What are the signs of a narcissistic husband

How Can I Tell if My Husband is a Narcissist? Divorce FAQs

If you are married to a narcissist then it will be very difficult to have a healthy relationship. They will probably have narcissistic traits, such as exaggerated self-importance, which can be very challenging to deal with. When you first met your husband he may have made you feel like the most wonderful person in the world, but now that the excessive admiration has stopped, you may now realize that he is incredibly self-centered. If you do have a narcissistic husband then you may be looking to leave the relationship. He may have made you feel like you cannot possibly cope with life without him, but eventually, you may get to a point where you have no other options.

Divorcing a narcissistic partner is notoriously difficult. It often results in a contested divorce with a lot of conflict. As a narcissist, your spouse will look to manipulate the situation any way they can. They might even be smart enough to fool lawyers and other professionals. That is why you need an attorney who understands Narcissistic Personality Disorder like our team here, at Skillern Firm. We know that their actions will be predictable, and we will help you navigate your divorce in a way that protects your interests. We won’t let them manipulate the situation. We know the behaviors that are likely to emerge and will deal with them in a way that will benefit everyone involved, (including your husband).

Our goal is to help you leave your marriage feeling confident about your new life. The decisions that are made during a divorce could impact you, and your children, for the rest of your lives. Therefore, it is important that your husband doesn’t have all the control. When you secure representation from Skillern Firm, we will make sure that doesn’t happen.

Contact us today for an initial consultation at (936) 213-8479.

Traits of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition and can only be diagnosed by a mental health professional. However, if you are married to a narcissist, then you may notice the following behaviors.

Your Husband is Charming

Narcissists are very charming and charismatic, at the beginning of your relationship they probably swept you off your feet with grand gestures., However, this is because they are skilled at hiding their true selves. Once you were hooked, their behavior may have begun to change. They may continue to fool your friends and family because they know how to act around other people, but behind closed doors a narcissist’s attitude shifts.

He Gaslights You

Gaslighting is a very harmful form of emotional abuse. It occurs when someone denies things you know to be true. He may claim that you don’t remember correctly, or that things didn’t happen the way you thought, or perhaps certain things happened because of your actions. When someone continually twists reality to fit into their version of events, it can leave you unsure of yourself. You may feel like you are going crazy or that you can’t trust yourself. They might even do this in front of friends and family members so that they think that you’re the problem.

He Manipulates You

One of the key traits of narcissistic partners is manipulation. They may make subtle threats or make you feel responsible for everything that goes wrong. You may get a sense that you need to do what they want you to do or something bad will happen. Often it will be easier to go along with what they want, even if you don’t really agree with it. Manipulation can be very subtle and difficult to identify. You may not remember what your true opinions or life was really like before you were manipulated.

He Never Takes Responsibility

If your partner likes to believe that everything is always someone else’s fault, even when they are clearly in the wrong, then this is one of the key signs of narcissism. It will be very difficult for them to apologize, partially because they have a blurred or no value system, and partially because they feel superior to other people. They might also be quick to blame you for anything that goes wrong in their own life and you might end up feeling like there’s nothing you can do right.

He Believes He Is Extraordinary

Another clear sign of a narcissistic person is that they believe they are extraordinary. They might believe that other people are not as funny, smart, attractive, or engaging as them.

He Can’t Handle Criticism

Because of their exaggerated sense of self, they struggle to handle any criticism and will become very defensive at the slightest hint of it. If you do question their behavior they might find a way to twist it back around so that you end up facing criticism instead.

He Often Criticizes You

A narcissistic husband will be very critical of you and might make constant comments about your appearance or put you down in other ways. They may also make fun of other people, and be very critical of them, especially people they consider to be lesser than them for any reason, i. e because they have less money or have a career that they consider inferior to theirs.

He Makes You Feel Vulnerable

If you have a narcissistic husband, then you may feel a lot of pressure to do what they believe to be the right thing. This can lead to depression, low self-esteem, and fatigue. If your self-worth is based on your husband’s opinions of you, then you will feel very vulnerable. Someone with NPD feels secure when their relationship looks good on the outside, but their partner is actually very dependent on them. He might strive to keep control over you and the relationship through constant criticism, impossible demands, or withholding affection until you do what they want.

There is a Lack of Connection

Your relationship may have moved very quickly at the beginning, but he may have never actually asked about your plans for the future or considered your life together. He may brag about himself but have no interest in what’s going on in your life. Narcissists seek happiness from external things such as prestige at work or money, and their capacity for a close and intimate relationship is usually limited. Your partner may have been incredibly charming at the beginning of your relationship, but now you may feel isolated and detached from them.

He Ignores Your Needs

A narcissistic husband is usually a very selfish person and will only think about themselves, and not about you or your relationship together. They might expect you to do all the housework, or they may want to have sex with you when they want it, but not when you want it. They may also have a favorite child if they believe that child makes them look better in certain circumstances.

He Makes You Feel Inadequate

A narcissistic husband might make you feel as if you are not good enough. He might put you down, or you may feel that you no longer have time or energy for things you once enjoyed or were passionate about. It is common for people married to a narcissist to feel down and fatigued. You might hide things from family or friends or even distance yourself from them because you feel ashamed about things your husband does or doesn’t do.

He Uses The Silent Treatment

Your husband might give you the silent treatment to control your behavior. They may become withdrawn until they get what they want. These tactics should not be part of a healthy and loving relationship.

