As part of the narcissist personality disorder are Characteristic traits such as a sense of entitlement, believing they should and can have what they want when they want. Exploitation, whatever they do is to meet a need of their own. With a lack of empathy, so they do what they do without thought to who they harm along their way. Arrogance and dominance, they seek to control and are often very proud of who they are, and when they are not in control, outcomes their ugly side. They believe they are special and are deserving of special and excessive treatment. Often they are jealous of those that they perceive to be doing better than them, and their envious face can seek to destroy others, even loved ones, so they don’t achieve more than the narcissist unless the narcissist can take credit for it as the narcissist is often preoccupied with power and success.
Within a narcissistic relationship, you’ll find you can no longer have freedom, friends, family, opinions, trust, comfort, true love, yourself, inner peace, reality. You’ll not be able to reach your true potential. You have no honesty. They will often, through coercive control, take each of these away from you.
They will hit you with accusations, shame, False promises, fear, isolation, manipulation, slander, control, their games, the past, the mask, betrayal, gaslighting, lies, abandonment, insecurities, criticism, word salad, blame-shifting, projection, rage, counter-parenting, counter-anything, flying monkeys, enablers, triangulation, smoke screens, and many more. Then they’ll claim they did nothing to you and twist the blame all onto you, so we are the ones who doubt who we are while they continue to try and destroy the lives of those around them.
Fear is one of the most powerful emotions to use against people. Fear often keeps people unwittingly trapped in situations they don’t want to be in, often without even realising they don’t want to be In it. Fear of judgment from others for no longer giving into our narcissistic parent’s demands, fear of judgment from others for no longer giving into our adult narcissistic children’s demands, fear of judgment for splitting up the family, fear of judgment for staying with someone who treats us so wrong, yet at times treats us so right. Fear of raising our boundaries, our standards, for fear people will look badly upon us, fear of saying no, in case another doesn’t understand our no, fear of letting go, because of the pain to let go, without realising the pain of holding on to something that was never met to be hurt us more. Fear for our safety, and our loved one’s safety, fear of what they might do.
When we have someone in our life-controlling us, and often through their manipulative Gaslighting, we don’t even know it. We put our trust in others, believing and knowing we all make mistakes, believing that people feel how we do and wouldn’t want to cause another that kind of pain. Often we are that busy trying to wrap our heads around why someone can be so cruel. We forget to look into how so we can avoid those kinds of people in our future. Often we think these things just don’t happen that often, it’s not a big deal, they don’t do it all the time, we did something to cause it, which is our self-blame and our doubts talking to us, thanks to the narcissist downplaying their behaviour and exaggerating ours. We also think that psychopaths and sociopaths are rare, often things we read about or see in the movies, So when it happens to us, we are left questioning everything about them, about us, and more often than not, about life.
Most of us ask, do they even have the essential compassion and Empathy. to care? Unfortunately, as a lot of you might already know or coming to realise if a narcissist raised you or you had a narcissistic partner, some people simply only care about themselves, only interested in meeting their own needs. What they gain from other people, then they throw you away like you never truly mattered to them. A narcissist lacks in empathy to genuinely care for those around them. Often they have a cognitive understanding of empathy, so they can think how to use our empathy against us, how to guilt-trip us, and how to cause us to live in fear of them without even realising we are living in fear. Also, when we know we are living in fear, we are so full of fear to do anything about it. It’s not a case of why didn’t you leave sooner. It’s a case of congratulations for getting out safely when you could. If you’re still in, keep going until you find that safe window of opportunity to leave, you can, and you will.
Dealing with narcissistic people is a harsh reality many of us have lived through, and it’s genuinely heartbreaking and draining to live through. Also devastating, painful and heartbreaking getting out. Once out of the battle of recovery and recover, you will. Once you recover, life becomes much happier and much more peaceful.
You can, and you will recover from this.
