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13 years of narcissistic abuse from wife

Community Member

Hi everyone,

It's taken me almost 14 years, however I found out that I've been emotionally abused by my wife for all this time.

Things have gotten worse and I really want to get out.

The problem is I have no money, I have a chronic illness and have two young kids.

I've tried to see help from a psychologist however they just advised me to get couples counselling and see a lawyer.

I really don't want to mess up anything by not preparing or saying the wrong thing to my wife as I don't want to lose my house and kids.

It's been an extremely difficult past few months and got to a stage where I didn't even want to live.

Please help.

9 Replies 9

Community Member

Good afternoon Unlikely Situation

You sound in pain and probably paralysed by indecision. You have taken a positive step by coming to these pages and I’m sure you will receive wise advice by experienced posters.

The first thing I wish to say to you is that you are not alone in your suffering and your unhappy situation will eventually pass. You must not ever think that the present will be your future. You say you have suffered emotional abuse from your wife and you want to get out of your marriage but you’re afraid of losing your children and your house.

You will NEVER lose your children ( they may not live with you) providing you demonstrate your love and provide them with emotional leadership. You are their father and that can never change.

Is it possible that you could provide some details on your marriage problems, your illness and what has brought on this crisis. That way it may help me and other posters provide more specific advice so we can brighten your day a little.

Stay strong.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi UnlikeySituation

Welcome to the forum and I am so glad you have reached out for some comfort and support at at time when I can hear you are so very desperate and scared and really at a crossroad as to what to do.

Can I firstly say that you must take care of you and your children and if you are in an emotionally abusive relationship that is not healthy for you or for your children. I hope that you are all ok. If I am reading correctly you are wanting to leave and have the children stay with your wife, how is the relationship with your wife and the children? Will they be ok if you leave?

I know it is such a hard and agonising time to end a relationship and especially when there are children involved. Can I say to you though that it mostly never happens the way that you role play it in your head. See I needed to leave my marriage and thought all these horrible scenarios in my head, how devistated my children would be...what I am getting at is that it didn't happen, and what I role played in my brain was nothing like how it transpired. Sure it is really hard and not at all an easy thing to do, but you need to take care of you and you do not deserve to be treated badly..by anyone.

Do you have a friend or some family that you can stay with until you get your self sorted out? I am not sure how old your children are but are you in a place to have a conversation with them, they are probably aware that there are troubles, children are very intuitive.

Your children will always be your children and if you do decide to leave...they will still be your children....you deserve happiness and to be treated with respect.

Please come back and chat anytime that you like, we are here for you in this really difficult time, and not to mention your illness, gee..you have so very much on your plate.

Hope to chat some more



Hi Betternow,

Yes, I'm definitely in pain.

What I meant by losing my kids is having access to them, say for a weekend as opposed to equal access. I've heard and read about horror stories of how narcissistic spouses try to attack your greatest vulnerabilities and manipulate the legal system to their advantage. My wife well knows I'm closely attached to the kids so she will do her best to give them minimal access to me. She did that in her last marriage to her ex.

The issue I have now is I don't know what to do next.

I know I want to leave. But how that transpires, what I say to my wife, where I stay, how much money I need, I have no idea.

Hi Aaronsis,

I want to leave, however have equal access to the kids. E.g. Week on week off with them.

My wife is abusive towards the children as well. She was physically hurting my 8 year old daughter the other day in front of me and I froze from shock. I felt so bad coz things like that you usually say stop or do something. But I completely froze and felt really bad that I should've done something.

I think the kids will be ok if I leave, however there's always a worry in my head because of the abuse my wife dishes out. If I'm not in her life, then she has the kids to take out her frustrations and get her narcissitic supply.

I do have friends I can stay with as well as my sister. However I feel really uncomfortable even thinking about it.

My children are both in primary school. I can talk to them but what would I even say?

Hi UnlikelySituation

It is so great to hear back from you and I am so sorry this is such a traumatic time in your life.

I am worried for you and also for your children, if your wife is abusive physically to your children that is not an environment that is good for their safety or their mental health.

I think perhaps reaching out to your sister and see if you can stay for awhile and to get some respite from this relationship. It is not an easy time to have to go through and your family will be there for you if you reach out to them. I can hear perhaps you are worried about feeling judged or disappointing your family but I tend to agree with you with the very small bit of information that you have given that it is perhaps time to move on.

