Different types of verbal and nonverbal abuse



Secrecy is all about withholding information and a failure to share facts (financial, social and familial),  thoughts (their own or others around you in the community) and their own “feelings”.  A person who withholds information refuses to engage in a healthy give and take relationship.  They live by the the notion that “knowledge/information  is power”, which is why they are so reluctant to share.

Negating everything you say

This is when someone rejects everything that you say.  It is an extraordinary phenomenon because they will not let you say what you think without interrupting you and telling you that you are wrong.  They do it when you are talking about your feelings, they will tell you why you “shouldn’t” feel the way you do, they will contradict you on general topics with such force and certainty that you begin to doubt yourself (even if you are an expert on the matter), they will judge your relationships and tell you what they are like (usually negative).

The target of the abuse may share her positive view about a film she just saw, and the abuser may then attempt to convince her that her opinion is wrong. This is an example of countering. Countering is a way of dismissing the victim’s feelings, thoughts and experiences on a regular basis.


Discounting is to deny that the victim of the abuse has any right to her thoughts or feelings. It may come out as criticism but criticism of a particular kind. The abuser may tell the victim on a regular basis that she is too sensitive, too childish, has no sense of humour, no friends or tends to make a fuss over nothing. The abuser thereby denies the victim’s inner reality, indirectly telling her that how she feels and what she experiences is fundamentally wrong.

“No go” areas

This is when the abuser categorically refuses to talk about or discuss a topic, either because they regard it as criticism, it is something that they want to keep secret or because it is not a topic that they know anything about.  They can do this by constantly changing the subject, getting angry or by physically leaving your company (walking off in a huff).

Hostile “jokes” or just plain rude

Jokes are supposed to be funny for both the teller and the listener, hostile “jokes” are when the narcissist knows that they are insulting you but wrap it up like it is a joke.  It is usually accompanied by a passive aggressive chuckle or snigger.  They will insult in such an extreme way that it could not be taken “seriously”, but they know, that you know they meant the insult and expect you to laugh along with them.


Projection is when the narcissist has a quality about themselves that they do not like, so they project that quality on to somebody else.  It can be anything from a personality trait “you are so lazy” to something like “you have no friends”.


Blaming is when the narcissist blames events or outcomes onto external influences.  It could be that they didn’t win a football match because of the weather or not getting a promotion in work because of something someone said about her behind her back.  Or it could be that someone got annoyed with them for being rude and their reaction is that it is the other person’s fault because they are “too sensitive” or “it is not my fault that their marriage is on the rocks”.  Nothing is ever their fault, so they will always have something or someone to deflect the blame on to, it is automatic for them.

Being highly judgemental and critical of others

Being judgemental and critical is what narcissists do to boost their own self-esteem and ego.  So all the people around them will be “idiots” or “stupid” (unless that person is someone who they admire for being rich/powerful or influential in some way).  They will happily criticise others for having behaviours that they obviously have themselves (although they cannot/will not acknowledge them).  They will make wild assumptions on very little evidence to support their criticism of someone and will frequently go on character assassinations on those who they consider a threat in some way.  It might be someone at work, someone they consider better looking, more intelligent or even someone who they think is more popular than they are.   In general they attack the reputation of others to buoy their own ego.


This is when the narcissist makes ambitions, dreams or likes of someone else look insignificant, unimportant or ridiculous.  They can also try to make the achievements of others look trivial, in fact the more accomplished the victim is the more they will be sneered at (unless they think that the achievements of another person “makes them look good”)

Name calling

Name calling is when the narcissist calls you rude, hostile or unpleasant names.  It is done to humiliate and keep their victim in a frightened or subdued state and will often be done as a “joke”.


The narcissist will tell the person in a forcible way that “if you do not do as I say, there will be trouble” or “if you ever say/do that again I will”.  Threats can be delivered in an aggressive way, in a cold and demonic voice or as a “joke” which will be accompanied by very aggressive body language.

Invading personal space

This is done to intimidate and it can either be by putting their face too close to yours, so that they are practically spitting at you or it can be done by towering over you when you are sitting or lying down or by touching another person inappropriately, this does not necessarily have to be sexual, it can be by punching someone on the arm (too hard) or by pushing them out of the way.

