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Most people who have never been with a narcissist will look at someone who is with one and say, “Why would they be with someone like that? I would never!” And while it might seem that a narcissist would wear their toxicity on their sleeve, they actually hide it quite well, that is why they are able to cause the harm that they cause.

When you meet a narcissist, they won’t come up to you and say, “Hey! I’m a narcissist! Want to date?” Instead, they hide their narcissism quite well. In many cases, they will try to find ways to manipulate you into falling for them, when all the while you aren’t falling for them, you are falling for a made-up version of them. If you are unlucky enough to marry a narcissist, then you will find out all too well that once they feel like they ‘have’ you, their true colors will begin to come out.

Here is how their true colors begin to show after marriage.

1. They move from idealization to devaluation.

Narcissists begin their relationships with a phase of idealization. During this phase, they will love to bomb you. Even if you haven’t known them very long, they will insist you are their soulmate. They will make you feel like you are the most important person in the world to them, but this doesn’t last forever. Once they feel like they have got you on their line-they will begin to tear you down. Nothing you will do will ever be enough unless they need to love to bomb you again for manipulation purposes.

2. It’s their way or the highway.

If you ever disagree with a narcissist, prepare for hell. Everything is their way or the highway. And if their partner has differing opinions-they will flat out shut them down or try to force their opinion on you.

3. Getting them to empathize with you is like pulling teeth- because they don’t have empathy.

Narcissists do not empathize with others unless it benefits them. When you are married to one, it will be nearly impossible for them to see things from your perspective- because they can only see what they need/want. When it comes down to it- they do not truly have the ability to empathize with others, and ultimately, that can become quite frustrating.

4. Your needs always come last.

The narcissist will always be the most important person, at least in their mind. Unfortunately, this can be especially painful in a relationship, because in a relationship, you expect to have your needs met. However, narcissists will continue to only do things that benefit themselves.

5. They project.

Narcissists like to turn things around on their partners. Whenever they are called out on their bad behavior, or whenever their partner comes to them to resolve a problem-the narcissist will turn the tables. For example, you might say, “Why are you being so mean to me today?” They might say, “Because you were mean to me first. You are always mean to me. I don’t know why I even put up with it.” Even though in reality- you have done nothing wrong.

6. They control.

Narcissists like to control their partners. You see, their partner isn’t a person with their own will (at least in the mind of a narcissist.) Instead, you will be viewed as merely an extension of yourself.

7. They weaponize love.

One of the most used tactics of the narcissist is using your love for them against you. When you are arguing, they will use the silent treatment. They might even refuse to touch you, hug you, or show any type of affection until you do as they say.

8. They work to isolate you.

One way the narcissist can ensure that they can control you is to isolate you. If you have a lot of friends and family in the beginning, it is very likely that little by little, your partner will push them away from you, so that they can have you to themselves. This makes it less likely that you will go up against them because, in their mind, you will be dependent on them.

9. They destroy your sense of self.

Throughout the course of the relationship, as you encounter more and more abuse, and as the narcissist manipulates and gaslights you, you will begin to change. You will feel as though you have lost yourself in the process of trying to make your narcissist love you.