How to Deal with a Narcissistic Husband

Are you interested in how to deal with a narcissistic husband? Then this guide is for you!

Marriage to a narcissist can be incredibly difficult. Although narcissists don’t all act in the same way, there are common patterns in their behavior and how they relate to other people.

If your husband is a narcissist, you need to assess the relationship, reflect on what you’re willing to put up with, and think about how to manage the difficulties.

The following are several suggestions:

1) Safeguard your finances

Narcissists use money as a way to thoughtlessly indulge themselves, make themselves popular or envied, and control people. If you’re married to a narcissistic husband, you must monitor your financial situation and protect your interests.

A narcissist may have no problem withdrawing large amounts of money from a joint bank account to buy himself something expensive or to impress a friend with a lavish gift.

He may do this without warning you and without consideration for important expenses, such as rent, groceries, and medical care.

Another scenario is a narcissistic husband controlling all of the money as a way to control his family.

You’re especially vulnerable if you earn less money than him or are completely dependent on him financially.

To torment you and shape your behavior to his preferences, he may withhold money and dole it whenever he likes.

Regularly check the status of your joint accounts, and examine credit reports for debts and other problems. If you haven’t done so already, try to open a separate bank account of your own.

Even if you don’t have a lot of money in it, it will give you something in reserve that he can’t access. You should also meet with a lawyer to consider how to protect best any assets you’ve brought to the marriage, such as property.

Another important step is establishing spending rules, such as the need to talk about major purchases in advance. You can draw up a household budget and base the rules on those numbers.

Try to stick to each rule and not cave in if your husband sulks or shouts. Everything in writing makes it easier to offer proof in case he pretends he never agreed to something.

2) Avoid giving him the fight he wants

Narcissists often try to pick fights and stir up drama. They insult you, criticize you excessively, and make dishonest remarks. After that, they wait for you to react in anger and pain.

When your husband behaves this way, one possible response is to ignore him. Depending on the situation, you may be able to pretend he said nothing.

You can save your responses for when he speaks to you without insults or other forms of obnoxiousness.

Another possibility is to give him a calm, brief, factual reply. If he says something that isn’t true, state the truth. If he insults you, remind him that you don’t accept being spoken to disrespectfully.

Other mild responses, such as a shake of the head or a shrug, can also effectively deprive him of the strong emotional reaction he’s expecting.

In the middle of an argument, he may list his flaws and bring up past mistakes or new issues to fight about. In response to these derailment attempts, tell him you’re planning to discuss only one topic.

After that, keep steering the conversation back to where you want it to be.

Don’t try to mimic his behavior towards you or act with excessive aggression. Regardless of what he says, don’t scream at him or call him terrible names. He may use your reactions as twisted proof that he’s your victim.

If you feel that his nastiness is escalating, bring the conversation to a close. Repeat that you won’t tolerate terrible behavior or accept responsibility for things you haven’t done. Leave the room if you need to.

Over time, your husband may grow bored with how you respond to his attempts at starting fights. Although there’s no guarantee that he’ll change, his tendencies to stir up drama may become weaker.

3) Assert your right to be respected

Depending on the personality of your narcissistic husband, he may be capable of showing you affection. He may sometimes buy you thoughtful gifts or give you compliments. But affection isn’t the same as respect.

As affectionate as they may sometimes be, narcissists typically struggle to show respect to people, including their spouses. A narcissistic husband will disregard boundaries and ignore or belittle what’s important to his spouse.

He’ll make demeaning remarks in private and in front of other people.

To have a livable relationship with your husband, you need to spell out certain boundaries that you consider inviolable. These boundaries protect you from harm and a profound lack of respect.

Some of the boundaries may involve fidelity and trust. For example, you can tell your husband you will not tolerate adultery.

Another form of dishonesty involves misusing money, particularly money set aside for medical care, housing, food, education, and other important expenses.

Other boundaries may involve the way you interact with each other. You can tell him that you expect disagreements to occur without screaming or name-calling.

