Fact Checked

What Are the Signs of a Narcissistic Spouse?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

Narcissism is a set of behaviors in which a person is excessively self-absorbed, selfish, egotistic, or vain. A narcissistic spouse is a person who exhibits these characteristics in a marriage, and either a man or a woman in such a relationship can exhibit narcissistic behavior. The signs of a narcissistic spouse can vary significantly and are not always overtly obvious. A person who lacks empathy, for example, may have a problem with narcissism, though this lack of empathy may not be displayed overtly and may therefore be difficult to recognize.

Another characteristic of a narcissistic spouse is the inability to lend validity to the emotions, thoughts, or ideas of others. The narcissist must always be right, and the narcissistic spouse must always get his or her way. If things do not go according to that person's plans — which are very often unrealistic — he or she will blame others and rarely, if ever, accept blame for the way events turn out. Narcissists tend to be exceptionally sensitive to criticism, so much to the point that they may become paranoid and attack others for criticism that was not actually leveled. The sense that everyone is out to "get" the narcissistic spouse is a common one.

Narcissists focus more on themselves than others, including their spouses.
Narcissists focus more on themselves than others, including their spouses.

Narcissists do not generally value depth, love, and commitment in a relationship, so it may be impossible to actually foster a loving and caring relationship with a narcissistic spouse. That person is also very unlikely to admit that there is a problem, or if he or she does acknowledge a problem, the blame will rest on the other partner. Such distance may be the result of severe insecurities on the part of the narcissistic spouse, though that person may have little or no recognition of the fact that such an insecurity even exists. The narcissist is even less likely to seek help; ideas about how to address a problem will usually get dismissed out of hand as outlandish and in no way helpful.

Narcissistic people spend an inordinate amount of time on their personal beauty.
Narcissistic people spend an inordinate amount of time on their personal beauty.

Attention is of high value to narcissists, and they will seek it out often, very likely at the expense of others. Creating a problem in order to come up with a solution, dominating conversations, demeaning his or her spouse to make himself or herself look better, and otherwise taking part in behaviors that draw attention to the narcissist are common characteristics. While the narcissist will not often be able to take criticism well, he or she will usually have no problem criticizing others, often harshly.

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Discussion Comments


When I question my spouse, he says, "You aren't perfect either," or if I ask why he's a certain way he will answer it back rhetorically and it's very hurtful. I don't get it. I try to express things to make an effort to hang out with me and he says well you could make the effort too. My marriage feels toxic.


@anon945332: I don't know if he's a true narcissist. Tough to say. What I can tell you is he's a serial cheater, an emotional abuser and you'd be better off loving a rattlesnake. At least you know the risks.

Do you want your daughter growing up in an atmosphere like that? I don't think so.

As humans, we want to think people can change, and sometimes they do, but it takes a complete commitment from them to do everything necessary to make that change happen. He doesn't want to change, and really, you've given him every indication that he doesn't need to -- you'll come running back, regardless.

Please, for your own mental health and for your child's future, get out of this relationship and get away from this guy. If you're in the U.S., call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for support. Yes, it's domestic violence. It's emotional abuse, and it will escalate. Get out now. Please.


I am 22 years old and I really need some advice. I am scared and I do not know what to do because I love my husband but I am just so tired.

We have been married for only two years. Granted, we are young, but I have very strong morals. He cheated on me while I was pregnant with our daughter, with a girl whom he always considered "like a sister" to him. I never distrusted my husband until this. I did not find out about the cheating until my daughter was born. He even had the nerve to bring this girl into my hospital room and hold our child. How sick is that?

I was heartbroken when I found out so I told him I did not know if I could be with him anymore. He begged me to stay for about a week then said O.K. Let’s get a divorce. I turned around not even a week later and called every day and texted him, literally begging, saying I forgave him -- I suppose because I was just missing all the good moments because I love him. He was mean to me for two months and would barely speak or just plain ignore me and had nothing to do with our newborn child.

Finally, he decided he wanted me to come back so I did, and then I find out the reason he was ignoring me was because he had immediately found another woman and brought her into our home. Still, I tried to forgive him.

He gets very angry, breaks all kinds of things and loses control if anything is his fault. If I need space, he does not know the concept. He follows me everywhere, checks my phone constantly, and I truly believe that he is not truly sorry for what he did because he will say he is then turns around and gets mad and says if our marriage does not work out it is my fault.

