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Are You Worried Your Husband or Wife Is A Narcissist? 10 Characteristics

I just did an article on dealing with a narcissist and I got a HUGE onslaught of readers who were wondering if they were married to or in a relationship with a narcissist. It would make sense then for you to be feeling confused, overwhelmed, and lonely.  So, I thought I would hook you guys up with a checklist and a good resource.

To see if your spouse/partner may suffer from this, here are 10 characteristics that you may find in someone with this issue: 

1. They are usually very controlling.

2. They think that their way is definitely the right way to do something.

3. They are extremely prideful and love to be the center of attention.

4. They are hostile and accusatory when anyone challenges them.

5. They seem to find others’ open expression of feelings as weakness. If they show their vulnerabilities, it is rare and often use it as a tool to manipulate. Or, they get immediately overwhelmed and embarrassed afterwards and act out to protect themselves.

6. They are overly impressed by titles, degrees, and accomplishments. They see external determinants of success as being the most significant identifications of overall “success” in life. People not in that category are not worthy of their attention.

7. They lack empathy. They really can’t put themselves in another person’s shoes or see something from someone’s else’s perspective.

8. They know how to make others feel bad about themselves or how to trigger others’  insecurities.

9. They see vulnerability as an opportunity to lay claim and manipulate.

10. They are arrogant. Everything is someone else’s problem or issue. They are always innocent.

If you are codependent, you will be extremely susceptible to being in a relationship with a martyr. I say opposites attract. Ross Rosenberg has a book that describes  this dynamic  well with the title, The Human Magnet Syndrome.

Loving someone with these issues is tough if you are a caring, compassionate person. You pick up on the hurt and pain that has created these character disabilities. On some level, you could feel bad that they are so embittered and harmed and that they struggle and inflict such terrible damage to themselves and others. Sadly, this empathy and insight could end up damaging you.

Are you struggling with this? Do you have any questions about this issue? You can comment here or get a fuller reply by writing up a question on my free Ask Cherilynn advice blog. You don’t have to use your real name.

Thank you so much for tuning in and joining the talk.

Addendum: As you all are probably well aware, no article on the internet or any mental health clinician who writes on-line can accurately diagnose someone in your life who they don’t even know. A true diagnosis would need to be obtained after a psychiatric evaluation. The point of the article is to alleviate the confusion and self-doubt one could feel when dealing with someone who struggles with these difficulties. Clearly, if you are in a situation where you think you are married or partnered to someone with these issues, seek the help of a couples therapist and/or an individual therapist for guidance and direction. Get support. 

Are You Worried Your Husband or Wife Is A Narcissist? 10 Characteristics

Cherilynn Veland, LCSW, MSW

Cherilynn Veland, MSW, LCSW, is a counselor and coach based in Chicago. She has been helping individuals, couples and families for more than 20 years. She is author of Stop Giving It Away, a book about developing healthier relationships with yourself and others. The Stop Giving It Away movement aims to stop the detrimental level of self-sacrifice in which many women live and work. Winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Book Award in the Women's Issues category - Stop Giving It Away.

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APA Reference
, . (2018). Are You Worried Your Husband or Wife Is A Narcissist? 10 Characteristics. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 5, 2020, from


Last updated: 19 Jan 2018
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