Life is tough. But it can be even tougher when you’re married to someone with a personality disorder, particularly that of narcissism. It can be sometimes difficult to spot the traits, behaviors and patterns of a narcissist, especially one that is very good at what they do.

If you or a loved one have found yourself in the midst of a surprisingly broken marriage, and have tried to figure out how and why, these 5 signs may be helpful in starting to put the pieces together. Is your spouse a narcissist? See if they possess any of these characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

  1. They were extremely charming and overly expressive in their admiration for you at the very beginning.

Their love for you seemed never-ending and never failing. There was no way for you to not believe all the wonderful things they said to you about their love for you and their commitment to be with you forever. They continually reaffirmed their love for you and called you perfect in every way.

Unfortunately for a narcissist, this kind of controlling and manipulative behavior is more for them than it is for you. If they can convince you with charming, smooth, and wholly enticing words of love and affirmation, then they can feel a sense of control over you.

  1. They are very concerned with how others perceive them, to an obsessive degree

They always want to bring the conversation back around to themselves, their own experiences, attributes and successes. They have to be seen as successful and attractive to everyone, always.

  1. They talk others down and themselves up

Taking criticism is virtually impossible for the one with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, so they must compromise by talking themselves up and others down. Watch for extremely negative words about others, and extremely positive ones about themselves.

  1. They make you feel crazy for having feelings

Your feelings and preferences do not matter nearly as much as theirs. This is a subtle but sure way to make you feel small and inadequate, as a way to project the narcissists’ own sense of ego.

This behavior for a narcissist often is the result of an extremely low self-esteem, and the narcissist feels like if they can knock you down a few notches, they will stand a little taller by comparison.

  1. They completely lack empathy

To the narcissist, there is virtually no sense of understanding or care for how you feel or to what your needs are. At their core, their thoughts and needs are centered on their own, rarely taking into consideration what could be best for others, namely, you.

If these signs are alarming to you, it may be time to consider some next steps.  At Henry + Dow, we want to encourage all married couples to consider counseling if possible, before contacting a divorce lawyer. However, our attorneys have had specific training in these types of cases and we understand that counseling can only go so far especially if the narcissistic spouse is not willing to get the help they need. If that is the case, please give us a call so we can help you navigate the trials that come with divorcing a narcissist.

For more information on how to spot a narcissist, click here.