Written by Megan Holgate, Divorce & Narcissistic Recovery Coach
I wrote this book after hearing the same story over and over again-- spouses who thought that their wife or husband was the ideal partner, until the soul-crushing moment that they finally realized their relationship had deteriorated into a living hell.
The big issue? They had no idea what happened. I have met too many men in the throes of separation or divorce who cannot comprehend how their partner has evolved into a person whom they no longer recognize. Their ex’s sole objective is to destroy them, financially and emotionally, with the most painful act of all: affecting the relationship with their children.
My book exposes a hidden secret that needs to be brought to light: the damage that female narcissists wreak not only on their ex-partner, but the life-long damage they inflict on their children.
I can write about this with authority as I too was married and discarded by a narcissist. He fit the classic archetype. A charming, good-looking Chief Financial Officer of a Global Investment Bank who wore Saville Row suits, lived on airplanes and made many people’s lives miserable. But I never thought that one of the people whose lives he would destroy would be my own, particularly during our divorce. He is the prime example we all read about. However, what we are not hearing about, until now, is the female narcissist. They too may be CEO’s in perfectly tailored power suits, but they are equally as likely to be a stay at home mom, happily raising picture-perfect children. Behind her façade of perfection lies a controlling, manipulative, cunning, and devious human who needs to be exposed.
The relationship usually begins the same way, with an abundance of love and affection. The “honey moon period” as it’s sometimes called. You feel like you have won the lottery because you have found your dream woman. Someone who is perfectly in tune with your beliefs and dreams. Sadly, this is all a façade that the narcissist continues to uphold (since narcissists are the best performers), until they have you bewitched by their spell.
When they have you securely tied down by marriage, the façade begins to be exposed for what is really is, until eventually you arrive at your wit’s end. Hopefully, with a bit of my help, you will understand the reason your mind feels so twisted is because your partner is a narcissist.
That realization is similar to having the light switched back on after years of living in the dark. A million unanswered questions swirling in your mind will finally make sense. Her mask has slipped off, and the behavior you are experiencing is her true self.
Signs that Your Partner is a Narcissist:
- Nothing ever makes her happy or satisfied. Whether it’s a new house, car, beautiful jewelry, she is never content.
- She uses sex as a weapon to manipulate and control you to get what she wants.
- She is a pathological liar.
- She constantly manipulates you to ensure she gets her way at the cost of your happiness.
- She hates your friends and family and has nearly succeeded in isolating you from most of them.
- She is overly controlling , insists on always knowing where you are, what you are doing, and who you are with 24/7.
- Her jealousy is unmatched.
What can truly make you crazy is your partner’s unstable behavior. Her personality and mood swings in the blink of an eye. She molds herself into whatever the occasion requires to the point where you don’t even know who she truly is or ever was.
That’s because she is a narcissist.
Who would have thought that your wife telling you that you are “hopeless at everything, not good enough, pathetic, and crazy,” is actually abuse? It’s systematic, planned, and continual abuse to make you feel inadequate.
When you are in a relationship with a narcissist, over time you will lose your ability to speak up. You don’t intend for this to happen, yet it does. Staying silent and not retaliating against your partner is the only way to appease them and to avoid the possibility of another confrontation or further conflict.
You don’t realize in the moment, or maybe ever, that this behavior is a form of abuse. A common misconception is that emotional and psychological abuse is not as harmful as physical violence. However, there are scientific facts to disprove this. Physical injuries typically heal, whereas our mind is a different matter.
Your partner’s abuse has the ability to manipulate your mind to the point where you begin to question your own thoughts. Their pathological lying has you second-guessing your every word and action. You know something is not right, as your relationship has changed beyond recognition, and you can’t understand why.
What is a narcissist?
The term “narcissist” is the common term most people use to describe a person who may have a clinical diagnoses called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), as defined in what’s known as the “Bible of Psychiatric Disorders,” the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5).
One important factor to understand is that your partner was not born a narcissist, unlike sociopaths or some other personality disorders. Narcissists are created often as a result of some childhood trauma. They use narcissism as a coping mechanism to protect themselves from the possibility of being hurt. In their eyes, it is them against the world.
The ability to focus on anybody else’s needs aside from their own is simply too intense and frightening for them to even contemplate. Narcissists are inherently insecure, driven by profound vulnerability from the hurt they have experienced, creating a world of fear they live within. The narcissist philosophy in its most basic form is, “It’s all about me.”
