I’m a psychologist who oversees a program for narcissistic men. I employ 3 techniques to see if they can keep their marriages together.

Clinical psychologist David Hawkins focuses on narcissism. He asserted that for his interventions to be effective, both the narcissist and their partner must demonstrate a willingness to change. Hawkins’ three-part course includes the concepts of no contact, developing empathy, and accepting responsibility. Morning Brew is read by more than 3 million people; you should too! Narcissist expert and therapist David Hawkins has worked with marriages where at least one partner is a narcissist.

The non-narcissistic partner may reach a breaking point if their spouse spends years of the relationship shifting blame, according to Hawkins, who runs the Marriage Recovery Center in Seattle. He claimed that narcissistic spouses frequently claim that something isn’t their fault. When there is dispute, you say, “It’s you.”

The pair may need professional assistance if the narcissist constantly devalues their spouse or refuses to understand and sympathize with their partner, according to him. Extreme entitlement, a lack of regret, arrogance, and self-centeredness are some characteristics he searches for.

The most extreme type of narcissism, narcissistic personality disorder, is diagnosed by a mental health professional. Narcissism is a spectrum condition. Higher degree narcissists have a tendency to be overly critical of themselves and others, which affects all or most of their interactions. NPD, also known as narcissistic personality disorder , is expected to affect 6% of the population .

When Hawkins observes a relationship and determines that one person is narcissistic, he works with each individual to see whether the marriage can survive.

Both partners must demonstrate a desire to strengthen their marriage. Hawkins offers a program for male narcissists that entails two sessions of group treatment lasting 14 weeks for narcissistic male partners, followed by a six-month period of pair therapy.

Hawkins evaluates each partner’s dedication to preserving and restoring their relationship before beginning treatment.

Hawkins probes into their dynamic during sessions that last between two and six hours. Then, according to Hawkins, he observes their interactions to determine how “entrenched” the narcissist’s beliefs and actions are.

He stated that he will only propose a no-contact time and strict boundaries if both parties demonstrate a commitment to improve their relationship through such measures.

Before they can heal together, “usually, there’s a lot of work for each of them to undertake individually,” Hawkins told Insider.

A period of no contact can assist a narcotics user with self-reflection and setting boundaries. Hawkins requires the narcissist’s spouse to write them a letter outlining their mistreatment to begin therapy, which the narcissist then processes and accepts responsibility for during their first 14-week session.

The narcissist in Hawkins’ lecture will initially reject the emotional damage they inflicted on others or place the blame on their relationships. He collaborates with them to end the pattern of undervaluing their partner. Narcissists focus on identifying these patterns in themselves and developing healthy relationship skills during the second 14-week session, according to Hawkins.

He orders the partners of narcissists to break off all contact while they are learning. This barrier gives the partner some breathing room from the verbal and emotional abuse they have experienced in the marriage so they may become more aware of who they are and what they want and need from their union. It also demonstrates to the narcissist that mistreating others has repercussions.

Hawkins asserts that there is no predetermined duration for a no-contact period. Instead, it is dependent on the growth of the specific narcissist, which a spouse can learn about via their therapist. At least “many months” pass, he claimed.

At this time, the spouse of the narcissist should also be receiving individual counseling so they can practice not reacting to stimuli that support narcissistic behavior.

Couples therapy involves the therapist highlighting unhealthy cycles. Hawkins continues to identify problematic behaviors once he determines that the couple is prepared for joint therapy, but this time with both partners present.

Discussing these concerns in real-time can be more fruitful than before individual treatment since the narcissist has had time to improve on abilities like empathizing and taking responsibility, he added.

“It is a continuous process. Even when I begin working with couples, I’m still addressing his character, narcissistic tendencies, and emotionally abusive behaviors “Hawkins remarked.
He stated that two to three years of intensive therapy, followed by ongoing therapy to sustain recovery, are typical for someone with “severe” narcissism.

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