Marrying a Narcissist is the most dangerous thing you can do for your long term health. I wish I knew, what I know now.
In early 2020 I would meet someone from online. After a long year of unsuccessful dating in 2019, I swore to focus on my health and journey on forward. I was tired of the games and already had a long year legal battle—thankfully won—but left me exhausted.
In December 2019, I made a commitment to travel to Japan & Korea. Tickets booked and excited for my solo adventure, I just knew 2020 was going to be the year to satisfy my call to adventure.
On one particular day, I get a notification. My Hinge dating profile inbox was inundated with gross, suggestive & explicit messages. But one caught my eye that wasn’t like this. Exchanging words or introduction, then exchanging a few texts, I came to realize they were from a different country—disappointed again in the impossibility of a long-distance situation, I soon reminded myself of my personal commitment. And signed off.
In a few weeks time, this person was adamant in meeting. The constant video calls, texting, and phone calls, they hopped on a plane to visit me in my hometown. I was both nervous and excited. But when I picked them up from the airport, I immediately found myself drawn and attracted to them, for what little I did know. And what began was a story and experience I would remember forever, because it would change me forever.
Here is my story. On why my marriage didn’t complete me…my divorce did. And the 8 reasons why you must avoid falling for the allure of a Narcissist’s world.
1. Narcissist Have Low Empathy
In their world, a Narcissist is driven by their grandiosity. This will look like superficiality, always needing admiration or attention from others, minimizing or gaslighting you, & most clearly—triangulation. They are led through physical connection rather than emotional connection.
What this may look like is they value your body, looks, recognition, fame, or other outward factor. However, any changes in these aspects—you are devalued. Then discarded, either literally or distanced emotionally.
Narcissistic people are notorious for their idealization, devaluing, and discard cycles. They are inconsistent with being emotionally available and persistently shutdown or shut you out. Narcissists make you feel like they always have one foot in the relationship, and one foot already out the door, never feeling their commitment is stable…but full of conditions that serve only them.
They are unconcerned with making a relationship work with you. They are concerned with how being with you serves them.
You never seem to get to the core of any relationship issue, because by default, Narcissists are not in touch with their inner selves. Relationships are lopsided with a Narcissist, they worship the ground they walk on and are not attuned with mutuality.
In my Narcissistic marriage, during a time that I was disabled and unable to walk. They refused to help cook, assist, or be present with me. I was putting myself through professional certification online to help improve our financial situation—while cooking, cleaning, and financially supporting them. They were not a citizen of my country, so I thought the sacrifice now was what you are supposed to do.
I didn’t complain or speak up for me needs…because it always felt like their’s was more important than mine.
Something is Wrong
The moment I felt something was terribly wrong in my Narcissistic marriage was when my Grandpa—who is like my father figure for my life—was passing away at my Grandparent’s home, a few blocks away down the street. My entire family, relatives I haven’t seen in a while, were all present at their house. Thankfully, through video call, I was able to keep in touch with what was happening as that day unfolded.
However, my ex-husband kept convincing me: “There’s no need to go! You already saw him last night for Thanksgiving”; “Trust me, your Grandpa would understand, your foot is hurt”; “He’ll be alright”; “I’m glad you’re listening to me for not going”—all while going back to playing his video games.
Yes, my foot was injured. But is my Grandpa alright if a hospice nurse is present with a priest? My gut intuition was telling me this is wrong, I should be by his side. I was the closest Grandchild. But my ex-husband was reassuring “this is the right thing” while telling me he loves me. Minimizing & gaslighting.
It wasn’t until the last second of my Grandpa’s life, that my family demanded I be there. My brother rushed all 3 of us to their house, and we arrived when my Grandpa had already passed. I was broken by his passing. But also broken I wasn’t there to hold his hand as he was passing…instead when it was cold and lifeless.
