Marriage Counseling with a Narcissistic Husband: How To Manage

Marriage Counseling with a Narcissistic Husband: How To Manage

When you’re married to someone who displays narcissistic traits, life can often feel like a never-ending cycle of emotional highs and lows. But does this mean there’s no hope for your marriage? Not necessarily. Marriage counseling can provide an avenue for managing these challenges. This blog post aims to guide you through the often daunting journey of undergoing marriage counseling with a narcissistic husband. We’ll explore techniques to help promote understanding, patience, and resilience while encouraging healthier communication patterns.

Does Marriage Counseling Work With A Narcissist?

Does Marriage Counseling Work With A Narcissist?Marriage counseling can indeed be beneficial in cases involving a narcissistic husband. But its effectiveness often depends on various factors. The most critical is whether the narcissistic individual can acknowledge their patterns of behavior and genuinely wants to change. Narcissists are known for their lack of empathy and heightened self-importance, which can make them resistant to therapy.

However, if they can recognize the negative impacts of their behavior on their marriage and are willing to work on these issues. Only then, counseling can provide a space for them to learn and grow.

In saying that, it’s important to note that progress may not be linear, and the path to change can be arduous and fraught with setbacks. So, while marriage counseling does not guarantee a “cure” for narcissism. Still, it can offer significant support, tools, and insights to better manage such complex marital situations.

How A Narcissist Husband Treats His Wife?

A narcissistic husband may exhibit a range of behaviors that can be difficult for the wife to endure and comprehend. Below are some common ways a narcissistic husband might treat his wife:

  1. Devaluation: The narcissistic husband may belittle or demean his wife’s achievements, often out of a need to feel superior or due to jealousy. He might dismiss her feelings, criticize her actions, or make her feel inadequate.
  2. Manipulation: He might manipulate the relationship to suit his needs, using tactics like gaslighting (making the wife doubt her reality or memory), or emotional blackmail. He may use guilt or charm to get his way, irrespective of his wife’s feelings.
  3. Control: A narcissistic husband often likes to control the dynamics of the relationship. He might dictate how his wife spends her time, whom she interacts with. Or even control financial aspects of their life together.
  4. Lack of Empathy: Narcissists generally lack the ability to empathize with others. This means a narcissistic husband may be dismissive or unsupportive of his wife’s feelings, experiences, or needs.
  5. Constant Need for Admiration: Narcissists need constant validation and admiration from others. In a marriage, this might mean that a narcissistic husband requires his wife to constantly praise and admire him, often at the cost of her own needs and feelings.
  6. Infidelity: Some narcissists might justify cheating or infidelity as a way to feed their need for admiration and validation. They might blame their spouse for their actions, citing lack of appreciation or affection.

It’s crucial to remember that these are general behaviors and not all narcissists will exhibit all these traits. Furthermore, the intensity of these behaviors can vary greatly among individuals.

How Does Marriage Counseling With Narcissistic Husband Work?

How Does Marriage Counseling With Narcissistic Husband Work?Marriage counseling with a narcissistic husband can be a challenging process due to the inherent characteristics of narcissism. But, let’s be clear, it’s not impossible. The therapeutic process largely hinges on the narcissistic individual’s willingness to recognize their problematic behaviors and commit to change, coupled with the therapist’s expertise.

Below is a general overview of how marriage counseling might proceed in this context.

Therapist Selection

It’s critical to find a therapist who is experienced in dealing with narcissistic personality disorders. They should be adept at managing the narcissist’s potential manipulation, lack of empathy, and self-aggrandizing behaviors.

Initial Evaluation

The counseling process usually begins with an evaluation of the relationship dynamics, including an understanding of the narcissistic behaviors that are causing distress. The therapist may also assess the level of narcissism, as this can influence the treatment approach.

Establishing Ground Rules

Establishing ground rules is crucial to prevent the sessions from being dominated by the narcissistic spouse. These rules might include respecting each other’s talking time, avoiding personal attacks, and maintaining a focus on resolving specific issues.

Empathy Training

Narcissists typically struggle with empathy, so a significant aspect of therapy might involve empathy training, where the narcissistic spouse learns to understand and respect their partner’s feelings.

