When is comes to a narcissists range of emotional abuse tactics, it's easy to get overwhelmed and confused by their behaviour because we're so caught in the drama the narcissist has created. One minute everything is amazing, the next it's absolute chaos and once again you find yourself in a drama filled world which feels like it will never end. As time goes on in your relationship with a narcissist your issues snowball out of control and you find yourself inundated once again trying to sift through the pile of issues and drama that they have brought into your life.
The following post outlines just some of the abuse tactics you may experience at the hands of a narcissist.
BOUNDARY TESTING AND HOOVERING //
Narcissists will continually try and test your boundaries to see which ones they can trespass. The more violations they’re able to commit without consequences, the more they’ll push the envelope.
Abusers tend to “hoover” their victims back in with amazing promises, fake remorse and empty words of how they are going to change, only to abuse their victims even more – this is where a lot of us usually get stuck over and over again. We get sucked back into the good times, their false promises and hope that things will somehow be different this time.
In the abuser’s mind, this boundary testing also serves as a punishment for standing up to the abuse. It's a vicious cycle, one that feels like it will never end.
Projection is a defence mechanism used to displace responsibility of one’s negative behaviour and traits by attributing them to someone else.
It ultimately acts as a digression in which they are able to avoid ownership and accountability for their behaviour.
This abuse tactic makes it clear just what lengths they are willing to go to to avoid having to acknowledge their own flaws, imperfections and wrongdoings. Narcissists are exceptional at unloading their own traits on their unsuspecting suspects in a way that is painful and very cruel.
Instead of admitting that they need to work on themselves they act as the victim and make their victims take responsibility for their behaviour -this is a way for a narcissist to project any toxic shame they have about themselves onto another.
Gaslighting is all about a narcissists ability to undermine your perception of reality and to create confusion in your mind.
Narcissists truly believe it is acceptable to overwrite another person’s reality. It's a well rehearsed tactic that is I believe one of the most dangerous forms of abuse. The long term effects on their victims is immense, not only does it distort our perception of reality, we lose our ability to trust ourselves and what we perceive as right or wrong.
A typical example of gaslighting goes something like this...
You complain that it is hot outside and the narc says “don’t be stupid it’s actually really cold…”. You're left confused and almost enraged - how could they say that? You can clearly feel the heat and you even check your weather app which tells you how hot it is!
And that is the cold hard truth about narcissistic abuse - even with hard evidence a narcissist will flat out deny the truth, and still have the ability to make you feel like you're the "crazy one".
Triangulation consists of bringing the presence of another person into the dynamic of the relationship, whether it be an ex-lover, a current mistress, a relative, or a complete stranger.
The narcissist relies on jealousy as a powerful emotion that can cause you to compete for his or her affections. They may make up stories about other women who they say are after him to make you jealous and protective and feed the illusion that you should be lucky to be with him
Triangulation is the way the narcissist maintains control and keeps you in check – you’re so busy competing for his or her attention that you’re less likely to be focusing on the red flags within the relationship or looking for ways to get out of the relationship.
NONSENSICAL CONVERSATIONS //
Arguments feel circular and make no sense - you’re left feeling emotionally battered and confused. It's a constant game of word salad where nothing they say makes sense.
When you try to make sense of their complete nonsense they will twist and change the subject again so that you get caught up in the next thing.
Nonsensical conversations are a sure way to keep you hooked to the narcissists drama with no way out.
CHANGING THE SUBJECT //
Similar to nonsensical conversations a narcissists favourite game is to keep you on your toes always looking for the next drama that they can get you to buy into.
This abuse tactic is a literal digression from the actual topic that works to redirect attention to a different issue altogether. Narcissists don’t want you to be on the topic of holding them accountable for anything, so they will constantly reroute discussions to benefit themselves and will use words like “What about the time when you…”, "I never said that, remember when..." and so on.
When engaging in these conversations you will feel drained emotionally and physically and over time start to feel hopeless doubting your ability to communicate effectively. You end up trying even harder because to some extent it must be your fault- well that's what the narcissist is always saying to you right?
OTHER EMOTIONAL TACTICS //
When confronted with their bad behaviour, a narcissist will generally deny that it ever happened–even if you confront them with hard evidence!
Many people stay sucked in because the manipulative person won’t own their behaviour–we question our perception more and more and just want to be validated that we are right. We have so much hope and see the potential in this person that we are blinded by who they are showing up to be.
Are you believing that “this time things will be different” even though you have seen this behaviour play out exactly the same way time and time again?
This is a dangerous and never ending game.
A narcissist knows that if they can get you to feel sorry for them, then they can manipulate you into switching your focus from their bad behaviour to all their trauma or other underlying reasons for their behaviour.
They will play the victim all day everyday if they know that this means they will be let off the hook for their bad behaviour.
It’s all your fault full stop. Well that's what he says right?!....So it must be true?
As with projection, the more that someone projects something onto you and doesn't take responsibility for their own behaviour the more reason you should not believe a word they are saying!
He’s making up excuses to make you feel bad for his bad behaviour and saying that you needed to be home more, or to spend more time with him, lose weight, dress sexier etc. “Look at what you made me do” is a typical response of that of an emotionally abusive person will say.
Lack of personal responsibility and accountability is a key sign that you are dealing with a highly emotionally abusive individual.
They may stalk you, or physically intimidate you by hurting you, or by hurting objects around you (punching holes in walls, or breaking things), to scare you enough into letting them return to your life.
Victims often stay because they are too scared to go, and they often feel like they are safer staying so they can at least know what the narcissist is up to.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE DEVIL YOU DO KNOW RATHER THAN THE ONE YOU DON'T RIGHT?
But what if there wasn't a devil?
What if there was a healthy, emotionally connected individual out there for you that could meet you where you're at, one that can hold the space for you to be you and you're able to let them be themselves?
We get so caught up thinking this is the only person that will ever love us, or who will ever get us, yet nothing could be further from the truth!
Narcissistic abuse is the catalyst to wake us up to our truth.
It is the catalyst to help us demand for better relationships, a better life and most importantly to have our own back when we are abused, disrespected and not treated the way we deep down know we deserve.
I'd love to hear from you!
Did this post resonate with you?
What abuse tactics have you personally experienced?