How do narcissists see marriage?

How do narcissists see marriage?

Narcissists seem to have an unusual perspective about marriage, probably because of their own childhood trauma. They don’t see marriage in the romantic or long-term sense, but rather as a contract: a deal, a trade, and an arrangement between two partners.


What do narcissists think about marriage and why do they get married?

It’s no secret that narcissists, as a rule, have a tendency to be incapable of fulfilling the role of a decent marital partner. And, we can probably agree that people with NPD aren’t going to change overnight – if at all. But this is precisely why they wind up in relationships where their character flaws are not so much manifest as they are magnified.

So why do they even bother getting married if they’re only going to fail miserably in their spousal role? Stick with me, and I’ll fill you in on the psychology of why narcissists get married and what it means for you. But first, let’s define what I mean by “narcissist.”

What is a narcissist?

A narcissist is a person who may have a diagnosed Cluster B personality disorder who demonstrates a grandiose, overblown sense of self-importance and marked lack of compassion and emotional empathy. Narcissists need to feel that they are superior to everyone else.

In other words, narcissists are identifiable by their marked lack of compassion and emotional empathy, which leads to the noticeable inability or unwillingness to recognize or identify with anyone else’s feelings and needs – especially those closest to them, since that’s the only time they actually relax enough to let their “mask slip,” as in revealing their true selves.

Pathological narcissists are manipulative, egotistical, and controlling when it comes to life and sadly, this includes their marriages and families. Still, they’re human, right? So you’d assume that, like the rest of the population, they get married for love, companionship, or to meet some societal expectation. But what’s the truth about narcissists and marriage?

Why do narcissists get married?

Narcissists need other people as much as everyone else does. But narcissists prefer to have relationships that are one-sided, and it’s not so hard to see why – narcissists need to be the center of attention and always seek admiration and adoration from other people.

While narcissists can be cold-hearted and cruel to their partners in their relationships, there is also something alluring about relationships in general. They might not even realize it because it’s subconscious, but they shape their lives to meet the needs of that ideal “special someone,” at least at the beginning of their typical toxic relationship cycle.

Do narcissists intend to hurt you when they marry you?

One of the biggest questions I’ve heard from narcissistic abuse recovery coaching clients is this: did the narcissist marry me just to hurt me? The truth is that while there are some narcissistic sociopaths and psychopaths who might literally get married for the purpose of hurting their spouses in some way, the majority of them might (at some point) genuinely believe they married you because they loved you. Of course, you have to consider the narcissist’s definition of love. That’s why, when you find out that you’ve been dealing with a narcissist, your mind is completely blown; it’s why you are having such a hard time believing that the narcissist has been fooling you into thinking you were the problem this whole time.

The narcissist has gaslighted you into doubting your entire reality. This is both shocking and infuriating once you start to realize what it all means. 

Did the narcissist ever really love you?

You’ve got to consider that while narcissists are known to love…differently than most of us, we know they can experience what might, in the moment, actually feel like genuine feelings of love to them. Narcissists seem to have a painfully misunderstood and misdirected need for love. Like every other human, they crave connection, and they need people in order to feel secure and remain functional. But rather than get security through love, genuine connection, or the narcissist feels they need to claim it, control it, take it for themselves.

What made them become a narcissist?

Trauma, often beginning in childhood, seems to lead people to become narcissistic. Narcissists develop their personality disorders like anyone else – the majority have been deeply affected by the events in their lives. For a small percentage of narcissists, there are “other” kinds of causes for pathological narcissism, but for most, it all started with something traumatic that happened to them during their childhood. Their trauma has just manifested differently than ours.

Consider the narcissist’s definition of love.

They are taught early in life that they’re pathologically and painfully alone in the world. So, love feels like a sense of ownership and control, all focused on the facilitation of their own needs and comforts. From my own observations, they seem to lack the natural urge for full reciprocation in a relationship and feel instead entitled to the approval, admiration, service, and subservience of their closest sources of narcissistic supply. 

Narcissists, underneath it all, are human.

They, like all of us, want to be loved and accepted and to belong somewhere. But deep down, they are well-aware of their flaws, at least on a subconscious level. This leads them to believe that they’re broken, flawed, or otherwise not good enough. Just like you and me, they also often suffered trauma that destroyed the person they might have been – but while you may have become a people-pleasing codependent, the same kinds of trauma might have led to their personality disorder.