I am so tired and I know that I am too young and too smart for this. I do love him, but I have tried to talk to him like a civilized adult about what needs to be fixed and what I need from him in order to heal and by doing so how he will benefit as well. These talks are like playing a broken record, I feel so worn down. I am scared that I am going to lose my family that I tried so hard to keep together and what hurts even more is how can someone who has done these things say to me that if I walk away, I did not try hard enough?


I was just looking for a website where I could share my feelings and I found one. Thank you!

Sometimes when I look at myself, I wonder am I dumb, because my girlfriend is a complete narcissist. She says she loves me more than herself, but in reality it isn't true at all. She gets angry over every small thing. It's hell to manage her when she gets angry, but still I do it. I always keep her happy. I try my level best to make her feel special.

Even if it is her mistake, I apologize first but how long should I do this? I’m human, right? If I try to explain to her she is wrong, she will never understand or even try to understand.

I really don't know what to do. I miss my ex girlfriend so much. Trust me, I miss her a lot. I love my present girlfriend, but I don't understand why she doesn’t understand me. She leaves me alone, she never bothers to see things from my perspective, she doesn't give me a chance to speak or justify myself. She even criticizes me in front of her best friend, and I just take it so she will be happy.

I have done everything for her. I am with her in every situation – every one! And she isn't in any of mine. I feel bad for myself. How long should I keep on giving without getting back anything in return? She is wrong most of the time. She is wrong in every way, and whenever I try to correct or tell her the correct point, she tells me "you're wrong".

Now someone, please tell me is Brazil in Australia? She said Brazil is in Australia. I corrected her: “See Baby, Brazil is in South America.” She got angry. She made a sarcastic comment.

At this point, I need my ex girlfriend back. She is an angel. But I love this present one, too. I don't love my ex anymore except as a person. She is amazing. She is the most understanding and caring person and she still does listen to my problems. Any help or advice would be priceless at this stage.


I have been married for about 13 years now. Lately I blame myself for not leaving my husband years ago. I ended up being a prisoner in my own home for 13 years.

He would not allow me to see my friends or go out with them once in a while. He controls all the finances, decision making and pretty much everything. He would constantly degrade me and blame me for everything. Nothing I do makes him happy. Whatever I do irritates him to the point where he gets berserk and starts yelling at me.

I get emotional and cry when I remember how much he hurt me by just being obstinate, rude and mean to me. He is anti social and doesn't like to go movies or do fun things with me. He is cold and unemotional. He never likes to talk about our future or even take vacations. It has been a struggle even to have a meaningful dialogue with him.

I don't believe that his behavior towards me will ever change, but I hope someday he'll understand that you can't treat your spouse the way he treats me.


What is so horrible about narcissists is most of us only become aware of these things after we are already in too deep with these sociopaths. These people usually have plans within plans of how they will deal with you if you try to leave them. They are sociopaths and can think things up and act on them that normal people would be ashamed to even have thought of in passing. My ex-spouse actually offered sexual favors to her own brother in order to get him to teach me a lesson when I finally broke free of her (he is a former gang member). The good news is I had proof (her brother apparently was horrified for the kids should she get custody of them and kept her emails) and the family court judge actually did take this into account in terms of custody despite my being an evil man-beast and I got primary custody. I am mentioning this so you understand there is no limit to what these people will do. And sadly probably half the family court judges wouldn’t have cared because they already decided mom was getting the kids, period.

You are in a fight for your life with a sociopath -- tread lightly but intelligently. The only way I know of to get away from these people is to act like them in terms of your thought processes. I said “act” not become like them. You must think of yourself (and your kids) with total exclusion of any empathy for your soon-to-be ex. Normal people have a tough time with this but you must learn to be indifferent to a narcissist (just don’t ever act indifferent to a narcissist or you might end up in a world of hurt). They are also so good at making you feel empathy for them while the soulless insects manipulate you along.

Give yourself time and develop a plan or better, multiple plans. Tell no one, and I mean no one, what you are planning. Narcissists are good at digging things out of people and they will likely see everything you do on the internet as well, so learn how to cover your tracks. They will probably know you read this, for example, if you hadn’t already anticipated that and acted to counteract it.

Detach yourself from them, manipulate and lie, use and discard them in your own mind but never reveal it to them. Understand you will never get even with them for what they have done to you. It is like trying to get even with a computer or an automobile; narcissists have no souls. Tell yourself this is what must be done. You must fight fire with fire or you will lose. There is usually no high ground you can take with a narcissist. If they suspect anything, they will attack in ways you never dreamed of. Unless you have wealth resources that they cannot touch and have no kids for them to use as weapons, you must deal with them on their level.