Causes of Narcissism
In my extensive research on narcissists, I found these to be the most common causes:
- Emotional, sexual, or physical abuse, although not all narcissists have experienced abuse
- Ineffective parenting or perceived ineffective parenting
- Learned behavior from parents
Classifying Narcissistic Personality Disorder
The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) includes the following features:
- Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
- Expecting to be seen as superior, even without achievements that warrant it.
- Exaggerating their achievements and talents.
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty, or the perfect mate.
- Believing that they are superior and can only be understood by or associated with equally special people.
- Requiring constant admiration.
- Having a sense of entitlement.
- Taking advantage of others to get what they want.
- Being envious of others and believing that others envy you.
- Behaving in an arrogant manner.
Please note, your partner does not need to have all the behavioral patterns listed above to be a narcissist. Only one of the criteria might resonate with you.
A narcissist’s behavior can make you feel a variety of emotions. The most common you may be experiencing are:
- Worthlessness: You never do anything right in her eyes.
- Confusion: The rapid changes in your partner’s personality are unusual. Her behavior has shifted from being attentive, affectionate, supportive, and kind, to distant, cruel, and devious.
- Unsound: Your partner’s pathological lying has you unsure of what to believe. Her ability to look you straight in the eye and question your accusations when you have called her bluff is baffling.
If and when you decide to leave your narcissistic partner, brace yourself for impact. Regardless if the break-up is due to their bad behavior or multiple affairs, according to them it will be all your fault!
I truly hope my words have given you affirmation. My intention is not to pour salt over an open wound, but to help you understand that you are not going crazy! You are simply in a relationship with a narcissist. One cold, hard fact is that she will never change. She will never revert to the loving, kind, and adorable woman you fell in love with. That was a façade to trap you in her spell, which worked. Believe me when I tell you that the woman you are dealing with today is her true self.
What To Do If Your Partner Is A Narcissist
If you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist, here are a few tips you can use to navigate this uncharted territory:
1. Don’t tell her or anybody that she is a narcissist.
Recognizing that your partner is a narcissist is the first step toward regaining your life back. It is important to keep this insight to yourself. Use this information to remain one step ahead of her in her games, particularly when it comes to your children if you have them. If she catches on, she will attempt to hurt and manipulate you in any way she can.
It is important to schedule a meeting with a lawyer to understand the custodial arrangements for your children and the financial aspects of separation. At this stage in the process, you should talk to a lawyer to understand your rights in relation to your children and finances. If you do decide to leave, I can only recommend you hire the best that you can afford. This is truly one of the most important investments in your future. If the lawyer fees are daunting, consider the ROI (Return on the Investment) on your life.
3. Audit all assets, bank accounts, mortgages & credit cards.
Complete a comprehensive audit of your finances, familiarize yourself with every bank account, mortgage, debt, and anything else associated with your finances. You should take copies of the status of all accounts prior to leaving again for your financial security.
4. Document your relationship.
As your relationship nears its end, your narcissistic partner’s behavior will likely escalate from bad to worse. If your narcissistic partner senses that you are going to leave, or when you do, they will frequently accuse you of gross dishonesty. Normally this would not bother you, but when it’s documented and can affect your custody of your children, it really matters.
As your relationship deteriorates, ensure you are documenting everything, and I mean everything. Clearly state the facts, the time and place, and most importantly the actual event in as much detail as possible. Make sure you record the following as part of your documentation:
- Abusive behaviors
- Threatening statements that have been made
- Explanations of any confrontations between the two of you.
Note: remember to focus on actual statements and behaviors and avoid opinions or interpretations.
5. Copy all important documents.
Your partner may be extremely vindictive when you decide to leave, withholding information and important documents. Taking these necessary precautions will save you time, stress, and money because you won’t have to involve your lawyer to obtain these documents. I am not here to lecture you, I am here to simply state the facts in black and white. My hope from the bottom of my heart is that you make decisions that are in your best interest to live your best life. A life that is free from any narcissist and where the possibilities are limitless.
About the Author
Megan Holgate lives in Sydney, Australia
Following her 25-year career in the financial markets of London, Hong Kong & Sydney, at a time of immense pain, on the brink of losing her only child at 18 to Anorexia, 7 years after she had buried her ex-husband from a brain tumor, Megan quit her corporate life, and moved to Byron Bay, a beautiful coastal town in Australia, where her daughter was receiving treatment.
She knew this was part of her life’s journey, to do everything possible to support her daughter’s life and death battle. At the darkest point in her life, Megan found her true purpose – helping others to divorce and recover from a relationship with a narcissist, as she had. This was six years ago, and since then Megan has written three books, all on Narcissists.
Megan is a Writer, Author, Speaker, and a Divorce & Narcissistic Recovery Coach.
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