Narcissists treat you like a child

When I was a little girl, I remember thinking that “I cannot wait until I grow up because then I can make my own decisions without always being told what to do!” Well, now that I am a woman in my mid thirties, you would think I had been living the childhood dream of ultimate freedom. However, up until one year ago, I was not. I finally put my finger on it! My narcissist treated me like a child at all times. He continuously questioned my choices, making me overly cautious and dependent upon his opinions. I felt like he knew better, not just because he persistently said that he did, but also because I was always wrong in his eyes. When narcissists continuously abuse you to think that you cannot even make the smallest decisions without their input, your confidence and sense of self is stripped away and your inner voice becomes childlike.

When I was married to my narcissist, I lived in a state of constant frustration. I was frustrated at not being heard, I was frustrated at never being right, I was frustrated that I could not make a normal, healthy choice about my life without his “permission.” He had overwhelming control over every aspect of my life. I even had to ask him for his consent to visit my parents, or go to the store, or even to the bathroom. If I didn’t, and I started to walk out of the room, he would shout at me “Where are you going Mommy?” Then I would get irritated after being so micromanaged in every instance that I wanted to scream!

The reason that the narcissist treats you like a child is because s/he is threatened by you. You outshine them in every way and they know it deep down because narcissists have low self esteem despite the fact that most display an overabundance of confidence. It is just for show. The narcissist chose you to be their victim because they thought that you were a valuable asset to their image. They were so impressed by your amazing qualities, they wanted to capture you and bottle you up in order to keep you all to themselves. Then they chip away at all those qualities that drew them to you in the first place because they are intimidated by you. You are their property now.

Looking back, I still remember the sick, sinking feeling I endured when I knew my narcissist was displeased with me. Which was a daily occurrence. I felt like a child who was in trouble with it’s parent and was awaiting the punishment that was sure to follow. I wouldn’t treat my own two children like he treated me, I respect and trust my children and love them for the wonderful individuals that they are. That is how love should be, unwavering and forgiving. It is sad but true, if you are involved in a toxic narcissistic relationship, get out! They will suffocate your soul and reduce you to a fraction of yourself.

How to Leave a Narcissist?

It is a terrifying yet defining moment when you discover that the person you have loved, trusted, and confided in, is actually a controlling, selfish, emotionally empty narcissist. Then you find yourself scouring the internet for answers. I know I did. I became obsessed with arming myself with as much information about narcissistic personality disorder as possible to better understand what I was up against. It was horrendous to realize that he never actually loved me, but just used me to serve up his narcissistic supply. Then, once I understood that he could never change, I braced myself for the upcoming fight.

Leaving any relationship is never easy, but leaving a narcissist is even harder. I used to believe it noble to end a relationship with someone to their face. However, leaving a narcissist can cause a tremendous backlash. Narcissists do not handle rejection well and cannot abide being challenged in any manor. They lash out at the slightest perceived insult or injury and are known for disproportionate reactions to events. Therefore, the act of leaving a narcissist triggers a huge wound to their ego, it is unthinkable to them that you would ever chose to leave them. If you feel that you are in danger, you must find a way to get out of the precarious situation as safely and as quickly as possible. For me, I boiled it to The Seven P’s.

1- Plan your escape carefully. I officially decided to leave my husband when he flipped on the lights at 6:30 am and hovered over me while I lay naked under the covers in bed, curled up in the fetal position. He then proceeded to give me the same “ultimatum” he had used in the past to get me to cower. In his booming and intimidating voice, he told me that he was tired of me be being sad about how he interacted with my parents over the Easter weekend, which also happened to be my birthday. He informed me that if I wanted to continue to act sad, that I can just leave with the kids and move in with my parents and he would file for divorce. (The incident that precipitated his reaction happened two days before, where my parents drove 3 hours to visit us for the holiday/birthday weekend and my narcissist picked a fight with them after a dinner that I had just spent 3 hours to cook. It was nonsense really, my parents thought it would be nice to take me to get Dairy Queen blizzards for all of us for an after dinner treat. But my narcissist did not want to stay home with the kids for the 20 minutes it would have taken to bring it back, and he flipped out! My parents were stymied by his overreaction and asked him why he was so upset? My dad tried to talk it out with him, but then my narcissist continued to say that they were bad grandparents and told them that I was “unaccomplished little girl.” My parents didn’t know what to do and knew that they did not want to argue in front of the children, so they decided to leave and drive 3 hours back to their home thus missing my birthday and Easter the following day.) I was devastated, horrified and embarrassed. I pleaded with my husband to apologize to them but he refused and claimed that they were picking a fight with him, which is insane. He was smug when they left, there was a glimpse of happiness on his face.