You Have To Tread Carefully

If you have a narcissistic partner, then you may feel as if you are constantly walking on eggshells because you can’t predict their mood. Everything might seem ok one minute, but then suddenly they are in a rage, and the reasons may seem trivial. Even something good happening in someone else’s life might make them feel angry. You might feel unsure of yourself because how you act is now based on what keeps your spouse happy.

He Can’t Keep Promises

Your husband might not keep promises unless it’s convenient for them, which means that you can’t rely on them. If you need something done, then you have to do it yourself.

You Have Been Warned

Although your spouse is charming, there might be a friend or family member who sees through it. You may have been warned about him, or people may have questioned how he treats you.

He Won’t Change

If he has NPD he may be unwilling to change because he can’t grasp that he is the problem. They will usually believe that it is everyone else’s fault. Perhaps you have even tried couples’ therapy, but unfortunately, if you do have a narcissistic husband, then it is unlikely to have helped.

You Feel The Need To Avoid Conversations

It might feel like every conversation turns into an argument, even if you try to avoid getting upset by what they say. They will know how to get you to react, and controlling your emotions gives them a sense of satisfaction. You may find that it is easier to avoid the conservation completely rather than having to deal with their behavior.

He Makes You Feel Unloved

He once showered you with love, but now he might ignore or devalue you. This shift is a sign that how they were at the beginning of the relationship was not a true representation of them.

They Take Advantage of You Financially

Narcissists often take advantage of people financially. Perhaps you earn good money but do not feel as though you are benefitting from it. You might pay for everything because they can’t keep a job, or because they spend their money on extravagant things.

He’s Cheated On You

Someone with narcism usually flirts a lot and may have even cheated on you. He knows how to sweep people off their feet and they might purposely make you feel jealous by flirting with people.

How an Attorney Can Help You Divorce a Narcissistic Husband

Divorce is always emotional. However, when you are dealing with a narcissistic husband, things can be particularly challenging. You should remember the problem is them, not you. A narcissistic husband might fight you every step of the way and may drag out the process, resulting in excessive time, money, and stress. At Skillern Firm, we are committed to negotiation and will work with you to find amicable solutions wherever possible. We know how to deal with narcissists and will help you both to move forward in the best way possible.

Here are just a few of the ways that we can help.

Your Attorney Will Create a Barrier Between You and Your Husband

One of the most important benefits to securing representation from a skilled divorce attorney is that it creates a barrier between you and your spouse. This makes it much harder to manipulate you, as you will have an impartial observer who can step in when necessary. It is essential you have a trained mediator who understands narcissism, such as those found at Skillern Firm, as this will prevent them from becoming manipulated too.

Your Attorney Will Help Protect Your Children

At Skillern Firm our top priorities are the interest of our clients and the well-being of any children involved. A narcissist may attempt to use children as a weapon. They may not consider their well-being and will be unashamed to let them witness the difficulties you are facing as a couple. We will use mediation to protect children from the legal battle as much as possible. We will prioritize working out an arrangement quickly so that their trauma can be minimized.

An Attorney Will Provide Support

When you secure representation from Skillern Firm, we are not only available for legal guidance, but we also lend a sympathetic ear when you need it. We never judge and aim to provide a source of support and guidance for clients dealing with narcissistic husbands. You need to have strong boundaries with a narcissist. They may make verbally abusive comments like ‘you will not get anything!’ An attorney will be able to reassure you and listen to you so that you retain more control when speaking to your spouse.

An Attorney Will Ensure You Focus on What’s Important

It can be hard to keep on track when discussing issues with a narcissist. They may twist things to try to make themselves look better or to control the conversation and create arguments. An experienced divorce attorney will help you focus on the issues, whether it is property division, child support, spousal support, child support, or any other issues. Your attorney will make sure that you keep making progress and don’t waste time or create unnecessary stress.

Someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder will probably be reluctant to accept the blame for the breakdown of the marriage. However, you should try to refrain from being reactive. You don’t need to respond to every allegation. Instead, an attorney will help ensure you stick to what’s important.

Ensure Compliance

Narcissists like to have control, therefore they may refuse to follow court orders. However, court orders are legally binding and if this happens, then an attorney will help you to hold them accountable and will keep you on track despite their efforts.


Someone with narcissism will be good at playing games if you doubt yourself, therefore it is a good idea to document their behavior. An attorney will document everything so that your ex-partner can’t manipulate the truth and you will have evidence of their actions.

Separating From a Narcissist is Hard

If your partner exhibits signs of narcissism, then their inappropriate behavior will be incredibly hard to deal with during a divorce. They will act selfishly and their actions may seriously affect your emotional well-being and self-worth. It is common for people with narcissistic husbands to stay with their partner for far longer than they really want to because they are concerned about how they can manage on their own.

It is also common for narcissists to use manipulation of your children against you, or to manipulate the legal system and lawyers who do not have experience dealing with NPD. That is why you need a law firm that has the experience and resources to handle your case, such as Skillern Firm. One of our most important goals is to help our clients feel confident in their life post-divorce. With our support and guidance, any financial or emotional abuse will be minimized, and you can look forward to a bright future.


Q: Is my husband a narcissist or just selfish?

