*(I am not a psychologist, I have experience with this situation and I am sharing from that and my own research. I have approached this from a woman perspective, as that is what I am and what I have been dealing with myself. If you are a man in this situation, your experience is no less valid and you are still a victim of abuse. I am in the process of writing an article from a mans POV, however I do need your help, as I have not experienced a female narcissist in my own life.
It’s been said that narcissism is one of the most difficult mental disorders to diagnose, for a few reasons; first, Narcissists tend to believe there is nothing wrong with them, so they do not admit to having problems and don’t seek help in the first place. Second, they are masters at appearing normal to the therapist. Often, if a couple is in therapy, the narcissist can put on such a great show that their partner ends up looking like they are the problem, and the therapist, if not knowledgeable about narcissism, will not see the real issue.
Therapists can be manipulated to further abuse the victim, “proving” the narcissists accusations of their partner not doing enough and reinforcing the thought that the victim needs to do more. The victim may try and explain the behaviors of the narcissist and why it’s damaging the relationship, but the abuse is often so subtle it’s hard to verbalize and pinpoint how and why the marriage is deteriorating. It is far easier to think that you are causing the issues and if you change your behavior everything will return to “normal” (i.e. the happy honeymoon phase of your relationship).
Compounding the problem is the fact that the diagnostic definition of Narcissism is fairly subjective. And for victims of a narcissist, who have been brainwashed into thinking their relationship is fine and THEY are the problem, they may not be able to see their partners behaviors clearly identified in the following definition.
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievement).
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
- Requires excessive admiration.
- Has a sense of entitlement (i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations).
- Is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends).
- Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
- Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
- Show arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
further information HERE
1. He’s a charmer
Narcissists will do everything they can to woo you. You may think you have found the perfect prince charming. They want to “win” you, and so, in their minds, “own” you. They will complement you excessively, take you on wonderful dates, and buy you lots of gifts.
The flattery they lay on is thick, and if you’re aware, you will notice it right away. Unfortunately, if you’re caught up in the romance you may miss the manipulation that comes along with it. (As I did). Ask anyone who has ever been with a narcissist, they will tell you all the red flags were there. They will also tell you that they could see these red flags, but they dismissed them or rationalized the narcissist’s bad or questionable behavior away. The narcissist is relying on you to do this, which is part of why they’re trying so hard to romance you. Your instincts are there to protect you! If a guy seems “off,” he is!
2. He moves fast.
Narcissists have to move quickly in a relationship, plowing over your natural resistance with over the top romance. This makes you much more easily manipulated, as you’re naturally a bit off balance. Also, as you go deeper into the relationship, you reveal more of yourself to him, and trust him more (Never noticing the tidbits he tells you about himself are small and or incomplete, because he is such a great listener!). That then allows him to destroy you emotionally when he stops paying attention to you or starts abusing you. Once he’s got you hooked, he knows it will be hard, if not impossible for you to escape.
3. He will let you do all the talking.
A narcissist will let you pour your heart out to him (and if you’re reluctant he will pout, prod, and beg you to tell him ALL about yourself). He will gladly listen to your entire life story, so that he can learn how to exploit your points of weakness and so that you will see him as a comfort and — again — trust him.
Honestly, he sees it not so much as listening or communicating, but as gathering facts he can use against you later, and as building up your trust in him. That said, his listening skills are not the greatest (mainly nodding) as his natural self-centeredness is almost impossible for him to overcome. He may frequently may interrupt to bring the conversation back to some mundane aspect of himself, this is a red flag!
4. He will seduce you.
Any boundaries you have set up are merely challenges to a narcissist. Don’t want to sleep together yet? He will take it as a personal victory when he ends up “changing your mind” in just a few days. Have friends you’re not ready for him to meet? He will bug and cajole you until you set up a date. Anytime you say no, they will find a way to change your mind, and do it in such a way you think it was actually your idea. Narcissistic men, in particular love to use intense sex as a means of hooking their targets, and they tend to have lots of it.
Once he knows he has you hooked, either you have moved in together, married, or by some other means, his behavior will change. At least that is how it will appear to you. The charming man you fell in love with, the one who who worshiped you, will fade away, or worse, you will wake up one day and he will have become an entirely different person. In reality, he is just no longer wearing the mask and is showing his true self to you. The next stage of your relationship will look something like this:
(A narc wont suddenly stop his seductions once your married, cheating repeatedly is another sign of narcissism. He just wont be seducing you anymore~ 25 Signs Your Husband is Cheating)
Married to a Narcissist
5. He doesn’t care about your feelings, thoughts or ideas.
Anything you say in relation to yourself will be dismissed, ignored, or made fun of. Your thoughts, opinions, and beliefs are all irrelevant to him, as he sees himself as the final word on you and your life. Your life is there to revolve around him. His attitude is “What I want, feel, think or believe is all that matters, so I don’t bother taking seriously what you say, especially when it differs from my thoughts or preferences.” This attitude can be so extreme he may not even later recall you ever said anything at all.
