Why I Refuse to Call My Ex Husband a Covert Narcissist

17 Responses

  1. tywood12 says:

    Reblogged this on My New Life.

  2. muecker202 says:

    Wowzers. I thought I was bad.

  3. Pete Deakon says:

    This is pretty great, but you’re missing the most important reason to not use the label. Unless I’m mistaken (totally possible), you’re not a mental health professional, nor is the DSM a book meant to be read/used by us lay-folk. A friend of mine always uses the phrase “some people are educated beyond their intelligence”. I think that applies here. It looks like a dictionary, and maybe reads like one, but the subject matter is grave enough that there is a special gateway (degrees/professional training/demonstrated ability) in order to know how to use it. And even then, if the US Government didn’t make lasting financial and legal decisions based on its profound labels, the DSM might get lost in the shuffle.


  4. stilllearningtotrust says:

    Again, Lisa, I applaud you for rising above…..a very difficult task at best.

  5. laurafshack says:

    This is all very nice, and touchy-feely – but misguided. Feeling sorry for your abuser is exactly what your abuser wants. It results in an imprisoned life – in my case 35 years. It is not good advice to feel sorry for someone who ultimately doesn’t give a damn about you.

    • In my case, feeling compassion for him (different than feeling sorry for him) released me from the anger and victim mindset.

      • Anonymous says:

        I get it, I really do. But for someone who is still trapped in an abusive relationship, this is a dangerous path to continue to walk down. Once free of the relationship, sure, go for it – but while still in, all that it does is to prolong the agony. I know that my ex has serious emotional problems that he continually took out on me, and I let him – because of compassion.
        I also have a problem with the term victim suddenly becoming a four letter word. Any of us who have gone through this situation have been victimized – that’s just the reality of it. It’s so okay to feel like an injustice was done – because it was. It’s not as simple as all of this “Just move on, just move on!” Eventually people heal – but ti has to be on their own timeline – not everyone else’s.

  6. My husband shows all the classic signs of NPD. I came across an exchange he had with his best friend on a Facebook post. Since we’ve separated, he seems to be blaming our financial trouble during our 11 years together as my fault. He went so far as to say I was manipulative and controlled his thoughts. Meanwhile, for the past 11 years, I’ve been told I was worthless, good for nothing, lazy, a bitch and made to believe I was difficult to live with. He has told other people this over the years. Unfortunately, due to my depression and anxiety, people believed him. It’s easy to believe that I was lazy when I slept most of the day, even though it was a symptom of depression. As time went on my anxiety became an issue in regards to working. It cost me quite a few jobs. All of the things he said about me were manifested through my mental illness. Looking back, there was a lot of gaslighting and manipulation from him. He used subtle tactics to control me. Once he realized that I couldn’t be controlled anymore, he decided to divorce me. Then, his campaign to make me seem like an unfit mother began. Once again, he used my mental health against me. But I’m fighting back. I refuse to let him have control over me. He is a narcissist and I refuse to be his victim anymore.

  7. Sasha says:

    The past is gone

  8. Michelle says:

    Thank you for finally putting words to what I have come to think. That word has lost its true meaning (sadly for those who are clinically diagnosed.) I also refuse to label him. He just is who he is.

  9. Jerrica says:

    So, if you suspected your ex fit the diagnosis but choose not to label, would you use the recommended no contact/gray rock response if he showed up months/years later with what you suspect is a manipulative testing email (or, hoover) claiming to love you and need help? What if he claimed he wanted to kill himself? Or would you reach out and respond normally?

    • I would respond based on the situation. If someone is threatening suicide in an attempt to manipulate, they are not presenting “normally,” so it it doesn’t suggest a “normal” response. Boundaries and protecting yourself always makes sense.

      I think labels can be helpful in giving us strategies in how to respond in situations like these. I think they can also limit if we don’t allow for flexibility and/or adaptation if the situation changes.

      In my situation, I think substance abuse had a lot to do with my ex’s lies and decisions. If (and I hope this never happens!), he reached out and was sober, there may be the potential for an actual conversation. That being said, I would always be on high alert with him because I know of his history of deception.

  1. July 10, 2016

    […] For great reads I frequent Lisa Arends’ blog, Lessons from the End of a Marriage and in doing so came across her decision not to label her ex-husband a narcissist.  You can read her view on the matter here “Why I Refuse to Call My Ex-Husband a Narcissist”. […]

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