The narcissist’s one great weakness is they believe the rules apply to everyone but themselves and they assume -- in fact, require -- that you are “playing” by accepted social norms. You may not look at a relationship as “playing,” but they do. You’d better start knowing what you are up against if you want things to ever get better and get any of your life back! You aren’t the type to be taken down to their level, huh? Good. Congratulations. You are a good person and as a bonus prize, you lose, and God forbid if you have kids with these monsters because your kids lose, too! Hope you feel good with your life destroyed because you won’t go down to their level. You don’t have to become like them, but you must learn to understand the depths of their depravity and yes, you’d better be willing to fight them with the same weapons. They’re going to go nuclear and so must you. Throw rocks and see what happens when they lob a nuke at you. Take your time. Plan it out. Be secretive. This process actually will in itself give you some of your life back.

You must always pretend around the narcissist. If it feels funny to do that, remember they are pretending in every interaction they have with you. You must pretend you are on board with them. Pretend and then deceive them. That is what they do to you. You must do this. You must not ever try to be sly with them or hint at anything, including your newly found insight into what they really are and how their insect mind works. You’ll want to do this, but don’t! They will see right through you and know what you are doing. They are better at this than you are. They have been doing this their entire lives. Your only chance to pull it off is the element of surprise -- lose that and you’re done. When you have done everything possible, dug up all the dirt possible, made every manipulative gesture possible to jockey for the best position for yourself, made sure you and your children can be as safe as possible, then leave them. It’s best to leave them with zero personal contact. File court papers immediately and have the narcissist served that day. They should not come home to an empty house and have grounds to call the police. Make sure when they come home to their empty house, they have court papers in hand and a brief explanation that you are gone and here is the court case number and attorney you can be contacted through. A short letter saying “I’ve left and this is where the children are and the courts will sort out the rest and until then you are not to contact me or them” is best.

Female narcissists have a huge advantage with family courts that either don’t believe men's tales of abuse or even better, they believe it, but then blame the men because women are sugar and spice and everything nice and you must have been abusive to her to turn her into that beast. But, the good news is that it is getting better, slowly but surely in most of America.

If you live in a particularly vile state where you know with near certainty that the judge is going to hand mom the kids after your “fair” trial, then as part of your planning stages, you might want to try to relocate to a better state before you drop the bomb on all of this. I said before and absolutely am not saying to take the kids and leave the state you are in without consent. While the narcissist thinks things are going well, a nice relocation to a better state, for some other reason of course, might well be a good move. Again, think like they do and this is exactly something a narcissist would do, so should it be what someone trying to escape them should do.

I got her to move with me to a better state for that reason. I know that had we stayed where we were (Wisconsin which awards custody to the mother about 94 percent of the time) that no matter what I presented in terms of her unfitness for parenting (including the incest attempts and criminal solicitation of violence against me), nor the fact that I had always been the primary caretaker and a good one at that, would have mattered one little bit in Wisconsin family court. Short of her being incarcerated, she would have gotten the kids, period! And even then, they likely would have gotten her in some special program to get early because you know women need to get out of prison extra fast when they have kids so they can take care of them (still waiting to hear of those programs for men). Sorry if I just made this more complicated with the male/female component but it is a factor that men married to narcissist women need to take into account. Yes, your kids are prime weapons for her and she will do everything in her power to not only destroy your relationship with them, but won’t bat an eye to destroy the kids themselves if she really has it in for you and wants to hurt you more.


I am so glad I came across this website. I had no idea why my marriage was not working. But after reading the article and all the posts, I have clarity. I have been married to this man for 10 years and have four kids but I feel like a single parent who is always broke.

He keeps all the finances to himself, does not have my name on bank accounts, spends zero time with us, and he is retired.

I just had an eye opening experience to see him in action at a neighbor's house. He was having a blast playing in a kiddie pool with another woman and her child, getting each other's clothes wet. With us he always acts like he has a stick up his butt, punishes the kids if they want to play with him and refuses to spend time with them or me.

I could go on with other examples, but I am just so tired and emotionally drained. I have been trying to learn to make money, so I can pack up and leave. He does not give me any money at all, and gets upset if he has to spend money on me or the kids. But he eats out in restaurants every day, and buys himself whatever his heart desires, and buys stuff for strangers too. I resent him so much.


