Unbelievable (& What You Can Do About It)
Narcissists have a different world view to you. Failing to understand this results in the behaviour which seems entirely appropriate from our perspective, being confusing, bewildering and utterly unbelievable from your perspective.
This results in the use of flawed logic, bad decisions and continued ensnarement with the narcissist.
To understand how the behaviour is unbelievable and importantly what you can do about it, use the link below.
23 thoughts on “Unbelievable (& What You Can Do About It)”
Maybe not unbelievable…but fairly alarming.
Seriously – is this a thing now?
Is it just me or is this *super* alarming?
Just like amicable divorces are rare (and likely don’t involve narcissists), this arrangement might work nicely only for normals or empaths.
However, sounds like the perfect arrangement, in the hands of a narcissist, to coerce an Empath to effectively “stay” in the “best interests” of the children…
You are correct to express your concerns about this nonsense.
Thank-you HG. I agree, it’s nonsense.
I’m not saying this is the most favourable arrangement for modern couples to live by today (of course not) but this is how most families lived 60-70 years ago. In non romantic relationships with mutual respect that gave their children the stability they needed, and it worked. If you exclude any form of physical abuse I don’t see it as an intolerable problem.
Parenting marriage can work only when narcissists aren’t involved. People also do this for financial reasons. I know an ex couple who’s doing this. (Sometimes I wonder if they still sleep together after a few drinks but that’s their business.)
I myself would also consider it if there were benefits to it.
But it won’t come to that because once those papers are signed you’re stuck with me and we better do whatever it takes… I can even wear contacts and a wig so you feel like you’re with a new woman but baby you’re never leaving 🥲
“I myself would also consider it if there were benefits to it.
But it won’t come to that because once those papers are signed you’re stuck with me and we better do whatever it takes… I can even wear contacts and a wig so you feel like you’re with a new woman but baby you’re never leaving 🥲”
On a serious note, as I said, I do think it could work for empaths and normals – with the right conditions. I have entertained similar thoughts of engaging a platonic arrangement just so my son has a decent male role model in his life (as I won’t entertain an intimate relationship just to fulfill that role for him) and that wouldn’t been a “marriage” but just potentially something with the understanding of what the priorities are.
Now that I’ve thought about it a bit more the whole article is actually unnecessary because empaths and normals can usually come to their own arrangements without needing suggestions from articles. So I can see that if you’re in a relationship with a narc or even someone who’s narcissistic, reading an article like that wouldn’t be a good thing to do
Exactly, and most people who are googling for relationship advice are doing it because they are living with a person who is very mindboggling/hard to figure out, i e a narcissist.
Relationship columnists might as well just throw out the usual “You might be living with a manipulator. There is no cure for that condition. It’s lifelong.” as standard kickoff phrase to the help seeker.
(Also, there are some very rare cases, I believe I’ve seen in daily newspaper columns, where the letter writer might be an unaware narcissist themself, and the person they are complaining about might not be one, the fuelling coming from the letter being seen and validated in a big newspaper)
Oh my goodness, @Witch, the things we empath’s can do!! If only the narcs would leave us the fu*k alone!
WC, this reminds me a little of Gwyneth Paltrow and her ‘conscious uncoupling’, which suits a narcissist with a lack of empathy down to a tee. Only it’s worse because they’re still ‘coupling’ when they know the marriage is over. Marriage breakdowns are painful and trying to find a ‘happy medium’ where some of the pain is spared is probably only going to work for someone who doesn’t feel the pain of the break up in the first place. I can imagine a narcissist having a field day with this option, and an empath suffering the guilt in order to keep the game in play. Children are sensitive to their environment and generally are no fools to what is going on in their parent’s marriage, understanding it to be the union originally agreed upon. Staying for the sake of the children will not spare them, IMO. Kids know when their parent’s exist in a loveless marriage. Imagine treating them to new partner’s while still living in the same home. It’s hard enough when the separation has occurred and this reality needs to be confronted. It has all the appearances of a charade for the sake of the children and children are not fools, nor to be manipulated in this way. I honestly don’t know what this proposal is an excuse for except to add another dimension to some very messed up domestic situations. Personally, I don’t think kids will benefit from being part of this charade.
