Abuse is not always blood, bruises, and scars. Narcissistic abuse (also knowns as psychological, mental, and emotional abuse) involves trauma to the victim caused by verbal abuse, threats, and coercion. Many abusers use narcissistic abuse to control, intimidate, and belittle their victims. This type of abuse usually happens before or in parallel with physical abuse. It’s also one of the hardest abuse to prove in court.
According to data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), narcissistic abuse is brewing in our society.
- 48.4% of women and 48.8% of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner.
- 4 in 10 women and 4 in 10 men have experienced at least one form of coercive control by an intimate partner in this lifetime.
- 17.9% of women have experienced a situation where an intimate partner tried to keep them from seeing family and friends.
- 18.7% of women have experienced threats of physical harm by an intimate partner.
- 95% of men who physically abuse their intimate partners also psychologically abuse them.
- Women who earn 65% or more of their households’ income are more likely to be psychologically abused than women who earn less than 65%.
Below are some tactics used by narcissistic abusers.
- Humiliating the victim
- Controlling what the victim can or cannot do
- Withholding information from the victim
- Deliberately doing something to make the victim feel diminished or embarrassed
- Isolating the victim from friends and/or family
- Denying the victim access to money or other basic resources
- Demeaning the victim in public or in private
- Undermining the victim’s confidence and/or sense of self-worth
- Convincing the victim he or she is crazy
Narcissistic abuse increases the chance of physical and sexual abuse. Studies have shown that narcissistic abuse independently causes long-term damage to the mental health of victims. Many victims often experience depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal thoughts, lack of self-esteem, and difficulty trusting people. The subtle and insidious act of narcissistic abuse is more harmful than direct abuse.
The effects of narcissistic abuse lead 7 out of 10 women survivors of narcissist abuse to display symptoms of PTSD and/or depression. These women are significantly more likely to report poor physical and mental health, which leads to more than five physical visits in an average year.
If you experience any of the following scenarios from your partner, you may be experiencing narcissistic abuse.
- Threaten to harm you, your children, your family and/or your pets.
- Degrade you as worthless and tell you that no one else will ever love you.
- Keep you away from your friends and/or family.
- Control your behavior and monitor your movements and whereabouts.
- Deny his/her wrongdoing and tell you that you’re crazy.
- Belittle you in public or in private.
- Constantly criticize you.
- Blame you for everything that goes wrong.
- Stalk you.
- Make you feel guilt over things that are not your fault.
- Threaten to take away your children or cat.
Narcissistic abuse is real. You’re not alone. If you need more information or would like to learn more about what is happening to you, or have happened to you, we advise you to join one of our weekly online meetings. We’re a community of narcissistic abuse survivors. We’ll never judge you and we’re here to help you. Visit us at Dechaos.org to RSVP to a meeting.