There are several types of narcissistic abuse, ranging from verbal put-downs and manipulation to physical and even sexual violence.
In some cases, the narcissist seeks to undermine their victim’s confidence, creating a cycle of dependency on them. This type of abuse often manifests in subtle ways, making it difficult for victims to recognize or understand what’s happening until it has become deeply embedded in their lives.
For example, the narcissist may constantly belittle or criticize their victim in order to undermine their sense of self-worth. They may also use gaslighting tactics to make their victims doubt their own perceptions and decisions.
Additionally, narcissistic abusers may attempt to control their victims through financial abuse or by isolating them from family and friends. Each of these examples is an expression of the narcissist’s need for power and dominance over others.
Narcissistic Abuse Types – Gaslighting
I will start with gaslighting, which is one of the favourite and most effective abusive tactics of the narcissist.
Gaslighting is a dangerous form of psychological abuse that often leads to mental and emotional distress for the victim. Through manipulation, lies, and false information, the narcissist seeks to convince their victim that their memory, perception, or experience is wrong. They may deny things said or done previously, or even manipulate reality in a manner that contradicts what their victim knows to be true.
Withholding information and lies
This type of abuse can also involve withholding information, using verbal put-downs or criticism to undermine the victim’s view of themselves, and manipulating the victim’s environment to keep them off-balance and confused. Ultimately, the goal of gaslighting is control: by making their victim question their own thoughts and feelings, the narcissist can maintain power over them without having to take responsibility for it.
For example, the narcissist may tell the victim that they never said something in order to discredit their reality and invalidate their experiences. They may also attempt to undermine the victim’s sense of self-worth by constantly questioning their memories or accusing them of being delusional. In extreme cases, the narcissist may even go so far as to suggest that the victim is “crazy”, blaming them for any and all problems in an effort to completely control them.
These tactics are designed to break down the victim’s sense of identity and control over their own life, leaving them deeply dependent on the abuser for validation and acceptance.
Manipulating the environment
The narcissist may even go to great lengths to control the victim’s environment and manipulate it in order to make them doubt their own reality. For example, the narcissist may hide items within the home or move them around, then accuse the victim of “moving” them. This can leave the victim feeling confused and powerless as they try to make sense of what is happening.
In addition, the narcissist may frequently lie about small details in order to create a false sense of reality, simply so that they can manipulate their victim’s perception of events or occurrences. Ultimately, this form of psychological abuse is designed to strip the victim of their autonomy and self-confidence, leaving them at the mercy of their abuser.
Narcissistic Abuse Types – Abuse by Proxy and Flying Monkeys
Another common tactic of the narcissist is to abuse their victim by proxy. This often involves enlisting the help of “flying monkeys”.
Abuse by proxy is when the narcissist gets someone else to do their dirty work for them. This can be done in a number of ways, such as instructing their friends or family to bully, harass, or threaten the victim in order to intimidate and control them.
Often times these tactics are used without the friend or family member even being aware that they are serving as an instrument for abuse. By using proxies, the abuser gains another layer of protection from being held accountable for their detrimental behavior as well as an increased sense of power over the victim.
This form of psychological warfare can be particularly damaging as it erodes away at the victim’s sense of self-worth and leaves them feeling helpless and powerless against those who hold influence over them.
The narcissist may also enlist the help of “flying monkeys” to do their bidding. Flying monkeys are people who the narcissist has convinced, often through manipulation and psychological warfare tactics, to believe their lies and support their abuse. These people can serve as additional sources of disinformation or provide a level of protection from accountability for difficult actions and decisions.
By using flying monkeys, the narcissist can preserve their own reputation while taking advantage of these individuals who have been misled into thinking they are aiding justice when in actuality they are enabling further abuse.
For example, the narcissist may tell their flying monkeys that the victim is “crazy” or “dangerous.” The goal is to get them to spread gossip or lies about the target. Sometimes this results in a full-blown smear campaign that can be extremely damaging to the victim’s reputation.
