February 4, 2023

45 Signs, Bad Effects & the Best Ways to Deal with Him

Having a narcissistic husband can be detrimental. Watch out for all the warning signs, know the effects his behavior can have on you, and learn what to do about it so that you can do what’s best for you.

Are you married to a narcissistic husband? You may wonder if your man has narcisstsic tendencies, but how can you tell for sure?

How does your husband treat you? Does he buy you your favorite flowers on your birthday, or does he come up with lazy excuses, like the florist had just sold out of your favorites… every year?

Is he good at listening to you, or do you doubt that he even knows your favorite flower? Does he ask you about your day, or is he too self-absorbed for that?

It can be hard to know whether your husband is maybe just a little bit inconsiderate or a full-blown narcissist, especially when you love him and make excuses for him.

Although, if you’re reading this feature, you likely already have a gut feeling that you know the answer. But you need to know the signs of a narcissistic husband so that you can understand what your best course of action is.

What is a narcissist?

Narcissism is a characteristic that’s defined by extreme self-involvement.

A narcissist doesn’t care, understand, or acknowledge the needs of others. They tend to have a complete disregard for the feelings of other people and generally believe that they’re superior to most. They have a hunger for attention and admiration. [Read: 17 symptoms of narcissism that make someone mean, aloof, & detached]

A true narcissist has no ability to show empathy because they’re rarely able to see outside themselves.

They’re often seen as immediately charming, which eventually settles into being seen as vain. They can also be aggressive, controlling, and indifferent once that charm fades.

While narcissism is a trait that everyone has to some degree, a true narcissist is someone who is diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder.

This affects only about one percent of the population, but this type of narcissist is so much of a doozy that even one percent might be too much.

The subtle signs that you have a narcissistic husband

Having a narcissist sprinkled somewhere in your life is one thing. Having a narcissistic husband can be a whole different type of horror. Living with narcissism like that is often unbearable and can lead to some serious issues within yourself. [Read: Controlling vs. caring – a thin line controlling people love to cross]

If you think you’re falling down that hole or you want to avoid it entirely, pay attention to these signs.

While one or two of these traits doesn’t necessarily indicate a true narcissist, having several of them could mean that you’re in for a bad time.

1. Everyone loves him at first

A true narcissist can charm the pants off of anybody.

It seems like literally everyone loves him! He puts up a great front and knows how to impress and dazzle, but the sparkle fades the more you get to know him.

That’s why most of his relationships and friendships are only surface-level. Deep connections can’t be had because people will discover how truly self-obsessed and non-caring he is. [Read: Clear signs you’re in a narcissistic relationship]

2. He loves to talk about himself

We all love talking about ourselves, but this guy can make anything about himself. You could be talking about saving the killer whales, he’ll still find a way to turn it into a conversation about the shoes he just bought. It’s a weird type of magic.

3. He changes over time

At first, he may be extremely charming and attentive. That won’t last for long.

If you notice that he’s slowly becoming more self-absorbed, this isn’t something new for him. In fact, you’ve been taken for a ride. He’s been manipulating and blinding you with his false personality, only now he’s letting the facade drop. He’s an expert at temporarily putting his best foot forward.

4. He’s always looking in the mirror

We all look at ourselves in the mirror, but if he’s looking at himself like he’s never seen such beauty before, he could just be staring at a narcissistic husband.

Narcissists are known to be absolutely obsessed with their image. They’re more prone to connect their self-worth to their external appearance instead of their character, so they really enjoy spending a little extra time on grooming and checking themselves out. [Read: Signs of a narcissist and ways to break up with them]

5. He loves dropping names

He eats at the same restaurant as Beyoncé. Elon Musk has the same shoes as him. He spent thousands on a Rolex and never stops showing off his Rolls-Royce.

To him, life is all about feeling important and superior to those around you. He wants to impress everyone around him and have them think that he’s something special and should be admired because he thinks he’s something special and something to be admired.

6. He’s always looking for the best

He wants the best for himself. But maybe you’re asking what’s wrong with that. After all, who doesn’t?

The difference is that he will jump through hoops to attain a higher status. He wants to be the best of the best and feels entitled to have it all. He’s also not afraid to squash others to get himself higher.