The silent treatment

This is when they ignore you and everything that you say.  They just pretend that you are invisible.  They will not look at you or answer you in any way (see section on “Silent Treatment)

Telling instead of asking

Ordering people around is very common with narcissists.  They will say things like “get me a cup of coffee” without saying please or thank you.  It is common for them to order to waiting staff around in a restaurant for example, treating them like second class citizens when ordering from the menu or snapping their fingers or shouting at them when they want service. Instead of saying things like “Excuse me, can you tell me where such a place is please?”, they will just say “Where is such a place”


This can range from forgetting to call you to forgetting to take the bins out.  The narcissist will keep forgetting to do jobs that they do not like which usually leaves two options, you constantly remind them and they will accuse you of being a nag, or you just do the job yourself because it is easier.  They will also forget things like anniversaries and birthdays either because they are too self-absorbed to remember or to let you know that you are not important enough to them to make the effort.  However, they will become extremely abusive if any celebration of them is ignored.

Rewriting history

Narcissists are very good at rewriting history so that they always come out on top, the champion, the hero.   However,  they are also happy with the victim role, depending on who they are talking to.  They will deny that anything was said or done that does not present them in a good light.



Triangulation is a narcissist’s indirect form of communication where one person (the narcissist) acts as a conduit to prevent direct contact between two or more people.   It can be used as a way to draw a third party/parties to gang up on their chosen target to benefit their own agenda, as a way to keep secrets, to make individuals suspicious of each other by making false claims about what the other said about them, gas light or to blame others for unpleasant things that they did or said about a victim of their abuse

It is employed by the narcissist specifically to control, dominate, demote and hurt their targets.  Those targets can be anyone they come in contact with ranging from their children, partners, friends, co-workers and other family members.  It is a predatorily tactic and is done by exploiting other people’s vulnerabilities and trust.

If you come from a narcissistic family of origin your parent(s) will have almost certainly used this technique as a means to control and frighten their children.  As every politician knows, frightened people are easier to control than confident ones, a child who comes from a family like this knows that absolute obedience is the safest way of survival, as a small child’s life is at stake if the parent threatens to abandon or hurt them.

The most popular way that narcissistic parents control their children is by splitting/dividing and conquering this involves pitching the siblings against each other so that they don’t trust one another and find it difficult to be in one another’s company.  It is done for two reasons:

  • So the children won’t get together and gang up on the parent
  • So that the children will not compare and contrast the things that the narcissistic parent says and there by expose the lies that they have been telling.

Once the narcissists achieves this goal, all trust will be lost between siblings.

They will do a character assassination on anyone who poses a threat, disagrees with them or dares to disobey them.  They will often invent cruel comments and attribute them to other people to further hurt and lower the self-esteem of their victims. When they have created this dysfunctional non direct communication between the people around them, they can play a pivotal role in the control of information that is supplied within the family unit, group of friends, work colleagues or clubs, filtering and censoring the flow of information to fit their own agenda.  Since most people are unaware of the concept of this deliberate feed of misinformation by narcissists they frequently believe the lies that they are told, they trust their and since they have not had any experience of such deliberate deception.  Narcissists are pathological liars so they will lie about tiny/unimportant things at first to see if they “get away with it” and if they do, like a small child, they will just push the boundaries further the next time.  If they get pulled up on a lie, they will make a petty excuse and realise that it will be too much trouble for them to convince their target of their lies and will move on to the next source of supply.  Children of narcissists will have only had experience of this type of “communication” so it will feel normal that no one talks directly to each other and that they are always told what other siblings/parent or people said about them.  Narcissists do not talk to people they talk at them with the specific goal of control/power.

That is not where the dysfunctionality of triangulation stops.  The narcissist will not talk openly and frankly with anyone including their children as they do not want that level of intimacy or indeed to have their projected image damaged/questioned in any way.  Instead the narcissist will ask one person about another.  So they will say “what is X up to these days”, “Y seemed upset at dinner the other night, what is going on with them”.  To get people to open up to them they will trade other people’s secrets or will invent something unkind that “someone else” said about them to provoke a reaction. This indirect form of communication leaves it wide open for people to shaft each other and create disharmony with in a family or a group as it isolates each individual and increases the levels of insecurity and lack of trust between family members, friends, colleagues etc.  Which in turn makes it much easier for the narcissist to control the people around them.