When someone has always treated us wrong or poorly spoken to us, we might not understand why, but we know they don’t treat us right. When someone tells us they love us yet gets angry at us for seemingly no reason, and no matter how much we change ourselves to suit them, it never seems to be good enough. They guilt-trip us into doing things we wouldn’t normally do, either through some form of triangulation, “your mother, brother, sister, the third aunt removed, work colleague, my ex would.” So they break down all our boundaries or calling us names claiming we are “sensitive or insecure.” If we dare to have feelings about something and ask them, making us feel as though everything is always all our fault, and we need to work harder to please them, as they have done no wrong. Telling us, “No one will love you as I do.” we think If only we’d change, all would be ok, and they wouldn’t behave in that way. Yet, we change who we are time and time again to please them, and they’ll offer that intermittent reinforcement where everything will be ok, do the very next time it’s not ok, they can blame us, and we believe them, we think it’s all us. We end up no longer knowing who we are. We end up feeling insecure, not realising the very person we are trying too hard to please. The same person we want to help us is the very person filling us with fears and self-doubts. Insecurities and anxieties. Failure and depression.
When things go missing, when property is getting damaged, when we are losing our own memory, they blame it all on us, and we believe them. As to why would someone who loves and cares for us hurt us? Quite simply, because they don’t care, they use us, like we use a kettle to boil warm water, they use us for what they need at that moment. As it often happens slowly over time, or it was one or both of our parents, we don’t know any different. We know people get angry. People make mistakes.
A narcissist will misuse our trusting nature in the most hideous ways, leaving us with so many things to heal from. When someone takes power over us and uses our love for them against us, when they manipulate us to exploit us and take control of our mind, from gaslighting to the Silent Treatment, then the projection to blame-shifting. Screaming insults at us to the subtle hurtful comments, planting seeds of self-doubt deep within our own subconscious, allowing them to take more control over our lives slowly, with intermittent plays of them being nice when we seemingly get something right, reinforces in our own mind it was us.
It was never you. All you did was be kind with good intentions. When a robber walks into a bank to steal money, and through fear, the cashier hands the money over, the cashier is never to blame.
When a hijacker walks onto that plane, the passengers and staff are not to blame.
When a burglar enters a home, the owner-occupier is never to blame.
Controlling behaviour and emotional manipulation take form in any relationship, from bosses at work, friends, family and partners, and also in many different ways. Understanding coercive control will help you know what you’ve been through or what you might be going through and how to avoid the same from happening again.
The need to dominate can be passed down from generation to generation, and this needs to be broken and stopped.
When children are raised with narcissistic Coercive controlling parents or parents, they either become the lost child, the scapegoat or the golden child; whichever they fall under, they can either grow up to people please, never knowing who they indeed truly are and ending up with one narcissistic partner after another, or becoming narcissistic themselves, some do grow to form a healthy love for themselves and go on to build healthy relationships. All who’ve lived through it and started to recognise this can heal and recover and move on, forming healthy friendships and relationships.
Coercive control is mental, emotional or psychological abuse. In legal terms, Coercive control is long-term ongoing behaviour where one person drip-feeds another into losing everything losing friendship, family, money, jobs, children, homes, themselves and their reality. The manipulation slowly breaks down the victim’s personality, from breaking down boundaries, trust, health, self-respect, self-worth, and reality, to name a few. From the onslaught of Mind game after mind game, it’s like living in a war zone. The target often ends up becoming confused and overwhelmed, losing all sense of self, and left with guilt, disappointment and heartbreak.
Those with Narcissist personality disorder look for people who have qualities that they can offer to the narcissist and what the narcissist can use the person for. They look for people who’ve been previously victims of abuse, perfectionists, put others first, resourceful, empathetic, forgiving, generous and kind, and people with poor self-esteem. Vulnerable, they test small boundaries at first to see if they can break them down. This is why you need boundaries in place, as those they cannot break easily to start with they’ll often move onto an easier target. Some might try harder to break your boundaries. The more you’d stick to your no, the sooner they’ll go.
The narcissist will often state they can not control themselves, things like. “You know what I’m like in the morning. You know what I’m like after a drink. You know what I’m like without a smoke” Again, putting the blame subtly onto you, the narcissist is actually deeply insecure so wants to dominate and control to make themselves feel better within themselves.
What is Coercive control?
- Isolating from friends and family.
- Controlling Finances.
- Forcing you to take part in things you don’t want to.