If we take a closer look at the lives of these toxic people, we can see that they’ve got some things in common. For one, their role models and parental figures in childhood were often selfish and hurtful. They were either exploited by others or neglected in favor of the other parent. This childhood experience leaves them with deep emotional wounds, which make them feel unloved and unworthy.

How do narcissists see marriage?

Based on what we know so far about narcissists and marriage, consider the following.

1. A source of narcissistic supply.

The narcissist sees marriage as a too; they treat their partners as subjects… objects, really…and they seem to intrinsically believe that these partners are not significant beyond their utility to serve narcissistic needs. In other words, whether they realize it or not, marriage for most narcissists holds one main goal: to obtain and secure an always-available source of narcissistic supply.

Think about it. Malignant narcissism, or pathological narcissism, involves a group of personality traits including grandiosity, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration. They can develop a pattern of exploiting other people in order to get what they want. When you are looking for a partner with whom they will live the rest of your life might find some narcissists that seem initially appealing.

2. An extension of self.

A narcissist does not see their partner as a separate person, rather an extension of themselves. There is a point at which it becomes unhealthy – and that’s the point at which narcissists operate. Even if they seem to love their partners, they expect them to act as extensions, not really separate people.

3. An in-house ego booster.

The idea of seeing a therapist or even a doctor might seem foreign or off-putting to a narcissist who finds the idea of sharing secrets with another person for advice to be tricky. Though it can be a challenge to recognize, most narcissists struggle with low self-esteem and a poor sense of identity. Being in a marriage makes them feel valuable when they allow others to see them as valuable by loving them.

4. An emotional garbage dumpster for their self-loathing.

While they desperately cling to the idea that no one is quite like them, and like they’re the original, only, best, or true (fill in the blank with their grandiose fantasies) around, narcissists secretly live in the deep sludge that is self-loathing. In other words, they secretly hate who they are at the very core. So they spend a lot of time building up this false self-image that on some level, they even actually believe.

5. A built-in source of false image support.

The narcissist develops an image based on their false self, or the mask they wear to hide their perceived inadequacies from most people in their lives. This image must remain infallible to everyone outside of a select few when it comes to survival for a narcissist. So they need someone who will always be on their team and support their false self-image, while also being an emotional garbage dumpster to turn your life upside down.

6. Validation on tap.

Since they cannot self-validate, narcissists require constant validation to feel better about themselves. Relationships allow them to feel special and important. Having a properly-conditioned partner in place, they have found a way to get validation whenever they need it.

Do all narcissists get married? 

No, not all narcissists get married. Not every narcissist desires or searches out relationships at all. Like all sentient humans, while they do seem to have a playbook, narcissists are still relatively unique individual people with specific lives. So, whether they even want to be in a relationship always depends on the nature of the narcissist. Some are solitary, some are attracted to power. To be fair, most are both, at least in their own individual ways.

Why do married narcissists cheat on their partners?

Narcissists are avoidants by nature, preferring to take their distance from others, rather than getting close to them. That also means that they have problems with intimacy, that is being close physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually to another person. Narcissists have a unique ability to take just about any situation and find a way to benefit from it. One of these situations is an affair.

One of the most disproportionately high personality disorders to find itself involved in extramarital affairs is narcissism. While statistics vary, it’s often said that between 20-33% of individuals who are involved in affairs are narcissists. That’s not to say that one-fifth of all people who cheat are narcissists (we wouldn’t want to make generalizations like that!), but it does seem to indicate that if you’ve got a narcissist in your midst, there’s a chance they could be cheating on you.

People with severe personality disorders often find themselves in relationship after relationship, cheating whenever something threatens their self-image, and fear of abandonment. Narcissists cheat because they feel entitled to do so and they can’t handle someone calling them out on that behavior.

Though many marriages are based on codependency, you should never feel like you need to act like someone’s mother or father.

Yes, narcissists DO get married, but…

Some people think that narcissists don’t get married at all. I guess that in some ways, this can be considered true; but in reality, narcissists don’t get married for the same reasons as everyone else.   They won’t marry for the same reasons everyone else gets married. Narcissists see marriage differently than most people. To start with, they don’t really know what marriage is supposed to be.

For example, maybe they didn’t have the privilege of growing up in a family where the parents stayed married to each other. Or their parents stayed married, but they didn’t see their parents demonstrating selfless love for each other, for themselves, and others. So when they get married at some point in life, it has little or no meaning to them. They certainly might become obsessed with their marriage; but only because it gives them something that gives them narcissistic supply. Something that makes them feel powerful and important, or if this isn’t possible – needed.

