The Narcissist and Marriage
Marriage. Widely-regarded as one of the central events in a person’s life. Whether it is a traditional church affair with white wedding dress, a civil ceremony inside a football stadium, something unusual such as at the bottom of a swimming pool, a same sex union, a week long Indian wedding or getting spliced in front of Elvis in Las Vegas, marriage remain a celebration.
It is the idea that two people want to spend the rest of their days together. The concept that this other person is so important to you that you wish to pledge your fidelity, allegiance and your entire self to your significant other before whichever personal god you worship. Notwithstanding the differing ways weddings occur, it remains a joyous occasion and one which many people aspire to, with differing ideas of how the day will look and feel. People seek a happy, long and fulfilling marriage. Sometimes that does not work out, sometimes it does. Our kind are no strangers to marriage, indeed, of those people who marry more than once, our kind are probably well-represented. One might be forgiven for thinking that our kind are particular devotees of the concept of marriage and in some respects, that is correct, but not for reasons people would expect. How do we regard marriage?
- It is a brilliant device for future faking. Those who are love devotees, which includes empathic people, want to marry. They consider the act of union with the person that they love to be hugely significant and a true marker of intent and desire. Our kind utilise the significance that is attributed to marriage as the means by which we can continue to draw people to us and also keep them bound to us, even if we have not married them. The promise of marriage at some future point is a definite ace to play to prevent an appliance from drifting away. Whether this is an IPPS who we live with or a Candidate IPSS we have high hopes for or even a Shelf IPSS who has not (unsurprisingly) worked out what they are, the potential to become married is tempting indeed. The promise of marriage becomes a large comfort crumb to feed to the appliance and involves sentences such as:
“I think we should get married at some point.”
“When I get the next promotion, I think we should consider getting married.”
“We ought to get married next year.”
“When someone is as happy as you and I, we really ought to be married.”
“I often think about what it would be like to be married.” (Not necessarily to you though)
“Can you imagine how great it would be if we got married?”
There is no proposal of marriage, no definite confirmation that this should take place but rather a vague and amorphous intention which can easily be put back when we choose so we can keep using this as a tempting morsel to keep you interested. It does not just have to be about stating an intention to get married but will include:-
a. Looking at engagement rings but never buying one;
b. Considering suitable wedding venues but never booking anything;
c. Discussing honeymoons but not booking anything;
d. Mentioning it to family and friends;
e. Drawing up potential guests lists but never doing anything with them;
f. Considering where to have the wedding list;
g. Considering what items to have on the wedding list;
h. Discussing colours for outfits, flowers, a theme and so forth but making no concrete decisions.
Such is the allure of the idea of getting married that it is probably the largest comfort crumb that can be fed to an appliance and the largest piece of future faking.
2. Marriage is extremely effective at binding an IPPS to us. We want to ensure that person is ours, owned by us and therefore by becoming engaged and getting married within a short time of meeting the IPPS we secure this individual and bind them to us through the institution of marriage. The appliance is made to feel ultra-special by us proposing to them and then marrying them.
3. It reinforces the concept of love which appeals to the empathic love devotee. As the song goes, ‘love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage’. Love and all of its binding abilities, supportive elements and fuelling connotations goes hand in hand with marriage and therefore getting married is seen as a supreme act of love. Accordingly, marriage is always going to prove an excellent move with regards to ensnaring a choice empathic victim.
4. The façade. Being married tells the world that we can attract somebody, that somebody loves us, that we are desirable. It suggests stability and reliability and as such is a useful device for bolstering the façade so we are regarded as respectable and honourable. As Alec Baldwin stated in the film, The Departed
“Marriage is an important part of getting ahead. It lets people know you’re not a homo. A married guy seems more stable. People see the ring, they think “at least somebody can stand the son of a bitch.” Ladies see the ring, they know immediately that you must have some cash, and your cock must work.”
Several elements there which would support the façade and also appeal to our notion of getting ahead, and being seen as desirable.
