The term “narcissist” comes from the Greek myth of Echo and Narcissus, in which the two main characters were cursed by the gods and doomed because they loved people who could not love them back.  Echo was cursed by the gods, fell in love with Narcissus, and eventually died of a broken heart.  Narcissus one day cast his gaze upon a pool and saw his own image, but when he went to kiss the image, the image disappeared.  He, too died, of a broken heart.

Modern psychology identifies certain patterns and labels them personality disorders, among those, “Cluster B” personality disorders, among those what is commonly referred to as narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissistic personality disordered individuals have the following traits described as well in this article:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideallove.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration

[regularly fishes for compliments, and is highly susceptible to flattery].
5. Has a sense of entitlement.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative.
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling [or, I would add, unable] to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty [rude and abusive] behaviors or attitudes.

If you are reading this and are suddenly realizing this describes your spouse, it’s time to sit down and think about what you are doing.  You may need a good therapist, or, hopefully not, a good lawyer.