6. Everything is always all about him
When you’re married to a narcissist, everything is about him, his wants, needs, and desires. Everything will be planned according to his schedule and wishes. If he doesn’t want to go out that night, you won’t, if he does, you will. And if you don’t want to go, he will go without you and later start a big fight about it.
Conversations will be about him, about his day, his work, his hobbies, his friends. If you try to interject about your own life, he will make that about him as well, by giving you advice on how you should have behaved in a situation (even if there was no problems) or by mocking or dismissing the events. Pretty soon you will stop telling him about yourself, because the conversations go so poorly. It’s easier to keep the conversations about him.
I barely tell him anything now about my day. Just general stuff so he doesn’t feel I’m hiding anything. Over the years, before I really understood what was going on in my marriage, I tried to communicate more, remember stories of my day, etc. because he always told me I didn’t talk to him. Last time I tried to talk to him about my day, he picked up his phone and started playing on Facebook and TOTALLY IGNORED me. I know better than to tell him anything important to me now. In fact, I tend to put off asking him for anything as I know he will try and sabotage “helping me out” if I give him too much time.
7. He doesn’t live by anyone else’s rules
Narcissists feel that they are special and above others, so rules don’t apply to them. Standard social graces are optional, and he is entitled to judge everyone else on how they live. Even, or maybe especially, expectations of the relationship by a partner are dismissed and the relationship becomes molded to the narcissists needs and desires, with the needs and desires of the partner being completely ignored. However, for himself, he is allowed anything his heart desires and expects to be treated like a king with no consequences.
8. He doesn’t want to hear about your issues
A narcissist will get upset or irritated if you start talking to them about your issues or concerns, especially if your concerns are over their behavior. Do not expect to be able to have a “talk” with a narcissist if there is something bothering you about your relationship. Anything you say will be taken as a personal attack and they will fight you aggressively over it. Indeed, you may end up apologizing when in fact he was the one out of line.
Even if they don’t take it personally, narcs have no ability to empathize with another person and so cannot understand why you’re upset. They will likely ignore your feelings since it has nothing to do with them and you will end up hurt twice and confused as to why your partner has emotionally abandoned you.
9. When you guys argue, it’s always your fault
No matter what he has done, it comes back to being your fault. If he’s flirting with another woman, is because you were ignoring him. He will never admit blame or accept responsibility for his actions or the pain he has inflicted on you. BUT, you must apologize for distressing him even in the slightest of ways. He is quick to blame you for any foul mood or upset he may encounter. I can probably count on two hands the number of times the words I’m sorry have crossed his lips in the last 12 years of our relationship. And none of those were genuine apologies, it was just another attempt to mollify and control me.
10. If he’s angry, it’s also your fault
This is a common tactic of abusers, “You made me mad. I’m only mad because you … !” He accepts no responsibility for controlling his own temper or actions taken when angry, In fact, he blames the whole thing on you and the way you made him feel. You may come away resolving to be a better wife/girlfriend to save the relationship, after all, you’re the one breaking it! This is another way he controls you and manipulates you into staying under his thumb and accepting his abuse.
11. Narcissists need to put you down to build themselves up.
When you are married to a narcissist (or dating), they will not treat you like an equal partner. In fact, that is the opposite of what they want. What they really want is someone to control, an object, not a human with emotions and feelings. They won’t like it if you’re not performing (bringing in enough income, taking care of the house and/or children up to their standards, or generally not living up to whatever productive role they have assigned to you in their life), but they will hate it even more if you’re better than them.
Narc’s are extremely competitive and need to be the best at whatever they do. They will make you feel like you’re a child and they the parent in whatever you’re doing, even if you really do know more than they do on the subject or are indeed better at it than they are. They are extremely arrogant and cannot admit to not being the best at something.
Anything you accomplish will be diminished or ignored, and anything he accomplishes will be praised and talked about FOREVER. Especially in situations where you are actually more proficient than he is.
