Does your spouse often attempt to control or manipulate you in a malicious way? Does he or she dismiss your feelings as unimportant or nonsensical? Do you ever feel like you are losing your sense of self and only living to please your demanding and unreasonable spouse? If you, you may be married to a narcissist.
The term narcissist technically refers to those with a mental illness called Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) but is often also used to describe those individuals who have some of the characteristics of a person with NPD. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines the criteria for an NPD diagnosis. Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorders often exhibit behaviors such as:
- Having an Exaggerated Sense of Self-Importance: Narcissists are often very full of themselves. They believe that their accomplishments are more important than those of others and that they are superior to those around them. They have grandiose perceptions of themselves and do not appreciate when others do not share these perceptions. This often manifests into behavior like making every conversation about himself or herself, or craving to be the center of attention at all times. Narcissists may also indulge in unrealistic fantasies of success, fame, power, or wealth.
- Needing Constant Admiration and Approval: Those with narcissist tendencies often believe that they are better than those around them but, paradoxically, also crave the attention and approval of other people. A narcissist has a very difficult time accepting criticism and can even become enraged by it. He or she will often tout his or her accomplishments (either real or imagined) and become offended if those around him or her do not respond how he or she wanted.
- Having a Strong Sense of Entitlement: Someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder will demand favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations regardless of how unreasonable they are. Narcissists believe that they are entitled to special treatment or privileges even if they did not earn them.
- Manipulating Others to Get What They Want: Narcissists are unapologetically exploitative of others and will take advantage of others to get their way. This can unfortunately lead to emotional or physical abuse. They tend to lack empathy and do not feel regret for manipulative or cruel behavior.
Although being married to a narcissist is challenging, it does not automatically mean that the marriage will not last. That being said, many marriages involving a narcissist are not healthy, especially if narcissistic behavior goes unchecked.
Divorcing a narcissist can be particularly challenging, but an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney can help prevent your spouse from manipulating the proceedings. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation today.