Last Updated on 10 months by Iva Ursano
Do you often feel like you are going crazy? Can you describe your marriage as a roller coaster? Do you often question your sanity in your marriage? Well, if your answers are yes, these may be signs you’re married to a narcissist. In this article, we will talk about who narcissists are and how being married to a narcissist affects you.
I think first it’s so important to understand how a narcissist operates. So many people are in a relationship with a narcissist and have no idea.
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Examples of narcissistic abuse
It is worth understanding what makes a person a narcissist before getting into what it feels like being married to a narcissist.
Society perceives a narcissist as a personality type with an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Narcissists have a deep-rooted belief that they are deceived and not loved. They’d never admit it to others, but this feeling is what moves them through life and determines their goals.
Most narcissists are prone to perfectionism and are constantly haunted by feelings of dissatisfaction. They set high goals and achieve them due to their perfectionism, but they cannot fully enjoy them due to constant discontent. Therefore they set even more ambitious goals and so on. Because of this, they are typically very successful in life.
But not all narcissists are victorious. Some of them live mediocre lives, without much accomplishment, but still feel grand. They consider themselves to be a genius, but not adequately recognized by society. Oddly enough, one example of who a narcissist might be it is the ordinary pizza delivery man living with his mom.
Narcissists lack empathy and, due to their inner emotional turmoil, are incapable of sensitivity and deep feelings. They can actively help strangers while closing their eyes to the problems of their loved ones. All this is nothing more than a game for the audience. In fact, they do not care about the issues of others; they just try to demonstrate with their help that they are better than anyone else.
In general, all that narcissists aim to do is create a certain image of themselves. An image of what is considered successful in the society they live in. And usually, this image has nothing to do with reality.
Narcissistic wife signs are very well reflected in Elena from the TV series “Little Fires Everywhere.” She is an emotionally cold wife whose efforts are aimed at creating an image of “success.”
And let’s look at signs of a narcissistic husband from another TV show, Jordan Belfort from The Wolf of Wall Street. Successful, charming (this is also a trait inherent in all narcissists, regardless of gender), emotionally closed with his wife, cheating. In this example, the wife serves to create a certain image and is not interesting to Jordan as a person.
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5 Symptoms of Narcissism in Marriage
The most common trait of a narcissistic partner is the belief they are OVER all other people. Though this is definitely the main trait, there are many more. I will share 5 more symptoms of being married to a narcissist.
You are always to blame
Whatever happens, your partner blames you for all the troubles. They completely shift the responsibility onto you and refuse to be involved in what happened. Besides, they do not want to hear any arguments from your side. It is almost impossible to prove anything to them.
For example, if a narcissistic husband was late for work because he had been looking for keys for a long time, he would blame his wife for putting the keys in the wrong place, even though she didn’t even touch them.
That being said, even if narcissists are wrong, they will not apologize. They almost never admit that they may be guilty of something or wrong.
There is too much jealousy in a relationship
Your partner tries to make you jealous all the time. They constantly flirt with others, often in front of you, or deliberately leave hints to let you know that you are not the only one in their life.
This is a manipulative tactic. The narcissist has several goals. Firstly, they raise their self-esteem, and secondly, they control their partner, keeping them in suspense.
Jealousy can spread even to newborns. In my practice, some women gave examples of their narcissistic husbands. They complained that after the birth of the child, the wife spent too much time with the baby and demanded more attention from her husband. But the truth is that it is normal to focus a lot on the baby at first. After all, newborns are helpless and defenseless and cannot survive without a mother.
You are in emotional swings
Narcissists are the kings of manipulation. They cannot live a normal, measured life; instead, they create drama. In such a relationship, you will feel emotional swings all the time.
This behavior is typical for both men and women. For example, husbands of narcissistic wives often complain that she is emotionally cold and even ignores him. But as soon as she needs something from her husband, she immediately becomes the most sensitive and caring woman.
You may have already asked yourself many times, “Am I married to a narcissist?” and probably even tried to leave such a relationship. It’s crucial to note that narcissists will do everything possible to keep you with them. They will make sweet speeches, manipulate your feelings, and try every possible way to convince you that they are the best thing that could happen in your life.
In these situations, narcissists can be incredibly empathetic, loving, and supportive but this is nothing more than just an act. Once they achieve their goal (changing your mind about leaving), the narcissist will once again turn into a partner without love and empathy.
You’re Being Gaslighted
In case you aren’t sure what gaslighting is, below is an excerpt from a great article on verywellmind.com on what is gaslighting.