A: Sometimes it’s difficult to know whether you are dealing with a narcissist or a selfish person, and only a mental health professional can make a true diagnosis. Generally, a self-centered person will not depend on other people’s constant approval to feel happy. A narcissist wants to feel superior, but they actually have low self-esteem and need constant praise to feel content.

Q: Is my husband a narcissist or just a jerk?

A: Some people act badly but do not have any mental health condition. However, someone with NPD is distinguishable because they have no real empathy for others. Their relationship with you is all about their own self-image. They don’t actually care about you on a deeper level.

Q: Can you be happily married to a narcissist?

A: On the surface, a relationship might appear very happy. However, it is very difficult to have a truly happy marriage with a narcissist. Once the initial stage is over, there will likely be a great deal of emotional abuse.

Q: What does a narcissistic husband act like?

A: The traits listed above are all indicative of a narcissistic husband. However, we know there is a lot of information to take in, so here are some key takeaways:

  • He may be very charming and gifted at seducing people.
  • He is very confident on the surface but gains assurance from external praise and things.
  • He could be very money-driven, whatever the cost.
  • He may have cheated on you.
  • He thinks of children as a nuisance and doesn’t appreciate the attention they get over him.
  • He sees other males as competitors.

Q: What is a narcissistic wife like?

A: Female narcissists have many of the same traits as men, however, there are some slight differences.

  • Female narcissists are also good at seducing people but may rely on their appearance to do so.
  • They may squander a lot of money.
  • Women may constantly compare themselves to other women and believe they are superior.
  • They may compete with other women for dominance.
  • Their children are an extension of themselves and they may believe that they should have credit for their child’s accomplishments.
  • Female narcissists may be obsessed with their appearance.

Contact Skillern Firm Today

If your husband is emotionally abusive and is unwilling to make changes, then it is time to consider separation. While everyone can act selfishly occasionally, if you are married to someone who is incapable of acting in any other manner, then your relationship is not supportive and healthy. There are long-term implications on your mental health if you are in a relationship with someone with NPD and divorce can be traumatic. Therefore, it is essential you have guidance and support from an attorney who understands the condition and understands how to help you navigate your divorce.

It is essential you have a support system in place from people who understand divorce law and how a narcissist may try to manipulate the situation. You will find that at Skillern Firm. We are committed to your needs and will offer legal advice as well as a sympathetic ear when you need it. Our goal is to protect your future and ensure that you feel confident and positive about your life post-divorce. Using mediation, we will minimize court involvement even in the most challenging cases.

Contact us today for your consultation at (936) 213-8479.

Signs You’re Married To A Narcissist—And What To Do About It

It’s not that there are no red flags that signal narcissism during dating, it’s that many of the tell-tale traits of narcissism become more pronounced after getting hitched.

“With marriage—and parenthood—there’s more interdependence, more demands,” says Ramani Durvasula, Ph. D., author of Should I Stay or Should I Go: How to Survive a Relationship with a Narcissist. “And that often doesn’t play well with an egocentric narcissist.”

Could your dearly beloved, in fact, be a narcissist? Here are some signs to clue you in.

Signs You Married A Narcissist

Some of the same things that attracted you to your partner, such as confidence, assertiveness, and a big personality, may actually be the same characteristics that fuel their narcissism. Not all of the signs are obvious either, and some may have you wondering if you're the problem, not them.

#1: You Feel Isolated

Drifting apart from some friends after a big life change (marriage! babies!) happens to everyone, but if your life is now rife with severed ties, it’s time to pause and reassess.

“After marriage, narcissists often isolate their spouses from their friends through a slow and methodical process,” says Cristina Dorazio, PhD, a psychologist who provides both individual and couples therapy in New York City. Your significant other may go out of his or her way, for instance, to make an argument as to why they don't like your friend. (Bad-mouthing others is a very common narcissistic behavior, notes research in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.)

“They can be very good at this, even making you start to question why you were ever friends in the first place,” says Dorazio. This is especially true for friends who are “on to” your narcissist spouse’s behavior.

#2: You're Being Gaslighted

Why can’t you take a joke? I never said that! Why are you always so angry? You’re being paranoid. Why can’t you let go of the past? No one will ever love you like I do. These questions and phrases can be typical of narcissists.

“This is all part of gaslighting,” says Durvasula. Here, an individual uses words or behavior to cause you to doubt and confuse your own reality. “I have never seen a narcissistic marriage in which gaslighting did not happen,” says Durvasula.

#3: Praise Looks Like This

Before you were married, there’s a good chance your now-spouse heaped on the flattery. (Narcissists know how to woo.) After the I Dos, however, that often shifts dramatically. Now, the compliments may only arrive when you are in the company of others.

“This allows the narcissist to look like a great husband in front of other people and contradicts any complaints you might share about him later,” says Dorazio.

Another flattery twist: While compliments directed to you might fizzle, a narcissist might instead lay it on thick to others in your orbit. “They do this to feed your insecurity,” says Dorazio.

#4: It Feels Like Your Partner Is Trying To Make You Jealous

Beyond praising others, a narcissist may talk glowingly about an ex or flirt with someone right in front of you. This is no accident or innocent misstep, but a strategic move designed to make you feel jealous, according to a 2017 report in the journal Personality and Individual Differences. Beyond stoking your own insecurity, researchers note that narcissists do this in order to wield control and/or to buoy their self-esteem.

