It takes some pretty intense counseling. It takes continually getting to what caused the NPD and getting them to feel the pain that caused it.

If, as many books say, overindulging a child can lead to narcissism, maybe they can't change. I really don't understand how spoiling someone can cause a complete empathy void, but that's what they say. If the NPD is caused by overindulging, then they probably can't be helped at all, because there is no pain to get to - only memories of being told they were the greatest.

Solus, I am NOT discounting your experience, at all. I am certain that you are very knowledgable on the subject, and also that you experienced great pain because of your first hand experience.

NPD people are cruel, and frightening. They can become violent easily, and the rage is the stuff nightmares are made of. Facial distortions, red eyes, never ending cruelty, violence, terror, etc. It is NOT a normal outburst, even by those that have anger issues. It is scary.

The best advice anyone can get, if they are dealing with a true narcissist, is to just get out. Even if they say they want to change, it is very well a lie. They will charm you back, as always, and they may even schedule the therapy. But like all NPDs, they will probably toy with the doctor, and you, and when you feel a bit safer and start opening your heart again, they will crush you all over again.

Leaving is truly the best advice. If anyone took my first post as a glimmer of hope or a reason to stay, it was NOT meant to be that. It was simply me spouting what I know on the subject. Most do not want to change, and won't.

They say that about 1 person in 25 suffers from NPD (the same stat, btw, as sociopaths). If this is true, how many out of 100 NPDs do you think want change? Not many. This is because admitting one has NPD is admitting they are flawed, and that is exactly what the NPD is covering - any flaws, the real them, the flawed them. So you're asking someone that has buried themselves for almost all of their lives to suddenly take off that cover and examine themselves. It won't happen. You will say they have a problem. They will think "Hmmm, maybe I do." Immediately, that will change to "No, SHE has the problem. Just because she's weak and I can control the situation doesn't mean I have a problem. It means she does." or some other cover. They do not want to admit they have flaws. You cannot get most people that won't admit they have flaws to actively work to correct a flaw.

Again, just leave. You will save yourself years of heartache, confusion, fear and manipulation. I know you want to believe that the person is really good, and that the person they were when you first met, where you could do no wrong and they had never felt that way before, is in there. They are not. That was an act. They believed you were the one, and then they 'devalued' you, and that is that.

All of their ex's were crazy. You're different. They were unstable and crazy. Really? And he was with them why?

He will say the same for you to the next person. Just let him. The reason everyone was crazy is because he made them that way, just as he's doing to you.

Again, leave.

[This message edited by painfulpast at 9:44 AM, December 25th (Wednesday)]

painfulpast posted 12/25/2013 09:32 AM

I would like to add something here:

As solus stated, many here are flippantly called 'npd' because they are behaving in disgusting ways. Again, anyone can act NPD for a time.

Please consider their behavior throughout your marriage, not just since the A. Please consider how they think of others (or don't) and some of the things they've said that made you stop in your tracks. If this behavior is something that the A has brought out, you most likely do NOT have a true narcissist. You have a cheating asshole. Sorry - but that's what you have.

A great book to read if you're new to the subject is "The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists". It's straight forward, doesn't use a lot of technical terms, and gives some really good advice (to leave).

To anyone dealing with a narcissist, or a cheating asshole, I'm so sorry you find yourself here, dealing with such a person.

TheAgonyOfIt posted 12/25/2013 10:12 AM

It is possible to stay married to a person with NPD qualities.
Others here have explained, extremely well, the likelihood for change.
If you want to stay married, then you will have to decide that whatever he offers you is worth your having to commit to having zero expectations of him. That he won't be there for you. That he will lie whenever he needs to. That he will do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it, and will not consider, much less care, about your feelings. That it will be all about him, all the time. That you will nnever be able to discuss anything with the goal toward resolution because he cannot have a normal back and forth discussion, and somewhere in there will likely feel criticized and punish you.

I could go on and on, and on.

When I finally realized the my WSs npd traits, I was/am extremely sad. I still find it slightly bewildering. But I also am disgusted by him. It's actually disgusting to see, now that my eyes are wide open, a person show how utterly insensitive he is to others in so, so many ways and have zero, I mean zero, clue . I also really feel sorry for him because I know he's also in great psychic pain. But you know, it's like a criminal or a kid with a gun who's in so much pain that they lash out. We might feel some sorrow for the criminal or murderer; after all he was once someone's baby. But we still lock him up because he's dangerous.

Npd spectrum people are dangerous. Truly. Their normal way of behaving is abusive emotionally, and even if they are not physically abusive, if they one day carelessly bring to you an Std, then the abuse becomes physical as well.

You can stay married, but take R off the table. And expect to be treated badly. Really badly

allyk2014 posted 12/25/2013 10:31 AM

My wh is a narcissist. I researched the topic after being told here. He was a charmer, lied his way to my heart, everything was wonderful until we married and his true colors began showing. He became hot/cold, cruel, mentally abusive, and needed constant attention from other women. Whenever I would discover his cheating ways and question him, he would become enraged, even physically abusive. I was always walking on eggshells. He seemed to get some kind of pleasure out of making me cry and hurting me with words. Whenever I would have enough and ask for a D, it got out of control, followed by a week or two of flowers, cards, wining/dining and me getting sucked back in. It was like a pattern until I finally kicked him out when he refused to give up his year long EA (he said he did, but I discovered it went underground).

We've been separated since Oct. He was amazing in the beginning, taking me out on dates and wanting to reconnect. He swore he gave her up, but as time went on, he can't hide his true colors. He would have these fits every few weeks, fight for days, accuse ME of cheating as he did throughout our M, I would decide I'm done, and the pattern continues. He text me yesterday to go be happy with whoever I'm with (he accused me of cheating all day because I didn't go to his place and take care of him while he was sick) and he will as well. On Christmas Eve. I was up all night crying. I can guarantee by Monday, he will be sending love texts, as i think he picks these fights to be with AP.. either that or insecurity and attention.

It is so hard to leave a narcissist because they are never at fault. They make us believe it is us. I don't know how extreme your H is. I wish I could give you a hug IRL. I'm so sorry you're hurting too.

ISPIFFD posted 12/25/2013 10:41 AM

Anyone successfully reconcile with narcissistic pd ws?

I couldn't. Three years of False R and I finally (FINALLY) realized nothing was ever going to change. It was still all my fault, everything that was wrong was somehow my doing or my lacking.

I remember asking WH what he was working on in IC, stupidly thinking it would be how to fix himself. Ha! He said, "We're trying to figure out how to make me happy." Really?! All that pain, the As and ONSs, and trolling dating sites, and he thought the main problem was still that he wasn't happy enough.

I truly don't think there's any way to R with that mentality. Even now, 2.5 years post divorce, he's still trying to convince me how wonderful he is and how I made a huge mistake by filing. Wow.

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