It is reckoned in that one in three abuse victims are males, this figure as quoted in HelpGuide.org strongly contradicts modern stereo types. It is generally acknowledged that women do abuse males, but the general perception is that the figures are tiny and therefore occurrences are rare and extreme. This is not the case.
Men are often afraid of being seen as weak and “unmanly” if they look for help for being abused by a woman. However, the reality is that women tend to abuse men emotionally rather than physically – so there is “nothing to show” for the abuse and is therefore much harder to prove or detect.
- Very often, it is strong, kind and self-controlled men who get abused for the very fact that they know that they are physically stronger and could easily do a lot of harm in a very short period of time if they lose control.
- Emotional abuse happens over time, slowly getting more and more intense and aggressive. So, at the beginning it is easy to make excuses for her such as having a bad day etc.
The most common ways that a narcissistic female will emotionally abuse are.
- By being constantly disappointed with her partner (nothing is ever good enough) when her partner tries harder to please, she will just raise her “standards”.
- She will have wild mood swings, so you never know which mood you are going to get when you walk in the door, as a result you will be living in a state of high alert.
- She will sneer and humiliate you in front of others, especially your children – she does this to try to ridicule you and make your children feel “ashamed” for loving you, wanting to spend time with you and to alienate you.
- Over spend money on items for herself
- She will constantly compare you to other couples and will try to make you feel guilty for not having a big enough house, expensive enough car or for not going on enough lavish holidays (like the Smiths do).
- Sex will be one of her favourite tools to gain control, this could be by not wanting it at all or by being over demanding and humiliating you “for not being a real man able to keep up”.
- Constantly try to make you feel jealous by implying that there is someone else or that most men find her excessively attractive and she could have anyone she wanted
- She will enjoy destroying your possessions, especially if she knows that they are of particular importance to you.
- She will violate your personal space by walking right up to your face and call you names spitting venom as she does it.
- She will throw things at you from across the room, up turn furniture and smash plates and glasses.
- She will physically punch, kick and bite
- She will check your phone, open your post/emails and stalk you if she feels any threat to her control.
None of these behaviours are in any way acceptable but they are not episodes when taken individually would require intervention. However, their persistence and intensity are very traumatic and can have long lasting effects.
Typically, a man who is being abused at home will look for comfort elsewhere. This can be:
- Becoming a workaholic, staying at his work place long after everyone else has gone home.
- Getting absorbed in some sports activity that will keep him out of the house for long periods of time.
- Other compulsive behaviours such as computer games or substance abuse.
A man who has been emotionally abused will very often protect her behaviour for a long time after he realises that that is what it is. The reasons for this might be:
- She is the mother of his children
- She has explicitly or implicitly threatened him that if he ever, ever told anyone about the abuse that she would punish him in one way or another
- He does not want to appear weak or out of control in his relationship to the outside world
- He has been with her for a long time and does not want to admit that the entire relationship was a sham
- He is not really sure how far she will push her punitive measures and who else might be hurt by them
Continuing on with an abusive relationship can manifest itself in both physical and mental illnesses. If you think that you are being (or have been) in an abusive relationship it is really important to talk to someone who you trust. It is important to get support from a professional if possible, and make sure that they know what narcissistic abuse is, don’t just ask a therapist if they do, because they will say that they do. Ask them specific tell-tale questions that will prove that they do. It is important that you like/trust your therapist and that you feel that they understand and know what you are talking about. If you choose a therapist and don’t feel comfortable with him/her you are absolutely not obliged to stay with them. If you cannot find a therapist that fits your needs as it is really important to get support and not to feel that you have to deal with the situation alone.