If a friend handed you a book on how to outsmart your rebellious teenager, would you give it to your teenage child, telling them about the new methods you are considering trying out on them?”
Or maybe you would consider leaving it up to your suspicious looking neighbour to purchase and set up your new home security system for you?
In a much similar way I need to warn you that if you are living with someone with narcissistic tendencies, please don’t sign them up to our website or give them our books to read hoping this will help them.
I know it might be tempting to think your narcissistic partner is the one who needs changing and so they should do the work, but expecting that is simply going to give all of your power away.
What our program and books are about is teaching you to get stronger and learn better leadership skills – while you also learn to protect and defend yourself better.
This can help change your narcissistic partner’s behaviour for sure – but the steps and exercises are for you and not them.
I know some people worry about what will happen if their partner finds out they have purchased our material. My suggestion is to just say that you are doing a course in relationship skills to help you be a better wife or husband and then ask if they want to do it (The Love Safety Net Workbook) along with you? My guess is that the answer will probably be no (even if they say yes) and then you won’t have to hide anything from them, because they will actually be avoiding it!
So you don’t need to feel guilty or hide anything – but you certainly should not take the decision to encourage your partner to read our material lightly!
Isn’t that great news? You see in this situation the power is in your hands and not theirs.
And as much as you may think that you are just an innocent victim and there is nothing you need to do differently – my bet is that in our program you will learn some major shifts you can make to become someone with influence who commands more respect from the people around you.
The next mistake I don’t want you to make is thinking you can set boundaries that change your partner’s behaviour before you create a strong bond of attachment.
It is a tricky balancing act and I do not think you should ever tolerate allowing yourself to be abused, but I also know that some of the advanced work such as contacting the police and the bill of personal rights in the Love Safety Net Workbook should only be attempted once you have done a lot of work on your attachment.
If you don’t heed my advice on this, you are likely to anger you partner further (and perhaps put yourself in more danger) while also driving them away.
But forming attachment is not about you trying to please. Quite the opposite it is about you being as warm and friendly as you can – with little need for that being reciprocated, because instead you have found a focus on your own life.
Your partner will never be able to meet you half way if you do not leave any space for that.
So please don’t just follow the bits of advice I give on this blog ad-hoc, go and check out our page on how to deal with narcissism in your partner and then go ahead and subscribe (if you haven’t already) and make sure you read the page on the 3 things you should stop doing (on the private pages you will gain free access to) before you try out many of our ideas here. Otherwise you may end up starting with the wrong steps first and escalate the fighting and lose your relationship, all because you were scared you might be encouraged to spend a few bucks on an ebook!
There is a story I love about a butterflies struggle to leave it’s cocoon, it is tempting for someone watching to want to try and help – because the whole process looks so painful and takes many hours. But if you step in and cut the cocoon off the butterfly it will never leave the ground and soon die – because forcing itself out of the cocoon is what pushes the newly hatched insects vital fluids into its wings.
Try and remember this the next time you think you might need Steve and my personal support or some other person to come in and save you right now. You are going to need to learn to pull in help and support sure – but that is a skill in itself and no one can really do the real work that needs doing now except you. We have had people who are crippled, blind and even dying of cancer use the steps we offer and get themselves out of the relationship corner that they had been stuck in for far too long. And this all from following the basic steps in our 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence and Steps to a Peaceful home package.
If they could do this what excuse do you have not to find the courage to save yourself? It is a bit like deciding you are going to get fit at the gym. People can only support you so far before you have to start taking the steps yourself if you really want to get stronger.
So please remember that you need to be very cautious about showing your partner our material and you also need to work on building your attachment and your own emotional intelligence skills before you start making any big effort to modify your partner’s behaviour towards you.
This doesn’t mean you need to tolerate abuse; you are always capable of changing your own reactions which may mean removing yourself from the situation for awhile, if you have to, while studying the rest of our steps. There is a method to do this, without escalating the conflict, at the end of Back From the Looking Glass if you need it.
Take care and please don’t chintz on your own safety. Because while we offer hope for people living in narcissistic /codependent marriages, this is not a situation you can or should take lightly.