Narcissist Tactics – The Shaming Wife


Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
But she who shames him is like rottenness in his bones.


The first line of Proverbs 12:4 is a marvelous, positive example – but since we are studying narcissism in particular we are going to focus here on the second line.


While a contentious wife may operate in private, a shaming wife operates publicly, putting her husband to shame in front of other people.  There are two ways that a wife could do this.  One way would be inappropriate public behavior that dishonors both herself and her husband.  You can easily think of your own examples, and they are not necessarily the actions of a narcissist / one with insolent pride.


The second way a wife could shame her husband is through the narcissistic move of denigrating (ie – putting down, criticizing) her husband in public.  Why might she do this?  There are three possible surface reasons, but underneath is a prideful attempt to exalt herself at the expense of her husband.   First, the wife could be bitter at her husband for some unmet expectation which she had.  Second, she could be somehow ashamed at something about her husband (job, manners, dress, etc.) and she wants to distance herself by publicly pointing it out – thus making sure that everyone knows that she is better than him.  Finally, she could be exalting herself at his expense by publicly criticizing him for faults or “mistakes” that are either small or non-existent, and which may actually be more her issue than his.


When the shaming wife publicly denigrates him, she is speaking what she really feels privately (“I am better than him”), since people ultimately say outwardly what they are thinking inwardly:


Luke 6:45

45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart.


The humiliation from his wife’s public shaming sinks very deeply (it is “rotteness in his bones”) and is destructive to the core of their relationship since she is “bone of his bones” as it says in Genesis 2.


How should the husband respond when his wife does this?   What does being manly look like in this situation?   Criticizing back in public is childhood tit for tat.  Sulking or becoming sullen is also childish.  Jesus provides the example:


He put Himself in God’s hands for the resolution, knowing that God is a righteous Judge…..

1 Peter 2:23

23 and [Jesus] while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously;


He asked God to forgive His persecutors, because He knew that they had no clue about the evil they were doing….

Luke 23:34

34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves.


…… And He gave a clear set of positive actions which can be taken.

Luke 6:27-28

27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.


The Lord will reward these kinds of actions…….

Proverbs 25:21-22

21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
22 For you will heap burning coals on his head,
And the Lord will reward you.


……And this is all part of the seemingly impossible instruction to overcome evil with good.

Romans 12:20-21

20 But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Putting “Biblical Perspectives On Narcissism” Into Perspective



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