Marriage therapy has become increasingly more popular in recent years and couples continue to work to resolve their internal differences and keep the family unit together. If you are struggling in your own marriage, and if you are married to someone with a narcissistic personality disorder, you may want to consider dialectical behavior therapy as a viable option for treatment.
In many dysfunctional marriages, it is not uncommon to find one spouse suffering from mental illness including risks for narcissistic personality disorder. With this type of mental health complication, the demise of the marriage is often related to the tendency for the narcissistic person to have an exaggerated opinion of themselves. A greater tendency to feel they are more important than anyone else in the family, including their children, is common and often results in dysfunction, infidelity, and other complications.
When considering options for family therapy or marriage therapy, it is important to find a counselor who carries a marriage and family therapy degree and one who is well versed in unique mental health disorders. When looking for treatment and therapy options, finding a therapist who is experienced in dialectical behavior therapy will go along way in not only helping your narcissistic spouse but also giving you the resources, as a couple, to work through your differences.
With dialectical behavior therapy, the approach is designed to assist in managing emotions and each person in the family is taught how to regulate responses and thoughts with cognitive-behavioral therapy. In dialectical behavior therapy, the narcissistic spouse is taught how to control emotions while expressing and feeling empathy towards other family members. In contrast, the other family members are taught how to manage emotions and thoughts in terms of the behaviors in narcissism.
Overall, dialectical behavior therapy has some roots in Buddhist teachings and so you should be prepared for a “one love” approach to your marriage therapy and couples therapy. When dealing with a narcissistic personality disorder in your spouse, this could be the best option to approaching therapy at a level that is suitable for all personality types in your marriage.
Sources: The Marriage Clinic, by John Gottman