Deal narcissistic husband

7 Tips On How To Deal With A Narcissist Husband

Are you in a relationship with someone who acts narcissistic, experiences narcissistic rage, or has been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)? While most couples experience problems, if you’re in a relationship with someone with narcissism, you may experience some truly unique challenges. However, that doesn’t mean that your relationship can’t work.

The seven tips below may help you learn how to interact with a partner who has NPD.

What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Check Out These Seven Tips For Living With A Narcissistic Partner.

Connect With A Mental Health Professional

A narcissist is someone who has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). However, having narcissistic tendencies does not necessarily mean that a person has NPD. This mental health condition is a type of personality disorder that can only be diagnosed by a professional. Some psychologists believe that narcissistic traits tend to arise as a defense mechanism to excessive criticism during a person’s early years, childhood trauma, or a lack of emotional availability from a primary caregiver.

Somebody who is living with NPD may come across as being extremely confident, and people might find them arrogant. One study found that narcissists tend to outperform others, not because they are smarter but because they may be more resilient and determined.

Common signs of narcissistic personality disorder include:

  • An inflated ego
  • Feelings of entitlement
  • A tendency to take over conversations
  • An inflated sense of self-importance
  • A tendency to exaggerate accomplishments
  • Fragile self-esteem
  • The habit of taking advantage of others for their own personal gain
  • Constant troubled relationships
  • A tendency to belittle others
  • Inability to see the needs or feelings of others
  • Envy
  • Inability to maintain healthy relationships
  • Difficulty with their own emotions
  • Anger, mood swings, and impatience

These symptoms may make it difficult to be in a relationship with someone who is narcissistic. You may also find yourself a survivor of an abusive relationship because of these behaviors. Abuse may include things like calling you names, giving you the silent treatment, gaslighting you, manipulating you, lying, withholding, and isolating.

Narcissistic abuse is a form of psychological or emotional abuse. The effects of it may be long-lasting if you’re unaware that it’s happening.

Tips On How To Deal With A Narcissist Partner

1. Make A Decision

The first thing that may help you in living with a narcissist is acknowledging that there’s a possibility that your partner isn’t going to change their behavior. If you’re continuing to stay in the relationship only because you think that this is going to happen, you may experience disappointment. Because the symptoms of NPD include having low self-esteem and struggling to take responsibility for any wrongs, it may not be easy for a narcissist to recognize their behavior and make a change.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t or shouldn’t stay with your partner, but if you want things to look different in your relationship, you may be the one that needs to make a change. If you’re counting on your partner to be the one to improve your relationship, you may quickly grow frustrated. While it might not seem fair that you may be the one making the majority of changes, that is sometimes what’s required in a relationship with someone with NPD.

2. Learn To Recognize The Triggers

When living with a narcissistic partner, it can also be helpful to learn to recognize the things that seem to trigger their insecurities. Because narcissists may be secretly insecure, this may trigger them to act out in anger or other negative behaviors. Once you learn how to recognize these triggers, it may help you to be prepared mentally for the struggle that they may be having.

One reason why some narcissists end up reacting in rage may be low self-esteem. Because narcissists tend to hide their insecurities, they may have a hard time coping when someone points out something that makes them look like they don’t know what they’re doing or talking about. When this happens, a narcissist may react by belittling those around them in an effort to try to feel better about themselves.

3. Build Your Own Self-Esteem

Narcissists may struggle with being empathetic to other people. Also, because they may see themselves as superior to others, they tend to knock other people down and insult them. They may engage in emotional and verbal abuse. These are all reasons why you might want to build your own self-esteem, without counting on your partner to help you do this.

They may have been flattering and charming at the beginning of your relationship, but over time, their true colors may have started to show. There may be times in your relationship when your partner does say things to build you up. However, this behavior tends to be like a roller coaster, and you may find that it’s not long before they’re trying to make you feel bad about yourself. This is an unfortunate cycle that exists in many narcissistic relationships.

If you are choosing to stay with your partner, you may want to work on establishing healthy self-esteem despite your partner’s behavior. Because narcissists tend to silently struggle with their own self-esteem, your partner may be unable to help you with your own.

4. Look For Ways To Help Your Partner Build Their Self-Esteem

While it’s not your responsibility to build your partner’s self-esteem, you may find that helping them achieve a healthier relationship with themselves may be beneficial for both of you. It may help you to remind yourself that they’re most likely not acting negatively toward you because of anything that you’ve done; it’s more likely because they are hurting and feel insecure.

If you notice things that your partner is doing well or things that you appreciate about them, it can go a long way to mention those things to them. This may help to build their self-esteem for the moment and remind you of the things that you love about them.

5. Establish Clear Boundaries

Setting boundaries in any intimate relationship can lead to a healthier connection, and in a relationship with a narcissist, it may be even more important. Your partner is likely to want to take control of everything in the relationship. 