7. It’s all about the look

He probably spends a lot of time shopping for himself and working on his appearance until he reaches what he feels is perfection.

There’s nothing wrong with working out and taking care of yourself, but he’s definitely a narcissistic husband if all he does is work on and talk about his body. [Read: Signs you’re dating a self-obsessed narcissist]

8. He comes first

He will always come first. His needs are the only needs that require meeting.

You will never be the first on his list. Narcissistic husbands are very good at taking care of themselves and their things because that’s all they care about, but the spouses fall to the wayside and end up feeling neglected.

9. He’s a taker

There are givers and takers, and there are even people who do a little of each.

A common indication of a narcissistic husband is a lack of gift-giving. If you’re constantly showering him with gifts, whether they’re little thoughtful things or more extravagant things, but you’re lucky to get a take-out dinner on your anniversary, you’re definitely dealing with an inconsiderate taker. [Read: Why narcissists ignore you & do the selfish things they do]

It’s not always about the gifts, either. It’s thoughtfulness, energy, caring, and love. Does he take all of yours without giving you any in return?

10. He treats you like a child

Narcissistic husbands may appear insanely confident and self-assured, but they’re often not. Narcissists have a tendency to actually be threatened by their partners, which is absolutely unacceptable to them.

They remedy this by being condescending toward you. They meet you with rage, frequent demands, and no respect. You aren’t allowed to question their authority, and so many things require their permission. They act like an angry parent, and you’re the misbehaving child. [Read: Gray rock method – what it is, 23 secrets, & how to use it on a narcissist]

11. He doesn’t care about your feelings

It’s like narcissists don’t even have the ability to care. They just can’t. They have no empathy. The only time they’ll ever give a crap about your thoughts and feelings is if those things affect them.

Your narcissistic husband can’t be expected to comfort you when you need it. Your bad days are yours, and you have to deal with them alone.

12. He lives by his rules

He’s going to do what he wants when he wants.

He isn’t going to be inconvenienced by your rules or anyone else’s. He knows best, after all. Narcissists never respond well to being told what to do because of their rampant superiority complex. They believe that they deserve special treatment and that rules don’t apply to them. [Read: Confident or cocky? 16 subtle signs that split an arrogant & a modest man]

13. He doesn’t want to hear about your problems

Have we mentioned that narcissists lack empathy?

THEY LACK EMPATHY. He literally can’t care about your problems unless they interfere with his daily life. He’s unwilling to recognize the feelings of others because it requires a certain level of vulnerability. He can’t express that vulnerability because of his need to protect himself, and he protects himself by preserving himself and his image.

14. It’s always your fault

If he knocks over a glass of milk, it’s your fault because you distracted him.

A narcissistic husband can never be wrong. They do not accept responsibility. They are absolutely fantastic at distributing blame.

Narcissists are able to excuse almost every aspect of their own behavior. Eventually, you’ll get so tired of arguing with them that you’ll just give in. [Read: How to stop selfish people from hurting you]

15. He thinks he’s special

He basically thinks he’s a gift to the world and that people should be kissing his feet.

Maybe it’s not quite that extreme, but narcissists do often have a grandiose sense of self, and it goes far beyond simple arrogance. Narcissists believe that they’re genuinely special and can only be understood by other special people.

16. He’s a control freak

It’s one thing to have a type-A personality and a slight control issue when it comes to group projects in high school, but this is another level.

Usually, narcissistic husbands will not let you make any decisions. They will always have the final say. They choose how the money is spent and decide where you go and when you can. He rules all. [Read: Selfishness in relationships – 15 tips to do the right thing]

17. He feels entitled to everything

A really cool side effect of a narcissist thinking that they’re special is that they also think that they’re deserving… of everything… note the sarcasm?

They truly believe that they’re worthy of special treatment without even doing anything to deserve it. They think that they should get what they want whenever they want it and that their every whim and desire should be met with glee.

18. You feel like you’re walking on eggshells

Not sure if what you’re going to say is going to piss him off and start a fight? It could be that you have no filter when you speak, or it could be that he’s a narcissistic husband. [Read: Walking on eggshells in your relationship? 18 signs & how to fix it]

If you’re feeling anxious and uncertain about voicing a thought or opinion, it’s not healthy. It shows that he has full control of the relationship and that you don’t feel comfortable communicating with him due to his defensive behavior.

