In the twenty years that I have been in the ministry of spiritual direction/spiritual counseling, I have journeyed with many men and women who have survived abusive relationships, including being married to a narcissist. This essay is for you!
Nobody warns you of the consequences of being married to an abuser. The price, I have learned, is nothing less than your Soul. The voice of your inner truth – silenced. Your hopes and dreams, snuffed out. All the things that make your heart sing, torn from your grasp and crushed under a steel-toed boot. No regard for your hopes and dreams, your needs falling on deaf ears. In the home that you share, there is no room for you, your dreams, your needs, your aesthetics. Instead, the abuser somehow takes up ALL THE SPACE.
The abuser doesn’t care about what you want, who you are, what you might need to thrive, let alone survive – the consideration only of themselves and how you might serve them. A trophy, housekeeper, business manager, bookkeeper, accountant, cook, parent to their children (so they don’t have to parent), sex toy, all under the guise of “loving support,” with nothing there for you. Your dreams, desires, hopes, needs are unimportant you know, as you are only there to serve them. But never, not once, is there a word of gratitude or kindness. Instead, you’re too fat, you’re ugly, frigid and asexual, the house isn’t clean enough, the yard not pretty enough, your clothes aren’t right, your beliefs and dreams are stupid, and how dare you ask for a teenie tiny crumb of anything for yourself and if you dare to ask, you can bet you will be punished.
There really ought to be a diagnosis in the DSM: “survivor of being married to an abuser,” so that there can be some sort of coverage for recovery work and supplemental income while you try to get your life back together – for recovery from these kinds of relationships is akin to trying to survive while walking on the sun.