Here is a list of red flags that may help you to see early on that you are with an abusive personality. If you are seeing a few of these characteristics then you need to assert some boundaries with them and see how they react.
If they fight you about having simple personal boundaries then you need to realize that you may be in an abusive relationship.
Tell them you have to go sleep early one night because you have a lot to do the next day. If they do not accept this, then there is a problem.
No one should give you guilt or shame you that you are not good to them, when you are doing simple basic things to take care of yourself.
It is not normal for someone to threaten to leave you or call you a bad girlfriend if you want to do things for yourself like take a class, do an extra assignment for school or work, or spend time with family or friends.
You should never feel manipulated by guilt, shame or fear. People that love you do not inflict fear or threats in order to get you to comply.
Here is a list that I have come up with from research and also from personal experience. There may be things that need to be added. Feel free to leave any ideas in the comments.
Keep in mind that narcissists are on their best behavior at the very beginning of the relationship, called the idealization phase.
Many of these red flags will not come up until the “honeymoon phase” is over in a couple of months. The best ones to look for early on are the ones that I put near to the top of this list.
Love Bombing and Pushing to be in a Serious Relationship Right Away
Constant texting, calling, stopping over (calls you the second you get out from work or during work/ calls you while you are trying to get ready for work/ calls you first thing on your day off and wants to be on the phone, texting, or see you all day on every day off you have / calls while you are out with friends and you told them you would be busy with friends/ texts you when you said you would be at the gym….never ending constant contact)
Angry or very upset when you do not respond to texts and voicemails right away
Never taking responsibility for their action – things are always someone else’s fault
Chameleon-like changeable personality – a different personality for different people and situations
They are always right and never make a mistake
They hate to be told they could have done something better or differently
Jealousy and Ownership of You
Isolating you from family and friends (discouraging you from spending time with them/ getting angry when you do/ saying that those people are interfering somehow in your relationship/ telling you that relatives that you have known for years are out to get you and you did not realize it)
They feel the Need to control your schedule
Never apologizes or does so in a sarcastic, fake way
Need to know where you are at all times
Telling you what to wear and how to look
Control of the money ( you need to check with them before you spend your own money/ they question how you spend your money/ shame you or make you feel guilty over spending your money on yourself)
Criticism and disrespect of women (this may not be directed at you at first since they put on their mask and are on their best behavior during the idealization phase – observe how they treat other women who they have nothing to gain from)
Making you account for your whereabouts
Making you ask permission or clear your activities with them
Name calling and demeaning you
Complaining that the women at work do not treat him with respect / also treating employees or people that are performing a service for them (like a waitress, a hotel maid, a taxi driver) with disrespect and contempt
Excessive monitoring and making you check in all the time
Extreme sense of entitlement
Unrealistic, and unreasonable demands
Lack of sympathy and empathy
Not interested in anyone else’s side of things
Accusing you of cheating when you are not
Blaming you for things that do not go his way
Excessive need for control in the house
Manipulating your friends and family to take their side in arguments
Getting angry if you have a different opinion than they do
Making you feel stupid and less intelligent than they are
Being disrespectful to you in front of your family and friends
Mental abuse can be endured for years before you realize that it is abuse at all The first dawning realization that their behaviors are intentional is traumatizing.
After the initial realization that the abuser has been intentionally interfering with our sense of reality and feeding all kind of lies, it is followed by a series of many other light bulbs going off in our heads.
There were so many times that they denied things that we thought might be happening and we believed them. There were so many times when odd things seemed to occur or things that did not make sense and we just ignored them or the narcissist reframed them in such a way that we just took their word for it.
The process of going back over these incidents, with the new found knowledge that we have gained from educating ourselves about narcissistic tactics, can be retraumatizing. Each and every scenario that we now see the truth of, is heartbreaking or angering.
Many of us have gone through this process. This video is to validate you if you are in the midst of this or if you went through it years ago. Sometimes even years later we come to some realization about something that occurred that we believed the abuser about, but the reality of what happened was completely different than the narcissist told us it was.
If you have recently been discarded by a narcissist then this video will give you a heads up about what is going to happen in the next several weeks to you. Be prepared for the memories to come back to you and to see events that you believed to be one way, to have been malicious lies by the narcissist, and even manufactured situations in order to torment you.
The narcissist keeps you in the dark about their other life and about other relationships which they are involved in. They manufacture situations called triangulating just to cause you to feel jealous, threatened, and to lower your self esteem. The lower your self esteem is, the easier they can control you.
As you process what happened to you , it will be shocking and disturbing how many times and how many people they used to manipulate your sense of reality. In many cases, especially with covert narcissists , they intentionally and skillfully put suggestions into your head that you have mental illness.
If you already have some mental disorder, they will play on that and make it the cause of your “not remembering things” properly. They will say it is because of your mental illness that you are paranoid about their activities. They will tell you that your memory is bad and that your memory of things they said, and things they did is not correct.
After you have been abused, you have trouble with trusting your own perceptions about reality. Your sense of reality was so distorted by the abuser that you can fall into a derealization state.
Sometimes the derealization state is a defense mechanism of the brain, right after the relationship ends, in order to protect you from the full onslaught of emotions about what happened.
Sometimes the derealization comes and goes throughout the day and with other people it is constant. You might be driving and suddenly look up and have no idea where you are or where you were trying to go.
You might find yourself cooking dinner and your hands that are cutting vegetables appear to be someone else’s hands. You feel like you are in a dream or watching a movie.
This derealization can last for different amounts of time for different people. There is difficulty feeling attached to your own reality.
This detachment from reality can be frightening and you may feel that you are losing your mind.
This is common for people that havebeenmentally abused. The realization that someone intentionally disturbing your sense of reality is very hard for your brain to process.
