12 Signs You’ve Just Discovered You Might Be Married to a Narcissist During COVID-19

Woman sad she's married to a narcissist.

You’re home with your partner 24/7. You start to notice little things that irk you. They don’t bring you a water refill when they get their own. And then, slowly, a thought creeps into your head and even though you try to un-think it, there’s no turning back. It’s there. Your stomach turns on itself in a fitful surge of anguish, as the unwanted thought-question materializes: “Oh my God. Am I married to a narcissist?”

Your mind races back to other instances and comments that you’d previously shrugged off. The sickening feeling washes over you and with it, the realization that there is a definite pattern of demeaning behavior. Awareness grows, your mouth falls open, and you connect the narcissistic dots that had been unseen by you until now.

Here are 12 signs you may have recently noticed that indicate you might actually be married to a narcissist:

  1. You notice they constantly use “I” and “my” singular pronouns. “I am stuck at home here, even though I think my work should be considered essential.” Although you both have jobs outside the home, you hear them complain: “I really had to adjust my routine with having my kids home all day, because my work is go-go-go all day long.”

  2. In their Zoom meeting, they are the first to speak and often interject or talk over others. Or they ask “smart” questions to impress others on the call with what they believe is their great intellect. Especially if there are 6 or more people on the call.

  3. Their wfh is more important than yours. “I had to really adjust my schedule to home. You don’t understand how much I do at the office all day. My work is much more difficult than the things you do at your office. I have people calling on me and needing me all day.”

  4. “Who loves Daddy/Mommy?” Narcissists crave attention. Any attention. Clients tell us that their narcissistic ex’s will pick up a resting dog to get some attention.  They interrupt the kids when they are trying to enjoy their free-hour of screen time. For a narcissist, their need for constant reinforcement from others is a top priority. Perhaps you’ve seen this all along, but under quarantine, it’s more apparent.

  5. They won’t wear a mask in public. Narcissists will tell you that, “it’s not because they don’t appreciate the seriousness of the Coronavirus.” The real reason is they want people (even—and sometimes especially—strangers) to both see their entire face and to be sure that others hear them speak clearly. They desperately need to be noticed.

  6. The need to be first. At the grocery store, they will bust down the aisles, ignoring arrows or other signals about traffic flow, even if someone else is there first.

    They have a disregard for social distancing and lack situational awareness because they are wrapped up in themselves. If you suggest that they pause for a moment to allow the previous grocery shopper to finish, they will lash out at you for correcting them in public.

  7. They do not help at home. If you had previous child care or help at home, don’t expect your narcissist partner to pick up the slack. They ask you, “Can’t Rosa come and watch the kids for a little bit, so I don’t have to hear them from the other room?” Or, “I can’t help change the sheets on the beds and do laundry; my work is way too demanding.”

    Your newly-discovered “Coronavirus Narcissist” just assumes—and expects— that you will pick up the work that previous household support took care of because that work is menial and not worth the narcissist’s time or energy.

  8. Their long-standing home projects are officially postponed during the Coronavirus. They won’t be available or willing to address anything on your list. They will claim they are far too busy now, that their work is invaluable and that others in their company cannot manage without your partner’s oversight.

    Even though you have bought all the paint, the brushes, and rollers to paint the laundry room with you, they will not do it. Yet they will tell co-workers on a call, “Yeah, I’m painting the laundry room on Sunday. Giving my spouse a much-needed break.”

    You will end up painting by yourself, and your partner will lean in the doorway at only one point during your painting and say, “Nice job.” Then they will tell their co-workers the next week, “Yep, we got it done.”

  9. Their screen time increases dramatically. They almost always initiate reaching out to a non-narcissist from their past who will listen to their stories of self-accomplishment and ultimately boost their ego. They FaceTime more if they have an iPhone, and their Zoom calls are almost never just audio.

    If they use a green screen behind them in their Zoom call, they select an image of just themselves of skydiving, self-saluting at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro or of themselves on their African Safari last year when they were in a face-off with a lion that almost ate them.

  10. They define the word “essential” to suit their needs. The Coronavirus narcissist frequently goes to multiple essential businesses to purchase one or two non-essential items. This serves two purposes. One, they can pontificate their brilliant opinions to anyone within earshot. Two, their sought out items are just a cover for the Coronavirus narcissist to get out and be seen.

  11. You are dramatically micro-managed and criticized. You are continually reminded of how wrong and inefficient you are. They scrutinize everything you do and call you out that your shared home is not up to snuff. The way you loaded the dishwasher is incorrect. You are supposed to fold towels “this way,” so the towels can be stored on the shelf in a neater way. (Hello, Julia Roberts in Sleeping with the Enemy.)

    Like a human high-powered deluxe Dyson vacuum cleaner, they toss out (without warning) the children’s beloved things and your things that they deem as unimportant. After, they rant: “Sophie has too many stuffed animals. I left her 3.”

  12. They do un-prioritized tasks first, even though you have an urgent need to have it addressed. For example, that magnifying wall mirror anniversary gift they gave you in 2019, is still in the box. Although you have asked sweetly many times for your spouse to install it, it will likely remain in the box until all of the tasks on the Coronavirus Narcissist’s list have been completed.

This is a good starting point but your narcissist may be doing other things that drive you crazy. COVID-19 isn’t bringing out the best in everyone, so before you jump to any conclusions, ask yourself how stressed your partner really is? Is his or her behavior reasonable given the level of pressure they are under? Are you married to a narcissist? 

If the answer to those questions is a resounding “NO”, then you may very well be married to a narcissist. How can you know for sure? Through May 31, 2020, we are offering a free 50-minute consultation for any relationship support you may need, including helping you determine what is really going on with your spouse. Please contact us here to schedule your free session and learn more about how we can help you.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has definitely caused an increase in cases of domestic violence. And those are just the ones that are reported. If you have any concerns that you could be in an abusive environment, please seek help immediately here.

We are certified in Family Law Mediation, nationally syndicated writers, relationship and parenting experts, dually certified in Myers Briggs (personality), and Podcast hosts of the Relationship Restaurant. Please reach out if we can support you and your family in creating a healthier, happier life.

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Melanie Gorman