The Many Faces of Narcissistic Abuse, Understanding Narcissistic Abuse: Types and Tactics

Narcissistic abuse is a pattern of behavior in which a person with narcissistic personality traits manipulates and exploits their partner in order to assert their own power and control. This type of abuse can take many forms, including emotional abuse, physical abuse, financial abuse, gaslighting, isolation, boundary violations, projection, and triangulation.

  1. Emotional abuse involves the use of tactics such as emotional manipulation, blame, and criticism in order to belittle, shame, or control the victim. This can include verbal abuse, such as yelling or name-calling, as well as emotional manipulation, such as guilt-tripping or using emotional appeals to get what the narcissist wants.
  2. Physical abuse refers to the use of physical force or threats of violence to exert control over the victim. This can range from minor forms of physical aggression, such as pushing or shoving, to more severe forms of abuse, such as hitting, kicking, or choking.
  3. Financial abuse involves the use of financial manipulation or control in order to maintain power and control over the victim. This can include controlling access to financial resources, such as withholding money or restricting the victim’s ability to work, as well as using financial manipulation, such as convincing the victim to give the narcissist control over their finances.
  4. Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation in which the narcissist denies or distorts the truth, causing the victim to doubt their own perception and memories. This can be done through manipulation of facts, lying, or changing the subject when confronted with their behavior.
  5. Isolation refers to the narcissist attempting to cut the victim off from their friends and family, or limiting their access to outside support, in order to further exert control over them. This can include isolating the victim from their social network, restricting their access to transportation or communication, or manipulating their relationships with others.
  6. Boundary violations involve the narcissist disregarding the victim’s boundaries, privacy, or consent, acting as if they are entitled to do as they please. This can include invading the victim’s privacy, disregarding their wishes or needs, or ignoring their boundaries and personal space.
  7. Projection involves the narcissist deflecting blame or responsibility for their own actions onto the victim, or accusing the victim of doing things that the narcissist is actually doing themselves. This can be used as a way for the narcissist to avoid accountability for their behavior and shift the focus onto the victim.
  8. Triangulation involves the narcissist involving a third party (such as a new romantic interest, a family member, or a colleague) in the relationship in order to create conflict and confusion, or to manipulate the victim’s emotions. This can be used as a way for the narcissist to maintain control over the victim and create uncertainty and distrust.

It’s important to note that narcissistic abuse can be subtle and covert, and the narcissist may not admit to any wrongdoing even when confronted. If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, it’s important to seek support from trusted friends, family, or a mental health professional, and to remember that it is not your fault if you are being abused. If you feel that your safety is at risk, it may be necessary to seek help from law enforcement or a domestic violence hotline.