I’ve been doubting that my husband is a narcissist yet, his behaviours confuse me.
He’s from Eastern Europe, a completely different culture from mine. He’s so passionate about everything he does, and about whatever other people do.
He’s sometimes an angry man who’ll say anything in front of anyone, without caring about the consequences.
What triggers his anger could be a small thing that he’ll yell and complain about.
But if I oppose his angry behavior (e.g. by asking, “How can you talk like this …?”) he’ll turn to verbal abuse.
If I keep arguing, he could proceed to physical abuse.
However, when things are good, he’s caring, loving, and understanding.
But as soon as he gets angry (even at his own boss sometimes), he becomes a volcano of dissatisfaction, saying negative things about me, my family, people in general, the world.
He doesn't care about what other people may think about him.
Also, when he gets angry and behaves insanely, he later apologizes, saying that he shouldn't have done it, that he cannot control his anger.
Then I try to sit down with him and extract the reason. He’ll talk about how his mother was depressed when he was a child, ignoring him and not caring about him. She once put a knife on his neck.
He’ll say how the Balkan war affected him...
What confuses me more is that he’s very supportive of my work and success.
I don't know if the problem is in me, because when he gets angry, I can't handle his loud, scary voice, so I argue back in that moment of anger which escalates things more.
Is He A Narcissist?
His eruptive, angry and dangerous behaviour is the problem here, not your uncertainty as to which label it falls under.
More important, don’t ever again question whether the problem is, as you wrote, “in me.” No, it’s deeply in him, sometimes rising harshly against you as physical abuse.
(Most acts of family violence are considered crimes in Canada. In the US, the law recognizes that domestic violence is a national crime.)
He needs professional therapy but you can’t be the one to tell him so, or his reaction may be extreme.
You already know his “story” and yes, it’s tragic that a depressive mother ignored/threatened her child and no one understood the pathology of its long-term effects on the boy.
Forget the narcissist explanation, it doesn’t help you live more safely with this man.
Get more informed yourself about the potential risks his explosive anger can cause you or himself. Do not take it upon yourself to “oppose” his anger.
Privately inquire of a therapist who specializes in anger and its management, how to proceed in a safe way, to a point where he might consider going for help.
Be prepared to leave quickly if his abuse escalates.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman whose husband had secretly willed the vacation home she’d renovated with her own money to his children (June 2):
Reader – “For anyone contemplating marrying someone or living common-law: If your partner owns a house or cottage and you intend to put money into it, see a lawyer first to have the title changed to either joint tenancy or tenants in common.
“In Ontario, a will made prior to marriage, is automatically revoked upon marriage unless it’s made in contemplation of the marriage with reference to the upcoming marriage and naming the spouse.”
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the daughter worried about her mother turning 90 (June 18):
“In 2020, 90 is NOT OLD. I too have been separated from my mother, 93, due to Covid. But there are many people in worse condition and health than we are.
“Her mother seems somewhat tech savvy, as they “communicate online.” Does she have a circle of friends and family with whom she can also be in regular contact? Does she enjoy reading, cooking, knitting etc.?
“Definitely make sure her mother is eating well and getting sufficient rest, AND drinking plenty of water, good to fight off any depression.
“Also, we’ve had the “family talk” regarding when the end does come. Will, power of attorney and funeral arrangements/prepayment have all been updated, completed online and/or via email.
“It’s actually reassuring to her that everyone knows her wishes, that she’s not placing an unnecessary burden on her family.”
Tip of the day:
Never accept a partner’s physical abuse as something you deserved. Carefully create a safe, private plan to leave.