In a marriage, both parties need to put forth effort, be committed, and be respectful for the union to be a mutually satisfying and loving one. When both partners are emotionally well balanced and the relationship dynamic is healthy, this work can make the marriage enjoyable and successful in the long term. Unfortunately, there are instances where a healthy relationship dynamic is virtually impossible to achieve because of a personality disorder. These disorders affect a person's thinking and behavior in such a way that interpersonal relationships are often very negatively affected.
A personality disorder that is commonly very destructive in relationships is narcissism, and it is more commonly diagnosed in men.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnostic classification system used in the United States, as,
"A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy."
The narcissist is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, and prestige. Narcissistic personality disorder is closely linked to self-centeredness.
If you find yourself often bewildered or hurt by your husband's actions and nothing seems to change, it is possible that the explanation could be narcissism. While only a licensed mental health professional can diagnose a personality disorder, it is helpful to know the signs of narcissism. Here are 8 indicators that your husband might be a narcissist,
1. Your partner displays a lack of empathy for others. This means that he doesn't put himself in the shoes of others, and doesn't identify properly with the feelings and needs of others. This frequently leads to acts that are self serving and callous.
2. Your husband has an idea of himself that is grandiose and holds his worth exceedingly high. This is not having a healthy ego, but inflating and exaggerating accomplishments beyond true measure.
3. Your husband adopts a superior, arrogant or haughty attitude toward others. He may have a sense of entitlement and expect preferential treatment from those around him.
4. Due to his sense of being superior and "special", your husband might likewise expect to associate with other "special" people and/or institutions.
5. Your husband may require and pursue excessive amounts of admiration. This can become like a drug to the narcissist, with all efforts geared toward obtaining this "narcissistic supply" from whatever source is available and preferred. Whether through sexual conquests, work or academic advancement, a narcissist is focused on getting that external validation.
6. Jealousy may be an emotion frequently expressed. Your husband feels threatened by the successes of others and can even become enraged at the thought that anyone else is attracting attention away from him.
7. Exploitative behaviors are common, as your husband may have no qualms about stepping on others to achieve his aims and agendas.
8. Your spouse may think about things in an idealized way, fantasizing extensively about "ideal" love, beauty, and/or power. You may have the unfortunate experience of being put up on a pedestal as an ideal partner, then later devalued as completely worthless and dismissed or discarded. Often there is little ground in between these two extremes.