How To Instantly Tell If Your Husband Is A Narcissist (Or Just A Jerk)

Does the term narcissist get thrown around too much?

Woman asking herself if her husband is a narcissist Dean Drobot | Canva

There is nothing worse than being in a relationship with a man who only thinks about himself. You know this guy, he's the one who constantly needs attention; whose ego is bruised at the slightest criticism; who always needs to get his way whether it's by picking the restaurant or deciding which side of the bed to sleep on. But is this tender ego hiding something more sinister underneath? Could he truly be a narcissist? Or is he merely selfish?


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It's a conundrum when you love someone like this. If you're looking for the facts, Google claims that there are less than 200K cases in the US (that link will open a fact sheet from Google, if you're interested) making narcissism quite rare among psychological disorders. Nevertheless, being labeled a narcissist is something we seem to throw around when we want to label someone a selfish jerk ... even when that label is wildly false. There are many reasons we should stop doing this.


You guys asked for this one haha

♬ original sound - Isabella Duffy

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For one, it minimizes what's going on. When someone behaves badly towards you, if there's a "label" that gets them out of paying the reasonable consequences for their actions, you can never really expect that person to change. In fact, by using the label, you create their magical "get out of jail free card" because it's out of their control. "I couldn't help myself, honey..." Ridiculous.

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Masking selfish behavior behind a label gives the perpetrator an excuse to get away with their actions. The only way to prevent that is to stop using simple labels to mask complicated behaviors and get to the root of what is going on. That's the only way you will truly know if this is a relationship you should stay in, or leave. The bottom line is — there is no cure for true narcissism. Some clinicians think that people can grow out of it as they age due to societal pressures on people to conform and "be nice." But most often if you can grow OUT of your narcissism, chances are, you weren't a true narcissist to begin with. So is your guy a narcissist or merely selfish? More likely than not, he's just a jerk. Either way, he isn't getting better. It's time to leave. 


If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety as a result of ongoing emotional abuse at the hands of a narcissist, you are not alone.

Domestic abuse can happen to anyone and is not a reflection of who you are or anything you've done wrong. If you feel as though you may be in danger, there is support available 24/7/365 through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233. If you’re unable to speak safely, text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.

RELATED: 11 Common Things A Narcissist Says (And What They Really Mean)

Helen Fisher Ph.D., is a biological anthropologist and Senior Research Fellow at The Kinsey Institute and Chief Scientific Advisor to the dating site Match. She is the author of the book The Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray, among other titles. Marcie Telander is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a life/love/relationship communication coach. She is the president of East River Counseling, Inc., an author, and TedXTalk presenter. Rhoberta Shaler, The Relationship Help Doctor, provided urgent and ongoing care for relationships in crisis for more than 30 years. She was also the host of the Save Your Sanity Podcast. Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, is a psychotherapist, Self-Love Recovery Institute CEO, and author of The Human Magnet Syndrome. Melanie Gorman is the former Senior VP of YourTango Experts.