Sense & Sensitivity

Husband's Narcissism Ruins Marriage

DEAR HARRIETTE: After 12 years of marriage and one child, I have diagnosed my husband with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). He completely fits the bill. "David" is an expert liar and manipulator, and he is extremely confident. His confidence and drive originally drew me to him, but over the past few years, he has accused me of having a victim mentality and damaging our relationship because I "refuse" to forgive him.

I didn't know this disorder existed, but now everything makes sense. His deflection, lack of empathy and hardheaded ways all point to NPD.

What can I do? He has been the love of my life, but also the constant wrongdoer in our relationship. His excuse when my friend caught him on a date with another woman? "I told you I was going out with friends." His NPD is pulling our relationship apart, and I don't even know if he cares. -- Love in a Hopeless Place, Cincinnati

DEAR LOVE IN A HOPELESS PLACE: Be wary of making diagnoses when you are not a physician. Since you have suspicions, do your best to get your husband to therapy. If you believe that your husband wants to stay married to you AND if you want to stay married to him, ask him to go to therapy with you so that you can figure out how to work through your problems and get to solid ground. This requires you to spell out to him that you do not trust him based on specific behaviors. Without professional help, it may be impossible for you to get to a manageable place. If he will not go, you should probably go anyway so that you can sort out your feelings and determine your next steps.

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