Some examples of boundaries that you may want to set include:

  • No name-calling. You could let your partner know that if they begin to call you names, the conversation will be over and that you will walk away.
  • Having time alone with friends. A narcissistic person may not like it when you spend time with friends or have your own life outside the relationship. However, isolation can be a form of emotional abuse, and you deserve to have a strong support system in your life.
  • Not making excuses for them. You may find that people with narcissistic traits do things like miss family get-togethers or your children’s events and then expect you to make up an excuse to cover for them. It’s okay not to do this for them.

Also, when you set boundaries, you may find that your partner respects them if you make them clear. They may try to make you feel guilty, but you might find more stability if you stay strong and stick to your boundaries.

6. Build A Support System

Check Out These Seven Tips For Living With A Narcissistic Partner.

Connect With A Mental Health Professional

You might find it helpful to establish a good support system around you. It can be common for a narcissist to isolate their partner from family and friends. This can negatively affect your physical or mental health. Your partner may want all of your attention and may become jealous if you are spending time with other people. You may find that your partner criticizes your friends or family in an effort to get you to not spend time with them.

When you are not connecting with a support system, it may become easier for your partner to control more of your life. Also, it can become harder for you to recognize the wrong behaviors that they are showing. A support system may help you see things clearly and feel more stable during challenging times.

7. Get Counseling

If you’re married to a narcissist, it may be helpful to meet with a therapist. If you’ve been a victim of narcissistic abuse, you may have a hard time recognizing that the behaviors showing up in your relationship are not acceptable. You may find yourself going back and forth between wondering if it’s a problem and thinking you’re just making a big deal out of nothing.

A therapist may help you work through the questions that you have, help you work on building your self-esteem, and teach you strategies to help strengthen your relationship.

It’s possible that a narcissistic partner may not want to attend couples counseling, or they may even try to keep you from attending therapy yourself. This can make online therapy like that offered by BetterHelp an effective option. You can talk with a therapist from anywhere that is comfortable and works for you, instead of having to go into a therapist’s office. Also, you can message your therapist at any time of day, and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can.


While living with a narcissistic partner may present significant challenges, you are not alone. You can speak with a professional counselor with the experience and training necessary to help people with a narcissistic partner. Reach out to a therapist today to get the support you deserve and learn more about how to move forward in your relationship.

How to Live With a Narcissist Husband? 15 Signs and Ways to Deal

In This Article

It’s no secret that narcissism can make relationships challenging. You’ve probably heard someone complain about life with a narcissistic husband. They may talk about cheating, self-centeredness, or other behaviors that just make life difficult to manage. 

Whether you’re looking for advice for yourself or helping a friend, there are strategies you can use when dealing with a narcissist husband. Here, learn how to live with a narcissist husband and still enjoy life. 

Who is a narcissistic husband?

People sometimes use the term narcissist to refer to someone who is selfish and doesn’t think of their partner’s feelings within a relationship. 

While this may seem like a casual term that people use to describe someone with narcissistic traits, the reality is that narcissism is actually a diagnosable condition, listed as narcissistic personality disorder in the DSM-5, which is the tool that mental health professionals use when making diagnoses. 

Sometimes, someone with narcissistic husband traits may not truly have the disorder and will only show some narcissistic tendencies. On the other hand, some individuals who deal with a husband who puts you down and shows other upsetting behaviors are actually living with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder. 

Some symptoms of this disorder are as follows:

  • Believing oneself to be superior to others
  • Only wanting to associate with other people who are perceived as highly successful, attractive, or special
  • Expecting favorable treatment
  • Taking advantage of others to get own needs or wants met
  • Being unable to empathize with other people
  • Wanting constant admiration 
  • Behaving haughtily and arrogantly.

In summary, the answer to the question, “What is a narcissistic husband?” is that a spouse shows some or many of the signs above. 

Narcissism can exist as a spectrum, so if you are dealing with a narcissist husband, he may show just a few of the signs above or show enough of these signs to meet the criteria for a diagnosable personality disorder. 

While narcissists come across as incredibly arrogant, self-important, and confident, underlying their self-assured exterior is deep insecurity and fragile ego, which often has roots in childhood trauma, abuse, or rejection from parents. 

Related Reading: What Is a Narcissistic Personality & How to Identify Them

6 effects of life with a narcissistic husband

It probably goes unsaid that having a spouse who demands excessive admiration and is willing to take advantage of others can be difficult, so you can expect some negative effects if you learn how to handle a narcissistic husband.  

1. Reduced relationship satisfaction 

Life with a narcissistic husband isn’t easy, and narcissism can make your relationship less satisfying. Research shows that narcissism is linked to psychological aggression in relationships, which, in turn, reduces relationship satisfaction.

You’re likely to find that psychological tactics like manipulation reduce your happiness within the relationship. 

2. High amounts of conflict

Every couple has arguments from time to time, but you’re likely to experience frequent conflict if you have a narcissistic husband. In some cases, you may have arguments on an almost daily basis. 

