L’intimidation peut prendre des formes diverses et se manifester dans différents contextes. Toute personne peut être touchée par l’intimidation, peu importe son genre ou ses caractéristiques personnelles. Elle peut en être l’auteur, le témoin ou la victime.
LaLoi sur l’instruction publique(article 13, paragraphe 1.1) définit ainsi l’intimidation : « Tout comportement, parole, acte ou geste délibéré ou non à caractère répétitif, exprimé directement ou indirectement, y compris dans le cyberespace, dans un contexte caractérisé par l’inégalité des rapports de force entre les personnes concernées, ayant pour effet d’engendrer des sentiments de détresse et de léser, blesser, opprimer ou ostraciser. »
Le schéma ci-dessous présente des éléments-clés qui doivent tous être présents pour que l’on puisse conclure qu’il s’agit d’intimidation :
Chacune des caractéristiques mentionnées dans le schéma doit être présente pour que l’on puisse conclure qu’il s’agit d’intimidation. Il est donc nécessaire d’analyser la situation sous tous ses angles : le contexte, la nature des gestes et les conséquences pour la personne ciblée.
L’intimidation est un phénomène social. Il faudra toujours évaluer l’effet du geste chez la personne ciblée. Plusieurs gestes ne sont pas nécessairement criminels en soi, mais ont des conséquences importantes chez la personne visée (ex. : détresse, insécurité, faible estime de soi, humiliation, sentiment d’impuissance à agir, etc.) et constituent, en ce sens, de l’intimidation.
À l’inverse, les mêmes gestes peuvent ne pas être considérés comme étant de l’intimidation si la personne ciblée ne se sent pas affectée. Cette précision n’exclut aucunement qu’une intervention soit nécessaire devant des comportements inadéquats, qu’il s’agisse ou non d’intimidation.
À l’égard du caractère répétitif, il importe d’apporter certaines précisions :
La répétition peut naître du fait que le geste se produit à plusieurs reprises sur une certaine période de temps. Par exemple : un élève en pousse un autre lorsqu’il se trouve en même temps que lui aux casiers; la situation dure depuis quelques semaines.
La répétition peut aussi signifier que plusieurs personnes différentes font régulièrement le même geste (ex. : enlever la casquette, pousser, insulter). Même si chaque personne n’a commis le geste qu’une seule fois, la somme des gestes individuels constitue de l’intimidation.
Un geste unique qui atteint l’intégrité physique ou morale d’une personne requiert une intervention même s’il n’est pas répétitif.
La plupart des gestes uniques objectivement graves sont sanctionnés par le Code criminel et peuvent faire l’objet d’une plainte auprès des corps de police pour enquête. Le cas échéant, une dénonciation pourra être soumise au Directeur des poursuites criminelles et pénales (DPCP).
Bien que les gestes manifestés dans une situation d’intimidation réfèrent généralement à un comportement délibéré, dans certaines situations, ils peuvent être involontaires et sans anticipation des effets sur l’autre. Ce peut être le cas d’enfants ou de jeunes qui, par manque de maturité, ne mesurent pas bien la portée de leurs actes, ou de personnes qui présentent des troubles neurologiques associés notamment à un trouble du spectre de l’autisme, à un traumatisme craniocérébral ou encore au vieillissement, qui les empêchent de mesurer objectivement la portée de leur comportement ou qui les privent de l’inhibition nécessaire pour s’abstenir de commettre certains gestes. Il faudra donc toujours prendre en compte les caractéristiques personnelles de l’auteur des gestes.
La caractéristique « Inégalité des rapports de force » peut s’exprimer notamment par une supériorité en nombre, une supériorité fondée sur l’âge, une plus grande force physique, un contexte d’autorité, des aptitudes différentes ou la volonté d’un des protagonistes de gagner du pouvoir aux dépens d’un autre.
Les manifestations d’intimidation peuvent faire partie de phénomènes plus larges et sanctionnables, comme la maltraitance, la négligence, la discrimination, l’exploitation ou la violence conjugale, familiale ou sexuelle (voir leglossaire). Toutefois, elles ne s’accompagnent pas nécessairement de ces autres problématiques.
Exemples de comportements où l’intimidation est associée à d’autres problématiques
L’intimidation est parfois une composante de lamaltraitance.