#5: There's This Jealousy, Too

Jealousy is not an uncommon reaction when a baby joins a narcissist’s family, says Suzanne Degges-White, PhD, professor and chair of the department of counseling and higher education at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb: “Narcissistic partners can become resentful of the time you invest in child care, so he might begin to insist that you focus more attention on the marriage than the child.”

This, however, is not universal. Some narcissists, in fact, dramatically shift their focus solely on the baby. “These narcissists may see the child as an extension of themselves, so they co-opt the child, leaving you on the sidelines in terms of attention and family involvement,” says Degges-White.

#6: Your Parenting Skills Are Criticized

“Narcissists often blame any perceived ‘bad’ behavior of their children on their spouse’s lack of parenting skills,” says Dorazio. Adding insult to injury, narcissists are often not as involved as their spouse in raising children in the first place—and they often use their career as an excuse to bow out of responsibilities. “In fact, if the narcissistic husband is the sole provider or earns more money in the marriage, they’ll often use that as a counterargument to not taking care of the children,” says Dorazio.

#7: They 'Confide' In Your Family

Narcissists are, by definition, self-involved folks who lack empathy. So it’s no shock that you’d likely turn to your support system to complain and commiserate about this type of behavior. The catch? Knowing very well that you’d likely do this, a narcissist may talk to your family and friends before you get the chance to. “A narcissist may say he’s concerned that you’re a bit ‘off’ lately,” says Dorazio. “Because, if he confides about your problematic behavior first, he takes the heat off himself.”

#8: The Signature 'Love Bombs' Dwindle

When dating, you were likely overwhelmed with signs of adoration, like constant love notes, flower deliveries and surprise gifts. (This is what it feels like to be swept off your feet, you thought!) After marriage, however—poof—it all stops. “You’ve been conquered through marriage, so courting with ‘love bombs’ is no longer needed,” says Dorazio, noting that these extravagant displays can often return, typically when your spouse wants something from you.

“For example, if you’re surprised with a trip, you may be expected to show your gratitude in a very specific way, like dressing a certain way while on the trip or being available for sex whenever your spouse wants,” says Dorazio.

#9: They Admit It!

A study of more than 2,200 people found it’s actually pretty easy to ID narcissists. You simply need to ask them the following: To what extent do you agree with this statement: "I am a narcissist." And you need to define “narcissist” at the same time, noting that it means egotistical, self-focused and vain. Researchers relayed that the reason this works is that those who are narcissists can appear to be proud of it.

How To Deal With Your Narcissist

“Narcissists typically don’t perceive their behavior as a problem. Instead, they feel that they’re perfectly fine and others have problems,” notes Degges-White. That doesn’t mean that there’s no hope. Here are some tips on communicating with a narcissistic partner.

  1. Argue this way. Narcissists cannot be wrong, making arguing with them close to impossible. “So it’s smart to find a way to convince your partner that the ‘right answer’ or the ‘right thing to do’ was their idea,” says Degges-White. “This way, you can compliment them on what a great idea they had to solve the issue.”

  2. Ignore insults. Insults are bait. A narcissist wants you to take them, react to them, and engage in a fight. But if you refuse to play, a fight is less likely to happen.

  3. Ask yourself questions. It can be helpful to reflect on possible reasons why you chose, or perhaps were drawn to, a spouse who exhibits narcissism. (A therapist is great at helping you navigate this.) Once you start to understand your motivation, you’ll have more clarity as to what you need.

  4. Foster other healthy relationships. Turn to friends, family, a therapist—any supportive person who can offer you the respect and sounding board to help with your emotional health.

The Spouse's Dilemma

Marriage is hard work, even in the best of circumstances. And society and families preach that marriage is “for better or worse.” On top of this, narcissists don’t usually take criticism or suggestions well. So, it’s no surprise that someone who stays with a narcissistic spouse may tend to tolerate or ignore their narcissistic behavior.

Unfortunately, tolerating behavior might also mean you’re allowing it. When you make room for their behavior, you’re inadvertently enabling the narcissist to influence and control your life. In the process, you may start to lose or deny what’s important to you, including your hopes, dreams, and need for unconditional love.

You might feel you’re tolerating your spouse’s bad behavior only temporarily, while hoping or believing in a different future for your marriage. You imagine the relationship will get better somehow on its own or return to being more like a time when things were good.

But research on narcissists' relationships shows that although a narcissistic person might enhance their partner early in the relationship, as the relationship progresses, they will only become more focused on their own wants and needs—to the detriment of the other and the relationship.

As much as you may want to hope for change, it’s crucial to recognize that the mere act of sticking around and putting up with it will not improve a narcissist's behavior. They need to want to work toward change.


A 2020 study published in PLOS One looked at the links between narcissism, infidelity, and relationship satisfaction in young adults. The researchers found that narcissism was a predictor of infidelity. In other words, people with narcissistic personality disorder might be more likely to cheat on their partners than the general population.

Narcissists cheat for different reasons, including a lack of empathy. According to a 2014 Personality Disorders report, lack of empathy is a primary distinguishing feature of NPD.

When a narcissistic spouse cheats, they don’t necessarily understand how their actions affect others. Narcissists tend to be present-centered, caring primarily about their moment-to-moment desires, with little regard for anyone else’s feelings.

When your partner cheats, it’s natural to wonder what you did wrong. But your partner’s infidelity is not your fault. The average person who cheats will feel some guilt, but when a narcissist cheats, they are less likely to consider the effects on their partner.