Gaslighting is a form of manipulation that often occurs in abusive relationships. It is a covert type of emotional abuse where the bully or abuser misleads the target, creating a false narrative and making them question their judgments and reality.Source:verywellmind.com
This is a type of mental violence in which the abuser tries to make the victim doubt their adequacy. It is a trick that narcissists often use.
How does gaslighting work?
For example, when married to a narcissistic man, the woman constantly finds evidence that he is cheating. Some of it may be completely obvious, but he still denies everything. The narcissists will convince the wife that she is wrong, imagined it, and is nuts.
This constant pressure makes victims question what they are feeling and seeing. As a result, a person feels like they are going crazy.
You feel lonely
As mentioned earlier, narcissists do not care about their partners; they use their spouses for selfish purposes. This will leave you feeling lonely and unwanted in the marriage.
Your partner is not interested in your well-being, does not share your interests, does not care if you are sick. However, this behavior is typical not only of men but also of narcissistic wives.
Also, at some point, you may realize that you are isolated from society. Some narcissists will do whatever they can to keep their spouses’ attention only to them. Therefore, the narcissist can deprive their partner of friends or even cut off contact with relatives.
The 5 Long Term Effects of Being Married to a Narcissist
At first, being married to a narcissist can seem like an exciting adventure. There may be lots of passion and emotion in the relationship, but eventually, this can lead to serious mental disorders and even suicide. Therefore, we will next focus on the long term effects of being married to a narcissist.
Constant humiliation, dissatisfaction, and manipulation from your spouse can make you feel unworthy. Marriage with a narcissist will hurt your self-esteem a lot. And if at the beginning of the relationship you were a highly energetic, active, and open person, after a few years of marriage, you will no longer be self-confident and will turn into an introverted person who is afraid of a lot of things.
One of the biggest narcissistic personality disorder marriage problems is gaslighting. It’s constant and leads to victims losing touch with reality. Because of this, depression and other personality disorders begin to develop, which can become fatal. In general, marriage to a narcissist negatively affects the partner’s physical and mental health.
Narcissists push their partners to live their lives. After a few years of marriage with such a person, you may find that you only do what they like. You ignore your hobbies and needs. Instead, you focus all your energy on improving your spouse’s life. This self-suppression can result in suicide.
The narcissist will try to put you under stress because, in this way, it’s easier to control you. When you are in this state for a long time, the emotional and hormonal background is disturbed, and the body begins to produce cortisol (stress hormone) in excess.
Thus, the psyche will be pushed to the limit, which will lead to frequent tantrums and emotional breakdowns. Very often, elevated cortisol levels lead to people overeating. It brings problems with weight, which can negatively affect the cardiovascular system and skin condition, not to mention will contribute to low self esteem and self confidence.
Accessory, not human
In general, a narcissist needs relationships only to satisfy their ego. They are not interested in the person with whom they are in a relationship with. You and your kids around the narcissist can feel like an accessory to their outfit. The narcissist will love their car more than their partner or children.
However, a narcissist can devote a lot of time to their family. But it has nothing to do with empathy or pleasure. A narcissist can help build a career for their spouse or help their children achieve goals only to pass off all the achievements as their own. This effect is called a “narcissistic extension.”
If they see their benefit, narcissists will force you into actions you don’t like. Overall, you will feel like an attachment to their life.
If you need professional help with your marriage or tools to help you break free, please check out Kim Saeed’s course Essential BreakFree Bootcamp.
Is there help for being married to a narcissist?
The quick answer is “Yes.” But … There are a lot of “buts.”
Being married to a narcissist is definitely not a fairy tale, but the situation is aggravated even more when a narcissist marries a narcissist. Such an alliance leads to two-way abuse.
The most effective method of recovery from narcissistic abuse is psychotherapy, both personal and family. But the issue is that narcissists rarely admit they have a problem. Many psychotherapists say that narcissists are rare among their clients.
Can you be happily married to a narcissist?
Well, yes if therapy can work!
There are still narcissists who have gone through personal psychotherapy and changed! In marriage and relationships, they are amazing people, caring partners, and empathic parents.
Mental health professionals help narcissistic relationships to be healthy and full of mutual respect. However, both spouses should be willing to do so. If a partner is not ready to work on a relationship and does not want to change, such a union is doomed.
Author Bio: Natalie Maximets
Natalie Maximets is a certified life transformation coach at OnlineDivorce.com. She has expertise in mindfulness and sustainability. She is a published author focused on the most progressive solutions in the field of psychology. Natalie helps people overcome fundamental life challenges, such as divorce, and build an entirely new life by reframing their personal narrative.