Some women endure their husbands’ narcissism, addictions, and abuse silently because they believe they have no right to complain. They realize they are living lives that so many other women only dream about. Really, do they dare express any dissatisfaction and thus come across as ungrateful?
But all that glitters is not gold—or golden. There are women in upscale marriages surrounded by the best of everything who certainly know that. And while they might live in beautiful homes in wealthy neighborhoods, drive luxury cars, wear designer clothes, and have diamonds sparkling on their earlobes, necks, wrists, and fingers, they still might not feel wealthy.
That’s because all the real estate, bank accounts, and other investments might well be in their husbands’ names only.
Within the Walls of the Narcissist’s McMansion, Life Might Not be so Grand
If the men these women are married to are financially successful, but nonetheless narcissistic, they undoubtedly have a certain image they want to uphold. In other words, they want people to know they are as prosperous.
One way of demonstrating this is through their wives’ attire.
Indeed, you can display you have a great deal of disposable income through encasing your wife in the right clothing and gemstones. Encasing her in a top-of-the-line luxury car doesn’t come cheaply, either.
So, it’s true the wives of these men might be zipping about town and walking the aisles of stores such as Neiman Marcus looking like they have unlimited amounts of cash. And certainly, they might charge up a storm. But that doesn’t mean that in their own names, these women have access to large sums of money.
They will look good and drive expensive cars only as long as their husbands keep paying the bills. If these men get angry at their wives and refuse to pay for any reason whatsoever, something that could easily happen when you are dealing with men who display unhealthy levels of narcissism, these women might quickly find themselves up a creek without a paddle.
What is going on here? you ask.
Well, the narcissistic husbands are controlling their wives economically.
Why would they do that? you wonder.
The Economic Abuse of the Successful Narcissist
I suppose each narcissistic man has his own reasons for engaging in economic abuse. But of course, one is that this is a good way to keep his wife hooked into him and suffering silently his narcissism, addictions, and abuse. He suspects she won’t want to give up the lovely lifestyle. He impresses upon her that if she were to leave, he would see to it she became destitute.
How does that alternative sound to you? And indeed, can you understand how it might prove particularly unappealing to a woman who has been living the supposed good life?
You might say fear, shame, and a lack of faith in her own abilities to create a new life for herself, tend to keep her stuck and contending with his narcissism, addictions, and abuse—no matter how painful they might be. While she might be demoralized by the fact he denies her money for health care or makes her account for every penny she spends when she goes out to lunch with her friends—if he even gives her money to do that—she might be so depressed that she seriously doubts she has the energy to start over, either.
So, by controlling the money, these financially successful narcissistic men are inclined to get the type of behavior they desire from their wives. Yes indeed, these women will likely silently suffer things such as his verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse because he is controlling those purse strings.
And yes, I do label this economic abuse even though to women looking in from the outside, it might seem hard to accept this as such. After all, these women enjoy so many symbols of the affluent lifestyle, right?
But indeed for these same women, they are basically merely symbols. They are not, after all, comfortably entrenched in the wealth. These women know that at any moment, their husbands could pull it all out from under them, and for basically little or no reason, too.
His narcissism might compel him towards vindictiveness. He might well want to show her the Golden Rule he lives by. While she believes that you should do unto others as you would have them do unto you, both ns words and behavior profess what he believes instead, or that he who has the gold makes the rules.
These women might well feel they live in gold cages. And because those looking in from the outside only see the gold and won’t look beyond that mesmerizing shine, these women fear not only will people not empathize with their plight, but they likely won’t be believed, either. So often these men whom their wives finally realize are clothed in narcissism, addictions, and abuse, are so often seen by others as charming.
Will this Abused Woman Suffer Abuse Yet Again?
Because those to whom the harmed women might turn for support are seduced by the narcissist’s well crafted image, these women might unconsciously fear further abuse at the hands of friends, family, and helping professionals. Will they hear time and time again: How dare you of all women complain?
But they should be complaining because abuse in any form hurts. Verbal abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, and sexual abuse—all forms of abuse the narcissist is likely to embrace--are detrimental to one’s psychological and physical well being. No, none of it should be tolerated, and help should be sought.
Which leads me to another reason I suspect these wealthy abusive narcissists control the money. Remember, when their wives can hardly put their hands on a dollar, these women are less apt to go to therapists who might point out they are being abused, and to consider divesting themselves of their husbands and their marriages. When you don’t have access to bank accounts, it also makes it difficult to pay the hefty retainers of powerful divorce attorneys—the types who stand the best chance of getting wives pummeled by narcissism, addictions, and abuse some sizeable divorce settlements.
Are You Enduring his Narcissism, Addictions, and Abuse in Silence?
If you are one of these women, and you believe you have no choice but to tolerate your husband’s narcissism, addictions, and abuse, please consider that you do have options. Yes, there are always other choices to be made. Sometimes we think we won’t like the results we will be handed by making such a decision. Or, there is debilitating fear of the great unknown that looms ahead if the marriage with its seemingly good life is left behind.
But how good a life is it really? How much pleasure are those material things giving you now? Do they make amends for the results of his narcissism, addictions, and abuse you tolerate daily?
I suspect they don’t. And while you believe that you will be this poor lost person when stripped of all he provides you, you don’t know that will be the case. Sure, you will undoubtedly go through some challenging times. Nonetheless, the day might come when, because you gave yourself the opportunity to come to know and embrace your true self, you are experiencing new riches of which you never dreamed.
Ladies, I can say this with confidence because I have walked in similar shoes as you do now. I walked away from what probably looked like a good life to many. But you know, when your sense of self and peace of mind is bombarded daily by the aftereffects of his narcissism, addictions, and abuse, you don’t have the wherewithal to really enjoy the potential benefits of that lifestyle anyway.
You might live on a beautiful stage set. However, you have been stripped of what gives life meaning. Please, don’t awaken to that reality when it is too late. Experience now the joy that can be yours in a lifestyle that might be more ordinary, yet so much richer because it has not been eroded by another’s narcissism, addictions, and abuse.
Are you interested in reading more about his narcissism, addictions and abuse as well as your recovery from possible codependency via self development and spiritual growth? Then Dr. Diane England has even more information for you at her website. Sign up for her newsletter while you are there so this clinical social worker can stay in touch and keep reminding you that you need not be alone in your emotional pain or misery. That address is: http://www.NarcissismAddictionsAbuse.comcom