A lot of attention goes to the narcissist when it comes to research and writing. There are literally so many articles and books about narcissistic husbands (roughly 75 percent of narcissists are men) that you could not read them all in a lifetime. More are being written every day. Why?
Because there are a lot of narcissists out there and there is a lot to be said about them.
But did you ever wonder why some people get into relationships with narcissists and others don’t? Have you considered that many women who leave narcissistic relationships get right back into them with another person?
Your Role as a Narcissistic Extension
While the signs of a narcissist are pretty obvious once you know what they are it is more difficult to see the symptom of the narcissistic extension, which is basically the co-dependent in the relationship. This person is the focus of the narcissist’s abuse and, deep down in her spirit, feels that somehow she is to blame for his actions.
If I was prettier…
If I was smarter…
If I was sexier…
If I was thinner…
If I was more talented…
You see, the narcissist suffers from delusions of a sort, assuming things that aren’t true, but the narcissistic extension also believes things that aren’t true. The difference is that they both believe that it is the narcissistic extension’s fault no matter what “it” is. She will carry the blame for everything from the loss of his job to his latest affair and everything in between.
Your role as a narcissistic extension is to be the scapegoat, diverting all of his sins away from him as efficiently as the picture in the novel, Portrait of Dorian Gray. You are also the source of his energy, the supply of admiration and affirmation that he needs to feed on like the emotional vampire that he is. When you are the scapegoat your life is miserable beyond belief but it is broken up by those moments of ecstasy when he is feeding off of your admiration and you feel like the center of the universe.
It’s interesting to note that many horror story authors describe the victim of a vampire as having intense moments of ecstasy, as her blood is being drained from her. So intense are these moments that they become addictive and the victim allows herself to be used as a supply until the last drop of blood is gone and she has nothing left to give.
You're Part of the Pattern
Even though the narcissist’s actions are not your fault (repeat after me, they are not my fault) you do play a part in his melodrama. You are part of the pattern and it will be hard to stay away from narcissists until you understand how you enable their existence.
The Trophy Wife Pattern
I tease my new husband all the time that I just want to be his Trophy Wife. I just want to be arm candy without having to think about anything at all except which shoes to wear with which dress.
While it is funny in my situation now it can be sadly true in a narcissistic relationship. This is usually the first part of the cycle. You are treated as an object to make him look good whether it is by your looks, your social contacts, or your social abilities. You don’t have to think for yourself because your entire existence is for the sole purpose of making him look good.
Don’t think that it’s just the outward things he’s looking for either. If you have an ability that he can use to further himself you fit into the Trophy Wife part of the pattern. You begin to slowly exchange the idea that you have value for the idea that you have value for what you do for him/how you make him feel.
Here’s the thing, though. You can never fill that black hole inside of him. Your ability, or talent, or looks may make him feel good for a time but soon you’ll find that rather than affirming you he is criticizing you for the very thing he valued so much before. At some point you will be devalued, become not good enough, and in order to save your marriage you’ll more than likely slip more and more into the martyr part of the role.
Avoid this by keeping a guard on your own feelings. Remember that you can’t make him happy or angry but the he has to take responsibility for his own emotions. Learn to love and affirm people in a healthy way without allowing yourself to be made into an object.
The Martyr Pattern
One of your roles as a narcissistic extension is to pay attention to his needs, even to the neglect of your own. Many of us are good at that. We are moms and we sometimes get the mindset that our needs are last on the list whether it’s a need for clothing or a need for an afternoon off. The narcissistic extension is the one that has one, frayed bra held together with a safety pin while the narcissist is buying $100.00 designer ties.
You try to regain your importance in his life by being more and more of a servant.
Here’s a newsflash – your needs are just as important as the narcissist’s. If you are constantly putting your own desires aside to enable the narcissist to get what he wants you are doing yourself a disservice and allowing him to continue in his narcissistic pattern.
Avoid this pattern by making your own needs just as important as his. Don’t be the one that constantly give up things so he can have the things he wants.
The Inevitable Fate of the Narcissistic Extension
Once you are no longer acceptable as a trophy wife and have nothing left to give as the martyr you will be dropped. He will have someone else within short period of time if he doesn’t already have someone waiting for him. Fidelity is not one of the narcissist’s strong points.
If you recognize that you have been a narcissist’s extension, the supplier of his needs in one way or another, and feel that you have been literally sucked dry and have nothing left, then it’s time to take steps to make sure that you don’t go there again.
Talk to a counselor and join First Wives World for support, advice, and understanding.
Lead Image Courtesy of Flickr's Creative Commons, User: Josemanuelerre