Sadly, it seems that I'm being instructed in an increasing number of cases where my client's partners are said to be narcissists. It is difficult to know whether this is because the disorder is an increasing phenomenon or whether people are becoming more aware of the condition and signs.
The mental condition is called Narcissistic Personality Disorder and is defined as being
"Characterised by an overvalued sense of self-importance and a disregard for and lack of empathy for others"
Here are the signs to look out for:
They are controlling
Narcissists simply love being in control. They often want to know where their partner is at all times and manipulate who their partners meet or see.
They lack empathy
Often narcissists appear to have empathy but this is typically only superficial in nature. They have no genuine regard for the feelings of others even those most close to them.
They manipulate people
Narcissists are adept at twisting situations and arguments. They can manipulate people to get what they want, sometimes in a very subtle way. This can sometimes also include gas lighting (a subject for another blog on another day!). Often this manipulation can take place without the partner even realising that they are being manipulated.
Never to blame
They can't say sorry and never accept that they might be in the wrong. Manipulation often comes in to play such that the partner ends up accepting blame themselves. This often leads to a lack of confidence and self-esteem in the partner.
Sense of entitlement
Narcissists genuinely believe that they are better than those around them. Because of that they believe that they are entitled to more because they deserve or merit it.
Constant need for praise and attention
Narcissists crave attention and praise, perhaps because they believe they deserve it. Behind closed doors they might be considered ‘high maintenance’.
As one can imagine it can be very difficult living with or being married to a narcissist. It is exhausting but more worryingly can have a deep and meaningful impact upon one’s mental health and self esteem. I would always recommend seeking the support of a Domestic Abuse charity. I also recommend choosing a lawyer or solicitor that understands narcissistic traits and importantly how to deal with narcissists in the context of Family Law proceedings.
If you are living with a narcissist and need help please contact Tanners Solicitors LLP and we will do everything we can to help.
David Milburn is a partner in our Family Department and has over 20 years experience in family law.