Les personnes victimes d’agressions sexuellespeuvent être intimidées par leur agresseur afin qu’elles ne le dénoncent pas.
Lorsque les biens de la personne ciblée sont volés, vandalisés ou détruits (ex. : faire des graffitis sur le casier, la voiture ou d’autres objets personnels; briser des objets personnels), il s’agit d’un acte criminel qui pourrait aussi constituer de l’intimidation.
Lorsqu’une personne mineure transmet une image intime d’elle-même à son partenaire et constate ensuite que cette image circule sur les réseaux sociaux, elle peut se sentir trahie et humiliée. De plus, les personnes faisant circuler l’image, y compris la personne mineure concernée, peuvent être accusées de distribution ou de possession de pornographie juvénile ainsi que de publication non consensuelle d’une image intime (Code criminel).
Anyone who has been unfortunate enough to encounter a sociopath will tell you that sociopaths are the most selfish people on the planet. They care literally nothing for other people. All they truly care about is what they want. Seeming to have no genuine feelings of their own, the sociopath is like an empty machine which can only fill it’s own wants and endlessly hunger for more. This is not so different from the way the pathological narcissist behaves. So how similar are they? What’s the difference?
Both sociopaths and narcissists suffer from what is called « the narcissistic wound. » This is the defining injury to the psyche which occurred during the young sociopath or narcissist’s development. It is the trauma or series of traumas that made them what they are.
In the narcissist, the trauma(s) occurredaftersome emotions developed butbeforeregulation of these emotions or empathy was learned. Therefore, we could say the narcissist suffers from « too much » emotion, rather than not enough. The emotions he does possess are out of control and unregulated because he is unable to control them, much the same way a very young child is unable. The narcissist’s emotions are all self-focused however – again like a very young child – and if he possesses empathy at all, it is generally maladaptive and dysfunctional. His few emotions are simply too important; they are the focus of his entire being. It is for this reason that he is unable to empathize with other people. Other people just don’t matter as much as how he feels.
In the sociopath, the narcissistic wound occurred before any truly genuine feelings developed at all. Therefore, for all intents and purposes, the sociopathhasno real feelings. These feelings have never developed and they never will. There is no empathy, dysfunctional or otherwise – even for himself. He may feel primitive variants of fear or anger (the kind all animals feel to ensure self-preservation, like fight-or-flight), but many sociopaths don’t even feel those. There is literally nothing there. They only feel « physical feelings, » such as when something feels good to the body and they can become addicted to these things because it is the only experience they have with « real » feelings. This is the dynamic we see at play with serial murderers and sociopaths that are adrenaline junkies.
In relating to other human beings, there are some differences between the sociopath and the narcissist, and there are many similarities. The main difference seems to be in interpersonal relationships. The pathological narcissist and the antisocial personality are both manipulators and both wear masks. However, the narcissistneedsother people very much. The sociopath does not. Unencumbered as he is by the emotional baggage carried around by the narcissist, the sociopath can play out a role for a very extended period of time if he must. He can derive private satisfaction from his wrongdoings, without relying on external validation of how powerful he is. This is something the narcissist has a lot of trouble with; his true self always comes through in the end, because it demands acknowledgment and it demands satisfaction – loudly. His end goal is purely selfish. The sociopath’s goals are selfish as well, but they do not rely on the validation of others. Because of this, his ego does not come in to play the same way the narcissist’s ego does and the sociopath can remain « hidden » for far longer. In fact, unless he makes a very serious mistake (which is rare but does happen), he may never be revealed.
The difference between sociopaths and narcissists then, is one of degrees. We could say that a sociopath is an « end stage narcissist. » When narcissism is taken to the nth degree and the personality is so self-involved and self-focused that literally theonlyfeelings which may occur are those aimed at making the self feel good, you have a sociopath. This is why there is so much overlap: sociopathsarenarcissists. Many narcissists have antisocial tendencies as well.
In healthy people, there is a level of narcissism but it is not pathological. That means that it isn’t inflexible. Healthy narcissism does not demand that others worship, revere, admire or give things to the person just because the person wants these things. Healthy narcissism does not scream that it’s being oppressed or abused just because the person can’t have what they want. People with healthy amounts of narcissism do not insist that others go without so that they can have more. People with healthy amounts of narcissism do not insist that you must set yourself on fire to keep them warm – and that if you won’t, you are abusive and uncaring.
