We cannot answer what narcissistic abuse is without first addressing that narcissism is currently not officially recognised to be a personality disorder. It is thought to be a behavioural trait. and therefore is often apparent in the relational behavioural patterns of those who may also be diagnosed or as is most common undiagnosed with psychopathy, sociopathy or any personality disorder such as bipolar or borderline or a combination of disorders. It is important to recognise that clinical diagnosis is extremely challenging as someone presenting with advanced narcissism is very unlikely to seek help for their issues as they are driven by an extreme need to feel right and respected at all costs. In addition, they cannot accept that what they do is a problem as it isn’t a problem for them. Narcissistic abuse is committed by ego centric individuals who literally only care about you and your needs so far as it suits their purposes, their needs and how it affects them. What they look for above all else is adoration. They derive their sense of self from outside stiumulus. They are also lacking in empathy or a capacity to love and therefore there is an actual inability to self analyse and no impetus for personal development on any other level than the material, superficial or for the sake of improved status and admiration. This type of abuse manifests on a spectrum of severity and varies on levels from depleting self esteem, making you walk on eggshells to insidious and petrifying behaviours that induce targets to fear for their actual life not just their sanity.
However, it should be noted that narcissistic traits or behaviours may well be sporadically and uncharacteristically identified in empathic individuals in certain threatening circumstances or for instance when they become triggered. This is how come some victims may sometimes be regarded as the narcissist in the equation as isolated incidents of reactionary abuse are taken out of context and the abused victim is accused of being the abuser. This can create complications for individuals for whom children are caught in the middle and the authorities have had to intervene as the abuser attempts to deflect and project their unreasonable behaviours onto the victim.
Narcissistic abusers are driven by a sense of entitlement and a need to control and manipulate. They are fed with energy by abusing others. Their behaviours are underpinned by an extreme desire to garner a sense of superiority over others. At their core, these behaviours are designed to belittle, confuse, lower self esteem, self worth and to primarily induce the victim to question their own reality and mistrust their own judgement leading them to be increasingly dependent upon the abuser’s opinion and more vulnerable to their manipulation and control.
Somebody presenting high on a spectrum of narcissism will be presenting with an inordinate preoccupation with status, power and the attainment of wealth. They will often be highly regarded by many and only reveal their true nature to their actual targets.
They will be an underachiever who is resentful and spiteful of others when they advance in life and therefore look to devise the demise of others in order to gain a sense of superiority and for the sake of malice. This is often fuelled by the belief that others look down on them and disrespect them again centring on a need to be adored no matter how unwarranted this may be.
The chronic narcissist lacks empathy for people and animals and this can often mean physical violence may first be metered out to pets in the home. This is a silent warning to family members not to step out of line of their control. It is a demonstration of power and a proof of just what they are capable of. It also suffices to petrify and mentally disturb and destabilise the household. Although in rare cases, they may be animal centric. They are masters at studying people for their own gain and advancement or simply for the pleasure of attack because it makes them feel powerful and in control. They are entitled and think nothing of compromising others for their own gain, in fact they get immense pleasure from it.
They tend to be masters of disguise in order to beguile and are often very popular.