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How Do Narcissists Treat Their Wives? Top 7 Behavior Patterns

How Do Narcissists Treat Their Wives

In this post, you’ll discover how narcissists treat their wives, along with helpful tips to cope with narcissistic behavior.

Who Is The Narcissist?

A narcissist is someone who has an excessive sense of self-importance, a deep need for admiration, and a lack of empathy towards others.

They often believe they are superior to others and constantly seek validation and attention from others.

Narcissists can have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships, as they tend to prioritize their own needs and desires above others’.

It’s important to note that narcissism exists on a spectrum, and not all individuals with narcissistic traits will have a diagnosable personality disorder.

Related: Top 10 Narcissistic Relationship Patterns

Signs of Narcissistic Behavior in a Partner

Here are some common signs to look out for:

1. Excessive self-focus: A narcissistic partner constantly seeks attention, validation, and admiration. They may consistently steer conversations towards themselves and show little interest in others.

2. Lack of empathy: Narcissists often struggle to understand or care about others’ feelings, needs, or perspectives. They may dismiss or trivialize others’ emotions, making it challenging to have meaningful emotional connections.

3. Grandiose sense of self-importance: Narcissists tend to have an inflated sense of self-worth. They might boast about their achievements, abilities, or possessions, and believe they are special or superior to others.

4. Manipulative tendencies: Narcissistic partners may use manipulation tactics to control and exploit others. They might guilt-trip, gaslight, or play mind games to get their way or maintain power and control in the relationship.

5. Lack of accountability: Narcissists may struggle to take responsibility for their actions, deflecting blame onto others instead. They may rarely apologize genuinely or acknowledge their mistakes.

6. Constant need for validation: Narcissists often crave validation from others to feed their fragile self-esteem. They may fish for compliments, seek constant reassurance, or excessively seek external validation in various aspects of life.

7. Tendency to devalue and discard others: In relationships, narcissists may idealize their partner initially, but as time goes on, they tend to devalue and demean them. They may frequently criticize, belittle, or humiliate their partner, causing emotional harm.

8. Sense of entitlement: Narcissistic partners may display a sense of entitlement and expect special treatment. They might disregard boundaries or disregard others’ needs and feelings.

It’s essential to remember that individuals may display some narcissistic traits occasionally without having a narcissistic personality disorder.

However, if you consistently observe these signs in your partner and feel trapped or emotionally abused, seeking support from trusted friends, family members, or professionals is important.

Related: 21 Stages of a Narcissist Relationship (+FREE Breakup Recovery Worksheets)

How Do Narcissists Treat Their Wives?

1. Manipulation

Narcissists are skilled manipulators who have a strong desire for control.

They may use emotional manipulation tactics to make their wives feel guilty, confused, or inferior.

One common tactic employed by narcissists is gaslighting, where they twist reality to make their wives doubt their own perceptions and sanity.

For example, they might deny saying hurtful things or accuse their wives of exaggerating their experiences.

By continuously invalidating their spouse’s reality, narcissists gain power and control over them.

Another way narcissists manipulate their wives is through emotional manipulation.

They may use guilt trips, silent treatment, or emotional outbursts to coerce their partners into doing what they want.

This can leave their wives feeling constantly on edge, always trying to please and avoid conflict.

Related: Narcissist Baiting – What it is, Why it Happens, and How to Stop it

2. Lack of Empathy and Emotional Support

Narcissists struggle to empathize with others, including their spouses.

Narcissists tend to prioritize their own needs, desires, and achievements above those of their partners.

They may constantly seek admiration and validation, making their wives feel unimportant or invisible in the relationship.

Additionally, narcissists may struggle to provide emotional support, as they are unable to truly understand or empathize with their spouse’s feelings and experiences.

Instead, they may dismiss or belittle their partner’s emotions, leaving them feeling invalidated and unheard.

For example, a narcissistic husband might brush off his wife’s concerns or dismiss her feelings as insignificant, causing her distress and loneliness.

Related: Narcissist Word Salad: 12 Strategies & Examples

3. Idealization and Devaluation

In the beginning stages of the relationship, narcissists often idealize their partners, showering them with attention, affection, and compliments.

They may appear charming, attentive, and understanding, making their wives feel special and loved.