I was actually unfamiliar with “conscious uncoupling” – but it’s association with Paltrow doesn’t bode well.
After a quick Google I found this at the end of an article summarizing conscious uncoupling:
“Who would I recommend the Conscious Uncoupling summary to?
The 22-year-old who is in an abusive relationship and needs to get out, the 47-year-old that can’t get their last lover out of their head and doesn’t realize how it’s holding them back, and anyone that’s just recently broken up and is having a hard time dealing with it.”
Haha – well, if that doesn’t say it all. Garbage.
And I agree with you on the effect on the children – this arrangement won’t fool the children, they will know what is really going on. And they will not benefit from it either.
WC, often these ideas look good on the surface, and may even be coming from a place of good intentions – the quote you shared being a good example, even if I agree it is garbage. Someone might read that and say “this is what I need”, “sign me up”, without realizing how ideas like these can be utilized by the narcissist and to their detriment.
If I take the example of Paltrow, she appeared to swan out of her relationship with an idea like this one to shore her up – needn’t look like a lack of empathy on her part – while her partner was apparently left devastated. The idea of ‘mediation’ can also have an adverse affect in some of the same ways. A narcissist can make themselves look like the good guy/gal, taking all the necessary steps to make it appear they have an element of empathy, while all the time the empath is suffering a tortuous outcome in the circumstances.
It is definitely ‘garbage’ when it comes to the narcissist and they will use it to their advantage. I doubt an empath would benefit in the same way from ideas such as these when dealing with a narcissist as they are in some ways dismissive of the very nature of an empath and how these situations impact them. An empath generally is not able to just disconnect and reconnect in an emotionless fashion to suit a situation, even one involving their children. And if children are empathic, I can see them being deeply affected by the charade their parent’s are attempting to carry out.
Definitely a huge question mark over notions such as these and I don’t believe it is an empathic response to marriage breakdown, nor a benefit to the children.
LET & WhoCares, I ‘m perhaps least able to have a strong opinion on a system I knowingly never joined and the thought of it still terrifies me but what may “feel” like a LOVEless marriage can occur when members eventually hit a midlife crisis which is very common among long married couples who originally started their journey out of LOVE (!). Most divorces take place then so perhaps this phase deserves a long period of reflection and observation rather than radical action – all kinds of relationships need their time or their short/long break.Some people mistakenly believe that they are in love with another person when in fact it’s only an arousal… (especially if it is a much younger person). Children may have some understanding of their parents phase and most would probably prefer this to living separately.
Lucycita, (I really like your name, btw.)
“what may “feel” like a LOVEless marriage can occur when members eventually hit a midlife crisis which is very common among long married couples who originally started their journey out of LOVE (!).”
Thanks for your comment.
What you are describing is not unlike what can happen even in a healthy relationship (any relationship between individuals with actual emotional empathy) that hits a plateau after a certain length of – absolutely. It is these individuals that could benefit from a collaborative arrangement like a “parenting marriage’ and it might work for them.
But if someone is ensnared with a narcissist and is led to believe that the relationship has become “loveless” or the two have ‘fallen out of love’ – when in actuality it is devaluation – these platonic or amicable arrangements are just a further means of keeping the empath under the narcissist’s thumb but framed as being in the best interests of the child(ren).
certain length of *time
Thank you “Who Cares” for your compliment! That’s not my real name but a nickname my bestie gave me when we were still at school. And I thank you also for your excellent point of view. That’s exactly what HG is for: if someone wonders whether a spouse has ensnared them in a mega-narcissistic and toxic treaty they can finally find the right answers here and proceed accordingly.