I've been living with my girlfriend for a year now. The minute I stop putting all of my focus on making her happy, or make the slightest suggestion that it might be nice if she thought about me, or factored me into her decisions once in a while, she shuts down or goes ballistic.

I used to respond with anger, trying to argue her around to seeing things my way, but that only ever gave her ammunition (saying that I had anger issues, which she actually managed to get me to go to counseling for, to the slight bemusement of my counselor, who didn't really see that much wrong with me).

Recently, I've changed my approach since it was obvious that confronting her head on was never going to work, so for the past couple of months whenever she flares up, I tell her I love her, that I don't want to break up with her, that if I hurt her feelings I'm sorry, and then I stay out of her way until she calms down.

She absolutely hates it. She doesn't know what to do. She can't attack me anymore for being belligerent, and she can't blame me for the fighting, because I never raise my voice or try to argue her down anymore, but it doesn't make things any better. She just stays really paranoid and defensive for days on end, probably because deep down she feels guilty but can't come to terms with her own emotions.

I feel better about myself since I've started reacting this way, safe in the knowledge that if it doesn't work out, it's not my fault, but I am sad to say that I'm becoming afraid that it doesn't matter how I act or behave, she will never be satisfied, and she will never want to "give back."


@julies: I think I'm dating your ex. What a mess!


Then is there a solution? There is no point to tell my life's story, since I can vouch for everything other posters have said.

I don't believe that humans being can be that cheap, and that's why I am looking for a solution. I continue to be optimistic, because I love her (my wife), although she is closer to her brothers and sisters than her husband. I just want to save this family.

I am sure of one thing which is the main cause of this effect, and that is unresolved issues. Her father got married after many years of a tough life with her mother, and then her mother also left her children (four sons and five girls) to live on their own. Long story. Anyway, I learned about this after the marriage.

After three years of marriage I tried many thinks but had no success. I think enough has been said and I'm really looking for a recommendation.


I've been married to one for 10 years. I feel like I wasted my life. Why did it take me so long to see that this man is nuts, that he is fueled by hurting other people? It's like some type of a guilty pleasure. He cares for no one but himself and blames all of the mistakes he has made in life on his childhood. He is the father of my children. The man who I thought was "the one" is evil to the core.

He started cheating two days after we were married (who does that?). I didn't find out about this until year four, but by year four he had cheated on me five times and I have gotten STDs from him (while I was pregnant with our child) On a different occasion, he contracted an STD and hid it from me until he was cured. Who freaking does that?

He knows I love Jesus and he will play around with God to get me to trust him again, acting as if he is really truthful about Jesus and things will be good for a little bit, but then it's back to the same old, same old, with him disrespecting me and being fueled by other people's heartbreak, even the kids. I'm so sick of this. I don't think he will ever change.

My advice is always demand respect for yourself. Know what you deserve as a human and don't let your anyone deprive you of your rights. Know what you want from people and how you want them to treat you. Never show your weakness. Trust must be earned over a reasonable amount of time. If you are a person whose past makes them insecure, don't date. Get counseling first to get that stuff out of you then try dating. If you're a Christian, pray and ask the Lord before you jump into any life commitment.


I have lived this nightmare. He finally found some married woman in the wings and left me for her, yet his harassment has not stopped in the last six months he has been gone, and supposedly is so much happier with this (married) woman. Yes, she is married, and left her husband of 30 years to run off with my husband.

He stole every possession we acquired in 13 years, she stole all of her husband's possessions, and they moved into a grand house together. Yet, he will not leave me alone, and continues to find ways to make me suffer (I will spare you details, but trust me when I say he would like nothing more than for me to kill myself).

I must say, I hope he does the same to her, but then they may be perfectly suited for each other, as long as she also has no empathy, or a humble bone in her body. She does like to rub it in that she has him, so perhaps she is a sociopath like him. I hope he fades away, so I can deprogram myself and start to move on. I cannot even begin to move on until he completely fades away and leaves me completely alone. The signs were there. I ignored them because the sex was so good. But even the very best sex loses its flavor when you are dealing with a childish boy-man with no love for anyone but himself.

I know better now, which means I may just be alone the rest of my life, but then again, he may end up a lonely old man too. One can hope, can't one? Blessings all on recovering from this awful abuse!


Addressing the first post: these people are smart. They become spouses because they are conniving and know how to get what they want. They act sweet until they know they have you hooked. (in my experience) Then they dig their claws in.