As far as speaking with your children, the conversation has to be age appropriate and try not to dump issues on them and some advice I have used is never to "shit can" your wife. If your children are in Primary school they are old enough to sense that there are problems so addressing this with them may not be such a surprise to them. You can say something like "I have something I want to talk to you about, mum and dad are needing to have some time apart and I am going to be moving to Aunt xx house for the time being. I love you both very much and you can come over anytime you like and I will call you. This is a time when mum and dad need some space and this has nothing to do with you children, this is about mum and dad" ...something like that.

You could even call Relationships Australia on 1300 364 277, they will have some amazing people to talk this through with and can give you some advice too on how to speak to your children.

You are so brave and you are stronger than you think. You are entitled in life to do what makes you happy. This family situation worked once and it doesn't anymore, it is more than fine to make changes for a happy life..for you and ultimately for your children, they will get a much happier dad.

Come and chat anytime, we are here.

Huge hugs


Hi Aaronsis,

Thanks. It seems my next steps could be to get away from my wife and find somewhere to stay. This may help me to gather my thoughts and think more clearly about what to plan moving forward.

I don't want to be away from my kids for a week or so, however long I stay. That is what's hurting me in the meantime. It seems it may need to be done initially, in order for me to gather myself together.

It's going to be even more difficult as holiday season is upon us, christimas, my wife's birthday, my son's birthday, as well as a planned travel in the next month. Even if I could get out, I feel I'm trapped for a certain period of time.

I could try hold on, however there's only so much I could hold on. And that instance was last week when I just couldn't and broke down. So not sure what next really...

Hi UnlikelySituation

I hear what you are saying and it really is so very hard to make these massive changes and worry about how it is all going to work out and how people are going to feel and respond. It is alot to consider, however there is also alot to consider if you stay.

There is never a right time to leave and I hear what you say when you have birthday's and then there is Christmas coming soon, but that is just another day..you can go on to make your own Christmas traditions with your children and do things to move forward in life.

Life will not come to a screaming halt because you have left, it can give you the opportunities to make new beginings and new memories and live the life you need to in order for happiness and peace, which is so important to you and your children, especially if there is emotional abuse as they perhaps may even be closer to you for comfort and support.

You will know when the time is right and I hope your sister or family can be a place of support for you at this time. It is hard but you can do it and you are so much braver than you think, and stronger than you think too.

Hugs to you


Hi UnikelySituation,

your situation isn't as unlikely as you think. It was just over 10 years ago I made a similar decision to leave my narcissistic wife. Best thing I ever did and it was around this time of year as well. So yeah the timing sucks being nearly xmas with kids but its just life.

Your'e a few steps ahead of me though. I knew I had to leave, something deep inside me made me leave but I didn't know what she was doing. It took me a few years of separation (and court) to allow me to see her for what she is.

My Ex wasn't physically abusive to my kid but was emotionally abusive to him.

Leaving her is in both your best interests by the sound of it and the childrens. If you can't protect your kids because you are crumbling then as others have advised some space/separation for yourself is the first step.

Keep posting here and I'll help with any advice I can.

Hi UnlikelySituation,

I have gone through the same, you would be shocked how similar. I stayed knowing I needed to leave (2 kids too), it only gets worse! Once they see they have you beat they ramp it up 10, 000 fold. Mine had an affair and told me "To get over it", stopped all affection for me and said "I'm just not an affectionate person" while hugging everyone else in front of me. I was told I was stupid on a daily basis, told that she wished she had never met me, told I was hated by my children. It got so bad she knew all my triggers and would wait till dinner or a family function then while we were alone she would say horrible things that set me off, then off course everyone would see me as the bad tempered loony. They edit what you say if it is about self harm, but brother, if you think it's bad now, staying makes it worse. I have finally left mine. I had three days when I slept through the night for the first time in 18 months (since the affair), instead of waking at 3am with "night terrors". Then she started phoning and texting and telling me she wants me back, don't be stupid, it was nothing, the kids are terribly upset without me. I did the worst thing and agreed to meet her, she played me like a game. My advice is to get out and clear your head. From experience don't talk for two weeks, don't take the calls or receive the texts. The kids will be OK. You are their father and entitled to 50% custody I have been guaranteed that by the govt. Good Luck Brother.