I knew that this interaction would change everything, the cat was out of the bag. My parents would see how he really was and I couldn’t cover it up anymore. I knew that if I stayed with him, it would not only kill me but kill my parents with sorrow over watching their daughter fade away. So, when he turned on those lights two mornings later and gave me that ultimatum that I was to either let go of my feelings of sadness and just be the “happy wife he wanted” or I could just take the children with me and go live with my parents and he would have papers drawn up for our divorce. You see, I had no choice but to leave that miserable, intimidating, despicable shell of a human being. I chose life. The next step is crucial in leaving a narcissist.

2- Prepare Make your preparations thoughtfully. Mental and as well as physical preparation are very important. First, you need to be in the right state of mind to be okay with the life changing decisions you are about to act on. Leaving an abusive relationship is one of the most difficult things you will have to do. But you can do it, I did. My preparations involved booking a moving truck to be picked up when he was out of town, and asking my parents and friends to help me with the move. I also had to meet in secret with a divorce attorney to understand the implications of taking our children with me and to initiate the divorce process. I had one month before his week long trip that I knew I could make my escape safely. I knew if I would have told him that day he gave me the ultimatum that I did want a divorce, he would have flipped out and who knows what would have happened. I did not want to find out. So I used that entire month to make lists of what I needed to do before I left. I was advised by my lawyer to photocopy important legal documents, mortgages, bank statements, car statements, retirement documents. Etc. I complied, but couldn’t help but feel terrible in doing so, with all of the terrible things he had done to me, I still felt vile to be sneaky, but then I realized that it was not just for me I was doing this, but to protect my children and I will not apologize for that.

3 & 4- Placate & Prevent arguments during the final stages- Before I made my escape, I had a month to co-exist with my narcissist. I intended to do so as cautiously and peacefully as possible because the events leading up to my deciding to leave him did not make the living situation very comfortable. He was quick to argue with me over anything he perceived a challenge to his authority. However, I suddenly realized that if I engaged in any more arguments with him, it could easily escalate into me needing to vacate that day and I knew that if I had to, all my planning would be for nothing. Therefore, I needed to go along with the program to please him and make him feel like he was the all mighty unchallenged one. I laid in wait for the moment when he would be gone on his trip and I could then safely make my move out of the house.

5- Patience I kept my eye on the end goal. Every time he made me feel bad, I would turn the other cheek. I felt that he was always trying to goad me into an argument, so I would pretend that I wasn’t bothered by what he was saying. I knew that I would be free from him if I could just stay calm and play my cards right. Patience is a very crucial element of the escape. You know what I am talking about if you have ever seen the movie “Sleeping with the Enemy.” That movie always makes me quiver when I see how her horrid husband abuses her and accuses her of cheating. This movie hits a little too close to home for me and was definitely of an inspiration for me when I was enduring that last month with my narcissistic husband. Each morning that came during that final month I was mentally counting down till I was far away from him. I felt like I was holding my breath for 30 days and nights.

6- Prioritize what you must take and what you must let go of. It is almost impossible to take everything with you, if you must leave the home. If you are lucky enough to own the house yourself, I guess you could change the locks and wait for the fireworks to begin. In my case, we shared the home, but I knew I needed to get as far away from him as possible for my safety and my children. So, I only took what was mine before the marriage, and anything that I knew he would not want or miss.

7- Pretend to be dominated- My narcissist had been trying to completely alienate me from my loving, giving family these past seven years and he really thought that he accomplished it that day. But what he didn’t know was that I was stronger and smarter than he took me for.  I knew that it was an asset and a strength to be underestimated.  He really believed that he had broken me, but I have something inside of me that he doesn’t: true love of myself, real empathy and a sturdy resilience.  But by me pretending to play the part of the obedient, doe-eyed devoted spouse, he felt secure in his dominance and it gave me more opportunities to accomplish my great escape.

