Narcissism exists on a spectrum, with most people exhibiting small amounts of self-centeredness. Few people are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, which is the most extreme form and characterized by someone being extremely self-absorbed, manipulative, and exploitative in relationships.
When someone comes to David Hawkins, a clinical psychologist at the Marriage Recovery Center in Seattle, about their narcissistic spouse, it’s usually after they’ve been on the receiving end of these behaviors for years, he told Insider.
“Typically, it takes people awhile to figure out what exactly is wrong because the narcissistic person is saying, ‘It’s not me. It’s you.’ That creates incredible confusion in the relationship,” Hawkins said.