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Dr. Michael
Dr. Michael, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 2177
Experience:  Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
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I think after reading a lot about Narcissism that my husband

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I think after reading a lot about Narcissism that my husband is one. We have been together for 11 years and right now, we had a quarrel over the phone (he's been away for 50 days or so) and basically I told him his bad characteristics are too bad to enjoy his goods. This man drinks like tomorrow never comes, and he knows I want him to stop, he ignores me.
Very inmature, self-centered, although he does a lot of little details for me so I can admire him. One interesting thing, he doesn't likes to make love to me unless I initiate it, he said he needs to know that I want him. Always interrups my stories, bringing one of his, to the point that I forget what I was talking, and he hates that I say, "do not interrupt me please". One time we were in an elevator with a father and his 3 or so years old son; this man asked a question to his child, and my husband answered it before the kid!, the father looked at my husband in disgust, I couldn't believe it, I said, that question was not for you, but for the little boy. Do you think he is a Narcissist?
Thanks. I'm drained and sad, and angry, scare, you name it. Please counsel me.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 6 years ago.
Hello. I believe I can be of help to you with this issue.

I suspect you are on the right track in terms of figuring out or 'framing' what your husband's personality problems are. He does indeed, appear to have narcissistic personality disorder characteristics. As you know, these individuals are consistently self-focused and self-centered, selfish, unempathic, and have little understanding of how their behavior affects others. They feel entitled and externalize blame whenever there is conflict in a relationship---nothing that goes wrong is their fault. If your husband has an affair, it is because of YOUR deficiencies as a wife; if there is a fight, you made him upset, etc. So "YOU" become the problem in all conflicts and disagreements. If he drinks too much, it is because you do things wrong and drive him to drink, etc., etc.,etc. The serious problem you face is that these men almost never change, because they actually believe nothing is really wrong with them. Again, they externalize or displace blame onto others consistently. Underneath all of their personality issues however is an immature, insecure person with a fragile ego----a person who is quick to feel insulted when presented with constructive criticism. So progress in couples therapy would be expected to be slow or nonexistent.

If your husband has a narcissistic personality disorder, it would be predicted that prior to marrying you, he never experienced a truly stable, high quality, and intimate relationship with anyone before, because no one can tolerate his intense self-focus, selfishness, etc. Were he to become single, he would probably meet up with someone, and get on well with them for a time, but once again, his personality would get in the way of ever really becoming emotionally close with them. Now, your husband may only seriously look at some of his problems if he is faced with a serious emotional crisis in his life e.g., if you separated or left him. But without a crisis or darned good 'reason', he will likely not seriously look at this own behavior or change. What do you think? What do you want to do about your current marital situation?
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

I think you are right. As of now, we are going to separate, though we have a house to sell, and in this economy, that might take a bit long. I told him if we could be in a "friendly" environment while this is happening, and he said: "as long as you are not in the war zone I'll be the same as before" but i know him, he punishes people with the silence treatment, the angry face, the I'm here, but not really, and if I try to talk about possible counseling again, he will say, " No thanks, ***** ***** you are out, and we are done".

I'm confused as you can see, my mind says get out, my heart is in pain, because I care about him, but all this is taking a toll on myself. It never ocurred to be about the NDP, until recently when I was reading some articles. You think is okay to tell him that he might have this condition? and this is what is basically creating out problem? or do you think he'll get in a rage and blow out of proportion? I would appreciate any advise. Thanks in advance.


Expert:  Dr. Michael replied 6 years ago.
It sounds like you care more about him and your relationship than he does about you, and your relationship. So unless you both care equally about working on the marriage, there is little to be done because 'it takes two' to make good relationship. You can certainly tell your husband that you STRONGLY believe he has a personality disorder and could be a much happier man, and have better relationships with others if he went into counseling to find out more about himself. However, because people with personality disorder symptoms such as his are highly defensive, tend to be unwilling to be introspective or won't engage in self-examination, AT BEST, ***** ***** he has a problem will produce no result except irritation at you; but at worse, he could become even more angry at you.

Now, if you have to stay together physically for a time until your house sells, you really MUST develop some specific thoughts you will repeat to yourself in order to emotionally survive his silent treatments, emotional stress etc., that you will receive from him. The first thing you need to rehearse to yourself is something along the following lines: "I love him and want this to work out, but he doesn't want to change his behavior and doesn't care about this relationship as I do" Also, "I may want to fix this relationship, but he is unwilling, and it DOES take two people who are willing to change to fix it" "My husband has a serious personality disorder; he will alway have these sorts of relationship problems in his adult life; if he leaves me and finds someone else, the same result with that person will occur---because one cannot survive living with someone who is so thoroughly narcissistic". "Regardless of how this relationship works out, I absolutely must look out for my best interests right now----try to get myself prepared financially, physically, emotionally, to live independently of this man."

So you might want to create some self-statements like this and review them each day to give you the mental reminders you need about how you must think about this change in your marital relationship. You need to shift into self-preservation mode and focus on YOUR best interests, and pretty much devote all of your thinking, planning, attention etc., to building your personal earning power, figuring out who you can reach out to for emotional support and nurture those supportive relationships; talk to a family practice attorney about divorce rules and laws in your state so you are highly educated about your rights, etc. I'm suggesting that you get very busy looking out for yourself right now and if you do this, you won't have time to focus on what this man says or does. You will be preoccupied nearly all the time with your self-help activities and self-study, and increasingly, you'll be able to ignore his verbal abuse and criticism, and his 'silent treatments'. You may need to immediately think about taking a few extra classes to boost your career skills if you need to get a better-paying job; or complete a new vocational training program through evening classes, or through internet courses, etc. You may want to have a close, trusted relative help you save money in a savings account for you---money your husband can't touch, so you have some emergency funds if the marriage breaks down completely or you want to move somewhere, or pay an attorney. There are many, many active things you can and should be doing right now to look out for yourself. Doing all of this will do no harm in the event your husband wakes up one day with a completely new personality and your marriage becomes wonderful (this, of course, almost certainly will not happen). But my point is that none of what I'm suggesting you do right now to problem-solve and help yourself cope through these self-help and self-preservation activities will do you any harm, and they will absolutely be necessary if you divorce.

I hope this information is helpful to you. Please let me know if I have overlooked any aspect of your original question. Do keep me posted in the weeks or months ahead as your personal story unfolds, and if you want any additional support or ideas from me. Please click on the green Accept button at the bottom of the page. Thanks.
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