So there you have it.  These seven P’s allowed me to make my way to freedom from my narcissist.  I know they could be helpful to your escape.  Everyone’s situation is different I know, in yet there are so many similarities in narcissistic relationships. When I saw how unreasonable and nasty he could be to my parents, who had given us their love and support since day one, it was as if the final veil had dropped and I saw him for the monster that he really was and always will be.  The bell had been tolling for a long time, I could no longer ignore it’s ringing.  It was the last straw, the definitive answer to the question that had been eating away at me. I could no longer see what I wanted to see in him, I had to see the awful truth of what was in front of me.

Half a year has passed since I packed up that truck and left. It has not been easy, but I am so thankful that I made the decision to make my escape.

The Narcissist’s First Impressions & Typical Grandiosity

The narcissist knows how to make a great first impression. That is how they begin their grand deception. They will put on the charm, ooze intelligence and seem so considerate that you just can’t help but feel like the luckiest girl in the world. You ask yourself how you could have landed the “last good man” to have walked this earth. However, if he seems to good to be true, then he most likely is.

I remember this such feeling. I was so excited and proud to have my narcissist over at my parents for the first time. It happened to be Christmas Eve, and he showed up at the door bearing personalized gifts for each of my parents, my grandmother, my brother and his girlfriend. At the time, I thought that it was so considerate and showed amazing generosity. I believed that he really must have liked me to want to win over my family with these thoughtful gifts. Waterford crystal wine goblets for my parents, and a leather men’s grooming dap kit for my brother and honey scented organic lotion gift basket for my grandmother. However, looking back, it was overkill. It was suspicious.

Before the night of the dinner, he told me he was going shopping to buy my family presents and I had told him that it was not necessary, especially since he had not even met any of them yet! But he insisted, he said that he did not want to appear at a Christmas party empty handed. I feel that the need to bring presents for people he had never even met was more about how he felt he appeared, rather than him wanting to be thoughtful and kind. Narcissists are very concerned with appearances and how they are perceived. This is a good example of that. This is also an example of “love bombing.” He was going above and beyond to shower me with oodles of attention with the intention of lulling me into a state of ease so that I would blindly trust him. All this effort was to make it easy for him to manipulate and control me.

I met my narcissist on a popular online dating site, first mistake. We agreed to meet at a Japanese steak house for dinner for our first date. I remember not knowing what to wear on a cold November evening.  I did not want to be overdressed, as I had done once before on a different date in the past and was a bit embarrassed, so I thought I better go more casual. I wore a beautiful knit designer sweater and a pair of great fitting jeans and high heeled leather boots, topping the look off with a fabulous, embroidered swing coat.  The narcissist was wearing a collared shirt and khaki’s (his strict wardrobe). The date went well and I felt safe dressing up a bit more for our second date, showing up wearing a more fancy little black dress and knee high boots, which he loved. He made a point of telling me at that time how he was not so sure of me the first date because of my choice to wear jeans. He laughed out loud and said that he was thrilled that I dressed the part on our second date. I found it odd that he could be so judgmental over something so inconsequential. But I just brushed it off. Next mistake.

Later in our relationship, I discovered that one of his many hatreds was of people who wore jeans. (Which for me was very difficult, because I love mine!) Well, I looked great on our first date despite the jeans, but on that second date he made sure to set the standard for me. After that moment, I knew better than to ever wear jeans when I was out with him on a date in the future. Whenever anyone asked about how we met, my narcissist always made a point to tell them that I was lucky to have gotten a second date with him on the account of me having the audacity to wear jeans on our first date. He was a snob, despite the fact that I come from a much better family background than he. But I strongly believe no one should act as if they are better than anyone. I have friends from all walks of life and am legitimately happy for others when something good goes their way. On the other hand, he does not and is not. It goes to prove another facet of narcissism, being “grandiose.” I always felt belittled for my choices, I simply could not be me. He chipped away pieces of me slowly and steadily for the next 7 years.

He always took longer getting ready to go out than I ever did, but then he acted like I took longer. I would even time myself, to prove it to myself that I was believing correctly. He would fuss over what clothes to wear and I would just throw something on. However, he had no problem letting me know what clothing I should or should not wear. I was not even “aloud” to wear my super comfortable Juicy Couture jogging pants outside the house. And if we had plumbers or other construction workers over for any reason, I was certainly not permitted to wear my juicy’s around them because he felt that those pants were “too revealing.” I thought that this was ludicrous because my regular pants were tighter fitting than those baggy sweat pants. I once tried to argue with him on that and he said that if I wanted to wear those pants (around my own house) when workers were present, it must be because I am wanting to be flirtatious with them. His reasoning was insane!