Narcissistic Abuse Types – Fauxpology
Another common tactic of the narcissist is the “fauxpology”. This is when the narcissist makes a false or insincere apology in order to placate their victim and avoid taking responsibility for their actions.
The fauxpology is often highly calculated and manipulative, with the goal being to distract from any wrongdoing by making it seem like there was never an issue in the first place.
For example, the narcissist may say they’re sorry for hurting the victim, but then claim that the victim “made them do it”.
It can also be used as a way for narcissists to gain sympathy and empathy from their victims, presenting themselves as a victim of circumstances or of their own feelings, in hopes of getting what they want in return without actually having to change or apologize.
By using this tactic, narcissists are able to escape accountability for their actions while continuing to maintain control over those around them.
Narcissistic Abuse Types – Narcissistic Hoovering and Love Bombing
Another tactic of the narcissist is what is known as “narcissistic hoovering”. This is when the narcissist tries to “suck” their victim back into the relationship after they have been discarded.
Narcissistic hoovering can take many different forms, but the most common is “love bombing”. This is when the narcissist showers their victim with love and attention after they have been discarded, in order to try to get them to come back. Through excessive phone calls, texts, emails and other forms of communication, they will shower their victims with compliments and flattery, making them feel appreciated and desired.
The narcissist will try to convince the victim that they have changed and that they are now a “good person”. However, this is usually just an act, and the narcissist will quickly return to their abusive ways once the victim is back under their control.
Narcissistic Abuse Types – Narcissistic Discard
Finally, one of the most common and most hurtful things that the narcissist does is known as “narcissistic discard”. This is when the narcissist suddenly cuts off all contact with their victim, without any explanation. The narcissist may completely ignore them or block them on social media, even if they had previously been supportive or available for communication.
In some cases, a sudden break-up may occur with no warning or discussion. It can be extremely painful for victims who are left with unanswered questions and feeling of confusion and loss. Not only is it emotionally draining but it can also have a significant impact on an individual’s self-esteem and mental health.
The narcissist may also claim that the victim is “crazy” or “dangerous”, in order to justify their actions.
As these examples of types of narcissistic abuse have shown, narcissists are pros at destroying their victims’ self confidence and peace of mind. They may make promises to change their behavior in the moment, but more often than not those promises will only be temporary. No matter how much effort you put in to improve the relationship or try to understand the situation, it will often lead to further hurt and manipulation.
It is important to remember that nobody should stay in a relationship where they are constantly being belittled or devalued as a person. The only thing that you can do if you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist is to get out as soon as possible and take the necessary steps to ensure your own safety and wellbeing.
For Further Reading:
The following are the most potent abusive tactics in the narcissist’s toolbox –
- Abuse by Proxy – How to Identify and Deal with this form of Psychological Abuse
- How to Detect and Escape Ambient Abuse: A Survivor’s Guide
- Divide and Conquer – a strategic way of isolating victims
- The Fauxpology – a devious weapon of the Narcissist
- Future Faking – Narcissists make hollow promises about the future
- Narcissistic Grooming – How Narcissists Brainwash and Condition their Victims
- Love Bombing – The Narcissist’s Trick to Keep You Hooked
- What is Narcissist Discard and what are the signs?
- Narcissist Hoovering – How to Deal With It
- Narcissist Triangulation – What it is, why Narcissists do it, and how to deal with it
- What you need to know about Narcissistic Rage
- Narcissistic Smear Campaign – how to spot it and what to do about it
- Narcissistic Word Salad – one of the tools in the narcissist’s toolbox
- 7 Types of Narcissistic Abuse with Practical Examples
- Narcissistic Abuse – How Narcissists Manipulate and Hurt their Victims
- 13 Warning Signs of Narcissistic Abuse: How to Deal with It and Get Help
- Narcissistic Abuse Examples – How to Recognize the Toxic Signs of Narcissism
- The Narcissistic Abuse Cycle: How to Recognize It and Break Free
- Narcissist Manipulation Tactics: How to Safeguard Yourself from Emotional Abuse
- Jokes or Abuse? When Jokes Cross the Line
- Narcissistic Abuse – The Signs and Why it’s so Damaging
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