- Damaging property.
- Monitoring your activity and movements.
- Threats to publish things about you or call police on you.
- Threats to harm the family.
- Threats to take your home.
- Threats to harm you.
- They are repeatedly putting you down.
- They are depriving you of basic needs.
- Humiliating you.
- Taking control of where you sleep.
- It is stopping you from doing day-to-day activities you enjoy.
- Social media is monitored or hacked.
- What you wear.
Examples of coercive control tactics they use.
- They monitor your outings, accuses you of things you haven’t done, cause arguments before you go out or arguments when you get back, so you no longer want to bother going out or doing things for yourself, keeping you so busy that you don’t have time for your own hobbies. Playing you off against friends and family, putting you in the middle and making you choose between people, often lying about what friends and family have said about you.
- They control your money. Either not working and using yours, or letting you believe it’s a good idea for you not to work them, not giving you enough money for the basic necessities, yet not allowing you back into work.
- They will guilt trip you, triangulate you, shame you, and pity plays to get you to break down your boundaries and do things you don’t want to or wouldn’t normally do.
- They will damage property, from punching doors to smashing items up.
- They can never let you have the last word, even if that means them sulking off and giving you the silent treatment.
- They invalidate you, call you names, call you crazy, insecure, sensitive, and put you down in obvious Overt ways. “You look fat/thin in that.” or covert means. “Are you really going to wear that?
- They use anger to intimidate you or silent treatment into punishing you if you don’t give them what they want.
- They don’t give you any choice in your life by making you so afraid of their reactions, so your to scared of what might happen if you don’t do as they say.
- They can’t compromise, and it’s their way or no way.
- They claim to know what’s best for you and find ways to force you into believing they are right.
- They hide things from you.
- They will make excuses and lies up about any evidence you have against them.
When it comes to being in a relationship, you usually do things for others out of love and respect, as the partner would do for you, like the washing up, or going to an event. It’s give and take, sometimes 50/50, others 80/20 and 20/80 and so on.
In a coercive controlling relationship, it’s 100 % you doing all through fear. They might intermittently do things. Still, when you ask yourself what they ever truly do for you or did for you and look at all you do for them, if it’s mostly you doing it all, you could be in a cohesive controlling relationship or have been in one.
- Seek the help and support you need to leave safely. People do understand you. People have lived it and understand what you’ve been through and how you feel.
- Write down what truly happened, to put your memory and reality back, also to look through if you have doubts, write them down, and look at who put those doubts reach, reach out to others to validate how you feel.
- Remove the narcissist’s negative thoughts from your mind, and start to put your own in, “I am good enough. I do deserve better. I am worth it.” And keep going until you have removed them and you’re thinking for yourself again.
- Start putting yourself first, when travelling on a plane if the cabin pressure drops, and you are told to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help others, you have to be at your best, now is the time always to be kind to yourself first, then be kinds to others.
- Get creative, write, draw, sing, paint, garden, play an instrument, find your creative side again.
- If you feel ok to do so, share your story with others that understand you, getting it out of your mind space, some people don’t want to out loud, this is normal, write it out and destroy it to get it out, or keep to refer back to.
- Connect with good people, reach out to old family and friends. You might have to ditch your pride for this. Good family and friends will understand and be there for you, step out of your comfort zone and find places to meet new people, surround yourself with positive people now.
- Dress how you want to dress for yourself, do the things you love doing for yourself and might have been stopped from doing them, go for that run, join the gym, hoover when you want, sleep when you want.
- Create new routines for you, remove reminders of them.
- Take control of your diet and exercise. Just start drinking a little more water and taking a walk. Yoga, meditation are extremely good. Dance to music on your phone.
Keep going, you can, and you will recover from this.
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Elizabeth Shaw is not a Doctor or a therapist. She is a mother of five, a blogger, a survivor of narcissistic abuse, and a life coach, She always recommends you get the support you feel comfortable and happy with. Finding the right support for you. Elizabeth has partnered with BetterHelp (Sponsored.) where you will be matched with a licensed councillor, who specialises in recovery from this kind of abuse.
Video on why narcissists can not compromise.
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