How Narcissists Can Abuse Without Doing Anything

Everyone who knows much about narcissistic abuse knows their tactics.  Gaslighting, invalidation, scathing criticisms, baiting, projection… the list goes on & on.  They also have other ways to abuse their victims that are so subtle, they are often overlooked because the narcissist isn’t doing anything.

Narcissists can instill blind terror into their victims with a  look.  I remember the look from my overtly narcissistic mother when I was growing up.  I knew to stop whatever I was doing or saying right then or else the consequences would be terrible.  Naturally, I obeyed, & didn’t have to face consequences after that look.  My mother was hardly the only narcissistic parent to do this.  Many use it.

There also is a variation on the look that covert narcissists prefer.  The victim knows if they don’t do what the narcissist wants, they are going to be on the receiving end of a horrendous guilt trip.  Since covert narcissists are naturally much more subtle than overt narcissists, they wouldn’t consider scaring their victim in the same way.  Instead, they prefer to make their victim feel so guilty that they never repeat the behavior again.

Both overt & covert narcissists have yet another variation on “the look.”  It’s the look that makes a victim feel like they are the most moronic, disgusting, pathetic creature in the world.  My ex husband perfected this one.  When we argued, I was always wrong, according to him.  To drive his point home, he would look at me with a very smug look.  He never said the words, but his facial expression told me he was convinced I was utterly pathetic, stupid & lucky he was willing to put up with such a disgusting creature as me who was clearly so far beneath him & his highly superior intelligence.

Another way narcissists can abuse without lifting a finger is known as triangulation.  This is when a narcissist confides in another person about the victim.  They usually lie to this person to make the victim look bad & to make the narcissist look like an innocent victim.  When that third person believes the lies, they confront the real victim.  They tell the victim that they need to apologize to the narcissist, stop doing whatever the narcissist said they were doing, or even resume the relationship with the narcissist after going no contact.  The narcissist does nothing while this person abuses the victim on their behalf.

Clearly narcissists have abuse down to a science!

If you face any of these situations when dealing with a narcissist, chances are at some point you will think you’re reading too much into their actions.  You may even think something is mentally wrong with you to think the narcissist meant anything more than simply to look at you or was talking to a friend about your troubled relationship.  Please get such thoughts out of your mind immediately!  You aren’t reading too much into anything!  Every single thing narcissists say & do has a purpose.  You are correct in assuming those looks mean what you think they mean, & that person telling you what you are doing wrong by the narcissist is being used by the narcissist.

When these things happen, the first step I suggest you do is ask God to guide you & give you wisdom & creative ideas for handling the situation.  Also remind yourself that nothing narcissists do is innocent.  Everything has a self-serving motive.  These behaviors really have nothing to do with you.  They’re about the narcissist gaining control over you.  Don’t allow yourself to give into that control.  And, as for the person used in triangulation?  If you can’t remove this person from your life, at least refuse to discuss the narcissist with this person.  You’ll save yourself a great deal of frustration!


Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health, Narcissism

14 responses to “How Narcissists Can Abuse Without Doing Anything

  1. I was a victim of triangulation all my childhood. And you’re so right how it plays on the mind. I see it so much clearer now that I’m out of it, for what it really was. It’s a downright shame when a parent does these things to her children.
    Do you think the narcissist knows they narcissists? Do you think they intend to be this way, or do you believe it’s learned behavior passed down? I saw alot of the same behaviors in my grandmother that my mother would do…just curious what you’ve learned on that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s terrible when a parent does that to their child! I’m sorry you went through that!

      I really think each situation is unique in many ways, but I do think they share one thing in common. Narcissism is a learned behavior. I also think it’s demonic in nature. Not saying all narcissists are demon possessed. Some probably are, but I don’t think all are. I think the majority are influenced by demons. Their influence is subtle too, so narcissists think the behavior is their own idea. They see that “their” idea got them something they wanted, so they do it again & again. They get other ideas for other behaviors that get them what they want & it keeps going. Doing these behaviors shuts down the empathy people are naturally born with in time. I think of it like they are closing the door to God & Godly things while simultaneously opening it to Satan. I hope that makes sense.

      My mother was raised by a narcissist too. Her behaviors were much different than her mother’s but I think she still learned some by watching her mother.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Cindy Smith

    Ikr. My dad can shoot me a look of pure evil! You can see it in his eyes.He did that to me a lot as a teen,and I always thought it was weird that he could shoot me the look of the devil when he went to church


  3. Sometimes a triangulation is a third party joining in on the abuse, knowing very well who the true victim is. I found this out from my daughter’s daycare who joined in with the Mother and catered to her knowing exactly who she was. Now the great thing about this is that those flying monkeys always get discarded by the narcissist…why? Well, name me a narcissist that can have a legitimate long term friendship..I bet you can’t. Nobody is ever good enough to fulfill the adult child’s wishes…sigh…it’s bitter sweet to watch..meh it’s just bitter who am I kidding 🙂


    • Exactly. I really believe very few in that situation are truly duped. The majority know what they’re doing.

      Actually my mother had a few long term friendships. The thing is though that those people lived far away. Her best friend lived halfway across the country. They met in jr. high school & were best friends until my mother died last April. My father also had a lifelong best friend, but they lived far apart. I truly believe the only reason the friendships lasted so long is distance. These folks weren’t in my parents’ life on a regular basis, which meant they could keep the masks on when they spoke to their friends. As a general rule though? I agree… narcissists don’t do long term friendships.


      • Not going to lie my heart skipped a beat before I read that they lived halfway across the country..cuz I would’ve been insistent on telling you your mom was not a narcissist haha but yeah they live far away so she was able to “show” that kind of emotion since she didn’t have to deal with the burden of seeing them all of the time out of her important schedule lol I’m only going by what I know and have studied of narcissists in my life I’m not a doctor but maybe there is a couple narcissists out there with best friends they can do anything it seems


        • Sorry to give you that minor episode of heart failure! LOL

          What’s interesting is when you are in the mental health field, you get virtually NO training on the Cluster B disorders. People like you & I often know a lot more than the professionals about NPD. I have 2 friends who are counselors & both told me they received only one afternoon’s training on Cluster Bs. Both are about 15 years apart in age, went to different schools & don’t know each other. Makes me think that must be the norm, that sort of almost no training. Just crazy isn’t it?


          • Wow! That’s ridiculous. That explains why I couldn’t really “connect” with counselors in family court and even after..they either “try” to act like they know everything about it or they completely avoid the subject. Which makes no sense because that’s why I was going there. That’s interesting and makes me feel good about not going back and doing my own studies off my own experiences. Thanks for sharing that !!


            • Makes a lot of sense now, huh? It is ridiculous they receive so little training! There are a lot of people out there with Cluster B disorders! It only stands to reason that there would be even more people looking for help in healing from the damage these people leave in their wake.

              Ugh, I hear ya. I tried therapy too & ended up frustrated. I didn’t know about NPD then & apparently neither did my therapists.

              Good! I’m glad that helped you! You’re welcome for sharing it! 🙂


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