Narcissism – Does it even matter if someone has it, as it’s just a C for us?


Hello, It has been suggested to me that my soon to be ex-husband is a narcissist. I have been trying to learn more about narcissism, and on the one hand I think this is a possibility given behaviors, on the other hand I love him, or did love him, and he is still a person, and the father of my children either way.

Much of the “advice” on dealing with narcissistic people is to simply not engage with them and to cut them out of your life, along with “do not share any information with them/do not be authentic.”

My heart does not want to look at the world with judgmental thoughts like this, because I would rather have compassion and empathy, and give support. However, I have been “burned” if there is such a thing (I loved Brooke’s quote somewhere that an observation is just what we choose to think – however I have heard him tell me that he was having an affair, I did hear him yell at me, I did find out that what he told me was not true and read his words saying he lied to me), so another part of me wants to protect myself from him, and if possible my girls.

Another part of me wants to try to make sense of what is happening/has happened.  I’ve been baffled by how he was so gruff and unfriendly to me and our girls for the last couple of years.  Then he decides to get a divorce and he increases the meanness towards me, while turning on the charm and engagement with them like I’ve never seen.  In trying to make sense of this, some narcissist educators use the term “love-bombing.”  When I heard that, it was the first time this new behavior made sense to me.

I know it is just a thought I am telling myself.  But it feels better than telling myself I don’t understand what is going on with him and how he is suddenly acting so differently.

So previous model:
C: Husband seeking divorce – he has interactions with me and with children
T: What is going on? I don’t understand how he can be this way. It’s like he’s a stranger, he was my husband.
F: scared, uneasy, grasping (for understanding), hurt, sad, angry
A: review our relationship – read old emails, figure out what I did to contribute to the relationship. Try to come to some conclusion about if I caused this, or he was like this and I should have known not to marry him to begin with.
R: continue to feel uneasy, continue to question, continue to not fully accept the divorce.

Model with “Narcissist” idea:
C: Husband seeking divorce – he has interactions with me and with children
T: Oh! This is what they do. (still don’t like it, but it makes sense) It might not last.
F: more at ease, still on edge as I don’t know what happens next
A: ruminate a bit less about it
R: less uneasy, some productivity

However these two model have come up:
C: same
T: I am going to get slaughtered.
F: fear, sad, hurt, defensive (fear is main one)
A: get lawyer, try to study narcissism and how to deal with it
R: I now have a good lawyer (good), I’m learning about narcissism which is a lot of information.

and
C: same
T: This is not my life/cannot be my life. My life is ruined.
F: hopeless
A: ruminate
R: do not accomplish much (though not sure this is a time for a lot of accomplishment).

So, in the end, the one that conceptualizes him as a narcissist feels better. So I like the feeling and result better. But I don’t know if I like my reason for thinking this. Does that make sense?

Thank you for your help!