19. He always needs attention

If you make eye contact with a male friend, he’ll say you’re cheating on him. If you spend some time with your family, he’ll say you’re neglecting him.

He doesn’t want you to spend time with your family or friends. He wants you completely devoted to and obsessed with him. Every second that you devote to someone else is one less second that’s devoted to him, and that’s intolerable. [Read: Subtle signs you’re being manipulated by your lover]

20. Everything revolves around him

If he’s sick and you have tickets to see your favorite band, you’re not going. He can’t go, so why should you get to go? Who’s going to take care of him while you’re gone? Everything is about him.

His goals, plans, and well-being are what matters.

21. He takes everything personally

The narcissistic husband is incredibly sensitive. If you tease him or criticize something he’s done, watch out. He’s not going to like it, and you won’t like the reaction. Like a child, he’ll act out and blame you for his wrongdoing. [Read: Early warning signs of a really bad partner]

22. He puts you down

Narcissistic husbands are all about being superior to everyone.

The only way they can do that is by putting others down. If you find him insulting you or putting you down, he’s being abusive and trying to make himself appear more powerful than you. You don’t need that.

23. You don’t feel connected

It’s pretty difficult to feel a deep emotional connection with someone who is only connected to himself. You know all about his plans, desires, and hopes for the future, but he never asks about yours.

Almost every conversation is about him, his prestige, or his issues and annoyances. You might even be wondering if this man knows you at all because it feels as though the only time the conversation is turned toward you is when he’s telling you what you’ve done wrong. [Read: Abusive relationship signs of a devious lover]

24. You’re constantly being gaslighted

Gaslighting is a sure sign of a narcissistic husband. Gaslighting is when someone tries to distort your sense of reality by denying what they’ve said or done, minimizing your needs, or invalidating your thoughts and feelings.

This can make a person feel absolutely insane, which is definitely the goal. It’s just another way for a narcissist to have control.

25. Your family is either warning you or is entirely oblivious

There’s almost no middle ground between your family and your narcissistic husband. They either love him or hate him.

They might be extremely oblivious to his true self because he’s tricked them with his charm. He could be feeding them subtle lies about you while building himself up.

On the other hand, they might see through his false persona and know a little bit about who he really is and how he treats you. [Read: How to get along with your partner’s family & create a lifelong bond]

26. You’re financially stuck

As mentioned, a narcissist is great at employing various means of control. Having financial control is one of their most used tactics.

He could either have a crappy job and convince you to let him spend your money, or he might have a pretty decent job and insist that you don’t have to work.

Either way, he’s managed to choose where the money goes, and it’s likely all going to him and his needs. This is a common, extreme, and isolating type of abuse.

27. You can’t rely on him

You can’t rely on him for anything. There’s no emotional support. There isn’t even an inkling that he genuinely cares about you.

Worst of all, you can’t even believe that he’ll do what he says he’ll do, no matter how small. Your narcissistic husband will only do what’s convenient for him, even if that means that he’ll be letting you down. [Read: Disrespectful husband – 28 signs & ways to teach him to treat you better]

28. You feel isolated

A narcissist has done his job when you finally feel completely isolated and alone. He wants you to believe that he’s the only one you need and the only one who’s there for you.

All of his hard work belittling you and making you feel less than goes into separating you from your family and friends.

The effects of being married to a narcissistic husband

Being married to a narcissist isn’t a walk in the park. It’s confusing, exhausting, and often debilitating.

The time that you spend with a truly narcissistic husband can wear you down in so many different ways. The effects are varied and awful. [Read: Covert narcissist – what it is, 42 signs, & how to see through the games they play]

You know what to look for in a narcissist, but do you know what to watch for within yourself? If you find yourself trying to excuse some of the behaviors listed above by writing them off as a side effect rather than a personality trait, pay attention to whether or not you notice any of the following things happening to you. These are sure signs that you’re married to a narcissist.

1. Low self-esteem

As we mentioned above, a true narcissist often has a lot of issues with their own self-confidence and self-worth despite the fact that they act as though they’re just the best.