Another form of triangulation used by narcissists is to be immensely impressed by the success of other people in a specific field – real or imaginary.  They will compare the accomplishments/talents of others and will imply that the person who they are targeting is substandard.  They will do this by undermining the other person by saying things like “of course you dropped out of college”, “it is a shame that your business venture failed”, “well of course you have been divorced twice”, “of course you cannot have children so you wouldn’t know” they will aim to shame their target (including their own children) with the things that they know they feel insecure about. They will imply that just about everyone they know is superior to you and that you will never be able to measure up to (because if you achieve something, that achievement will be dismissed as unimportant and the bar will be raised higher). Even if the target the performance of others is exaggerated/fictional the implications are not lost on you, there is a clear and unambiguous message that simply says “you are not good enough (try harder to please me”, “you are substandard (I am such a good and interesting person to put up with you who are flop as a person”.

This technique is employed by adult narcissists to control their partners and they do it to a pathological level to feed the needs of their disordered agenda.  Any new relationship with a narcissist will start with love bombing.  It doesn’t make any difference how confident you are at the beginning of the relationship the constant attention, flattery and faux declarations of love will blow your mind (literally), you were manipulated into falling in “love” with them and being in “love” with them makes us vulnerable to them and we trust them.

Once they have you hooked they will start slowly with the abuse with a gentle drip drip of deceit, betrayal, disparagement and rage all done with the aim of destroying us.  Because hurting others makes them feel good and more powerful.  They do this by bringing in a third party, this could be constant reference to an ex-lover, the implication that they are having an affair, talking-up the people who you know in common/work colleauges and being disparaging about everything that you do, or simply by spending too much time on a hobby that they exclude you from.

Another way that they use triangulation is to punish or treat a third party badly.  This is done explicitly to let you know that if you do not conform to their control, they will do exactly the same to you.  It can be in the form of making an “example” of someone such as a child or a co-worker and insist that the others bear witness or it can be in the form of openly going on a smear campaign on someone to let others know that if they step out of line the same thing could happen to them.

There is another way in which narcissists use triangulation and it is what I call the Triple Whammy (which means a situation that is bad in three different ways: a situation in which three bad conditions exist at the same time or three bad things happen one after another).

For example, a narcissist could tell their partner that a member of their family, a friend or acquaintance made an incredibly cruel comment about them, the partner will reel with shock, hurt and surprise because they always thought that they had a good relationship with that person.  The narcissist will then expand on the story and say how they jumped to the defence of their partner denying the validity of everything that the “wicked” other person said about them.  The result for the narcissist is 1) delighted by the hurt inflicted on their partner, 2) look like they are a protective, loyal and honourable partner 3) they will also make you think that the people closest to you are talking behind your back and this will be presented as concern about the authenticity of the relationships that you have with these people and as such wedge a gap between you and the people that are closest to you, they will display faux concern about your well-being and so their language will be couched in unchallengeable caring terminology.  It is designed to destroy you and your relationships, to isolate so that they can garner more control.

A final thing that is alarming if you are in an adult relationship with a narcissist is that the narcissist can threaten to “tell Mummy on you” if you don’t do what they say (seriously!).   This is a result of a narcissistic mother who has over cossetted her child, so s/he always considers her his “go to place” when anything goes wrong.  The threat of “telling Mummy” usually comes in the throws of a narcissistic rage when the have completely lost control over themselves, it is however, always difficult to believe that you just heard that comment from an adult.  Basically if you are in a “relationship” with a narcissist you have just been calculatedly manipulated into a baby sitting role and that is why they feel justified in telling Mummy if the “hired help” isn’t doing his or her job properly.

Sense of humour and being teased

Narcissists have a very poor sense of humour especially when it comes to themselves.  They take themselves extremely seriously and expect everyone else to do the same.  This is what they expect from others, not how they treat others.  They consider it completely acceptable to mock others and laugh at them in their face.  They can pull mocking faces and roll their eyes but will take extreme umbrage if they consider that you have even glanced at them in a funny way.

