I am not a psychologist and neither are 99% of people who diagnose those around them using the term “narcissist”. This word is likely drastically over used to describe the undesirable personality traits of the people in our lives. There are people who genuinely suffer from narcissistic personality disorder but many people who are classified as narcissists suffer only from a case of incredible selfishness. Narcissism is a genuine personality disorder, a mental illness of sorts. According to medical research, only about 6 percent of the US population will suffer with narcissistic personality disorder in their lifetime.
Narcissism does not manifest overnight. A narcissist suffers from many more pervasive life issues than those present in marriage alone. If your spouses behavior has become unrecognizable as it relates to you and your divorce, but remains amicable and positive in their other relationships, it is likely you are not dealing with a narcissist. Sometimes it is easier to label the surprising behavior of those around us as a medical disorder or something “diagnosable” in order to make sense of the fact that they may just not be who we thought they were.
Why is it important to determine whether or not your ex is truly a narcissist? Obviously without the guidance of a mental health professional it is incredibly difficult to make such a determination. Discovering whether or not your ex suffers from narcissistic personality disorder actually helps YOU navigate interactions and potentially contentious situations with greater insight.