Now she's miserable. No matter what I give her, she wants more. Now matter how much I do, she wants me to do more. She's controlling and manipulative. This article describes her perfectly. It stinks because don't want to break up because of the kids. I don't know what's better: me being miserable with her or me being myself, a fun, happy person, without her. I hope it all works out.


@anon311812: I'm not a psychiatrist or a therapist, but I can tell you the average narcissist thinks something is wrong with everyone *but* himself. He is perfect and has no problems. So, in my opinion, someone could help you since you're aware of this tendency in your personality.

Having said that, and understanding that you feel therapists are not focusing on your narcissism issues, maybe you can do some things that will help you as a person. My suggestion would be to get involved in some project where you will be helping others, particularly if you will receive little personal recognition for it. This may help you turn your focus outward, rather than keeping your attention on yourself all the time. It could also help you with your anxiety issues by giving you a healthy, constructive outlet.

That's just a suggestion from a layperson, and advice is free. But you never know -- it might help. Good luck.


I was young, insecure and inexperienced when I met my husband. I already had a divorce behind me, two kids and a guilt complex. He came along like Prince Charming and began to take over my life - in a seemingly benevolent way. He fixed things, bought my kids things and made love to me.

Then, he began to ignore me, put me down and find me boring - after we were married. It got worse. I used to beg him to make love to me but he would turn his back. I tried to confide my problems about my work situation - difficult at the time - to him, and he ended up using it against me. I was 'mad', and had a 'breakdown.' He made decisions for us both that never included me, such as moving to a new home, selling my shares, throwing my personal possessions away, etc.

He never ever apologized to me about anything and blamed me for everything that was wrong 100 percent, and he actually said that. Everyone thought he was wonderful and he would bend over backward for anybody, to get their approval. He even wore different clothes for different people. Worst of all, he knew I only wanted/needed love so he took it away to punish me. I was no longer useful to him, so he no longer needed to pretend.

If you know someone like this, then get out now, please. Save yourself. Thirty years later and I'm still trying. They drain you of your own will to live.


That sounds like me! I'm 20 years old, and that's how I act, I'm very rude, cocky, I say really horrible things to people who are really close to me, I seek attention a lot, and basically everything that has just been mentioned. I've also done many online tests which all show I am narcissistic and it's very scary.

I also suffer from anxiety and depression, I've been sent to a therapist, believe me. I love talking about myself, but I feel there is no help for me. The therapists are focusing only on my anxiety. I feel hopeless. What can I do?

Reading a lot of these stories on here, I feel I will become exactly like some of the men on here. I don't want to become a monster, but nobody is willing to help. I am my own worst enemy. People like us do need help, but where is it?


Is it safe to assume that a woman who only sees things her way, is disappointed every time something does not go as she sees it, only wants to air her disappointments and not listen to me and my feelings, could give an aspirin for a headache without any effort, turns most situations into ones where it was a waste of her time and no one else was thought of or considered, and generally dictates without regard to the feelings of others, is a narcissist?


Sounds exactly like my wife, and I am so darn tired.

This must end soon. It's seven years of hell on earth but I don't know how to leave. I used to fear she would harm herself if I go, but now I just don't care.


All this rings completely true to me, including the adultery and lies and deceit. My husband has all these traits and more. There is no end to their deceit. He was accused of raping his ex-wife and sent to jail for five years. I was a fool. I stood by him all the time he was in jail. I believed him, and now know I should have believed his ex wife. I put a roof over his head with his awful children. I bought a house and put his sorry name on my deeds.

We got married, and then he started lying and cheating on me from day two of the marriage. I threw him out several times, but he told me it was all my fault that he had to lie and cheat. He called the police on several occasions to the house, saying I was a drug user.

Then on my birthday this year, he left me for a woman younger than me. I caught him with her and he told me he wasn't married to me? I think so. I slapped his sorry face and then he went down to the local police station to report me for assault. He has done no work on the house in 10 years we have been here. He's a builder but slipshod with his work ethic.

For all who have experienced this, I feel heartfelt sorrow for you. I'm trying to pick up the pieces of my life again. Take care.


I say to anyone who is involved with a narcissist to do everything in your power to disentangle yourself from him. I was married for over 30 years to a man with these qualities, and after separating four years ago, (not my choice at the time) I am now suffering physical illness from all the stress of those years, and the ensuing years of close contact. It's not worth it, and my sadness and reactive depression have been a direct result of our marriage.


