12 Ways To Recognise Emotional Abuse in Narcissism

Just like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, emotional abuse in narcissism often disguises itself under the garb of ‘normal’ interaction, making it challenging to identify.

You might live with it daily, under constant criticism, manipulation, and belittlement, feeling like you’re always walking on eggshells.

It’s important to recognize these signs and understand how this form of psychological torment can deeply affect your mental health, self-esteem, and overall well-being.

This article will help you understand what emotional abuse in Narcissism is, how they use it, and how you can recognize it.

#1 They always Belittle and Critisize You

Belittling and constant criticism are key signs of emotional abuse, often used to undermine your self-esteem and control you.

When you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, they’ll often belittle your accomplishments and constantly criticize your actions. It’s not about constructive criticism; it’s about making you feel small, unworthy, and dependent on their approval.

Your partner may mock your dreams or belittle your achievements, often under the disguise of humor or ‘honesty’.

They might compare you unfavorably to others, saying you’re not ‘good enough’. All these behaviors are designed to make you feel inferior and question your worth.

#2 They Control and Dominate You

In an emotionally abusive relationship, the abuser often wields control and domination like weapons, manipulating your life to serve their needs and whims.

They’ll dictate your every move, isolating you from loved ones to strengthen their influence. You’ll find your decisions constantly overridden, your autonomy stripped away.

It’s not uncommon for the abuser to control finances, making you dependent and trapping you in the relationship. They’ll threaten, intimidate, and belittle you to maintain this dominance.

#3 They Are Excessive Jealous and Possessive

While control and domination can manifest in many ways, one particularly insidious form it often takes is excessive jealousy and possessiveness.

This isn’t about showing affection or being protective. It’s about controlling who you interact with, what you do, and where you go.

It’s about the narcissist’s fear of losing control over you. You’re accused of flirting or cheating without evidence.

They’re constantly checking your phone, emails, and social media. You might feel like you’re walking on eggshells, always trying to avoid their jealousy.

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#4 They Gaslight You

Suppose you’ve ever felt like you’re losing your grip on reality because a narcissist in your life is manipulating your perception. In that case, you’re likely experiencing a form of emotional abuse known as gaslighting.

This technique involves the abuser denying or distorting reality to make you doubt your memory, perception, or sanity. You might hear phrases like, ‘You’re too sensitive,’ ‘You’re imagining things,’ or ‘That never happened.’

Over time, you may start to question your reality and even your sanity. It’s a powerful tool narcissists use to maintain control. If you’re feeling constantly confused, doubting your memories, or feeling crazy, you may be a victim of gaslighting.

#5 They use Threats and Intimidation

Just as gaslighting can leave you doubting your reality, threats and intimidation used by a narcissist aim to instill fear and maintain power over you.

They might threaten to harm you, themselves, or others you care about. It’s not just physical threats; they also intimidate by threatening to ruin relationships or reputations.

They may scare you into submission by using menacing looks, gestures, or actions. The threats mightn’t always be overt; they’re often veiled or disguised as concern or love. This can confuse you and lead you to question your judgment.

#6 They Create Guilt and Blaming

In the twisted world of emotional abuse, narcissists are experts at shifting blame onto their victims and stirring up feelings of guilt. You’ll find they’re quick to point fingers at you for their own mistakes.

They’ll use emotional manipulation to make you feel guilty, even when you’ve done nothing wrong. This is a tactic to control and keep you off balance.

Narcissists are masters at making you question your worth and sanity. They’ll accuse you of being too sensitive when you stand up for yourself.

They’ll insist that you’re the one causing their abusive behavior. It’s not your fault. You’re not to blame. Recognizing this guilt and blame game is a significant step in understanding the narcissist’s emotional abuse. It’s a step towards reclaiming your emotional health.

#7 They Ignore You and Withhold Affection

Another tactic narcissists employ to exert control is ignoring or withholding affection, which can be just as damaging as direct criticism or blame.