Feeling Unloved

You may often feel unloved when married to a narcissist, which also isn’t your fault. According to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, people with NPD have traits that make it harder to love another person.

Your narcissistic spouse may not be able to support you or show genuine emotion. Any love or affection they show is often given only for their own benefit.

It’s possible that your spouse made you feel loved early in the relationship. They may even have made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. But as time progressed, it’s likely that they started to ignore and devalue you.

Narcissists are good at making the people close to them feel both loved and unloved, which can be confusing and emotionally draining. Narcissists usually want you to feel loved so that you love them back and fulfill their need to be adored. At the same time, they also want you to feel like you are undeserving of love and that no one but them could possibly love you.

This conflict can lead you to become emotionally dependent, making it less likely that you’ll leave. If you express concerns about your spouse’s behavior or consider leaving them, they will likely find a way to reel you back with promises of change, gifts, and extra attention. They may also (or alternatively) issue threats.

Love should not depend on absolute obedience or the suppression of your own needs—financial, emotional, physical, spiritual, or social. Love should be unconditional. Everyone, including you, deserves that kind of love.

Being Stuck or Taken Advantage of Financially

Narcissists are skilled at taking advantage of their spouses financially. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 99% of domestic abuse victims experience financial abuse. Money is the most significant barrier to leaving an abusive relationship.

If you’re married to a narcissist, you might be working and paying for everything while your partner refuses to work. Or, your partner might keep any money they earn for themselves.

A narcissist may also use money as a way to punish their partner. When they get what they want, they might reward you financially (with a gift or money). When they’re being hurtful or cruel, they might withhold money, whether it’s for a genuine need (such as household supplies, food, clothing, etc. ) or for something you simply want. If you can, try to be prepared—set some funds aside for basic expenses, or in case you find that you need to leave an unsafe situation quickly.

Being married to a narcissist can be difficult. If your narcissistic spouse is willing to seek help, it might be possible to navigate your marriage successfully together. But if they’re unwilling to do so, with the help of a trusted professional, you can always choose to seek peace of mind and heal by leaving the marriage.

  • What you say about others could point to your own narcissism: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 2010. “Perceiver Effects as Projective Tests: What Your Perceptions of Others Say about You.” https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/
  • Why narcissists spark jealousy: Personality and Individual Differences. 2017. “Do narcissists try to make romantic partners jealous on purpose? An examination of motives for deliberate jealousy-induction among subtypes of narcissism. ” https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Gregory_Tortoriello/publication/315693591_Do_narcissists_try_to_make_romantic_partners_jealous_on_purpose_An_examination_of_motives_for_deliberate_jealousy-induction_among_subtypes_of_narcissism/links/59d4ceed4585150177fc820f/Do-narcissists-try-to-make-romantic-partners-jealous-on-purpose-An-examination-of-motives-for-deliberate-jealousy-induction-among-subtypes-of-narcissism.pdf
  • How to ID a narcissist: American Psychological Association. 2016. “Speaking of Psychology:Recognizing a narcissist” https://www.apa.org/research/action/speaking-of-psychology/narcissism
  • Are you a narcissist?: PLOS One. 2014. “Development and Validation of the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS).” https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0103469

Altınok A, Kılıç N. Exploring the associations between narcissism, intentions towards infidelity, and relationship satisfaction: attachment styles as a moderator. PLoS One. 2020;15(11):e0242277. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0242277

Baskin-Sommers A, Krusemark E, Ronningstam E. Empathy in narcissistic personality disorder: from clinical and empirical perspectives. Personal Disord. 2014;5(3):323-333. doi:10.1037/per0000061

Czarna AZ, Śmieja M, Wider M, et al Narcissism and partner-enhancement at different relationship stages. J Res Personal. 2022;98:104212. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2022.104212

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Quick guide: economic and financial abuse. Available at https://ncadv.org/blog/posts/quick-guide-economic-and-financial-abuse. Published April 12, 2017. Accessed October 24, 2022.

Vrabel JK, Zeigler-Hill V, Lehtman M, et al. Narcissism and perceived power in romantic relationships. J Social Pers Relat. 2019;37(1):124-142. doi:10.1177/0265407519858685

Notes: This article was originally published July 10, 2020 and most recently updated November 21, 2022.

Holly Pevzner

Holly is a self-described "slipper-wearer; Brooklyn-dweller; slow-cooker addict; and mom to two human rascals. " She writes about parenting, pregnancy, health, nutrition, and family travel. Holly started her career as a magazine editor and spent years at several glossies, including Self, Prevention, and Fitness magazines. Now, as a freelancer, she works as a contributing editor at Scholastic Parent & Child, writes the family health column for First for Women, and regularly contributes sponsored, social, and traditional content to brands, pubs, and websites such as The Bump, Everyday Health, and Fisher-Price.

how to recognize and what to do

Not everyone knows that narcissistic personality disorder is not the same as narcissistic personality disorder or high self-esteem. You should know well who a narcissist is and why he is dangerous.

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If a guy posts too many selfies on his social media or constantly talks about himself on a first date, he's often called a narcissist. But you should not do this, because narcissistic personality disorder is a mental illness.

Signs of a narcissist

So, do not confuse narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). The symptoms of the latter are as follows:

  • inflated sense of self-importance;
  • excessive need for attention and admiration;
  • inability to empathize;
  • common relationship problems.

