One way narcissists abuse their victims is by invoking fear in their victims. Some narcissists may threaten their victim openly by threatening physical violence if they disobey the narcissist or something similar. More commonly though, narcissists don’t threaten so openly. They prefer stealthy type threats.
Think about it. How many times has a narcissist given you a look that struck deep fear into your heart? Or, maybe they made a certain disapproving sigh or groan that told you that you were in trouble. Sometimes, they use certain phrases, too. They may say things like,
- Just keep it up!
- You really need to…
- If things don’t change, I don’t know what I’ll do.
- You make me so mad! You’re lucky all I did was…
The goal of narcissists in these situations is to rule the lives of their victims by striking intense fear in them. The more terrified a victim, the less likely that victim will tell other people about the narcissist’s actions, confront the narcissist or even leave the narcissist.
When this happens it can be very easy to feel blind terror, not knowing exactly what the narcissist has in mind to do to you. Narcissists clearly are capable of evil, but they seem to make victims wonder exactly what kind of evil? If I disobey, will this person hurt or even kill me?
Rather than give into that blind terror, I want to encourage you to consider the situation objectively.
Chances are, you’ll realize that the narcissist is nothing more than a bully, trying to scare you with words rather than physically hurt you. But, don’t assume that is all that is happening. Many narcissists escalate their behavior slowly over time & they can turn physically abusive. The escalation can happen so slowly that the victim doesn’t even realize it is escalation. When you are caught up in simply surviving such a toxic, awful relationship, it can be very easy to miss the warning signs of the relationship becoming even more toxic.
You can know if your situation is escalating by considering this person’s behavior. If this person has started yelling more or using some physically intimidating behaviors such as punching walls or standing over you as you sit, these could be warning signs that he or she will turn physically violent at some point. If the narcissist in your life begins behaving in this way, things are clearly escalating. You need to separate yourself from this person if at all possible & protect yourself!
Whether or not the relationship turns physically violent, it is still abusive & you don’t deserve to be treated this way. If you want to get away but are unable to do so, try contacting your local domestic violence shelter or a hotline. Talk to safe friends or family who might be able to help. Contact a church for assistance & resources. There are ways to escape abusive relationships even when it looks like there is no way out!
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