Miserable in a Marriage to a Covert Narcissist – Content by Renee Swanson (This Content Can Help Single Adults Too) – Complementarians Push People to Stay in Toxic Marriages Like This One
This post has been edited to add more material
It would be nice if more psychologists, therapists and lay persons wrote articles or blog posts from the vantage of how things affect single adults, but that’s not always the case.
As you know from my blog, I am a never married, middle-aged adult. Yet, I still find some content about marriage helpful in navigating or understanding my relationships with family members and friends.
This lady, Renee Swanson, has a blog, several social media channels, and a podcast about having been married to a Covert (Vulnerable) Narcissist for 21 years – in my opinion, based on what she’s written, her husband is not only a Covert Narcissist but displays elements of what is called Neglectful Narcissism (more on that below).
It looks to me as though some of Swanson’s accounts have not been updated in two or so years, but the content is still quite helpful and illuminating.
I’m going to excerpt a few of her blog posts below.
I want you to note that contrary to what extreme marriage (and parenthood and nuclear family) promoters have to say, that marriage (and parenthood, etc), does not necessarily make a person happy, safe, and secure, as Renee Swanson’s content once again demonstrates.
The person you marry, should you marry, can end up being emotionally, sexually, financially, or physically controlling, negligent, or irresponsible.
There are some personality disorders for which there is no cure, and for which the disorder is largely impervious to therapy.
Which means, should you marry someone with one of those disorders, such as severe pathological narcissism, your partner is never going to change or get better, no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, or how much you do for them, love them, or pray for them.
I think that the Christian gender complementarian interpretation of the Bible is incorrect on many topics, but certainly in regards to divorce.
Many complementarian persons, churches, denominations, and pastors believe that the Bible never allows for divorce, including in cases of physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse.
Such anti-divorce, complementarian churches and pastors frequently mistakenly teach people (usually women) who are married to abusers to simply submit more to their spouse, and that will make the mistreatment stop. Such pastors, churches, etc, are entirely ignorant about personality disorders and abuse dynamics.
If these complementarian, anti-divorce clowns spent any time at all looking up information on abuse dynamics or personality disorders, they would learn soon enough that there is nothing another person can do to fix, change, or heal an abusive or toxic person – and the spouse sure won’t be able to do it.
I’ve never married, but I’ve had family members, co-workers, bosses, friends, and acquaintances display presence of disorders or toxic behaviors, and no matter how kind and loving I was to those persons, it didn’t get their abuse of me to stop.
In each case, I either had to limit contact with the toxic person, or cut them out of my life entirely. The same should be true of marriage – you may have to limit contact with your toxic spouse (grey rocking or yellow rocking), or divorce the person.
The following blog post by Renee (the second one featured below, particularly) accurately explains many family and friendship relationships I’ve had over the course of my life.
I used to be extremely Codependent until a few years ago, and during the time I was Codependent, I often attracted Vulnerable Narcissists, or self absorbed, perpetually angry (or depressed) people, who would contact me mainly to complain to me about their problems, where they’d expect me to just listen and give empathy, something I did for many people for many years, and it left me mentally exhausted.
And those who used me as their “Free Therapist” rarely did anything to work on their own problems or their own mental health.
Such persons preferred to take their frustration, disappointment, pain, or anger in life, and phone or text me about it, and make their pain my pain.
It’s as though some of them wanted me to handle or carry their inner pain for them, so they wouldn’t have to face it or carry it themselves. But no person can do that for another person. It’s something we must each do for ourselves.
And the people dumping all their pain or anger in life on me very rarely (or never) allowed me to discuss MY pain or MY frustrations in life with THEM.
When you are a people pleaser, an emotional dependent, a Codependent, or an empath with no boundaries, you will often end up in these unfair friendships (or marriages), where you’re meeting the needs of the perpetually wounded or disordered person, but they generally refuse to meet your needs in return.