According to licensed psychotherapist Rebecca Wyler, NPD boils down to selfishness - the desire to get everything at the expense of others, as well as an inability to consider the feelings of other people. But remember, narcissistic personality disorder is not black and white. “Narcissism has its own spectrum,” says psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, Fran Walvis. nine0003

9 official criteria for narcissistic personality disorder

The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the US nomenclature for mental disorders, lists nine criteria for NPD, but five of them are sufficient for clinical recognition of narcissism. This list includes:

  • a grandiose sense of self-importance;
  • preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love; nine0028
  • a person's conviction that he is special and unique, the desire to deal only with high-ranking people and elite organizations and institutions;
  • need for excessive admiration;
  • feeling of being chosen;
  • the tendency to exploit others in relationships, in other words, to use other people to achieve one's own goals;
  • lack of empathy;
  • envy of a person towards others or belief that everyone envy him; nine0028
  • arrogant and haughty behavior.

But even knowing the official criteria does not always allow one to identify a narcissist. The hardest thing to notice NPD in a person with whom you are in a romantic relationship. On a date with someone we like, rarely do any of us think: “Wait a minute, is this guy suffering from narcissism?”

But at the same time, we all dream of a healthy and long-term relationship that will make both us and our partner happy. So read about how a male narcissist behaves when he is about to have an affair - this information will come in handy. Only a qualified specialist can make a diagnosis, but there are red flags that you should pay attention to. nine0003

Relationship with a narcissist: how people with NPD behave

If you see that any of the above are familiar to you, be careful!

1. Narcissus is charming... But only at first

Everything starts like in a fairy tale. He constantly texts you, in the first month he confesses his love, promises to buy a tram, makes joint plans, showers compliments, says that he has finally found his soul mate, and your meeting is fate. Experts call all this "love bombing". nine0003

“Narcissists believe that they are worthy of relationships with special people and only such women can appreciate them,” says psychotherapist Nedra Glover Tawwab. “But as soon as you do something that disappoints them, they may turn their backs on you.” And, most likely, you won't even know what you did wrong.

Wyler advises: if the guy is too persistent at first, be on your guard. Of course, each of us is pleased to feel unique and unique. But communication and mutual understanding between people are not born in a few days - they must be nurtured and developed. “If it seems like a man doesn’t know you enough to truly love you, he probably does,” Wyler says. nine0003

2. The narcissist talks at length about how wonderful he is

“Narcissists love to talk about their own great successes and accomplishments,” says psychotherapist Jaclyn Krol. “They do it because they feel better and smarter than everyone else, and also because it makes them look more confident.” Clinical psychologist Dr. Angela Grace adds that narcissists often exaggerate their achievements and embellish their talents in order to gain admiration and adoration from others. nine0003

Narcissists tend to be too busy with themselves to listen to other people. This, according to Grace, will become a red flag: firstly, the guy with NPD will constantly talk about himself, and secondly, he will never discuss your interests and preferences. Pay attention: what happens if you try to tell something about your life? Is he asking questions, trying to find out more? Or just waiting for the moment to be the center of attention again?

3. The narcissist lacks empathy

An inability to understand the other person's feelings is one of the hallmarks of narcissists, Walvis says. Pay attention to how your boyfriend reacts when you tell that you had a bad day at work or you had a fight with your parents. Does he empathize or frankly bored when you say that you are angry or sad? According to Walvis, a lack of empathy is the most common reason why relationships with narcissists end up falling apart, whether it's romantic love or friendship. nine0003

4. Narcissists have no real friends

If you look closely at a narcissist, it will become noticeable: around him are only casual acquaintances, friends with whom he chats, and enemies. People with NPD tend to have no loved ones, especially those with whom they have known and maintained relationships for many years. Therefore, a narcissist may be offended if you want to communicate with your friends. It is likely that he will even try to make you feel guilty: for example, he will begin to say that you devote little time to him. nine0003

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How does your partner feel about someone they don't want anything from?
  • Does he have old friends?
  • Does he have a sworn enemy? If not, did he say that he would like to have one?

5. The narcissist feeds on your compliments

It may seem that narcissists are very self-confident. But according to Tawwab, most people with NPD actually lack self-respect. “They need a lot of praise, and if you don’t give it, they will seek it. That's what you're for: to tell them how wonderful they are,” she says. nine0003

“Narcissists use other people—usually those who are highly empathetic—to nurture self-esteem. Because of their low self-esteem, narcissists' egos are easily hurt, and therefore their need for compliments is great,” adds Marriage and Family Psychotherapist Shirin Peykar.

Pay attention: self-confident people do not need constant confirmation of their importance from others. “A person with NPD needs to be praised, but he himself flourishes by humiliating others,” says Peykar. As Weilar aptly puts it, narcissists punish everyone around them for their lack of self-confidence. nine0003

6. The narcissist constantly picks on you

At first it seems like a mild tease, but over time it becomes a constant background, and hairpins turn from good-natured to angry and rude. Suddenly, everything you do is subject to criticism, whether it's about choosing a profession or brushing your teeth.

