Does your husband talk about himself all the time, think of himself before you, come across as self-centered, and just outright doesn’t seem to care about you?
If so, you’re right to ask yourself; is my husband a narcissist or just selfish?
There are some key differences between narcissism and selfishness, just as there are different ways to handle people displaying these traits.
I’m going to explain the differences between a narcissist and a selfish person, and hopefully, you’ll be able to better understand your husband’s behavior:
What Is a Narcissist? Traits to look out for
A narcissist is someone who has an inflated sense of self. They need constant validation and attention and will do whatever possible to get it.
Narcissists often talk about themselves, their accomplishments, and how great they are.
They might come across as charming at first, but eventually, their true colors will show.
Narcissists can be manipulative and controlling. They might gaslight you or make you feel like you’re going crazy.
It’s important to remember that a narcissist is not just selfish; they have a mental disorder that causes them to act the way they do.
If you truly think your husband may be a narcissist, it’s important to seek professional help and take advice from someone who can take a closer look at his behavior.
What Is a Selfish Person? Traits to Look Out For
A selfish person is someone who displays qualities such as being self-centered, greedy, or unsympathetic.
Selfish people often think about themselves before others and can be dismissive of other people’s feelings.
They might not always see the bigger picture and may have trouble empathizing with others.
However, a selfish person is not necessarily a bad person. They might just need a little help understanding how their behavior affects those around them.
What’s the Difference Between Selfishness and Narcissism?
Although I see the words used almost interchangeably at times, selfishness and narcissism are two very different things.
The main difference between selfishness and narcissism is that narcissism is a mental disorder while selfishness is not.
Narcissists cannot help the way they act, but selfish people can learn to change their ways.
If you think your husband may be selfish, try talking to him about how his behavior affects you.
If he’s receptive to hearing your feelings, there’s a good chance he’ll be willing to work on being less self-centered.
On the other hand, if you think your husband may be a narcissist, it’s important to seek professional help.
A mental health professional will be able to assess whether or not he has a narcissistic personality disorder and give you the best course of action.
How Does a Narcissist Treat His Wife?
If you think your husband may be a narcissist, you need to take a good look at how he treats you.
Narcissists need constant validation and attention, so it’s likely that he puts his own needs before yours.
He might dismiss your feelings or make you feel like you’re crazy. He might also gaslight you or try to control you.
Please keep in mind that narcissists are not just selfish; they have a very real mental disorder that causes them to behave the way they do.
If you think your husband may be a narcissist, no matter how badly you want to help him or make him change, you have to realize that he needs professional help.
How to Help Your Husband if He’s Selfish
If you think your husband is selfish, there are some things you can do to try and help him see things from your perspective:
- Talk to him about how his words or actions make you feel.
- Try to explain how his behavior affects those around him, including yourself and your children.
- Encourage him to think about how his actions might make others feel.
- Point out when he does something considerate or unselfish.
- Suggest ways he can be more thoughtful of others.
- Remind him that it’s okay to put himself first sometimes, but he also needs to think about others.
I often see people saying that selfish people cannot change, do not want to change, and will not change.
This is not always true. It depends on how selfish the person is, of course, but I would never write someone off without trying to help them change.
Especially not someone as important to me as a spouse or loved one.
What’s It Like Being Married to a Narcissist?
First of all, don’t ever blame yourself if you married a narcissist.
Part of their personality trait is to be charming, and it’s very hard to tell when a man is a narcissist, especially at arm’s length before you live under the same roof.
The truth is, being married to a narcissist is not always easy.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone reading that if you already have suspicions that you’re living with one.
Narcissists are often charming and charismatic, but their need for attention and validation can be suffocating.
If you’re married to a narcissist, you might feel like you’re always walking on eggshells or that you’re never good enough.
It’s the need for constant validation and attention that puts a strain on most marriages, as a wife you’ll often feel like you’re never good enough.
You might also feel like he’s always putting his own needs before yours.
This slowly – or not so slowly – chips away at your own self-esteem and self-worth, and starts the vicious cycle of you blaming yourself and giving more power to your husband.
Living with a narcissist almost always creates an incredibly toxic environment that only gets worse over time – even if you start to feel like it’s ‘normal’.
Image credits – Photo by Andrik Langfield on Unsplash
Narcissistic personality disorder – Mayoclinic.org
How to Deal With Selfish People – OprahDaily.com
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.