Narcissistic Spouses-Psychological Torture

There are innumerable forms of torture. When we think of torture our imaginations create mental pictures of extreme, prolonged physical abuse–flogging, beating, stoning, whipping, sleep deprivation. In recent studies of adult victims of torture the results show: “Degrading treatment and psychological manipulation cause as much emotional suffering and long-term mental damage as physical torture.”

Many spouses of narcissists experience psychological, mental and emotional abuse that can be described as torture. These inhumane forms of treatment are unrelenting and long lasting. Constant barrages of volcanic rage, sadistic criticisms and humiliations can break the spouse down, creating a person who feels helpless and hopeless. Some of these individuals don’t know how they will survive through another moment and others feel the pull to give up completely. The victim of narcissistic torture is a prisoner even if he or she lives in a mansion and leads a heady lifestyle. It is in the privacy of the inner walls of home and mind that the constant assaults on the self take place. Friends, relatives and acquaintances often believe that this is a perfect couple. They have everything and are high achievers. The external image is stunning in its perfection. Beneath this surface is pure hellish terror that lives inside the abused spouse. Never underestimate the lengths a narcissist will go to undermine and attempt to destroy a marital partner.

I have been in communication with spouses who were psychologically tortured for years and finally escaped their captor. The first step is recognizing the severity of what is being done to you, knowing that you absolutely do not deserve this treatment and that you can and will find ways to escape the narcissist and re-capture and reclaim your life. Good psychotherapy provides the opportunity for a strong steady therapeutic alliance that is an essential zone of safety for the client. There are support groups that help victims to recognize that they are not alone and have different life options. Work on building your spiritual foundation through a regular practice. This can take the form of meditation, prayer, gentle yoga. Your intuition is a life companion. Call upon this great gift often and it will strengthen and steady your entire life. Visit my

Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
Telephone Consultation: United States and International
Book: Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life