But then again, he is a narcissist, there is no sense to what they think. All they care about is their image and how their extensions of self (you and any children) help perpetuate that image. They are controlling, manipulative and do not care about your feelings because they have no empathy and are not capable of remorse. The narcissist is a shell of a human being, hollow, void of feeling, an empty vessel.  They truly believe that they are God’s greatest gift to us, but it is simply a belief of a dreadfully deluded mind.

Narcissists Rationalize Their Mistreatment of You and Belittle Your Concerns

I have come to the conclusion that a narcissist has the emotional equivalent of a 4 year old. It is as if they are a child trapped inside an adult’s body because everything is all about them. They are the sun and the whole planetary system revolves around them. They walk all over you as if you were no more than a blade of grass under their foot. If I ever had a legitimate concern about my health, (for example, I would experience strange pins and needles in my extremities) my narcissist husband would dismiss it as nothing, however, his plantar fasciitis (annoying heel pain) seemed to be the end of the world!

Even issues I had about our relationship were played down by him. One time, I expressed concern to my husband by saying that I can’t help but feel like I am “walking on eggshells around him.” He looked indignant at me and callus. He scoffed at me without any concern for my feelings and said, “that sounds like something your Mother would say.” Then he asked, “Has she been filling your head with this kind of psychological jargon?” This is just another example of a narcissist showing his lack of empathy. He never asked me any deep questions about WHY I felt the way that I did. He was just offended that I had anything to say that made it apparent that our relationship had issues that he was ignoring.

The vasectomy talk went much worse. When we were first married, he told me that he would have a vasectomy after we decided we were done having children. Well, when that time came after our second child, he refused to get the surgery. He put it off and said maybe in a year. Then after that year came and went, I brought the topic up and he said that he still was not ready and that he didn’t appreciate me pushing him!  I was sick of being on birth control pills and they were making my hair fall out in clumps. So, I expressed my sincere concern about the serious side effects of pills, like cancer as well as stroke and deep vein thrombosis for women over age 30, but he did not care. He is even a doctor and knows the risks but still downplayed them. He made me feel like I was making a big deal over nothing. He insisted that I just stay on the pills anyway. He was really upset that night, so I just bit my lip and let it go. I waited yet another year, then all hell broke loose.

The night I dared to bring it up for the third time in a 2 ½ year time span, I was in tears because I already knew how he would respond to me pleading for him to get the surgery. He reacted with no emotion except irritation and anger. He was offended, indignant and upset that I brought the topic up on a “weeknight when he just wanted to relax and watch TV with his wife.” I was having medical problems at the time and serious anxiety symptoms that I contributed to the pills, as well as the continued hair loss. I was really meek and tried to convey my depth of concern for my health by continually taking the pill. I humbly asked him to reconsider and have the surgery. He responded with no concern for me, no hugs, no understanding, no empathy. Obviously. Instead, all he thought about was himself and how this conversation was “ruining his night.” He even went as far as to say, “we have discussed this before, you are pushing me again and now I may never be ready to have the surgery. But if you want to go ahead and have your tubes tied, then be my guest.” I was horrified, not because of the $10,000 price difference between a tubal ligation vs. a vasectomy, but that he would suggest that I was the one being unreasonable.

He had a warped way of thinking that I could not wrap my head around.  I then asked him why I should continue to risk my health by taking the pill and he responded by saying that “he risks his life every day driving to work” and he has a much higher likelihood of getting killed on the road than I do of having complications from the pill so I should just “take one for the team.” I was flabbergasted at his comments, then it got even worse. He continued to elaborate that if he got the surgery, I would be able to get remarried and have more children with someone else if I ever decided to leave him, but that he couldn’t if he wanted to. I could not believe what he was saying!  Up to that point, I never even considered that possibility as an option. He thought so little of me and did not trust me, which was the real reason he refused the surgery he once promised to have. He was a liar, a fraud. He thought only about himself and his needs and wants. It was abundantly clear to me how our marriage would be moving forward at that point on. It wouldn’t.