This graphic shows the whole narcissistic spectrum for human emotion and personality. As we can see, cluster B personality disorders are grouped beneath « pathological narcissism. »
As seen in the above graphic, there is a theory which postulates that all cluster B personality disorders sit on a « pathological narcissistic spectrum. » This is a theory which carries a lot of weight. The cluster B personality disorders are: histrionic, borderline, narcissistic and antisocial. If we were to envision the spectrum of malignant narcissism to start at histrionic personality disorder and end with sociopathy, we can see that there is indeed quite a bit of validity to this theory.
Note that this particular spectrum does not encompassallnarcissism, as the first one did. This second graphic measuresmalignantnarcissism, or pathological narcissism. All of the cluster B personality disorders express some type of pathological narcissism. The further down on the spectrum someone is placed, the worse the pathological narcissism is, until we arrive at Antisocial Personality Disorder, which is the complete absence of empathy or conscience.
Notice that there is not a large gap between Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder. This is because there is a great deal of overlap in these. It is interesting to note that most of the cluster B disorder do occur in « clusters; » that is, they rarely exist on their own. There is almost always another cluster B personality disorder that is co-morbid. Many people will be diagnosed with HPD, NPD and BPD. Or they may be diagnosed with BPD, NPD and APD. This is another signal that the « narcissistic spectrum » theory is right on the money.
There is more than one type of sociopath and another interesting thing to note is that the further down the spectrum a person is placed, the fewer symptoms of the other cluster B personality disorders are present. You wouldn’t expect a sociopath to go into the hysterical tizzies that Borderline Personality Disorder is famous for, and most of them don’t. This can probably be attributed to sociopaths having no true emotions. If a sociopathwereto have such an emotional outburst, it would serve you well to investigate if it’s an act first, before concluding that it’s genuine. It probably isn’t. Histrionics, Borderlines and Narcissists feel cheated, overlooked and discarded by the rest of the world. The sociopath just doesn’t look at things that way. As the quintessential narcissist, it is impossible for the true sociopath to feel anything about or for other people at all. This usually includes anger.
The idea that sociopaths are « mad at the world » is interesting but really a misnomer; they feel nothing for the world or the people in it. The difference between this and the narcissist is that the sociopath generally feels nothing for himself either, whereas the narcissist feelsonlyfor himself 95% of the time. Most sociopaths don’t fear death, illness or injury (whereas many narcissists fear these things greatly). This could be because – as some experts have stated – sociopaths are never even really alive in terms of human existence.
If we follow the spectrum, we see that the focus on the self increases like a balloon being inflated more and more until it reaches a frenzied, unsustainable importance in Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Then we hit Antisocial Personality Disorder and it is as if the balloon bursts. The focus has becomesonarrow that not even the self can fit into it. It is as if rather than being a slave to the hungry, selfish, malfunctioning ego – as the histrionic, borderline and narcissist are – the sociopathbecomesthe hungry, selfish, malfunctioning ego. The narcissist, histrionic and borderline are miserable because they are forever trying to silence and appease the ego but they still exist outside of it. The sociopathisthe ego; he is empty but does not feel miserable because those kinds of more « evolved » feelings exist outside of the primitive desire and selfishness of the ego, and he does not.
Since all sociopaths are « end stage » narcissists, we can therefore conclude that sociopaths are in fact narcissists and that narcissists are in fact « lesser » sociopaths.
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We’ve heard a lot about the abuse and destruction that pathological narcissists are capable of, but what it is less-often discussed is how narcissists are created in the first place. This is something people ask all the time, so let’s get right into it.
The article « Are Psychopaths Actually Narcissists? » goes into a lot of detail about the narcissistic wound and how important that is to the creation of the pathological narcissist, so we will just summarize that briefly here. The narcissistic wound is basically the trauma or series of traumas that happened to the person which made them into a narcissist. It is the defining psychological injury which occurred during the narcissist’s development. This is usually at a very, very young age. For the narcissist, the trauma or traumas occurred after the emotions developed but before regulation of these emotions or empathy was learned. This would be around the time they were a toddler. The closer down the scale the narcissist is to a psychopath, the earlier in development we can assume the trauma happened or began.
