Narcissistic Spouse & Learned Emotional Intelligence


Dealing with a narcissist is tough, but there is a silver lining. You can learn valuable lessons that will make you smarter regarding relationships. For example, you might learn how to set boundaries, communicate more effectively, or recognise the warning signs of a toxic relationship.

These skills will be applied to all kinds of relationships, not just those with narcissists. So, don’t despair! Every challenge is an opportunity to grow & improve yourself.

What is a narcissist?

Understanding what a narcissist is can help you spot the signs of someone with a narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissists tend to have an excessive interest in themselves & are overly confident in their abilities & talents.

They also lack empathy for others & manipulate those around them for their own gain. It is important to be aware of these traits & to seek help if you or someone you know is dealing with a narcissistic individual.

Being in a narcissistic relationship

If you’ve been in a narcissistic relationship you know how mentally & physically draining it can be. Initially can be challenging to identify a narcissist in a relationship because they often conceal their true nature.

Narcissists are masters at manipulation & appear kind & charming in the beginning. However, their behaviour soon becomes emotionally abusive, including insults, accusations, criticism, gaslighting, & threats.

Their ultimate goal is to receive constant attention & admiration, which they will go to great lengths to achieve. It is important to note that not everyone who displays narcissistic behaviour is a true narcissist, & it can be difficult to diagnose. Many narcissists do not seek help because they do not believe they have a problem.

Learning you cannot change narcissistic people

While it’s important to support & encourage those we care about, ultimately change comes from within. People have to want to improve themselves, it’s not fair or realistic to put that responsibility on someone else.

Learning to focus on being the best version of yourself & leading by example will make positive changes in your life. If others are inspired by your actions & choose to make positive changes in their own lives, that’s great. But it’s not your job to fix them.

The hard lesson is – you cannot change a narcissist, but you can be changed by their abuse.

The strength & healing comes from learning to accept people for who they are, including how they behave, without expecting them to act differently. If someone is not respectful or does not respect your boundaries, don’t ask yourself why they are treating me that way. Instead, ask yourself why I am allowing such treatment. This change in perspective will make a big difference in the way you interact with others.

Learning how to set boundaries

Narcissistic people don’t usually respect boundaries, therefore, setting boundaries with them is extremely difficult. Learning how to set boundaries is crucial in any relationship. By enforcing the way you want to be treated & holding new boundaries, you will create space to listen to your own needs. It’s vital to establish strong boundaries to avoid being trampled on by someone who doesn’t respect them.

Learning who is “you” again

Throughout our lives, we face various transitions & obstacles that may seem daunting. However, every time we overcome these obstacles, we emerge with an unwavering sense of self. Always remember that you are a highly capable & self-assured individual with the potential to rediscover what truly brings joy & fulfilment to your life. You may revel in solitude, delight in aiding others, striving for personal growth & exploration, & embrace exercise or spiritual practices.

It’s important to remember that we all go through difficult life changes, but with time & effort, we will come out stronger on the other side. Keep focusing on your personal development & self-care, & know that you have the strength to overcome any obstacle.

Learning to listen to yourself

When you are in an abusive or narcissistic relationship, you are constantly being gaslit. Dealing with a partner who consistently undermines your thoughts and feelings, invalidates your opinions, and exploits your insecurities can be a daunting task.

Learning to listen to yourself & trust your own thoughts & feelings is a valuable skill that can help you navigate any situation. Standing your ground & not allowing others to intimidate you is also a sign of strength & self-confidence. You will learn how to overcome gaslighting & take steps to prioritise your mental well-being.

You will start to trust your own memories & your own reality over again. That intuitive voice inside is really strong, don’t let anyone tell you who you are or how you feel.

It is difficult to see the positive aspects of our experiences when we are going through difficult times. However, it’s important to focus on the lessons we can learn & the opportunities for growth that can come from challenging situations. Remember that you have the power to turn your pain into something positive. Keep pushing forward, & don’t give up hope.

We can help

No matter where you are along your separation journey, we can help you. We regularly see people in the early stages of separation or even before a final separation has happened.

If you’re facing a challenging situation, rest assured that we’re here to offer useful advice & assistance. Our goal is to enable you to make the right choices for yourself & your overall health.

Remember to prioritise your own needs & emotions & seek out any resources or help that can aid in that.

Book a Free 15-Minute Call with Andrew.

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Andrew Capelin

Principal Director

Andrew Capelin is the Principal of Capelin Law; he is a lawyer, mediator and collaborative practitioner with over 25 years of experience in legal practice and business. Capelin Law is built on the belief in making every effort to help people resolve their issues without using a court. This approach is faster, cheaper and less stressful. Therefore we believe it is just a better way of doing things.

Andrew practiced as a barrister for about 10 years which makes him very competent and confident in a courtroom! Ironically, Andrew now handles very few litigation matters these days, preferring to focus on helping families resolve their issues collaboratively.   

Consequently, Andrew finds collaborative practice to be a very fulfilling part of the work that he does and is passionate in his belief that it gives better outcomes for families.

Andrew’s other passion is playing golf.