Some obvious forms of abuse are things like threatening, intimidating, accusing, name calling & controlling. There is absolutely no doubt that the person acting this way is intent on causing harm to someone. There is also on doubt the abuser is in control of the situation because he or she is making the victim submissive. A person afraid of another hurting them will naturally become very submissive.
There are other forms of abuse that are just as aggressive & effective, yet not nearly so obvious. These abusive tactics include things that give the message that the abuser knows best & the victim knows nothing. Some tactics are disguised as being helpful such as being critical, offering advice that was not asked for or questioning another’s motives. While there are times such things are done as a sincere yet somewhat awkward attempt to help, that is never the case with narcissists. Such behaviors from them are done to belittle, shame or control a victim. The underlying message is “I know better than you.” Such behaviors make a victim feel incredibly stupid & that they must rely on the narcissist since they clearly know best. These behaviors create a victim to be very dependent on the narcissist & very easy for the narcissist to control.
This happened to me in my first marriage. My ex seemed to be convinced he was extremely smart. The truth though is he was fairly smart, but not nearly as smart as he thought he was. At the time however, I was unaware of that. I was also very insecure about my own intelligence. He used my insecurities to his advantage. He made me feel as if I was stupid & he always knew best about everything. I also felt that I had to believe everything he said since he clearly was so much smarter than me. I honestly never thought of his behavior as abusive at the time. It was just how he was & I should listen to him, or so I mistakenly thought.
I think because the worst of the abuse I went through with my parents at that time was at the hands of my overtly narcissistic mother, it was very easy to think this way. Not so obvious forms of abuse are easy to overlook in situations like mine. A screaming, raging lunatic is clearly abusive, so when abuse isn’t like that & a victim is accustomed to being abused, subtle abusive behavior can be deemed acceptable. At least until one learns better, that is.
My point in saying this is to remind you that abuse isn’t always obvious. It’s often very subtle & even difficult to detect. If someone you’re in a relationship with makes you feel inferior to them in some way, or as if you are stupid then it’s a sign you need to question this relationship. It’s only normal that in some areas, others will be smarter than you. You also will be smarter than them in some ways too. It’s a balance & in a healthy relationship, no one is upset by it. Anyone who is clearly is dysfunctional if not abusive. Don’t let their dysfunction make you feel badly about yourself & don’t let them control you.
If the person you’re in a relationship with truly is much more intelligent than you, that shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve had extremely intelligent friends in my life who never made me feel “less than” them because I wasn’t as smart. That is how it should be. People should appreciate each other in a relationship, treat each other as equals & accept each other’s differences, not treat each other badly simply because one may be smarter than the other.
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