Naricisstic abuse is a phenomena that a lot of us are hearing about off late but it has been a fact of life since millenia. In this article Melaine Howarth, reputed tarot expert who counsels individuals over Tarot and Tea (psychic and healing services), gives us a few pointers to help us distance ourselves permanently from narcissistic abusers by recognising these entwined patterns.
Narcissism is a trait, the term being inspired by the Greek myth of Narcissus who was in love with his own reflection in water. Narcisisstic abuse on the other hand is about narcissists using other people emotionally and manipulatively towards their own self-serving agenda of drawing all sympathy and attention towards themselves.
Empaths, healers and kind or compassionate people often are highly attractive to Narcissistic Abusers who present themseves as needing the empathy they demand. When you get drawn into their drama, using a variety of tactics, narcisstic Abusers drain their victims out to focus entirely on themselves and their own myriad needs, sometimes in conjunction with other forms of abuse. These tactics are not limited to the following:
- Forced Intimacy: Usually at the beginning of a relationship, a person who is a Narcissistic Abuser might want to force themselves upon you, mentally, emotionally and at times using physical intimacy. They might begin the relationship by immediately declaring their affections or love, or expecting you to accept them completely and unconditionally at their sudden, persistent and intimate demands for affection.
- Oversharing: They could since the start of the association, share all about their childhood, their previous rejections and emotional hurts, and their life history or family traumas to secure sympathy from you. Be forewarned that if they are complaining about their ex partners or previous interests to you in the beginning, then you might be the next person they will complain about once you begin to move away from them.
- Future Faking: Tall promises may be projected by Narcissists to their prospective partners, often convincing you that they will be the ideal person to fulfil your dreams and ambitions, and making you comfortable with an imaginary future where you will be secure and fulfilling all your goals and desires with them.
- Triangulation: In case you ever express any loss of confidence in them, they will try to bring in another person, which need may or may not be another romantic interest. For example it could be another member of their family, or a friend, in an attempt to make you feel insecure. They will use this other person to make you feel that you need to vie for their attention or prove your affection, as there is someone else who supports them entirely and you will feel like your are judged.
- Managing Down Expectations: Once the relationship is mid-way if you feel that you are losing out on your life goals and plans, and not paying attention to your own needs, they will try to make you feel content with having less of whatever you had initially planned for in your life. They will justify you having to live with them or being part of their life even if it is directly or indirectly harmful to your abundance and best interest.
- Shock Tactics: To get more energy and attention from you, especially when you are returning to your senses or trying to move away from them, they will use shock tactics, for example threatening self harm or suicide, or displaying that they are in pain, or showering a lot of false concern. They may also try to gain your respect and gratitude by suddenly declaring something positive so that you gratify them. They will exhibit sudden behaviors that shock you so that you have no idea how to react, and get confused.
- Love Bombing: On one hand narcissistic abusers will gratify themselves and make you feel drained, on the other hand they will, in case you try to move away from them, bestow you with flowers, gifts or intimacy when you expect it the least so that you stop waking up from their manipulation and get overwhelmed with their sudden care and concern to yourself, no matter how shortlived.
- Plausible Deniablility: Complete denial of all their negative behavior and the possibility that they are at fault is a common factor in narcissistic abuse. These abusers deeply lack empathy towards others and never acknowledge or understand how their behavior affects those who are their victims. They are more likely to blame you instead of accepting their own guilt at any point of time.
- Distraction Reaction: Distract, confuse, disorient are the three words that underlie the manipulative urge to control you. The moment you start seeing through them, they suddenly express something that makes you focus on something else entirely so that least attention is given to the important issue of the abuse you are facing, and all attention instead goes to a non-issue that pops up out of nowhere.
- Gas Lighting: Telling you that you are crazy, mentally ill, that something is inherently wrong with you, your family members, your child, or another issue that is completely false and yet brought to attention is a tactic used by Narcissist abuser. More often than not, they succeed in gas-lighting you or others by making a convicing propositon based on a false premise so that you feel as if something is actually wrong with you or your supporting family or friends so that you get isolated and shamed.
- Guilt Tripping: Making you feel bad about wanting to leave them, making you feel like a terrible person, someone who is not nice to them, lacking ’empathy’ to them, not being supportive, caring or loving enough to them, accusing that you are hurting them, and other forms of strong emotional blackmail is used by narcissistic abusers to keep you from going away.
- Confidence Erosion: To reduce your self-importance, narcisstic abusers state things that are negative about you and indicte that you are a ‘loser’, ‘bankrupt’, ‘unsuccessful in life’ and by making you feel worthless by name calling. Your confidence may also be at an all time low simply because your life has indeed been harmed by their overwhelming, all-mighty and omnipresent behavior, they make you as dependent on them as possible and ensure you have no faith left in yourself.
- Silent Treatment/ Abandonment: At times when you expose your vulnerabilities, in an attempt to control you, narcissistic abusers will stop talking, show how cold they are, withdraw their symapthy, and leave you to yourself when you may be ill, needing comfort or in pain, or when you express any difficulties with the relationship. It wil feel as if you do not exist at times and your efforts do not matter as you remain unheard.
- Victim Mentality: The best defense is offense, seems to be the tactic of Narcissistic Abusers. They will declare to the whole world that they are the victims and you are the one who was actually guity of causing harm to them. They will blame you in every possible way, by showing that you are the abusive partner and even call you a narcissist instead of accepting that you are their victim and they are at fault. They will also declare themselves as mentally depressed, suicidal, in trauma due to your behavior or pretend to be physically hurt by you and complain about your behavior.
- Hoovering: Naricssistic Abusers want you to be as trapped as possible and as comfortable and used to their constant presence in your life, so that it is impossible to escape. They will be around you as much as they can if they feel you are moving away and try to monitor your movements.
- Control and Control Validation: Not only will Narcissistic Abusers control your psychologically and emotionally using manipulations, lies, melodrama and acting-out, they will also justify their behaviors. For example if they check your emails or intrude upon your social media activities, they may state that they are doing this to protect you, not allowing you to meet others as you are naive and they are keeping you safe from harm. Iterfering in your business or private matters will be justified by saying they are caring, or that you are physically or mentally ill and need their support. As such they will make you feel as controlled, isolated and helpless as possible and get away with it by saying that they are justified in doing so.
The only way to be safe from the dangers of Narcissistic Abuse is to completely cut off from these individuals, to have no contact whatsoever, and to seek therapy and counselling to make sense of what happened to you. The key to your freedom is to be able to move on without being lured back into fulfilling the endless pit of demands of narcissistic abusers.
Based on inputs from Melanie Howarth.
Melanie Howarth has been studying and giving Tarot readings for over 30 years and in addition to being a Therapeutic Tarot Practitioner, and a Holistic Health Therapist. https://www.tarotandtea.co.uk