The most effective way for them to avoid those feelings is to put other people down, and the target of that type of attack is usually the person closest to them. They’re condescending, belittling, and controlling in a way that makes you question your own worth. [Read: 15 signs of a verbally abusive relationship & how to set yourself free]

2. Loss of connection with other people

We said that the ultimate goal for a narcissist is to isolate their partner.

Do you notice that your list of friends is dwindling? You stop hanging out with them one by one to appease him. He simply doesn’t like them, or he doesn’t like you going anywhere without him. It’s always a huge fuss and fight, so you just roll over.

The same thing is happening with your family. He might be telling you that they don’t have your best interests in mind or that they don’t really care about you. Because of how convincing he can be, you believe him and slowly shut everyone out. [Read: Are you self-isolating with a narcissist and need help coping?]

3. Losing a sense of your own identity and needs

You spend so much time catering to his wants and needs because you’re conditioned to believe that they’re the most important.

Narcissists are very talented when it comes to brainwashing. While they’re destroying your other relationships and any confidence you may have had, they’re also turning you into a person that can’t even recognize your former self.

4. Reduced relationship satisfaction

You can’t be satisfied with this relationship because it really isn’t a relationship the way that it’s supposed to be. You might not even be who you’re supposed to be because of it.

Your emotional needs aren’t being met, and you’re not experiencing feelings of love or adoration. You’re not being given anything, but you’re having everything taken from you.

This type of “relationship” is draining and doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for satisfaction. [Read: 30 signs of a one-sided relationship & how to fix it before it ends]

5. Deteriorating mental health

Obviously, if you’re being kicked down and isolated while simultaneously being spoken down to and gaslighted, your mental health can’t be in its best shape.

You might be feeling a serious lack of any type of joy or good feelings at all. Maybe you’re overwhelmed by constant fear or sadness, and maybe your only sense of purpose is to serve your narcissistic husband.

You and your mental health are going to be together for the rest of your life. If you feel it slipping away, you can be sure that you’re in a toxic relationship.

6. Financial problems

Experiencing financial issues is caused by your narcissistic husband’s need to control the money. You might not even verify or check on your financials often because he claims to have it all taken care of, and he’s trained you to trust him. [Read: How to talk about money with your partner without fighting about it]

How to deal with your narcissistic husband

If you feel that you can identify many of the mentioned narcissistic traits in your husband, you’re probably wondering how to handle it.

There’s no easy way, and the fact that you’re likely tired and worn down from the confusion, emotional neglect, and verbal beatings doesn’t help. But there ARE ways to deal with it, and most of them have to do with taking care of yourself first.

1. Stay in the right mindset

Staying in the right mindset is easier said than done. It might even be hard to know what the right mindset is right now. [Read: How to be more positive – 24 steps to a happy & dramatic life shift]

All of these tips on how to deal with your narcissistic husband will help you learn to frame the right mindset, but you mostly need to know that you should maintain strength, empowerment, and positivity. If you can master those things, you’ll feel better equipped to deal with what’s in front of you.

2. Don’t take his behavior too personally

The absolute most important thing is that you don’t accept responsibility for his actions and behaviors.

It’s incredibly easy to fall into that trap because they set it so discreetly and so well, but you do not, have not, and will not control what he chooses to do or say. His narcissistic behavior is his alone and is caused by his own mental health problems.

3. Learn to set boundaries

Setting clear boundaries is a must in any relationship, but it’s especially important when dealing with a narcissistic husband. Even if things feel like they’ve gotten out of control, you can still set boundaries for what is and isn’t right for you. [Read: How to set boundaries in a relationship – 19 rules for healthy love]

You can always start small. If he often takes to name-calling when he wants to argue, let him know that you’ve decided that you’re no longer going to tolerate it. Tell him that the moment he resorts to name-calling, you’re going to step away from the argument.

4. Have a conversation about how his behaviors affect you

In most situations, a direct approach is the best approach. However, you do have to be a little more cautious and delicate when a narcissist is involved.

It’s important to bring it up in the most neutral way possible and avoid casting blame. Even though his behaviors are his fault, narcissists are often unpredictable, and he might blow up if confronted with what he’s done wrong.

