We are all capable of abuse when we’re frustrated or hurt. We may be guilty of criticizing, judging, withholding, and controlling, but some abusers, including narcissists, take abuse to a different level. Narcissistic Abuse can be physical, mental, emotional, sexual, financial, or spiritual. Some kinds of emotional abuse aren’t easy to spot, including manipulation. It can consist of emotional blackmail, using threats and intimidation to exercise control. Narcissists are masters of verbal abuse and manipulation. They could go so far as to make you doubt your own senses, called gaslighting.
Remember that narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) and abuse exist on a continuum, which range from silence to violence. Rarely will a narcissist take responsibility for their behavior. Normally, they deny their activities, and fortify the misuse by blaming the victim. Particularly, malignant narcissists aren’t bothered by guilt. They can be sadistic and take pleasure in inflicting pain. They may be so competitive and unprincipled that they take part in anti-social behavior. Don’t confuse narcissism with anti-social personality disorder.
The objective of narcissistic abuse is power. They act with the intent to diminish or even hurt other people. The main thing to consider intentional abuse is that it’s intended to dominate you. Abusers’ goals are to increase their control and authority, while creating uncertainty, uncertainty, and dependence in their victims. They wish to feel superior to prevent hidden feelings of inferiority. Understanding this can empower you. Like all bullies, despite their defenses of anger, arrogance, and self-inflation, they suffer from shame. Appearing weak and humiliated is their biggest fear. Knowing this, it is essential not to take personally the words and actions of an abuser. This enables you to confront narcissistic abuse.
Mistakes in Managing Abuse
When you overlook an abuser’s motives, you may naturally react in some of these ineffective ways:
1. Appeasement. If you placate to avoid conflict and anger, it enables the abuser, who sees it as weakness and a chance to exert more control.
2. This also reveals weakness, which narcissists despise in others and themselves. They may react dismissively with contempt or disgust.
3. Withdrawal. This is a excellent temporary tactic to collect your thoughts and emotions, but is not an effective strategy to deal with abuse.
4. Arguing and Fighting. Most abusers are not interested in the truth, but only in justifying their position and being correct. Verbal arguments can quickly escalate to conflicts that drain and damage you. Nothing is gained. You lose and can end up feeling more victimized, hurt, and despairing.
5. Anything beyond a simply refusal of a false accusation leaves you open to more abuse. When you cover the content of what’s being said and explain and defend your position, you endorse an abuser’s right to judge, approve, or abuse you. Your reaction sends this message:”You have power over my self-esteem. You have the right to approve or disapprove of me. You’re entitled to be my judge.”
6. This can drive your behaviour if you desperately want to be understood. It is based on the false expectation that a narcissist is interested in understanding you, even though a narcissist is only interested in winning a conflict and having the superior position. Depending upon the amount of narcissism, sharing your feelings may also expose you to more harm or manipulation. It’s far better to share your feelings with someone safe who cares about them.
7. Criticizing and Complaining. Although they may act tough, because abusers are basically insecure, inside they are fragile. They can dish it, but can not take it. Complaining or criticizing an abuser can provoke rage and vindictiveness.
8. Making threats can lead to retaliation or backfire if you don’t carry them out. Never make a threat you are not prepared to enforce. Boundaries with direct consequences are more effective.
9. Don’t fall into the trap of denial by excusing, minimizing, or rationalizing abuse. And don’t fantasize that it will go away or improve at any future time. The longer it goes on, the more it develops, and the poorer you can become.
10. Self-Blame Don’t blame yourself for a person’s actions and try harder to be ideal. You can’t cause anyone to abuse you. You are only responsible for your own behaviour. You won’t ever be perfect enough for an abuser to stop their behaviour, which stems from their insecurities not you.
Confronting Abuse Effectively
Thus, it’s important to confront it. That does not mean to fight and argue. It means standing your ground and speaking up for yourself clearly and calmly and having boundaries to secure your mind, emotions, and body. Before you set boundaries, you must:
1. Know Your Rights. You must feel entitled to be treated with respect and that you have specific rights, like the right to your feelings, the right not to have sex if you decline, a right to privacy, a right not to be yelled at, touched, or disrespected. If you’ve been abused a long time (or as a child), your self- esteem likely has been diminished.
2. This takes learning and practice to prevent being aggressive or passive. Try these short-term responses to dealing with verbal putdowns:
* I’ll think about it.
* I will never be the good enough wife (husband) that you hoped for
* I don’t like it when you criticize me. (Then walk away)
* That is your opinion. I disagree, (or) I don’t see it that way.
* You’re saying…” (Repeat what was said. Insert,”Oh, I see.”)
* I won’t to speak with you when you (describe abuse, e.g.”belittle me”).
* Agree to part that’s true. “Yes, I burnt the dinner.” Ignore
You are a rotten cook.
* Humor -“You are very cute once you get annoyed.
3. Be Strategic. Know what you want specifically, what the narcissist wants, what your limits are, and where you have power in the relationship. You’re dealing with someone highly defensive with a personality disorder. There are certain strategies to having an impact.
4. Set Boundaries. Boundaries are rules that govern how you want to be treated. People will treat you the way you let them. You have to know what your boundaries are before you can communicate them. They need to be explicit.
Don’t hint or expect people to read your mind.
5. Have Consequences. After setting boundaries, if they’re ignored, it is important to communicate and invoke consequences. These aren’t threats, but actions you take to protect yourself or meet your needs.
6. Be Educative. Research shows that narcissists have neurological deficits that affect their social reactions. You’re best approach is to instruct a narcissist like a child. Explain the impact of their behaviour and provide encouragement and incentives for different behaviour. It requires planning what you’re going to say without being emotional.
To respond effectively requires assistance. Without it, you might languish in self-doubt and succumb to violent disinformation and denigration. It’s challenging to modify your reactions, let alone those of anybody else. Anticipate pushback when you stand up for yourself. This is just another reason why support is vital. You will need courage and consistency. Whether the narcissist makes adjustments, you will receive tools to protect yourself and raise your self-worth which will improve how you feel whether you leave or stay. CoDA meetings and psychotherapy provide guidance and support.