Has he ever trapped you in a room and not let you out?Lundy Bancroft
Has he ever raised a fist as if he were going to hit you?
Has he ever thrown an object that hit you or nearly did?
Has he ever held you down or grabbed you to restrain you?
Has he ever shoved, poked, or grabbed you?
Has he ever threatened to hurt you?
Has he threatened to take your child?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we can stop wondering whether he’ll ever be violent; he already has been.
So you want to know if it’s real? Psychological abuse? And if so, are you being subjected to it? Perhaps you are feeling unsure, yet every time you’re around this person or interacting with this person you experience a myriad of entangled feelings from helplessness, confusion, or fear to a sense that you’ve somehow been coerced into a submission of sorts. There’s very good reason for that. The abuser wants you to remain uncertain and in submission. (In this article, the abuser will be identified as the Narcissist as was in my case and is quite fairly common.)
There’s a multitude of abuse tactics the narcissist has at their disposal and there’s simply no possible way to cover them all in this brief article. From gaslighting, projection, word salads, and discarding, to hoovering, isolation and devaluation, and so many more. Please continue to research this grave form of abuse. Though a few will be addressed here, further education is advised primarily if you are currently in a relationship such as this. It is imperative that you learn how to protect yourself, your mind and your life.
The Narcissist knows exactly what buttons to push and which strings to pull. They commonly have an wide assortment of “tools” including “gears, levers, cables, shift controls”, which are all designed to evoke a specific, desired response, with high probability from you. You walk away not understanding what just happened because you’ve not been consciously aware of the subtle tactics they use. The narcissist has become adept at this manipulation, and the best way, often the only way to beat them at their game, is simply not to play. Without an opponent, there is no game. By removing yourself from the game board their game can no longer be played, thereby leaving you safe, and the narcissist in search of a new opponent.
It’s time to become educated.
It is quite common for the Narcissist to abuse their partner or someone with whom they maintain a close relationship with. If they are controlling or attempting to control through psychological mind games, or manipulation, then yes, they are actual abusers and the psychological abuse is very real. Though they will carefully mask it so that should you attempt to expose either one, your perception will be quickly dismissed and dismantled. There are a variety of interpersonally manipulative mechanisms the Narcissist most assuredly can and will use to discredit you and your own understanding and perception of events.
“Flipping the script,” which in their revised story, you have become the bad guy, the aggressor, or the instigator. In the Narcissist’s rewrite, you are now the abusive one who is doing to them, exactly what it is that they have been doing to you. They may even try to play it out on you, thus causing you to doubt your own recollection, and to question the exact events or conversations that actually took place. If no one really buys into that, the Narcissist will suggest, in a manner expressive of authentic sincerity, love and concern, that you’re just not quite right, you’ve become a bit erratic and /or unstable. And they just don’t know what to do. This is softly implied but the idea has been planted.
The Narcissist will then gently nurture the idea and as it begins to take shape and grow, he will lovingly tend to it until eventually it produces the fruit he’s intended for it to. That fruit being that those around you, even your most relied upon and trusted network of friends and family, indeed your only support system, are now believing that you’ve become emotionally unsteady and by all appearances beginning to come apart at the seams.
Key word here folks, “Appearances…”
The narcissist will cleverly disguise a conversation as friendly and engaging when in reality it is nothing of the kind. It is intended to produce something. He’s looking for any information, an emotion, or a response that can be later utilized to his advantage. The conversation may also be a continuous and consistent way for him to maintain the supply he desperately needs by putting you in and keeping you in, a subordinate and controlled position or role.
One of the most common ways the narcissist will mask the intention of the conversation is to produce throughout the discussion overtones or undercurrents. In other words, the meaning is actually something much deeper, more hostile, or degrading than it may appear just on the surface. So when it’s called out, they’ve already prepared an entrapment based upon your predicted response. It’s not that they’ve studied you and know the exact outcome based upon their interactions with you specifically. It’s that 99% of their engagements with you are based empirically on what again? Normal human behavior. So because you react in the same way that most other human beings on the face of the earth would, you unwittingly become ensnared in the trap they’d set.
What they are hoping to catch in that trap is some kind of proof that you are indeed the instigator, out of control or problem making person which would then substantiate any of the previous assertions they’ve made about you.
An example might be that during an amicable conversation all of a sudden the Narcissist will steer the discussion towards something that has been a point of contention between the two of you in the past. Now to an outsider it will appear as harmless conversation. So you would respond in a way that would be typical for that scenario. But then a normal response from you would be set ablaze with how abnormal you are. It might go something like this, “You’re so defensive. You’re so sensitive. Why are you being like this? You’re making accusations. You’re being paranoid. I’m just expressing concern and you respond as if you’re being attacked.”
NEWSFLASH-YOU INSTINCTUALLY RESPONDED PRECISELY THE WAY YOU DID BECAUSE YOU ARE IN FACT EITHER BEING ATTACKED, OR BEING SET UP FOR AN ATTACK.
You might not have been consciously aware of how the conversation twisted so quickly and you suddenly became the antagonist, but you knew something was up. How did you know? Because our subconscious can pick up all of those ambiguous or obscured subtleties. Your subconscious or gut instinct knows full well that you were under an assault.
