Whatever narcissists do, they believe is ok. Yet, if someone else does the same thing, that person can be wrong in the narcissist’s eyes. Narcissists also use that behavior to shame & manipulate their victim. Examples of this are especially clear in a marriage to a narcissist.
When a marriage is rocky, it leaves each person very vulnerable. It can be so easy to compare your spouse unfavorably to that handsome new coworker or that pretty cashier at the store who always smiles. It also can go farther than that. Sometimes a person will look at sexy pictures of other people on social media or even pornography. If this were to happen in a healthy marriage, it would be a warning to both partners that they need to work on their marriage. Not so with narcissists. If they are the one looking, they justify it by insulting their partner. They make sure their partner knows how much more attractive the person they are lusting after is or that if their partner was just better in bed, they wouldn’t have to look elsewhere for satisfaction. If the non-narcissistic partner is the one looking at others, the narcissist will use this to shame their partner so badly, that partner will do anything the narcissist wants. They will make the partner feel as if they have to make it up to them for the pain they have caused, yet nothing will be good enough.
Your narcissistic spouse does activities without you. Most couples don’t share all the same interests, & do things separately periodically. Narcissistic spouses are different. They tell their partner they are doing things & the partner is not welcome to join them. It may even happen often. And somehow, the partner feels guilty for not attending with their narcissistic spouse. If the situation is reversed & the partner wants to do something without the narcissist, the partner is accused of being selfish, heartless, & more. Often, this ruins the event for the partner who feels guilty enough not to attend the event they once looked forward to.
Having secrets is ok for narcissists, but no one else. Narcissists are very secretive. Their cell phones are locked & no one is allowed to touch that phone but the narcissist. If their spouse does the same thing, the spouse is berated, accused of cheating & other things that the spouse is not doing.
Narcissists will wait a long time to tell someone they are married. Everyone gets flirted with sometimes, married or not. Healthy married people may enjoy the flattery, but quickly tell the person flirting that they are married, so thanks but no thanks. Narcissists aren’t that way. They may not tell the person they’re married. They may even have an affair with this person who has no idea that this person is married. Again, narcissists will find some warped way to justify the behavior such as by telling their partner the partner is physically unattractive or boring in bed. If the narcissist’s partner did this same thing, even if the end result wasn’t an affair, the narcissist will rage. There will be no excuse for not telling the flirting person that the partner is married the moment the flirting person said hello, according to the narcissist.
Narcissists may stalk an ex’s social media or even keep in touch with an ex, but their partner isn’t allowed to do the same. A lot of people are a bit curious about an ex. They may check their social media once in a while. Or, they maintain a friendship after the relationship ended. If their partner has a problem with this, they alter their behavior accordingly. Narcissists are different, as usual. They are allowed to stalk their ex either on social media or in real life & allowed to keep in contact with that ex. If their partner is upset by this, the partner is accused of being jealous, insecure & other things. Yet, let that partner simply say hi in passing to an ex who just happens to be at the grocery store at the same time, & the narcissist will be livid.
If your spouse behaves in such ways, you are most likely dealing with a narcissist. These behaviors are NOT healthy & NOT normal! You need to recognize that these behaviors are abusive & protect yourself accordingly! Remember they aren’t personal or true. They are about the narcissist only. Learn & set healthy boundaries. Learn about the Gray Rock method. Most of all pray & let God help you learn what you need to do.