10 Tiny Signs Your Husband Is A Narcissist (And How To Cope)

Can you handle staying married to a narcissist?

Narcissist Husband, celebrating himself Krakenimages.com | Shutterstock

Is your significant other more interested in issues that concern him (his time, interests, money, golf game, self-esteem, gratification, etc) than in listening, sharing, and solving your needs/interests? If so, you may be married to a narcissist. And because you probably don't yet know how to deal with a narcissistic husband or partner, you could feel lost. If his conversations go around his own issues (Where are my clothes? When will I have my dinner? How can you make me look good?), and rarely they focus on your needs (How are you going to find medical attention fast?), then you probably have a self-centered person accidentally locked inside the most community-oriented institution that is marriage. In other words, you are married to a narcissist.


A narcissistic husband is a person who operates with an inflated self-view, and constantly needs to disregard personal connections with others that could challenge his grandiose self-view. As they are focused on how to maintain an image of self-grandiosity, they have to pursue their self-interests and compete fiercely with others to receive approval, visibility, and influence in the pursuit of their goals. He can even compete with you for the approval, love, and company of the children, so they confirm that he is the best parent.

One of the most worrisome signs of a narcissistic husband is that they have little genuine interest in other people's welfare, except in how others can be used. Are you being used as a prop to show the world that he can also be "happily married," or are you in a real partnership with him? Now that you get the complete picture of your situation of living with a narcissistic husband, see what can you do to improve it.


RELATED: 8 Specific Things A Narcissist Will Do To Avoid Answering Your Questions

Here are 10 tiny signs your husband is a narcissist and how to cope:

1. He exaggerates his importance, achievements, and talents

As soon as you suspect narcissism, begin discounting what he says, at least by half of the claim. You know how they say to take it with a grain of salt? You'll need a bag here.

2. He requires constant attention and positive reinforcement from you and others

Learn to see this trait early on so you don't build an expectation that all your attention has to be directed to solve his needs. If you are already in this situation of full-time attendant and reinforcement provider, begin doing a systematic withdrawal, step by step. If you are married, plan to wean your husband of you as his "all and everything" because, later, he will compete mercilessly with your children's needs.

3. He's obsessed with himself and pursues mainly selfish goals

Train yourself to expect exactly this behavior, not selfless consideration of others' needs, and be independent in solving your own needs. If you ask, "But, then, what kind of a marriage do I have?" then your answer depends on other aspects of this marriage that can be positive for you.


RELATED: The 8 Confusing Stages Of Falling In Love With A Narcissist

4. He sets goals that are grandiose and unrealistic

A bit of awareness is necessary here because he will dream of lofty situations that are easy to believe and are doable. Set your goals on a reduced version of the goal, and see if you can help him get there. You are balancing having him completely frustrated and upset (because that lofty goal didn't happen), and having him a bit depressed but with something to do that promises rewards if achieved.

5. He wants "the best" of everything (food, cars, powerful friends)

At a family level, you will see this decision-making balancing between "let's get this sporty car I look so good in" and "We need a utilitarian van for the family." Do you have the husband expressing a need to have a new car each year at the expense of solving other less flashy family needs? If you think that you are dealing with a narcissist and plan on continuing the relationship, the healthier decision is to get control of the family money ASAP and spend it with a focus on the family needs.


6. He becomes easily hurt and rejected if not admired

Now, here comes reality: those grandiose dreams fail and don't become reality, and their inner childhood need for love and acceptance opens up again. This is the moment when you understand the why behind those grandiose dreams and why they are not attainable. You can protect yourself by providing him some "admiration as a crisis remedy," so you don't have to deal with a seriously depressed person later. Find some positive aspects and remind him of his value.

7. He takes advantage of others to reach his own goals

Now comes the real test of your marriage: if grandiose dreams fail, it will be because "others didn't help enough," and now is the time to use connections and family to push again for the lofty objective, realistic or not. See yourself enrolled by force with your own resources (or your parent's retirement money) to make the same unrealistic goals happen. If you have other resources, like connections, skills, and property, watch that they are not forcibly applied to the pursuit of his goals.

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RELATED: 5 Brutal Truths About Whether Or Not A Narcissist Can Love You Back


8. He's not connected or sensitive to other people's emotions

All this selfish behavior is telling you that he is more connected with and actively pursuing his satisfaction than caring about other people's needs or feelings. It doesn't matter that you explain your pain and share your reactions with him. He will listen only to push his wishes. This is a bitter pill to swallow for you because this narcissistic personality disorder is also a brain style of functioning — not your responsibility, but almost impossible to change. You need to care for yourself and be proactive in making yourself happy: take care of your health, body, and feelings because you are on your own.

9. He reacts to criticism with anger, shame, or humiliation

If you persist in claiming that your resources have been squandered without your consent and having other more important family needs to solve before with that money than his projects, you risk a lot of his anger. Be aware that he will be angry at you, not at his bad money management, and don't take anything he says in a personal way. Only a spoiled or hurt child talking, and what he says about you doesn't describe you, but his frustration.

10. He has trouble keeping healthy relationships

If you decide that you want to stay married, you have to accept that you will be doing the heavy lifting of the relationship work. Connecting, supporting, understanding, and being there in bad times will be your main duty. Here is where you balance his other qualities with his narcissism. If he is a genius and you admire genius, then putting up with his narcissistic self is the price you pay. Good luck balancing your self-esteem with the keeping of such a husband.


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: 3 Under-The-Radar Types Of Abusive Relationships To Watch Out For

Dr. Nora Femenia is a family mediation instructor, conflict coach, and author who uses her expertise to help resolve conflicts in long-term relationships.