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The Recovery Expert
with Sharie Stines, Psy.D.

When You’re the Wife of a Narcissist

Here’s what to expect when you marry a narcissist:

You will lose your self-esteem. When you marry a narcissist, you will not realize that he wants to destroy you from the inside out by acting like a normal human being at first, interspersed with random acts of meanness or manipulative-ness, and then over time, changing into a person who doesn’t see you as valuable at all – other than for what you can do for him, of course.

Overtime, he will begin to pout and feel sorry for himself.  Why is he pouting and feeling sorry for himself?  Because he is married to you.  He envies his friends who have “good” wives. He feels sorry for himself because you are so flawed and disappointing. You may be too fat or too skinny. You may nag too much or be too controlling. Your cooking may “suck” or your housecleaning isn’t up to par.

In fact, he hates being married to you – and you know it.  You are crushed. You did not get married to be a terrible spouse. You married your husband because you loved him and wanted to please him. But you never please him. At least not anymore. Now you are only a burden and a hindrance to his important agenda.

So, you try to improve. You go on a diet; join the gym; clean the house more thoroughly; try to complain less. But, nothing seems to work. You just can’t quite get to that place where other wives reside. Other wives seem to know how to be good wives and you simply stink at it. Your husband continues to be unhappy.

You finally give up trying to improve.

You focus on other things because focusing on your role as a wife became too depressing. You spend more time with your children. You hone your parenting skills and compensate for the disconnection in your marriage by connecting more with your children.

You realize that your children are somehow being hurt by the other parent as well, but you aren’t quite sure how.

After all, he isn’t beating them. He works, even supports them financially; goes to their sporting events; and comes home every night. But he seems disappointed in family life. He’s in the same room as you and the kids, but he seems a million miles away. The connection between the children and their father seems detached, distant, and cold.

You start to worry about the well-being of your children and yourself, but you push your thoughts away, reminding yourself that everyone has problems.

You feel very lonely and start to realize you are more like an object in your husband’s life, rather than a valuable partner.

Your husband doesn’t make decisions with you. He is very independent and does what he wants to do. If you challenge him there will be hell to pay, so often times you learn not to challenge him.  It’s not worth it.

You lose your voice. You have learned that when you challenge a narcissist things will not go well for anyone. The children will be traumatized, and it’s just easier to bite your tongue and try to address any issues later.

That’s a challenge in and of itself. Issues are never resolved when you’re married to a narcissist. Problems happen, and they get pushed under the rug. In order to solve a marriage problem you have to work on it yourself. You will read the marriage book alone. You will forgive one-sided. You will deal with any household problems alone. You will deal with the children’s problems without his help. All problems become yours to solve.

You become very resourceful.

Even though you are superwoman and solve all problems, you will not be appreciated for your efforts. In fact, you will be criticized and demeaned.

You will never be respected.

If you’re a fighter you will not respect him either. Either way your home has an attitude of disrespect in it.

And then, when all is said and done, your children will grow up, maybe move out, and will ultimately practice what they’ve been taught. They, too, will undervalue you and disrespect you as well.

After all, they’ve been taught the importance of having a scapegoat. They’ve learned to blame others (particularly you), walk on eggshells, overlook their own feelings and thoughts, and focus only on the narcissist’s wants and desires.

When your children finally have their own children, they may end up marrying a narcissist or becoming one. If your child ends up becoming a narcissist he will do so because he will finally have the opportunity to be the king of his own castle, finally! He will now have the opportunity to be the sun, while his children and spouse are all the planets orbiting around his universe, and so the cycle continues…



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When You’re the Wife of a Narcissist

Sharie Stines, Psy.D

Sharie Stines, Psy.D. is a recovery expert specializing in personality disorders, complex trauma and helping people overcome damage caused to their lives by addictions, abuse, trauma and dysfunctional relationships. Sharie is a counselor at LIfeline Counseling & Education Inc., in Southern California ( Lifeline Counseling is a non-profit organization 501(c)(3) corporation. Sharie is also an abusive relationship recovery coach -


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APA Reference
Stines, S. (2017). When You’re the Wife of a Narcissist. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 15, 2020, from