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How to recognize narcissistic traits

Marriage with someone who displays narcissistic traits can become toxic and frightening for many spouses. If you worry about domestic violence or think your current spouse may be a narcissist, there are signs to look for.

Often, narcissists do not seek help for their narcissism and you may need to identify the signs.


According to Healthline, not all narcissists have a narcissistic personality disorder, but many do. Often, you can pinpoint narcissistic behavior by manipulation. Your spouse may try to impress or please you, but ultimately his or her needs have to come first. Your spouse may want to stay in control and keep people at a certain distance or exploit others for personal gain. Generally, he or she will not show any empathy. He or she may not empathize with your needs at all.


Entitlement is a red flag in any relationship. Your spouse may act like he or she deserves special treatment and may hold him or herself above others. Rules rarely apply to a narcissist. A narcissist may become abusive or angry if you do not treat him or her in a certain way.

To deal with narcissists, you may have to change your dynamic or challenge your spouse to see you differently. If you change the way he or she looks at you, it may mitigate some of the behaviors. However, when a relationship develops into an abusive one, divorce may be the only option.

If you suffer abuse at the hands of a narcissistic spouse, there are options for women, men and stepfamilies. The Violence Against Women Act helps all people affected by domestic violence.