Things like empathy and self-controldohave to be learned. They are not innate. If a person is never taught these skills, they will never have them. Therefore, we could say that many narcissists suffer from « too much » emotion, rather than not enough – even though they may seem to have none. The emotions they do possess are out of control and unregulated because they are unable to control the emotions in a normal way, much the same way a very young child is unable. The narcissist’s emotions are all self-focused however – again like a very young child – and if they have any empathy at all, it is generally dysfunctional. The few emotions they do have are simply too important; they are the focus of the narcissist’s entire being. To the narcissist, feelings arefacts. Feelings areeverything. It is for this reason that they are unable to empathize with other people when their own emotions are involved in the situation. Other people just don’t matter as much as how they feel.
The How: Neglect & Abandonment
So what could have caused the narcissistic wound? It could be many things but often, it is abuse of some kind. There may be sexual or physical abuse in the narcissist’s past. One of the key elements we often see with narcissists is neglect – either emotional or physical. We find that the narcissist’s parents were often unavailable, either emotionally or physically. One of the parents may also be a narcissist of some kind; this is not uncommon and would certainly fall into the category of an emotionally unavailable parent. Because the child’s needs are ignored by the parents, the child begins to hyperfocus on their own needs in self-defense.
All children are narcissistic in nature, but with the narcissist, at the time during development when the child’s parents should be guiding the child’s attention outside of themselves to learn empathy and concern for the world around them, the soon-to-be-narcissist only becomes more focused inside, on themselves. There oftenisno guide for the narcissist. They are ignored and left alone to teach themselves. They have only themselves to rely on and this becomes a pathological situation where, though they grow older and gain adult intelligence and experience, the emotions and ego never mature beyond this point.
The problem becomes compounded as they grow older and continue to reach out to the parent for guidance, love, validation or approval only to be ignored and rejected. They are often only noticed when they act out, or when they achieve something extra-special. This is especially true in situations where there is a narcissistic parent and the child is used by the parent to make the parent look good, or where the child is only treated nicely in front of others. This creates a reward cycle where the child continues these behaviors to get attention the only way they’ve been taught they can.
The result of all these things is that they create a person who believes nobody loves them, that nobody can be trusted because everybody is fake. Their brain screams these things at them 24 hours a day, even as adults. Narcissists have a brutal superego that spits abuse at them nonstop.Nobody loves you, nobody likes you, you’re stupid, you’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re worthless, you’re garbage… on and on and on. This happens because if a child’s parents reject them, the child begins to believe something must be very wrong with them. Children are narcissistic, remember. If something happens in their lives, they believe it is because of them. If you notice, this is the same way adult narcissists behave. Many narcissists were also actuallytoldthese things by their parents, and it just plays over and over in their mind 24 hours a day. In the article « Why Narcissists Abuse, » this was covered at length. They have been neglected and rejected by their parents and it creates a situation where they believe they are worthless and defective. That in turn creates a person who believes that everyone in the world is just out for themselves and therefore no one will look out for them if they don’t. It creates a person who believes that you only give in order to get something in return. In fact, many narcissists will straight tell you that if you ask them. They insist thateveryoneacts like that, thateveryoneuses people and only gives when they want something in return. This is of course a justification for their own behavior, but in a very real way, they believe that. It’s what they’ve been taught: other people only matter what they can do something for you – and you only matter when you can do something for them.
Do you think narcissists are to blame for their behavior?
The How: Indulgence & Entitlement
Neglect alone can be enough to create a narcissist but we also usually find another key element in the development of a narcissist, and that is indulgence. You might think that neglecting a child and spoiling a child cannot occur together, but they certainlycan.
Example I:Little Jane’s parents are never home. They work all the time. Jane cries and begs for her parents’ time but they are too tired and too frazzled to give her. When they are not at work, they are sleeping or trying to relax because they are so exhausted, they don’t want to be bothered. When Jane complains that she never sees them or feels like they don’t care about her, she is told she is wrong or that her parents’ jobs are very important. This both invalidates her feelings and tells her that she is less important than the other things her parents are doing. Jane plays by herself all the time and waits for her parents to come spend time with her. She is a very sad, lonely little girl.