“The goal of narcissists is to lower other people's self-esteem in order to raise their own, because it makes them feel powerful,” says Peykar. “They love reaction: it shows them that they have the power to influence the emotional state of another person.” nine0003

Pay attention: if your partner throws barbs when you have achieved something, then it's time to run. If a man says that your achievements are accidental or obtained through advantages, then there is a chance that you are dealing with a narcissist. “He wants you to remember that you are no better than him,” Tawwab explains.

7. The Narcissist Gaslights

Gaslighting is a form of manipulation and emotional abuse that is the hallmark of narcissism. “Narcissists use gaslighting to make others doubt themselves. For them, this is a way to achieve superiority over others, ”explains Peykar. nine0003

You can read more about gaslighting here, but here are the signs that indicate that you are experiencing it.

Signs that you are a victim of a narcissist and gaslighted:

  • you no longer feel like the person you used to be;
  • you have become more anxious and less confident;
  • you often wonder if you are too sensitive;
  • you feel that everything you do is wrong;
  • when something goes wrong, you always think it's your fault;
  • you often apologize;
  • you feel something is wrong, but you don't know what;
  • you constantly doubt that your answer to your partner is correct;
  • you make excuses for your partner's behavior.

8. The narcissist thinks he is always right and never apologizes

Arguing with narcissists is impossible. “It will not be possible to reach a compromise with them. People with NPD don't see disagreements as disagreements. They just think they are teaching you some truth,” says Tavvab. Peykar thinks you might be dating a narcissist if you think your partner is:

  • can't hear you;
  • does not understand you;
  • takes no part of the responsibility for the problem;
  • never tries to compromise.

Weilar advises avoiding negotiations and arguments with narcissists. “People who suffer from NPD hate the lack of control and struggle. The less you resist, the less power you can give them over you, the better,” she says.

Since narcissists are sure that they are always right, they never "sink" to the point of apologizing - even in situations where they are clearly at fault. For example, your partner does not feel the need to say "sorry" if he was late for dinner and did not even call to warn about it, or canceled your joint plans at the last moment. Remember: normal people are able to understand that they did something wrong and apologize for it. nine0003

9. The narcissist does not want to make commitments

The narcissist expects you to treat him as his partner, and at the same time refuses you the same. You may notice how he flirts with someone, but if you talk about it as a sign of disrespect, you will be accused: “You made a storm in a glass of water, you are completely crazy!” But think about this: you deserve the same devotion that you give yourself.

10. The narcissist panics when you try to break up with him

Once you back off, the narcissist will do his best to get you back. “At first they may bombard you with love. They will say all the right things to convince you that they have changed,” warns Peykar. But very little time will pass, and it will become clear: you are still dealing with the same person.

11. Realizing that everything is over, the narcissist loses his temper

The narcissist will do everything possible to hurt you for leaving him. “Their ego is so badly hurt that they feel only rage and hatred. They believe that only other people are to blame for everything, including the breakup,” says Peykar. nine0003

What will be the result? The narcissist may say bad things to you, immediately start dating someone else to make you jealous, or even try to "steal" friends. The reason, Tawwab says, is that a good reputation means everything to them, and they won't let anyone or anything ruin it.

Okay, I'm dating a narcissist. What to do?

So, you realized that you are in a relationship with a person who has NPD. He constantly criticizes you, humiliates you and emotionally exhausts you. Experts recommend the obvious way out - to move away from it. nine0003

Here's how to prepare for breaking up with a narcissist:

  1. Constantly remind yourself that you deserve better.
  2. Strengthen relationships with friends who support you.
  3. Gather around you those close to you who will help you critically assess reality.
  4. Convince your partner to go to therapy.
  5. See a psychotherapist yourself.

“You cannot change a person with narcissistic personality disorder or make them happy with your love. Don't change for him - that won't help either. He will never empathize with you, and you will always feel empty after interacting with them, says Grace. “Basically, you will never be enough for them, because they will never be enough for themselves.” nine0003

Grace thinks the best thing to do is end the relationship. At the same time, it is not worth explaining anything, much less giving a second, third or fourth chance. Most likely, the narcissist will pester you with calls and messages, and experts recommend blocking him on your phone, instant messengers and social networks so as not to change your mind.

In conclusion, we want to remind you that this article is not intended to diagnose your boyfriend. She describes unacceptable behavior that says that your union is far from a healthy and equal partnership. The presence of one, six or all 12 signs does not indicate that your significant other has NPD. Rather, it is a good reason to overestimate your relationship. You are not responsible for the behavior of other people, but taking care of yourself is your and only your task. nine0003

Are there any daffodils among your acquaintances?

Narcissist man: signs and how to get along with him


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Illustrative photo: Pixabay. com

An ambitious, charismatic, self-confident guy is able to charm a lady from the first minutes. Do not rush to sing of his qualities and be captivated by charisma. Perhaps the bright personality is a narcissist, and the main love of his life is himself. Leading relationship psychologists figured out how to recognize such a man and how to get along with him.

Who is a male narcissist

Narcissism is a pattern of behavior in which people rise above others. They consider themselves unique, confident that they are superior to other people in all respects - thinking, creativity, etc.

Who is called a narcissist

This is a man whose self-esteem is formed on the basis of approval from the outside. The problem of the narcissist is that he is not able to evaluate himself independently of the world around him, and a negative assessment is the most terrible event in his life. Narcissists have a psychological need to be the center of attention and be admired by others.

Male narcissists:

  • position themselves as people who have exclusive rights; nine0028
  • crave adoration without giving anything in return;
  • look arrogant and cold.

