During the week of pre-wedding festivities and at the wedding itself, Clifford — the groom — was the life and soul of the party. He had agreed that the wedding could be held in the native country of his fiancé, Carlotta. His few family members and friends flew in for the week of gatherings. With a new ensemble each night, Clifford looked magnificent for all the events, and particularly so at the wedding itself, where he was resplendent in a kilt.

He flashed his beautiful smile and gave eloquent speeches, declaring his love for Carlotta with expressive words and gestures (although he was publicly critical of Carlotta’s sister: without reason, Carlotta thought). Carlotta’s nephew exclaimed that he wanted to be “just like Clifford” when he grew up. Both sets of parents looked on approvingly, happy that their children could look forward to a wonderful new life together.

But things seemed to change when Carlotta and Clifford returned, after their expensive honeymoon, to Australia. Clifford quickly seemed to lose awareness of his new wife and her feelings, doing things like bringing business associates home to dinner with no notice and overriding her wishes on nearly all household decisions, even though Carlotta brought in as much money as he did.

Clifford’s style of lovemaking seemed to be only for the purposes of satisfying himself, and he displayed increasingly sour moods, to the point that he would not even acknowledge the presence of Carlotta’s friends or her family members who came to visit. As Clifford insisted on “nothing but the best”, the couple was soon beset by huge debts, including the mortgage for their beautiful house in an exclusive suburb. As Clifford sank deeper into his ugly moods, began a series of affairs, and then withdrew completely, Carlotta wondered what happened to all the romantic promises he had made.

If Clifford’s behaviour seems similar to that of someone you know, you are probably already familiar with the personality disorder of narcissism.

Click here to learn more about Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Interesting reading: How self-aware are narcissists?