7 Signs of a Narcissistic Wife

A persistent need for admiration and regular manipulation efforts are possible signs your wife is living with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

Narcissism itself isn’t a disorder. It occurs on a spectrum like many other personality traits. On one end is acceptable self-love that helps motivate and maintain self-esteem. 

On the other end of the spectrum is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), a mental health condition featuring patterns of self-love that disregard others’ well-being. 

The term “narcissist” typically refers to people living with NPD or those on the NPD end of the spectrum.

Despite how abusive behaviors of narcissism can be, people living with NPD can be outwardly charming and winsome. They often secure relationships — even marriages. But over time the patterns of NPD are revealed.

Signs your wife lives with NPD

1. ‘What about me’ focus

One of the core features of NPD is a lack of empathy, the ability to relate to how other people are feeling and thinking. 

Kayode explains in a marriage, this can come across as a lack of care from your wife and a constant focus on how circumstances affect her, rather than both of you.

“Overall it may seem as [your wife] does not care,” she says. “This may look like a communication style that adverts back to the wife and a ‘what about me’ attitude when you do try to vocalize your feelings and concerns.”

2. Children as status symbols

If you and your wife have children, you may notice their achievements become synonymous with your wife’s achievements. 

Riding on the coattails of your children’s success is a way for a wife living with NPD to claim admiration and validation for being a “successful” mother.

3. Using appearance for validation

Kayode indicates wives living with NPD still have the same over-inflated sense of self seen in men living with NPD, but it typically presents as excessive focus on their physical appearance rather than boastfulness.

This doesn’t necessarily mean your wife is dressed to the nine’s all the time for attention. There are more subtle ways spouses can gain attention from their appearance.

“[In a marriage] this can manifest as being overly preoccupied with social media and receiving positive likes and comments from others,” Kayode says.

4. Playing the victim

Playing the victim is a trait of covert narcissism that uses exaggerated harm to gain praise, comfort, and attention. 

If your wife plays the victim, minor inconveniences are made out to be major setbacks that require profuse apologizing or sympathizing before she can move forward.

5. Guilt trips and silent treatments

Another tenant of covert narcissism is passive-aggressive behavior instead of blatant aggression. In a marriage, this can look like guilt-tripping and silent treatments, especially when there’s something for your wife to gain if you give in.

6. Not having your back

Dr. Amelia Kelley, a trauma-informed therapist from Cary, North Carolina, indicates a wife living with NPD isn’t afraid to exploit others for personal gain, including her husband.

She says this can emerge as issues with aligning with their partner if it risks their persona.

In other words, if you have an unpopular opinion, your wife will likely side with the most influential person in the group rather than support you. She may even make remarks at your expense to further separate from an opinion she thinks reflects poorly on her.

7. Moral jealousy

Jealousy of others and the sense that others are jealous of you is a core symptom of narcissism.

Lisa Lawless, a clinical psychotherapist from Bend, Oregon, points out that a wife living with NPD might not only be jealous, but she might try to justify her jealousy through good intentions.

“Those with NPD are often controlling and easily jealous; however, in women, this will usually be presented in a way that seems to take a moral high ground rather than in the form of anger,” she explains.


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