Signs Your Spouse May Be a Narcissist

narcissistic spouse
Apr 2, 2024 | Content

You do not have to be a trained psychiatrist to spot someone with narcissistic tendencies. Although we should leave the diagnosis to the professionals, identifying narcissistic tendencies in your spouse can help you learn to protect yourself.

When your spouse has narcissistic behavior patterns, there could be trouble down the road. It can be almost impossible to maintain a sense of identity while living with a narcissist. Taking steps to reduce the narcissist’s power over you and your children is critical.

Narcissists Are Never Wrong

Most people understand that they do not know everything about everything and will sometimes make mistakes. They are able to acknowledge errors, correct them, and learn from them.

People with narcissistic tendencies need to be right about everything, all the time. If they get caught in an error, they cannot admit it, fix it, and move on. Instead, they will either deny responsibility entirely or deflect blame by claiming the mistake was someone else’s fault. They refuse to acknowledge even the simplest misstep.

When your spouse is a narcissist, you may have the same arguments over and over because the narcissist cannot take responsibility and adapt their behavior. They will gaslight you, insist the problems are your fault, and badmouth you to others. They intersperse these behaviors with declarations of love, affection, and promises of a happy future. This manipulative behavior might keep you constantly off-balance and unsure.

Narcissists Must Have Control

Narcissists want to project the sense that they are superior and infallible. In a marriage, they may insist on having control over every aspect of your life. Your narcissistic spouse might insist on handling the finances and keep you on a strict allowance or closely oversee your spending. They will make the final decisions about matters big and small, discounting everyone else’s needs, experience, and opinions.

The narcissist may isolate you and try to prevent you from pursuing friendships or activities outside the marriage. They might impose unreasonably high expectations on children and make them feel inadequate when they fail to meet those standards. In the worst cases, the need to have control can lead to physical and emotional abuse of you and your children.

Learn How to Protect Yourself and Your Family

Anyone in a marriage with a narcissist should take some basic steps to protect themselves. Narcissists resist self-reflection and are unlikely to change, so you must do the work to ensure your family is safe.

Understanding your financial position is key. In many cases, you may have to acquire information about finances behind the narcissist’s back, It is also important for you to have a private and preferably secret source of funds to draw on if the narcissist cuts off access to money at some point.

Developing and maintaining a strong support system is also crucial. If possible, see a counselor or therapist for help strategizing and responding effectively to the narcissist’s behavior. Confide in a few trusted friends and family members and look to them for emotional support. Identify people who could offer money or a place to stay if you must leave your home quickly.

Get a Divorce Attorney Who Can Help Manage High-Conflict Situations

When you have had enough and decide to end the marriage, you must be realistic about how a narcissist responds to divorce. They will be aggressive, obstructive, and uncooperative. It is virtually impossible to have an amicable divorce with a narcissist.

You need to work with an attorney who will proactively advocate for your interests and is not afraid of court battles. Contact the divorce litigation team at our firm when you are ready to divorce your narcissistic spouse.

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