WARNING: These are HANDBOOK POSTS -- WRITTEN A LONG TIME AGO by some great women with great thoughts and deemed as handbook worthy by FDS mods for a reason. If you feel triggered or disagree with something -- THE SMART THING TO DO IS TO MOVE ON. Agree to disagree and go on your merry way. Stop trying to start bullsh*t in the comment section because I have no patience to deal with you.
Originally posted in FDS subreddit. All rights reserved to the original writer.
I've been working with my therapist to get over the trauma caused by my NVM narcissistic ex-husband and she gave me this list of domestic violence patterns of behaviors. I was going through this list feeling like I could check off almost every box and I wish I had seen something like this earlier in our relationship (like one of the many past times I had considered ending the relationship but ended up getting sucked back in).
Here are some signs to look for and my personal experiences added on. I hope this can help at least one woman who might be in a relationship with a narcissist or a NVM that shows any of these tendencies. This list is more often used to look for signs of physical abuse from NVM, but I found that these tactics in themselves were things that were used to emotionally abuse me.
Ladies if you see any of these signs in your relationship then you need to RUN. If I had this knowledge a long time ago I could have saved myself 5 years of emotional abuse and trauma. I'm glad that I figured it out eventually and I want to use that knowledge to prevent this happening to other women.
SIGNS OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND EMOTIONAL ABUSE
The person gives excuses to justify inappropriate behavior instead of accepting responsibility, especially when confronted by others. (Example: In telling why damage was done to a girlfriend's home, "I couldn't stand it when I came over to see you and you weren't home.")
"Well I can't apply to 3 jobs a day because that's impossible there aren't enough postings" (there were) Ok, then what about going back to college? "I can't because I don't know what to major in"
"I can't go to the grocery store by myself cause I might forget something and you're better at it anyways" (even though I made a shopping list and had the burden of figuring out what to eat for the week - while he was unemployed and I was working full time and going to school)
"I'm not able to put the dishes away because my dad used to yell at me as a kid about that" (but then never worked on his trauma or sought therapy to work through those problems)
Shifting responsibility for behavior onto someone else, allowing blamer to deny responsibility and to justify anger at someone else for "causing" the behavior. (Example: "What's wrong with you? Why can't you understand how much it upsets me when I see you talking to someone else? What was I supposed to do?”)
"I forgot to do the dishes cause you distracted me"
"I didn't make the appointment because you didn't remind me" (and then when I did remind him and he still didn't do it - "Oh, well I didn't hear you, you need to make sure I'm listening")
"I can't apply to jobs because you keep putting too much pressure on me, you're making me depressed/anxious" (and when I left him to motivate himself he just wouldn't do it)
"I can't get a job and that's your fault because you wanted to move here" (it was somewhere he wanted to move and I agreed to)
Attempting to explain behavior as necessary, unavoidable or caused by factors outside the person's control. (Example: After sexual abuse, "You know you wanted it, you didn't really mean 'no' – you just like to say that.")
"I can't help with housework because I have undiagnosed C-PTSD" (and never went to therapy to work through that)
"Ok, yes I said that I wanted to k*ll myself because you wanted to get divorced [and stormed off into the night] but that's how I felt" (THREATENING SUICIDE IS NEVER OK - I wish I had left at this point or even earlier in the relationship)
Having an idea of what's "really going on" that shifts the focus from what the abusive person did. (Example: After abused woman reports violence, "How can you do this to me? Are you that cold?")
"You told your parents about our fight? They're gonna think I'm awful. How could you embarrass me like that?"
"You think that what I did was so terrible, but what about how you made me feel 3 years ago when you did X?"
Lying is used to maintain control over information, to confuse, to make a fool of the other person and gain an advantage in the situation. Lying can be done by saying things that are untrue, by leaving out parts of the truth, or by pretending to agree with someone's statements or requests. An abusive person may often create a complex pattern of variations on lying: lie and appear to be telling the truth; lie and appear to be lying; tell the truth and appear to be lying. This can be a very large, complex and significant pattern in an abusive relationship.
(after cheating on me) "Well, she was the one that pulled me into the bedroom and started it" (was told the opposite later - it's complicated, I could make a whole post about my failed polyamorous situation)
"Yeah, I applied to 10 jobs today" (checked his internet history and his email inbox and he had been lying about applying for jobs for months)
Making Fools of Others
This may include agreeing to things the person has no intention of doing, setting other people up to fight, getting other people upset in order to watch their reaction and take advantage of it. (Example: "See, I told you were too emotional. You just proved it.")
Abusive people often believe that everything good about themselves means that they are better than other people. They often build themselves up by putting others down. Frequently they feel "put down" in a situation where they don't feel "one up." (Example: Criticizing, name-calling, redoing what someone else has done or making her redo it.)
"I can't believe I'm not recognized for how great of a worker I am. The managers must be sexist. I could do their job without even trying"
"I'm the best player at [insert toxic multiplayer battle game] but I can't get my rank up. I keep getting paired with an awful team that I have to carry every single round. I could definitely be a professional X player."