These arguments arise because a narcissist is extremely sensitive to any perceived slights. They will take offense if you fail to give them the attention and admiration they feel they deserve. 

3. Social isolation 

If you have a narcissistic husband, it is not unusual to feel lonely. This is because narcissists tend to isolate their partners from others. Not only do they want all of their partner’s time and attention, but narcissists also must cut their partners off from others, who may become aware of the abusive relationship and try to persuade the victim to leave the relationship. 

4. Deteriorating mental health 

Research has shown that women in long-term relationships with narcissistic partners tend to live in fear, and they lose their sense of independence. This can understandably harm mental health. 

After being subjected to a relationship in which their feelings are not validated and expected to meet all of their partner’s demands, women married to a narcissistic husband are likely to have poor mental health. 

They may even begin to show signs of a mental health condition like depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. 

5. Financial problems

Keep in mind that one of the signs of narcissistic personality disorder is a willingness to exploit others for personal gain. Coupled with the fact that narcissists have difficulty empathizing with other people, they are willing to benefit others financially. 

Watch this video to know more.

This means that your narcissistic husband will have no qualms about running up large credit card bills, overspending, or living off of your income. You may find that your credit score lowers, or you end up in deep debt, trying to satisfy his needs. 

6. Reduced self-esteem

Another one of the side effects of being married to a narcissist is decreased self-esteem. One recent study with partners and loved ones of narcissists found that put-downs were common. 

Study participants described instances of the narcissist telling them they were worthless or calling other people idiots or morons. Over time, these frequent instances of verbal abuse can eat away at the partner’s self-esteem.  

Related Reading: What Is a Narcissistic Personality & How to Identify Them

How a narcissistic husband treats his wife or partner

So, how does a narcissistic husband treat his spouse? Often, relationships with a narcissist are cyclical. At the start of the relationship, the narcissist will shower their partner with love and affection. 

The narcissist may tell their partner that they are soul mates, want to spend all of their time with them, and be incredibly verbally and physically affectionate.

As the relationship progresses and the partner becomes comfortable, the narcissistic husband is likely to change his tune. He will engage in a process called “devaluing.”

There may be an argument, or the spouse does something, albeit minor, to let the narcissist down, and they no longer see her as their perfect partner. As this occurs, they will begin to treat the partner poorly. 

If you’re living with a narcissistic husband, you can expect that he will treat you poorly, to the point of being emotionally or psychologically abusive. After outbursts of rage or episodes of verbal abuse, he may return to briefly showering you with attention and affection as he did in the initial stages. Still, the relationship will become a rollercoaster of ups and downs. 

Based upon research with loved ones of people with narcissism, you can expect some of the following treatment if you’re trying to figure out how to live with a narcissist husband:

  • Being attacked if you try to offer any advice or constructive criticism to your husband
  • Setting your husband off into a fit of rage with little warning
  • Being made to feel as if you need to “walk on eggshells” to avoid upsetting your husband
  • Your husband seeming cold and emotionally distant, even during sex
  • Frequent verbal insults from your husband
  • Being subjected to episodes of rage, during which your husband may scream and yell, break objects, or physically strike you 
  • Your husband criticizes you for failing to live up to his high standards (appearance, housekeeping abilities, etc. )
  • Vindictive behavior from your husband if you cross him, disagree with him, or fail to meet his demands 

15 signs of a narcissistic husband

Now that you’ve learned the answer to “What is a narcissistic husband?” you may be interested in some of the signs that you are living with a narcissist. 

Consider the 15 narcissistic husband signs below, which may just confirm your suspicions that your spouse is narcissistic. 

1. Little to no empathy 

Narcissists are so fixated on their own needs and feelings that they often do not empathize with others. This means that when you’re married to a narcissistic husband, he will often disregard your feelings. He may insult you, inconvenience you, or engage in selfish behavior, with no concern for how it negatively affects you. 

Related Reading: 10 Ways on How to Cope With Lacking Empathy in Relationships

2. Lack of remorse

Given the fact that narcissists struggle to demonstrate empathy for other people, they also tend to lack remorse. They will show no signs of guilt when they hurt you, and they are unlikely to apologize. 

In the narcissist’s world, you are deserving of any hurtful or abusive treatment they send your way. 

3. Blaming others

Because of their fragile self-esteem, narcissistic husbands are unlikely to admit any wrongdoing. If they do, they’ll probably blame you for your poor behavior. 

For instance, if your narcissistic husband has an affair, he will likely blame you and say that you drove him to do it because of some flaw that you possess. 

4. Extreme overreaction to criticism 

No one likes to hear that they’ve done something wrong or somehow failed to meet expectations, but narcissists cannot handle any sort of negative feedback. 

If you make even the slightest suggestion that your narcissistic husband does something differently, he will become enraged. He may begin verbally insulting you or go so far as to break objects in the house if you offer any sort of constructive criticism.  

5. Frequent bragging

People who score high in narcissism expect special treatment, and they want to be recognized as superior for their accomplishments, even if they have not truly earned such recognition. 