You can let him know that even though he might not say certain things with the intention of hurting you, they do hurt. [Read: 44 stress-free ways to ignore someone & stop people from hurting you]

5. Try to show him what’s in it for him if he makes changes

Change is hard. Change is especially hard for narcissists because they don’t necessarily see a reason to change, given that they believe nothing’s wrong with them.

Instead of making it about what he should change and why it’s wrong, turn it into a self-serving practice for him.

Tell him that if he can manage to quit calling you dreadful names, you’ll cook his favorite foods more often. If he can make fewer demands, you’ll have more time to look a little nicer for him.

6. Don’t give him power over your emotions

He’s taken control of everything, including your emotions. Take those back! [Read: How do narcissists control you so subtly, and why do you allow them to?]

Your spouse has worn you down and practically taken that power from you, but it doesn’t have to stay that way. Keep yourself in check and remind yourself that he’s not behaving this way because of you, so you don’t have to behave a certain way because of him.

Your day is yours, and your emotions are yours. Those things can’t be taken from you.

7. Pick your battles

Ignoring some of your narcissistic husband’s behavior can be challenging. It might even feel impossible. But if you have a strong negative reaction to every single thing your spouse throws at you, you’ll likely be met with consistently worse negativity and frequent fights.

If you can show him that the little things don’t bother you anymore and he’s not getting the reaction he wants, he might alter his behavior over time. [Read: How to communicate with your spouse without resentment or fighting]

As difficult as it might be, try to save the bigger reactions for bigger things.

8. Practice positive self-affirmations

This seems like such a silly idea to the majority of people, but positive affirmations have been proven to work. Whatever your partner has made you feel negative about, counteract it with a positive affirmation.

If he’s told you that you’re stupid, remind yourself that you’re intelligent. Has he told you that you’re dramatic? Tell yourself that your feelings are valid.

9. Engage in self-care

You’ve taken care of him. You might have stopped taking care of yourself in the process, and we can be pretty sure that he hasn’t stepped in to pick up that slack.

Develop the mindset that you have to take care of yourself because no one else is going to do it for you. [Read: Love yourself first – where people go wrong & how to do this right]

Go for walks. Pick up a hobby. Spend some extra time on your skincare routine. Do things just for you.

10. Maintain supportive relationships

Go back to the relationships that make you feel good!

Narcissism breeds some very lonely partners, but it’s nothing that can’t be reversed. Have real conversations with those who matter to you and whom you trust. Having support from friends and family can go so far.

11. Insist on counseling

Definitely consider counseling for yourself. You can’t control what he does, but you can control what you do and how you react. [Read: Relationship therapy – 25 clues to know if it’ll help your romance]

Suggesting counseling for the two of you as a couple or him as an individual isn’t going to hurt anything, but he might not take to it very kindly.

Regardless of whether or not he chooses to participate, you should get the help that YOU need so that you have the coping skills and outlet that you need. Having the right counselor can also help you do every other thing on this list.

Can you be happily married to a narcissistic husband?

If you do feel like you have a narcissistic husband and you’re wondering if you can just continue on as is and have a happy marriage, the answer is almost always a resounding “no.”

If you’re unhappy right now, you have to be active. Nothing changes if nothing changes, and it probably has to start with you.

You cannot change him, but you can certainly do something about yourself. If you practice some of the things listed above, you might start to feel happier. You might feel stronger and more prepared to deal with your marriage however you see fit.

But you have to understand that continuing on and keeping things the same is only going to take you further down.

Can my narcissistic husband change?

Now, if you feel like you have a narcissistic husband and you’re wondering if he can change, the answer is a resounding “yes!” [Read: Can a narcissist change? Why it’s hard & subtle signs they’ll change for you]

Be aware, however, that you cannot change him. You can’t decide it for him, and you can’t force him to do it himself. You can work on improving yourself in the ways that you see fit and making your own personal changes. Maybe he’ll notice and want to do the same.

It helps to have a genuine conversation with your partner and lay it all out in the best way that you can. Let him know that you want the relationship to improve, and tell him some ways you think that can happen.

People change all the time. He’s not a lost cause, but he has to want to do the work.

Being married to a narcissist is overwhelming, and sometimes you don’t even know what’s happening. Now you have some signs to look for, ways it will affect you, and tips to help yourself.

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