Male narcissists have fragile self-esteem, so they need approval. These are vulnerable and insecure people, and arrogance and grandiosity are psychological protection.

In order not to feel unimportant and insecure, such men constantly prove to others and to themselves their personal exclusivity. To do this, they flaunt a variety of achievements and attributes of their uniqueness, which are often real only in their imagination. nine0003

Psychologist, psychotherapist Veronika Stepanova says that narcissistic personality disorder begins in childhood. Most often, the trigger mechanism is parents who form in the child an incorrect assessment of his own self and the type of relationship with other people. Often narcissism is accompanied by other diagnoses, such as depression, bipolar disorder.

How to recognize a narcissist

A narcissist is difficult to spot at first sight. Many of them are talented, successful and interesting people who are truly admirable. Some narcissists emphasize material achievement, social status, while others flaunt spiritual, intellectual, or creative uniqueness. nine0003

The narcissist's need for a protective mask is so great that he himself is not able to separate his real self from the gigantic Ego he has cultivated. However, it is possible to identify a man with a narcissistic disorder.

Psychologist, coach-trainer Pavel Rakov described the signs that will help to recognize a male narcissist:

  1. A narcissist is able to love only himself. He can beautifully look after a girl, be a generous patron and a skilled lover, but he will never give warmth or show respect. He is psychologically incapable of getting closer on a spiritual level. nine0028
  2. Narcissus is a tyrant. For such a man, a companion is an attribute that emphasizes his status in society. If she ceased to meet his requirements, the relationship will change beyond recognition or be broken. If something does not suit him in the partner’s personality, he will definitely change it in accordance with his own ideas.
  3. Narcissus is a spoiled hedonist. He is convinced that any joys of life are exclusively his prerogative. Therefore, others are obliged to do everything to make him feel good. nine0028
  4. Narcissists are hypocritical. They are able to play several roles at the same time with amazing success. If their deception is revealed, narcissists will find an opportunity to justify themselves and blame others for everything that happened.
  5. Narcissists are insensitive. Mental suffering, accidents, dangerous diseases will never arouse sympathy in the heart of such a man, even if a close and dear person suffers. He will only grieve when his own authority falls.
How to recognize a narcissist: Pixabay

A characteristic feature of a narcissist is the use of the pronouns “I”, “mine”, “me” and the verb “I want”. This happens because the narcissist thinks only of their own worth and desires. He does not say "You need to finish the work in an hour", but says "I want to see the results of the work in an hour."

A severe degree of narcissistic disorder is accompanied by egocentrism, depreciation of the merits of others, rage, and manipulation. It is difficult for close people of a narcissist to withstand such emotional and psychological stress. nine0003

How to build a relationship with a narcissist man

It is easy to fall in love with a narcissist man. He is interesting, well-groomed, knows how to attract attention. But building a harmonious relationship with such a person is difficult. Dr. Leon Seltzer, a psychologist in psychology, claims that the narcissist's constant attitude of "You are nothing to me" causes an acute feeling of loneliness, depression, and even self-loathing in a partner.

Psychologist and relationship coach Anna Iotko says that a narcissist does not need love and will not be a lifeline for him. Entering into a relationship with such a man is easier than breaking them. Anna explains that daffodils can be sweet and charming, as long as the partner always and in everything supports his point of view and fully agrees with his opinion. nine0003

Ironically, women love daffodils. He is really good and at the beginning of the relationship makes the lady feel special, surrounds her with care. Narcissists are skilled manipulators. They are able to brainwash and convince anyone of their uniqueness and superiority.

Leon Seltzer explains that a narcissist's partner cannot predict a man's reaction to a behavior or statement. A woman is forced to constantly try to please him in order to avoid unpredictable anger. His typical behavior is to beat a downer. nine0003

How to make a narcissist fall in love with you

Can a narcissist fall in love? When it comes to narcissistic personality disorder or pathological narcissism, a person perceives other people as a source of satisfaction or a tool to achieve a certain goal.

His love is not a mature feeling, but a desire to possess. When people exhibit only some of the traits of narcissism, they are able to fall in love and build relationships. However, it is more difficult for them to truly fall in love than for other people. nine0003

How to make a narcissistic man fall in love with you? He is firmly confident in his own exclusivity, so it is difficult to win his heart. The beautiful deeds of a woman, which an ordinary man will highly appreciate, will be small and insignificant for him. But if a woman is ready to fight, she should take into account the following recommendations:

  1. Constantly say compliments. The narcissist is aware of his exclusivity, but he needs to constantly prove that the woman thinks so too. Even if open flattery sounds, he does not doubt for a moment the sincerity of praise. nine0028
  2. Emphasize even small achievements repeatedly. Tell how proud you are of him and how important the deed he has done is.
  3. Gain recognition from others. It is vital for him that society recognizes a woman as the best, openly admires her virtues.
  4. Work on appearance and image. The chosen one of the narcissist should shine with beauty and a well-thought-out wardrobe.
  5. Avoid jealousy, but focus on the compliments you receive. The narcissist should know that a woman is successful with men, but he got it. nine0028
  6. Support him everywhere, express sympathy, show understanding.
  7. Tell us how important and dear he is, emphasize that you are inspired by him.

Finding a common language and becoming a truly beloved narcissistic man is not easy.

Learn more