12. You constantly feel like you’re walking on eggshells
One of the most frequent complaints when you’re married to a narcissist is the feeling of walking on eggshells. Anything you say or do could start a fight or be taken as an insult. Anything you don’t say could be taken the same way, so time spent together is constantly anxiety inducing for the partner of a narcissist. You feel as though you might be attacked at any moment with accusations of how you haven’t met their expectations, or have disappointed them in some way. Common “communications” include the use of aggression to express anger and rage, which may also show up as physical abuse at the extreme end.
I have gotten to the point of not accepting ANY emotion from him as genuine. Rage or “happiness”. I don’t relax in his presence, because he could change on a whim. Also, even when he’s happy, he still manages to shoot little barbs and put downs at me, especially in the company of his family or friends. Being with him is exhausting.
13. Your partner is obsessed with control
I have noticed in my relationship that anytime that he feels like control is slipping away (I have a bank account he has no access to for my school loan, for instance), his anger will surge and we have a big problem. This does not have to be the subject of the argument. In the case of my school account, I have no ability to add him to the account, even if he were to ask. So he will direct his anger in another direction and lash out at me for something else.
Narcissists expect that they are the center of the universe and so should be able to control the outcome of any situation. They expect to have people respond exactly as they want.
This can show up in something as small as the guests at a party not responding in the way the narcissist expects, or by you requesting his presence at an event he doesn’t want to go to. While these might be events you or I might not even register, or would accept without another thought as part of a give and take relationship, the narcissist can experience this as a huge loss of control and take it as a personal insult.
This controlling may also show up in your finances. Having a partner who manages your joint finances, tells you how things are financially and shares access your joint funds is a common relationship scenario. However, you’ll notice that when your married to a narcissist, he may insist on controlling all the finances without letting you have access to them, may not communicate where the money is going, and might fly into a rage if you spend even $5 more than you/he expected. This behavior is considered financial abuse and is another form of domestic violence. He uses your lack of available funds to further trap you in the relationship.
14. Your partner never hesitates to confront you or others in social situations where he feels he has been wronged
The narcissist’s first response is to confront, attack, blame and criticize. They never take any real responsibility for their actions or complaints you may have against them, instead turning the criticism back on you and making you the source of the problem, i.e. I only do this because you do that or that’s nothing compared to this bad thing YOU have done. There is often no filter on their thoughts, and they will not hesitate to make a scene in a public setting or with friends and family. It can feel like you’re watching a toddler throw a tantrum, yet everyone stands around and no-one knows what to do.
Now that I know his pattern and can see his behavior objectively (part of the time) it’s almost comical the lengths he will go to in his temper tantrums, and the horrible self-centered things that come out of his mouth. I believe narcs are never more of who they truly are than when they are in the grip of their rage. Pay attention to what they say in the heat of anger, it’s probably the most honest they will ever be with you.
15. Your partner is unable to feel empathy for you and has great difficulty appreciating the feelings and needs of others
While being married to a narcissist, I have repeatedly been shocked and disgusted by the comments he makes in passing concerning other people who have had something bad happen to them or have made a bad choice. He constantly puts down “fat” (anyone over the ideal weight) people, “dumb” people, and anyone who attracts his attention for being “less” than himself. Watching the news is usually pretty disgusting, because of his comments. He has NO ability to even slightly imagine how he might feel in that situation. There is NO empathy for anyone, strangers, family, spouse, or children. I often have to try and make him stop with the children as he is punishing them for having feelings he doesn’t agree with. Yelling at your kid for crying does not help the problem!
In your relationship, you may feel like discussions are all about your partner’s feelings, but very little, if any, acknowledgement is made of your feelings. You may frequently be left feeling frustrated and misunderstood by your partner and that your needs have not been taken into account. (I spent many years thinking if I could just get him to understand how he was making me feel, he would stop. There were many wasted tears trying to talk to him about how he was hurting me, and many nights going to bed so confused because my attempts to talk turned into a huge fight and an inquisition of all the things I was doing that “hurt” him). You’ve probably also spent a lot of time trying to calm and acknowledge your partner’s feelings and make sure their needs are met.
16. Everything depends on them
When you’re married to a narcissist, you cannot make plans unless he wants to, you cannot hang out with your friends unless he is okay with it, and basically everything you do depends on his opinion of it. One of the biggest signs you’re with a narcissist is if everything in your relationship depends on him and his opinion of things. Look at your relationship objectively and see if you are allowed to take the lead on anything, or if it all is reliant on his opinions. If he gives you a hard time or the cold shoulder for having a girls night (or if you have stopped having them altogether because its simpler to just stay home), if you can’t make any plans without checking to see if he wants to, if he puts off, stalls, or makes you late to events you want to participate in, you may have a narcissist on your hands.
