The dynamics of a marriage can be challenging, especially when one spouse has a mental illness. Narcissistic personality disorder often causes problems with intimate relationships.
Recognizing the signs of NPD may help you resolve issues in a relationship with a partner who has these tendencies.
Lack of empathy
A notable absence of empathy for others is a key trait of NPD. A spouse who struggles to understand or acknowledge your perspective, emotions or needs could have narcissistic tendencies.
Constant need for approval
Individuals who have NPD often have an insatiable need for admiration. Your spouse may consistently seek excessive praise, validation or attention from others.
Someone who has NPD may manipulate and control situations to their advantage. You may also notice behavior like guilt-tripping when you do exhibit independence.
People who have NPD often display egocentric behaviors. They may exaggerate achievements, see themselves as superior or associate only with perceived high-status individuals.
Lack of accountability
Narcissistic individuals often struggle with taking responsibility for their actions. If your spouse habitually deflects blame onto others, avoids admitting faults or refuses to acknowledge mistakes, it may be a red flag.
Maintaining healthy relationships can be challenging for individuals with NPD. If your spouse has a history of broken connections with family, friends or colleagues, it may be cause for concern.
Taking advantage of others is another common sign of narcissism. Consider whether your spouse exploits situations for personal gain or lacks consideration for others’ well-being.
Individuals with NPD often react defensively to criticism. Your spouse may become angry or hostile when faced with constructive feedback.
Lack of interest
A self-centered focus is prevalent in narcissistic individuals. You may notice a lack of genuine interest in your thoughts, feelings or experiences. The relationship may also feel one-sided.
Narcissistic individuals may exhibit severe mood swings. Your spouse may display emotional volatility, swinging between highs and lows.
Psychology Today reports that up to 6.2% of adults may have NPD. Knowing the red flags allows you to address related issues affecting your marriage.