Is my wife a covert narcissist or am I just a bad husband?

  • Creator
  • #443789

    We are both working professionals making above average income but I’ve always felt like we’ve struggled finacially when we really shouldn’t. Like we have never been on the same page. At first we had seperate accounts but she always wanted to do a joint account and it wasn’t until I was laid off from work 6 years ago that I relented and joined her account.

    During that time of unemployment it was like a living hell with her. Constantly insulted and berated for not having a job for no fault of my own. Every person in my labor category was laid off, not just me. I had already gone back to school years before working full time and taking 3 or 4 night classes. I had to take pre-reqs for a lot of courses because I had been out of school so long. I used my GI Bill money and received money for living expenses as well. She always expected me to spend all of my money first, mortgage, insurance, car payments. Then she would shuffle over a few hundred dollars here and there as I pleaded my case that I lacked the funds and she made sure to berate me for eating lunch here or buying a coffee there. For that reason alone I wanted a divorce, Im a stubborn prideful person who recognizes when something is unjust so instead of begging I stopped asking for money. I can still remember her bragging about having 10 thousand dollars in the account and how proud she was to have so much money and how wise she had been. So I told her wow, I must be the biggest fool in the world, because the bank froze my account and I’m 10,000 dollars in the hole. She was so angry at me for not coming to her with justifications for every dollar and I finally just gave up and joined her account.

    Now after graduating and starting into a new career I want my own banking account. Its been six years and she tells me I need to be a man and pay bills. That shes tired of taking care of everything. I used to buy a nice cellphone every other year, now its all cheap 25 dollar walmart trakphones. She gets the iphone, or samsung, apple watch, fitbit, every electrical gadget you can imagine. She “needs” it because shes special, she works out or monitors her sleep or w.e. Heck she has everything she wants delivered directly to the door. Amazon boxes just about everyday and more than one or two boxes. Water, delivered, gatorade, delivered, groceries, delivered. Thats another reason Im inferior, she does all the shopping. If I spend 100 dollars at the grocery store buying ingredients for a few nice meals, she gets upset “Im wasting money on myself”. Literally cooking dinner for her and the kids…

    I try to prepare 2 or 3 dinners a week, I cheat too with the easy microwave prepackaged foods because hey life… But its nice to sit down to a real meal once in awhile. So if I ask her to cook 2 or 3 dinners a week as well shes offended and Im attacking her making her feel guilty or Im shaming her.

    She wants me to feed the kids breakfast, if Im working from home, feed them lunch and yup dinner too. I literally go to work so Im not stuck doing everything. She complains that she wants a job like me and she cannot go to school but Ive tried to allow for her to take a course or encourage her by sending her links for training certificates but she has no interest or motivation. She merely wants me to acknowledge that my life has improved and she is stuck and miserable and because my job is less demanding I should give her a break. She works 3 days a week, 12 hour shifts as a nurse in a drug rehab. Its a tough job, Ive done work like it before. Anyway here is her routine which strikes me as very odd..

    She wakes up almost everyday at about 2 or 3 in the morning, always because I “wake her up”. We sleep in seperate rooms but somehow a stray light or floor board magically caused by me wakes her up everyday and she cannot go back to sleep. I suggested taking melatonin and laying back down, but she counters with “I need time to myself” she plays games in the bathroom for about an hour, does meditation, listens to podcast self help stuff all positive OK things no issues with that personally. She goes downstairs does the same daily ritual everyday, runs on the treadmill, does 2 or 3 excercises from youtube. If I join in, she always does another one to make sure I know just how much harder she is working out than I am. She gets compliments on her weight loss which is great but it just drives her to lose more and get more compliments. Anyway she complains that I do not allow her the time to get more sleep. She complains that she needs more time to herself. Every morning from 2am until about 7 she has no interaction with the children. I usually feed them breakfast and then get ready for work, but I have to be careful and not get in her way. If shes in the bathroom, she hates being interupted just because i need to take a shower or im just needing to use the restroom. Ive literally waited an hour to use the restroom. Weve got one on the top floor and one half bath in the basement. Kids probably do not even know it is there. She tells me to use the basement bathroom or “ive only been in here five minutes”. Its like I cannot tell time or I somehow have no concept of time according to her.

