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 remains 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 is 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 from 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’.
9 thoughts on “The Narcissist and Marriage”
I reread this article – sometimes I avoid them as I don’t want the reminder – and the Pinnacle Effect actually stood out to me this time. That’s because it is the story of my marriage and now, for the first time, I’ve seen my experience written in black and white with an actual name given to it.
Thank you, HG.
In many ways it was all down hill after the marriage ceremony, including and especially that first Christmas (staying with the theme) when he left me alone on Christmas Eve three weeks after we were married. I found out later it was to carry on a drinking tradition he had with friends, but he never told me that at the time … I didn’t even know where he was after he’d left earlier in the day to deliver presents to a family member. No mobile phones then, no contact. It was a devastating way to spend our first Christmas as a married couple with him being delivered home in the early hours of Christmas morning by a friend. It worsened as Christmas Day went on and drifted into Boxing Day, or St. Stephen’s Day as it is also called.
I can honestly say that Christmas with the narcissist was the worst I ever had. Being held up so high only to be thrown down so low. Those are the memories and moments that solidify my determination never to end up in that place again. He knew how special the occasion was to me, but he just didn’t care. It was all about him.
Back then I didn’t know then just how far the fall from the Pinnacle would become …
LET, thank you for sharing your experience of the Pinnacle Effect. When I read your words, I was like ‘WOW, WTF. It is a prime example of narcissism in action.
Thanks, AspEmp <3 It is a prime example, and I read so many here which tie in with the theme of HG's various articles. It helps to get an actual example at times from someone's real life experience, which then helps solidify the learning and teaching.
Interestingly, I hadn't taken in this aspect of the article in before, but then again I never came here originally contemplating my ex-husband. The more I delved, the clearer it became … narcissism had impacted me in that relationship as well. Being here has helped me tie in the pattern I have been perpetuating all my life born out of my childhood experiences.
I knew my ex-husband was like my mother, but I couldn't explain how. He just pushed so many of the same buttons. I can put two and two together now, thanks to HG, but at the time it just caused major confusion and heartache. The simple and constant message from both those relationships was "you are less than me" and "I am superior to you", along with "your needs are not important" and "my needs are more important than yours".
It's hard at times to accept you are essentially a non-person to the narcissist, especially when in so many cases they are your world. Even a crumb sometimes would be enough to continue making them so. Seeing it in black and white this way is so beneficial. Providing an example so that others can see it in black and white is hopefully beneficial as well.
This is how it looks. Imagine how that feels.
I'm so appreciative of the sharing of other's stories <3 x
LET, thank you for your response. “helps solidify the learning and teaching” – absolutely. It does take time, even a few ‘goes’ when it comes to reading articles that are re-posted and that is why HG’s methods work. It’s when you ‘remove the layers’ of ‘recent’ understanding (through learning and moving onto the next ‘stage’) and delve deeper when more comes to light. It just means that the ‘fog’ is clearing as time goes by.
“This is how it looks. Imagine how that feels” – yes. Only there are some that cannot imagine how it feels unless they have experienced either similar, or, ‘parallel’ yet from a different perspective.
Me too, I appreciate the sharing too, and well done LET. Thank you X
You are so right in what you say here, AspEmp, and thank you for reinforcing that understanding. We often will only have peeled off an initial layer of the onion when we first arrive and don’t always realize how many layers there are to go. In that sense, I guess there has to be a willingness to dig deeper, but that is also commensurate with our level of healing. Often we can only go deeper when we have dealt with whatever we have discovered in the most recent layer. It can be disconcerting, but more often than not I find I’m grateful for that further understanding.
It’s true it’s not always possible to imagine how something might feel unless you have been through it, and part of the beauty of empaths is that we often can relate on an emotional level … it’s like hearts speaking to hearts and they instantly understand. The horrors or sense of horrors belong only to the individual experiencing them, but our empathy will bridge that gap in terms of understanding. Not to mention it’s ability to uplift others in need.
I think we share here because we know our suffering will be understood. Even though our experiences are not all the same, they all have the same root and that allows us to appreciate the sharing of others. I know I do, and well done to you, too, AspEmp <3
Your sharing has made a difference to me many times, as has the caring attitude you so often display Xox
LET, thank you for your response. You explain it very well in the first paragraph. Yes, some people really do understand and when they do and when they reach out to you, it is somewhat ‘relief’ (at being believed & understood). Thank you (re: well done) and for acknowledgement that I made some difference for you (that is good to know). Yes, I care, so do you X
I heard a couple of stories about the Pinnacle Effect too. Once the narcissist and the victim were married, the sex stopped! The narcissist stopped having (using) sex right after wedding. No hot wedding night. From then on, the sex (almost) completely stopped.
Why would a Narc want marriage? I was my narc’s 3rd wife. After he left me, he married a 4th time. His motivations? Health Insurance coverage for himself & his kids; Joint Finances so he can spend all he wants to show off; Inheritance that he convinces his spouse to put into joint marital assets or “toys” for himself; and also a great front of being a “family man” while he secretly has a whole other single life.
Marriage is a Narc’s heaven.
1. Method of control to bind the IPPS.
2. Daily or near daily fuel provision.
3. Ability to acquire character traits.
4. Facade management and access to a raft of residual benefits more readily owing to the bond of marriage.