I hope you don't mind me e-mailing in, like this. I have been reading your web site and articles and I think they are excellent.
I may or may not be in a situation like the people in the articles. I may not be an abused woman. My problem is that I am a very selfish, self-centered person and I have ruined my husband's life by being selfish and having no empathy towards him or anyone else. He is always very angry with me on this account and he even says I have a personality disorder, which I have heard is incurable.
I even feel selfish writing this, but we have three children who might be affected by my behavior and I'd like to know how to minimise the effects of it and how to be empathetic. I try so hard never to think of myself and to monitor everything I say, do, feel and think in case it's horrible (the word he used was narcissism) but it is only effective up to a point.
Do you have any advice for this situation?
Yours in hope
Yes, I do have advice for you. That advice is to stop listening to your husband right away.
Your husband tells you that you are selfish, self-centred, and you have ruined your his life.
What a poor hard done by victim he is!
But, also, what a negative, critical, fault-finding, punitive, blaming partner he is.
If he’s that unhappy, why hasn't he left you long ago?
Unless, the reason he stays with you is because, actually, he enjoys blaming you for ‘ruining his life’…
I’m guessing he gets a real high out of telling you how awful you are.
Now, in my book, that is selfish, and destructive. It is the hallmark of an abusive man. You don’t have to be an Einstein to know that it points to a complete lack of empathy… on his part.
What proof do I have for saying that?
All the proof I need.
Let me explain:
If there were ANY truth in what your abusive husband was saying, you would not feel selfish writing to me.
In fact, you wouldn't even bother to write to me.
You know why?
Because you wouldn't care less about what you had 'done to him'.
In reality, you care very deeply. And that is one of the hallmarks of an abused woman. You care far more about other people's feelings than you do about your own.
The truth is, your abusive partner is saying some very cruel - and UNTRUE - things about you, which are hurting you very much. And he doesn't care in the slightest how much he hurts you.
Which is one of the unmistakable features of emotionally abusive relationships.
My advice to you is find out what is really going on, and stop letting him hurt you like this.
My program "It's Emotional Abuse. Don't Try To Fix It" may be just what you need to understand what is really going on in your marriage.