What Is Reactive Abuse And Why Do Narcissists Use It?

Reactive abuse is when one person is baited into reacting to their abuser. Then their abuser uses those restrictions against them to blame the person for their reactions to distract the person from the narcissist actions.

Reactive abuse is a common tactic narcissists use to keep you confused, to guilt-trip you. People who are genuine, kind, empathetic, loving, caring, loyal have their limits narcissist will cause an argument, they will cause frustration, they will cause intrigue so that we question to them, so that we defend ourselves to them, so that we defend our intentions to them, so we defend our reasons to them, we defend our needs to them, we justify ourselves to them. Whenever we do this, a narcissist will keep winding us up until we emotionally react to them.

Reactive abuse is when the narcissist instigates the game to control, they get people to enter the game by defending themselves to the narcissist, to set people up to fail.

A narcissist will set the environment. They will set the atmosphere. They will set the stage, they will chip away at you, they will push all your buttons, they will usually go for your biggest weaknesses and insecurities, or the things you care about the most, as these are the things you’ll most passionately defend, so they coercively control your emotional state of mind. When we are thinking from an emotional state, it takes over our logical state, which is also a very confusing place to be.

Narcissists send you into that emotional state of fear and anxiety. They use things like sleep deprivation and gaslighting you into confusion, to stress you out, drain your finances, drain you any way they can, so you either fawn to their behaviour or become reactive to their behaviour.

Narcissists will annoy you, bait you, provoke you, trick you in any way they can get so that you snap and react to their abuse of you, you might scream, cry, lash out, throw things, beg, plead with the narcissist to stop, they will then stand back and call you crazy, as to the narcissist it is all proof they need that you’re the crazy one, they’ll install cameras, they will film reactions, they will edit messages, they will call your family to come to calm you down.

Many narcissists will take you to the doctors to get you on antidepressants, so you make excuses for their abuse because you think you have problems, not realising the narcissist is causing your problems as they seem to be trying to help you. At the same time, they gaslight you to distract you from their actions, so you blame yourself for your reactions.

No matter what you do, it’s never enough for a narcissist. Anger and resentment is a common emotion, often it comes from when people are committed to provoking us, misunderstanding us, hurting us, confusing us, with a narcissists sense of entitlement, lack of empathy, preoccupation with themselves, we can think communicating with a narcissist will help the narcissist understand our point of view, not realising that the narcissist is using that very communication against us they always have they always will from when they are mirroring us to future fake us, to sell us our dreams, claiming they want the very things as us because they want to meet a need of their own in that present moment of time, communication does not work with a narcissist it only works against us. At least communicating in the way we communicate, such as explaining ourselves, finding that middle-ground, compromising all the things that narcissist really don’t want to do.

A narcissist often relies on our compassion, forgiveness, and willingness to rise above, and if that doesn’t work, they will chip away at us until they provoke those feelings of anger and resentment and gain a reaction out of us.

A narcissist will start an argument out of nowhere, say backhanded insults, ignore you, lie to you, change events on you, change the subject on you, upset you, then escalate they trick you, and when you react, you blame yourself. They gaslight you and blame it all on you and create an environment, so you work harder to make it up to them for the very things they are doing to you.

When we do stand up for ourselves, narcissists take this as a criticism, and they find any way they can to regain control over us, including using reactive abuse.

As we can recognise our own behaviour, as we can recognise our wrongdoings, as we can recognise our own mistakes, we understand how we reacted was wrong. Hence, we end up doing all we can to gain their forgiveness while they are doing all they can to get away with hurting us.

Because of our reactions, we can end up full of guilt, full of remorse, full of shame. We can end up suppressing our real selves, no longer be able to speak up to them, being too afraid to speak out to others. Most often, a narcissist has got you to that point without baiting you into an emotional reaction when you can’t contain yourself no matter where you are or who you are around until you’ve begun to recognise what they are doing. However, a narcissist is very good at suppressing their actions when they are witnesses.

Standing your truth, you do not need to go to those for closure who enjoy opening up to your wounds. You do not need to explain yourself to those who are committed to misunderstanding you. You cannot change who they are back into who they sold themselves to be, who they are is the whole package the manipulative love bombing, the idealisation seeking excessive admiration from people and the manipulative devaluation, where they isolate people and invalidate people don’t go to justify yourself to those who only ever want to anger and frustrate you. In the beginning, when learning to no longer react, start by releasing the anger releasing the frustration elsewhere, far away from the narcissist, no longer give the narcissist the satisfaction of the reactions that they’re baiting you into. 

The two sides of a narcissist.

Stop explaining.

Reactive abuse.

The narcissists baiting.

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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.

Click here for Elizabeth Shaw’s Recommended reading list for more information on recovery from narcissistic abuse.


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