Being married to a spouse with a narcissistic personality can be extremely challenging. Only people married to a narcissist can understand how painful it is to live every single day with a spouse who only thinks about himself or herself most of the time.
So what does it feel like to live with a narcissist?
We’re going to give you an inside scoop on the lives of spouses with their narcissist partners. But before we dive into the details, let us first get to know what narcissism is.
What Is Narcissism?
According to WebMD, narcissism is an “inflated sense of self-importance.” The term narcissism actually comes from a mythical Greek hunter named Narcissus who was well known for his beauty.
Narcissus was very attracted to everything beautiful, including himself. So when he saw his reflection in a body of water, he couldn’t pull himself from his own image. This apparently caused his death.
The same fixation with oneself and physical appearance is seen in people with narcissism. But narcissists don’t really have to be beautiful in the public eye. They perceive themselves as beautiful and superior even when they are not.
People with narcissistic traits usually crave admiration. They are convinced that they deserve favorable treatment because of their superiority. They are vain, haughty, self-focused, self-centered, and entitled.
Is Narcissism a disorder?
WebMD clarifies that narcissism has a range. Therefore, just because a person displays narcissistic traits doesn’t mean he or she is mentally unhealthy.
Further, narcissism is often pretty harmless. But when narcissism runs out of control, the condition can progress to narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
As per Wikipedia: “Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder with a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, excessive need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.” People with NPD often spend effort on achieving success and power and, of course, refining their appearance. They suffer from delusions of grandeur – a fixed, false perception of one’s importance.
And because they are too full of themselves, they become incapable of seeing things from another person’s perspective. Often, they react in anger and envy when they feel mistreated or overlooked. Also, they are uninterested in the achievements and interests of others, which explains their apathetic attitude towards people.
What does it feel like being a spouse to someone with narcissistic traits?
We have pretty much presented the important details surrounding narcissism. So, let’s now get to know what it feels like living with narcissistic partners.
Below, we have rounded up 5 facts we gathered from real-life encounters with narcissistic spouses. We’re sure that someone who’s married or who’s dated a narcissist can totally relate. Check them out.
5 Facts Only People Married to a Narcissist Can Understand
Narcissists are so good at making you feel special.
We did a digging on the world wide web for stories from people who have dated or married narcissists in real life. And this story of a girl who dated a narcissistic guy proved that narcissists are really good at making someone feel special.
But there’s a catch. They only do it in the beginning, and no, the romantic and sweet gestures won’t last forever.
So this girl dated a man whom she thought to be someone with a narcissistic personality disorder. She narrated that her ex-boyfriend adored her during the first phase of their relationship. She felt real love because it was what her former boyfriend wanted her to feel.
However, when the time came that the guy wasn’t getting enough admiration from her, she was gaslighted, devalued and discarded. If you have met and lived with a narcissist before, then this situation might be familiar to you.
Narcissists are great at making someone feel comfortable and loved. Love, as we all know, is a magical feeling that can sometimes cloud our thinking.
That’s why even when you are starting to feel that something is off, you won’t make a move until it happens over and over. Then, it will lead you to our number 2 fact about narcissists.
A narcissistic spouse will devalue you after the “honeymoon phase.”
After all the courting and lovely gestures, you will fall in love with a narcissist. Then, one day you’ll wake up like you no longer exist in his/her life. You have been devalued and discarded like the girl in our story above.
Narcissists are manipulative. In the beginning, they will manipulate you into thinking that they are so into you. And as soon as you have fallen for the bait, their real selves get unmasked. You’ll realize you’ve been dating or you’ve married a fake person and you fell victim to a narcissist’s charm.
According to Psychology Today, people who lived with narcissists reported feelings of being “devalued” in the relationship. This is no surprise because after the courtship and securing the relationship with someone they like, narcissists will start to denigrate their partners. They do this because they always want to feel superior.
The truth is that all the sweet nothings and the romantic courtship were all for a show. Narcissistic people do such things to obtain their supply of admiration. So when they no longer get the supply they need, they resort to brainwashing and gaslighting – blaming their spouse or their partner for not doing and giving enough.
Narcissist partners always get what they want even at the expense of you.
Narcissists are usually harmless, but if they badly need something to boost their self-esteem, there’s no boundaries and limits to what they can do. That includes hurting their partners in order to get what they want.
Men and women who are married to a narcissistic spouse can agree that narcissists have the tendency to hurt them physically if that is what it takes to obtain what they need. And because they love the feeling of superiority, narcissists want their partners to be dependent on them. They also need their partners to give everything they demand. And if they don’t get exactly that, they’ll find ways to obtain them even if that means hurting you.
They live in fantasies and lies.
Another interesting real-life story from a woman who married a narcissist explores our number 4 fact: narcissists live in fantasies and lies. Her story began when she fell in love with a public Christian figure who she later discovered to be a narcissist who lived with too many lies and fantasies.
At first, she had no clue that her former husband, a server of God, would be capable of lying to her about his job. But the guy was more than capable of doing it. In fact, he lived with lies as if they were true.
So he ended up living in fantasies that he was going to be successful. But in reality, everything seemed far from success. The husband got fired from one job after another and failed at his projects.
Well, we have already mentioned that narcissists are manipulative, and someone who’s manipulative is more than capable of lying. With that said, you can’t expect a narcissist to tell the truth all the time. They lie and they will keep lying to make you believe their stories. And in this story, we learned how a narcissist can twist reality with their lies and negatively impact a relationship.
Narcissists are very convincing.
Most narcissists are likable. Remember, they are manipulators and liars. They can say all the nicest things so you will like them without noticing the fakeness of their words.
Because they have mastered the art of manipulating and lying, they tend to be very convincing. They can even convince therapists that they’re okay and that there’s nothing wrong with them.
Our last real-life story is from a lady who got sucked into her ex-husband’s manipulative and narcissistic world. Like other wives, she had no idea that her partner possessed narcissistic traits until after the honeymoon phase.
Her story is no different from the others. She was wooed by the guy, she felt really special to him, and she agreed to a marriage with a man whom she thought to be smart and gentle.
However, it was only after getting married that she spotted the pattern. Her ex-spouse was a narcissist. After being wooed into commitment, she was devalued and discarded.
But the worst part for her is that when she and her ex-husband went into counseling, the therapist was convinced that the guy was pretty okay and that they could work it out.
In this story, the narcissist was able to convince the therapist that everything was pretty normal with him. So instead of getting help, the guy lived on with his mind games, causing their marriage to fall apart.
Narcissism is a complicated matter to deal with because it is very rare for narcissists to change. They don’t even recognize that they are narcissists in the first place.
They can’t accept their mistakes. They will hate you if you point out their weaknesses. They are not open to the opinions of others.
Offering them some help is tough because they won’t listen to you. They won’t believe your sincere desire to help.
They lack self-awareness and because of that, they cannot tell what’s wrong with themselves. You can’t make them realize that they are narcissists. They will respond with denial, and they would even point fingers at you and manipulate you into thinking that you are the narcissist and not them.
Now, can you imagine how challenging it is being married to a narcissist?