Is your spouse often self-centered, unsympathetic, and critical? Do you wonder if these qualities make them a narcissist? Don’t be too quick to diagnose. Narcissistic traits – and most of us have some — exist on a continuum. It’s possible to have “slivers” of narcissism without having full-blown Narcissistic Personality Disorder. First, let’s take a look at what “personality disorder” actually means.
The Narcissist’s Disordered Worldview
We all see the world through our own lens, but people with personality disorders – and that includes borderline, histrionic, and antisocial personality disorders — have extremely distorted interpretations of reality. They are incapable of seeing events accurately because of the following issues:
- They lack self-awareness. Narcissists create chaos for others, and wonder why people seem to be upset with them all the time. They’re victimizers, but often feel like victims. This is because they don’t understand how their behavior impacts others.
- They lack empathy. If a team of world-famous psychologists sat a narcissist down and explained why their behavior hurt other people, the narcissist wouldn’t care. Narcissists don’t believe that other people have intrinsic value; they are simply instrumental, and if their feelings are hurt, oh well.
- They blame others. Narcissists externalize blame. They believe that they’re perfect, so nothing could ever be their fault. When things don’t go the way they want, narcissists lash out. This is why so many of them are involved in conflict; their focus is on blaming others, not resolving problems.
How To Know If Your Spouse Is A Narcissist – Or Just Difficult
The DSM-V is a diagnostic manual that mental health professionals use to assess patients. According to the DSM-V, a person must meet 5 out of the following 9 criteria to be diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
- Grandiose sense of self-importance. Narcissists exaggerate their achievements and expect to be treated like VIPs – even if they’re not.
- Preoccupation with fantasies. Narcissists pursue success, idealized love, money, and anything that makes them feel powerful.
- Believe they’re special. Narcissists feel superior, demand to be treated as if they’re superior, and don’t want to bother with “the little people.”
- Require excessive admiration. Narcissists need to be worshipped. They crave constant reassurance that they’re fabulous. And one way to get ego strokes is to surround themselves with beautiful and powerful people.
- Sense of entitlement. Narcissists don’t believe they should earn anything. They feel they deserve to have whatever they want, and are enraged when they can’t have it.
- Is exploitive. Narcissists see others as being instrumental to their aims. They have no qualms manipulating others to get what they want.
- Lacks empathy. Narcissists are unable to put themselves in someone else’s position. The only needs they understand are their own.
- Envy. Narcissists both envy others and believe other people envy them.
- Arrogance. Narcissists appear haughty; their way is the best way.
Most of us exhibit some of these qualities, to some degree, some of the time. For instance, a person may appear arrogant because they’re uncomfortable in social situations, but then become much more accessible once you get to know them.
On the other hand, does all the information above confirm your suspicions that you are indeed dealing with a true blue narcissist? Please see these further resources for help in your divorce:
Ready to speak with an attorney? Please contact us today to schedule an initial attorney consultation. Our experienced family law specialists understand the turmoil narcissists unleash and will help you develop a laser-focused strategy for safeguarding your future. To schedule an appointment, call us at 888-888-0919, or please click the green button below.