    Intamcy, completely dead to me, not even worth enduring the abuse just for basic pyhsical contact. Shes always bargained for more than just sex. If she were to give me something there needs to be some other exchange to her benefit involved, I need to owe her a back massage. Or a night off with the kids… as if she didnt already have every night off now. Like now if she wants to display her willingness to engage in intimacy she will say something like, I really could use a back massage. So I will rub her shoulder or back because hey if thats what you want its not unreasonable to me. But then she will say “youre only nice to me when you want something” and that right there just triggers me so bad. I dont get mad but the back rub stops, Im not pavlovs dog. She literally will not engage unless I admit that I am seeking something in return. Its not true, I mean my back rubs are pretty good and one thing usually leads to another but we have had sex a handful of times throughout our marriage. Shes always with held sex as a means of controlling and manipulating me into getting her way. Im just tired of it, the shark has been thoroughly jumped.

    Its little things that make me question my own sanity as well. Like I used to sing songs to my daughters and put them to bed. I made up cute little diddies and she would tell people she made them. She was so insistent that she made up every song which I knew wasnt possible that I started to make up really long elobarote songs with origins only I would recall the origins too. I only did this because I literally thought man… maybe I am wrong and she did make up all these songs. So sure enough she tried to cop my songs and I caught her. I just asked how she came up with the idea and she had no explanation. When I told her my origin story so like the tempo and beat to opening credits of spiderman from the cartoon from the 80’s she relented but still insisted she made up the others. Its just ridiculous but unrelenting and constantly twisting anything I say back to me.

    I tell her she needs to put the kids to bed 2 nights a week and cook 2 dinners, Im trying to shame her or she needs a break. She gets no sleep and I dont allow her to sleep, she just goes on and on about how she pays for everything and I belittle her because its all delivered prepackaged food and if it was so easy then I should do it and I need to pay the bills. So I say fine I will get my own account and pay my share of the bills to which she vehemently refuses. Because she has it all figured out and I will mess everything up…

    I literally feel like a fool having wasted some much time and effort being sucked dry by this emotionless black hole of self pity. I do not know truly if she is covert narcissist, sometimes I question myself like maybe it is me. There are just so many little petty things to list. I want to do my own laundry seperately. She calls me selfish because she wants one big pile of laundry where she has the majority share of clothes needing to be washed and she has the washer and dryer completely full all weekend just to be sure I am cycling them in case I need to wash my own clothes. Just to be clear, I will help carry clothes up from the basement, help fold clothes, etc. But its never enough, she wants it all done for her by me. Everything must benefit her and if it doesnt I am selfish. She just talks and talks the whole rubber and glue, throws anything I say right back at me.

    Today she cried and said she had plans to end it all and of course, I gave her a break because no matter what thats a red flag and I dont want to be responsible for that. She tells me Im emotionally abusive, I dont understand how because I do not put her down. Shes pulling up terms and throwing them at me, accusing me of gaslighting. Constantly sending me links of what I am and how I need to change to satisfy her. Actually have her to thank for learning about covert narcissist because I had no clue until she kept accusing me of beijg everything under the sun. I just want her to do things for the kids or Im leaving. But she will not change, I stood my ground and she pulled her trump card to get me to do everything today so she could rest and I could tell she was happy with the results she secured for herself. Just this one victory was worth all the struggle for her…

    So is she covert narcissist or am I just an asshole?

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • Author
  • #446057

    She is definitely a covert narcissist based on your description of her behavior. She sounds similar to my wife, if not worse.


