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Do you live in a world of dark little secrets--in which you’re pierced constantly by your partner’s hurtful words? And they don’t just sting slightly, do they? Do they plunge straight through your heart, in fact? Indeed, that’s how I experienced my partner’s verbal abuse. I imagine it’s like that for you, too.

Abusive men seem to behave similarly. Okay, not all of them engage in physical abuse. My former husband didn’t, and I assume yours might not, either. Most abusive men who are financially or professionally successful seem disinclined to do so. Perhaps they all have too much to lose? After all, the narcissist is into projecting the image of success.

Actually, those suffering from pathological levels of narcissism can usually accomplish what they want through verbal abuse and emotional abuse anyway, wouldn’t you agree? Well, sexual abuse and economic abuse are common tactics as well. However, narcissistic men are disinclined to use both physical abuse and social abuse—the latter which involves isolating the woman from her friends and family. They leave this tactic to the guys who also favor physical abuse.

Narcissistic yet abusive men can easily be pillars of their community. Indeed, they may lead companies on which others depend. They may be the doctors and attorneys to whom people turn to resolve challenging problems. They may be ministers who provide others with spiritual guidance. In fact, they are often the type of men others practically worship—leaving their abused partners alone in their emotional pain and wondering if they might be losing their minds. After all, their narcissistic husbands are likely to constantly tell their wives they’re wrong and misperceiving things. The women in these abusive relationships are apt to come to doubt their own perceptions and sanity--because of the psychologically abusive tactics these narcissistic men are apt to use.

Are You Married to an Abusive Narcissist?

If you’re married to a financially and professionally successful narcissist, as I just indicated, he knows better than to engage in physical abuse. It might ruin his reputation and destroy all that he’s accomplished. And again, he probably doesn’t need to use such abusive tactics anyway. He likely manages to accomplish what he wants quite successfully merely through his words.

Why can your partner impact you so deeply with words only? Well, because he knows who you are—or the person you’re striving to become—and how to push your buttons. In other words, he knows what you value or like about yourself. So, to devastate you, those are the very things he pounces upon.

When the verbally or emotionally abusive man attacks your strengths, it’s as if he has thrust a sword straight through to your inner core—and then skillfully removed that which makes you unique and special. And in doing so, he essentially negates who you are as a person.

The abusive narcissist’s tactics kill your spirit and trample your soul.

Now can you understand why being around your narcissistic partner can be so painful? Does it make more sense to you that you’ve lost your feelings of confidence, or are unsure about yourself all the time? How can you feel good about your gifts when the person who is supposed to be your staunchest supporter is the one who attacks them all the time instead? Really, is it any wonder you feel hopeless and lost?

This tactic may be devastating for you, but it’s also one of the favorite tactics of the narcissistic abusive man. He uses it because it works for him, not because he’s concerned about or cares for you. But then, the narcissistic man isn’t interested in showing empathy and building a relationship. How can he when he lacks the ability to do either? He is merely interested in being on top. He wants to always be right—which demands that he makes you wrong.

Forget the Behavioral Labels: Just See it as an Abusive Relationship

So, which of the forms of abuse that narcissistic men favor does your partner use? Or, are you unsure which should be labeled what? Whether you want to label what he does as verbal abuse, or emotional abuse, or psychological abuse, or sexual abuse, or economic abuse, please realize that all these tactics help him to diminish you—then keep you under his thumb doing his bidding. Furthermore, your abusive narcissistic partner can do so without laying a hand on you.

Indeed, sometimes it’s hard to delineate what specific behaviors should be labeled. How do you differentiate verbal abuse from emotional abuse when your abusive partner uses words to create the emotional pain? And frankly, how does emotional abuse differ from psychological abuse anyway? you may be thinking. If thoughts such as these are flashing through your mind, perhaps you want to remind yourself that labels don’t matter that much—not when you get right down to it. Perhaps what’s more important is to just realize that you have a partner who’s abusive—fed by pathological levels of narcissism and further fueled by substance use disorder, perhaps. Then again, he might have other mental disorders, too—or at least some traits of other personality disorders.

When you’re dealing with a partner who is narcissistic, and you know his behavior has resulted in an abusive relationship, labeling each behavior he engages in isn’t that important. What is important is that your partner is an abusive man. And whether it is verbal abuse or emotional abuse or psychological abuse, that abuse is harming you. So, the most important thing for you to do is decide how you can best ensure that you don’t continue to be assaulted by it regularly. How can you decrease its potential for damage?

You might not be abused by your partner's hands—through physical violence—but please, do not minimize the destructiveness of the abuse you suffer. In fact, make certain that you read the article about how you’re brain is impacted by living with a man who uses verbal abuse and emotional abuse as control tactics. If you find what you discover difficult to fathom, I can tell you that I personally experienced this type of cognitive deterioration when I was enduring my spouse’s narcissism, addictions, and abuse.

Fortunately, after I removed myself from that toxic environment and began to engage in recovery work, I also regained my ability to remember, think, and talk in complete sentences. But because I know how detrimental such abusiveness can be, I sincerely hope you wake up and take action before too much additional damage is done to your mental as well as emotional being—plus you could come to develop physical health issues, too. And in truth, these could become deadly.

I know, I am not painting a very pretty picture here. The thing is, you need to know the potential price you might pay for the seemingly good life that your financially but narcissistic and abusive partner provides. It can come at an extremely high cost. Do you really want to pay it?

Has this thought crossed your mind lately? It certainly crossed mine a number of times—numerous times before I rallied up the strength to leave, that is.

Remember, you are indeed in an abusive relationship. However, it’s likely easier to remain in denial about what’s happening when you’re living with an abusive narcissist versus suffering the physical abuse doled out by the man with Antisocial Personality Disorder. Still, while verbal abuse and emotional abuse and psychological abuse and economic abuse are not the same as being physically battered, they can destroy you just the same. Again, are you willing to take that risk? I would hope not.

Besides writing on narcissism, addictions, and abuse, Diane England also writes on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. If you know of someone whose partner is displaying PTSD, addictions, and abuse--since we often see this trio exist together, too--do that person a favor and buy him or her The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Relationship today. It has been designated one of the "Best Books of 2009" by theLibrary Journal.

Universities, nonprofit organizations, churches, psychotherapists, physicians, support groups, and others seeking to purchase quantities of this book at a discount should contact Customer Service at F&W Media by calling 800-289-0963.