However, as time goes on, this idealization phase gives way to devaluation.

Narcissists start criticizing, belittling, and undermining their wives, often in subtle ways that gradually erode their self-esteem and confidence.

Related: The Narcissist’s Prayer Explained

4. Controlling Behavior

Narcissists often exhibit controlling tendencies, seeking to dominate and manipulate their wives’ actions, choices, and relationships.

They tend to view their spouses as mere extensions of themselves, meant to serve their needs and desires.

In a narcissistic dynamic, the husband will typically assert dominance over his wife, seeking to control various aspects of her life.

This can include making all major decisions without considering her input.

For instance, a narcissistic husband might dictate how his wife dresses, questioning her choice of clothing or forcing her to conform to his preferred style.

He may also control her finances tightly, limiting her access to money and requiring her to provide detailed explanations for any expenditures.

Another way narcissists exert control is through constant monitoring and invasion of privacy.

They might insist on knowing her whereabouts at all times, demanding constant check-ins or even resorting to methods such as reading her messages or listening in on phone calls.

All these actions combined form a pattern of controlling behavior that can leave the wife feeling suffocated, isolated, and stripped of her autonomy.

Related: 10 Signs of Gaslighting (+FREE Worksheets)

5. Lack of Boundaries

Narcissists struggle with respecting boundaries, both emotional and physical.

They may invade their wife’s privacy, constantly interrupt or override her opinions, and fail to acknowledge her personal space and autonomy.

6. Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse from a narcissist can take various forms, including constant criticism, belittling, and demeaning language.

They may use words as weapons to intentionally undermine their wives’ self-esteem and confidence, aiming to keep them dependent and submissive.

For instance, a narcissistic husband might constantly remind his wife of her perceived flaws or shortcomings, undermining her accomplishments and dismissing her opinions.

This abuse can lead to the wife feeling trapped, constantly questioning her own worth and walking on eggshells to avoid triggering the narcissist’s anger or wrath.

Related: Are You A Victim of Narcissistic Abuse Quiz

7. Isolation And Social Alienation

When it comes to how narcissists treat their wives, isolation and social alienation are common tactics they employ.

Narcissists have an overwhelming need for control and attention, which often leads them to isolate their wives from family, friends, and support networks.

They may subtly undermine relationships, create conflicts, or discourage social interactions.

They may demean their partner’s friends and family, making them question the value of these relationships.

Another way narcissists isolate their wives is through controlling behavior. They may monitor their partner’s activities, restrict access to money, or limit their freedom to work or engage in hobbies.

By isolating their wives, narcissists gain power and control over them, making it easier to manipulate and exert dominance in the relationship.

Related: Why A Narcissist Won’t Divorce You?

Emotional Abuse Recovery Worksheets

Coping Strategies For Wives Dealing With Narcissistic Spouses

1. Educate yourself

Understanding the characteristics and behaviors of a narcissistic individual can help wives gain insight into their spouse’s actions, enabling them to develop healthier coping mechanisms.

By learning about narcissism, wives can recognize that they are not the cause of their spouse’s behavior and can begin to separate themselves from the emotional turmoil that often accompanies a narcissistic relationship.

This can involve reading books, articles, or attending therapy sessions with professionals who specialize in this area.

It can also be helpful to connect with support groups or online communities where individuals share similar experiences and exchange strategies for dealing with narcissistic partners.

This self-education empowers wives to better understand boundaries, the concept of gaslighting, manipulation tactics, and ways to protect their own emotional well-being.

Related: Top 5 Reasons Why Narcissists Target Empaths – & How to Starve The Narcissist of Supply

2. Set clear boundaries

Coping with a narcissistic spouse can be a challenging and emotionally draining experience for wives.

However, setting clear boundaries is an essential coping strategy that can help protect their well-being and maintain some sense of control in the relationship.

Establishing boundaries involves clearly communicating expectations and limits to the spouse while assertively standing up for oneself.

For instance, a wife may set a boundary to not engage in arguments when her spouse becomes verbally abusive.

Instead, she can calmly state her discomfort and remove herself from the situation.

By clearly defining what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior, wives can create a safe space for themselves and prevent their self-esteem from being further eroded.

