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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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Please help me learn how to "manage" interactions with my

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Please help me learn how to "manage" interactions with my narcissistic wife who explodes and assaults me at times for no or any reason. I am safe, well capable of physically handling her as I would an aggressive child (as I have been trained for therapeutic foster care). I would like to know what kind of things to do and avoid. Thank you for whatever help you can provide.

It sounds like you have been dealing with this for some time. It is admirable that you are willing to help her so much and not judge her. You need to look beyond the boundaries to this relationship because narcissism goes beyond the ability of two people who are trying to contain it on their own. You need to find a marriage counselor in order to address this together. A professional can help to educate you on this problem and find out what strategies work for you and your wife. Of course in implementing change she has to be motivated too. Often those with narcissism do not think they need to change. Where there is no motivation there is no change. Someone has to want to be better. You can institute consequences to the situation if you think she will respond to them. Just make the consequences attainable. Either way she has to come to the realization that this issue is fixable and she has to own her behavior. See if you can get her to a psychologist.

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
I am not satisfied with your response as I know therapy might be helpful. As you stated she does not think she has a problem and will therefore not participate in counseling. Suggresting "See if you can get her to a psychologist" is not at all helpful, and indicates a lack of understanding and professionalism.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

Being married to a narcissistic spouse is difficult at best. Most, if not all, in your marriage is about them and lacks the balance of a normal relationship.

A person with narcissism is at the emotional level of a young child. They do not have the insight necessary to see how they act or recognize the effects of their behavior. Trying to explain to them that you are hurt is frustrating because they cannot step outside of their own feelings and see the feelings of others.

Here are some things you can try:

Educate yourself as much as possible about narcissistic personality disorder. Books, articles and talking with others can help you learn how to handle your wife's behavior and help you feel more prepared to deal with whatever happens.

Gain as much support as possible for yourself. Support groups, therapy and maintaining your social life can all help you feel less alone and give you the attention and focus you need to cope. And if you feel better, then it will be easier to deal with your wife's behavior. Here is a link to help you get started:

Create boundaries with your wife. Narcissists may try to get you to do things their way, things that you do not want to do. Be clear on your limits. Allow your wife to deal with her own feelings about your limits. For example, make it clear that you do not accept any hitting or hurting physically. Set a rule that when your wife hurts you, you will leave or she must leave. And stick to the rule.

Do not try to please your wife or make her happy. This is one of the traps of narcissism. The person always is demanding to be made happy by someone else. They are not able to keep themselves satisfied so they make others do it. Family members are narcissists almost always find themselves searching for the best solution to finally make the narcissistic happy. And it never works. So resist the urge to please your wife.

Keep your personal information and deeper thoughts to yourself. People with narcissism sometimes use what they know about you to target you and hurt you. Keep any communication simple and direct.

See your wife's behavior for what it is. Something she does not want to or cannot control. It is not about you, although it feels like it. She would do this to anyone that she could to it to. Let her own her emotions. Reflect back to her what she is feeling and let her be responsible for them, just like you already are doing. But do not explain yourself. Narcissistic people like when you explain yourself. It gives them more control.

Here are more resources to help you:

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

Loving the Self-Absorbed: How to Create a More Satisfying Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner by Nina W. Brown

Help! I'm in Love with a Narcissist by ***** ***** and Julia Sokol

You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.

Let me know if I can help any further,

TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5823
Experience: Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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