Jane’s parents feel guilty that they are always pushing her aside for work or because they are so tired. Instead of actually spending time with her, which would take real effort, they try to make up for it by always giving Jane whatever she wants whenever they are with her, regardless of how she behaves. They are too tired to deal with tantrums and they feel guilty, so they give in. This does not stop Jane from feeling abandoned (a KEY feature in narcissism, especially Borderline Personality Disorder) and it does not teach her to turn her focus outward instead of inward, but it DOES teach her that she can have whatever she wants. She begins to equate being given things with love and so it creates a situation where whenever someone tells her she cannot have something, this feels to her as if they are telling her they don’t love her. This hurts her very badly. It also angers her furiously because she has been taught that she deserves whatever she wants just because she wants it. She explodes and rages in grief and anger every time she is told « no. » She is never encouraged or helped to mature and learn to take care of herself. Jane’s parents have created a narcissist with their neglect and indulgence.
Example II:Little Johnny’s mother is a narcissist. He is ignored almost all of the time because his mother is too caught up in her own problems, and his father locks himself in a bedroom whenever he is at home because he cannot deal with Johnny’s mother’s behavior. Johnny does not understand why his mother is angry all the time, but he learns to avoid her and take care of himself. She seems to be angry at him, and he receives a lot of verbal and emotional abuse from her and from his father. When he comes to them with problems, he is ignored, dismissed or even laughed at. The only time they is nice to him or notice him is when other people are around. His mother is given to fits of hysteria; she cries a lot and is often overtly suicidal. When Johnny talks about these things later, he is told he is imagining things or that he is lying or crazy.
Johnny’s mother’s constant denial and his father’s endorsement of it, along with his support of everything the mother does – even when it is blatantly wrong – invalidate Johnny’s feelings to the point that he learns not trust his own feelings or perception. Johnny’s parents never tell him they love him or validate him emotionally in any way, but they do give him whatever he wants. The father does it because he feels guilty and the mother does it because she wants other people to see the things her son has. In her mind, this is proof she is a good mother. As with Jane, Johnny begins to equate being given things with love. It also teaches him that he deserves whatever he wants. He has never been able to mature out of a toddler’s way of looking at things. His parents have simply reinforced it, rather than enabling him to grow out of it. He is never encouraged or helped to mature and learn to take care of himself. Johnny’s parents have created a narcissist with their neglect, abuse and indulgence.
Neither Johnny or Jane have a guide through their development. They are on their own, wandering and trying to figure things out for themselves. Because of this, they are never taught the things people need to know to mature and as a consequence, they don’t mature. They are simply stuck, with no way to bridge the gap between their age and their emotional development. As they get older, this gap becomes more and more noticeable, and more and more of a problem. They don’t realizetheyare the problem because they have always been that way. It is difficult to notice a problem when something has always been the same. The disorder was « created » by their brain to protect them from the trauma of abuse and neglect, but what protects the child impedes the adult. Behavior that is acceptable in children isnotacceptable in adults, but narcissists have not matured enough to be able to change it. And by the time they are adults, they don’t see any reason to. The disordered thinking is so entrenched in their mind that theybelievethey are right, even when theyknowthey are wrong. You can show a narcissist all the logical, tangible evidence in the world and if it contradicts how they feel, it won’t matter. They either can’t or won’t recognize the problems in their own behavior. If they ever do see these problems, there is always a reason why it is someone else’s fault.
This « helplessness » is also very childish. Children are not the masters of their own destiny and adult narcissists do not seem to feel they are, either. They seem to view themselves as helpless children in a world of domineering, oppressive adults – or, conversely, as needing to become themostdomineering,mostoppressive person around in order to protect themselves, like a schoolyard bully. Even the manipulations they employ against people and the lies they tell are often very childish; they are the types of things children would do to each other, or use on a parent to try to get their way. Narcissists can easily be thought of as 2 year olds in adult bodies, because that is what you are dealing with: a person with adult intelligence and experience who has the emotional capability and control of a toddler. There is a huge disconnect here in their minds and this creates some very specific problems in their thinking and with their reasoning. These things are very hard to overcome. If the person is also unwilling to try or unable to even see it, overcoming them then becomes impossible.