5. Stability. This is a two pronged matter. The outside world, as mentioned above in the quote, regards a married person as more stable which helps with the façade. It also however helps our kind maintain stability with regards to the provision of fuel. This is especially important for the Lesser and Mid-Range Narcissists who may not have the sophisticated fuel matrices of the Greater. By securing the IPPS in this manner through marriage, the narcissist is gaining the advantage of knowing that there is going to be a reliable source of fuel for some time (both positive and then negative).
6. Religion. Whilst not as important as it once was (witness the rise of civil ceremonies) religion still plays an important part for many people with regard to the concept of marriage and where religion is a fundamental part of the life of the targeted victim, then this is something that we will exploit. Adhering to the religious significance of marriage enables us to use to not only draw a victim to us but also to bind them to us too.
7. The Preparation. Most weddings require considerable preparation. The wedding venue, a reception venue, what food will be served, whether there is a theme, stag and hen parties, guest lists, what will be worn, where people will sit, the wedding list, the wedding vehicles, the entertainment and so on and so forth. This provides us with numerous opportunities for the provision of fuel by repeatedly talking about our forthcoming nuptials, being able to show off in terms of extravagance, settling old scores and creating new ones through those who are invited and those who are not. There are a myriad of possibilities to use this occasion to our advantage when engaging in the preparation. Indeed, the different opportunities for gaining fuel merit an article in itself with regard to the run-up to and the preparation for a wedding.
8. The wedding day. This is one huge fuel fest. So many adoring appliances, jealous appliances, love-lorn and emotional. Everywhere we go, all eyes are on us. Scores of fuel lines running from us to all of these appliances, from the staff waiting on us, the vicar, the bridesmaids, the bride/groom, the guests. The power surge from all of the positive fuel (and there will be some negative fuel in there too – always pays to invite an ex appliance along just to keep things spiced up. My ex-wife repeatedly reminded me how she was surprised to find one of my exes at our wedding. I wasn’t surprised by how much fuel it kept providing me with thereafter). The day is one of fuel form start to finish and whilst everyone else is enjoying themselves through seeing love requited, the flowing alcohol and interesting dancing, we are gorging on the fuel that is flowing.
It is also worth making mention of The Pinnacle Effect. This is one of the interesting consequences of a wedding. Once the marriage has been secured there are those of our kind who find the explosion of fuel to be the best it can be in terms of positive fuel. This is also allied with the fact that the marriage also means that our kind see that the IPPS is totally embedded and ensnared. This results in the Pinnacle Effect. It is not evident with every wedding that occurs between narcissist and victim, indeed it less likely than more likely, but it is still worth mentioning. Once the ceremony has been completed, the reception attended and either the happy couple head off on their honeymoon or retire to their suite that night, The Pinnacle Effect occurs. The positive fuel is as good as it gets, the IPPS is ensnared and thus the devaluation begins. I have heard of numerous occasions where the blushing bride has become the bludgeoned bride or the amorous groom finds himself the alienated groom instead. The devaluation commences through being frozen out, verbally attacked or even physically assaulted.
9. Marriage applies to you and not to us. You have said the vows and we expect and demand you to comply with them. You will be faithful to us, you will look after us in sickness and in health, you will remain with us for better or for worse, for richer or poorer and so forth. You belong to us. That is the central tenet of the Narcissistic Relationship and the sealed nuptials confirms this to be the case. You will abide by these vows and be a reliable, faithful and compliant spouse. Of course with our sense of entitlement, lack of boundary recognition and failure to account, those vows do not apply to us. We will say them but we will not abide by them.
10. Marriage is a useful device. If you transgress in some way, we will hurl your vows at you (regardless of what we have done to offend them) and we will tell all and sundry that you have sullied the sacred name of marriage. We will wail about ‘wanting to make the marriage work’ when we perceive that you may be trying to escape us. We use the concept of marriage as a manipulative device to further our aims. You must be tied to us, you must save the marriage and not walk away from it, it is a yoke about your neck and a means to an end for us.
11. Stickability. The fact that you are married to us and you believe in the concept of marriage means that you are less likely to give up on it. You do not like to fail and you do not want to walk away without having tried to make it work. Binding you to us in this fashion means that we force you to keep trying and to cling on to us, with all the attendant benefits which subscribe to the Prime Aims also.
