Jo Sutch on “Passive Abuse” via a Narcissitc



Being passively abused by a narcissistic partner doesn’t occur because the victims allow it; it occurs because its victims aren’t

even aware of it. This is a form of abuse of which all too often goes unrecognized and unchecked until the damage has already been done.

Passive abuse by a narcissist is often unrecognized because the abuse is so cleverly delivered – and deliberately disguised –

that a trusting partner often doesn’t distinguish it as abuse – until it’s too late. The deceptive abuser is so adept at delivering the

abuse that it oftentimes only becomes evident as abuse once its victims have already suffered through its consequences.
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Passive Narcissist Abuse may include:

* The narcissist displaying indignation or feigning hurt feelings by your actions or your lack of observing or

acknowledging their alleged ‘good deeds’ (“I try to make you happy but you never are

and I feel like such a failure. It hurts me deeply, and I don’t know what to do anymore.”) Controlling you through manipulating your

sympathy or guilt is a form of abuse. Beware the crocodile tear – especially when their ‘claims’ of what

they have done for you, or how they feel, don’t actually match up to any real-life examples.

* Giving the impression that you have simply misjudged or

misunderstood them or their intentions (“I wasn’t trying to steal money from you; I wanted to buy you these pretty sapphire

earrings that I saw … that I thought would go great with that blue blouse you have … you know, that blouse

that I love you in … and isn’t that your birthstone … but I was just a few bucks shy. I

thought I could slip the money out and then back in before you would even notice it was gone.”)

* Shunning, excluding, ostracizing or the ‘silent treatment’ / Emotionally unavailable. Making you feel invisible.

* Subtle insults, sometimes disguised inside a compliment or ‘wrapped up in charm’ (“You have such pretty eyes, too bad you

hide them behind all that mascara.” “My mother made the best pies; a lot of women I know have that knack for baking … but yours are good, too.”)

* Disinterest, indifference, detachment and dispassion in you or your life. Making you feel unimportant. Apathy

* Disregard for you, your feelings, your friends, your wishes, and/or your family. The abusing narcissist treats you as if you were an object or a thing.

* Neglect, rebuff, rejection or ignorance to your romantic, emotional, or intellectual wants, needs, or desires

* Revulsion, repugnance, disdain or aversion to you, your looks, your abilities, your methods, your friends

* Disappointment in you, your looks, your actions, your accomplishments or your lifestyle

* Gaslighting / Mind games. Making you feel unbalanced, confused or incensed. Denial and reversal (“You’re seeing things again … I didn’t do any of that, I swear. But I did see you do it, honey. Maybe

you should rest for a while. Can I get you any medications or a cold cloth for your head?”)

* Projection. Accusing you of the very same behavior that they, themselves, are more guilty of doing. If how

they describe you of being, or accuse you of doing, more fits their actions/behavior than it does yours, then that’s projection.

* Unaccountability. Blaming you for their bad behavior/failures or appearing confused by your

reactions or accusations (“What are you talking about? I didn’t ruin the engine by gunning it; you’re the one

that put off the oil change for two weeks that one time last winter! Remember?”)

* Finding insults and reproaching innuendos in even your most innocent comments. Most narcissists display this ‘persecution

complex’ when they are with someone who knows them well. I call it a ‘guilty conscious’ (the hidden narcissist’s self-awareness) LOL.

If you go out of your way to sugarcoat everything you say to avoid a huge rage by the narcissist, then this is

abuse. But sometimes it

doesn’t matter what you say, or how you say it – which leads us to…

* ….Twisting your words or changing the subject

* Pushing just the right buttons to nudge you over the edge and then accusing you of being (or behaving)

childish, crazy, embellishing or out-of-control, especially when they – at the very

same time – appear to remain calm, in control, and ‘unfazed’. This abusive tactic is uncannily effective in the middle of an

intense argument. (“See! I am the sane, rational one here. You’re just a delusional, raving, psycho nut, like everybody says.”)

* Condescending, shaming or giving the impression that they are humoring ‘addle-brained’ you. Talking to you as

if you were an incompetent idiot, a lowlife, or a child

* Not supporting you or your ambitions and dreams, or acknowledging you or your accomplishments or

achievements. Dismissing what’s important to you

* Talking behind your back or betraying you; turning others against you. Which also brings us to…

* ….Emotional infidelity (sharing affection, kindness and intimate conversations with others, especially if

they are withholding this

same kind of intimate affection from you, or revealing intimate details of your private life together to another).

Emotional infidelity also includes emotional bonding with others.

* Lying to you and lying about you. Lying even when the truth would save them. Lying throws you off balance,

and puts you on the nerve-racking ‘policing end’ of a relationship. You never know

when to relax and to trust or to believe in your partner, and you soon begin to either just believe everything or disbelieve

everything. You feel embarrassed in front of friends and casual acquaintances as you’re never quite sure what lies the narcissistic

abuser has fabricated about you (to them). Being made to feel constantly tense, full of doubt and mistrust, and

embarrassed in front of others is a form of passive abuse.

* Not validating your feelings, concerns, or emotions. Making fun of your reactions to any negativity, or not

giving you the right to be angry or upset, or to have an opinion that doesn’t positively reflect back upon the

narcissist. Narcissists don’t give their partner’s the right to be agitated. Suppressing and concealing

powerful emotions can lead to resentment, depression and physical illness. Also, this brings us to…

* ….Grievance ‘flipping’. Turning every grievance or complaint you have about them right back to you, thereby removing any negative

focus on them. Â Whenever you voice what is troubling you, the passive, abusing narcissist will counterattack

you with a criticism

they have against you, or point out something wrong with you or something that you do that is irritating or

annoying. The subject of

your grievance against them never gets resolved because they point the finger right back at you and you

suddenly end up on the

defensive end of the discussion.

This is a classic narcissistic abuser’s move. (“So what if I flirted with a few other people at the

party? I mean, just look at you! People were laughing at you because of that horrible outfit you wore! What

were you thinking?!

Talk about being embarrassed; I was flirting with people just because I didn’t want anyone to know I was

with you!”) Check and mate.

* Constantly changing and unreliable; giving mixed messages. The ground under the victim’s feet is

unstable. Nothing is safe,

nowhere are they rooted; they live in constant fear. Oftentimes they feel vulnerable, targeted and preyed upon. There is no stability in

their lives as the narcissist and his behavior is completely unpredictable; the irony to this is that this

instability makes the

victim more and more dependent upon the narcissist as the one ‘stable’ thing in their life.

* The narcissist goes from putting one high upon a pedestal… to devaluing and demonizing them in the

blink of an eye. The victim is left emotionally reeling from this sudden crash and often tries to

figure out what he or she has done wrong. The narcissist has treated them as if they were an object – void of life and emotion,

feelings, thoughts and love. The victim feels discarded and exploited. The abusive narcissist has built them up

only to tear

them down. It’s all a game to stroke his ego. Unfortunately, when the narcissist does this he does it by devaluing and demonizing

the victim. This stage can be so intense as to drive some victim’s to suicide, and – in the very least – it

destroys self-esteem and the victim’s ability to ever feel safe and confident in any future relationships.

As you can see from the above list, passive abuse can be administered in many especially subtle or undetectable methods. All these passive abuse tactics are meant to

make the victim feel like ‘they’ did something wrong; are somehow flawed; are ‘bad’; are crazy; or are

somehow deserving of punishment. They are delivered to the victim in such a way as to disguise the abuse, or

cover up the abusive actions of the narcissist. The victim is often gas-lighted and made to feel off-kilter.

The passive abuser quite frequently will also use the ‘victim card’ to disguise his or her abuse.


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