Some married individuals sense that there’s something amiss on their partner’s character, but they couldn’t put their finger on it. Their efforts to understand their partner, adjust themselves for them, and work on the relationship seem to be futile.
To add to these, they tolerate the insentivities and abuses they receive from their narcisstic partners. These result to confusion, deep emotional pain, loss of sense of self, loss of esteem, and depression among others.
If you’re wondering whether your spouse may have a personality disorder, here are some tell tale signs that you’re married to an individual with a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and some experiences of non-narcissistic-spouses:
Have a different public image and private image.
According to DSM 5, a bible of mental health professionals, people with NPD may be preoccupied with how well they are doing and how favorably they are regarded by others. This gives them a positive image in their social circle. However, DSM 5 also stated that they lack empathy which makes them unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. The lack of empathy is usually apparent in close relationships.
This is why one of the giveaway signs of narcissistic partners is when they act differently at home and in the public. They portray themselves as wonderful, caring and loving people. Yet behind closed doors they could be a terror to their partners, while the rest of the world sees an amazing person.
Take for example the sharing of these partners:
- My husband never said no to anyone, always extremely friendly, very people pleasing, everyone always loves him and says what a great guy he is. — Terry
- My ex-husband was exactly like this. He acted one way in front of everyone else (kind, respectful, helpful, gentle and funny) and the opposite (rude, angry, miserable, emotionally abusive, verbally abusive) behind closed doors at home. — Christy
- My husband is extremely skilled at keeping the mask on . He is soft spoken and easy going when around people. But behind closed doors , with me, his wife and his children, a completely different person — Jessie
In my own experience, my husband was very involved in church… would lead marriage classes. He was/is thought of as a wonderful person to those that aren’t in our home.
- He controls silently. I’ve never been hit or yelled at, however I haven’t had a debit or credit card in my name in 10 years. He can go months with the silent treatment. He’s a pro at gaslighting. Oh, also he is victim all the time. Like poor me victim not, it’s all your fault.. — Carla
- Yes passive agressive nice guy to others. So shy and quietly spoken but behind closed doors, when he chose to rage at me, no one would believe it. — Tina
Trying to share your struggles with a common friend might prove to be difficult and frustrating. Your friends don’t see what you see.
- if I ever try to tell anyone about it they act like I’m crazy — Jessie
- My ex-husband used to say I get the worst version of him. Makes it hard to talk to people who had met him, like doubting whether or not they believe you because it seems so out of character. So confusing that they are a completely different person behind closed doors. — Christy
- The great guy act is a mask and they do it on purpose. It works and then no one believes you when you try to finally tell them the truth. You end up looking like the crazy one. Most people are shocked when they find out –Andrea
Sees others (even friends) as inferior
Because of the NPD’s concern of how he is regarded by others, he has a tendency to act friendly and nice. However, DSM 5 indicated that arrogant and haughty behaviors characterize these individuals that they often display disdainful or patronizing attitudes. This is why, the covert narcissists, behind their friends’ back they talk about them contemptuously, crticise them, or judge them.
- Nobody realizes he bashes the crap out of them at home after he helps them and then he discards his “friends” when he got what he wants. So far his friends haven’t figured it out yet.
- I waited on all the guests hand and foot, bringing food and drink, I would clean up after they left and he would tell me how awful they were.
Lacks Empathy and Concern
Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder generally have a lack of empathy and have difficulty recognizing the desires, subjective experiences, and feelings of others.
Those who relate to individuals with narcissistic personality disorder typically find an emotional coldness and lack of reciprocal interest.
- I was mugged by a purse snatcher during my lunch hour on city streets. I successfully fought him off and kept my purse, but my clothes were torn and my head was split open where it hit the pavement. I called to tell my narc what happened and went home but he never bothered to come check on me or even act concerned. — Tonya
- I was in bed crying from the pain of having had a cesarean 4 days prior. He told me to shut up and stop crying or go somewhere else as I was shaking the bed and he was trying to sleep. I slept on pillows on the ground beside my newborns crib. — Luci
Tiring and Fruitless Conflict Discussion
Addressing conflicts is one of the important parts in married life. However, this is already compromised when the other partner has NPD.
Partners with NPD have difficulties taking on the perspective and feelings of another person while maintaining awareness and control of his own affects and experiences. Apparently, The lack of empathy has an impact in this relationship function.
You appear as the toxic person when the relationship ends
Because of the narc’s established good self-image and upon smearing your name, you now appear as the bad partner.
- My ex-husband has a great talent, he tells everybody what they want to hear and shows them what they want to see.
- After his smear campaign many persons still think he is the poor victim Mr Niceguy, and ‘m the bad abuser.
- My ex-husband was mr. wonderful to everyone. To this moment everyone believes I somehow hurt him by getting sick and ruining our marriage. He’s the most vile monster on earth but hides every bit of it so well.
- I have similar with his family, his brother called me vindictive even though I’ve never done anything to him or anyone in the family.
Here are other traits associated to spouse with narcissistic personality:
- Lies and bluffs
- Believes they are always right and never apologize
- Have a sense of entitlement
- Sense of superiority
- Tendency to gaslight