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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

Verbal Abuse That’s Not Easy to Spot but Indeed Very Harmful

Verbal Abuse That’s Not Easy to Spot but Indeed Very Harmful

Verbal abuse runs rampant and is the most under reported act of Domestic Violence of them all. More often than not, young girls are raised that this is how we are expected to be treated. Several groups want to point out that it’s not true.

However, 62% of tweens (ages 11-14) report that they are aware of their friends being in verbally abusive relationships. 1 in 4 teenage girls, who are in relationships, report enduring repeat verbal abuse. Tweens and teens do not just automatically subject themselves to such relationships, it’s learned behavior that stays for a long time.

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Verbal Abuse Is More Than Feeling Uneasy. It Dampens Our Spirits.

Entering into adulthood, this behavior continues. In some cases, it turns into physical and/or sexual violence. However violent the relationship can get, the verbal abuse is the most damaging to the psyche. Repeatedly exposing ourselves to verbal abuse can lead to:

  • the feeling like you are constantly on guard
  • loss of enthusiasm
  • unsure of being able to communicate effectively (you can, your abuser will convince you otherwise)
  • diagnosis of depression and/or anxiety
  • suicidal thoughts
  • trapped in the “what if” thoughts
  • feeling uneasy or paranoid for no reason

Complete Catalogue on Various Abuse Tactics

There are very specific methods to abuse and these become your warning signs. If you are newly dating someone, take note of these tactics!

Withholding

They don’t tell you everything and avoid sharing thoughts or feelings. Discussions become based only on facts with no real in-depth sharing.

Countering

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There is a tendency to be argumentative. You enjoy a movie, your abuser must tell you why the movie was awful and convince you that you are wrong. I often said that if I told my ex-husband “the sky is blue” then he would go on a long winded rant on why the sky was really green and there was something wrong with my vision.

Discounting

They are removing your rights to how you feel. You become “too” much of anything. You are too sensitive, too childish, or over-dramatic. This tactic tends to leave you feeling as if you are never quite good enough for your partner.

It’s Just a Joke

They are hiding the abuse behind the caveat “it’s just a joke”. My ex-husband would often spend plenty of time trying to shame me for something in front of other people and if I dared get upset he would say “it’s just a joke, your being too sensitive”.

Blocking and Diverting

They control all conversations. The abuser decides what you two talk about and if you change the subject, you are chastised for speaking out of turn.

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Accusing or blaming

The victim is blamed for things going “wrong” in the abusers life that is out of control for the victim. A famous example is that your appearance is all wrong and cost the abuser a potential promotion. Of course it couldn’t possibly be because the abuser wasn’t right for the promotion!

Trivializing and Undermining

They minimize your successes or passions. You may really like a particular type of food and your abuser must tell you how unspectacular it is. If you get a promotion or a raise at work, they will try to lessen the good that it makes you feel.

Threatening

This can be as simple as “if you don’t do this, I will leave you”. My ex-husband was quite subtle with his threats. His worst was when he told his friend in front of me “I am afraid of my temper. I think one day I may lose control and kill my wife”. He stared at me to see a response.

Name Calling

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It is the most popular form in which the abuser must reduce your self-esteem by using vulgar and demeaning language to describe you. It often weakens the victim to a point in which she doesn’t feel good enough about herself to leave.

Forgetting

They forget date night, forget to call, forget your birthday or anniversary. It’s an act of controlling what happens in your day to day and controlling your emotions. Forgetting your birthday hurts.

Gaslighting

The abuser changes events that have already happened. You will recall a series of events and your abuser will say something like “that is crazy, that never happened!”. Or worse, they will change the events and tell you that your memory is wrong. It’s not only an act of control, it’s meant to drive you crazy.

Projection

They pretend like you are using abuse tactics on them. Many abusers, when confronted with their acts of abuse, will try to flip the events and claim that the victim is actually the abuser. This is especially true for narcissistic abusers who can’t handle having their public image shattered.

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Several Things to Do in Face of Verbal Abuse

If you find yourself in a situation with someone using verbal abuse, your instinct will be to rationally have a discussion. The fact is, you cannot reason with an abuser. Try as you might, it just won’t stop once they know how to get under your skin.

One way to combat the abuse is to call them out for their behavior every single time it happens. Avoid using you statements such as “you are gaslighting me!”. Rather be more direct with “stop abusing me!” or “stop blaming me for things I cannot control”. They will either learn from their behavior and stop or they will move on to another person to try and abuse.

Your other option is to set boundaries and not pursue relationships with folks who do abuse you. This can be very difficult if this is a close familial relationship.

Ultimately, you should not feel obligated to endure abuse for anyone at anytime. When you set the boundary to only allow healthy relationships, you are empowering yourself to expect better treatment.

It’s important to note that verbal abuse is an act of domestic violence. It doesn’t matter if someone never lays a hand on you, verbally abusing you is harmful and damaging. If you, or anyone you love, is enduring verbal abuse please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help, 1-800-799-7233

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Angela Kunschmann

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

Narcissistic Personality: What Is It and How to Deal with a Narcissist?

Narcissistic Personality: What Is It and How to Deal with a Narcissist?

He asks you for your opinion, but only follows his own advice regardless of what you say.She loves to talk about herself, everything about her is just better than you.  When you try to share anything happy about yourself, she seriously doubts it.

If you know someone who acts like these examples, there’s a chance they might be a narcissist.

What is a narcissistic personality?

Narcissism is a spectrum personality disorder which most of us have.

In popular culture, narcissism is interpreted as a person who’s in love with themselves, more accurately, their idealized selves. Narcissists believe that they are too unique to be understood and that they are so good that they demand for admiration from others.

Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that,[1]

the narcissist is someone who has buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes narcissistic personality as a personality disorder. It is a spectrum disorder, which means it exists on a continuum ranging from some narcissistic traits to the full-blown personality disorder.[2]

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not very common, but the truth is, we all have some of the narcissistic traits.

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Traits of a narcissist:

  • They have a deep need for admiration and validation. They think they’re special and too unique to be understood.
  • They feel they are superior to other. They achieve more and know a lot more than you.
  • They do not show their vulnerabilities. They fear what others think of them and they want to remain superior in all situations.
  • They are unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others. They want to be the centre of attention and believe that showing emotions is a sign of weakness.
  • They are skilled manipulators and are emotionally abusive. They know how to make use of their charm to take advantage of others to get what they want.

How are narcissists different from others?

Narcissism expert and the author of Narcissism in a Nutshell, Zari Ballard, tried to answer some common questions asked by non-narcissists about what a narcissist thinks and feels from a narcissist’s perspective.[3]

Do narcissists know they are narcissists and are they happy?

We could really care less about how others feel. We enjoy our so called cold existence. True narcissists don’t want to change. We feel in total control of our lives using this method.

Do narcissists know or understand right from wrong?

Narcissists know the difference between right and wrong because they understand cause and effect. There is no “guilty conscience” giving them a clue and they are displaying the symptom of being “indifferent to social norms” while most likely presenting as ‘cold-hearted.’

Narcissists have a very different thinking mechanism. They see things from a different perspective. Unlike non-narcissists and empaths, they don’t have much sympathy and are reluctant to show emotions to others.

Why do people become narcissists?

1. Narcissism is vulnerability taken to an extreme.

The root of a narcissistic personality is a strong resistance to feeling vulnerable with anyone.[4]

Narcissists refuse to put themselves in a position where they feel vulnerable. They fear that others will take advantage of their weaknesses, so they learn to camouflage their weaknesses by acting strong and powerful. The think showing emotions to others is a sign of weakness, so they learn to hide their emotions and act cold-hearted most of the times.

Narcissists live in a state of anxiety because they are highly aware of their emotions and how others think of them.

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Vulnerability aversion, is the root of a narcissistic personality.

2. A narcissistic personality could be a result of a wounded past.

Narcissists are desperate to seek validation constantly because they either didn’t feel worthwhile and valued in the past, or were being paid too much attention as the most precious and unique one in the world.

Faulty or inadequate parenting, for example a lack of limit setting, is believed to be a major cause, and both permissive and authoritarian styles of parenting have been found to promote narcissistic symptoms.[5]

Both parents who fail to see the worth in a child, and parents who spoil and give excessive praise to the child promote narcissism as the child grows. While the former ones make the child feel inferior of others and want to get more attention, the latter ones encourage an idealized-self in the child.

How to deal with a narcissist?

1. If someone close to you is a narcissist, embrace the differences.

There’re different personality types and not everyone will think and act the same as you do. Instead of trying to change others, learn to accept the differences and strike a balance when you really have to communicate with them.

2. Don’t try to change them, focus on your own needs.

Try to understand that narcissists are resistant to change, it’s more important for you to see who they really are, instead of who you want them to be. Focus on how you feel, and what you want yourself to be.

Embrace the fact that there’re different types of personality and the only thing you can control is your attitude and your own actions.

3. Recognize what they do only comes from their insecurity.

Narcissists are quite vulnerable deep inside, they question others because that’s how they can make themselves feel better.

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When you learn that what a narcissist does to you is nothing personal, but something that comes from their insecurity, you know that sometimes they just need a certain amount of reassurance.

This is especially important if the narcissist is someone you have to closely work with, or if they’re your family member. The right amount of reassurance can calm them down and get the tasks on hand completed.

4. Ask them what would others think instead of what’d others feel.[6]

Narcissists don’t feel guilty, but they care about how others think of them deep in their heart.

Clinical psychologist Al Bernstein explains:

There are just things, like other people’s feelings, that narcissists rarely consider. If you have their ear, don’t tell them how people might react; instead, ask probing questions. Narcissists are much more likely to act on ideas that they think they thought up themselves.

If you have to work with a narcissist closely, focus on the facts and ideas, not the emotions.

5. Let go of the need of getting a narcissist’s approval.

You’re not who a narcissist says you are. Don’t let their blame game undermine your self-esteem, and don’t argue with them just to defend what you believe is right.

There is no point arguing with a narcissist just to prove them wrong because they will not give in proving themselves right. It’s more likely that you’ll get more upset when they disagree with you in an unpleasant way.

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Know your own worth and detach from a narcissist’s opinion on you.

6. If a narcissist is hurting you, stay away from them.

Remember, a healthy relationship is two-sided. It’s about mutual respect and it’s based on give and take. But any kind of relationship with a narcissist is likely to be the contrary, it’s about making the narcissist happy and constantly supporting them. A relationship like this will only weigh you down and is unhealthy for your growth.

7. Set a boundary and always keep it.

If you’re setting a boundary, you have to be willing to keep it. When a narcissist sees that you’re trying to take back control of your life, they will try to test your limits, it’s just their instinct to do it.

Be prepared that your boundary will be challenged. Make your boundary clear, have all the actions needed to be taken in your mind.

For example, if you have decided to stop communicating with them, they will likely to show up in front of you just to talk to you. Be brave enough to keep your boundary, don’t back down and get close to them again; or else they will not take your boundary seriously any more.

8. Learn when to walk away.

When a narcissist starts to make you feel uncomfortable and doubt about yourself, it’s time to pick yourself up and give yourself enough respect to just walk away from them.

If you’re in love with a narcissist, you should seriously think about ending the relationship and move on for a better life. If the narcissist is your family member, you don’t have to be cruel to them, but it’s better to keep distance from them.

Reference

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