No matter how much you love him, you will only be happy if your man not only loves you, but treats you well. He can only treat you well if he thinks about your needs in addition to his own. A man who is significantly self-absorbed may be showing narcissistic traits. Broadly speaking, you have two options when you are with a man who only thinks of himself -- you can stay and cope or you can leave. If you decide to stay, ways exist for you to manage his self-centeredness while keeping your sanity.
You have to be conscious of boundaries when you live with a man who only thinks of himself. Make a list of what you will not tolerate and make it clear that you will walk out if need be. Does he cut you off when you speak? Does he belittle your ideas by rolling his eyes, talking over you, or making it clear that he is not paying attention when you voice your opinion? If any of these examples occur often, you have to tell him that his behavior is unacceptable. Follow up by asking him for an apology. Everything in a relationship is negotiable, says Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. in “How to Live with a Narcissist,” on PsychCentral.com.Explore the limits of your power. It will make you feel better and show him that you will only take so much.
Make Him Own Up
Once you have admitted that he has a problem, encourage him to also see it. This will not be easy. A self-absorbed guy will often deny that he said or did anything offensive, even when it was in the recent past. Do not doubt your sanity and do not change your personality for the worse in an attempt to prove your point. He may be doing this willfully to confuse the facts, suggests Sapadin. Focus on the impact of his actions on your family. If he cares, you will be able to get him to acknowledge his problem.
You Are Valuable
You may find that you have lower self-esteem because of your relationship with a husband who only thinks of himself. However, there are ways to improve your sense of self, report the staff at the MayoClinic.com in “Self-esteem: Four Steps to Feel Better About Yourself." One strategy is to eliminate any negative self-talk. Ask yourself if your negative beliefs are supported by logic or facts. Avoid turning positive thoughts into negative thoughts, jumping to negative conclusions, or ignoring facts in favor of negative feelings. Once you have identified the negatives, replace them with positive feelings and thoughts. When you realize your value, you will be more willing to take the risk of ending any unhealthy relationship.
You may be able to live with your husband’s behavior but you will not be able to do so alone. Reach out to family and friends for advice. They will listen and may have good suggestions. If not, contact a professional counselor. She may be able to help you with your sense of self-worth and advise you on how to broach the topic of help with your husband. You may not be able to change him, but you can find a way to be happy and healthy.
Nina Edwards holds a doctorate in clinical psychology and has been writing about families and relationships since 2000. She has numerous publications in scholarly journals and often writes for relationship websites as well. Edwards is a university lecturer and practicing psychologist in New York City.