Once they see that you've settled into the marriage, they start revealing their true colors, manipulating you until you become so used to fulfilling their every need and ignoring your own.
At first, they seem like the charming person who has all the traits that you longed for in a partner. When you exchange wedding vows with them, they still seem like a loving spouse who can make you happy like no one else can. But as months and years pass by, you start seeing a different side to them that you never saw before.
A narcissist waits patiently to earn your trust, and once they have reeled you in completely, they show you what they truly are — a self-centered partner who loves you mainly because they need you to fulfill their needs. You may have been married for years to them and these may be the signs that you ignored.
Whether it's a gap in communication, lack of intimacy, or possessiveness in the marriage, if you see your partner making up reasons to blame you for it, it shows how they can never accept their mistakes. The narcissist in them will never be ready to compromise, because of which they will go to the extent of demeaning you, calling you needy, possessive, selfish, ungrateful for all the things they claim to have done for you, according to PsychCentral.
What's more is that when you constantly feel blamed and guilt-tripped in your marriage for every little or big thing, you start losing your confidence, eventually reaching a point where you willingly take the blame for things that aren't your fault.
In the marriage, you are constantly expected to find ways to please your spouse, compliment them, meet their needs, and always stay on your toes to make them feel appreciated. They expect you to feed their ego, but they don't give your needs the same attention that they expect.
While you may have hoped for a marriage where you and your partner are equals, what you get is a relationship that's completely off balance, and your partner uses every chance they get to prove that they are superior to you, and worse, makes you feel like someone who's meant to satisfy their emotional and physical needs while getting nothing in return.
It may be impossible to find someone who understands your feelings completely, but a narcissistic spouse will not even make the effort to understand what you're going through. You might find them insensitive, as HuffPost pointed out. In a marriage, when you're constantly seeing that your opinions and feelings are disregarded, it can make you feel unseen, unheard, and eventually, unloved in the relationship.
And having to feel that way for so long can break your self-esteem bit by bit. However, a narcissist will do just enough to make you think that they will change so that you don't leave them, but soon after they see that you're settled in again, they will pull you back into the same cycle.
You may have loved spending time with your friends and family before you got married. But if you've noticed that you no longer spend as much time with them anymore or you avoid their calls because you're worried how your partner will react, it shows how they can't stand it when you give your attention to anyone or anything apart from them. Sometimes, you might even avoid meeting your loved ones while your partner is with you because you can never tell how they may behave in front of them, because they may have often put you down in public for no reason at all.
Your partner may have changed so much in the marriage that you can no longer recognize them or see any of the traits that you once fell in love with. Sometimes, your partner might even keep switching from one mood to another. One day, they might make you feel so loved and wanted, making it seem like they're still the same person you fell in love with, and then the very next day they might start manipulating you, avoiding your calls, or having the same arguments for the umpteenth time. This constant switch in behavior is their way of throwing you off guard, making it easier for them to meet their needs, as Marriage.com.
An ideal partner isn't someone who has it all right, but someone who's willing to change along with you. In your marriage, your partner may be far from what's ideal, but in their head, they are perfect. Whenever you suggest some change in the marriage or ask them if they'd be willing to change something, they will immediately shut you down.
When they are never able to accept even positive criticism and they lash out when you suggest something, it shows how their egos are so brittle, and to make up for it, they will make you feel smaller so that they can feel bigger.
If you've ever wondered why there's so much drama in your marriage, it's because your narcissistic partner thrives on it. They may throw tantrums, they may instigate negative emotions in you, or cross the boundaries just to feel powerful, as Preston Ni, author, and professor, pointed out in Psychology Today. By now, your spouse may have made you feel like this is the treatment you deserve, forcing you to put up with their toxic ways, and making you feel like it's a trap you can't get out of.
However, it's important for you to realize that there's no reason for letting someone coerce you into doing things you don't want to do, even if that someone is the person you married. Ending a marriage may hurt, but it won't hurt as much as continuing to be manipulated and used to satisfy only one person in the relationship.