You can ask him to stop making derogatory comments about you in front of your children or other people.

Although all of these boundaries are reasonable, your husband may attempt to convince you that you’re being irrational or overly sensitive.

You can offer him a brief explanation for why each boundary is important, but don’t apologize for your needs or your feelings.

Try not to get back at him by acting the same way he does. He’ll probably enjoy the opportunity to feign victimhood and accuse you of hypocrisy and aggression.

A calm firmness is the best attitude to aim for. As you stand up for yourself, keep reminding yourself that his lack of respect isn’t something you should simply accept as normal.

4) Focus on your own growth and happiness

Living with a narcissist drains your energy and time because they want you to focus primarily on their own needs and on their drama and mind games. You may feel like your sense of self is under attack.

It’s important to carve out time for yourself and the activities you enjoy. Sign up for a class you’re interested in, volunteer for a local charity, or curl up with a book you love.

Enjoy your hobbies, and watch your favorite movies and shows. Your husband may mock or criticize your interests, but there’s no need to see him as an authority figure regarding how you should spend your free time.

Be sure to seek and maintain relationships with trusted friends and family members. It’s important to have healthy relationships that are platonic and that aren’t overshadowed by your husband’s presence.

You’ll hopefully have at least one person you can speak to freely about your marriage. Resist attempts your husband makes to keep you isolated and limit your contact with people who are friends of his.

Also, focus on taking care of yourself. Give yourself nutritious food and sufficient exercise. Find healthy ways to relieve stress that work for you, such as practicing meditation and soaking in a bubble bath.

And maintain a conversation with yourself. Pay attention to your emotions, beliefs, and what your body tells you.

5) Be careful about going to counseling with him

Marriage counseling often doesn’t work well with a narcissistic spouse. As a narcissist, your husband probably won’t admit to mistakes or flaws and will struggle to empathize with you genuinely.

When you admit to mistakes or vulnerabilities, there’s a strong chance he’ll use that information against you in the future, including throwing it in your face during an argument.

If he has a charismatic personality, he may also be able to charm the counselor and pretend to be a reasonable and loving husband.

Unfortunately, many therapists and counselors don’t easily spot narcissism. Even if a therapist notices certain problematic behaviors in your husband, such as a tendency to shout, the therapist won’t necessarily grasp the larger narcissistic behavior patterns.

If you decide on going into counseling as a couple, keep these issues in mind. Even if your husband begins to behave lovingly during a session, remain cautious.

See if his good behavior continues at home in a meaningful and consistent way.

It may also benefit you to go into counseling on your own. Try to find a therapist who is well-informed about narcissism.

You may speak more freely about your marriage and feelings when your husband isn’t present.

6) Know when to end the marriage

In cases of physical or sexual abuse, leaving the marriage is a matter of particular urgency. But it’s also important to consider the scars of emotional abuse and neglect. What are you experiencing in your marriage?

If you have kids, what is their experience at home? Reflect on what your marriage is doing to the well-being and development of your family.

If you decide to leave your husband, it’s important to prepare for his potentially terrible reaction. Narcissists tend to fight dirty, and they may try any number of devious tactics to drag out the divorce and generate massive amounts of stress.

Keep as many records as you can showing the way he treats you. Figure out your financial situation and where you can stay safe once you leave.

Before leaving the marriage, whether in separation or by enacting a divorce, meet with a lawyer discreetly to discuss your options and your concerns.

Assemble a team who can provide emotional, legal, and possibly financial support. Your lawyer, therapist, and any trusted relatives and friends may become a part of this team. You may also want to turn to organizations that assist abused spouses.

Although divorce can be a painful process, it may be the best option for your marriage. Narcissists typically don’t change, not in their fundamental personality.

You need to consider the specifics of your relationship and what you can live with over time.

Can a gifted therapist help you too?

If you struggle with anxiety, depression, high-stress levels, relationship issues, or other specific challenges, one-on-one support from a therapist can help a lot.

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