The difficulty accepting what happened to you, is part of the cause of this derealization.
The other reason is that your brain is attempting to protect you from further trauma.
Have you ever heard the Red Pill reference? This is a metaphor which was derived from the movie The Matrix.
The red pill represents the sudden and shocking realization that your reality has been interfered with. The things you believed to be real were fed to your brain by an insidious source.
Every time you remember something from the relationship and suddenly a light goes off in your head that it was not what you believed, that is a red pill moment.
Every few days after the breakup a whole new red pill will suddenly force itself down your throat. You will realize something they lied about or something they did to deceive you.
It might be a phone call that seemed to be a mis-dial by their new victim. The woman accidentally called you, but she was trying to call them.
In my case, his new victim called me once. She was working for him and she called my number asking for an electrician.
I told her this was not an office of any electrician. She persisted to insist that it must be, because she was given this number to call.
Then she said the name of my ex…we can refer to him as Ned. She said “Do you know Ned”.
I told her that I did know him. She then went on to tell me that he was very busy in his new offices. She said he had called her with instructions to the electrician and he gave her my number by mistake.
Now there is no way he could possibly make that mistake. The electrician would have had the area code of his state.
Even she would have questioned a phone number with the area code of a different state, if she were calling for work to be done at the office.
It did not make sense to me until the red pill moment. Suddenly I saw her with him in a bedroom. I had been calling him and leaving messages for hours.
The reason I had been worried is because earlier that day, he told me he was having chest pains, but he was still going to move heavy boxes at his new offices.
He was supposed to call me and was four hours late to call. I was worried and he had ignored four calls from me.
So he had this woman “accidentally ” call me, but say she was trying to call the electrician. Then she would not take no for an answer when I told her she had the wrong number.
She just kept insisting that Ned gave her this number and was I sure the electrician was not here.
It was so bizarre and I thought she was crazy. But he had instructed her to call me. And tell me that he was soooooo busy with the new offices at 2 am that he could not call me.
But he took time to call her and tell her to call the electrician.
By the way….does anyone know an electrician that takes calls at 2 am, in order to give an estimate on wiring an office?
So, this derealization protects us from getting all these red pills at one time and detaches us from the reality.
I am not saying the derealization is good. It means you have been severely traumatized.
You have to seek help and support. There are supportive people online…WordPress, YouTube, who have been through narcissistic abuse.
You cannot talk to people that have not been through it. They will not understand.
There are therapists and coaches who can help you but you have to find someone who specializes in narcissistic abuse.
I am currently available for coaching . If you prefer a male coach, I would recommend Richie from Spartan Life Coach .
You can also look for a therapist but ask them ahead of time if they know about C-PTSD and also narcissistic abuse. They will be no good to you unless they understand the type of trauma that is involved in narcissistic abuse.
My thoughts are with you.
You told me tales of your ex
How she abused
your poor little mind…
and Discarded you
Like a chewed up piece of meat
Then you …
Sleep deprived me
Deranged my reality
And otherwise played
Now I am the ex
you are talking about
Who tormented you
And broke you down…
But the one who abuses
Is behind your dead eyes
Your words are all lies…
Your ex was abused
I see through you now
And your predatory ways
You claim to be the victim
While setting up your prey
Twisted shadows of questionable reality
invade my darkest nightmares
The lies you told and realities you denied
Somewhere in my mind
The existence of both true reality and malicious reality
Both pulling on different sides of my sanity
The different masks you wore to deceive
The compassion you manufactured to confuse
Are all tangled in my brain like a spiders web
of lies, truth and insanity
Why is it so common for a victim to leave an abuser and for their friends, coworkers, and loved ones to side with the narcissist?
The narcissist plans the break up way ahead of time. They already know that you are going to tell people that they were abusive to you. They value their “perfect false self” image. They cannot have people thinking they are abusive. How would they be able to get another victim?
So ahead of time they begin to destroy your reputation and tell lies about you. They often tell people that you are mentally ill. If you do have mental illness, then they will make it worse than it is.
They will play the victim and tell people that they are trying so hard to deal with you, but it is hard for them. You are mentally and emotionally abusing them.
They will get to your co-workers, your mutual friends and anyone else that they can. Some of them are able to get the victim’s own family to see you as the abusive one in the relationship.
You have no idea this is going on and by the time you are done with the relationship, your reputation as a mentally abuser precedes you. People do not believe you. They were already told that you were going to blame your poor partner who has tried so hard to put up with your behaviors.
Another reason why people do not believe you is that narcissistic mental abuse is invisible. Unless you got broken bones and bruises that people saw, then no one sees any abuse. Most victims cover up any physical signs while they are still in the relationship for fear of losing the partner or fear of punishment for telling.
Narcissistic abuse is so horrible and disturbing that most people just cannot believe that anyone who seems as normal as your abuser would do that. I mean who would spend time and energy to make someone feel like they are mentally ill and to torment someone by confusing their reality to the point that they become mentally ill?
No one believes this. Even the police , the therapists and the courts have trouble telling who the abuser is. The narcissist is smart. They may even have parts of recorded conversations and emails that are out of context and make you look abusive.
They are going to be calm, cool and collected in any therapists office, while you are crying and making claims about this person that just seem unbelievable.
This is a sad thing and many many people have gone through this. They sometimes have their children taken away based on how they appear to a therapist in comparison to how normal the abuser appears.
The best thing to do is to keep as much documentation of their behaviors as you possibly can. Record conversations, keep emails, keep letters and notes that are abusive. Once you are out of the house, keep communication by email, if you have to communicate due to children you have in common.
If there are no children then go No Contact. You can look up information and support for going no contact. There are some very supportive videos on youtube that explain why to keep no contact and they you can watch to remind you when you feel like breaking it.