Narcissists are also likely to brag about their achievements to get the recognition they feel they deserve. If your husband brags about his accomplishments and sometimes goes so far as to exaggerate his superiority, he is showing signs of a narcissistic husband. 

Related Reading: 5 Relationship Expectations That Are Harmful for Couples

6. Constantly talking about himself

In addition to bragging, narcissists tend to talk about themselves. Your husband may dominate conversations, give you minimal opportunity to talk or shift the topic of conversation back to himself if you attempt to discuss something else. 

You may even notice that when the two of you sit down to dinner together, he spends the entire time talking about his day and doesn’t bother to ask how yours went.  

7. Fixation on outward appearances

Narcissists want the best of everything, so they will put a great deal of time and effort into their physical appearance. This means spending hours at the gym, purchasing costly colognes and cosmetic products, and insisting on having the most expensive clothing. 

Since your husband puts so much effort into his appearance and only wants to associate with other people he deems to be special, he will likely expect you to look your best at all times as well. He may insist that you go on diets, require you to get your hair done, or even suggest that you get plastic surgery to maintain your outward beauty. 

Related Reading: 8 Tips on How to Deal With Physical Insecurities In A Relationship

1. Extreme jealousy

Narcissists want to be the center of attention, so they can easily become jealous of those who steal the limelight. A narcissistic husband may appear jealous of people who are successful, which results in him putting others down or undermining their achievements.  

He may even be jealous of you, and if you accomplish something significant, he will tell you that he’s “not impressed” or that it’s “not a big deal.” 

Related Reading: 15 Signs of Jealousy in a Relationship

2. Manipulating with charm 

When a narcissistic spouse wants to get his way, he will have no trouble turning on the charm to sway you. He may be overly friendly or shower you with compliments when he wants something. 

For example, if he wants to get you to agree to a big purchase, like a new car or a fancy piece of furniture for the house, he may be overly helpful and complimentary for a few days.

He may even promise that he’s going to get a promotion at work or take on some overtime to compensate for a big purchase, but fail to follow through on the promise after you’ve agreed to give him what he wants. 

Related Reading: How to Recognize and Handle Manipulation in Relationships

3. There are no boundaries

Even close, committed relationships like marriage require healthy boundaries, but if you’ve been dealing with a narcissist, you’ll notice that there are no boundaries. You will feel as if you have no privacy, and you may even begin to feel that your time is not your own. 

Your husband won’t care about your need to have space to pursue your own interests, and he may even begin to interfere with your work or friendships, because he is so demanding of your time. 

4. He’s easily offended

A narcissist expects much of your time and attention and wants you to shower him with affection and praise. If you fail to give him the attention he feels he needs, a narcissistic husband will become offended and will likely punish you in return. 

Even if you’re busy taking care of important duties, such as caring for your children, cleaning the house, or working, if your partner feels you haven’t given him enough attention, he may sulk, have a temper tantrum, or give you the silent treatment.

5. Manipulative behavior 

To maintain control over their spouses and get what they want from them, narcissists often have to engage in manipulative behavior. This may involve telling you that you are crazy and to blame for all problems in the relationship or convincing you that you are too sensitive. 

Regardless of the exact tactic used, if you’re trying to figure out how to survive a narcissistic husband, you’ve probably been manipulated to believe that you are the problem in the relationship. 

6. Lack of emotional intimacy 

Narcissists lack emotional warmth and intimacy, even in romantic relationships, because they view relationships as very transactional. At its core, your relationship with a narcissistic husband is about what you can provide for him. 

The relationship is likely to feel very surface level because it’s just a business transaction for him. The narcissistic husband gets an attractive spouse, a satisfying sex life, and someone to provide for his needs (food, a place to live, financial security), and he isn’t interested in anything deeper than this.  

Related Reading: Key Tips to Deal With Lack of Emotional Intimacy in a Marriage

7. Gaslighting 

Gaslighting is a common behavior among people with narcissistic traits. It involves denying your version of reality to get you to question your own judgment. For instance, your narcissistic husband may deny saying or doing something incredibly offensive, even when he did, in fact, do or say that thing. 

Over time, this causes you to question if perhaps your memory is failing, and you come to believe that you’re the one to blame for issues in the relationship. 

8. A sense of entitlement

Rounding out the list of narcissistic husband traits is a strong sense of entitlement. A narcissistic husband feels that he’s entitled to his every desire. Does he want to go to a specific restaurant, even if it’s your birthday and you don’t very much care for that restaurant? He feels entitled to choose where you eat. 

He will also feel that you should respond to his every whim or demand, whether it’s a request that you bring him lunch at work in the middle of your busy workday or a demand that you rearrange the furniture precisely the way he wants it.  

The narcissistic husband feels entitled to have everything his way, and he doesn’t much care what you think. 

Can my narcissistic husband change? 

