Under the best of circumstances, marriage requires commitment, perseverance, and patience. If you are married to a narcissist, however, those qualities may not be enough to save your relationship. Dallas divorce attorney Rita M. Boyd discusses how to tell if you are married to a narcissist.
7 Signs that Your Spouse is a Narcissist
Only a licensed professional can officially diagnose narcissistic personality disorder; however, there are some commonly accepted signs that are associated with narcissism in the context of a marriage, including:
- Gaslighting. Does your spouse try to turn things back on you when you get upset? For example, do you often hear things such as “You’re paranoid” or “Why are you always so angry? I was just kidding.” If so, this may be “gaslighting” which is used to try and get you to doubt yourself or to confuse the situation/dialogue.
- Isolation. While it is totally normal to grow apart from some friends/family after you get married and have children, a narcissist will make a point of isolating you as much as possible from all your former friends and family. This is usually a slow process that involves painting people close to you in a bad light and/or causing you to question their loyalty to you. You will probably notice that the first people to go are those who call out your spouse’s narcissistic behavior.
- Jealousy. Does it seem like your spouse is intentionally trying to make you jealous? If so, he/she may be a narcissist. They do this because they crave control over their partner and/or because they are insecure underneath their seemingly secure exterior. They may flirt inappropriately when you are out together or talk about an ex far too often. Narcissists crave attention and can even become jealous of their own child if their partner is devoting what they feel is too much attention to the child.
- Compliments. Narcissists tend to generously dole out the compliments and praise while you are dating or at the beginning of a relationship. As time goes on, however, you may notice that the compliments all but stop when you are alone whereas they continue to pop up when you are out in public. This allows your narcissistic spouse to look like the perfect husband/wife to the rest of the world, making it less likely that people will believe you if you say otherwise.
- Criticism. A narcissist can be extremely critical of a spouse when not in public. The house is not clean enough. The laundry was not ironed properly. Dinner was bland/overdone/late. They also tend to be critical of their spouse’s parenting skills. If a child exhibits unwanted behavior, it is frequently blamed on their spouse despite the fact that a narcissist himself/herself is less likely to be directly involved in parenting the children.
- Expectations. While you were dating your spouse probably showed his/her affection with lots of creative and even extravagant gestures. Now, however, the only time you get a “love bomb” is when your spouse expects something in return. Expressions of love or adoration may be linked to sex or to something specific your spouse wants from you (entertain the boss at dinner, sign for a second mortgage etc.)
- Confiding. Most people turn to their family and friends when they are having marital problems. Your narcissistic spouse knows this, however, so he/she may try and beat you to the punch. They do this by “confiding” in the very people you are likely to turn to for sympathy or advice. By getting to your confidants first, your narcissistic spouse can control the narrative and make sure he/she is seen in the most advantageous light.
Contact a Dallas Divorce Attorney
If you are married to a narcissist and are contemplating divorce in Texas, contact an experienced Dallas divorce attorney at Rita M. Boyd, P.C. to discuss your legal rights and options by calling 972-380-8000 to schedule your appointment today.