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Can you spot a narcissistic spouse?

Is your spouse a narcissist? Would you even know how to spot the signs?

If your marriage seems to be getting steadily more unbearable, it's important to know the signs that you may be in a relationship with a narcissist. If you are, it doesn't bode well for the long-term survival of your marriage -- but knowing now may save you a lot of grief later.

Why is it harmful to be married to a narcissist?

Narcissists insist on personal relationships that focus primarily on their own needs. There really isn't room for anybody in a relationship with a narcissist -- the narcissist is already taking up all the space!

It's often difficult (or impossible) to feel loved and appreciated for who you are when your spouse is a narcissist. Your feelings will usually be ignored or dismissed -- unless they happen to serve the narcissist's purpose.

How do you recognize a narcissist?

Often, narcissists exert a tremendous amount of pressure on their spouses and partners to conform to a certain set of standards or ideals. To enforce these standards or ideals, the narcissist will:

  • Criticize your appearance if it doesn't live up to his or her version of what is acceptable
  • Expect you to cater to his or her needs and whims
  • Dismiss and violate any personal boundaries that you have
  • Manipulate you through whatever means necessary to get what he or she wants
  • Make promises that he or she has no intention of keeping
  • Direct all conversation around his or her interests and beliefs and refuse to see validity in anything that you say
  • Hold grudges and never admit that anything is his or her fault

What's one of the biggest signs that you're married to a narcissist? If you are, you probably feel an intense pressure to conform your actions in a way that won't start drama -- because you know exactly how bad your spouse will behave if you don't.

Making the decision to leave a spouse is never easy, so take your time to explore all the possible choices. If you suspect that your spouse is a narcissist, counseling may help you decide how to proceed -- or at least make you comfortable as you take the steps toward your freedom.

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Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, AAL, LLLC
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