Narcissistic abuse to the general public is often perceived as, “a person with a big ego saying mean words.” Society needs to understand narcissistic abuse is the source that empowers physical abuse and murder.
Over the years, many victims lost their lives to partners with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Many victims spend months and years enduring narcisstic abuse without anyone noticing the abuse or taking them seriously until they go missing or are found dead.
On April 12, 2012, Allison Baden-Clay went missing. She was 43 years old at the time and a mother of three young girls. Her husband, Gerard Baden-Clay, reported her missing to the police. Ten days later, Allison’s body was found on a creek bed under a bridge close to their family home. Two months later, her husband was charged with murdering her.
Allison’s case is one of the very few court cases that highlighted the danger of narcissistic abuse. For years, the couple seems happily married. Allison was always smiling and well-dressed. No one picked up on what was happening behind closed doors. People notice her husband was controlling her but because they didn’t see bruises on her body, they didn’t think she was being abused. To the world, Gerard was a successful small businessman, a proud father, and a loving and devoted husband. In reality, he was the complete opposite of what he portrayed to the public.
After Allison went missing her husband lied to the police that Allison went for a walk and just never came home. He told them the cut on his cheek was from him shaving. He pleaded in tears for his wife’s return. Investigators later learned that Gerard was having an affair with a co-worker. Six weeks after the discovery of Allison’s body, he tried to make a claim for his wife’s insurance money.
In a study published by Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, the researchers noted that there are strong grounds that Gerard has narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Regardless of the fact that during the trial the Queensland Court of Appeal developed a “reasonable hypothesis” supporting Gerard’s innocence, due to no evidence of a motive to kill and no evidence that Gerard ever intimated any intention of harming his wife. However, the research proposed an ‘alternative hypothesis’ of the murder, he developed a narcissistic rage in which he fully intended to either kill or inflict grievous bodily injury on his wife and then set about concealing the crime. Gerard Barden-Clay was given a life sentence with a non-parole period of fifteen years.
Psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut addressed “narcissistic rage” in 1972. His study concluded that a person with NPD whose feels dejection and shame would exhibit anger, resentment, vindictiveness, and aggression. In other words, a narcissist will become extremely vengeful and hostile toward someone who threatened their high sense of self. Many spousal murders are strongly associated with NPD.
What we want to point out in this article is that narcissistic abuse is no longer just people with mean words. It is the cause of physical abuse and murder. As a society, we need to take narcissistic abuse more seriously and do a better job of noticing and handling narcissistic abuse long before victims end up in the evening news.