Abusers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be men or women, gay or straight, young or old. But one thing that many abusers share is that they are narcissists.
Narcissism is a psychological disorder that shows itself through extreme selfishness, cravings for admiration, and a grandiose view of oneself and one’s talents. It arises from a self-centeredness that comes from a failure to distinguish yourself from external objects. Narcissists see everything revolving around themselves. They believe they are more important than anything or anyone else and that they should be idealized.
Most narcissists know that they can’t be quite as special as they believe. In fact, they can hide a deep shame. They know they don’t live up to the idealized image they have of themselves. It’s this shame and the destructive coping mechanisms they use to cover it, that make narcissists so abusive.
So how do you know if you’re being abused by a narcissist? The following are 10 signs that your abuser is narcissist.
- Manipulation – Manipulation is controlling someone in an indirect way. It could be through something negative, like guilt, or it could even be through something positive, like a compliment. Either way, manipulation leaves you with a feeling of hostile intent or being degraded.
- Lying – Narcissists are great liars. They believe that they are the most important person in the world, so if they want something, they think they have the right to lie to get it.
- Verbal abuse – Narcissists don’t always become physically violent. They like to use verbal abuse like belittling, shaming, blaming, and threatening to get their way. And they do it a lot.
- Gaslighting – Gaslighting is when someone intentionally tries to make you question your grasp on reality. Narcissists like to use this to make you doubt your perception of reality or even make you think you’re mentally ill. It allows them to control you and deny their own behaviors that you’ve experience first hand.
- Sabotage – Narcissists will work hard to sabotage your success and happiness, even if it has nothing to do with them. This is because they have to feel like they are the best and most important. If you have some success and happiness in your life, they can perceive it as a threat. Rather than work harder on their own life, they tear you down.
- Withholding – Because narcissists need to feel important, they like to remind you of how much you need them. They often do this through withholding – they may withhold sex or money or attention or affection. The point is to make you feel like you need them.
- No privacy – If they are the center of the universe, a narcissist can’t accept that you may have boundaries or parts of your life that are not about them. So they do not want you to have any privacy. They may expect you to share passwords and even GPS locations at all times with them.
- Competition – While competition can be fun and bring people together, narcissists use it to establish their own importance and dominance. They have to compete all the time, on big things and small. And they are willing to cheat to always win.
- Slander – Narcissists aren’t afraid of spreading nasty rumors or tearing other people down to make themselves seem important.
- Isolation – Narcissists want you to give them all of your attention. You can’t do that if you have other friends and family taking up your time. So narcissists want to isolate you and keep you all to themselves.
Dealing with abuse at the hands of a narcissist can be traumatic. If you think this may be you, reach out and get help so you can end the abuse and begin healing.