I then said that if he refused to get the simple procedure, I was going to go off of the pill, and we would just have to use condoms. Boy, he hit the roof!  He was horrified that I would even propose such a solution. He said that he would not even consider using condoms with his wife. So, I was held hostage, I had no choice but to stay on the pill because at that moment I realized that he did not care one ounce for me, for what I wanted and whether I felt healthy or not. It was his way or no way!  As such, I decided that as much as I love my two children, the only thing worse than staying on the pill was having another child with that man who cared nothing for me.

The whole night was an eye-opener, my narcissist had the cunning ability to rationalize his mistreatment of me in the most despicable ways. I learned that I may have no choice but to leave him at some point, but the final straw was yet to come.

So, the moral of this memory is…if you feel like your concerns go unheard by your partner, than it is time to consider the worst. He or she does not really love you or respect you, this is a common indicator of a narcissistic relationship.

 

 

 

 

Narcissists Have Unrealistic Expectations and Do Not Believe in Change

One of the biggest indicators of narcissism is a preoccupation with things staying the same. They operate the same in every relationship they enter and narcissists do not believe in change as an individual. The reason for this is because they feel that they are perfect and have no reason to change. One time, I made a comment of how “relationships change and people grow as they go through life” and he could not comprehend what I was saying.  Instead, he got irate and said “I like what we have, our relationship should always be in the honeymoon phase!” I responded with a gentle laugh and said that he cannot be serious, but sadly he was.  It is nature’s truth that nothing stays the same, even a child can figure that out by witnessing the leaves changing from green to brown, and falling down.  I went on to say that it is not natural to never alter your views on life as you grow older. The people you meet, the places you visit, the successes as well as the failures all teach us about who we are and how to better ourselves. Personal growth leads to a more fulfilling life.  But in that moment, he looked at me like I had spiders crawling out of my ears.  I knew right then, that it was going to be a bumpy ride!

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A typical trait of narcissism involves the “preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love” according to Sam Vaknin, self proclaimed and clinically diagnosed narcissist. This preoccupation manifests itself throughout everything narcissists do. Their view on life is considered by them to be the “correct” view, no matter how distorted their opinion of the world actually is. Thus, we the victims, must go along with the narcissist’s beliefs or else face punishment which may consist of silent treatments, rages, attacks, put-downs, pouting, guilt trips, etc.

Whatever your situation, the narcissist is obsessed with his or her idea of success. Whether the success be financial, supreme intelligence, gorgeous looks, or even relationship status, the ultimate control is key. In my situation, my narcissist was certainly obsessed with his retirement portfolio. He researched stocks and bonds every day. He spoke about retirement a few times a week despite the fact that he was 43. He defined success as retiring at 50. He was in a big hurry to go nowhere.  I always supported his goals, however, my family does not believe in retirement and feel that when you retire, your mind shuts down and you die sooner. Anyways, the thought of him not going to a place of work during the day and being around me even more, I admit sent shock waves throughout my system. I would push that thought as far away from my mind as possible. I desperately clung to the hope that he would change his mind as he was so prone to do.

We must learn to recognize that narcissists have a preoccupation with things staying the same. They are stagnant, repetitive creatures. Have you ever noticed that your narcissist constantly repeats him or herself? Mine was so predictable, I knew what he was going to say before he even opened his mouth.  And if you choose to stay with yours, it is a certainty that you will never be able to change your situation or to grow as a human being. I needed to break free from the chains my narcissist clamped around me, so that I could be unrestricted to grow and thrive as an individual has a right to.

 

Ways that Narcissists Abuse

What are the ways that narcissists abuse their victims? Where do I begin? In my relationship, his preferred abusive tactics included belittling me, challenging me, denying, raging, lecturing, over-reacting to perceived criticism, pouting, threatening me or giving me the silent treatment. The abuse was not continuous, there were times where we got along great (as long as we were doing what he wanted to do.)

I began to notice that the abuse would occur in any circumstance where he felt like he was losing control over me or the situation. Thus, he abused me to control me. In each of these circumstances, he made it seem like I was the one at fault, that I was the unreasonable one. The abuse would continue until I apologized to him for whatever he felt that I did wrong.

