A husband on Reddit has described a tense situation involving his wife at a child’s birthday party, in a post that has nearly 15 thousand likes. In the post the husband sets up the background, explaining that his wife’s sister-in-law is her best friend and married to her brother. “Long story short, she bends over backwards to accommodate their every ask, including babysitting, errands, etc. This extends to volunteering me to help them without my knowledge or consent etc. She never sees my point of view or agrees with any criticism of them I have.”
He then describes a recent situation at their nephew’s birthday party hosted by the sister-in-law, “so my wife is super keen for things to go well.” While their three-year-old daughter is being cuddled by the wife because her balloon had accidentally popped “a boy (older than her, 5/6) sprints into her and knocks her over.”
“She’s crying obviously, and I pick her up. My wife is making a joke of it saying “oh she needs to watch where she’s going”. I said back to her “don’t blame her for getting bowled over by the bigger boy “. Now, apparently the mother of this other kid was in earshot, which prompted my wife to tell me (in front of one of her other best friends and a couple of other guests) to “Shut my mouth.” Then she had the cheek to tell me to not have a moody face.”
In a dramatic twist, the husband then writes, “15 minutes before this post, I sent an email to a divorce lawyer for a consultation. I’ve finally reached my limit.”
Some users reacting to the post called the wife’s behavior out as “narcissistic behavior…”. Another user agreed, writing: “Covert narcissism dude. They drop everything for others so they are seen as a great person in their peer group, hence those around them are left scratching their heads at why they never see that type of support. It’s about projecting the image that you are a good person.”
Forbes Health describes covert narcissism, also referred to as vulnerable narcissism as “the ‘more silent and subtle variation’ of narcissism. This type of narcissist shares the same overarching traits of the personality disorder—an inflated sense of self, a lack of empathy for others, and an excessive need for admiration and attention—but manifests these traits in a less obvious way.”
They describe the signs of covert narcissism as; self-consciousness and social insecurity, defensiveness and anger, passive aggression, and gaslighting, which is a “form of psychological manipulation that causes the victims to question their own perceptions, thoughts and memories.”
When dealing with a covert narcissist, David M. Reiss a practicing psychiatrist of over 30 years based in California says in the Forbes article, “the best defense is to set firm, clear boundaries.”
“Realize that when you’re dealing with a narcissist or someone whose narcissistic traits are coming out, at that time, you’re not going to get very far with reasoning with them. You just have to set boundaries. You cannot reason with someone when they’re in a state where all they care about is themselves,” Reiss says.
Many users on Reddit were keen on getting an update after the news dropped. “Update when you tell her” said one user with nearly ten thousand likes, while another stated, “We need an update on this”.
One person requested, “Let me know when she’s served the divorce papers, I’d pay real money if the server snaps a picture and I get to see it. This is what happens when you tell me to “shut my mouth”, I use a mouthpiece. Seriously, I couldn’t, wouldn’t be with anyone who shows me such a lack of respect, so I approve the move to contact an attorney. Making it worse is she deferred her own child’s safety to her own vanity of pleasing others.”
If you have a similar dilemma, let us know via [email protected]. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.