divorce attorney

How to Know If You Are Married to a Narcissist

Any marriage can hit a rough patch and most marriages require a delicate give and take from both spouses to keep the marriage healthy and happy. If you are married to a true narcissist, however, it may be impossible to find that balance that leads to a harmonious relationship. On the contrary, your marriage may eventually end in divorce. If you are contemplating divorce because you believe your spouse is a narcissist, it helps to know if that is truly the case.divorce attorney Always consult with a licensed professional for an official diagnosis. In the meantime, however, a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby explains some common behaviors and characteristics that might mean you are married to a narcissist.

What Is Narcissism?

The word “narcissist” is thrown around a lot lately when trying to cast someone in a negative light; however, before discussing how to tell if you are married to a narcissist, it is important to have a clear, clinical definition of narcissism. Narcissism (officially referred to as “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” or NPD) is one of several common personality disorders. Someone with a personality disorder has traits and characteristics that cause them to feel and behave in socially distressing or unacceptable ways. The hallmark sign of someone with NPD is an inflated sense of their own importance. A true narcissist does not just have moments of self-centeredness or make an occasional selfish decision. Instead, a narcissist will always exhibit an exaggerated sense of self.

Signs that You Might Be Married to a Narcissist

Although the word is used with great frequency of late, true Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not that common. If your spouse is a narcissist, however, it can cause serious problems within the marriage. There is no substitute for an official evaluation and diagnosis by a mental health professional. Nevertheless, if several of the following signs are present, you might be married to a narcissist:

        • A sense of entitlement. Does your spouse act and talk as if the entire world owes him/her something?
        • Violation of personal boundaries. Does your spouse consistently cross personal boundaries with you and with other people?
        • Exaggerated and inflated view of self. Does your spouse see himself/herself as better and more important than others see him/her?
        • Gaslighting. Does your spouse use words or behavior to cause you to doubt and confuse your own reality?
        • Love bombs. Does your spouse bombard you with attention, affection, and gifts aimed at getting you to stay in the relationship without seeming to recognize or relate to how you feel about the relationship?
        • Public praise, private silence. Does your spouse lavish you with praise and compliments while in public (to appear to be the perfect spouse) but then clam up when you are alone?
        • Control and manipulation. Has your relationship with your spouse gotten progressively more controlling and/or does it feel as though he/she is frequently trying to manipulate you? 
        • Grudges. Does your spouse hold grudges? A narcissist who feels insulted can hold onto a grudge for a very long time.
        • Moving goalposts. Does it seem as though your spouse is impossible to please? Every time you think you’ve done as he/she asked, the “goalpost” is moved, and a new expectation pops up.
        • Attention seeking. Does your spouse always need to be the center of attention? Does it seem as though he/she regularly goes fishing for compliments or praise?
        • Never at fault. If your spouse never accepts responsibility for anything. He/she might be a narcissist.
        • Highly reactive to criticism. Does it seem like no matter how nicely or well-intentioned criticism may be your spouse always has a seriously negative reaction to it?
        • Lack of empathy or understanding. Does it feel as though your spouse cannot understand how you feel or see things from your point of view?

If you are married to a narcissist, going through the divorce process can be extremely challenging and exhausting – but you can get through it!

Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Lawyer

If you have questions or concerns about being married to a narcissist or going through a divorce when your spouse is a narcissist, contact a Murfreesboro divorce lawyer to discuss your options. Contact the team at Bennett | Michael | Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.

Stan Bennett