They usually use sarcasm and word play to simulate humour.  It is because they don’t have a sense of humour that they find it very hard to play fun and silly games.  They are usually keen on competitive games and they will play to win, not to have fun, the ones that are just for fun they find embarrassing and it makes them feel self-conscious.  This is different from taking centre stage which narcissists adore, and entertaining an audience as opposed to entertaining each other just for the sake of being together.  It is for this reason that a narcissist finds it almost impossible to play with their children.  When they are teaching a game to a child, they will rarely let them win, even if it is chess or scrabble where the child obviously has much less developed skills set.

The narcissist cannot tell the difference between being teased and being mocked.  Most people know that you don’t really tease someone unless you have a certain affection for them.  The narcissist will feel threatened by being teased because it is a mild form of intimacy and they will think that they are being laughed at so their reaction will be

  • To be offended
  • To walk off in a huff
  • Become aggressive and retaliate by deliberately saying intentionally hurtful things
  • Sulk
  • Use very hostile “humour” to get their own back

In fact, a narcissist seems to be more comfortable in an overtly hostile and aggressive encounter than they are when they are being teased.  If a narcissist is being mocked they will have total sense of humour failure and is highly likely to punish or seek revenge at some later date.  At the same time a narcissist sees absolutely no problem with them pointing their finger at someone else and sneering/jeering/ridiculing and humiliating in a vindictive and malicious way.

Narcissists think that being overtly rude to someone or about someone is a form of humour, because they have very poor communication skills they can make people feel very uncomfortable in social settings, they can carry on saying ridiculous things without any awareness of the discomfort that they are causing others to feel.  They enjoy making people blush as that is an emotional response and it makes them feel good about themselves at another’s expense.

Humour plays an important part in any close relationship, it helps people to bond and to feel close to one another.  When people cannot laugh together (which is very different from laughing at someone or something) that closeness can never evolve as a close connection can never develop and both parties will be on the defensive.  Humour is also a useful tool when approaching a sensitive issue, it can be used to gauge what another person is feeling about a situation.  A narcissist cannot employ this tactic as they don’t care what the other person feels or wants, it is not in their interest and have a tendency to attack things head on from their very self-righteous stand point without giving consideration for the consequences either for the other person or on the outcome of their attack.

The Scorpion and the Frog

One day, a scorpion looked around at the mountain where he lived and decided that he wanted a change. So he set out on a journey through the forests and hills. He climbed over rocks and under vines and kept going until he reached a river.

The river was wide and swift, and the scorpion stopped to reconsider the situation. He couldn’t see any way across. So he ran upriver and then checked downriver, all the while thinking that he might have to turn back.

Suddenly, he saw a frog sitting in the rushes by the bank of the stream on the other side of the river. He decided to ask the frog for help getting across the stream.

“Hellooo Mr. Frog!” called the scorpion across the water, “Would you be so kind as to give me a ride on your back across the river?”

“Well now, Mr. Scorpion! How do I know that if I try to help you, you wont try to kill me?” asked the frog hesitantly.

“Because,” the scorpion replied, “If I try to kill you, then I would die too, for you see I cannot swim!”

Now this seemed to make sense to the frog. But he asked. “What about when I get close to the bank? You could still try to kill me and get back to the shore!”

“This is true,” agreed the scorpion, “But then I wouldn’t be able to get to the other side of the river!”

“Alright then…how do I know you wont just wait till we get to the other side and THEN kill me?” said the frog.

“Ahh…,” crooned the scorpion, “Because you see, once you’ve taken me to the other side of this river, I will be so grateful for your help, that it would hardly be fair to reward you with death, now would it?!”

So the frog agreed to take the scorpion across the river. He swam over to the bank and settled himself near the mud to pick up his passenger. The scorpion crawled onto the frog’s back, his sharp claws prickling into the frog’s soft hide, and the frog slid into the river. The muddy water swirled around them, but the frog stayed near the surface so the scorpion would not drown. He kicked strongly through the first half of the stream, his flippers paddling wildly against the current.

Halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a sharp sting in his back and, out of the corner of his eye, saw the scorpion remove his stinger from the frog’s back. A deadening numbness began to creep into his limbs.

“You fool!” croaked the frog, “Now we shall both die! Why on earth did you do that?”

The scorpion shrugged, and did a little jig on the drownings frog’s back.

“I could not help myself. It is my nature.”

Then they both sank into the muddy waters of the swiftly flowing river.