Any time that I stood up for myself or asserted my opinion, (that was conflicting from his) he would abuse me. If I ever played devil’s advocate for anyone that he was having problems with at work, by pointing out how they might feel or why they may have said what they did to my husband, he would get offended and say that I was not “on his side.” He was incapable of understanding other people’s emotions and felt that people were out to get him. So when I tried to point out that it was not the case, he would get angry with me and say that I am defending them and not him. So how does the abuse start in a narcissistic relationship?

Pedestal and the Pit– Narcissists are fast movers. They meet their victim and groom her to believe that she is the most wonderful, funny, intelligent and beautiful woman in the world. The narcissist will shower love, attention and praise on its victim at dizzying speeds. They will want to commit quickly, pronounce everlasting and perfect love within a month of meeting. This early phase is called love bombing. The narcissist places its victim on a pedestal for all to see, but then after he has hooked her, he will knock her down into the pit. He will devalue her, belittle her, shame her into believing she is worthless, stupid, careless, and disrespectful. Then when he sees that he is pushing her too far, he will put her back on the pedestal so she stays put. This cycle of the pedestal and the pit continues for the duration of the relationship.

Gaslighting– Narcissists use this stealthy method of abuse to disorient the victim in order to make the victim feel like she is going mad. The term was named after the classic 1944 movie “Gaslight.” This film featured a husband dimming the gaslights of the house and when his wife asked him about it, he would say that they weren’t. He would hide items from her, then make her think that she did it. In short, gaslighting is crazy-making abuse. The victim feels like she is losing it because events are happening and the narcissist is denying anything is wrong. An example is when a narcissist hits the victim and then denies ever doing so. In my case, my narcissist would lose items and blame me for taking them. And if it was obvious that I was right about something that we had disagreed on, he would change his statement and claim that he was the one who was right, even using my exact language. It made me so furious! Gaslighting occurred daily in my relationship. He would use the toilet in the upstairs guest room, not flush, then when I would ask him about it, he would deny it was him. I know it was not me or my kids. Gross.

Projection– The narcissist projects his own feelings and insecurities onto his victim. If he is cheating on his partner, he accuses his partner of cheating. If he is lying, he accuses his partner of lying. The narcissist cannot accept responsibility for his own thoughts and actions and projects his own mental garbage onto the unsuspecting victim. The narcissist is the one who feels that he is the victim in the relationship.

Lectures– My narcissist would go on and on about whatever was bothering him that I did. He would find fifty ways to say the same thing until I would break and just accept everything as my fault and apologize, even though I did nothing wrong to apologize for. He would treat me like a child that was behaving badly. I always felt intimidated and scared of him when he would go on his rants.

Guilt trips & Pouting– Used as a way to let you know his wants and he will make you feel bad for not giving him what he wants. They commonly use “always” and “never” statements. For example, my narcissist would constantly tell me that he never felt that I cared about being intimate with him, (despite the fact that we were intimate at least 2-3 times a week! I felt that after 7 years of marriage, he didn’t have anything to complain about!) But he did not feel that it was enough. On the nights that I just wanted to go to bed due to the extreme exhaustion of taking care of my children and him, schooling and everything related to the house, he would pout and guilt trip me to make it seem like I did not care enough about him because I wasn’t giving him enough “attention.” Please! So he would keep pouting until I relented and just “did it.” I tell you, that when he would pressure me that way, I felt as if I was being raped because I did not want to have sex, but had to in order to shut him up so that I could finally go to bed in peace. And looking back, I really HATE him for that. This is an example of Sexual Abuse.

Financial abuse– Occurs when a narcissist has all the control over the financial matters in the household. In my case, he never put my name on the checking account. I asked many times if I could be on the account but he said that if I wanted cash, I had to ask him for it. (Which I never did.) He said he didn’t want me to be able to write checks and possibly overdraw the account. This so-called concern of his was unfounded because I am very financially responsible and would never do such a thing. So, I had no access to any money. We even had a debit credit card but he refused to give me the pin number. He let me use the credit cards and he would pay them off but if I was charging too much in any given month, he would make sure to speak up and let me know that I need to cut back. He was so paranoid about the money, he would check his banking, credit card statements and retirement accounts each day!

