If you are dealing with a high-conflict, narcissistic, borderline, anti-social, or otherwise disordered spouse, you have probably been dealing with verbal and emotional abuse for so long that you don’t even recognize it as verbal and emotional abuse anymore. I have seen so many men and women that continue to maintain their relationships even after constant denigration and humiliation from their spouse. It takes years for many to realize they are in toxic relationships and start healing from effects of that toxic environment. All narcissists, borderlines and other Cluster-B psycho-pathologically disordered people are emotionally abusive to their spouses, but not all emotionally abusive people are disordered.
As eloquently stated by Lundy Bancroft in his seminal book, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, “Your abusive partner doesn’t have a problem with his anger; he has a problem with your anger. Obviously, this can apply to women, too, and plenty of my clients are men who have been emotionally abused by women. I absolutely agree with Bancroft’s quote. In my opinion, the narcissistic abuser believes that she is entitled to treat you as badly as she wishes, and you have no right to become angry. Your justified anger is reason enough for him to believe that you are irrational, deserving, etc. Because your spouse believes you don’t have a right to respond, and that you should just accept whatever crumbs he throws at you, you become accustomed to swallowing your anger and as a result, may develop stress-related mental or physical symptoms, which in turn may make you feel like you are going out of your mind.
Perpetrators of emotional abuse seek to control the other person. I have seen people left wondering why they feel empty and sad inside when they have this seemingly perfect and happy life. Emotional and verbal abuse are like the invisible weapons of narcissistic or otherwise disordered people. Unlike physical abuse, they don’t leave visible scars or even witnesses to the trauma.
If you are being subject to emotional and verbal abuse to the extent that you are scared and feel like you need help, there are groups and organizations specifically dedicated to help. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is not just for those being physically abused, but also those that are subject to individuals that are emotionally and verbally abused. Keithley Law, PLLC, PLLC also runs a Meetup group specifically for individuals that are subject to the emotional and verbal abuse from their narcissistic or otherwise disordered spouse. We help empower abused individuals become aware of their legal rights. Contact us by phone or email for more details (703) 454-5147.
4 Types and Forms of Emotional Abuse Commonly Used by Narcissists
- Distrustful and Accusatory. This type of emotional abuser will constantly accuse you of lying and cheating. They will refuse to believe you and will feel compelled to constantly check your calls, your messages and your social media. These types of abusers will never trust you will constantly question your whereabouts. They may even track you through GPS trackers or location-finding through your phone. This type of behavior is emotional abuse. Your spouse is not just over-protective or loves you too much, they are emotionally abusing you. If you feel scared or stressed that your spouse will be suspicious of you lying to them or cheating on them, you are being emotionally abused. Where there is a lack of trust in the relationship, it is a toxic one.
- Manipulating and Controlling. This type of emotional abuser will try you control everything about you. Every little thing about you that makes you special and unique will be questioned, and they will ask you to change it and force their opinions on you in an attempt to control you. The logic is that, “if you don’t listen to me, then you don’t truly love me.” They will say things like, “You can’t even do that for me?”, or things like, “All you have to do is this, why is it such a problem for you?” You will question your own sanity and wonder if you are the one just making a big fuss over little things. For example, say that you love to dance, and you have scheduled dance classes every Saturday night. Your spouse may say that he doesn’t want you to take dance classes anymore because of some illogical reason. When you say that you love to dance, and you don’t want to quit dancing, he will question you with “what is more important, your relationship with me or the dance class?” They will not understand or care about the things that make you happy or make you unique and only idealize their own opinions. Their goal is to be in control of you using hyperbolized, false logic.
- Shaming, Belittling, and Verbal Abuse. This type of emotional abuse is the most recognized and distinguishable because these types of abusers will use derogatory insults or name-calling. They will constantly criticize your actions, your looks, and constantly degrade you. This type of emotional abuse can have the biggest impact on an individual’s sense of self, identity, and confidence. Your abuser may even resort to name-calling you in front of family, friends, or even, your children. They will exaggerate or blatantly lie about your character to defame you and prevent others from supporting you. In their warped mindset, they may even think or say things like, “No one’s ever going to love you like I do”, or, “Who else would put up with you the way I do?”, and you may believe it because of the constant character assassinations and diminished sense of self.
- Withholding, Diminishing, and Ignoring. This is a regular form of emotional abuse regularly used by narcissists. They stonewall you, ignore you, give you the silent treatment by refusing to answer questions or acknowledging your existence. They may give you one word replies to normal questions, or they may pretend that they didn’t hear you. It is a very passive-aggressive form of abuse and can feel very dismissive and demeaning. It is not a time-out to cool-off because there is no verbal request to just have a minute to calm down. Instead, it is unilaterally imposed and typically done without any provocation from you and only ends whenever the abusive spouse feels like ending it.
Fairfax Family Law and Divorce Lawyer: If you’re looking for an experienced Virginia family and divorce law attorney, contact Keithley Law, PLLC, PLLC today by calling (703) 454-5147 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office. Our attorneys are experienced in high-conflict divorces and helping people navigate through the frustrations of divorcing a narcissist.
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