The Conclusion: A Recipe For Disaster
So, there you have it. The recipe to create a narcissist is neglect and indulgence. If you alternately ignore, invalidate and spoil a child, you will likely create a dysfunctional, empty, angry person who is not only unable to see or care about anything except for their own feelings, but who also believes they are entitled to absolutely anything they want and is unable to deal with the frustration that results from not getting it. Narcissists are lost, sad, crippled, empty children walking around the world with nowhere to be and no one to care about. Prisons and psych wards are full of them. It’s a terrible, crushing disorder that completely ruins lives.
Thebestway to combat this disorder is to be a good mother or a good father. Spend time with your kids. Listen to them. Validate them. Don’t try to talk them out of their feelings. The world is in the midst of an epidemic of narcissism right now. We have to try to reverse it before it’s too late.
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No one likes a narcissist, except for narcissists themselves of course. They can be extremely difficult to deal with and most people can’t cope with their extreme behavior. There are, however, some strong individuals who are better equipped to deal with narcissists and can outsmart them at every turn. Here’s how they do it.
What Is Narcissism?
Narcissism is a tendency to think very highly of yourself and have little regard for others (1). There are varying degrees of narcissism, but no matter how bad someone has it, one thing’s for sure – it will eventually become apparent to the people around them.
6 Ways Strong People Outsmart Narcissists
1. They Don’t Take The Blame
Narcissists often place blame on others in order to satisfy their need to feel superior (2). A strong person has no problem owning up to their wrongdoing, but they never accept the blame when they know they’re innocent (3).
If a narcissist is trying to blame you for something they did shut them down right away and put them in their place.
2. They Aren’t Naïve
One defining feature of a narcissist’s personality is their manipulative nature, which they use in an effort to take advantage of others and get ahead (4). Strong people aren’t as easily fooled by a narcissist’s tricks. They are extremely aware of themselves and don’t hesitate to get rid of fake people (3).
Don’t be afraid to question a narcissist’s motives, you’ll end up getting screwed over if you don’t.
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3. They Are Confident
A telltale sign of a narcissist is that they take advantage of others to reach their own goals (4). Strong peopleknow themselves welland are aware of their strengths, which means they aren’t easily brought down (3).
If a narcissist is trying to bring you down for their benefit don’t let them walk all over you. Stand up for yourself and for what’s right.
4. They Aren’t Afraid of Confrontation
Closet narcissists have different personas and act like a completely different person in public than they do in private (5). Strong people have no trouble calling out disrespectful behavior, regardless of who they are in front of (3).
If a narcissist is treating you badly make sure to put them in their place, otherwise their malicious behavior will continue.
5. They Don’t Let Their Guard Down
One manipulation tactic that narcissists use is convincing their victims of a false future together (3). Strong people don’t fall for this tactic because they don’t drop their guard down right away and firmly believe that actions speak louder than words (3).
Don’t let a narcissist talk their way into your heart – let their actions show you who they really are.
6. They Recognize When Their Emotions Are Getting Played
Narcissists have their manipulation tactics down pat and usually play the victim when they’re caught in the act (3). Strong people don’t get fooled into feeling sorry for someone who is in the wrong, regardless of whether or not tears are involved (3).
If you’re mad because of something a narcissist did, don’t let them convince you that your feelings are invalid or that they deserve sympathy.
There you have it, 6 ways that strong people outsmart narcissists at every turn. Hopefully, now you’re better equipped to deal with a narcissic
Are you at the beginning of your recovery journey from narcissistic abuse? Are you learning all about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and coming to grips with the abuse you’ve suffered? If so, chances are you’re waking up to the ugly truth of it: what the pathological narcissist is, and what they are capable of. And the question ‘what happens when the narcissist knows you’ve figured them out’ is front of mind.
Understandably (and very necessarily…), with these realisations, the urge to free yourself is rising within you. Equally reasonably because of the nature of the disorder, you may be stressed, anxious and possibly also fearful about what will happen when they know you’re onto them.
Pathological narcissism exists on a spectrum, with a variety of differing profiles covering the continuum including overt, covert, malignant, and sociopathic narcissists.