It is important to remember that setting boundaries may require patience and consistency, as narcissistic spouses often push against these limits to maintain their control.

Nonetheless, this strategy empowers wives to regain their personal power and build resilience in the face of challenging circumstances.

Related: How To Set Boundaries With A Narcissist?

3. Focus on self-care

It is essential to prioritize your own physical, mental, and emotional well-being amidst the chaos.

Engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as practicing yoga, reading, or pursuing a hobby, can help restore a sense of balance and calm.

Additionally, practicing self-compassion and reminding yourself that you deserve happiness and respect are essential.

Related: Caregiving vs Caretaking (The Savior Complex)

4. Seek support

It can often feel overwhelming and isolating to be in a relationship with someone who constantly seeks admiration and lacks empathy.

By reaching out for support, wives can find comfort in knowing that they are not alone in their experiences.

This can be done through therapy, support groups, or confiding in trusted friends and family members.

Therapy offers a safe space for wives to explore their feelings, build their self-esteem and gain valuable insight into the dynamics of their relationship.

Support groups provide an opportunity to connect with others who are going through similar challenges, creating a sense of community and understanding.

Sharing experiences with trusted loved ones can also bring solace and reassurance.

5. Practice detachment

One effective coping strategy that can help maintain emotional well-being is practicing detachment.

Detachment refers to creating space and boundaries between oneself and the narcissistic spouse, both physically and emotionally.

This technique involves maintaining a certain level of emotional distance to protect one’s mental health from the constant need for validation and emotional manipulation from the narcissist.

Practicing detachment can involve various actions.

For instance, setting clear boundaries and communicating them assertively can help establish a sense of autonomy and self-worth.

Wives may choose to limit their interactions with their narcissistic spouses to specific times or topics, avoiding engaging in discussions that are likely to result in conflicts or emotional turmoil.

Related: Rational Detachment – What Is It and How to Cultivate it

6. Stay calm and composed

Maintaining a sense of inner peace and composure can help wives protect their emotional well-being and approach the relationship from a place of strength.

When faced with narcissistic behavior, it’s important not to let their manipulative tactics or demeaning comments affect one’s self-esteem. Instead, focus on maintaining a positive mindset, reminding yourself of your worth and capabilities.

This can be achieved through practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or engaging in activities that bring joy and relaxation.

Related: Top 7-Day Acceptance Challenge For A Peaceful Life

7. Document incidents

Keeping a record of specific instances that highlight their spouse’s narcissistic behavior can serve multiple purposes.

Firstly, it helps validate the wife’s experiences and emotions.

By jotting down the details of each incident, she creates a tangible reminder that what she is going through is indeed real and not just in her head.

This documentation can also be useful when seeking support or counseling, as having concrete examples can help professionals better understand the dynamic at play.

In addition, documenting incidents provides a clearer picture of the spouse’s patterns and tendencies over time.

It allows wives to identify common triggers, manipulative tactics, or recurring themes that may come up.

For example, by reviewing past instances, a wife might discover that her spouse consistently belittles her in social settings to assert dominance.

Armed with this knowledge, she can begin to strategize ways to navigate these situations or even avoid them altogether.

Furthermore, documenting incidents can serve as a crucial resource during moments of self-doubt or gaslighting.

Narcissistic spouses often excel at twisting reality and making their partners question their own perceptions.

However, having a detailed account of events can provide wives with a solid foundation to ground themselves in when they start to question their sanity.

It is important to note that while documenting incidents is helpful, it should only be done if it feels safe to do so.

If a wife believes that keeping written records may put her at risk, it is advisable to explore alternative coping strategies or seek professional guidance.

Related: Breaking Trauma Bond With A Narcissist


It is essential to understand that the narcissist’s behavior is a reflection of the narcissist’s deep-rooted insecurities and lack of empathy, rather than any fault of the wife.

If you or someone you know is experiencing verbal abuse from a narcissistic spouse, seeking support from trusted friends, family, or professionals is crucial to regain self-confidence and establish healthier boundaries.

By Hadiah

Hadiah is a counselor who is passionate about supporting individuals on their journey towards mental well-being. Hadiah not only writes insightful articles on various mental health topics but also creates engaging and practical mental health worksheets.

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