The weeks which followed, my ex-husband would comfort me simply by offering me a tissue and walking away. He was not emotionally present through my grieving process. And simply did not care for the heavy loss I was going through. I listened exactly to his advice, so why did I feel so empty, alone, & bad for doing so?
Was being an “agreeable” wife supposed to feel this way?
2. Narcissists Triangulate Emotionally
I went to Canada after 1.5 months after our initial rendezvous in person. I was excited. During that first initial meeting, some circumstances happened that I’m not proud of. Overall, we enjoyed each other’s company. He invited me to come to Canada, visit him, and buy a plane ticket—he would handle the rest.
I love Canada. I eventually would live there. As the weeks followed, we made things official. But I’ll never forget our very first argument, as I was expressing what I felt, he whipped his d*ck out.
I was shocked and offended. I’ve never had someone try to shut me up by whipping out their erection. Maybe they were aroused seeing how frustrated and sad I was? As offended as I was, I overlooked this, convincing and self-gaslighting that this must surely mean he really likes me.
We eventually would make things official. In the back of my mind, it felt we were moving too quick. But part of me felt like I didn’t want to arrive to Canada on an expensive ticket, just to find he was being intimate or dating other people. I wanted the trip to be worth it—I wanted to feel like I was worth it, to him.
The time on that first visit to Canada was beautiful. Snow, large mountains that pierced the sky, nothing I’d ever seen before. He wanted to surprise me and go to Harrison Hot Springs—a private resort of natural hot springs.
On the drive there, he had his messenger & map open to guide us to our destination. The ride was long, about 2.5 hours. He received a notification from a lady and from the notification previews it was something very flirtatious.
He quickly tells me, “Don’t open that!”
I don’t. But I can already presume we are not on the same page. I remain silent. He gets angry at me for being silent.
We arrived at our destination, and I calmly asked him who she was. He shuts down, gaslights, and then tries to leave the vehicle in rage. I calmly express to him I’m in a foreign country, far away from family & friends, alone with him, I want to feel safe, and if he was not being honest with me—then I don’t know what I’m doing there? Or whether or not our relationship is real. I knew it was real…for me.
In a Narcissistic marriage, you will be Triangulated with other people. This is for their grandiosity. Narcissists ALWAYS need an audience. Due to their deep internal shame, they need constant Narcissistic supply. That’s the core of how they operate and function.
The above example would not be the only time of evident triangulation. Triangulation was persistent in my marriage.
My ex-husband always used to say, “I see myself as the Tree of Life, bearing fruit for all to nourish from.” I believed it at that time. Not realizing the fruit was horrifically poisoned.
3. Narcissistic People Use Flying Monkeys
Flying monkeys is a term to describe the people they get close to, in order to use them as Narcissistic supply. Flying monkeys often occur at the end of a relationship with a Narcissist—they want to damage your reputation, image, and stability by getting close to people in your shared circle.
Sometimes flying monkeys are people you’ve never met. They are simply the people who got the Narcissist’s side of the story. And now, you have an enemy that doesn’t know you…they only know a heavily filtered version of you.
I’ve come to realize, Narcissists enjoy humiliating others. It’s their form of controlling their outside word. Because they have no control of their inner world: their deep void. They will go into death throws and death rattle if you put them in touch with their truest self—unhealed, unacknowledged, & deeply repressed pain.
Flying Monkeys In My Narcissistic Marriage
In my Narcissistic marriage, I won’t forget how during one major argument he left our home for a few days. Later, he returned but only under one condition: every family member of mine needs to be present for a meeting.
My Mother got off work an hour earlier, so did my siblings, and he demanded no one be late or absent. And that he gets to speak first. We all agreed. Standing in front of our home, he arrived with his cousin. I had received information prior that he was writing out all his thoughts leading up to this meeting. Therefore, I decided to do the same.
What ensued was a presentation of 4 pages of paper, written front and back, of 22 reasons why he hated me and our marriage. One by one he read every word, every line, & every attack. I was trembling as I sat hearing vile words, falsified, and untrue statements. My Mother was crying. I was destroyed. I had 3 pages written myself…but of the reasons why I appreciated our marriage, that I love him, & if he wants us to end I will respect that too.
Could he not have expressed these things in private?
Looking back, I gave him too much of my respect while dismissing my own. I dearly wanted our marriage to work. Because for so long I built up the idea that marriage would complete me. The fact was, I struggled with Codependency due to historical traumas that were done to me in childhood—and traumas from society which rejected, minimized, and hurt me.
I became attached to people who repeated familiar childhood pain and dynamics. And fought for my position in their life…for acceptance.
4. Narcissists Prey On Those Who Self-Abandon
It’s a known phenomenon that Codependents, Anxious Preoccupied attachment styles, and those who chronically self-abandon often find themselves in these toxic dynamics with Narcissists. Each party does not have a strong sense of self.
However, the missing link is empathy. Codependents and Anxious Preoccupieds (sometimes Fearful Avoidants), usually have too much empathy to give…they just ignore their own selves. They have infinite amounts of love to give, without any regard of giving themselves the same love, availability, & love they provide constantly for others.
Luckily, they have the very fundamentals of what a loving relationship requires: love & empathy. However, a Narcissist does not. To be a “good kind person” isn’t done at the moment, but is developed through time. A string of consistent choices.
Narcissists are notorious for performative empathy, performative kindness, and performative love. They simply don’t have the fundamentals to even grow a healthy relationship!
As Dr. Ramini, the leading expert in Narcissism, states: “Narcissists do NOT change.” At best, they can maneuver to be less narcissistic…but they fundamentally do not change.
The core reason Narcissists love those who self-abandon is that by attaching to someone with a poor sense of self, it takes the attention off their own emotional deficit. They enjoy watching the other party shape, compete, mold, adjust, and morph to gain acceptance, love, and attention.
And that’s what happened in my Narcissistic marriage. I lost myself trying to make someone happy, because they had similar horrific childhood traumas like me. However, there are two kinds of people who arise from trauma—those who will do everything in their power to not feel powerless by dominating others through exploiting and defensive tactics & strategies.
Then the others who will do everything in their might, to retain and protect whatever gentleness and softness they have, to one day allow that to take root and grow. These are the growth mindset variety with optimism. Unafraid to face their pains, they usually are the ones desiring to go to therapy to do the hard intentional work of healing. This is often the harder choice.
And unfortunately, they sometimes easily get caught up in a Narcissistic trap. As easily as I did.
5. Narcissists Are Unconcerned For Your Wellbeing
Narcissistic people are unconcerned for your wellbeing. Your health and wellness are an afterthought—if even a thought at all.
For example, a week before my ex-husband and I ended, I discovered a very large painful lump in my right breast. It was painful to sleep, let alone having any blanket or fabric on it. I took a warm shower, gave myself a breast exam, and discovered a massive growth. I was scared. Frightened. And because our country was under lockdowns, none of the health clinics were open or operating.
I told my ex-husband what I discovered. Hoping for support, love, care, or anything at this moment. His response, “Oh, well that sucks.”
That sucks? He dismissed my need for support or comfort. And did as he always did in our relationship—minimize and grow hostility for bothering him. I fell silent and retreated back into my silence, aloneness, and shame.
There is an interesting study that shows when men fall ill, women will stay by their side. However, when a woman falls ill, a man is quick to leave, abandon, and quickly replace her.
Because illness, imperfection, and authenticity are frightening to a Narcissist—unless it’s garnishing them affection, as in the case of Covert Narcissists—typically anything which disturbs their pedestaling of an another, a Narcissist will not stick through.
Instead, they quickly abandon and replace.
Thankfully, when my divorce occurred, through intensive MRI exams, plenty of medical appointments, and surgery–I’m happy to report today I do not have cancer.
