30 Jan Do Only Narcissists Cheat?
Beyond Breath TV: How to Find Relief in Your Marriage
On my social media, I receive comments all the time from onlookers who don’t take the time to understand what I do, telling me to leave my husband. Their words are thrown in my face. They think that they can so easily unfold my future for me.
“He’ll never change.”
“Your marriage will never work.”
“Go find somebody else that won’t do this.”
“All he cares about is himself or he wouldn’t have done this to you.”
“He’s a narcissist. He doesn’t love you. He only loves himself.”
Today I want to speak to the idea that only narcissists cheat, and then speak to how this idea may or may not be hurtful when repairing your marriage after infidelity.
Narcissists Cheat, But Not All Cheaters Are Narcissists.
The American Psychological Association considers a narcissist to be someone who is convinced that they warrant special treatment and repeatedly takes advantage of others to satisfy their own desires. The narcissist feels that the normal rules shouldn’t apply to them and that what they want should supersede everything else. They also perceive their own attractiveness, sexual prowess, and intelligence to be above average.
Dr. Kerry McAvory, Ph.D., did a study with 83 participants who had all been in a relationship with a person who had been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). When asked if they had experienced infidelity during their relationship, 71.6% said yes. However, in an article by Daniel Dashaw, he says that most cheating partners do not have Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He goes on to say that while having a personality disorder is highly correlated with infidelity, infidelity does not necessarily indicate a personality disorder.
Can you feel the confusion of this? As this subject can send loud and reactive accusations flying, I decided to do my own research to see what my audience thinks.
Can a Good Man Make a Terrible Mistake?
The first question I asked was: if you’ve experienced infidelity in your marriage, were you ever told or had the thought that your husband must be a narcissist? 600 women responded and 81% said yes, that they had been told or had the initial thought that their husband must be a narcissist because he had been unfaithful.
Then I asked this follow-up question: do you think that only narcissists are unfaithful? Or can your husband be a good person that did a bad thing without being diagnosed with a personality disorder? 84% of the respondents said that they considered their husbands to be good people who had errored. I also received a couple of direct messages from women telling me that their husbands weren’t narcissists, but that they couldn’t say that they were good people either.
Listen, I understand the desire to tell people the warning signs of abuse and narcissism, and I respect the experts out there who have specialized in this area. However, I believe that by automatically assuming that your husband has a personality disorder you are pouring fear into your reconciliation after infidelity. I’m going to boldly tell you that I agree with my audience. There are good men out there who just did a bad thing.
I believe that, at times in life, an affair can be a cry for help. I believe that there are men out there who hate how much they have hurt their wives and families. I believe that there are men out there who feel sincere remorse for their actions, and I believe that these men can heal. As long as you can heal as well, your marriage is bound to succeed.
Sexual addiction and infidelity are usually symptoms of something deeper, an inability to feel, process, and understand emotions. Think of how hard it is for these men, who obviously have work to do within themselves, to fight against the stigma attached to narcissism.
On the other side of trying to figure out what might be wrong with your husband and how you got to where you are in your marriage, there’s another battle that you’re dealing with. This battle is an internal one. After you experience the horrible truth that your marriage has been infiltrated by infidelity, you usually receive a sense of validation. You have a moment of “I knew there was something going on.” At that exact moment, your body, if not already stimulated by worry and panic, is now set to operate in protective mode. From here on out, you are on the defense. You are on a battlefield, navigating through what is real and not real, what makes sense and what doesn’t. If you’re also battling the idea that, since your husband cheated, he must be a narcissist, It just makes all of this that much harder.
So what should you do with this information? Well, if you’re wondering if your husband is a narcissist, I recommend watching my video in which I discuss the four traits of a narcissist in infidelity:
Your Healing Is What Matters
If all of this information feels overwhelming or too consuming, go no further. It doesn’t matter if only narcissists cheat or not. At the end of the day, knowing the answer would do nothing for your healing process. Regardless of whether your husband is a narcissist or not, the exact same healing needs to take place in order for you to overcome his infidelity. My suggestion to you is that you put your energy into healing yourself so that if your husband is a narcissist, you will have the clarity to know and even to understand. You’ll be ready to implement actions that need to take place in your life. And if your husband is not a narcissist, by doing your healing, you will be able to recognize that is the case.
You will be able to use your energy to stop defending and protecting yourself and be able to move towards him to create a beautiful, healthy marriage. What will your healing look like? Well, healing will mean clearing your emotional trauma, which will rid you of the panic and anxiety of trying to fix him. You’ll overcome the fear and anger that is keeping you blind to your reality. You will cleanse your mind of the obsessive thoughts about what he did. You’ll stop comparing yourself to every woman that you see. You’ll leave behind the numbness, detachment, and disbelief so that you can experience your life and marriage fully.
In fact, I have an entire masterclass on this exact topic that I’d love to share with you. But before I go into that spiel, I’d love to hear from you. Do you think that in order to overcome your husband’s infidelity, you need to know whether or not he’s a narcissist? Whatever your answer is, tell me why you believe it. I can’t wait to hear from you. Comment in the section below.
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If you’re tired of living in the misery you’ve known, spending your days thinking about what kind of disorder he has and whether it’s time for you to leave, take some action, and apply for my group coaching program. I know you want to know a life again made of days not weighed down by paralyzing fear and self-doubt. Why not give yourself the gift of accepting the help that will allow you to get there?
There’s a big difference between being self-absorbed and practicing self-care and self-compassion. Take one baby step today toward healing your emotional trauma and you will be amazed by where that can take you.