Author of “Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited”
How often have you heard the following phrases coupled with the most horrific physical, verbal, and psychological abuse: “It’s all your fault, you made me do it” or “look what you made me do!”
So, what can you do about it?
1. Start by realizing a few crucial facts, supported by reams of research and mountain-ranges of court decisions: Abuse is never justified. No amount of discord and provocation warrant violence of any kind (verbal, sexual, physical); The abuser chooses to misbehave. S/he is not compelled to batter you, or berate you, or rape you, or humiliate you; There is nothing you could have done differently to forestall the abuse. You are not guilty, you are not to blame, you are the victim, not the perpetrator. These should be your mantras. Your abuser doesn’t love you. Abuse and love are antonyms. Abuse is never a form of expressing love.
2. Next, try to figure out why you have acquiesced to your abuser’s behavior. Are you anxious that s/he may abandon you if you stand up for yourself? Are you scared that the abuse may escalate if you resist him/her? Do you feel helpless? Have you always felt this way or is this learned helplessness? Are you truly alone – or do you have supportive friends and family? What about the authorities? Do you trust them to protect you and, if not, why not?
3. Analyze the relationship. Can you reframe your roles? Are you sufficiently strong to put a stop to the abuse by posing conditions, imposing sanctions, and acting on infringements? Is couple therapy an option? If you have answered “no” to any of these three questions, you are better off without your abuser. Start looking for a way out. Plan the getaway in detail and share your intentions with friends, family, and trusted co-workers. Then act on it. Remember: The world never comes to an end when relationships do – but abuse can be deadly.
Filed under: Abusive Relationships with Narcissists and Psychopaths | Tagged: abuse, antisocial, battering, divorce, domestic violence, DSM IV, ego, harassment, narcissism, narcissistic, narcissistic personality disorder, NPD, object relations, personality, personality disorders, psychodynamics, psychopathology, psychopaths, psychotherapy, relationships, self, spousal abuse, stalking, therapy |