6. Narcissist Are On A Grand Journey Where They Are Concerned For Themselves
What I found interesting in my Narcissistic marriage is how often I felt I was used for his decoration for his life. He often spoke on social media and to friends how he “married a Yankee” and it fulfilled his grand scheme of migrating to the USA. I felt more of an accessory to his story, rather than a valued or appreciated partner.
Originally, he left his home country on a work visa for 2 years in Canada. Away from friends and family to find himself. I admired that. What I didn’t know is he also attempted to come to America, and on his way from Australia to Canada, he stopped over to the midwest for a “girlfriend” he had. Interesting, what was it with always a long-distance relationship?
Narcissists enjoy long-distance relationships because they are held to looser standards. They can get away with more. And this would come to light when his phone revealed very unpleasing things—including a large collection of women’s breasts of women he’s dated.
Initially, he has stated he was in $XX,XXX amount of debt back in Australia. I chose to overlook this. It’s love after all, right?
Family and friends were concerned with the possibility of me being used for a green card. Was I? I don’t know. But what I did know is that wasn’t an idea I wanted to entertain. So I dismissed the concerns of others who knew me.
I would later learn of the many women he had blocked on social media, the list of broken hearts on his grand travels, how “every ex was crazy”, and if people don’t get along with him—they were the problem.
In a Narcissist’s reality, every ex is crazy because they have no fundamental skill to be self-introspective and take accountability for their part. A relationship’s success is dependent on you to make happen, and its failure is all because of you.
They are observers and judgers, not participators.
7. Your Kindness & Self-Sacrificing Will Not Change A Narcissist
When we divorced, I knew my heart was avoiding the reality of everything which transpired to this point, but my mind was wanting to still persevere. I was heavily attached to the belief that somehow being married meant I was happy…right? Right?
Thus, when he uttered we were finished, I felt a sight of relief. He’s said this many of times and threatening to always leave.
But due to his country of Australia being in severe lockdown due to the pandemic, very little flights back were available. Plus, divorces are a process and our circumstances were unique due to the immigration process. It required his presence so our divorce would not encounter problems or a prolonged process, if he abruptly left the country–this would have tax implications for us both. I wanted a clean, unproblematic, clean divorce so we can both move forward.
But This Is Not Easy With A Narcissist
He was still living with me while we went through the process of divorce. I wanted to keep things peaceful and respectful. Instead, the daily torture and mind games were catastrophic.
We fell into a routine where we would still be intimate, he would call back to Australia and say so many egregious things about me within earshot, and be on Tinder—while I was still providing shelter, sleeping in my bed, paying for his cellphone, and food.
Through my Narcissistic marriage, he positioned himself as nearly destitute. And that’s why I was so financially giving. It wasn’t until the divorce papers came in that this was far from the truth. He had been hiding assets and taking so much. Time, energy, and money I would not get back.
If he had obtained his green card through me, he would be able to divorce me, while I would be financially responsible for 10 years as a Petitioner. Even if we no longer spoke or were in each other’s lives. For example, if he got into a drunk driving accident, the Petitioner of the immigrant is financially responsible to pay.
Leaving Back to Australia
I knew the flight back to Oceania would be a long flight and would be risky for him in terms of the pandemic. I found and set up appointments to get his vaccinations prior to his long journey back to Australia, with his consent. At that time, Australia didn’t have vaccines out for its citizens. And for whatever N95 masks I had in my reserves—hard to find at that time—I gave him mine.
I won’t forget his words: “When I’m back in Australia, I’m going to be sitting on Bondi Beach, mask free, laughing at how stupid all of you Americans are. Especially you.”
Thankfully, reality isn’t a slave to Narcissism. A few months after he left, his country was hit hard by the Delta waves. Once an image of success handling the pandemic, the country was brought to its knees. He would be a small percentage of Australians who were fully vaccinated at that time.
