When you first met your spouse, there was something about him/her that just drew you in. It seemed like an irresistible pull to someone who so perfectly matched your needs and wants. However, the fairy tale engagement and marriage came to an abrupt halt the day you walked down the aisle.
Your spouse said you changed and you believed. So desperate to return back to the fairy tale, you became whatever your spouse demanded. But it was not enough. The more you acquiesce, the more ultimatums surface.
Desperate to find another solution, you begin to look at your spouse’s behavior. Could they be narcissistic? What does a narcissistic spouse even look like? Here are the warnings:
- The narcissist expects you to meet their needs at all times. You are required to anticipate what, how, and when they need admiration and adoration. This is a one-way street where you give, they take but they don’t give in return.
- The narcissist projects their negative characteristics onto you. They say you are needy, never satisfied, ungrateful for all they do, and have unreasonable expectations. Yet your friends and family have not verbalized any such complaints about you.
- The narcissist is jealous of anyone or thing that has your attention over them. This includes children, pets, friends, family and occupation. Their jealousy triggers intense rage and sometimes violence for which you are subsequently blamed.
- The narcissist will provoke you to leave by being cruel during an argument. This accomplishes two things: it verifies that you will in fact one day abandon them and it sets the narcissist up to be the victim. Either way, the narcissist has gained more ammunition to use against you.
- The narcissist punishes you with abuse or neglect. The abuse can be physical, emotional, financial, sexual, or psychological. Or they will withhold love, attention, support, and communication. There is nothing unconditional about their love, it is very performance driven.
- The narcissist threatens abandonment if you don’t comply with their wishes. Most likely, you have abandonment issues, which is why the narcissist targeted you for marriage in the first place. Your fear of abandonment will keep you in the relationship longer.
- The narcissist uses remorse as a manipulation tool. Real remorse takes time to implement in order for trust to be regained. The narcissist will expect an immediate return to the same level of trust as before.
Once you have identified your spouse as a narcissist, get help. This is not a situation where you can go at it alone. You need the perspective of a third party to assist you in handling your spouse.