12. Divorce. If we marry you and we decide or you have the audacity to try to escape then it follows that divorce must take place. It is not a straight forward case of packing a bag and walking away. The fact that marriage requires a divorce if you seek to escape it provides us with further opportunities to draw fuel, bolster the façade and either hoover you back in or make your life a misery by pillorying you through the divorce proceedings.
It is rare to find a narcissist who has not been married and with some of our kind the marriages will number two or more. And why not? The institution of marriage is ripe for exploitation to further our narcissistic agenda.
Little wonder we are so ready to say ‘I do’.
If only you knew this beforehand so you could have said, ‘I do not’.
31 thoughts on “The Narcissist and Marriage”
I wish the repliers would read their comments aloud for mechanical errors–grammar, spelling, etc.
Fluency is key in communicating our thoughts.
Wow, I feel validated and free to go. Thank you!
Number 8 is so correct, I almost lost my breath. I cried myself to sleep the night of my wedding. He shit me down right then and there. I am Fortune’s fool.
this concurs with my worst fears of the narc gf thati am currently dating at the moment.I always get the feeling that from the moment i say “i do”.. she is probably gona express on the very same day , that “i finally got you”… i get the feeling that with a narcissist, marriage is not viewed as something that seeks to complete both of of you are a couple but rather serves to serve and them.
I would like to share what happens to someone who stays in a marriage with a narc for 50 years. My mother is the narc.
I went no contact with my family 10 years ago. I watched my dad in his 30 battle anxiety. In his 50’s he had heart failure. In his 70 he is now battling Lews disease. There is no cure but it stems from environmental activity. In his case emotional abuse behind the doors. He will die in about 3 years. She shredded him from the great man he was to a very sick man.
For anyone wishing to stay married, get out. The narc over time will kill you. When your down and low and holding onto strings the narc becomes even worse. They love to kick you to the ground when you can barely get up. I was able to contact all my dads doctors and let them know what my mom is. She can present to be the loving adoring wife in public. My dad has been removed from the house and living with me. The circle of life continues. I was her target all my life. When I was gone it was my siblings one by one. Then it became my father when everyone is gone. Now i am taking care of my father and my mother is in a hateful state with no one at her side. She seeks to destroy me. I am to strong for her weak antics. I need to be for my dad. In the end it’s just them alone. To live in there head and listen to the screams without away to make them stop. The rage just builds and the games are played hoping something will stick. She will never win in the end. Die alone and probably roit in her home until someone reports the smell.
HG. My son has been with a narcassist for past 12 years (since she was 18 and he 20). She wormed her way into my life with her child from another man. My husband and I took her in because of how” badly her parents treated her ” Eventually she alienated our son from us, keeps grandchildren from us. She had a baby boy Apr 6 (her 4th child and 3rd with my son) I don’t even know the babies name. She wants me to dance to her tune. I am tired of acknowledging her birthday etc when we get no consideration for our birthday, mother’s or father’s day or even when my husband had major surgery. On May 4 I didn’t not acknowledge her birth day and she send me a tirade of hate. When my mother died, on May 4th 2010, It won’t be surprising for you to learn that when I sent an email advising the passing of my son’s grandmother, I rec’d an email tirarde “Can’t you acknowledge my birthday, it is important to us” I had not seen her in almost 2 years and my mother died. My mind was blown. Years on I am tired of the games. What is the best way to deal with her. Ignore? What about the kids? Do we continue to send them birthday and Christmas cards/gifts. My son says nothing to stop her rants or awful treatment.
A familiar scenario of alienation and one which I have consulted on several times. If you would organise a consultation with me that will enable me to provide you with the most effective answers to this situation.
Funny. Not funny ha ha, but funny ironic. On my wedding day my sister came to me. She said the exact same thing to me. “Are you sure? You dont have to say ‘I do’ you know”. I looked at her and asked “what do you mean?” She said ” just remember, even at the alter you can say ‘I do not’!”
Ohhhhh if only…….
She has been my biggest ally ever since.