Coping Strategies for the Non-Narcissistic Spouse

Therapy can provide the non-narcissistic spouse with coping strategies for dealing with their partner’s narcissistic behavior. This may include boundary setting, self-care practices, and learning when to disengage from potentially harmful situations.

Consistency and Patience

It’s important to note that change may be slow and non-linear. Regular, consistent therapy can help, but patience is necessary due to the complexity of narcissism.

While this represents a general approach, every situation is unique. The specific strategies and techniques used can vary based on the couple’s particular needs and circumstances.

What Are The Commonly Used Techniques?

What Are The Commonly Used Techniques?In marriage counseling with narcissistic husband, therapists may draw from a range of psychological techniques and therapeutic approaches. Here are a few commonly used techniques:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This form of therapy is often used to help the narcissistic spouse recognize and alter harmful patterns of thought and behavior. It can help them understand how their beliefs and attitudes are negatively affecting their marriage and guide them towards healthier thinking and behavior.

Empathy Training

Since narcissists often struggle with empathy, therapists may use various exercises to help them learn to understand and respect their partner’s feelings. This might involve role-playing scenarios or guided discussions where the narcissist is encouraged to consider and discuss their partner’s perspective.

Assertiveness Training

This technique can be beneficial for the non-narcissistic spouse, teaching them how to express their feelings and needs assertively yet respectfully. It can also help them learn how to set healthy boundaries.

Mindfulness and Emotional Regulation

These techniques can help a narcissistic individual become more aware of their emotions and learn to regulate them more effectively, preventing impulsive, harmful behaviors.

Communication Skills Training

Therapists often use various exercises and activities to help couples improve their communication skills. This might involve teaching active listening, expressing needs clearly, and learning to resolve conflicts in a healthier way.

Narrative Therapy

This approach can help the narcissistic spouse rewrite their personal narrative in a more positive, non-narcissistic way. It involves identifying and changing the stories they tell about themselves and their relationships.


Teaching both spouses about narcissism can be an essential part of therapy. Understanding the condition can foster empathy, patience, and realistic expectations.

Remember, the effectiveness of these techniques hinges significantly on the narcissistic spouse’s willingness to recognize their harmful behaviors and commit to change. For the non-narcissistic spouse, these methods can provide tools for better coping, improved communication, and healthier boundaries.

How To Choose The Right Counselor?

How To Choose The Right Counselor?Choosing the right counselor for marriage therapy, especially when dealing with a narcissistic spouse, is crucial. Here are some guidelines to help you make the best decision:

  • Specialization and Experience

Look for a counselor who specializes in marriage or couples therapy, and ideally, someone who has experience dealing with narcissistic personality disorder or narcissistic traits. A counselor who understands narcissism can navigate the challenges it presents in therapy effectively.

  • Credentials and Licensing

Check the counselor’s credentials and licensing. They should have relevant degrees in psychology, counseling, or a related field, and a current professional license.

  • Communication Style

The counselor’s communication style should make you feel comfortable, understood, and safe. They should encourage open communication and maintain a balanced perspective, providing equal attention to both spouses’ needs.

  • Confidentiality

Ensure the counselor adheres to professional standards of confidentiality. They should be able to explain clearly their policy about sharing information discussed in therapy.

  • Practical Considerations

Factors such as the counselor’s availability, the location of their office, the length and frequency of the sessions, and the fees are also important to consider. Make sure these align with your practical needs and financial capacity.

  • Personal Comfort

Finally, you should feel comfortable with your counselor. Trust your gut feeling during your initial meetings. If you don’t feel comfortable or safe, it may be best to consider another professional.

Remember, it’s okay to switch counselors if you feel the current one is not the right fit, even after a few sessions. The right therapist can make a significant difference in navigating the complexities of marriage counseling with a narcissistic spouse.


In conclusion, marriage counseling with a narcissistic husband presents unique challenges but also potential for growth and understanding. The process demands the narcissistic spouse’s willingness to recognize their problematic behaviors and an unwavering commitment to change. It also relies heavily on the therapist’s expertise in navigating narcissistic behaviors and providing effective interventions.

The ultimate goal should always be a healthier, more respectful, and supportive relationship. Marriage is a beautiful journey, However every marriage encounters challenges. If you have any queries regarding Online Marriage Counseling experienced therapists at CoupleMantra can help: Book a trial couple therapy session

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