If you’re trying to figure out how to deal with a narcissistic husband, you probably wonder if his behavior will ever change. After all, if you’re subjected to fits of rage, constant putdowns, and an expectation that you will meet his every need while denying your own needs, you’re probably fed up and wondering if you’ll have to live like this forever. 

The truth is that it is difficult for individuals with a narcissistic personality disorder to change their behavior. Personality disorders represent behavior patterns, and it can be difficult to unlearn these patterns. 

That being said, if your husband has true desire and motivation to change, and he is willing to work through childhood issues in therapy, he may be able to change some of his behaviors so they do not have as much of a negative effect on your relationship.  

Related Reading: How Does a Narcissist Change After Marriage – Red Flags to Look out For

10 ways on how to deal with a narcissistic husband

Given the difficulty of being married to a narcissist, you probably want strategies for coping. Below, find ten coping mechanisms for living with a narcissistic husband.

1. Don’t take the behavior personally 

It is easy to let the narcissist’s behavior negatively affect you, but don’t take it personally. There isn’t anything wrong with you. A narcissistic person will treat any spouse or partner the way they have treated you, regardless of how great that person is. 

Remember that the narcissist’s behavior is because of their own mental and emotional health problems, and at the end of the day, it has nothing to do with you. 

2. Learn to set boundaries

If you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s critical that you set healthy boundaries because behavior that you allow will continue. For example, if your husband tends to interrupt you at work or throw temper tantrums when you’re giving your attention to the children, you need to set boundaries around this behavior. 

You might have a conversation in which you explain to your husband that you cannot take phone calls or engage in fights via text message when you’re in work meetings or tending to the children. If he tries to cross these boundaries, remind him that you discussed this issue previously.

3. Have a conversation about how his behaviors affect you

This may be easier said than done, but it can be helpful to have a conversation with your partner at a time when he’s in a good mood. 

Be sure to approach the topic gently and try to soften the blow by saying that you understand his intention probably isn’t to be hurtful. Still, he’s showing some behaviors that hurt the relationship. 

Be sure to use ‘I’ statements so he doesn’t feel as attacked. For example, you might say something along the lines of, “I feel like my opinions don’t matter when I’m never able to pick what we eat for dinner,” or, “I feel inferior when you make negative statements about my intelligence.

4. Try to show him what’s in it for him if he makes changes 

Change is difficult for anyone, and it can be excruciating for narcissists, who tend to have a hard time admitting that they have any flaws. To make it easier for him to change, suggest to your narcissistic husband that if he changes his behavior, the relationship is likely to improve for both of you.

For instance, you might tell him that if he makes an effort to stop criticizing you so often and consider your feelings, you’re likely to be happier and more willing to do nice things for him, such as cooking his favorite meal, seeing that movie he wants to see, or putting extra effort into looking nice for him. 

5. Don’t give him power over your emotions 

One reason that a narcissistic spouse can manipulate you and have such a profound impact on your emotions and wellbeing is that you have given him the power to do so. Don’t give him the power to ruin your day with a snide remark or an act of selfishness.  

Remind yourself that his behavior has nothing to do with you. You cannot control it, but you can control how you react and choose to go about your day with a positive mindset. 

6. Pick your battles

It can be challenging to ignore negative behavior from your spouse, such as name-calling or intentional disrespect. Still, if you respond negatively every time your narcissistic husband acts this way, you’re likely to get caught in a cycle of frequent arguments. 

Instead of sweating the small stuff, pick your battles and save your reactions for big issues, like abusive behavior or clear boundary violations. Over time, your partner may change his tune when he sees that minor insults don’t get to you anymore. 

Related Reading: How to Fix an Abusive Relationship

7. Practice positive self-affirmations 

Your partner may enjoy putting you down to make himself feel better, but don’t let this get to you. 

Get in the habit of giving yourself positive affirmations, such as, “I am a great mother,” or, “I have been very successful in my career,” so that negative comments from the narcissist do not run through your head.  

8. Engage in self-care

When you take care of yourself physically and emotionally, you’ll find that the narcissist’s negative behavior isn’t as damaging. Find pockets of time where you can do something you love, such as watching a favorite show or relaxing with a warm bath.

Make a habit out of following a nutritious diet and setting aside time for regular exercise, even if it’s just a walk or jog around the block while your husband is at work or busy with something else.

Related Reading: The 5 Pillars of Self-Care

9. Maintain supportive relationships 

Keep in contact with people who are supportive of you, even if you’re only able to do so with the occasional phone call or coffee date. 

Having people in your corner reminds you that you are worthy of healthy, supportive relationships. This can help you to heal from some of the damage caused by a narcissistic husband.

10. Insist that your partner go to counseling

It is often nearly impossible for a narcissist to make any changes to their behavior without professional intervention, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy for you to convince your husband to get help.  

Going to counseling means admitting that there is something wrong, and it will probably require your partner to accept some accountability for negative behavior, which is difficult for a narcissist. 

