If the narcissist finds themselves in a position where they can’t project the blame onto someone else, they feel vulnerable. Vulnerability is an uncomfortable feeling for them that can lead to narcissistic injury, and then narcissistic rage. The narcissistic injury destroys their sense of superiority and grandiosity as their self-esteem and self-worth is being threatened. Their response is rage.
The rage can be through aggressive behaviors, such as yelling, or passive-aggressive behaviors that includes silent treatment or stonewalling. The intended goal is to shut down all communication and restore a sense of internal stability in themselves. They want to turn the focus away from them so that there is no requirement to take blame, even in those situations where escaping blame is difficult.
Future faking is when a person lies or promises something about your possible future in order to get what they want in the present. It could be as basic as promising that they will call you later, and then never calling. Or it can be promising to go on a vacation with you, and then never taking any steps to make that happen. Or even promising to marry you, carry you off into the sunset, and living happily ever after, all in order to make you complacent and to control you in the present.
In the hands of a skilled manipulator, future faking preys on your dreams and goals in order to fabulate a possible future so that they can string you along in the now. These promises are destined to be broken, and can be seen as a form of overpromising and underdelivering.
Essentially, the manipulator will take very little action, if any, towards keeping their promises. Instead, they will keep promising and using other forms of coercive control, passive and active abuse, until you find yourself in such a state that it is easier to go along with whatever the manipulator wants.
Emotional abuse, which is sometimes called psychological abuse, is a pattern of behavior that damages a child’s sense of self-worth and negatively impacts their emotional development.1 In addition to withholding love and support, the person emotionally abusing the child also may reject, criticize, threaten, demean, and berate the child. They also may humiliate the child, engage in name-calling, and insult them.
Emotional abuse can occur in conjunction with physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect and is one of the hardest forms of abuse to recognize. Often, it is subtle and insidious, slowly chipping away at the child’s self-esteem and sense of safety and belonging.1
Like other forms of abuse, emotional child abuse is about power and control. The perpetrator manipulates and controls the child by using words and actions that are emotionally hurtful and damaging. Experiencing emotional abuse is linked with devastating lasting effects, including increased rates of disease and mental health disorders.2
Mental abuse is the use of threats, verbal insults, and other more subtle tactics to control a person’s way of thinking. This form of abuse is especially disturbing because it is tailored to destroy self-esteem and confidence and undermine a personal sense of reality or competence.
Mental abuse has been tagged as ‘mental cruelty and ‘intimate terrorism’ because of the serious dangers of this behavior. In mentally abusive relationships, one person may be led to believe that they are crazy—this is commonly called gaslighting. Here, an abuser might twist reality to cast doubt on memories, and even how things are perceived.
An event that occurred in the summer may be manipulated to have taken place over winter—or perhaps not even at all. When the person being targeted tries to protest or push back on the manipulation, they often seem reactive. They respond out of frustration and confusion and inevitably seem “crazy,” emotional, and irrational. This is how the abuser undermines their own sense of self and their standing and respect among family and friends.
Mental abuse relies on tactics that ridicule, insult, frighten or exploit. Ultimately, reality and self-worth become tied to an abuser.
Mental abuse can be severe. However, because this maltreatment can take on different patterns, it can also be easy to dismiss or overlook. The individual on the receiving end dismisses it. As a result, friends, co-workers, and family members often don’t recognize it either.
If you’ve experienced mental abuse, there’s a chance you take on or minimize the blame for the humiliation, verbal abuse, and other ill-treatment you endured.
In reality, this treatment has little to do with you or your perceived faults. Any person that humiliates another, causes them to question their sanity, or otherwise displays unkindness, is after personal satisfaction. Such a person may be correctly labeled an abuser.
From a young person’s standpoint, domestic violence is violence between your parents or violence toward a parent, perhaps from a stepparent or a significant other. This is childhood domestic violence (CDV). The violence can be physical or nonphysical. I can’t tell you how often I hear, “There wasn’t any physical violence between my parents, but the words they used—toward me—I felt them physically.”
This is never discussed.
When I was young, this was never talked about and that wasn’t good, but I can’t imagine what it was like for you when something about the domestic violence and NFL players came up. For you, it’s not another story or a reporter with a “witty” perspective. For you, it’s your life. Perhaps in your home, when it’s on television, everyone just ignores it, feeling the anxiety inside like they are walking on eggshells. Or maybe the TV gets turned off.
You shouldn’t have to live with this.
You are not alone.
You may often feel:
Guilty—you think that what is happening is your fault, that you should be able to stop it or that there is something wrong with you.
That you are simply the type of person who is resentful and angry—”Why should I have to go through this? No one else does!”
Fearful—because you are afraid that you or one of your parents will get hurt again.
Worthless and unloved or literally worth less than other kids. “Aren’t I worth keeping safe, being made to feel important? Aren’t I worth loving?”
I felt a lot of these things when I was your age. So did a lot of people, even former President Bill Clinton, who grew up in the same type of home that you and I grew up in. And it took us a long time to realize the truth. I don’t want it to take you as long as it took us.
The truth is: No obstacle you will ever face can compare to what you went through as a child and have already conquered.
Not all of us have the fondest memories of childhood. Some of us grew up in homes where the tension was palpable, yelling was the norm and fear was constant. Being raised in a family where domestic violence is present can have lifelong ramifications in a child’s physical, emotional and social development. It is also the single best predictor of children growing up to fall victim to domestic abuse or act as a perpetrator themselves, according to a report from UNICEF.
Abusers love excuses. They only yelled at you because they were drunk. They only hit you because they were hit as children. They’re only abusive because they’re depressed. It’s not their fault.
Survivors told DomesticShelters.org in a recent survey that the number one barrier that often prevents them from leaving their abuser is threats or excuses.
Spoiler alert: Those excuses are lies. Domestic violence is not caused by alcohol or drugs, plenty of adults who grew up witnessing domestic abuse as children didn’t turn into batterers and, according to a study by Andrew Klein, Ph.D., for the Battered Women’s Justice Project, abusive partners are no more likely to be mentally ill than the general population.