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What Is Narcissistic Abuse?

Narcissists use many tactics to abuse their victims.  Several common ones are listed below.  For more detailed information, click on the links.

  • Narcissistic rage.  Any attack, real or imagined, to a narcissist's self-esteem can create a narcissistic rage.  That rage can include screaming, scathing criticisms, or sometimes even physical violence.  
  • The silent treatment is another common weapon used, and it is designed to control the victim by withdrawing love.
  • Gaslighting.  Narcissists love distorting other people's reality, and making them doubt their own perceptions, reality and even sanity.  This makes a victim easier to manipulate.
  • Creating anxiety and fear. Narcissistic mothers in particular are good at this.  Excessive criticism, shaming and discussing her own fears and phobias can create a great deal of anxiety and fear in children who end up carrying this into adulthood.
  • They show compassion for other people, but not for you.  A narcissist may say you're overreacting, too sensitive or the like while offering sympathy for someone else when you both are experiencing the exact same crisis.
  • Invalidation.  Mocking, ignoring or rejecting another person's feelings is invalidation.  It also can include saying or implying that something is wrong with a person for feeling as they do.  This creates a root of toxic shame.
  • Baiting.  Trying to get a negative emotional response from a victim.  Narcissists lust for attention.  If they cannot get positive attention from you, they will be happy with negative attention.  Negative attention is better than none, and it shows them they have power over you.  
  • Creating no win or double bind situations.  Double bind situations are all about control.  If you cannot do something right, you will try something else until you are able to please the narcissist.  Narcissists who use this tactic are very subtle.  They are not obviously controlling you.  In fact, they probably will not tell you what they expect from you, but instead expect you to know, then get angry when you do not know.
  • Triangulation.  When you have a disagreement with someone, and that person has a third person try to talk to you on their behalf, that is triangulation.
  • Some examples of toxic things narcissists say can be found at this link.

Many people subjected to narcissistic abuse live with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Some are driven to suicide.  All of its victims struggle with low self esteem, anxiety or depression in some form.  Support from safe, empathetic people is very helpful.  I have a facebook group that you may find helpful.  The group is closed, which means anyone can see you are in the group, but only other members see your posts.  It is very closely monitored to maintain a safe and pleasant environment.


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