Are you married to a narcissist? 12 easy ways to know for sure

Are you married to a narcissist? 12 easy ways to know for sure

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.

@coachangieatkinson##topsigns You’re ##marriedtoanarcissist ##narcissisticabuserecoverycoaching ##toxicrelationships ##toxicrelationshipcheck ##queenbeeing ##npd

♬ original sound – Angie Atkinson

They are as follows:

  1. It feels like you’re the one doing most of the “work” in the relationship.
  2. Your partner does things to sabotage the relationship and prevent it from moving forward—but doesn’t want to let you go either.
  3. Your partner could have a history of troubled relationships and/or addictions.
  4. Your partner has episodes of excessive and often unjustified anger— sometimes even infidelity—and he or she somehow makes it all your fault.
  5. You feel emotionally exhausted, often completely drained, by how hard you have to work to make or keep your partner happy.
  6. The relationship is mostly focused around your partner’s interests and activities. When it’s not, there will be an ugly argument or outburst.
  7. 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.
  8. You might find yourself covering up, explaining, or apologizing for his or her behavior.
  9. Your partner might make one-sided decisions that impact your safety and well-being.
  10. You might feel unsafe by some of the actions your partner takes.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

More Free, Helpful Information & Resources to Help 

Related Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery

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Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: What You Need to Know

Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: What You Need to Know

By Angela Atkinson. Author of Take Back Your Life: 103 Highly Effective Strategies to Snuff Out a Narcissist’s Gaslighting and Live the Happy Life You Deserve

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm, but the harm [that they cause] does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” ~ T. S. Eliot

Narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury go hand in hand. While they often claim that their raging behavior is related to stress, the opposite is true. In fact, narcissistic rage is triggered usually by some perceived insult, criticism, or disagreement that results in a narcissistic injury.

Read more: Understanding Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury

The average raging narcissist thinks that her victim intentionally caused this so-called “injury” and that the victim did so with a hostile motive. The reaction to this trigger is often intensely disproportionate to the actual “offense” committed by the victim—and invariably, the victim in these situations sees the narcissist as unreasonable, out-of-control, mean, or even just plain old crazy. If you’re the regular target of narcissistic rage, you need to know that it is REALLY not your fault! The rage isn’t about you, and it never was—it’s always been about the narcissist.

Read more: Identifying Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Surviving Narcissistic Rage and Narcissistic Injury: Diffusing a Raging Narcissist

When you find yourself the victim of this kind of rage, you have to respond logically, not emotionally. “This is the catch-22,” writes Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. “To try to communicate emotions to a narcissist is like discussing atheism with a religious fundamentalist. They employ a myriad of defense mechanisms to cope with their repressed emotions: projective identification, splitting, projection, intellectualization, rationalization.”

Now, when I say respond logically, I don’t mean that you should try to use logic or reason to help the narcissist calm down—this almost never works. In fact, during a narcissistic rage, there really isn’t room for your opinion or side of the story at all—in fact, offering it will just prolong the confrontation.

Remember: it’s not about you—it’s about the narcissist. Try not to take it personally (even though the narcissist will stop at nothing to hurt your feelings and cause you to react—be prepared).

Diffuse a Raging Narcissist: Stay Calm and Avoid Reacting Emotionally

You’ve got to stay calm and if possible, simply remove yourself from the situation. If you can’t do that, take a deep breath be prepared to bite your tongue. Don’t bother to argue or try to reason with the narcissist. Instead, just let them know that you hear their concerns and avoid raising your voice or introducing any emotion into the conversation. This might also be a good time to employ the gray rock method.

Grey rock method (also known as the Gray Rock method), is a coping technique used by narcissistic abuse survivors to deal with their abusers in the most effective way possible. The method was named and first published by a writer called Skylar, who advises that you act boring and don’t react to the narcissist’s attempts to engage you in drama. The tactic is highly effective but also infuriating for narcissists to experience. Be aware that you will need to use this method with caution if you are dealing with any physical abuse as the narcissist may not react well.

Read more: How do I deal with people who think they’re better than me?

Diffuse a Raging Narcissist: Know the Patterns

First, understand that not a single thing you say will change the narcissist’s feelings during the rage. It doesn’t matter if she’s arguing that the sky should be red instead of blue—she’s right as far as she’s concerned, and there’s nothing that you or anyone else could say to change her mind. Remember: it’s about controlling the situation and being perceived by you as perfect. Any evidence that she’s losing control or not being perceived as perfect will further incite the rage. In order to end a rage, a narcissist needs to feel safe and in control of the situation—so if you simply want to end the temporary situation, then you may need to say whatever she needs to hear to feel that way again—especially if your safety is at stake, but even if it’s just your emotional well-being you’re trying to protect. The narcissist has specific patterns of abuse – and you need to familiarize yourself with them if you’re going to diffuse the narcissistic rage.

Read more: 10 Things You Need to Know if You’re in a Toxic Relationship

Understanding Narcissism: The Narcissist in Public

An interesting thing about most narcissists—being the charming and outgoing people they are, they project a public image of being “fun” and “laid-back,” but in private, it’s a whole other story. Behind closed doors, a narcissist feels safe to release his rage. And since he’s so often the life of the party, the nice guy, and the charmer that everyone loves to hang out with  (in public, anyway), many people won’t have any idea what kind of person they’re really dealing with. So, unless someone personally witnesses this narcissistic rage, they can’t understand what life is like for the victim/target of the narcissistic rage—especially when it’s a lover, parent or family member.

Understanding Narcissism: The Narcissist and Projection

As the victim of narcissistic rage, you’ve likely been accused of being selfish or of ignoring the narcissist’s emotional or physical needs, of being dishonest, arrogant, lazy or any number of other insulting descriptives. But what’s really happening most of the time is projection—narcissists project their own inadequacies onto their victims. So as usual, it’s all about the narcissist, not about you.

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others.

The Narcissist and Selective Memory

Narcissists are infamous for their selective memories. They may claim they said something that they never really did—and then get angry at you for “not listening.” Or they might even deny saying something that you KNOW they did say, but now regret. And, they’re likely to contradict themselves in the same breath, lashing out at anyone who points it out to them. In either case, you might feel like you’re going a little crazy when this happens—and it’s a sign of gaslighting.

Read more: Toxic Relationships and Narcissism: Stages of Gaslighting

The Narcissist and You

When you love a narcissist, you have to understand your role in her life. A narcissist really doesn’t have any interest in being emotionally or intellectually stimulated by the people in her life. In fact, feedback of any kind can be perceived as a threat. People who love narcissists have really clear roles in their lives: they are the primary source of “narcissistic supply;” that is, they are expected to supply the narcissist with the admiration, respect, love, and attention the narcissists believe they deserve. But when these “suppliers” fail in their mission (in the narcissist’s opinion), the rage often turns against them. “A passive witness to the narcissist’s past accomplishments, a dispenser of accumulated Narcissistic Supply, a punching bag for his rages, a co-dependent, a possession (though not prized but taken for granted) and nothing much more,” Vaknin writes. “This is the ungrateful, FULL TIME, draining job of being the narcissist’s significant other.”

Read more: 12 Ways to Know If You’re in Love With a Narcissist

Have you been the victim of narcissistic rage and narcissistic injury? How did you handle it? Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section, below.

Get help with narcissistic abuse recovery, right now.

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