The Selfish Spouse

27 09 2013

selfish spouse2

Extreme selfishness or “narcissism” has been described as one of the major enemies of married love and of love within the family. This description is psychologically correct because selfishness, while falsely appearing to have many benefits, actually turns the person in upon himself/herself, thereby interfering with healthy self-giving which is essence of marital love. Subsequently, this personality weakness creates significant pain and suffering in marriages and families. It is a major cause of marital anger, permissive parenting, addictive behaviors, infidelity, separation and divorce. Unless it is uncovered and addressed, selfishness will lead spouses to treat loved ones as objects and not as gifted persons. Studies show that selfish people are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short lived, are at greater risk of infidelity, lack consistent emotional warmth, exhibit game-playing and dishonesty and manifest overly controlling and violent behaviors. These behaviors in young adults are often fostered by highly permissive parents.

Charles, a 32-year-old married father of three children and a successful professional, manifested periodic explosive anger in his marital relationship particularly when his needs were not met immediately. Charles was overly demanding, insensitive, self-preoccupied and he had difficulty in giving himself to his wife, Kimberly. As the older of two children, he was always his mother’s favorite, and according to his wife, he had always been spoiled. In addition, Kimberly believed that her mother-in-law had never accepted her and she found her to be intrusive in the marriage.

In marital therapy it was pointed out to Charles that he manifested a number of narcissistic personality traits that predisposed him to excessive anger. He was highly resistant to therapy and attempted to blame all the marital problems on his wife. It was suggested to him that when he felt extremely angry he should try to act in a more mature and giving manner and to think about forgiving his wife.

Kimberly was an intelligent, giving wife and mother. She was highly committed to making her marriage work. She came to realize that her major emotional conflict was that of being an enabler to her husband�s narcissistic behavior and by doing that, she was damaging their marriage. She embarked on a course of healthy assertiveness with her husband. For a number of months the tensions intensified in their relationship to the point that Charles threatened to divorce her.

She viewed this threat as highly manipulative and challenged him to proceed. At the same time Kimberly tried to forgive Charles regularly for all the hurts of the past caused by his narcissistic behavior even before he made a commitment to try to change. She also tried to work at forgiving her mother-in-law in order to protect herself from the damaging effects of her own resentment toward her.

The possibility of divorce created enormous stress and anxiety for Charles and motivated him to work on his narcissistic anger. When angry, he began to employ forgiveness exercises. He came to understand that he had developed strong narcissistic tendencies because of his childhood and adolescent relationship with his mother. He worked at trying to forgive his mother for spoiling him and for depending too much upon him as a source of happiness in her life. He apologized to Kimberly and asked for her forgiveness and trust. Charles’ impulsive and explosive behavior diminished slowly through the use of past forgiveness exercises with his mother.

Unfortunately, many narcissistic spouses are reluctant to change and their marriages end. Some individuals would rather give up their spouse and children than give up their self-indulgent behaviors.
How selfishness harms marital/family love:
It can lead to
a. an inability to maintain a healthy loving relationship
1. strong feelings of loneliness and sadness in spouse and children
2. a poor marital friendship
3. failure to seek the happiness and good for one’s spouse
4. poor marital communication
5. a marked weakening in the ability to trust which is the foundation for loving
6. substance abuse or pornography
7. unhappiness at holidays, birthdays or special family events
8. an unwillingness to work on resolving marital difficulties
9. a lack of faith
10. unstable self-esteem
11. permissive parenting
12. lack of respect for one’s spouse
13. mistrust in the family members and leads to anxiety
14. weakness in self-giving to a spouse and children
15. regular overreactions in anger
16. resentment in regard to self-giving to a spouse and children
17. excessive love of self to the disdain of spouse and children
18. immature behaviors and weak leadership in the family
19. infidelity, separation and divorce
20. a materialist mentality
21. the contraceptive mentality

— Richard P. Fitzgibbons

 


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8 responses

19 09 2015
nisha sharma

Wat if husband feels all the time that he is right as his ego is so big that does not allow hom to see that what and how he thinks is wrong..

19 09 2015
Editor

Hi, Nisha Sharma, thanks for that question. Your are right, some men simply cannot accept that their wives are equal to them in anything. They wish to be lord and king, with everyone dancing to their tunes and scrambling to satisfy their every whim. Still, true love is about self giving, loving your wife as a very important part of you, in fact, your heart. Expert say that analogically, the man is the head of the family, but the woman is the heart. True, the head should rule, but a man that never listens to his heart is in-human. Love means giving 100 percent of yourself to your spouse regardless of how much he/she gives. Lastly, like in every organism, communication is the key to effectiveness. Genuine communication begins with listening, empathy and results in a deepening understanding of the other

30 09 2013
Elisha Daniel

he needs to grow up

29 09 2013
Em Cee

Cowering azz ho. Why she don’t fight back. All hunkered down and shit. Fools like that deserve to get their ass beat.

29 09 2013
Baez Carolina

bendiciones que la luz del esterno señor los iluminen, amen

29 09 2013
Gaspar Manuel Ortiz Fuentes

Es un simple cobarde, el mundo tiene un puño de esos, y tenemos que orar por ellos. Bendiciones

29 09 2013
Charles Robinson

LORD, JESUS, We Pray for this couple, demons be gone, so the holy spirit many enter, Yahuwah come quickly, help these young people AMEN

29 09 2013
Adam Cosgrove

From where this photo was taken?

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