Self-destruction – “It’s my Nature”, said the Scorpion…

Traits that narcissists look for in their “chosen ones”

  •  Empathy a narcissist will always be looking for an empathic person. This is because they are easier to manipulate.  It will not even occur to an empath that a person would lie and deceive them (unless they have been hurt by someone before) at the same time as professing their love.
  • Trust they will be looking for someone who cannot operate in a relationship if there is not trust. They will test the trust levels of their victim to see how far they can push their agenda, frequently asking them to prove their trust.  Once they know that they have the trust of the other person, they will start to betray them.  Little by little at first but then on absolutely everything
  • Openness and honesty when someone is open and honest it is very easy for a narcissist to harvest information about the insecurities of that person. It doesn’t occur to most people that sharing information in this way is anything other than a way of getting to know each other better.  However, this information will be taken and used against a victim in the future so that a narcissist can diminish and demean their “chosen one”
  • Politeness and behaving correctly narcissists depend on the fact that their victims will be polite and determined not to “hurt other people’s feelings” or have the ability to say “no”. Above all they look for people whose intention will be to be civil and decent.  To the narcissist, this level of politeness is sheer a delight, it means that boundaries are easily violated and that is just what they are looking for. They will count on the fact that you will try to be fair and just, while they will be dishonest, scheming and conniving.
  • Self-doubt delights the narcissist because they can easily erode their victims confidence and replace their confidence with the narcissists narrative, they do this little by little chipping away at their self-esteem all of the time.
  • Vulnerability is seen as a weakness in the predatory narcissist. When they sense that someone is having a difficult time in their life is the exact moment they will pounce, they will first appear that they are filled with concern and willing to help when and where they can.  When they have their victim lulled into a false sense of security they will change and gradually (but persistently) try to destroy them
  • Kindness and generosity are seen as weakness by a narcissist and the will exploit it as far as they can. It is up to the giver to know when to stop giving as the taker has no limits.  They will regard kindness and a willingness to cooperate as a form of stupidity.  After they have taken everything that they can get from an individual they will walk away with absolutely no sense or remorse whatsoever.

In synthesis

Narcissism is a very popular subject at the moment.  It is for a good reason – it is extremely prevalent in Western society.  Some speculate that it has been culturally fostered from about the 1960’s onwards as the prevalent question has always been “How do I get what I want?” Rather than “What contribution can I make, and what role am I best suited for in society?”

In a very limited picture the traits of a narcissist look like:

They completely lack empathy and compassion so they are unwilling to recognise or identify with the feelings and needs of others (even those close to them), they may even gloat, laugh and take pleasure in the pain and problems of others.

