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Narcissistic Marriage Problems

Narcissistic Marriage ProblemsMuch like Borderline Personality Disorder, discussed in our last blog, Narcissistic Personality Disorder may have a serious impact on an individual’s ability to promote the best interest of their children.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM V), the criteria of Narcissistic Personality Disorder include:

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by the presence of at least 5 of the following 9 criteria:

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance
  • A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
  • A need for excessive admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonally exploitive behavior
  • A lack of empathy
  • Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her
  • A demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes

According to the Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and the severity of symptoms vary. People with the disorder can:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolize conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious
  • Insist on having the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office

Additionally, those with narcissistic personality disorder have trouble handling anything they perceive as criticism, and they can:

  • Become impatient or angry when they don’t receive special treatment
  • Have significant interpersonal problems and easily feel slighted
  • React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior;
  • Have difficulty regulating emotions and behavior;
  • Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change;
  • Feel depressed and moody because they fall short of perfection; and
  • Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability, and humiliation.

Unsurprisingly, individuals with these traits often find themselves involved in divorce suits. Our clients have struggled with the following issues arising from relationships with affected spouses: 

  1. Lack of empathy;
  2. Fits of rage;
  3. Control of one’s spouse; total lack of trust;
  4. Adultery;
  5. Cutting off the other spouse from finances;
  6. Keeping secrets;
  7. Distant relationship from the children;
  8. Constant criticism;
  9. Work addiction;
  10. Alcohol or drug problems;
  11. Sense of entitlement in the marriage;
  12. Refusal to see the other spouse’s point of view; and/or
  13. Gaslighting

If you are dealing with a spouse with a form of personality disorder, you should speak to a highly experienced licensed attorney to assist you in moving forward with your divorce.