Spend any time around a group of divorced people, and you’ll hear someone bust out their psychological judgment:
Usually this isn’t said only as an insult, but also as an amateur diagnosis. The ex is someone who’s selfish, mean, self-centered, capable only of looking out for the person in the mirror. This isn't just behavior, it's a sickness, a disease!
You might be on either side of this experience. Maybe you think your ex is a narcissist. Maybe you’ve been called a narcissist by your ex. Either way, it’s time for a healthy dose of reality: just because you can’t stay married to someone, that doesn’t make either one of you a narcissist.
It sure feels good to call your ex a narcissist. That puts a medical patina on the failure of your relationship. It’s nice to believe that there’s something fundamentally wrong with the other person, something that can’t be cured, that no one could have made work. In short, it’s an excuse for why your relationship failed.
If that’s all it was, it wouldn’t be so bad. We all need reasons, and sometimes we need excuses. Reasons and excuses can help us carry on in life when it seems too hard to continue in the face of sorrow and cruelty. But the problem with calling your ex a narcissist isn’t how it explains your past, but how it limits your future.
If your ex is a narcissist, you don’t have to be kind.
If your ex is a narcissist, you don’t have to think.
If your ex is a narcissist, you don’t have to change.
Your ex isn’t a narcissist. You have to be kind to your ex, even if you never see each other again. Being kind is the only path for you to endure and thrive in difficult situations.
Your ex isn’t a narcissist. You have to think deeply about yourself, examine your own actions and your own motives. Clear-eyed self-examination is how you reach an understanding of how to improve your life.
Your ex isn’t a narcissist. You have to change the things that didn’t work for you, the things that held you back, the things that repelled chances to be happy.
Your ex isn’t a narcissist, and neither are you.