I've been married to a narcissist for 23 years and it is wearing on me emotionally. I'm not sure where it's going to end up, but I am in the process of trying to rediscover who I am and what my passions are. Getting back the lost self-esteem is certainly hard work. Just when I feel like I am getting strong, something happens and he yells at me, with his finger in my face saying the "f" word. He belittles me, bullies me, tries to intimidate me, and personally I feel is verbally and emotionally abusive.

I have gotten much stronger in the past two years and tell him things such as "you cannot yell at me, or “I will not sit here and let you bully and intimidate me just so you don't have to answer the question." I'm just tired. I'm tired of feeling beat up and then going on as if nothing happened and him even being nice later, but no apology (ever) and no acknowledgment of the real truth. We can never settle a matter that seems to be of importance because of his anger that takes over.

I am getting much stronger, but am not to the point of feeling strong enough to leave. I definitely have days where I feel like I just want to be free from this "emotional prison". I have one child left at home who graduates in a year. Who knows what will happen then? I just wish sometimes that I didn't have any feelings of love at all left for this man, but I do.

Getting educated about narcissism and verbal abuse is really helping me. And, thank God for my dear friends, especially one who is going through similar things. This narcissism seems to be so typical of pilots, because so many of them have that God-like syndrome. They get up in that cockpit and think, "I am ruler of all and by God, everybody better do what I want and what I tell them. If not, there is hell to pay!"


I was involved with what I now know to be a narcissist for three months. I met him on a dating site (which he is still on by the way, waiting for his next poor, unsuspecting victim). The sad thing is, I was just getting back on my feet as I split from my daughter’s dad. Money was very tight but it was a new start. My confidence was emerging and I thought it would be nice to get out and meet someone on the nights my daughter was with her dad.

Anyway, I met this man online and we clicked. He portrayed an image of an outdoors type farmer contractor. He lied from the start and borrowed money to pay his farm workers for fuel money. I now know he was stealing from me so he could afford the train tickets to see me. I bought the drinks and no meal. On the second date, I bought the drinks and a curry, then got accused of being a control freak because I ordered the curry. He just stood in my kitchen shouting at me and reduced me to tears. He talked me around and then from that point I was his prey, scared and pathetic. When I went to visit him, he said he also resided in Cambridge to explain that he, in fact, lived in a bedsit for the homeless. Still I did not turn him away, since he was, quite literally, starving. He had nothing so this triggered my nurture response and I lent him money here and there. Before I knew it I was lending him 1,000 pounds for a van so he could get to the job in Oxford. The one that was life or death if he did not get the job, and the one that he shunned no sooner did another opportunity come up. It was all explained away, and of course, I was accused of being thick and out of touch as to why would he refuse a permanent position.

He would constantly make little digs like, ‘What’s it like being a part time mum?’ or ‘You worry me. You have no substance.’ or ‘You’re always moaning’ and I could go on.

After three months, I left and I am no longer with him, but my spirit has gone. I never got any of the money back as he promised, and I am struggling. I have emailed but I was accused of being indecent for not letting him know I have someone else and that he will not do anything about the money.

I hate him and made a decision to leave him because I started to realize what this man is about. I am lucky, but I am strangely messed up by it all. I dream of revenge, but know he is nasty and it would end up hurting my situation more than his. Example: when I threatened to make things uncomfortable about the money, i.e., legal action, he threatened to make my life very solitary. Enough said, I can’t believe I was such a fool. I feel I should warn the dating site because this man should not be allowed to continue this facade that preys on vulnerable women. Even his only family has no time for him.


If you are married to a narcissist, they will financially trap you. Plan, plan, plan to get out. Do not try to rationalize any feelings with them. They like to see fear and sadness in your eyes. Hold firm to your boundaries. Show you children how strong you really are. Fight on!


Has anyone heard of this? My husband has narcissistic symptoms with passive-aggressive behavior directed toward me. Everybody loves him. He is always there for others, ready to help, likable, can turn his tears on and off like a faucet, reliable at work and other outside commitments. At home, he is touchy, moody, overly-sensitive.