Even if he resists, you may have to insist that your husband seek counseling if he wants the relationship to continue. It may be helpful if you frame counseling as something you are doing together so that you can both work to improve the relationship, so the entire blame doesn’t fall upon him. 


Learning how to live with a narcissistic husband means coming to terms with upsetting behavior, such as frequent put-downs, arrogance, lack of empathy, and manipulation.

You can use strategies to make life easier, such as practicing self-care, setting healthy boundaries, and reminding yourself that you aren’t to blame for any of these narcissistic husband traits.

Ultimately, your partner will likely need to seek counseling to make any lasting changes to his behavior. If your relationship is suffering due to narcissism, and other strategies have not worked, you might have to insist that your partner goes to counseling with you. You may even go so far as to give him an ultimatum. 

Remember, no one should have to tolerate abuse at the end of the day. If dealing with a narcissistic husband is taking a toll on your physical or mental health, or if violent behaviors threaten your safety, it may be time to devise an exit plan and seek support to help you safely walk away from the relationship.

How to Divorce a Narcissistic Husband: 4 Rules for Breaking Up - Be sure to remember them narcissistic personality disorder. This means that a person is confident in his exclusivity. Therefore, everyone who falls into his orbit, especially his wife and children, should treat him as an indisputable authority. nine0003

If the narcissist does not get the attention they want, they will try to punish you. Not all of them openly violate the criminal code and use physical violence. Most turn out to be emotional abusers, which is no less painful for the victims.

A person with a narcissistic disorder lacks compassion even for those closest to him. You most likely will not be able to part friends. Divorce requires a clear defense strategy.

Signs of a recidivist narcissist

In the book Disarming the Narcissist, psychologist Wendy Bihairi gives an example of the most dangerous representative of this type, the "psychological recidivist", devoid of any moral restraints and respect for other people's space. Distinctive features of such narcissists:

  1. He considers you his property and is beside himself with the fact that you are out of control. He will keep you as his victim at any cost and is ready to apologize for this. Don't be under any illusions - a narcissist never repents. And if you believe, he will find a way to punish for the humiliation to which you subjected him, forcing him to ask for forgiveness. nine0003

  2. Such a person's ambitions are not supported by talents and achievements, so he suffers from low self-esteem. If he sees that you or the children show interest in someone else, forgetting about his exceptional person, he will begin to suffer from jealousy and try to take revenge on you.

Wendy Bihairi believes that your safety, both psychologically and physically, should be a top priority when leaving a narcissistic husband. Especially if you are dealing with a “psychological recidivist” who, at the very beginning of the divorce, will begin to intimidate the consequences of your decision. nine0003

You should completely isolate yourself from communication with him. Enter into any negotiations only in writing or through intermediaries you trust.

Why did you choose him

You need to stop putting the interests of the former partner, which he presented as the interests of the family, above your own. “A sense of codependency often distinguishes those who are fascinated by and marry a narcissist,” says Ross Rosenberg, author of The Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love Those Who Hurt Us. - People who are prone to codependency easily fall into the emotional service of their spouse. nine0003

The narcissist, as an extremely selfish person, sees his potential victim well and knows the tricks of seduction well, trying to tie his partner as close as possible. He mistakenly takes this as signs of special closeness. And for a long time he denies that this relationship is one-sided: the narcissist only allows you to love yourself and take care of his interests.

Recognizing painful addiction is the first step towards inner liberation from a destructive union.

How to break up with a narcissist

1. Focus on what you can control

These are only your own emotions and actions. It is not worth wasting energy to predict his actions. Do not agree to what your ex-husband imposes on you, avoiding possible conflicts and maintaining the illusion of a truce. Imagine that during the divorce, he turns into a difficult business partner with whom you are forced to cooperate and achieve a beneficial result for yourself. From now on, your motto is: "Only the facts and nothing personal." nine0003

2. Set clear boundaries

Narcissist, as a person with a high degree of conflict, will try to provoke any, even negative, attention from you. Before the meeting, think over the plan of the conversation in advance and try not to deviate from it. If he starts to translate the topic, to convince you to return, say: “The relationship is over for me, we have different roads. You need to accept it." If he insists, leave.

3. Do not show sincere emotions

First of all, never apologize. The partner will immediately interpret this as a sign of weakness and try to turn it to their advantage by imposing decisions that are contrary to your interests.

Keep a close eye on the moment when you begin to show feelings and emotions (this may be a state of guilt, despair or panic), and tell yourself "Stop. " Remember that your goal is a divorce on the most favorable terms for you and the children.

4. Seek support

You should be surrounded by people who fully share your position, who will not try to reconcile the parties in the name of preserving the family. Do not reject the professional help of a psychotherapist and a lawyer. Relatives will be needed not only in a psychologically difficult moment, when it is important that you are listened to. If a partner begins to threaten, negotiate with him only in the presence of a third party. nine0003

About the Author: Terry Gaspard is a psychotherapist and bestselling author of Daughters of Divorce.