17. Constantly Needs Your Attention
Narcs believe the world is all about them, your world especially should put his needs first. They will constantly be requiring your attention, even after the arrival of a new baby and above the requirements of the children and yourself. Having a headache will not be an acceptable “get out of sex” card, and no matter how busy you are, you should be sure to get his laundry, ironing, lunch, whatever, all ready for him.
Complements are mandatory, and you will need to keep them coming to him all the time. My narcissist recently started texting me selfies expecting complements, during the day. And the fact that I have not complemented his recently more muscled arms has been the subject of a fight or two. They seem insecure, but in reality, they just want praise and for you to be admiring them and ignoring everyone else.
18. He Puts Himself First
When you’re married to a narcissist, he will put himself first, before any of your needs, before your kid’s needs, before any financial obligations or work requirements. Before any saving or preparing for your future or getting out of debt. His needs, wants, and image are his first priorities and everything else comes second. He will spend money on things for himself and not pay the electric bill. He will be buying himself a new hat, or shirt, or recreational drug, and tell you “we don’t have enough money” for diapers or groceries. He believes he is more important than you, and that he deserves to treat himself because he works “so hard” for hismoney. Any money you contribute to the family will also be considered his.
Any needs you have that you bring to his attention, he will ignore, blow off, and/or be annoyed by. I have been told over and over again that all he hears from me is “I want, I want, I want”. When in reality I was telling him that we needed groceries, or that I needed new jeans because my one pair ripped, or that I needed something like glasses because it has been 4+ years. While he is spending thousands of dollars on tattoos (seriously).
When they come and turn off the water, gas, or cable because he hasn’t paid the bill, he will be annoyed that they could do something like that, not upset that you’re now without water or heat until he pays the bill.
19. You feel as though there is a dark cloud in your home.
This is probably number one for me. As an empath, I tend to pick up on others feelings. I can’t even put a solid name to it, but it feels as though there is a darkness in my home when he is here. Anytime I did/do something he doesn’t particularly like, it grows and takes over the entire atmosphere of the house. The disapproval is almost tangible, even when he says nothing. There is never acceptance or intimacy here.
Are you Dating a Narcissist? Quiz
I started writing this article thinking it would be fairly easy. I have lived been married to a narcissist for years, I KNOW, I should be able to share pretty easily. But I couldn’t even finish it in one sitting because it became too hard. This is the life I have been living, the complete dismissal of myself as a human being, with rights and needs, and a personality that makes me special. I have been put down and dismissed for my talents and interests, I have been stripped of my anonymity and publicly embarrassed by him, on purpose. I have had friends turned against me, or my schedule manipulated so we just lost touch. I have been isolated and marginalized, all for him to take the credit for my continued accomplishments.
And yet, it took me 11 years and college psychology classes to realize how disordered my relationship is. It’s taken me a year and a half to even begin to gather myself together and start the process of leaving. You build your entire life on an idea, and finding out it’s all been a lie is not something you can absorb in a day. I still have moments when I am dazed, not really sure if it’s me that’s crazy or him. And I still have moments when his cruelty tears me to pieces, even though I expect it now. I can’t imagine now how much worse it is for a woman who is being physically abused as well.
But I want to follow all this up with, it’s not too late. We can still have a good, happy life. We can even still find love and actually get the real true marriage we dreamed about when we were planning our first wedding. We were trapped by evil in disguise, tricked into marrying someone who used us, but now we know better. Now we can see them, and we know they’re out there. As long as were careful, and work on healing ourselves, it won’t happen again.
We have to learn how to stand on our own two feet again, learn how to support ourselves, learn how to set and uphold our own boundaries. We need to learn its ok to say something is not ok. We need to learn that we don’t have to do everything. We need to learn that we are important! Flaws and all. And that it’s ok to mess up sometimes, because a normal person won’t crucify you for a simple mistake. We need to learn how to trust again, trust ourselves as well as another person, and how to identify someone who is worthy of our trust.
If you have read this list and are identifying your own relationship here, start by finding and reading everything you can on narcissism. Do not react prematurely. A Narcissist is a terrible foe, and if you don’t fully know what you’re up against, you will not be able to defend yourself. Do not make the mistake of thinking leaving will be just a matter of taking your half and leaving, be prepared to defend what is yours, legally. I will continue to offer advice and resources here, and hopefully we can both be free, soon!
Source: Narcissists Wife