I appreciate your reply and have written a further comment in response to WhoCares which might help to create a better understanding of my perspective as it relates to narcissism and this idea.
I did not experience a lifelong marriage, in fact mine was very short lived (5yrs), though the majority of my friends have been married for a lifetime. What’s the difference between them and me? They chose wisely and there will be numerous elements of their backgrounds that also contributed to that. I married my mother (as a way of describing how I moved from one narcissistic nightmare into another). The scales hadn’t fallen from my eyes and I became a victim again, as did my children.
Love was in the air, no doubt infatuation for him, but I assumed that it was the cure for all ills and the sign of a bright future. Pulling the plug on a marriage is never easy, but sometimes necessary. What is suggested by this notion is a half in/half out scenario that I believe could be more damaging than just calling it a day and preparing to move on. Even worse there are children caught in the middle.
Don’t get me wrong. Your point about lifelong marriages, the need to redefine them at different points as life events occur, as well as the temptations that sometimes get in our way, may all lead to difficult and sometimes poor decision making by one partner or the other. It’s part of the human condition. From my perspective, though, you’re either in a marriage or you’re not. If you’re not, then leave. Otherwise, it’s tortuous for the partner still willing to invest in the relationship.
I’m not saying married couples don’t get comfortable, bored, fed up, needing a change, wanting more, but that is something for them to work on together. If they are done working on things together, then IMO, they’re done. The children won’t benefit from parent’s remaining in the same home with a lack of love existing between them. It’s a sterile atmosphere. There is no growth.
According to the notion put forward, the only thing the parent’s intend to do is focus on their own lives + their children’s, not focus on their life as a family. This type of business arrangement might work for some people, some people might even find it satisfying, and kudos to them if they can live happily in a state of disconnection from the other parent while living in the same home. Some people split up and stay friends. All the while I have to remind myself we are talking about narcissists.
I cannot be a friend to my narcissistic ex-husband, though I maintained as cordial a relationship as possible with him for the sake of the children after we separated.
Perhaps a lot rests on your impression of family and what that means to you. Family to me means being ‘all in’ for one another on that journey of life and willing to lay down your life for one another if that’s what it takes. It’s not some cordial business type arrangement that satisfies the parties impression of fairness towards one another and their children. I just can’t get my head around the idea, and certainly wouldn’t recommend it with a narcissist who is always only playing to win.
Thank you for taking the time to respond so kindly to my comment-I just wanted to tell you that I enjoyed reading it. You’re right and from your point of view it is all understandable and makes perfect sense. Thank you for sharing your personal story and allowing me to see it through your prism. And of course I understand the logic behind the decision to officially end a marriage when it is also typically over and I believe that this decision when made is “healthy” and reasonable.
Many times the advice giver in these triggering, creepy articles (which act as if manipulative ppl didn’t exist) is a Midrange Narcissist, I have found.
Good point AC, if not Mid-rangers then maybe also empaths who are trying to embrace the “collaborative” trend in the legal system for the sake of the children. Parenting marriages are as bad as suggesting mediation with a narcissist – only in the former, the narcissist involved would get to have their cake and eat it too.
I could see many empaths potentially falling for this – because they don’t want to look like the difficult one and other “helping” professionals can point to things like, “Well, everyone’s doing it now.” And “It’s even in Psychology Today.”
A perfectly contrived vehicle of hogwash and deceit to ensure continued addiction for the empath, fuel provision for the narcissist, and false hope, confusion, and a life lasting lesson in diminishment of self for the children. Normals would fair no better. No one is fooling anyone with “staying together for the children”. This concept sponsored by those also responsible for fairytales sold as achievable relationship goals.
Absolutely! I can attest to the validity of this first hand. We knew our parent’s marriage was “for the kids sake”, it was hell, I used to beg the Universe for them to divorce. Later, I found God, begged Him too. Nothing worked…