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This subtle manipulation technique can leave you feeling unloved, unwanted, and unsure of your standing in the relationship. It’s a way for them to maintain power and control, as you’re left constantly seeking their approval and affection.

You might find yourself walking on eggshells, desperate not to upset them and lose their love. It’s important to recognize this behavior for what it is: a form of emotional abuse.

It’s not about you or your shortcomings but their need to control. Remember, everyone deserves consistent, unconditional affection in a relationship. Don’t let a narcissist’s manipulation make you think otherwise.

#8 They Use Emotional Blackmail

Have you ever felt manipulated into doing something out of fear, obligation, or guilt? That’s emotional blackmail, a potent form of emotional abuse often employed by narcissists. Emotional blackmailers exploit your vulnerabilities, using them as leverage to control you.

They’ll threaten, issue ultimatums, or blame you for their problems to maintain power.

You often feel trapped, guilty, and anxious about their reactions. But remember, it’s not your fault. You’re not responsible for their happiness or responsible for their choices.

Recognize these signs, trust your feelings, and don’t let them dictate your actions. Seek professional help if needed, and remember, you deserve respect and genuine love, not manipulation and control.

#9 They Will Undermine Your Confidence

While emotional blackmail can leave you feeling trapped and guilty, another insidious tactic narcissists often employ is undermining your confidence.

They’re experts at making you question your worth, abilities, and decisions. They’re quick to point out your flaws but rarely acknowledge your strengths. They’ll dismiss your achievements and belittle your efforts, making you feel inferior and dependent.

They’ll sow doubt in your mind, making you uncertain and anxious. Narcissists thrive on your insecurity as it gives them control. It’s crucial to recognize these behaviors as abuse.

Don’t let their words define you. Remember, you’re capable and deserving of respect. Stand firm against their destructive tactics, and seek help when needed.

#10 walking on eggshells

Often, victims of emotional abuse live in a constant state of anxiety, feeling like they’re always ‘walking on eggshells’ around the abuser.

This means you’re perpetually on edge, afraid that the smallest misstep will set the narcissist off. You’re constantly trying to avoid criticism or anger, and this worry dominates your thoughts and actions. It’s a draining, isolating experience that can affect your mental health.

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It’s important to recognize this pattern. Remember, it’s not normal or healthy to live in fear of someone’s reactions.

It’s a tactic used by abusers to maintain control and keep you off balance. If you’re in this situation, seek help. You don’t have to navigate this alone.

#11 Your Emotions Are Wrong and Not Important

In addition to the relentless anxiety of ‘walking on eggshells’, another manipulative tool used by narcissists is to invalidate your emotions or make you feel they’re wrong.

They’ll often dismiss your feelings as ‘overreactions’ or ‘irrational’, undermining your ability to trust your emotions.

This tactic is meant to confuse and disorient you, making you question your reality. They’ll convince you you’re ‘too sensitive’ or ‘misunderstanding’ the situation.

Remember, it’s not about your sensitivity but their lack of empathy. You have the right to your feelings. They’re valid and important. Don’t allow anyone, especially a narcissistic abuser, to tell you otherwise.

It’s a tough battle, but knowing these tactics can help you regain control.

#12 They Need Financial Control

Financial control is another potent tool in the arsenal of an emotional abuser, particularly those with narcissistic tendencies.

They may control your financial resources as a means of domination and dependency. They’ll frequently scrutinize your purchases, limit your access to funds, and make large financial decisions without your input.

You often feel powerless and dependent, which is exactly what they want. It’s vital to recognize these signs and regain control. Start by setting personal financial boundaries. Next, seek advice from professionals or support groups.

Final Words

Recognizing emotional abuse in narcissism isn’t easy, but you’re not alone. Understand the signs, from constant criticism to gaslighting.

Remember, it’s not your fault; you’re not the problem. Assert your boundaries and seek help when you need it.

Don’t let someone else’s narcissism dictate your self-esteem or mental well-being.

Stand up for yourself because you’re deserving of respect and love. Equip yourself with knowledge, take control, and start your journey towards healing.

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