How do you know if you’re married to a narcissist? How can you tell if your spouse is a narcissist, or if they’re just unwittingly submitting to their own trauma? Can they heal, or is your marriage doomed to be toxic forever? Married or not, if you’ve ever been in a sexual or romantic relationship with a narcissist, you might already understand that they often seem to be more interested in sex and pleasure than actual emotional intimacy.
It isn’t quite that simple, though, because some narcissists – specifically those of a more covert and/or cerebral nature, actually tend to reject sexual experiences, and are less likely to cheat on a partner – but more likely to slide under the radar of even their own victims.
Narcissists, Intimacy and Sex in Marriage
In fact, narcissists and those diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) “are more likely to philander and dump their partners than people who view important parts of a relationship,” according to psychologist Ilan Shrira.
“Narcissists have a heightened sense of sexuality, but they tend to view sex very differently than other people do,” said Shrira, whose 2006 study appears in the current issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. “They see sexuality more in terms of power, influence and as something daring, in contrast to people with low narcissistic qualities who associated sex more with caring and love.”
That’s why some narcissists tend to bounce from one relationship to the next—and most often, the relationships don’t last long and they don’t involve much emotional intimacy.
Lack of Emotional Intimacy and Connection in Toxic Relationships
“Even when they’re in a relationship, they always seem to be on the lookout for other partners and searching for a better deal,” Shrira said after the study. “Whether that’s because of their heightened sexuality or because they think multiple partners enhance their self-image isn’t entirely clear.”
Narcissists typically have an inflated sense of their own level of importance and they expect people around them to admire them and cater to them.
They often appear to have an overblown ego and can be very charming if they choose to be.
12 Signs You’re Married to a Narcissist
According to authors Steven Carter and Julia Sokol in their book Help! I’m in Love with a Narcissist, there are ways to know if your significant other is a narcissist.
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They are as follows:
- It feels like you’re the one doing most of the “work” in the relationship.
- Your partner does things to sabotage the relationship and prevent it from moving forward—but doesn’t want to let you go either.
- Your partner could have a history of troubled relationships and/or addictions.
- Your partner has episodes of excessive and often unjustified anger— sometimes even infidelity—and he or she somehow makes it all your fault.
- You feel emotionally exhausted, often completely drained, by how hard you have to work to make or keep your partner happy.
- The relationship is mostly focused around your partner’s interests and activities. When it’s not, there will be an ugly argument or outburst.
- You feel controlled or manipulated by your partner’s moods to the point that you might feel like you’re walking on eggshells all the time, a slave to his or her whims.
- You might find yourself covering up, explaining, or apologizing for his or her behavior.
- Your partner might make one-sided decisions that impact your safety and well-being.
- You might feel unsafe by some of the actions your partner takes.
- Your partner will refuse to see your good intentions, always blaming you for every situation, always making you admit you’re wrong, even when that’s not the case.
- You sometimes find yourself desperately trying to remember the times when your partner showed love for you, acted like you could do no wrong—often this is in the early parts of the relationship.
Narcissistic Abuse in Marriage: Recovery Support & Resources
If you feel you need additional help and support in your narcissistic abuse recovery, look for a trauma-informed professional who is trained in helping people who are dealing with overcoming narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships. Depending on your particular situation, you might benefit from Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching, or you might do better with a therapist. You have to decide what to do from here – if you’re not sure, start with my free Narcissistic Abuse Recovery quiz. With your results will come recommended resources for your situation. It’s totally free.
- Do you think your significant other might have narcissistic personality disorder? Take this narcissistic abuse self-assessment test and find out now.
- Check out my books on narcissism at booksangiewrote.com.
- Read on Kindle right now: Your Love is My Drug: How to Shut Down a Narcissist, Detoxify Your Relationships & Live the Awesome Life You Really Deserve, Starting Right Now [Kindle Edition]
More Free, Helpful Information & Resources to Help
- Take the Codependency Quiz
- The Codependency Triangle
- Narcissistic Abuse Recovery FAQ Pages
- Free Support Groups
Related Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
- Why do narcissists get married?
- Why Narcissists Are Often Misdiagnosed With Bipolar Disorder
- Secrets and Self-Loathing: Identifying a Covert Narcissist
- Why do narcissists follow identical relationship patterns?
- Toxic Relationships and Narcissism: Stages of Gaslighting
- Toxic Narcissism in Relationships: Identifying PTSD and C-PTSD
- Searching for an ideal partner on the online dating site
- Narcissists and Public Humiliation: How & Why Narcs Shame You Publicly
- Survive the Discard: Breaking Up With a Narcissist
- Don’t Go It Alone! 5 Ways to Win at Narcissistic Abuse Recovery
- Identifying Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Symptoms and Risk Factors of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- How to Overcome Narcissistic Gaslighting and Manipulation
- Toxic Relationships and Narcissism: Stages of Gaslighting (queenbeeing.com)
- Mommy’s little narcissist: Research says parents to blame for kids with NPD (queenbeeing.com)
- The Narcissistic Flip: Why and how it’s always your fault (queenbeeing.com)
- Surviving the Narcissistic Parent: ACoNs (Adult Children of Narcissists) (jambiethoughts.wordpress.com)
- Living With a Narcissistic Parent is Damaging to Kids (conservativeread.com)
- Confused into Silence: I Don’t Know Me Anymore (lettersnevermeanttobedelivered.wordpress.com)
- How Understanding Abusers Can Be Beneficial (cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com)
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse here at QueenBeeing.com and at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.