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How to carry on with a Narcissistic wife?

Community Member

I didn't understand the term at first but i think she has always been a narcissistic. At every workplace, there's always another 'conspiracy' to force her out; every boss is bad and corrupted; therefore she's never been able to stay in any place for more than 2 years or so. Around 3 to 4 years ago, in order to reduce such 'stress' for her, I've got her to work as a carer, as there's less interactions with adults, and she loves to care for kids. Since Covid-19 happened, work is drastically reduced. Probably that impacted her mentally somewhat, but these days she's reluctant to take on new work even when she's available. She will say that she's tired for rejecting those jobs. Since there's no work, and there's no one to penalise fault with, it sort of defaulted to me. I'm her new enemy now. Daily life felt like skirting around broken glasses to avoid altercation. Around this time, she starts to devolved. Anything related to our home-country, or people, is strictly a non-topic starter. She starts avoiding friends (we don't have many since they are already hard to come by with her attitude making such relations always awkward). So around 4 months ago or so,  there aren't anymore bedroom activities (i also got mentally scarred when she rejected me by screaming and telling me "I'm not her husband") I have been sleeping in the garage since. We have been together 20 years in total - 16 yrs married -  but now I don't know how to live with her anymore. I can't divorce her since she's not working, it will be tough for her, her family are in back in her home-country, there's no one really to care for her then. Out of the 4 members in our family, only 1 of my kid, and myself are Australians now. I cannot leave her uncared for, my young kids also don't want us to divorce, but here i am, a 40 yr old, crying every weekend for multiple weeks to months now. I felt so lonely inside, i want to tell my parents/friends, but I don't dare/want to burden them only when i am sad. I feel sick to the stomach at times. I gave up my life in my country and citizenship because of her need to get away from her home-country. I have no friends here because i can't maintain any relationship without her stomping all over it. I have no other family members here other than my kids and her. I really feel so sick and tired after another quarrel. Sorry I just need an place to vent my sorrows.   

9 Replies 9

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Junoav, I'm sorry for what is happening, but it seems as though she treating you the same as she does with her work and it is also flowing through everywhere.

If you don't divorce her or at least separate, which is actually happening, she will be forced to find her own way because simply the way you are living is not giving you the chance to move forward.

My ex divorced me for a couple of reasons, so I had to find my own way, this actually benefitted me and we both talk to each other a couple of times a week now.

If you don't then perhaps you are doing this for her sake, but it's your life and the kids who need to look after yourself first, and the kids would be happier living in two happy households, rather than one that's unhappy.

What you want won't be what she wants, but you can't stop doing what you want to do because you are worried about her, so you need to make a decision.


Life Member.

Community Member

OK... A few hard truths first. Most likely she will not change or get worse with time.


When she is hurting you (verbally, emotionally, etc.) you could communicate that and see if that behavior stops or reduces. If not, the next step would be to implement boundaries and accountability. If you do this I will not accept that and do xxx.


Another way is to reduce your expectations. She will not change, she will not compromise, etc. As well try to get your abandonment fear under control. Something most people in this situations have. Why are you sleeping in the garage? You hope she will change, comer to you and ask you to come back to your bedroom... correct? That will not happen. You should go back to the bedroom and do not impressed by her drama, chaos, etc.


And sorry you should consider divorce. All her previous decisions were done by her. Marriage, moving, leaving jobs... there is no excuse she was involved in these decisions. So do not let guilt yourself.


The children... how old are they? Often it is better to separate... because let's face it. Your wife is difficult. Not sure how that translates to the relationship with the kids but I am certain that this relationship is somehow difficult too (maybe withdrawal, silent treatment, emotionally not available). And then a father that is 110% occupied with marriage issues... Not a good environment.

Just my opinion.... maybe learn more about narcissism, covert or vulnerable narcissism...

Sorry that I do not have more positive news...


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

SNAP you described my previous "marriage" almost entirely. 
Narcissists don't WANT to work. 


I was the major breadwinner, by far, even during baring all the children. 


Yep no friends left. 
Kids & I scrambling around to avoid him. 

It was & always will be "everyone else's fault". It's always been my fault! Even his childhood was my fault and I didn't even know him. 
Join the club! 


It's crazy making. Getting him out was the ONLY option. 

Living with this abuse severely impacts our mental health and creates mental health disorders. 
We've got an alphabet soup of them now. 


The kids & I are on our healing journeys now. 
We couldn't heal whilst IN the nightmare. 


The kids now say to me "Thank God he's gone mum because now I can ....
* have a bank account without him stealing all my money (Yep me too)
* have FRIENDS over! Have friends full stop. (yep me too)
* relax & know no one is going to yell at me. (Aha)
* buy clothes knowing they won't be cut up or torn to pieces (yep)

etc etc the list goes on ... 


