Married 17 years with an adolescent daughter. I recently ca

Married 17 years with an adolescent daughter. I recently came to the conclusion that my wife may be a covert narcissist, and I am likely codependent. First time posting here.

I have always made excuses, and felt I was the strong one and that she was just a needier person. But it came to a head and I couldn't give anymore. Then I started looking into behaviors and learning everything I could. I'm realizing slowly the damage it has done to our daughter, and also myself. To the point I am really struggling with what to do.

We have not gone 24 hours without an hour long argument about something for months if not longer. She won't ever apologize or even acknowledge my feelings or perspective. She deflects, blames, will go silent/sullen for days at a time, I think she gaslights, projects her hostility on me and then says that she feels like she can't talk to me or bring things up because I was hostile. I walk away from these arguments internally furious that I gave up, that we wasted an hour for nothing, that I was not heard. Towards the end I'm speechless, I don't even know how to respond or how we got to where we got to. It's utterly exhausting.

Meanwhile my daughter doesn't have the space she needs to grow. Almost 15 and we can't let her get up on her own ("that's not the right approach), or spend more than a few hours in her room w/o a check in to see what she's doing. She's a really good, mature, responsible kid. She's aware the toxic environment is harming her (that was really hard to hear). I need to help her and fear for her emotional development.

So I've been seeing a therapist, reading books, watching videos, journaling, learning as much as I possibly can about narcissism, codependency, my feelings and why i may be reacting defensively etc... I feel like I have lost myself as I don't speak my mind, I'm afraid to bring things up to avoid an argument. I don't feel like I can do ANYTHING out of our normal daily routine without being questioned and eventually just put down. i.e. I have to make dinner, but she doesn't have time to show me recipes, and won't let us try something I find to make and try, and yet doesn't want any of the dozen or so things I have been making. So it's my fault, I'm responsible, but locked into not being able to help myself out.

I have been trying to hold my space in some of our arguments. "This is how I feel. I'm sorry you feel differently, that was not my intent." etc... Or question the logic or motivation behind stuff. But the response is that I'm being cold and mean. That it's not the husband she knows. And when I give up everything and just go along with what she's looking for and say I'll try harder, or do X, Y, and Z, even if I don't think it's needed, then she's happy. THAT's the husband she knows.

She tells me what we're going through is a ME problem, not an us problem. I have asked if she would go to therapy with me to help me. And she said no. She has her therapist, that I should see one for ME and fix ME before we can look at "us".

I considered just up and leaving, but I don't think that's the responsible/right thing to do. I need to at least be honest and try. I love the woman inside. So in that vain I feel like I need to tell her that I think I'm very co-dependant and to work on that I need to set some boundaries and be true to myself and we'll have to see where that takes us. And work on myself. BUT with that I feel like the narcissist (if that's what it really is) will just use that against me and make it that much harder for me to work on myself and it'll all just be worse. Maybe there is some middle ground in there somewhere for some reasonable progress.

I still doubt if that's really the problem many times. But all the signs are there. Every day they are there.

I just want to do what's best first for my daughter, then for myself, lastly for my wife and our marriage if it can be saved.

For anyone getting this far, thank you for indulging and getting through all that. Best wishes to everyone here struggling for a happy outcome.

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kelly72's picture
(81990)
Nov 29

@MrBill She's definitely up to something, but the problem with narcissistic people is that it can be anything for supply. They conjure up all kinds of drama just for the sake of drama, while it can also be their inevitable need for stringing new supply, etc. The part of your paranoia? Why would you be? Look at all she does and how you feel, it's been going on for a long time...so why would it be just you? NO, it's her. If you feel that's what she's up to, then it likely is...at least the victim part anyway. They LOVE playing the victim, it's all part of the attention seeking and their image. If they only knew what most people really see, they'd be horrified! That image is so fantasy! Some of the female narcs that I know are like fairies, so out of touch with what is important, just fly around sprinkling fairy dust on people to cloud the truth and turn back into a ravaging beast to their victims. It's sickening. Male narcs can be unbearable, but both are terrible and either can be dangerous. There's no such thing as a good narc, some are just worse than others. All are to be avoided to keep life peaceful. BTW, I'm so glad you are working up to it, it will be so much better for you. You won't believe the difference. It's amazing.

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(3620)
Nov 30

@MrBill You are living the exact life that I was, from what I am reading here. It is uncanny, the similarities. The constant arguing, the telling me that that I needed to work on myself and my issues. I could go on and on, but trust me, it is much the same. I can tell you that I am divorced now for about a year and a half. It is amazing how great my life is. The only regret that I have is that I did not do this years ago. I was scared, I guess. I didn't want to hurt the poor woman. She was such a victim of every circumstance (yes, a lot of sarcasm here). She was constantly in and out of depression and it was mostly my fault. If it wasn't my fault for the depressed state, it was my fault for not properly supporting her. As for your child, she will respect you for leaving if you make that choice...possibly even more so than she does now. It will show her strength. I have been considering trying to get full custody of my 3 children lately because the ex is trying to play games. My 12 year old daughter said, "Please do! I wish you had done this years ago!" In the grand scheme of things, though, if you think things will get better, I can assure you they will not. If anything, the harder you try, the worse it will get. She will see it as weakness and take further advantage of the situation. It is difficult for someone to imagine that your kindness and attempts to improve things would be met with abuse, but it is what they do.

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kelly72's picture
(81990)
Nov 30

@Jack007 Spot on! ^^^

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