When a person has true narcissistic personality disorder, he believes he is more important than he really is. He feels entitled to special treatment and has an inflated sense of himself. He demands constant attention and is overly sensitive to perceived criticism. A husband who acts selfish may just be temporarily selfish, or he may actually have narcissistic personality disorder. Understanding the signs, symptoms and treatment of the disorder will help you decide whether to ask him to get evaluated.
Narcissistic behavior in a husband can adversely affect the relationship by causing it to be one-sided. He may fail to consider your feelings, forget your birthday and insist on spending family money on things important to him with little concern about the needs of other family members. Such behavior can devastate the family financially and emotionally if allowed to continue. If your husband also displays narcissistic behavior at work, it will make him difficult to work with, which can block his access to team projects and promotions.
As of 2010, narcissistic behavior’s cause has not been determined, but experts believe it is in part developed when a person was either over indulged or neglected as a child. If your husband got the message from his family that he deserved whatever he wanted, even if it meant others were deprived, he could have developed narcissistic traits. If he was, instead, neglected or abused, it also could have triggered narcissistic traits as a self-protection mechanism. In addition to the way he was raised, brain structure and functioning also plays a part in the development of the disorder, according to the MayoClinic.com.
Narcissism is not diagnosed through blood tests or CT scans. It is a disorder that requires carefully examined questionnaires relating to the patient’s attitudes to life. If your husband has true narcissistic personality disorder, it will become apparent through the diagnostic process. If he does not, he may still display some narcissistic traits. Several personality disorders can appear to be narcissism. True narcissism includes a preoccupation with success and power fantasies, a strong sense of entitlement, frequently taking advantage of others, unable to recognize the feelings of other people and behaving in an arrogant manner.
Drug and alcohol abuse, depression, anorexia nervosa and thoughts of suicide are all potential complications of narcissism, according to the MayoClinic.com. Such issues should be individually addressed in addition to treatment for the disorder itself.
Several types of psychotherapy have shown to be effective in treating narcissistic personality disorder. Cognitive behavior will help your husband recognize the unhealthy attitudes he has developed and put positive attitudes in their place. Family therapy will show family members how to communicate effectively and to develop boundaries when it comes to your husband’s constant demands. Treatment for this disorder typically takes several years to complete; however, the initial treatment of complications including depression and anxiety will improve more quickly.