Tag Archives: isolation

Subtle Tactics Narcissists Use To Abuse

When most people think of narcissists, they think of someone loud & obnoxious, who is obviously abusive.  That isn’t always the case however.  Some tactics narcissists use to abuse their victims are very subtle.  So much so that when they happen, a victim may not give them a moment’s thought.  That doesn’t make these tactics any less abusive.

 

Trying to “fix” your appearance.  This can be done in very subtle ways, such as suggesting what foods you can eat to help you lose weight or what clothes would look better on you than what you normally wear.  It’s a way to shame your looks disguised as offering helpful suggestions.  It’s also a good way to make someone look like what the narcissist wants that person to look like.

 

Isolation.  Whether the narcissist in your life is a parent or spouse, it’s a safe bet that person wants to isolate you.  They may say things like, “She isn’t really your friend.  If she was, she would/wouldn’t ….”  “I heard he said …. about you.  It was a terrible thing to say, especially since he’s your brother!”  “They don’t like me.  It really hurts me you’d be friends with people who obviously hate me.”  The fewer people in your life, the easier you are to control.  You won’t be able to talk about your situation with anyone, so no one can tell you what he or she is doing is wrong.

 

Disrespecting your boundaries.  It starts out small.. a little compromise you don’t object to.  Then it’s another, slightly bigger compromise, then another & another.  Before you know it, you aren’t allowed to have any boundaries.  The old saying, “give him an inch, he’ll take a mile” is the absolute truth with narcissists.

 

Making you doubt yourself.  “Are you sure you said that?”  “No, I don’t think you really want that.  I think you’d prefer….”  Subtle phrases like this are nothing but gaslighting.  They make a person doubt their perceptions, feelings, & opinions.  It’s a very subtle way of tearing a person down mentally & emotionally.

 

Using anger to control you.  In romantic relationships, they hide their anger until they are comfortable that you’re in it for the long haul, then they start using their anger suddenly.  Overt narcissists often will scream & rage, sometimes for hours.  Covert narcissists give quiet displays of their rage- they give the silent treatment, give disapproving looks, tell other people how cruel you are to them & play the victim.  Some narcissists will punch walls or take their anger out on inanimate objects as a way to intimidate you.  My ex husband did this & told me how lucky I was he took his anger out on our microwave instead of me.

 

If someone is doing these things to you or someone you know, it’s abuse, plain & simple!  You have every right to protect yourself from this type of behavior, no matter who is doing it.  Take back your power!  Set & enforce your boundaries.  Leave if the person becomes angry, especially if you’re afraid for your safety.  Rekindle old friendships the narcissist forced you to abandon. Start a journal if you don’t currently have one, & keep track of the things the narcissist says- seeing things in writing may give you more clarity.  Most of all pray.  Ask God what you should do in this situation.  He will guide you & give you creative ways to handle it or the strength to go no contact.

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

What’s Happening-June 22,2014

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!  I hope this post finds you well.
 
I am making progress on my new book about narcissistic mothers.  As of today, it’s at 38,500 words (needs to be 40-60,000).  Gettin’ there!  And thank God for that, because this is one very hard book to write!  I’m very surprised at just how challenging it is.  After writing my autobiography, “Emerging From The Chrysalis,” I was sure everything else I’d ever write would be a walk in the park.  Seeing the traumatic events of my life written out in black & white was very hard for me, yet validating at the same time.  This book is not the same..not even close!
 
Devoting an entire book to the topic of maternal narcissism has been a daunting task.  I know a lot on the topic, but I was unsure if I had enough to fill up a whole book.  I have asked God to help me out- make sure I leave nothing out of this book, & please teach me what I didn’t know that He wanted to be included.  He has answered those prayers.  I have been learning a lot!  Things to include about the book as well as things in my personal life that I never thought of as abusive before. 
 
For example, today I was writing about isolation being the favorite tool of all abusers, why they do it, & how engulfing narcissitic mothers (like mine) excel at isolating their children from others.  After writing some on the topic, I decided to research it online, to see if there was anything I forgot.  What I read slapped me in the face.  Hard.  Here is a portion of it:

“The abuser may “assign” the victim numerous domestic duties designed to keep her at home. “

(see the full article here:  http://www.abigails.org/Saul&David/control%20&%20isolation.htm
Wow.  I never thought of this as abusive behavior!  My ex-husband’s mother used to do this to me during the brief time we lived with his parents.  I never understood why I had to work so much for her.  I was responsible for all housework, balancing her checkbook, & maintaining paperwork & records for my ex’s father’s trucking business.  Other miscellaneous tasks were assigned to me as well.  There were three other adults in the house- why was so much on me?  I now wonder if was because my ex was very much into isolating me, & if she was “helping” him by keeping me so busy.  They were a very dysfunctional family, so that is a distinct possibility.  Also the only answer I can come up with at the moment. 
 
Thinking back, she also didn’t like me spending time with friends or having them over to our house.  Another isolating behavior.  
 
Whatever the reasoning behind this behavior, this new realization hurts.  I loved his mother a great deal- she & I were good friends, & often had a lot of fun together, in spite of the frequent problems in our relationship during the time of living together. 
 
*sigh*
 
Something else to process.  Yay for me.. not. 
 
Sometimes it seems like healing is the most frustrating, never-ending thing in the world, & sometimes I get so tired of new revelations that show me just how abused I have been in my life.  Honestly, it gets depressing!  I don’t like feeling sorry for myself, but it is hard to avoid 100% of the time.  I know it can be healthy to indulge in a bit of self-pity sometimes, but even so, it doesn’t feel nice.  Learning these things also makes me wonder what is it about me that makes people think it’s ok to abuse me?!  Do I behave in a certain way that says “Go ahead- hurt me.  Treat me like dirt.  It’s fine!”  UGH!
 
In spite of my lousy mood, though, I’m still glad that God is helping me to heal, learn & grow.  Yes, it hurts.  Yes, it can be frustrating.  However, it also is helping me understand behaviors & people a lot better.  It’s answering some questions, like why do I get angry or hurt when people behave a certain way.  Like with my ex- mother in-law.  Her list of “duties” for me to do every day used to really make me angry at the unfairness of the amount of duties I had to contend with compared to everyone else in the house.  But, I never knew why until today.  Now, I understand, & feel validated.  Angry, but validated, & at least the anger won’t last long- I am usually pretty quick to forgive.
 
This really lousy mood is telling me that it’s time to relax.  Maybe stop working on the book for a little while, too.  Relax, turn on some good music or watch a good movie or tv show, do some nurturing behavior that makes me feel good like crafting or snuggling the furkids.  & no cooking- hubby is either taking me out tonight or we will have something delivered.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism, Writing