Q: I am married to a man with NPD for 12 years now. It has only been in the past few months that I started reading about NPD, and when I first read descriptions I cried and cried, because he fits them to a T. On the one hand it was thoroughly depressing, because I realize how stuck I am, on the other hand, there was something comforting about thinking of it all as a “disorder” rather than just “I married a jerk” if you know what I mean. So part of my response to all this is self-care, and I’ve decided to go back to school and get a good degree so that I can support myself the rest of my life, it is important that I get a shred of my self-esteem back and have something else to focus on in my life, after staying home to raise the kids and be at his beck and call all these many years. I just got accepted into a prestigious program and need to accept or decline. I so badly want my husbands support in this, because it’s an expensive program that takes 4 years and it’s going to be a big change for us. He did say the mandatory &;quot;congratulations&;quot; but that was the only word, when I insisted we talk about the pros and cons and I told him I wanted to know if I had his support, he just shrugged it off and said, you’re a grown woman, I’m not going to tell you to do it or not do it. Despite knowing what I do about NPD and everything we’ve been through, again and again I’m disappointed and confused. I think of all the other men on the planet who would just celebrate with me, like normal celebration you know? Give me their support and encouragement? Is it so hard to do that just for ten seconds?? Am I crazy for taking this plunge without him actually giving me his support?
A: Congratulations- good for you! Self-care is SO important when you are the spouse of a narcissist. I do hope you choose to “walk the walk” of self-care and DO go back to school and get your degree. It most certainly will increase your confidence and self esteem. No, you are not crazy for taking the plunge without his support- plenty of single people do it. Some married people even do it when their spouse is dead-set against it.You don’t NEED his support; you want it, but you don’t need it. You say you are concerned about the expense of the program…but what price can you put on mental health? It is worth every cent if you can support yourself afterward; that gives you the independence to choose whether or not to stay in the relationship (and so many other choices).
Yes, it IS hard for him to give you 10 seconds of support. That means YOU are in the spotlight and he is not. It will be about YOUR future, not his. I’m afraid you will continue to be disappointed as he is not able to genuinely give you support. He won’t be able to support you when you reach for lofty goals or when you receive accolades; nor will you ever get them from him. However, you might be able to get Some support by “going in the back door” rather than asking for his support. Make your going back to school all about him; focus on the advantages there will be for him. Mention how it will simplify his life or enrich his life. Emphasise to him how proud he’ll be to have an educated, professional wife and how your future income will allow him to get a fancier car (or whatever it is that HE has wanted–not what you need for the house or want as a couple, unless it is a bigger house or something else that HE wants and will benefit from). Good luck with your future endeavours!
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