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Published on December 4, 2020

13 Signs of a Narcissistic Husband (And What to Do)

13 Signs of a Narcissistic Husband (And What to Do)

When you met him, you couldn’t believe how lucky you were. He was charming, outgoing, and everything you ever hoped and dreamed of. You wondered what you did right in the world that made this fairy tale come true. And then he became a nightmare narcissistic husband.

Slowly, he became critical and controlling. Everything was all about him, and he didn’t care how you felt or what you thought. Slowly, the man you met just disappeared before your eyes.

How did that happen? What went wrong? How could he have changed so much?

The thing is, he didn’t change. Deep down, he was always like that in his inner core. The problem was, he put on an act for you in the beginning, and you believed him.

Don’t worry – you are not alone. It has happened to countless women. It’s easy to get fooled by a narcissist, and by the time you figure out who he really is, you are probably already married to him.

If this scenario sounds familiar to you, then your husband probably has narcissistic traits (or could even be a full-blow narcissist).

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Maybe you’re not even fully sure if your husband is a narcissist or not, so let’s take a look at some of the traits you should look out for.

13 Signs of a Narcissistic Husband

The following traits are good signs that your husband may be a narcissist:

1. He Acts Better Than Everyone Else

He probably goes around telling everyone about all of his “great” accomplishments. He wants people to think he is better than they are, and that includes you – especially you.

2. He Doesn’t Listen to Your Opinion

Whether it’s something simple like what you want to do on a Saturday night or something major like which house to buy, your narcissistic husband probably doesn’t really listen to your opinion. He might pretend to, but then he does whatever he wants to anyway, regardless of what you think.

3. He Needs to Be Right Every Time

He thinks he knows everything. You could tell him that 2 + 2 = 4, but he would argue with you and say, “No, 2 + 2 = 5.” Meanwhile, you’re scratching your head wondering how he thinks he could possibly be right. But he doesn’t really care what the truth is; he just needs to “win” and be right.

4. He Controls You

Maybe you put on some new jeans and he says, “You can’t go out of the house in those because they are too tight.” Or if you want to go out with your friends, he tells you that you can’t. He might limit you in main areas of your life or treat you like a child when you’re at home.

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5. He Gaslights You

Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation[1]. When he uses it on you, he plants seeds of doubt in your head. This, in turn, makes you question your own memory or sanity. He turns reality around on you and makes you question yourself (when in actuality, he’s the one you should be questioning).

6. He Needs Admiration

A narcissistic husband always wants you to tell him how amazing he is. As I said in #1, he goes around trying to make himself look better than other people. And in doing so, he wants the admiration that goes along with being “superior.”

7. He Shows No Empathy

He completely lacks the ability to see your perspective on anything. He doesn’t care how you feel or if you are hurting. He just cares about himself and what he thinks. He likely doesn’t notice when you’re feeling down or angry, and when he does, he will glaze over it to make you feel that your emotions don’t matter.

8. He Blames You

He never takes personal responsibility for anything and always blames you (or other people). Everything is always your fault, and he does absolutely nothing wrong. Even if you try to reason with him to try to see how his actions were not right, he will deny it and try to blame you instead.

9. He Acts Like a Victim

Because nothing is ever his fault, your narcissistic husband is usually the “victim” of others’ actions. If his project at work failed, he will blame it on his boss, co-worker, or clients. He constantly has a victim mentality because he cannot look at his own actions and see that he is responsible[2].

10. He Doesn’t Feel Guilt

He might say or do things to you that are very hurtful. Maybe you caught him doing something like texting another woman. Even after you catch him, he won’t feel any guilt at all. He’ll shrug it off like it’s no big deal, and tell you to just get over it.

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11. He Lies

Everything that comes out of his mouth tends to be a lie. You may or may not be able to catch him in the lies, but you probably have a gut instinct that what he’s saying most of the time is simply not true.

12. He’s Mean and/or Abusive

He’s just plain mean to you. He might criticize you and call you names like fat, ugly, or stupid. He probably tells you that you’re lucky to have him because no one would ever want you. He might even physically abuse you.

13. He Enjoys Your Pain

Because he is incapable of feeling empathy, he almost enjoys seeing you in pain – either emotionally or physically. It gives him a sense of power over you. He also feels absolutely no guilt when he inflicts pain on you.

What You Can Do If You Have a Narcissistic Husband

Now that you know the signs of a narcissistic husband, there are some things you can do. Let’s take a look at some of them[3].

How to Deal with a Narcissistic Person

    Set Boundaries

    Narcissists will take and take and take some more – unless you don’t let them. They are bullies, and bullies like an “easy target.” They don’t want someone to fight back and draws boundaries that they can’t cross. However, when you do it, they will have no choice if you stand your ground (and you should).

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    Stay in the Right Mindset

    Don’t allow your narcissistic husband to manipulate your mind. Stay in the right mindset, and don’t allow him to brainwash you. You know the truth, and you know you do. Don’t allow him to make you second-guess yourself.

    Don’t Take It Personally

    I know that his words and actions are hurtful, but try not to take it personally. Honestly, what he says and does is actually not about YOU. It’s about HIM and his own insecurities. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you are the bad person in the relationship. You aren’t!

    Leave

    I hate to say it, but you can’t really change a narcissistic husband. In fact, you really can’t change anyone. They have to want to change, and if they don’t, they won’t.

    If you have tried your best to make it work and are still miserable, then you have two choices. Stay and get more of the same, or leave and find someone who isn’t a narcissist. I know it’s not easy to leave, but you just need to make the decision that is best for YOU, not him.

    Final Thoughts

    Being married to a narcissistic husband is not easy. There are a lot of narcissists in the world, so you are not alone. Try to find some support and remember to love yourself first because you deserve it!

    More on Identifying a Narcissist

    Featured photo credit: Clem Onojeghuo via unsplash.com

    Reference

    More by this author

    Carol Morgan

    Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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    Last Updated on January 24, 2021

    How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

    How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

    Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

    For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

    But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

    It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

    And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

    The Importance of Saying No

    When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

    In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

    Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

    Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

    Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

    “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

    When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

    How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

    It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

    From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

    We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

    And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

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    At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

    The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

    How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

    Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

    But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

    3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

    1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

    Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

    If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

    2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

    When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

    Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

    3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

    When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

    6 Ways to Start Saying No

    Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

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    1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

    One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

    Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

    2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

    Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

    Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

    3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

    Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

    Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

    You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

    4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

    Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

    Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

    5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

    When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

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    How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

      Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

      Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

      6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

      If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

      Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

      Final Thoughts

      Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

      Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

      Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

      More Tips on How to Say No

      Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
      [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
      [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

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