(Link): The Narcissist’s Constant Victim Role
by Renee Swanson
Covert narcissists are constant victims. Everyone has done them wrong. Everyone has injured their precious ego at some point or another.
The whole world is responsible for their anger, negativity, lack of initiative, lack of motivation, and even their lack of empathy. From the tiniest injury to the grandest, the narcissist continues to be the never-ending victim.
This causes all relationships with the narcissist to be strained and exhausting.
When the narcissist plays the victim so well, it leaves you with two roles in life. You are either the therapist or the enemy. You are either the rescuer or the perpetrator.
The trouble is that healthy people do not want to play these roles with their loved ones.
Your Role as a Therapist
Healthy individuals recognize that they cannot serve as a rescuer to their parent, spouse, adult child, friend, boss, etc. When a person is constantly relying on your approval and validation in order to feel good about themselves, this is not a healthy situation.
You are not helping them or yourself. You are not their therapist and should not serve as such. They need to be working on their own problems on their own, just as you should be with yours.
… Your Role As Enemy
… That peace, however [that you get from constantly apologizing to the Covert Narcissist], will be short-lived. There are not enough apologies in the world to satisfy the victim role of a narcissist.
Their pain comes from within, and yet they constantly look for external reasons and external solutions. Those solutions will NEVER be good enough. To stop being the perpetrator, you have to set your own boundaries and walk away.
— end excerpts —
You’ll note in this next blog post, excerpted below, how being married to this Covert Narcissist of hers, whom she refers to as Steven (not his real name) for 21 years did not bring this lady any joy or peace.
She does say in other podcasts or blog posts, and I think maybe this one, that there were a few moments of happiness with her husband here and there, but ultimately, her spouse would display his sullen, entitled, insensitive nature the majority of the time.
The thing about abusive or toxic people is that they are rarely abusive or toxic 100% of the time.
Abusive or toxic individuals have moments or days where they can be fun, loving, or considerate – so, you end up thinking the relationship is not so bad; it’s intermittent reinforcement (which I believe plays a role in “trauma bonding,” or is the basis of it) – that combined with fear and false hope can keep someone stuck in a terrible relationship for years.
Remember, just because your toxic or abusive person (family member, spouse, friend, whoever it is) occasionally acts nicely towards you, or treats you to a lovely dinner on your birthday, gifts you with a wonderful vacation or a ruby necklace, or whatever nice gesture or gift
– does not excuse or make-up for the rest of the relationship, where they are constantly invalidating you, neglecting you, nit picking you, overtly abusing you, or exploiting you!
Narcissists are known for “Love Bombing” their victims. You will waste years of your life on this person, longing to “bring back” the nice, sweet, kind funny version of them that they first put on display when you were first dating (or befriending) them, but that was a fake persona. It was never genuine.
The person who chronically invalidates or who ignores you now is the “real” them.
You’re never (permanently) getting back to that fake “nice, charming, loving” version of them again, unless they sense you are going to dump them, in which case, they will temporarily put on the “nice guy” (or the “I’m a poor, helpless victim in life, please help me, rescue me”) mask again (called “hoovering“) to “breadcrumb” you. Don’t fall for it.
(Link): How the Covert Narcissist Plays Rejection, Abandonment, and Abuse
Excerpts (you should read her ENTIRE post, not just the portion below):
by Renee Swanson
My marriage lasted almost 21 years. For most of these years, I convinced myself and the world that I had the perfect marriage. We were simply great together.
There was no other option available. The mind is powerful and can do amazing things. I truly believed that it was a match made in heaven and that he was perfect for me.
…Besides we had some really good days in between these outbursts. So I swept it under the rug every time and continued to believe that our marriage was great and wonderful.
Ever so slowly, my eyes started opening. …
Continue reading “Miserable in a Marriage to a Covert Narcissist – Content by Renee Swanson – Complementarians Push People to Stay in Toxic Marriages Like This One (This Content Can Help Single Adults Too)”
You must be logged in to post a comment.