Are you married to a narcissist? Take this toxic relationship self-assessment to find out and get insight into your emotions.

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

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Antisocial Personality Disorder vs Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Similarities and Differences

Antisocial Personality Disorder vs Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Similarities and Differences

What is antisocial personality disorder, and how does it compare to narcissistic personality disorder?

We already know what narcissistic personality order or NPD is, right? But just in case you’re new here, let me just quickly review the clinical definition for you.

What is narcissistic personality order (NPD)?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a psychological disorder with symptoms such as an exaggerated sense of self-importance, an obsession with power and personal success, self-centeredness, and the inability to empathize. It causes the affected person to have a pretty distorted self-image, unpredictable and intense emotional issues, and most notably, a serious lack of empathy for the people around them. The lack of empathy leads them to not feel or understand the feelings that aren’t their own – and clearly, this causes serious issues in relationships.

Someone with NPD may also have a sense of superiority and grandiose fantasies of power or importance, not to mention a huge sense of (often unearned) entitlement, and they may consider themselves and their ideas more important and correct than anyone else’s.

What is anti-social personality order (APD)?

Now, let’s quickly cover the diagnostic criteria for APD or anti-social personality disorder. First, Antisocial Personality Disorder is considered a “mental health disorder” characterized by a blatant disregard for others.

Here, we see similar traits, including a propensity for egocentrism and self-directed goal-setting without regard for societal norms or rules. In addition, personality traits include a propensity for manipulating and deceiving others, hostility, and a sense of callousness. Also present are irresponsible and impulsive behaviors, excessive risk-taking, and other behaviors considered outside of the social norms.

Confusing, maybe, because there are some similarities there. For example, a narcissist will be uncomfortable in situations where they aren’t the center of attention, and so will the antisocial person. Both narcissists and people with APD can be very dramatic, and each likes to feel that they’re the center of the world.

What are the differences between APD and NPD?

Both the narcissist and the person with anti-social personality disorder are typically victimizers of others. However, while the narcissist lacks empathy, the anti-social personality has a reckless disregard for the safety of others – slightly different but still very similar, right?

But there are also some marked differences between APD and NPD, and that’s what we’re covering next. Probably the most notable one is that in most cases if the narcissist breaks the law, they aren’t caught because they’re very carefully calculating their behavior. For the anti-social person, though, being arrested at some point in their lives is pretty common.

NPD vs. APD on Attention from Others

Narcissists also really NEED their sources of narcissistic supply to self-validate. When it comes to their personal identities, the narcissist bases their self-esteem on how other people react to them and treat them. As a result, they tend to have an exaggerated sense of self that fluctuates to desperate self-doubt (which is usually not verbalized for many narcs). Narcissists are also known for their emotional extremes and mood swings.

NPD vs. APD on Self-Esteem and Personal Goals

On the other hand, the anti-social personality derives self-esteem from their own personal gain, power, and pleasure – not so much through the approval of others. They will aggressively and openly go after what they want without regard for the concerns of others. They want power, control, and material gain – the APD focuses mostly on functional benefits instead of the narcissist, who focuses on getting their supply needs met (the ego is more important to the narc).

It makes sense then that the narcissist’s goals are generally based on getting approval from other people and the need to see themselves as special or different. The narcissist also doesn’t really know why they do what they do, and as I mentioned, they have a great sense of entitlement.

The anti-social personality’s goals are based more on personal gratification, and this type of person lacks concern for societal standards when going after what they want.

NPD vs. APD on Relationships

Here’s an interesting note on empathy for both personality disorders. While we know that both lack empathy for others, the APD also lacks remorse when hurting or mistreating another person. While the same appears true for a narcissist, there is this interesting twist here – the narcissist tends to be hypersensitive to the reactions of others as they relate to themselves. The narcissist also seriously underestimates the effect of their behavior on other people.

Narcissists need relationships because they help provide them with validation and recognition, while anti-social people will build and discard relationships for their own financial or social gain. When their relationships end, narcissists are known to “hoover” their exes, while the ASP will walk away without a second thought.

NPD vs. APD on Sex and Intimacy

When it comes to sex and intimacy, the anti-social personality disorder person cannot have a mutually intimate relationship – they are all about exploiting other people to get what they want, and sex and intimacy are no exception. It’s the only way they know to relate to people. So the APD will use bullying and intimidation to control the people around them.

For narcissists, relationships are all about supply – getting their needs met. The narcissist enters relationships to serve him or herself only, boost self-esteem and fulfill the narcissist’s needs. Here is where people are most damaged by the narcissist – in intimate relationships. Narcissists are most often abusive to those closest to them. They tend to have very little interest in other people’s experiences, which leads their relationship partners to feel unheard and unimportant in many cases.

