When Your Spouse’s Ex is a Narcissist
by childless stepparent
I am not a trained psychologist but I am familiar with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) through personal experience and deep study. I won’t go into details here about NPD except to say that it’s very difficult for children when one of their parents is a narcissist.
Sadly for my husband’s daughter, her mom exhibits many traits of NPD.
I perceived narcissistic tendencies in my husband’s former wife from stories he shared, but once she and I sat down together for a face-to-face conversation, I was certain. Her narcissism is glaring.
I decided to gather some research on NPD and share it with my husband; he immediately recognized his former wife in what he read. The narcissist’s self-centered need for control and constant attention explained his former wife’s behavior. He discovered techniques that help him manage communication with his former wife and support his daughter.
Narcissism is an insidious personality disorder because while those who suffer from it are intensely self-obsessed, they lack genuine self-awareness. They may be pathologically self-absorbed. They may hurt their children in ways they cannot admit much less understand.
But because they lack empathy, narcissists are profoundly alone. They exist in a self-contained world of their own creation, unable to connect with another human being in an authentic way. It’s quite sad.
Her presence may cause a visceral reaction in me, but when thoughts of my husband’s former wife arise, I choose to concentrate on loving-kindness compassion. What a profound reminder: to respond with gentleness to those who harm us.
And now thoughts of her arise less and less and less.
And what I see is a big-hearted husband, a man who is the love of my life: my lover, my intellectual and emotional partner, my spiritual companion, my best friend, a steady source of warmth and laughter in my life. I see his daughter, a good child who loves me and I her. I see my healthy body and mind as I practice yoga and meditation. I see my work in the world bringing benefit to others. I see a beautiful home surrounded by the majesty of mountains. I see magical animals playing in my house and out in the woods. I see funny, smart brothers and sisters. I see talented, interesting, supportive friends. I see art and music and beauty and spirit and love.
I see my life.