Specifically, how each one reacts when they know you’ve figured them out therefore varies. There are however commonalities.
In preparing to set yourself free, this article sets out for you likely responses from the narc.
The mind of the bully
Understanding what fuels the pathological narcissist is the closest a non-disordered individual can get to following the irrational thought processes that drive their behaviour.
Let’s set the scene and attempt to sketch this out with respect to what happens when they are sprung.
Where your relationships are based on connection and genuine care for those you choose to surround yourself with, this is not so for the Narcissistic Personality Disordered (NPD) person.
People to the narc, are tools that serve a distinct purpose. Specifically, to feed their beliefs about the fantasy land they have created where they rein as supreme, omnipotent, special, and perfect beings.
The narc’s addiction is the dependence on this external reinforcement that their false self-beliefs are based in fact, in order to keep knowledge of their true selves, at bay.
As with any addiction, withdrawal has significant repercussions for the afflicted. It is centred on the belief that without satisfying ‘supply’ needs, survival is jeopardised.
It’s therefore no surprise that faced with being unable to score their hit, your supply, the very darkest aspects of the narc take over.
The narc’s tipping point
Most of the time, their denial is (almost) bullet proof and successfully shields them from their awful truth. It is (almost) inconceivable to them that they could be flawed. This is evidenced in all the blaming you cop for their actions & behaviours, the projection, the denying irrefutable facts etc.
The construct of the disorder is such that conscious awareness of feeling threatened is infrequent. The tipping point of vulnerability for the narc, is generally a culmination of circumstances occurring when:
You are still useful to them as supply, and they therefore haven’t as yet, planned to discard you. In other words, feeding their addiction is at risk.
They are unaware that despite their relentless efforts to gaslight you into full submission, you have retained some of your autonomy, clarity of thought, self-belief, ability to question the reality they create for you, and will to be happy. This fracturing of their control over you, deeply challenges their self-concept.
AND, you have done something that penetrates their shield sufficiently to threaten their false perceptions of grandiosity, superiority, entitlement, and/or power (a.k.a. a narcissistic injury). This would be anything that communicates to them that they are not in control, for example, discovering you have raised your concerns about them with someone else; not complying with their directives and doing your own thing; calling them out on their disordered behaviour in an exposing way, etc.
So, what happens when the narc knows you’ve figured them out?
Power and control
The only way the pathological narcissist knows how to regain their inner equilibrium and get back to feeling safe in their make-believe world, is to re-establish control and power over you.
<img src="data:image/svg+xml;charset=utf-8, » style= »max-width: 100%; margin: 0.5em auto; display: block; height: auto »>And this they will do in a frenzied, manic, their ‘life depends on it kinda way’.
Control and power for the narcissist invariably involves proving you wrong. To their way of thinking, if they establish this for themselves, they also nullify the threat you pose to their false selves. (For more on the importance of invalidating you readInvalidation and Narcissism: Why they slowly erase you).
Remember that for the narc, flaws/mistakes/being wrong cannot be integrated into their view of one being due to splitting (see theNarc Wise Glossaryfor any term refreshers). You can be either all good, or all bad. All right, or all wrong.
To confirm your ‘wrongness’ in any department, is sufficient to cover all bases, including your suspicions about them.
And by invalidating you, and your views, they reinstate their control over you. And ultimately, control over themselves. The threat you presented, has been eradicated.
Amplification of their ‘go to’ methods
As stated, flavours of narcissism vary. As do preferred modus operandi.
Some are fans of aggressive physical/verbal violence & bullying, some the ‘poor victim’ approach; some are gaslighters extraordinaire stealthily and steadily breaking the trust you have in yourself; some the illusion that they are, above all else, the world’s greatest giver and lover.
Whatever their primary go-to is, expect this to be amplified. They will use whatever their ‘forte’ is, full throttle.
Predictable narc mechanisms when they feel threatened
1. Narcissistic rage
This is fury and vitriol like you’ve never witnessed before. It is the external manifestation of the narcissist’s internal short-circuiting. Their complete inability to cope with the truth of who they are.
It is the rage sparked by being unmasked as weak, out of control, and false. Their glimpse of what lies beneath their denial and their momentary understanding of being flawed to the point of being disordered. It is a snapshot of comprehension of what they spend a lifetime obsessively hiding from.
