Shameless Narcissists Project Shame on Their Spouses

Shame is a complex intolerable feeling of being exposed, wanting to disappear, emotional vulnerability, feeling inferior and worthless. Each person feels shame in his or her own way. A child who feels shame has been shamed by parent(s) siblings or other family members. Shaming a child is a way of controlling them–making them feel small and helpless.Chronic shaming abuse leaves a painful imprint on the psyche..

Narcissists are shameless. They have no sense of limits or consideration for others. Narcissists lie shamelessly, attempt to destroy your reputation, even have you fired—For these serious transgressions of human decency they feel no shame. Not having a conscience facilitates narcissists in their outrageous and hurtful behaviors.

Narcissists are particularly brutal with their spouses. They create reasons to shame their partners. Riding along with the shaming is their volcanic rage. Here there is no let up. They constantly scream in your face, slam doors, hit walls, then revert to the silent treatment. At the end of these wretched scenes the narcissist blames you for disturbing him. Narcissistic spouses are constantly finding ways to whittle you down psychologically, to keep you desperate, to throttle your nerve endings.

Shaming is one of their most effective cruelties. It is especially pernicious if you were shamed as a child. Some spouses take this toxic kind of abuse because it is so familiar to them. They unconsciously turn to a narcissistic spouse to reinforce how they feel about themselves from childhood. Some spouses, after years of being belittled and laughed out and dragged through the mud of abuse, wake up and realize they don’t deserve to be treated in this abusive manner.

The work of separating permanently from the narcissistic spouse has begun. This passage may not be easy or smooth but it is worth the journey. I am in communication with many spouses who have made this final separation from the narcissistic spouse. With the help of the support of family members and/or other members of their social group together with those who benefit from excellent psychotherapy, they taste freedom for the first time in their lives. They don’t have to make excuses for who they are. They feel no shame or hesitation as they move toward healing and wholeness.

8 thoughts on “Shameless Narcissists Project Shame on Their Spouses”

  1. I just wanted to tell the most classic story about a narcissistic spouse I know.
    Back in the 70’s the most narcissistic friend I ever had took his wife and along with another couple they went to a (then extremely rare) Bob Dylan concert. This guy I knew wasn’t particularly a big fan of bob Dylan at all but he was extremely tight with a buck and extremely narcissistic (later officially diagnosed as such by a VA psychiatrist). He also lied and bragged all the time.
    So, they’re at the concert but it hasn’t started yet. He phones home to ask the baby sitter (whom his wife later caught him having sex with on the couch of their living room but that isn’t even what this story is about), he phoned the baby sitter and she told him a doctor had called and left the message that his wife’s father had unexpectedly and suddenly died. He decided not to tell his wife so that he could go ahead and enjoy the evening before she found this out. And that’s what he did, went on and enjoyed the show then later that night, when the evening was over told her, oh, uh, by the way, your father died. (I don’t know the actual wording).
    Interestingly, when he related this story to me probably fifteen years later (they were by then divorced) he was still baffled by the extreme amount of anger his wife had over this. What got me was he didn’t even like that type of music but I think he must not have wanted to waste the price of the tickets, which then were probably under fifty dollars for both of them. In other words, your father died but it’s more important my evening not be interrupted and I’m not out my forty-eight dollars. Thanks for reading this.

  2. Comment: From Doug
    “Shaming is one of their most effective cruelties. It is especially pernicious if you were shamed as a child.” I was the middle child of three sons. My eldest brother was mentally handicapped and my younger learned to have no feelings because of my mothers severe Covert Narcissism. If my older brother hadn’t been mentally handicapped, I’ve no doubt he would have born the brunt of my mothers wickedness. Some of you may not understand that, others will connect immediately. The wickedness, the Evil that lived within my mother (I will not call her mother again, she deserves none of the emotional, or sacrosanct meanings one would usually apply to that name. I was never hugged, I was never praised, although during pre-pubescent I was her golden child, nothing is ever accomplished, succeeded at, even how I looked did not belong to me. She used it all to make her feel…so many different things. The hole in Trudy is a Black Hole. It’s the only way I can describe it. She gives absolutely nothing while taking EVERYTHING. She is an emotional vampire, but that doesn’t even touch what evil she conceals. It can only be experienced, never explained. Linda has described as best she can, what these creatures inflict. If not for finding her Blog, I’d still be lost in her web. I know this isn’t something average people would approve of, but I will never be free as long as she is alive. I’ve broken all ties with her, yet as long as she lives, I can never be complete. This in no way states that I want to kill my mother, but her death would be a blessing to me. I hate the woman, but I also love her. But I do wish she would die. Now those reading this who can’t believe I’d wish that haven’t experienced a childhood that only existed for the benefit of a parent.