I am passive and easy-going; it takes a lot for me to get really riled up. I try to talk to him about my concerns for our relationship, and he twists things, "changes lanes" and gets off subject, and will abruptly leave if he doesn't like what I am saying. When I finally express anger, he says I have had a meltdown. I no longer try to discuss things with him because he sometimes uses the information to hurt me. Rather than stand beside me in conflict situations with another person, he develops what I call a pack mentality, and will side against me. He will allow his dad to be offensive (I am misunderstanding). He will side with strangers on small issues (a discussion I was having with a pharmacist in trying to determine something about my grandchild's medication).

I am not a confrontational, nit-picker, but he sometimes makes me feel like a nag. He is a registered sex offender (consensual sex with a 17 year old girl) who managed to talk around a doctor of psychology, one therapy group for three years, two therapists, and his probation officer. After failing a required polygraph toward the end of his probation, he managed to get out of taking it again as required, before he was released from probation.

His first marriage lasted almost 30 years, and people thought his wife was a witch. But five years into marriage with him, I understand what she went through and why she was the way she was (small town). He does exceptional work for others, but will not do home repairs. If he does them, they go unfinished. My things get broken in his care (from small to large things) and if I ask for help around the house, somewhere along the way, things will go wrong. His washed dishes are coated with grease. He crowds things into the cupboards, stacking them haphazardly. I no longer ask for help (I am raising a small child with autism), but when he volunteers to help, it reminds me of the way my teenagers did things.

One of the last hurtful things he did makes no sense. I was taking the child with autism out for a ride. My husband said he needed to get his things out of the truck so there would be room to put her booster seat. He backed the truck out of the carport and parked next to lawn sprinklers, then came back inside practically empty-handed. I didn't realize he had backed the truck next to the sprinkler until I was halfway to the truck with my autistic child. My choice was to take her back inside while I moved the truck, causing a huge tantrum, or getting into the truck and getting wet in the process. We weren't soaked – barely got wet. It was just so mean of him to do this.

I am working toward financial independence so that my child and I can get away from this man and the situation. It's all about him, what he wants, and if I go against the grain, he finds a way to punish me. Everybody loves him. He is the greatest shock of my life.


@JaneAir: I don't think you've ever met a true narcissist. If they revealed their true nature so quickly, there wouldn't be so many broken relationships because of them, and so many people who have been emotionally bruised and broken by them.


I have been married 28 miserable years. This was my second marriage, and I realized a year into the relationship that something was wrong, but I was a single parent, and did not want to fail at marriage again, so I stuck with it. This was a huge mistake.

I did not know what a narcissist was until recently. Many of the symptoms apply to my husband. This behavior has not only hurt me, it has taken its toll on my entire family (I now have three children). I have lost everything. My children do not believe in me, or show any respect towards me. We had a recent family crisis, and I am left all by myself, because my children think I am the reason for all their problems. They think I am the one who needs help. I would let go of my emotions every now and then by yelling; it was my only release. I never did drugs or drank alcohol to escape the harsh realities of something I did not understand.

I knew my husband never showed empathy towards me. I could never talk to him about anything when it came to our future or his career. He would be on the defense and tell me to "back off and work on myself". I had no money for maternity clothes, formula, diapers, etc. My name was taken off his checks, because I would have to take checks without him knowing to be able to buy necessities for our children and household. When his checks would bounce, he would blame it on me. His career stood still for over 20 years, and our financial situation never improved.

My in-laws would lend my husband money and try to keep this from me. When I found out about this, I called my father-in-law and told him to stop enabling his son. I wanted my husband to stand on his own two feet and be a provider to his own family. He was furious with me and never spoke to me again. Some 28 years later, my name is still not on my husband's checks. I started to get an allowance five years ago. It is never consistent, and most of the time I have to ask for it.

It hurts so much that I cannot reach out to my children right now. There has been so much negative interference in raising my two younger children, and yet they will never have the chance to hear the truth. I blame myself for not leaving my spouse 25 years ago. I should have been proactive, but I never learned how to defend or stick up for myself. I had severe learning disabilities and I was a bullied constantly as a child. I was used to being treated unfairly, and I didn't know how to be strong.

Now I am alone with a broken heart, and my children want nothing to do with me. If I have helped anyone by writing this, then I have made the last 28 years of my life count for something. Narcissism is a dreadful mental disorder. Read about it and learn what to look for when it comes to your own well being. Don't let someone else diminish your dreams, thoughts and well being under any circumstances.


I need some help. I am questioning my life - the last 24 years - I have been with a man who fits the description in many ways of being a narcissist. He is strong and very good at talking to everyone. He can tell stories for hours, making people laugh and think he is the life of the party.

