In my Manhattan psychotherapy practice working with individuals and couples, many come to the realization that they are involved with or married to a narcissist. As the veil lifts, and they begin to see things more clearly, the clean-up begins. Many of these individuals seem to have charmed lives; idyllic from the outside, but once inside, it looks quite different. What's important to understand is that we are drawn to another for many, often over-determined reasons. The relationship is somehow familiar terrain for us. It's what we know best. Often, it's rooted in an early family dynamic that gets played out again and again. Here is a case example:
A young married woman suspected fairly early into her marriage that her husband was having an affair. There were the usual clumsy clues: the bad-smelling perfume, the hungry-looking marketing girl who anticipated his every need, and the new office rule: no wives at the office holiday party. When confronted, the husband consistently denied his wife's suspicions. The woman knew on some level that she had begun to disappoint her husband. After all, she was a few pounds more than her pre-pregnancy weight and had begun to lose her sparkle. A thin wife was more important than just about anything to him. Narcissists tend to idealize then devalue as a pattern, so it was a fait accompli that the fall would be hard. However, even though she was no longer 25, she was still a beautiful, accomplished and smart woman which made her particularly vulnerable to attracting narcissistic men. The young woman was pregnant when she learned of her husband's affair with his in-house marketing girl. At work events, the other woman was unable to hide that she was the dirty little secret in their now triangulated life. Perhaps she enjoyed or needed this role -- by wooing this man from his beautiful wife and family, she was mastering early trauma or unmet needs. She felt loved and chosen. Special. it's hard to know for sure, but she was a female "mate poacher," as they say. As is often the case, the betrayed spouse is not the only damaged party; the collateral fallout can be tragic. Children's lives can be destroyed.
While the pregnant wife spent her weekends in the park with her son (and in partial denial!), her husband stepped-up his golf game. Apparently,Read More
NYC Online Therapist + Santa Fe Couples and Individual Psychotherapist, Kimberly Seelbrede, MSW, LCSW is a Licensed Psychotherapist, EMDR Therapist, Relationship Expert + Stress/Anxiety Coach who provides Psychological Consultations in-person and online working with individuals and couples. Specialties include: trauma resolution, addictions, anxiety, depression, relationships, creative, VIP + high-profile clients. She enjoys writing, photography, yoga, travel and pie. For more, subscribe to her newsletter or connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Psychology Today, EMDRIA and her personal website www.kimseelbrede.com or blog.