5 Differences That Keep a Narcissist and a Caring Spouse Together

You have to agree with or tolerate your spouse’s extreme manipulation, narcissism, selfishness, control, and demand in order to be willing to stay in the relationship. You’re putting up with your spouse’s acts even if you argue with them about their behavior if nothing changes. If you’re embarrassed by their behavior but you’re hiding it, acting like it’s not that horrible, and even encouraging your kids to put up with it, then you’ve turned into a complicit caregiver. How did you come to be the caretaker and enabler of someone who was so controlling, greedy, and domineering?

Combination of factors to create a narcissist/caretaker connection

A specific set of elements must come together to form a narcissist/caretaker bond. The similarities and differences must be blended, just like in any intimate relationship. Additionally, there must be a magnetic pull between each person’s wants and how those needs are met by the other.

For instance, Alicia dated two other men while in college, both of whom she says were incredibly kind and considerate but also a touch boring. She ultimately found herself with Matt, the guy who was “going places” and dreamed of opening his own company. He truly had her completely enthralled. Although she appreciated his assertiveness, she now views him as conceited, domineering, and constantly requiring her time after ten years.

After graduating from college, David took a trip to Brazil and fell deeply in love with Serena. Stunningly attractive, intelligent, and descended from a wealthy family, Serena was excited to marry David and relocate to the US. After 25 years of marriage, David is still the one who has to prepare all of the family’s meals, do all of the household chores, and keep things running while Serena attends book club, purchases new outfits, and spends hours on the phone with her mother in Brazil.

How did the narcissist in each of Alicia and David’s life come to require them to take care of him?

Caretaker/Narcissist Disparities

It’s said that opposites attract. There are undoubtedly some striking distinctions between narcissists and caregivers that serve to unite them. It makes reasonable that, in return for something from their areas of strength, people who lack particular abilities would seek out others who do.

1. High and low levels of empathy

It is understandable that a person with little empathy might find someone with strong empathy attractive. When they’re upset, hurt, or in need of something, the narcissist believes that you will be there to truly understand them, listen to them, be attentive, pay close attention, and be caring and giving. However, what made the narcissist’s lack of empathy desirable to you?

You probably have a high degree of empathy because you tend to be a caring person. It’s possible that you quickly learn to prioritize your spouse’s demands over your own, and that you even feel their emotions more intensely than your own.

2. Compliance vs. control

Narcissists enjoy having authority over others, making choices, and projecting an air of superiority. Matt, the spouse of Alicia, is that way. He owns and operates a construction company. He depends on Alicia to manage their eight rental properties, raise their three girls, take care of the house, and handle the books. The person with the most financial knowledge is Alicia, but Matt won’t hear her out.

Alicia is quite obedient even though she is aware that Matt is in error. She typically keeps her mouth shut because she detests conflict and rage of any type. “It’s just easier that way, and I don’t want to fight with him,” she remarks. I avoid being accused in this way. Although she respects his capacity to make difficult choices, she wishes he would give her wants and opinions more weight.

3. Giving vs. taking

Caretakers search for chances to offer, share, collaborate, and lend a hand. When they are assisting others, they experience a genuine surge of happiness. Whereas narcissists are constantly in need of more affection, understanding, support, attention, and agreement. This works well enough until things go really wrong and you start to feel bitter. Remarkably, all it takes to give you hope and the desire to keep giving more is for the narcissist to vow to be more thoughtful.

4. Intensity vs. passivity

Narcissists enjoy taking the lead. More likely, you’d rather give in, try to please your partner, and let things go. These are admirable traits, but a manipulative partner will use them to control and dominate you. That can work just well if you are truly in agreement, but when your desires or emotions diverge, it frequently results in conflict or in your capitulating, acquiescing, and cooperating.

5. Entitled vs. submissive

Narcissists believe they have a right to what they want and that their needs and desires should come before those of others. Most likely, you’ve developed a habit of caving in and settling for second place. It looks compassionate and loving to give in. While narcissists concentrate on getting all that love, caregivers place more emphasis on the positive emotions of giving love.


It is true that opposites attract and can infuse a relationship with fascinating energy. Trouble starts when things become too out of balance. The caregiver offers more when the narcissist demands more, and vice versa. Over time, what may have begun more equally ends up being a highly unbalanced, unhealthy relationship.

Noticable distinctions maintain the narcissist and caregiver entangled, frequently in a push/pull dynamic. It seems like the teeter-totter you’re on never stops rising and falling. The narcissist never seems to change, and you don’t seem to be able to leave.