In the moment of narcissistic rage, they are completely out of control. This is does not mean ‘out of control’ with respect to intentionality, awareness of actions & behaviours, nor consequently of responsibility. It means ‘out of control’ in terms of consequences be damned.
The expression of their rage will vary, however the greater the narcissistic injury, the greater the reaction, which may be verbal through to physical aggression.
Following narcissistic rage, is the shift back to calculated manipulation and abuse. It is the return from being out of control, to fully in control and mindful of all actions and behaviours.
The malignancy the pathological narcissist is capable of, and that you experience in some forms regularly throughout devaluation, is at this point fully unleashed.
Not only to teach you a lesson about who has power and control over you, but to punish. To cause harm. Because in their minds a) they are entitled to do so, and b) you deserve it.
Baiting– deliberately provoking and antagonising you to react negatively by jabbing at your deepest wounds.
Withholding/Stonewalling– removing your access to information, emotional or physical resources you either depend on or value the most. Denying access to children for no valid reason, isolating you from emotional/social support, and financial abuse, are all examples.
If the narcissist believes that there is still a possibility of brainwashing you back into their make-believe world, and you retain some usefulness as supply, hoovering will hit hard. These are all the strategies used to suck you back in.
Once more employing all the knowledge they have of you, and activating the triggers they have programmed in you through their abuse, you can expect:
Love-bombing– bombarding you with professions of love, promises of the future emotionally healthy relationship that lies before you and their forthcoming changes.
The fauxpology– often accompanying the love-bombing, if the narcissist deems it necessary for the purpose of the hoover, is the ‘sorry not sorry’. An apology devoid of sincerity, accountability or empathy, yet rolled out much like love bombing messages to give you what you want to hear (for more on the fauxpology read The narcissist’s apology: Sorry, not sorry ).
Usingfear, guilt and obligation– tailoring pleas and demands to stimluate your deepest wounds, and elicit pre-determined reactions to pull you back in. These ones may sound like ‘how could you do this to me, after all I’ve done for you’, or ‘no one will ever love you like I do’ etc.
DO NOT BE FOOLED GORGEOUS ONE.
These ones are arguably the most difficult to withstand because they target what you want most and fear most. This is precisely why they are used on you.
On the other hand, if the narc figures their game is up and you no longer represent usefulness as supply, the final phase of the cycle of narcissistic abuse will be instigated: discard.
This is the follow through of all threats implicit throughout devaluation coming to fruition. It is your callous rejection and abandonment, devoid of any closure.
In most instances, the narcissist will already have alternative supplies lined up. These will often be intensified prior to your discard to ensure your awareness of replaceability as added punishment.
What to do about what happens when the narc knows you’ve figured them out
Many of the abusive tactics cited, as you know, are present throughout a relationship with an abusive narcissist.
When applied once the narc knows you’ve figured them out however, the difference is they no longer have anything to lose. Specifically, your supply. Which brings on the ‘no holds barred’, Satan rises, kinda situation.
This may strike the fear of God into you. Clearly this isn’t without basis.
Gorgeous one, please don’t take the possibilities of what may occur and likely fear, as rationale to stay in the situation you are in.
Remember that the fear, and myriad other negative outcomes on your wellbeing and whole-of-life outcomes, that you sustain from the abuse of the narcissist, ARE the reasons you must break free.
You are not alone. There is help.
If you need support in preparing to leave your abusive situation, reach out to your local domestic violence service providers or call your national domestic violence hotline for referrals and to develop a safety plan.
As always, please share your thoughts, experiences, and insights on the issues in this article in the comments below. The more we share, the more we teach & help one another in reclaiming our freedom.
Brennan, M. P. (1986).In consideration of C.G. Jung’s individuation process for healing narcissistic woundedness: The pathologies of addiction and multiple addiction(Doctoral dissertation). The Union for Experimenting Colleges and Universities. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations. (Order No. 8917300)
Fenichel, H., & Rappaport, D. (Eds.).(1953).The Collected Papers of Otto Fenichel, Volume 1. US: W. W. Norton & Company.
Levy, N. (2014). Addiction as a disorder of belief.Biology & Philosophy, 29(3), 337-355.