NPD vs. APD on Manipulation

Like the narcissist, the anti-social personality also includes manipulative behavior through seduction and charm, but for different reasons. But, again, the narcissist does it for supply and attention, while the ASP does it to meet their personal goals or for personal gain.

The APD-affected person is more likely to be blatantly callous and sadistic, deceitful, and to commit fraud. They are also more openly hostile and mean to others than narcissists, who are more likely to reserve these behaviors for their established sources of narcissistic supply.

NPD vs. APD on Taking Risks

Narcissists are less likely to take big risks and engage in hazardous behaviors, while the ASP is all about both of those things – in fact, they are known to be incredibly impulsive and irresponsible. As far as anyone can tell, many narcissists are financially and socially responsible, but that’s because they are also very concerned with their personal image and what others think about them. On the other hand, the ASP tends to lack the ability to be financially and socially responsible and really struggles to follow through on things promised and on agreements (legal or otherwise).

NPD vs. APD on Emotions

Narcissists have emotions, and they let everyone know it. But the ASP brain is wired differently. Neuroscientists believe that the brain’s prefrontal cortex has structural and functional issues that cause the ASP to have an inability to have remorse and genuine emotion. So while narcissists struggle to display remorse and genuine emotion in a normal way, it’s because they’re too self-focused sometimes to pay attention to or respect the feelings of others – not because they don’t feel anything. The APD genuinely can’t experience normal human feelings at all.

People with NPD can be affected by depression and anxiety; people with APD cannot. Both can experience drug and alcohol addiction – but for different reasons. The APD does it to indulge risk-taking and impulsive behavior, while the NPD does it to self-medicate or even to impress others in some cases.

NPD vs. APD on Revenge

The narcissist will feel wounded when their pride feels attacked or when someone doesn’t agree with them, and they may seek revenge for the narcissistic injury they get out of the deal. The APD doesn’t care what anyone thinks of them, but they will react with anger or aggression if their personal goals (for material or personal gain) are affected.

Can someone be both narcissistic and antisocial?

Yes, the two conditions can be comorbid, but not often. The symptoms overlap, but the specific diagnostic criteria are specific to motivations, so it’s rare that they can both be identified in a person.

Question of the Day: Do you know someone who is APD or NPD? What have your experiences been? 

Start Getting Help with Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Today

Online help is readily available for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Here are some options to begin healing from narcissistic abuse right away.

 

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30-Day Too Blessed to Be Stressed Challenge: Reduce Stress & Find Peace with Me

30-Day Too Blessed to Be Stressed Challenge: Reduce Stress & Find Peace with Me

Join me in the brand-new 30-Day TOO BLESSED TO BE STRESSED Challenge!

When you join the challenge, you’ll get a daily dose of inner-peace-packed content from Angie Atkinson, certified life coach and narcissistic abuse recovery expert.

That means that over the course of the coming month, you’ll be learning new things and new ways to handle relaxing and reducing stress.

In addition to the abuse you’ve suffered, you’re dealing with the hot mess that our society likes to call a “life” – and boy, life is really overwhelming these days, right?

The fact is that we live in such a busy world where we’re always reachable, constantly bombarded with news updates, email alerts, and of course advertisements. Social media puts us under a lot of pressure to document the perfect life, and in between all that we’re juggling family and career, while paying off student debt and a large mortgage.

It’s really no wonder we’re more stressed than ever and stress related illnesses are on the rise.

It’s high time to relax more and take a more active approach to stress reduction – and you MUST do it before it kills you, my friend.
 
I invite you to do just that right along with me over the course of the next 30 days. Each day I’ll have a new tip or idea to share with you on the topic.
 
To make sure you don’t miss a thing, sign up here and subscribe to Angie’s YouTube channel.
 
UPDATED: 90+ Best Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Books (According to 161k Survivors)

UPDATED: 90+ Best Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Books (According to 161k Survivors)

Updated August 11, 2022

I present to you the ultimate list of best, most-effective narcissistic abuse recovery books out there, according to our surveys of more than 161,000 survivors of narcissistic abuse.

The Best Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Books, According to 161k Survivors

To find the right book for you, click on the appropriate toggle buttons below.

Want us to add your favorite narcissistic abuse recovery book? Contact us here.

Did your favorites make the list?

If not, leave them in the comments below – let’s make this post a comprehensive resource for our fellow survivors of narcissistic abuse!

