Ordinary, meet Narcissist. Narcissist, meet Ordinary.
Actually, Ordinary and Narcissit shouldn’t meet because, honestly, they just won’t get along. In fact, you could say, ordinary is the enemy of narcissist. Sometimes, when they first meet, they become friendly or even friends, but trust me, things eventually end up spiralling out of control. Ordinary might be tired one day and make an offhand remark that Narcissist finds insulting. “How dare you?” she’ll exclaim. Ordinary will attempt to placate Narcissist, but his rage is hard to subdue and it’s also hard to forget.
Ordinary, if she’s smart, will start to construct barriers around herself to protect herself from Narcicisst. If she’s really smart, she’ll keep her barriers invisible to Narcissist so Narcissist won’t feel slighted and go into another rage. Ordinary knows she needs to protect herself somehow, some way. The question is, can she find a healthy way to do it?*
Growing up with a narcissistic parent or living with a narcissistic spouse isn’t easy. Both present unique challenges and have different desired outcomes. Eventually, the child of the narcissist becomes an adult and, at best, figures out how to to create boundaries that still allow for a relationship, possibly a caretaking one, with both an (aging) parent as well as with the extended family. The spouse of a narcissist, on the other hand, has no choice but to extricate herself (or himself) from the relationship because narcissists don’t grow out of their narcissism. They just don’t. Can’t.
Once sufficiently distanced from the narcissistic parent, partner or friend, Ordinary can go back to being ordinary, leading an ordinary life full of ups and downs, joy and sorrow, heartbreak and triumph. An ordinary existence where life and love can blossom without inordinate amounts of fanfare or super-sized expectations, where a moment shared between two people over a cup of coffee, a bike ride, or a stroll around the block, become the extraordinary moments that define a life well lived.
Embrace the everyday miracle of life. Cherish dear ones and dear moments.
Bring on the ordinary.
*I highly recommend professional therapy in this case.
Note: I am not a therapist nor am I trained in psychotherapy. I am speaking from extensive life experience and reading, and many years of pondering this topic. Please see a professional psychotherapist if you are in a serious relationship with a narcissist! There are also a lot of good books out there. I will try to remember the names of some of the ones I’ve read and will add them to my “Other Resources” page.