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I have just been reading your article on Narcissism, and I have a question. I am divorcing my very narcississtic husband of 14 years right now. I never knew exactly what I was dealing with until I realized that his narcissism is actually a personality disorder. I am finally beginning to understand this crazy making abuse that I have lived with for so long. My question is this, in order to get him to sign the temporary divorce papers the way I needed them signed, I had to agree to 12 counseling sessions with him. He still holds out hope of reconcilliation even though he blames me. I have to do this and do not want to get railroaded by a counselor who doesn’t understand this disorder. I have looked and looked on the internet, but can not seem to find anyone in the — area who specializes in narcissistic personality disorder. Would you possibly have anyone in my area that you could reccommend?
Hi K! You will notice that I have made your comment more anonymous because to post an answer I had to approve the comment. No sense in giving too much info. 😉
I am so sorry for your pain. You will need to be very strong during this time. Perhaps it would be helpful for you to have a personal counselor to help keep you on track. I understand the risk you feel with this; but, if you are able to maintain firm boundaries and develop a stronger sense of who you are, you should be able to get through it.
I wish I had better news about a counselor. I know of so few who understand. What I do know is that it will probably not be helpful for you to go into the counseling with your diagnosis of him. I have had therapists simply dismiss my thoughts on narcissism because it wasn’t their own observation. Narcissism, as I have written, is a clinical diagnosis and most professional counselors are fairly stingy with applying it. They seem to be unwilling to acknowledge narcissistic behavior apart from a point-valued classification of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
So, for what it’s worth, my suggestion would be to simply tell what he does and how it makes you feel. If the counselor is competent, he or she will be able to see how your husband either refuses to or is incapable of identifying with your feelings. Lack of empathy is a key component of narcissism. Tell yourself that this is simple endurance. You have twelve sessions to get through. The good news is that you are apart from him the rest of the time. You can re-establish your convictions and build your confidence without his influence.
There is much you have not said, of course. I don’t know how much connection you will have to have with him during this time. Nor do I know anything about your personal faith and where you will find strength. You are welcome to write to me anytime and I will try to answer as quickly as I can.
Also, don’t hesitate to be strong about changing counselors if necessary. You will be accused of all kinds of things, I am sure, but some counselors become part of the problem and you don’t need that. If, after the first or second visit, you are convinced that this person will not be helpful, ask for a change. You will not be breaking your agreement, but you will be protecting yourself.
These are some of my thoughts on your behalf. I will continue to try to find someone, but I don’t know of anyone trained in dealing with narcissists in the — area. My only thought would be to try to find an Exchanged Life counseling office. I have a strong connection with those folks and may be able to help whoever you see.
Please keep in touch. You are welcome to write directly to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. In the meantime, I will be praying for you.
I am so glad I found this site, thank you!