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Powerful Narcissistic Behavior: Guard Your Heart From Emotional Damage

Narcissistic Abuse
Recognize narcissistic behavior and protect yourself from emotional abuse. Learn the subtle signs and how to safeguard your well-being in toxic relationships.

Today I want to delve deeper into recognizing narcissistic behavior and abuse. It’s crucial to differentiate between narcissistic behavior, which many people exhibit to some extent, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, a formal diagnosis made by mental health professionals. Think of narcissism on a spectrum, with light representing enlightenment and dark symbolizing the pit of selfishness and manipulation. Narcissists, metaphorically speaking, reside in the darkest depths of this spectrum, with some individuals falling deeper into the pit than others.

Narcissistic Behavior - The Expanded Abuse Cycle

Understanding Narcissistic Behavior and Abuse

Narcissistic behavior is often the root of various forms of abuse. While we categorize it as a “type” of abuse, it underpins physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and verbal abuse. Abusive individuals know the difference between right and wrong and intentionally manipulate their victims. Publicly, they may appear charming and composed, but their private behavior reveals their true abusive nature. They often claim they are not in control when they abuse, blaming the victim for triggering them. However, in public settings, they manage to control their behavior, demonstrating their awareness and intentionality.

Subtle Signs of Narcissistic Behavior

In addition to behaving differently in public versus private, there are other more subtle signs of narcissism and abuse that we don’t always recognize. Many people question if their relationship is abusive because the behavior is more covert. If you have to ask yourself, “Is my relationship abusive?” it probably is.

Fear and Dread

Do you experience fear when talking about how your partner or spouse spoke to you or has treated you recently? This is a red flag – if you are “shaking like a leaf” or experiencing fear or dread related to your relationship, it is probably abusive.

Subtle But Startling Comments

Does your partner make subtle but startling comments that “just don’t feel right?” This is verbal or emotional abuse. Narcissistic behavior includes making subtle but negative remarks towards the victim. They make these remarks in a way or tone that doesn’t obviously feel abusive. This leaves you feeling confused about what just happened, questioning if what they just said was abusive.

False Accusations and Gaslighting

Does your partner accuse you of things you haven’t done or call you the abusive one when you know deep down you haven’t been? This technique is called gaslighting. They will flip the tables on you to try and turn you into the abusive one or make you feel crazy. Often, a narcissist’s false accusation is truly their confession. For instance, they likely accuse you of cheating because they cheated and want to reconcile their behavior by projecting it onto you.

Disregard for Emotions

Does your partner disregard your emotions or make you feel like your feelings don’t matter? Do you feel like you can’t communicate with them without starting an argument or feeling worse afterward? This isn’t normal or healthy for a relationship, and it is a sign of emotional abuse. Narcissistic individuals avoid being held accountable for their behavior.

The Cycle of Abuse and Hoovering

Do you end up apologizing at the end of every argument, even though you didn’t do anything wrong? Narcissists rarely apologize, and if they do, it is an empty apology that never comes with changed behavior. They may “change” for a short period to suck you back in (called hoovering). This typically happens if you try to leave them and they aren’t ready to let you go. They will love-bomb you and go through what is called the “honeymoon phase” all over again. Once they hook you again, another explosion of abuse follows, resetting everything back to square one. This is the cycle of abuse.

Conclusion: Protecting Yourself from Narcissistic Behavior

I hope this article helps you better understand if your relationship is abusive or if you are living with a narcissistic person. Recognizing these subtle signs and understanding the dynamics of narcissistic behavior is crucial in protecting yourself. Prioritize your emotional well-being, seek support, and remember that you cannot change a narcissist. However, you can take steps to protect yourself and seek healthier, more fulfilling relationships.

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