The term narcissist is used colloquially to refer to selfish or vain individuals. However, there is a medical condition known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder which can be very destructive both to sufferers and to those in relationships with them. The disorder can become so pervasive in some situations that it is practically impossible to maintain a healthy marriage, and divorce is not uncommon.
Published by the American Psychiatric Association, The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) is the most widely used diagnostic tool for diagnosing psychiatric and psychological conditions, including Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Those diagnosed with the disorder commonly display similar symptoms, including:
- A pattern of grandiosity and the need for admiration: Narcissists tend to believe that they are better than others and need almost constant attention and admiration;
- Lack of empathy toward others: Narcissists are unable to understand and respond to the feelings and needs of others. They may come off as cold and uncaring;
- Sense of entitlement: Narcissists generally feel entitled to special treatment and sometimes think they are above usual rules and boundaries.
- Problematic envy or jealousy: In many cases, narcissists do not want to share attention with others and will create reasons for them to be the center of attention. This could include “making a scene” in a restaurant or at a family function;
- Unrealistic expectations of others: Many narcissists make those in a relationship with them—including spouses, children, parents, and other family members—feel like nothing they do is ever good enough;
- Preoccupation with fantasies of success, beauty, approval, or achievement: Narcissists often struggle to see the world as it really is, instead viewing the world through a skewed lens of self-importance; and
- Arrogant, egotistical behavior and attitudes: Narcissists typically refuse to take responsibility for their actions or to be accountable for their behavior. They tend to convince themselves that someone or something else causes every problem in their life. They often view themselves as perpetual victims.
If your partner displays many of these characteristics, he or she might be dealing with narcissistic personality disorder. The disorder presents itself in such a way that makes it nearly impossible for affected individuals to maintain healthy, happy relationships with others.
Individuals with this disorder are often very manipulative and good at getting their way. Their self-centered mindset can rapidly evolve into abusive behavior. There is therapeutic treatment available for those with narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic tendencies. Unfortunately, however, most individuals do not seek treatment because they do not recognize the problems their behavior causes or are too proud to admit it.
Escaping a Bad Situation
If you believe that you may be married to a narcissist but your spouse refuses to acknowledge that there is a problem, you may be very few options. It can be incredibly challenging to divorce a narcissist, as he or she is likely to make the process as difficult as possible for you. Fortunately, an experienced Kane County family law attorney can help. The laws that govern divorce in Illinois can be used effectively to protect your rights and your future well-being, and we are prepared to help you do so. Call 847-426-1866 or 630-945-8807 for a confidential consultation today.