What a Narcissistic Spouse Taught Me About the President
If you caught my subtitle then you know I like a good pun. But I promise this is not about politics.
If only Donald Trump hadn’t become President. No one would have been the wiser. As a business owner, he remained inconspicuous. His harsh persona recognized as authoritative and influential. He was interpreted as the embodiment of a fierce and powerful professional.
The narcissism veiled by charm, money, and success.
As it so often is.
There are many who find the narcissist irresistible. A magnet of undeniable proportion. And then, there are the others. The disillusioned and the frustrated. The individuals maddened by the world’s inability to recognize the troubling clues.
It is the narcissistic Yin and yang. Both must exist.
The followers which blanket them with admiration and the intuitive who attempt to expose their naked truth.
It matters not whether you are republican or democrat. This is not political. This is about human behavior. It’s about the extreme danger of those who lack critical ‘empathy.’
Ironically, this deficit is what drives their success. It is a ruthlessness which allows them to stampede people and topple organizations. As if they were merely swatting at flies.
The narcissist continues to rise to the top. Because of their callous instincts, and the self-addictive tendencies which feed them.
Most will unintentionally entangle themselves with the narcissist.
Certainly, a nation did.
Further proving what a disconcerting personality disorder it actually is.
No one ever suspecting the cruelty and inhumanity concealed within. By the time it is finally uncovered, a fight for survival has begun. It is extremely difficult to break free from narcissistic clutches.
Especially, if you have unwittingly made the narcissist more powerful.
The majority never saw my ex-husband as anything but funny and disarming. A likable, life of the party, success story. I couldn’t blame them. Neither did I. But there was another side to him.
Still, few would have ever believed me.
Again, I couldn’t blame them because I wrestled with it myself. I was baffled by an otherwise fun and engaging man who was capable of yielding coldness, cruelty, and control.
He was an emotional contradiction. Every narcissist is. The attractive exterior and the crippling interior.
The controlling, manipulative, self-addicted, fragile ego that lacks crucial empathy and can wreak havoc on their intended target.
Had I not divorced my husband no one would have been the wiser. Less the few who were witness to my reality. The majority would have believed this charming and successful man was simply a victim of a marriage gone wrong. A good guy who got a bum deal.
But here’s the thing.
Narcissists expose themselves when they are no longer in a position of power. Their unrestrainable need for control forces them out of hiding. And their ungovernable need to win becomes public.
This is where the narcissistic Yin and yang collide. The once perfectly separate and controllable worlds of the narcissist begin to fall apart. Because now even some of their admirers can detect something is not right.
An alarm is signaled. Perhaps this individual is not who they appear to be. The lack of empathy, manipulation, and control become apparent as the narcissist bullies their way towards the win.
The husband who can no longer control the wife and money. And is capable of stepping far outside emotional, financial, and legal limits.
If Trump had not entered a democracy he would never have exposed himself. Had he stuck to running his own organization most would never have witnessed the unmistakable narcissistic signs.
Narcissists do not play well with others.
They do not like to be told what to do.
Nor will they do anything they do not want to do. They believe they are above the law and they operate outside of typical societal norms and boundaries.
They will dismiss and ignore those around them, in favor of control and winning. Narcissists will behave in any manner they please. Because rules do not apply to them and because they believe they are superior. They operate in their own perception of reality which often makes them untethered to both ‘truth and actual reality.’ They do not care what others think which often makes their behavior egregious and unpredictable.
They will attempt to take down or remove anyone who obstructs their path or their desired outcome. And if they believe an individual has wronged them, they will be unrelenting and punishing.
All of this stems from a lack of empathy.
But unbelievably, there is something which can make a narcissist even more menacing. Allowing them to gain enough power to understand your vulnerabilities. Their highly manipulative nature will capitalize on this to weaken or destroy anyone they feel is a threat.
Even more worrisome?
Their lack of empathy creates essentially one world. Their world. Which means they do not care how damaging the outcome is to others. Even those who haven’t hurt them. They are collateral damage.
The narcissist will rationalize this.
They will weave it within their own perception of the truth. Sure, others suffered, but it was because this other person did the wrong thing.
The blame will never fall upon the narcissist.
The narcissist is incapable of accountability.
Many around them will exhaust and frustrate themselves attempting to hold them responsible. To no avail. These skilled manipulators will always find a way out. They will always have enough admirers to assist them or enablers to excuse them.
It’s difficult to understand narcissism.
And impossible not to recognize it once you’ve experienced it. It’s not a little bit of ego or selfishness. It’s a damaging personality that disguises itself in a nearly harmless manner. At least initially.
If only this disorder presented in an easily comprehensible fashion.
If we could see it coming.
The alcoholic who falls down drunk is understandably digested. It is overt behavior. It’s not that simple with narcissism. It’s not immediately obvious. And sadly, it’s a fairly acceptable personality disorder.
The success excuses extreme behavior.
And narcissists do not seek treatment because they never reach emotional sobriety. The inability to see outside their own world makes it impossible to see in.
Had Donald Trump not become President no one would be the wiser. But divorce and representative democracy will force the narcissist out of hiding.
It will expose the extreme danger of those who lack critical ‘empathy.’ It will flaunt their unrestrainable need for control and their ungovernable need to win.
A serious personality disorder that trumps politics.