Turning the Tables: Narcissistic Abuse and Manipulation
A true narcissist always has to be right. And for them to be right, someone else must be wrong, explains therapist Marisa Peer. It can take awhile for someone in a close relationship with a narcissist to even become aware of the abuse since it is a continual degrading over time.
Unlike other individuals, narcissist don’t understand the concept of partnership, teamwork, or mutual support and compassion. Instead they operate in terms of competition, domination, and degradation. They are like childhood bullies, they put others down to make them feel superior. They also throw fits like a child, lashing out if they don’t get their way.
Most narcissists are charming and very skilled at manipulation. They project to the world an image of themselves often in direct opposition of who they really are. They do a superb job of playing the victim, always placing blame on others.
A narcissist may paint the picture that they are a wonderful devoted parent and spouse. But behind closed doors they are cold, verbally and emotionally abusive and may even be physically abusive. The narcissist will constantly put their spouse down while making them feel as if they are helping them. They want their spouse to feel less than and incapable of surviving without them.
Since the narcissist is unable to admit to themselves that they are, in fact a narcissist, and abusive to those closest in their lives, they may have a double life. Instead of being around to witness the pain they cause in their family, they choose to leave the house and surround themselves with people who can feed their egos and listen to their lies about what an amazing person they are. If the narcissist is financially wealthy they often buy people’s affection. They boast this as generosity, when it is truly a self-serving purchase of false adoration.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder, takes a dark turn when combined with substance abuse. Their abuse of family members and delusions can reach new heights. They constantly contradict themselves, insulting their spouse, then saying “I love you.” This is the type of manipulation they use to confuse their victim and make them feel as if the deserve their mistreatment. Even if they apologize it is always followed by an excuse such as, “It wasn’t me, it was the drugs. Thats not me.” Or, “I say and do cruel things to you because you hurt me. You make me act like this.” Everything is someone else’s fault. Even when there is no one else to possibly blame, they will blame it on substances, or their emotions.
Since a narcissist always thinks in terms of competition or feeling superior, when their victim finally stands up for themselves and will no longer take their brainwashing and abuse, their behavior and delusions can become extreme and bizarre. They may take on their victim’s story and persona virtually overnight. This shows their extreme insecurity that they cannot be better than the other in less they, in fact, become them. They adopt the story of being abused and neglected. They say they are a loving and devoted family man. They could even take on the hobbies and interests of their victim just to show them that they are better at it than them.
The narcissist loves an audience and will tell all who will listen about the unfair treatment from their victim and tell fantastical stories about their victim to degrade their character, because they believe this is the only way to make themselves look superior.
The narcissist will say things like, “I’m amazing,” “People admire me,” I’m the man,” “Everyone sees the great man I am, but you.” While mentally healthy people may say positive affirmations as a form of self care, the narcissist uses it as a weapon to make others feel flawed or less than.
A narcissistic spouse can be especially dangerous. A narcissist will always prey on someone easy to manipulate . These are usually very sensitive, kind and honest people. For people with high sensitivity and integrity it is hard for them to believe that someone who supposedly loves them would intentionally and repeatedly hurt them, so they tend to believe the lies that are fed to them by their narcissistic spouse. Because the spouse with integrity trusts the other, they will confide their secrets and past trauma hoping to be understood and supported. But the narcissist uses this as ammo. They use anything that causes pain to their spouse against them. They are masters at low blows. And any fault their spouse may have will never be forgotten, it will be thrown in their victim’s face over and over, often taking on new invented details.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a cure for this disorder. It is not worth the effort or damaged incurred to try to change a narcissist. It is best to remove yourself from the relationship and abuse and find healing for yourself and family members who have been affected.