top of page

Narcissism, Divorce, and a Love Story

Updated: May 7

THIS IS a personal story that profoundly impacts my perspective on how I see life, narcissism, and divorce.


There's a lot of talk about finding love after a failed marriage. Most of the conversation centers on finding someone else to live with and potentially marry. In other words, the enteric conversation revolves around jumping into another relationship with another human that may or may not end in the same results as the first marriage. After all, the statistics tell us that 50% of all marriages end in divorce and 75% of second marriages end in divorce, so one thing we can take away from these numbers is that marriage is not always the answer to Love, and perhaps changing our worldview may help us move on to the next stage in life more gracefully. This conversation can be particularly more complex when it involves narcissism and divorce.


Even Great Marriages May end in Divorce
Budhist Philosophy Teaches Us Nothing Lasts Forever

In my case, I received a very dramatic, tragic lesson about Love over twenty years ago when I was living in a house with a few roommates. Of course, we all split the rent and house costs, perhaps the only reason one has roommates. I do not miss that life. I live independently now, have a good, respectful relationship, and enjoy a good quality of life. I spend my time talking to clients and writing. 

Oh!! I digress; let’s get back into the story.


One of my roommates, let's call him John Doe, spent numerous days outside, and I would not see him for several days, sometimes weeks. I never knew where he was, and I never asked. I understood it was not my business to know his whereabouts, and later on, through conversations with John, I would have come to learn that he had met a girl and hooked up. He knew how to speak to the ladies and was a busy man.


Before we became roommates, he had broken up with his girlfriend. He did introduce her to me, and she was a very nice lady.


he vanished for days

One time, John disappeared for a week or two. I don't remember how long; it was usual for him to disappear for days. I remember working in my home office when I received a call. It was him, John, on the other side of the line, and he was crying; he was in great pain. He told me that his girlfriend had committed suicide and felt crushed.


Perhaps I should have been shocked and sad, but the reality is that I was not. The conversation felt incongruent to me. John had been spending a tremendous amount of time and effort in other relationships, so I simply could not understand how he could be in pain, or at least genuine pain and sorrow, that his past girlfriend had committed suicide. John then told me they planned to reconcile, reunite, and make a life together.  


Yes, human nature is complicated, and to say that I was confused by this drama unfolding before me would be an understatement. I do believe that suicide is indeed tragic and one that should never happen, but I was not close to her.


His reactions and sorrow felt so completely incongruent to me that, quite honestly, I didn’t even know what to say, so I mostly stayed quiet and told him I would try to help the best way I could

the Buddhist approach

The path of gratitude offers peace even through divorce with a narcissist
The Path of Gratitude even Trough Divorce

At the time, I was going to a Buddhist temple almost every week and had built a great friendship with the Buddhist master there. He was about the same age as me and was tremendously charismatic and knowledgeable. Often, I would stay about an hour after class and ask him many more questions. He was always accommodating and always spoke to me through a translator. He was a great teacher. I am sure he is still preaching somewhere in the world.


I spoke to the Buddhist master about John Doe and asked if he would be willing to speak to John and me about life and death and offer some words of wisdom. Of course, he said yes. I told John about it, and he accepted the invitation and agreed to join us at a set date and time.


The time and date came, and I spoke to the master; I explained that John was in pain and suffering from his loss, and so the Buddhist master went to explain the meaning of love from the Buddhist perspective:  He explained that the role of a human is to always be in love, and to live in gratitude for Everything we have.  He explained that if we think about it, there is tremendous work, time, effort, and energy to put food on the table.  First, the earth needs to have the right conditions. The farmer needs to saw then tend the fields, the weather needs to be right, and when the time comes, the farmer harvests, piles the harvest, and sells the product, which must be transported for processing and distributed to the supermarkets. To be ultimately prepared by a cook.  


GRATITUDE even in divorce

He explained that we need to live in constant gratitude for all we have and never take anything for granted; a tremendous amount of work, time, and energy goes into receiving anything and everything useful to us, even the chair we sit on is serving our needs, so we need to live in constant awareness of our blessings and be grateful. In gratitude, we learn to love EVERYTHING!! When we are not grateful, we concentrate all our focus and love on just one person or just one thing, and when that person leaves us, we feel pain. But we can live peacefully when we love and feel grateful for everything.


Here’s the kicker: John was nowhere to be found. He did not come as he had agreed to and later made a weak excuse for not coming.  


John lacked one very important ability that is necessary for all humans to progress. And that is the ability to be curious.  Everything we have today is because somebody somewhere was curious; a person asked, “How can this be done?” or “How can this be done better?”  The Henry Fords of the world revolutionized industry through Curiosity! It all starts with curiosity!!


John was simply not curious about what a master had to say about Love and potentially help him alleviate his pain. 


I truly believe that curiosity is the most powerful tool for overcoming life setbacks.


This life lesson has been a cornerstone of how I approach most situations today.


DIVORCE IS DEBATABLY WORSE THAN DEATH


Divorce, any divorce, even the friendly ones, is painful; what to say of a divorce involving a narcissist? A narcissistic divorce turns the life of a healthy personality upside down and uproots many beliefs one may have about human nature.  


Many have come to describe divorce as debatably worse than seeing a close one die.


As a divorce coach, I speak to many people who could use my helping hand, and sometimes, a few decide not to work with me. That is completely fine. I understand they are on their life journey, and we all need to take our life lessons on our own terms. Some need to take the long road, and some are open to instructions to take a shortcut and arrive at peace sooner.


I have learned to be extraordinarily respectful of everyone's time and journey. If a divorcee wants my help, I gladly offer it; I easily let them go if they don't. I never pressure anyone into anything they are not ready to accept.


CONCLUSION


There is a concept in Psychology called Gunny Sacking, which refers to our tendencies to hold on to pain. We hold on to pain because it belongs to us and is very familiar. It is the life we know, even if it is painful. We hang on to this pain as a precious possession, and we refuse to let anyone else take it away from us. Without this pain, we lose part of ourselves, part of our identity. 


The path to recovery starts with Curiosity and asking a very simple question: 


“Could there be a better way?”


What do you think?


Schedule a Strategy Session if you are thinking about or going through a divorce and think you could use a hand.  




88 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Comments


bottom of page