You know when it’s real concern and you know when it’s fake. Don’t doubt your intuition, just don’t. It’s an embedded warning system. -or your subconscious trying to tell you something critical that you cannot yet see with the conscious mind. This goes for anyone, even if you are not being abused, but there is that still, small voice about a situation that is saying, “Something doesn’t feel quite right here.”
Another tactic commonly used by the narcissist is deflection. What began as an attempt to engage in a productive conversation regarding a specific issue, should the narcissist find it uncomfortable, or doesn’t want to engage for whatever reason, he just shifts the topic of the conversation onto something else entirely which most often ends up being a discussion about you, and all of your shortcomings or past mistakes will be brought up and highlighted. The original intent of the conversation is then obliterated. A very good explanation of deflection can be obtained here, and it’s important that we all take a look at this.
I have been guilty of this in the past as well, much more so during my active addiction. If someone requested that I submit to a urine sample, I scrambled to pull out a deflection from my playbook like no one else. And although I have used the deflection tactic a time or two, that does not by itself make me a narcissist. The first thing I would expect from the abuser is, well you just admitted that you yourself did this…..etc….etc….Shut up already you little narcissist bully. I guarantee that he/she could never withstand the amount of self reflections and corrections that occur in my daily routine.
My point in all of this is to hopefully guide you into the understanding that if you are consciously aware of these tactics by becoming educated, by learning about them, and by associating them with past experiences, then you won’t have to second-guess yourself. You won’t be doubting the intentions of the person employing these strategies. You will know with confidence that this is textbook manipulation, mind games, abuse, control, or what have you. It’s no longer just, “I feel like I’m being abused.” it is now, “I know I am being abused and here’s why…” and once that knowing with certainty is established, you then possess the ability to immediately expose it and to effectively and efficiently shut it right down.
It’s time to become educated.
If you want awareness about anything, you first must learn about it. This isn’t to say that we’re looking for something, anything to turn into/or twist into some sort of abuse. Remember- that is what THEY do. And be prepared because this is exactly what you’ll be accused of once you become aware of the game. Remember it’s their game, NOT YOURS. I guarantee you they’ll lodge accusations at you saying this – why? Because A. It is precisely what THEY do. And B. Because now that your aware of that specific form of manipulation it becomes no longer effective for the narcissist.
When you do attempt to shut it down, be prepared for the likelihood of witnessing a trip to crazy land. Perhaps accompanied by quacking even. Yes…quacking. They may come at you with highly illogical statements and accusations. Because once the Narcissist knows you’re onto them, the panic often will present itself by a sort of bubbling, if you will, on the surface. You’ll see it in the conversation if your texting or emailing and you’ll hear it in their voice, tone or inflection. If your face to face? Well, just take my advice and NEVER CONFRONT THEM FACE TO FACE. I know from personal experience.
(In ignorance I confronted the male covert narcissist, and the results were disastrous as evidenced by my felony arrest in 2014)
In my UNPROFESSIONAL opinion, upon the revelation that you’re dealing with a narcissist, what I would do if in the same situation I was in, in 2014…
DO NOT ENGAGE. DO NOT EXPOSE. DO NOT TRY TO PROVE YOUR INNOCENCE, THEIR GUILT. NOTHING.
GO NO CONTACT.
IT IS TIME TO BECOME EDUCATED
They might resort to name calling, word salads, or absolutely nonsensical arguments that they are unable to support with anything at all.
Once again, and this cannot be stated often or clearly enough, not only do the Narcissists understand human behavior, They understand NORMAL human behavior. In fact, they are counting on it. I personally believe they understand it so well because they’ve had to study it and mimic it in order to maintain a cover for the false self they’ve become.
Narcissists know how to elicit a typical and normal human response, which out of context (typically the only way the Narcissist can gather any evidence) will support their accusations that you are the unstable, aggressive, or attacking party.
By cleverly twisting, framing and presenting their case against you to others, most likely those closest to you, they will have succeeded in solidifying an alliance against you. Try to not become angry with those who’ve bought the story. Because to them, the Narcissist’s calm and rational explanation and the evidence he or she has been presenting to others (albeit forcefully fabricated evidence) is highly believable.
While at this point you are probably over here ONLY JUST NOW going absolutely Batshit crazy, jumping up and down, pulling your hair and screaming… and the narcissist is over there saying, “See? That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to tell you guys.”
And that alliance he’s been working on? Well they now see you going into complete hysterics and well, now the narcissist’s case against you is not only believable but from everyone’s perspective quite possible and actually even, highly probable.
Without knowing what these tactics are, because they are quite often imperceptible, and it’s next to nearly impossible to understand what’s going on and what’s really at stake. When I say imperceptible it’s not the abuse that’s imperceptible, it is the manner by which they will elicit a specific response. The abuse is calculated and clear. And if no one else is present, it’s an all out assault on the psyche of the victim that none can comprehend. It permeates every part of the victims mind and belief system subsequently altering every facet of their lives.
The abuse is painful. The abuse is deadly. Driving many including myself at one point to the brink of suicide. The abuse is far reaching. The abuse is debilitating. The abuse is real.
It’s time that it be identified as such so that the general public doesn’t continue to simply dismiss it as a bad break up. My God, I pray that one who might identify this kind of abuse, this kind of mental torture, this kind of spirit breaking, soul splintering, mind fragmenting abuse as someone simply going through a bad breakup…For you I pray.
I pray that you never have to distinguish between the two.
It’s time to become educated.