Wendy Behari Disarm the Narcissist. How to survive and become happy next to an egocentric "

Disarm the Narcissist will help you interact with a narcissist without mutual insults, power battles and pointless arguments - using only empathy and ways to establish boundaries. Psychologist Wendy Behari has been using this approach for over 20 years, and her experience has shown it to be the most effective way to live happily with a narcissist. In the book, you will get to know the different types of narcissists and understand how to communicate with each of them. You will learn why you are drawn to such people (yes, it’s not just that!), and work out your own life patterns. nine0003


Text: Sabina Safarova Photo credit: Shutterstock

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How to recognize a narcissist, how to behave with him correctly and is it possible to get along?

Article content

Diagnosis or character trait?

It so happened that every few years mass culture borrows a new term from scientific and psychological language in order to designate with it the image of a conditional bad, unpleasant person. "Moron", "idiot", "hysterical", "schizophrenic", "neurotic" - once all these words had very specific scientific meanings, very far from the modern abusive meanings of these words. In attempts to dissociate themselves from semantic distortions, psychologists are forced all the time to come up with new terms - more subtle and devoid of offensive, stigmatizing connotations. Something similar seems to be happening with the once-psychoanalytic term "narcissist." nine0003

Today, everyone who has the audacity to show some kind of intractability or disagreement with the speaker is sometimes recorded as a narcissist: starting from people with deep psychopathic traits and ending with a spouse shirking from washing dishes.

Signs of a narcissist man

In modern scientific psychology, the term "narcissist" is most often understood as a person who meets the diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (hereinafter referred to as NPD). These criteria are very complex, and an accurate diagnosis sometimes requires the work of entire councils of professionals specializing in the field of personality disorders. However, there are signs that are universal for all narcissists, and the combination of which suggests that a person with a high probability is a narcissist:

  • constant preoccupation with self-esteem; self-centeredness; lack of emotional empathy;
  • hypersensitivity to the slightest sign of disrespect; high irritability; propensity to depreciate;
  • increased attention to issues of social status.

Depending on the ways they use to maintain their fragile self-esteem, outwardly narcissists can manifest themselves very differently: some obsessively seek the admiration of others, some try to "cling" to someone who arouses admiration in themselves (turning it into a so-called narcissistic extension), and some attack the self-esteem of others, subjugating their will, humiliating them and devaluing all aspects of their personality. These strategies can vary greatly in their effect on others, but they are all unpleasant for the one at whose expense the narcissist is trying to fuel self-esteem at a particular moment. nine0003

Where do male and female narcissists come from

Due to the abundance of popular psychological articles and books that talk about narcissism with a strong dramatic, accusatory and moralizing bias, a distorted picture of the narcissist has developed in society as a kind of bad, morally licentious person who, for his wrong values ​​and bad education deserves public censure, punishment and re-education. It is extremely rare that one of the authors dares to dig deeper and soberly consider the inner tragedy of the narcissist's psychotype. nine0003

In reality, no one is born a narcissist and chooses to become a narcissist by choice. Narcissistic personality disorder begins to form at an early age (usually before 4–5 years of age) as the only possible adaptation of a child to a situation of chronic absence of stable unconditional love from parents.

It is so unbearable and terrible for a child to feel with all clarity that the adults who care for him do not really love him, that he will do absolutely everything to squeeze even a drop of some kind of surrogate of love out of them - and thanks to this not get off with mind and not die of grief and devastation. And this habit of looking for substitutes for love is so necessary for the survival of the child that it is rather quickly woven into the structure of his character and becomes "second nature", constantly present and working at an unconscious level. The absence of unconditional love from a parent, forcing the child to develop a narcissistic character, can take many different forms. According to the American psychotherapist Elinor Greenberg, one of the world's leading experts in NPD, most of the life stories of narcissistic patients fit into one of the three most typical scenarios. nine0003

What makes up the psychotype of a narcissist

  • Quite often, parents use their children's talents to realize their own ambitions, for example, in sports or music. On the surface, a parent may praise the child and consider him a child prodigy, but the child is weary of his role, feels like an impostor, feels shame and humiliation from this role. At the same time, the child himself does not seem to be seen, he feels that he is loved not by him, but by someone else, whose life he should live instead of his own. nine0030
  • Another path to narcissism is the atmosphere of constant evaluation and competition in the family. If parents have only two poles - (extreme admiration for first places and five pluses and at the same time extreme humiliation or ignorance for any other results), the child cannot feel consistently loved. Sooner or later, the child begins to rigidly associate happiness with success and enters into an endless race for signs of success that never bring him true satisfaction. nine0030
  • Another path to narcissism is through years of humiliation and constant criticism from a domineering, irritable narcissistic parent. People who grew up in such a toxic atmosphere often then hear a cruel, critical voice in their heads all their lives, make completely unrealistic demands on themselves, try all their lives to prove to their parents, themselves and those around them that they can still meet even such an overestimated bar.