When our children were small up until - and including now -- he presents himself as the one person with the answers and only he can help them. When they were young, and did anything that they might require a form of punishment, he always used me as the reason they received the punishment. I would overhear him saying to them, "your mom is making me talk to you about this, or you are in trouble because your mom doesn't like this thing you did." things like that. So now, our children have a mindset that I am hard to please.

My daughter overheard both of us discussing some issues she has, and she told me off - she was completely angry at me mostly. I mentioned the fact her dad had said certain things and she said to me, "I am mad as Hell at him, but I can get along with him." I was floored. She has told me, when we were alone, she has no empathy. She said that Dad doesn't either and she went on to say he had raised her that way. I just sat there - I did not know what to say. It is true, she also seems to be an extreme narcissist.

I am now caught - I feel like a fly trapped in a web. I have no income and no way to move out. I have been so consumed with always making things right at home, with our kids, and his certain health issues for so long, I now realize I have no other life. I do not know what to do.


I hate to admit it, but I have some narcissistic tendencies. Just that statement seems so narcissistic in the fact that I hate to admit it! I want to be right a lot, although I can admit it occasionally when I am wrong. I also like attention. I do not take criticism well, although people have said I have gotten better about taking it over the years. Maybe these are a few reasons I do not see marriage in my near future! I do hope to change these narcissistic characteristics as soon as possible for everyone's sake!


@Janeair - I agree with you, it seems weird that narcissists get the opportunity to be spouses. I know that they can be charming at first, but their charm normally seems to fade in a few months or years. So unless someone marries someone quickly, they hopefully would notice the person's true self before they got married.

I try to avoid narcissist's as much as possible, as they only seem to hurt me, and what is worst, most of them do not notice or care that they are hurting me. I have dated a few narcissist's, but luckily their true colors came out soon after, so I don't have too much emotional scarring from them.


I think one of the key signs of someone being a narcissist is that they are never wrong. No matter what the situation, they are always right. They have a way of twisting situations around so it looks like everyone else is to blame.

They also don't take criticism well from anybody. I dated a man who was a narcissist for much longer than I should have. It took awhile for me to catch on and I realized I didn't want to continue to be that miserable for the rest of my life.

Because it was my idea to break up, that didn't go over very well with him. It didn't get to the point where he was stalking me, but I did have to set very clear boundaries and stay firm.

I was actually relieved when he began dating someone else because that is when he left me alone. I just felt kind of bad for the person he was dating, but figured it wouldn't take very long for his true colors to show again.


I am sad to say that one of my good friends was married to a narcissistic man. Even her psychologist told her that he was a narcissist.

She is no longer married to him, but went through years of emotional abuse. He is one of the most arrogant men I have ever met, but he is very cool about it.

He is all about making a good first impression, so many people were surprised to find out what he is really like. He no longer even has a relationship with his grown children because he has treated them badly as well.

I am glad my friend has been able to get some good counsel and begin building her life back. She was so down on herself because that is all she lived with for so many years.

I think the only person a narcissist can get along with in a long term relationship is them self.


I just thought at that time that it meant extremely cocky, and I didn't think much of it, other than hoping that all men truly were not like that.

Luckily, I now know after being with my husband for four years that all men are not cocky, that they can be quite humble while still confident.

However, after reading this article I now wonder if this man that I saw when I was a graduate school clinician was truly narcissistic. His wife just seemed worn out every time I saw her, even as his condition greatly improved, and I can imagine if you were married to someone for twenty something years that was narcissistic you would be completely emotionally worn down.


@JaneAir - I think you answered your own question! You mentioned the narcissist you dated was rather charming. Well, I've read that most narcissists are rather charming.

That's how they suck you in! They start out being exceedingly personable, because they want to be liked so badly. As the article said, most of them are very insecure, so they need attention and admiration from others. Eventually once they show their true nature, you're already hooked!


It sounds like it would be very difficult, if not impossible, to carry on a relationship with a narcissist. It kind of makes me wonder how these people end up being spouses in the first place! I can't imagine marrying someone who couldn't empathize with me and always had to be right!

Come to think of it, I actually had a few dates with a guy like this back when I was single. Two dates was enough to realize that it wasn't going to work. The guy was charming, as most narcissists are, but I could tell there was something kind of "off" about him.

When he said something rude to me on our second date and couldn't understand why I was upset, I realized he had no empathy. He really just didn't get it! It was a total deal breaker for me.

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