  • They are amoral and lack conscience if they believe that they can get away with something that benefits them in some way, even if it is immoral, illegal or will hurt someone, they will do it.
  • They have no remorse even if they get caught they don’t express any genuine remorse for what they have done. It will always be someone else’s fault (as narcissists are never wrong).  They will never admit to being guilty of something, the closest that they come to guilt is “they made me do it”.  They will not apologise or try to make amends for the hurt that they caused or if they do it will be as a means to an end and completely insincere.
  • They are hyper sensitive to criticism the slightest form of criticism, including constructive, will be considered to be a full on attack by the narcissist. They can attack back in a vicious manner, hurling abuse in a most visceral way or they can just storm off and sulk.  Usually they will try to punish the person who criticised them at some later date.
  • They are pathological liars they will lie about anything and everything even when the truth would serve them better. Their lies are always intended to make them look better or others look bad.  Anything that a narcissist says should not be believed until it is backed up from a reliable source, or seen through their actions rather than their words.
  • They are full of their own self-importance and are frequently extremely critical and judgemental of others to buoy up their own self image
  • They live in a fantasy world in which the constant narrative is that they are the protagonist, the one who saves the day, invents a cure for cancer etc. and expects recognition of their brilliance even if the evidence is simply not there. Alternatively, they can play the role of the victim to garner sympathy from others, the role they play will be determined by the “audience” that they have.
  • They are revisionists anything that they might have said or done that might draw criticism (at whatever level) is immediately denied and projected onto some other factor. Someone else, the weather, politics etc.  Nothing is ever their “fault” or responsibility.
  • They believe that they are superior to others and that they should only associate with other people or institutions that they deem as suitable for their special status.
  • They constantly need to be the centre of attention and demand excessive admiration.
  • Have a ridiculously strong sense of entitlement “I want it therefore you have to/need to give it to me” with totally unreasonable expectations of people conforming to their “needs” and giving them favourable treatment or recognition this could be in an intimate relationship, in a social circle or in a restraint or bar. They will never treat others how they expect to be treated themselves – unless they think that there is something in it for them.  Status, adoration or money.
  • They are ruthless and will be exploitative of others and constantly take advantage to get what they want.
  • They are envious and jealous of others but they invert it and frequently claim that others are jealous of them.
  • They are madly competitive everyone and everything is a contest to a narcissist, it can often be extremely bizarre and is always unhealthy. They only play to win, not to have fun or to engage with others.  In fact, narcissists cannot play.  For them it is one up-manship all of the time, they are petty and will plot for days or weeks to “win”.  If they feel like they are losing at something they will become more aggressive and competitive, even if it is to their own detriment.  Every conversation with a narcissist is a competition, so they will happily get very aggressive in a discussion over something trivial just to make sure that they “win”
  • They are bitter and will show contempt for others, they constantly complain that people are not doing enough for them and will criticise to the point of being abusive. They expect other people to make things better for them as they have no intention of putting in the work themselves, after all they “deserve” it.
  • They are very negative and will rarely have anything good to say about anyone or anything, unless they idolise a person due to their social status or wealth, see the person as useful or they feel that they can take credit for something someone else has done.
  • They are extremely angry. Anger and rage are the driving force behind all narcissistic actions, which is why the can go into full blown rage in a matter of seconds if someone threatens them.
  • It is important to note that it is sometimes very hard to spot a narcissist until they are under threat as they can be charming, engaging, affable, generous and amusing. It is only when they feel under threat of some sort that their true nature raises its head or their public mask drops.
  • Narcissists take themselves extremely seriously and expect you to do so too. They will happily mock and sneer at everyone around them – but it is not okay to do it back to them it will end in narcissistic rage or an infantile sulk.
  • They will gossip with malicious intent but get extremely paranoid if they hear that someone was talking about them in their absence and will try to extract the precise details of any conversation that has been had about them.
  • Narcissists want to be known for their individual ability rather than their ability to work as part of a team/community and frequently chase after fame and positions of power.

Once you think that you might be dealing with a narcissist it can take a while for the penny to drop.  As you educate yourself you will be able to penetrate through the layers of their crazy behaviour.  This can take a while and every time you think you have it all worked out, you find another layer of “stuff” that you never even thought about.  Narcissists are very hard to understand at the beginning because you think “why would someone behave like that?”, “what on earth is going on in their head?”.  This is particularly true with spiteful or vindictive narcissists.  You will ask yourself “how can they align themselves with someone else and then punish them if they do not like what they see?”  It absolutely doesn’t make sense- it is just what they do.  A narcissist is his/her own worst enemy, they are generally pretty miserable people and they spend their lives trying to control others rather than tapping into themselves and doing work getting to enhance their own emotional development.  When you educate yourself about narcissism you will find that their behaviour is alarmingly repetitive, once you recognise the patterns you start to see it manifesting in a myriad of different places (in your own family, the media, in CEOs, the church, politics etc.).  When people describe the behaviour of narcissists, it is as though they have all read the same phrase book.  You might find that you too were using phrases such as “anything you say can and will be used against you in evidence”, “walking on eggshells” or that their behaviour is just infantile, all before you fully understood what Narcissistic Personality Disorder is.  Knowing about narcissism will not necessarily enable you to predict their behaviour (although it might) but it will help you to “understand” it to the extent that you will stop looking into yourself and wonder “what did I do wrong?”, “why are they being like that to me?”

It is important to note that we all possess a certain amount of narcissism and it presents on a spectrum.  We need to be a bit narcissistic for our survival.  It is only when people display very high levels of narcissism that it becomes a problem.  Like all mental health issues, it is never cut and dry. Narcissism cannot be looked at under a microscope to see what stage on the spectrum a person is.  Sometimes they can be delightful and they can continue to be so, so long as the feel admired, have enough money and feel in control/powerful.  Those are the currencies that they understand.  Take these away and the true narcissist will raise its ugly head.

The values that other “normal” people have such as relationships,empathy, compassion, healthy communication, intimacy, love and connection mean nothing to them.  They may pretend that they do, but when put to the test, their mask falls.

