The Mating Grounds

Navigating Narcissism in Marriage: Understanding & Coping Strategies

Understanding and Dealing with Narcissism in Marriage

Narcissism is a personality disorder that is defined by an inflated sense of self-worth, lack of empathy, and a grandiose attitude towards oneself. It is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as a personality disorder.

Unfortunately, the term “narcissist” is often used as an insult, with some people being labeled as narcissistic without fully understanding what that means. This can be harmful as it masks the underlying problem and leads to misunderstandings about narcissistic behavior.

In this article, we will explore the key features of narcissism and how it impacts marriages. The common misconceptions about narcissists are that they are always emotionally abusive and have no boundaries.

While it’s true that some narcissists exhibit abusive behavior and have difficulty respecting boundaries, not all of them do. Narcissists can be successful in various fields, including medicine, science, entertainment, and politics.

Marrying a narcissist can be challenging, and it’s essential to understand what it entails.

Who a Narcissist Marries

Narcissists tend to target people who they perceive as weaker, less intelligent, or underconfident. They often seek romantic partners who offer them comfort and a sense of control and entitlement.

They may also choose spouses who will provide them with financial security or be a part of their public image. Narcissists tend to marry spouses who not only play a submissive role in the relationship but also provide them with an audience.

Reasons Why Narcissists Get Married

The reasons why narcissists get married are complex. Narcissists get married to boost their egos, get their daily dose of narcissistic supply, and enhance their public images.

Marriage provides an opportunity for the narcissist to have an attentive audience. Narcissists also get married because they have found someone who can enable them to feel alive, appreciated, and empowered.

Changes After Marriage

Marriage is designed to bring two individuals together to form a partnership where they can share their joys and sorrows. However, narcissists might approach marriage with a different angle.

The following are changes to expect after marrying a narcissist.

Lack of Compassion and Sensitivity

Narcissists lack empathy, sensitivity, and are insensitive to the needs of their spouse. They exhibit behavior that shows they do not care about their partner’s well-being.

If you are married to a narcissist, you will feel alone and isolated. Your spouse will be more focused on themselves than on the relationship.

Narcissist Defining The Marriage

When a narcissist is in a marriage, they see themselves as the center of attention. They will define the terms of the relationship and assume the role of a partner.

Narcissists expect their spouses to adhere to their standards, and they often use double standards. Narcissistic spouses have a disregard for the needs of their partners.

Lack of Cooperation and Compromise

A narcissist’s inability to cooperate costs them the chance of reaching a compromise. Narcissists have a winning mentality, and anything less is considered a loss.

Narcissists can’t be willing to concede. They will argue, manipulate, and use underhand tactics to prove their point.

Resolving Conflicts

A narcissist will disregard their marriage vows when things aren’t going their way. Instead of working through conflicts, a narcissist will seek to undermine the bond and isolate their spouse.

When a narcissist gives up on the marriage, they will cheat, gaslight their partner and use belittling language.

Sabotaged Celebrations

Narcissists have a hard time treating other people with kindness and generosity, especially when they need it most. They will spoil celebrations such as birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions to assert their superiority.

Walking On Eggshells

Living with a narcissist means walking on eggshells at all times. Narcissists require constant attention and validation.

If they don’t get it, they will use the silent treatment, gaslighting, and other harmful behaviors to get attention. These are indicators of an unhealthy direction the marriage is headed.


In conclusion, it’s important to understand and recognize the signs of narcissism when they appear in a marriage. While not all narcissists are abusive, it’s important to realize that being married to one can be challenging.

To reduce the impact of narcissistic behavior, it’s essential to set healthy boundaries, communicate effectively, and seek professional help. Remember that marriage is a partnership, and healthy marriages thrive on mutual respect and love.

3) Narcissists View of Marriage

Narcissism largely stems from a fundamental mistrust in oneself, caused by childhood experiences or other life events. This mistrust can make it difficult for a narcissist to view their partner as an equal.

Instead, they tend to view their partner as an extension of themselves, an object to be used to gain admiration and to outdo others. The narcissist’s game of marriage is one of competition, where they seek to always win and be seen as the victim.

This view of marriage makes it hard for the narcissist to have a happy union. A narcissist’s selfishness and desire for control can be a huge obstacle to building a mutually satisfying relationship.

While some narcissists report being satisfied in their marriages, this is often because they are in control and their partner is catering to their every need.

4) Narcissists Changing and Help

While it is possible for a narcissist to change, it can be a difficult and long process. The first step towards change is motivation, and narcissists are often resistant to admitting that they need to change.

In some cases, a narcissist may not realize that there is an issue, so recognizing and acknowledging the problem is crucial. Efforts towards change often require the intervention of a therapist.

A therapist can help the narcissist to identify the root cause of their behavior and work on building self-esteem in healthier ways, rather than relying on admiration from others. The therapist can also help the narcissist to develop better communication skills and to learn how to empathize with others.

While therapy can be incredibly beneficial, it is important for the narcissist’s partner to take steps to protect themselves as well. This includes having a plan in place for when the narcissist becomes abusive.

It also involves seeking out a support network, such as friends and family, and having a safe space to go to when needed. The bitter truth is that some relationships are beyond repair.

While change is possible in some cases, it is not a guarantee. Narcissistic behavior can cause significant relationship problems, and sometimes, the best course of action is to end the relationship.

While this can be difficult, it is important to prioritize your own health and well-being. Life is too short to spend it in an unhappy and unfulfilling relationship.

In conclusion, if you suspect that your partner is a narcissist, it is important to understand their perspective and motivations. While it is possible for a narcissist to change, it can be a difficult and long process.

If you choose to stay in the relationship, seek out professional help and take steps to protect yourself. Remember that you deserve to be in a loving and fulfilling relationship, and don’t be afraid to put your own health and well-being first.



Being in a relationship with a narcissist can be incredibly difficult. Narcissists view themselves as superior and expect their partners to cater to their every need.

Narcissistic personality disorder can cause significant problems in a relationship, such as lack of empathy, controlling behavior, and disregard for a partner’s feelings. However, it is important to remember that change is possible.

While it can be a difficult and long process, some narcissists are capable of self-reflection and change. It often requires professional help, such as therapy, to work through the root causes of narcissistic behavior and to develop healthier ways of interacting with others.

It is also important for the partner of a narcissist to protect themselves and their own well-being. This might involve setting healthy boundaries, seeking support from friends and family, and having a plan in place for when the narcissist becomes abusive.

It may even involve leaving the relationship entirely, if the narcissist is unwilling or unable to change. Ultimately, a healthy bond requires equal respect and understanding between partners.

Narcissistic behavior can make it difficult to achieve this, but with the right tools and support, it is possible to move towards a more fulfilling relationship. Whether it is through therapy or leaving the relationship, prioritizing one’s own well-being is vital.

No one deserves to be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship. In conclusion, it is important to understand the complexities of narcissism in the context of a relationship.

Narcissism is not just a personality trait, but a disorder that can have significant negative impacts on a marriage. However, it is possible for narcissists to change with the right support and motivation.

It is crucial for partners of narcissists to prioritize their own well-being, whether that involves setting boundaries, seeking support, or ending the relationship. Ultimately, a healthy and fulfilling relationship requires respect, understanding and empathy from both partners.

Recognizing the signs of narcissism and taking steps to protect oneself and seek help if needed can lead to a happier and healthier life.

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