A narcissistic wife is one who typically will engage in manipulative, intimidating and demeaning tactics to assert control over her husband. Common behaviors include near-constant criticism and blame, disregard for the opinions and emotions of her spouse, contradiction of stated positions and empirical facts, and sudden outbursts of temper. The husband of a narcissistic wife is often, as a result, on edge, attempting to avoid actions and statements which might cause another outburst.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a personality disorder characterized by a need for praise and recognition and an overinflated sense of self-worth and importance. These feelings exceed healthy self confidence, making others seem less important than they are, but this inflated self-image is highly fragile. Constant praise and approval is sought, and any criticism is likely to be met with hostility.
Raising self-worth by devaluing the worth of others is one way narcissists maintain this high opinion. Usually, the people closest are targeted, and a narcissistic wife is likely to belittle her husband. Criticism of the husband’s abilities, opinions and values elevate her position in the household, making her the knowledgeable authority and best decision maker in her own eyes. Over time, the husband may believe her and come to the same conclusion as well.
Another common trait of the narcissistic wife is the need for a sense of control. She is likely to make “executive decisions,” expecting the family to accept her plans without discussion. When she does consult with her husband, she is typically looking for approval, not an honest assessment. Criticism and disagreement are not welcome.
Challenge to that control can be reduced by attempting to reduce the influence of others. A narcissistic wife may try to limit her husband’s contact with people likely to contradict her or sympathize with his opinions. The husband may avoid speaking with family and friends to prevent fights at home.
Manipulation and deception are also frequently used to maintain this control. Blatant lies, contradicting her own statements or observable facts, are also often used. If challenged, she will defend her position, calling the other party wrong, lying, or deranged.
The presence of a narcissistic wife can also be observed in the behavior of the husband. Living with narcissistic personality disorder is extremely stressful, and the husband is likely to be suffering from symptoms of chronic stress that may include frequent headache, nausea, or insomnia. He is likely to censor his own thoughts and behavior in an attempt to “keep the peace.” With his self-image under constant assault, he may also exhibit signs of depression or paranoia.