Q: Is my husband a narcissist? How can I tell?
If your husband is unbelievably self-centered, with an overly inflated sense of importance and entitlement, and he treats people like dirt (except on the rare occasion he believes someone is as special as he thinks he is), your husband may have a personality disorder.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), published by the American Psychological Association, there are nine major characteristics of a Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If your husband strongly exhibits five or more, or all of the following characteristics, you probably have a narcissist for a husband…
Nine Characteristics of a Narcissist
- He has a pervasive and grandiose sense of self: This is not having a healthy ego, but an inflated and exaggerating sense of accomplishments beyond reality. He treats his opinion as more important than anyone else’s on the matter, no matter how minor his achievements in or knowledge of the area being discussed.
- He is preoccupied with idealized fantasies: He may call it idealism or romance, but he has an unhealthy, unrealistic preoccupation with attaining unlimited success, power, intelligence, good looks, or ideal romance.
- He has an exaggerated belief that he is important and "special": This belief entails a strongly held conviction that he is unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people. Anyone else not of his superior status is worthless in his eyes.
- He requires excessive admiration from external sources: He’ll fish for compliments, and he is highly susceptible to flattery. This can become like an addiction to a narcissist, with great focus upon obtaining this "narcissistic supply" from wherever possible. Whether through academic achievement, professional rank and advancement, or sexual conquest, a narcissist needs external validation.
- He has a fierce sense of entitlement: He’s happy to use others to get what he wants and without caring about the consequences.
- He is interpersonally exploitative: Your husband has no issue with exploiting others—including you—for his own means.
- He lacks empathy: He’s unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others, to the point that he is unfeeling towards others, although he is often able to feign caring quite convincingly.
- He’s envious: He displays strong jealousy and envy toward others, or he believes that others are envious of him. “They’re just jealous” is something he can use to dismiss anyone who isn’t anything but approving of him.
- He is arrogant: He displays haughty, rude, patronizing, and contemptuous behavior, and an often abusive attitude towards others, like you.
In addition to the characteristics that are listed in the DSM, narcissists can also exhibit these additional traits:
- Highly reactionary to criticism of any kind: Everything is their way, or the highway.
- Self-righteous and inordinately defensive: They can dish it out, but they can’t take it.
- Unaccepting of contrary opinions, at least not without an air of utter superiority.
- Projects traits and behaviors onto others that they cannot accept in themselves.
Do any of the aforementioned characteristics sound familiar to you?
We Could Help You Leave Him
If you’ve had enough of your husband’s narcissism, and you’re thinking of filing for divorce, or if you already have and are seeking legal representation in San Francisco or Marin County, contact the Law Offices of Paul H. Nathan for a consultation by calling us at 415-341-1144.