These are THE best books on narcissistic abuse recovery.

PLEASE help me make this a comprehensive resource by sharing the names of your favorite books on narcissistic abuse recovery in the comments section.

I’m always looking for ways to help my fellow narcissistic abuse survivors, and part of the way that I do that is with this website (and a few others), my Narcissistic Abuse Recovery YouTube channel, my books, and of course my coaching. But another part of my mission includes gathering up resources that will help you – whether I created them or not.

That’s I asked the members of my SPAN (Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships) Support Group (it’s free, confidential and another part of my mission), I asked the SPANily to help me out – by sharing the titles of the most helpful books they’ve read on narcissistic abuse recovery, whether they were mine or not. And boy, did they deliver!

What is Narcissistic Abuse?

Not all abuse involves narcissists, but in a large percentage of abuse cases, a narcissist is involved. Narcissists of the toxic nature are those who have little to no empathy for the people around them and who act from that perspective. That is: they don’t care how you or anyone else feels, and you can tell because of the way they treat the people around them. Narcissistic abuse involves subtle manipulation, pervasive control tactics, gaslighting, and emotional and psychological abuse.  Many narcissistic abusers might be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder – if they actually go to a psychologist for diagnosis, but this rarely happens as narcissists don’t feel that there’s anything with them. They may be overtly narcissistic, or they may be more of a covert narcissist. In either case, anyone in a close relationship with one of these toxic people will be used as a form of narcissistic supply and not treated like an actual person. Sadly, even the most intelligent and educated people can be manipulated and abused by a narcissist.

8 Signs Your Spouse is Cheating

8 Signs Your Spouse is Cheating

Do you think that your spouse is having an affair? Unfortunately, many times, it can be tough to tell if your spouse is cheating on you. Fortunately, many cheating spouses eventually show signs of being unfaithful, most of which are associated with their behavior. Outlined below are some signs that your spouse might be cheating on you.

What Behavior Changes Signal a Cheating Spouse?

They join a gym.

This is a major sign when it is something that they never had any interest in doing so before. If you never had a problem with your spouse’s weight before, why would you now? This could be a sign that they are trying to impress someone besides you.

You never sit down and talk anymore.

Did your spouse and talk about their day? If you never seem to have the intense conversations you once had, there may be a major problem. Cheating spouses often try to distance themselves from their relationships at home. This is a sign that your spouse may be cheating on you.

Sex is different.

Your spouse may act differently during sex and want to try new things out in the bedroom. If your spouse suddenly wants to try new things in the bedroom or if you notice that the sex is different, they may be cheating. In fact, you may be left wondering where they learned that from.

You have less sex.

In keeping with sex, your spouse may want to have it less. A decrease in sex frequency is a sign that your spouse may be cheating on you. As for why sex occurs less when cheating is involved, they feel guilty about what they are doing, or they may be getting enough sex already.

They get angry more often.

They may also get angry easier and more often. Your spouse may also be touchy around you. This may lead to more arguments and disagreements in your relationship. Things you do may annoy your husband or wife. They may actually go as far as to leave the room. Be sure to observe the changes in behavior that your spouse has towards other members of your family as well.

They start dressing differently.

They want to buy a whole new wardrobe, in a way, reinventing themselves. This works in conjunction with joining a gym to lose weight. A huge sign of cheating is when a new wardrobe is purchased, and more skin is shown.

They act weird about their phone.

Unusual behavior on the phone is another sign of cheating. When they talk on the phone near you, do they try to lower their voice or even leave the room? Hanging up a phone quickly is another signal to watch for. Be cautious of increased cell phone use, as many cheaters prefer to use their own personal phones instead of family phones.

Your friends start acting weird. 

In addition to examining the behavior of your husband or wife, you should also examine the behavior of your friends. The friends you share may start acting differently towards you. This is often because your shared friends might know more than you do. Even if a friend does not outright tell you that your husband or wife is cheating, they may intentionally or unintentionally show you the signs.

Are you worried your spouse is cheating on you?

While these signs may indicate that your spouse is cheating on you, there may also be reasonable causes for these behavior changes. For example, your spouse might want to look great for you and you alone, or they also may want to improve their health.

Even with the above-mentioned signs present, you should take additional steps. These steps can and should include monitoring cell phone calls, viewing the cell phone bill, or hiring a private investigator. Never confront your husband or wife without the proper proof. Be sure to get solid evidence of cheating. Otherwise, you could be creating a whole new problem in your relationship.

 

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