Narcissistic men want a woman who will add to their image as a superior man. They often seek out an accomplished woman who becomes their ‘trophy wife.’ As with everyone else in their life, however, they seek to manipulate and control their wife. If they are able to do that, it gives them an even greater sense of superiority.
Narcissistic husbands will often gaslight their wives to distort their sense of reality. They will also lie to them, and they frequently have affairs. The flattery that was so common prior to your wedding now only makes an appearance in front of others. When you’re alone, there is only criticism.
The narcissistic husband is not capable of giving unconditional love to his wife nor is he genuinely interested in her needs. He can’t be because he can only focus on propping up his fragile false sense of self. It’s critical to understand the reasons behind this behavior so that you can spot and stop his manipulative tactics. Let’s take a look at just how bad it can get.
What are the Different Ways a Narcissistic Man will Treat His Wife?
There are several things a narcissistic man will do to his wife that are very different from how he might have treated you before you got married. A man with narcissistic personality disorder is a man who has a constant need for external validation.
A wife is a good source of that, and if she is beautiful, intelligent, and successful, she also enhances his image to his friends and colleagues. But he also wants to be able to manipulate and control her, not only because it makes him look good to others, but also because it makes him feel even more superior.
Toward that end, here are several ways he might attempt to manipulate and control you after the bloom is off the rose.
Isolation so You Feel Alone and Dependent
First, he will try to isolate you from family and friends. If you have people in your life who can validate your reality and your worth as a human, that undermines his efforts to manipulate and control you.
For that reason, he will try to isolate you from supportive family and friends. Though he seemed to like your friends early in your relationship, he starts letting you know that he doesn’t like them anymore. If your loved ones have even the slightest idea of what he’s trying to do, the feeling will likely be mutual.
His isolation doesn’t just stop with family and friends either. He will try to isolate you financially. He would love nothing more than for you to be dependent on him for money. That would give him even more control.
Narcissistic Rage to Distract and Frighten You
Narcissists erupt in a sudden, uncontrollable rage sometimes at the slightest provocation. If you ask him what he did today, he may fly off the handle and accuse you of implying he’s lazy. Of course, that’s not what you said or intended, but these explosive outbursts soon have you second-guessing your words and actions.
You’ll find you’re walking on eggshells all of the time around him because you don’t know what might set him off. But narcissistic rage isn’t always explosive.
Sometimes, you get the icy cold silent treatment. He may suddenly just stop acknowledging your existence. You don’t even know what you did, and you probably didn’t do anything, but even if you did, that’s not the way people treat each other in a healthy relationship.
Gaslighting to Make You Feel Crazy
The term gaslighting comes from an old movie by the same name. In that movie, the narcissistic husband tries to convince his wife she’s losing her mind. This is essentially what gaslighting is, and your narcissistic husband will use it extensively to manipulate you.
He will try to convince you that what you think is reality isn’t, and he will also try to convince you that you’re the one with a problem. You might not think you would fall for something like that, but it can be very effective.
He may say things like, “That’s not what I said,” or “That’s not what happened,” and the technique can work so well that you’ll think you must have imagined what you thought you saw. This is an insidious method for taking control of someone’s mind.
Cheating without Restraint
Another thing your narcissistic husband is likely to do is to have an affair, probably many affairs. Narcissists have such a strong fear that they will lose their source of narcissistic supply that they always want to have a backup ready and waiting.
Toward that end, narcissistic spouses often cheat. They have no problem lying about it, and if you find out, they will try to gaslight you. They will make you seem like you’re an overly jealous woman.
They will accuse you of having affairs to cover up their own infidelity. Their affairs make you paranoid and jealous, and their gaslighting makes you doubt what you feel in your gut.
Lying as a Default Tactic
It goes without saying that narcissists have no problem lying. Narcissistic husbands will frequently lie to their wives. Sometimes it’s to cover up some wrongdoing, but other times, it’s just to have a sense of control.
Often a narcissist will lie about minor things just to ensure you trust what they’re saying. If you catch them, they will insist you simply misunderstood what they said.
Lying is the foundational behavior for most of the narcissist’s other manipulation tactics, so this just comes naturally to them. They have been doing it since their own childhood when their narcissism formed.
Triangulation to Undermine Relationships
Triangulation refers to telling you one thing and someone else something entirely different. Narcissists use this within a family – for example, between you and your children – and they might also do it between you and your friends.
It’s an incredibly destructive tactic since it damages close relationships you have with other people. They might not be aware of the narcissist’s problem and they often believe what he is saying. Children are particularly vulnerable to this corrosive technique.
It can also damage your relationship with supportive friends and even work colleagues. It plays into the methods the narcissist uses to isolate you from supportive social networks.
Constant Criticism to Undermine Self-Confidence
While the narcissist was very flattering at the beginning of your relationship and maybe even right up until you got married, that all changes when the relationship enters the devaluation stage. That’s when the narcissist becomes disillusioned with you because you can’t meet his unrealistically high expectations.
At that point, he begins criticizing you almost constantly. The only times he praises you is in front of people he is trying to impress. That’s only because it makes him look like a supportive, loving husband and a great man who got this wonderful woman.
When you’re home alone, however, he will let you know exactly what you have done wrong and how you have displeased him.
His Disappearing Act Will Keep You Off-Guard
Finally, there are the narcissist’s disappearing acts. He may disappear for hours or days at a time. Sometimes he might disappear for longer than that.
This is another tactic to keep you off guard and fearful as well. He doesn’t want you to be able to predict anything about what he might do. That way, he is calling the shots, at least in his mind.
The ultimate disappearing act might come with the eventual discard. When a narcissist finally tires of you or fears you are close to exposing his true self, they will abruptly end the relationship, often without explanation.
What Can the Wife of a Narcissist Do to Protect Herself?
The answer to that question is, in a word, leave. Many women don’t have that option, however, either because they are financially dependent on him, share children with him, or they feel they still love him.
In that case, you have to realize some hard truths. He will not prioritize or look out for your needs, so you have to do that for yourself. He will try to cross any boundary you set, so you have to enforce them consistently with clear consequences.
You have to let your friends and family know that he will try to manipulate them by telling lies, gaslighting, triangulation, and any other technique he uses. You have to warn them that you’re not putting up with it and you don’t want them to either. They are your social support network and you have to maintain that network.
You have to get away from him from time to time. It doesn’t have to be for long, but it needs to be long enough to process your emotions and refresh your sense of self-worth, self-esteem, and self-confidence.
Being the wife of a narcissist is not an easy task. The narcissistic husband will treat you in a manipulative, controlling manner once he thinks he has you right where he wants you. If you can’t leave or don’t want to, you’ll need to stand up for your own needs and set strong boundaries that you consistently maintain.
If you and your narcissistic husband share children together, this article is a must-see to understand how he might try to use them against you. It also has some great advice about how you can protect them and yourself from his abuse.
If you want more tips for dealing with narcissists, setting boundaries, and managing emotional triggers, make sure you subscribe to my youtube channel