  3. Comment:From Lee
    this article is spot on, and imagine being shamed on paper in legal motions during the divorce from hell, after enduring 30 years of shame and emotional abuse, now the narcissist uses the legal system to do it for them, letter after letter, motion after motion, shame now inflicted by their lawyer, more awareness needs to be made on how this practice continues in divorce actions and how it needs to be recognized and become a factor in the courts deciding distribution of property and assets because of the severe damage from this type of domestic violance.

  4. Comment:From Cynthia
    Lee, I can’t agree more. I, as well, just divorced a flaming narcissist after almost 30 years. I was left homeless and almost $100,000 in debt- only after he took all of my assets and spent them on himself. My lawyers were completely useless and the judges involved did nothing to stop the blatant abuse. It is shameful! I should add that my ex is an attorney, himself, making the process even worse. He was able to use his knowledge of the system to completely destroy me financially.

  5. I know exactly what you are talking about, unfortunately, I am the Scapegoat daughter of a very covert malignant narcissist “Mommy” who has turned my (enabling) dad into a larva of his former self with absolutely no spirit left all sucked dry and in full blown, compliant Stockholm Syndrome to this bitch while she and her Golden Child, my younger brother and her Flying Monkey she used to triangulate and covertly attack me in various subtle ways, commit emotional incest with each other, with his head firmly up her behind (s0 to speak). I cut contact completely with a letter to them both 3 months ago. Of course Im seen as the “crazy, over emotional” black sheep as usual, exacerbated by the fact that I rebelled and got into trouble growing up as my way of letting the Queen Bitch know that I knew something was wrong with HER but didn’t know what. So I played right into her evil hands by getting into trouble that others outside the immediate web could see, thus absolving her and my dysfunctional family of their guilt and allowing them to point their finger at me, the black sheep (scapegoat who thinks for herself). I had problems with self esteem and low confidence for the rest of my adult life until now and also could barely hold down a job, getting fired from several because of the emotional damage she did to me that others could sense in me. I never reached my full potential because of this Monster in disguise. The most frustrating thing about this is I didn’t figure it all out until age 49 and the other most frustrating thing apart from the intense sadness of knowing I was never loved or valued, is knowing that they actually believe their own lies and that their is nothing wrong with THEM and that they refuse to see the truth. I desperately want them to be FORCED to see the truth and get what they deserve, especially Queen Jezebel. She pretends to be so sweet and innocent around extended family but I know what she is and I don’t reflect her false image back onto her the way her Flying Monkey Golden boy does. They have backstabbed and betrayed me many times in the past 3 decades, all needlessly. They refuse to believe the truth about ANYTHING or take my side about anything even if you lay out irrefutable evidence in front of them. Any truth that is not given to them by Mainstream Media that is. They become enraged at me for attempting to wake them up, even on the simplist of subjects with proof that a child could understand. They don’t see or hear me. They only see and hear an image in their heads. It is so very frustrating. Since braking contact with them, I haven’t heard a peep. It’s as though that’s exactly what they wanted me to do and dropped me like a sack of pig dung. (So nice to be loved and cherished by your own family). These creatures are what the Bible calls “Tares”. They are “People of the Lie.” They have chosen the Lie over the Truth. I hope they burn in Hell after having the Truth rammed down their throats…… like they so richly deserve.

  6. Doug,
    You are so right; it can only be experienced, never explained. When we tell our stories we sound crazy, especially if the person that we are explaining our experience to has met our Mothers. They cannot see it..
    We are torn by our ingrained love for the woman that gave birth to us… That is the way it is meant to be, but how can a Mother not completely love their child?? That is against nature. So we struggle, we need to be away from her for our own well being, but she is our Mother.
    I have discovered through this journey that I do not feel emotions like a child that was raised by a normal mother would. I have only felt joy in my entire life once. It is rare that I feel excited about anything. Those are two feelings that I would like to experience.

    I wish you the best of luck in finding your closure.


  7. Hi Doug, I really felt your pain as I read your post and I really understand how you feel as I am the daughter of a covert narcissistic mother. I know exactly how you feel about “her”. I don’t think I ever really loved my mother and I also understand what you mean about not being free until “she” is no longer alive but not wishing for her death. I only found out that “she” is narcissistic a few days ago following an article I read on the Internet. I am going to visit “her” and for the first time I will actually understand what is going on in that head of hers – always wicked, cunning, manipulative, with evil intent. It will be an interesting visit after 52 years of complete and utter confusion within me.

  8. Doug,

    I know this post is over a year old – the content merited a response. I’m guessing the reason that your mother spared the brother with the handicap is because he could be more easily controlled. I’ve heard people say that when Narcs target you it’s a backhanded compliment- they abuse those they envy. I come from a Narc household – Narc mother (Narc dad took off when I was five) Narc Grandmother. Followed by three Narc boyfriends. The last boyfriend shamed me beyond belief. Broadcast my personal life – and expected protection of his own privacy (he spent sixteen years in prison – none of his friends know this).

    I hope you’re doing well..

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