Abusive people often use dramatic tactics to regain control of a situation when they aren't getting their own way. This may include walking out, outshouting the other person, threatening, etc. It often includes dramatic ways of making the other person feel guilty. (Example: "I have cancer, but I won't get treatment for it because you're leaving me.")
Said he might as well k*ll himself during a break up fight and stormed out of the apartment (probably hoping I would chase after him)
Yelling during arguments
Not giving me space when I needed to calm down and cornering me until the argument was over (aka was gaslit into agreeing with him or going into a panic attack/dissociative episode)
Phony niceness to other people, excessive or phony interest in the other person's opinion. This may be done to manipulate the other person.
Was fake nice towards my parents then talked shit about them behind closed doors
Was fake nice towards my friends and coworkers then talked shit about them to push me from them and isolate me further
Abusive people often believe they know what other people are thinking, feeling, doing (without real information). This allows them to justify their behavior based on what they assume someone else's motives are. (Example: "I know you want him; I know you want to sleep with him.")
"You just want to date other men because you're a sl*t." (after he proposed polyamory so he could sleep with other women)
"You were going to run off with that dude and destroy our marriage" (no, wanted to join the peace corps to get away from him)
Abusive people often believe that they are different from other people, that nobody else is like them, and that they are not bound by the same rules as other people. (Example: "I don't need help to stop drinking. AA is okay for some people, but I don't need it.”)
"I'm one of the best players at [shitty online video game] and I could be a famous streamer or announcer one day" (and then never does anything to work towards that)
"I need this $1200 road bike because I'm going to get super fit and become a professional biker" (uses indoors maybe 3 times a month after getting it)
This is a pattern where various parts of the abusive person’s life don't seem to match, when the public image is not consistent with the private behavior. (Example: The person is abusive one night, goes to church on Sunday – or is maybe even the minister.)
Acted like a "cool guy" on reddit and to his video gaming buddies. Was actually an unemployed slob with slid marks and undiagnosed mental illness.
The abuser tries to make his/her behavior less important than it is, or make the impact of the behavior seem less serious. It's another way of refusing to take responsibility. (Example: "I was only joking; it didn't really hurt you.")
"It's just chores it's not a big deal. Why are you so upset about this?"
"You had a dissociative episode? Aww that means that you really care about me" (disassociated because he was screaming at me in the car and I couldn't leave so my mind checked out for a whole week)
"I didn't check on you when you asked because I knew you wouldn't kill yourself" (after me asking for support during my worst panic attack/depressive episode where I was actively suicidal)
Being unclear and not specific to avoid being found out or avoid taking responsibility. (Example: "I know I'm late. I had things to do.")
"Yeah, I'll take out the trash" "Did you do it?" "No, I'll do it later" "When?" "I don't know, I'll get to it eventually"
Me: "What jobs did you apply to today?" Him: "I don't know, just the ones that looked ok" Me: "Oh, what jobs were they for?" Him: "Oh, you know just the usual ones" Me: "Ok, what companies were they for?" Him: "I don't remember, they just blur together"
Abusive people aren't any angrier than anybody else. They use anger and angry behavior as a way to intimidate and control others. They often express their anger in threatening ways to gain control over a situation. (Example: "If you leave me, I'll kill you," or "If you leave this house, you'll be sorry.")
Yelled often during arguments that weren't going his way or when I tried to hold him accountable for his actions
Crushed a bicycle helmet to the point that I heard snapping because of a fight
Angry and controlling towards our dog when she wouldn't listen (also used choke chains, electric collars, yelling, and hitting to train her)
Appearing helpless, pretending to be unable to cope with the situation, complaining of persecution. (Example: "So I get drunk with my friends sometimes. You don't want me to have any fun. Don't you care how I feel?")
"My parents were abusive so I get too anxious to do the dishes or laundry"
"You made me feel so horrible when you did [thing that we both agreed you could do]"
"Hiring managers are sexist and they know my parents last name so that's why I can't get a job"
An attitude of "If I want it, it's mine; I can do whatever I want with it" justifies taking other people's possessions, controlling others' behavior, and physically abusing others. (Example: "You are mine, understand? Nobody will ever have you but me!")
Many chronically abusive people think of themselves as strong, superior, independent, and self-sufficient. Words or actions that don't support this image are often considered attacks or put-downs.
Could not handle a drop of criticism without playing victim
Thought he was the best at video gaming
Thought he was smarter than everyone else
Thought he did 50-50 of the household work (5% would be generous)
Thinking or acting to dramatic extremes, ignoring the real effect of a behavior by inflating it, uproar. (Example: "Wait until I get my hands on her. I'll show her who's right.”)
The handbook posts project.
Anyone who wants to contribute to this project, please puts [Handbook Posts:] in their title so there's a distinction. Also tag @SayNad so that I can find them.