One way or another, all of these situations imply that the child's personality is ignored. The parent does not see the child as a person, an emerging personality, he only uses the child as his narcissistic extension, or as a cesspool for rage about his own inferiority. nine0003

But since there is no one to explain to the child what the real problem is, he draws the conclusion that helps him to remain in at least some emotional contact with the parent: the conclusion that he is defective, incomplete and that is why he could not cause in parents the love and attention that any child needs so much for normal, healthy development.

How to survive with a daffodil man?

If your spouse, partner, loved one, or family member is a narcissist and you plan on maintaining a close relationship with that person, it's good to know a few things that will improve your quality of life. nine0003

The most important thing is to realize that life in a close relationship with a narcissist is very difficult. If you expect a male narcissist to change over time, adapt to living together and behave like everyone else, a serious disappointment is possible. When deciding to connect your life with a narcissist, evaluate your motivation, the amount of complexity and psychological work that comes with this relationship. You will have to learn how to deal with a male narcissist.

It is important to philosophically, without moralizing, perceive the objective limitations of the narcissist : his inability to regulate self-esteem without external nourishment, the need to devalue others, lack of empathy, inadequately high sensitivity to criticism. In practice, this means that you will have to learn to ignore the negativity directed at you, not take it personally and remember that his emotional outbursts are not caused by you, but by the complex limitations of his character, with which, alas, he cannot do anything. Unfortunately, a male narcissist really needs your help with regulating his self-esteem: sometimes it is praise and a demonstration of good attitude, and sometimes the ability to take on an attack of devaluation and withstand it. nine0003

It is important to understand that the narcissist is not able to take 's criticism calmly and without drama, because it brings down his fragile self-esteem and plunges him into his personal nightmare, in which he is a nonentity, unworthy of life. Even hints of his being wrong become a knife in the bleeding wound of his personality. It is better to prepare in advance for the consequences - an outburst of rage, depreciating comments, a long-term resentment, or even an attempt to end the relationship. You - if you want to stay around - will have to take responsibility for some of the narcissist's mistakes, admit you are wrong in situations where you are right. You will also have to master the language of the feedback that narcissists endure: we-messages in the genre of “we didn’t manage to pick up the child from school on time today” (when the narcissist was actually late), wording like “surprisingly, but in one nuance you are due to a ridiculous misunderstanding today I was temporarily not at my usual level of perfection ”(when the narcissist man let you down big time). nine0003

A high quality of life next to a narcissist is impossible without clear and strong personal boundaries. Narcissists are sophisticated masters of loosening, blurring and breaking through the boundaries of even the most resilient people. Part of his tragedy is that his aching self-esteem will constantly push him to try to bend you to his will, but as soon as he succeeds, he will instantly lose respect for you with all the ensuing consequences for the relationship. Therefore, you should immediately tune in to the fact that you will have to repel attacks of various strengths, survive and not give up. And this requires not only courage, but also the willingness, if necessary, to put the fate of the relationship on the line in order to withstand the manipulations of the narcissist. nine0003

Very often, narcissists behave in a way that is unpleasant for those close to them, not because they cannot do otherwise. Firstly, in their family such behavior was the norm, they have no other role models, and secondly, their empathy is not at all enough to notice that their behavior hurts people and destroys relationships. It is hard to believe that many of the hurtful things the narcissist does not do on purpose, but simply because of a lack of empathy. Some narcissists can be "re-educated" to some extent, delicately, persistently, in a nonjudgmental tone, conveying to them information about what kind of reactions in other people their behavior causes. nine0003

How to survive if you recognize a narcissist in yourself?

If you recognize yourself in the description of narcissists and think you have narcissistic personality disorder, there are three good news.

First, most people with NPD are unaware that they have NPD , so in a way you are already lucky: you understand what is happening to you and can find many ways, big and small, to improve your condition.

Secondly, most often people with NPD cannot even imagine how much higher quality of life is potentially available to them if they receive high-quality psychotherapeutic assistance. Not every psychotherapist is suitable for the treatment of NPD - you will need an experienced specialist with additional training in the treatment of personality disorders. Due to the high skill and experience requirements of a specialist, successful NPD treatment is usually expensive, can take a long time - up to several years, requires great effort in order to resist the temptation to stop it halfway or even after the first improvements. Because of these circumstances, even in the psychotherapeutic community, there are myths that NPD is practically untreatable or incurable. But the result of high-quality NPD therapy is most often worth the time, money and effort invested in it. nine0003

And finally, thirdly... You are not alone. Perhaps you are experiencing total loneliness and deep down you consider yourself a defective, unworthy person whom no one will ever be able to understand. All these experiences are nothing more than an echo of a terrible, unbearable past in which you were truly alone, rejected and misunderstood, in which you survived and to which you adapted in the best possible way.

This past is over. In order to discover this and say goodbye to him, you need a little faith that a person is immeasurably more than any personality disorder. That one's psychological functioning and one's character as a narcissist can be changed if enough systematic effort is put into it.

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