    Covert narcissist or else borderline with narcissistic tendencies (turns out you can read about that online too).
    And it’s indeed strange that you actually *first found out about* these kinds of disorders from her or thanks to her.
    She is basically lying every step of the way just to make herself look good.
    She is the one who is emotionally abusive, verbally abusive and so forth and she is definitely doing covert abuse and manipulation whether she is actually a narcissist or not.
    Makes me wonder how many wives who have accused their husbands of being narcissistic, manipulative, abusive, gaslighting, etc. have either the same problem themselves or something worse or almost as bad/creepy/wrong/false/manipulative/etc.
    Wives claiming that their husbands don’t help around the house enough and never did, or only seldom ever did, tends to make me suspicious already just from that, even though I am female and even though I know that some husbands are like that. (If he is a reasonable guy then just ASK in a nice way for his help and he will probably help. A lot of men do think that it is only gentlemanly to assist a lady in distress anyway. [And boy is your wife in distress but *not that kind* of distress. Sigh. 🙄] Most of the wives who aren’t getting enough help around the house that they may genuinely need, they probably just flat out don’t know how to ASK in the right way. They don’t have to nag. Just ask. And no “helpless little ole Southern belle” acts either.)
    I knew someone who complained to me that her ex-husband was a covert narcissist and gaslighting her. Turns out part of what he was doing was saying he remembered events differently than she did. That is not gaslighting. Parts of her description of his behavior actually sounded like he could be just very disappointed in her. (Having been very disappointed in her myself, I certainly could easily understand that.) It eventually turned out that certain things about his behavior (which I believe did actually happen) did seem peculiar but did *not* necessarily point directly to narcissism or gaslighting. And he probably actually *didn’t* exactly always help around the house enough but I suspect strongly that a lot of it was not even his fault. He may have not been at home enough to be able to or she may have not known how to ask. (Or both.)
    Anyway. What I believe his former wife *somehow* did not happen to pick up on is that a husband can grow gradually more forgetful and gradually more easily annoyed and gradually less helpful around the house, *without* being exactly a narcissist or gaslighting anyone. Not known if perhaps his problem might be a type or premature aging or some other type of brain problem or what, but it just does not really seem like narcissism to me.
    Anyway I am on her side about some of his behavior being incredibly annoying and frustrating, but *not* on her side about its being narcissistic and/or gaslighting. I think that she probably does not know enough to know what that is.
    Ironically enough, however, I *finally* found out that some of her behavior toward me, a long time ago, could possibly fit the profile for borderline with narcissistic tendencies. (If she does have or did have any such tendencies then I hope very much that it was only temporary.) This was *before* her ex-husband supposedly traumatized her, damaged her or did *anything* to her. She already damaged me, back then. Her behavior toward me was emotionally abusive. I never found out all the reasons why but suspect that she herself was probably emotionally abused in childhood and just did not know very much about how to behave a different way or how to not become like that in late adolescence and/or early adulthood.
    And I sometimes wonder what did she do to her husband or did he really only abuse her or did they both abuse each other or what.
    Ironically enough, she is exactly the very person who got me acquainted with the topic of covert narcissism in the first place.
    She is probably *not* a covert narcissist as far as I can tell but apparently it is not at all unusual for borderlines, and people who act like they could be borderline, to have a few narcissistic tendencies every once in a while.
    But anyway it was indeed weird for me when I finally discovered that the only person I ever had known who had ever seemed to have any narcissistic tendencies…was her.
    It’s peculiar sometimes about these things.
    Who’s right, who’s wrong, and I guess only time will tell.
    Her ex-husband could easily be a lot more extreme than she is. I really don’t know because I have not seen him or known him in quite a long time. So I really am trying to at least give her the benefit of the doubt.
    In the case of your wife, however, from your very detailed description I am very sure that she is the one with the problem (with possibly *several different* problems).
    Please divorce that woman as soon as possible.
    And I hope you can get custody of the kids.
    Good luck.


    She is definitely a very strange woman and you are definitely not a bad husband or a bad person.
    Like I said. Try to divorce her as soon as possible and try to get custody of the kids. It sounds like she does not even want them but you still might have to (repeatedly) present evidence in court that she is an unfit mother (which she obviously is, but it will presumably not be that obvious to a judge).
    Good luck. You’ll need it.

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.