Domestic violence cases come in many forms. Victims can experience emotional, physical, spiritual, sexual, and financial abuse. Many victims of domestic violence often blame themselves for the abuse they endure. This self-blame is usually due to manipulation at the hands of the abuser. This manipulation can quickly happen when you are in a relationship with a narcissistic abuser. Unfortunately, if you have experienced manipulation growing up, you may not recognize narcissistic abuse until you've been in the relationship far too long. Here are some signs to look for.
1. Emotional Blackmail
With emotional blackmail, your abuser uses your feelings to manipulate your behavior or convince you to see things their way. The abuser may withhold affection, express disappointment in your actions, or shift to negative body language as a reaction to your responses.
Emotional abuse often starts with demand. The demand may be stated outright or coached in a passive-aggressive manner. When your actions go against their orders, they may pout, not speak, or act hurt at what they perceive as your disappointing behaviors.
If you do not give in at this point, their behaviors will often progress with pressure or threats about what will happen if you do not acquiesce. Unfortunately, as a victim, you will often comply at some point, reinforcing their behaviors.
Gaslighting is another form of manipulation used by a narcissist. When gaslighting, the abuser uses actions, words, and deeds to create self-doubt or to make you think you are mentally incompetent.
When someone is gaslighting you, they are attempting to make you may feel unstable, irrational, or not credible. They will often trivialize your needs or feelings. The abuser will often tell you that no one will believe you. They may describe you to others as overemotional and crazy or complain that you are always exaggerating.
Because narcissists have an overinflated sense of themselves, it is essential to them that they always "win" or come out on top. When you are in a relationship with them, you will always be in some type of competition. No matter what you do, they will go out of their way to show you that they can do it better, even if they have to cheat to prove their point.
When you are in a healthy relationship, your partner will encourage and uphold your endeavors and relationships. In a relationship with a narcissist, you get the opposite. Your partner will do everything in their power to sabotage your efforts or relationships for their personal advantage.
Contact a battery attorney if a narcissist has victimized you and you are ready to get out of the relationship. They can work with you to ensure you safely escape.