Once you discover that you are involved with a narcissist (a family member, an intimate relationship, friend or a work-colleague) you will probably have an epiphany, you will realise that there are very strong patterns in their behaviour that is not limited to you and “your” narcissist.  You will feel enlightened and might become a little obsessed with finding out more. When you realise that you have had or are having a relationship with a narcissist you will also realise that it is just the first step.  There is a lot of work ahead of you, especially if you are in an intimate relationship or it is a family member.  It is very daunting.  However, there are many genuine, concerned, knowledgeable and caring people (who have had the same experience that you have had) and want to share all that they have learnt without judgement and with compassion.

When you realise that you have been narcissistically abused it will be the difference between living a conscious life or an unconscious one, the former is much harder to begin with, but ultimately infinitely more rewarding and adds a lot more meaning to the life around you.  It might not be a bed of roses but it expels a lot of the confusion and the gut wrenching discomfort.  The world (and that is not an exaggeration) appears in a much different light, perceptions shift, relationships shift, knowledge shifts and the people who you thought were your nearest and dearest sometimes become marginalised and the really important players in your life suddenly appear.  You might have even known them for a long while, but distraction, white noise or prejudice focused you on another trajectory.

If you are the child of narcissistic-parents, you will have probably built up a strong resistance to facing up to this problem.  The reason for this is that no one wants to admit to themselves that their parents a) do not love or have your best interests at heart (they don’t) and b) that narcissists have the emotional intelligence of a child, that is very scary for a real child when they are still a child themselves to realise that “grown-ups”, not only their parents are less mature than they are.   So numerous coping mechanisms will have been put in place to block this fact from yourself.  The result of a narcissist being so infantile is that they relate everything back to themselves and their needs.   I mean everything.  So if it means hurting their own off spring they will do it, if it means that they have to lie they will do it, if it means that they have to be really nasty and walk all over other people they will do it, break promises they will do it.  It can also lead them to perform criminal acts.

If you are not a high spectrum narcissist, it is really difficult to understand the motivation behind their actions.  There is no rationale behind how they behave, they are acting out, out of a place of extreme anger, a lack of identity and the inevitable insecurity and vulnerability that goes along with that.  They live their lives in a constant state of threat/fear.  They have created a false persona, one which they project outwards as who they want to be, not who they really are and are constantly fearful that they will be found out, as they themselves know that they are a fraud.  Because it isn’t real, they have to keep patching it up and changing it according to the company that they are keeping.  This persona has no authenticity or genuineness so they have to fiercely protect their fragile and flimsy image.   It sounds ridiculous but a narcissist in the presence of six year olds can behave like a six-year-old, fighting over toys and calling each other names etc.

It is very possible that the narcissist suffered some early childhood trauma and disassociated themselves from themselves from that time on.  Instead of being themselves, they created another more “acceptable” public image, one that they could live with (and change if they thought it necessary), by the time they become adults they have put so many barriers up so that the pain that the original hurt child experienced will never be revisited.

Narcissism often runs in families and comes chugging down the line through the generations.  The “creation” of narcissists comes from people who are treated on both extremes of the “parenting” spectrum, that is to say excessively neglected which totally traumatises a child or excessive cosseting which denies the child any decision making capacity or independence therefore “makes” them expect to be spoon fed by everyone.

The word “victim” is often used in the literature about narcissism, if you have had a relationship with a narcissist – you have been a victim.  In common parlance the word victim has very negative connotations, the implication is that weak and stupid people are victims and that somehow you did something to deserve it.  This is most obvious in the case rape victims, “did you see what she was wearing?  She was asking for “it”.    However, the real meaning of victim means that someone deceived, cheated, or hurt you and as a result you have suffered.  Society will also tell us that we are responsible if someone does us wrong, especially a subject of authority, it is those very people in positons of authority that perpetuate the myth.   If someone displays narcissistic behaviours to you, it is really important to take note because the impact of narcissistic abuse is devastating and can include complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD), depression, low self-esteem, addiction and even suicide.  Anyone can be duped by a narcissist because they are such good actors and can appear to be charming, funny and engaged, so it is really important to be on high alert when you meet someone new, if you feel worse rather than better after having been in someone’s company or if you just feel confused about someone WALK AWAY.