Nigerian Husband with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Keywords: Nigerian, husband, Narcissistic, Personality Disorder, authoritarian parenting, permissive parenting, adverse childhood experiences.


Nigerian Husband with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)? The prevalence of NPD in Nigeria. How do those with NPD behave? What causes NPD?

Going through many groups on social media, Nigerian women post a lot about how they are maltreated by their husbands. They complain of receiving long standing abuse such as physical, psychological, financial, sexually, etc. Many do not know the way forward and they bring their complaints to social media to seek help. Unknown to them, some of these husbands could be having NPD.

Personality disorders are mental health disorders with deeply ingrained and inflexible maladaptive pattern of behaviors. A male, who has a narcissistic personality disorder, has problems in the way he thinks, feels, behaves, etc. These behaviors are fixed, inflexible and difficult to change. It causes distress and problem with functioning. And for the Nigerian male, these behaviors and attitudes of his, are different from what people in the same culture and environment, expect of him.

Globally, the prevalence of NPD is about 6% and it affects both genders, but more in males. The number of people with this disorder in Nigeria is not fully known, but in Nigerian prison 4.6% had NPD. This is from a published in 2020. Scientists have documented that Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is on the rise, worldwide.

Causes of NPD and the Nigerian factors.

Personality disorders manifest during late adolescents and early adulthood. This disorder comes about, during the exchange of genes in the womb, plus the environment during childhood development.

Biological factors:

Here, this means that the causes of NPD come from inside the person, i.e. the biological make up.

Genetics – There are some genetic defects that can be inherited from one or both parents. So NPD can run in families, but the genetic defects and interactions are not fully yet understood by scientists.

Anatomy – In certain parts of the brain, like the prefrontal and frontal lobes, the insular, etc., there are abnormalities. There are reduced grey matter and white matter in these brain areas. So those having NPD, will manifest with problems with their emotions, judgment, compassion, empathy, sexual behaviors, anger, etc.

Neurochemicals – There are problems with the chemicals in the brain such as dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin.

Environmental factors:

These are factors that come from outside the person, that contribute to the person developing NPD. That is, issues with the environment the person grew up from.

Parenting methods come to play here:

In authoritarian parenting the child faces a lot of restrictions, criticisms, lacks warmth, empathy and love. So the child builds up the narcissist traits, of grandiosity and a false sense that he is godlike in power. And that he has the power to hurt people. He uses these made up beliefs to shield him/herself from the parental abuse.

Then in permissive parenting the child is overindulged, and without restrictions, to do as he/she pleases. In this type of parenting, the child faces excessive adoration, and over praised. The child is given freedom to express him/herself. So he/she may become grandiose and over value his or her abilities.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), also come to play:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is more likely to present, in a child from a dysfunctional home. There could be physical abuse or neglect, psychological abuse or neglect, sexual abuse, etc. The loss of a parent by divorce, death or incarceration can predispose a child to developing NPD in adulthood. Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in the family, is a risk for NPD in the offspring. Parental Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is one of the adverse childhood experiences which can predispose to NPD. And growing up in a community that is violence prone, is another risk factor for NPD.

These forms of abuse are quite prevalent in Nigeria. There is now, an increase in IPV, separation and divorce. As reported by ResearchGate in 2018, one in every four women in Nigeria, has experienced IPV.  Separation rate in Nigeria is increasing, as well as dissolution by divorce. These are homes where children are growing up. What of insurgencies, farmer herdsmen conflicts, etc. And the Kidnapping rate has increased in Nigeria and so has armed robbery. Children are caught in the cross fire.

Socioeconomic factors.

The National Bureau of Statistics published in 2019 that 40.1% of Nigerians are living in poverty. This will mean that many parents will not be able to provide for the needs of their children. And this can translate in physical neglect. This can also affect other parameters of ACE as well as parenting methods.

