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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I need to approach my wife about seeking help for her narcissistic

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I need to approach my wife about seeking help for her narcissistic tendencies and behaviors. She has not been diagnosed as such but all indicators are pointing to that conclusion. We have been married now for over 17 years. I am worn out and ready to pay more attention to me but only if she refuses to seek help. Any advice on how to approach her? I expect a negative reaction.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It is very hard to deal with a narcissist. As you may know, Narcissism is a personality disorder which is a category of disorders that are difficult to treat with therapy, even if the person wants help. Everything about a narcissist is "me first". They lack empathy and only want to be involved in something that benefits them in some way. They do not hesitate to say or do hurtful things to someone else. When told about their behavior, they often find ways to make it the other persons fault or they just ignore the information.

You are right, approaching your wife will most likely be difficult. There are many ways you can go about this, but the direct approach may not be advisable. She will most likely become defensive then use it against you making anything you say in the future ineffective.

What you may want to try is talking to her about going to therapy together. Bring up that you have issues you would like to work out and that you are interested in making your marriage even stronger. Keep all your reasons very positive and if she asks if something is wrong, don't lie, but find the positive if you can. Then make the appointment for both of you and bring up your concerns with the therapist there so you have someone to help you explain things.

Another way is to talk to her about going to see her doctor. Tell her you are concerned for her and that you want to be sure she is ok. If she is willing to go, call her doctor ahead of time and explain what you are seeing. The doctor cannot share with you, but you can say whatever you need to to him/her. Sometimes, people will listen to their doctors when they refuse to listen to their family or friends.

You can also learn more about narcissism so you can find other ways to help your wife. Here are some resources to help:

The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists: Coping with the One-Way Relationship in Work, Love, and Family by Eleanor D. Payson

Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed by Wendy T. Behary

The Object of My Affection Is in My Reflection: Coping with Narcissists by Rokelle Lerner

I hope this has helped you,

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