My XN once said “If we stay together for awhile, we will need to get married so you are taken care of” I didn’t respond. A couple of weeks later he said it again (by this time I’m aware that he’s a Narcisst) I responded with ” You know we can hire an attorney if you are concerned about me being taken care of..we don’t have to jump the gun and get married”
You should have seen the look on his face..it was priceless.
This is dead on. I was my ex husband second wife. He met me right before his divorce was final, we got married then he left me for the new one when I was 4 months pregnant. Now he is living with her and love bombing her. He has a pattern and seems to be following it perfectly. We are now divorced and I have potty on the new girl. I tried to warn her but she didn’t want to listen.
as a greater n, i assume you target women who will eventually wise up. you don’t offer up anything sustainable. where is the logic of having an ego so pumped up that you never see past yourself to really know what we’re up to when we decide to act against you and escape? the thought and planning, the effort that goes into separating ourselves from your kind is considerable. and you never see it coming. your kind never expect it. you actually believe your lies and illusions more than we do. that’s interesting.
if I come off angry, it’s because I am. I hope you can overlook it even if I’m not sorry for it.
Good article! HG, are Greater’s less inclined to marry? Have you ever married?
Thank you Mel. There is less of a compulsion re binding but the façade becomes more important for them. Yes I have been married.
But are you married now?
No I am not.
I am fairly certain #6 is one of the many reasons why I remained a dirty secret. There was no way Mr. Church would damage his reputation. I am certain that divorce is not an option for him under the rules of his religion. From what I know of the wife she is religious as well. Probably one of the many reasons she stays.
Thanks HG, I’ve been waiting for this one and as always it is spot on. I have experienced the immediate devalue after the ring goes on, more than once Very timely as I am also being reminded now of how “divorce is wrong,” “we are bound together tighter than s*@t,” etc. He thought I his narcissistic contract, but I didn’t. I struggle with having more than one divorce, but God knows I was deceived, and the abuse endured. Blessings all.
Divorce is not wrong. Living a sham with a liar is. Do not concern yourself with being divorced more than once. It just means that you valued yourself more than once and you are not afraid for the world to know it.
Interesting read!!! I found out about the new IPPS and confronted both of them and ended the friendship after exposing him. I was then called crazy I’m sure and she (new IPPS)blocked me from a social media. I had no idea I was unblocked until a mutual friend commented on their “marriage”. The comments listed stated their was no ceremony, ring. etc. He always talked of a grand event which is why I found this odd. Of course my curiosity prompted me to check legally and nothing was on record and no name change etc. Do you think this could have been a rouse to garner fuel?
As I commented on a previous blog, my narcman flipped the switch two weeks in from wedding day. I knew him as a friend for 3 years prior to dating. Then 6 months until he proposed, and about 3 more until that wonderful day in Feb. of 1999. Now that he is 63 and getting on, he speeds things up a bit. 2 months after reconnecting on Facebook with a girl he knew back in 1977 he puts a ring on it this last December. I didn’t get the petition for divorce even signed yet and filed with the court. Divorce will be final this May. Who wants to wager they say their nuptials within days the judge grants me legitimate freedom? Poor girl, wish I could warn her, but she drank the koolaid just like me.
@Hellandback….my wonderful narc of 20 years was married 6 weeks after the final decree was issued. I was getting letters from his “new” girlfriend the week before the final court date, trying to make sure it was really going to happen. Gotta say, she sure looks miserable these days, and I am pretty content most days.
yes…. I was an IPSS– he was divorcing his third wife— slept with me two days before the wedding– did not tell me but I found out— told me he loved me— oh my! Poor girl!
Ah, HG, too bad you weren’t there when I was an 18 year old virgin bride, sleeping in the car on my wedding night….could have saved the next 20 years of suicidal hell.
Are you married or have you been married? If so, how many times?
I am not married and I have been once.
I love it how your sense of humor shines through your writing, HG! Is it possible to be a Shelf IPSS even when both the IPSS and the narcissist were married when they started their relationship, the narcissist did not see this IPSS as a candidate for ever becoming IPPS but always remaining on the side?
Yes IL that is entirely possible.
Horrible… as a victim I get goosebumps by reading this…