In summary, Nigerian environment poses high risk factors for the development of the NPD. This is more likely if there is an underlying genetic factor. Exposure of children to one or many of these risk factors may predispose to narcissistic personality in late adolescents or early adulthood.

The characteristics of a Nigerian husband with a narcissistic personality disorder

During dating.

When this Nigerian man is dating a woman, he is very loving and caring. He can woo her with love and gifts, and spoils her friends with care. And he is usually a Prince Charming of a sort to her.

He is very assertive, confident and projects an air of being her protector in his knight and shining armor. These are the strong qualities that attract the woman to marry him. Because she believes that she will be safe in his hands.  

Marriage period.

Early in marriage, the couple starts to have problems. This is because this is the time he begins to show his true characteristics.

Inflated sense of self:

He has an inflated sense of self importance and grandiosity, believing that he is a tin god. So he is very domineering, exploitative and expects the world to revolve around him. And he sinks it into his wife’s brain that she should be grateful that he married her.

He can insist that she does not work, or if she works, she carries the greatest financial responsibilities in the home. This is to impoverish her and subject to him.

He never believes that he is wrong. Every negative issue in the marriage is his wife’s fault. He blames the wife to the point of making her loose her self esteem. He calls her names like, useless, good for nothing, even if the wife is the breadwinner of the family.


He is a physically and emotionally absent father to his children, preferring to spend time outside his home. But when he is at home, he is very hard on the children and expecting too much. And when any of the children misbehaves, he labels the wife outright as a bad mother. Openly tells her that she is incapable of training children.

He values his child for what the child can do for him, than who the child really is. He makes the child feel used, emotionally empty and not nurtured.

If his business is not doing well, he blames it on his wife, calling her a witch who is against his progress.

Lacks empathy:

So he never apologizes to his wife. And he will make it clear to her that he will never apologize to her. Rather to win her back, he will buy her gifts like wrappers, or a car if he can afford it.  For everything he buys for his wife, he broadcasts it, so as to reduce her self esteem.

Due to lack of empathy, children begotten outside the marriage are proudly shown off. He does not care how his family feels about it.

Very jealous and a chronic cheat:

He is a very jealous man, and cannot withstand seeing his wife talk with another man. To this point, he will attempt to choose the wife’s friends for her, and if possible keep friends away.

He is a chronic cheat and womanizer. And he will do it before the wife, without batting an eyelid. He does this to make the wife jealous and increase his self esteem and ego.

Craves for admiration:

To the outside world, he is the best human ever. He will do everything in his power to get people to admire him and inflate his ego. This he will do buy buying people over with money, or bullying them to conform. Any charity event he participates in is to fan his ego, because he does not believe in anonymous contributions.

But he will castigate his wife in public. This is done to keep the public from believing negative things said about him, by his wife.

Unfortunately for the wife, his parents and some siblings will always defend him. And with the extended family system in place, to them he is a tin god, who should be worshipped. So they do not understand why the wife complains.

So when issues are discussed in the extended family, the wife is not invited. To them, a wife that is not subject to her husband is not a virtuous wife and not one of them.

In order to have a continuous fuelling of his ego, he must be the leader of any group he finds himself, even in politics. And he is ready to use up his financial resources for this, even if it leaves the family in penury.

Easily goes into rage:

He easily gets angry and goes on a rage whenever his self esteem is brought under threat (real or imagined). During the rage, he will strike anyone who he believes is responsible, including his wife.

If he is unable to physically assault anyone who wronged him, he must find a way to revenge. This is done to show that he is still under control.

The revenge, sexual assaults, arrogance, lying, etc. are easy behaviours for him. This is because he lacks empathy, and these can make him end up in prison.

To him, his wife is seen as an object to fuel his ego. When she refuses to conform to his whims and caprices, he will physically, psychologically and even sexually abuse her.  Because he lacks empathy, he is prone to domestic violence. But at the end he makes people believe that he is the victim.

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