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Being in a Narcissistic Relationship - Part 2 in the NPD abuse series

December 17,2016 By: Mansi poddar

“That’s enough of me talking about myself; let’s hear you talk about me” -Anonymouscontent

 

We are all aware of narcissists and narcissism as an everyday phenomenon of self-absorbance and indulgence. In common parlance, the term “narcissism” is loosely interchanged with vanity. While this is correct to a certain degree, it reduces a complex term to a common quality that everyone possesses and in the process, downplays the symptoms demonstrated by people with the actual disorder. Those who fall under Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can tend to be extremely manipulative in personal relationships owing to their largely deceitful nature, general exploitative tendencies, as well as a lack of empathy towards those around them. Consequently, it can be emotionally exhausting being intimate with a narcissist.

Nature of the relationship-A selfish interest:

A relationship with a Narcissist is often a turbulent one, often compared to a roller coaster ride, with tremendous highs and lows. They constantly need people around them, because their entire sense of self-worth depends on the admiration and validation of others. Oblivious to the needs of others, they enter into relationships with a singular, vested interest of filling an existing void in their own character by ensuring they have someone who is readily available both physically and emotionally to serve their purpose. In order to protect ourselves from psychological trauma and abuse, it is important to set boundaries and ground rules, while making informed decisions as to who we should keep in our lives. For that, a clear understanding of the nature of toxic interactions and how they affect us goes a long way in helping us identify malignant narcissism and in turn aids us to engage in self-care.

How to tell if you are being abused:

Being in a relationship with a Narcissist often entails enduring regular moments of rejection, mixed with bouts of approval and affirmation. A feeling of being manipulated into doing or saying something out of character is often a sign of experiencing abuse. It is essential to recognize that abuse is rarely just physical. Sexual, financial, emotional, mental, and verbal forms of abuse are also meted out. Out of these, psychological abuse at the hands of a Narcissist can be difficult to identify. Triggers can be of various kinds and often unpredictable. A simple comment or conservation about the living room furniture, the car needing paint or even the colour of the bedroom wall can be blown out of proportion and taken out of context by a Narcissist to show that their spouse disapproves of them in some way, causing tremendous stress and an atmosphere or negativity. A Narcissist works over a period of time to break a person down, hence the effect of long term abuse is often more severe.

Some tell-tale signs your partner is abusive:

  • They isolate you from friends and family to maintain control over you
  • They put you in order to feel good about themselves
  • They seek to destroy your sense of self esteem
  • They only try to compliment you when you are ready to leave

While forms of Narcissistic abuse can be many, here are a few key tactics often used:

  • Gaslighting – Narcissists resort to this method to instill a severe sense of anxiety and disorientation in their partner by means of brainwashing and creating confusion. By means of lies and deceitful behavior, they create such intensive doubt that their partner is left questioning their own perception and sanity. They frequently withhold factual information, replacing it with falsity to alter the victim’s sense of reality.
  • Projection – They have the selfish tendency to burden their partner with issues as if they are the ones at fault. For example, narcissistic mental abusers often accuse their partner of being a liar when they themselves are lying, thereby transferring their guilt. This creates a lot of confusion.
  • Rage – It is a violent and extreme form of anger that usually stems out of inconsequential or unimportant things, seeming to suddenly erupt out of nowhere. The person at the receiving end is usually left too stunned or surprised to retaliate, resulting in compliance.
  • The Stare – Intense, impersonal and deeply distressing, this method of abuse is used to intimidate their partner into submission, and is often used alongside the silent treatment.
  • Silent Treatment – This is a cruel and common punishment used by Narcissists to torment their partner. Simply ignoring them, often for doing nothing wrong. It can last for days, weeks or even longer, usually with no justification or explanation. It is used as a powerful ploy to “get the point across” which leaves the partner severely anxious, isolated, jealous and feeling of not being worthy.
  • Twisting – A malignant Narcissistic partner does not react well to confrontations, usually resorting to blaming the victim for their actions. Through a series of insults, sarcasm and twisting of facts, they shirk their responsibility and demand an apology from their partner instead.
  • Manipulation – Narcissists often resort to conniving manipulation tactics with their partner to induce the fear of infidelity or abandonment in them. Control tactics are frequently used to get the partner to agree to do something they normally wouldn’t. They are also known to use condescending behavior in order to belittle someone and breakdown their confidence.
  • Victim Card – Never admitting to their own fault, Narcissists prefer playing the victim card, always pointing out to the wrongs they have been subjected to. They prefer rationalizing their actions instead of improving upon them.