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.