Need treatment? Find help or get online counseling right now!

11 Comments to
When You’re the Wife of a Narcissist

The comments below begin with the oldest comments first. (If there's more than one page, click on the last comments page to jump to the most recent comments.) Jump to reply form.

  1. Sharie,

    Thank you for detailing the inner torment and inner dialogue that occurs in the minds of women or men married to an N. I am oddly comforted by know that I’m not alone and the thoughts that I think and feel are real and not imagined. My justification, cognitive dissonance, shame and the N’s duplicitous personality not to mention the keeping of appearances are emotionally and psychologically exhausting. I’m at the end of myself with participating in this charade of a relationship and yet my feet are so trained to the dysfunction of my home. I don’t want to be the “bad girl” and tear up the home and family but I’ve been the “bad girl” for so long does it even matter?

    • I think you get to the point where you’re done. You’re done caring how you appear to him or others. You get to a point where you know your heart and you know you have good motives and are a good wife. You get to a point where you refuse to change anything at all about yourself in order to be loved. You realize that you don’t have to earn love and that your narc has abused you with the belief that you are not lovable just the way you are.

      Remember this: You are imprisoned by your own belief system.

      Your belief system holds you captive to the idea that you have to please, perform, earn, hustle, etc., for your worthiness. Freedom comes when you, being like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz realizing home was with her all along, realize that the key to your liberty resides squarely within you. No one else has to see it, acknowledge it, bless it, allow it, or agree with it. You simply give yourself permission to be yourself. You look your narc in the eye and you tell him under no uncertain terms, are you going to allow him to ever define you or control you again. And then turn around and walk away.

  2. I have lived this behaviour pattern to the letter, and in my case each stage is accurately described and is embarrassingly and shockingly true when I look back on over 30 years with my husband. At the time I as so busy peace-keeping I simply did not see it. I have spent the past 8 months, since finding out about his latest affair and his double life between the UK and Canada (where he has worked for the last 2 to 3 years), facing up to and getting an intellectual understanding of how our relationship has worked with the clarity of hindsight. The emotional understanding is harder to keep in focus, as it seems shocking that someone you trust and have loved and who you thought loved you, doesn’t actually really love you and likely never did, and the temptation is strong to reflect on how I was not good enough and how I could not be what he wanted. The question I have though is how can I help break the cycle so that my 3 children (a son aged 17 and 2 daughters aged 14 and 12) do not repeat the cycle as envisaged by the article? I have recently started divorce proceedings and my husband will split his time between Canada and the UK, so the impact of him (“I am the center of the universe” is a typical statement from him to the children and was said just today) may be lessened but they will of course still spend periods of time with him when I am not there to help keep the peace or deflect his behaviour. My 14 year old daughter is more savvy than her brother and younger sister and does not react to him, but my son looks up to him enormously and my younger daughter responds to him as she just wants to be shown attention by him as he gives her the least attention of all of the children. Can you provide any guidance as to how I can improve my childrens’ chances of breaking the cycle and not either copying their father’s narcissistic behaviour or submitting to a narcissistic partner in the future please? Thank you.

    • I get asked that question all the time. It takes awareness and reprogramming. You are doing that yourself. Help your daughter with what you learn.

  3. I am astounded that there are so many women in this situation including myself in that category, I have a problem with the fact I guess that they never loved you an it was all fake. I am glad that there are other women who knows what it is like to live with a person with this personality disorder other than just me. I was mentally, physically, & sexually abused I am getting a divorce, I am also in therapy, he has won’t leave me alone I guess my question is will he ever stop harassing me. He is living with another woman an she has 3 young children an I am afraid for them, he can be extremely violent.

  4. I was there, still would be there if he hadn’t left. He left because add sexual dysfunction to the mix and that was our marriage. He claims a counselor he was mandated to see advised him to leave me because I was his trigger. I was blind sided and angry because I was willing to be that wife trying to make everything work as long as I needed to in order to keep my family intact.
    I am scared for my children now. I’m not there to do damage control when he has them. I’m not there to see what is being said to them or how they are being treated. How do I help avoid some of this damage to them? They are 10 and 12 now.

    • That’s why so many people don’t want to get divorced – because they want to keep their children safe…I think the best thing you can do is prepare your children for reality. You are their mom and part of our job as mothers is to teach our kids how to navigate the world. Life can be brutal, so educating our children on how to live well is in order. Teach them about boundaries, self-respect, empathy, critical thinking, and how to create a safety plan. Teach them about healthy relationships and unhealthy relationships. Provide them with understanding,and a listening ear. Be strong.

  5. Thank you for this article. It sums up so much of what I endured during my marriage. Thankfully, I am out of the marriage, although he still attempts his psychological/mental abuse whenever possible. My concern is my children. I was able to have more than 50% custody, but they were teens when we finally ended the marriage. I am concerned that my son is starting down the same path as his father. I am not sure if he is, if it is just teenage boy behavior, or if I am overreacting because of all that I have been through – or a little of all of these. Are there resources for those that want to try to help their children?

    • I get asked this question every single day. I wish I could offer you some great resource. I am going to definitely write a book myself on the subject. In a nutshell: Have strong energy. Be safe. Speak the truth. Expect your kids to respect you. Teach your children about empathy, scapegoating, respect, and emotional abuse. Have a good sense of humor. Out manipulate the manipulator. Live well…

  6. Wow, this is my timeline. Luckily I am getting out after 3 years of marriage, but we have 2 children together and they are very, very young. I just couldn’t live like this and my own body was telling me that the stress of my marriage was killing me (I had a heart attack at 38) and that was it for me. I had to live for me and my kids. He cannot be saved. I didn’t get the official diagnosis until 4 months after the heart attack, and initially I thought it was a drug abuse of some sort. I find that the NPD symptoms are very similar to addicts, whether it be drugs, alcohol, sex, etc… I am so happy to have found this site.

  7. there is no help he wins every time anything to embarrass me or make me look like the fool…………


Join the Conversation!

We invite you to share your thoughts and tell us what you think in this public forum. Before posting, please read our blog moderation guidelines. A first name or pseudonym is required and will be displayed with your comment. Your email address is also required, but will be kept private. (Please note that we use gravatars here, which are tied to your email address.) A website/blog/twitter address is optional.

Post a Comment: