I’m not sure, but I think I might be married to a narcissist. What’s interesting is that I think I am probably a narcissist too. Then again maybe it’s not really interesting at all. Maybe at the end of the day when you remove all the academic terminology and throw out all the traits lists and just look at the facts of human life, we are all narcissists to some degree. But I think some cases of narcissism are extreme to a point of being unacceptable and I might be married to someone whose narcissism is at that extreme level.
How to identify if you’re married to a narcissist
I am no expert so I can’t talk to you about how to identify if you’re married to a narcissist. For me, what I’ve noticed about my spouse is that no matter the situation he finds a way to make it about himself. It’s amazing the way he can take every scene in which he makes an appearance, however small the appearance, and draw attention to himself somehow, even when it is wholly inappropriate for him to do whatever it is he is doing to get attention. Everything is always about him. He has an incredible ability to twist things to where in his own mind he is always perfectly harmless. He will kick you in the gut and tell you that he loves you at the same time and if you point out that he just kicked you in the gut and that kicking you in the gut doesn’t show love, he’ll get upset that you’re doubting his word and harp on that. How dare you falsely accuse him of not loving you when he just told you he loved you? He only kicked you in the gut because of X Y or Z justifiable reason. That has nothing to do with anything. He will start yelling and throwing a raging fit because you are falsely accusing him of not loving you–that you are daring to accuse him falsely of not loving you even after he has told you that he does–this becomes the matter of relevance. That he was kicking you in the gut and that you came to the conclusion he cannot love you as a result of that action of him kicking you in the gut, in his mind that has no relevance to anything.
Another thing my husband does is go out of his way to do things not because he feels a sincere and honest desire to do these things to help but in order to make a point about how much he does, how far above and beyond he goes. Everything he does has a “look at me” motivation behind it. Look how I break my back all day at work and still come home and wash the dishes. Look how I make the bed every night. Look how I thoughtfully do this for her and thoughtfully do that for her.
Anytime someone makes a point to draw attention to the things they are doing for you, these things aren’t being done out of the sheer goodness of their heart. There is a selfish motivation behind the doing of these things. It’s all about them and their need to point and say “See what a great person I am? I’m such a great person that I did this for you. I’m such a great person that I did that for you. And I do this and that for you every day. Who else do you know that was going to do this and that for you every day? What other man in the world would wash your dishes for you? What other man in the world would clean your bath tub for you? What other man in the world would make you tea in the morning? What other man in the world would make your bed every night? Meanwhile they have no real relationship with you at all or any interest in a relationship with you.
Maybe these things are evidence of something other than narcissism. Like I said I have no expert knowledge on the subject. For an expert perspective you might try reading this article written for psychologytoday.com by Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT
Are You Married to a Narcissist?
Five things you can do about it
Published on June 26, 2013 by Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT in Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist
Do you feel engulfed, controlled, manipulated, and find that you are losing your sense of self? Then you may be married to a narcissist. Does your partner use one set of rules and expectations for him/herself and another set for you? Then you may be married to a narcissist. Does your partner dismiss your feelings as “crazy” or too “needy”, but no one else in your life sees you that way? Then you might be married to a narcissist. Does your partner act out sexually, act reckless, is emotionally attacking, manipulative, and blames you for her or his feelings? Then you are probably married to a narcissist. (full article)
Or you can read this article written just a few days ago on the website thenarcissistinyourlife.com. I have just read it myself and have gained some insight from it.
Narcissists Always Want Something From You–Everything
Posted on April 11, 2014 by Linda Martinez-Lewi, PhD
I am reminded again and again, constantly, from the victims of narcissistic mothers, fathers, spouses, ex-spouses, siblings that narcissists don’t ever have genuine relationships. Their false relating is based on What They Want From You–money, use of your creative gifts, your adulation, your life service to them, your role as the ongoing, endless recipient of their abuse. They intend to take your life psychologically and They Do.
You are the one who is not sleeping, who is anxious all of the time, exhausted, even physically ill. So often I see that the narcissist does not become sick but his spouse, child, sibling does. Yes, the person who loves this psychological vulture for decades is the one who has chronic illnesses or surgeries or stress reactions.(full article)
What to do if you’re married to a narcissist
Here again I can’t offer any expert advice. In fact I cannot offer any advice at all. I have been married to a narcissist for 17 years; and as I have said from the beginning of this post, I possess some narcissistic traits myself. I think every human being does and the person who is 100% lacking in any degree of self absorption is dealing with another kind of mental issue. It is my inexpert opinion that it is natural and perfectly normal to be to some degree absorbed with yourself and your own interests. Why shouldn’t you be? But the point at which you begin to insert yourself into everybody else’s reality and try to make their stuff about you in some way, you are being self absorbed to a degree that is simply not okay.
After 17 years and too many ugly incidents to count, one that occurred as recently as last night, I am beginning to appreciate that I am doomed to be unhappily married for as long as I remain married to my husband. Because my husband is never going to recognize that he possesses any traits of character that are problematic and therefore, my husband is never going to modify his way of being. It’s one of those times in life when you have to make a hard choice. There are things in life I cannot change and must learn to accept. That I’m married to a narcissist is not one of those things. I cannot change the narcissist; but I can change the situation of being married to the narcissist. That is really the only choice I have other than to accept the narcissism and continue until I die or he dies, to suffer the consequence of the choice to stay married to a narcissist.