8. Narcissists Aren’t Mentally Healthy Or Well
To be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), an individual needs to feel distressed enough to seek help. However, NPD is the only disorder in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) where the disorder doesn’t afflict the individual—it afflicts those around them.
In other words, those with high Narcissistic traits send people around them into therapy!
I have highly regarded therapy. My ex-husband hated any reference of needing therapy. In his words, “All of them are crazy, and so are you!” I’ve come to learn this is a typical response of Narcissists: Narcissists don’t take accountability.
Accountability is the ability to take ownership of both the negative and positive aspects of who we are. Narcissists downplay their negatives, and hyper-focus on their positives.
Interestingly enough, I have a relative who is clinically diagnosed with bipolar disorder. And possible schizophrenia. My ex-husband has befriended them, confided and found support through them, and triangulated during the end of the divorce–well to today.
And truly, I’m not surprised. Birds of a feather, flock together. And my relatives is the perfect flying monkey for my ex-husband. The standard in which Narcissists operate is not one of a clear mind. But one of critical and untreatable dysfunction. Thus, it is predictable he confides in this relative who is not on medication and has severe mental health issues—refusing to go to therapy or receive proper professional help.
And balks at me for going to therapy: “You MUST be crazy.”
To this day, I still receive negative and exploitative threats from this relative. And why I had to greyrock and go no-contact.
If I Can Survive, You Can Too
I don’t regret my experience with my ex-husband. Antagonistic people with high-narcissistic traits, can be our greatest teachers…if we survive them. Because the experience, when you process through and heal forward—a beautiful aspect of you remains and grows.
In the many months that followed, I took courses, went through intensive therapy, booked travel for myself, and did everything I could to find myself again.
Along the way, I discovered pieces and parts of me that I love. And admit that I was immature and not healed enough to have discernment in people like my ex-husband. It’s not that I was faultless in every-way, and those remain as regrets. But I do the one thing they can never do: take accountability, change, & heal forward.
While he tells tremendous tales about me, from his own crooked and broken perspective, his obsession with me and my life is clear. But I understand it’s a self-soothing tactic that works for them. Because for me:
the trash took itself out.
The Signs Were Always Clear
I used to believe my marriage would complete me. The day before the wedding between me and my ex-husband, we made a video—a memento—to our future selves. I thought it was a fun idea, and I was full of nerves and excitement because in less than a day our ceremony would happen. I went first, and said some endearing words of wisdom and well-wishes to our future selves.
When it was his turn, he said the following: “In the years living here in Canada, I’ve been with many women. And in each relationship I had a pretty good feeling I was going to cheat on them. When I met Liana, that all changed. So don’t cheat.”
I held a smile, biting my tongue as the video recording was capturing everything. “We’re getting married tomorrow, and he has to remind himself not to cheat?” I thought to myself. Another person can’t cause you to cheat or not cheat—it’s simply your own character & choices.
The next day, was what marriage fairytales were made of on the surface. In the middle of a beautiful picturesque massive garden, it was the only sunny day in a month full of consistent rainy days. As we said our vows, I repeated every word the marriage commissioner said. Most importantly, I meant it.
When it was his turn. There was a part in the vows he fumbled on. Surely it was only a mistake, right? “I, will not, for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, love or cherish, until death do us part.”
I sacrificed crossing international borders. Into a country during the peak of Covid-19, with no health insurance, or safety precautions. All in the name of love. I thought I would discover my worth by being with this person.
But life reveals to you the lessons through time. I found myself, connected with my innate truth, and thrived because of divorce. And became everything my antagonistic ex-husband could never be.
All the answers I ever sought from him or thought I needed from him, are intrinsically part of me. I just reserve it now for sharing with those worthy of that energy. Because the soft parts of who you are, the ones which survive trauma & painful experiences, are worth it.
Are you suffering from Narcissistic abuse and need to find a way forward? Work with a certified trauma-informed Life Coach. Discover more at www.lianavibes.com.