Emotional abuse is VERY subtle. The victim may not know she is being victimized until it is nearly too late.
Read: Sharing what is happening to us. Believing us. Why is it so hard to believe?
(One of my most-read blog posts that may help shed light on what happens to someone in an emotionally abusive relationship and why it hurts just as much as a punch to the gut.)
Emotional abuse is often inflicted by those who suffer from mental issues, specifically personality disorders described as Cluster B disorders. Men (and women) who suffer from Cluster B personality disorders like Narcissistic Personality Disorder, often appear, at first, too good to be true. They are charming, agreeable, and engaging. They love (or seem to love) everything about you. They hook you. Then they break you through insidious means like lying, manipulation, and control. The results of their abuse can cause severe emotional issues for their victims. Many victims suffer depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some may become suicidal or even homicidal.
Few studies have been conducted to support the connection between personality disorders and domestic violence/intimate partner abuse, because most victims are too ashamed to admit they were abused/are being abused and often think they did/are doing something to cause the abuse. Victims are silenced by their own fears of being revictimized, making break throughs in research and understanding difficult if not impossible. This lack of research hinders the jobs of law enforcement, mental health professionals, and social workers who desperately want to recognize the signs and know how to interact with victims more effectively.
I am here to provide my story and hope others will be encouraged to disclose their own. Our pain and suffering may help others end theirs sooner or allow such pain and suffering to be avoided completely.
I was in an abusive relationship with a man whom I can only describe as being a narcissistic sociopath. (I have a page dedicated to recognizing narcissistic sociopaths. Reading it may provide some clarity and insight.) My mental, emotional, and physical health detriorated quickly over a short period of time, just months. Luckily, I was able to escape through careful planning and determination to save myself and my 5-year-old son who was also abused by this man. I wrote a story based on these experiences. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobel as an e-book and in soft-bound format. Learn more about my book and how to purchase it on www.storyofasociopath.com.
Signs You May be Dating a Narcissist or Sociopath
(Thanks and acknowledgements to Sam Vaknin, author of “Malignant Self-Love“.)
Abuse is an integral, inseparable part of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The narcissist idealizes and then DEVALUES and discards the object of his initial idealization. This abrupt, heartless devaluation IS abuse. ALL narcissists idealize and then devalue. This is THE core of pathological narcissism. The narcissist exploits, lies, insults, demeans, ignores (the “silent treatment”), manipulates, controls. All these are forms of abuse. ~ by Sam Vaknin, Ph.D.
Is he too eager? Does he push you to marry him having dated you only twice? Is he planning on having children on your first date? Does he immediately cast you in the role of the love of his life? Is he pressing you for exclusivity, instant intimacy, almost rapes you and acts jealous when you as much as cast a glance at another male? Does he inform you that, once you get hitched, you should abandon your studies or resign your job (forgo your personal autonomy unless he needs the health insurance your position offers)?
Does he respect your boundaries and privacy? Does he ignore your wishes (for instance, by choosing from the menu or selecting a movie or planning an extended vacation without as much as consulting you)? Does he disrespect your boundaries and treats you as an object or an instrument of gratification (materializes on your doorstep unexpectedly or your parents’ doorstep and calls you often prior to your date or before you return home from work)? Does he go through your personal belongings and cell or e-mail messages while waiting for you to get ready?
Does he control the situation and you compulsively? Does he insist to ride in his car, holds on to the car keys, the money, the theater tickets, and even your bag? Does he disapprove if you are away for too long (for instance when you go to the powder room)? Does he interrogate you when you return (“have you seen anyone interesting”) – or make lewd “jokes” and remarks? Does he hint that, in future, you would need his permission to do things – even as innocuous as meeting a friend or visiting with your family?
Does he act in a patronizing and condescending manner and criticizes you often? Does he emphasize your minutest faults (devalues you) even as he exaggerates your talents, traits, and skills (idealizes you)? Is he wildly unrealistic in his expectations from you, from himself, from the budding relationship, and from life in general?
Does he tell you constantly that you “make him feel” good and that you are “the love of his life”? Don’t be impressed. Next thing, he may tell you that you “make” him feel bad, or that you make him feel violent, or that you “provoke” him. “Look what you made me do!” is an abuser’s ubiquitous catchphrase.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder Defined (opens in new window)