His parents made me feel he was MY responsibility. 
He isn't. 

He's an ADULT. Not my CHILD. 


My children are my responsibility. Creating a safe, loving, nurturing home where there's food to eat. 



Hi Mate, your story and ecomama has a lot of similarities to what I’m currently in with my partner of 7 years. She has a lot of the same issues around moving workplaces due to her apparently being treated unfairly, her not having a single friend which feeds into her codependency. She’s also very opinionated and it’s always everyone else doing the wrong thing, never her fault. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells when ever she is home. I hate conflict and literally freeze in arguments, because of this she knows how to manipulate me into doing things I don’t want to.. i.e. arguing so much I cave and now we're apparently engaged. She says she’s ‘firey’ but to me I think she has anger issues which are escalated by her poorly managed anxiety.

I don’t have any children so there’s less I need to consider so I feel for you. Mine is I just can’t find the strength to leave. We’re not intimate because I’m not emotionally attracted to her anymore. When we’re together I’m literally trying to not make her angry. It’s not sustainable and I know that. I made the decisiont to leave a long time ago.. but when I’m around her she has this hold and control over me.. I think it’s by my fear of her and the guilt she piles on me is the reason I stay. I’m working through that, youtube has a lot information to help provide some clarity. Just search things like, trauma bonding, coercive control, emotional manipulation and you’ll find heaps of information that’s quiet eye opening.


All I can say is that you may feel alone, like I do, but there are a lot of people going through similar situations so you’re never alone in that sense. The biggest realisation that’s helped me a lot is saying “I don’t need your permission to leave and you can’t make me stay”… trying to remember that I can do what I want and don’t need to ask her if that's okay. Still... easier said that done. 

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear Junoav and a wave to Cloudnine, 


Indeed you don't need their permission to leave but you do need a plan to leave. 


It REALLY helps to have support to make your plan. 
1800RESPECT is the place to phone, or was for me, over years. 
I sought many other supports AFTER I got the abuser out - more on those if you want them? 


Cloudnine, I replied to your own thread instead of extrapolating here. 


Making a START on your plan is the beginning. No need to put a time on the exit, yet. 

Not getting more into the web is strongly advisable! 


You can start wherever you want to.
Mine were:
1. getting my own sole bank accounts and diverting my wages into these. 
2. securing all important paperwork eg Birth Certificates, Passports etc. 


That's enough for now. 


Take care


That is so much something they know. It's hard but you have to get rid of that fear. What is the worst that could happen? They leave? These people were never really there as they have in genera problems to emotionally connect...

Community Member

I am not sure if that is allowed here. I am listening to a few very good podcasts/youtube channels that may be helpful.

Paul Colainanni - The overwhelmed brain
Paul Colainanni - Love and Abuse
Surviving Narcissism (Youtube)
Dr. Les Carter (Youtube)

It took me a week before i muster the courage to read any comments. I don't think I wanted to.  I fear reading suggestion to divorce the week before. I apologise. I know you would have meant well.


The trigger was yesterday. I already let her chewed me the afternoon on the clothes before she left to fetch the girls from school. It’s just dry clothes left on the sofa, it's not as if it wasn't done before in the 2 to 3 years prior! Again, as she decided herself as she please, it’s an eyesore and we can’t leave it on sofa now. (The rest is all my elder daughter's account of what happened) - When she fetched the girls she started talking bad about my supposed method of managing clothes that we agreed that i'll implement next January. When my daughter told her to stop thinking about the bad stuff and more on the good, she got screamed and chewed in the car. And when they reached home, she confronted my poor girl for her attitude even though my daughter is screaming for her to be left alone. I got fed up and worried and went up and pulled her out of the room. She dared me to touch her another time and she will call cops on me. At that time, I felt we have no more love between us. I felt like i see at her as an abuser (note, for days/weeks i don’t want or feel like looking at her anymore), and she glared at me like an enemy. What is left between us? Nothing. 


I did told her today. I told her we will consider the period we are currently in, as separation, since we are sleeping apart, sexless etc. I told her my plans to transfer majority share of our savings to her, properties on how we should manage etc. Once that period is past, we'll go through with the divorce. 


I broke the news to both my girls. My elder girl is now heart broken. I felt like I did that to her. 

I am so sorry to hear all that... but I guess the situation is quite clear now which in my opinion is a step in the right direction. Even for the children because every days living in an environment with tension is not good. I see it by myself. When such problems linger, it is hard for a parent to be emotionally fully available.

Of course children want their parents together but I firmly believe better two happy but separated parents then together but unhappy.

Good luck, don't give in...