Recognizing Narcissistic Abuse
Most people who have never had the misfortune to experience narcissistic abuse first-hand fail to understand its sheer severity and covert nature, particularly the abuse perpetrated by the covert narcissist.
Covert narcissism in particular is undoubtedly and unequivocally the most damaging and undercover form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). Many victims going decades without becoming consciously aware of what it is that's happening to them.
The emotional and mental abuse that a narcissist inflicts on their victim is based on the subtle power of suggestion. The power of suggestion is one of the most powerful psychological tools known to man and should never ever be underestimated.
The narcissist presents to their victim, usually their relationship partner, a false self that is built up from a collection of simple and subtle pathological lies. These are lies that make them seem angelic and 'as good as gold,' resulting in the perception that 'they would never do anything to hurt anyone'.
If a narcissist were to hear a rumor of someone they know cheating on their partner they may then make statements such as "how could they do that to him/her? That's disgusting" making out that they wholly disagree with such behavior.
This is often only to fool their partner into believing that they would never be capable of doing such a thing themselves yet in reality the lie is usually a cover to hide the fact that the narcissist is doing, or plans to do, exactly that - they seek to appease.
These subtle lies go on and on, building up over the years gradually pulling the wool over the victim's eyes, leaving them blind to the narcissist's true hidden self.
Money, friends, finances, identification, thoughts and emotions are all eventually stolen from the victim leaving them in a position with no resources to leave and no one to turn to for help, yet they do not realize it until it's too late.
The narcissist has usually already ostracized their victim and built up an army of support, should the victim question anything that has happened.
The narcissist's army will help propagate their lies to the victim whilst unknowingly being fooled by those very same lies. They report the thoughts and emotions of the victim back to their narcissistic partner who uses the information to manipulate them even further and to prevent them from finding out the truth.
Stealing a person's thoughts and emotions and attempting to replace them with false thoughts, even to cover something up, is known as mental rape. The narcissist has created their own ring of abusers, they have employed their own mental and emotional rapists by manipulating the victim's own family and friends - the victim is left isolated.
Should the victim question the narcissist's pathological lies or hidden promiscuous behaviour then they will feel the wrath of the narcissist. The true victim will suddenly be the one who is insane or paranoid, which the narcissist has already managed to get their friends and family believing long before the victim could have ever anticipated.
Although friends and family may know about some of the narcissist's one night stands or continued secret long-terms affairs, these are already justified in their minds due to the lies the narcissist has been telling them about the victim over the years.
The victim has already been ostracized and had their reputation destroyed in the background without them even realizing what was happening.
It's too late.
Literally every little thing that happens gets twisted back round onto the victim and they are left scratching their head with wonder thinking "is it me?" and never quite realizing how the narcissist manipulated them into that situation.
Not only will the narcissist convince their victim they are insane, they will go the full length and tell them to go the doctor and have medication (that the victim doesn't really need) prescribed. Narcissists are extremely dangerous, they would rather allow their partner to get beaten up for making accusations or even let their partner die rather than reveal their true hidden self.
It took them all their life to build up their 'good as gold' reputation as a cover for the evil emotional and mental rapist that lies beneath and nobody is ever going to wear them down - some narcissists will commit murder if it means protecting their secrets.
Narcissistic abuse feels cruel, cold-hearted and sadistic for the victim. Narcissists do not make their victim suffer intentionally but they get a kick from knowing that they are able to manipulate their partner and get away with whatever they want.
The partner suffers in silence for many years not quite knowing if their suspicions are correct or just paranoia. The victim knows that even if they did turn to someone for help that the behavior of their narcissistic partner has been so outrageous that nobody is going to believe them anyway, until they eventually reach a point where they just can't handle the abuse any more. The victim is left feeling destitute, desolate, and isolated and they may begin to experience a state of dissociation.
In many cases the partner may discover true evidence of the narcissist's hidden behaviors (pathological lies, one-night stands, incest, secret affairs or even a double life). It hits them hard.
They come to the realization that all of their suspicions that arose over the past years (or decades in many cases) were not just suspicions but actually subconscious clues being absorbed by their intuition - their suspicions were correct all along.
They are left feeling depressed, worthless, suicidal and shell-shocked which can lead to flashbacks and nightmares. The psychological manipulation and the presence of a false self becomes apparent and the victim comes to the realization that the person they fell in love with is not real; they don't exist.
The victim is left heart-broken, suicidal and angry yet the narcissist is still the one who is being treated like the victim. The damage is done and can often feel overwhelmingly beyond repair.
Narcissistic abuse is performed covertly, insidiously and is extremely dangerous and it can, in some cases, result in death either through suicide, manslaughter or murder.
If the victim does survive then the damage done may stick with them always, whether on a conscious or subconscious level the experience has been had and may remain a contributing factor in their lives forever. They may find it difficult to ever trust another person again.
However, it's true that time is the great healer and victims of narcissistic abuse can recover, given enough time.
Unfortunately, the question that many older or longer term victims of narcissistic abuse end up asking themselves, is how much time, exactly, do they have left?
© 2011 Marc Hubs