What is Narcissistic Abuse: 16 Signs To Identify And How To Protect

People who experience narcissistic abuse know how mentally and psychologically draining it can be. Narcissistic abuse on your own can destroy their self-confidence and happiness and cause them to lose faith in human decency. To say it’s horrible is an understatement.

Narcissists don’t really love themselves. In fact, they are driven by shame. It is the ideal image of themselves, that they convince themselves they embody, and that they admire.

But deep down, narcissists feel the gulf between the facade they show to the world and their shame-based self. They work hard to avoid feeling this shy. This gap also applies to people who are codependent, but the narcissist uses destructive defense mechanisms that damage relationships and the self-esteem of their loved ones.

Many narcissists’ coping mechanisms are abusive – hence the term “narcissistic abuse”. However, someone could be abusive, but not a narcissist.

Addicts and people with other mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, antisocial personality disorder (sociopathy), and borderline personality disorders are also abusive, as are many codependents without mental illness. Abuse is abuse regardless of the abuser’s diagnosis.

If you are a victim of abuse, the main challenges you face are:

  • clearly defined;
  • building a support system; And
  • Learn how to strengthen and protect yourself.

What is narcissistic abuse?

The abuse may be emotional, mental, physical, financial, spiritual, or sexual. Here are some examples of abuse you may not have identified:

  1. Verbal abuse
    Verbal abuse includes belittling, bullying, accusing, blaming, shaming, demanding, commanding, threatening, criticizing, ridiculing, debating, opposing, undermining, interrupting, blocking, and name-calling.

Note that many people sometimes make demands, use sarcasm, interrupt you, oppose you, criticize you, blame you, or block you. Consider the context, malice, and recurrence of the behavior before describing it as narcissistic abuse.

Related: The 5 Wants Of A Narcissist

  1. Manipulation
    In general, manipulation is the indirect influence on someone to act in a way that furthers the goals of the manipulator. Often, it expresses hidden aggression.

Think of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”. On the surface, the words sound harmless—rather a compliment; But you feel frustrated or feel hostile intent. If you encounter age manipulation, you may not recognize it as such. See my blog on spotting manipulation.

  1. Emotional blackmail
    Emotional blackmail may include threats, anger, warnings, intimidation, or punishment. It is a form of manipulation that arouses suspicion in you. You feel fear, obligation, and guilt sometimes referred to as “FOG.”
  2. Gas lighting
    Intentionally making you mistrust your perceptions of reality or believing you are mentally incompetent.

Related: The Cost of Loving a Narcissist

  1. Competition
    Rivalry and competition to always be one step ahead, sometimes through unethical means. For example cheating in a game.
  2. Negative contrast
    Making unnecessary comparisons to contrast you negatively with the narcissist or other people.
  3. Vandalism
    Disruptive interference with your endeavors or relationships for the purpose of revenge or personal benefit.
  4. Exploitation and will
    Exploiting you or using you for personal purposes without regard to your feelings or needs.

Related: An Apology To My Ex and I

  1. Lying
    Constant deception to avoid responsibility or to achieve the narcissist’s ends.
  2. Blocking
    Withholding things like money, sex, communication, or affection from you.
  3. Neglect
    Ignoring the needs of the child responsible for the abuser. includes child endangerment; Putting or leaving a child in a dangerous situation.
  1. Invasion of privacy
    ignore your limits by looking at things, your phone, and mail; denying your physical privacy, stalking or following you; Ignore the privacy you requested.
  2. Personal assassination or defamation
    Spreading gossip or malicious lies about you to other people.
  3. Violence
    This includes preventing your movement, pulling hair, throwing things, or destroying your property.
  4. Financial abuse
    Financial abuse may include controlling you through economic dominance, draining your money through extortion, theft, manipulation, or gambling, or by accumulating debts in your name or selling your personal property.
  5. Solitude
    Isolate you from friends, family, or access to external services and support through control, manipulation, verbal abuse, character assassination, or other means of abuse.

Narcissism and the severity of the abuse exist on a continuum. It may range from ignoring your feelings to violent aggression.