Silent treatment– Used by the narcissist to induce your fear of abandonment by withholding his attention and affection. When the narcissist comes around and starts talking again, you feel relief and the anxiety dissipates. I call this form of abuse “Dark and Broody.” My narcissist was a professional at being dark and broody. I knew when trouble was lurking because he would get all quiet and look like a dark storm was brewing inside of him. Then after the storm, he would come out with a secondary form of abuse like rage, threats or lecturing me. During his dark and broody stage, I would get sick to my stomach at the fear of the impending doom I was about to face.

Verbal abuse– Insults, put downs, aimed to wound the victim’s self esteem. These words cut like knives, hand crafted to strike at our most fragile self. Narcissists reach into their arsenal of the victim’s phobias, weaknesses and disappointments in order to use against them to mutilate their soul. Once, when all was calm, I asked my narcissist why that when he was upset, he would say the most cruel, untrue things to me intending to hurt me. He responded that sometimes he doesn’t play fair and that he would work on that in the future. However, he never stopped using his malicious verbal daggers on me when we had disagreements.

Physical abuse

Rage– Rages occur when the narcissist yells and uses body language to intimidate its victim to get the response that he wants. I hated when he would fly into a rage in front of the children, which he did many times. My narcissist would work himself up into a rage when he felt threatened. He was like a tiger in a cage, pacing back and forth in the room, just gearing up for a feast. Then he would fly into a rage over some of the smallest things. One night, after book time with the children, I wasn’t responding to one of his requests fast enough and I commented that “I guess I cannot do anything right.” And he freaked out and started yelling at me in front of the kids. He screamed that I was “being disrespectful and that he deals with bitchy nurses all day and that the last thing he wants is to come home to a bitchy wife!” It was horrible. My 3 and 6 year old were scared, then my son asked me “Mommy, why is daddy yelling at you?” My heart was broken for them. I had to scurry them off to their bedrooms and I promised that I would be back to tuck them in. Then I had to go back to the kitchen where he was, pacing back and forth, he was physically vibrating, ranting loudly, calling me a bitch and making comments like, “Now I see why your ex almost hit you” stuff like that. Bringing up distressing moments of my past that were told to him in confidence, totally unrelated to our relationship, were designed to inflict pain. This is just one of the many examples I have of what a narcissistic rage can look like. Scary stuff.

Threats and manipulation– Narcissist uses intimidation, to get his victims
to doOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA as he pleases. By using fear to control or influence is serious abuse. My narcissist would threaten to put our home schooled children into public school and send me to work if I did not go along with something he wanted to do. If I ever had any complaints or seemed too tired during the day, he would say “Are the kids too much for you to handle mommy? You are too tired to have any time to give to your husband, maybe you need a real job so that you can see how easy you have it now, and I can stay at home.” He would tell me that he came first and the children come second. I couldn’t believe it when he said that to me. What a distorted view of a family relationship. Narcissists are the most selfish creatures on the planet. Children need unconditional love and support, and yes, dad’s should take second fiddle to the children.

Tit for tat– Narcissists will do nice things for you, but with strings attached. There is no such thing as a altruistic narcissist. There is never something nice done for someone without an expectation of a return. My narcissist would attempt to buy into his co-workers good graces, at least for a while before they could no longer stand to be around him. He would buy lunch for his co-workers once a month, because he expected that they would be nice to him in return. I told him that he did not have to do such things for people to treat him well, but he believed otherwise. Then when a co-worker would have a problem with him for whatever reason, or he considered them to be moody he would ask me, why? I told him that just because he buys them lunch doesn’t mean they are going to treat him like a king every day. He couldn’t wrap his head around that notion.

There are so many ways that narcissists abuse their victims. Abuse techniques that Sam Vaknin has also noted include: “Wounding “honesty”, ignoring, smothering, dotting, unrealistic expectations, invasion of privacy, tactlessness, sexual abuse, physical maltreatment, humiliating, shaming, insinuating, lying, exploiting, devaluing and discarding, being unpredictable, reacting disproportionately, dehumanizing, objectifying, abusing confidence and intimate information, engineering impossible situations, control by proxy and ambient abuse.” (The Mind of the Abuser-Dr. Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love)

In a nutshell, narcissists are evil creatures void of empathy, they can be male or female. However, there are 3 times more male narcissists than female. If you can identify any of these methods of abuse occurring in your relationship, you need to take warning. Only you can save yourself.

Once a narcissist, always a narcissist. They never change, but that is a topic for a later date.